By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) reportedly opposed an anti-political dynasty provision in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as they lamented that it would discriminate officials of the Bangsamoro government.
This was according to Senate Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, who confirmed Tuesday that the Congress bicameral conference committee is not inclined to approve a provision prohibiting political dynasties in the proposed Bangsamoro parliament.
Zubiri, in a press briefing Tuesday afternoon at the sidelines of the bicam’s second day of meeting on the proposed BBL, said they “shelved” the provision after the BTC raised that it would be discriminatory.
“The problem is that they feel that the political dynasty provision is only limited to some seats of the parliament. So what the BTC raised was why they are being discriminated out in the anti-political dynasty [provision] when the whole country has no other political dynasty provision,” Zubir explained.
“‘Why are they being singled out, it’s discriminating to them, so that was the point they said to us. Why does it apply only to the Bangsamoro,” he added.
Zubiri said they might go over the provision again as they finalize the proposed BBL, which President Duterte is expected to sign on July 23.
Senators Francis Escudero and Franklin Drilon, both members of the Senate bicam panel earlier announced the removal of the anti-political dynasty provision in the proposed BBL as stipulated in the Senate version of the measure.
Escudero said members of the bicam rejected the provision because it was “discriminatory” as it only applies to party representatives.
Escudero, on Tuesday, said “more” would be opposed to it if it was revised to include all officials of the Bangsamoro government.
“Mas madami naman may ayaw,” he said in a text message.
A section in the Senate Bill 1717 states that ”
“No Party Representative should be related within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to a District Representative or another Party Representative in the same Parliament.”
Escudero said he initially pushed for a prohibition on partylist representatives, but such was later outvoted to be political party representatives.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, for his part, agreed that the said provision should be removed.
“I’m glad they removed it. Otherwise we will be disenfranchising the legitimate family members while mistresses and their relatives will be allowed instead because they do not classify under the second degree of consanguinity,” Sotto said in text message Tuesday.
Islam, which is the dominant religion in the Bangsamoro region, allows Muslim men to have four spouses.
Meanwhile, Zubiri reported that the bicam has threshed out the composition of the proposed Bangsamoro parliament and is set to approve it Tuesday.
Among its salient points, Zubiri noted, is the adoption of the Senate version on the term limit for members of the parliament. The term of office for parliament members shall be three years, he said.
Zubiri added that the President would still have authority over local government officials.