Bill against turncoatism pressed

November 04, 2018
Sherwin Tugna

THE chairman of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms has expressed confidence that the anti-turncoatism bill can still be passed into law before the 17th Congress ends in June of next year.

Citizens Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna, the panel chairman, said the still unnumbered four substituted bills, including House Bill (HB) No. 697 principally authored by former President-turned Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo which envisions changing the norm of having political butterflies during and after election period, that his panel approved will be passed on second and third reading when Congress resumes session on November 12.

“Pagbalik natin, maka second reading at third reading. Ako sa tingin ko kaya natin ito sa Lower House. Lusot na lusot ito sa amin lalo na pet bill ito ni Speaker Arroyo at napakaganda talagang panukalang batas,” said Tugna who said the bill can be approved especially with the backing of President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte.

“Oo (it can still be approved). Siyempre with the blessing of the President,” said Tugna, a lawyer and member of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) led by its president, Martin Romualdez.

“Hindi ko pa alam ang posisyon ng Malacañang pero siyempre si President Duterte naman, eh, naniniwala ako na anything that is good for the country, he will sign it into law,” Tugna added.

Tugna said he would discuss the bill’s progress to his Senate counterpart, Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who chairs the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation.

“Kakausapin ko rin ‘yung counterpart ko sa Senate, ‘yong bagong kasal na si Sen. Koko Pimentel kung kailan nila ito mahi-hearing at kung kailan uusad sa kanilang committee,” said Tugna.

Tugna said the measure will help avoid political butterflies or turncoats as it strengthens the country’s political party system by removing politicians from their elective posts should they violate the measure.

He said the bill will disallow violator-politicians from running again in the next scheduled election and also ban them from being appointed to public office if they transfer to another political party one year after their election and one year before the scheduled next poll.

Under the measure, Tugna said politicians, including senators, are only allowed to change their political party during the second year of their term.

The three other substituted bills are HB No. 522 authored by Deputy Speaker and Capiz Rep. Fredenil “Fred” Castro, HB No. 1695 by Cagayan De Oro City Rep. Maximo Rodriguez, and HB No. 7088 by Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano.

Tugna said the measure is designed to prevent newly elected politicians from taking advantage of the perks and resources of the new administration by shifting allegiance to the party.

He said the bill would help promote the principles of the party to which they belong where the measure guarantees political subsidy.