I NOTICED some interesting facts in the proposed federal constitution submitted to the President Rodrigo Duterte.
For one, the draft constitution requires a college degree for the president, vice president, senators, and members of the House of Representatives.
The same requirement also applies to members of the Regional Assembly, the legislative body for each Federated region, as well as the chairperson and members of the Federal Commission on Elections, and the chairperson and members of the Federal Commission on Human Rights.
Section 6 sets the foundation for election campaign finance:
SECTION 6. The Federal Republic shall regulate the campaign finance, both from public and private sources, of political parties and candidates in all elections.
(a) The Federal Congress shall update laws on all election expenditures.
(b) Financial contributions from religious organizations, foreigners, foreign governments, and illegal sources are prohibited.
(c) There shall be a Democracy Fund, which shall serve as a repository of campaign funds. The Federal Commission on Elections shall administer the Democracy Fund and promulgate rules and regulations therefor. The Federal Commission on Audit shall have the power, authority, and duty to examine and audit all funds pertaining to the Democracy Fund.
(d) Any citizen who contributes at least ten thousand pesos (PhP 10,000.00) but not exceeding one hundred thousand pesos (PhP 100,000.00) to any registered political party or presidential candidate through the Democracy Fund shall be allowed a full credit against income tax due for the taxable year coinciding with the elections in which such political party or presidential candidate participated; Provided, that such amounts shall be subject to proper adjustment under the rules promulgated by the Federal Commission on Elections.
(e) Any corporation, partnership, or association which contributes at least one hundred thousand pesos (PhP 100,000.00) but not exceeding three million pesos (PhP 3,000,000.00) to any registered political party or presidential candidate through the Democracy Fund shall be allowed a full credit against income tax due for the taxable year coinciding with the elections in which such political party participated; Provided, that such amounts shall be subject to proper adjustment under the rules promulgated by the Federal Commission on Elections.
(f) A fair share of political party campaign funds drawn from the Democracy Fund shall be allocated for women candidates.
(g) Unless ordered by the Federal Electoral Court, all information pertaining to the contributors and the amount of their contributions shall be deemed confidential and shall be made available only to the Federal Commission on Elections, the Federal Commission on Audit, and the Internal Revenue officials for purposes of regulation, auditing, and tax credit, respectively.
Section 7 prohibits party-switching, thereby swatting the so-called political butterflies or balimbing:
SECTION 7. The Federal Republic shall ensure strong and cohesive political parties.
(a) Members of any political party elected to public office are prohibited from changing political parties within their term of office.
(b) Candidates and officials of any political party are prohibited from changing political party two (2) years after the election and two (2) years before the next election.
Those who violate the foregoing provisions shall be: (1) removed from the office to which they have been elected; (2) barred from appointment to any government position for one electoral cycle; (3) prohibited from running for public office in the next election; (4) required to return any party funds they used for the campaign. The Federal Commission on Elections shall initiate the appropriate proceedings in the proper court.
(c) No political party shall accept any member in violation of sub-section (a) and (b). Any violation shall be a ground for the cancellation of its registration.
(d) The Federal Commission on Elections shall ensure compliance with these provisions and periodically require political parties to submit an updated list of their members, including any changes arising from violation of the above provisions.
(e) No political party shall nominate more candidates than the number of persons required to be voted for in an elective position, except for the proportional representative seats in the House of Representatives and the Regional Assemblies, nor shall any candidate be allowed to accept nominations from more than one registered political party, except in cases of aggrupation or coalitions.
Section 8 expressly bans political dynasties:
SECTION 8. The Federal Republic shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties to prevent the concentration, consolidation, or perpetuation of political power in persons related to one another.
(a) A political dynasty exists when a family whose members are related up to the second degree of consanguinity or affinity, whether such relations are legitimate, illegitimate, half, or full blood, maintains or is capable of maintaining political control by succession or by simultaneously running for or holding elective positions.
(b) No person related to an incumbent elective official within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, as described above, can run for the same position in the immediately following election.
(c) Persons related within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, as described above, are prohibited from running simultaneously for more than one national and one regional or local position. However, in the event that two or more members of the same family are running, the member who shall be allowed to be a candidate shall be determined by the drawing of lots.
(d) The Federal Congress may, by law, provide for additional prohibitions.