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Drilon files anti-balimbing bill

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon yesterday filed a bill that seeks to strengthen the current fractious political system by promoting party loyalty but penalizing political turncoatism.

“It is about time that we pass a measure (Senate Bill No. 226 or the Political Party System Act) that will institutionalize and strengthen political parties as pillars of the country’s democratic system,” Drilon said.

Drilon stressed that it is imperative that the country’s political party system should be strengthened in order to achieve genuine political development and democratization.

Drilon noted that there have been many attempts in past Congresses to reform the orientation of political parties in the past “so as to veer away from the concept of traditional politics.”

One such advocate for an institutionalized strong political party system was former Senate President Edgardo J. Angara.

“Unfortunately, these attempts remain unsuccessful because of lack of legal institutional framework to govern system of political parties,” Drilon lamented.

The Senate chief said his measure is aimed at promoting party loyalty, discipline and adherence to ideological principles, platforms, and programs.

“Most political aspirants change political parties for convenience, rather than because of conviction. This only shows the lack of ideological commitment of the members of party because they choose parties based on the rise and fall of the tide of opportunity,” he pointed out.

Drilon explained that the bill primarily penalizes political turncoats by disallowing them to run under any political party for any elective position in the next succeeding election after they changed party affiliations.

They will also refund any and all amounts they received from their political party, including a 25 percent surcharge, Drilon added.

“Political parties in our country are normally used as political vehicles to win an election. Political party system is centered on personalities rather than ideology and political platform,” Drilon lamented. “Political turncoatism should never be encouraged nor tolerated,” he added. (Mario B. Casayuran)