Gloria Macapagal Arroyo wants to ban political turncoatism

·Contributor
·2 min read
Philippine's Former President and Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo gestures after she was elected by congressmen as the new Speaker of the House of Representatives in Quezon city, Metro Manila, in Philippines July 23, 2018. Now, she wants to ban political turncoatism as she files a bill penalizing it. (Photo: REUTERS/Czar Danceld)
Philippine's Former President and Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo gestures after she was elected by congressmen as the new Speaker of the House of Representatives in Quezon city, Metro Manila, in Philippines July 23, 2018. Now, she wants to ban political turncoatism as she files a bill penalizing it. (Photo: REUTERS/Czar Danceld)

A bill to penalize political turncoatism – or the practice of switching political parties every election cycle – has been filed in the House of Representatives by Former President and Senior Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on June 30.

The proposed House Bill (HB) No. 448, or the Political Party Development Act of 2022, seeks to institutionalize political parties duly registered with, and certified to as such, by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), and prescribes procedures for party registration before the election body.

According to the bill’s section 13, politicians who switch party affiliation one year before and after any national elections will have to forfeit the public office they’re seeking, or they’ve been elected to.

If enacted into law, the penalties that would be meted to those who will violate the law are, among many others, disqualification for any elective position in the next succeeding election following the changing of party affiliation, disqualification from being appointed or holding any position in any public or government office for three years after term of office expires, and disqualification from assuming any executive or administrative position within the new political party.

Section 14 of the bill gives any citizen eligible to vote the power to file a petition before the COMELEC for the disqualification of any candidate who committed turncoatism.

Meanwhile, the bill also tackles the amount of election spending a politician is allowed to spend every election: P20 for each voter, subject to review every three years.

The bill also provided the guidelines for the accreditation of political parties, including the establishment of a state Subsidy Fund to help augment the accredited parties’ operating funds.

Five percent of the fund will go to the COMELEC for voter education campaigns, at least 30% for accredited political parties represented in the Senate and 65% for parties inside the House of Representatives.

To keep the State Subsidy Fund in check, the Commission on Audit will be assigned to track the financial transactions of the fund.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates.

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