Press Release
July 16, 2016

Drilon files Political Party Reform bill to strengthen political party system,
penalize turncoats

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon filed a bill that seeks to strengthen the political system, prevent political party switching and level the playing field among political parties.

"It is about time that we pass a measure that will institutionalize and strengthen political parties as pillars of the country's democratic system," Drilon said.

"It is imperative that the country's political party system should be strengthened in order to achieve genuine political development and democratization," he said.

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

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

The Senate chief said that Senate Bill No. 226 or the Political Party System Act 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," Drilon said.

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.

If enacted into law, Drilon further explained, a state subsidy fund will be put in place to augment the campaign expenditures and party development expenses.

The funds, Drilon explained, can be used to augment the operating funds of the accredited national political parties for party development, which include, among others, party administration and recruitment, research and policy development, and education and training of members.

It can also be used to fund campaign expenditures including traveling expenses of the candidates and support personnel in the course of the campaign, hiring of personnel and secretariat, setting up of headquarters, production and distribution of campaign paraphernalia, and other relevant electoral expenditures.

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