JdV Seeks Reform of Political Parties to Reduce Corruption

Article excerpt

Byline: BEN R. ROSARIO

Speaker Jose de Venecia yesterday announced that the House of Representatives will fasttrack the passage of the long-delayed Political Party Act of 2006, giving it the "highest political priority" before sessions adjourn next month to strengthen political parties and reduce the influence of narco and money politics.

At a press forum, De Venecia said that the proposed legislation already has bi-partisan support, and the House of Representatives could start plenary deliberation as early as Tuesday to consider Committee Report No. 2024 approved by the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reform.

The bill, of which De Venecia is one of the principal authors, bans and penalizes turncoatism or the practice of changing political parties, and proposes the creation of a P500-million State Fund to provide for "political party development and campaign activities."

Under this proposed law, individual taxpayers and corporations can make limited contributions to political parties "within six months prior to a campaign period but not later than 15 days before Election Day." An individual taxpayer is allowed to contribute up to P100,000 and a corporation up to P500,000.

The House Speaker also said that one of the bill's outstanding features is that it allows a national party to spend 11 pesos for every voter currently registered in the constituency where it has official candidates.

He said that if approved next month, the bill could take effect in time for the 2007 mid-term elections.

"We need to deal urgently with our problem of campaign financing--so that we can begin to reduce the influence of money politics, drug lords and gambling lords in the national as well as in the local political landscape," said de Venecia, the Lakas Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas CMD) national president.

In seeking support for the bill, de Venecia wrote members of the House in his capacity as Speaker, as party president, as chairperson of the standing committee of the Philippine political parties--both ruling and opposition--in Asia. …