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House draft charter allows entry of private foreign campaign donors

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Private international groups could apparently meddle in Philippine politics if the draft federal charter being proposed by the House leadership will be approved.

Under Article VII, Section 1—Political Parties, it is stated that: “Financial contributions from foreign government and their agencies to political parties, organization, or candidates related to elections, constitute interference in national affairs, and, when accepted, shall be an additional ground for the cancellation of their registration within the Commission.”

The phrase “foreign government” contradicts to final draft charter submitted by members the Constitutional Commission, wherein, it contained the phrase “any foreigner.”

Some law experts said the wordings used by the House leadership in their proposed federal charter might permit foreigners from private sector or groups to finance political entities in the future.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, a staunch critic of charter change (Cha-Cha), said such provision on the campaign contributions must be studied carefully since foreign donors may manipulate election results using their money for their own interest.

“Kailangan liwanagin ‘yan para ma-isama ‘from all foreign sources’,” said Lagman.

He added that having campaign funds from foreign sources will give a political party an unfair advantage against opponents.

Lagman stressed that under the 1987 Constitution, foreign contributions from any countries or private entities are both prohibited.

Last October 2, the Committee on Constitutional Amendments endorsed to the House Plenary, the committee report Resolution of Both Houses no. 15 which seeks to amend the 1987 Constitution through a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass).

Several provisions of the draft federal charter currently being endorsed drew flak especially the proposed lifting of term limits for members of the Senate and the House of Representatives.