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'Philippine political dynasties must end' by Jon Carlos Rodriguez, ABS-CBNnews.

com Posted at 10/02/2012 11:35 PM | Updated as of 10/02/2012 11:51 PM Tweet MANILA, Philippines Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casio on Tuesday urged voters to use the upcoming 2013 elections to end political dynasties by voting for new faces and new names. Casio, who is a sponsor of House Bill 3413 or the act prohibiting the establishment of political dynasties, said next years elec tions is an opportunity to elect new public servants who do not belong from a political family. Gamitin natin ang 2013 elections para mabali na ang sobrang paghahari ng mga political dynasties na ito. Its about time na maglagay naman tayo ng mga bagong mukha at bagong pangalan sa ibat ibang lugar. Kumbaga sa handa, maganda naman na may ibang putahe, the lawmaker told Studio 23s Iba-Balita. Casio believes that dynasties, which control both the economic and political landscape of a certain region, are not doing the country any good. Hindi maganda na masyadong namo-monopolize ng iilang pamilya lang ang kapangyarihang pampulitika sa ating bansa. Isang dahilan kaya hindi nagbabago ang ating bansa ay dahil ang may hawak na kapangyarihan sa ekonomiya at pulitikal ay pare-parehong pamilya na lang, pare-parehong interes. Kaya para sa akin, mas mabuting iba naman ang pumasok na hindi nagmumula sa mga pamilyang ito, he said. The bill has been pending for 2 years. It underwent a second hearing at the House committee level but has not moved forward. Casio claimed the measure is not gaining support because of political dynasties inside the House of Representatives and Senate. Basically, ang Kongreso at ang Senado ay balon ng mga political dynasties. Mahigit ng mayorya, miyembro diyan ay galing sa angkan ng pulitika, Casio said.

Parang ito yung FOI [Freedom of Information] Bill, walang tumututol pero misteryosong hindi gumagalaw sa Congreso. Ibig sabihin, sumasangayon sila kung kaharap mo pero yung tunay nilang sentimyento ay ayaw nila, he added. What is a political dynasty? Casio said political dynasties exist when a spouse of a second degree relative of an incumbent official runs for a government post in the same city or province as that of the official. According to the bill, a political dynasty also exists when 2 or more persons who are spouses or are related within the second civil of consanguinity or affinity run simultaneously for elective public in the same area, even if neither is related to an incumbent official. Casio admits that passing the bill into law may be a long shot, but he believes that if dynasties are challenged, change will soon follow. Aaminin ko, suntok sa buwan ito pero kailangan natin itulak. Importante na tuloy-tuloy na ilaban natin ito. Siguro balang araw dadating din ang panahon na mababago na natin ang sistemang pampulitika, pero at this point, ang labanan ay one step at a time. Siguro sa bawat eleksyon, sa bawat lugar ay i-challenge natin itong mga political dynasties, he sa id. In next years senatorial race, several candidates come from prominent political families, including the brother of incumbent Senator Pia Cayetano, Alan Peter; Jinggoy Estrada and step brother JV Ejercito; and the son of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Jack Enrile. Two relatives of President Aquino will also be running for senator--his cousin Bam Aquino and aunt Tingting Cojuangco. House Bill 3413, however, does not cover the national level. Running for Senate Casio said he is planning to file his certificate of candicacy (COC) for senator on Wednesday.

He willliterallyrun from Luneta to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in Intramuros to file his COC to symbolize that being elected to public office is something that has to be worked for. Casio is running under the newly-formed MAKABAYAN (Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan) coalition. He said he is the only member of his family running for public office in 2013. Those who are calling for an end to political dynasties vary from savants in academe, political commenters in both print and broadcast media, to antidynasty crusaders. IN the absence of a law defining and prohibiting political dynasties in this country, what can those who are against such dynastic families do to stop dynasts from running for the Senate, the House of Representatives and other elective local posts? And what are their reasons? First of all, Dr. Jose V. Abueva, an eminent professor of political science and public administration and former president of the University of the Philippines, says that a political dynasty means the repeated election and reelection of close relatives with the same surname to offices in national and local governments, that they enjoy a monopoly of political power to the disadvantage of rival leaders, and that they use their wealth to gain access to public resources to favor themselves. However, Abueva distinguishes between bad political dynasties which resort to illegal means to keep their rivals out of offi ce, and benevolent political dynasties which do not trace their political supremacy to such negative factors. Still, he concludes that political dynasties are the cause and consequence of our ineffective and unaccountable patron-client democracy. Another member of academe, Professor of Economics Ronald U. Mendoza of the Asian Institute of Management, notes the rise of politicians with dynastic familial links signals a growing inequality in access to powers and political influence, which in turn could also affect the persistence and prevalence of social and economic divides. But he accepts that political dynasties in varying degrees can exist in a democracy regardless of its structure, history or the level of economic development of the country.

Former Senator Francisco Tatad, now a political analyst and newspaper columnist, warns that the dynasty issue has become an explosive issue, especially among the young voters in the country. He says that they find it difficult to accept that a small number of rich and powerful families should have developed such a stranglehold of the Senate that as one members term is out, another family member takes over, regardless of his or her qualifications. An independent senatorial candidate, who has formed and launched an antidynasty movement, one Ricardo L. Penson, says that political dynasties are the root of our countrys democracy evils and that these continue hegemony of feudal politics and continued disenfranchisement of a marginalized majority in our country, making representation ever more elusive. Others who have voiced their views on the dynasty the issue are three candidates for the Senate in the tickets of both the Liberal Party coalition and the United Nationalist Alliance. All of them agree that t hose who dont want candidates belonging to dynastic political families can just simply not vote for them. One is former Senator Ramon B. Magsaysay, Jr., the only son of President Ramon Magsaysay, has said that, in the absence of an anti-dynasty law implementing a provision in the Constitution prohibiting political dynasties, its up to the voters to decide if they would continue to patronize such political families. He served for three terms in the Senate, and after taking a long political sabbatical, he is now seeking a new term in the Senate in next years national elections. Former Representative of Las Pias Cynthia A. Villar, wife of Senator Manny Villar, who is bowing out of politics next year, sees nothing wrong with political dynasties, but she pointed out that people are intelligent. You cannot fool them anymore. If they want to end a dynasty, they can always do it with their votes. If they dont vote for the good ones, then the loss is theirs! She is running as a Nacionalista Party senatorial candidate, like Magsaysay, under the LP coalition banner. Rep. of San Juan J. V. Ejercito-Estrada, son of former President Joseph Erap Estrada, who is running as a senatorial candidate of the UNA, says that the political dynasty issue is being invoked by other candidates who fear

defeat at the polls because they have no track record to recommend to the electorate. And a man who has distinguished himself in serving the people can win over a member of a political family. He used to be mayor of the city of San Juan, a post now occupied by his mother, the beauteous former actress Gia Gomez. Other senatorial candidates in the 2013 midterm elections who belong to prominent political families are Paolo Benigno Bam Aquino 4th, a cousin of President Noynoy Aquino, Rep. Juan Edgardo Sonny Angara of Aurora province, son of Senator Edgardo Angara, and Sen. Aquilino Koko Pimentel 3rd, son of former Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. They are among those in the LP coalition ticket. The younger Aquino and Angara have repeatedly maintained that political dynasty is not about perpetuating clans in power but a matter of a record of people who are willing to do public service regardless if they are relatives. The young Pimentel has filed an anti-political dynasty bill in the Senate, just like Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, wholl soon assume her post as a member of the International Court of Justice. The UNA, led by Vice President Jejomar Binay and former President Joseph Estrada, is fielding Estradas son, JV Ejercito-Estrada, Binays daughter, Ma. Lourdes Nancy Binay, and President Aquinos aunt, former governor Margarita Tingting Cojuangco of Tarlac province, and Senate President Juan Ponce Enriles son, Juan Castaer Jack Ponce Enrile Jr. A recent study showed that young legislators with links to dynastic political families in this country number roughly 80%, while the figure reaches an amazing 70% of those with familial links to local government units. Could this mean that political dynasties are here to stay? *** Quote of the Day: Politics has become a business, as thoroughly monopolized as any industrial trust. It is not altruistic. It is selfish to the last degree. It is lawless to the point of anarchy. It has become the mightiest, ruthless force that exists! Anonymous Commenter

Bill prohibiting political dynasty gaining support in the Senate MANILA, Nov. 10 (PNA) Twenty-five years after political dynasty prohibition found its place in the 1987 Constitution, members of the Senate in the 15th Congress have finally realized the need to pass an enabling law that will give force and effect to the provision. Article 2, Section 26 of the Constitution provides that The State shall guarantee equal access to public service and prohibit political dynasty as may be defined by law. The issue of political dynasty was resurrected anew when the Senate committee on electoral reform started discussing Senate Bill No. 2649 or An Act to Prohibit the Establishment of Political Dynasties filed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago in January last year. Santiago, a constitutionalist and law expert, explained in her bill that the playing field should be leveled and opened to persons who are equally qualified to aspire on even terms with those from ruling politically dominant families. The socioeconomic and political inequities prevalent in Philippine society limit public office to members of ruling families, Santiago said. Sen. Panfilo Lacson supported the passage of Santiagos bill, declaring it is about time to pass an enabling law as regards the issue of political dynasty. Our Constitution has been in effect for a long time. Since 1987, no Congress has passed a law that would comply with the constitutional provision. Its about time, Lacson said. Lacson noted that it would seem unbecoming to see father-and-son, siblings, husband-and-wife in one plenary. At present, the Senate has sibling members Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter and his sister Pia Cayetano. After the 2013 midterm elections, people are likely to see a possible father and son, two brothers and a son succeeding his father in the incoming Congress.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enriles son, Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile, and Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estradas half -brother, San Juan City Rep. JV Ejercito are running for senator in the May polls. Senator Jinggoy and his mother, Dr. Loi Ejercito, served as senators at the same time between 2004 and 2006. Aurora Province Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara is also running and if he wins, he would succeed his father, Sen. Edgardo Angara, whose term expires next year. The older Angara is running for governor in Aurora. Lacson said if his son Jay will run for governor in his home province of Cavite in 2016, he may retire from politics. Jay Lacson is running for vice governor of Cavite next year. It would be worse if they hold sway in the same province or in the same town as governor and mayor. That in my own view is at least a clear definition of a political dynasty, Senator Lacson said. According to the Websters dictionary, dynasty is a line of rulers of the same family. Santiagos bill says that political dynasty shall exist when a person who is the spouse of an incumbent elective official or relative within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity of an incumbent holds or runs for an elective office simultaneously with the incumbent elective official within the same province. Sen. Sergio Osmena III, a member of a famous political clan from Cebu, sees the passage of the bill at least in the Senate. The Senate will pass the anti-dynasty bill. It will be passed, believe me, Osmena said. Osmena doubts, however, the bill will get enough favorable votes from the House of Representatives. I already helped craft it (anti-dynasty bill) in 1995. Then the House said dont send it, Osmena recalled.

Enrile expressed readiness to resign if the bill will be passed into law before his term ends in 2016 to give way to his son, Jack. As for me, if this will be enacted into law, there will be no problem. If I have to resign so that my son can be there, I will do it, the 89-year-old Enrile said. Enrile said he is in favor of the anti-dynasty bill but it must apply to everybody if we pass that into law. Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, chairman of the Senate committee on electoral reforms and suffrage which deliberates the bill, said he is planning to file an improved version of the measure that will include politicians in the national level. We have a bill in the Senate, but it does not cover national positions. Political dynasties should be prohibited, Pimentel stressed. We have yet to study it carefully as the measure that we will pass does not cover senators, vice presidents and presidents, he added. Pimentel, who is seeking reelection in 2013, is the son of former Sen. Aquilino Nene Pimentel Jr., whose daughter Gwen lost her senatorial bid in 2010 under the Nacionalista Party (NP) headed by outgoing Sen. Manny Villar. Villar refused to comment on the bill but his wife, former Las Pinas City Rep. Cynthia Villar, who is bidding to succeed her husband in the Senate in 2013, is willing to abide by the law banning political dynasty, if passed. If it will become a law, of course, we will follow, the former congresswoman said. Senator Estrada said the measure might hurdle the Senate but doubts it will pass the House of Representatives. Perhaps in the Senate it will pass, but I doubt it in the House because a lot of relatives are running for congressmen, Estrada said. Estrada, however, said he personally believes that relatives of those who are already in power should not be deprived of their right to serve the country.

Why deprive them of their right to serve the country? We have been submitting ourselves to the Filipino electorate. Let the Filipino electorate decide if we are deserving to serve as public officials, Estrada stressed. Estrada said the political dynasty prohibition is already provided in the Constitution, thus it does need enabling law. Let the people decide. It is a moral issue but it is not illegal, Estrada said. For his part, Sen. Alan Cayetano assured he will abide if the bill is passed into law but it should not be an issue under the present political system in the country. The real issue here is equal opportunity. In the Philippines, those who are powerful and have money have the edge whether or not they are related to those who are already in power, Cayetano, whose late father Rene Cayetano also served in the Senate, said. Another issue is who are corrupt and who are not. If you are relatives serving the government and you are all clean and honest, thats good for the people, he added. Under Santiagos bill, the Commission on Elections shall motu proprio or upon a verified petition of any interested party deny due course to any certificate of candidacy of any individual if found to have violated the law. Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Teodoro Casino, who is running for the Senate in 2013, has authored an anti-political dynasty bill which is pending in the committee level of the House of Representatives. The Senate committee on electoral reform has already conducted two public hearings on the Santiago bill with the stakeholders expressing varied opinions. Erwin Villarin, member of the Comelec legal team, said SB 2649 covers only those would-be dynasties in local elective posts and not on the national level. Eric Alvia of the National Movement on Free Elections (Namfrel) said the bill could be detrimental as it would deprive the country of the services of would be competent leaders from one family.

While support on the bills passage snowballs in the Senate, the senators believe that Congress has run out of time to pass it before the 2013 elections. Lacson and Pimentel said any law against political dynasties would be in place by 2016. During last Thursdays public hearing at the Senate, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. recommended peoples initiative as the only way of passing the anti-political dynasty law. Thats the only alternative. If the legislators dont want to pass a law, then we the people should, Brillantes said in a media interview after the hearing. The peoples initiative is the power of the people to propose amendments to the Constitution, or to propose and enact legislation through an election where only 12 percent of the total number of registered voters is needed for it to push through. Brillantes said that he is willing to lead the filing of the petition for the passage SCS/JFM of a law against political dynasty. (PNA)

Ending political dynasty lies in the hands of Filipino voters The issue on political dynasty in the Philippines arises every time there is a forthcoming election, like the one scheduled in May 2013. Legislators from both chambers of Congress -- the Senate and the House of Representatives -- have expressed the positive and negative side of political dynasty. San Juan City Rep. Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito has said the issue of political dynasty is only invoked by candidates fearing defeat at the polls because they have no track record. "A man who has distinguished himself (by) serving the people can win over a member of a so-called political dynasty. And the distinction need not be in the government," said JV, son of former President and Manila mayoralty bet Joseph "Erap" Estrada and half-brother of Sen. Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada. JV has acknowledged that his surname gives him an advantage over

newcomers. "I cannot help it if the Ejercito-Estrada clan has chalked up a long list of accomplishments in government service, which makes the public appreciative of its members. I have nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, I'm proud to carry the name," he said. Citing a recent survey showing that 60 percent of voters think there is nothing wrong with political dynasty, Ejercito said: "Do not forget that the power of the people is absolute, and that power includes the right to choose who will govern them." Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, son of outgoing Sen. Edgardo Angara, said the concept of political dynasty is just a matter of perception, stressing that qualifications and excellent track records should be the basis in electing candidates during elections. "We should look at what these dynasties have achieved and there you will find differentiation," he said. "The name definitely helps, but that in itself is not enough. You need to have a stand on issues, be visible, strike a chord with the masses," he added. Last Oct. 23, the Senate began committee hearing on Senate Bill No. 2649 filed by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago. In the explanatory note on her bill, Santiago said there is a need for a level playing field in the political arena. "This extended family system, an otherwise beneficial concept when applied to the social aspects of human behavior, finds its pernicious effects in the political arena where public office becomes the exclusive domain of influential families and clans that are well-entrenched in Philippine politics. The monopoly of political power and public resources by such families affects the citizenry," she noted. But for Senators Aquilino "Koko" Pimeponntel III and Panfilo Lacson, they said the definition of political dynasties has to be more precise. "The bill does not cover national positions. We have to study this thoroughly," said Pimentel, chairman of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, for his part, urged those proposing the enactment of a law prohibiting relatives of incumbent officials to run for any elective positions to conduct a thorough and extensive study of the Santiago bill before presenting it to Congress. "That should be reviewed thoroughly before lawmakers can start deliberating on it to enlighten the public because most of those pushing it are those who could not get themselves elected, those who could not convince the voting public to vote for them," he said. Rep. Sherwin Tugna of the Citizen's Battle Against Corruption party-list, however, said although Congress is required to pass an anti-dynasty bill, "there is no deadline." "Because of that, I believe that the Supreme Court cannot grant the relief of compelling Congress to enact the anti-dynasty bill," he said. Tugna said pushing for the measure is unrealistic at this time because the candidates are subject to the will of the electorate. "I do not believe that an anti-dynasty measure can pass the House or Senate because it is contrary to the human nature of survival," he added. Article 2, Section 26 of the 1987 Constitution provides that "The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law." Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said it is up to Congress to deliberate on the pending bills that would serve as enabling law to the constitutional prohibition on political dynasties. "So this is a legislative discretion, whether they (Congress) would like to tackle it or not. As far as we are concerned, we continue with the business of governance. It's a matter for the legislature to discuss among themselves the anti-dynasty bill," he stressed. Lacierda said it is "premature" to comment on Sen. Santiago's proposal to include national elective positions in the prohibition on political dynasty. "We elected the legislature to discuss on the wisdom of these bills. So let them deliberate on it before we make any comment. Or lest we be accused of saying that we are dictating upon the legislature," he added. Meanwhile, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. has said a law prohibiting political dynasties would be difficult to pass in Congress because it will affect the interests of the lawmakers. Instead, Brillantes suggested for a "people's initiative" on the matter. "We can't do anything about it (ban political dynasty). There is no enabling

law that prohibits political dynasties even if it is not allowed under the Constitution. We can't do anything about it," he said. "A people's initiative is the best real solution to that problem so that it would no longer have to pass through Congress," he added, referring to Republic Act No. 6735, the law on people's initiative and referendum. Article 17, Section 2 of the Constitution provides that "amendments to the Constitution may likewise be directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition of at least 12 percent of the total number of registered voters." The decision of whether or not candidates from political families get elected is still in the hands of the Filipino people. If members of political families get elected, perhaps it's because the people themselves believe that not all political dynasties are part of the issue, and that there are some who really work and serve the people and are more capable than others. As such, it's the responsibility of every Filipino voter to be acquainted with the candidates, discern their capabilities, go over their platforms, and think critically before casting their vote. - PNA ARA Yes, we, the Filipino people might swear to be "tired" of political dynastiesbut election per election, is it not we (ourselves) who vote "Political Dynasters" to political power? It is like a guilt-pointing game -where pointing our one finger to the dynastic politicians - three other fingers will always point back at us.

Also, an Asian nation is mostly family-oriented and as Filipinos we have a very strong "utang na loob" (gratitude) to those who grant us favors. In a poor Third World country like the Philippines- the Government is the biggest employer and the best dispenser of projects to the private sector. At all times, we return the favor given by politicians who gave our relatives employment, help us secure a loan, corner a project , talked to a judge regarding a court case and act as godfathers for limitless number of social occasions. Then- this filial loyalty rubs on to the other members of the patronagepoliticians' families and thus a dynasty is born, nurtured and preserved for generations. So don't be surprised that a recent study exposed that we do live in a Dynastic Philippines -whether it's more fun or not- that remains a fact. A recent study showed that of the 24 senators, 20 of them belong to a political clan or another; the Lower House of the over 240 representatives- at least 180 0f them are in the same dynastic mold. In the same vein, in local governance (almost without exception) the provinces, cities and towns are manned by blood relations. In principle it is best to have a pluralistic,non-exclusive type of politics in the nation. Dynasties are the best antidotes to equitable dispersal of wealth because power begets power that begets wealth that begets more wealth.

Why do Political Dynasties rule us and they not move like dinosaurs into their natural extinction? The answer night be - that the Philippines is really a young democracy and an Asian nation. So, what? Recall that the ancient Europe, for decades, was ruled by a long list of dynasties -many of whom inter-married to preserve the political and economic hegemony among the same blood lines. Remember that America just "granted us our independence" not too many years ago when a president named Manuel Quezon preferred the nation to be run like hell by natives than like Heaven by the White Big Brothers. Perhaps time will change us.

This narrowing of opportunity for only a few is the main beef why social scientists resent that the powerful elite rules this nation to the detriment of the rest. That they (elite) will never rise above their class interest -whether in legislation or in private or business behavior. But in fairness, dynasties or not, the nation has progressed -now in bigger strides than in the last administrations. But isn't there a Law versus Political Dynasties? Yes, there is in Section 2 Section 26 of thr 1987 Philippine Constitution. But here is the catch- it does not have the important- IRR- Implementing Rules and Regulations. That's the whole trouble why people get away with murder

The last time an IRR was started to strengthen the law was in 1987 by former vice president- then senator Teofisto Guingona Jr- the Cory Senate approved it (majority vote)- but the House shot it down. It is not hard to see why. Maybe in the heat of the political campaign today- it might be a mighty too late to even petition the Supreme Court now to whip the dynasters in line as the Anti-Political Dynasty" movement had tried a few days ago. Let us just hope that in the next Congress- with the interest of the majority of the Filipinos in their hearts- the next Congressmen and senators will finally start being serious and move our democracy one more step into maturity by defining term limits and setting the proper IRR. . This time we as a nation must rise above our own limitations. What is wrong with political dynasties? By NICOLE CURATOOctober 1, 2012 6:02pm Recent surveys for the 2013 senatorial elections paint a familiar picture: many top-ranked candidates are either re-electionists or relatives of incumbent or former politicians. This, once again, prompts a discussion on political dynasties, whether this is an issue that should concern voters in the upcoming elections or something that can be accepted as part of our representative democracy.

Part of the answer lies in the historic character of electoral politics in thePhilippines. thePhilippines as Dante an Simbulans democracy pioneering where study described have been

elite

elections

institutionalized to manage intra-elite competition. Elections have formalized the process of political succession through a periodic democratic exercise which can be easily manipulated for selfish ends. Elite rule is legitimized through this process by giving the illusion that the public has the power to choose its leaders, even though the pool of electable candidates is generally limited to a set of individuals with familiar surnames.

Based on this analysis, one can make an argument that political dynasties are mere post-colonial legacies. To this extent, Enrile is correct that dynasties have existed since the beginning of Philippine politics. They are social realities that can be traced to the emergence of a cacique class from the Spanish colonial era and, in several cases, the creation of new elites under the Marcos regime. These de facto nobilities are able to stay in power by addressing the needs of their constituents through the strategic distribution of patronage masking as public service and the maintenance of compadre ties. To put it crudely, dynastic politicians are not entirely to blame, given that they too are products of the principalas evolution into the modern day elite. To accept this as part of our contemporary reality, however, is to be oblivious of political dynasties abuse of our weak democratic structures. One of the main promises of representative democracy is its commitment to future redistribution of material wealth and political power that were accumulated through historic injustices. Whats wrong with political dynasties is that instead of working towards the creation of equitable political structures, they have further strengthened the barriers to political inclusion of traditionally disenfranchised citizens such as peasants, workers, indigenous and other minority groups. In his research, Pablo Querubin has found a causal effect between winning elections and having relatives in office. In particular,

In principle, there is nothing wrong with political dynasties. In practice, however, its prevalence exemplifies the exclusionary power structure in the Philippines, where local elites continue to exert considerable influence in our country. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has said in an interview

that dynasties have existed since politics was invented. Dynastic politics is not unique to the Philippines, he added, citing the example of the Kennedys and Roosevelts in the United States. Following the footsteps of ones parents or relatives is not in itself unacceptable so why should politics be any different?

individuals who win their first race by a small margin are four times more likely to have relatives in office in the future compared to individuals who run but lose by a narrow margin and never serve. These findings are revealing in that they expose how relatives of previous incumbents exclusively benefit from the political investments of their predecessors which, in turn, consolidates disproportionate political power in a few families. This is particularly troubling because in the Philippines, political power is closely linked to economic power. It is unlike other countries that have a distinct political class of civil servants and technocrats that are relatively autonomous from oligarchic interests and, in the case of South Korea, can discipline economic elites. Instead, as John Sidel argues, politicians in the Philippines have monopolistic control over both coercive and economic resources within given territorial jurisdictions or bailiwicks. Consequently, concentration of political power among a few families benefits a narrow set of economic interests over a period of time, institutionalizes economic inequalities and perpetuates a culture of dependency between an economically/politically dominant patron and an otherwise disenfranchised client. It is not accidental that provinces with established political dynasties are also among the poorest.

By making this argument, I do not mean to discredit dynastic politicians who, through their actions, have expressed commitment to reform Philippine politics. Congressman Erin Taada has been at the forefront of institutionalizing transparency through the Freedom of Information Bill. Senator Pia Cayetano has strengthened the system of rights through the Magna Carta for Women and the RH bill. Senator TG Guingona has been the champion of participatory modes of governance in budget reform. It is indisputable that some dynastic politicians have a good track record of advocating progressive policies but these individual achievements have done little in dismantling the structures that perpetuate political exclusion in a representative democracy. It is only when a person who has worked up the ranks in a political organization can stand an equal chance of being elected with a candidate with a political last name can we consider dynasties as fair practices in a democratic process.

So where do we go from here? A viable option is to strengthen alternative political spaces for the public to organize and secure meaningful inclusion in the political process. Electoral politics has become so crowded with dynastic politicians, requiring mechanisms for citizen participation that are relatively independent of electoral politics. Political scientists describe this as democracy from below or the practice of democracy through peoples organizations, non-government organizations, social movements,

The trend of political dynasties has also served to limit the liberating potential of democratic politics. It undermines the principle of political equality in its most basic form through the principle of one person, one vote. While this right is often qualified by saying that voters usually end up choosing between tweedledum and tweedledee, virtually unopposed political dynasties do not even make room for tweedledee. The seeming inheritability of political positions is reminiscent of an oppressive absolutist state, where citizens are mere subjects that have no choice but to affirm the dictates of a ruling family rather than active citizens that are able to shape their political destiny.

new political parties and social networks that oppose elite politics and espouse new politics.

Indeed, Philippine politics has been historically driven by bottom-up struggles for social justice and accountability. Grassroots political activities have ousted presidents, raised wages, and guarded ballot boxes. Hopefully, these democratic impulses eventually translate to systemic reform where the citizenry can effectively enforce democratic control over its politico-economic elites. That way, to paraphrase candidate Bam Aquinos hubristic statement, Aquinos dont have to become President every time theres a political

crisis. GMA

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Nicole Curato, PhD is Assistant Professor in Sociology at University of the Philippines Diliman. She was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the Australian National University and is the current Associate Editor of Manila Review. We welcome healthy discussions and friendly debate! Please click Flag to alert us of a comment that may be abusive or threatening. Read our full comment policy here. I think political dynasties in the national level serves the country at their best. What is compromising our country's progress are those from local government units. Though I do not generalize that all political dynasties from the local government units obstruct economic prosperity by their selfish intents, it is the political situation in our town which led me to believe that political dynasties should be abolished. Since then, I lived in a third-class town, with traced business activity and poor infrastructures. While the ruling family in our town enriched themselves with luxury and power, citizens showed no activity with regards to reforms as no encouragement from these rulers were obtained Steven R, very enlighteneing comment. Sorry am a bit behind on this. Would dearly appreciate, if you can enlighten us with the specific laws that perpetuate political dynasties, that needs pulling down. I think we pay too much attention to dynasties and too little to the means by which dynasties are sustained, namely elite exemption from the rule of law. Democracies and market economies can only be efficient if electoral and economic competition is fair. Elite exemption from the law distorts competition and allows the creation and sustenance of dynasties. Bring the elite within the rule of law and dynasties will crumble on their own. The dynasties are a symptom, not a cause: the cause is elite immunity from law. There is nothing wrong with political dynasties as long as we can catch them when there is graft and corruption during their administration. These political dynasties spend millions of pesos during elections and they need to recoup or repay their utang spent during elections. Pagnahuli o may vote buying dapat serious ang Comelec at ating korte sa pagkulong ng mga guilty.

No wonder Philippine Politics will only ruled out by Celebrities and Political Dynasties. May I suggest GMA and all medias that they should continue to be an instrument in giving ideas and encourage the youth and low levels of society to be intelligent and wise on the coming elections. Why don't we make polls, seminars, debates etc. just to encourage citizens in battling these political dynasties and eliminate those celebrities who only find rooms in politics in exchange to their drowning showbiz careers. It is obvious from us about their weaknesses how do they maintain in the position, they use mostly citizens in the poor neighborhoods, squatters, etc..then why don't we do our best to reach and encourage them. Through social medias, we can do it..Let's unite guys... The incumbent will not build schools, roads and will not educate its constituents. Political dynasties wants them at the bottom rang waiting for morsels. When they got a bit they will be indebted to the reigning dynasty. The more they are in the government posts the better, the more cash grab and power they can weld on its constituents. The more they suck the juices out of these poor people. If Comelec blinks, they'll have their cats and dogs run for mayors. Political dynasty is not the problem. It is the people who vote for them. Bottomline, it all boils down to education. If you have a highly educated voting society, the more chances you have for an educated mandate for a winning candidate. The more freethinkers you have, the better chances there are for someone to challenge and rock the boat of political status quo. is wrong with political dynasties? Pray tell show me what [redacted] is right with it? We have had nothing but and where are we today? You're an apologist. Filipinos should be more entrepreneural to be at par with the elite, the more businessmen created the more money they accumulate. This will translate to power among the middle class which will turn others to follow. There is absolutely nothing wrong with political dynasties per se. It is the addiction to power, the need to hide past corruption and the use of government resources for personal gain that is wrong. Kung gusto talagang magsilbi sa taong bayan, eh di sige. Pero sino naman ang maniniwala sa inyo na wala kayong balak magnakaw, willing makipagpatayan at gumastos ng milyun-milyon para sa posisyon na ang sweldo ay magkano lang?

Dr. Mananquil asked: Do you mean the same Economic Condition after election because we have the same Names, Faces & the same people dominated politics? "Just imagine another decade of the same "Economic condition?" just asking...

Youre right ronnie, one of the aims of Bonifacio and co of 1896. was to eradicate feudal society. Grab all the lands and distribute them to the masa..then masa will govern. Di nangyari, baket?nadale sya ng mga politiko at dynastiya sa Cavite.. from then on, the cycle continues for Philippine politics and we inherited it up to present. Erase Democracy if you are for dynasty, lets jusy have PLUTOCRACY. Where the wealhty sybatires rules, control and run the country. Cuba was once a PLUTOCRATIC under Fuldencio Batista, ousted by Fifel Castro. The Cuban revolution started because of the tyrrant landlords and wealthy sybatires abuses to the plurallistic citizenry. Filipinos, for their lack of education and awareness about politics do not pay attention about political dynasties because majority of them are impoverish and poor who are too busy trying where to find their next meal. These TRAPOS and their relatives are using government resources their milking cows. Sad but true! How to end Dynasty? We have to strengthen the middles class through education. But then again these elites controls everything. Educating the people and teaching them how to fish and strengthen their economic well being. People should know the common good. Well, the one in the picture is Nicole Curato, the author of this article. to stop them from building a political dynasty? we need action, 20 years ago when i was still in high school, i read in papers a lot about political dynasty problems in philippine politics.. yet no one do anything about it. how, why and when we will stop these political dynasties? these political dynasties did not even do good for our country, why we keep on voting them? lets do a campaign against polititcal dynasty - "NO POLITICAL DYNASTY BEYOND 2013" we cant beat them in election coz they have the resources, but we can beat them somewhere else where they are weak, social media.. Political dynasty is not prohibit but abuse.One of ten could be good,nine is power and cash not to serve. Thrash the TRAPO! They were in the tv yesterday. PLENTY of them.God Bless the Philippine Vote!

Angel's Observation: Election appears to be a happy "Family Reunion....Candidate's father, mother, sister brother niece, nephew as well as the extended family participate during the campaign period! This is an exciting gathering of family, friends and foe alike.... The same faces, same clans, and the same promiseDo we have a choice? There are candidates sleeping with their enemies, do they have a choice? Just asking Political dynasty is more fun in the Philippines, for them. ipit ang taong bayan kaya nagsusucceed ang political dynasty.una once naka-pwesto yung patriarch(maaring dati ng mayaman o kaya kasalukuyan nagpapayaman)i-monopolize nya yung economic and political structure na isang lugar o bayan/ciudad/probinsya by establishing/capturing all business/economic/commercial opportunities for himself and then appointing his men/relatives/associates or by bully/terror tactics, example, to the brg captain or local police/officials all in such a way that all their constituents would obey/depend and look up to him w/so much gratitude.Ex.again, this patriarch would set up a hospital or clinic, give financial assistance, relief goods, jobs/recommendations, favors like basketball court, bridge in a flooded area, cement the only road to the town, put up electricity, etc...sometimes bec of his "wealth" and the favors/things he does people see him as their only hope. While these actions are good they are really favors to hook/lure people and not the officially established, studied, formal agenda/approach by the town/city govt council/board. So then the patriarch has established his economic and political power in the area...and to perpetuate this, he needs a dynasty! people would remember the favors and vote for his successor regardless. agree, it seems to be the only way to rid of not only the political dynasties but of corruption too. CIVIL WAR! Complete the unfinished business of 1896 Philippine Revolution. Make the cacique class obsolete. Preempt the Magkakapamilya Republic. Boycott the election, rebuild the nation.

if that is the voters will, dynasties or not; political monopoly of the elites or not and as long as there is no law preventing it we just have to accept it.

under Article VI, Section 32 of the Constitution and made operative by RA 6735 or the Initiative and Referendum Act of 1989. Republic Act No. 6735 affirms and guarantees in part the power of the people under a system of initiative to directly propose and enact a national law. Upon the registration of a petition signed by at least 10% of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least 3% of the registered voters therein, an election or plebiscite for the purpose shall be called not earlier than 45 days but not later than 90 days from the date of Comelecs certification of sufficiency on the pet ition. To ensure compliance on the prescribed form, which R.A. 6735 mandates Comelec to determine, Kapatiran sought the necessary promulgation of the form of the petition before it embarked on and enjoined all Filipinos and organizations of good will to participate in what could well be a nationwide signature gathering process. In 1997, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), in itsPastoral Exhortation on Philippine Politics, wrote: Our Constitution describes public office as a public trust meant for the good of civil society at large. Yet many a politician looks at it as a means of enrichment and a source of influence and power for self- and family-enlargement. It hence easily becomes considered and actually treated as some sort of private property to be passed on from one generation to another in the manner of a feudal titlethe perpetuation of power that is at the base of so-called family dynasties. In this manner no distinction is made between public funds and private money. Section 26, Article II of the 1987 Constitution states, The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law. Section 1, Article XIII thereof also mandates Congress to give highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all the people to reduce political inequalities, and remove cultural inequities by equitably diffusing political power for the common good. Despite these provisions, political dynasties have been a present staple in Philippine political arena. Many have pointed that such oligarchy is the root problem of all the corruption in government.

Prohibition of Political Dynasties Posted 234 days ago Our Political Platform No. 45 Apply to everyone the Constitutional ban against relatives of incumbent government officials up to the third degree from seeking public office simultaneously or succeeding the former, and to make it unlawful for any member of the Senate or the House of Representatives to run for another office without first resigning from his/her current position six months before the elections.

1987 Constitution The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law (Art. II, Sec. 26). The Congress shall give highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all the people to human dignity, reduce social, economic, and political inequalities, and remove cultural inequities by equitably diffusing wealth and political power for the common good (Art. XIII, Sec. 1).

Kapatiran sets stage for first-ever initiative on anti-dynasty law On 26 April 2012, Kapatiran set the stage for the long-overdue fruition of a Constitutional provision and mandate on the State to prohibit political dynasties when it formally wrote the Commission on Elections seeking the latters approval on the form of a Petition for the enactment of a national legislation, the Anti-Dynasty Act (subsequently renamed Prohibition of Political Dynasty Act), through a peoples initiative. Seven months later, Comelecs promulgation of the prescribed form, contained in En Banc Minute Resolution No. 12-1059 dated 27 November 2012, opened the door to the first-ever, concrete expression of a peoples sovereign will through an initiative to directly enact a law, as so embodied

Many have called for the Congress to pass the Anti-Dynasty Law, but theneeded bill has been passed over by each Congress since 1987. On 28 January 2013, the CBCP, in a pastoral letter entitled PROCLAIM THE MESSAGE, IN SEASON AND OUT OF SEASON (cf. 2 Tim 4:2): A Pastoral Letter of the CBCP on Certain Issues of Today, declared: We support initiatives by the lay faithful to pass an enabling law against political dynasties through the peoples initiative which the Constitution provides. Norman Cabrera, secretary-general of Kapatiran, stressed: This is a first in the history of R.A. 6735, which affirms the principle that sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them. The first may be difficult to organize and undertake but, if we as a people shall succeed, the next ones should be easy. What Filipinos need to do is to exercise this right, to make this law work for them, and to take affirmative action where Congress has failed, then, now and in the future.