"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

Political Dynasty and the Pinoy Bobotante

Part 1 of 2 

Filipino politicians are notorious for creating and changing their own rules from time to time or even interpreting established laws according to how it benefits them depending on whoever is in power. One thing where they meet in a bi-partisan (as if there are really political parties separated by principle and ideology, hehehe) manner is their failure to pass enabling law defining political dynasty that does not even take an Einstein to figure out.

It is not like Article II, Section 26 of the constitution is so difficult to understand when it was written in plain simple language, to quote:

“The state shall guarantee equal access to public service and prohibit political dynasty as may be defined by law.”

So what is there in the 19 word sentence that is so difficult to comprehend that for the past 26 years since it was written in the Philippine constitution no one seems able to figure out up to now? Some people think it defies definition, really? I don’t know how it can defy definition when everyone knows what a dynasty is, but just to show that it is really not undefinable here is how Webster defines political dynasty: 
1 : a succession of rulers of the same line of descent 
2 :a powerful group or family that maintains its position for a considerable time

The constitution is very clear on why it is prohibiting political dynasty, it is to guarantee equal access to public service to the citizens as in prohibiting and not just preventing the concentration of power in the hands of the few ruling families. It is the same reason why the party list was introduced in the constitution, to give the underrepresented marginalized representation and access to the legislative branch of government. The point is to level the political playing field where qualified leaders of integrity a citizen of the republic is given equal access to governance, and not limited to the few families who control the nation’s wealth and political power which is what a robust democracy is all about.

When a new voter vote for Pedro Tarpulano or a Juan Tanga they don’t expect to vote for his wife, mistresses, sons, daughters or even his bastard children courtesy of their labandera (laundrywoman) all the way down to his grandkids which is just ridiculous but it is happening now because of the personality and patronage based electoral system. Voters deserve better than contend with the same family for the next 50 years or his/her lifetime.

Just because it has not been defined it does not mean that members of the political clan that sees politics as an entrepreneurial family business profit center is not aware or have no clue what is a political dynasty. As if that is not bad enough some sectors tries to deflect the issue towards what they believes is the real pressing one that they puts to task anti-political dynasty advocates for quoting the characterization of pornography by Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart “I know it when I see it” adage. Perhaps that is what the petitioners wrote in their arguments, but the only thing that I see comparable between political dynasty and pornography is they are both obscene, Other than that there is really no comparison. While I agree that RH Bill, Freedom of Information Act, and the Sin Tax are urgent issues, political dynasty is not an absurd and distracting issue that some people wanted us to believe. It is the issue now because the 2013 election is just around the corner and this is the only time we can force the issue and the time when politicians need us more than we need them.

Now, how exactly is political dynasty so undefinable as if it is such a mysterious term or contentious when it really is all about greedy politicians so drunk with power unwilling to let go? Their refusal to define political dynasty is seen as their propensity to violate the constitution or any law that stands in the way of their stranglehold on political power. All the bills introduced defining political dynasty seems to come up with the same basic definition below:
Political Dynasty is to be defined as the concentration, consolidation or perpetuation of public office and political power by persons related to one another.

Is that so fool este full of complexities? I don’t think so but the reason being is they really want political power concentrated within the family. The reason they refuse to even consider passing what they could muster as the most watered down version is that no matter who introduced and what law is passed their spouses and children are the first on the chopping block.

What really comes as very amusing is how Senator Alan Cayetano the husband of Lani Cayetano the Facebook tyrant who happens to be the mayor of Taguig desperately tries to rationalize and desperately differentiates their dynasty from the rest, LOL. Perhaps Alan Cayetano was telling the truth that they are not corrupt and I clap my hands in glee but that is not the point of contention here. Never mind that his wife Lani fired the nurses for posting a complaint in their Facebook account and her co-employees for liking it. Never mind that it was enough to give them a hard time by not issuing them a work certificate, and she is supposed to be a woman of the dynasty with integrity?

As an anti-political dynasty advocate I appreciate the advice given by Alan Peter Cayetano although unsolicited is really missing the point by a thousand miles, LOL. This is not about identifying which ones are good or bad political dynasty, the issue is about passing an enabling law defining political dynasty. 26 years is long enough, we need to exert all our effort towards paving a level political playing field which is what a tuwad este tuwid na daan (straight path) needs in order for us to leave a lasting legacy to our children and their children. Who knows we might even attract leaders of the likes of Jesse Robredo who might just get encouraged to participate in the electoral process?

Glad to know that Alan Peter Cayetano believes they are honest, unfortunately not honest enough to admit that they are violating the constitution and just exploiting the absence of an enabling law as a sorry excuse to perpetuate their family in power.  I say give it up and let us have an enabling law and they should be honest enough even without it people of integrity knows exactly what the constitution requires everyone to do. The very problem we face is the hypocrisy wherein we can easily identify and see what’s wrong with others not realizing we are not really any different and with the feeling of entitlement we just go around in circles.

The problem with political power that is concentrated in the hands of the few families is that greed takes over and corruption goes haywire. The problem with this arrangement is that it corrupts not just people’s mindset but job opportunities become rare because the moneyed class invest their accumulated capital in enterprises that does not generates job opportunities when they invest in politics. Under the scenario of patronage politics people make a living as a sycophant or spin doctors muddling the problem beyond recognition deflecting the issues all over except of course in their benefactors direction. No wonder this spin doctor errr I meant opinion writer blames the bobotante (voters) who says that there are no political dynasty without the voters who keeps on voting them in. I say that was an astute observation, right on and at the same time wrong, hehehe. Well, for one it is not like majority of the citizen are independent and whose life and fate does not depend on the whims and caprice of the people in the government. That opinionated errrr opinion writer seems to forget that people are in a semi-feudal existence and as such they rely on patronage. The ugly truth or reality is that hungry people worries more about where to get the money for the next meal for his family than take the time to learn about candidates with integrity offering a viable platform of governance if one even exist. Desperation and desolation makes some people forget what is prim and proper or simply what is logical or even legal and illegal when offered money in exchange for their vote.

The problem can really get complicated if we make it to be so complicated, but if we stop from over thinking the problem and just confront the problem, we can all find out that it is just a hurdle that we can surpass if together we put our mind to it.

To be continued on Part 2 of 2……………… The Bobotanteng (Voting) Pinoy & the Unrealized Power of the Ballot

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