July 25, 2018

The 1986 EDSA People Power Revolt was in large part about a political dynasty that took hold of our country and refused to let go.

It took a long time to revive our economy that political dynasty ran to the ground. It is taking longer to exact justice for the culture of impunity cultivated by that political dynasty, to cure the social ills of poverty, inequality, and cronyism that it tended.

Academics have studied the phenomenon and came up with the following report:

According to a study by the Ateneo School of Government, over a short nine-year period from 2007 to 2016, the number of elected officials coming from political families as a proportion of the total, increased:

• From 75 percent to almost 78 percent among members of the House of Representatives

• From 70 percent to 81 percent among governors

• From 58 percent to almost 70 percent among mayors

According to another study by the University of the Philippines, even the party-list system, designed to democratize representation in Congress, has been “hijacked”, with one of every four sectoral representatives, or 14 of 56, now also from dynastic backgrounds.

The same UP study said that in 2013, 19 of the 23 sitting Senators came from families with political ties.

Furthermore, we here at the Senate, all products of Philippine political realities, have ourselves encountered and engaged with political dynasties, whether occupying government positions successively or simultaneously.

We have all witnessed the intoxicating effects of power, to some. Without any check or accountability, getting whatever one wants, whenever it is wanted, can be heady and dangerous for the people.

We’ve seen the ill effects of political dynasties, not just during the Marcos dictatorship, but in its resurgence post-EDSA. The Maguindanao Massacre comes to mind. The political system that promotes political dynasties, in a way, promotes bullying, allowing powerful blood relations to get away with one petty crime after another, and gaining more swagger every time they get away with it, until the crime becomes murder, plunder, and the like.

Having political families occupy positions simultaneously, some as many as 20 positions, brings us closer to the state of stasis.

Dynastic clans control not just government positions but also resources. The evidence presented by the academicians in our hearing – evidence also presented and peer-reviewed by experts at the Oxford Development Studies — have shown, among others, that political dynasties are pervasive in the 10 poorest provinces in the country, and that the more severe the poverty, the higher the prevalence of political dynasties.

Pinaka-laganap ang mga political dynasty sa sampung pinakamahihirap na probinsya ng bayan. At mas maraming political dynasty, mas malala ang kahirapan.

In a way, we are complicit in the creation of this phenomenon — with the non-passage of a law that specifically prohibits political dynasties as mandated by the 1987 Constitution.

It has been more than 30 years since the people, ratifying the 1987 Constitution in a plebiscite, directed us, lawmakers, to “define by law” political dynasties.

The Sangguniang Kabataan election held on May 14 this year is the first one ever in which political dynasties have been prohibited, in accordance with the SK Reform Law passed during the 16th Congress.

Now, we have seen the need to actualize this constitutional edict, turn the levers of power, and keep our democracy vibrant and healthy.

Kailangan nating palusugin at palakasin at patatagin ang ating demokrasya.

Before this body, the Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation and the Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes are submitting Committee Report No. 367 on Senate Bill No. 1765, in substitution of Senate Bills No. 49, 230, 897, 1137, 1258, and 1668.

The Anti-Political Dynasty bill proposes to define and prohibit political dynasties, and provide penalties therefor as again mandated by the Constitution.

The bill defines political dynasty as the “concentration, consolidation, and/or perpetuation of public office and political powers by persons related to one another within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity.”

Mr. President, we have to stress here that the question of whether or not dynasties are good for the country is immaterial because the Constitution mandates that the Congress must define by law political dynasty that it should be, ought to be prohibited.

Patronage and corruption, fraud and violence dominate the existing political system that allow political dynasties to thrive. Let us be the Congress that will put an end to this exclusionary type of political leadership, and open the electoral playing field to more of our citizens.

Sana tayo ang Kongreso na magbibigay ng pagkakataon sa mas marami pang kapwa mamamayan na lumahok at sumama at makisalo sa pakikibakang elektoral.

Ito ang pagbabagong hinihintay ng taumbayan, hindi no-el o kaya term extension o kaya pwersado o minamadali na Cha-cha.

Maraming salamat.


Download CMT Report 367 Anti Pollitical Dynasty Act of 2018
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