On the 2016 Elections (5th of a series)
In the Philippines, politics have become a monopoly of the rich and powerful.
Scrutinize the records of the executive and legislative branches of the government, look for the names of those who got elected as President, Vice-President, Senators and Congressmen/Assemblymen and those appointed in the Cabinet since time immemorial and you’ll find out that majority of them come from “de buena familia. ” Most of them come from the most powerful clans of the Philippines, the rich mestizos… scions of the “hacienderos” and their loyal “assistentes” during the Spanish period. Even politics in the provinces, towns and cities are lorded over by these families.
The said families also own the country’s conglomerates. In their hands is a deadly concoction of power and money.
It is not difficult to figure out why most of the country’s powerful politicians come from the richest families of the land…they have interests to protect and agenda to permeate. Result: political dynasties.
The following is an article this writer penned on political dynasties in the Philippines.
Consider this… A politician, let’s say a mayor, can no longer seek reelection due to term limits. So, his wife will run for the position he previously held. Then that politician will run for another post…as governor perhaps. Assuming both the politician and his wife win and luckily get re-elected until they reach their term limits, would it be the end? Would their thirst for power (and the corresponding benefits) be finally satiated?
NO!!! The couple will ask their son or daughter (or a grandson…or a granddaughter…or an in-law) to run for the positions they are about to vacate. What about the mother? She will seek the position vacated by the husband-politician. She will run as governor. What about the husband? He will perhaps run either as congressman or even senator. In case all family members win then for years that the power will run circles within the same family. The son (or daughter) is a mayor, the mother a governor and the father either as congressman or senator. When term limits are reached then they will just run for the position that a family member would vacate. Some siblings, and even in-laws, in the family are also occupying minor positions in the geographical units where they reside.
There are no political dynasties in the Philippines!!!
It is only by coincidence that the country has a president who happens to be a son of a former president and a senator and who has relatives in both the Senate and House of Representative. It is also just by coincidence, not by design, that Philippines has a vice-president whose daughters are a senator and a representative and whose son is a city mayor? Call it also a coincidence that all over the archipelago we have senators and congressmen whose wives (or mistresses), husbands, siblings, sons, daughters and in-laws are either senators and congressmen like themselves or governors or mayors or what-have-you?
Then of course they will tell the people that they do not belong to a political dynasty…but a family of public servants.
The same family names…same genes…in the seats of power in the country for decades now. RESULT? Same dismal economic and socio-political performance for the country.
Not that there are no Filipinos aside from them who capable of serving the country as leaders, it’s just that these members of the elite have so much money and manpower and a powerful machinery that whoever lock horns with them during elections would almost certainly be biting the dust. The other thing is, the Filipino people keep writing their names in the ballots.