(Third in a Series)
We’re complaining about political dynasties, right? But haven’t we Filipinos realized that we are so guilty of creating the political dynasties in the Philippines? Yes, we have to admit it. We allowed the same politicians and their family members to lord it over in the Philippine political landscape.
When a politician, let’s say a mayor, could no longer run for re-election due to term limits, what would the honorable gentleman do? Turn his back on politics? Of course not! Power is so addicting. So many of those who experienced to be at the helm of either local or national politics (and enjoyed the benefits, including those “passed under the table”) would not just quit politics nor pass the torch to another person.
So, what would happen?
His wife would run for the position he previously held. Then that politician would run for another post – as governor perhaps. Most of the time, Filipino voters would allow them to win and usually they would be able to mesmerize (or buy) the voters to luckily get re-elected until they reach their term limits. Would it be the end? Would their thirst for power (and the so-called “benefits”) be finally satiated?
The couple would ask their son or daughter (or a grandson – or a granddaughter – or an in-law) to run for the positions they would vacate. The shocking thing (and you might not believe it), there are times that siblings, or even husbands and wives, would not give way to the other and so member of the same family would slug it out in the political arena. Anyway, this is not about family member squabbling in the political arena – this is about the political dynasty their families created.
Let’s continue then.
Let’s go back to the mother who just reached her term limit as mayor. Would she go back to being a full-time mother and wife? You were born only yesterday if you don’t know the answer to that question. Yes – she would run for the post vacated by the husband-politician. The husband would then aim for a higher position – run either as congressman or even senator. In case all family members win then for years that the power will change hands 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.
Did that family created their political dynasty? No! We ourselves did it. We Filipinos created the political dynasties in the Philippines.
Now, answer these questions – “How (did they perform) are they performing as leaders?” “What is the current economic, social and political condition of the country?” “Is the Philippines marching towards progress with them holding the reins of government for God knows how long?”
Of course you know the answers to the foregoing questions.
How many of the available positions in the Philippine government, local and national, are held by the same families who have been the gods and goddesses of Philippine politics since time immemorial? Most of them are offspring of the peninsulares who survived “America’s power grab” at the turn of the 20th century. Eventually they stayed in the country and reaped the dividends for doing so. And it’s not only the politics that they dominate. With the enormous fortune they inherited from their Spanish parents/grandparents, they also control the country’s economy. That’s why Filipinos would sometimes jokingly ask – “Did the Spanish rule really end?”
Only a few pure-blooded Filipinos and foreign expatriates of Chinese origin who became wealthy when the Americans took their turn to colonize the Philippine had the financial resources to challenge the Spanish mestizos for political supremacy in the Philippines, especially after the American granted the Filipinos their independence after the World War II. Some of them succeeded and when they experienced how intoxicating power is, they (and their offsprings) kept running and we kept electing them as if nobody else were qualified.
It is no longer surprising to know that politicians occupying national positions have one, or two family members and in-laws occupying seats in the local government.
Filipinos might ask – “When would having the same people from the same families passing the reins of leadership to each other in both the national and local governments after elections end?”
That’s up to the Filipino voters.
So, Filipinos should not wonder why the Philippines is until now classified as a “developing country”.
According to Albert Einstein, “insanity” is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
Why in the world we expect a better-performing government when we keep electing the same politicians? Are we insane?
Sa paligid ay igala ang paningin
Mayroon bang nagbago sa bayan natin,
Asam na pag-unlad atin na bang narating,
Kapayapaang hangad atin bang angkin?
Tigilan na ang pagbulag-bulagan
Mata mo’y imulat sa katotohanan
Bayan nati’y lugmok sa kahirapan
‘Di makamit asam na kapayapaan
Ang tanong, “Sino ang dapat na sisihin?”
Sino ba ang hindi tumupad sa tungkulin?
Mga pinuno bang iniluklok natin,
O imaheng katitigan mo sa salamin?
Pinunong halal lang ba ang may tungkulin
Na paglingkuran ang inang-bayan natin?
Kung doon sa hapag mo’y walang pagkain
Sila nga lang ba ang dapat na sisihin?
Kaninong pinuno ka ba nasiyahan?
‘Di ba’t silang lahat ay iyong pinintasan?
Palaging may mali, palaging may kulang,
Kay hirap sundin ng iyong pamantayan.
Subalit kung ika’y aking tatanungin
May nagawa ka ba para sa bayan natin?
Sobra-sobra kung pinuno’y batikusin
Eh ikaw, “Ano ba ang kaya mong gawin?”
Para kasing kay talino mo’t kay galing
Eh ‘di sige mungkahi ko iyong sundin
Maging pinuno iyo kayang subukin
At problema ng bayan iyong lutasin
Kung hindi kaya aba’y manahimik ka!
H’wag ka nang makisawsaw sa pulitika!
Ang gawin mo sana’y maghanap-buhay ka
Ang itaguyod… sarili mo’t ang pamilya
Sa halip na pulitika ang atupagin
Buhay mo muna ang dapat na ayusin
Dahil kapag tagumpay… iyong narating
Maging ang bayan mo’y makikinabang din.