0156E: Political Dynasties Are Bad For The Philippines

From Inquirer.net
There's been a lot of debate as of late when it comes to the subject of political dynasties in Philippine politics. The usual argument against legislation preventing the proliferation of such dynasties is the need to allow the skills and merit of the individual win out over any desire to stop such dynasties from thriving.

I mean come on, there is a Wikipedia article dedicated solely to discussing Philippine political dynasties. WHY DOES THIS EVEN EXIST?

The article does indicate that at least 60% of the Philippine Congress involves representatives with relatives (whether by blood or through marriage) in some sort of an elected position. And this has not changed since before the Marcos era either.

My boss had an interesting way of describing the effect of political dynasties in the country - when families ties their personal economy to public office, then nothing good can come of it. People should not be making money from entering public service in this manner, and yet time and time again it happens.

To be fair, it's not accurate to say that all members of a political dynasty are necessarily bad. That would be an unfair generalization. But there are far too many negative effects of such dynasties that the benefits do not outweigh the consequences.

For time immemorial, it seems that families of influence continue to shape the direction of this country. Presidents rise and fall but the same people continue to rule. Being career politicians is pretty much a family business at this point where every new offspring is expected to follow in his or her parent's footsteps and ensure that the cash flow continues. And thus the reason why I feel that the only way to really effect meaningful change is to implement enabling meaningful legislation to restrict the activities of political dynasties in the country. We lose some of the good, but we take out even more of the bad.

And I don't think it should be as simplistic as banning anyone with a family relation in political office from also running for a position. But I think we can somehow limited family remembers from either (1) holding political office at the same time and (2) holding office for consecutive terms. It sounds overly restrictive, but I feel it'll be of greater benefit in the long run.

Let's face it - these political families have gathered enough wealth and resources to ensure that they win any election whether through the strength of the family name or through more "creative" electoral strategies. And by that I obviously refer more to vote buying, strong arm coercion and of course implementing fluffy laws and ordinances that shower gifts on the poor and less fortunate without effectively changing their lot in life.

We need to break the hold that these families have on the reins of power in this country. And the only way that we'll be able to effect such change and put an end to the related graft, corruption and cronyism in the country is to prevent them from holding positions anew. And once we clear the board, then maybe we stand a chance of electing some decent officials who can do something for the country instead of for themselves.

But that may be a very long, long, LONG time coming - if at all.