Not a Duterte fam­ily po­lit­i­cal dy­nasty

The Freeman - - OPINION -

Ev­ery time I re­ceive some re­ac­tions to my ar­ti­cle, I get more pro­found learn­ing. I am truly blessed be­cause there are just many sen­si­ble ideas to any given propo­si­tion that learned men ed­u­cate me with, time and again. Also in that re­gard, I am thank­ful that bright minds keep feed­ing me with ex­tremely valu­able points of view. In­deed, read­ers’ com­ments broaden my per­cep­tion and sharpen my in­sights. One such ed­u­ca­tion flowed from a gen­tle­man who lec­tured, nay pon­tif­i­cated, af­ter read­ing my ar­ti­cle last Thurs­day on po­lit­i­cal dy­nas­ties. The re­ac­tor was some­one who would wish to be re­ferred to as Mr. OC not be­cause he is ob­ses­sive­com­pul­sive but be­cause he, as he claims, is an or­di­nary ci­ti­zen.

Mr. OC opened up by quot­ing the fol­low­ing words of Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte: “I will do it even if I lose my life, my honor or even the pres­i­dency.” He said that this pres­i­den­tial line, one among oth­ers, forms part of the open­ing bill­board (also known as in­tro­duc­tory spiel) of the early morn­ing ra­dio/ tele­vi­sion pro­gram of ABS-CBN’s Noli de Cas­tro. The pres­i­dent ut­tered many quotable quotes in var­i­ous oc­ca­sions he talked to his con­stituency and broad­caster de Cas­tro strung them to­gether for his ra­dio show. Ac­cord­ingly, Mr. OC could only salute the pres­i­dent if he were to para­phrase the lat­ter’s pa­tri­otic pro­nounce­ments and their full dig­ni­fy­ing im­pact.

It was af­ter my re­ac­tor tack­led the mother­hood state­ments of the pres­i­dent that he be­gan to sound doc­tri­naire and philo­soph­i­cal. I was caught by his seem­ing turn­around. Writ­ten in the Con­sti­tu­tion is an anti-po­lit­i­cal dy­nasty pro­vi­sion. Thanks to the vi­sion of the 1986 Con­sti­tu­tional Com­mis­sion. This, ac­cord­ing to him, may still be a phi­los­o­phy in search of a de­fin­i­tive im­ple­ment­ing statute but to us, the or­di­nary cit­i­zens, this is not a ghost. We know that a po­lit­i­cal dy­nasty means that some pow­er­ful fam­i­lies have vir­tu­ally made elec­tive gov­ern­ment of­fices ex­ten­sions of their homes. Their method­olo­gies are more glar­ing than hid­den. Fam­ily mem­bers al­ter­nate in hold­ing one gov­ern­ment or they con­trol dif­fer­ent po­si­tions at the same time.

Many of th­ese po­lit­i­cal fam­i­lies be­lieve that they have the monopoly of knowl­edge to dis­charge the du­ties and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of gov­ern­ment po­si­tions. They lace this thought with some­what du­ti­ful as­ser­tions that th­ese of­fices are im­por­tant in uplift­ing the lives of the less priv­i­leged but only their fam­ily can do it. Con­gru­ent to this be­lief is their as­sump­tion no other fam­ily lin­eage has the ca­pac­ity to do the job.

My pon­tif­i­cat­ing re­ac­tor cites the fam­ily of the pres­i­dent. There is no other fam­ily en­dowed with the in­tel­lec­tual ca­pac­ity that can lead Davao City, only the Dutertes. Cer­tainly there is no man, who is not a Duterte, who has a vi­sion. It is undis­puted that Davao is a Duterte City. The pres­i­dent him­self was the city’s mayor for more than two decades. And be­cause he has be­come the pres­i­dent of the coun­try, only Sara, his daugh­ter, has the sole right to be the city’s chief ex­ec­u­tive.

It is not enough for the pres­i­dent that his daugh­ter is the Davao City mayor even if she has a demon­strated man­li­ness to con­front a sher­iff. Her sphere of in­flu­ence must be felt be­yond the city ju­ris­dic­tion. Mr. OC opined that when Speaker Pan­ta­leon Al­varez, also a Davaoeño, had to be de­throned, the pres­i­dent used his city mayor daugh­ter to reach out to rep­re­sen­ta­tives through­out the coun­try to kick him out. Hav­ing suc­ceeded to spread-ea­gle her potes­ta­tive wings, her po­lit­i­cal al­liance (as Hug­pong head) has sud­denly been sought for by many a 2019 can­di­date.

Then, the pres­i­dent’s son has to rule as a con­gress­man be­cause other fam­i­lies are in­com­pe­tent. And when the Dutertes rule over Davao, it is not po­lit­i­cal dy­nasty. It hap­pens only to be a mas­sive sur­ren­der of the non-Dutertes.

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