Po­lit­i­cal clans

Sun Star Bacolod - - Opinion -

THE re­cent fil­ing of the cer­tifi­cates of can­di­dacy (COC) for the May 2019 midterm elec­tions proved once again that the coun­try is not about to let go of po­lit­i­cal clans and their dom­i­nance in the elec­toral sys­tem. Calls to end the hold of po­lit­i­cal dy­nas­ties in our po­lit­i­cal sys­tem have been made for decades al­ready but that hasn’t hap­pened. They will still be with us in 2019.

Pres­i­dent Duterte was ac­tu­ally asked about this re­cently af­ter his daugh­ter Sara Duterte-car­pio filed her cer­tifi­cate of can­di­dacy (COC) for mayor and her brother Se­bas­tian or “Baste” filed his own COC for vice mayor—with her other brother, for­mer city vice mayor Paolo “Pu­long” Duterte also run­ning for con­gress­man in the city’s first district.

“Pag nasim­u­lan mo na, tu­loy-tu­loy na yan,” the Pres­i­dent said about rel­a­tives also run­ning in elec­tions af­ter one of them snags a po­si­tion in gov­ern­ment. Sara her­self threw the ball to the vot­ers. There can be no po­lit­i­cal dy­nas­ties with­out the vot­ers them­selves choos­ing their mem­bers dur­ing elec­tions.

So this has be­come a chicken-and-egg thing. To end the reign of po­lit­i­cal dy­nas­ties, which of th­ese should we do first: pre­vent politi­cians from field­ing rel­a­tives in elec­tions or al­low them to do so in the mean­time and in­stead ed­u­cate the vot­ers about the neg­a­tive ef­fects of po­lit­i­cal dy­nas­ties dom­i­nat­ing the coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal setup?

In a way, both the Pres­i­dent and Mayor Sara are right, af­ter all, our po­lit­i­cal sys­tem is merely a re­flec­tion of the feu­dal setup that is still pre­vail­ing in large patches of the coun­try. That setup tends to pro­duce po­lit­i­cal lords and po­lit­i­cal dy­nas­ties ever so of­ten. If we want to end the dom­i­nance of po­lit­i­cal dy­nas­ties in the coun­try, then the feu­dal setup needs to be ad­dressed.

Po­lit­i­cal dy­nas­ties are not the prob­lem in more ad­vanced economies. Their farm­lands are be­ing tilled by cap­i­tal­ists and not by feu­dal lords. Un­like here where lead­ers are seen as roy­al­ties whose every de­ci­sion should be fol­lowed by sub­servient serfs.

When a politi­cian wins an elec­tive post, he be­comes like a feu­dal lord or even king in a feu­dal setup with the vot­ers as the sub­jects. That im­me­di­ately raises his rel­a­tives to roy­alty sta­tus whose as­cen­sion is no longer mea­sured by in­tel­lect or lead­er­ship abil­i­ties. Re­la­tion to the feu­dal lord or king be­comes the main con­sid­er­a­tion in as­sess­ing their per­son.

As for the politi­cian, he sees the post that he snagged as a throne that needs to be pro­tected and held on to at all costs. I got this from a pa­tri­arch of a po­lit­i­cal dy­nasty in Cebu who urged an un­pre­pared rel­a­tive to the post he had to va­cate be­cause of term lim­its. He said he in­vested time, money and ef­fort in snag­ging the post, so why would he cede it to oth­ers?

Maybe in the fu­ture when this coun­try be­comes an ad­vanced econ­omy ev­ery­thing will change al­ready. In the mean­time, let us work to limit the dom­i­nance of po­lit­i­cal dy­nas­ties in gov­er­nance. Ed­u­cat­ing our vot­ers on the mat­ter can hope­fully make a dent. If not, then we may have to, as we of­ten hear wise guys say, grin and bear it./suns­tar Cebu

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