Oligarch-opoly plus political dynasty equals extreme wealth and extreme poverty

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ROLLY G. REYES

WHAT is the future that we want? The chorus will immediately follow—”we want the best.”

The current president is now trying to reform or change the oligarchy that controls politics and replace it with true democracy. The oligarchs control media and it’s in their interest to go against the current president. Yes, it’s a tough job to go against these Goliaths.

From Spanish conquistadores to American imperialism, we Filipinos were lured with false directions and fake street signs. With a strange mixture of Christian and Muslim faiths, we were transformed to happily embrace the democratic principles as taught by the “Thomasites.”

We were very grateful and “star-struck” with emancipating words like “liberty, human rights and freedom.”


Taipans turned “oligarchs” were born. From the Spanish era, we have names like Zobel de Ayala, Soriano, Elizalde, Ortigas, Madrigal and Razon. We “Indios” bought their products happily and to some extent, addictively.

Then came the businessmen of Chinese origin like Sy, Gokongwei, Lopez, Tan, Coyiuto, Yuchengco, Cojuangco and others. And most of them are now in Forbes’ wealthiest list.

Free enterprise is not wrong as these entrepreneurs worked hard to land in that elite list.

The tricky part is when these tycoons step into politics as “kingmakers” and try to secure their hold in the “Golden Pavilion” of power.

Add to this scary structure the friendship alliances with political dynasties whose surnames seem to equate unlimited proprietorship of public service excellence.

This dreadful combination unlocks the mystery of the pervasive conditions of poverty in our country. Funding the politicians well empowered them to buy votes and seduce the poll body to count differently.

Today, we observe that there are really no ideological differences between parties. Change in acronyms are all shouting the big word “change” and “reform.” Bees and butterflies are easily drawn to the irresistible fragrance of power and money. The intra-elite electoral contests still exist today. Non-elite members are prone to violence, intimidation and defeat.

Entry of athletes, movie stars and other celebrities complicated this scenario. Anybody born in the Philippines can run for office. Recognition of party-lists further enhanced the already complicated term “participatory governance.”

Survey groups, political analysts and social media have become convenient tools for the grand manipulation. Thus, power and money became synonymous.

Even schools and religions invaded the political battleground. Endorsements are courted to favor winning in the electoral process. No need to wonder why. Oligarchs own schools and universities too.

Name it, they own it. Malls, supermarkets, real estate, tollways, hospitals, airlines, hotels, high rise offices and residences, plush subdivisions, resorts, car assembly, tri-media outfits, power generation and distribution, mining, logging, telecoms, casinos, breweries, tobacco, pineapple, banana and sugar plantations, land and sea transport, and even pawnshops and delivery services. As you noticed, government ownership is practically absent in most.

When somebody defined oligarchy as a government controlled by a group; when loosely used, the definition can apply to the dominance of the national economy by a few individuals or a group.

Our society needs to work together to help ensure that PRRD destroys the foothold that make these oligarchs well-entrenched, and that the vacuum of power is replaced by a fully functioning democracy, preferably with a federal-parliamentary system.

If the Filipino majority does not make the effort and remain blind to what is unfolding, by not ensuring the rewriting of the Constitution, then the small minority of the oligarchs will always be here to take advantage.

Greed of the oligarchs is an addiction worse than drugs or anything else. Perpetuity of its hold on power is the biggest crime in our history as a nation that has killed millions and millions of Filipinos way above the numbers of their imaginary and bloated EJK numbers.

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I chanced upon a webpage that enumerated the top 10 richest celebrities in the Philippines. They are Manny Pacquiao, Sharon Cuneta, Willie Revillame, Vic Sotto, Ricky Reyes, Kris Aquino, Lucy Torres-Gomez, Bong Revilla, Vilma Santos and Vice Ganda. Nothing to be surprised or frown about. We helped them top the list.

News: “9 former Aquino Cabinet men, transportation execs face plunder for MRT-3 deal.” As we all know, the riding public is the pathetic recipient of these anomalies. While the prosecution has yet to prove their guilt, it is quite disturbing that some members of the clergy and clench-fisted Reds are marching along with some of these personalities to advocate “human rights” and “healing.” Well, I agree to some extent that marching is better than riding the trains they neglected.

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Some quotes about oligarchy that I want to share with you:
“Where some people are very wealthy and others have nothing, the result will be either extreme democracy or absolute oligarchy, or despotism will come from either of those excesses. – Aristotle

“Dark influences from the American past congregate among us still. If we are a democracy, what are we to make of the palpable elements of plutocracy, oligarchy, and mounting theocracy that rule our state? How do we address the self-inflicted catastrophes that devastated our natural environment? Solarge is our malaise that no single writer can encompass it. We have no Emerson or Whitman among us. An institutionalized counterculture condemns individuality as archaic and depreciates intellectual values, even in the universities.” – Harold Bloom

“Are we prepared to take on the enormous political power of the billionaire class or do we continue to slide into economic and political oligarchy?”—Bernie Sanders

Good work, good deeds and good faith.

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