‘Political evil must be corrected’

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MALACAÑANG on Wednesday described political dynasties as “evil,” saying no political family should be allowed to frolic in power “forever.”

Defending President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s call on Congress to pass an anti-political dynasty law, its spokesman Edwin Lacierda noted the “overwhelming” and intoxicating effect of “unli[mited]power.”

“At the very least, at the very least, the President has made his views very public that [this bill is the solution to ‘unli{mited},’ … This is what we need]… No one political family, no one politician should be allowed to stay forever in a position, in power,” Lacierda told a news briefing.

“The evil perhaps overwhelms… The evil sought to be corrected is… The evil is present and we should correct that particular evil,” he said.


According to Lacierda, several bills filed in the House of Representatives seek to end any particular family’s monopoly of political power by holding on to various positions.

But Lacierda, a lawyer, said the “language, the version, has to be finalized first.”

“[They have to] discuss among themselves what would be the final provisions of the Anti-Dynasty Bill. The language is evolving and hopefully it will find satisfaction in [effecting]anti-dynasty provisions of the Constitution, one that will really put into effect what, how the framers of the Constitution envisioned the Anti-Dynasty Bill or Law should be,” he added.

In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, the President asked the legislature to pass the long-sought measure, saying there is no guarantee that whoever replaces him will not cling to power.

“We cannot be certain if the person who will succeed me will possess sincere intentions, he may instead choose to lord it over our people to pursue his personal interest. I believe it is now time to pass an Anti-Dynasty Law,” he said.

Although nobody can stop one person “who really wants to be a public servant,” the President added, he has realized that “there is something inherently wrong in giving a corrupt family or individual the chance at an indefinite monopoly of public office.”

Observers claimed that Aquino’s remarks were aimed at the family of Vice President
Jejomar Binay, who is facing a string of graft charges.

Binay’s son, Jejomar Erwin, who is Makati City (Metro Manila) mayor, is also facing similar charges.

The Vice President’s eldest daughter, Nancy, is a senator, while another daughter, Abby, is a member of the House of Representatives.

But the President himself comes from a family of politicians.

His late father, Benigno Jr., was a former senator while Corazon, his mother, was President of the Philippines from 1986 to 1992.

The incumbent leader has several relatives holding various elective posts in both national and local governments.

Erap not in favor
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada is not in favor of having an anti-dynasty law.

“Dynasty is like monarchy. It is inherited. Once the people liked their leadership, they will vote for them every election. Even their children will inherit their positions because the people liked their family and their management of a barangay, city, or even the country,” Estrada also told reporters also on Wednesday at the sidelines of his State of the City Address that he delivered at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City (Metro Manila).

He said voters have the final say as to who should be their political rulers. “People have the last say.”

“I have done several projects. People liked them. Then, my term has come to an end. They will vote for my son or any relative that I am backing because they liked my legacy,” Estrada added.

Cebu lawmakers back call
Two Cebuano congressmen are supporting enactment of the Anti-Dynasty Law.
Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa said he will support any proposed anti-dynasty bill to prevent the monopoly by a family or clan of elective government positions.

But Abellanosa conceded that it is challenging to set rules on who can run and who cannot run among members of a family.

”The incumbency rule is surely not the best policy. The competency rule is very subjective. There are more parameters that will come into play,” he said.

Rep. Joseph Ace Durano, a member of a political clan in Danao City in northern Cebu, said he supports the objective of the proposed anti-dynasty law.

But Durano added that definition of “political dynasty” should be subject of debates.
“There is no precedent in any republican democracy on limitation [to]the universal right of suffrage. When is a family considered a political dynasty? When there are two members of such family holding public office? Or there has to be more than just two holding public offices for a family to be considered a political dynasty?” he said.

Doubtful
The opposition bloc in the House of Representatives is doubting the President’s sincerity in pushing for the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) and the Anti-Political Dynasty bills.

Deputy Minority Leader Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna party-list cited the FOI proposal gathering dust in the House even if then-Sen. Benigno Aquino 3rd made a campaign promise in 2010 that the bill would be enacted into law under his administration.
Colmenares ia an author of the anti-dynasty measure.

WITH JAIME R. PILAPIL, LLANESCA T. PANTI AND PNA

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