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CenPEG Analysis : Horizontal and Vertical Expansion of Political Dynasties

CenPEG Analysis : Horizontal and Vertical Expansion of Political Dynasties

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Published by BlogWatch.ph
The concentration, expansion, and consolidation of political dynasties over the past 100 years attests to the continuing hegemony of feudal politics, the absence of any form of real democracy, and the continued powerlessness of a vast marginalized majority in the Philippines. Definitely alarming today is the entrenchment of the system of political dynasties on a higher and blatant scale making the fair representation of the large majority of Filipinos even more elusive.
The concentration, expansion, and consolidation of political dynasties over the past 100 years attests to the continuing hegemony of feudal politics, the absence of any form of real democracy, and the continued powerlessness of a vast marginalized majority in the Philippines. Definitely alarming today is the entrenchment of the system of political dynasties on a higher and blatant scale making the fair representation of the large majority of Filipinos even more elusive.

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Published by: BlogWatch.ph on Oct 23, 2012
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11/12/2012

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Issue Analysis No. 08Series of 2012
The concentration, expansion, and consolidation of political dynasties over the past 100 years attests to the continuing hegemony of  feudal politics, the absence of any form of real democracy, and the continued powerlessness of a vast marginalized majority in thePhilippines. Definitely alarming today is the entrenchment of the system of political dynasties on a higher and blatant scale makingthe fair representation of the large majority of Filipinos even more elusive.
By the Policy Study, Publication, and Advocacy (PSPA)Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG)October 3, 2012
BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera; Prof. Luis V. Teodoro; Dr. Temario Rivera; Dr. Eleanor Jara; Bishop Gabriel Garol;Prof. Melania Flores; Atty. Cleto Villacorta; Evi-Ta Jimenez; Dr. Edgardo Clemente; Prof. Roland Simbulan; Prof. Bobby Tuazon; Dr. Felix Muga II
Election 2013: Horizontal and Vertical Expansion of Political Dynasties
Self-preservation and expansion as a means for thecontinuing rule of political dynasties. These are the twin objectives behind the formation ofsenatorial slates by both the pro-Aquino III ruling coalitionand the “constructive opposition” of UNA or UnitedNationalist Alliance. The slates so far formed generallyunveil the same faces with a few plucked out from longhibernation. Also ominous is the possible increase in thenumber of seats occupied by one family (Cayetanos) in thepresent Senate to four in the next or a total of eight senatorscoming from their respective dynasties (Cayetanos,Enriles, Estradas, and Magsaysays). If elected, foursenatorial candidates (Ramon Magsaysay Jr., MitosMagsaysay, Paolo Benigno Aquino, and JV Ejercito) willincrease the number of senators who are blood relatives offormer presidents to seven from the current three (SergioOsmena III, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ferdinand “Bongbong”Marcos). In short, hypothetically six former or currentpresidents - Sergio Osmena, Ramon Magsaysay,Ferdinand Marcos, Corazon Aquino, Joseph Estrada, andBenigno S. Aquino III – will have their kin or descendantsrepresented in the next Senate.Of course, the figures may still change eight monthsfrom now in the May 2013 elections. But what is definitelyemerging as a scandalous reality is that political dynastiesare more blatant and active today. Conditions to form“more of the same” are more encouraging than ever underthe administration of PNoy, himself a benefactor of thisculture of political patronage. The Comelec, as thecountry's premier election manager, is helpless beyondreproach.Self-preservation and expansion of political dynastiesin the Senate is being replicated not only in the presidencybut also in the House of Representatives and in the variouslocal government units (LGUs). A CenPEG study in 2011showed that the May 2010 elections – where the automatedelection system was used nationwide for the first time -increased even more the number of political dynasties inboth the national and local levels.The 2013 senatorial slates are basically coalitions ofpolitical dynasties involved in the unprincipled party-switching or “turncoatism” of whole political parties forexpediency and preservation. Bereft of any principledplatform, the traditional political parties – including theopportunist pseudo-left – coalesce for electoralconvenience and split later on when their chief patron (theincumbent president) with all the state resources under hiscommand steps down from power.Including those whose terms end in 2016, many of theSenate re-electionists and those running in 2013 have theirdynasty lineage dating back to two up to four generationsduring the colonial period at the turn of the 20th century.Nearly 50 percent of the country's current political
 
BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera; Prof. Luis V. Teodoro; Dr. Temario Rivera; Dr. Eleanor Jara; Bishop Gabriel Garol;Prof. Melania Flores; Atty. Cleto Villacorta; Evi-Ta Jimenez; Dr. Edgardo Clemente; Prof. Roland Simbulan; Prof. Bobby Tuazon; Dr. Felix Muga II
dynasties owe their ascendancy to post-Marcos (1986)political deals when most elective positions were filled upby appointees of then President Corazon C. Aquinoincluding the Ampatuans of the infamous Maguindanaomassacre.Membership in a political dynasty is a guarantee to itspreservation. Whether in the national or local levels,membership provides a political clout to amass morewealth, hence, to secure an enduring political power.Various studies underscore the fact that wealth coupledwith the traditional patron-client ties and patronage givesa dynastic politician – no matter how unqualified he is - anuncontestable edge over a rival who has no political clan.However, once in a rare chance a non-traditional politicianwins he or she begins to create a new dynasty.The Senate, said to be the stepping stone of futurepresidents, is a “rich man's chamber”. All the 23 membersof the current Senate (15th Congress) are millionairesseven of them multi-millionaires led by Sen. Manuel Villarwho is actually a billionaire. While nearly 50 percentregister their profession as lawyers and 17 percent areshowbiz personalities and celebrities, 18 or 80 percent havebig corporate and investment interests. Almost 80 percentof the present Senate members belong to politicaldynasties – bigger than in previous senates. Although fivesenators, namely, Joker Arroyo, Franklin Drilon, GregorioHonasan, Panfilo Lacson, and Antonio Trillanes have nopolitical clans they were at some point aligned with or beenbeneficiaries of traditional politics. Why the names ofyoung public servants with outstanding track records likeErin Tanada, Teddy Casiño, and Grace Padaca werebypassed from the line-up of the traditional parties of theLP-Akbayan-NPC and UNA is not at all surprising.Over the past 20 years, political dynasties have beenthriving with memberships increasing through horizontaland vertical expansion. Fifteen of the 23 senators haverelatives who are currently holding elective positions. Ofthe 15, 11 have relatives in the lower House a new CenPEGstudy on the 15th Congress reveals.In both the lower House and LGUs, the same horizontaland vertical or multi-ladder expansion of politicaldynasties holds. Members of the lower House expand byhaving their kin elected as district representatives in otherprovinces (e.g., the Macapagal-Arroyos) while those in theLGUs such as governors and mayors have blood relativesas vice-mayors and councilors (e.g., the Ampatuans ofMaguindanao and Singsons of Ilocos). Packed with threeHouse representatives and one governor, the Jalosjosdynasty aims to become a political empire by fielding morefamily members and allies in three provinces ofZamboanga, Mindanao in the coming elections. Not tomention the star-studded dynasty of the Revillas of Cavite,showbiz couple Lucy Torres-Richard Gomez in Leyte andthe continued obsession for political turf of Pampanga'sabsentee congresswoman and former President, Gloria M.Arroyo and her children, “Partylist” representativeMickey Arroyo and new Bicolano citizen, Dato Arroyo.Traditionally, the turnover of elective positions by end-termers to their heirs-apparent --spouses, children, orother relatives-- helps preserve the dynasties. Electionsare tilted in favor of the rich and celebrities and areinherently vulnerable to fraud. Elections provide themechanism for conferring legitimacy to elite power andcreate the illusion once every three years that “change” ispossible. Election computerization, touted as the means to“modernize democracy”, has been bugged by deficiencies,program errors, and transmission lapses. Being a meretechnology, computerization will not be the equalizer in anelection process that has always been decided in favor ofthe political elite and where those in control of thetechnology will control the votes.Even the Party-list system has been co-opted bytraditional politics with 51 or 91 percent of the 56 seatsoccupied by millionaires and multi-millionaires; 10nominees come from political clans. Only progressiveParty-list representatives are non-millionaires withAnakpawis' Rafael V. Mariano who has a net worth ofPhP47,000 as the poorest. Before Mariano, his formerpartymate, the late Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran, a three-timeoutstanding congressman with the most number of pro-poor bills filed in the lower House, was the poorest amongthe more than 250 members during his time.So what is the implication of this phenomenon inPhilippine politics?

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