By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
Politics is already being felt this early. Certain candidates are already seen on TV with their political advertisements despite campaign period still approaching. Look at those ads, as if Filipino situations have improved due to them. I am reminded of the nature of our politics – dominated by “trapos” or traditional politicians.
Related with our rotten political system and one of the hottest is the issue on political dynasty. Political dynasty was adopted as a provision of the 1987 constitution to address the political patronage system in our society, where the positions are controlled by the same people coming from the same clans or families. It started from the creation of Philippine state, where politics were dominated by the same names; who worked not for the interests of the people but for their selfish and their foreign masters’ interests.
The “progressive” Constitutional Commissioners, then appointed from various groups and sectors, drafted the 1987 Constitution incorporating a provision which prohibit political dynasties. It gave that right, however, to congress to define what is political dynasty and for them to enact law for the realization of this anti-dynasties provision. This is one of the mistakes of the ConCom because it handed to Congress, whose members are mostly representatives of political dynasties, the power to enact a law that would clip their own political interests. With the composition of Congress, do we expect Iggy Arroyo and his nephew, presidential son Mikey to favor an anti-political dynasty law? Will they push for enactments that would contradict their political and economic interests? Will they favor for a people supported impeachment case against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo?
In fairness, there is exception to the trapos-dominated Congress. Progressive lawmakers adopted a position and tried to file bills that would prohibit political dynasty. Rep. Satur Ocampo (whom I will support if he runs for senator) and Senator Nene Pimentel filed similar bills against political dynasty, but the bills, as expected, gathered dust in Congress. This electoral reform that would address the age-old political patronage and dynasty remains to be elusive. It seems that social change is next to impossible in this country.
I agreed with Ocampo in his claim that the non-realization of the anti-political dynasties provision of the constitution serves as a barrier for political pluralism – one ingredients of democracy. I agreed with him that the existence of these dynasties closed the door for the participation of people’s alternative candidates in policy-making. These alternative candidates are for real social change although they lack the three Gs – guns, gold, and goons – which these dynasties have. In this case, it seems that reforms – particularly electoral reform – is not viable under the present situation where Congress and the highest executive offices are dominated by the descendants of the elite who have ruled the Philippines like hell.
The same constitution provides, however, a back door to Congress – the partylist system. Partylists representatives, who are the real representatives of the poor and oppressed sectors, topped and excelled in legislative achievements. These record-breaking achievements were done despite persecutions led by the Secretary of (in)Justice and his “cousin” and namesake who is a representative of a loser partylist .
Look at Ocampo. The more he is persecuted, the more he gains courage and wisdom. We can strengthen these partylists while fielding progressive candidate to the senate. Why not try: Ocampo for Senator. #