View Full Version : law against dynasties

06-29-2007, 04:14 PM
The Manila Bulletin Today
June 29, 2007

THE opposition in the Senate is suffering from an identity crisis. In spite of a clear mandate that the voters last May 14 elected a Senate clearly dominated by the Genuine Opposition, it appears that they are not united in their choice of Senate leadership, in spite of the fact that two oppositionist are vying for the Senate presidency—incumbent Senate President Manny Villar and Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel.

If the opposition senators can only get their acts together, considering that there are no less than 14 of them, they can easily get what they want to vote for the Senate president. A senator has to get only 13 votes. But, not since three other opposition senators have their eyes set for the 2010 presidency. They won’t have anything to do with Villar as Senate president since that would give him a step ahead of them—Loren Legarda, Ping Lacson and Mar Roxas are all for Pimentel because he has no presidential ambition.
With no less than 14 senators from both the opposition and the administration aligning themselves with Villar, the latter has it sewn up as Senate president.

To be sure, there will bellyaching and nitpicking from the Pimentel group that Villar has already aligned himself with Malacañang. Personally I’d rather have Villar as Senate resident. My favorite bellyacher Pimentel sees nothing good about the Arroyo administration.

An opposition Senate? Not when its 23 members consider themselves as 23 independent republics. The situation is already a preview of the 2010 presidential elections.


It’s well and good that the issue of political dynasties has again reared its ugly head with no less than Speaker Jose de Venecia bringing it up against the Garcia dynasty in Cebu. Patriarch Pablo Garcia is contesting the speakership of De Venecia in the House of Representatives. His daughter Gwen Garcia is governor. Another son has also been elected to public office. Foremost, son Winston Garcia is president and chief executive of the Government Service Insurance System. This makes Cebu a family corporation.

Nobody can question the intent and spirit of the Constitution banning political dynasties. Its implementation, however, remains a big question in the absence of an enabling law. Yes, there’s a proposed legislation to this effect, but it remains in limbo since nobody in Congress would dare touch it. There are just so many political dynasties nationwide.

But with no less that De Venecia bringing up the issue once again, Congress is challenged to give teeth to the constitutional ban. The question is, will it?

At the rate political dynasties are growing with their tentacles overreaching national and local elective offices, soon enough, only political lords will be wielding power in this country.

I’m not exaggerating. Soon enough, only a few families will have a stranglehold of power in this country unless the constitutional ban on political dynasties is given teeth.

The best proof of this is the election of a brother-sister combination in a small Chamber like the Senate. There is also a father-son (and namesakes, too) team attempting to make it.

Lest I’m misunderstood, there’s really nothing wrong with families getting elected in different regions, provinces, cities or municipalities. But, when families dominate a small Chamber like the Senate, it’s definitely immoral as well as unconstitutional. Even perverse.


There had been proposals to give teeth to the ban on political dynasties. The most realistic and practical one was given by former Senator Kit Tatad, who said that a law should be enacted that henceforth, no person shall be elected senator while another person within the first to the third degree of consanguinity or affinity is serving as senator.

And no two or more people within the first to the third degree of consanguinity of affinity should be elected simultaneously as officials of the state and of any political subdivision or as officials in the same region, province, city or municipality. Whenever two or more people, so related to each other, aspire for elective office, the person who has previously served or sought election; or who is seeking the highest position, if all of them have previously served or sought election; or who is the most senior in age, if all are seeking the same position, or are newcomers, shall qualify for election. That’s clear enough and to the point!

In the same breath, can both Chambers of Congress still make a difference since the ban on political dynasties remains a pie in the sky unless its members put public good and interest over and above their own self-aggrandizement and self-interest?

De Venecia, who has no relative, spouse or son in Congress, may be against political dynasties, but what about wives, husbands, siblings and relatives within the first to the third degree of consanguinity and affinity who now dominate Congress? We can turn blue in the face banning political dynasties as proposed by Tatad, but having the members of Congress that we do, I have my misgivings.


One issue that becomes a compelling reason for constitutional change is the nationwide election of senators. This has come up once again in the light of the lack of representation of some regions in the Senate.

Take the case of Ilocandia. Ilocos Sur Gov. Chavit Singson ran for the Senate and lost, and as a result, Ilocandia is bereft of representation, even though it may be said that Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, a half-Ilocano, is there. He is from Region 2, the Cagayan Valley.

My gulay, would you believe that Bicol has Chiz Escudero, Gringo Honasan, Jamby Madrigal and Joker Arroyo, making four senators representing one region?

Other regions are also not represented. Mindanao is luckier because Pimentel is there. Soon enough, there will also be Migz Zubiri.

This is the reason why the Senate should be composed of such number of regional senators as may be determined by law, who shall be elected by voters of the regions. That makes more of sense than senators elected nationwide.

This will also prevent excessive election spending when one senatorial candidates has to dole out P300 million to P400 million to be elected to an office with a mere P30,000 monthly salary.

Guess where all that moola is coming from, and guess again what some senators will do to have a return of investment?


When Chief Justice Reynato Puno said that the controversy between the infant formula milk manufacturers and those advocating breastfeeding is actually very simple, he must have in mind that coming right down to it, the issue is not really which is better, but on whether or not the consumer should be given the freedom of choice—breastfeeding or infant formula milk.

Of course, breastfeeding is far superior to infant formula milk. But it also has its drawbacks because not all mothers can breastfeed. Some may be sick, and others may not have the capacity to do it. That’s where infant formula milk comes in.

But manufacturers of infant formula milk should not also claim that their products can make geniuses and prodigies out of infants.

If the Supreme Court justices must rule either way between breastfeeding and infant formula milk, some caveat should be made on the latter to stop advertising that formula milk is better than breastfeeding. But depriving the consumers of the freedom of choice should not be the answer.


Remember Maloli Espinosa of the Espinosa clan of Masbate, who ran and lost in her congressional bid after resigning as vice president for corporate affairs and public relations of ABS-CBN?

Well, she may soon rejoin media as an executive of GMA-7. In what capacity, I don’t know.

But in my book, Maloli will be an asset to GMA-7 in competition with ABS-CBN. She has always been an asset in the Lopez network.


Finance Secretary Gary Teves isn’t resigning until GMA tells him so. And why should he when the President is very happy over the performance of her economic team, which Teves happens to lead?


This is like a teleserye " asian treasure"... There are the so called sodamas and KKK.