Dynastic kleptocracy Sunstar

Dynastic kleptocracy Featured

MY previous column discussed a “negatives list” of candidates who “must not be elected” to a Senate seat in May 2019. I mentioned three who are making a mockery of what is left of our fragile democracy and of the electoral process. I am expanding my list to include members of political dynasties (poldyns). I implore the voters, at least the readers of this column to a dispassionate scrutiny of the names and cull from the rest of the remaining 40 unknown candidates and dig deep into their qualifications and track records, perchance to excavate nuggets of gems of future senators outside of the discredited and tired branded names. Perhaps this is what the country needs badly, an injection of fresh qualified unknowns into the body politic whom we the voters will endow the honor to serve us. Polls are nothing more than a snapshot of an instant and subject to the dynamics of individual and collective choices. We can still alter the statistical regime.
 
President Duterte ran on three distinct campaign promises: the elimination of illegal drugs, reduction of graft and corruption and political restructuring through the revision of the 1987 Constitution. The first item is ongoing, but the collateral damage is incalculable. The officially accepted death toll from his draconian methods is more than 5,000 and counting. The figures on the streets and those counted by his political opponents and those by multilateral and international agencies have run up to almost twice the number, rendering his and the country’s reputation abroad in tatters. He is being threatened with his day of reckoning when he steps down from office before the International Criminal Court at The Hague for human rights violations. This possibility could be one of the reasons why he needs to be protected after he leaves office by anointing as his successor his daughter, Sara. The two previous Philippine presidents before him, Estrada and Macapagal- Arroyo have seen the insides of local jails; and PNoy may be next. But DU30 may also be a reluctant guest of an ICC penitentiary, albeit an international one. God forbid he ends up this way!
 
His fight against corruption is barely making a dent. And by the standards of his doctrine — a mere whiff of corruption — he has dismissed several of his people even those ostensibly close to him, some under questionable and unfair circumstances. But none of the big fish have been incarcerated — except perhaps one high-profile critic, a woman-senator, pending trial but currently languishing in jail. Dubiously, one plunderer-senator is now running under his PDP-Laban party, and the other under his daughter’s HnP.
 
But his third mantra, that of political-structural “pagbabago” through constitutional revisions, may have been derailed and out of the mainstream as some of the provisions contained in the 1987 Constitution have practically been scuttled in principle. I refer to the constitutional provision prohibiting political dynasties. Fully 11 out of the 20 or so leading senatorial candidates and those running for other elective positions are part of a “poldyn,” not to mention the President’s own — his daughter Sarah and two sons are all seeking elective public office.
 
But looking beyond Philippine politics, the creation of dynasties, business or criminal are simply the primordial urge to spread one’s seed and migration of power, influence and pelf to the next generation beyond the progenitor’s grave. From ancient to medieval periods, we have the pharaohs, emperors and kings expanding their progeny. After the age of kings, we allowed elected autocracy to reign supreme with absolute power and in some cases, vesting a plutocracy the license to reign and rule over all.
 
Even in criminal enterprises we have the same desires. An example is the Mafia families or the Cosa Nostra of Italy and the United States. Common to these families are the propensity for the capo di tutti capi (the family head) to train their children and close relatives at an early age on the art of crime. Nothing is more indispensable to protection from the law, the encroachment of rivals and the continued concentration of power and wealth than that of guaranteeing bloodline; though there are monumental failures as the breakdown of the sacred “omerta,” depicted by Mario Puzo in his Godfather novels.
 
Poldyns in the Philippine setting are much worse. Although constitutionally proscribed these past 32 years, no laws have been enacted to make the constitutional provision operative – not from the legislative body, majority of whom are themselves pillars of poldyns. And these dynasties now extend their tentacles to all facets of political and economic undertakings, attempting to expand their web of power to perpetuate themselves for generations. They are the rot and cancer to the body politic. They must therefore acquire the same guarantee mechanisms originally exclusive only to crime families through the legitimacy of the ballot. Their expected results are to keep corruption going and money flowing to the family coffers; consolidate their power and assume immense influence to protect family members from getting caught; or use its web to override prosecution. Thus, this crime network/political dynasty whose primary loyalty is to family has hidden this family business behind the cloak of public service, and psyched itself into believing in this solemn duty. True, there are decent individual members of dynasties, but our beef is with the collective malevolence of the concept, the structure and system itself. The biggest myth is the singular proposition that there are good and moral Philippine political dynasties. There are none!
 
These dynasts have almost succeeded in injecting themselves into the national conversation as sure winners. Let us reverse this dialogue and be more discerning.
 
There are 11 dynasts in a statistical striking position to make it to the 12 seats listed by the SWS & Pulse Asia in alphabetical order: Angara (Baler, Aurora); Aquino (Tarlac); Binay (Makati clan); Cayetano (Muntinlupa-Pateros-Taguig); Ejercito and Estrada (Manila, San Juan, Laguna); Mangudadatu (Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao); Marcos (Ilocos Norte); Osmeña (Cebu); Revilla (Bacoor, Cavite); and Villar (Las Piñas, Muntinlupa).
 
The remaining nine out of 20 statistical probables therefore are nondynastic independents or guest candidates of the PDP-Laban, Hugpong, LP and assorted wannabees, again in alphabetical order: Colmenares, Go, dela Rosa, Lapid, Pimentel, Poe, Roxas, Tañada and Tolentino. Among these too are subalterns of dynasties.
 
But there are names worth considering among those statistically outside of the winner’s circle. Take out the dynasties and unearth the remaining 40 to replace them. Among others in alphabetical order: Aguilar, Alunan, Alejano, Chong, Diokno, Gadon, Gutoc, Manicad, Matula, Montano, Ong, etc.
 
We love to blame government for the ills of society, corruption, stark poverty and suffocating despair. And every three years, we, the people are given the privilege to set our course — a path to change. Yet we waste it and indulge in self-flagellation over and over. And in our choices, we rely blindly on our leaders who are themselves members of political dynasties whose intentions and agenda are suspect.
 
This cycle let us take a risk on ourselves! Or once more, be damned!

MY previous column discussed a “negatives list” of candidates who “must not be elected” to a Senate seat in May 2019. I mentioned three who are making a mockery of what is left of our fragile democracy and of the electoral process. I am expanding my list to include members of political dynasties (poldyns). I implore the voters, at least the readers of this column to a dispassionate scrutiny of the names and cull from the rest of the remaining 40 unknown candidates and dig deep into their qualifications and track records, perchance to excavate nuggets of gems of future senators outside of the discredited and tired branded names. Perhaps this is what the country needs badly, an injection of fresh qualified unknowns into the body politic whom we the voters will endow the honor to serve us. Polls are nothing more than a snapshot of an instant and subject to the dynamics of individual and collective choices. We can still alter the statistical regime.

President Duterte ran on three distinct campaign promises: the elimination of illegal drugs, reduction of graft and corruption and political restructuring through the revision of the 1987 Constitution. The first item is ongoing, but the collateral damage is incalculable. The officially accepted death toll from his draconian methods is more than 5,000 and counting. The figures on the streets and those counted by his political opponents and those by multilateral and international agencies have run up to almost twice the number, rendering his and the country’s reputation abroad in tatters. He is being threatened with his day of reckoning when he steps down from office before the International Criminal Court at The Hague for human rights violations. This possibility could be one of the reasons why he needs to be protected after he leaves office by anointing as his successor his daughter, Sara. The two previous Philippine presidents before him, Estrada and Macapagal- Arroyo have seen the insides of local jails; and PNoy may be next. But DU30 may also be a reluctant guest of an ICC penitentiary, albeit an international one. God forbid he ends up this way!

His fight against corruption is barely making a dent. And by the standards of his doctrine — a mere whiff of corruption — he has dismissed several of his people even those ostensibly close to him, some under questionable and unfair circumstances. But none of the big fish have been incarcerated — except perhaps one high-profile critic, a woman-senator, pending trial but currently languishing in jail. Dubiously, one plunderer-senator is now running under his PDP-Laban party, and the other under his daughter’s HnP.

But his third mantra, that of political-structural “pagbabago” through constitutional revisions, may have been derailed and out of the mainstream as some of the provisions contained in the 1987 Constitution have practically been scuttled in principle. I refer to the constitutional provision prohibiting political dynasties. Fully 11 out of the 20 or so leading senatorial candidates and those running for other elective positions are part of a “poldyn,” not to mention the President’s own — his daughter Sarah and two sons are all seeking elective public office.

But looking beyond Philippine politics, the creation of dynasties, business or criminal are simply the primordial urge to spread one’s seed and migration of power, influence and pelf to the next generation beyond the progenitor’s grave. From ancient to medieval periods, we have the pharaohs, emperors and kings expanding their progeny. After the age of kings, we allowed elected autocracy to reign supreme with absolute power and in some cases, vesting a plutocracy the license to reign and rule over all.

Even in criminal enterprises we have the same desires. An example is the Mafia families or the Cosa Nostra of Italy and the United States. Common to these families are the propensity for the capo di tutti capi (the family head) to train their children and close relatives at an early age on the art of crime. Nothing is more indispensable to protection from the law, the encroachment of rivals and the continued concentration of power and wealth than that of guaranteeing bloodline; though there are monumental failures as the breakdown of the sacred “omerta,” depicted by Mario Puzo in his Godfather novels.

Poldyns in the Philippine setting are much worse. Although constitutionally proscribed these past 32 years, no laws have been enacted to make the constitutional provision operative – not from the legislative body, majority of whom are themselves pillars of poldyns. And these dynasties now extend their tentacles to all facets of political and economic undertakings, attempting to expand their web of power to perpetuate themselves for generations. They are the rot and cancer to the body politic. They must therefore acquire the same guarantee mechanisms originally exclusive only to crime families through the legitimacy of the ballot. Their expected results are to keep corruption going and money flowing to the family coffers; consolidate their power and assume immense influence to protect family members from getting caught; or use its web to override prosecution. Thus, this crime network/political dynasty whose primary loyalty is to family has hidden this family business behind the cloak of public service, and psyched itself into believing in this solemn duty. True, there are decent individual members of dynasties, but our beef is with the collective malevolence of the concept, the structure and system itself. The biggest myth is the singular proposition that there are good and moral Philippine political dynasties. There are none!

Advertisements

These dynasts have almost succeeded in injecting themselves into the national conversation as sure winners. Let us reverse this dialogue and be more discerning.

There are 11 dynasts in a statistical striking position to make it to the 12 seats listed by the SWS & Pulse Asia in alphabetical order: Angara (Baler, Aurora); Aquino (Tarlac); Binay (Makati clan); Cayetano (Muntinlupa-Pateros-Taguig); Ejercito and Estrada (Manila, San Juan, Laguna); Mangudadatu (Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao); Marcos (Ilocos Norte); Osmeña (Cebu); Revilla (Bacoor, Cavite); and Villar (Las Piñas, Muntinlupa).

The remaining nine out of 20 statistical probables therefore are nondynastic independents or guest candidates of the PDP-Laban, Hugpong, LP and assorted wannabees, again in alphabetical order: Colmenares, Go, dela Rosa, Lapid, Pimentel, Poe, Roxas, Tañada and Tolentino. Among these too are subalterns of dynasties.

But there are names worth considering among those statistically outside of the winner’s circle. Take out the dynasties and unearth the remaining 40 to replace them. Among others in alphabetical order: Aguilar, Alunan, Alejano, Chong, Diokno, Gadon, Gutoc, Manicad, Matula, Montano, Ong, etc.

We love to blame government for the ills of society, corruption, stark poverty and suffocating despair. And every three years, we, the people are given the privilege to set our course — a path to change. Yet we waste it and indulge in self-flagellation over and over. And in our choices, we rely blindly on our leaders who are themselves members of political dynasties whose intentions and agenda are suspect.

This cycle let us take a risk on ourselves! Or once more, be damned!

000
Read 444 times
Rate this item
(0 votes)