Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The problem is competency, not political dynasty

This message on the Ang Bagong Pinoy yahoo group led me to this website.

The author is calling for a tsunami of outrage through click and text. While I believe that his intentions are pure, I just can't imagine how his means will bring him to his objective of dismantling political dynasties . Again, this is a classic example of the elite mindset. Click and text may only be a start of something since he claims that this campaign is for the long haul. But still, the approach is elitist.

Let me first state my stand on the issue of political dynasties.

Political dynasties will always be with us. I'm sure, it is not just us. Every country must have its share of political dynasties. The problem is not political dynasties per se but having incompetent public servants. If all the elected family members in a particular clan are all competent in the position they vied for, then I really won't have any problem with that. The problem is, most of these political dynasties have used their positions to protect family interests and perpetuate themselves in power. But these politcal dynasties don't always have it their way.

In Caloocan City, the old power is the Asistio clan. Sometime in the 1990s, Rey Malonzo defeated Boy Asistio who was then Caloocan City mayor for a long time. When Rey Malonzo completed his third term as mayor, he had his wife run for the position. He even had his son run for councilor and he himself run for congress. Fortunately, they all lost. This election, both Malonzo and Boy Asistio are trying to make a comeback but may have some difficutly dislogding the incumbent Echiverri. It will be interesting to see if the two old dynasties can beat the new and upcoming one.

Dynasties are not unbeatable. In 2004, Grace Padaca defeated Dy in the Isabela. Fred Lim ended the reign of Lopez and Bagatsing in Manila. From a Yabut turf, Makati has now become a Binay kingdom. From an Osmena country, Cebu is now becoming a Garcia territory. The Mathay's of Quezon City won't even challenge in this election the incumbet Belmonte. The Laurels no longer dominate the ala eh province. An old dynasty will fade away while a new one may emerge.

This May election, Ali Atienza, son of Lito Atienza, is running for mayor in Mnaila. Datu Arroyo, the son of you know who, for congressman in Camarines Sur. Alvin Sandoval is eyeing for the seat his brother, Ricky Sandoval, has held for three terms. Pimentel, the son may have topped the bar exam, wants to become like his father just like Alan who wants to become like sister. It will be interesting to see if they will win due solely to their surname.

The Remulla brothers in congress, Crispin and Gilbert, are quite competent as legislators. Vilma may be the wife but I believe she has done a good job as a mayor of Lipa. The mayor of Marikina may just be the wife of Bayani but still, she is doing a great job continuing what her husband started in Marikina. Chiz Excudero, Migs Zubiri, Rolando Andaya, Ace Durano may have eclipsed the political careers of their respective father. I don't know about the wife of Florencio Abad, the wife of Jejomar Binay, the wife of Dilangalen, in terms of competency but some wives do make a good job.

People in certain localities will always have some kind of "attachment" to political families. The Marcoses will continue to dominate the Ilocano country for years to come while the Romualdezes will remain strong in Leyte. The people from Tarlac may always identify themselves with the Aquinos just like the Gordons in Olongapo.

The problem with political dynasty is the long list of incompetent officials elected to public positions. There is no board exam for politicians. All it takes is a surname to qualify.

On the issue of corruption, it is a skewed reasoning to blame it on political dynasties. It is not their monopoly. Corruption happens everywhere. Dismantling Kamag-anak Inc. is not a guarantee to a graft free society.

At the end of the day, it is still us the voters who will make the choice. In many instances, however, the choices made had beeen very disappointing. Next month, we will see more of the same. But I am sure, somewhere, these dynasties will also suffer defeat. It has happened and it will continue to happen.

On the call of Mr.Roger Olivares for a tsunami of outrage against political dynasties, that will not happen. This kind of approach will not capture the imagination of our people. It is too elitist. The magtataho won't even know what a website is. Is clicking a button enough to express one's outrage while sitting in the comfort of homes or offices? Since February of this year, the number of clicks has not even reached 200. It is not even a drop. Oh well, the problem with technology is that it has magnified the culture of passive resistance. The battle is not in cyberspace. This is just a tool. Drean Philippines can be achieved only by capturing the imagination of our people and not by click and text


Ymir said...

i really can't understand why political dynasties should be an issue in a democratic country.

in the first place, how could it become a dynasty when the sole power to elect a public official rests on the people's will?

a family of politicians in a way is similar to a family of doctors, a family of dentists, and a family of criminals. it's all but normal for the son to idolize his father.

what people should realize is that all though a career may run in the blood, competency does not.

Anonymous said...

Contempt for truth

MANILA, Philippines -The disoriented and dissembling response of Sen. Aquilino Pimentel to the graft case I filed against him and his son Koko (Inquirer, 4/17/07) not only betrays his panic and guilt. It also shows his utter contempt for truth.

1. Pimentel did not identify the so-called "director" in his office who supposedly sent the campaign letters and violated his franking privilege. Why doesn't Pimentel identify and prosecute the offending director, if he exists at all?

2. Pimentel claims he had paid the stamps of the countless campaign letters (using Senate stationery, envelopes and other resources) sent through his franking privilege. How could this be when the letters were already mailed and delivered to their addresses? And where is Pimentel's proof of payment? If Pimentel is truly repentant for his petty but large-scale misdemeanor, he should also pay the penalty of P500 for every mail he unlawfully sent through his franking grant.

3. Pimentel attributes base motive to me supposedly because I was offended by his refusal to support my candidacy for mayor of Cagayan de Oro last 2004. I didn't realize Pimentel, my former teacher and a senator of the republic at that, is capable of brazen lies. It was he who importuned me to run with promises of all-out support because no one in his party, PDP-Laban, dared to tangle with Mayor Vicente Emano who blasted the daylights out of his son Koko by more than 57,000 votes in the 2001 elections. He signed my certificate of candidacy, brought me to FPJ in Mayor Jojo BinayĆ­s office and had my picture taken with the movie icon so I could use it as my campaign poster. Midway in the campaign, he and his wife asked me to quit in favor of one with money because I did not have funds for the election.

I was a fool to believe in him. I should have heeded the advice of those who knew him to be a practitioner of the politics of perfidy. What has become of Pimentel? Has political "dynastyism" so obsessed him that he would bludgeon the truth to death?

The two Pimentels have just performed two unprecedented acts in the political history of this country. The father is the first senator who defiled and desecrated an official stationery of the Senate by converting it into a partisan political propaganda, plastering it with photos of him and his son and printing it with the names of all opposition candidates. And his son, who has not yet been elected to the Senate, is already using an official Senate stationery. This has never happened in the illustrious history of the Senate.
I have filed the corresponding cases against them with the Ombudsman and the Senate Ethics Committee. I look forward to an interesting face-off with a senator and a bar topnotcher.

EDDIE TAMONDONG, via email to the Philippine Inquirer (http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/letterstotheeditor/view_article.php?article_id=61867)

The problem is: the Philippines is not a functioning democracy. Politically powerful individuals like Pimentel (who always plays tthe "pity" card that he was in jail under Marcos, but in fact is a true trapo) use the system to pursue their own agenda. His senate pork barrel project (approved funding 349 million) started in 2001 is still a skeleton. Although they claim they just are a simple middle class family, how come they can afford two senatorial campaigns in 2004 (the father) and in 2007 (the son).