Anti-Political Dynasty Bills

Guest Article
by Edgar Lores

There is no lack of warnings to the dangers of political dynasties.  The Web is replete with articles on the subject.  These articles not only analyze the downside of dy-nasties with vigor and eloquence; some name the political family lines in every corner of the country.  The list is impressive, with illustrious lineages traced back several generations.
The 1987 Constitution is explicit, if meagre, in its innovative prohibition of the undemocratic nature of the problem.  Article II, Section 26 simply declares:
  • The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.
This feature is innovative because it is the first time that political dynasties were recognized as a threat to democracy.  Yes, the prohibition was a knee-jerk reaction against the Marcos regime, and was designed to prevent a re-occurrence of a dictatorship.  But if the country does not have a one-man dictatorship presently, there is still a grave distortion to the Lincolnesque ideal of democracy.  What the country has now is a government of the few, by the few and for the few.

Ayala Family

The failure of the Constitution, it has been noted by many, is in its scantiness.  While it acknowledges the problem, it leaves the solution to Congress. The writers of the Constitution had sight, but little foresight.  As the composition of both houses of Congress has been, is now and will be largely oligarchic, there is little possibility of the passage of an enabling law.

It’s a catch-22.
Currently there are two anti-political dynasty bills, one in the Senate authored by Miriam Defensor Santiago and another in the House of Representatives authored by Teodoro “Teddy” Casiño.  Both are in pending status or limbo – and are likely to remain there.
  • Senate Bill No 2649 – An Act to Prohibit the Establishment of Political Dynasties
  • House Bill No 3413 – An Act Prohibiting the Establishment of Political Dynasties
In both bills the definition of what constitutes a political dynasty is similar, almost word for word:
  • Senate version: A political dynasty “shall exist when a person who is the spouse of an incumbent elective official or relative within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity of an incumbent elective official holds or runs for an elective office simultaneously with the incumbent elective official within the same province or occupies the same office immediately after the term of office of the incumbent elective official. It shall also be deemed to exist where two (2) or more persons who are spouses or are related within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity run simultaneously for elective public office within the same province even if neither is so related to an incumbent elective official.”


    • HOR version: A political dynasty “exists when a person who is the spouse of an incumbent elective official or a relative within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity if an incumbent elective official holds or runs for an elective office simultaneously with the incumbent elective official within the same city and / or province or occupies the same office immediately after the term of office of the incumbent elective official.  [New paragraph]  A political dynasty shall also be deemed to exist where two (2) or more persons who are spouses or are related within the second civil of consanguinity or affinity runs simultaneously for elective public office within the same city and / or province, even if neither is so related to an incumbent elective official.”
    Comparing the two versions, the one difference that immediately jumps out is in the area of geographical coverage.  The Senate version states “within the same province” while the HOR version has a wider interpretation in that it specifies “within the same city and / or province”.
    In this respect, both do not seem to go far enough.  Taking the wider Casiño version, the anti-dynasty bill appears to cover only elective positions of local government units within “city and / or province”.  These positions would range from the medium unit of town officials up to the largest local unit of provincial officials.  It is noteworthy the bill specifically excludes the smallest of local government units, that of barangay officials.
    The bill does not say anything about the positions of House representatives that are geographically based on city and provincial districts.  By implication, these positions would be caught in the net of prohibition.
    It may be argued, however, that the net may not extend to non-geographical national elective positions like party-list representative, senator and indeed the presidency.  If true, these are sore deficiencies.

    In the incoming 2013 general elections, there are several senatorial candidates who can be seen to belong to political dynasties:
    • Alan Cayetano, a sitting senator up for re-election, has a sibling in the Senate whose term ends in 2016.  By the bye, the senator is the current chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges from which nary a whisper has been heard about another senator who unethically plagiarizes like there is no tomorrow.
    • Juan Edgardo Angara, the representative for Aurora province, is the son of a sitting senator whose term ends in 2013.  Angara pere has reached the limit of two consecutive terms.
    • Bam Aquino is a cousin of the President whose term ends in 2016.
    • JV Ejercito, the representative for San Juan City, is the half-brother of the Senate President Pro-Tempore whose term extends to 2016.
    • Jack Enrile, the Cagayan representative, is the namesake and son of the Senate President whose term also extends to 2016.
    • Gwen Garcia, Cebu Governor, has two relatives in the House of Representatives – a brother and a father

    .

    • Cynthia Villar, a former representative, has a spouse in the Senate whose term ends in 2013.
    A tandem of Cayetanos might have been acceptable, considering one of them has a pretty face.  But does the country really want double dosages of Enriles and Estradas?  Or a triple serving of Garcias?  Do you?
    Political dynasties lie at the heart not only of the politics of patronage but also the politics of privilege. On one hand, the politics of patronage easily lends itself to the evils of nepotism, partiality to family, and cronyism, partiality to friends.  On the other hand, the politics of privilege lends itself to warlordism and oppression. It gives to its practitioners the sense of entitlement and impunity that, at its extreme, resulted in the Ampatuan massacre.
    If the Philippines is an oligotheodemocracy as seen from the top-down, it is – from the bottom-up – an idiocracy.

    Comments
    56 Responses to “Anti-Political Dynasty Bills”
    1. Anonymous says:

      "Idiocracy" yes–a foolish, hypocritical feel-good notion of democracy. The masa are fooled every election. Guns, goons, gold Pinoy- style.DocB

    2. Cha says:

      DocB, may I add another G to your list? Good looks…

    3. Anonymous says:

      Right Cha. Or if not so goodlooking, pizzazz–Gangnam style. 5GsDocB

    4. andrew lim says:

      Thanks, Edgar and Joe for this. In my readings I came across this concept of "amoral familism"- a "self interested family centric society which sacrificed the public good for the sake of nepotism and the immediate family. (Wikipedia)First observed in Southern Italy, where the Mafia families originated. Here, the examples are obvious- Marcoses, Arroyos, Estradas, Ampatuans. They care for its own members at the expense of their fellow citizens. Stress is on the nuclear family over society. Amusing to connect this concept with Catholic dominated societies, contrasted with Protestant dominated ones, where the individual and a personal relationship with God is emphasized. I dont see it much in Protestant countries.Amazing to see a scion defend a corrupt father or mother and stress the importance of family and loyalty while screwing the rest of humanity….

    5. Edgar Lores says:

      Four G's?Wikepedia: "In telecommunications, 4G is the fourth generation of cell phone mobile communications standards…"In Pinoy politics, 4 G's is what we have – a multi-generation domination of phoney upwardly-mobile inter-related substandard politicos. That's as near a parallel as I can make it.

    6. chohalili says:

      Same broken record, same litany, Filipino is the property of the dynasty. They are the voting zombies that lives in the labyrinth of Squatters and they multiply every hour and become the majority.

    7. Edgar Lores says:

      Oops, my 4G reply went to the bottom. Now you make it 5 G's, DocB.Wikipedia: 5G is used "to denote the next major phase of mobile telecommunication standards beyond 4G… It is not officially used yet…"In Pinoy politics, 5G is what we will continue to have – the next major faces will be the same as before and some have been officially used already.(Wikipedia has entries for 6g, 7g and 8g, but I don't think I can keep up!)

    8. Edgar Lores says:

      Thanks, Andrew. Your observations as a trained economist and man of letters are erudite. You prefix two of the observations with the words "amusing" and "amazing". If I may use those words, political dynasties are amazing in the sense that the "masa are fooled every election", as DocB points out, but they are far from amusing as their loyalty, as you in turn stress, is directed primarily to themselves.

    9. I'm wondering if there are good families and bad families. Good would be Aquino, Roxas, Magsaysay, Angara. Bad would be Marcos, Arroyo, Estrada. Where "bad" is in the sense that one bad apple spoils the barrel because no one trusts the family anymore. Well, better put, JoeAm doesn't trust the family any more. Filipino poor people seem to trust them, good or bad.So rather than looking at individuals, I'd suggest we do a RR Index on the families and decide to "keep" or "toss" selected families from the political mainstream. That would pressure other families to keep a watch on their own relatives and disown the bums. Wouldn't need no stinkin' political watchdogs then.

    10. Edgar Lores says:

      Yes, Chohalili. The book of Ecclesiastes says there is nothing new under the sun, but I don't believe it mentions "voting zombies".The symbiosis between politicians and squatters has been established and is part of the idiocratic phenomenon.I am using big words to describe a big problem because I am truly at a loss as to a solution.Without an effective anti-political dynasty law, there is no gate to close and for the 2013 elections the horses have truly bolted.

    11. Anonymous says:

      Chohalili is perhaps talking about Seth Grahame-Smith's zombie, the modern-day vampire. Seth wrote about Lincoln the vampire killer. Lincoln in Gettysburg spoke about a " government of the (supply a name here like Arroyo's) people, by the (Arroyo's) people, for the (Arroyo's) people shall not perish from the earth." Dynasty is immortal.DocB

    12. Cha says:

      The RH Bill, Freedom of Information Bill, Sin Tax Bill and now this Anti-Political Dynasty Bill, all seemingly good measures that can help push the country forward into becoming a developed and more progressive nation; all stalled with nary a hint of when they will all come to fruition.And what do the Filipinos get instead? The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 which among other things seeks to punish online libel, a provision seen by many as an attempt to silence the emerging strong voices using online portals and social media. Apart from the occasional comic relief provided by the likes of Senator Sotto and the entertainment value of such events like the annual fashion show that accompanies the SONA, is there anything good at all that can come out of this Legislative body?

    13. Edgar Lores says:

      Oops again. Sorry, chohalili, my replies are not pairing today.Joe, that is one solution. The problem with using a wide brush, of course, would be the exceptions in the general classification of good and bad. The Magsaysay barrel, for example, contains Mitos who made the illogical link between the disastrous floods and the RH Bill. And it's possible that there are good Arroyos in some other part of the country apart from Pampanga. I was thinking that if a candidate belonged to a dynasty, the RR Index would not be used at all, a zero would be assigned, and the candidate would go to the bottom automatically. No doubt there are good and bad dynasties, as there are benevolent and non-benevolent dictators. but the general principle – that any undue concentration of power in a democracy is bad – must be observed. I have no idea on how to overcome the possible waste of talent. Perhaps, the solution lies in the definition of what constitutes a dynasty. Some variables, apart from the geographical level mentioned in the essay, are the degree of consanguinity (2nd or 3rd) and the time factor (concurrent or non-concurrent and serial or non-serial). Under these considerations, Bam may be allowed to run for senator after the President's term ends in 2016.

    14. Anonymous says:

      Nada. That's why I don't take pols seriously. Except probably, Jesse. I remember Senator Joker crying in Jesse's wake, he couldn't believe Jesse's family didn't move out of their Naga home and buy a mansion in Alabang, or that Jesse would commute to Naga on weekends. As I've said before, beware of pols wearing Lacoste shirt-the mark of the croc.DocB

    15. Edgar Lores says:

      Hah! You're making me laugh again, DocB. With the 4G and 5G references, I was laughing, but I was dying inside.Now zombies. I haven't seen the movie but I have read portions of "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" which I found amusing. I think you and Chohalili have put a finger on a great truth: trapos and dynastic politicos (and the Church?) are zombie masters who encourage zombie voters to perpetuate immortal dynasties.Perhaps apart from investing in stem cell therapy, you may want to produce a movie combining these topical themes. A sure-fire winner.

    16. Anonymous says:

      If the pinoy political dynasty were a movie it would be called 'Predator'.DocB

    17. Anonymous says:

      Edgar, that's what John Nery wrote in Inquirer. Bam shouldn't run. I agree. The power of symbols.DocB

    18. Anonymous says:

      The bills are counterintuitive that's why they're languishing…how about ammending the nepotism law by including elective posts?DocB

    19. Edgar Lores says:

      Cha and DocB. The great disadvantage of oligarchy in general, and political dynasties in particular, is that priorities are skewed and not set right. Attention is focused on, not exactly trivial matters, but on less important matters. The trapos fiddle while Rome burns.Casting the negatives of a do-nothing Congress, poverty, meddling religious institutions aside, we can count the "blessings" we have using the fingers of more than one hand:- Some good and potentially good politicians as enumerated by Joe- Good executives like the present cabinet- A burgeoning economy- A vigorous fourth estate- The force of social media- A country rich in natural resources- An improving judiciary (?)- An awakening citizenry (?)Are there grounds for optimism? Hmmm…

    20. Anti-Dynasty Bill ? Who would vote for Anti-Dynasty Bill ? The political dynasties entrenched in Congress, Senate and biased Philippine Media? Who is pushing this Anti-Dynasty Bill ? Jesus Mary Mother of God I hope not one of those children of political dynasties.

    21. Filipinos are aware of political dynasties, yet, they still vote for these political dynasties which they know the bane of their country.Wonderful thing about Filipinos is they consider themselves as informed and intelligent voter in electing government officials. When this government officials turns out corrupt, they do not blame themselves for voting these officials intelligently. Therefore, Filipinos are not intelligent voters after all. Intelligence in the Philippines is just a mirage. Because they base their intelligence on theintelligence of the Philippine Media.Change the Philippine Media and you change the minds of the Filipinos.

    22. Here's my encapsulation of the Cybercrime Act, posted on Pro-Pinoy and pasted here today because I'm lazy and need to get back to my internet porn flicks."If the law becomes a tool for the powerful to remain in power, regardless of their ethical standards (e.g., Sotto and his ridiculous charge of being bullied by bloggers), then we can concede that the Philippines remains a totalitarian state, not under dictatorship, but under the rule of mafioso bosses who don't mind sending out their enforcers to rid the earth of people they deem to be pests."

    23. I'm reminded of that fine movie "Shaun of the Dead". I didn't notice the cast of ghouls that well. Maybe they were Filipino voters, now that I think about it. Nah. Probably just Republicans.

    24. Anonymous says:

      How did Sotto get elected? He doesn't own one son of a gun, he doesn't employ goons, he doesn't dig gold and as most bloggers will attest he doesn't possess good looks!

    25. Edgar Lores says:

      DocB,I'll have some of what you had this morning. I plagiarized that from the movie "Harry and Sally".Bills of great importance are usually counter-intuitive. They require serious thought and foresight. It has become apparent lately that the framers of the Constitution were wanting in at least four areas:- Doctrine of separation of Church and State- Provisions for foreign investment and ownership- Party-list system- Political dynastiesQuestion is: Do we amend the Constitution? Currently I belong to the school that the least one fiddles with the Basic Law the better it is. For the most part, with probably the exception of the second item, Congress has the power to change the status quo. The power but not the will as Cha has said. As to that second item, PNoy's fight against corruption seems to have borne economic fruits.There is an anti-nepotism law. The issue with it, I think, is one of non-enforcement. We can point a finger at the trapos again, but the issue goes deeper and relates to our "culture". This blog has analyzed the culture mainly by comparison to the USA, but also by reference to psychological theories. It is hoped that these analyses, references and suggestions of solutions raise the general awareness of where we are and what we can do.

    26. Edgar Lores says:

      Thanks, Mariano.There is great cause for cynicism and yet you offer a solution. So I take that to be a positive sign that there is hope.Your insight on the alleged intelligence of the Filipino voter is true. If you visit barber shops, hairdressing salons and the latest meeting place, the Internet, everyone voices a political opinion and a strident claim that they are right.The media is a mixed bag. The columnists in the established papers are often paid hacks for one politician/party or another. Indeed, for certain columnists, just reading the headline of their columns is enough to give you an idea of content. Actually, one can go further and say just reading the name of the columnist is enough. One needs not only a dose of salt but a full bag when reading these columnists and even the "straight" news.But you are right. One needs to change the media or, as I do, read not one but several papers. In doing this sufficient balance may be achieved to enable the discerning voter to form an educated opinion. There is one Web paper in particular, Rappler.com, that is worth perusing for their analyses of issues.The questions remain: How many of the voting population has access to a computer? And are diligent enough to study and research prospective candidates?

    27. Edgar Lores says:

      Hi, Anon, you make a good point there!Perhaps the total combination of the lack of any of those assets make him stand out.Your guess is as good as mine.

    28. Edgar Lores says:

      Has anyone noticed the date stamp on each comment? September 17? My computer says it's the the afternoon of the 18th.

    29. The blogger clock may be set to US time or Zombie time, I'm not sure. It is something I have never figured out because it is relative to Greenwich time zone and that is too much for my simple mind to deal with. Three years now and you are the first to notice. I will say nothing about nitpicking at all. Nope. Won't.

    30. andrew lim says:

      Joe, can you weigh in on this? Why doesnt America have a lot of these family political dynasties – I can only think of the Kennedys and Bushes and Clintons, but there arent too many of them. Does it have to do with class structure? (wealth is concentrated in a few families, so is education, power, etc)

    31. Anonymous says:

      How about 5th G, gangnam style-comedic flair

    32. Edgar Lores says:

      Interesting, two mentions of 5G Gangnam Style. It's cool, it's hot and it's funky all at the same time.It's not good-looking but it's got energy.Hmmm, it's really not quite a stretch. Those two adjectives seem to be a good description as any of political dynasts and dynasties.

    33. Sure, Andrew. I've not done a thorough study or it but can try to put a few things together. First of all, there are probably more family dynasties than you suspect, maybe not "kings" themselves, but kingmakers. The Rockefellers, the Huntingtons in California, the Adamses and Madisons in the early days, in California the Brown governors, father and son, and I'm sure families in lots of other state's, too. But common folks like Abe Lincoln could also rise up by dint of hard work and a little luck. I think that's because you can't really "buy" elections in the U.S. And never have been able to. So all the money in the world can't offset a bad reputation, or a good reputation of the opponent. The polls are honorable.In addition, Americans study "Civics" in school, which explains how government works and how important voting is. The population is well educated with a lot of reputable media keeping them informed. Not like here, where people go to school but emerge not really grasping the importance of the vote, to the Philippines. And where media don't really do the in-depth reports you will get in the US from different magazines and newspapers.Here, the shallow media water lets "names" ride high.

    34. Plus the law enforcement, judicial and legal systems are more upright, so people have avenues to attack, for instance, vote buying or intimidation at the polls.

    35. Edgar Lores says:

      That's interesting. Here in Oz political dynasties are almost unheard of. There is cronyism but not for money; usually its finding "jobs for the boys", meaning giving cushy jobs like ambassadorships to ex-party-mates who served in parliament. Nepotism is almost unheard of as well.The case in the US is also different in that the returns for political dynasties are not as lucrative as in the Philippines. If you look at any of the current family names mentioned – Kennedys, Bushes and Clintons – the returns are in terms of using power to influence and not of accumulating money. If you look at the male Kennedys and Clintons, it is also about the aphrodisiac of power.In the Philippines, politics is a family industry. It is power, prestige, privilege and money. It may also be that Filipinos are very clannish, with children tending to stay in the nest even after they get married. Westerners tend to leave home at the earliest age possible to enjoy the fruits of independence.Speaking of politics in general, I think the big difference is in the expectations and enforcement of ethical public service behavior. In the Philippines there is none of both. Here in Oz any small misstep of a public servant is criticized immediately by the press. I recall recently a state cabinet member had to resign for speeding offences and a police commissioner for not paying fines for traffic violations. It could have been the other way around. But can you imagine this happening in Manila? The other consideration of enforcement is that there are strong anti-corruption commissions with teeth.

    36. chohalili says:

      Hi Mr. Lores, sorry to sabotage your blog with my zombies…not your expectation from fancy political jargon. Why not? look, these zombies liken to vote for "maliliit, maiitim na maligno" and comedians, tv-anchors, actors and boxer…lmao! what more their Erap that made the palace a bordillo?

    37. andrew lim says:

      Thank you gentlemen for your explanations and examples. They may be anecdotal, but it reinforces my theory that Catholicism may not be the best religion that is compatible to building a just, ethical and economically developed society. For those colonized by Spain, the consequences are similar: underdeveloped economies, high corruption levels in govt and society, defective justice system, amoral familism.Hmmm….

    38. Edgar Lores says:

      Ah, Chohalili, you're a gem. Sabotage? Not at all. Today I learned from you that zombies are the perfect internet meme for the uneducated Filipino voter. If we cannot laugh at ourselves, we will cry and gnash our teeth in constant frustration.

    39. The anti-dynasty bill is a cop-out. Why enact a law prohibiting voters from electing the candidate they want? Is that your idea of democracy?If you don't like dynasties then defeat them at the polls. Campaign against them, convince the voter that there are more negatives than positives to voting for a member of a dynasty.But pass a law that will automatically disqualify a citizen from running for public office because he had the misfortune of being born into a political family or married into one is undemocratic. It deprives the electorate from choosing their elected officials, it deprives individuals from serving the people.You might as well ban political parties. Political parties that remain in power for generations are dynasties too. (For ex, the communist parties of China and the USSR, the PAP pf Singapore, the BN of Malaysia, the PRI of Mexico, the list goes on.) Why differentiate between dynasties based on blood/family ties and dynasties based on political/ideological ties?A dynasty is a dynasty and in a democracy a dynasty is created by voters. Okay there are dynasties in this country that were not created by voters. But as we evolve and mature politically, that manner of creating dynasties is going to disappear. Technology has a way of making those age-old practices obsolete.If voters want change they can bring about change. It's as simple as that. This clamor for an anti-dynasty bill is not only a cop-out it is also the sort of populist crap that comes from demagogues like Miriam and Casiño. Who are they to limit my choices?Trust the intelligence of the voter. Show them some respect. Work hard to convince them to vote for you. That's the way to safe guard democracy. Full stop.

    40. Anonymous says:

      Well done, Manuel. I'm sold!

    41. Edgar Lores says:

      1. Why have the framers of the Constitution included a prohibition against political dynasties?2. What lessons are to be learned from the Ampatuan massacre?3. Why do we have warlords in the provinces?4. How can voters defeat dynasties at the polls when the choice is between two dynasties? Or because the ruling dynast exerts all manner of threats and offers all kinds of inducements?5. Why is it permissible in a democracy to ban certain individuals from running for public office by certain criteria such as age, illiteracy, residency, party, citizenship, or place of birth? 6. Have not certain parties been banned such as the Communist Party of the Philippines and the gay party?The reasons for certain prohibitions and for certain qualifications are simple: that certain qualities of individuals or parties are a threat to the government and its democratic nature, and that certain qualities are necessary to maintain a standard of government and its democratic nature. What is so difficult to understand about that? Freedom is not the total availability to choose anything. That would lead to anarchy. Freedom is the ability to choose responsibly in the full knowledge that certain excesses cannot be permitted.The paradox of freedom is that you must put certain restrictions, certain safeguards to protect it.Trust the intelligence of the voter? Hah!Then why do you have to work hard at all to convince them? Why do people say you have to educate the voters?If you consider the voter to be intelligent already, why the need to "work hard"? That is totally illogical. Full stop.

    42. Edgar Lores says:

      An anti-dynasty bill, if configured correctly, is not a total ban on a family member from running for public office if another family member is or was in public office. As mentioned in one of the comments there are variables, and one important variable is that of time.Remember the basic principle is to avoid undue concentration of power. That concentration can be diluted or dissipated through time as given in the example of Bam running for office after the President's term.Consider the Binay scenario for instance. The wife is a mayor and the husband is a vice-president. Assuming that the wife was in office before the husband ran for the vice-presidency, the following rules might have been put in effect:1. The husband should not be allowed to run for any office where the duration of his term overlaps with that of his wife's. This is the principle of non-concurrency of office.2. The husband can be allowed to run if the wife voluntarily resigns from office the minute the husband files his candidacy. This is to avoid the wife from exerting any undue influence on the candidacy of her husband.3. Naturally, the husband is allowed to run when his wife is no longer in office. For the same reason given above.Now let's go back in time when the husband was mayor and the wife was not in office.1. The wife should not be allowed to run for the next term immediately following her husband's incumbency. This is the principle of non-consecutive-serialization of office. This is to avoid the incumbent (the husband) from exercising undue influence on the candidacy of his wife.2. The wife would be permitted to run for the office of mayor after a term that does not immediately follow her husband's.Therefore, democracy is not contravened and people can have their choice. It is a matter of correct timing to ensure that power is not concentrated within a specific period of time.

    43. Edgar Lores says:

      Mr BuencaminoPlease see my reply below. Although I do not entirely trust the intelligence of the Filipino voter, I trust you will share your views on the questions and answers below and enlighten us.I looked up the definition of cop-out, and it is “a failure to face some difficulty squarely”.In that sense, I totally agree with you that the anti-political dynasty bills in their present form are cop-outs. They do not spell out in detail the rules needed to squarely solve the difficulties posed by dynasties. This was the thrust of the article and the comments below.This is not to say that such a bill is not necessary.I believe I have adequately countered your main argument that such a bill will disqualify a citizen running for office by "the misfortune" of his family affiliation, and that therefore voters are not deprived from "electing a candidate they want." I have given examples of the scope and the rules that an anti-political dynasty bill should consider.If you choose to do a cop-out, I will understand.

    44. Degar, I'm galactically pleased to inform you that I figured out the blogger time setting. It was very complex. I had to push the button labeled "Manila". It should be Philippine time going forward.

    45. Now my keyboard, that is another matter I have to work on. Erratum: "Edgar"

    46. Anonymous says:

      Nice fleshing out of a practical point. Thanks. Wish this would find its way into Casiño's or Defensor's staff and for them to resurrect those bills and give us hope for this benighted country.DocB

    47. Let me try to address your questions point by point. I will not repost your questions because there is a 4096 limit to characters,1. "I have asked that question myself. How can intelligent people create such an absurd provision/prohibition?"2. Ampatuan"Many. But the main lesson that you should take with you is this: It happens most often in societies where people know they will not be held accountable. The lesson you should not take with you is that it is grounds for saying no to dynasties."3. Warlords?"Evolution. From families to tribes etc Why are there less warlords now? Evolution also. Because people are becoming more educated they become conscious of the means available for liberating themselves from oppression"4. Defeat dynasties "(a) The solution is to introduce a third choice. (b) If you value freedom you will fight for it, pay any price for it."5. Permissible to ban certain individuals "Because it is obvious that you don't want a 3 year old who belongs to a party whose avowed aim is to sell your country down the drain to the enemy state he was born in to run your country. As to illiteracy, there is no literacy test for voters. For Congress, the Executive and the Court the candidates must be able to read and write. For obvious administrative, judicial, and legislative reasons.Anyway, these qualifications are arbitrary. They can be done away with just as arbitrarily."6. Parties banned "Yes."6a. The reasons for certain prohibitions and for certain qualifications are simple: that certain qualities of individuals or parties are a threat to the government and its democratic nature, and that certain qualities are necessary to maintain a standard of government and its democratic nature. "Do you want to include race, color , creed so as to make your statement more specific? Because when you speak of certain standards and qualities then you bring up the issue of majorities and that's where you run up against prejudices that are justified purely on the basis of the majority outlawing certain minority groups. Thus you have gays not given party list status."7 Freedom is not the total availability to choose anything. That would lead to anarchy. Freedom is the ability to choose responsibly in the full knowledge that certain excesses cannot be permitted."Agree, Freedom comes with responsibilities."8. The paradox of freedom is that you must put certain restrictions, certain safeguards to protect it."Agree."9. Trust the intelligence of the voter? Hah!"If you don't trust the intelligence of the voter then how can you trust the intelligence of those they elected into office? How can you buy as intelligent those absurd ideas they propose such as an anti-dynasty bill?"10. Then why do you have to work hard at all to convince them? Why do people say you have to educate the voters?a) "You work hard to sway voters over to your side because your opponent is working hard to sway them to his point of view."b) "You educate voters to your advocacy. If they don't know about it then you have to inform them, or educate them. Because not all truths are manifest."11. If you consider the voter to be intelligent already, why the need to "work hard"? That is totally illogical. Full stop."I consider the voter to be intelligent already so I have to work hard to convince them that I am right and my opponent is wrong. That is not totally illogical. It is logical and practical. There are two or more sides to issues and you need to get all the facts out so that an intelligent person can make an intelligent assessment. You see, my friend, intelligence and ignorance are not the same thing. That's why you have to work hard at providing information for intelligent people. Full stop."

    48. Edgar Lores says:

      Thank you for your reply. I note you have answered the questions, but not my rebuttal of your main argument.On your points:1. You say the prohibition is absurd, but give no reason why it is absurd.2. Isn't it the case that the Ampatuans are a dynasty? And it is precisely because they have gained so much power that they think and feel they are not accountable to anybody? Therefore the lesson one should take is that dynasties are a proven danger.3. I find your answer unresponsive. You will note that President PNoy has tasked the DILG to dismantle private armies.4. You beg the question: How can a third choice be introduced when the dynast will not permit that choice?5. I disagree that qualifications are arbitrary. They are there for a reason. My point here was that qualifications and standards are imposed to safeguard the state and democracy. And therefore if dynasties are a danger to the state and democracy, it is justified and necessary to pass an anti-political dynasty bill.6. Yes, thank you, finally our first agreement.6a. This is not a continuation of item 6, which was the last of my questions. My statement stands as is; I do not wish to add specific qualities. The issue is not about a majority suppressing a minority group. The issue is as stated in point 5, which is the need for safeguards. In 6a I am stating the principle of why safeguards are necessary.7. Thank you, our second agreement.8. Thank you. In this case, you confirm point 6a.9. The state of Philippine politics is such that the obvious non-intelligence of the majority of voters is reflected in the obvious non-intelligence of some of the elected officials. Was GMA an intelligent choice? Is Sotto?I agree that not all truths are manifest. But if the Filipino voter is intelligent as you claim, then they would attempt to cure their ignorance, wouldn't they? The first step of intelligence is the knowledge that you are ignorant. And if that is recognized that you do not need someone to work hard for you. You have to work hard for yourself.So you see, we have come back to the first point, the "absurd idea" of an anti-dynasty bill.As I have stated in my challenge: Start quote "I believe I have adequately countered your main argument that such a bill will disqualify a citizen running for office by "the misfortune" of his family affiliation, and that therefore voters are not deprived from "electing a candidate they want." I have given examples of the scope and the rules that an anti-political dynasty bill should consider." End quote.Thank you for the courtesy of your reply, and I hope you will consider the validity of some of my points. Our common wish, after all, is for a better Philippines.

    49. Edgar Lores says:

      DocB, thanks.I seriously did not consider having to spell out these points. I would have taken it as a given that our elected officials would have considered all these when authoring a bill.Sadly, I have been proven wrong.

    50. Edgar Lores says:

      I believe we are 2 or 3 hours ahead in Oz. The computer clock says 1:54 AM on the 20th of the nine. Let's see what comes up.

    51. Edgar Lores says:

      Bingo! Two hours ahead.

    52. Edgar,Points one, two and three are related. I repeat it is non-accountability and not dynasty that is root of the problem. That's why the Const. provision is absurd. It misses the point. And in the hopes of engendering democracy it endangers it.I did not beg the question on dynasties. I answered it. I gave you the solution. Now your follow up question: How can a third choice be introduced when the dynast will not permit that choice? Well the dynast will try to prevent a third choice from happening but trying to prevent and not permitting are not the same. To accept non-permission from a dynast means you have no fight in you.The qualifications are arbitrary. Why 25, 35, or 40 years of age for certain offices? Why has the voting age been lowered from 21 to 18 over time? Because there is no scientific or moral basis for setting those age qualifications other than arbitrariness or caprice. How is democracy safeguarded by those age requirements?Now you avoided confronting my argument that the dynasty bill is an example of a majority discriminating against a minority. Safeguards to a majority are chains to a minority. Please show me how my argument about discrimination does not apply to dynasties.I agree that GMA and Sotto were not intelligent choices. But I doubt those who voted for them will agree with my assessment or yours. So the failure is not their intelligence rather it is our failure to convince them to go over to our side.As to curing ignorance. Sometimes the medicine, information, is not readily available. That's why advocates have to work hard at making it available to the public. Like you I used to buy into that anti-dynasty crusade. But over time I have seen that dynasty is not the problem. Non-accountability is the problem. That's what you need to address. Besides, good leaders are hard to find. So let's not make the search more difficult by eliminating some candidates for reasons that have nothing to do with their qualifications.

    53. Edgar Lores says:

      Mr Buencamino,Disregarding all the associated issues, which I think we will never get to agree on because we see things differently, basically what I dispute is that an anti-dynasty bill absolutely eliminates a candidate for consideration in an election.The prohibition is not absolute. Interpreted correctly per my examples, it is a limited prohibition within a period of time. And the reason for doing that is clear in the principle that any undue concentration of power is a danger to democracy.For argument's sake, I will respond to your argument of the majority discriminating against the minority: to me, this is a non-issue because majority rule is the definition per se of democracy. In which case, "discrimination" is not the correct word to apply.The argument of discrimination is, if you like, a side-stepping of the central issue, which is whether safeguards are necessary to protect democracy. And in conceding items 7 and 8 you have made the case I am putting forward as to this central issue.I agree with you that non-accountability, in large part, is the problem. And in the Philippines, political dynasties account for a great part of that problem. Proof: the Ampatuans. Can I convince you to return to the truth of your original perception?Thank you again for engaging in this discourse and setting the tone at a high level. I am respectfully yours.

    54. Edgar Lores says:

      I just had another thought. As further proof: the unseemly imbroglio in the Senate last night originated from the desired carving up of Camarines Sur. All for the sake of the perpetuation of dynastic power of the Arroyos and Villafuertes.

    55. Mr Lores,The bill on the creation of a new district in Camarines will still have to go through a plebiscite. So it's not a done deal. Like I said, dynasties will do what they can and the public must do as they must.

    56. Edgar Lores says:

      Thank you. I guess in the absence of an appropriate anti-dynasty law the people must carry on as best as they can.

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