Breaking up Dynasties by Breaking up Campaign Contributions

cayetano dynastyCompiling this blog has been fascinating as I was forced to confront my own presumptions and discover them to be, if not wrong, at least a bit shaky. The headline was written in anticipation of what the blog would conclude.  Let’s go through the facts and arguments and see where we come out.

Philippine democracy and Philippine commerce are characterized by the vesting of considerable power and wealth in the hands of a few individuals. Some call this an oligarchy, some call the top players the elite. Most people understand that the Philippines remains unstable to the extent that any handful of power brokers can band together and redefine the nation.

Distribution of power ensures stability and cross-checks. But the Philippines can’t seem to get there.


The Philippine legislature has from time to time hauled out legislation to try to deal with the Constitutional mandate that dynasties are bad for the nation. The Constitution says this:

  • Article II, Section 26:  The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.

Wikipedia puts the percentage of dynastic members in Congress at about 62%, unchanged from the time the Constitution was drafted. In other words, the nation’s leaders are failing at implementing the spirit of the Constitutional mandate. Section 26 cannot be implemented because Congress has never been able to define what “political dynasty” means.

Let’s make clear on the significance of that. It means that the Philippine Congress, as a collective, does not have the brains or will to define a word. The word being “dynasty”.

Brains or will?

They have had 16 years to do it and can’t get it done.

Anti-dynasty laws get bickered off the table because there are so many dynastic members of Congress rising up to find fault with the language or concept.

Some of these political leaders, such as Vice President Binay, say there is nothing wrong with dynasties at all. His words:

  • “I don’t believe in prohibiting dynasties. Why should there be a law to prohibit someone who is qualified [from running] when the people want him [elected]? The real spirit of democracy is the will of the people—vox populi,”  [Source: Inquirer]

Well, so when self-interest rises, to hell with the Constitution, eh? To hell with the law of the land.

You wonder how cultures are established? For instance, the culture of ignoring laws if the laws are inconvenient?

There you go. Read it in black and white. You know.

To be clear, there are also leaders who seek to get the anti-dynasty provision enacted. Senator Santiago seems to be the most outspoken advocate of implementing the Constitution. She says bluntly, dynastic influences in politics are “immoral”.


I’ve got a new way to define dynasty. It is roundabout, and really focuses on the first part of Section 26, or the “spirit” of that particular section, which is to guarantee equal access to public service for all citizens.

A dynasty is defined to exist when an individual candidate obtains more than 5% of his political contributions from a single person or from a group of people acting in concert.

This has the advantage of not penalizing a candidate for the superficiality of a “name”, but does penalize the candidate if he or she become susceptible to being “under the influence” of an individual or influence group.

Now, certainly family members, if they are influential, can garner up enough money to give their favorite son or daughter or nephew a big boost. But that is politics, is it not? A skilled candidate, by either leveraging his contacts (as he would in office) or appealing to the broad masses (as she would in office), can find a way to get elected. The influential and the capable will make their way into office.

angara dynasty

Let’s look at a few of the recent candidates for Senate. Where did they get their money, and how broadly was their base of contributors?


Here are five cases that illustrate what a 5% individual contribution limit would have done to senatorial campaign funding:

Nancy Binay

Total Contributions Received: P136,869,398.78 from 1,228 contributors

  • Santiago Cua, chairman emeritus of the Philippine Racing Commission (PRC) – 7 million pesos
  • Laura dela Cruz Lunod, general manager of Medlink Marketing – 6 million
  • Emmanuel Arroyo Atienza from Quezon City – 5 million pesos
  • Edison B. Marzan, president and CEO of Marzan Pharma Corporation – 5 million pesos
  • Amadeo Martin Gonzales from Quezon City – P2.5 million
  • John Philip Lesaca, musician and head of Intellectual Property Coalition  – P2.5 million
  • Roberto L. Nazal – P2.5 million
  • Mario A. Oreta, president of Alphaland Corporation – P2 million
  • Victor Limlingan, managing director of DMCI Holdings, Inc. – P1 million
  •  Roleda, owner of B. Vicencio Construction and former Manila councilor – P2 million

Sonny Angara

Total Contributions Received: P113,328,397.20

  • Sen Edgardo Angara (Father) – 40 million pesos
  • ACCRA Law Offices (17 attorneys) – 13.3 million
  • Risa A. Moises, president of bus company Genesis Transport Services Inc. (GTSI) – 5 million
  • Bellaflor Angara-Castillo (Aunt), outgoing Aurora governor- 1 million
  • Lindy Castillo (Cousin) – 1 million
  • Delro Realty Inc – 9.7 million worth of air time
  • Sea and Sierra Vista Inc – 11.1 million worth of air time
  • Patricia Echauz-Chilip, businesswoman- 5 million
  • Eumeriano Aquende from Legazpi City, Albay – P3.5 million
  • Dalmacio O. Lim of Lim Ho Chuan Seng Enterprises in Ozamis City, Misamis Occidental – 2.5 million
  • Protech Technology, a physical security equipment company in Pasay City -2 million

Grace Poe-Llamanzares

Total Contributions Received: P123,605,341.27

  • Grace Poe’s mother, Susan Roces (going by her married name Jesusa Poe) – 17.4 million
  • FPJ Productions Inc -12.7 million in cash and in kind
  • Thomas A. Tan, a member of the San Miguel Corp. board of directors – 10 million
  • Edwin L. Luy, president of Triton Securities Corp. – 10 million
  • Michael Escaler, chairman and president of All Asian Countertrade, Inc. – 10 million
  • John Paul L. Ang – P10 million.
  • Kasigod Jamias, president of Zuellig Corporation – 5 million
  • Bryan U. Villanueva, incorporator of Top Frontier Investment Holding, Inc. – 5 million
  • Paulo E. Campos, Jr., general manager of The Pearl Hotel Manila – 5 million
  • Teodoro Llamanzares (Husband) – P4 million
  • Juan Martin Syquia – 1.5 million
  • Juan Carlos Syquia, managing director and country head of Standard Chartered Bank – 1 million.
  • Carlos Cao Jr, former Philippine Overseas Employment Administration chief – 1 million
  • Roger Federezo of FPJ for President Movement (FPJPM) – 1 million
  • Philip E. Juico, dean of De La Salle Graduate School of Business – 1 million
  • Alvin D. Tolentino, owner of Eastern Telecommunications – 1 million
  • Miguel Antonio Ozaeta, director of Smart Communications, Inc – 1 million

Alan Peter Cayetano

Total Contributions Received: P130,425,463.81 

  • Sen Manuel Villa, Nacionalista Party president and outgoing Sen – 10 million pesos
  • Raoul Antonio Littaua, businessman – 10 million
  • NAC senior vice president Jose Bayani Baylon – 7 million.
  • Ronaldo Zamora, San Juan City Rep – 5 million
  • Martin Antonio Zamora, senior vice president at Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC) – 5 million.
  • John Antonio Cabigon from Consolacion town – 5 million
  • Dr. Lucelle Mercado of Cebu City – 5 million
  • Joseph Gothong, shipping heir from Cebu City – 5 million
  • Jorge Jaime V. Pascual – 5 million
  • Ma. Milagrosa Dieza, entrepreneur – 5 million
  • Rowel S. Barba, lawyer and vice president of RFM Corp. – 3 million
  • Ermerito Remulla – 3 million
  • Angel Ngu – 2.5 million
  • Jose Emmanuel Escaro, Assistant Secretary in the Office of the President – 2 million
  • Dr. Billy T. Tusalem of Cagayan de Oro City – 1.5 million
  • Edmundo L. Tan, Sabino Acut, Jr. and Bernard Lopez, senior partners of the Tan Acut Lopez and Pison Law Offices – a combined 1.3 million in donations
  • Francisco Javier Zamora, San Juan City vice mayor-elect  – 1 million
  • Mark Christian Ampig, director of Alabang Auto Exchange – 1 million
  • Atty. Antonio Bucoy – 1 million
  • Joseph Robert de Claro, President of JMango Philippines – 1 million
  • Darwin Icay, Taguig City councilor and spokesperson of his wife, Taguig City mayor Lani Cayetano – 1 million
  • Victor Andres Manhit, managing director of Stratbase Consultancy Inc. – 1 million
  • Medialdea Ata Bello Guevarra and Suarez Law Office – 1 million

Richard Gordon

Total Contributions Received: P4,794,200.00

  • George Lorenzana, owner of White Rock Beach Hotel in Subic, Zambales – P3,234,150 worth of air time


Here’s a summary table of what it means in terms of total campaign dollars that would be disqualified by a 5% individual donor threshhold:

(Amounts in pesos except # Donors)

Candidate Total Contributions 5% Limit on Individual Donations Total Contributions Disqualified # Donors
Binay      136,869,399         6,843,470             156,530 1
Angara      113,328,397         5,666,420         41,967,160 2
Poe      123,605,341         6,180,267         33,018,398 6
Cayetano      130,425,644         6,521,282          7,436,153 3
Gordon         4,794,200           239,710          2,994,290 1

The shocker for me was Nancy Binay. By name, she is the member of a dynasty. But by campaign dollars, she was a candidate of the people. She got money from over 1,200 people.

Sonny Angara was a candidate of his father who poneyed up an amazing – some would say desperate, others obscene, others foolish, others loving  – 40 million pesos. Young Sonny Angara’s campaign kitty with a 5% limit on individual contributions would have had to return 42 million pesos to large donors. He would have had a 71 million peso campaign coffer.

Grace Poe also surprised me with the number of large donors she reported. She obviously circulates in a moneyed class. Her kitty would have been a more modest 90 million pesos if the 6 large contributors had been rebated their excess contributions.

Alan Cayetano had a broad base of mid-range contributors and would have had his total pared by only 7 million pesos. He may be dynasty, but he is clearly popular among a broad range of people.

Dick Gorden. “We hardly knew ye’.” This former senator and presidential aspirant had only four donors. He really only had one of substance, who gave him his air time. By our formula, he would have had virtually no campaign cash. Put him down as a gigantic fizzle. He competed in the early going on reputation alone, then faded as the horses came to the voting booths.

Perhaps there is a message here for President Aquino regarding Mar Roxas. The taint of “loser” is hard to overcome.

So what do we take from this:

There is the dynastic FAMILY NAME

There is the dynastic MONEY.

There is the dynastic INFLUENCE.

The draft anti-dynasty laws try to define dynasty in terms of family relationships. Here is how Senator Santiago defined dynasty in her draft legislation penned in 2011.

  • “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.
  • “Second Civil Degree of Consanguinity 9r Affinity” – shall refer to the relatives of a person who may be the latter’s brother or sister, whether of full or half-blood, direct  ascendant or direct descendant, whether legitimate, illegitimate or adopted, including their spouses.

This law would ban close relatives from running at the same time within a given province, and would ban close relatives from following an incumbent relative in the same office. If I read Senator Santiago right, among our five case studies, Senators Angara and Cayetano would not have been allowed to run because they have close relatives in the Senate. Senator Binay is okay. Her father was Mayor of Makati before being elected Vice President.

My proposal seeks to limit dynastic influence by limiting the degree of influence any one donor might have on a politician. Now Senator Angara may have a dynastic name, but he should not be penalized for it if he indeed has a strong law-making background, which the young Senator does. His schooling is rigorous, and he was an active force for constructive legislation in the House of Representatives.

But if he is capable, he could and should raise his own funds from a broad base of contributors. Not gain them in the unwholesome “trade of favors” among rich people that is the pernicious bane Philippine democracy, one degree of consanguinity short of corruption.


What do we see as most beneficial for the Philippines?

I personally would rather have a Sonny Angara over a Nancy Binay, even though the former is an official dynastic heir and the latter is not. One has demonstrated capability, the other has demonstrated popularity.

In that pairing, if it were a choice between the two, the dynasty law would force a bad one.

Would Sonny Angara have made the top 12 without 42 million pesos in his campaign fund? He was not in the top 12 in the early polls, but moved up soundly as the campaign progressed. I rather think he would have made it, but he might have had to work a little harder to do it (either raising more small donations or being more visible on the campaign trail). That is I believe he does have CAPABILITY, and winning the election would prove it.

Applying a contribution limit sets up a bit of an administrative nightmare:

  • We have to define what a single entity might be. Would 12 attorneys from one law firm be a single entity? In my mind, yes.
  • Who will referee this? Judges would have to be appointed to weigh the claims and counter claims and quickly render a final decision.
  • What comes first, the chicken or egg? A candidate doesn’t know how much to spend unless he knows how his funds are distributed among donors. The solution is to spend in stages, and accept large donations with the caveat that funds will be returned if overall donations do not meet expectations. I rather think this can be worked out. Pragmatics dictate that it be worked out.
  • What are penalties if a candidate is found to have violated the limit after having been elected? The election is rendered invalid and he or she is removed from office.

Well, if COMELEC can worry about the drinks we are buying or the dollars we are withdrawing from banks prior to elections, they are fully capable of working  out these nits. I’d say these nits are more important to the overall integrity of elections than what COMELEC currently focuses on.

37 Responses to “Breaking up Dynasties by Breaking up Campaign Contributions”
  1. Maria Socorro Reyes says:

    Depends on the truthfulness of the candidates. Some of the reports, especially the omissions, are incredible.

    • Joe America says:

      You know, Maria, you raise a superb point. I like Grace Poe because she speaks straight. It may be she is just fresh and new and has not yet been spoiled by years of political gameplaying, but for now, she gets my full attention and confidence. Whereas take someone like Sotto, I think almost every word he speaks is a deceit, a play, an attempt to shape other people to his agenda. I don’t trust a word he says. Nancy Binay seems to me to be a puppet. When she speaks, I don’t hear her, I hear her father. I don’t know about young Angara. Is he a puppet of his father? Less so than Senator Binay I think.

      • Lil says:

        Hmmm…wonder why Nancy is a puppet… Could it have something to do with her OJT? 😉

        • Joe America says:

          Could be, could be . . .

          A corporate executive or HR Department exec would have in his desk drawer a “job description” for every position reporting to him. It would identify responsibilities of the job and experience, educational or skill requirements a job applicant would have to have to do the job well.

          What does a senator need to know and do?

          Understand existing laws.
          Ability to write new laws.
          Ability to work with others (others being strong-minded and intelligent attorneys, mainly).
          Ability to assess constituents’ interests
          Ability to communicate with others, and with constituents

          I do fear the lady in blue failed to demonstrate the necessary aptitudes for that. But she did demonstrate a fine grasp of being an assistant.

      • Maria Socorro Reyes says:

        I am hopeful of her, too. What a challenge she faces in shepherding the FOI bill!

        • Joe America says:

          Indeed. At first I thought her Committee Chair assignments were obscure, then it became clear they are not. FOI and police and media. Hardly obscure. I hope she works them well, too.

  2. edgar lores says:

    1. The difficulty of the scheme is that it can be easily scammed.

    1.1. How would a group of contributors be possibly identified as “acting in concert”?
    1.2. A law office of 12 attorneys may break up their contribution to sidestep the 5% limit. Or maintain their single identity to be able to collect future favors.
    1.3. Data on political donations may not be made available until after the elections. So claim and counterclaim would be processed after the elections after winners have been declared. This would result in immense confusion.

    2. The Miriam definition of dynasty is not comprehensive. Under a different definition of the word, Nancy is as much a dynast as Alan.

    2.1. The Binays themselves have never denied that they are a dynasty.
    2.2. The broad base of Nancy’s political donations would be evidence of the wide exchange of favors transacted by the Vice President. He is hostage to the contributors and the people have to pay the ransom.

    3. On the contributions:
    3.1. I note that no single contributor listed has anted a significant amount to several candidates although one may have spread lesser amounts across the board.
    3.2. The highest total contributions are in the P130M – P138M range. Annually, senators receive P63.6M in regular salary and allowances, and a pork barrel fund of P200M.
    3.3. Perhaps political donations should be to a party rather than candidates to strengthen the party concept and the associated requirements of election platforms and policies. A certain percentage of donations to individual candidates should be funnelled to the party.

    4. Rappler reports that there are “around 178 active political dynasties in the Philippines, with 94% of provinces having at least one political dynasty.” The nation-wide 62% is humongous in contrast to 7% in the US. Some families have held power for more than 30 years.
    4.1. The Constitution is right to prohibit this anti-democratic scourge and Binay is wrong. But the scourge is insuperable.

    • Joe America says:

      1. Yes, agree. Laws would have to be passed like anti-money laundering that would bar distribution of cash to second parties to fund elections. And banking regulations would have to be changed (as they should be anyway) to allow law enforcement access, under warrant, to banking transaction information. All in all, a deal killer.

      2.1 The Binays don’t respect the Constitution. That speaks in powerful, powerful words. Especially for the 2016 election.
      2.2 The word “Organization” comes to mind, using definition number 8, “Mafia mob”.

      3.1 Very good supplementary research. There are a lot of people with money, and they have their favorite horses.
      3.2 I have a feeling this will escalate in the future.
      3.3 I have to think through that. I don’t know if I agree or not.

      4.1 “Scourge” is herein designated the word of the day.

      Thanks for your fine scalpel work.

      • edgar lores says:

        Under the scheme, would it be possible to buy a presidency by a contributor giving money to the candidate he wishes to lose? Rather than to the candidate he wishes to win?

        • Joe America says:

          The criminality would have to be placed with the donor rather than the candidate. That was a flaw in my reasoning. But your point is well taken, it is a rat’s nest to enforce if people WANT to skirt the intent. I think it could be implemented in the US but not in the Philippines. Better enforcement, fewer people willing to skirt laws.

  3. Killer says:

    A fine effort, sir.

    I wonder if the difficulty in comprehensively defining “dynasty” is due to how problematic it is to prove its core: Intent.

    • Joe America says:

      That’s indeed the problem, isn’t it? That’s why I say the “superficiality” of name is not a good basis for regulations because dynasty members are sometimes the most educated, experienced and skilled people around. Why would we want to ban them and go with mediocrity?

      Agreed, the system promotes an elite class, and that is why they are there, but that should be fixed by giving more people opportunity, rather than banning skill from jobs.

      And a non-dynasty politician can be just as much “under the influence” of wealthy and pernicious other people as a name politician.

      I’d say the best solution is opening up opportunity for a broader range of people.

      • Killer says:

        Agreed–we kill it by introducing a new species: the competent politico. Joseph, below, puts out good starting points (2 and 4, I totally disagree with the current party-list system) for achieving the variety this country’s political landscape needs.

      • edgar lores says:

        On education:

        1. I suspect we put too much weight on extended education beyond a basic college degree.
        2. The scions of oligarchs may have degrees from abroad but their education might be a “superficiality” as well. Three comparative cases in point: GMA was Clinton’s classmate at Wharton and she was a disaster. In contrast, Magsaysay enrolled in UP but earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce from an unknown university. And the Australian politician Paul Keating, first Treasurer than Prime Minister, was just a high school graduate.
        3. I think that “heart” is a more important criterion than extra college degrees.
        4. Of course, in business, a lot more undergraduates are successful. “Over education” might improve breeding but might also paper over natural intuition and drive. I have in mind Mar Roxas and Jun Abaya.
        4. It’s a paradox but democracy, a government of the people, does require a measure of elitism in its leaders. That elitism may consists, not only of education but, perhaps more importantly, of intellect and character.

        • On over education and and inconsistency in practice, I think gov’t agencies should adopt stricter qualifications for the top posts. For example, if you work at the DOTC, the Secretary appointee should have lengthy working experience as executives in a related industry (i.e. bus companies, airlines, etc.). Presidents just give cabinet positions as gifts to generous campaign contributors and closest political allies.

      • Joe America says:

        “over education” = Roxas and Abaya. ahahahaha Made me laugh. I REALLY like Abaya’s resume, U.S. military academy, something like 12 years in the Philippine navy, term in the House of Representiatives. Unfortunately, his current job, like that of Mar Roxas, has him mired in muddy work clothes and neither is rising to shine. Rather than a crisp, clear decision from Abaya on airports, we have an enduring wobble, the studying and thinking and inaction whilst airplanes over Manila are stuck in flight waiting for a landing slot, and passengers are stuck in plastic tubes on the runway waiting for a takeoff slot. Rather than a loud firing of cops for abuse of authority or a shake-up of organization from Roxas, we have incident after incident of abuse.

        That’s part of the reason I feel my presidential voting preference being drawn to Grace Poe. She has heart and character, and a place to shine.

  4. JosephIvo says:

    Like in other parts of live a dynasty is one of those things you recognize when you see one, even without having a watertight definition or any definition at all. There are plenty of examples of how the legal system struggles with this kind concepts (pornography, quality…). Trying to catch them always leads to ridiculous situations, evident situations escaping, innocent ones being prohibited. In the case of a dynasty I would try to err at the side of prohibiting innocent cases. The siblings and/or family of a politicians might be excellent in their own right but so are many outsiders.

    In my system I would work with a point system getting more severe over the years. First degree family simultaneously in the same function: 10 points, in parallel or as successor, first degree family in the same area legislative / executive / judicial: 8 points, in an unrelated area 5 points. Second degree relatives half that amount, third degree relatives one third and so on. Start with allowing 15 points, reduce two point every 3 years. (Points system is negotiable , just a first thought)

    Set up parallel legislation to discourage dynasties.

    1- ENCOURAGE PARTIES. In a emerging democracy (= cause / effect between good politicians and good governance not well established yet) it is essential to have a staggered system. Or people select representatives that select legislators or, more common, candidates are nominated by (powerful) parties. To make these parties powerful they need resources to finance election campaign’s, to finance recruiting events and youth parties, to finance think tanks and subject experts, etc. So allow larger contributions to parties and only very small ones to individuals.

    2- Increase transparency. Publish performance, attendance, results achieved, intellectual background, SALN, main campaign contributors of current and previous elections, family members in official positions… all in a standard way on a Comelec website with easy access, to be posted also in Barangay hall, city halls, …

    3- Review the party list system as a better tool to engage new(?) political knowledgeable people.

    4- Promote political thinking in education. Real elections for student bodies, real powers for student bodies starting in High School. Subsidize political student associations.

    • Joe America says:

      Superb methodology that would indeed put the people in charge by giving them information on which to base their votes. I don’t see current elected officials as having an interest. It too much takes the ability to twist and shout out of the equation.

      In that same vein, I’d like to know exactly WHY President Aquino does not have FOI as priority legislation if he indeed sees the people as his boss.

    • 1. I agree with this. The downside is that patronage may turn from personality to party-based. Still, we could hope politicians to put greater value on party membership and avoid turncoat behaviors if they were nominated by a party.

      3. Yes. In addition, ensure that trapos won’t be able to abuse the party-list system to ensure political survival. Think of Mikey Arroyo and his “party-list”.

  5. J says:

    Great proposal, Joe. But why not just limit campaign spending to a minimum, say PhP5 million? That way we also level the field for lesser-known but competent candidates.

    • Joe America says:

      That makes even more sense, and simplifies the accounting. I think the amount for governorships and local elections would have to be scaled lower. But for legislators, P5 million is a good cap.

    • Nice idea about the cap. Still, I’m not too idealistic about the practicality of this minimum amount; this will struggle similar to what the FOI is experiencing at the moment. Too radical for the powerful trapo and media lobbies.

      • Joe America says:

        Ahhh, I hadn’t thought about the media lobbies. It surprise me, however, that President Aquino does not see the connection between hidden information and corruption, or, if he does, that he is willing to neglect it. That would be highly disappointing.

  6. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    It is a MIRACLE! Benigno Simeon Cojuanco Aquino III a product of oligarchy, monopoly, dynasty and slave-holding family came out effective. By a fluke this unknown Benigno was seen bawling over his dead Mama like a baby. Filipinos fell for it. Filipinos know they hate oligarchy, monopology, dynasty, slave-holders, communism, elites and cronyism but they vote for him anyway. It turned out he is goot not the usual product of ilustrados.

    Why he is goot? I can only guess. He doesn’t have a wife that runs the country on the side. Of course the caliber of Benigno only marries from the usual suspects: Oligarchy, monopology, dynasty, slave holders and elites that do not care about Filipinos. Yes, they do not care about Filipinos because these elites are mostly tisoys and tisays and tsinitos and tsinitas. Filipinos are dwarves, midget, brown-skin-punk’d nose & crooked teeth.

    Benigno has been dumped so many times despite of his stature. So he takes his ire of these elites. Benigno knows where to hit them hard because he came from this strata of society. Now it is his revenge. The elite are now afraid. The best elite can do to tame Benigno’s vengeance is to marry him off to a pretty princess in red riding hood with evil grandmother hiding under the sheet.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      In the Philippines, for every successful politician is a wife and relatives ruining the country.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Mama Mia, Effective Gordon have very little contribution because Gordon is a tough guy that do not mince words. The contributors, mostly crooked businesspeople with special interest, did not want Gordon because they know they cannot buy him. The Philippine Media cowers in front of him that is why they’d rather not cover him. Politics in the Philippines is popularity, if politicians whine and dine with englischtzes-snob Philippine Media it is a death knell. That is why Benigno can only wryly criticize the media of criticiaing him Benigno knows his handlers knows. Benigno knows how clannish and vindictive the Media is.

      • Joe America says:

        My son was born in the Gordon Hospital in Olongapo. The family is having a hard time hanging on to that city. He’s too emotionally keyed up for my taste. I wish he had made the Senate though. Because he is an earnest man, and not a soft-spoken one.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Filipino political contributors do not give money out of nothing or out of patriotism for the goot of the Filipinos. No! They are there for their special interest. They are there to collect Utang-na-Loob. The contributors know that they cannot collect utang-na-loob from Dick. They know that for sure. Dick is Kobe Bryant cocky. Who’d want him.

      The following American politicnas demeanor that cannot make it into voting both:

      1. Arnold Scharzenegger
      2. Eliot Spitzer
      3. Weiner
      4. Chris Christie
      5. many others …

      Filipinos would want Obama-ish kind of persona …

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Want to break up Dynasties? Start with SALN. Problem is Filipinos are not numbers people. The ask for SALN and only use it on targeted perceived competetitors because Filipinos know that Filipinos are bunch of liars. SALN is Filipinos’ legal means of blackmail.

  7. manuel buencamino says:


    I think the focus should be on the voter. There are elections every three years. That’s the check on dynasties. You get rid of voter intimidation, – guns and goons – and voters can vote freely. If absent goons and guns they choose to reelect a politician and after him his relatives then that’s their democratic choice. Do you hear voters whose candidate always wins complain about dynasties? If you want to get rid of dynasties then eliminate those factors that prevent voters from exercising their will.

    I know there is an anti-dynasty provision in the constitution. You have to put that provision in the context when that constitution was written. I think the writers of the constitution were reacting to popular demand at the time. Think why the framers of the constitution did not define and make the prohibition clear, why did they leave that job to congress?

    I think it’s because they knew that the problem is not dynasty per se but the circumstances that allow dynasties to be imposed on the people. I think they saw that once the means for imposing dynasties were eliminated then dynasties, if they came to be, would be a reflection of the popular will.

    Maybe we can pass an anti-dynasty law that will require re-enactment let’s say after two election cycles. But I am against outlawing dynasties forever because we are forever depriving voters of choice.

    A mature democracy will know when to end a dynasty if ever they even allow one to establish itself. How can we mature as a democracy if we don’t allow our voters to learn for themselves?

    An anti-dynasty law is paternalistic, it assumes that voters will never learn on their own so you just have to put certain things out of their reach. An anti-dynasty law is no different from keeping matches out of the reach of children who will grow into adults who don’t know how to handle matches.

    It’s not dynasty that has to be abolished. What has to be put in place is a system where voter intimidation is eliminated. We are getting there. In the last election, we saw some very powerful dynasties fall. I think strict implementation of the gun ban plus the fast automated counting which made cheating through long counts impossible had a lot to do with allowing the true will of the people to emerge. I think that’s the tree we should be barking at and not the limiting of voters’ choices.

    • Joe America says:

      Ahhh, very good contrarian philosophy. I say philosophy because getting from the ideal to implementation is a stretch. And I’d add vote buying to the list of things to rid the process of, along with goons and guns. But the ideal you express is excellent, and, indeed, as you say is consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s reading of the situation, that money, of itself, is just a form of expression.

      To get rid of goons, guns and vote buying, the enforcement and justice mechanisms have to be effective. It is amazing how often the ailments in Philippine society track back to that: laws that are not enforced, justice rendered by favor rather than law.

      But I DO like your philosophy better than the one I expressed here, which is to put a little distance between the candidates and the moneyed power-people who may seek to influence them.

  8. manuel buencamino says:

    As to your proposal limiting campaign contributions, well you know that SCOTUS ruled that campaign contributions are a form of free speech and thus cannot be abridged. I tend to agree with SCOTUS even if I question their motive. Let’s just have full transparency not after the election but as donations are coming in. That way voters will have the option to decide whether they still want the candidate even if they do not like his donors.

  9. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Campaign contributions buys journalists free chow, free rides, imported whisky, imported cigarettes, and, most of all permanency of employment. Thru this journalists gives politicians that have money to splash their face in the papers and TFC channels. Those without campaign contributions like Dick Gordon ends up in candle light.

    There is no intimidation of voters. That is sooo Africa and Philippines is not an African country. Politicians cronies, bagmen, estanbays only intimidate ballot counters, ballot carriers and professional ballot switchers. That is where intimidation is.

    In the last election each one of us in the barrio was given one hundred pesos each but we voted with our hearts. When the counting started, as usual, there was brownout but our candidate won just the same.

    WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT IS Equal Access to Newspapers and Television. Equal airtime and print. There should be limit in airtime and should be equal to all competing politicians.

    • Joe America says:

      Interesting, this notion of where the goons apply pressure. Voters to me seem to align according to family bonds, and woe to the voter who gets out of line. That is different than a goon-style intimidation, but it is intimidation just the same.

      “Professional ballot switchers”. Do you think that is going on rampantly? I have the impression it is not.

  10. patrioticflip says:

    Thought you’d want a follow up on the link I sent you about the Napoles girl flaunting her extravagant lifestyle, Joe. The is the reaction of the mother (aka head of Fertilizer Fund Scam”)

    “Janet Lim-Napoles has denied all accusations and said she is willing to open her bank accounts as part of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) probe into the scam.

    “My family, especially my children, have already been dragged by the false and malicious reports of one newspaper who (sic) has the habit of sensationalizing stories at the expense of truth and fairness,” Napoles said in her statement.”

    How can these people live lie with a straight face? Arroyo, Ramos (who I found out made a fortune building the MRT, among other scams) and everyone else in government. How??

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