Thursday, February 14, 2013


"You can only play with the cards you are dealt with.” Play them under Casino House or Las Vegas Rules.  You are free to play whatever way you want but subject to conditions that you do not necessarily control.

I grew up with this thought embedded in both my conscious and subconscious mind. This is true in politics, in economics, in religion and in fact, with life in general. It is a reality that we have to recognize and face if we are to ride out the ups and downs of day-to-day living.

President Benigno Aquino III is about to finish half of his presidential term. The country will be electing a new set of 12 Senators and installing new local government officials nationwide.

Qualified voters or democratic players are free to choose whoever would represent them subject to certain rules and to the “cards dealt” to them.

Strictly speaking, political dynasties are prohibited by the Constitution from participating as ratified by the sovereign people or the players themselves. But in the same prohibition, it also states that the law may define political dynasty.

Is there any law that basically defines the prohibition re ensuring political or governmental power of relatives?

There are Primary and Secondary Authorities to support an affirmative answer.

Primary Authorities would include (1) the Constitutional provision under Section 13, Article VII prohibiting the appointment of “The spouse and relatives by consanguinity or affinity within the fourth civil degree of the President” to certain positions in government; (2) the rule on nepotism under Administrative Code of 1987 which prohibits appointments in the national government made in favor of relatives within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity of either the appointing authority, recommending authority, chief of bureau or office, or persons exercising immediate supervision over the appointee; (3) the Local Government Code of 1991 which states that nepotism exists when an appointment is made within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity of the appointing or recommending authority; and (4) Philippine Jurisprudence defining relationships covered under Nepotism. There is also the view of Justice Antonio Carpio in Navarro vs. Ermita defining political dynasties as a "phenomenon that concentrates political power and public resources within the control of a few families."

In law, a secondary authority is an authority purporting to explain the meaning or applicability of the actual verbatim texts of primary authorities such as Law review articles, comments and notes.  

The Black’s Law Dictionary is the authority in definitions used in legal briefs and court opinions and has even been used as a secondary legal authority in an abundance of U.S. Supreme Court cases.

The Black's Law Dictionary defines dynasty as a "succession of rulers from the same line or family."

Furthermore, using the “plain and ordinary meaning” principle in constitutional construction, the meaning of political dynasty is quite clear even to the plain and ordinary sovereign citizen.

Yet, the Dealer-COMELEC has checked the cards and has dealt them to us sovereign citizens. The choices offered by the contending major parties/coalitions for the national and local positions are clear violations of the spirit if not the letter of the law on political dynasty as interpreted by COMELEC and the executive/enforcement agencies. COMELEC Chairman Sixto Brilliantes himself suggested that a law should be passed using the People’s Initiative to resolve this dilemma.


As I have stated in previous columns, it would take a whole generation to institute socio-economic and political reforms in the Philippines. So far, PNoy and his Executive Team have given us Honesty (Anti-Corruption), Humility (No Wang-Wang), Honor (International Recognition) and Hope for a peaceful, better and more prosperous Philippines.
To continuously institute needed reforms, PNoy needs a better Legislative Team to work with. It is a necessary ingredient to push the “DAANG MATUWID” principles and programs more aggressively.

PNoy has chosen the group that he trusts to help him in this endeavor not only for the next three years but also beyond. It is critical that whatever laws necessary to implement the “DAANG MATUWID” programs be passed for faster realization of PNoy’s vision for the Filipino people.

There is no doubt that all the members of the PNoy Team are qualified. Depending on one’s relative criteria, it is possible that each candidate could be more or less qualified than the others.  But what is more dominant in this period of our history is for the Filipino people to show its continued trust and confidence on PNoy in fathoming a brighter tomorrow. This trust and confidence may be manifested in a vote for the entire TEAM PNoy. Doing so would actually mean voting for TEAM PINOY or the Filipino people and their future.


The Filipino is a social, economic, and political being. As such he always displays a rational behavior in decision-making. There must be a rationale behind a particular choice in a given environment.

In my previous article, “Drawing the Battle Lines: Defining and Delivering the Message” (, I actually provided possible rationale and choices in the following Battles:

1. Message: Daang Matuwid; 2. Shepherds: PNoy over Binay, Enrile and Estrada; 3. Seniors: Jun Magsaysay over Maceda; 4. Military Rebels: Trillanes over Honasan; 5. Magsaysay Legacy: Jun Magsaysay over Mitos Magsaysay; 6. Mindanao: Senator Pimentel over Zubiri; 7. Senatorial Brothers: Senator Cayetano over Ejercito; 8. Senatorial Sons: Rep. Sonny Angara over Rep. Enrile; 9. Return of former Senators and Ex-Presidentiables: Madrigal over Gordon; 10. Political Wives: Villar over Cojuangco; 11. Party List Leaders on the Left: Risa Hontiveros over Teddy Casiño; and 12. Future vs. Past: Bam Aquino (35 years old) over Maceda (77 years old). 

COMMON CHOICES: MTRCB Chief Grace Poe Llamanzares; Senator Loren Legarda; and Senator Chiz Escudero.

The right of suffrage indeed is the most important weapon that the sovereign citizen could exercise in a republican and democratic state like the Philippines. Voters may choose to follow the spirit of the Anti-Dynasty provision of the Constitution using my explanation above. This could mean that the voters are getting to be wiser and more mature. They could also vote for the entire TEAM PNoy using the rationale that I also explained above.

Or they could continue what they have done in the past, thinking only of the present, and without regard to the future. In which case as my Ilocano barber would say, “Kasta yon.” (Tagalog: Ganyan na lang kayo; English: You are doomed.)

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