Thursday, June 20, 2013


I am joining the battle against political dynasties.  My barber and his friends and customers in the barbershop are joining me on this one.  I also expect relatives, friends, and other Filipinos who have shown concern with this issue both in the Philippines and abroad to be active in this endeavor.
The chosen battlefield is People’s Initiative.  Despite the mandate prohibiting political dynasties in the Philippine (CORY) Constitution, a law enabling it has not been passed.  Congress refuses to pass one. That’s more than 25 years gone by and wasted.
Taking into consideration the proposed definition of some supporters led by Senators Miriam Santiago, Panfilo Lacson, and Koko Pimentel, I would like the enabling law to define it this way:
“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, whether national or local, simultaneously with the incumbent elective official immediately after the term of office of the incumbent 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.”
A “spouse” refers to the legal and common-law wife or husband of the incumbent elective official.
The term “within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity” refers to the relatives of a person who may be the latter’s brother or sister, whether of full blood or half-blood, direct ascendant or direct descendant, whether legitimate, illegitimate or adopted, including their spouses.  It further refers to grandparents, grandchildren, uncles and aunts, first cousins, nephews and nieces, including their spouses, of the referred person.”
“The term ‘running for an elective office’ is deemed to commence upon the filing of the certificate of candidacy by a candidate with the COMELEC.

Holding an elective office’ is deemed to commence from the moment the public official takes his oath of office.”

Current prohibition regarding the appointment of spouses and relatives to certain positions in government goes as far as fourth civil degree, so this proposal is a more liberal provision.  Nepotism as provided for in Section 13, Article VII is also a constitutional mandate except that it is specifically defined.  

I am encouraging the drafting of the petition as soon as possible.  I also suggest that COMELEC Chairman Sixto Brillantes or his designated assistant be consulted in finalizing the petition.  The petition must comply with the provisions of Section 5 © of Republic Act 6735.  The gathering of signatures should follow thereafter.


The passage of the enabling law would definitely result in undesirable consequences for political clans who have ruled certain jurisdictions for decades.

In general, it would finally affirm both the letter and spirit of the Constitutional prohibition on political dynasties in the Philippines.

More specifically, it would create some interesting political scenarios that give more meaning to the provision that The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service.”

Let me cite some examples:

  1. With the election of Bam Aquino as Senator for a term of six (6) years, first cousin Kris Aquino will not be able to run for any position in 2016.  So with cousin Len-Len Aquino Oreta who ran unopposed as Mayor in Malabon; uncle Henry Cojuangco who is a Congressman; and another cousin Kit who was elected Vice-Governor in Tarlac.
  2. With the election of Nancy Binay as Senator for a term of six (6) years, her father Vice President Jojo Binay will not be able to run for any position including the Presidency in 2016.  So with sister Congresswoman Abby Binay; and brother Makati Mayor Junjun Binay.  VP Jojo Binay can still run for President if Senator Nancy Binay resigns.  The mayor and congresswoman will be ineligible to run.
  3. Senator Bongbong Marcos is due for reelection in 2016.  So are Ilocos Norte Congresswoman Imelda Romualdez Marcos; Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos; Leyte Congressman Ferdinand Romualdez;  Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez; and Alfred’s councilor-wife Cristina.  The Anti-Dynasty Law would allow only ONE (1) of them to run.
  4. With the reelection of Senator Alan Cayetano for another 6-year term, current Senator Pia Cayetano will be disqualified from running for any position in 2016.  Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano will be disqualified likewise to run in 2016.
  5. Senator JV Ejercito Estrada also got elected for a new term of six (6) years.  This would disqualify former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and current Senator Jinggoy Estrada from running for any position in 2016.  So with San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez and Laguna Governor ER Ejercito.
  6. In Maguindanao, the Mangudadatu clan has Toto Mangudadatu as Governor;  his brother Dong as congressman; and another brother Toy as Autonomous Region Assemblyman.  The clan also boasts of four new mayors and a couple of vice mayors within its ranks.  The Anti-Dynasty law would prohibit all who are related to each other within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity except ONE.
These are just a few examples.  They should explain why the battle is no cakewalk or dance of the roses.  We expect these political overlords to protect and perpetuate their power and wealth, which they have enjoyed for generations.  So, they will fight this to the end – from petition to actual referendum or plebiscite.  They have succeeded in stopping it in Congress so far!

The People’s Initiative would be a good test.  This is one process that institutionalizes People Power through peaceful means and without the need for mass gathering.

Let us USE it! Or we LOSE it!


  1. Ben,
    This is good. I hope it gets enough traction and projects a double effect: among dynasty-tainted Filipinos, a realization of the basic greed,selfishness and shamelessness of their opportunism; in society at large, a firm resolve to stigmatize and banish this practice--being the root of inequality, corruption, and deterioration of public morals in our system. Let us be aware that there is dynasticism elsewhere but it is unbecoming in our still fragile culture, political character and legal tradition.

  2. Thanks Manny! This is the best time to eliminate the undesirable effects of political dynasty as you mentioned above. I favor the People's Initiative method to pass the enabling legislation because it could also serve as a campaign to educate the Filipino people re the process and the Constitution itself. Please take the lead in the Philippines. This will be CSM/YCSP' Congress Vigilantes in some other form.