Friday, June 28, 2013

WANTED: ENABLERS of the Anti-Dynasty Law

Over my lifetime – a journey full of dreams, hopes, aspirations, and ambitions, I came across people I admired for their brilliance, wisdom, humility, honesty and integrity.   Many, like me, just had sufficient means to finish higher education.  The sacrifices of our parents could only go so far.

Yet, given the conditions at the time, I was so full of hope and so sure of my expectation that 
our country would have a brighter future because these great people would run it.  I thought then that there was “equal access to opportunities for public service.”

Along the way from my days in primary grades to high school, to my AFS (American Field Service) tenure in the U.S.A., and then to college, law and graduate school, the earthly presence of these God-sent exceptional people and yet absent and deprived from public service always made me wonder.  They all moved on to successful endeavors fathoming different but acceptable destinies from what they had dreamt and from what I expected.

I have a very humble and honest friend who was so brilliant that he was no. 3 in the Bar Exams.   He is from Tacloban City, Leyte.  When I visited him in Tacloban as I was attending the National Students’ League (NSL) national conference to receive the “National Student Leader of the Year” Award, I predicted that he would someday be running Leyte to benefit its citizens.  The rise of the Romualdez dynasty prevented that from happening.  Instead, he rose through the corporate ladder becoming the Corporate Counsel of one of the largest corporations in the Philippines.

Some of the smartest and most dedicated people I know hail from Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur and La union.  They would have been great for their respective provinces.  With the political dynasties well entrenched there, these people will never stand a chance.  Many of them have decided to leave the country and made other countries receive the benefits of their brains and skills.

I have friends in Muslim Mindanao.   One of them even became a powerful leader of a rebel group.  Educated, smart, dedicated, and obviously brave and daring, he could have served his Muslim brothers well.  Another brilliant Muslim leader decided to move to the U.S.A. to earn in dollars.  Given a choice, he would have preferred to stay and serve his people promoting Muslim-Christian peaceful co-existence.  Political dynasties in their areas will never give them a chance.

I can cite many more as I reminisce my life-long journey.  For now, I call them the AFSers; Enriquez/Balcruz/Ledesma San Beda boys; Manglapus CSMers and YCSP boys and girls; Fr. Blanco Sea Haus reformers; MFP Freedom Fighters; Student Rebels in the ‘70s; and People Power revolutionaries.

The vision, mission, and ambition of these people never turned into an obsession.  While for some, it ended in frustration; it was not considered a failure but what my father would call, “suspended success.”

There is always the Constitution to rely upon, and the next generation to fight for.   The prohibition of political dynasty and an enabling legislation that would cure the political ills of a reviving democracy give us hope.  

Through People’s Initiative and Referendum, we are actually using what former Supreme Court Justice Art Panganiban defines as,

“Ultimate weapon[s] of the people to negate government malfeasance and misfeasance.”

“The right of initiative belonged to the people, not to the government and its minions... Thus, the proposed change — the right reason — must originate from the will of the people themselves. Furthermore, the exercise of initiative must be at the appropriate or right time.”

After more than 25 years gone without Congressional action, the enabling law must now be passed through the exercise of initiative.  It is the appropriate or right time.

Reiterating what Justice Panganiban opined, “I believe in democracy — in our people’s natural right to determine our own destiny.
“I believe in the process of initiative as a democratic method of enabling our people to express their will and chart their history. Initiative is an alternative to bloody revolution, internal chaos and civil strife. It is an inherent right of the people — as basic as the right to elect, the right to self-determination and the right to individual liberties. I believe that Filipinos have the ability and the capacity to rise above themselves, to use this right of initiative wisely and maturely, and to choose what is best for themselves and their posterity.”

The Filipino people should be the ENABLERS themselves!  Equal access to opportunities for public service is a vision, mission, and ambition that every right-thinking Filipino should pursue.  

The Constitution and the State guarantee it.  Let us fight for it!

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