WHILE WE remember our departed loved ones today, All Souls Day, let us not forget another thing that is also dead or dying, one we should all love with everything we have: our Constitution. Our basic law is dying, if it is not already dead. It has been killed, or is being killed, by politicians. The dirty politicians are violating the provisions of our Constitution, principally that against political dynasties.
Our Charter bans political dynasties to prevent the Philippines from descending into fiefdoms ruled by political families and to give others a chance to lead their communities. But politicians are making a mockery of this provision. Instead of political dynasties disappearing, or at least decreasing in obedience to the Constitution, they have increased tremendously for the 2013 elections. Almost every province, city or municipality has members of political dynasties running for next year’s polls. The Jalosjoses, Ecleos, Dutertes, Garcias (of Cebu and Bataan), etc. are fielding members of their families for positions from councilors to mayors to provincial board members to governors to congressmen and senators in a shameless race to expand their dynasties.
Even the two main political parties, the ruling Liberal Party and the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), are fielding members of political dynasties. UNA’s Holy Trinity—Vice President Jejomar Binay, former President Joseph Estrada, and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile—each has offspring running for senator: Binay has his daughter Nancy, Erap has his son JV, and Enrile has his son Jackie. It is as if UNA was created simply to provide their offspring a vehicle to climb to the Senate.
President Aquino’s Liberal Party is no better. The LP has P-Noy’s cousin, Bam (Bum?) Aquino, in its senatorial ticket. Who is Bam (Bum?) Aquino? He came from nowhere wanting to be senator immediately just because he is an Aquino, a cousin of the President, and a Ninoy Aquino lookalike. He has not even served as barangay captain or barangay tanod in his community, and here he comes wanting to be senator of the country. Ninoy at least started as mayor of his town. UNA’s Jackie Enrile and JV Ejercito are representatives of their districts. But like Bum, Nancy Binay is coming from nowhere and immediately running for senator.
To be fair to Nancy, she did not want to run for senator but, according to reports, her father persuaded her to do so just because the two other members of the UNA Holy Trinity have their own sons running in its slate. Binay did not want to be left behind.
And at least Nancy is not trying to be her father’s lookalike (which would be difficult anyway as she does not have the same dark complexion of her father), unlike Bum who is shamelessly trying very hard to look like his departed uncle Ninoy. He sports the same hairdo and wears the same heavy horn-rimmed eyeglasses that Ninoy used to wear. And he wears clothes similar to what Ninoy wore. (What about brains? some people ask.) What shameless opportunism!
Another opportunist is Rep. JV Ejercito, who is changing his surname for election purposes from Ejercito to Estrada (why not go all the way and make it “JV Erap Estrada”?). Ejercito is the real surname of President Erap, and Estrada is his screen name. JV wants to adopt his father’s screen name, too, to take advantage of its popularity.
Jackie Enrile, on the other hand, is using the initials JPE, which stand for Juan Ponce Enrile. Jackie’s real name is Juan Ponce Enrile Jr. but for Filipinos, JPE stands for Juan Ponce Enrile, the Senate President. When voters go to the polls next year, therefore, they will vote for JPE, thinking they are voting for the Senate President, but their votes will be counted for Jackie.
As the nation’s top leaders, P-Noy and the Holy Trinity should be the first to respect our Constitution. After all, they took an oath to defend and uphold it. But alas, they are among the first ones to violate it.
As President, P-Noy should lead by example, the same way he did with the “wang-wang.” You’ll remember that P-Noy, in his inaugural speech, prohibited the use of sirens better known as “wang-wang.” And to set an example, he was the first to have the sirens in his vehicles removed. The citizenry followed his example.
But in the matter of political dynasties,
P-Noy, the President of the nation, is among the first to disobey the Constitution instead of defending and upholding it as he had sworn to do. He is expanding the Aquino political dynasty. After Bum, P-Noy’s sister Kris (oh, no!) has signified that she would also enter politics, apparently, some people surmise, because her show biz career is waning.
P-Noy is also paddling two canoes. He has relatives both in the LP and UNA tickets. Bum is in the LP ticket while his aunt, Tingting Cojuangco, is running in the UNA senatorial slate.
There’s more: If JV Ejercito wins, he will join his half-brother, Jinggoy, in the Senate. Previously, Jinggoy joined his mother Loi in the Senate.
Then there’s reelectionist Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano. If he wins, he will rejoin his sister Pia in the Senate. And there’s former Rep. Cynthia Villar, the wife of outgoing Sen. Manny Villar, who is aiming to replace him in the Senate via the LP slate.
The excuse of political dynasties in violating the Constitution is that there is no enabling law. But it is not likely that a law against political dynasties will be passed soon. Most of our legislators, after all, are themselves members of political dynasties. So it is up to the people to implement the Constitution. Do not vote for all members of political dynasties.