As the 2013 electoral exercise draws near, almost every right-thinking citizen is railing fiercely against the political dynasties which are sprouting all over the country. The scenario has reached ridiculous and scandalous proportions. Despite the crystal-clear prohibition in the 1987 Constitution, politicians continue to pay no heed. Their hackneyed excuse is the loophole that makes such prohibition take effect only “as may be provided by law,” i.e., in accordance with the law Congress shall enact to carry out such mandate. After more than 25 years, no such law appears in sight. It has become a black hole leading to nowhere.
What were the framers of the Constitution thinking—conceding that power to the very same people likely to spawn and protect the accursed dynasties? Seriously, how hard could it have been for them to come right out and lower the boom in no uncertain terms: “No relative of an incumbent elective official within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity shall be eligible for any election…” or something to that effect. We remember having written some of them before they came out with the final draft. That would have made the ban immediately enforceable without any need of further legislation. But, alas, no one bothered to listen to voices other than their own. Now they tell us that the current Constitution is not perfect and there were egregious lapses in formulation and judgment? For all their long-winded verbosity, indeed, it is amazing how they came short of saying what they meant!
Thus, politicians are having a field day running circles around us. They are quick to say it is the people who create dynasties, not them. In a democracy, they do not elect their kamag-anak —the people do. So, why blame them for the people’s genuine choices? Vox populi, vox Dei. Despite such argument being the Godzilla of bulls–t, alas, it is oh-so impregnable. So we think the campaign should no longer be to stop politicians from putting up their own relatives for election (all appeals to delicadeza being really just suntok sa buwan), but to educate the people into discarding all of them.
We have set up an organization called “Kamag-anak sa Politika Aayawan Lahat” (Kapal). Regardless of their own personal merits or credentials, all relatives of incumbents should be rejected in the polls without any exception—as a way of sending the unmistakable message that the Constitution should not be trifled with. Those who wish to join Kapal, please e-mail the undersigned.
—STEPHEN L. MONSANTO,
Monsanto Law Office,
Loyola Heights, Quezon City,