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Dynasties derail nation from true democracy

09:02 PM July 03, 2012

Our country has three main problems: corruption, overpopulation and the ascendancy of oligarchies. Much has been said about corruption and overpopulation, but oligarchies are seldom discussed in depth. The American Heritage Illustrated Encyclopedic Dictionary defines oligarchy as government by a few, especially by a small faction of persons or families; or a state governed by oligarchy.

Oligarchies have taken root in our national and local governments. Positions, such as senator, congressional representative, governor, vice governor, provincial and city board member, mayor, vice mayor and councilor, are occupied by relatives such as the father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law and/or sister-in-law of any of the incumbent.

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Family political dynasties have taken root and they rule. This development has made it difficult for bright and qualified men and women to run for public office because the entrenched family political dynasties control the political parties.

Anticipating the growing power and influence of political dynasties, the framers of the 1987 Constitution incorporated the following provision: “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law” (Section 26, Article II, Declaration of Principles and State Policies).

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It can be inferred from the foregoing that in order to guarantee equal opportunities for all citizens to run for public office, political dynasties shall be prohibited. The phrase “as defined by law” means that Congress, the Filipinos’ sole national lawmaking body, is mandated and expected to enact the law that will eliminate political dynasties from Philippine politics. A tall order, indeed! The irony of it is that Congress itself is the spawning ground of political dynasties that are spreading their tentacles to other instrumentalities of the national and local governments.

The issue of political dynasties should be a very serious concern for our country. We have witnessed the tumultuous experiences of Central and South American governments controlled by oligarchies, dictatorships and Marxist regimes. We should learn from their experiences and get rid of a political practice that leads us away from the path of true democracy. Oligarchy is unhealthy for our country.

—APOLONIO G. RAMOS,

42 Mindanao St., Marikina City

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TAGS: democracy, letters, political dynasties
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