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Dynasties show sad state of Philippine democracy

/ 10:31 PM April 26, 2013

Political dynasties are out to dominate the May 13 elections which are just days away. We the electors share the blame for choosing leaders who belong to politically entrenched families whose main objective is to keep their stranglehold on government.

The Binay family of Makati City,  is a typical example: Jejomar Binay Sr. is the Vice President of the Philippines. He and his wife took turns in the past to occupy the mayorship of Makati. Their son, Jejomar Jr., is now the incumbent Makati mayor and is running for reelection in the May 13 polls. A daughter, Abigail, the incumbent Makati representative, is also vying for reelection. Another daughter, Nancy, who has not occupied any government position, is running for senator.

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Other entrenched families, like the Dys of Isabela, the Revillas of Cavite, the Ynareses of Rizal, the Cayetanos of Taguig, the Estradas of San Juan, and others too numerous to mention, have established firm footholds in their bailiwicks and no outsider stands a chance of winning against them. The entrenched oligarchs have the power, influence and resources to easily maintain their supremacy in their respective domains. This is the true and sad state of democracy in our country.

Is our country a God-forsaken nation? We suffered almost 400 years under an oppressive Spanish State-cum-Church domination. We enjoyed less than three years of independence after defeating the Spanish forces, but our revolutionary government was always on the run in the face of the superior might of the United States, then an emerging colonial power. Sad to say, our popular uprising against Spain, which was led by Andres Bonifacio, was waylaid by the moneyed landowners who were intent on preserving their status and properties. “Inagaw  nila  ang  himagsikan  ng  mamamayang  Pilipino  upang  manatili  ang  kanilang  katayuan  sa  lipunan!” No wonder, we gladly embraced 43 years of American colonization during which we were brainwashed to savor the comforts of modernization, while our natural resources were being dug up and shipped to the West.

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The finished products that came from our indigenous resources lulled us into thinking that foreign domination did us good. The Japanese occupation from 1941 to early 1945, caught us in the middle of two opposing forces—one to preserve its power in Asia, and the other to challenge the status quo. We were like a huge doormat on which hobnailed boots trampled.

On July 4, 1946, our independence was restored, but we squandered the opportunities that would have ensured for us a stable and truly democratic government. We now find ourselves dominated by political dynasties.

—LEONCIO DE MESA,

University of the Philippines,

Diliman, Quezon City

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TAGS: democracy, letters, political dynasties, politics
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