Friday, December 4, 2009

Presidential candidates reject law against political dynasties

by Fel V. Maragay and Rudy Brul

Original Story:

MOST of the presidential aspirants are not convinced political dynasties must be banned—indeed, they are against any laws banning them—but they promised yesterday not to appoint their relatives to key government posts if they won.

They told a forum at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila that they favored enacting the family planning bill, but believed the government should leave couples to decide the number of children they wanted to have.

Only Olongapo City Councilor J.C. de los Reyes of Kapatiran and Nicanor Perlas, both newcomers in politics, firmly opposed political dynasties.

De los Reyes, a nephew of Senator and Bagumbayan Party presidential bet Richard Gordon, said it was time political dynasties were banned.

“If there are people who should make sacrifices, it is we who are in power now,” De los Reyes said.

“We have to graduate from the politics of dynasties to the politics of principles,” Perlas said.

Gordon said he was realistic about the existence of political dynasties.

“If a person has potentials for leadership and has good intentions to serve his country, why should he be punished just because his father or uncle is already in politics?” he said.

Deposed President Joseph Estrada saw no need to ban political dynasties, saying a mayor’s son or daughter was likely to be inspired to follow in their father’s footsteps.

“Let us not curtail their right to seek public office,” said Estrada, the Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino’s presidential candidate. He was removed from power in a military-backed people power revolt in 2001, was convicted of plunder in 2007, but was pardoned by Gloria Arroyo, his vice president and successor, a few weeks later.

Gilbert Teodoro of the ruling Lakas-Kampi and evangelist Eddie Villanueva of Bangon Pilipinas doubted if political dynasties could be dismantled by law.

“The best way to eliminate political dynasties is to defeat them during elections,” Teodoro said.

“Political parties should be strengthened by offering better alternatives to the electorate.”

Villanueva said political dynasties would continue to thrive as long as the playing field was stacked against poor but promising candidates, and as long as most of the people were poor and susceptible to manipulation.

“Political dynasties will die a natural death once the people are emancipated from the bondage of poverty and exploitation,” he said.

Presidential aspirant and Senator Benigno Aquino III, the Liberal Party’s presidential bet, said political dynasties were not always bad.

Significantly, the politicians running for president have or have had family members serving as government officials.

Gordon’s wife was a former mayor and congressman of Olongapo City, and his brother James is now mayor of that city.

Estrada’s son Jinggoy is a senator and a former mayor of San Juan. His wife Loi Ejercito-Estrada served as a senator for one term.

Teodoro’s wife is a congressman of Tarlac province; Villanueva’s son Joel is a party-list representative; Noynoy Aquino is the son of the late President Corazon Aquino, and his uncle Butz and aunt Tessie were former senators. Fel V. Maragay and Rudy Brul

Original Story:

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