DAVAO CITY, Philippines – He was practically telling the President, naglolokohan ba tayo? (Who are we kidding?)
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte expressed doubts that President Benigno Aquino III meant it when he said his State of the Nation Address (SONA) that said it was probably time to pass an anti-dynasty law.
He pointed out on on Tuesday, July 28, that President Aquino himself comes from a political dynasty, and a huge percentage of the lawmakers he is asking to pass the law are members of dynasties themselves.
The 1987 Constitution prohibits political dynasties, but all attempts to pass an enabling law have so far failed.
Bayan Muna Representative Karlos Isagani Zarate, one of the proponents of the anti-dynasty bill, also questioned the sincerity of the President’s pronouncement.
At the very least, the party-list congressman said, Aquino only wanted to take a swipe at Vice President Jejomar Binay, whose children are also occupying elective positions at the same time. Binay recently resigned from the Aquino Cabinet to protest what he calls a “crooked and failed” government.
Photo by Editha Caduaya/Rappler Editha Caduaya
“There was a time – remember post-EDSA – when almost everybody, his (Aquino’s) relatives, were into politics?” Duterte said.
“If you limit one family to one candidate, so be it…[but] when you talk about [being] anti-dynasty, make sure you are not part of [one]. Look around you first,” said the mayor, who is believed to be eyeing the presidency in 2016.
In any given time since 1986, when President Aquino's mother became president, his relatives on both sides of his family occupied seats the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the local governments of Tarlac and Rizal at the same.
In his SONA on Monday, July 27, the President said corrupt political families should not be allowed to monopolize government positions. While he said it may not be fair to pass a law that would bar someone who wants to serve the public from seeking an elective post, Aquino added that this reasoning is eclipsed by need to make sure families or individuals should not be allowed to perpetuate themselves in power.
The Binays have ruled Makati for more than two decades – a rule that started when Aquino’s mother, then President Corazon Aquino, appointed Jejomar Binay as officer in charge of the city that hosts the country’s premier commercial district. (READ: The Lord of Makati: Can Binay explain his wealth?)
‘Elite controls the vote’
“You cannot stop anyone to aspire for a political position. You cannot stop their ambition. I guess it (anti-dynasty bill) won't pass, especially here in the Philippines, where the elite controls the votes,” Duterte said.
Duterte himself, after many years of being mayor, slid down in position to become vice mayor to his daughter Sara. Now mayor again, Duterte has for vice mayor his son Paolo.
Zarate told Rappler: “Was he (Aquino) serious? If he was serious about his pronouncement, he must then issue a marching order to his allies in Congress to pass it.”
“It is a fact in Congress, 75% of it are members of political dynasties. During the plenary they want to water it down to [allowing] 3 [family members to be in power]. To us, it is no longer an anti-dynasty bill if we allow 3.” – Editha Z. Caduaya/Rappler.com