Sanchez: Line of succession

Nature speaks

THE Philippines is a democratic and republican state. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them. It abhors the concentration of power on one or a few, cognizant that power, when absolute, can lead to abuse.

We don’t need a degree in political science to understand this. I learned about the republican state concept back in high school. Unfortunately, many of our politicians need to relearn this lesson.

When members of the same family occupy multiple positions within a city or municipality, most are likely to amass power in a monarchial line of succession instead of a republican state.

In such a setup, the preservation of power becomes the priority, even more important than social and economic development itself.

Look at the Metro-Manila political landscape. Recently, newly-elected San Juan mayor Francis Zamora scored an upset when he ended the 50-year political grip of the Estrada clan over the city. Zamora has promised not to build a political dynasty.

Well, he better keep his promise. Recently, the previous administration under Mayor Guia Gómez had left him with a debt of nearly P1 billion, the bulk of which was due to expenses incurred from the construction of San Juan’s palatial City Hall and the expansion of San Juan Medical Center.

San Juan’s dismal financial situation came on the heels of a Commission on Audit report that unearth that Gómez’s onetime lover, Manila mayor Joseph Estrada, had passed on a P4.3-billion deficit to his successor, Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso.

Clearly, being in the political saddle develops an entitlement syndrome. Like they own the local governments, theirs to own, control the state resources, and dispense at their whims in monarchical fashion.

So when does a political family become a political dynasty? Like Estrada I, Estrada II, Estrada III? A political dynasty is established when an elected government official is succeeded by a member of his household up to the first degree of consanguinity or affinity. Or when several members of a family occupy various positions in government simultaneously.

In the Senate, 16 out of the 24 members belong to political dynasties as are 70 percent of the members of Congress. COA audits of their statements of assets and liabilities discovered that lawmakers who belong to political dynasties increase their net worth by an average of 39 percent after every term while those who do not belong to dynastic families increase their wealth by less than 10 percent.

Among LGUs, 73 out of 80 provinces are controlled by political dynasties. Government statistics show that the average incidence of poverty in provinces controlled by political dynasties is a whopping 29.15 percent while those not under dynastic control stands at only 18.91 percent.

Clearly, there is a correlation between political dynasties and poverty. Do you support development? Then demolish these dynasties and their entitlements. Start acting in republican fashion.


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