Thursday, February 01, 2007

In defense of political dynasties

With JV, Jinggoy, Pimentel fils, two Aquinos and Cayetano all gunning for the Senate, there's resentment about how the country's political affairs have been reduced to familial intramurals with public office constituting part of several family heirlooms. And the image of former President Estrada playing the role of a highhanded godfather in the selection of senatorial candidates also didn't help.

Senator Tatad was so incensed of the "mad and shallow family park" he had to pay the newspapers to publish a missive to the nation. There's no question politics here are sometimes mad and often shallow, but suggestions to ban dynasties are even madder. How does one define a dynasty? If we disallow one to run for office simply because one of his kin is already in politics, is that really just? We may be able to give the electorate more choices, but the sphere of individual freedom would be needlessly harmed.

All this talk about curtailing political dynasties is really impractical political engineering. It is disturbing though that while Koko Pimentel defends his right to run, he at the same time says if elected he would file a bill banning the relatives of the president from running. Eh, what's good for the gander not good enough for the goose?

The reason why families are fielding more and more of their family members (aside from the understable natural feeling of every parent to see his children follow in his footsteps) is that running for office is like getting married. Two formerly single unattached people discover in a marriage that both of them can easily live on the previous budget of one. Similarly, one family member running for office costs just about the same as two. For the price of one, a family therefore gets two. (Read Alex Magno on the electoral financing gap today). Seamless logic.

Perhaps another reason why many family members are flocking to politics is the relative drought of exciting things to do in this country. This also partly explains why many actors are now running for office; the local film industry is dead and the television is swarming with younger and younger faces prettier than you (pace Richard Gomez).

Seriously, let them all run and let the people decide. If the people prefer and vote for akin blood, tough luck but that's smaller gene pool and democracy for us.


Bonn Juego said...

They say the creme of the crop rises to the top. Well, let's say then, it's like in the Manila Bay and Pasig River now -- where the Senate and Malacanang, respectively, are located -- 'shit floats'!

Hey Ronnel, it's nice you're back blogging and thanks for linking my blog here. Kindly edit my blog link in your template -- delete the '.' after the '.com'.

Bonn Juego
'A Good Game', at

Ronnel said...

salamat bonn. long time no hear in the blogosphere.

one of these days im editing my blog links, once i figure out how I did it in the past. ive been away so long i forget how to edit my template.