Entrenched powerCebu Daily News
Its political reality is perhaps etched in granite but still the continuing presence of political dynasties in the country rankles those who believe that representation in government isn’t and shouldn’t be confined to the wealthy minor elite.
A book on political dynasties already came out which showed just how diverse and ingrained political control is at the hands of the country’s pedigreed families and this is led by former first lady Imelda Marcos, who once declared in an Inquirer article that the Marcoses “own half of the country.”
From someone whose shoes and clothing are being eaten by termites in some museum, the claim is quite stupendous but given the Marcoses decades-long rule and the presence of their minions and subalterns still occupying positions in government and corporations it wasn’t far-fetched.
When the Marcoses declared martial law it was on the supposition that they were out to break the oligarchy of the Lopezes and other wealthy families that at the time controlled key industries they deemed crucial to national development.
The original Edsa Revolution came about and the Marcoses and the families they once tried to supplant are back in full force, reinstituting the old order and extending it to their forebears.
Aside from the current Palace occupant, key positions in governments are held by an influential family member. One need only look at the Garcias—who incidentally are friends with the Marcoses and the Osmeñas, who are tight with the Aquino administration, in Cebu to realize this political reality.
But it’s not like the Philippines owns a monopoly of influential families in politics. In the US there are the Kennedys of Boston, Massachussetts, one of whom earned the homage and tears of Americans shocked by his assassination at the hands of shadowy assailants and the Bush family, who had two of them landing in the Oval Office.
But owing to their entrenched, strong political two-party system topped by the Republican and Democratic parties—under whose respective wings smaller groups with diverse and even contradictory principles and ideologies allow them to co-exist and even cooperate with each other—even the pull of influential political families don’t guarantee victory or a change in party stand on issues.
Even the party-list group which is supposed to give leverage and greater representation to the underprivileged sectors of the country in Congress is being polluted by these influential families as shown by the Arroyos, one of whom claims to represent security guards and public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers.
Which is why the country’s communist insurgency, the longest in Asia, continues to fester due to its promise of a “more equitable society.” Which is also why, in next year’s elections, the public has in its hands the power to upend that system.
More from this Column:
- For Cebu City in three years
- Plugging the holes
- Fall of (some of ) Cebu’s old guard
- Enhancing notoriety
- Peace must reign in polls