Malacañang defends political dynastiesBy TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
What’s wrong with President Aquino fielding senatorial candidates from powerful political families?
Responding to Catholic bishops’ denunciation of political dynasties, Secretary Edwin Lacierda, presidential spokesperson, said Wednesday a distinction should be made between “good” and “bad” political dynasties.
His argument: “It should be clear what political dynasty means … Not all dynasties are bad; not all dynasties are good.” Lacierda added that banning outright candidates with the “same family names” should be studied.
Besides, the Team Pinoy candidates had “proven themselves” in public service and private sector, and it was up to the electorate to vet their qualifications, Lacierda further argued.
“You can identify each and every individual and you make a judgment for yourself: Am I going to vote for this particular individual? The President has chosen. He has decided to say, ‘These are my people and these people will push for my reforms,’” said Lacierda when asked if the administration candidates come from “good” political dynasties.
For the midterm elections in May, Mr. Aquino is fielding his own cousin, youth leader and entrepreneur Benigno Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV. Others relatives of politicians on the slate are Senators Alan Peter Cayetano (the son of a former senator and brother of incumbent Sen. Pia Cayetano), Aquilino Pimentel III (son of former Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr.), Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara (son of incumbent Sen. Edgardo Angara), and former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar (wife of Sen. Manuel Villar).
The opposition United Nationalist Alliance, on the other hand, is also fielding candidates who are members of the families of Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and deposed President Joseph Estrada.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) had issued a pastoral statement denouncing political dynasties, saying it felt offended that lawmakers defied the mandate of the Constitution to push for an enabling law banning dynasties that only bred corruption and ineptitude.
The Constitution prohibits political dynasties, but as in the case of the freedom of information provision, Congress has yet to provide the enabling law.
The Kapatiran Party welcomed the CBCP pastoral letter, saying it would spearhead a people’s initiative for the passage of a national law banning political dynasties.
Kapatiran senatorial candidate John Carlos “JC” de los Reyes said the party would seek the Church’s support in the gathering of signatures.
“We are asking them to help out by providing accessible and convenient signature desks scattered in all the dioceses. Without them, this initiative is almost futile,” De los Reyes told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in reply to query sent through Facebook. With a report from Jerome Aning