Drilon tells Duterte: To end oligarchy, political dynasties must fall first
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said political dynasties are the oligarchs that the country must get rid of first, stressing that they “have made our national and local offices extensions of their household.”
Speaking at an online media forum on Wednesday, Drilon urged President Rodrigo Duterte to push for the enactment of a proposed law prohibiting political dynasties in order to dismantle oligarchy in the country.
“We must review the whole structure, because the structure may in fact or make oligarchy easy to achieve…The lack of an anti-dynasty system or provision in our system allows oligarchy to continue,” Drilon said.
“They [political dynasties] wield power for their own benefit. It has gone so bad that these dynasties now hold simultaneous national and local positions,” he added.
Drilon issued this pronouncement after the President claimed that he had dismantled oligarchy in the country without declaring martial law.
The lawmaker said the President has the “capacity” to push for passage of the proposed anti-political dynasty law in Congress, of which most seats are filled with administration allies.
“As part of the political reform to prevent oligarchy, maybe we should look at our political party system because that is not helpful. Our present system cannot be cited as anathema or a check on oligarchs,” he said.
Duterte has established his own political clan. His daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio serves as Davao City mayor while her brother, Sebastian “Baste” Duterte is the vice mayor. Meanwhile, another presidential son, Paolo Duterte, represents the 1st District of Davao City in the lower chamber of Congress.
Despite this, Drilon says the President could “rise above all this of these” if he really wants to “remove oligarchy as a power structure.”
In supporting the dismantling of oligarchy, the Senate leader further warned that cronies may take over if necessary reforms are not put in place.
“What is it in our legal system that makes oligarchy possible? To me, we must study that. Structural reform is necessary,” he said.
“Oligarchy is bad for our governance and, therefore, as a policy, yes, we should adopt policies to prevent or dismantle these oligarchies. But, let’s make sure that the oligarchs are not substituted by cronies,” he added.
Drilon said he is willing to work with the administration to review the current system and enact measures that can prevent all forms of oligarchy.
“I am willing to sit down with the Duterte administration to examine the laws that we have and find out which laws should be amended or which laws should be enacted in order that we can remove or dismantle structures that made possible the oligarchy,” he said.
Drilon, likewise, clarified that being rich does not “equate” to being an oligarch, pointing out that oligarchy takes place when one influences the decision of the government or uses his or her wealth to pursue a policy that benefits business interest.
“It is not in wealth that you are an oligarch; you are an oligarch if you use your power to promote through the political system your own interest,” he said. [ac]
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