Topic |  


Topic |  

sundry-thumbby Jes B. Tirol


The National Election on May 2016 is still almost a year away but the political kettle is now beginning to boil.

One of the persistent concerns of politicians is the Constitutional provision against political dynasties.  The framers of the 1987 Constitution did not defined what is political dynasty and they left it for Congress to pass a law regarding political dynasty.


The problem is, until now Congress could not define what is political dynasty and how it should be regulated.

Inconsistent Theory

The different Constitutions used in the Philippines say that the Philippines is a democracy.  Democracy means a rule by the people.  Each adult members of the group has the right to vote and be voted upon.

In the early part of the American Era, the requirements for a voter were: a.) Citizenship, b.) Age, c.) Residence, d.) Literacy, and e.) Property.

In the 1927 election, in order to have more participation in the election process, the property requirement was eliminated.  In the 1973 Constitution the voting age was lowered for 21 years old to 18 years old.  The literacy requirement was also abolished.

The 1987 Constitution introduced two theories that are inconsistent with the theory of democracy; they are, term limits and prohibition of political dynasty.


In a democracy it is supposed to be the people or voters that will decide who will be the elected officials and how many times they will be returned to the elected office.


The framers of the 1987 Constitution decided that the President could not be reelected, the Senators can have only one reelection, and the other officials can have only two reelections.  Unfortunately the framers of the 1987 Constitution could not define what constitutes Political Dynasty.

Political Dynasty

Political dynasty is defined as a group or family whose power or prominence endures over a period of time as though inherited from one generation to the next.


This definition is neutral.  It does not say whether political dynasty is good or bad.  However, in the 1987 Constitution there is an implication that political dynasty is bad.  This assumption runs counter to theories in social science and actual experience.

Just like in any human endeavor, there are good people and bad people.  In like manner there will be good political dynasties and bad political dynasties.  If we will prohibit political dynasties because there are bad political dynasties, we deprived the places that had good political dynasties of their good fortune.  It is similar to throwing the water from the bathtub together with the baby.


In the United States where we copied our political system, John Adams became the Second President (1797-1801).  His son, John Quincy Adams became the Sixth President (1825-29).  The Americans did not make an issue of political dynasty because John Quincy Adams was reputed to be the best legal mind during his time.

George Bush became President of the United States.  His son George W. Bush was the Governor of Texas and another son Jeb Bush was the Governor of Florida.  Eventually George W. Bush became President of the United States.

Nowadays, Hilary Clinton, the wife of Ex-President William “Bill” Clinton, has announced her second attempt to become the President of the United States.  The issue of political dynasty does not exist.

Solving the Wrong Problem

The Holy Bible said that “a tree is known by its fruit”.  A good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree bears bad fruit.

If a good fruit has served the people well, why will you deprive the people from enjoying the same good fruit that comes from the same tree?

To cut all trees because some of them are bad is not a good solution.  In fact you are solving the wrong problem.  The real problem is how to recognize which tree is good and which is bad.

Establish the Criteria

What we really don’t like is a bad political dynasty.  The problem is how to recognize or differentiate a bad from a good political dynasty.

The first is to educate the people or voters to vote only for candidates with good credentials for leadership.  In the 2013 Local Elections is Bohol, the survey of the University of Bohol Research Center indicated that the Number One preference of the voters at 71% was “those who will give them money”.  Of the twelve (12) criteria we presented, “credentials for leadership” was way below at No. 5 or No. 6.

The second is to create or establish a reputable private organization that can tell the people how their officials are performing.  In olden times the political party will hold a convention to select their candidates.  Nowadays, every party will wait for the results of the surveys of Pulse Asia and the Social Weather Station to determine whether a candidate will run or not.

The award of “Seal of Good Governance” is a good start.  However, it does not pinpoint the actual persons involved.  The elected officials and the bureaucracy should be separated because the elected officials will face the voters every election time.  It might happen that the “Good Governance” was caused by unelected good bureaucracy.

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