Press Release
October 25, 2018

Dispatch from Crame No. 413:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's statement on the appalling prevalence of political dynasties

The 2019 election season proves to be a no-holds-barred occasion for Philippine political dynasties. Since there is no enabling law, but only a non-self executing constitutional provision, that deals with political dynasties and the scourge that they represent in our democratic system of elections, political families have once again fielded candidates for multiple positions. This in effect makes our elections to be a joke, if only it were not so tragic for our democracy.

Never has dynastic succession to political office, or dominance of political families in both national and local offices, been more pronounced than under the present administration.

The prevalence of impunity and lack of accountability enabled by Duterte has further engendered the culture on which political dynasties thrive, including the thirst for monopoly of power and dominance in patronage politics. With the model being the Duterte family fielding all three children as candidates for elective offices in Davao, it is therefore no wonder why other political families would follow suit in this showcase of avarice for political power.

Indeed, it takes a special kind of lack of delicadeza for a family to surmise that public office is a birthright and a personal entitlement.

For the Duterte family, there is no doubt that they treat Davao as their kingdom, with them as the royal family that lords over it, most especially now that the patriarch is the highest official of the country. With the presidential family as role model, the extent of dynastic domination of politics is pushed further than ever before. So now we see spouses running for different congressional districts and siblings offering the voters of the country's premier city no other choice but themselves.

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. There is no clearer manifestation of this phenomenon than in the Philippines' political dynasties spread over every region and every province.

Whatever little democratic space is left for other struggling aspirants to public office is snuffed out in a futile exercise where political Goliaths have cornered patronage and resources in elections that do not give any primacy to platform, performance, and track record.

This is the sorry state of Philippine democracy that made Filipinos believe that electing Duterte would finally put an end to the corruption of entrenched dynasties. What they got instead was just another political family no different from the rest in their shameless sense of entitlement to political power.

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