December 4, 2006 : Monday
Politics is an Ultimate Family Affair
Former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, Lady Senator Loi Ejercito, Senator Jinggoy Ejercito and San Juan Mayor Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, is this only a coincidence that these well known political figures got the same surname? I guess not, and I’m sure you’re all aware that these people were of the same family.
Politics is an ultimate family affair. The Ejercitos’ are one of the many examples of political clans in the country. Actually, there were 87 families controlled the top 120 Philippine manufacturing companies from 1964 to 1986.Sixteen of these families were involved in politics, and most were part of landowning elite. Most of the representatives in the Philippine Congress over the past century have come from only 134 Families. The names are recurrent: Aquino, Duran, Ramos, Cojuangco, Dimaporo, Enrile, Espinosa/Martinez, Garcia, Imperial, Laurel , Lopez, Marcos/ Romualdez, Osmeña, Roxas and Veloso.
Let’s put it this way, “the typical Filipino legislator is male, middle-aged, and college-educated, most likely with a degree in law. He has previously held a local government post and is a member of a political family … There is one chance in two that he is related to a former legislator. He is also into business and has multiple income sources … He is well off, with a net worth (most likely understated in his statement of assets) in the P10 million range. The likelihood is that the longer he stays in Congress, the richer he becomes.
The typical representative or senator therefore is not the typical Filipino, who is likely to be 35, with a few years of high-school education and an annual family income of about P150, 000 in 2000.
Therefore, much likely it will be easier for us to enter politics and most probably win the election if we are from a well-known family, such as in politics, business or even from the entertainment world. That the qualifications for being a public official are far above from the qualifications stated in the constitution. And our country is continued to be ruled by political dynasties.
In the mid-1960s, political scientist Dante Simbulan came up with the concept of “modern principalia”, referring to the educated, landed Filipino aristocracy, who behaved like agents of the Spanish colonizers and of course monopolized local office. The modern principalia is still in Congress – and just like before they monopolize political office as well as economic power.
Well, what are the implications of having rule makers that came of from a political clan? Personally, I could see positive and negative side in this issue. A continuous ruling of a political family, offers the continuation of their projects and programs. On the other hand, it is unfair to the people who also want to serve the country that even they came from a family that is not well known, or they graduated from a not so prestigious school and they have low earnings but they got the brain, the power and heart to serve the nation’s people, they should be given a chance isn’t it?
From what I’ve heard from Sir Jan’s lecture about political dynasties, he advices reforms in the government, reforms in the government structure end reforms in the political party system in the country. And according to Dr. Pia, dynamic will be achieve when there is change. Change is what our government needs, specially the change in the people.