Manila:The continued dominance of political dynasties in the country makes it more difficult to combat corruption, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said.
In a pastoral statement issued head of the May 2013 mid-term senatorial and local elections, the CBCP lamented what it described as the “widening practice” of political dynasties of perpetrating themselves in power.
“Political dynasties breed corruption and ineptitude,” the statement signed by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president, read in part.
The CBCP is the most influential Church-based group in this majority Catholic country.
Without naming any particular family, the bishops stressed that political authority should not be monopolized for certain family interests or that of a political party.
Palma at the same time pointed out the lack of measures to do away with political dynasties and its perceived evils.
The Wikipedia describes the brand of politics in the Philippines as being “under the control of a few notable families.”
“It is normal for a politician’s son, wife, brother or other kinsman, to run for the same government office,” the Internet-based ready reference stated.
The CBCP said under the existing set up, political power in the country is run like a virtual monopoly. “When political authority is exercised merely for these narrow interests, it betrays the reason for its existence,” he said.
“Moreover, such situation breeds corruption and inhibits general access to political power which is a fundamental mark of democracy,” said the CBCP.
“Therefore, we denounce the continued existence of family political dynasties and the continuing delay of passing a law to implement the constitutional provision banning political dynasties,” the bishops said.
“We are aggrieved that lawmakers themselves defy the supreme law of the land by not following the mandate of our Philippine Constitution given 26 years ago to make an enabling law to ban political dynasties,” they added.
The CBCP said should Congress continue to ignore their moral and constitutional duties, the CBCP said they will back initiatives of lay people to enact a law through the people’s initiative.
“If Congress is unwilling to act on this, we support initiatives by the lay faithful to pass an enabling law against political dynasties through the people’s initiative, which the Constitution provides,” according to the bishops.
Late last year young lawmaker Mitzi Cajayon of Caloocan in Metro Manila, said the continued dominance of political clans in the country as unconstitutional.
“The perpetuation of political dynasties can undermine the quality of democracy and economic development. This political phenomenon in the country has, in fact, engendered inequality which tends to further the vicious cycle of poverty of our people,” Cajayon said.
She also pointed to studies that said political dynasties “can lead to extreme personalism in the exercise of power” and may “undermine the implementation of wide-ranging public policies.”
Last January 8, 2013, the Supreme Court dismissed a petition asking the Apex Court to compel the Commission Elections to prevent members of political dynasties from taking part in the 2013 polls.
Filipinos will be electing their next set of 12 senators, more than 350 congressmen as well as provincial and local executives and legislators on May 2013.