HISTORY repeats itself like a broken record. Before, it was conjugal dictatorship and cronies. Then, it was Kamag-anak, Inc. Now, we call it political dynasty. Really, there's nothing new under the sun. The Estradas had set a bad precedent when mother and son won simultaneous seats in the Senate. In the recent election, we saw senatoriables with kin already sitting in the Senate. That's one the reasons why I did not vote for Alan Cayetano, Vic Magsaysay and Koko Pimentel (See my previous blog entry: http://inquirerbloggers.net/eleksyon2007/2007/05/16/why-i-did-not-vote-for-pichay-cayetano-et-al/). In our country, we see fathers sitting as mayors with their children sitting as congressmen. In one city, four brothers ran for mayor, congressmen for both of its districts, and party-list representative. When the local official finishes his third term, he makes his wife run for the position. Then we also discover that some of the nominees of the party-lists are children of congressmen. Why do we tolerate this? Before the election I went to Bicol. I asked a pedicab driver why he would vote for Dato Arroyo. He answered, "Siyempre anak siya ng pangulo. Eh di mas malakas sa taas." (Of course, he is the son of the president. So he must be well-connected up there.) What if Dato loses this election? Does that mean the President will neglect that district in Bicol? That is why political dynasty is so unfair. Now, these politicians claim that there's no law against it. Granted, it may not be illegal. But it is immoral. Democracy is about equality. Where is equality in political dynasty? Is there equality when power is concentrated on just a few influential families? I heard Alan Cayetano say that kings pass on power to their sons. Mr. Cayetano, we are not under a monarchy. Well, at least in a monarchy, the king dies first before the prince takes over. Why not wait for your sister to step down before you run for senator? How can siblings (or father and son as in the case of the Pimentels) be a fair representative of the entire country? Where's equality in that? They claim that they are qualified. Fine. "Sila lang ba ang mga anak ng Diyos?" (Are they the only children of God?) Are they the only ones qualified? Plus, they are not just banking on their qualifications. They are taking advantage of name recall. That's undue advantage. Did they focus solely on their qualifications in their campaign? Really now? Did the voters vote for them solely because they are qualified? Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. claimed that political dynasty is not prohibited by the ten commandments. Well, Mr. Senator, it is. God said, "Thou shalt not steal." Isn't political dynasty stealing the opportunity to serve from others? At least, Senator Panfilo Lacson had the moral courage not to allow one of his sons to run for a local elective position. He told his son not to run while he is a senator. It seems to me that it's all about power. I believe they just could not let go of power, that they just want to perpetuate themselves in power, that they lust for power so much that they want more of it. That's why any anti-dynasty bill is doomed to failure even before it is put on paper.
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I THINK that since the election is now over save for the counting we can now do a post-election evaluation. Maybe candidates can learn a thing or two from this. I did not vote for Pichay because he apparently spent so much for his political ads. This worried me. Where will he get the money to recoup his "investments"? Also, there were so many ads that I feel it backfired. I got fed up hearing him promise that he dreams of fulfilling my dreams. But it seems the only way for him to do that is that I must first fulfill his dream of becoming a senator. I did not vote for Sonia Roco because of her "para silang autistic" remark aired over national TV. That's a very callous statement. She claimed in her apology that she was not poking fun at children with special needs. But the fact that she used the word autistic had hurt me. By the way, autistic is not the politically correct term. It's "children with autism." Because we have to see the child beyond his or her autism. I did not vote for Alan Peter Cayetano. Every time I hear him, he always attacks. What will he do in the Senate? Attack some more? He got suspended in the last Congress for his false accusations against the First Gentleman. My dear lawmaker, "tsismis" (or gossip) should have no room in a lawmaker's mind. Leave that to showbiz gossip writers. You cannot make laws based on "tsismis." Verify your facts first. Gather evidence before calling for an investigation. That way you will save us taxpayers our time and money. Cayetano came across as a witch hunter, not a fiscalizer that he tried to package himself. Plus, I cannot stomach his arguments against the political dynasty issue thrown at him. He claimed that, before he ran, he challenged PGMA that if she will not allow her sons to run for Congress, he will also not run as senator. That's baloney! If he really thinks that political dynasty is wrong, he should not run. Period. This political dynasty issue is also the reason why I did not vote for Koko Pimentel and Vic Magsaysay. They already have relatives sitting in the Senate. Can't they wait for their relatives to step down before running for the senate? I did not vote for Loren Legarda for she came off to me as someone out to be in power no matter what's the price. Whenever I see her, I see ambition written all over her face. She cried when the envelope was not opened in the Estrada impeachment trial. But during the campaign, I saw her all smiles while Erap is raising her hand. Where's her convictions? Were they for convenience or expediency? I did not vote for Antonio Trillanes not only for the Oakwood mutiny but also he came across as arrogant. First, he claimed it would be a slap for PGMA if he wins while campaigning behind bars. But then he applied for bail. It appeared to me that it was all for media sound bites. Well, some of these candidates may have won in this election. I just hope my perceptions are wrong. But I think I will not regret dumping them. It's my vote. It's my choice.
SIMPLENG tao, simpleng explanation. We understand him well because he means what he says. He's not the typical politician na will promise you tapos wala siyang ginagawa, pero magaling magsalita at galing daw sa "Harvard." Magaling silang lahat mambola o may asawa na artista, o artista din sila, larga na. Vicente P. Magsaysay, good luck ho sa inyo. Mabuhay! -- Edward Bautista, Vancouver, Canada (via e-mail)