Mad about dynasts

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    THE VISION: To put a definitive end to political dynasties through Republic Act 6735 or the People’s Initiative and Referendum Act.

    The Mission: To generate 5.2 million signatures to force the issue, to put that vision into realization. 

    Thus, in February, civil society groups launched the Movement Against Dynasties (MAD).

    How fared MAD so far?

    It has already gathered some 510,000 signatures from various parts of the country. So reported Lito Ong, MAD-Pampanga chairman.

    That is less than 10 percent of the target. That comes down to an average of 170,000 signatures per month in the three months MAD existed. At that pace, it would be way into the half of 2015 to get to the 5.2 million goal.

    With all the media noise attendant to the MAD’s launching, with the stirring demagoguery on the evils of political dynasties – the Ampatuan Massacre their most brutal manifestation – it is a wonder why only 510,000 have so far heeded the clarion call of MAD.

    That wonder turns to disbelief vis-a-vis the realities of the Binays, Estradas, Enriles, Angaras, Cayetanos, indeed, the Aquinos on the national stage and the long-standing local fiefdoms of the Ortegas of La Union, the Dys of Isabela, the Villafuertes of Camarines Sur, the Garcias, Osmenas and Duranos of Cebu, the Dutertes of Davao, the Singsons of Ilocos Norte, indeed the Marcoses and Romualdezes of Ilocos and Leyte.

    On home grounds now, Pampanga politics has always been dynastic too – the Lazatins and the Nepomucenos of an ancien regime  that has remained extant, and the New Order of the Bondocs, the Lapids, indeed, the Pinedas being the most formidable.

    The coming mid-term elections make the best stage for MAD to act out its morality play and win more adherents.

    But as it is turning out, it is the dynasts that lord it over again – Allan Peter Cayetano, Nancy Binay, Bam Aquino, JV Ejercito Estrada, and Jack Enrile consistently in the Magic 12 for the Senate.

    In Pampanga, already conceded to win – even before the campaign period started – are the Pinedas – Nanay Baby the governor, son Delta for vice-governor, daughter Mayor Mylyn unopposed in Lubao, daughter-in-law Mayor Yolly with but a token opposition in Sta. Rita; and the Nepomucenos – comebacking Congressman Blueboy and re-electing councilor Bryan.

    A tall order, if not a mission impossible for MAD to put an end to the dynasties.

    Admirable is Ong’s optimism in saying: “this can be done in the next two to three years with the help of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).”  This as he noted that many bishops “are very aggressive” in supporting MAD’s provincial sorties.

    Indeed the CBCP has come out with some pastoral statement denouncing the rule of the few powerful political clans in the country, and vowing to back legislation against political dynasties which it said “breed corruption and inhibit general access to political power, which is a fundamental mark of democracy.”

    The way I’ve come to understand it, the fundamental mark of democracy is “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

    Rather than argue with the CBCP, I would rather that the argument of reality speaks for itself: Dynasties live and die on the support of the people, maybe out of fear but primarily out of favour.

    But no matter, the people, yes. As in vox populi, vox Dei.

    No matter too the rightness of Alcuin, an English scholar and theologian of the 8th century, thus: “And those people should not be listened to who keep saying the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness.”        

    Meanwhile, in the news yesterday…

    The petition for disqualification as candidate against vice gubernatorial wannabe Dennis “Delta” Pineda, among other respondents, for alleged “clear cases of political dynasties” has been dismissed.

    The Commission on Elections (Comelec) Second Division said they lacked the power to enforce a provision against political dynasties as there are no enabling laws for the purpose.

    “We laud the Petitioners in their relentless effort to give life to the state policy against political dynasties.

    However, this commission is without power to enforce the provision against political dynasties without any enabling law,” Presiding Commissioner Elias R. Yusoph said in his nine-page decision…

    Mad as only MAD can be. 

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