March 5, 2024

During the recent meeting among members of the PDP-Laban, an endorsement was made by the presiding officer that after the term of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, he should run for vice president.
The endorsement went further by suggesting that the ruling party will field as its presidential candidate Sara Duterte, the daughter of the incumbent President.
What does this mean? It means that in the next election, the possible line-up that will comprise the administration ticket will carry a Duterte-Duterte banner. Sara Duterte for president and Rodrigo Duterte for vice president.
A daughter-father tandem in the next election like that of Sara and Rodrigo Duterte is not prohibited by the Constitution. What is prohi- bited is for the older Duterte to seek a reelection for the same position since the Constitution allows a president only a one term six-year rule. There is no prohibition if the position he will seek is for another elective position. The constitutionality of the latter proposition had been upheld in the past. There are two classic examples.
After Gloria Macapagal Arroyo finished her term as President of the Republic, she filed her candidacy to be elected as the Lower House representative of her home province. She won and served for two terms. Ditto with Joseph E. Estrada who, after serving as the 13th President of the Philippines, cast his lot to be the mayor of Manila. He, too, won and served as mayor for two terms.
Thus, it is being reasoned out by those urging Duterte to become the next vice president that if his predecessors were able to do so, so can he. Nothing legally wrong with that. However, a countenance to this kind of precedent is fraught with moral issues. It may not directly violate the law but it indirectly does. While the Constitution allows the scenario being courted by Sara Duterte and Rodrigo Duterte, the same Constitution prescribes the establishment of a dynasty.
True, there is no exact legal definition of what comprises a dynasty. Nor is there any implementing law that prohibits dynasty because most of them who are tasked to legislate on it have vested interests and are themselves part of a dynasty. But, to know what is a dynasty does not need legislation. On the contrary, it only takes common sense to feel the existence of a dynasty.
When the president and vice president are related to each other, surely there is a dynasty. When the reigns of a public office is transferred from one family member to another as if it is a vested right, surely there is a dynasty. When an elective office is inherited by a son or a daughter, surely there is a dynasty. Simply said, when the power of the government is confined among members of the same family and is passed on from one to the other, it is a dynasty.
Not that the Dutertes are incapable of running the government with competence and dedication.
Sara and Rodrigo have, in the past, proved their mettle. But it is not their capacity to rule that is in issue. Instead, it is the morality and ethics of it. It is not moral and ethical for a person to stick to a position like glue. It is frightening.
Look at what happened to the Marcos dynasty?
Instead of a leader, the country created a dictator. Instead of perpetuating the presidency, the people have to live-down with an oligarchy.
Has the government run out of viable alternatives who will administer its government? Has its people become so in love with the Duterte family that they are willing to tolerate another six years of the same rule?
Can’t the nation explore better options and elect more competent leaders? Somewhere out there, there must be a candidate more worthy of our adulation and vote.