October 2, 2023

The slogan is not mine, and I first saw it in my father’s hometown in Moncada, Tarlac, which the Aquinos have been lording over for four decades now.
Here in the local scene though, if I am not mistaken, more or less 36 punong barangays are ending their three terms now and can no longer run for reelection. Some have been coming over to say they are fielding their spouse to run, but a certain Department of the Interior and Local Government official says that is a prohibited act.
My little knowledge in law says I have to disagree, with all due respect. Can the DILG-CAR implement the Anti-Dynasty Law on PBs whose spouses are running for their position?
The Constitution bans dynasties, but it is not self-executory and needs an enabling law for implementation. The closest legislation we have is Republic Act 10742 or the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act of 2015.
Section 10 enumerates the qualifications of an SK official: “Must not be related within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to any incumbent elected national official or to any elected regional, provincial, city or municipal, or barangay official in the locality where he or she seeks to be elected.” For your information, first degree is from parent to son(s) or daughter(s); second degree is from son(s) or daughter(s) to their own son(s) or daughter(s) and grandchildren.
The prohibition is not limited to an incumbent SK but to any sitting official, thus the apo of a mayor cannot run in the October polls. The spouse is indeed a relative not by blood or consanguinity but by affinity (spermatoa), but the PB is not an SK official, hence not covered by the ban. So whether for continuity of programs or projects or what the tradpols say, “clamor of the people”, let the games begin!
Some people, though, feel that passing of political powers to another like a family heirloom leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Thus, in the provinces, it is widely practiced to be congressman or mayor by “hereditary succession”.
Hopefully, Baguio remains to be unaffected and continue to practice its stand not to follow the grotesque trait.
Of course, we leave it to the voters. The late Constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin Bernas, also a member of the Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution, said, “The argument that the electorate should be left free to decide whom to choose is not without validity. Partly for that reason, the meaning of political dynasties has been left for Congress to define. But since Congress is the principal playground of political dynasties, the realization of the dream that the provision on political dynasties would widen access to political opportunities, will very probably be exhaustingly long in coming.”
Don’t you worry, apo padi. There is still a breed of leaders-incumbents who keep a conscience and principle with or without an enabling law. In the end, it’s not a law but how people vote that will end a dynasty, who cling to positions for their own selfish agenda – power, commissions, perks, AIDS (acquired income delivered secretly or now by Gcash or ATM) – thus the greedy desire to pass on to another relative after finishing their term.
Anyway, the late icon Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago had the balls filing Senate Bill 2649 or “An Act to Prohibit Political Dynasties.”
The bill disqualifies candidates up to the second degree of consanguinity to participate in the elections, and read side by side with SB 11688, will prohibit the spouse or any person related within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity to an incumbent elective official seeking re-election from holding or running for any elective office in the same province in the same election.
If the incumbent elective official is a national one, the aforementioned relatives shall be disqualified from running only within the same province where the former is registered voter. If none of the candidates are related to an incumbent elective official but are related to one another within the said prohibited degree, they and their spouses shall be disqualified from holding or running for any local elective office within the same province in the same election.
In all cases, no person within the prohibited civil degree of relationship to the incumbent official shall immediately succeed to the position of the latter.
Inspiring but death came. Maybe I should go back to Congress and fulfill Santiago’s dream or at least foil the attempt to make Baguio a “kaya ni Mr., kaya ni Mrs.” city. I will if I can, but I won’t….meantime.