PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte, himself a patriarch of a family of politicians, rejected any move to carry out the constitutional provision banning political dynasties in the country, saying that this will be a “restriction” against the free will of the voters to choose their leaders.
“I cannot fathom about this dynasty, it’s a restriction,” Duterte said in a speech before his partymates in the ruling PDP-Laban Wednesday night.
“This anti-dynasty, it’s a restriction of the freedom of an individual, not a people, a choice who would be their leaders.”
Making his case, Duterte said that sovereignty, or the full right and power to govern “could only be placed in the hands of people who are elected, their choice”—even if the ones in position were rich or influential people.
“He could be the son of a b****, but if he is the choice of the people, wala tayong magawa talaga. Even if it is the haciendero who holds the feudal power over a plantation,” he added.
Duterte, who has been in politics since 1986, had several members of his family also in public service.
His father Vicente was an acting mayor of Danao City in Cebu from 1946 to 1948 and the Governor of the undivided Davao province from 1959 to 1965. The late Duterte also served as Minister of General Services during the first term of Ferdinand Marcos.
His children—Sara and Paolo is currently the mayor and vice mayor of Davao City, respectively. The father-and-daughter tandem had swapped positions as mayor and vice mayor in the past.
In a Palace news briefing, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque admitted that “only those with money tend to be in politics, full stop.”
“The sad reality is whether be it unitary or federal, the rich tend to be elected,” Roque said in response to fears that a federal form of government would only perpetuate fiefdoms and political dynasties.
“But what we are pushing now is for a system of government where local governments will have access to resources because they are in the best position to address the needs of their local constituencies,” he said.
Section 26 of Article II of the Constitution provides: “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”
While several bills have been pending banning such, the legislature, itself lorded by dynasts, has failed to pass an anti-dynasty law some 30 years after the ratification of the 1987 Constitution.