Political dynasty is a monopoly of power, says priest

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Former North Cotabato Gov. Emmanuel Pinol. Photo courtesy of Philboxing.com

COTABATO CITY (10-Nov-2012/PNA) – A Catholic priest, who has been serving as poll watchdog in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for the past 10 years, has said a political dynasty as a monopoly of power is a corruption of democracy.

“Political dynasty by a family or a clan is a modern form of anarchy, an establishment of a family kingdom creating new kings, new queens, new princes and new princesses,” Father David Procalla, chair of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting in the ARMM, said.

Former North Cotabato Gov. Emmanuel Pinol, who is aspiring to regain the gubernatorial post in next year’s balloting, said having more than one or two family members in various political positions cannot be considered political dynasty.

Meanwhile, Habib Abdulhasan, chair of the Civil Society Organization for Good Governance in ARMM, said one or more family members elected by the people in a democratic process cannot be considered dynasty.

“Remember that the power to elect leaders reside in the hands of the electorate where officials get mandate from,” Abdulhasan said.

However, he added that dynasty becomes a form of corruption when people allow politicians to rule over them despite non-performance, corruption and anomalies.

He cited the case of the Ampatuans in Maguindanao who had been ruling various towns and the provinces until the infamous Maguindanao massacre in November 2009.

“It was a clear dynasty because those family members were corrupt and the clan’s patriarch used influence over the national leadership of former President Arroyo in exchange for command votes during elections,” he said.

“It was a case of ‘I scratch your back, you scratch mine,’” Abdulhasan added.

Eva Tan, editor of the Catholic weekly The Mindanao Cross, said “the problem of political dynasties will remain forever with us if nothing is done to change the power structure of Philippine government, such as non-legislation of an Anti-Dynasty Bill.”

She noted that down to the level of the barangay, the elected leaders hold not only political power, but economic power as well; and this is perpetuated when members of the same family are elected or appointed into office. (PNA)

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