[Y-SPACE] I can buy You, your Friends, and this Bayan.
By Ryanne Relos
Picture this scene: A family with associated relatives ruling large swathes of land, regions, or even the entire country while they orchestrate festivities and events to blind the people away from their absolute power, corruption, massacres, and exploitation of the law. If your first thought was a medieval scenery that is the same as Game of Thrones, the medieval world, or any fantasy written book, then I would give a point for you, however, I was referring to the political dynasty landscape happening right now in the Philippines. A Feudal state in touch as these families rule barangays, provinces, regions, and even the entire country through long terms of generations as if it were their own kingdoms, this is an embarrassing representation of democracy as these people maintain the political landscape. The thought that a few notable families hold the power, the wealth, and the fate of the Filipinos and the whole Philippines humiliate the independence and democracy that our ancestors fought for. With such families holding positions to enrich themselves or to continue the legacy that their descendants worked for, they have forgotten the meaning of democracy in the Philippines by hoarding the power to themselves thus forbidding other fresh candidates to take the position and manage the authority.
How have we come to this then? Surely enough we could have stopped these families with rich businesses, influential statuses, and powerful clans to take hold of power. Such families emerged after the Spanish were kicked out of our country after our revolution, to which the influential and the hacienderos have established and hoarded the political power as they affiliated themselves with the American and Japanese occupations. However, with our freedom, our current constitution prohibits the creation of political dynasties as stated in Section 26 of Article II: “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.” Even with such a ruling, certain individuals still try to exempt themselves from the law by placing their wives, children, or relatives into key positions to maintain their family’s power.
Are we blinded by the “sweet advantages” that these families speak of every election season? That they would continue the planned and created infrastructures that their parents or even grandparents have thought and managed into their administration? That the legacies, policies, and wills that their parents and relatives have done would be also done under their name? Surely enough this would be beneficial to the people if the family was competent. Although, no two individuals are the same, for while the father may be great, the son might be a mistake. The cons outweigh the pros more than ever as corruption may sway over the son’s administration if the father had none while also his political will may be bent enough for him to transform into a tyrant. In addition, the thought of our country upholding democratic values disqualifies the idea of favoring political dynasties as we must provide equal opportunities to bright contenders in elections that wish to apply their ideas in managing and improving the nation.
For one must think that families with political dynasties easily hold the power to control our fates and lives in the country by buying and power-tripping the law. They sent a family member to jail for a crime? Since the uncle is the mayor, they can let him go. Your husband was caught for embezzlement? Ask a political relative to nullify the charges. A son murdered his friend? Since the father is the Governor, lengthen and drag the legal process. Unrealistic it may seem but you get the picture of how our justice system is. To put into thought, these families are dangerous as they breed a “criminal organization” that includes their relatives and friends where they abuse their power for such selfish reasons.
A cruel fate amongst our countrymen as they were blinded by the sweetened words that these people promise every election season for many of the poor fall for the same rhetoric every time. However, they cannot be blamed as the capital goes towards the pockets of these people while we are all left to fight or share amongst ourselves the scraps of budgets left over for education, support, and convenient needs. Moreover, a law such as the Anti-Political Dynasty Bill that wishes to strengthen the clause of eliminating political dynasties in the constitution continues to be passed on from Congress to Congress with no progress being signed.
Clearly, none of the powerful families in the government wishes to give up their power, as none want to give up the wealth that they could accumulate while in power. And so, does our fate rely entirely on these people? No, it does not, for power does not last forever. Rulers and their families do not live forever as even the monarchies of Europe and Asia proved to us that dynastic families could be toppled over. It relies upon the people on whether they wish to live as a slave forever under their master’s feet or would they break the chains that bind them from this slavery. Our heroes fought for the independence of our country, therefore, the younger generation of Filipinos have the duty to fight for the freedom that they have died for. We should wish and live over a free and democratic nation rather than the controlled and authoritarian that these families try to emplace with their power to which reminds us back into our colonial times.
We have a voice, and we hold the power to topple over such abusive dynastic families. Education and voting matter as well as hearing the opinions and ideas of our youth as they are the fundamental key to bring down these kinds of people. With the education of the youth and the voting of the masses along with our overall voices, we could change the feudal and “colonial” scenery that has ruled our country since our independence. Our fates should not be bought or emplaced over the hands of a few. These should be entrusted to us, the individual, the people, the Filipinos. For I know we live in a Bayan called the Philippines and not a country called *Family Name*-land.
Ryanne Jancell Relos is a student from Colegio de San Juan de Letran. He is passionate about reading and writing anything about the Social Sciences to which he specializes mostly on the topics of History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology.
YSPACE is a platform open for young writers to contribute their worth-sharing thoughts and stories to the world. It is a space for young people and by the young people which aims to promote a strong sense of empowerment and inspiration to young Filipinos.