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Graft and corruption
Before the Marcos dictatorship, in what has been described as an era of elite democracy, political control was dominated by a relatively small class of political families like the Ortegas of La Union, the Abads in Batanes, the Albanos in Isabela, the Cojuangcos in Tarlac, the Laurels in Batangas, the Fuentebellas in Camarines Sur, the Aquinos in Sorsogon, and the Cuencos and the Osmeñas in Cebu, to name some.
Under the authoritarian regime of Marcos, some survived and thrived like the Ablans in Ilocos Norte, the Asistios in Caloocan, the Dys in Isabela, the Escuderos of Sorsogon, the Josons in Nueva Ecija, and the Romualdezes in Leyte.
Brimming with idealism after Marcos’ ouster, the framers of the 1987 Constitution, painfully aware of the potential abuse and excess of allowing select families to have political control, introduced Article II, Section 26, which states that the State “shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”
One of the members of the Constitutional Commission (ConCom), the recently retired poll commissioner Rene Sarmiento -- in supporting the anti-dynasty provision during the ConCom debates -- argued that “political dynasties are the bane and waterloo of young, promising but poor candidates to occupy important positions in government. While it is true we have government officials who have ascended to power despite accident of birth, they are exceptions [as] most officials would show that they come from powerful clans with vast economic fortunes.”
Another ConCom member, Jose Colayco, pointed out that a political dynasty “breeds graft and corruption,” citing the case of a former Manila mayor who had been in power for 20 years. Having been into power for so long, the mayor allowed his children to control illegal activities in the city, Colayco told the ConCom.
But 27 years after the 1987 Constitution was ratified, the political affairs of the country remains the monopoly of a select few, revolving around family members and relatives.
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