The devil you don’t know

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Because the term political dynasty continues to defy definition, those who want the undefined outlawed have taken to quoting US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s famous dictum on pornography, “I know it when I see it.”

A little background check on Stewart’s famous remark revealed that it was part of his concurring opinion in a majority decision by the US Supreme Court reversing a 1964 case involving the screening of a French film called Les Amants (Jacobellis v. Ohio). I also discovered that Stewart’s statement as quoted by anti-dynasty freaks is truncated.

The full Stewart quotation referring to pornography goes, “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.”

So Potter could not define pornography after all. He wouldn’t know pornography from a National Geographic Special on lost tribes in the Amazon. His definition was subjective, capricious, and arbitrary.

And so it was left to Miller v. California to refine Jacobellis v Ohio. The new definition of pornography was based on “community standards” and “redeeming value.” Unfortunately those parameters still failed to draw lines clearly. It was still “I know it when I see it” or better yet, “You’ll know it when we say what it is.” Deep Throat could still be seen as hard-core by some and as an instructional video on sword-swallowing by others. Certain things simply defy objective definition, like pornography and political dynasties.

But that has not prevented anti-dynasty advocates from proposing that the Supreme Court finish the job that Congress still has to do – define political dynasties and ban them. They want a bunch of political appointees to do what elected representatives of the people can’t and won’t do, not only because it is against their interests but more importantly because the appointed framers of the Constitution banned something “about which it clearly had no idea” and so left the task of defining what is to be banned to elected representatives.

We can trust the Supreme Court to do right by us? The Constitution was explicit about the ban on appointments during election periods but that did not stop the Supreme Court from turning the unambiguous into something vague and redefining it to suit the purpose of their patron. As Robert Gordon, Chancellor Kent Professor Emeritus of Law and Legal History at Yale Law School said, “Judges who are really keen to reach a certain result will reach it, whatever obstacles of precedent or their own principles or past practice may stand in their way.” We can trust the Court to do right by us? Right.

There are two types of political dynasties, one elected by the people and the other imposed on them. The latter is what I would call a warlord dynasty. Such a dynasty can be defined easily, without any need for Potter Stewart. The former is undefinable if by a definition we mean one that does not involve taking away a voter’s right to choose his representatives and every citizen’s right to run for elective office.

At the end of the day, laws that will ban legitimate political dynasties reflect a condescending attitude towards voters. It’s nothing more than “voters don’t know what’s good for them so we who think we know better must enact laws to protect those idiots from themselves.” I would rather have laws that respect the wisdom of the voter who from practical experience would rather vote for the devil he thinks he knows than the devil he knows he don’t.

But what I would really like to see is for an end to this absurd and distracting debate over political dynasties. Let’s focus instead on real issues: the RH Bill, the Freedom of Information Bill, and the Sin Tax.

Manuel Buencamino

Buencamino was a weekly columnist for Today and Business Mirror. He has also written articles in other publications like Malaya, Newsbreak, "Yellow Pad" in Business World, and "Talk of the Town" in the Inquirer. He is currently with Interaksyon, the news site of TV5. MB blogged for Filipino Voices, blogs for ProPinoy and maintains a blog, Uniffors.com. Game-changers for him, as far as music goes, are Monk, Miles, Jimi, and Santana.

  • GabbyD

    so, what is my opinon about sec 26?

    1) its a statement of principle — meaning the state supports expanding political opportunity.

    2)it also supports banning dynasties — in so far as that expands political opportunities.

    3) the logic is clear then — political dynasties is a (BLANK) that limits political opportunity.

    now, kung ano ang blank na yan, is more difficult. but what ever it is, the LITMUS TEST is that it must limit political opportunity.

    4) more crucial, in my opinion, is how the state promotes political opportunity. ano ba yung opportunity na yan?

    to me, its clear that when there is no real choice in the kinds of policies offered, then political opportunity is limited.

    for example if gabbyd and mb are campaigning by making negative attack ads and offering promises of constituent service, then i’d argue that there is a dearth of political opportunity.

    Sec 23 then gives the state the mission of opening the possibility of more ideas into the local political market place. kasama na dyan ang laws on clean elections of course. di lang yun — limiting campaign expenditures is an important, under looked task in this regard too. the EPAL law is also an important part — these signs give undue advantage to incumbents.

    ultimately, i’m not to bothered about political dynasties, like MB.

    but i would support banning warlord politicians; or just banning warlords!

    • manuelbuencamino

      Gabby,

      Agree.

    • Nice summary. I agree with your conclusion.

  • GabbyD

    manuelbuencamino

    wow, this is the sort of discussion i kinda missed in the heyday of filipino voices. i’m glad ur still around asking interesting questions.

    “I say substitute “political party” for “political clan” and you will still be in square one. You will still have the problem of entrenchment. That’s why my argument is for focus on the election process, one that will make it more open, honest and level rather than on bans against candidates because of their bloodline”

    great question — what is the difference between party and clan?! good points too. but you are missing something important.

    1) there IS a difference between party and clan. the difference is one is united by principles and ideas and platform; and the latter is defined by marriage.

    you may ask: so what?

    Answer: the difference is, when people vote in an “open, honest and level” process, we would like for people to vote on ideas, platforms and principles. Strong (by strong i mean parties that are indeed united by ideas, etc) parties are a necessary condition to raise the level of political discourse.

    you may counter: families have ideas too! sure they can! but its is MORE TRUE that they arent defined by their ideas. parties are (or ought to be, when they are strong)

    you mention you dont like BN? bakit? coz you dont like their ideas? fine — dont vote for them! its CLEAR WHY YOU DONT; its coz you dont like their ideas. [PS: they do have a platform. its quite clear, and obviously compelling to voters in malaysia]

    but families — why should i vote for them? what are their ideas? you say, vote for people who “perform well”? what does that mean? that has as many interpretations as people. for me, a family politician can perform well by giving me abuloy when I need it.

    you may say — so what? if that makes you vote, go ahead. sure, but we also know that to raise political discourse, we have to go beyond direct constituency service and MOVE ON TO IDEAS AND PLATFORMS.

    2) There is ANOTHER difference between families and party. Parties may be national, families cannot be.

    by this i dont mean that there are no famous familes at the national level. siyempre meron. but they remain only that — famous. in fact, that is how they unite a country; by being famous for something. but what is their platform, or their ideas?

    3) naturally, everything you said is also good. we want open, clean elections. but, i argue, we also want clean honest elections ABOUT SOMETHING MORE THAN PEOPLE. natural, di mo matatangal sa tao na being personable and charismatic is important. BUT, we also want to have more IDEAS into politics, and less about people.

    4) finally, i might add, this is the reason i voted for aquino. I liked his IDEAS. despite what a Benign0 might aver — and i’m sure you agree coz u’v written on this before– Aquino has ideas. LP has ideas.

    • “wow, this is the sort of discussion i kinda missed in the heyday of filipino voices. i’m glad ur still around asking interesting questions.”

      I agree. And I’m glad Doy is able to answer by argument rather than slur. Really an exceptional discussion.

    • manuelbuencamino

      Gabby,

      Ideally, parties are united by principles and ideas and platform. Pre independence we had parties divided on immediate versus gradual independence. That then became pro and antui Tydings McDuffie. Post independence there were still ideological differences as in Parity Amendment and bases but those different perspectives, unlike it was pre-independence, weren’t the main factors anymore in winning or losing elections.

      The only party that sticks to ideology are the communists and their fronts. Even the MILF has given up its goal of independence. Akbayan also has an ideology but like the MILF it is less concerned with imposing its ideology on the country as it is with improving living conditions. That’s why they will go into compromise without compromising their integrity if its for what they believe is for the common good. So when I ask what is the difference between political parties and families, well in this country there is no difference except in the case of the above mentioned groups.

      As to why I do not like BN. It is philosophical. I believe in democracy, in a free and open society. BN despite all its economic contributions to Malaysia does not allow for contrary views. See what happened to Anwar when he stepped out of line. And I am not sure if BN wins because their platform is compelling to Malaysians or if they are compelling Malaysians. I lived there. I have seen that it is a controlled society. Media is controlled, assemblies are restricted. PAP has done more for Singapore. Still it is not as free as I would like it to be. But in a way, the Lees have explained that their media is free to discuss anything except religion and race. I can understand that, I can even argue that it is necessary for Singapore in terms of national security, of keeping peace and order in a society where religious and racial tensions are strong enough to destroy the country if they are allowed to be aired out. Of course once Singapore evolves into a nation where religion and race cease to become divisive issues then it will have to make the necessary adjustments towards more freedom. But in general I think Singaporeans are happy with the Lee dynasty. And I also think that the Lees are bigger than PAP, that’s why the old man is still around holding the title of grand supremo or something. We’ll see what happens to PAP after the Lees are gone.

    • manuelbuencamino

      Gabby,

      From George Washington’s Farewell Address 1796

      “Let me warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally. This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness and is truly their worst enemy.

      The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual: and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction more able or more fortunate than his competitors turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

      Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

      It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions.”

  • UPnnGrd

    On writing laws to (partially) implement anti-pornography —- it happens, and it is law in USA. Example —- under-age children.

    The point is this —- “… can’t define ‘dynasty’ ..” is not excuse that prevents writing law that should pass Constitution-muster and be restrictive. If you can’t have a mile, at least have a yard, right? Classic example (although Pilipinas does not have this as law, yet) a law that prevents brother and sister to be governors of adjacent provinces or a law that prevents — well, you have to read Tiglao’s take on Akbayan and the Aquino contributions. Now we know how Walden Bello got to become a congressman.

  • UPnnGrd

    Agreed!!! Recent history has p;roven that Pilipinas Supreme Colurt can not be trusted.

    Heck…. rfecent history has also proven that Malakanyang can not be trusted, even a Malakanyang with a sitting president who is a child of a former president.

    My understanding, too, is that for Pilipinas —-> recent history has shown that Congress can not be trusted. The Ombuds-woman office? Really? Anyone willing to say that it has had a spotless super-reliable history, and Pillll-pinas can trust it?

    ERGO: :Pilipinas should trust Murad and Jaffar, along with the CBCP (dexcept Bishop Crfuz)…. and Rappler.

    Malakanyang with a child of a former president as president???? No way heck far-out truly seriously NOT TO BE TRUSTED, history has shown. Maybe deja vu all over again and a Trillanes-clone rises with the battlecry — trust us, We have pledged allegiance to Konstitusyon PIlipinas, you can trust us. )

  • Exceptionally well stated, and funny, too. Still, I look at the list of approved senatorial candidates aside the list of nuisance candidates, and I laugh and laugh and laugh. Snobs and nobodys.

  • GabbyD

    “The latter is what I would call a warlord dynasty. Such a dynasty can be defined easily”

    really? how would u define a warlord dynasty with easily observed characteristics. who would be a warlord dynasty (that still exists now).

    • On the one hand, MB says that the definition of political dynasties is difficult and fraught with risk, and yet on the other, he distinguishes between one type of political dynasty from another, saying that one is qualitatively different from the other, contradicting his own main thesis for this piece.

      In other words, he is saying, “I can tell a good political dynasty (from a bad one) when I see one.” He in effect has a working definition of what a dynasty is, but wants to draw distinctions, whereas the Constitution didn’t make that distinction. It simply said that they have to be banned. His argument isn’t with the anti-dynasty advocates, but with the framers of the charter and the nation that voted in favor of it.

      • manuelbuencamino

        Doy,

        I’m coming from protecting the right of every citizen to vote and be voted upon and not from the position of giving those who think they know better the right to disenfranchise.

        Dynasty comes to mind when members of an immediate family occupy local government positions. (Miriam Santiago exempts national officials.) But we cannot make a definition based on what appears. There could be a sibling war or parents vs children like the Villafuertes so there would be no dynasty there if you think dynasty is succession.

        Anyway, the phenomenon of succession does exist and that’s what is identified dynasty by foggy minds. (The framers were either foggy or too timid to define exactly what it is they wanted banned. Wisely they left the job to elected representatives, which is good because the framers were appointed.) Now even without a clear definition we can identify certain characteristics of the phenomena. And so I did. The distinction is based on how a dynasty came to be either through free elections or through intimidation. Whether a dynasty is good or bad matters less than how it came to be because a freely elected dynasty that serves itself rather than its constituents is just giving voters what they want. On the other hand a dynasty imposed no matter how well they serve is still an imposition.

        My argument is with framers and anti-dynasty freaks because although the framers did not define the indefinable and left it to elected representatives to define and ban, the anti-dynasty advocates who have not been able to define it either still insist on a ban.

        I have no argument with the voters who ratified the charter because they voted on a whole document rather than on its specific provisions and the document as a whole was good enough to stand despite some sketchy provisions. Plus the need and pressure to ratify a charter so that we could move away from a revolutionary government and normalize at the soonest possible time excuses the public from not nitpicking every provision of the charter making sure all the Ts and Is were crossed and dotted. The voter is excused!

        • GabbyD

          so paano nga? what is a bad dynasty? how can you define that with observable characteristics?

          • Let me pose an alternative thesis. The reason why our legislators haven’t passed an anti-dynasty bill is not because it is impossible to define what a dynasty is, but rather because their interests are not served by it. They are in effect willfully disregarding the Constitution, and by doing so, can be charged with neglect of their duty to uphold it. They are in effect guilty of a “culpable violation of the Constitution”.

          • manuelbuencamino

            Doy,

            You need to help us define what is a political dynasty so that we can submit it to Congress and if they refuse our definition then we can charge them with culpable violation of our definition. 🙂

          • I find Miriam’s proposal quite close to the mark, actually. It can be improved, but substantively, it’s in the right place. You see, the definition is what we agree it to be collectively through our law-makers. The purpose of any law is to lay down the rules of what can and can’t be done. Once these rules are set, they then give meaning to terms like political dynasty.

            We descend into mob rule and chaos the moment we start selecting which constitutional provisions apply to us and which ones don’t. Isn’t that why we impeached Corona? Because he decided certain provisions didn’t apply to him or applied to him differently? Isn’t daang matuwid meant to bring about the ‘rule of law’? Then perhaps we should begin by following the fundamental law of the land.

          • manuelbuencamino

            Doy,

            Section 26. The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.

            “You see, the definition is what we agree it to be collectively through our law-makers. The purpose of any law is to lay down the rules of what can and can’t be done.”

            We cannot be arbitrary and capricious about the rules we lay down. The problem as I keep repeating is finding a definition that will not violate the right of citizens to vote and be voted upon. I will go along with you if you can define and ban political dynasty within those parameters.

            Besides I think it is inherently unfair and regressive to disqualify people because of their bloodline.

            So I prefer that we stick to democracy and allow the people to decide who they want as leaders and representatives.

          • What you call arbitrary and capricious I would see as deliberate and intentional. The strength of political parties as institutions in our electoral system is inversely proportional to the strength of political clans.

            We only have to look at the past 25 years to see that where political clans have (a) held multiple public offices in the same jurisdiction all at once, (b) passed on public office from member to member in succession, and (c) held one or more offices for an extended period of time, that political participation has decreased, political violence has increased, and political parties have weakened.

            The outcome of enacting a bill to ban these dynasties or break them apart through judicial intervention would be to strengthen our political system, not weaken it. Like the ruling nobles of Europe who interbred in an incestuous manner with each other, we are seeing what political incest is doing to our political system. So if we are really serious about daang matuwid, then we will have to complete what the post-EDSA constitution calls for as part of a broad reform agenda.

            So in effect, what I am saying is, the law must prevent: (a) members of the same political clan from occupying more than one position in the same jurisdiction at a time, (b) prevent succession of one member for another, (c) fulfill the spirit of the constitution which provided term limits to prevent political clans from entrenching themselves indefinitely. The law being proposed by Sen Santiago ticks all of those boxes at the provincial level. It simply needs to substitute the word “jurisdiction” for “province” to apply at the national level too.

          • manuelbuencamino

            Doy,

            “political participation has decreased” – Not true. There are more voters and more candidates now than before. Look at the numbers from the 40’s to 2010.

            “political violence has increased” – Not true. Incidents of election related violence have decreased through the years. The days of guns and goons are numbered. Look at the numbers from the 40’s up to 2010.

            ” and political parties have weakened.” – That’s by design of the 1987 Constitution. But even under the 1935 Constitution where only two parties were favored abd winning as a third party candidate was impossible the party system was not doing too well. Ramon Magsaysay served two terms as an LP congressman and then ran and won as Nacionalista Party candidate for president. Ferdinand Marcos was a Liberal Party stalwart – congressman then senator – and then ran and won as Nacionalista Party candidate for president. The term political butterfly is older than you and me. Legislating against political clans is not going to make our party system stronger

            Strong political parties are not necessarily the solution to anything. And having a strong disciplined party system is a slippery slope to Lenin’s democratic centralism. What’s the diference between family dynasties and party dynasties? Communist party members are in all national and local positions in China, Cuba, and North Korea and for decades there was the LDP in Japan, PRI in Mexico and still BN in Malaysia and PAP in Singapore. I’ve lived in Malaysia and Mexico and neither of those countries made me an admirer of strong political parties.

            Do we think it will be a good idea to go completely party-list? Not too long ago, we elected senators on an up or down party basis. Would you like to bring that system back?

            “So in effect, what I am saying is, the law must prevent: (a) members of the same political clan from occupying more than one position in the same jurisdiction at a time, (b) prevent succession of one member for another, (c) fulfill the spirit of the constitution which provided term limits to prevent political clans from entrenching themselves indefinitely.”

            I say substitute “political party” for “political clan” and you will still be in square one. You will still have the problem of entrenchment. That’s why my argument is for focus on the election process, one that will make it more open, honest and level rather than on bans against candidates because of their bloodline. Laws singling out certain groups because of bloodline are dangerous. Tomorrow you might ban people because of their skin color or religion or their sexual preference and use as an excuse that they have too much power for too long and ignore the fact that maybe they were freely elected.

            Enacting a law against bloodlines also legitimizes class war mentality which is becoming coin of the land. Look at what’s happening to the party list system. The class origins of its leaders is being used as a basis for disqualification. Why are we looking at class origins instead of the performance of their representatives in behalf of the marginalized sector they represent? In the same manner, why are we looking at bloodlines instead of the performance of individuals?

          • MB, please refer to the following study on dynasties in the US by Bo, et al (2007) published by the NBER which shows that power begets power, which follows the logic of term limits and limiting succession by banning dynasties.

            Another study by Querubin (2011) from Harvard on dynasties in the Philippines shows that the present term limits alone have not deterred dynasties and have in fact made them safer (telling us what we already know).

            Finally, there is the study by Mendoza, et al (2012) for AIM that showed 70 per cent of congressional jurisdictions were held by political dynasties and that there was a higher level of poverty associated with jurisdictions held by dynastic families, along with lower human development indicators and lower standards of living.

            This should prove the wisdom of our founding fathers who put the anti-dynasty provision in our constitution and why your assertions are factually and empirically incorrect.

          • manuelbuencamino

            Doy,

            On those two studies. Of course power begets power. That’s why democracies have elections. To keep incumbents on their toes. And of course voters and candidates will find ways around term limits. That only goes to show why legislated maximum successive term limits are absurd. Elections are term limits. It’s for voters to decide whether they’ve had enough or they want more, it’s not for anybody to restrict their right and freedom to choose.

            “Finally, there is the study by Mendoza, et al (2012) for AIM that showed 70 per cent of congressional jurisdictions were held by political dynasties and that there was a higher level of poverty associated with jurisdictions held by dynastic families, along with lower human development indicators and lower standards of living.”

            Not necessarily cause and effect. Aurora province, for example, experienced unprecedented growth after the Angaras came to power. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Aurora but if you were there thirty even twenty years ago, before the Angaras came into power, and you compare it to what it is today then if you are a voter in Aurora you will want the Angaras for at least a few more terms.

            Anyway, thanks for the edifying conversation but unfortunately you and I will not find common ground on the issue. I stick to my argument that until you can define political dynasty without taking away my right to vote or be voted upon I will be on the other side, fighting for my constitutional rights.

          • manuelbuencamino

            Doy,

            By the way, my constitutional right to vote and be voted upon is clear. The constitutional provision banning dynasties is vague because it does not define dynasty. So between a clear right and a vague one, I think the safe route is to stick with what is clear. To stick with the devil I know than the devil I don’t know.

          • The Comelec for instance also disqualifies nuisance candidates without prejudice to your constitutional rights since it is based on the law. If another law were to disqualify political dynasties, it would be in the same class as that.

          • GabbyD

            well, NOT the SAME CLASS…

            the consti is pretty clear as to who defines nuisance candidates — comelec. there is NO NEED for participation from congress, presumably because its MUCH MUCH easier to understand what nuisance candidates are.

          • Not really, but that’s a different discussion, for another day.

          • GabbyD

            huh? of course the law might pass responsibility for enforcement to comelec.

            the POINT is that those two things — nuisance cand and dyansties — are treated DIFFERENTLY in the constitution, reflecting different attitudes towards these two different things.

            one passes the whole thing to the judgement of congress in its entirety, reflecting the difficulty of the issue.

            the other passes it to comelec, WITHOUT allowing comelec to judge whether or not to enforce it.

            hence, not the same class. NOT AT ALL.

          • Two things that may fit in the same class may also be different in some way. I wasn’t saying the two were identical. My point was that what put them in the same class is that they are both cases in which candidates are disqualified from running for an office in a manner that does not infringe on voters’ rights as was alleged by MB would be the case if an anti-dynasty bill was passed.

          • GabbyD

            his point is that one is CLEAR, and the other isnt (and was left to congress’ discretion BECAUSE its unclear).

            when congress writes a law that fulfills some leeway that consti gives it, it DOES NOT MEAN it is automatically constitutional.

            thats is NOT what the word “constitutional” means

            Ex: if the anti dyansty law said: “everyone related to aquino, marcos (etc, there is alist) cannot run for office”

            another example, just to make it crystal clear. what is the anti dynasty law says “if your family member is in elected office, you may not run”.

            would that be constitutional? from your argument, the answer is YES! after all, its congress fullfilling the leeway it was offered. (btw, its just leeway — there is no order to ban it regardless of what congress wanted.)

            but, if you think about it, the answer is NO. (at least i hope u’ll answer NO; the internet makes people unpredictable)

            get it?

          • I know we must agree to disagree, but let me just make one last point. A couple actually.

            There are people from Aurora who might disagree with your assertions. I don’t mean to offend my ninong Ed. Even if I concede your point that there are some outliers who go against the grain, Makati for instance, the statistical inference accounts for such outliers and tells us that by and large, all things equal, the relationship holds: political dynasties dampen economic growth and human development.

            Second, your constitutional right will not be violated if an anti-dynasty bill is enacted, because that would be in accordance with the constitution as well. There will be no inconsistency unless of course you appeal to some higher order and say your right to vote for anyone is an inalienable right granted by god and nature.

            The Comelec for instance disqualifies nuisance candidates without prejudice to your constitutional rights since it is based on law. If another law were to disqualify political dynasties, it would be in the same class as that.

          • manuelbuencamino

            Gabby,

            Kaya nga hindi ma-define

          • GabbyD

            huh? u said its easy to define.

            did u say that ironically? then it didnt translate that way.

          • manuelbuencamino

            Gabby,

            It is easy to identify warlord dynasties. You know what warlord dynasties are, They are those dynasties that impose themselves on people through fear and intimidation. You do away with warlords and you won’t have warlord dynasties.

            Popular dynasties or better yet favorite families of localities are something else. They do not terrorize people to vote for them. They are favored because they have won over the people through methods that are not contrary to democracy and freedom. If you prohibit their existence you will be taking away the people’s right to choose. You will be killing democracy.

            Now as to your question what is a bad dynasty? I am more interested in how dynasties came to power. That’s the part of the democratic process we should focus on. Like I said earlier if they were freely elected and they turn out to be crooks but the people keep re-electing them then that’s the look-out of the people, that’s the price of democracy and free elections. People ought to be allowed to decide for themselves who they want in office.

        • UPnnGrd

          Most of the “1987”-conventioneers (not all of them, just most of them) … I would guess most wanted to pencil into the Constitution that Ferdinand Marcos and Imelda Marcos, their children and grandchildren, their cousins and brothers and bloodline shall never hold onto an elected government position.

          The net result was that action was put into enabling this “…. statute of llimitations on murder”, versus an enabling law to implement the anti-dynasty anti-dynasty. Maybe Pilipinas bloggers can unite to push to remove this “…statute of llimitations on murder” so maybe Malakanyang would at least not let die the “… who masterminded the assasination on the tarmac” question .