House of Arroyos

We, the Mikey

We, the Mikey
By Patricia Evangelista
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—The president’s son Mikey Macapagal Arroyo describes himself in his House of Representatives’ biography as an actor-slash-businessman. His thespian turn before the camera includes the role of driver and bodyguard “Eric” in Regal Films’ 2005 “Sablay Ka Na Pasaway Ka Pa” opposite “Raven,” played by a pre-Hayden Kho Katrina Halili.

Perhaps it is his on-screen experience that makes the two-term Pampanga congressman comfortable with his party-list nomination in the May elections. “Ang Galing Pinoy” is a party-list group that “seeks to represent the needs of security guards and truck drivers.”

Presidential spokesman Gary Olivar defended Mikey’s nomination, claiming that a nominee does not necessarily have to be in the same line of work that his party-list minority is representing, instead he must possess skills that would enable him to perform effectively in Congress. His logic assumes anyone can represent anyone, forgetting that residential certificates are demanded of congressmen representing districts, and that Mikey himself had to give up his seat to his mother—because Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo cannot run anywhere else except in the second district of Pampanga.

The same demand exists in the party-list system, only this time it is not geography but minority. The concept of minority in the Constitution is not a function of numbers; it is defined by power. A minority is an individual who survives at the edge of a democracy—without voice or lobby or three meals a day or a mother in gold-and-white heels receiving guests in the Malacañang dining room. Women are considered minorities. Children are considered minorities. Farmers, senior citizens, even the 80 million impoverished are considered minorities under Republic Act 7941. No matter if Bayani Fernando says there are many homosexuals in Congress—the point is that these homosexuals in Congress will never publicly represent homosexuals, much less defend gay marriage. In the Philippines 2010, a minority is one who does not fulfill the standard checklist of the heterosexual, employed, educated or well-connected literate male over the age of 30.

The party-list rule ensures minorities are not isolated into silence by the tyranny of a moneyed elite, those with the millions necessary to spend on the campaign jingles, the celebrity endorsements, the gas to travel from handshake to handshake. Even presidential candidates Manny Villar and Joseph Estrada, both of whom are competing for the title of champion of the poor, are elite in their own right—Erap with his celebrity, Villar with his money—and cannot legitimately claim they have no vested interests other than that of the starving slums.

Representation does not require, as Olivar claims, simply the existence of an individual competent in legislation—although Mikey’s competence as a legislator is in itself a matter of debate, as Solita Monsod can testify after he fell under grilling in a GMA7 interview. Representation demands that the representative represent: that the person as an individual is a personification of the ambitions, grievances, and unique experiences of a single oppressed group and at the same time capable of articulating all the demands and injustices of that group. It cannot be one or the other.

It is that principle of direct representation that requires youth party-list representatives cannot be older than 30 years old—the understanding that the only voice that can truly speak for an individual is his own voice—to filter that voice with that of a traditional politician dilutes the cause. It is why it is important that Danton Remoto is gay, that Liza Maza is a woman, and, to the misfortune of this nation, that Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan is a long-time defender of the right to hunt down members of the Communist Party of the Philippines. After all, his Bantay Partylist has sworn to stand for the minority group of anti-communists, ROTC diehards, and the civilian volunteers who people the nation’s private armies. Whether his own discriminatory ideology should be allowed representation at all is a completely different debate.

It is the same problem with former energy secretary Angelo Reyes now claiming to be representing tricycle drivers, whose office used to be the site of picketing transport groups. Dermatologist Manuel Calayan now represents the media and showbiz—though why media and showbiz consider themselves a minority is beyond any rational thought. The law admits majorities can tyrannize minorities, that even with a district representative, the interests of the third district of Bohol as a whole may not consider the concerns of its fishermen. The party list lets a cause win, instead of a personality. Most importantly, the party list recognizes a minority on the same footing as any legislator—without the need to become one of the ruling majority.

The candidacy of a president’s son is the greatest perversion of all this. This is what Olivar and Mikey say when they claim that he is a legitimate representation of security guards and truck drivers, that his “expertise” is enough: They are saying that to deserve representation, minorities must still bow to the same majority oppressing them, that they must be educated, connected, and wealthy, that they must, in fact, be Mikey Arroyo. It is odd that truck drivers and security men do not have a single articulate voice to demand higher pay and shorter hours—perhaps because they were never asked. Odder still that according to Inquirer correspondent Tonette Orejas, Ang Galing Pinoy has long been on admin tarps long before Mikey announced he was “invited” by the party.

The problem with Mikey is not only who he is, it is what he is not. It is ridiculous to assume a man who declared a net worth of P99.2 million in 2008 can effectively and passionately defend the needs of men paid P8,000 a month (minus taxes and benefits) who work 12 to 24-hour shifts standing in front of lobby doors.

The Comelec itself is confused in its statements, claiming one moment a proven advocacy is needed for qualification, the next saying it is not. Yet there are enough Arroyos to represent Arroyos in Congress, enough dynasties to represent dynasties, enough wealthy to represent the wealthy, enough useless actors to represent useless actors—which is not a judgment on actors in Congress, it is only a judgment on the useless few. Every Mikey Arroyo who sits in a party-list seat deprives another party-list group that does not have the means to stamp “Ang Galing Pinoy” on tarps across the country. His candidacy is the savaging of a principle meant to protect, and the fact this is not against the law does not make it any less an offense against democracy.

Mikey's party-list bid hits snag in new guidelines

Mikey’s party-list bid hits snag in new guidelines
abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines – A bid by President Arroyo’s son, Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, to remain a member of Congress through the party-list elections could be jeopardized by new Commission on Elections (Comelec) guidelines on screening party-list organizations.

According to Comelec Resolution 8806, a nominee should be “one who belongs to the marginalized and underrepresented sector/s, the sectoral party, organization, political party or coalition he seeks to represent; and able to contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole.”

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said that under the guidelines, the party-list nominees must submit evidence to prove that they are members of the marginalized sector including speeches and articles about that advocacy.

He said that in the case of Mikey Arroyo, the President’s son must prove that he is a member of the marginalized sector that he wishes to represent in Congress. Arroyo has been named as the nominee of Ang Galing Pinoy (AGP), which seeks to represent security guards and tricycle drivers in Congress.

“What we are saying here is that a person who wants to represent a party-list group as the nominee has to show that he is part of the party-list group. If he is not a tricycle driver and the party-list group is representing tricycle drivers, it would look like there are grounds for his disqualification,” he said in an ANC interview.

Jimenez said the party-list nominee should have the tools to make laws that will benefit the sector that he is representing. He said the nominee should have a track record of participation in activities involving that particular sector. “By that definition, someone like a parent of a disabled child could possibly squeak past the requirement. It will have to be on a case to case basis,” he said.

He said the same argument could be made in the case of Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes who is running as the party-list nominee of 1-UTAK, a group representing the transport sector.

“If he can show that [his post as DOE chief] can be equated to him belonging to a marginalized sector, I suppose he could make that argument…It seems as a whole, the guidelines require a more personal connection to the underrepresented sectors,” he said.

Under the new guidelines, party-list groups must submit documentary evidence to prove that their group advances the causes of marginalized sectors. Party-list groups must also prove their nominees adhere to the principles and advocacies of the group by submitting copies of declarations, speeches and articles made by nominees.

Party-list nominees should be members of the party-list group 90 days before the polls. There should aso be proof that the nominees are not only advocates of the party-list groups but also bona fide members of the marginalized sectors they represent.

Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said a nominee could be disqualified if a petition for disqualification is filed against him within 5 days after the last day of filing for party-list nominees. The deadline for the May polls is March 26.

Nominees could also be disqualified if they are nominees of more than one party, if they have not given their written consent or oath to be nominees, and if they are candidates for other positions or lost in the previous election.

The other qualifications are based on Republic Act 7941 or the Party-List System Act: nominees should be Filipino citizens, registered voters, residents of the Philippines for not less than a year before the elections, literate, and aged 25 and above.

Sarmiento described the resolution as a modest effort of the Comelec using its plenary powers to fine-tune the party-list law, which he said badly needs improvement.

“We have all these problems because of un-fine-tuned provisions,” he said, adding that the law should have been fine-tuned by Congress a long time ago.

Disqualification case filed vs Arroyo

Two party-list lawmakers on Thursday filed a disqualification case against Mikey Arroyo as a party-list group nominee, saying that there is no way that Arroyo could claim to represent security guards and tricycle drivers.

In their petition, Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza said party-list organizations including their nominees must factually and truly represent the marginalized and underrepresented constituencies.

Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño earlier noted that Arroyo cannot be a member of the party-list group because he is currently a ranking member of the ruling party Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

“He has always been a leader of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD. He is a representative in Congress as a ranking member of Lakas-Kampi-CMD. I don’t know when he decided to switch parties,” he said.

Casiño said their group is also planning to seek the disqualification of other party-list nominees, including Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, who is being considered by transport group 1-UTAK as their nominee for the May 10 elections.

He said Reyes’s pending nomination would be ironic since most members of various transport groups are angry at him for his failure to stop oil price increases since he was appointed secretary of the Department of Energy.

Casiño and other members of the opposition believe that the party-list and district representation bids of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her allies, including her son, is a clear sign that the administration is attempting to form a “very powerful block” at the House of Representatives.

The other Arroyos seeking congressional posts are Mrs. Arroyo’s son Diosdado “Dato” in Camarines Sur, brother-in-law Ignacio “Iggy” for the 5th district of Negros Occidental, and sister-in-law Marilou for party-list Ang Kasangga.

Speaker Arroyo possible under Villar administration, Aquino says

Speaker Arroyo possible under Villar administration, Aquino says
By Maila Ager
INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III doubts if President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo could get enough number to become the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.

But this is possible if his closest rival, Senator Manuel Villar, wins the presidency.

“That might be possible. I cannot speak on his behalf,” Aquino said when asked if Arroyo can get the speakership under a Villar administration.

Aquino attended the proclamation rally of local candidates in Valenzuela City, where girlfriend Shalani Soledad is running anew for councilor.

According to a nationwide count of the Inquirer bureaus, Arroyo will have at least 159 votes for Speaker if her allies seeking congressional seats are elected. With the current membership in the chamber of 268, an aspirant for Speaker needs only a vote of the majority or 135.

Arroyo is seeking a seat in the chamber in the second congressional district in Pampanga. The post is currently being held by her eldest son, Pampanga Representative Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, who plans to continue his stint in the House through the party-list system.

Aquino, standard-bearer of the Liberal Party, said there was not enough number to get Arroyo elected as Speaker.

“As you know, after EDSA there has been no Speaker that has been not allied with the administration. GMA (Arroyo’s initials) has exploited that to a very large extent,” he said.

“I doubt if she is no longer in Malacañang that all the people there will still be her allies,” he added.

To prevent an Arroyo speakership, Aquino said the LP is wooing more candidates for congressmen to their camp.

”Our recruitment is continuous. The people we talked to before, we are expecting them to declare (they are for us),” Aquino said.

Gloria Forever, part 4

Gloria Forever, part 4
Ricky Carandang

The pieces are falling into place.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s longtime bodyguard, Delfin Bangit sits atop the chain of command of the Armed Forces.

Arroyo is a shoo in for Speaker of the House following her near certain win in the 2nd district of Pampanga.

And now she is set to appoint a loyal and pliant Chief Justice at the Supreme Court.

The appointment of General Delfin Bangit raised a few eyebrows but, lets face it…any president would want to choose a chief of staff of the Armed Forces that he or she would be comfortable with.  On its own, Bangit’s appointment shouldn’t be more alarming than the appointment of General Hermogenes Esperon a few years ago.

But then there’s the run for Congress. A clear sign that Arroyo does not intend to simply fade away.  With a barrage of tv ads and infomercials meant to establish her “legacy” (Ituwid Natin!), she has been campaigning around Pampanga for her son Mikey’s seat in Congress, but she’s also been traveling around the country campaigning to be speaker of the House.    If I’m not mistaken, the Lakas Kampi party is spending more on Arroyo’s bid for Congress than it is on Gilbert Teodoro’s presidential campaign.

As Speaker, with billions of pesos in resources at her disposal, and with four or five of her family joining her in the House,  Arroyo would remain a formidable political force with the potential power to impeach a recalcitrant president, and decide what bills get passed and what measures get blocked.

But what really takes the cake is the Supreme Court’s innovative reinterpretation of the Constitution. The Constitution clearly says that the president shall not make any appointments except temporary appointments in executive positions within 60 days before an election.  That provision has been backed up by precedent: In 1998, Fidel Ramos tried to appoint two judges to regional trial courts in Nueva Ecija and the Supreme Court, voting unanimously, nullified the appointments.  And yet, this Supreme Court–specifically Justice Lucas Bersamin–threw it all out and overturned the Constitution.  Such extraordinary action must require an  extraordinary motive.

I believe that Arroyo is once again moving pieces into place to try to extend her term of office.  Imagine if the Comelec announces that it cannot proclaim a new president by June 30.  Per the constitution, the order of succession would be the vice president, the senate president, and the speaker of the House, in that order. But with the terms of all of these officers having expired on 30 June, the country would be put in a situation not contemplated by the constitution…the terms of the old leaders have expired and no new leaders installed. There would be no legally constituted head of state or government. A perfect opening for the outgoing president–in this case Arroyo–to proclaim herself holdover president until a new president can be proclaimed.  Protests would follow,but thanks to Bangit, they would be quelled and the Armed Forces would remain loyal to her.  Lawyers would question her assumption of holdover powers and question its legality before the Supreme Court.  Thanks to this new decision the new Chief Justice would rule in her favor.   The end.

Or another scenario is that elections go through on the local level but fail on the national level. This means that new mayors, governors, and congressmen are   proclaimed but no new senators, president, and vice president would be proclaimed.  Following the line of succession, the acting president would be the Speaker of the House. Since the winners of congressional races were proclaimed, the House could convene and elect Arroyo speaker, and she would assume the position of acting president. The end.

It has always been Arroyo’s style to push the limits of public tolerance and back off when it has been reached. She tried to revise the constitution and got as far as convening the Abueva Commission and having it draft a new charter.  It was only when public anger rose that the Supreme Court stopped the charter change effort.

This time around, she has managed to declare her candidacy, ensure the loyalty of the AFP, and overturn a constitutional provision with hardly a peep from anyone except a few lawyers’ groups. There has not yet been enough pushback from the public for her to stop.  I think the next two to three months will indicate to her whether she pushes forward or backs off.  So far, the coast seems clear.

Casiño sees Supreme Court rejecting Mikey's party-list bid

Casiño sees Supreme Court rejecting Mikey’s party-list bid
abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines – An incumbent party-list representative said Thursday that he is confident the Supreme Court (SC) will not allow Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo to run as representative of security guards in Congress.

“According to the Supreme Court [in a decision] in 2001, a party-list nominee should come from the sector that he represents,” Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño told ANC’s Headstart ahead of their group’s filing of a disqualification case against Arroyo.

Casiño said Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza, who are both running for senator as guest candidates of the Nacionalista Party (NP), will file the disqualification case before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday afternoon.

He said they cannot go directly to the SC because the Comelec has immediate jurisdiction over the disqualification case.

The activist congressman said one of the issues they will raise in the petition is Arroyo’s qualification as representative of Ang Galing Pinoy (AGP), a party-list group that claims to represent security guards.

“We can’t say that Mikey Arroyo represents tricycle drivers or security guards. He has a lot of security guards but he cannot represent the sector,” he said.

He added that Arroyo cannot be a member of the party-list group because he is currently a ranking member of the ruling party Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

The Constitution says a party-list nominee should be a member of the group for at least 90 days.

“He has always been a leader of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD. He is a representative in Congress as a ranking member of Lakas-Kampi-CMD. I don’t know when he decided to switch parties,” he said.

Casiño said their group is also planning to seek the disqualification of other party-list nominees, including Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, who is being considered by transport group 1-UTAK as their nominee for the May 10 elections.

He said Reyes’s pending nomination would be ironic since most members of various transport groups are angry at him for his failure to stop oil price increases since he was appointed secretary of the Department of Energy.

Forming a powerful block in Congress

Casiño and other members of the opposition believe that the party-list and district representation bids of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her allies, including her son, is a clear sign that the administration is attempting to form a “very powerful block” at the House of Representatives.

The other Arroyos seeking congressional posts are Mrs. Arroyo’s son Diosdado “Dato” in Camarines Sur, brother-in-law Ignacio “Iggy” for the 5th district of Negros Occidental, and sister-in-law Marilou for party-list Ang Kasangga.

Mikey has denied accusations that the Arroyos’ congressional bids will help Mrs. Arroyo become House Speaker in the next Congress.

“I don’t understand that scenario. Assuming there are 4 Arroyos in Congress, 4 Arroyos cannot make Speaker. It will still be a vote of the majority,” Rep. Arroyo told ABS-CBN News on Wednesday.

Casiño, however, said that if all the Arroyos and their allies win seats in Congress, “she will have a strong block to support her move.”

“This block can be used to push for Charter change or to push for an impeachment of the next president. That’s a very powerful block,” he said. “There are many ways to maneuver within Congress, given who Mrs. Arroyo is and the kind of power and influence that a former president can yield.”

He said that Mrs. Arroyo can also use her influence at the House to block “investigations into the things that she did during her term as president.”

Members of the political opposition have threatened to prosecute Mrs. Arroyo for alleged corrupt activities during her presidency.

Mikey Arroyo’s party-list affiliation questioned

Mikey Arroyo’s party-list affiliation questioned
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Opposition candidates questioned Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo’s nomination as representative of the party-list group Ang Galing Pinoy.

Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, a vice presidential candidate of the Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino party, said in a statement: “How in heaven’s name can Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo represent the poor and dispossessed security guards?

“The plot is so clear—Mrs. Arroyo is trying to amass support in Congress by beefing up their numbers so that in case she decides to pursue Charter amendment anew, they will have the strength to make it happen.”

Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Sen. Benigno Aquino III made a similar comment and called on the Commission on Elections to ensure that party-list groups were truly representing marginalized sectors.

“Security guards can be called marginalized because they are abused through long working hours and low pay. But I don’t know if it is right for Mikey to be their representative,” Aquino said, adding that the congressman even had to fend off questions about his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN).

Unlike lowly security guards, Mikey Arroyo’s net worth has ballooned by more than 1,600 percent in seven years, from P5.7 million in 2001 to P74.4 million in 2004, and then to P99.2 million in 2008.

“The party-list system was reserved for the marginalized so that those who are voiceless will be given a chance,” Aquino pointed out.

LP senatorial candidate Nereus Acosta said Mikey Arroyo’s nomination as a party-list representative could give him a chance to enrich himself further.

“To become a representative of a marginalized sector in the country is a huge responsibility. It is sad that some unscrupulous people have found another method to wriggle their way into the House of Representatives and get their hands on a portion of the national budget,” Acosta said.

Acosta observed that Mikey Arroyo had also been accused of failing to declare in his SALN for 2007 and 2008 a beach-front house in Foster City, California, valued at $1.32 million or P63.7 million.

He said the Comelec should have been “more selective in its accreditation of a number of party-list groups.”

GMA voting bloc

Another LP senatorial candidate, Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros, said the administration was apparently trying to assemble a “GMA voting bloc” in the next House.

“The Arroyos and their allies are using the party-list system to populate Congress with GMA-friendly legislators,” Hontiveros said, adding that this was part of “the plan for the President to assume the speakership after her stint as President.”

Hontiveros also said hardworking security guards had “the right to be represented by someone credible, trustworthy and a member of their ranks,” and that allowing Mikey Arroyo to represent them was not only an affront to the sector but also an insult to the party-list system itself.

“The Palace game plan is to pack the House of Representatives with as many Arroyo allies as possible using the party-list system. This ploy is in aid of keeping Ms Arroyo in power,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said.

Disqualify them

Militant party-list representatives said they would ask the Comelec to disqualify Mikey Arroyo and other administration-backed party-list nominees.

In a phone interview, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teodoro Casiño said his group would file its case on Friday or Monday, after the release of the final list of party-list groups and their nominees.

“So far, we only have Mikey Arroyo and Ang Galing Pinoy. We expect to add more to our disqualification case after we get the complete list,” he said, adding that Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes and other Cabinet secretaries were also being targeted.

Casiño said there was still time to have Mikey Arroyo and other Palace-backed party-list nominees disqualified.

He cited the case of the Mamamayan Ayaw sa Droga party-list group, which won in the 2007 elections but was disqualified before its nominee, actor Richard Gomez, could take his seat in the House.

In a statement, Anakpawis party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano said Mikey Arroyo’s attempt to stay in Congress through the party-list system showed his “addiction to power.”

“The Comelec should not allow itself to be used by the Arroyos in this brazen debauchery of the party-list system. The Comelec must immediately disqualify Mikey,” Mariano said. With reports from Gil C. Cabacungan Jr. and Cyril L. Bonabente, Inquirer Research

‘Nothing wrong with House of Arroyos’

‘Nothing wrong with House of Arroyos’
By Christian V. Esguerra, Philip Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—The lower chamber in the next Congress may become a “House of Arroyos” if President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, her two sons and her in-laws run and win in the May 10 elections.

But the President’s spokesperson Ricardo Saludo said there was nothing wrong with a concentration of Arroyos in the House of Representatives because other political families were similarly situated.

“It’s rather unfair to single out one family,” Saludo said Wednesday in a press conference. “The Arroyo family, as far as we know, is not the only family that has multiple [members] in the legislature.”

Saludo cited the case of a mother and her son in the Senate, apparently referring to former Sen. Loi Ejercito, the wife of ousted President Joseph Estrada, and their son Jinggoy.

As well, there are “a brother and sister in the Senate” and “a sitting senator whose son is running for [senator],” he said.

The current Senate includes the siblings Alan Peter and Pia Cayetano, and an outgoing senator, Rodolfo Biazon, whose son Rufino, a congressman, is running for senator.

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. also has a daughter running for the Senate. (His son and namesake has a pending protest in connection with the 2007 senatorial election.)

“Let’s not focus on one family,” Saludo said. “Let us look at all of them and ask each of them what message they are sending.”

No need to campaign

Press Secretary Crispulo Icban said the President should have no problem winning the congressional race in the second district of Pampanga.

Asked how much time Ms Arroyo would devote to campaigning, Icban said: “None. She doesn’t need to.”

Ms Arroyo is seeking the seat of her elder son, Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo.

The son said he had made a “sacrifice” in giving way to his mother. But it turned out that he would attempt to remain in the House as a nominee of Ang Galing Pinoy, a party-list group claiming to represent security guards.

Rep. Diosdado Arroyo, the President’s other son, and Rep. Ignacio Arroyo, her brother-in-law, are both seeking reelection in Camarines Sur and Negros Occidental, respectively.

It remains to be seen whether another of the President’s in-laws—Ma. Lourdes Arroyo—would still be a nominee of her party-list group Kasangga, which claims to represent microentrepreneurs.

But according to Saludo, the issue of political dynasties “should be addressed in law.”

“As far as we know, this is allowed under the Constitution. So I suppose we’re complying with the Constitution by letting people who want to run, run. I mean, that’s the story here,” he said.

Certain lawmakers have tried to pass legislation against political dynasties, to no avail.

Asked if Malacañang would support such a measure, Saludo said: “This is academic now because the next time we will see measures being filed in Congress, there will be a different president.”

Good advocates will do

But Gilberto Teodoro Jr., standard-bearer of Lakas-Kampi-CMD, said the party-list system was flawed.

“You reap what you sow. I understood that the concept of party-list system was for equalizing political parties, but this never came about. So theoretically, anybody can be marginalized now, depending on the circumstance,” Teodoro said when asked about the young Arroyo as a party-list nominee.

He said that if personalities could prove that they could be “good advocates” of a cause, they should not be stopped from joining a party-list group.