THE WORM’S EYEVIEW: Political dynasties keep people powerless

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/19 June) — This business of relying on strong men and women to govern our community must cease. It’s what keeps our society politically immature—leader-dependent, spoon-fed, and irresponsible.

Reliance on imperious, presumptuous (mis)leaders perpetuates their habit of taking the people for granted, by-passing them, taking liberties with the powers delegated to them, inevitably abusing privileges bestowed on them.

Political leaders are just as vulnerable to temptation as everyone…sapagkat sila’y tao lamang. Because of their privileged status, they easily get ideas about acting outside the pale of the law.

Before you know it, they start threatening to kill violators or deploy death squads to do it; it gives them deniability, blithely disowning responsibility.


Most everywhere in the Philippines, entrenched political dynasties have accumulated such power—plus the loyalty of naïve constituents—through years of exploiting the weakness of the masses and through strategic employment of their privileges and control.

Like fishpen owners on Laguna de Bay, the political dynasties have erected barriers against anyone wishing to avail of privileges they reserve for themselves.

Selfish, greedy, thoughtless, unfair, they deprive the rest of society of opportunity and livelihood that by rights should be open to all. Political dynasties are abhorrent to a democracy.


Because of the entrenched dynasties, people who possess superior knowledge, aptitude, or leadership skills in our society are deprived of the opportunity of ever entering the public service.

No matter how good or talented, they perforce are confined to the private sector, unable to entertain any thought of employing their talent for the benefit of community and society. And it is happening everywhere in our country.

The proliferation of dynastic politics has prevented talent, enterprise, and other needs of public administration from blooming or emerging.

The entrenched dynasties have foreclosed on public positions, reserving for themselves or for their favored nominees the right to vie for public office. They are today’s new breed of Traditional Politician (trapo): DYNASTY BUILDERS.


Those outside the dynasty’s circle cannot entertain the thought of a public career. They are prevented by the fact that positions for mayor, councilor, congressman, whatever—are already claimed and reserved for the powerful and dominant politicos.

As a result, we have had a dearth of worthy leaders and civil servants for the great enterprise of governing, legislating, administering, and refining public administration for our society and political system.

Imagine how much more civilized would be our society if meritorious citizens could rise openly and fairly to help refine community life, improve governance, expand livelihood, induce progress, or develop individual or social capability.

They would cause knowledge and technology to bloom. They would conceptualize wiser policies for progress and development. They would initiate programs that enrich the needy, or lead in activities that liberate and empower people.


But many opportunities for placing their talent at the service of the community are denied them by opportunists and greedy trapos whose dynasties selfishly keep political power for themselves.

The losers in all this selfish aggrandizement of power, both political and financial, are the common good, the nation’s progress, and humanity’s advancement.

How many progressive ideas have been prevented from enriching the quality of governance or public administration because of the selfishness of the political dynasties?

Because of their selfish agendas, our democracy is prevented from advancing, our political maturity stunted.


Dynasties are monopolists and despoilers of our nation’s patrimony. Opportunists and parasites, they are predators and traitors to society and exploiters of our nation’s wealth.

They represent a great abnormality in our political growth and development; for they are antisocial and obsessed with their selfish interests.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Manny Valdehuesa is former UNESCO regional director for Asia-Pacific; secretary-general, Southeast Asia Publishers Association; director, development academy of Philippines; member, Philippine Mission to the UN; vice chair, Local Government Academy; member, Cory Govt’s Peace Panel; awardee, PPI-UNICEF outstanding columnist. Author of books on governance, he is chairman/convenor ofGising Barangay Movement Inc.