Society and Politics

Political Dynasties and Painting the Town Red

by Sheila Manalac, News Editor, Rina Curugan and Karen Bonoan, Contributors

Editor’s note: This feature was submitted by the authors as part of their requirements for Investigative Journalism subject under The Manila Times Pres. Dante Francis Ang

Last of three parts

It is important to take note that although political dynasties may seem to limit the growth of a city, it is reported that during Joseph Estrada’s term as mayor of San Juan, he has managed to increase the city’s financial position from P 2.8 million in 1969 to P 24 million in 1986. Although this was a positive outcome, his stint as President and his impeachment case has permanently tainted his name as a politician.

With his son Jinggoy Estrada as a current senator and John Vincent “JV” Ejercito as a representative of San Juan and running for Senator, it is obvious that their dynasty still has a long way to go. Its end, so it seems, is still far in sight.

It was reported that Rep. Ejercito placed 50th with his P64.527-million net worth. A very wealthy dynasty at that.

The Binay’s on the other hand, have been plagued by numerous complaints of corruption since he was mayor of Makati. The elites of the posh city of Makati have tried to take part in managing the city. Conchitina Bernardo was vice mayor in 1988 and Consuelo Puyat-Reyes ran for Congress the same year. Nenita Licaros was recruited by Binay to run for councilor in 1992. But all three elitists broke their ties with the then-mayor, accusing him of corruption. It was also in 1992 when the matriarch of the clan that controls much of Makati, Bea Zobel, campaigned against Binay.

Then-mayor-and-now VP Binay, his wife Elenita, and several Makati officials face pending corruption cases.

Ernesto Monel Jr., 45 years old, has been a resident of San Juan  for 16 years. He is a worker at Concept One, an auto parts shop in the same city for a couple of years. He said it has been the same since he has lived in the city. He says that the way that the government in San Juan was okay, but then he said, “kung hindi sila [Estrada-Ejercito] ang mayor, sino ipapalit mo? [If they weren’t the mayor, who will you replace them with?]” A good point raised by this citizen, and a problem that is always the case in every city or province a family dynasty controls.

In The 1987 Constitution, Article 3, Section 27 states that:
“The State shall maintain honesty and integrity in the public service and take positive effective measures against graft and corruption.”

Article 9, Section 1, states:
“Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.”
Political dynasties in the Philippines and the law seem to be contradicting. In the end, it is the citizens that suffer, the citizen that has to sleep under the bridge, the citizen that has nothing to eat. It is not a matter of opinion or political sides, it is a matter of logic that one can see in these pictures.
What can one do but to watch in awe, the beauty and magnificence of what money can buy, and the shock and embarassment that one feels, when he sees his fellowmen laying on the side of the street.

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