The Dynastical Philippine Government

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Updated: Oct 16, 2021
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The Dynastical Philippine Government essay

Democracy of this manner has two preconditions; the society must be small sufficient for citizens to be competent of attending debates and voting on issues and its economy must give these citizens enough leisure to engage in politics. When the United States colonized the Philippines in 1898 it planned to progressively grant self-determination to the country as the principles of democracy were imbibed by the population. As education was not extensive, the elite and the educated benefitted most from the system instituted by the US, which was largely executed by officers of the US army. Filipinos worked in the American management and swiftly came to value the concept of self-government. By 1917, when the US decided to institute its policy of ‘Filipinisation’ , the elite was equipped to assume positions vacated by departing US military officers. Between 1917 and 1935, when the Commonwealth came into existence, political parties were formed and most of the population was educated into accepting the principles of democracy, which meant having a ruling party and an resistance. In this respect, the Philippines was drastically different from many Asian countries which gained independence a few years later. As after points out: these countries did not generally accept an opposition as a normal feature of a democracy. The small elite who controlled the political process realized that each party would have its turn in government. The Nacionalista and Liberal parties, which differed little ideologically, dominated politics, and politicians switched parties to gain office. But the democratic system that developed did not represent the majority of the population. The concept of democracy in the Philippines where majority of less fortunate are the priority of the government. Philippines tends to develop its different sections, fields, and specialization, that basically depends to their resources and abilities to conform problems within the country. Democracy in the Philippines is the longest and oldest democratic country as its recorded. Since we are in democratic country we are more likely enjoying definite portion of freedom upon its limitations, however, on the other side, privileged enjoys more by the elites clans and families, that sometimes, holds position in government and assumed it in accordance to their will; whether good or bad self interest. Since the democracy promotes the nature of individuals freedom, political dynasties arises and it is the longest combat of Philippine government over a long period of time. If the Constitution opposed the said political dynastical government, then the right of suffrage maybe also be affected.

In significance to historical truth, Cabigao (2013) underlined historical extraction of political dynasties rising in Filipino communities. The author epitomized political dynasty as a contemporary monarchy and aristocracy. Since pre-colonial rule, Filipinos were been ruled by a monarch called “Datu” who possesses all authorities in the government. Successors came from only one family. During the Spanish era, dominance in power and wealth is already prevalent. A town aristocracy called “principalia” is composed of wealthy land owners. The members of these families often had the privilege to acquire positions in the government and the peasants working for their lands were expected to be condescending them. These facts challenge the code of political equality presented in a democratic society. If political dynasty is an manifestation of such political system, then democracy is not really valued by the majority. It gives the idea that democracy, people believe to be well established today, is just a mask of what is called reality.

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Political dynasty generally referred by some informants from different scholarly journals stating that, ‘The family is the foundation of Filipino political dynasties. In the scholarship in this field, if not yet constitutionally, it is widely agreed that the definition and understanding of what constitutes ‘family’ in this context refers not only to blood relatives but also to ‘primary groups’ – small, informal and non-specialized groups that openly and intimately interact with each other.’ (Tadem and Tadem, 2013). It gives the implications and expressions that political dynasty was obviously the interactions of some family members who are also had the ability to assumed office and/or positions. In addition, Qeurubin also stated in his paper that ‘Political dynasties, illustrate a particular form of elite diligence in which a single or few family groups can corner the market of political power.” In his notion, political dynasty also deals by its conventional and birthright of the family as they also wanted to follow the families legacy. Additionally those clans who are elites, wealthy family, famous are usually in line with the holdings of positions that was apparently in the observation. It is also the longest subject of the Philippines as the Democracy gives it confinement. Since the 18th Congress (1987) more than 50 percent of our Politicians are members of the old political families. In common and broader term, political dynasty can be distinct as a series of rulers considers as members of the same family. Moreover, it can be the same with oligarchy which is a form of power in which power effectively rests with a small number of people. These people could be distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, corporate or military control.

Three of the scholarly journals develop a study and research about political dynasties upraising in the Philippines that formerly and definitely worsening deficiency; as well as its historical events and the some of main reasons why political dynasties still a huge battle of the Philippines. In one of the academic paper stating that since the political candidates needs the votes and compassion from the registered voters or the calls in their dirty ways of vote buying, the voters are supposed to be the accountable for choosing their candidates, but, that is not totally the actuality, Cranston (2013) emphasized the connotation of popularity or name recognition to the persistence of political clans. He had explained that ”in USA or in most democracies, voters are more likely to be fed up by political advertisements and propaganda during elections. ‘As a result, they forget to recognize some potential candidates in the poll. Voters then, are more likely to vote only the names that are familiar to them.” ‘This supports the study of Kenawas which claimed that one of the factors that brings the occurrence of political families is the “personalistic”. This means, that the voters are more likely involved to their popularities that’s led for them to pick up wrong candidates who, from time to time, obviously involved or in line of political families agenda. Furthermore, Querubin agreed in his research paper stating that ‘in expressions of voter partiality, dynastic candidates are more likely to benefit from their surnames bearing integrity for quality governance.’ This can be linked with the self-expanding characteristic of authority in which dynastic status itself, is mainly beneficial to dynastic politicians. However, it provides inconsistency to the conclusion of E. Dal Bó, P. Dal Bó, and Snyder that ‘the longer the tenure, the greater chance of politicians to establish a political clan’, his findings challenged the arguments of the several academic journalist while, on the other side it was agreed by the academic journalist namely Mendoza, Veja, Venida and Yap stating that ‘the longest preparation ant tenure of office engaged in long term and planning and implementation of their political clan agendas.’ The findings of Querubin was agreed by the result of one of the researcher stating and actually conform the previous studies of several scholarly journalist that ‘the great factors affecting the votes of the people respectively collected by their big personality and ‘famousity’.

In addition, in one of the conclusion of academic paper from UP, political departments that ‘This conveys that the effects of political dynasties on democratic governance are generally detrimental in terms of the distribution of public goods and services for the people in terms of political elections.’ (Tadem and Tadem, 2013). Meaning, these disproportionate distributions of public commodities and services increases financially viable gaps among citizens which inclines poverty and lending them to dynamically choose the candidates (within political elites manner and agendas) that obviously gives them the beneficial access to their needs, and it gives the expression that these weakness sides is the main target in order for them to grasp the votes from the people and after the elections there would be no more helps and project for the people and one thing, occasionally, it lead for graft and corruption. However, it was challenged by the arguments of Querubin when he says in his academic paper ‘A person is able to establish a political dynasty if he/she had nailed a certain loyalty. These benefits can be described as indulgences that affect of the citizens? voting behaviors’ rather than the impulsive giving of beneficial access of needs.’ These revelations uncover the fact that people choose leaders based on the benefits they receive it also give the implications that most of them are really assisted in terms of financial aspect and job assistance. It is then considered as moral obligations in choosing electoral candidates. Such behavior doesn’t indicate wise voting. Querubin (2016) argues in his paper that the introduction existing research on the political economy of development emphasizes the role of elites in shaping the economic and political institutions that constitute the fundamental determinants of economic development in accordance to length of it tenure and assumed of office . Typical elite theorists such as Mosca (1939) and Pareto (1968 [1901]) highlighted the unbalanced power of certain elite groups in society. Michels (1911) notes the propensity of elites to effect themselves in power and persist across time. More recently, Acemoglu and Robinson (2008) emphasize the way by which elite persistence may undermine attempts to reform institutions, leading to “captured democracies” wherein economic institutions and policies disproportionately benefit the elite.

Here in the Philippine, many of lawmakers are proposing some laws like the anti dynasty bill that might prohibit political Dynasty in the Philippines ‘political dynasty should be abolished because it promotes and defeats the purpose of democracy’ it was according to Senator Merriam Defensor. In this manners of political dynasty matter, it takes two sides; the advantages and disadvantages. Lots of law makers even all of us, or safe to say many of us are against in political dynasties, nevertheless, on the other side it also takes positive outcomes. First, the new member of political position would be able to finish the unfinished projects of the former leader (pertaining to their family member). They would be able to continue the legacy that their family has left, also it would be easier for the next leaders to think of new projects since their families can help them and they are used to the situation of the place they are handling. The legal foundation of the arguments where agreed by two academic researchers; Tadem and Tadem (academic journalists perceptions) in their paper they firstly introduced and defined what Political Dynasty is in according with the concept of their arguments, ‘Political dynasty as defined by many is a family wherein most members either by blood or marriage are involved in politics or in acquisition of government position.’ other than, in the Senate Bill 2649 introduced by Sen. Santiago,’ political dynasty is practiced by a family of an incumbent elective official and powers are distributed in different positions in the government.’ This portrayal affects the perception of citizens and politicians about the issue. Regardless of this, it is still important to know how citizens and political elites understand and instill the word in their minds. When asked to describe political dynasty, the key informants revealed:

‘Political dynasty is continuity of good projects; Political dynasty is a sharing of cooperation in the government’ (Guarde A.E; Rosaroso R.; Rama, F. , Batac R, Lasala G.) These utterances indicates that political dynasty is project continuation and completion. Projects initiated by politician A should be continued by politician B. In terms also of bureaucracy, projects proposed by politician A should be approved by politician B. Among the key informants, most said that the members of a political family usually have cooperation and unity in their decisions. However, there are instances that these projects died like a natural death. Meaning, if politician A is not a party mate of politician B, the initiated project of politician A will just be a waste. Given the situation in Philippine politics, most politicians when put in office try to establish a name or something that would really be credited to them or when the preceding official is from a different party, the programs started by the initial interest. This concept were obviously as the first priority. Second, the next leaders have enough backgrounds in politics, they can have advices and suggestions from their relatives. Usually if their parents are politicians there is a tendency that their children might inherit their parents sense of leadership, this notions proves the findings of Bershidsky that Political Dynasty is not that really a bad influence for some instances and advantages because it also promotes and expresses that political families while expanding their powers manage to take care of their constituents as well. The projects implemented by the members of ruling clans are given sustainability through the rule of one political family and the sense of advices from the previous family member who are officially elected and assumed office. in this particular manner it gives the annotation that they are well-versed in governance. They are trained and well-educated when it comes to politics; They know what they are doing and what they need to do for the betterment of our country. Meanwhile, every positives has it negatives sides, as mentioned before, a lot of Filipinos contradict the idea of Political Dynasty in our country, and seeks to proves the findings of Querubin (2016) in his paper, proposed and stating that ‘Power, as a self-expanding element in politics, really has a great impact on every civilization political dynasties can undermine the quality of democracy and economic development in the long growth and promotes the sense of corruptions because of their self interest .’ Several scholars argue that the dynastic nature of Philippine politics has lead to a personalized style of politics that undermines the creation of a strong state. Which in fact, a very vibrant sense of political will of every dynastical government.

These several studies was widely agreed by many of several researcher as mentioned in this paper namely Queruben (2016), Tadem and Tadem, (2013) Guardo A.E et. al (2013) in one conditions why dynastical government upraises, Every voter has his/her personal considerations during elections and the greatest gravity that pulls the scenario is their behaviors towards one candidate. However, this behavior is originally an effect and not a cause.

A certain provision in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the right of suffrage-Article V Section 1. stated that Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law, who are at least eighteen years of age, and who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year, and in the place wherein they propose to vote, for at least six months immediately preceding the election. No literacy, property, or other substantive requirement shall be imposed on the exercise of suffrage. In this regard, this direct provisions extremely be used to attain and practice the right of everybody to participate in political concept ‘the right to vote and to be voted’ since it allows that there is no other requirements rather than just to only have the followings qualifications to be a candidate in politics; should be a registered voters, natural born citizens, must be in legal age and must be able to read and write. In that case there is no certain and direct qualifications that the other member of the family (if there is already involve in one family) cannot run for being elected in political position they have already a member of the family who is actually assume already a certain position in the government. It would be a huge questions and issues if anti-political dynasties must proposed. Moreover, On the contrary, the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines states in its Article II Section 26 that ‘the State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.’ This gives the legislators of the country the basis to propose an anti-political dynasty law. Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago proposed Senate Bill No. 2649 or the Anti-Political Dynasty Bill joint with the House Bill No. 3413 of Rep. Teodoro Casiño. Both are currently in pending status subject for discussion and debate. The failure of the Constitution, rests mainly on its insufficiency. Lores posited that while the Constitution acknowledges the problem, it leaves the solution to Congress. In this regards, there is still a proposed bill, but for some instances and for some of the provisions in the 1987 Philippines Constitutions which totally contradict the same point of views between and within the promulgation there would be a big controversies. see Article V and the proposed bills.

As a whole being this kind of Political Concept where in Democracy takes place there is a significance to the popularity, name recognitions, wealth, loyalty and terms of tenure when it comes to political agendas and upraising the length of political dynasties With the proposed bills prohibiting the establishment of political dynasties, it is significant to know the behavior and ideas of the target political families towards the raised concern. The truth are, in regards to several studies promotes the subsequent conditions why dynastical upraising in Philippine Democratic system still in birth and the occurrence of political dynasty in the countries is bought by the following manners; The political and socio economic foundations upon which political dynasty are built, the inability of effectively implement of Philippine Constitutional provisions by enacting and enabling law, the weakness of potential; countervailing forces that would challenge political dynasties, and the biggest findings is that the attitudes and behaviors of our own voters during elections, this becomes necessary to understand why people choose political clans. By this, a picture about the underlying sources of the existence of political dynasties would be developed. 

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The Dynastical Philippine Government. (2021, Oct 16). Retrieved from