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Pollwatch: CBCP to voters: Reject political dynasties.

The social action arm of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is joining calls to put an end to political dynasties through the May 2016 elections.

Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace, said they will be coming out with a guideline discouraging voters from picking candidates who belong to a political dynasty.

"There is a criteria on what voters should look for in a candidate and one of them is the person should not belong to a political dynasty," Fr. Gariguez said.

"We will also ask them to assess the person's track record, integrity, love for the poor and so on because there are also some politicians who perform well even if they belong to a political dynasty that's why we are asking voters to assess the candidates," he added.

"I know this is hitting the moon that's why we are exerting an effort to open the eyes of the people."


He said the 2016 polls is the best time for those who are against political dynasties to initiate change by way of their vote.

"These people are trying to grab the political power to be able to push their economic interest...that's why in some areas you will see the concentration of power only on a few families," Gariguez said.


"Political dynasty also perpetuates corruption. How do you expect a mayor of the place to be punished for whatever wrongdoing if the one who will replace him is his son, daughter or wife?" he added.

He cited the case of the Reyes brothers of Palawan as an example.

"Even though detained, they are still capable of joining politics because they are well entrenched. This is the worst case. It's nauseating to the point that they don't want to let go of power," said Gariguez.

Brothers Joel and Mario Reyes, the primary suspects in the murder of journalist and environmental activist Dr. Gerry Ortega, are running for mayor and vice mayor of Coron, Palawan next year.


But Gariguez admitted that the problem lies not only with the candidates but also with the voters who keep electing political dynasties into power.

"Political patronage is still there," Gariguez said.

"We cannot also count on our lawmakers to pass an anti-dynasty bill because a number of them are part of that. So, its really up to the voters whether this kind of system will continue or not," he added.


The CBCP has long condemned political dynasties in the Philippines, repeatedly calling for the passage of a law that prohibits them.

Since 1990s, the bishops' collegial body released about six pastoral statements against politics being under the control of few notable families.

Last June, the CBCP reminded Christian voters to snub candidates from political dynasties and "prudently choose others who may have equal if not superior abilities and competencies for the position."

"There is no monopoly on ability for government, and truly no one in government is indispensable," CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said in a statement.


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Title Annotation:Pollwatch 2016
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Oct 19, 2015
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