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It is widely known that institutional structures constrain the actions of elected officials,
For example, electoral systems produce incentives that induce elected officials to
represent certain constituencies and to allocate particular types of resources (Persson
and Tabellini, 2003). Other types of institutional features (e.g., the forms of government,
and the degree of decentralization) have also been shown to produce significantly
different incentives for elected officials, which would result in different policy outcomes
(Lijphart, 1999)
Less is known about how the types of elected officials affect policy choices. As Besley
(2005) and Jones and Olken (2005) point out, implicit in most of the previous work is the
assumption that politicians act in a similar fashion under a certain institutional rule, no
matter who they are. In other words, previous research neglects the possibility that the
personal characteristics of politicians also constrain their actions in the democratic
policy-making process, which then affect policies. As Key (1949, 10) notes, the nature
of the working of government depends ultimately on the men who run it. The men we
elect to office and the circumstances we create that affect their work determine the
nature of popular government.
Politicians differ along a variety of dimensions such as their preferences and
competence (Besley, 2005). Previous research has found that policy preferences
reflected in a politicians identity such as gender and race are associated with particular
policy choices (Chattopadhyay and Duo, 2004; Lublin, 1997). The personal ideology of
the members of U.S. Congress plays a pivotal role in their roll-call voting patterns
(Levitt, 1996). The political competence of politicians refers to the ability to achieve
desired policies at a minimum social cost (Caselli and Morelli, 2004) and is equivalent to
individual abilities required for certain non-political jobs (Besley, 2005). In fact, Jones
and Olken (2005) show that some national leaders have the ability to achieve a higher
rate of economic growth.
Political positions are no longer hereditary in modern democracies, but political
dynasties continue to exist. Besley (2005, 48) notes that political competence could
include intangible leadership skills, like persuading others in debate or inspiring trust,
and also more standard analytical skills, such as spotting flaws in policy proposals.
Some democracies allow for the de facto inheritance of political power (Dal Bo, Dal
Bo, and Snyder, 2009, 116). Dynastic politicians, whose family members have also held
similar political positions in the past, have occupied a sizable portion of political offices
in many parts of the world. Despite the persistence of political dynasties in many
democratic countries, little is known about the political consequences of dynastic

On political dynasties data in the United States, Dal Bo, Dal Bo and Snyder (2009) show
that legislators who served for multiple terms increase a probability that their relatives
are elected for the same office in the future. This is partly because political capital, such
as name recognition and ties with political machines, can be inherited within families.
According to AIMPC in the Philippines, legislators belonging to political dynasties
appear to be richer than those not belonging to dynasties; members of the dynasties
also dominate members in the major political parties, and 77 per cent of the legislators
aged 26-40 belong to political dynasties; 64 per cent of those aged 41-55 are also from
political dynasties.


Political Dynasty

anathema in a
democracy one family
controls power

corruption, the military,

the police, and illegal

Anti-Dynasty Law
Impose Senate Bill No.



The Philippine Constitution prohibits political dynasties. The Constitution provides: "The
State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit
political dynasties as may be defined by law." (Article 2, Section 26.) Our Constitution
was ratified in 1987. It is now 26 years since we ratified the Constitution. But during this
entire time of more than a decade, Congress has failed to comply with its constitutional
duty to pass a law defining and prohibiting political dynasties.
Today, the Philippines is now conceivably the world capital of political dynasties. Why do
politicians want to build or perpetuate dynasties? Why do young people aspire to be
politicians, instead of lawyers or doctors or other respected professionals? People are
driven to politics, mainly because of the urge to power; and politicians are driven to
dynasties, mainly because of the urge to profit or in some cases, to plunder. For most
professions, to succeed it is necessary to obtain a university diploma, pass a
government examination, and acquire years of backbreaking practice. But in politics,
virtually no qualifications are required, except possibly the epidermis of a pachyderm,
meaning the sensibilities of a carabao.
No wonder dynasts are called "stationary bandits." They are the equivalent of Mafia
crime families. Members of dynasties are gluttons for power and privilege. They
constitute political monopolies and combinations in restraint of opportunities for others.
The Constitution regards political dynasties as evil, because in effect they constitute a
monopoly of political power inside a democracy, the Constitution of which explicitly
provides that every qualified Filipino should have an equal opportunity for public service.
And yet, political dynasties who have ruled for more than 30 years include 6 families.
Political dynasties who have ruled for more than 20 years include at least 61 families.
Political dynasties who have ruled 12 to 18 years include 53 political families.
Political dynasty is anathema in a democracy, because in one geographical area, one
family controls power, corruption, the military, the police, and illegal activities such as
illegal gambling, drug smuggling, gun smuggling, and smuggling of various other
objects banned by law. In this manner, political dynasties have become invulnerable and
constitute an open defiance of our Constitution, thus blatantly undermining the rule of


Therefore these democratic impulses eventually translate to systemic reform where the
citizenry can effectively enforce democratic control over its politico-economic elites.
Political dynasties qualify as legal by default, still political dynasties remain immoral.
Maybe you can make exceptions, but if you want to make an exception, it should be
based on extraordinary merit.
There is so much that is wrong with our country, starting with the attitude of some that
they are sacrosanct and should be exempted from public scrutiny. There are some who
use public funds for private purposes, and then demonize those who denounce the
practice. All of these crooks took an oath when they began office that they would
support and defend the Constitution. The Constitution prohibits political dynasties. And
yet they continue to defy the Constitution.
Further the senate must approve Senate Bill No. 2649 imposes a prohibition on
relatives within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity. On the local level,
this bill prohibits such relatives from running for public office at the same time, within the
same province. On the national level, such relatives cannot occupy the same office,
immediately after the term of office of the incumbent elective official.


Ronald U. Mendoza, Edsel L. Beja Jr., Victor S. Venida, and David B. Yap



By Domini M. Torrevillas


By Nicole Curato