Youth vote can end political dynasties, says analyst

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 19 2018 07:38 PM

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MANILA - Votes from the youth can help end the cycle of electing candidates from political dynasties as they seek "fundamental change," an analyst said Friday.

Concentration of power, one aspect of which is the proliferation of dynasties, "leads to under-ambition, underdevelopment, outright corruption in some places and impunity in many other places," said Ronald Mendoza, dean of the Ateneo School of Government.

"I have to believe that our young people and our potentially big youth vote coming out in 2019 and 2022 perhaps and future elections, they will want change and they will want fundamental change that actually gives citizen much more voice, not necessarily to political clans, political families that have forced us into a situation where we settle," he told ANC's News Now.

"I think we can ambition for much, much better than this. I think a merit-based society cannot tolerate selecting from a few people. That is a degree of inequality and a degree of unfairness that I think this country is not just about," he said.

"As more and more youth voters are getting into the voting population, I think they will express themselves in this way."

Mendoza, one of the authors of the book, "Political dynasties and poverty: evidence from the Philippines," said these dynasties thrive where there are underdeveloped political and economic systems.

"The fatter the dynasties, the more dynasties there are, the more underdeveloped the parts of the country turn out to be," he said.

In Taguig, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano is seeking a congressional seat along with wife Mayor Lani Cayetano, who is hoping to represent the other district. Alan Peter's brother, Lino, is running for mayor.

"It’s as if you’re telling every single Filipino in Taguig that there’s no one good enough to run against the Cayetanos, that there’s no one else who can carry on the reforms that this husband and wife have been pushing for," he said.

Instead, Mendoza believes that if the reforms a politician puts in place are "really important and really win the hearts and minds of our people, then the biggest praise that you can get as a politician is a non-family member fighting" for this.

"If the reform is strong enough it, then it need not be your family member continuing it. Unfortunately, this is not how the situation is panning out. It’s actually not about the reform, if you think about it," he said.

"It’s really about the concentration of power and staying in power, which as we know is not really conducive to pushing deep reforms," he added.

Breaking the cycle, Mendoza said, would require reducing poverty and underdevelopment, and by strengthening education and strengthening the middle class of the country,

He also called for a "banding together and fielding a viable competition for some of these dynasties."

Mendoza said even the party-list system has been "hijacked" by political dynasties.

"I think it's widely known now that the party-list system has become a joke, that it's not responding to the ambition that actually fueled the introduction of the party-list system in the 1980s. And the main reason for this is that it's been hijacked by political dynasties as well," he said.

Mendoza urged voters to support parties "that actually fight for reforms that bring us a more inclusive democracy and economy."

"They are in there. We just need to find them, we just need to have greater awareness that even though there's a lot of bad news, there's also some that got in there," he said.