MANILA - PROMDI presidential candidate Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Sunday said proposals to ban political dynasties in the Philippines may curtail the rights of Filipinos who wish to enter public service just because they share the same ambition with their relatives.
The Philippines is a democratic country where the leaders are elected and not appointed, Pacquiao said during the second PiliPinas 2022 presidential debate sponsored by the Commission on Elections.
"Unfair naman sa mga pamilya na nagserbisyo nang tapat, malaki ang nagawang pagbabago sa kanilang lugar at tumutulong sa taong bayan," said Pacquiao, who has at least 5 relatives running for office in the 2022 elections.
"Hindi naman lahat nagnanakaw sa gobyerno. May tapat naman talaga na magserbisyo sa taong bayan," he said.
Deputy House Speaker and Sarangani Rep. Rogelio Pacquiao - the boxing champ's brother - is running for Sarangani governor.
OFW Family party-list Rep. Alberto "Bobby" Pacquiao - another sibling - is expecting another term should his party-list get sufficient votes in the party-list race.
Lorelei Pacquiao - Alberto's wife - is gunning for mayor of General Santos City, while Maasim town Mayor Zyrex Pacquiao - a cousin - is seeking re-election.
Russel Jamora, the boxing icon's brother-in-law, is gunning for a seat in Sarangani's provincial board.
Instead of banning political dynasties, the national government should ensure that all corrupt officials be penalized, Sen. Pacquiao said.
"Kung may korapsyon diyan eh 'di ipakulong," he said.
"Walang mag-uusap o magrereklamo sa political dynasty na 'yan kung [tuwing] may magnanakaw, ikukulong," he said.
Presidential candidates Jose Montemayor Jr. and Faisal Mangondato disagreed with the athlete-turned-politician, saying political dynasties have been one of causes of systemic problems in the Philippines.
"The state prohibits political dynasties. Kahit sa Ateneo study, thick and fat dynasty talagang bawal na bawal. Kailangan gawan ng paraan imbis na idepensa natin," Montemayor said.
"Itong political dynasty ang nagiging sanhi ng problema sa pulitika ng ating bansa... Dapat wala na 'yung dinastiya sa pulitika para hindi na namomonopolya ang ating pulitika," Mangondato said.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, now an independent presidential candidate after leaving Partido Reporma, said he is also against political dynasties, noting that these result to "warlordism especially in rural areas."
Lacson, however, noted that it is difficult to pass laws banning political dynasties as these bills are usually thumbed down by legislators who have several relatives in local posts.
"Nakapag-file na ako ng enabling law para sa political dynasty," he said.
"Sa kasamaang palad, maski ilang panukalang batas ang ating i-file sa House of Representatives man o sa Senado, hindi po papasa dahil maraming angkan sa local government at Kongreso ang siyang nagko-compose sa political dynasty," he said.
The Philippines could instead strengthen its political parties to combat dynasties, said Ernesto Abella, another presidential contender.
"Ang political parties ay issue-based at hindi siya personality-centered... Dapat po siya aktibo the entire year, hindi 'yung nagiging aktibo lang siya kung may eleksyon," he said.
"Ito ay isang proseso that we owe the electorate. Dapat po maging mas mature ang ating tao," he said.
While an enabling law against political dynasties has yet to be passed, members of one family should not be barred from seeking public office at the same time, Pacquiao said.
"Ang constitution natin nagsasabi na may karapatan ang bawat isa na tumakbo sa bawat halalan," he said.
"Kung pipigilan mo siya tumakbo, e di nalalabag natin yung rights ng ibang tao," he said.
Several studies have established a correlation between poverty incidence and the presence of political dynasties in rural areas.
"The fat dynasty variable was a significant predictor of poverty," Ateneo School of Government Dean Ronald Mendoza said in an earlier interview.
Mendoza's study - which was peer-reviewed at the Oxford Development Studies - said eliminating fat dynasties will free up to 25 percent of local government positions for young and upcoming leaders of the nation.