MANILA - House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano -- whose wife, sister and brother are all in politics -- claimed Monday that political dynasties in the Philippines are products of the 1987 Constitution’s imposition of term limits.
In response to a question from the media on efforts to amend the 1987 framework in Congress, Cayetano brought up the supposed need to extend terms of local officials.
“Ang nag-create po ng dynasty is ‘yung term limits, ‘di ba? Marami sa mga very good governors, tumakbong mayor—marami sa mayors na ganyan. And then ‘yung bitter political rivalries. Katulad po dito sa Taguig, hindi ninais ng mga Cayetano na tatlo sa mataas na posisyon ay Cayetano," he said.
Cayetano’s elder sister, Pia, is a senator while his brother, Lino, is the mayor of Taguig City, their political bailiwick. The Speaker’s wife, Lani, is like himself, a House member, representing his neighboring district in the same city.
The former running mate of President Rodrigo Duterte said that local officials need more time than the 3-year term that is currently given to them.
”Sasabihin nila, ‘yung mga mayor natin panay pulitika. Eh three years ‘yung term eh. In the middle of the term ka mae-elect. Habang hindi natin ginagawa na katulad ng worldwide—mga four to five years ang term eh, para nakakapag-planning, nakakapag-trabaho," Cayetano said.
"‘Yun po kayang CEO sa mga kumpanya, sabihin natin sa kanila, "Three years lang ang term mo, at ‘yung una mong taon ay sa gitna ng fiscal year, and then sa last year mo nangangampanya ka.
"Tingin n’yo mapapatakbo nang maganda ‘yung mga kumpanya?” he said.
Political dynasties are banned under the Constitution but the provision requires an enabling law, which Congress has failed to pass for decades.
Political clans have only tightened their grip on political power and wealth over the years, with more than half of Congress members coming from these families, an expert said.
Aside from Cayetano, Duterte has been criticized for building his own dynasty in Davao City where he served as mayor for more than 20 years. The current mayor is his daughter, Sarah, while the vice mayor is his son Sebastian. Their older sibling, Paolo, is a congressman and deputy speaker.
--With a report from Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News