Monsod: Dutertes, Marcoses, Arroyos aim to solidify grip on power in 2022 polls

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 12 2021 06:46 PM

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MANILA—The May 2022 general elections may mark the strengthening of power of several political dynasties in the Philippines, according to a former elections chief, as these families seek to occupy the highest positions in the land.

Speaking to TeleRadyo Friday, lawyer Christian Monsod described the scenario as "frightening" as he said this could lead to "authoritarianism".

"The way the plan is panning out, it looks like there is a plan just beyond accountability. It's to consolidate power, consolidate total power in a coalition that brings together the Marcoses, the Romualdezes, the Arroyos and the Dutertes," he said.

"If they can pull it through, we will really have authoritarianism especially if the Supreme Court again defers to the President by ruling that the Anti-Terrorism Act is constitutional.

"That will complete the picture of a plan for total consolidation of power in our country and that's frightening," he added.

Monsod made the remark after a recent shake-up leading to the crowded polls, which saw Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio quitting the mayoral race, stoking speculations she is gunning for a national position.

The daughter of incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte then joined former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's Lakas-CMD party, which had said it was open to having Duterte-Carpio as its standard bearer.

Meanwhile, the party of presidential aspirant Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the Davao City mayor could be a running mate of the namesake son of the late Philippine dictator.

Monsod believes this is more than Duterte's plan of allegedly just avoiding accountability before the International Criminal Court.

The Hague-based international tribunal is investigating the President's centerpiece policy—the bloody narcotics crackdown, which according to human rights group left between 12,000 to 30,000 civilians killed.

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Asked if it could be all part of a grand plan, he said, "It seems to be heading toward that because now they're grabbing the idea of the President running for Senate and becoming Senate President."

"We already have heard of Arroyo becoming Speaker of the House."

"So, you have a Marcos as President and a Duterte as Vice President. That completes the picture of [3] political dynasties that covers the entire Philippines."

Arroyo is seeking another term as representative of Pampanga's second district.

Monsod also raised concern on the people being appointed to government agencies, which are part of the system of checks and balances.

"It's about appointing their own people to positions in the checking powers of the Constitution, like the Office of the Ombudsman," he said.

Commission on Audit chair Michael Aguinaldo is set to end his term in February 2022 while there is a vacancy in the Commission on Human Rights after its chair succumbed to COVID-19 in October, he added.

"Where will the checking powers be in any abuse of power?" Monsod said.

However, Monsod noted that "storms do not last forever."

"The good stories about us is the lessons of the struggle and we did it before. We did it at EDSA. We were able to bring down a dictatorship through democratic means," he said.

"But we have to awaken ourselves. We have to nurture new, young leaders who come from the poor. I think there will be no real change until we have a new generation of leaders who come from the poor."