Cayetano: Political dynasties not the problem

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) – Vice presidential candidate Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano is not keen on banning political dynasties.

“I’m not saying dynasties are good. I’m just saying it’s not the problem,” he said during CNN Philippines’ Town Hall on Thursday (February 18) at the University of the Philippines Diliman campus.

He explained the real problem is the concentration of power within a select few or the so-called elite democracy in which "you need millions, billions to run for president, vice president."

Banning political dynasties per se would not solve the problem, he said.

He added if a politician is corrupt, it does not matter if he has relatives in government or not.

Related: Alan Peter Cayetano announces 2016 VP bid in Davao City

Empowering people instead of banning political dynasties

“So how do we solve that? It’s not by having an anti-dynasty but to empower people,” Cayetano said.

As part of people empowerment, he suggested that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) allow the public to donate funds to their chosen candidates’ campaigns through passing electronic load through their mobile phones.

He said if some of the 15 million voters who elected him in Senate give P10 per month, they could accumulate up to at least P100 million in just 10 months.

He added government officials will then owe their election to the people.

He also said the perennial problem of concentration of power can be solved when media is empowered and people can check on the power of politicians.

Good and bad political dynasties

For Cayetano, there are good and bad political dynasties.

“For example, my wife’s mayor of Taguig, she cleaned up Taguig," he said.

Related: Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano seeking reelection

Among the families who did good for their constituents, Cayetano cited, were running mate Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte and his daughter Inday Sara Duterte who both served as mayors of Davao City, and Singapore’s first and longest-serving Prime Minister (PM) Lee Kuan Yew and his son, incumbent PM Lee Hsien Long.

Meanwhile, Cayetano mentioned the Binay family when he talked about corrupt political clans.

“Look at Makati naman, ang laki ng nagawa pero ang laki rin ng Hacienda Binay di ba?” Cayetano spoke of the 350-hectare land allegedly owned by United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) presidential bet Jejomar Binay and his family.

Related: Ombudsman affirms criminal charges vs. Binays

No Anti-Political Dynasty Act

Cayetano made these claims after a UP student asked his take on "the constitutional provision that explicitly states that we should ban the proliferation of political dynasties.”

According to Article II, Section 26 of the 1987 Constitution, “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”

Since the Philippines still has no law governing political dynasties, Cayetano was quick to answer that it is up to Congress to ban political dynasties or not.

As of February 2016, versions of the Anti-Political Dynasty Act are still pending before both houses of Congress.

While there is yet to be a clear-cut definition of the term political dynasty, a pending House Bill defines it as the “concentration, consolidation or continuation of public office and political power by persons related to each other.”

This includes situations when an incumbent official’s spouse or second-degree relatives hold or seek office simultaneously with the incumbent, or when a spouse or relative succeeds the incumbent – within the same province or government office.

Under both HB 837 and Senate Bill 2649, it also counts as political dynasty when spouses or second-degree relatives run for public office within the same province, even if they are not related to an incumbent government official.

CNN Philippines, in partnership with Business Mirror, will host the vice presidential debate of the Commission on Elections' Pili Pinas 2016 debate series on April 10 in Metro Manila.