by Samantha Colinco
THE SUCCESS OR failure of political dynasties depends on an educated, discerning and watchful citizenry and not on the political families alone, Bais City Mayor Karen Villanueva said in a forum last Jan. 29.
“It is the opportune time for us to exercise the right that should a family be actually doing well they may be given the opportunity to serve again. But if not, then by all means eradicate the family from abusing the powers of government ever again,” she said.
A child of a political family herself, Villanueva said political dynasties are not “bad in themselves but only gain their mark when power corrupts the individual.”
“[It becomes a problem] when members of the family begin to believe that they are exceptions and that they are above the law therefore they can get away with anything,” Villanueva told 150 students and teachers at the Silliman University Hall.
She added that the country does not need laws to prohibit political families from running for offce, but it instead needs to educate citizens and put justice systems to address issues of abuse.
“Let us be acutely aware, watchful and evaluative of all individuals who enter into the field of public service . . . Should a law be passed to ban families from collectively serving their communities, it will only succeed to weed out the honest and well-meaning ones,” she said.
Villanueva also said that political families, which people view as a “threat” to civil service, are just like any other family. She added that if society accepts generations of doctors, lawyers and teachers, then the same rule should apply for public service. “Would it be so wrong if a child would pick up the traditions – with gripping intensity – of the passion to serve?
Would it be so wrong for a child to admire her father or mother and dream one day of becoming like them?” she added.
Present in the forum on “Perpetuating political families: The pros and cons,” sponsored by the Salonga Law Center for Law and Development were Iriga City Mayor Madelaine Alfelor-Gazmen and Dumaguete City Vice-mayor Alan Gel Cordova.