The Overcrowding of Prisons

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Politics in the Philippines has been under the control of a few notable families. It is normal for a politician's son, wife, brother, or other kinsman, to run for the same or other government office. The term coined by Filipinos to describe this practice is "Political dynasty", the equivalent of an oligarchy in political science. One can trace its roots from the Spanish colonial times where favored families of the mestizo stock, or the Illustrados were given responsibilities of Gobernadorcillo, or Alcalde. As such, these men have wielded some influence in their communities, and patronage politics was a common undertaking. After the Philippine-American War, the United States colonial authorities took under their wings these Illustrados to join the democratic process. During this period, family names such as Cojuangcos, Lopezs, Marcoses, Osmeñas and Aquinos became household names. "Political Dynasty" - shall exist when a person who is the spouse of an incumbent elective  official  or  relative  within  the  second  civil  degree  of  consanguinity  or  affinity  of  an incumbent  elective  official  holds  or  runs  for  an  elective  office  simultaneously  with  the   incumbent  elective  official  within the  same  province  or  occupies  the  same  office  immediately after s   two  (2)  or  more  persons  who  are  spouses  or  are  related  within  the  second  civil  degree  of  consanguinity or affinity run simultaneously for  elective public office within the same province, even i f  neither is so  related to an incumbent elective official  

Back in 2004, a study made by Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) traced the emergence of dynasties in the Philippines to the introduction by the Americans of electoral politics in the early 20th century, when voting was initially limited to property owners and the wealthy, who monopolized public office. Since then, the ubiquity of these political dynasties was made even more concrete by the influential factors of money, machine, movies/media, alliances and other dirty tactics to stay in the ecstatic world of political power. The influence of political dynasties has slowly changed its image and eventually changed the shape and culture of the House of Representatives and even the Senate, where creating political dynasties of considerable quantity has become more of a business strategy than of a public service.  A certain study, being prepared by the Asian Institute of Management Policy Center (AIMPC), said seven out of every 15 legislators are members of families that are considered political dynasties. Just to make a brief breakdown, 115 legislators (68 percent of Congress) belong to the Dynasty 3 category or those with relatives who were legislators since the 12th Congress until the 15th Congress or local officials elected in 2001 or currently occupying elective posts. We all know who are these people so dropping names will be a waste of our precious time. But just to give a face to political dynasties, let’s take two of our most recent presidents as strong examples. President Benigno Aquino, son of former President Corazon Aquino, took over last year from Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, daughter of former President Diosdado Macapagal. Can we technically proclaim that the whole nation is under the rule of a political dynasty? Sure. It has been part of our culture because as a family-oriented Asian nation, we always have the penchant to put our families first above anything else; no wonder political families are existent. But if our politics has political dynasties as its own bread and butter, then why don’t we just let it that way and be complacent with the democratic powers bestowed upon the people?Well, the problem here is not the political dynasty per se but the “principles” that has fueled these political families over the years. And because of rotten principles, they have transformed themselves into a social monster that uses...
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