THE RULE MAKERS
HOW THE WEALTHY AND WELL BORN DOMINATE CONGRESS
The congress or the House of Representatives and the Senate or the upper house are the two components of the legislative branch of the Philippine government. They are meant to pass bills, create laws, and approve budgets that benefit their constituents and the nation as a whole. In theory, this is the ideal upon which they were built, they would legislate for the people to best serve them and to ensure the nations capacity to carry out the legislation that they pass and that they are aligned with the needs of the people they represent. This is not the case however, even as we step in to the 15th congress the House of Representatives is still truly not representative. Since the 1898 Malolos Congress to our 15th congress, The Filipino people have witnessed, participated, fought and experienced how senators and congressmen handle the power and opportunity they gain from membership in this institution. The way in which the power and privileges that come from their positions are used are often kept secret and outside the knowledge of their voters and even if it was known it is beyond the power of the citizenry to interfere in most cases. The Constitution imposes limitations and prohibitions and there are also general guidelines and principle of law that should be followed, however they do not seem enough of a deterrent to reduce or eradicate the illegitimate, illegal, manipulative, selfish, self serving, patronage, and entrenching actions of (some or most) those in the legislature of the government. The book demonstrates and presents the flaws, dealings, requisites, anomalies and various other deeds that have taken root and have become day to day practice in the Philippine Congress. It was never intended to be the enclave where the elite could make more money, power, and connections but rather where the interests of the people were to be represented and addressed. In some point in time though it changed, and that changed congress into where it is the hotbed of political dynasties, celebrities, elites of the economic sectors, and landlord/ haciendero come together and “rule for the people”. The book presents the current problems in Congress, how they started, and how these practices affect us until today. Some of the issues discussed are how to become a politician, Political dynasties, pork-barreling, patronage, legislation manipulation, entrepreneurial legislation, politics as profession, murder, moneymaking, intimidation, and other issues such as celebrity wedding and the luxury living styles of those in service. The book in general, characterizes and describes the individuals and groups of families that comprise the Philippine Congress. The RULEMAKERS is divided into five chapters, each chapter has several sub-topics or articles that are all interrelated and are subsumed into the main point of the whole chapter. The book talks about what a politician typically is to how to get elected, exploit the position for money and power, remain in office, further the family dynasty, and to ensure political viability. It also talks about the search for an alternative and how it has at least transformed and “democratized” in one way or another. The first chapter begins by depicting the common characteristics and the typical mould of traditional politicians. It described their age, social status, economic class, family background, educational accomplishments, and experience in the government. Based on statistics gathered, factual findings, and other interviews and observations there is a clear and distinct flavour and formula that is necessary to become a politician in the congress. In the first chapter “House of Privilege” gives a clear description of the politicians who comprise the Philippine congress. They are male, college educated, middle-aged, and most likely has a law degree. They were into business and usually had...
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