Political dynasties are "not bad", President Rodrigo Duterte said Saturday, adding ruling families would endure unless the Constitution is revised to prohibit them.
Duterte, who served as mayor of Davao City for more than 20 years and whose children have held various elective positions in the city, made the remarks as he inaugurated a sports complex in Siargao and noted the Matugas political family there.
"Unless you change the whole picture, unless you change the Constitution, unless you change the culture, pwede pa siguro [mabago]," he said in mixed English, Filipino, and Cebuano.
"But if we stay like this, we will have dynasties. And dynasties are not bad," he added.
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The 76-year-old leader said that when he stepped down as Davao City mayor after three terms, there was strong clamor from his constituents that his daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, should replace him.
Majority of barangay captains also wanted his eldest son, Paolo Duterte, to be their congressman, he added, while Sebastian Duterte's vice mayoralty run was decided by his elder sister.
"The problem with dynasties is if the family who rules the city monopolizes the businesses, kill their enemies, and then later on in some areas, it is the mayors themselves who would lead the drug trade. But there’s nothing like that here," the President said.
While the 1987 Constitution prohibits political dynasty, there is no enabling law that would enforce it.
University of the Philippines professors Teresa Encarnacion Tadem and Eduardo Tadem said one reason for this is because lawmakers themselves belong to political clans.
“Some politicians simply do not see anything wrong with political dynasties,” they said in their study.
To move past political dynasties, political families themselves must make sacrifices in order to go beyond the cycle, said De La Salle University political science professor Gerardo Eusebio.
“Why not everybody, for the sake of republicanism, bow down and effect the constitutional requirements of forbidding political dynasties? That is, I think, the noble thing to do,” Eusebio told reportr in a previous interview.
“It’s the perennial battle between self-interest versus national interest. Kung mananalo lang sana yung national interest, yun ang talagang sana mangyari. Because we have to abide by the Constitution,” he added.