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Church to join fight vs Philippine political dynasties
Publication Date : 17-01-2014
It’s about time the Church became more involved in the crusade against political dynasties, according to lay Catholic groups.
With the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) set to hold its plenary assembly next week, the lay organisations are calling on the Church hierarchy to get behind a people’s initiative being organised for the adoption of a national law to implement the antipolitical dynasty prohibition in the Constitution.
According to sources in the CBCP and the lay groups themselves, the antidynasty initiative will be a topic in the assembly, and that they are “almost sure” that the bishops would support a move to start the signature-gathering process and hold the plebiscite for the initiative within the year.
“The Church leaders have already unequivocally stated their opposition to political dynasties way back in their January assembly last year. We are hoping they can support concrete actions by lay groups to conduct the initiative as well as mobilise the faithful to support the initiative,” said one lay leader.
The CBCP issued a pastoral statement on January 28 last year which spoke about the “widening practice” of political dynasties.
“As monopolies in business, monopolies in politics limit the entry that can bring in new ideas and offer better services. Political dynasties breed corruption and ineptitude. We are aggrieved that lawmakers themselves defy the supreme law of the land by not following the mandate of our Philippine Constitution given 26 years ago to make an enabling law to ban political dynasties,” the CBCP said in the pastoral statement.
The position of the Church, according to the CBCP, is that political authority exists for the common good and should therefore not be exercised “for the sake of private and family interests or simply for the interests of a political party.”
“When political authority is exercised merely for these narrow interests, it betrays the reason for its existence. Moreover, such situation breeds corruption and inhibits general access to political power which is a fundamental mark of democracy. Therefore, we denounce the continued existence of family political dynasties and the continuing delay of passing a law to implement the constitutional provision banning political dynasties,” it said.