April 11, 2019 – The Albert Del Rosario Institute (ADR) held a seminar on term limits and political dynasties at Joy Nostalg, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.
Dean of Ateneo School of Government, Professor Ronald Mendoza, was the main presenter of the study on term limits and political dynasties. Following his presentation are the reactors Mr. Ronnie Holmes, president of the Pulse Asia Research Inc; Dr. Jean Franco, assistant professor in the Political Science Department UP Diliman; and LOGODEF Director Prof. Edmund Tayao.
Highlighting the position of the reactors on the presentation, Mr. Holmes agrees on the position that limiting term limits will not limit political dynasties. According to Mr. Holmes, it is through intensifying local competitions among elites and dynasties that will lead to higher development and yield more development expenditures. With regards to curbing the negative consequences of political dynasties, Mr. Holmes recommendation is (1) to reform the electoral system through constitutional change, (2) increase the size of the middle class, and (3 ) to have a better monitoring of public finance.
Professor Tayao’s reaction followed. According to Prof. Tayao, it is unthinkable for him to imagine a tangible anti-political dynasty mechanism in place unless we change the Constitution. For Prof. Tayao, debates on the question of timing with regards to constitutional reform is an impractical loop, upon which he believes that Constitutional reform will always be a question of political will. Moreover, reform in this case should be a wholesale package. Prof. Tayao explained that the problem with non-wholesale reforms is that since different reforms are passed by different members of Congress, often they conflict with one another.
It is Prof. Tayao’s position that in response to arguments on voting behavior as being more of a ‘cultural’ problem, he believes that voters vote reasonably when they can with the information most available to them. For Prof. Tayao, if a voting population keeps placing corrupt officials or dynasties for that matter in power, this cannot change unless one changes the socio-economic system.
Last of the panel reactors is Dr. Jean Franco who argued that institutional design often times limit the choices of the voters, supporting the position of the other two panel reactors before her. Dr. Franco places more emphasis on the importance of term limits in electoral reforms. According to her, term limits have a significant contribution to the country’s history looking at the 1987 Constitution as an example. In her concluding statements, Dr. Franco suggested three possible research questions to look into with regards to studying political dynasties: (1) How is success between political dynasties being negotiated? (2) How do political dynasties actually “quarrel” between each other? Lastly, (3) What is the symbiosis of political dynasties and business enterprises?
Forum ended at 4:00 p.m.