FALSE: 1987 Constitution perpetuated political dynasties
April 19, 2022

On April 5, “Ang Malayang Balita” Facebook page posted a video of President Rodrigo Duterte’s public speech in Batangas where he claimed that the 1987 Constitution enabled the proliferation of political dynasties in the country.

“If we dwell in the present structure crafted in the Constitution, ‘e wala talagang mangyayari [nothing would happen],” Duterte said, as he again called on the future Congress to amend the Constitution.

Duterte was referring to the colatilla “as may be provided by law” found in Article II, Section 26 of the 1987 Constitution, which made the anti-political dynasty provision difficult to implement as Congress won’t pass an “enabling law” to prohibit political dynasties because majority of its members are part of these dynasties and passing such law would spell doom for their political families.


1987 Constitution perpetuated political dynasties




The exact section Duterte was referring to, Article II, Section 26 of the Constitution reads in full: “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”

Indeed, no enabling law for the prohibition of political dynasties has been passed. However, legal experts have pointed out that Congress’ failure to pass an enabling law should not be used to argue in favor of jump-starting the process of constitutional change.

Atty. Christian Monsod, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution explained that no provision in the country’s charter provides for the proliferation of political dynasties. In contrast, Monsod added, the desire of the political dynasties– including the Dutertes – to remain in power, is one of the primary motives behind calls for constitutional change.


A study published by the Ateneo School of Government (ASOG) showed that the proliferation of political dynasties is a strong indicator of poverty and underdevelopment. “Moreover, dynastic officials can use the powers of the state for self-serving interests without fear of replacement or administrative sanctions,” the study noted.

Scholars have noted that there are several contributing factors that block Congress from passing an enabling law, including the roadblock posed by the political and socio-economic foundations upon which said dynasties are built.  These dynasties are so entrenched in the fabric of Philippine politics, that some 80% of the governors, 67% of congressmen, and 53% of mayors who won office in the 2019 Philippine elections belonged to these “fat dynasties.”

Despite Duterte’s pronouncements about his supposed anti-dynasty stance, it should be noted that Duterte himself has nurtured a dynastic enterprise, with his daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio and son Sebastian Duterte concurrently serving as Davao City mayor and vice mayor, respectively. Another son, Paolo Duterte, is also the current Davao City first district representative.

The video posted on “Ang Malayang Balita” page currently has 2.1 million views, 67,000 reactions, and 5,000 comments. – Vanessa Adolfo and Jamaica Marciano

Altermidya Network is part of #FactsFirstPH which brings together various sectors that are committed to promoting truth in the public space, and exacting accountability on those who harm it with lies. For those interested to join the initiative, email info@factsfirst.ph.

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