By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Lawmakers rushed Sunday in defense of President Duterte’s family who has been accused of building a political dynasty, saying that it is the electorate who has the final word on the issue.
AKO BICOL party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr., a member of the House Minority bloc, said the family members of the President should not be condemned for vying for electoral posts and wanting to serve the people.
“These are all elected in a democratic process so you cannot blame them,” he said.
“I think what we should do is to empower the electorate by providing them an informed choice and amend the Constitution to return to the two-party system,” Garbin pointed out.
For his part, Manila City Rep. Manny Lopez stressed that “real power emanates from the people.”
“For as long as the sovereign will of the people is not subverted, wala tayong magagawa diyan,” he said.
AKO BICOL party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe agreed with his colleagues, saying the electorate chooses those political leaders who can be trusted and can lead them.
“Let these observations be an election issue and submit the same to our electorate,” said Batocabe, president of the Party-list Coalition
The family members of President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte were criticized for seeking elective posts.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio sought reelection, while her brother, former Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte aims to serve as the representative of the Davao City’s first district.
Duterte-Carpio’s youngest brother, Sebastian Duterte decided to join the vice mayoralty race.
The current and previous Congresses witnessed the presence of political families like husband and wife, uncle and nephews, parent and offspring.
Isabela Rep. Rodolfo “Rodito” Albano III and his wife, Deputy Speaker and Davao City Rep. Mylene Garcia-Albano; and Sultan Kudarat Rep. Horacio Suansing and his wife, Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suansing currently serve under present 17th Congress.
Brother and sister lawmakers — Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco and Mata party-list Rep. Tricia Velasco-Catera also serve this current Congress.
Former Deputy Speaker and Cebu Rep. Pablo Garcia and son, former Cebu Rep. Pablo John Garcia both served during the previous 15th Congress.
The decision of resigned Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and his wife, Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano to vie for congressional seats in Taguig was also criticized. But the former senator maintained there is nothing wrong and immoral with their decision.