Ramon M. Durano Sr., as cited in Coronel (1986), Coronel et al (2004)
If Jesus truly invented dynasties as pointed out by Ramon Durano Sr., of the formidable Durano clan in Cebu and former member of the Lower House representing Danao City, then Jesus must be very happy with the way the May 2010 elections turned out. If the results were any indicator, the Filipinos would not be seeing the decline of political clans or dynasties in the Philippines anytime soon. In fact, the last elections saw the victory or the re-election of political families in both national and local positions in their respective bailiwicks.
The continuing dominance of political families in their respective areas in the last elections only strengthens the long-held view that “family” matters in Philippine society. The best example is President elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III victory which rode heavily on his pedigree i.e. his family’s known political name. At the same time, how blatantly “family matters” spill into the political, economic and social spheres in Philippine society is proof of how deeply entrenched familial politics is in the Philippines.
The primacy and centrality of family in Philippine society cannot be overstated. Not only is the family seen as a “basic autonomous social institution” under the 1986 Constitution, but the Constitution in fact mandates the defense, protection and strengthening of the family as a basic national principle.
At the same time, the Filipino family often provides what the Church and the State cannot, especially in terms of social services that are actually part and parcel of the usual services provided by developed countries to its citizens. In the Philippines thus, the family usually provides socialization, education, employment, health and medical care, protection and shelter to the young, the handicapped and the aged. For the elite of society, name, honor, lands, wealth and values are the legacies of the family to the next generation, which becomes that generation’s own capital to further their power—be it political, social or economic.
As noted by Alfred McCoy, an American historian who has extensively written on Philippine and Southeast Asian history, Filipino families have provided continuity to the country’s economic, social and political history. He observed that political parties in the Philippines are more of “coalitions of powerful families.” Eric Gutierrez of the Institute of Popular Democracy also wrote that “what passes for political parties in the Philippines are coalitions of political clans” and that the “building block of parties are families.” Gutierrez authored the book “All in the family: a study of elites and power relations in the Philippines,” published by IPD in 1992.
And they are back…
And this is true. Gone is the disdain and horror Filipinos felt about the dictatorship that the Marcoses imposed on the Filipino nation, if the victory of the son, daughter of wife of the former dictator would be used as indicator. Two members of the Ampatuan clan won seats in Congress despite the charges they are facing for murders committed in the Maguindanao massacre. The disdain for the Macapagal-Arroyos may still be very strong, but members of the family are big winners in the recent elections.
The Arroyos won several seats in Congress despite their unpopularity, although this is also probably partly due to their generosity in dispensing patronage and their access to unlimited largesse available to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when she was still at the pinnacle of power. The 2nd district of Camarines Sur re-elected presidential son Diosdado “Dado” Arroyo while presidential brother-in-law Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo Jr. won a seat in the 5th district of Negros Occidental. The Pampangueños elected outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as their congressional representative. And last and perhaps the least, another presidential son Miguel Mikey Arroyo gets to represent security guards in Congress under the Ang Galing Pinoy party. The various seats the Arroyos have won in Congress re-ignited speculations that outgoing President GMA is eyeing the House of Representatives speakership to attempt constitutional change that will lead to a shift to a parliamentary system. Using Congress, some fear, she will have a chance of becoming Prime Minister, which would restore her as ruler of the country.
The Marcoses of Ilocos Norte are also back in a big way. Now they have a governor (Maria Imelda or more popular as “Imee”) who won over re-electionist and cousin Michael Keon, a congresswoman in the 2nd district (the mother Imelda) and a senator (Ferdinand Jr. or “Bongbong”). The only member of the family who is missing in politics is youngest daughter, Irene.
The Dys are also back in power in Isabela through a governor (Faustino III) and a congressman (Napoleon) in the 3rd district. The Dys defeated re-electionist Governor Grace Padaca effectively ending the hiatus in their previous 30-year reign in Isabela. Their latest victory, however, was allegedly brought about by the assistance of the Albanos and is tainted by reports of massive vote-buying.
The Singsons of Ilocos Sur won thirteen (13) provincial and congressional seats belying the commonly-held superstition that it is an unlucky number. Led by the controversial, Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson, the Singsons have two congressmen (Chavit’s son Ronald and former Representative Eric Singson’s son Eric Jr.), two mayors (Chavit’s niece Eva in Vigan and also former Representative Eric Singson’s son Allen in Candon), a vice-mayor in Vigan City (son Ryan), and other various posts in the provincial government.
Perpetuating their dynasties
The Cojuangco-Aquinos are the principal winners in the last elections and perhaps the best proof of how familial ties remain a determinant in winning Philippine electoral politics. Proclaimed president Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III is the biggest winner, trumping a former president, a billionaire and a cousin. Two congressmen (re-electionist Representative Jesli Lapus and newcomer Enrique Cojuangco) are Noynoy’s relatives who won in Tarlac, the acknowledged bailiwick of the Cojuangco-Aquinos.
The Binays of Makati also won big. Now they have a mayor (Jejomar Erwin or “Junjun”), a congresswoman in Makati’s 2nd district (Marlen Abigail) and a vice-president (Jejomar “Jojo”).
The Belmontes also succeeded in cementing their control of Quezon City through a vice-mayor (Joy), a congressional representative (Feliciano Jr.) and their continuing alliance with the new mayor, Herbert Bautista, and another congressional winner, Winnie Castelo.
The Umalis of Nueva Ecija have been termed as the “New Ecija” dynasty, though the Josons (who ruled the province for 50 years) still managed to capture several positions. The Umalis now have a governor (Aurelio), a congresswoman in the 3rd district (Czarina), a Provincial Board member (Emmanuel Anthony), and various other positions in the small towns of Nueva Ecija. The Josons on the other hand have maintained the mayoralty (Mariano Cristino) in Quezon, their known bailiwick and the 1st district seat in Congress (Mariano Cristino’s wife and re-electionist Representative Josefina), and a provincial board member seat.
The Duterte daughter and father tandem (Rudy and Sara) in Davao City won the mayoralty and vice-mayoralty, foiling House Speaker Prospero Nograles’ own mayoralty bid, though Nograles’ son Karlo Alexei won the 1st district congressional seat vacated by his father.
The Garcias of Cebu have maintained the gubernatorial seat (Gwendolyn, daughter of the patriarch Rep. Pablo Garcia) and won two congressional seats for the 2nd and 3rd districts of Cebu. The Duranos also got a congressional seat (Ramon VI) and the mayoralty (Ramon Jr. in Danao City).
The Ortegas of La Union and San Fernando have also won the gubernatorial race (Manuel); 1st district congressional seat (Victor Francisco) and the mayoralty in San Fernando city (Pablo).
Except for the 1st district congressional seat which was won by another known political family in Bataan (Herminia Roman); the Garcias of Bataan also prevailed, with a governor (Enrique Jr.), a congressman (Albert Raymond) and mayor (Jose Enrique III for Balanga City).
The Dimaporos won the gubernatorial race (Mohamad K Quinbranza) and two congressional seats (imelda Quinbranza and Fatima Allah Quinbranza) in Lanao del Norte.
Other known political clans and dynasties also fared well by winning more than one elective position—the Lagmans of Albay; the Sy-Alvarados of Bulacan; the Chipecos of Laguna; the Marañons of Negros Occidental; the Ponce-Enriles of Cagayan; the Reyeses of Marinduque; the Villafuertes of Camarines Sur; the Emanos of Misamis Oriental; the Romualdos of Camiguin; the Espinas of Biliran; the Rectos of Batangas; the Dazas of Northern Samar; the Cagas of Davao del Sur; the Amantes of Agusan del Norte; the Javiers of Antique; etc.
Still, while other families can say that they are really not a political clan having only captured one elective position, they are part of a political dynasty whose power has been transferred inter-generationally or through conjugal relations. These include the Abads of Batanes (wife of Butch Abad, Henedina); the Tañadas of Quezon (Lorenzo III); the Mitras of Palawan; the Aumentados of Bohol; the Satos and Villarosa of Oriental Mindoro; the Ynares’ of Rizal; the Lobregats of Zamboanga; the Jalosjos of Zamboanga del Norte and Sibugay; Escuderos of Sorsogon; Diazes and Magsaysays of Zambales; Macias of Negros Oriental; the Apostols and the Romualdezes of Leyte; the Fuentebellas of Camarines Sur; the De Venecias of Pangasinan; the Gullas of Cebu; the Ledesmas of Negros Occidental, among others. These political families or dynasties have been around and have played a major role in shaping Philippine history and politics. The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) came up with a table listing political clans winning in different elections. The table has been juxtaposed below with the current 2010 election winners so as to give an estimation of how long these political families have thrived. (see table)
|Known Political Clans||Provinces/Bailiwicks||PCIJ's Clans by Period of their Election to the Legislature *||2010 Winners**|
|Abad||Batanes||Post-War Republic 1945-1959||YES|
|Isabela||Post-Marcos Period 1986-2004|
|Acosta||Bukidnon||Post-Marcos Period 1986-2004|
|Adiong||Maguindanao||Post-War Republic 1945-1959||YES|
|Agbayani||Pangasinan||Post-War Republic 1945-1959||YES|
|Alfelor||Camarines Sur||Martial Law (1972-1986)|
|Almario||Davao Oriental||Post-Marcos Period 1986-2004||YES|
|Amante||Agusan del Norte||Martial Law (1972-1986)||YES|
|Andaya||Oriental Mindoro||Martial Law (1972-1986)|
|Camarines Sur||Martial Law (1972-1986)||YES|
|Angara||Aurora||Commonwealth Period (1935-1942)||YES|
|Antonino||General Santos||Post-War Republic 1960-1972||YES|
|Apostol||Leyte||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)||YES|
|Asistio||Caloocan||Post-Marcos Period 1986-2004|
|Aumentado||Bohol||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)||YES|
|Badelles/Lluch||Lanao del Norte||Japanese Occupation (1942-1945)|
|Bagatsing/Sevilla||Manila||Commonwealth Period (1935-1942)||YES|
|Barbers||Surigao del Norte||Post-Marcos Period 1986-2004||YES|
|Belmonte||Quezon City||Japanese Occupation (1942-1945)||YES|
|Bondoc||Pampanga||Post-Marcos Period 1986-2004||YES|
|Bulut||Apayao||Post-Marcos Period 1986-2004||YES|
|Cagas/Almendras||Davao del Sur||Post-War Republic 1945-1959||YES|
|Carloto||Zamboanga del Norte||Post-Marcos Period 1986-2004|
|Zamboanga del Norte|
|Chiongbian||Sarangani||Post-War Republic 1945-1959|
|Cebu||Post-War Republic 1945-1959|
|Misamis Occidental||Post-War Republic 1945-1959|
|Chipeco||Laguna||Post-War Republic 1960-1972||YES|
|Cojuangco||Tarlac||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)||YES|
|Pangasinan||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)||YES|
|Corvera||Agusan del Norte||YES|
|Cosalan||Benguet||Post-War Republic 1960-1972||YES|
|Cua||Quirino||Post-Marcos Period 1986-2004||YES|
|Cuenco||Cebu||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)|
|Cupin||Agusan del Norte|
|Dangwa||Benguet||Post-Marcos Period 1986-2004||YES|
|Datumanong||Maguindanao||Martial Law (1972-1986)||YES|
|Daza||Northern Samar||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)||YES|
|De la Cruz||Bulacan|
|De Leon||Misamis Oriental|
|De Venecia/Perez||Pangasinan||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)||YES|
|Del Rosario||Davao del Norte||Martial Law (1972-1986)||YES|
|Diaz||Nueva Ecija||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)||YES|
|Dilangalen/Piang||Maguindanao||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)|
|Dimaporo||Lanao del Norte||Post-War Republic 1945-1959||YES|
|Dominguez||Mountain Province||Martial Law (1972-1986)|
|Davao del Sur|
|Duavit||Rizal||Martial Law (1972-1986)|
|Durano/Calderon||Cebu||Post-War Republic 1945-1959||YES|
|Dy||Isabela||Post-Marcos Period 1986-2004||YES|
|Espina||Biliran||Martial Law (1972-1986)||YES|
|Estrella||Pangasinan||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)|
|Estrada/Ejercito||San Juan City||YES|
|Fua||Siquijor||Post-Marcos Period 1986-2004||YES|
|Fuentebella||Camarines Sur||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)||YES|
|Garin||Iloilo||Post-Marcos Period 1986-2004||YES|
|Gonzales||Mandaluyong City||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)|
|Gordon||Olongapo City||Martial Law (1972-1986)||YES|
|Gullas||Cebu||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)||YES|
|Imperial||Albay||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)|
|Jaafar||Tawi-tawi||Post-Marcos Period 1986-2004||YES|
|Jalosjos||Zamboanga del Norte||Martial Law (1972-1986)||YES|
|Javier||Antique||Post-Marcos Period 1986-2004||YES|
|Kintanar||Cebu||Commonwealth Period (1935-1942)|
|Lacson||Negros Occidental||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)||YES|
|Lagman||Albay||Post-Marcos Period 1986-2004||YES|
|Lazatin||Pampanga||Martial Law (1972-1986)||YES|
|Ledesma/Laguda||Negros Occidental||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)||YES|
|Leviste||Batangas||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)|
|Locsin||Negros Occidental||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)||YES|
|Lopez||Iloilo||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)|
|Manila||Martial Law (1972-1986)|
|Lucman||Lanao del Sur|
|Macias||Negros Oriental||Post-War Republic 1945-1959||YES|
|Magsaysay/Diaz||Zambales||Post-War Republic 1945-1959||YES|
|Marañon||Negros Occidental||Martial Law (1972-1986)||YES|
|Marcos||Ilocos Norte||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)||YES|
|Martinez||Cebu||Post-Marcos Period 1986-2004||YES|
|Matugas||Surigao del Norte||YES|
|Mitra||Palawan||Commonwealth Period (1935-1942)||YES|
|Mutilan||Lanao del Sur|
|Navarro||Surigao del Norte||Commonwealth Period (1935-1942)||YES|
|Nepomuceno||Pampanga||Post-War Republic 1945-1959|
|Nograles||Davao del Sur||YES|
|Olvis||Zamboanga del Norte|
|Ortega||La Union||Commonwealth Period (1935-1942)||YES|
|Osmeña||Cebu||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)||YES|
|Nueva Vizcaya||Martial Law (1972-1986)||YES|
|Palma-Gil||Davao Oriental||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)|
|Paras||Negros Oriental||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)|
|Perez||Pangasinan||Post-War Republic 1945-1959|
|Pichay||Surigao del Sur||YES|
|Pimentel||Surigao del Sur||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)||YES|
|Plaza||Agusan del Norte||Post-War Republic 1960-1972||YES|
|Ponce de Leon||Agusan del Sur||YES|
|Ponce Enrile||Cagayan||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)||YES|
|Punzalan||Quezon City||Post-Marcos Period 1986-2004|
|Rama||Agusan del Norte|
|Ramiro||Misamis Occidental||Post-Marcos Period 1986-2004||YES|
|Ramos/Shahani/Braganza||Pangasinan||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)||YES|
|Recto||Batangas||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)||YES|
|Reyes||Marinduque||Martial Law (1972-1986)||YES|
|Roman||Bataan||Post-War Republic 1960-1972||YES|
|Romualdez||Leyte||Commonwealth Period (1935-1942)||YES|
|Roxas||Capiz||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)|
|Rodriguez||Rizal||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)|
|Misamis Oriental||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)||YES|
|Sarmiento||Bulacan||Post-War Republic 1960-1972|
|Sering||Surigao del Norte|
|Sison||Pangasinan||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)|
|Silverio||Bulacan||Post-Marcos Period 1986-2004|
|Singson||Ilocos Sur||Martial Law (1972-1986)||YES|
|Soliva||Agusan del Norte|
|Suplico/Tupas||Iloilo||Martial Law (1972-1986)|
|Sumulong||Rizal||Post-War Republic 1945-1959|
|Tañada||Quezon||Post-War Republic 1945-1959||YES|
|Tanjuatco||Rizal||Post-War Republic 1945-1959|
|Teodoro||Tarlac||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)||YES|
|Teves||Negros Oriental||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)||YES|
|Ty||Surigao del Sur||Post-War Republic 1960-1972|
|Davao del Norte||YES|
|Veloso||Leyte||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)|
|Villar||Las Piñas||Post-Marcos Period 1986-2004||YES|
|Yap||Tarlac||Post-War Republic 1960-1972||YES|
|Yebes||Zamboanga del Norte||YES|
|Negros Occidental||US Colonial Era 1907-1934 (pre-commonwealth)|
|Zamora||Mandaluyong/San Juan||Martial Law (1972-1986)|
|Zubiri||Bukidnon||Martial Law (1972-1986)||YES|
|* only traces clans based on their entry to Congress|
|** the election results examined to determine the winners are both national and local positions.|
|the local positions examined are until the level of elected mayor.|
The results of the 2010 elections are not surprising or new. Sociologist-professor Randy David succinctly summarized it in his newspaper column, “If anyone is still looking for confirmation of the determining role that the Filipino family plays in the nation’s political life, he will not find better proof than the results of this year’s national and local elections. It is the victory of entire clans that is being heralded—particularly that of the Arroyos in Pampanga, Negros and Camarines Sur; the Marcoses of Ilocos Norte; the Singsons of Ilocos Sur; the Ortegas of La Union, the Garcias of Cebu; the Dys of Isabela; the Binays of Makati; the Dutertes of Davao—just to name a few of the big winners. No one talks how political parties have fared, or what proportions of votes they have captured in these elections.”
It has been said that the “strength of the family is a reflection of the weakness of the state.” But since the state has often been controlled and at times held hostage by the interests of these political families, the weakness of the state is perhaps precisely cultivated. Cultivated and nurtured to the extent that the strength and influence of these political families can thrive and be preserved for their next generations. – FOP