Political Dynasty in the Philippines

06 Oct


Politics in the Philippines has been under the control of a few notable families. It is normal for a politician’s son, wife, brother, or other kinsman, to run for the same or other government office. The term coined by Filipinos to describe this practice is “Political dynasty”, the equivalent of an oligarchy in political science.

We call this interrelationship as a Political Dynasty or DYNASTOCRACY– a government ruled by a few families controlling certain regions, provinces and cities and municipalities in our country.
This is designed to preserve and propagate power within the clans giving scant options to the less privileged people to assume political power. Needless to say the clans their allies and minions who hold the levers of power likewise have economic dominance. Such is the perverted power dynamics we have today.


What then is political dynasty? The Supreme Court had defined the term political dynasties in the case of Navarro v. Ermita (GR No. 180050; April 12, 2011).
In that ruling, Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio defined political dynasties in the Philippines as a “phenomenon that concentrates political power and public resources within the control of a few families whose members alternately hold elective offices, deftly skirting term limits.”
There were Bills files in the legislature. One of these is the Senate Bill-2649: Anti-Political Dynasty Act of the Constitution, Article II, Section 26 states:

“The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”

The accompanying arguments of this bill, thus:

To give force and effect to this provision, the playing field of the political arena should be levelled and opened to persons who are equally qualified to aspire on even terms with those from ruling politically dominant families.

Philippine society, many sociologists note, revolves around the system of extended families. However, this extended family system, an otherwise beneficial concept when applied to the social aspects of human behavior, finds its pernicious effects in the political arena where public office becomes the exclusive domain of influential families and clans that are well-entrenched in Philippine politics. The monopoly of political power and public resources by such families affects the citizenry at the local and national levels.

The socio-economic and political inequities prevalent in Philippine society limit public office to members of ruling families. In many instances, voters, for convenience and out of cultural mindset look up to these ruling families as dispensers of favors, and thus elect relatives of these politically dominant families.

This bill was filed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago on January 24, 2011. Similar to this are SB-1317 of 2004 by then senator Alfredo Lim, SB-1468 of 2007 filed by Senator Panfilo Lacson and the House Bill-2493 of 2007 by Rep. Teddy Casino. Sadly, none of these bills were passed into a law.

Former Chief Justice Renato Puno pointed succinctly the cause for failures for any initiatives on such bills: the phrase attached to the provision “…as may be defined by law.” In this country with this system, the dynasts are empowered to define political dynasty.

This singularity makes a fine case for changing our system.


The Philippine legislative branch of the government comprises 24 senators elected universally by the majority of Philippine voters and come from no specific province or region. Like the President of our Republic, they represent the Pilipino voters in general.
There are no existing Philippine laws that prohibit the entry of candidates coming from the same region, province or city.
The current eminencies of opposing political groupings are:

ANGARA – Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara (son of Senator Edgardo Angara)

AQUINO – Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco (aunt-in-law of President Aquino)

AQUINO – Paolo Benigno “Bam” IV (nephew of President Benigno Aquino)

BINAY – Nancy Binay-Angeles (daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay)

CAYETANO– siblings Alan Peter and Pia Cayetano in the Senate

EJERCITO-ESTRADA– if Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito will be placed into the pedestal of power in the government in this elections on May 13, 2013, there will be two sons of Erap Estrada in the Senate with Jose “Jinggoy” Ejercito Estrada, the felon

ENRILE– once Juan Ponce “Jack” Enrile Jr. wins in the political bout on May, he will join Juan Ponce Enrile, his father, in the Senate

MAGSAYSAY – Milagros “Mitos” Habana-Magsaysay and Ramon Magsaysay Jr., son of the popular former President;

and VILLAR– Cynthia Villar (wife of termed out Sen. Manny Villar).

If ever all of these candidates win in the May 2013 elections, we will have a grand total of 13 family-related senators in the senate. This is more than 50% of the entire Upper House. That makes eight family collectively in control of the Senate.

REFERENCE: Centrist Democracy Political Institute website

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Posted by on October 6, 2013 in Uncategorized


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