Political dynasties in the Philippines
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.
One can trace its roots from the Spanish colonial times where favored families of the mestizo stock, or the Illustrados were given responsibilities of Gobernadorcillo, or Alcalde. As such, these men have wielded some influence in their communities, and patronage politics was a common undertaking.
During the early years of American rule of the Philippine Islands, these Illustrados joined the democratic process introduced by the Philippine Bill of 1902. During this period, family names such as Cojuangcos,Lopezes, Marcoses, Osmeñas and Aquinos started to emerge, later on becoming household names.
The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines states in Article II Section 26, “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”
Many have called for the Congress to pass the Anti-Dynasty Law, but this bill has been passed over by each Congress since 1987. Some have pointed that oligarchy is the root problem of all the corruption in the Philippine government.