Total Gun Ban Starts in Abra

Posted April 21, 2007 05:07:00(Mla Time)

Nikko Dizon
BANGUED, ABRA—A total gun ban is now in force in Abra province after Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Benjamin Abalos, Sr. revoked all the exemption given by the poll body to civilian gun owners here.

“I am revoking the permits issued to every civilian in Abra,” Abalos said during his speech at the signing of a peace covenant of all local candidates of the province last Thursday at Camp Juan Villamor.

Abalos said that candidates can request for police and military escorts if necessary so that they would no longer rely on their “private security.”

Abalos, the commissioner in charge for the province, said that the total gun ban was a “remedy” to the proliferation of private armed groups allegedly being maintained by politicians, as well as a way to “prevent” the eruption of violence in the province.

13 private armies

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has reported to then Abra CIC, Comelec Commissioner Romeo Brawner, that 13 private armies are supposedly operating in the province.

Brawner had urged authorities to take steps in identifying and disbanding these private armies.

Abra Gov. Vicente Valera told reporters on Thursday that disbanding the so-called private armies “is one means of ensuring peace in the elections.”

Valera said he does not have a private army.

And if there were allegations that he has one, Valera challenged the police and the military to identify members of his alleged private army and have them say that he was the one behind it.

Former Task Force Abra chief, Chief Supt. Eugene Martin, said that the PNP has identified the politicians maintaining private armies.

However, Martin stopped short of identifying them, saying members of private armies they had arrested had so far refused to say who they were working for. This had made it difficult to file appropriate charges against these politicians.

Most sensitive

Martin has recently been promoted and will take a new post as deputy regional director for administration. He was replaced by Senior Supt. Villamor Bumanglag as Task Force Abra chief.

Top police and military officials have taken note of the relative peace in Abra in the run-up to the May 14 mid-term elections.

But PNP Director General Oscar Calderon said the PNP was aware that the counting of ballots “is the most sensitive part” of the elections which is why the police will work “to secure the area” during the counting.

“We are committed to our aspiration to have peaceful elections without intimidation and threat. (The police) are aware of the dynamics of the politics and the political rivalries here. Our solution is to have a dialogue like this,” Calderon said at the peace covenant signing.

Calderon also urged politicians and the public to file appropriate charges against police officers who are allegedly engaged in partisan politics in Abra.

“It is unfair to the organization to make sweeping accusations and the police officers should also be given a chance to defend themselves,” Calderon said.

On stand by

Most of those who attended the peace covenant signing agreed that military troops are needed to augment the police security force.

But Armed Forces Chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said that the 41st Army Infantry Battalion stationed in Abra and the Army 5th division “on stand by” in Narvacan, La Union would currently be enough.

A military augmentation force would only be deployed if requested by the Comelec provincial officer, he said.

Pichay Brings Mascot

Posted April 21, 2007 05:12:00(Mla Time)

Leoncio Balbin Jr.
MAGSINGAL, ILOCOS SUR—With his mascot, “Super Pichay,” at his side, Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay Jr. on Friday launched a campaign caravan in his late father’s hometown in an effort to get a chunk of the Ilocano vote and boost his senatorial candidacy.

Pichay, who attended Mass and met his father’s relatives here before the caravan started, said he was hoping that his Ilocano roots would help him win in the so-called “Solid North.”

Pichay, who is running under the administration Team Unity, also inaugurated the Rep. Prospero Pichay Jr. Hall at the back of the Magsingal town hall and met briefly with local officials. The single-story building will house the offices of the local police and the court.

The caravan will cover Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte and the Cagayan Valley provinces. He said he wanted to introduce himself to the Ilocano-speaking provinces.

“It is impossible to meet all the 45 million voters all over the country in the given campaign period so we need to do some innovations,” Pichay said.

He said one of the innovations was the mascot that he said has been helping him gain “maximum awareness” among voters.

Pichay joined the “Super Pichay” mascot caravan that passed through the capital Vigan City. The caravan then split into the east and west contingents to cover the rest of Northern Luzon.

Kalinga replacement

CAMP DANGWA, Benguet—The wife of slain Kalinga Vice Gov. Rommel Diasen has asked the Commission on Elections to consider her as a candidate in the gubernatorial race in that province to replace her husband.

But Thomas Uyam, Commission on Elections officer in Kalinga, said the law forbids the replacement, voiding the candidacy of Floydelia Diasen.

“But stopping her might create more chaos in the situation. I was not around when my personnel accommodated her request,” Uyam said.

He said Diasen, who was gunned down on April 7 while speaking in Barangay Magnao in Tabuk, Kalinga, ran as an independent after he failed to submit the official nomination document of Lakas-CMD when he filed his certificate of candidacy.

He was running against Kalinga Rep. Laurence Wacnang and lawyer Warren Luyaben.

Uyam said Floydelia’s candidacy could not be accepted as the deadline for the filing of COCs had lapsed on March 29.

He said Comelec rules also specify that substitution would not be allowed when a candidate is running as an independent.

Floydelia said her lawyer has asked the Comelec national office to reconsider her petition to replace her husband in the race.

She said her husband was a Lakas-CMD member although the party’s nomination paper did not reach the Comelec provincial office on March 29, the deadline for filing of candidacies for candidates in the local races. Frank Cimatu and Villamor Visaya Jr., Inquirer Northern Luzon

Disqualification bid

ILOILO CITY—A political rival is seeking the disqualification of Iloilo 2nd district Rep. Judy Syjuco for registering her husband’s nickname as her own in her certificate of candidacy.

In a three-page petition filed before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) provincial office on Thursday, Iloilo provincial board member Cecilia Capadosa asked the poll body to cancel Syjuco’s candidacy for committing “substantial misrepresentation in her COC.”

Capadosa is running under the Liberal Party against Syjuco, who is the candidate of the Lakas-CMD and the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi).

In her petition, Capadosa pointed out that, in her COC, Syjuco wrote as her nickname “Boboy Syjuco,” which is her husband’s nickname, former congressman and now Technical Education and Skills Development Authority director general Augusto Syjuco.

Election rules allow candidates to register one nickname or stage name by which he or she is generally or popularly known in the locality where the candidate is running for a position.

Capadosa said that Representative Syjuco “had never presented herself as ‘Boboy Syjuco’ nor is she in any way popularly or generally known, or called by the people especially in the 2nd District as Boboy Syjuco.”

“I don’t want to talk about it. I leave it to the people to decide,” she said before cutting off the call. Nestor Burgos, Inquirer Visayas

More soldiers needed

MATI, Davao Oriental—Police recommended the deployment of Army soldiers to at least 94 villages in the province in a bid to ensure the orderly conduct of the elections.

In a memorandum dated April 16, Senior Supt. Candido Casimiro Jr., Davao Oriental police chief, cited the presence of rebel groups as a threat to the peaceful conduct of the balloting in the villages.

On Friday last week, provincial election supervisor Sergio Manligoy said aside from rebel groups, armed followers of some politicians also threaten the conduct of the elections.

But he declined to identify the politicians, who have armed followers.

“Of course, I will not name them. They will deny it anyway,” he said.

Chief Insp. Benedicto Faco, Mati police chief, said in this capital town alone, at least 16 barangays have been identified as “areas of concern.”

These were barangays Tagabakid, Don Salvador Lopez, Mayo, Sanghay, Libudon, Danao, Culian, Langka, Taguibo, Sainz, Macambol, Dawan, Mamali, Luban, Cabuaya and Tagbinunga. Ferdinand O.

Transfer of Abra Chief of Police Surprises Local Folks and Church Leaders

Posted April 21, 2007 05:10:00(Mla Time)

Hanna Lacsamana
BANGUED, ABRA—Director General Oscar Calderon, Philippine National Police chief, transferred the head of the Task Force Abra to the Cordillera regional police office amid an appeal from residents and groups here to extend the official’s assignment in the province.

Calderon on Thursday said Chief Supt. Eugene Martin, the task force’s chief, would now head the Cordillera police’s operations division.

Senior Supt. Villamor Bumanglag, deputy director for operations of the Cordillera police, would replace Martin as commander of the task force in charge of ensuring peace and order in the province wracked by political violence.

Calderon said Martin’s new task would include overseeing the police operations in the region and help the Cordillera police command ensure peaceful and orderly elections on May 14.

Residents and relatives of slain Abra Rep. Luis Bersamin Jr., however, asked Calderon to hold Martin’s transfer, saying he was able to “stabilize” the tension arising from political rivalries in the province.

Eustaquio Bersamin, brother of the slain Abra representative, described Martin’s transfer as “drastic” and said Abra residents should have been consulted before he was removed.

Eustaquio is running for governor against Ma. Zita Valera, the incumbent mayor of the capital town of Bangued and wife of Gov. Vicente Valera.

Governor Valera, who is running for representative of the lone congressional district in the province, was implicated as the alleged mastermind in Representative Bersamin’s Dec. 16, 2006, murder outside a church in Quezon City. Valera has denied involvement in the crime.

Abra was placed under Comelec control for this year’s elections due to its history of election-related violence and intense political rivalries.

Governor Valera earlier asked the Comelec to replace Martin, citing the police official’s alleged partisan stance and the task force’s alleged failure to arrest politicians maintaining private armed groups.

But Eustaquio said the Task Force Abra, under Martin’s leadership, has “stabilized” peace and order in the province.

“We were surprised. We didn’t expect he would be removed. There will be no peace in Abra if Martin is transferred,” he said.

On Thursday, the Valeras, Eustaquio Bersamin and local candidates signed a peace covenant to ensure peaceful elections in Abra. The covenant signing was witnessed by Commission on Elections Chair Benjamin Abalos Sr., Calderon and Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr.

“It will only be a few weeks before the elections. Why don’t they just let [Martin] stay until then? Abra was in disarray before. Now that we are somewhat stabilized, bigla na lang siyang aalisin (they would suddenly transfer him),” said a representative of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting and the National Movement for Free Elections.

Group hits delay of OAV in Rome, Italy, Geneva

A network of Filipino groups in Europe hits “irregularities” in the distribution of ballots for overseas absentee voting (OAV) , saying it would undermine votes of Filipino migrant workers.

Grace Punongbayan, coordinator of Migrante-Europe, a network of Filipino organizations across Europe, said that the ballots for absentee voters in Rome, Italy, and Geneva have not arrived yet.

Punongbayan said her office in Amsterdam has received complaints from Rome and Geneva about the delay—thus voting has not started yet in said countries.

As of April 17, Filipinos in Rome have not received the ballots from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and from the Philippine Embassy, she said.

The Philippine embassy in Rome is reportedly getting the names of and addresses of leaders of the Filipino communities to ask them to do the distribution of the ballots.

Aside from delayed arrival of ballots, Filipinos in said countries have also complained about the lack information on the senatorial candidates and party-list groups, she added.

Weng Flores, anchorperson of the Rome-based Filipino radio program Ugnayan sa Himpapawid, has accused the embassy and the local Comelec of passing on their responsibility to community leaders.

This “irregular” distribution process would further delay OAV, Punongbayna said.

In Geneva, Switzerland, Filipinos have reported that the Philippine Mission there still wants a discussion of the conduct of the OAV, but could not ascertain when the ballots would arrive.

In a statement, Connie Regalado, chair of the global migrant alliance Migrante International, expressed fears that “the unacceptable failure of OAV to start in Italy could be an indication of attempts at electoral fraud.

She noted that opposition candidates dominate in global mock elections Migrante had conducted.

Punongbayan said they are planning to file a complaint with the Comelec regarding the irregularities, adding that “Another day of delay in the implementation of the OAV, is a mockery of the migrants’ right to vote.”

Based on Comelec records, there 504,110 registered Filipino overseas absentee voters for the 2007 elections. The poll body has set a month-long period for overseas Filipino voters to cast their votes, which is from April 14 to May 14. –GMANews.TV

TU cries foul over new ‘seditious’ GO ad

Team Unity leaders Friday lashed out at the new campaign ad of the Genuine Opposition, saying this clearly shows the only agenda of the opposition is to overthrow President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

In their latest television advertisement, GO used the acronym “Plan Co Revolt” to represent their senatorial ticket and improve voter recall of their names. The acronym presents a marked change from the benign sounding “Plant A Lover” that the opposition first used.

Reacting to the latest GO ad, TU deputy spokesman Tonypet Albano said this could not mean anything except to incite destabilization and trigger a revolt.

“The Opposition has a genuine knack for black propaganda and destabilization. Clearly now, they’re up to something genuinely destructive and seditious,” Albano said in a statement.

“They really want a revolution. Unconstitutionally again, they’re trying to unseat the president if they will not have the numbers in the House of Representatives or in the Senate, which they don’t,” Albano said.

At the Lakas Christian-Muslim Democrat national convention early this month, TU candidate Sen. Joker Arroyo said GO has no agenda except to seek the ouster of Mrs Arroyo.

“Have you ever heard the opposition say what their program is? None…the idea is to propel the people to grab the power short of elections,” Sen. Arroyo had said.

“They want to get the Senate because they want to paralyze the government. They’ve done that already in the 11th Congress. They tried to impeach the President twice, they failed. They tried to overthrow the government in Feb. 2006, they failed.”

Sen. Arroyo warned that had the attempts of the opposition succeeded, there would be no elections because a military junta would likely wrest the reins of government power from civilian leaders.

Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone and TU media director said GO’s new acronym for their candidates is “incendiary, revisionist and theatrical, and a disgrace to the national effort to elevate politics into a civil and enlightened discussion of national issues.”

“It is a fact that former President Estrada does everything in extreme but the ad exceeds even the worst expectations of what divisive and bitter politics is all about,” Evardone said.

He said that Estrada, who is in jail on plunder charges, is writing his own version of history in the ad, by accusing the present administration of corruption but not his own. Estrada is facing charges for plunder.

Evardone said that instead of closing the ad with the call “Revolt against corruption and poverty,” the former president who is under house arrest on plunder charges in his Tanay vacation mansion, should have said “Huwag ninyo akong tularan (Don’t do what I did).- GMANews.TV

Ex-Sen. Honasan leaves Sta. Rosa detention

(Update) Former senator Gregorio Honasan was released early Friday night from his detention in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, GMA News 24 Oras reported.

Honasan gained temporary freedom after posting a P210,000 bail bond, which was earlier approved by a Makati court.

About 7:30 pm, Honasan’s convoy left Fort Sto. Domingo, where he was detained for four months after his arrest in November last year over coup d’etat charges filed in connection with the failed July 27, 2003 Oakwood mutiny.

“The schedule is being worked out but I just want to have a little private time with my family,” Honasan told reporters.

“I would like to thank Filipino people those who prayed and worked hard,” he added.

Before leaving the compound, Honasan embraced his security officers.

When asked if he now believes in the country’s justice system after the court granted his temporary liberty, Honasan answered: “I just pray and hope that the majority of our people will be beneficiaries to an efficient, responsive justice.” - GMANews.TV

Gringo joins league of ‘I’m sorry’ politicians

AMITA LEGASPI, GMANews.TV

04/21/2007 | 02:17 PM

Newly freed, independent senatorial candidate Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan has joined the league of “I’m sorry” politicians who have asked forgiveness from the public for the “mistakes” they did in the past.

QTV 11’s Balitanghali reported on Saturday that the ex-military man asked apology for participating in overthrowing governments through coup d’etat.

Honasan was temporarily freed on Friday from his detention in Sta. Rosa, Laguna after posting a P210,000 bail bond.

“I am not ashamed or afraid to admit that I made mistakes because our methodology might have inspired or even encouraged inadvertently extraconstitutional means,” said Honasan in an interview with GMA News.

He added: “And for this I deeply apologize but one thing is certain the fight goes on.”

He said he realized during his previous senatorial term that he can open the eyes of the public through democratic means.

“I was a military man and I was one among thousands of military men who felt that we needed change, something was not right. So we did what military men would do, we tried to effect change through military means,” he explained.

In 2004, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo apologized for talking with an elections commissioner during the canvassing of votes, which was revealed when a tape recording of their conversation surfaced.

She did not name the commissioner but many believed that it was then Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano.

In her latest campaign advertisement, administration senatorial candidate Tessie Aquino-Oreta apologized for his actuations during the impeachment proceedings of former President Joseph Estrada.

Oreta who was called the “dancing queen”, succeeded in opposing the opening of an envelope containing evidence which they believed would indict Estrada.

During a campaign sortie for the May 14 polls, opposition senatorial candidate Loren Legarda also apologized for her participation in the EDSA 2 uprising. - GMANews.TV

Gringo making up for lost time on Senate bid

With less than a month to go before Election Day, senatorial candidate Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan admitted Saturday he will have much catching up to do.

But Honasan, who had his first taste of freedom after more than five months in confinement, said he remains confident he can still make the Magic 12 because of “people’s support.”

“Alam ninyo malaki ang hahabulin ko. Kaya nagpapasalamat ako sa mga Pilipinong nagtitiyaga at nagsisikap para ikampanya ako (I have much catching up to do. But I thank Filipinos who continued to support me and helped campaign for me when I was in prison),” Honasan said in an interview on dzRH radio.

On the other hand, Honasan belied speculations he is joining Team Unity to replace Cesar Montano, who was reportedly planning to withdraw from the senatorial race.

He said he had always been independent, though he would support anything that is good for the country, regardless of where that initiative came from.

The former senator said he will have to study any offer that comes his way.

“Ako kung ano ang mabuti sa bayan susuporta ako kahit saan manggaling. Kung ano ang masama kahit saan ito manggaling lalabanin ko (As far as I’m concerned, I’ll support anything that is good for the country, regardless of where that initiative comes from. If it’s bad for the country, regardless of where it came from, I’ll oppose it),” he said.

“Kailangan pag-aralan natin ang programa at platform ng Team Unity. Di pwedeng ganun-ganun lang ang pagsama, pero di natin mamasamain iyon (We will study its programs and platforms. I cannot join any party just like that),” he said, when asked what he would do if he were offered a slot in Team Unity.

Honasan also admitted he felt sore at the Genuine Opposition for dropping him in favor of fellow “rebel” and former Navy Lieutenant Senior Grade Antonio Trillanes IV.

But he said he no longer feels bad because he saw a fellow “imprisoned” candidate being helped to exercise his right to run for public office.

“Mabigat ang kalooban ko pero natuwa ako. Karapatan ng opposition na mamili ng kandidatong magdadala ng kanilang platform (At first I felt bad but then I was happy for Trillanes. Besides, it’s the opposition’s right to choose a candidate who will promote its platform),” he said.

Honasan spent five months in confinement at a tightly secured facility in Sta. Rosa, Laguna following his arrest over coup d’ etat charges on Nov. 15 last year.

A Makati court allowed him to post bail Friday. Honasan was reunited with his family in Marikina late Friday night after his lawyer posted bail.

But he said his lack of funds and his failure to campaign in the last two-and-a-half months made his an underdog.

“Pakiramdam mo dehado ka, nanonood ako ng TV sa piitan, ang ganda ng TV ads ng ibang kandidato. May halong kaunting bahid ng inggit (I felt the odds were so stacked against me. I watch TV while in prison, I saw how well-produced the ads of the other candidates were. Of course I cannot deny I felt a tinge of envy),” he said.

While Honasan was jailed, his son Kim had placed radio campaign ads on some radio stations.

But Honasan said he was happy that many of his supporters, including those from the Philippine Guardians Brotherhood Inc., helped him continue to do well in surveys.

“God will provide, people will campaign for you. Di ako nawala sa radar screen ng survey (I never fell from the radar screen of surveys),” he said.

Honasan also said he is glad that his fellow Guardians are finally united.

“Nadadaanan sa tiyaga, pananampalataya, sikap at sakripisyo. Wala tayong masamang hangarin para sa bayan (Prayers, hard work and sacrifice saved the day. They knew I had no ill will in running for senator),” he added. - GMANews.TV

List of Names Considered Part of the Political Dynasty by Roger Olivares

I have take the liberty of posting here all the names running for may 14, 2007 election considered to be political dynasty. Well, it is true that there is no governing rules concerning this matter, because the bill stays in archives.Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Jorge Abad Congressman
Aurora Abad Congressman Wife of Jorge Abad
Florencio Abad Congressman 1987-1990 and
(1995-2004) Son of Jorge Abad
Henedina Abad Congressman (2004-2007) Wife of Florencio Abad

Albano
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Rodolfo Albano Vice governor (1960-1964);
Congressman (1969-1973,
1987-1998)
Rodolfo Albano III Mayor (1988-1998);
Congressman (1998-2007) Son of Rodolfo Albano
Mila Albano-Mamuag Mayor (2001-2004) Daughter of Rodolfo Albano
Christopher Mamuag Mayor (2004-2007) Brother-in-law of Rodolfo Albano III
Vicente Garcia Congressman (2001-2007) Brother-in-law of Rodolfo Albano III
Rodolfo del Rosario Congressman 1987-1998) Uncle-in-law of Rodolfo Albano III
Manuel Garcia Congressman (1992-1995) Father-in-law of Rodolfo Albano III
Delfin Albano Congressman (1957-1965) Grandfather of Rodolfo Albano III
Rene Albano, Jr. Vice-Mayor (2004-2007) Cousin of Rodolfo Albano III

Alfelor
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Felix Alfelor Mayor; Governor
Felix Alfelor, Jr. Congressman Son of Felix Alfelor
Emmanuel Alfelor Mayor (2001-2004) Son of Felix Alfelor
Ciriaco Alfelor Congressman (1987-1998) Son of Felix Alfelor

Amatong
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Prospero Amatong Congressman (1998-2007)
Isagani Amatong Governor (1987-1995) Brother of Prospero Amatong
Ernesto Amatong Congressman (1987-1998) Brother of Prospero Amatong

Andaya
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Rolando Andaya Congressman (1987-1998)
Rolando Andaya, Jr. Congressman (1998-2004) Son of Rolando Andaya
Tomas Andaya Mayor (1960s) Grandfather of Rolando Andaya, Jr.
Maruja Senar Mayor (1992-1995) Aunt of Rolando Andaya, Jr.
SalvadorSenar Mayor (1998-2001) Cousin of Rolando Andaya, Jr.

Angara
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Edgardo Angara Senator (1987-1998,
2001-2007)
Bellaflor Angara-Castillo Congressman (1995-2004) Sister of Edgardo Angara
Arthur Angara Mayor (1998-2001) Brother of Edgardo Angara
Jose Angara Congressman (1934-1938) Uncle of Edgardo Angara
Juan Edgardo Angara Congressman (2004-2007) Son of Edgardo Angara

Antonino
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Gaudencio Antonino Senator (1964-1967)
Magnolia Antonino Senator (1968-1972) Wife of Gaudencio Antonino
Adelbert Antonino Mayor (1992-1998);
Congressman (1987-1992) Son of Gaudencio Antonino
Luwalhati Antonino Congressman (1992-2001) Wife of Adelbert Antonino
Darlene Antonino-Custodio Congressman (2001-2007) Daughter of Adelbert Antonino
Rodolfo Antonino Congressman (2001-2004) Son of Gaudencio Antonino

Aquino
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Benigno Aquino, Sr. Congressman (1919-1938)
Benigno Aquino, Jr. Senator (1967-1972) Son of Benigno Aquino, Jr.
Corazon Aquino President (1986-1992) Wife of Benigno Aquino, Jr.
Benigno Aquino III Congressman (1998-2007) Son of Benigno Aquino, Jr.
Agapito Aquino Senator (1987-1995);
Congressman (1998-2007) Son of Benigno Aquino, Sr.
Teresita Aquino-Oreta Senator (1998-2004) Daughter of Benigno Aquino, Sr.
Juan Sumulong Senator (1925-1935) Grandfather of Corazon Aquino
Lorenzo Sumulong Congressman (1946-1949) ;
Senator (1949-1972) Uncle of Corazon Aquino
Francisco Sumulong Congressman (1957-1961,
1987-1992) Uncle of Corazon Aquino
Jose Cojuangco Congressman (1934-1946) Father of Corazon Aquino
Melecio Cojuangco Congressman (1907-1909) Grandfather of Corazon Aquino
Servillano Aquino Delegate to Malolos Congress
(1998) Father of Benigno Aquino, Sr.
Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. Congressman (1969-1972) Cousin of Corazon Aquino
Herminio Aquino Congressman (1992-1998);
Vice-Governor (1998-2001) Son of Servillano Aquino
Jesli Aquino Lapus Congressman (1998-2006) Cousin of Benigno Aquino, Jr.
Jose Cojuangco, Jr. Congressman (1962-1969,
1987-1998) Brother of Corazon Aquino
Margarita Cojuangco Governor (1995-1998) Wife of Jose Cojuangco, Jr.
Carlos Cojuangco Congressman (1998-2007) Son of Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr.

Biazon
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Rodolfo Biazon Senator (1992-2007)
Rozanno Rufino Biazon Congressman (2001-2007) Son of Rodolfo Biazon

Bondoc
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Juan Pablo Bondoc Congressman (1998-2004)
Anna York Bondoc Congressman (2004-2007) Sister of Juan Pablo Bondoc
Emigdio Bondoc Congressman (1992-1998) Father of Juan Pablo Bondoc
Ma. Consuelo Puyat-Reyes Congressman (1992-1998) Aunt of Juan Pablo Bondoc
Jose Puyat, Jr. Congressman (1969-1972) Uncle of Juan Pablo Bondoc
Gil Puyat Senator (1952-1972) Grandfather of Juan Pablo Bondoc

Cagas
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Douglas Cagas Congressman (1998-2007)
Alejandro Almendras, Jr. Congressman (1995-1998) Cousin of Douglas Cagas
Alejandro Almendras Congressman (1987-1992) Uncle of Douglas Cagas
Jovenal Almendras Congressman (1946-1949) Uncle of Douglas Cagas

Cari
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Carmen Cari Congressman (2001-2007)
Remedios Petilla Governor (1995-2004);
Congressman (2004-2007) Sister of Carmen Cari
Janette Garin Congressman (2004-2007) Niece of Carmen Cari
JerichoPetilla Governor (2004-2007) Son of Remedios Petilla
Ma. Catalina Loreto-Go Congressman (1998-2001) Niece of Carmen Cari
Eriberto Loreto Congressman (1987-1998) Brother of Carmen Cari
Alberto Veloso Congressman (1987-1998) Cousin of Carmen Cari
Domingo Veloso Congressman (1957-1972) Uncle of Carmen Cari
Marcelino Veloso Congressman (1957-1972) Cousin of Carmen Cari
Ismael Veloso Congressman (1949-1953,
1962-1965) Uncle of Carmen Cari
Jose Ma. Veloso Congressman (1916-1919,
1922-1925, 1935-1938,
1941-1946); Senator
(1925-1935) Granduncle of Carmen Cari
Juan Veloso Congressman (1925-1928) Granduncle of Carmen Cari

Cayetano
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Renato Cayetano Senator (1998-2003)
Pilar Cayetano-Sebastian Senator (2004-2010) Daughter of Renato Cayetano
Alan Peter Cayetano Congressman (1998-2007) Son of Renato Cayetano

Chiongbian
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
James Chiongbian Congressman (1965-1972, 1987-1995)
Priscilla Chiongbian Governor (1992-1995) Wife of James Chiongbian
Benito Chiongbian Governor (1992-1995) Brother of James Chiongbian
William Chiongbian Congressman (1953-1972) Brother of James Chiongbian
Erwin Chiongbian Congressman (2001-2007) Son of James Chiongbian

Cuenco
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Manuel Cuenco Governor (1950s)
Mariano Cuenco Congressman (1912-1928);
Senator (1941-1964) Father of Manuel Cuenco
Miguel Cuenco Congressman (1931-1941,
1949-1965) Brother of Mariano Cuenco
Antonio Cuenco Congressman (1987-1998,
2001-2007) Son of Manuel Cuenco
Nancy Cuenco Congressman (1998-2001) Wife of Antonio Cuenco

Defensor
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Miriam Defensor-Santiago Senator (1995-2001,
2004-2010)
Arthur Defensor Congressman (1995-1998,
2001-2007) Cousin of Miriam Defensor-Santiago
Matias Defensor Congressman (2004-2007) Cousin of Miriam Defensor-Santiago
Ma. Theresa Defensor Congressman (2001-2004) Daughter of Matias Defensor
Michael Defensor Congressman (1995-2001) Son of Matias Defensor

De Venecia
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Jose de Venecia Congressman (1987-1998,
2001-2007)
Ernesto Maceda Senator (1987-1995) Brother-in-law of Jose de Venecia
Eugenio Perez Congressman (1928-1957) Father-in-law of Jose de Venecia

Duavit
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Gilberto Duavit Congressman (1995-2001)
Michael Ray Duavit Congressman (2001-2007) Son of Gilberto Duavit

Dy
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Faustino Dy, Sr. Governor (1970-1992)
Benjamin Dy Governor (1992-1995) Son of Faustino Dy, Sr.
Faustino Dy, Jr. Congressman (1992-2001),
Governor (2001-2004) Son of Faustino Dy, Sr.
Caesar Dy Mayor (2001-2004) Son of Faustino Dy, Sr.
Napoleon Dy Mayor (2001-2004) Son of Faustino Dy, Sr.

Ecleo
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Glenda Ecleo Congressman (2001-2007)
Ruben Ecleo, Sr. Mayor Husband of Glenda Ecleo, Sr.
Ruben Ecleo, Jr. Mayor (1992-1995) Son of Glenda Ecleo, Sr.
Moises Ecleo Governor (1988-1992) Brother-in-law of Glenda Ecleo, Sr.
Allan Ecleo I Mayor (2001-2004) Son of Glenda Ecleo
Allan Ecleo II Mayor (2001-2004) Son of Glenda Ecleo

Enrile
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Alfonso Ponce Enrile Congressman (1922-1925)
Juan Ponce Enrile Senator (1987-1992,
1995-2001, 2004-2010);
Congressman (1992-1995) Son of Alfonso Ponce Enrile
Juan Ponce Enrile, Jr. Congressman (1998-2007) Son of Juan Ponce Enrile

Ermita
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Eduardo Ermita Congressman (1992-2001)
Elenita Ermita-Buhain Congressman (2001-2004) Daughter of Eduardo Ermita

Escudero
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
SalvadorEscudero III Congressman (1987-1998)
Francis Escudero Congressman (1998-2007) Son of Salvador Escudero III
Antonio Escudero, Jr. Vice-Governor (1998-2004) Uncle of Francis Escudero
Oscar Escudero Mayor (1992-1995) Uncle of Francis Escudero

Espina
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Gerardo Espina Congressman (1995-2004)
Gerardo Espina, Jr. Mayor (1998-2004),
Congressman (2004-2007) Son of Gerardo Espina
Rodolfo Espina Mayor (2001-2004) Son of Gerardo Espina
Rogelio Espina Governor (2001-2004) Son of Gerardo Espina

Espinosa
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Emilio Espinosa, Sr. Congressman (1934-1953)
Emilio Espinosa, Jr. Governor (1980-1998)
Congressman (1958-1965,
1970-1972, 1998-2007) Son of Emilio Espinosa, Sr.
Moises Espinosa Congressman (1987-1992) Son of Emilio Espinosa, Sr.
Tito Espinosa Congressman (1987-1995) Son of Emilio Espinosa, Sr.
Vida Espinosa Congressman (1995-2004) Wife of Tito Espinosa
Celestino Martinez Congressman (1987-1998) Nephew of Emilio Espinosa, Jr.
Clavel Martinez Congressman (1998-2004) Niece-in-law of Emilio Espinosa, Jr.
Emilio Aris Espinosa Mayor (2001-2004) Nephew of Emilio Espinosa, Jr.
Mario Espinosa Vice-Governor (1998-2004) Nephew of Emilio Espinosa, Jr.

Estrella
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Conrado Estrella, Sr. Governor (1954-1963)
Robert Estrella Congressman (1969-1972) Son of Conrado Estrella, Sr.
Conrado Estrella, Jr. Congressman (1987-1992) Son of Conrado Estrella, Sr.
Conrado Estrella III Congressman (2001-2007) Son of Robert Estrella
Alberto Romulo Senator (1987-1998) Uncle of Conrado Estrella III

Estrada
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Joseph Ejercito Estrada Mayor (1967-1986); Senator
(1987-1992); Vice-President
(1992-1998); President
(1998-2001)
Luisa Ejercito Estrada Senator (2001-2007) Wife of Joseph Ejercito Estrada
Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada Mayor (1992-2001) Son of Joseph Ejercito Estrada
Joseph Victor Ejercito Mayor (2004-2007) Son of Joseph Ejercito Estrada
Jorge Ejercito Estregan Mayor Nephew of Joseph Ejercito Estrada

Fuentebella
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Mariano Fuentebella Governor
Jose Fuentebella Congressman (1909-1916,
1935-1943); Senator
(1928-1934) Son of Mariano Fuentebella
Felix Fuentebella Congressman (1953-1972) Son of Mariano Fuentebella
Manuel Fuentebella Congressman (1925-1931) Son of Mariano Fuentebella
Arnulfo Fuentebella Congressman (1992-2001,
2004-2007) Son of Felix Fuentebella
Felix William Fuentebella Congressman (2001-2004) Son of Arnulfo Fuentebella

Gordon
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
James Gordon Mayor (1960s)
Richard Gordon Mayor (1980-1983);
Senator (2004-2010) Son of James Gordon
Katherine Gordon Congressman (1987-1995);
Mayor (1998-2004) Wife of Richard Gordon
James Gordon, Jr. Congressman (1995-2004);
Mayor (2004-2007) Brother of Richard Gordon

Gullas
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Jose Gullas Congressman (2001-2004)
Eduardo Gullas Congressman (1969-1972,
1992-2001) Brother of Jose Gullas
Paulino Gullas Congressman (1925-1928) Uncle of Jose Gullas
Eduardo Selma Mayor (1992-1995, 1998-2001) Brother-in-law of Jose Gullas

Imperial
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Domingo Imperial Senator (1934-1935,
1941-1946)
Leoncio Imperial Senator (1916-1922) Brother of Domingo Imperial
Carlos A. Imperial Congressman (1907-1909) Brother of Domingo Imperial
Jose Imperial Governor Brother of Domingo Imperial
Carlos del Rosario Imperial Congressman (1965-1972,
1987-1998, 2001-2007) Son of Domingo Imperial
Norma Imperial Congressman (1998-2001) Wife of Carlos del Rosario Imperial

Jalosjos
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Romeo Jalosjos Congressman (1995-2001)
Cecilia Jalosjos-Carreon Congressman (2001-2004) Sister of Romeo Jalosjos
Cesar Jalosjos Congressman (2004-2007) Brother of Romeo Jalosjos
Rodolfo Carreon, Jr. Mayor (2001-2004) Husband of Cecilia Jalosjos-Carreon

Joaquin
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Nereo Joaquin Congressman (1987-1998)
Uliran Joaquin Congressman (1998-2007) Wife of Nereo Joaquin

Joson
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Mariano Crisanto Joson Mayor (1998-2001)
Tomas Joson Governor (1998-2001) Brother of Mariano Crisanto Joson
Eduardo Nonato Joson Congressman (1987-1992) Brother of Mariano Crisanto Joson
Josefina Joson Congressman (1998-2007) Wife of Mariano Crisanto Joson

Kintanar
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Simeon Kintanar Congressman (1998-2007)
Agustin Kintanar Congressman (1935-1949) Father of Simeon Kintanar
Filomeno Kintanar Congressman (1949-1953) Cousin of Simeon Kintanar
Isidro Kintanar Congressman (1953-1969) Cousin of Simeon Kintanar

Lagman
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Edcel Lagman Congressman (1987-1998,
2004-2007)
Cielo Krisel Lagman-Luistro Congressman (2001-2007) Daughter of Edcel Lagman

Lapid
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Manuel Lapid Vice-Governor (1992-1995);
Governor (1995-2004);
Senator (2004-2010)
Mark Lapid Governor (2004-2007) Son of Manuel Lapid

Lopez
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Fernando Lopez Senator (1956-1964),
Vice-President (1949-1953,
1965-1972)
Alberto Lopez Congressman (1992-1998) Son of Fernando Lopez
Emily Lopez Congressman (1998-2001) Wife of Alberto Lopez
Julio Ledesma IV Congressman (1995-2004) Nephew of Alberto Lopez

Macapagal
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Diosado Macapagal Congressman (1949-1955);
Vice-President (1957-1961);
President (1961-1965)
Cielo Macapagal-Salgado Vice-governor (1988-1992,
1995-1998) Daughter of Diosdado Macapagal
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Senator (1992-1998),
Vice-President (1998-2001),
President (2001-2010) Daughter of Diosdado Macapagal
Juan Miguel Macapagal-Arroyo Vice-Governor (2001-2004);
Congressman (2004-2007) Son of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Ignacio Arroyo Congressman (2004-2007) Brother-in-law of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

Madrigal
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Vicente Madrigal Senator (1941-1952)
Pacita Madrigal-Warns Senator (1958-1960) Daughter of Vicente Madrigal
Ma. Ana Consuelo Madrigal Senator (2007-2010) Granddaughter of Vicente Madrigal
Pedro Abad-Santos Congressman (1916-1922) Grandfather of Ma. Ana Consuelo Madrigal

Magsaysay
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Ramon Magsaysay President (1953-1957)
Genaro Magsaysay Congressman (1957-1961);
Senator (1959-1972) Brother of Ramon Magsaysay
Ramon Magsaysay, Jr Congressman (1966-1969);
Senator (1995-2007) Son of Ramon Magsaysay
Vicente Magsaysay Governor (1998-2007) Cousin of Ramon Magsaysay, Jr.
Enrique Garcia, Jr. Congressman (1987-1992,
1995-2004) Cousin of Ramon Magsaysay, Jr.
Leonardo Roman Governor (2001-2007) Cousin of Ramon Magsaysay, Jr.
Antonio Diaz Congressman (1969-1972,
1992-2001) Cousin of Ramon Magsaysay, Jr.
Albert Garcia Mayor (1998-2004) Nephew of Ramon Magsaysay, Jr.

Mamba
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Francisco Mamba Congressman (1992-1995)
Manuel Mamba Congressman (1995-1998,
2001-2007) Son of Francisco Mamba

Marcos
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Mariano Marcos Congressman (1925-1931)
Ferdinand E. Marcos Congressman (1949-1959);
Senator (1959-1965);
President (1965-1986) Son of Mariano Marcos
Imelda Marcos Congressman (1995-1998) Wife of Ferdinand E. Marcos
Maria Imelda Marcos Congressman (1998-2007) Daughter of Ferdinand E. Marcos
Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. Governor (1998-2007) Son of Ferdinand E. Marcos

Mitra
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Ramon P. Mitra Congressman (1938-1941,
1949-1965)
Ramon Mitra, Jr. Congressman (1969-1972,
1987-1992) Son of Ramon P. Mitra
Abraham Mitra Congressman (2001-2007) Son of Ramon Mitra, Jr.

Ortega
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Francisco Ortega Congressman (1934-1935,
1946-1949, 1953-1965)
Joaquin Ortega Congressman (1969-1972) Brother of Francisco Ortega
Manuel Ortega Mayor (1988-1998);
Congressman (1998-2007) Son of Francisco Ortega
Justo Orros, Jr. Governor (1992-2001) Cousin of Manuel Ortega
Victor Ortega Congressman (1987-1998);
Governor (2001-2004) Brother of Manuel Ortega
Mary Jane Ortega Mayor (1998-2004) Sister-in-law of Manuel Ortega
Osmena
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Sergio Osmena Congressman (1907-1922);
Senator (1922-1935);
Vice-President (1935-1944);
President (1944-1946)
Sergio Osmena, Jr. Congressman (1957-1961);
Senator (1965-1971) Son of Sergio Osmena
John Henry Osmena Senator (1971-1972,
1987-1995, 1998-2004);
Congressman (1995-1998) Grandson of Sergio Osmena
Emilio Osmena, Jr. Governor of Cebu Grandson of Sergio Osmena
Tomas Osmena Mayor of Cebu City Son of Sergio Osmena, Jr.
Sergio Osmena III Senator Son of Sergio Osmena, Jr.
Raul del Mar Congressman (1987-1998;
2001-2004) Cousin of Sergio Osmena III
Raoul del Mar Congressman (1998-2001) Nephew of Sergio Osmena III
Esteban de la Rama Delegate to the Malolos
Congress (1898);
Senator (1941-1946) Grandfather of Sergio Osmena III
John Osmena, Jr. Vice-Governor of (2001-2004) Son of John Henry Osmena
Renato Osmena Vice-Mayor (1998-2004) Cousin of Sergio Osmena III

Plaza
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Governor (1959-1963,
1992-1995);Congressman
(1987-1992)
Democrito Plaza II Mayor (1992-1995) Son of Democrito Plaza, Sr.
Governor (2001-2004) Son of Democrito Plaza, Sr.
Congressman (2001-2007) Son of Democrito Plaza, Sr.
Mayor (2001-2004) Sister-in-law of Rodolfo Plaza
Congressman (1987-1998) Aunt-in-law of Rodolfo Plaza

Recto
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Claro M. Recto Congressman (1919-1928);
Senator (1931-1955)
Rafael Recto Congressman (1984-1986) Son of Claro M. Recto
Ralph Recto Congressman (1992-2001);
Senator (2001-2007) Son of Rafael Recto
Rosavilma Recto Mayor (1998-2007) Wife of Ralph Recto
Rafael Recto, Jr. Vice-Governor (2004-2007) Brother of Ralph Recto

Remulla
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Juanito Remulla Governor (1988-1995)
Juanito Victor Remulla Vice-Governor (2001-2004) Son of Juanito Remulla
Gilbert Remulla Congressman (2001-2007) Son of Juanito Remulla
Crispin Remulla Congressman (2004-2007) Son of Juanito Remulla

Revilla
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Ramon Revilla Senator (1992-2004)
Ramon Revilla, Jr Vice-Governor (1995-1998);
Governor (1998-2001);
Senator (2004-2010) Son of Ramon Revilla
Robert Jaworski Senator (1998-2004) Son-in-law of Ramon Revilla

Reyes
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Carmencita Reyes Congressman (1987-1998)
Edmundo Reyes, Jr. Congressman (1998-2007) Son of Carmencita Reyes
Luisito Reyes Governor (1988-1995) Uncle of Edmundo Reyes, Jr.

Roxas
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Manuel Roxas Congressman (1922-1938);
Senator (1941-1946);
President (1946-1948)
Gerardo Roxas Congressman (1957-1965);
Senator (1965-1972) Son of Manuel Roxas
Gerardo Roxas, Jr. Congressman (1987-1992) Son of Gerardo Roxas
Manuel Roxas II Congressman (1993-);
Senator (2004-2010) Son of Gerardo Roxas

Singson
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Eric Singson Congressman (1987-1998,
2001-2007)
Grace Singson Mayor (1987-1995);
Congressman (1998-2001) Wife of Eric Singson
Charito Zaragosa Mayor (2001-2004) Sister of Eric Singson
Luis Singson Congressman (1987-1992);
Governor (1998-2007) Cousin of Eric Singson

Villar
Name Position/Term of Office Relation
Manuel Villar Congressman (1992-2001);
Senator (2001-2007)
Cynthia Villar Congressman (2001-2007) Wife of Manuel Villar
Filemon Aguilar Congressman (1987-1992) Father of Cynthia Villar
Vergel Aguilar Mayor (2001-2004) Brother-in-law of Manuel Villar
Imelda Aguilar Mayor (2004-2007) Sister-in-law of Manuel Villar

Political families reign in almost all of RP

by EDERIC EDER and ALLAN VALLARTA
GMA News Research

04/20/2007 | 07:03 PM

Political families thrive in all but one province in the Philippines. From Batanes to Tawi-tawi, with the exception of Kalinga, members of political families hold public posts, both elective and appointive.

In a recent study, GMA News Research has identified at least 217* political families that dominate the country’s political landscape. Some of these families entered politics as early as the birth of the Philippine nation, like the Aquinos of Tarlac, Laurels of Batangas, Lacsons of Negros Occidental and Manila, Aguinaldos and Abayas of Cavite, and Duranos of Cebu.

The Duranos of Cebu were already in politics in 1902, when Demetrio Durano, great grandfather of Tourism Secretary Joseph Felix “Ace” Durano, was a Consejal de Danao. Demetrio’s son, Ramon Sr., would later become a six-term congressman from 1949 to 1972. Ramon Sr.’s sons, Ramon III and Ramon Jr, who are now on their second term as Danao mayor and vice-mayor, respectively, also held other elective positions.

Ace, a son of Ramon III, was a two-term congressman before he took over the tourism department in 2005. In a special elections following Ace’s cabinet appointment, his brother, Ramon VI, was elected to succeed him. At least ten other members of the Duranos hold local posts.

In the Visayas, political families that occupy at least four incumbent positions in local or national government include the Yaphas of Cebu, Chattos of Bohol, Espinas of Biliran, Garins of Iloilo, Loretos and Caris of Leyte.

In Luzon, the thriving political families include the Macapagal-Arroyos of Pampanga, Marcoses of Ilocos Norte, Estradas of San Juan, Magsaysays and Diazes of Zambales, Cojuangcos of Tarlac, Singsons of Ilocos Sur, Dys of Isabela, Angaras of Aurora, Gordons of Zambales, Abaloses of Mandaluyong, Albanos of Isabela, Espinos of Pangasinan, Espinosas of Masbate, Josons of Nueva Ecija, and Ortegas of La Union.

The Datumanong-Ampatuans of Maguindanao, Zubiris of Bukidnon, Ecleos of Surigao del Norte, Bautistas of Davao del Sur, Tys and Pimentels of Surigao del Sur, and Plazas of Agusan del Sur—all from Mindanao— are poltical families whose members hold at least four incumbent elective positions.

Building new dynasties?

Compared to the century-old political families, others may be considered relatively new. In 1984, Jose Livioko “Lito” Atienza Jr. was elected assemblyman of the Batasang Pambasa. He then became Manila vice mayor in 1992, and mayor in 1998. Kim, one of his sons, was a three-term city councilor. His other son, Arnold, is running for mayor, while his son-in-law, Manila. Rep. Miles Roces, is running for reelection

The Cayetanos of Taguig-Pateros, Akbars of Basilan, Fernandos of Marikina, Lapids and Pinedas of Pampanga, and Syjucos of Iloilo are also among the emerging political families in the country.

Coming back

While others are just beginning to blaze their own trail in politics, some have come back to reclaim the political power that they lost for some time. The Chongbians of Mindanao are among these families. They returned to the political arena in 1987 after losing power during the martial law period. From 1953 to 1961, William Chiongbian was the congressman of Misamis Occidental. He occupied the same post again while his brother, James, was the representative of then lone district South Cotabato in 1965 to 1972.

After the fall of Marcos, James regained a congressional post for the third district of South Cotabato. During the Ramos administration, James’ brother Benito was the governor of Misamis Occidental, while Benito’s wife, Priscilla, was the governor of Sarangani. At present, James son, Erwin, is the representative of Sarangani, while Erwin’s daughter, Mary Bridget, is the vice-governor.

Historical roots

The power that the political families enjoy in the Philippines dates back to the last years of the Spanish colonial period and the American occupation, says political analyst Bobby Tuazon of the Center for People Empowerment in Governance.

The native political elite held political posts during the Spanish period, and when the Americans took over, they created the Philippine Assembly “to coopt the illustrados who would collaborate with the colonials” and “as a way of introducing a semblance of democracy,” says Tuazon.

“But the political elite—the landlords, loggers, well-educated elites— who took over when the Americans granted nominal independence does not represent any ideology except the pursuit of their own interests,” Tuazon adds.

He said the use of money and the support of their own clan and trusted loyalists down to the barangay contribute to the success of the political families. Another reason they continue to win is the lack of effective alternative candidates who would represent new politics—or, if there were, their lack machinery to counter fraud and violence.

Not all political families, however, are bad, he says. He cited the Tañadas of Quezon, who are known for their patriotism. Wigberto and his late father, Lorenzo, were former senators and ardent advocates of nationalism. Lorenzo II, Wigberto’s son, is an incumbent Quezon congressman.

Sec. Ace Durano, a member of the Durano clan of Cebu, believes political families continue to thrive because of cultural reason. “In this country… it is quite common to see a family of doctors, lawyers, or engineers,” he says, adding that Filipino children often follow the career of their parents.

But for Dan Olivares of the newly formed Citizens Antidynasty Movement, politics in the Philippines has become an industry—a family industry that “stunts the development, discovery, and growth of other leaders.”

Corruption and poor leadership often result in the concentration of power in one or two families in a given area, says his brother Roger, who is also with the antidynasty movement.

Durano counters this charge by pointing out that political families “who have not delivered on duties and responsibilities have been rejected…In any democracy, the greatest check is the vote of confidence of the people.”

Constitutional ban

The Constitution bans political dynasties. Article 2, Section 26 states: “The State shall guarantee equal access to public service and prohibit political dynasty as may be defined by law.” But this provision has no implementing law.

Durano says the most developed democracies have no prohibition on political families. That provision in the 1987 Constitution, he says, is very specific because it was a response to martial law.

He adds the focus should be more on reforming the electoral system, saying, “This really requires a deeper study. I think the most effective measure against political families is really the right to vote, and having fair, clean, and honest elections.”

Tuazon seconds the need for electoral reform. “There should be an infrastructure that would make politics more conducive and accommodating to fair participation of new emerging forces who will truly represent the people,” he says.

The House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms during the last Congress recommended the approval of House Bill 5925, which discourages “the concentration of political power among persons related to each other in the same city or province.” But the bill, authored by Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, was not passed before the Congress adjourned.

In the Senate, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago’s Senate Bill 1904 and Sen. Juan Flavier’s Senate Bill 12 are both pending in the Committee Constitutional Amendments, Revision Of Codes And Laws.

Realizing that it may be impossible to have such bills passed because the lawmakers themselves are members of political families, the Olivares brothers opted to directly appeal to the people.

“We are asking people to make a comment, make opinion heard,” he says. They uploaded a list of political families on EndPoliticaldynasty.com. Site visitors are asked to sign up and pledge that they will not vote for candidates with relatives in the House of Representatives or Senate, as well as for local candidates whose relatives are already holding local positions. –with a report from Richard Rodriguez

*as of April 20, 2007

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