What are political dynasties?



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What are political dynasties?

  • What are political dynasties?

  •   How did they emerge?

  • Do political dynasties have any role in our political system and culture?

  •  What is the connection between economic power and political power at the national and local level of governance, the umbilical cord that allows political dynasties to thrive?



 Who are the political dynasties?

  •  Who are the political dynasties?

  •   What are their sources of power?

  •    How have they managed to entrench and sustain themselves in power?

  •   Who are the political dynasties in Mindanao?



Are there any peculiar elements/characteristics in some political dynasties in Mindanao?  In the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)?

  • Are there any peculiar elements/characteristics in some political dynasties in Mindanao?  In the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)?

  • What is the relationship between political dynasties and the current mainstream political parties in the Philippines?

  • What is the impact of political dynastic rule on Philippine national development, on our communities, and nationhood in general?



 Is scholarship in this area sufficient?

  •  Is scholarship in this area sufficient?

  • What are the existing methodologies employed in the current study of political dynasties?

  •  What are the existing gaps for future research possibilities?



How can we empower our communities to deal with political dynasties?

  • How can we empower our communities to deal with political dynasties?

  • How are empowered communities, POs, NGOs and civil society in general engaging, challenging and neutralizing the monopoly of power of political dynasties in certain parts of the country?







dynasty > noun (pl. -ies)  a line of hereditary rulers of a country: i.e. Tang dyasty; a succession of people from the same family who play a prominent role in politics, business, etc. "    

  • dynasty > noun (pl. -ies)  a line of hereditary rulers of a country: i.e. Tang dyasty; a succession of people from the same family who play a prominent role in politics, business, etc. "    

  •  

  • - The New Oxford Dictionary of English (2001)



● Using the above definition, we have about 250 political dynasties (families) who have dominated Philippine politics at the national and local level and who have monopolized political power as families for the past 30 years and more. This is 0.00001667 % of the country's 15 million families (CENPEG, 2007)

  • ● Using the above definition, we have about 250 political dynasties (families) who have dominated Philippine politics at the national and local level and who have monopolized political power as families for the past 30 years and more. This is 0.00001667 % of the country's 15 million families (CENPEG, 2007)



  ● Each of the country's 81 provinces have political dynasties competing with each other for national and local elective positions. Dynasties have also expanded to monopolize many appointive positions.

  •   ● Each of the country's 81 provinces have political dynasties competing with each other for national and local elective positions. Dynasties have also expanded to monopolize many appointive positions.



  ● Politics is a family affair, so that from the national to the local level, we see long family histories of political rule. Husbands, wives, sons, daughters, and close relative occupy many public offices; during elections we likewise see them all running for public office.

  •   ● Politics is a family affair, so that from the national to the local level, we see long family histories of political rule. Husbands, wives, sons, daughters, and close relative occupy many public offices; during elections we likewise see them all running for public office.



 ● This hits both administration and opposition officials who ignore the democratic value of "equal access to opportunities for public service" at the national and local level.

  •  ● This hits both administration and opposition officials who ignore the democratic value of "equal access to opportunities for public service" at the national and local level.

























 For decades, wealthy and powerful families have dominated politics in the Philippines, concentrating power to the elite families, promoting corruption and abuse of power. 

  •  For decades, wealthy and powerful families have dominated politics in the Philippines, concentrating power to the elite families, promoting corruption and abuse of power. 



 Political dynasties are observed to have began in the early 20th century during the American colonial period when voting was limited to rich and landed Filipinos who monopolized public office.  In other words, the lopsided structure of opportunities and the social and economic inequalities allow a few --both in the administration and opposition --to monopolize wealth and political power.

  •  Political dynasties are observed to have began in the early 20th century during the American colonial period when voting was limited to rich and landed Filipinos who monopolized public office.  In other words, the lopsided structure of opportunities and the social and economic inequalities allow a few --both in the administration and opposition --to monopolize wealth and political power.



Today, political dynasties are supposed to be prohibited by the Constitution. Sec. 26 Art. II of the 1987 Constitution states:

  • Today, political dynasties are supposed to be prohibited by the Constitution. Sec. 26 Art. II of the 1987 Constitution states:

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



Though this prohibition does exist, an enabling law is needed . Since 1987, the anti-political dynasty bills filed never got to first base. Why? Most lawmakers from the administration and opposition oppose the Constitutional ban on political dynasties because they too, come from political dynasties and clans, which have been long entrenched in power. New political dynasties have also risen to challenge the traditional political clans in their bailiwicks.

  • Though this prohibition does exist, an enabling law is needed . Since 1987, the anti-political dynasty bills filed never got to first base. Why? Most lawmakers from the administration and opposition oppose the Constitutional ban on political dynasties because they too, come from political dynasties and clans, which have been long entrenched in power. New political dynasties have also risen to challenge the traditional political clans in their bailiwicks.



Historical and contemporary empirical data reveals a continuing pattern of leadership recruitment for our elected and appointed national and local leaders from a small upper strata of  our society, mostly from economic and social elites.

  • Historical and contemporary empirical data reveals a continuing pattern of leadership recruitment for our elected and appointed national and local leaders from a small upper strata of  our society, mostly from economic and social elites.



 Also, historical and contemporary reality have made political dynasties embedded in our country's political and electoral life, and serves to perpetuate a few elite in political power.

  •  Also, historical and contemporary reality have made political dynasties embedded in our country's political and electoral life, and serves to perpetuate a few elite in political power.



The phenomenon of political dynasties shows the absence of any real competition in politics because of the lopsided economic structure of inequality which allow only a few to monopolize wealth and power.  For precisely, landed wealthy Filipino families have tried to protect their interests by occupying public office.

  • The phenomenon of political dynasties shows the absence of any real competition in politics because of the lopsided economic structure of inequality which allow only a few to monopolize wealth and power.  For precisely, landed wealthy Filipino families have tried to protect their interests by occupying public office.





The Philippine political system is structured around patronage and what academics call rent-seeking, or the use of privileges from the state to benefit private and family business. These families are able to control and influence the courts, Congress, and Malacanang, and to control the most profitable parts of our economy. When family, not ideology or principle becomes the norm in politics and public service, corruption will flourish. In fact, the existence of political clans and dynasties has encouraged a political system that is dominated by patronage, corruption, violence and fraud at the national and local level.

  • The Philippine political system is structured around patronage and what academics call rent-seeking, or the use of privileges from the state to benefit private and family business. These families are able to control and influence the courts, Congress, and Malacanang, and to control the most profitable parts of our economy. When family, not ideology or principle becomes the norm in politics and public service, corruption will flourish. In fact, the existence of political clans and dynasties has encouraged a political system that is dominated by patronage, corruption, violence and fraud at the national and local level.



Because of their wealth and control of the economy (local and national), the elite families possess the values necessary for the exercise of influence and which gives them more advantages to acquire political power. These values, in addition to wealth and other resources that they control, are education, prestige and skill.

  • Because of their wealth and control of the economy (local and national), the elite families possess the values necessary for the exercise of influence and which gives them more advantages to acquire political power. These values, in addition to wealth and other resources that they control, are education, prestige and skill.



Dynastic public officials have the following advantages which they further exploit to widen, expand and consolidate their economic and political power:

  • Dynastic public officials have the following advantages which they further exploit to widen, expand and consolidate their economic and political power:

  • high concentration of formal power (among relatives with common economic interests)



 gives them considerable license in the exercise of their powers, which they wantonly abuse in the absence of check and balance;

  •  gives them considerable license in the exercise of their powers, which they wantonly abuse in the absence of check and balance;

  •     elite, dynastic politicians not only seek to maintain their position of authority, but also to advance their family's economic interest or interests of their social class.

  •   In many parts of the country, political dynasties who are also warlords manipulate and thwart the free exercise of the people in their right to vote.



Lanao del Sur - Alonto, Lucman, Adiong, Dimaporo, Macarambon, Dimakuta

  • Lanao del Sur - Alonto, Lucman, Adiong, Dimaporo, Macarambon, Dimakuta

  • Lanao del Norte - Badelles, Lluch, Cabili

  • Sultan Kudarat - Mangudadato



Cagayan de Oro City - Emano

  • Cagayan de Oro City - Emano

  • General Santos City - Antonino

  • Zamboanga City - Lobregat, Lorenzo

  • Zamboanga del Norte - Adaza, Ubay, Carloto, Jalosjos

  •  

  • Zamboanga del Sur - Sagun-Lim, Enerio,  Amatong, Cerilles



Tawi-Tawi - Jaafar

  • Tawi-Tawi - Jaafar

  •  

  • Camiguin - Romualdo

  • Misamis Occidental - Chiongbian, Ramiro

  •  

  • Misamis Oriental - Pelaez, Baculio

  •  

  • Saranggani - Chiongbian, Amatong

  •  

  • Sulu -  Amilbangsa, Rasul, Abubakar, Ututalum, Tulawie

  •  



Basilan - Akbar

  • Basilan - Akbar

  •  

  • Surigao Norte - Navarro, Barbers, Ecleo

  • Surigao Sur - Falcon,  Pimentel-Serra , Ty

  •  

  • Agusan del Sur - Paredes, Amante, Plaza

  •  

  • Bukidnon - Fortich, Zubiri, Acosta

  • Compostela Valley - Caballero



Cotabato - Pendatun, Mastura, Datumanong , Matalam, Mangilen, Sinsuat

  • Cotabato - Pendatun, Mastura, Datumanong , Matalam, Mangilen, Sinsuat

  • Davao City - Garcia, Lopez, Duterte

  •  

  • Davao del Norte - Del Rosario/Garcia, Sarmiento

  •  

  • Davao del Sur - Bautista, Cagas

  •  

  • Davao Oriental - Almario/Zosa, Palma Gil



 The Caraga Region composed of the two Agusan provinces and Butuan City is said to be the "center" or "capital" of political dynasties in the Philippines which practically compete only among themselves for all congressional and local positions for the past 50 years or more . Studies made by academics and journalists for instance,  identify no less than 10 members of the Plaza political clan holding and monopolizing political power from congressional seats, governorship, down to mayors, councilors and barangay chairs held by wife, sons, daughters, nephews, inlaws, etc.

  •  The Caraga Region composed of the two Agusan provinces and Butuan City is said to be the "center" or "capital" of political dynasties in the Philippines which practically compete only among themselves for all congressional and local positions for the past 50 years or more . Studies made by academics and journalists for instance,  identify no less than 10 members of the Plaza political clan holding and monopolizing political power from congressional seats, governorship, down to mayors, councilors and barangay chairs held by wife, sons, daughters, nephews, inlaws, etc.



Many of the Mindanao dynasties are from the landed families, some were cronies from way back during the Marcos regime up to the present. In the ARMM, many are from the prominent landed datu class, are warlords and have private armies or the backing of an armed group that help them maintain influence.

  • Many of the Mindanao dynasties are from the landed families, some were cronies from way back during the Marcos regime up to the present. In the ARMM, many are from the prominent landed datu class, are warlords and have private armies or the backing of an armed group that help them maintain influence.



In many ARMM areas like Maguindanao, the Lanao provinces, Sulu and Basilan, the long entrenched family dynasties have produced warlords who operate above the law, controlling jueteng, smuggling, and using murder by hired killers, goons and private armies to eliminate potential opponents. For example, in Maguindanao, which figured as the center of cheating during the controversial "Garci Tapes" in th 2004 and 2007 elections, the Ampatuan family dynasty tightly control politics.

  • In many ARMM areas like Maguindanao, the Lanao provinces, Sulu and Basilan, the long entrenched family dynasties have produced warlords who operate above the law, controlling jueteng, smuggling, and using murder by hired killers, goons and private armies to eliminate potential opponents. For example, in Maguindanao, which figured as the center of cheating during the controversial "Garci Tapes" in th 2004 and 2007 elections, the Ampatuan family dynasty tightly control politics.



The majority of 22 mayors in   Maguindanao province are Governor Datu Andal Ampatuan's (formerly Congressman) children, cousins, brothers in law who ran unopposed. One of his sons Zaldy Ampatuan was elected ARMM Governor in 2005 as Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's candidate. An uncle of Datu Andal, Simeon Datumanong, who was a former cabinet member under Arroyo as Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways, is now a Congressman.

  • The majority of 22 mayors in   Maguindanao province are Governor Datu Andal Ampatuan's (formerly Congressman) children, cousins, brothers in law who ran unopposed. One of his sons Zaldy Ampatuan was elected ARMM Governor in 2005 as Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's candidate. An uncle of Datu Andal, Simeon Datumanong, who was a former cabinet member under Arroyo as Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways, is now a Congressman.



A brother, Zamzamin, who was before appointed as the head of the Office for Muslim Affairs (OMA) was appointed cabinet secretary general of the National Anti-Poverty Commission.  Datu Andal Ampatuan was the controversial governor of Maguindanao who in the 2007 senatorial elections promised his mayors one million pesos each for a 12-0 win for the administration candidates of the Team Unity under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

  • A brother, Zamzamin, who was before appointed as the head of the Office for Muslim Affairs (OMA) was appointed cabinet secretary general of the National Anti-Poverty Commission.  Datu Andal Ampatuan was the controversial governor of Maguindanao who in the 2007 senatorial elections promised his mayors one million pesos each for a 12-0 win for the administration candidates of the Team Unity under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.



Political parties are in fact convenient but temporary alliances of political dynasties or political clans. The basis of their alliances are not because of principles or party platforms, but may be based on marriage, business connections, or political accommodation , etc.

  • Political parties are in fact convenient but temporary alliances of political dynasties or political clans. The basis of their alliances are not because of principles or party platforms, but may be based on marriage, business connections, or political accommodation , etc.



Since there is an absence of ideology of these elite  parties and the similarity of their pro-oligarchy and pro-U.S. positions, their members often resort to turncoatism and party-switching. For their loyalty to a particular alliance of elite parties  depend on the political patronage and spoils available that in fact  determine the alignment and re-alignment of these parties.

  • Since there is an absence of ideology of these elite  parties and the similarity of their pro-oligarchy and pro-U.S. positions, their members often resort to turncoatism and party-switching. For their loyalty to a particular alliance of elite parties  depend on the political patronage and spoils available that in fact  determine the alignment and re-alignment of these parties.



Political parties thus are actually alliances among the economic and social elites/class who have no coherent principle or program. They thrive on money machinery, political spoils from the incumbent, access to power and patronage politics. They assure the monopoly of political power by the economic elite. The vaunted machinery of a bloc of political parties allied with the administration means the use of pork barrel, patronage, cash, violence and cheating in elections, misusing  the infrastructure of the state.

  • Political parties thus are actually alliances among the economic and social elites/class who have no coherent principle or program. They thrive on money machinery, political spoils from the incumbent, access to power and patronage politics. They assure the monopoly of political power by the economic elite. The vaunted machinery of a bloc of political parties allied with the administration means the use of pork barrel, patronage, cash, violence and cheating in elections, misusing  the infrastructure of the state.



LAKAS-NUCD: Ablan, Albano, Alfelor, Amante, Amatong, Andaya, Apostol, Barbers, Cayetano, Chatto, Chiongbian, de Venecia/Perez, Dimaporo, Dy, Feleo, Ermita, Espino, Floreindo, Gonzalez, Gordon, Guinigundo, Javier, Lacson, Lagman, Leviste, Locsin, Lopez, Martinez, Monfort, Paras, Perez, Punzalan, Real, Reyes, Salceda, Sandoval, Silverio, Teves, Unico, Violago, Ylagan, Zubiri, etc.

  • LAKAS-NUCD: Ablan, Albano, Alfelor, Amante, Amatong, Andaya, Apostol, Barbers, Cayetano, Chatto, Chiongbian, de Venecia/Perez, Dimaporo, Dy, Feleo, Ermita, Espino, Floreindo, Gonzalez, Gordon, Guinigundo, Javier, Lacson, Lagman, Leviste, Locsin, Lopez, Martinez, Monfort, Paras, Perez, Punzalan, Real, Reyes, Salceda, Sandoval, Silverio, Teves, Unico, Violago, Ylagan, Zubiri, etc.



LIBERAL PARTY: Roxas, Abad, Acosta, Aquino, Cua, Defensor, Hizon, Nantes, Ramiro, Suarez, etc.

  • LIBERAL PARTY: Roxas, Abad, Acosta, Aquino, Cua, Defensor, Hizon, Nantes, Ramiro, Suarez, etc.

  • NATIONALIST PEOPLE'S COALITION: Alvarez, Antonino, Baringa, Bautista, Bondoc, Cagas, Cojuangco/Teodoro, Dilangalen, Duavit, Dumpit, Durano, Escudero, Fuentebella, Garcia, Imperial, Jalosjos, Garcia, Joson, Lopez, Ledesma, Locsin, Maranan, Nepomuceno, Rodriguez, Romualdez, etc.

  • LABAN NG DEMOCRATIKONG PILIPINO: Angara, Aquino, Biazon, Calizo, Garcia, Lobregat, Plaza, Remulla, San Luis, Sulpicio/Tupas.,etc.



Political dynasties distort governance, and make a sham of democratic governance.  Thru political dynasties, public office becomes an exclusive family franchise, a provider of more benefits to family interests. When family members from a single clan dominate political positions in a particular area, we can expect the weakening of checks and balances, and the wanton abuse of power that is detrimental to the community or national interest.

  • Political dynasties distort governance, and make a sham of democratic governance.  Thru political dynasties, public office becomes an exclusive family franchise, a provider of more benefits to family interests. When family members from a single clan dominate political positions in a particular area, we can expect the weakening of checks and balances, and the wanton abuse of power that is detrimental to the community or national interest.



Is scholarship in this area sufficient?

  • Is scholarship in this area sufficient?

  • More studies on the oligarchic power structure of the Philippines are needed to examine its strengths and vulnerabilities at the macro and micro-level. This is necessary to identify the openings where civil society can further widen and expand its participation. Foreign scholars have been conducting critical studies of the local power structures since the 60s such as studies by Lande and Kerkvliet. More Filipino scholars should initiate their own studies in this fertile field.



Except for the references highly recommended here, many local studies are actually hagiographies,  or commissioned family biographies of oligarchic families or individual political leaders. Of course, commissioned or paid hagiographies would treat their subjects like saints with sanitized accounts which are often kind and generous.

  • Except for the references highly recommended here, many local studies are actually hagiographies,  or commissioned family biographies of oligarchic families or individual political leaders. Of course, commissioned or paid hagiographies would treat their subjects like saints with sanitized accounts which are often kind and generous.



Of course, hagiographies have the advantage of access, access to family material of political dynasties which are given with their cooperation. Unauthorized family studies or biographies may take longer to conduct, but they can maintain the distance and objectivity required of credible, academic research.

  • Of course, hagiographies have the advantage of access, access to family material of political dynasties which are given with their cooperation. Unauthorized family studies or biographies may take longer to conduct, but they can maintain the distance and objectivity required of credible, academic research.



There is a need to examine the impact and possible weakening of the economic, political and even feudal stranglehold  and influence of political dynasties in their respective areas in the light of the following:

  • There is a need to examine the impact and possible weakening of the economic, political and even feudal stranglehold  and influence of political dynasties in their respective areas in the light of the following:



the Filipino diaspora in other countries (OFW phenomenon) which has made possible more financial/economic autonomy of marginalized Filipinos;

  • the Filipino diaspora in other countries (OFW phenomenon) which has made possible more financial/economic autonomy of marginalized Filipinos;

  •  access to information and technology/ mass media/telecommunications of the rural poor, so that access to information is not anymore controlled by the oligarchy;

  • impact of rural and urban organizing and consciousness-raising by people's organizations, NGOs, the radicalized pastoral politicalization of the Church (both Catholic and Protestant), and civil society organizations.



More studies are needed to study empirically the political disease called cronyism, and to show how fundamentally, politics and business fortunes are so much intertwined. Business empires or big business in general needs to be critically reexamined to see how big business is really done, i.e. how business elites or family interests wheel and deal in the political system. This goes against the grain of competition and fair trade and violates the very principles even of a  neoliberal economic system.

  • More studies are needed to study empirically the political disease called cronyism, and to show how fundamentally, politics and business fortunes are so much intertwined. Business empires or big business in general needs to be critically reexamined to see how big business is really done, i.e. how business elites or family interests wheel and deal in the political system. This goes against the grain of competition and fair trade and violates the very principles even of a  neoliberal economic system.



How can we empower our communities to deal with political dynasties?

  • How can we empower our communities to deal with political dynasties?

  • Political dynasties are the No. 1 obstacles to the development of genuine political parties in the Philippines which are based on principles and consistent party platforms.  



The role of real political parties is to promote clear social visions and programs and to represent especially the needs and aspirations of the larger sectors of Philippine society, not just a few elite families.  The current elite parties of families are money machines, political vehicles and feudal formations controlled by patriarchs that dispense patronage, privilege and protection for the oligarchy.

  • The role of real political parties is to promote clear social visions and programs and to represent especially the needs and aspirations of the larger sectors of Philippine society, not just a few elite families.  The current elite parties of families are money machines, political vehicles and feudal formations controlled by patriarchs that dispense patronage, privilege and protection for the oligarchy.





But the dominance of political dynasties and political clans is being challenged.  Electoral political parties which are elite organized, financed and led are being challenged by effective mass oriented people's organizations, a vigilant and questioning independent mass media, and alternative programs of governance are being advocated.  The party list system, which has seen the emergence of issue-based grassroots parties representing farmers, workers, indigenous peoples, women and urban poor, still needs to be improved to allow larger representation from the largest sectors of Philippine society. 

  • But the dominance of political dynasties and political clans is being challenged.  Electoral political parties which are elite organized, financed and led are being challenged by effective mass oriented people's organizations, a vigilant and questioning independent mass media, and alternative programs of governance are being advocated.  The party list system, which has seen the emergence of issue-based grassroots parties representing farmers, workers, indigenous peoples, women and urban poor, still needs to be improved to allow larger representation from the largest sectors of Philippine society. 



 Recent good examples of challenges to political dynasties are Grace Padaca who TWICE defeated the family dynasty of the Dy family in Isabela for the position of governor. Also, Fr. Ed Panlilio of Pampanga who defeated machineries and money politics of two of the most powerful allies of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who comes from n Pampanga: Lilia Pineda (former Lubao Mayor and wife of Bong Pineda, who is said to be the jueteng king of the country) and Mark Lapid, movie star and son of movie action king Senator Lito Lapid.

  •  Recent good examples of challenges to political dynasties are Grace Padaca who TWICE defeated the family dynasty of the Dy family in Isabela for the position of governor. Also, Fr. Ed Panlilio of Pampanga who defeated machineries and money politics of two of the most powerful allies of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who comes from n Pampanga: Lilia Pineda (former Lubao Mayor and wife of Bong Pineda, who is said to be the jueteng king of the country) and Mark Lapid, movie star and son of movie action king Senator Lito Lapid.



Grace Padaca, a radio announcer who became an alternative candidate by people's organizations, civic organizations and NGOs in the province, trounced the Dy dynasty for the position of governor. The Dy dynasty's patriarch is former Isabela governor Faustino Dy Sr. whose  five sons used to monopolize all provincial positions: Benjamin (Governor), Faustino Jr.(Congressman, Governor) but was defeated recently by Grace Padaca; Cesar (Cauayan Mayor ), Napoleon (Alicia Mayor) and Faustino III, now the Rep. of the 3rd District of Isabela.

  • Grace Padaca, a radio announcer who became an alternative candidate by people's organizations, civic organizations and NGOs in the province, trounced the Dy dynasty for the position of governor. The Dy dynasty's patriarch is former Isabela governor Faustino Dy Sr. whose  five sons used to monopolize all provincial positions: Benjamin (Governor), Faustino Jr.(Congressman, Governor) but was defeated recently by Grace Padaca; Cesar (Cauayan Mayor ), Napoleon (Alicia Mayor) and Faustino III, now the Rep. of the 3rd District of Isabela.



Other challenges are coming from media celebrities (like Noli de Castro and Loren Legarda), especially at the national level. However, media exposure is making political contests more expensive, because more money is needed by political clans to gain public office thru media exposure. Then, more temptaion there is to recover these costs and expenses through corruption. But politics cannot be a family business forever.

  • Other challenges are coming from media celebrities (like Noli de Castro and Loren Legarda), especially at the national level. However, media exposure is making political contests more expensive, because more money is needed by political clans to gain public office thru media exposure. Then, more temptaion there is to recover these costs and expenses through corruption. But politics cannot be a family business forever.



 Real political parties with defined or coherent programs/platform, vision, party discipline and cohesion based on the ideologies they profess, and representing the larger sectors of Philippine society should challenge and replace political clans and dynasties. With better economic opportunities in our socio-economic structure, we can develop a truly democratic electoral and party system.

  •  Real political parties with defined or coherent programs/platform, vision, party discipline and cohesion based on the ideologies they profess, and representing the larger sectors of Philippine society should challenge and replace political clans and dynasties. With better economic opportunities in our socio-economic structure, we can develop a truly democratic electoral and party system.



  • Ultimately, the hope in our political system and country lies in education, national consciousness, civic values, transparency in governance and social awareness and organization at the grassroots. There is hope.



Center for People Empowerment and Governance. http://cenpeg.org. Website of the Center for People's Empowerment and Governance (CENPEG).

  • Center for People Empowerment and Governance. http://cenpeg.org. Website of the Center for People's Empowerment and Governance (CENPEG).

  •      Coronel, S.; Chua, Y.; Rimban, L.; Cruz, B.. The Rulemakers: How the Wealthyand Well-born Dominate Congress. Quezon City: PCIJ, 2004.

  •      Gutierrez, Eric.  The Ties that Bind: A Guide to Family, Business and OtherInterests in the Ninth House of Representatives. Pasig: PCIJ, 1994. 



 Gutierrez, Eric.  The Ties that Bind: A Guide to Family, Business and OtherInterests in the Ninth House of Representatives. Pasig: PCIJ, 1994. 

  •  Gutierrez, Eric.  The Ties that Bind: A Guide to Family, Business and OtherInterests in the Ninth House of Representatives. Pasig: PCIJ, 1994. 

  •      Gutierrez, Eric.; Torrente, L.; Narca, N.. All in the Family: A Study of Elites andPower Relations in the Philippines. QC: Institute for Popular Democracy, 1992.

  •      Mc Coy, Alfred. (ed.) An Anarchy of Families: State and Family in the Philippines.QC: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1994. 



Olivares, Roger. www.endpoliticaldynasty.com. Website of the End Political Dynasty Movement.

  • Olivares, Roger. www.endpoliticaldynasty.com. Website of the End Political Dynasty Movement.

  •  

  • Simbulan, Dante. The Modern Principalia: The Historical Evolution of thePhilippine Ruling Oligarchy. QC: UP Press, 2005. 

  •  Tuazon, Bobby M. (ed.)  Oligarchic PoliticsElections and the Party-List System in the Philippines. QC: Center for People Empowerment in Governance, 2007.













More women than ever before.

  • More women than ever before.

  • Today's legislators are better educated.

  • More urban-based politicians. 



More and more elites who monopolize both economic power (multiple/diversified  business interests) who monopolize both economic and political power in their communities.

  • More and more elites who monopolize both economic power (multiple/diversified  business interests) who monopolize both economic and political power in their communities.

  • More political dynasties (in both Senate and House) with politics literally becoming a career in several generations, as well as part of inheritance.



                  100M - 500M (net worth)        :           25%                      50M - 99M (net worth)          :            4%                30M  - 49M (net worth)          :          17%                 11M -  29M (net worth)          :           42%                  1M  - 10M ( net worth)          :           12% Trends: SAL assets increase as they stay longer in politics. *Sources: various reports 

  •                   100M - 500M (net worth)        :           25%                      50M - 99M (net worth)          :            4%                30M  - 49M (net worth)          :          17%                 11M -  29M (net worth)          :           42%                  1M  - 10M ( net worth)          :           12% Trends: SAL assets increase as they stay longer in politics. *Sources: various reports 



Political families have dominated Congress for more than a century.

  • Political families have dominated Congress for more than a century.

  • The family is the main instrument for contesting elections and amassing wealth.

  • It is the training and recruitment ground for public office.



This kinship network also acts as the politician's core organization.

  • This kinship network also acts as the politician's core organization.

  • Temporary alliances between political parties become the basis for the formation of political parties.  Party alliances are based on family intermarriages, business partnerships, convenience, rather than on real platforms, programs or principle.







"Party politics in the Philippines has its own peculiar dynamics, and this is why political realignments, are anything but unusual..... it is primarily a matter of individual disposition to choose one's party affiliations over the course of one's political career."                - Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita,

  • "Party politics in the Philippines has its own peculiar dynamics, and this is why political realignments, are anything but unusual..... it is primarily a matter of individual disposition to choose one's party affiliations over the course of one's political career."                - Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita,

  • Interview by Philippine Graphic,                   May 3, 2010.





1. Political Parties are not just organizations, they should have a distinct ideology, with elements of party life, which is sustained by trust, loyalty and discipline.(Robert Michels)

  • 1. Political Parties are not just organizations, they should have a distinct ideology, with elements of party life, which is sustained by trust, loyalty and discipline.(Robert Michels)



2. Parties should be associated with or are offsprings of grassroots social movements.(C.Wright Mills)

  • 2. Parties should be associated with or are offsprings of grassroots social movements.(C.Wright Mills)



3. Parties are a political force which is effective from the point of view of the exercise of governmental power, to the extent that it possesses cadres at various levels.(Antonio Gramsci)

  • 3. Parties are a political force which is effective from the point of view of the exercise of governmental power, to the extent that it possesses cadres at various levels.(Antonio Gramsci)



4. Thus, real political parties are associated with political action, for it is through parties that people identify and articulate their political visions, policies, platforms and interests. Even when there are no elections, a pol. party mobilizes its members and sympathizers to gain support for the political platforms or positions it has taken, and in this way attain popular consent and legitimacy through contestation in elections. 

  • 4. Thus, real political parties are associated with political action, for it is through parties that people identify and articulate their political visions, policies, platforms and interests. Even when there are no elections, a pol. party mobilizes its members and sympathizers to gain support for the political platforms or positions it has taken, and in this way attain popular consent and legitimacy through contestation in elections. 



5. Pol. parties are not just vehicles for winning state power, they must be the bridge for realizing the expectations of the public for effective policy-making processes and the service-delivery of public institutions, i.e. for eradicating poverty, for example.

  • 5. Pol. parties are not just vehicles for winning state power, they must be the bridge for realizing the expectations of the public for effective policy-making processes and the service-delivery of public institutions, i.e. for eradicating poverty, for example.



Where real democracy is a facade and theoretical, political parties in an oligarchy are mainly oligarchic parties.

  • Where real democracy is a facade and theoretical, political parties in an oligarchy are mainly oligarchic parties.



Realities of power relations in the Philippine economic and social structure show that electoral politics and political parties in the Philippines are dominated by elite political family factions with their respective followers, whose rivalries are formalized by their affiliation with political parties.

  • Realities of power relations in the Philippine economic and social structure show that electoral politics and political parties in the Philippines are dominated by elite political family factions with their respective followers, whose rivalries are formalized by their affiliation with political parties.



Historically, Philippine electoral political parties can be said to be the weakest and unstable political institutions that are at best described as ad hoc, if not transient and fluid.

  • Historically, Philippine electoral political parties can be said to be the weakest and unstable political institutions that are at best described as ad hoc, if not transient and fluid.





In a 1989 privilege speech during the 8th Congress, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile surprised everyone when he admitted that in the Philippine context, "the only political party in the Philippines that is BEHAVING LIKE A REAL POLITICAL PARTY" is the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)", only that it is shunned from participation in Philippine electoral politics. Enrile justified this observation by saying that even without its participation in elections, the CPP is genuinely an ideological party, with political education, continuously recruiting members as a mass party in the underground, carries out its defined program and projects, and builds bailiwicks and spheres of influence in different parts of the country. Its strategic objective of course, Enrile said, is to establish a socialist government in the country.

  • In a 1989 privilege speech during the 8th Congress, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile surprised everyone when he admitted that in the Philippine context, "the only political party in the Philippines that is BEHAVING LIKE A REAL POLITICAL PARTY" is the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)", only that it is shunned from participation in Philippine electoral politics. Enrile justified this observation by saying that even without its participation in elections, the CPP is genuinely an ideological party, with political education, continuously recruiting members as a mass party in the underground, carries out its defined program and projects, and builds bailiwicks and spheres of influence in different parts of the country. Its strategic objective of course, Enrile said, is to establish a socialist government in the country.



Since 1998, when the party-list system was established by legislation enacted by the Constitutional directive, some party list organizations representing the poor and marginalized sectors of Philippine society have been introducing real party politics in Congress, based on coherent and comprehensive political programs, strict enforcement of party discipline. But the Constitution limits their participation to 20%, and fake party list groups organized by the oligarchy have diluted the principle behind party list participation.

  • Since 1998, when the party-list system was established by legislation enacted by the Constitutional directive, some party list organizations representing the poor and marginalized sectors of Philippine society have been introducing real party politics in Congress, based on coherent and comprehensive political programs, strict enforcement of party discipline. But the Constitution limits their participation to 20%, and fake party list groups organized by the oligarchy have diluted the principle behind party list participation.



We have to work harder so that the poor  sectors of our society are really represented by their genuine political parties and their representatives, so that we can have meaningful legislation that benefits the larger sectors of our society through the delivery basic social services. 

  • We have to work harder so that the poor  sectors of our society are really represented by their genuine political parties and their representatives, so that we can have meaningful legislation that benefits the larger sectors of our society through the delivery basic social services. 




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