Dynasty politics in the Philippines: why the outrage only now?

I’ve been seeing a lot of views being aired about the emerging sameness in how the coming 2013 elections is being shaped by traditional Philippine politics. This time, the buzzword is “dynasties” — how the sons and daughters of aging politicians are stepping up to claim the offices and realms held and ruled respectively by their parents to ensure that the on-going efforts to secure their clans’ respective interests are continued.

Even before the word became the buzz amongst the chattering classes, I had already pointed out early this year the insidious way with which dynastic political collusion laid the groundwork for the delivery of specific outcomes using supposedly fair and transparent “due process”. During the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona which transfixed Filipinos over much of the first half of 2012, father-son-brother tandems seemingly worked the Lower and Upper chambers of Congress like a tag team…

Juan Edgardo Angara (Aurora) (Son of Senator-Judge Edgardo J Angara who voted “Convict”) is both a signatory of the impeachment complaint against Corona and one of the spokespersons of the prosecution team in the trial. He is serving his third term as representative of the lone district of Aurora. During the impeachment trial, his father, Senator Angara, refused to be inhibited as Senator-Judge in the trial despite the younger Edgardo holding a key position within the prosecution panel.

Joseph Victor Ejercito (San Juan) (Brother of Senator-Judge Jinggoy Estrada who voted “Convict”) – JV Ejercito succeeded his brother Jinggoy as mayor of San Juan City in 2001 and held that office until he was elected to the House of Representatives in 2010. Ejercito had expressed plans to run for a Senate seat in 2013. During the impeachment trial, Ejercito had contradicted the sworn testimony of Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco that the House leadership did not force any member of the Lower House to sign the impeachment complaint against Corona.

Jack Enrile (Cagayan) (Son of Senator-Judge and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile who voted “Convict”) – Legendary “spoiled brat” who was “once suspected of having his bodyguards shoot down a guy who stared at him in a nightclub.” (Domini M. Torrevillas, “Demythologizing Jack Enrile” Philippine Star) and allegedly linked to a “number of ‘incidents’, ranging from the supposed suicide of his sister’s boyfriend, to the shooting of perceived enemies and critics” (Rina Jimenez-David “The mythology around Jack Enrile” Inquirer.net).

Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Learn more

…and underlying all this at an even deeper, more fundamental, level is the reality that political parties in the Philippines are no more than election winning machines — devoid of any real philosophical or ideological underpinning. This has always been the most evident feature of democratic politics in the Philippines, the lack of any meaningful substance beneath the veneer of good intentions, colourful symbols, and catchy slogans.

“Opposition” parties which traditionally tap into a well that owes its supply of vote-generating-sympathy to the Filipino’s renowned victim mentality condition always make their pitch all about the “evils” of the incumbent and how they are supposedly in solidarity with other movements, initiatives, and organisations (such as other parties) in mounting a “united” effort to reform the Philippines’ tired democracy — starting with the immediate removal of the incumbent. This, for example, has long been the tagline of the so-called “Black and White Movement”, a “movement” that seemingly does not have a definition of purpose that goes beyond opposing anyone who is against Aquino-Cojuangco yellowist interests….

The Black and White Movement say they beg to differ. They call the perception that the Opposition “have no real agenda except to remove GMA” a myth and instead profess the “truth” that:

Many in the opposition have clear advocacies and agenda for good governance […]. And there are some in the opposition today who were reformists within the GMA administration.

But of course.

“Many in the opposition” do have clear individual advocacies (agendas would probably be the better choice of word). But that does not necessarily mean that they are united in spirit as an Opposition group in any way more profound than the name (“Genuine Opposition”) that they go by. History shows that once the typical “opposition” objective (removal of an incumbent) is achieved, the lofty ideals of any “united” opposition (past and present) vaporise as well. Each moron politician that was originally part of the preceding “united opposition” then goes his/her own way to found his or her own splinter “party” and pursue their own respective personal agendas. “United” opposition parties or alliances in the Philippines are almost always unions of convenience, no more than that.

True enough, despite pages and pages of blurb on the need for “reform” all over the Black & White Movement website, it all came down to this statement by “helga” (one of the B&WM owners) in a comment in their blog:

[…]it would be a no brainer list, really. Everyone from Team Arroyo would be on the Black List. No fun in that.

This was referring to how the Movement presumes to classify Philippine politicians into Black (no-vote) and White (yes-vote!) as a “guide” to the electorate in their efforts to “elect into Congress men and women of moral courage…”. To which they add “…who will exact accountability from the GMA regime for the unabated corruption and extrajudicial killings”.

This sort of prevalent systematic oversimplification and overt demagoguery of such movements for so long has consistently succeeded at diverting the flaky attention spans of Filipinos from the reality that there really are no genuine good intentions in politics — only the personal and clan interests that are the only goods of value being traded between personalities and their parties.

Why then are we surprised only now that the perpetuation of dynasties are what Philippine “elections” are really all about despite in-your-face evidence that that has always been the case in the Philippines since time immemorial? Who knows? Filipinos have long exhibited a talent for being blissfully ignorant — or just lazily oblivious — of obvious problems and the even more obvious solutions of these.

42 Replies to “Dynasty politics in the Philippines: why the outrage only now?”

      1. Wrong. ALL of them. ALL of them are politicians, including the Aquinos.

        Your anti-GMA hate goes nowhere. You’re an insane person, you know that. 🙂

  1. pasakay ng pasakay sa mga botante, botante naman sakay ng sakay kaya ang buhay sa pinas palubog ng palubog. 🙁 sad fate of most pinoy.

      1. Lies. Gloria kept the economy afloat during the global financial crisis. Opened up tourism more (which she funded Dick Gordon’s idea of it, as opposed to the crappy idea to promote it NOW), and had more remittances coming in, which also became a small source for the GDP but its impact for locals who do get the additional funds back home is PRICELESS. And also persuaded and jumped on the BPO bandwagon. Oh and borrowed money as well overseas from multi-nationals to fund government projects among other things.

        Umaangat nga lang muli ang ekonomiya because of the past administration’s policies. Maybe after a few months or a year, lulubog na naman uli. The question is: are millions of Filipinos still living in poverty? Does it improve the conditions the lives of millions of Filipinos? Why are prices of goods are extremely high?

        1. The price of goods are so high because of global inflation and Massive tariffs imposed by the Philippine government.These tarfiffs came along way before Erap and are a way of taxing the people,after all how many people do not pay income tax?,so everyone ‘pays’.It seems to me that you are a supporter of the former President who is nothing more than a part of what this essay is about,a poitical dynasty.
          That being said,look around…the entire country is governed by poitical dynasties that are going to win the supposedly transparent elections.If they were not going to win,They would win anyway,see?
          When is everyone in this country going to realize that this whole charade of a government is nothing more than one big monopolistic greed machine that has every single business locked up tighter than a clam diggers ass during high-tide and is keeping all of the spoils for itself,collectively? They are laughing their asses off,correctly too, at the very institutions that all of the people who actually believe that this is a democracy and that somehow,if you vote someone out of office that person will change the lot of the impoverished masses,reall?Give me a call when that happens,ok?as if I will be waiting.
          Even I have to admit it is pretty god-damm hilarious,as if electing a politician that comes from a priviliged background is going to come along and go against the wishes of his family and friends,the other politicians and their families,so someone else can have their piece of the pie,omg,get a clue will ya.MEN like Fidel Castro,who did exactly that,come along once in a thousand years.
          and they do not come to the philippines when they do come along…that is for sure.
          You think that one filipino politician is different from another,after all the evidence presented over the last 50+yrs.?the blame game goes on for a reason and yet none of the stolen money is ever returned and none of the thieves ever goes to jail…that is not proof enough?or must I persist?

  2. Benign0

    To “guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties” as provided in Article II, Sec. 26, a constitutional amendment should be ratified to add the following lines —

    “No person shall be eligible for election to any national or local elective office more than once. This prohibition shall apply to the spouse and children, including children out of wedlock, of the person concerned.”

    This way, “access to opportunities” for the rise of dynasties and the perpetuation of the “rule by the wealthy few” is forever sealed.

        1. how dare you call our president idiot? Siya ang nagbigay ng kapayapaan sa mga kapatid nating muslim sa Mindanao. Ikaw siguro gusto mo gyera palagi

        2. We call them as we see them Fishball. The guy would not know due process if it bit him in the cojones. Oh I forgot no cojones. Got elected cause Mommy died. “Boo Hoo !! Kawawa ka Cory bibigay lang yung vote namin sa anak mo. ”

          Yes we can make fun of him.

        3. he was voted because he promised not to steal and prosecute those who stole, not your pro arroyo opinion

        4. mga kalaban lang ang gumawa ng KKK na yan. Wala pa nga nakakasuhan sa deklarasyon nyong yan eh. Tignan mo muna ang kaso ni nunal baka maagnas na sya.

        5. Fishball ,

          The KKK is well established by the way your diety liberally bends the law to suit him and them. The thing about you Fishball is that you are such a lame troll and you are the best Malacanang has. That speaks to the ineptitude they have to get things done more than anything. If you are such a tragic troll makes me shudder what else you are incompetent at in real life like your Supreme Being.

        6. @Gogs: It seems bayan patroller/fishball doesn’t even know that the “Kamas-Anak, Inc.” ever exists.

          If Noynoy doesn’t ‘steal’ then why are you ok on his biggest pork barrel? About Hacienda Luisita?

          I’m sure he would never answer that. XD

        7. @daido- its par for the course of the Yellow Monarchy . Noynoy is an incompetent boss who hires incompetent trolls. Like I said in an old post you have Truth Minister Ricky who is proud to herald his boss in public events like John the Baptist did for Christ. Like Ricky is unworthy to strap Noynoy’s sandals. What a pathethic collection of losers behind the wheel. Is that libel?

      1. may mga magagaling kasi sa dynasty tulad ni bam aquino kaya iboboto namin sya sa 2013

        The fact that his last name is “Aquino” should be enough reason not to vote for him.

        1. bayan patroller:

          TROLL. 😛

          Bam Aquino? Yes, kabataan nga siya but what are his accomplishments? WALA. Only because of his last name.

          Don’t try to sound being intelligent. Never consider ‘intelligence’ for those who worship the Aquinos as demigods just like the rest of their cronies did.

        2. @DaidoKatsumi, you may want to research on the fact that Bam Aquino is an award-winning social entrepreneur, awarded by no less than the United Nations and the Schwabb Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. He was also one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders this year. Locally, he has been awarded as one of Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines in 2010, and one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World in 2010. He also graduated valedictorian all the way from grade school to college and was summa cum laude. How’s THAT for qualifications and accomplishments? 🙂

        3. NTZ,

          All nice, really. He even supposedly has experience with microfinance. The question is, how will his accomplishments translate to an effective political career? If you ask me, his credentials better suit him in the private sector or in the NGO sector.

          I think Bam Aquino is being used simply to keep an Aquino in the political mix given that the clan has always had vested interests. I doubt he will be given an opportunity to use what he knows; he will be put in the political world simply for the family name, and the Pinoy political system will proceed to turn him (into a trapo).

        4. @NTZ:

          TROLL. What we need is ACTION and not awards. Do you think THAT what makes a REAL public servant?

          TROLL HARDER, nigga. 😀

        1. i dont care about her health, my concern are her lies to the Filipino people. Tignan mo naman, life threatening kuno daw ang kalagayan nya pero tatakbo pa rin sa konseho? Hope Chair Brilliantes disqualifies her.

        2. @bayan patroller: Ung username mo. It shouts ABS-CBN. No wonder why you’re stupid.

          Wait a minute, your concern is just a small deal. It doesn’t even affect the future of the country. And as for Sixto Brillantes, I hope he won’t disqualify here since he’s a leftist jerk. Just accept the fact that you are a GIRLY MAN. 😛

        3. Lagot ang boss mo pag namatay si gloria. mawawalan siya ng scapegoat. Pagnangyari yon, mahihirapan na si panot na tumagal sa pwesto.

      2. Cge, ano ang specific na ginawa niya doon sa boong termino niya sa ilalim ni pandak, kung bakit dapat mo siya iboto liban sa paggamit mo ng mga salitang tito ninoy, tita cory at kuya panot?

    1. and all you have to do is convince all the members of those very same political dynasties to sign,enact and enforce that FANTASY-law.
      Right,good luck with that.

      1. Mr. Kreig

        Please read again. I was NOT talking about what you refer to as a “FANTASY-law”; what I said was about the possibility of revising — by a “constitutional amendment” — of Article II, Section 26.

        As you very well know, an amendment to the Constitution of the Republic would require the proposal to be “ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite” (Art. XVII, Sec. 4) — and NOT by “the members of the very same political dynasties” you suggested in your reply.

        Take note further that the opening line in the amendment I proposed follows the same phraseology employed in the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ratified 1951, with the word “twice” changed to “once” in mine. http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/amendmentxxii

        “No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice …”

        1. SIR, I appreciate the ‘gung-ho’ nature and even the ,what could be absolute seriousness,in your apparent wishful-ness.BUT it also could be construed by someone,far be it from me,as nothing more than ‘youthful naivete’.No one doubts your sincerity.Your quoting of the U.S. constitution,and you were even nice enough to inform me when it was ratified!!!,attests to that.
          You speak to me as if I do not understand you,but,alas,it is you who do not understand me.A postulation,just for you:The grip on the greed in the mind of those corrupted by it is only surpassed by that which has been put in place to protect that greed’s considerations.
          Please pay attention to what I said in previous post above the one I responded too about your proposed ‘Law’,it refers to a man who literally transformed his people into the most literate people on earth.Up from the most illiterate on earth,in less than 35 yrs..That MAN used a sub-machine gun to effect the changes he deemed necessary to change the lot of the poverty stricken masses in his country,and they love him for it.That MAN threw his own rich family into poverty and created a childrens hospital where his family used to live.
          I sincerely doubt you have any of the qualities possessed by that man,few men do,but until you,or someone else does?You are doomed to suffer the lot of your parental lineage,just as the political dynasties must suffer theirs.
          That sir,is the sad truth of the matter and you can come on here and blog until you turn blue.It is not going to change.You are being laughed at and it sucks,surely it does.But that ‘youthful naievete’ will dim as it has on the faces of so many bright eyed youngsters for centuries,get it now?need I go on? I believe you know the ending of the l’il story I was going to tell,don’t you?
          I would not have been so cruel in my assertions here but something in your authoritative tone struck me as insolent,dear boy.Oh and good-day,as if ‘I’ lack the understanding,uh-huh.HA,as if…

        2. Mr. KREIG

          Thank you for referring to what I said as “youthful naivete.”

          I appreciate very much your “youthful” reference, since I was born in 1943, and I will be turning 70 in a few months. Fact is, I already have several grand in tow and, when they come over to visit, I always teach all of them the good manners and right conduct my forebears taught me.

          And please do not lecture me about the dynasty foisted by the brothers Fidel and Raul.

          I certainly am not one of the “bright eyed youngsters” you refer to; but I think I know more about politics than you do or have experienced. For I was once a politician (starting at the “youthful” age of 24), having been elected under the banner of the Liberal Party (of old) for three consecutive 4-year terms (1968-1980) as the opposition to the Nacionalista Party (the party in power then) in the city of my birth, the City of Lapu-Lapu.

          Frankly, I do not consider your “assertions” to “have been so cruel” to me. As a veteran politician and retired for some time now, I welcome them and expect more.

          However, allow me to comment on what you said here: “It is not going to change. You are being laughed at and it sucks.”

          Maybe, but we were also “laughed at” then. In 1978, barely 6 years after Marcos declared Martial Law all over the land in 1972, Marcos decided to call an election for the Interim Batasang Pambansa Assemblymen. As an active member of the opposition in Region 7 (Central Visayas: Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental, Siquijor) and as one of only two incumbent opposition members in our city, I was one of those who was called to join and participate in the formation of the political coalition we called PUSYON BISAYA.

          The rest is now history of how the impossible happened: Pusyon Bisaya swept, 13-0, the regional (and block voting) elections held on April 07, 1978. Aside from Reuben Canoy of the Mindanao Alliance in the Cebuano-speaking Cagayan de Oro City, all other opposition candidates lost miserably, among them, our jailed Liberal Party leader, Ninoy Aquino. http://en.wikipilipinas.org/index.php?title=Philippine_parliamentary_election%2C_1978

          In any case, as regards what you consider as my “authoritative tone” that “struck [you] as insolent,” I’m still trying to figure out what part in what I wrote above deserves an apology.

          Hope you have a nice day, too.

        3. I did not ask you for an apology,nor refer to you as a bright eyed youngster.Nor did I even mention Raul Castro or refer to Cuba as a dynasty,and it was certainly not a ‘lecture’.What makes you think I did suggests to me that you hear and see what you want to hear and see.
          As far as ‘knowing more than me’ about anything,well that is certainly debatable,though that debate is not going to happen.Some such as yourself can exude a ‘youthful naivete’ for 100 yrs. and the fact that you were a politician is probably the only reason you still have it.
          Mr.Castro did what he did and it can not be denied by anyone.Without coming out and saying what needs to be done,I figured a ‘veiled’ reference should suffice,because to be really as honest as I can be about it,I really do not give too much of a shit about what happens politically anywhere in the world.If you think,or once upon a time thought,that you were somehow going to change things democratically,well let me ask you,How did all that work out for you? You may have won an election,BUT exactly what else did you ‘change’? I bet if you think about it ,honestly,the answer would be not all that much.Because,and you can be in denial until senility visits its nasty self upon you,the sorry-ass state of political as well as social and financial affairs in this country speaks for itself.The Philippines had exactly the same chances Japan and Singapore had after WW2,and yet,nowhere near the successes of those two societies came to pass here.Any guesses why that is?
          If you still think that you can change things in this corruptocracy, why not give politics another shot?Good luck with that.OR if you want to sit around and tell people who want to hear about the good ole days,be my guest.Far be it from me to want to rain on your parade while you trumpet your own praises.
          I won’t even object if you want to delude yourself into thinking you have somehow made your point in such a grand fashion as to thoroughly squash my contentions from pebbles into dust.
          but then, who would you really be kidding? All you really did was prove my point for me.Nice one!
          Let me be clear,The Philippines is a beautiful country,with zero opportunities for everyone but a select few who run one of the most corruption riddled governments in the world,from the tippy tippy top all the way down to the local level.It is no secret,even a casual observer,like myself,can see it…even a half-a-world away at times.
          Change will be effected one way,and there is nothing remotely nice or democratic about it,and I will have nothing to do with it if and when it happens.

        4. MR. KREIG

          I’m a Filipino, and I think you’re not. You certainly don’t like my country – a “beautiful” “corruptocracy.”

          So, if you’re here right now for whatever reason uninvited, I think you should leave — and go back to the country where you’re a national of and stay there.

        5. Oh that is great,assume the worst because you heard the truth and did not like it.I happen to like,NOT LOVE, the Philippines,despite whatever it is you think.Every single country in the world has corruption riddled governments,this one is no exception.I won’t be leaving because of anything you say,or do.
          I said nothing about where I am,what I am and you ask me to leave ‘Your’ country? I do not care if you are a Filipino or not,but lets just say…I am from the Australia,or Italia or Denmark…How would you like it if someone told you to leave? Because you pointed out the glaringly obvious truth?
          Sad as it is,a quite typical response from someone I thought might have a li’l something more than a bruised ego and an invitation to leave as a response.Thanks,but No thanks,just like OFW Filipino’s in other countries around the world,I will leave when I am good and ready.If I were you,I would do the same.Sensitivity to imaginary slights/insults is a sign of weakness in most places and only bring much,much worse after it is revealed.
          I was trying to be subtle BUT,come on………
          Do you think the Philippines is the only corruption riddled country in the world?R u kidding?Please,its just a li’l more obvious here.Being shaken down,for example,at an LTO office when applying for a drivers license…where else on earth does that happen?

    1. Thats the idiot fishball in a nutshell. Idiots of the same feather, flock together. Like his idiotic boss panot, he can’t even come up with anything good. I bet the c*nt can’t disprove any of our counterarguments.

  3. @ntz
    bam aquinos award by jci was a scam with political pressure knowing that it would be overlayed by his campaign.
    hapinoy is a shell
    he has never worked for a company and is 35
    perpetual student and work shy

    collect meaningless awards
    but no mba,phd
    am not impressef

  4. Out of topic-ish, but I’ll say it anyway:

    In the Philippine cultural context, political dynasties ARE NOT beneficial to the nation. It might have worked with Singaporeans- cause they are more culturally disciplined and actually put the value in the whole of the nation before their dolyares. We still haven’t let go of such attitudes from since the Spanish colonial rule.

    Unprincipled leaders and their constituents who could care less but themselves influence a whole lot in the way society is being run. What I’ve come to realise is this: it started with bad leaders and then ends up imprinting these influences on people’s minds that the next time they place another one in power, he/she would even be worse than the former one. And this is the observation I find with our past admins.

    My dad had lived through the Marcos era (born in 1964). Philippine economy even in the early 70s was going down hill (ever heard of the ATLAS mines in the 70s? when Marcos got rid of the foreign senior executives, the ones remained were filipinos who now only do nothing but abuse in their powers [my dad even once went to school with American children until the late 70s]) while countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong have been mobilising. Then, when we got rid of this one crook too late, people started putting in place for leadership sets of ex-Marcos cronees as bad and even 10x more unprincipled than the former, and from there developed only this vicious cycle of graft and corruption.

    Disagree with me on my take on Marcos, but he did promote a lot of cronyism (my dad’s a lawyer in the Philippines) to the point it has become ingrained in the psyches of a lot of people. In the late 60s to early 70s my dad used to tell me how even the police back in those days were a little more principled, but they too, as the years went, regressed morally and civilly.

    In actuality, I myself am no Aquino supporter. Anyone accusing me of being a troll cause I simply express this view on Marcos or even Aquino administrations, is simply a hypocrite(for this begs me to ask- whose view now should be allowed expression? Yours only? (please author this isn’t you I’m referring to, but some others here who have accused me of being a troll because I clearly am not a typical commenter on this blog).

    The experience of such historical events are unqiue, and of course, there are only multiple perspectives on the matter. For the Ilocanos and some who have been paid well during Marcos admin, they may paint a pretty picture of him, for others of those in other provinces who have not been provided the ‘benefits’ from the administration or are ostracised for political reasons, he was akin to a Pinochet. For the international community, they even could sense in some ways that the nation would’ve imploded in of itself, eventually- hence, why we’re now so looked down upon for the grandiose spectacle we made for ourselves.

    Even though there was already these type of politicos(it would’ve have been inevitable that if we weren’t colonised by the Americans, Aguinaldo would’ve assumed dictatorial power- and some sort of civil war would’ve ensued, parts of Mindanao would’ve by then joined in with Malaysia or become independent in this alternate history).

    I somehow wished that we were under the Brits because they actually provided good framework for good nation building (Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong). But, well, can’t help how things turned out…sadly 🙁

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.