Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Philippine Political Dynasties (Part 2 of Many)

I have been meaning to return to this subject, but I figured I would wait until next week – the elections are then and I could tell you which families won. Parties mean relatively little here – most politics is organized around the competing clans vying for power (and often cooperating in splitting up the spoils). In Part 1, for example, I used Cebu (where I live) as an example, discussing the Osmenas and Garcias: the leading candidate for governor (a Garcia) is the brother of the current governor, who is the daughter of the preceding governor.

But the post I just did about the Maguindanao Massacre reminded me to post about the particularly ugly clan politics of that area.

The two principal clans in that area of Mindanao are the Ampatuans and the Mangudadatus. The massacre took place when one of the Mangudadatus was running against one of the Ampatuans  for governor. The Ampatuan was the son of the Ampatuan who was the incumbent governor at the time. His uncle was governor of a neighboring province.

In the current election, there are eighty candidates running in Maguindanao who bear the name Ampatuan (there may be other clan members running who have other names).

This includes the wives of two of the top Ampatuans who inconveniently can’t run themselves because they are in jail awaiting trial for ordering the massacre.

The  Mangudadatus are small-timers by comparison, with only eighteen candidates bearing that name.

 It’s hard to see how the Philippines can ever advance with such a feudal political system.

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