Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Dynasties Roll On (Part 2)

The twelve candidates I identified in this post as having likely been elected on Monday are now officially the winners. As you will recall, no doubt, ten of the twelve are closely related to other top politicians. To complete our survey of the Philippine senate, let's look at the twelve holdover members (elected in 2010).

Ramon (Bong) Revilla – Father was a senator, wife is in congress, brother is a mayor, and sister is married to a governor.
Jose Ejercito, Jr. (aka Jinggoy Estrada) – Father was president and is the newly-elected mayor of Manila, his half-brother was just elected to the senate, and his father’s mistress is currently mayor of San Juan City Jinggoy, his father, and his half-brother have also all held the mayoralty of San Juan).
Pia Cayetano – Daughter of a former senator, her brother is also a senator, and his wife is a mayor.
Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. – Father was president/dictator, his mother is in congress, and his sister is a governor.
Ralph Recto – His grandfather was a senator, his father in congress, his wife (a popular actress) is a governor.
Vicente (Tito) Sotto – His grandfather and granduncle were both senators.
Sergio OsmeƱa III – His grandfather was president, his father was a senator as was a cousin; other relatives hold or have held many offices.
Teofisto Guingona III – His father was a senator and vice-president, his mother is a mayor, his grandfather was a governor and senator as well as holding other offices.

Four of the 2010 electees do not seem to have major family connections. Juan Ponce Enrile, the current Senate President and long a major figure in Philippine politics (he was Minister of Defense for Marcos and played a key role in the dictator's overthrow), was an illegitimate (though acknowledged) child -- his father is referred to as a ‘powerful regional politician and renowned lawyer.’ But that doesn't seem enough to make the cut for this list.

The others are: Miriam Defensor Santiago, Franklin Drilon, and Lito Lapid.

There are political dynasties in the US, of course -- the Bushes and Kennedys come to mind, but there are others. I'm sure the same thing is also true in most other countries -- it's hard to believe that there is anyplace where connections aren't helpful.

But the difference in the Philippines is that it is so pervasive. In toto, eighteen of the twenty-four members of the senate are scions of political families. Three-quarters -- a similar analysis of the US Senate would not come up with anything approximating seventy-five family-connected senators. In fact, I doubt that you would find anything similar anyplace other than the House of Lords or somewhere else where a hereditary principle is involved.

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