Marcos family

38 years after EDSA People Power Revolt: Marcos political dynasty is well-entrenched

James Patrick Cruz

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38 years after EDSA People Power Revolt: Marcos political dynasty is well-entrenched

FIRST FAMILY, AGAIN. Former first lady Imelda Marcos joins son, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s oath-taking ceremony, at the National Museum of Fine Arts on June 30, 2022.

Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Under the Marcos Jr. administration, there are at least 16 elected officials – through blood and marriage – who are related to the Marcos family. This includes the President himself.

The Marcos dynasty isn’t just reclaiming the Palace. It is spreading its influence far beyond.

Thirty-eight years after the historic EDSA People Power Revolution, which ousted the dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, his son and namesake stands at the helm once more. But this return to the presidency is merely the tip of the iceberg insofar as Marcos supremacy is concerned.

Rappler’s research shows that at least 16 elected officials who are related to the Marcos family – through blood and marriage – are in the chambers of the Senate and House of Representatives down to the grassroots level of barangays. 

A series of studies showed that the years of online propaganda and disinformation campaigns that sought to rehabilitate the family’s image catapulted Marcos Jr. to the presidency.


In the Senate, presidential sister Imee Marcos commands multiple committee chairmanships, boasting of the highest count alongside Senator Pia Cayetano.

Imee is the chairperson of the following committees:

  • Cooperatives
  • Electoral reforms and people’s participation
  • Foreign relations
  • Social justice, welfare and rural development
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PRESIDENTIAL SIBLING. Senator Imee Marcos presides over the Senate hearing on the people’s initiative signature campaign spearheaded by the People’s Initiative for Reform, Modernization and Action (PIRMA), on February 13, 2024.

The House mirrors this influence, with seven Marcos-related lawmakers, and the President’s first-degree cousin Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez at the helm.

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HOUSE SPEAKER. Speaker Martin Romualdez delivers his closing remarks as he wraps up the plenary debates for the 2024 budget, at the House of Representatives on September 28, 2023. Courtesy of House Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Martin is the son of former Leyte governor  Benjamin “Kokoy” Romualdez, younger brother of former first lady Imelda Marcos. (She has five other siblings besides Kokoy: Alita, Alfredo, Armando, and Concepcion.)

When Imelda was first lady, Kokoy was appointed ambassador to plum posts China, Saudi Arabia, and the US. The Presidential Commission on Good Government listed at least 61 corporations where Kokoy allegedly acquired shares of stock illegally.

Meanwhile, Martin’s wife Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt Romualdez, a former beauty queen and a registered nurse, sits as Tingog representative.

She heads the committee on accounts, which deals with the “internal budget of the House including budget preparation, submission and approval, disbursements; accounting, and financial operations.”

The power of Yedda Romualdez, Lady of the House and wife of the Speaker

The power of Yedda Romualdez, Lady of the House and wife of the Speaker

Yedda’s influence stretches further through her own relatives holding seats in the House: her uncle, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines Representative Raymond Democrito C. Mendoza; and cousin, North Cotabato 3rd District Representative Ma. Alana Samantha Santos.

The President’s eldest son, Ilocos Norte 1st District Representative Sandro Marcos, was elected senior deputy majority leader despite being a neophyte lawmaker.

A senior deputy speaker, the second highest-ranking official in the lower chamber, assumes the role of presider in plenary sessions in the absence of the House speaker. The official rules of the House, however, do not explicitly outline any additional duties that may be assigned to a senior deputy speaker, if such responsibilities exist.

Before Sandro’s election as a lawmaker, he was mentored by his uncle Martin, who, at the time, was House Majority Leader, and served as a member of his legislative staff. In early 2023, Sandro’s brother Vincent “Vinny” Marcos started his internship under Martin’s office.

Sandro is also serving as vice chair of the committee on rules, which sets the agenda and priorities of the House.

FIRST FAMILY. Supporters and employees of the Office of the President wave Philippine flags to welcome President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at Malacañang Palace on June 30, 2022. Angie de Silva/Rappler

Another cousin of the President who is also in the lower chamber is Ilocos Norte 2nd District Representative Eugenio Angelo Marcos-Barba. He is the son of Fortuna Marcos-Barba, youngest sister of the late president Marcos.

Angelo is the chairman of the committee on the North Luzon Growth Quadrangle, which is responsible for “policies and programs concerning the development of municipalities, cities, provinces, and other local communities in the northwest Luzon area.”

Part of the committee’s role is also “to promote growth and expand avenues of economic cooperation” with nearby areas. He is also one of the vice chairpersons of the committee on accounts.

FIST BUMP. Congressman Sandro Marcos and Angelo-Marcos Barba meet after the committee hearing on the North Luzon Growth Quadrangle with the Department of Agriculture in August 2022. Angelo Marcos Barba/Facebook

The Marcoses also have ties with the Tiangcos of Navotas. The country’s fishing capital is represented by Tobias “Toby” M. Tiangco in the House of Representatives.

Toby is married to Michelle Romualdez Yap, cousin of the President. Michelle is the daughter of Concepcion Romualdez Yap, the sister of Imelda.

Toby is the chairperson of the House committee on information and communications technology committee and vice chairperson of the committees on appropriations and aquaculture and fisheries resources.

Another Tiangco in Navotas is Mayor John Rey, Toby’s brother. 


Beyond the national arena, alliances extend to key provinces and cities, too.

In Marcos’ bailiwick of Ilocos Norte, Matthew Manotoc, son of Senator Imee, governs alongside his aunt Cecile Araneta-Marcos as vice governor. Cecile Araneta-Marcos is the wife of Mariano “Nonong” V. Marcos II, the President’s cousin.

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THIRD GENERATION MARCOS. Matthew Manotoc assists her grandmother Imelda Marcos Mariano Marcos during the 2019 elections at the Memorial Elementary School in Batac City. Matthew Marcos Manotoc/Facebook

In Laoag City, Michael Keon, the President’s cousin, serves as the local chief executive. He is the son of Michael James Keon who is married to Marcos Sr.’s sister, Elizabeth. (Editor’s Note: In an earlier version of this story, we said Michael Keon is the President’s uncle. This has been corrected. He is the cousin of the President.)

A crack, however, seems to have developed in the relationship between the Marcoses and Michael Keon. During the 2022 elections, the local “Team Marcos” led by Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc endorsed Keon’s opponent, Vicentito “Tito” Lazo.  

However, the Marcoses claimed that it was Michael who dropped them after filing his certificate of candidacy as an independent candidate, while the rest of the Marcos clan ran under the Nacionalista Party. 

Marcoses drop cousin in Laoag City mayoral race, back another bet

Marcoses drop cousin in Laoag City mayoral race, back another bet

The Marcos influence persists in areas like Cotabato, where Yedda’s aunt Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza serves as governor. During the 2022 elections, Emmylou, a long-time politician, endorsed the Marcos-Duterte Uniteam.

The President also has a cousin in Tacloban serving as mayor, Alfred S. Romualdez, who is married to former actress and former mayor Cristina Gonzalez. Alfred is the son of Alfredo “Bejo” T. Romualdez, Imelda’s brother. 

According to Ricardo Manapat’s book, Some are Smarter Than Others, Bejo, a former Navy official, took control of the Bataan Shipyard and Engineering Co. and Philippine Dockyard Corporation during the time of the elder Marcos. 

Under Marcos Sr.’s policies favoring Bejo, the company dominated the shipbuilding and ship-repair industry. Bejo was implicated in strings of ill-gotten wealth cases which were later junked by the anti-graft court.

Down to the barangay (village) level, the incumbent president has a relative in power. His nephew and Alfred’s son, Raymund, is the chairman of Barangay 88 San Jose in Tacloban City. The 35-year-old politician is also the city’s Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) president or the Liga ng mga Barangay.

The ABC president serves as ex-officio municipal or city councilor, allowing him to vote when the town or city council passes ordinances and resolutions.

Raymund ran for a barangay position in 2023 after losing his bid in a tight vice-mayoral race in 2022. 

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FATHER AND SON. Alfred and Raymund Romualdez file their certificates of candidacy as mayor and vice mayor of Tacloban City, respectively, for the 2022 elections. Alfred S. Romualdez/Facebook
Executive officials

The Marcoses’ web of influence is not confined to elected positions.

Phividec Industrial Authority Administrator and CEO Joseph Donato J. Bernedo is the President’s brother-in-law. Bernedo, a lawyer who used to work with SGV and Company, and the Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De los Angeles Law Office, is the husband of presidential sister Aimee Marcos.

Phividec, a government-owned and government-controlled corporation created under the administration of Marcos Sr., is “mandated to identify and develop sites in the country as prospective industrial areas.”

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BROTHER-IN-LAW. President Marcos Jr.s’ brother-in-law Joseph Donato J. Bernedo takes his oath on June 6, 2023, as Phividec Industrial Authority’s Administrator and CEO with his wife Aimee Marcos and their son in attendance. Courtesy of the Phividec Industrial Misamis Oriental website

The Philippine ambassador to Washington Jose Manuel “Babe” del Gallego Romualdez is also related to the Marcos family. Babe, who is the son of Alberto Z. Romualdez and Covadonga del Gallego Romualdez, is the President’s second cousin.

Alberto – first cousin of the former first lady – is the son of Miguel Lopez Romualdez, brother of Imelda’s father Vicente.


What’s next for the Marcoses?

After the Marcos dictatorship, the 1987 Constitution provided for a clause “prohibiting” political dynasties.

Article II, Section 26 of the Constitution says that “the state shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law. ”

The definition of dynasties, however, and how they are to be prohibited have yet to be defined by Congress, which has been dominated through the years by members of political dynasties.

After almost four decades, the presence of the Marcoses in Philippine politics, alongside other dynasties, continues to grow, with new generations assuming roles in government.

As the 2025 midterm elections near, will the Marcos dynasty continue to consolidate its power? –

Read the other stories in our Political Dynasties 2022 series: 




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James Patrick Cruz

Patrick Cruz is a researcher and writer for Rappler’s governance cluster. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, he covered local governments focusing on Metro Manila.