10 of 14 Senate bets in winning circle come from political dynasties

Camille Elemia

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10 of 14 Senate bets in winning circle come from political dynasties
The 24-member Senate under the next Congress will be filled with members from political dynasties

MANILA, Philippines – Ten of the 14 senatorial candidates who have a chance of winning in the May 13 elections come from political dynasties.

The Pulse Asia Pulso ng Bayan survey, conducted from April 10 to 14, showed that if elections were held during the polling period, familiar and powerful names from political families would dominate the new batch of senators:

  1. Cynthia Villar, 1st to 2nd
  2. Grace Poe, 1st to 2nd
  3. Lito Lapid, 3rd to 4th
  4. Pia Cayetano, 3rd to 6th
  5. Bong Go, 4th to 8th
  6. Sonny Angara, 4th to 9th
  7. Bong Revilla, 5th to 9th
  8. Ronald “Bato dela Rosa, 5th to 9th
  9. Nancy Binay, 6th to 9th
  10. Aquilino Pimentel III, 10th to 14th
  11. Imee Marcos, 10th to 14th
  12. Jinggoy Estrada, 10th to 14th
  13. Bam Aquino, 10th to 14th
  14. JV Ejercito, 10th to 16th

Of the 14 names, only 4 do not come from political dynasties: Poe, Go, Dela Rosa, and Pimentel.

Pimentel is the son of former Senate president Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. But the son became a senator after his father’s term.

Poe, Go, and Dela Rosa might not have come from well-entrenched political families, but they have their own source of popularity. Poe is the daughter of the late action king Fernando Poe Jr and popular actress Susan Roces. Go is the closest aide of President Rodrigo Duterte, while Dela Rosa is a former chief of the Philippine National Police and another trusted man of the Chief Executive.

The 1987 Constitution says, “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.” (LOOK: Political dynasties use party list as backdoor to Congress)

But more than 3 decades since, Congress – filled with members of dynasties – has yet to pass a law banning dynasties. The closest was an anti-dynasty provision in the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act. (READ: [OPINION] Comelec’s role in implementing ban on political dynasties)

Here’s a list of the 11 candidates’ relatives either already in politics, was in politics, or aspiring to be elected:

Cynthia Villar

  • Husband: Manny Villar, former House speaker and Senate president 
  • Daughter: Camille Villar, Las Piñas congressional candidate 
  • Son: Mark Villar, Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary, former Las Piñas congressman 
  • Daughter-in-law: Emmeline Aglipay Villar, justice undersecretary and former representative of Democratic Independent Workers’ Association or DIWA party list
  • Brother: Nene Aguilar, outgoing Las Piñas City mayor 
  • Sister-in-law: Imelda “Mel” Aguilar, Las Piñas mayoralty candidate 

Lito Lapid

  • Son: Mark Lapid, former Pampanga governor and now Porac mayoralty candidate 

Pia Cayetano

  • Father: the late Rene Cayetano, former senator 
  • Brothers
    • Alan Peter Cayetano, former senator and foreign affairs secretary now running for congressman of Taguig City’s 1st district
    • Lino Cayetano, former Taguig representative now a mayoralty candidate
  • Sister-in-law: Lani Cayetano: current Taguig mayor, running for 
  • congresswoman of the city’s 2nd District

Sonny Angara

  • Father: the late Edgardo Angara, former Senate president 
  • Aunt: Bella Angara-Castillo, incumbent Aurora representative 
  • Cousin: Rommel Angara, Aurora vice governor running for representative
  • Uncle: Arthur Angara, former longtime Baler mayor 

Bong Revilla

  • Father: Ramon Revilla Sr, former senator 
  • Wife: Lani Mercado, reelectionist Bacoor City mayor 
  • Son: Jolo Revilla, reelectionist Cavite vice governor 
  • Brother: Strike Revilla, reelectionist Cavite 2nd district representative 

Nancy Binay

  • Father: Jejomar Binay, former vice president now seeking a congressional seat in Makati
  • Sister: Abigail Binay Campos, reelectionist Makati City mayor 
  • Brother: Junjun Binay, former Makati City mayor now running for mayor

Imee Marcos

  • Father: the late Ferdinand Marcos, former president 
  • Mother:  Imelda Marcos, Ilocos Norte 2nd district representative
  • Brother: Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, former senator and Ilocos Norte governor
  • Son: Matthew Marcos Manotoc, Ilocos Norte 2nd district board member now seeking to replace Imee as governor

Jinggoy Estrada

  • Father: Joseph Estrada, former president and now reelectionist Manila mayor 
  • Mother: Luisa “Loi” Ejercito, former senator 
  • Daughter: Janella Ejercito, San Juan vice mayor now running for mayor
  • Half-brother: JV Ejercito, reelectionist senator
  • Cousin: ER Ejercito, former Laguna governor now running for governor again
  • Cousin: Gary Estrada, former Quezon provincial board member now running for vice mayor in Cainta, Rizal 
  • Cousin-in-law: Girlie Ejercito (known as former actress Maita Sanchez), Pagsanjan mayor 

JV Ejercito

  • Father: Joseph Estrada, former president and now reelectionist Manila mayor 
  • Mother: Guia Gomez, outgoing San Juan mayor 
  • Half-brother: Jinggoy Estrada, former senator now running for senator again
  • Niece: San Juan vice mayor now running for mayor
  • Cousin: former Laguna governor now running for governor again
  • Cousin: Gary Estrada, former Quezon provincial board member now running for vice mayor in Cainta, Rizal 
  • Cousin-in-law: Girlie Ejercito (known as former actress Maita Sanchez), Pagsanjan mayor 

Bam Aquino

  • Grandfather: the late Benigno Aquino Sr, former senator
  • Uncles
    • the late Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr, former senator 
    • the Agapito “Butz” Aquino, former senator 
    • Herminio Aquino, former Tarlac 3rd district representative 
    • Jesli Lapus, former Tarlac 3rd district representative 
    • Jeci Lapus, former Tarlac 3rd district representative
  • Aunt: Teresa Aquino Oreta, former Malabon-Navotas representative and senator 
  • Cousin: Benigno Aquino III, former president 
  • Cousin: Malabon Mayor Antolin “Len Len” Oreta III
  • Aunt-in-law: the late Corazon Aquino, former president 

Of the 12 incumbent senators that will stay, at least 7 come from dynasties: Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Sherwin Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Manny Pacquiao, and Joel Villanueva.

In a February 2018 Senate hearing, dean Ronald Mendoza of the Ateneo School of Government said that the number of powerful clans per position increased between 2007 and 2016: from 75% to 78% among district representatives; from 70% to 81% among governors; from 58% to 70% among mayors. – with Rappler Research/Rappler.com

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a former multimedia reporter for Rappler. She covered media and disinformation, the Senate, the Office of the President, and politics.