Mong Palatino

Blogging about the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific since 2004


@mongster is a Manila-based activist, former Philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of Asia-Pacific affairs.

A new feature in the website of the Philippine House of Representatives is the Online Roster of Philippine Legislators from 1907 to present. During its launching, Rep Jun Abaya of Cavite (Liberal Party) said that it could be used to study the history of political dynasties in the country. Indeed, the database shows that local politics in the past century were dominated by only few families. While it’s not unusual for a veteran candidate to emerge undefeated in the polls, it’s quite disturbing that the winner is always from the same family. Maybe it’s the application of Einstein’s Theory of Relativ(e)ity?

It can be argued that dynastic political families also exist in other democratic societies; but the Philippines has a negative experience with the political dominance of warlord families which prompted the delegates of the 1987 Constitutional Commission to insert an anti-political dynasty provision in the new Constitution. The pertinent provision refers to Article 2 – Declaration of Principles and State Policies, Section 26: The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.

Congress has not yet passed a law which would define political dynasties. Of course there are good political dynasties; but a dynasty is a dynasty is a dynasty (it’s also a TV show, a friend from East Timor reminded me through twitter).

So how do we use the new special section of the Congress website? Simply drag down the select option and type the name of legislator or choose a district, province or region. To search a dynasty, type the province name then sort the list by last name (but listing can be incomplete since some dynasty members adopt new family names through marriages). I played this game during one of those boring hours in the departure gate while waiting for my delayed flight.

Let’s start with the Abads of Batanes. Due to the long list of Abads in public service, my screencap was unable to include Jorge Abad who served in the legislature in the years 1950-57, 1962-64, and 1970-72.

Probably the most popular and powerful political dynasty in the past half century is the Aquino Family of Tarlac. Again, missing from my screencap are Sergio Aquino (1943-44) and Herminio Aquino (1987-98).

Roque Ablan of Ilocos Norte dominated the polls for forty-years

But the Marcoses are the undisputed lords of the north. The first prominent politician in the family was Mariano Marcos (1925-30)

Two screenshots are required to identify all Roxases who represented Capiz in Congress

Here is the second screenshot

The Dimaporos of Lanao del Norte. Another member of the clan is Rep Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo.

The Ortegas of La Union are one of the oldest political families in the country. Two screenshots are also needed to identify all family members who entered Congress

Here is the second screenshot

Several families have dominated Cebu politics. We have the Duranos

The Gullas family

And the Osmenas

In Camiguin, the Romualdo family is still in power

8 Responses to “Political Dynasty or Destiny?”

  1. magtago ka na… hahaha

    Jose Pidal

  2. Regarding Roquito Ablan, he was in congress starting from the 6th not 7th.

    He was congressman for 8 terms…


  3. the country deserve this kind of government so long as we do not learn the meaning of true democracy and unite against this corrupt dynasty of the landlord class.


  4. the country deserve this kind of government unless we learn the true meaning of democracy. the people need to organize, and learn to unit the people to resist the dynasty of the landlord class of the government.


  5. […] Recently, protesting workers and farmers ‘occupied’ Mendiola and proclaimed themselves the ’75 percent’ who are urging the 24 percent (professionals, students, middle forces) to join the struggle against the oppressive rule of the ‘1 percent’. Behold the exploited majority as they affirm their readiness to challenge the supremacy of the political dynasties. […]

    Mong Palatino » Blog Archive » Even in the Philippines people live*

  6. Filipinos are schizo’s…no wonder why our government is a piece of hell. In Cam.Sur we also have political dynasties and now these prominent families are throwing mud to each others damn faces through TV whether to divide or not to divide our province. Whatever the outcome will be…whats the difference does it make anyway. Our democracy is just a “make-believe” democracy…poor Juan de la Cruz.


  7. […] candidate once complained that scions of prominent political families are lucky since their family names are also the names of streets, towns, and buildings in the country. They can bank on a name-recall […]

    Mong Palatino » Blog Archive » Geopolitical Mathematics of Cash Transfers

  8. […] has compiled a list of dynasties he’s found here, with screenshots from the Online Roster included. Everyone knows the Aquinos and Marcoses have […]

    Tool on Philippine Congress Website Reveals Political Dynasties

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