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nola and Jurel Yap in their recent study

-From Fat 10 Obese: Political Dy-

after the 2019 Midterm Elections "



By Joyce Pangco Paffares

ALMOST a third of all local elected po-

sitions in the 2019 midterm polls were

won bv candidates bclonging to "fat dy- nastiei" made up ofseveral family mem-


"Clearlv. Dolitical clans have found u nu"u u-und term limits. by fielding

more familv members in power-giving

rise to moie fat political dynasties The

recentlv concludid 2019 midterm elec-

tions d;monstrate the slaying power of

bers holding electi"e positions

neously. a siudy by the Ateneo Gov€mment showed.

School of


uovision in lhe 1987 Consti- ing political dynasties' and

dvnastic incumbents

For these dynas-

DesDite 'prohibit


ties- their extended-and for their clans'

expanded,stay in olTice affords them more control over the domestic econo-

mv. which in tum fuels their continued

eioansion and staying power"' the study

in the absence oi an anti-d)'nasty law' fat

oolitjcal dvnasties hare "expanded dra-

inaticallv"-orer more than three decades

now. said AsoG Dean Ronald Mendoza ard research associates Leonardo Jami-

.^i t.

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'From fat

Eom Al

A[ in the family

Over the past l0 elections, the percent-

age offat dynasties has increased from 19 percent ofall local elected officials in 1988 to 29 percent this year, growing at about I

percent or 170 positions per election.

A majority of 80 percent or four in five

governors and 6790 percent of vice-gov- emors elected in this year's polls belong to fat political dynasties. At the House of


67 percent ofthe elected

lawmakers are also members of political


"Governors are more likely to have rela- tives occupying elected positions during

the same period compared io other elected

o{ficials. This makes sense as tlre gover- norship is the top post at the local level, and running a provincial-wide campaign

necessitates large resources and extensive


that often only

fat dynasties tend to dominate," the study

' said.

At least 53 percent of mayors and 39 percent of vice mayors who won in the

2019 polls also belong to fat political dy-


Fat dynastis, poor provinces

The ls-page study said political dynas-

ties are linked to greater poverty, especial- ly outside Luzon.

"Empirical evidence suggests that dy-

nasties have an adverse effect on govem- ance, and hence also development. It hints

that the less developed economic, social,

and political instjtutions in provinces

away from the capital allow dlnasties to retain political power without promoting

desirable development outcomes."

The top 20 provinces ranked according to fat dynasty share werc: Maguindanao

(50.54 percent of'local posts), Pampanga

(49.18 percent), Bulacan (45.28 percent), Davao Occidental (40.98 percent), Isab- ela (40.96 percent), Sulu (40.20 percent),

Lanao del Sur (39.84 percent), Nueva

Eclja Q9.60 percent), Pangasinan (39.17

percenr), ocos Norte (3730 percent),

Batangas Q6.49 percent), Siquijor (36.23 percenD, Eastern Samar (35.92 percenD,

Cavite (35.74 percent), Catanduanes (35.54 percent), Basilan (35.17 percent), La Union

(34.86 percent), N€gos Oddntal (34.55

percent), Cebu (34.33 percent) and Abra

(33.10 percent).


Manila Standard compared ttre list

to the latest poverty incidence data ofthe

Philippine Statistics Autho ty released in


The two data sets showed that ofthe 20

provinces with the most number ofelected

local officials belonging to fat political

dynasties, eight belong to the 20 poor- est provinces, namely Lanao Del Sur (lst poorest), Basilan (2nd), Sulu (5th), Magu- indanao (7th), Easrem Samar (8th), Abra

(l3th), Davao Occidental (16th) and Ne-

gros Orienal (19th.1.

Reform options According to the study. the imposition

ofterm limits has not altered the dynastic nature ofpolitics in the country.

"In fact, term limits may have, to some

extent, aggravated the proliferation ofdy- nasties by providing incentives for incum- bents to use their relatives as a 'survival strategy' when their term comes to an

end," the study showed.

"However, it was the absence of ancil- lary reforms-like the dynasty regulation

and political party rcforms-that opened

the floodgates for dpastjes to dominate. Imposing term limits was never conceptu-

alized as a stand-alone reform."

To increase electoral competition and enhance checks and balances, the re-

searchers suggested that government must

regulate political dynasties, strengthen political parties, and introduce electoral


'The Problem Lies With The People'

For President Roddgo Duterte, whose own family has held political power in

Davao City for over 20 years now, political

dynasties continue to exist because voters

keep on choosing the same politicians.

Duterte. who won the presidency in

2016, was succeedid by his daughter,

Sara, as mayor ofDavao City.

'iI am really embarrassed because peo-

ple keep on repeating that phrase about dynasty. It is true - it is bad if only one family rules for so rnany years. But the problem lies with the people," the hesi-

dent said in a speech in June.

In March last year, during last


grand assembly ofthe Leqgue of Mgnici-

paiities ofthe Philippines attencled by mu- nicipal mayon, the chiefexecutive said he

supports the anti-political dl.nasty bill, but

\Vtadr FAqs,/


he has yet to certi$/ this

as urgent.

"I am for it. The problem

is-will it

pass? In our country, after you finish your

term, they wtiuld ask for your son to run,

or your wife." Anti-dynasty bill is unfair

For Senate President Vicente Sotio 1II, passing an anti.d),nasty bill is unfair and


'i{n antijolitical dynasty bill is unfair

to legitimate family members. A wife or

anyone in tie second degree of consan-

guinity.may not run for public o{fice, but

mistresses and their relatives

said in an interview last year. Senator Ra$h Recto, whose wife Vilma

ma/" he

is the reprcsentativ€ ofthe lone district of Lipa in Batangas, acknowledged that it

will be difficult to stop political dynasties.

Senator Cynthia Villar, for her part,

said that her frmily is a "good dynasty"

but vowed to abide by the law in an anti-

dynasty measure is passed.

'We always follow the law and we ad- just to the law. Nothing pe$onal," she said. House Speaker Alan Cayetano, who

ran and won as congressman ofthe first

distdct of Taguig while his wife secured

the position ofrepresentative ofthe second

district, said he would rather have a politi-

cal dynasty that berves the people.

'We'd rather be called a dynasry but

one that delivers good public servicc

As long as the people were able io freely make the choice themselves, that means that they were not forced. There were no guns, goons, and gold. It's a democracy,"

Cayetano said.