understood as a lineage of hereditary succession to
an essentially same position or various positions at the
Family member’s one another to the position.
Relationship is established via succession or marriage
Supreme Court (SC) Justice Antonio Carpio in a ruling in 2011
defined the term political dynasties in the case of Navarro v.
Ermita (GR No. 180050; April 12, 2011) as a “phenomenon
that concentrates political power and public resources within
the control of a few families whose members alternately
hold elective offices, deftly skirting term limits.”
William Safire, political lexicographer, defines “dynasty” as the
“recurrence of political power in generations of a single family;
previously, the passing of power among a small group of political
In History (STORY TO TELL)
Establishing a political dynasty, history attests, is a very human
craving that very few can resist or not find ways to implement. A
story is told—apocryphal, of course—of Roman Emperor Caligula,
one of the most vicious madmen in history. Caligula did not want
the family dynasty to end with him. The problem was he had no
kinsman to pass power to as earlier he had all of them murdered to
avert any plot to replace him prematurely, or when he was not yet
good and ready, through his assassination.
Was Caligula fazed by this problem? Not a bit. The guy may have had
episodes of madness, but he was no fool; he could weave fantastic
solutions to unimaginable political problems.
Just like our politicos.
So how did Caligula solve the problem of preserving his dynasty with no
one to whom he could pass the torch in sight?
He marched to the royal stable and named his favorite
horse senator and heir!
What gives rise to a political dynasty?
It’s a natural phenomenon no different from when
a banana plant begins to age and one or two shoots
spring up beside it.
Do political dynasties rise up from political
heavyweights? Not necessarily. Sociologist C.
Wright Mills points out that “throughout US history,
well over half of the American political elite have
come from families not previously connected with
political affairs. They come from families highly
placed in terms of money and position than political
IN THE PHILIPPINES
We have had a number of recorded dynasties in the
past 100 years or so.
1.The Josons of Nueva Ecija;
2.the Laurels, Rectos and Levistes of Batangas;
3.the Remullas and Revillas of Cavite;
4.the Dys and Albanos of Isabela;
5.the Osmeñas, Cuencos and Duranos of Cebu;
6.the Singsons of Ilocos Sur;
7.the Ortegas of La Union;
8. the Marcoses of Ilocos Norte;
9. the Espinosas of Masbate;
10. the Villafuertes of Bicol;
11. the Buluts of Apayao;
12. the Cuas of Quirino;
13. the Ejercito-Estradas of San Juan;
14. the Binays of Makati…
15. Cojuangco of Tarlac
Thick - simultaneous
Thin – successive
A “thin” dynasty is a political clan that only has two members
– like a father and son – swapping certain positions, as when
a mayor-father, at the end of his maximum three terms, lets
his son, who may also have reached his three-year term
either as vice mayor, councilor, provincial governor or vice
governor, running for each other’s position,
A fat dynasty monopolizing power is an
undesirable situation, as checks and balances
among elected officials in a certain local
government are difficult if they are all from one
In Maguindanao, the “fat” Ampatuan dynasty held
eight out of the 37 mayoralty posts in the
province’s 37 municipalities, Mendoza said.
This provision clearly prohibits the
existence of political dynasties in the country
to preclude equal access to public service
and the right of people to choose in the local
However, it is not self-executory, meaning
the provision needs an implementing law
before it can be applied.
The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the
Philippines: Article 2 - Declaration of
Principles and State Policies, Section 26
What is the proposal of the Congress
as of 16th
“A political dynasty exists when two or more individuals who
are related within the second degree of consanguinity(by
blood) or affinity hold or run for national or local office in
successive, simultaneous or overlapping terms,” the bill
it said that: “No spouse, or person, elevated within the
second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, whether
legitimate of illegitimate, full or half blood, to an
incumbent elective official seeking re-election shall be
allowed to hold to run for any local or national elective
office in the same election,”
There is no definite and decisive LAW until today (2016) that
mandates the unlawful stance of Political dynasty in the
Philippines thus, is an ethical issue that need to be address. It is
not the question of how many family members who will run or
who are in the political arena but how transparent they are in
the field of public service.
It is still vested in democratic government that those who are
qualified to run in office have both the right and the duty to be
elected, but at the end of the day the quandary is still the same ;
what is the effect of too much complacency and familiarity ?
The answer, (may or may not be) greed and abuse that leads to
It is within the power of suffrage, good substantive laws and
equal protection that can be the light to shed the doubt.
Are there good and bad dynasties?
Can political dynasty be minimized if not eradicated?
What is the real problem - family relations or family motivation?
Gualberto B. Lumauig (firstname.lastname@example.org) is past president of
the UST Philosophy and Letters Foundation and former
governor/congressman of Ifugao.