Political Families Have Much to Celebrate After Philippine Elections

In the Philippines, a political family that runs together, wins big together.

Former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos, with her children Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., right, and daughter Irene Marcos-Araneta, left, fill in ballots on Monday in the country’s midterm elections.

And among them, the family of Vice President Jejomar Binay appears the biggest winner after Monday’s midterm elections.  Mr. Binay wasn’t running in the elections. But two of his daughters were vying for seats in the Philippine Congress: Nancy, for a seat in the Senate, while Abigail sought re-election as Makati representative.  Mr. Binay’s son and namesake, Jejomar Jr., sought a second-term as mayor of Makati, the position that his father last held before winning the vice presidency.

Both Jejomar Jr. and Abigail Binay won re-election by landslides, while Nancy came in fifth among the top vote-getters for the 12 seats up for grabs in the Senate.

The family of the late President Ferdinand Marcos also continued to dominate politics in his home province of Ilocos Norte. His 83-year-old widow Imelda won another term as congresswoman by a landslide and his eldest daughter, Imee, won after running unopposed as governor of the province some 480 kilometers north of Manila. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was elected senator in 2010 and won’t be up for re-election until 2016. Before he was elected as senator, he served as congressman and governor of Ilocos Norte, positions now held by his mother and sister, respectively.

In the south, boxing superstar Emmanuel “Pacman” Pacquiao will comfortably win a second term as representative of the lone congressional district of the province of Sarangani. His wife,  Marie Geraldine, better known as Jinkee, a political neophyte, is leading her rival to the post of vice governor of Sarangani. Roel Pacquiao, the youngest brother of the congressman, is seeking a congressional seat in the first district of South Cotabato.

Roel Pacquiao, the youngest brother of the congressman who was himself running for a congressional seat in the first district of South Cotabato, trails his rival.

Joseph Estrada won as mayor of Manila more than 12 years after being removed from the presidency by a popular uprising. Another son of Mr. Estrada, Joseph Victor, ran for a seat in the Senate and is among the 12 that will serve for six years until 2019. The mother of Joseph Victor won re-election bid as mayor of San Juan, the position that Mr. Estrada first held when he entered politics in 1967. The new mayor of Manila’s nephew, Emilio Ramon Ejercito, won a re-election bid as governor of Laguna, a neighboring province of Manila. Another son, Jose, is an incumbent senator.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano is also in the top four spots in the preliminary count in the Senate race while his wife, Lani, is set to win a second term as mayor of Taguig City. A brother, Lino, is running as congressional district in Taguig City and is leading the count. Pia Cayetano is an incumbent senator, whose term ends in 2016.

Not everyone with a famous family name is a sure winner. Jack Enrile, son of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, is ranked 16th in the race for the Senate. Only the first 12 top vote-getters will win a six-year term.

A study by the Center for People Empowerment in Governance, a local public policy center founded in 2004, showed that 160 families have continuously served both houses of Congress from 1907 to 2004. After the 2010 elections, the policy center found that political dynasties have thrived and their membership even increased.


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