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Pedigree Politics

Pedigree Politics

Jan 14, 2012

Pedigree Politics: Why I Am Not Voting for Noynoy

By Carmina Flores-Obanil


“I accept the plea of the people. I accept the advice of my parents… I accept the responsibility to continue the fight for the people. I accept the challenge to lead in this fight. I will run in the coming elections.”
Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino
Announcement of Aquino’s presidential bid for 2010

The Ampatuan Massacre brought to fore a lot of issues on Philippine politics. But most significantly it emphasized how the continuing reign of certain political families in their respective areas breed too much power in the hands of a few. How this power corrupts and how this power results in impunity has been demonstrated by this shocking event, stressing the need to condemn and consistently challenge such conditions and power relations.

For me, the massacre also reflects one of the big reasons why I am not convinced that Noynoy Aquino should be President. Well, not yet anyway.

Dominated by Clans

For generations, a few prominent and wealthy families have dominated politics in the Philippines, and given the roster of candidates that have risen so far, the 2010 elections will only show that the situation has not changed. In almost all of the provinces and cities, political clans have lorded over their respective bailiwicks, with new names emerging but only to establish their own dominance once they have ousted the ruling family. (Please see below the list of political clans in the Philippines.)


List of Political Clans in the Philippines[i]

Political Families Province Political Families Province
Abad Clan Batanes Ledesma Clan Negros Occidental
Abalos Clan Mandaluyong City Lerias Clan Southern Leyte
Abaya Clan Cavite Leviste Clan Batangas
Abduraham Clan Tawi-Tawi Libanan Clan Eastern Samar
Acosta Clan Bukidnon Ligo Clan Sultan Kudarat
Adaza Clan Misamis Oriental Locsin Clan Negros Occidental
Adiong Clan Maguindanao Lobregat Clan Zamboanga City
Aganon Clan Nueva Ecija Loong Clan Sulu
Agbayani Clan Pangasinan Lopez Clan Iloilo
Akbar Clan Basilan Loreto Clan Leyte
Albani Clan Tawi-Tawi Lucman Clan Lanao del Sur
Albano Clan Isabela Luna Clan Abra
Alberto Clan Catanduanes Maamo Clan Southern Leyte
Alfelor Clan Camarines Sur Macapagal Clan Pampanga
Almario Clan Davao Oriental Macias Clan Negros Oriental
Amante Clan Agusan del Norte Madrigal Clan Manila
Amatong Clan Compostela Valley Maganto Clan Bulacan
Ampao Clan Basilan Magsaysay Clan Zambales
Ampatuan Clan Maguindanao Malanyaon Clan Davao Oriental
Andaya Clan Oriental Mindoro Malinas Clan Mountain Province
Angara Clan Aurora Mandanas Clan Batangas
Angkanan Clan Sultan Kudarat Mangudadato Clan Maguindanao
Anni Clan Sulu Marañon Clan Negros Occidental
Antonino Clan General Santos Marasigan Clan Oriental Mindoro
Apostol Clan Leyte Marcos Clan Ilocos Norte
Aquino Clan Tarlac Martinez Clan Cebu
Armada Clan Iloilo Matalam Clan Cotabato
Arroyo Clan Camarines Sur, Pampanga, Negros Occidental Matba Clan Tawi-Tawi
Asistio Clan Caloocan Mathay Clan Quezon City
Astorga Clan Leyte Matugas Clan Surigao del Norte
Atienza Clan Manila Mayaen Clan Mountain Province
Aumentado Clan Bohol Mayo Clan Batangas
Bacani Clan Manila Mendiola Clan Occidental Mindoro
Bacani Clan Quirino Mercado Clan Leyte
Bagatsing Clan Manila Miranda Clan Isabela
Balanquit Clan Northern Samar Misuari Clan Sulu
Barbers Clan Surigao del Norte, Surigao City Mitra Clan Palawan
Barroso Clan South Cotabato Molinas Clan Benguet
Baterina Clan Ilocos Sur Montelibano Clan Negros Occidental
Belmonte Clan Quezon City Montilla Clan Sultan Kudarat
Belo Clan Capiz Moreno Clan Misamis Oriental
Biazon Clan Muntinlupa City Mutilan Clan Lanao del Sur
Bichara Clan Albay Navarro Clan Surigao del Norte
Binay Clan Makati City Nepomuceno Clan Pampanga
Bondoc Clan Pampanga Nisce Clan La Union
Brawner Clan Ifugao Ocampo Clan Misamis Occidental
Bulut Clan Apayao Olivarez Clan Laguna
Cabacang Clan Northern Samar Olvis Clan Zamboanga del Norte
Caballero Clan Compostela Valley Ople Clan Bulacan
Cainglet Clan Zamboanga City Ortega Clan La Union
Calingin Clan Misamis Oriental Osmeña Clan Cebu
Calizo Clan Aklan Ouano Clan Cebu
Calo Clan Butuan City Padilla Clan Camarines Norte
Calumpang Clan Negros Oriental Pagdanganan Clan Bulacan
Candao Clan Shariff Kabunsuan Pajarillo Clan  
Cappleman Clan Ifugao Palma-Gil Clan Davao Oriental
Carag Clan Cagayan Pancho Clan Northern Samar
Cari Clan Leyte Paras Clan Negros Oriental
Carloto Clan Zamboanga del Norte Paredes Clan Abra
Catane Clan Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga del Norte Parojinog Clan Misamis Occidental
Cayetano Clan Taguig Pasificador Clan Antique
Celera Clan Masbate Paylaga Clan Misamis Occidental
Chiongbian Clan Sarangani, Cebu, Misamis Occidental Payumo Clan Bataan
Clarete Clan Misamis Occidental Pelaez Clan Misamis Oriental
Claver Clan Mountain Province Pelegrino Clan Bohol
Climaco Clan Zamboanga City Perez Clan Pangasinan
Crisologo Clan Ilocos Sur, Quezon City Petilla Clan Leyte
Cojuangco Clan Tarlac Pichay Clan Surigao del Sur
Corvera Clan Agusan del Norte Pimentel Clan Surigao del Sur
Cosalan Clan Benguet Pineda Clan Pampanga
Cua Clan Quirino Plaza Clan Agusan
Cuenco Clan Cebu Ponce de Leon Clan Palawan
Cuneta Clan Pasay City Publico Clan Sultan Kudarat
Cupin Clan Agusan del Norte Puno Clan Rizal
Dalog Clan Mountain Province Punzalan Clan Quezon
Dalwasen Clan Apayao Rabat Clan Davao Oriental
Dangwa Clan Benguet Rama Clan Agusan del Norte
David Clan   Ramiro Clan Misamis Occidental
Daza Clan Northern Samar Raquiza Clan Ilocos Sur
Defensor Clan Iloilo Real Clan Zamboanga City
Delfin Clan Antique Recto Clan Batangas
De La Cruz Clan Bulacan Redaja Clan Western Samar
De Leon Clan Misamis Oriental Remulla Clan Cavite
De Venecia Clan Pangasinan Relampagos Clan Bohol
Del Rosario Clan Davao del Norte Rengel Clan Bohol
Diaz Clan Nueva Ecija Revilla Clan Cavite
Dilangalen Clan Shariff Kabunsuan Reyes Clan Marinduque
Dimaporo Clan Lanao del Norte Reymundo Clan Pasig City
Dominguez Clan Mountain Province Reyno Clan Cagayan
Dominguez-Alcantara Clan Sarangani, Davao del Sur Robredo Clan Camarines Sur
Duavit Clan Rizal Romualdo Clan Camiguin
Dumpit Clan La Union Rono Clan Western Samar
Dupaya Clan Cagayan Roqueros Clan Bulacan
Durano Clan Cebu Roxas Clan Capiz
Duterte Clan Davao City Rodriguez Clan Rizal
Dy Clan Isabela Sahidulla Clan Sulu
Ecleo Clan Dinagat Islands Salazar Clan Eastern Samar
Emano Clan Misamis Oriental Salceda Clan Albay
Enrile Clan Cagayan Sali Clan Tawi-Tawi
Enverga Clan Quezon Salipudin Clan Basilan
Ermita Clan Batangas San Luis Clan Laguna
Escudero Clan Sorsogon Sanchez Clan Cebu
Espina Clan Biliran Sandoval Clan Malabon, Navotas, Palawan
Espino Clan Pangasinan Sarmiento Clan Bulacan
Espinosa Clan Masbate Sering Clan Surigao del Norte
Estrella Clan Pangasinan Silverio Clan Bulacan
Estrada Clan San Juan City Singson Clan Ilocos Sur
Eusebio Clan Pasig City Sinsuat Clan Shariff Kabunsuan
Famor Clan Zamboanga Sibugay Siquian Clan Isabela
Fernandez Clan Pangasinan Soliva Clan Agusan del Norte
Fernando Clan   Sotto Clan Leyte
Figueroa Clan Samar Sulpicio/Tupas Clan Iloilo
Floriendo Clan Davao Sumulong Clan Rizal
Fresnedi Clan Muntinlupa City Tañada Clan Aurora, Quezon
Frivaldo Clan Sorsogon Tanjuatco Clan Rizal
Fuentebella Clan Camarines Sur Tatad Clan Catanduanes
Garcia Clan Cebu Tan Clan Samar, Southern Leyte
Garcia Clan Palawan Tanco Clan Capiz
Garin Clan Iloilo Tolentino Clan Tagaytay
Gentuyaga Clan Compostela Valley Teves Clan Negros Oriental
Gordon Clan Olongapo City Trinidad Clan Compostela Valley
Guiao Clan Pampanga Ty Clan  
Guingona Clan Bukidnon Umali Clan Nueva Ecija
Herrera Clan Bohol Valentino Clan Marikina City
Henson Clan   Valera Clan Abra
Hofer Clan Zamboanga Sibugay Velasco Clan Western Samar
Imperial Clan Albay Veloso Clan Leyte
Jalosjos Clan Zamboanga del Norte Verceles Clan Catanduanes
Javier Clan Antique Villanueva Clan Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental
Joaquin Clan   Villar Clan Las Pinas, Pangasinan
Joson Clan Nueva Ecija Villafuerte Clan Camarines Sur
Kintanar Clan Cebu Villareal Clan Capiz
Lacbain Clan Zambales Villaroza Clan Occidental Mindoro
Lacson Clan Negros Occidental Violago Clan Nueva Ecija
Lagman Clan Albay Yap Clan Tarlac
Lapid Clan Pampanga Yebes Clan Zamboanga del Norte
Larrazabal Clan Leyte Yulo Clan Laguna, Negros Occidental
Laurel Clan Batangas Ynares Clan Rizal
Lavin Clan Northern Samar Yniguez Clan Leyte
Lazaro Clan Laguna Zubiri Clan Bukidnon
Lazatin Clan      

These political clans have persisted despite the express prohibition against political dynasties in the 1987 Constitution.

“The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.” Article 2 – Declaration of Principles and State Policies, Sec.26.

A Cojuangco and an Aquino

Noynoy Aquino, of course, comes from a very prominent political family. A Cojuangco on his mother’s side and an Aquino on his father’s side, Noynoy is probably the best example of a political scion, belonging to powerful clans that have been in politics for as long as we can remember. In fact, for the 2010 elections, Noynoy’s main contender, the administration’s bet, Gilbert  “Gibo” Teodoro, is also his  cousin from the Cojuagnco side. Noynoy, and Gibo, are also nephews of Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, the key, ‘king-maker’ power behind the Nationalist Peoples Coalition (NPC). (NPC is the same party, which was said to be initially supportive of Francis “Chiz” Escudero’s erstwhile bid for the presidency.)

When President Corazon Aquino died, I was almost sure, but half-afraid, that Noynoy would run for president. I was half-afraid that the dissatisfaction of the Filipino people with the current administration would be contrasted with the overwhelming love and support that poured out for the late President Cory Aquino; That it would trigger not only a comparison between the late President Aquino and President Arroyo; That in a country so disgusted with the corruption, a country clamoring for change, people would latch on to the idea that only another Aquino could turn this country around.
And I was not wrong.

After Kris Aquino’s eulogy for President Cory Aquino saying that she and Noynoy are in a position to continue their parents’ struggle and legacy, the deal was virtually sealed.  The day after Cory’s funeral mass, the draft for Noynoy as President has started. Within a couple of weeks, Noynoy indeed announced his presidential bid.

Game Changer

For weeks, Noynoy’s candidacy was the hot topic, only eclipsed later on by the Ondoy and Pepeng tragedies. “Noynoy fever” took hold of everyone. People from all walks of life, surprisingly even those considered already jaded in politics, even progressives and activists, are suddenly endorsing Noynoy’s bid for the presidency and jumping into the Noynoy for president bandwagon.

Columnist Alex Magno called Nonoy Aquino a “game changer.” And indeed Noynoy’s sudden foray into the presidential election has changed the whole May 2010 election scenario.  For one, a lot of people voluntarily shelved their ambitions for presidency. Senator Mar Roxas, Pampanga Gov. Among Ed Panlilio, Isabela Governor Grace Padaca, are but a few of those whose names have been pitched for the presidency but who have decided to back out and give way to Noynoy’s candidacy.  For those who are still running, Noynoy’s candidacy meant reviewing the campaigns they have waged so far and upping their own ante to counter what can only be described as an avalanche of support for Noynoy’s bid.

It did not help that the poll surveys (also fueled perhaps by the sudden withdrawal of Senator Mar Roxas who was originally the Liberal Party’s standard bearer for the 2010 presidential race) had Noynoy Aquino surging ahead with a 51 percent lead against other known presidential wannabes. In a Social Weather Station’s poll on Sept. 5-6, Noynoy’s 50 percent ratings reduced that of Sen. Manuel Villar to a mere 14 percent, former President Joseph Estrada to 13 percent, Sen. Francis Escudero to 12 percent, and Vice President Noli de Castro to 7 percent. Accordingly, the polling was done in Metro Manila, Pangasinan, Central Luzon and Calabarzon where 40 percent of registered voters are located. These poll surveys in fact caused shock waves, and as mentioned above forced other political parties to review their own roster of possible candidates and for the other undeclared but known presidential aspirants to reassess their campaigns.

Pedigree Politics

Unfortunately many of those who have jumped the Noynoy bandwagon seemed to have swept the term credentials i.e. competence, track record, under the rug.  A blog I read  even suggested that Noynoy’s candidacy should not be a question of competence but more of values, integrity, preservation of democracy, and the fact that Noynoy has no ambition and intention to remain in power should he become President.

But there’s the rub. Except for the fact that Noynoy comes from a perfect background, supposedly in the best position to continue the fight started by his parents, Noynoy has yet to offer a coherent platform that will mark him as a serious candidate.

In fact, the articles describing his presidential bid as “rising from the shadows” or “out of the shadow of his mother” are apt. He has always lived in the shadow of his more illustrious parents, Ninoy and Cory Aquino. After President Cory Aquino died, and the idea of having Noynoy run for the presidency has been pitched, a text message made the rounds saying that “even at death, Cory Aquino made sure that she will leave a legacy for her son.” And it is indeed a legacy, Cory Aquino’s death and the commemoration of Ninoy Aquino’s death last August made people long for democracy, made people remember EDSA 1, made people see Noynoy for the first time, even though he has actually been around in politics longer.

Noynoy has served three-terms in Congress and one-term in the Senate.  Except for his opposition to the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), he hardly made waves during his congressional and senatorial stint. Per record, he has authored nine (9) bills which tackle government procurement and corruption, human rights, worker’s rights and benefits and presidential appointees. But he hasn’t supported other equally crucial policies like the CARP Extension with Reforms (CARPER) bill.

In fact a lot of farmer’s groups, and advocates of agrarian reform and rural development, are still grappling with, or even opposing, Noynoy’s bid, precisely because of his abstention in CARPER and his not-so acceptable response on how to resolve the issue of Hacienda Luisita. I do not agree with veteran analyst Amado Doronilla’s praise that “he (Noynoy) has grabbed the bull by the horns of a social issue—the Hacienda Luisita issue.”

Noynoy’s statement was that the “Cojuangco-Aquino family was “beginning to think” of “leaving” the 6,400-hectare estate because of losses resulting from continuing labor dispute.”  Personally, I don’t see this as an acceptable resolution to the Hacienda Luisita issue. Rather than saying this, Noynoy should issue a statement on distributing Hacienda Luisita under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), declaring that he will do what it takes to convince his family and see this process through. This is what ‘grabbing the bull by the horns’ calls for.

There are a few who are arguing that the issue of competence is not an issue in this election but rather the preservation of democracy, integrity, honesty in governance and unselfish dedication to the people. I do not agree. The above-mentioned values are indeed important but competence is a big issue that Noynoy must address.  After all, Noynoy is no novice when it comes to politics, as aptly pointed out by political analyst Randy David.

With just a few months left before the actual elections, Noynoy Aquino must prove his own worth. Beyond his pedigree and the legacy left by his parents, he must be able to declare what he stands for, what he would fight for, what his programs are, etc.

Probably, then, I can convince myself to vote for him. Of course, my being an Iglesia ni Cristo (and our bloc-voting behavior) is another crucial element whether or not Noynoy will get my vote. But that, I think, calls for another musing.

http://en.wikipilipinas.org/index.php?title=Political_Dynasties Table on Political Families, accessed 7 December 2009.
Reference (from WIKIPILIPINAS)

Sheila Coronel. ‘The seven M’s of dynasty buidling’. Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. March 14, 2007
Julio Teehankee. ‘And the clans play on’. Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. March 7, 2007
Elmer Ordonez. ‘Political dynasties and clan alliances’. The Manila Times. May 13, 2007
Isagani Cruz. ‘End political dynasties’. Philippine Daily Inquirer. April 28, 2007
Mio Cusi. ‘Political dynasties a quirk of democracy’. The Manila Times. March 8, 2004
‘Antonio J. Montalvan II’. Dynasty on their mind. Philippine Daily Inquirer. April 9, 2007
Efren L. Danao . ‘Dynasty’ definition a poser to the House. The Manila Times. November 13, 2006
“List of Names Considered Part of the Political Dynasty by Roger Olivares.”(accessed on December 18, 2007).
“Family Ties.” (accessed on December 20, 2007).
Mga Diskurso ni Doy Part I: Listahan ng mga Political Clan mula Appari-Jolo (accessed December 26, 2007).
Mga Diskurso ni Doy Part II: Malulupit na Political Clan ng Visayas (accessed December 26, 2007).
Mga Diskurso ni Doy Part III: Mga Astig at Palabang Political Clan ng Mindanao (accessed December 26, 2007).
Iloilo: A Deluge of Candidates and Musical Chairs (accessed January 2, 2008).
Clans still rule in 14th House but fewer in ranks (accessed January 4, 2008).
More young reps in but old bunch still in House (accessed January 4, 2008).
Sunstar – Clan politics rules in Pangasinan polls (accessed January 4, 2008).
The Politics of Malabon: Political Clans That Span The Seas and Other Stories by Aya Fabros, IPD Democracy Watch, posted April 29, 2004 (accessed January 4, 2008).

 (Published in: Focus on the Philippines December 2009, http://focusweb.org/oldphilippines/content/blogsection/8/6/9/9/)

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