Dynasties, old fogeys crumble in 2019 polls

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THE FALL of political dynasties in the 2019 elections is a ray of hope for Philippine politics, experts said.

Dennis Coronacion, chairman of the UST Political Science department, said the decline of several clans in local politics came to him as a shock.

“It is really a surprise, it has given me a renewed sense of purpose as a member of the academe–there’s still hope[for Philippine politics],” he told the Varsitarian.

In Metro Manila, former vice president Jejomar Binay,whose political stronghold is Makati, lost to Kid Peña for a congressional seat. Binay told reporters just few days before the elections that he knew he had the victory in the bag.

In Manila and San Juan, the Ejercito-Estrada clan lost in its own bailiwick after a 48-year rule.

The family patriarch, former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada, a convicted plunderer, was dethroned as mayor of the Philippine capital, even losing in his own barangay. His niece, Jerika, lost in her bid for a council seat in Manila’s fourth district.

In San Juan, where Erap’s political career began in 1969 as mayor, Francis Zamora defeated Janella Ejercito Estrada for the city’s mayoralty race.

The Eusebios of Pasig ended their 27-year dominance after losing to a newbie in the political scene, Vico Sotto.

Outside Metro Manila, the Magsaysays’ reign in Zambales crumbled as they lost congressional, council and vice mayoral seats.

Leyte’s Codilla clan toppled as it lost its 27-year-old grip to another familiar name in Leyte politics–the Torres-Gomezfamily.

In Cebu’s fifth district, the 70-year-old reign of the Duranosended, with the election of 38-year-old Duke Frasco.

Thirst for new blood

For Froilan Calilung, who teaches at the Faculty of Arts and Letters, new names triumphed in the local arena because of the public’s demand for new ideas on the table.

People are demanding something new, something different, something fresh,” he told the Varsitarian.

Political saturation, Calilung said, was also the reason for the fall of old names in the local elections.

“When you look at the dynamics, the incumbents rely on their track record, while the newcomers rely on their political promises,” Calilung said.

Coronacion said the tides turned because of the electorate’s dissatisfaction with the way old problems plaguing the cities were addressed by old politicians.

“The bigger reason why those voters did not vote for the members of the dynasties is because of their disappointment. To a large extent it is because of their frustration,” he said.

Replaced, not removed

Edwin Martin, political science professor, said political dynasties have not been completely removed but were merely replaced. He emphasized that the old names were replaced because of “leadership fatigue.”

“Well, itong mga political dynasty they have been long entrenched in their respective areas so, ang nangyari they have been complacent already na ‘hindi na kami magtrabaho anyway kami naman ‘yong lalabas dyan,’” Martin said.

Martin said the complacency of political clans cost them their seats as people clung to the new promises of budding politicians.

Castillo warned, however, that the election of new politicians was not necessarily a good thing.

“Having somebody newly elected doesn’t mean that there’s going to be good change,” he said.

Old dogs, old tricks

Despite a win for new names in the local elections, some political clans remained victorious in provinces and in their respective districts.

The “Solid North” of Ilocos Norte elected another Marcos; Matthew Marcos-Manotoc is the new provincial governor, replacing his mother, former governor Imee Marcos who won a Senate seat.

Ilocos Norte’s vice governor and second district representative posts were also won by the Marcoses.

The Pineda clan of Pampanga retained power as itsecured the gubernatorial and vicegubernatorial posts. The Yap family of Tarlac remained in power as reelectionist bets won the gubernatorial and congressional posts.

In Revilla bailiwick Bacoor, Cavite, Lani Mercado-Revilla, wife of senatorial bet Bong Revilla, triumphed as town mayor. The Senate bet, however, was not the top choice in the senatorial race in his own bailiwick, landing in the bottom 12 in Cavite. In December 2018, Revilla was acquitted of plunder but is still facing cases for 16 counts of graft for alleged Priority Development Assistance Fund kickbacks.

In Las Piñas, the Villars’ grip tightened as Senator-electCynthia Villar and former senator Manny Villar’s daughter Camille Villar won a congressional seat.

The two-decade hold of the the Zubiri clan over Bukidnon continued as Jose Maria Zubiri Jr. won his third gubernatorial term. His son Manuel Zubiri won a congressional seat, after running unopposed.

In Davao, the Dutertes remained unscathed as siblings Sara Duterte and Sebastian “Baste” Duterte filled the mayoral and vice mayoral seats, respectively. Controversy-marred presidential son Paolo Duterte won the congressional seat of the first district of Davao.

Coronacion said some dynasties continue to proliferate because of their resourcefulness and creativity.

“They are resilient, they can be toppled down but they can also go back to power. They’re very resourceful, very creative, so sooner or later you’d find them back in power again,” he said.

Martin said the prominence of political dynasties in the country is a “culturally entrenched” problem as Filipinos can be resistant to change because to traditional mindsets.

Kapag sinabi mo sa Pilipino na ito ‘yong makabago, ito yung magandang sundin natin ngayon, hindi sila naniniwala. Siguro dahil ayaw nilang mabago yung nakaugalian nila,” he said.

For Calilung, political dynasties should not always be seen in a negative point of view.

“We have to understand that there are some political dynasties that are seen as good at performingthey are much into the level of performance, talagang makikita mo siya,” he said.

This level of performance, according to Calilung, is the reason why voters still root for familiar names as they fear losing a “working system” already established by political clans.

Nandoon ‘yong inherent fear among [voters] that if they try somebody else, or somebody new… what they are actually experiencing right now may no longer be given to them,” he said. with reports from Job Anthony R. Manahan

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