Political Dynasties Reign in the Philippines

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A Reflection on Philippine Politics
“Political Dynasties Reign in the Philippines”

According to Renaldo Mendoza, executive director of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Policy Center, “political dynasties continue to monopolize political power in many local governments like provinces, municipalities and cities nationwide, and categorized current reigning political clans as “fat” or “thin” dynasties.” Mendoza said “fat” dynasties are political families that have several members holding elective positions in a certain local government for three years. 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, he added. In Maguindanao, the “fat” Ampatuan dynasty held eight out of the 37 mayoralty posts in the province’s 37 municipalities, Mendoza said. Other provinces with a big number of fat dynasties include Apayao province, Dinagat Islands, Siquijor and Sulu.

Mendoza, however, said the Philippines was not alone in having the problem of political dynasty. “We’re not the only ones with this particular phenomenon,” he said. “Let’s not beat ourselves up because of it.” Mendoza said other Asia countries have recently seen dynasties, but thin ones, holding power, as he cited the case of Thailand where a sister of deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck, was voted into the post; North Korea where a son of Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un, succeeded the strongman; Rahul Gandhi of the Gandhi political dynasty eyed to be a prime minister; South Korea where the first female elected president Park Geun-hye is a daughter of former president Park Chung-hee.

So, when did political dynasties start? According to Enrile, political dynasties existed since the beginning of...
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