By GABRYELLE DUMALAG
with reports from Janess Ann J. Ellao
MANILA – The Marcoses’ return realized by Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s apparent presidential win based on unofficial count is not the only political family dynasty comeback the Philippines witnessed in the 2022 elections. Political dynasties that have been involved in many irregularities have successfully reclaimed seats in the local and national offices.
These include the Marcoses, the Dutertes, the Estradas, and former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. These families have openly endorsed the tandem of Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
“We cannot really say what they will do. But they will definitely support each other. They will seek to strengthen each other,” said Sr. Mary John Mananzan, a Benedictine nun and co-convenor of Movement Against Tyranny.
Based on the partial and unofficial results, Marcos Jr. is set to succeed strongman president Rodrigo Duterte as he surged past his rivals in the presidential race with over 31 million votes from 98.35 percent of election returns as of Thursday.
His running mate and daughter of the incumbent president also topped the vice presidential race with over 31 million votes as well.
Marcos Jr.’s son Sandro won as the 1st District representative of Ilocos Norte, while his nephew re-electionist Matthew Marcos Manotoc secured his seat as Ilocos Norte governor.
His sister Imee Marcos is also an incumbent senator.
Meanwhile, the cousins of Marcos Jr., Martin and Alfred Romualdez, are also poised to secure seats in Leyte based on the partial tallies.
Martin Romualdez, who served as House majority leader, is unopposed for another term as representative of Leyte’s first district. He has secured 180,806 votes, based on partial, unofficial results. He is reportedly being endorsed as House of Speaker, with Sandro supporting it.
His wife, Yedda, is also poised to return to the lower house after Tingog Party-list, of which she is a nominee, got 873, 475 or 2.42 percent of votes, based on partial, unofficial results. Philippine laws require at least two percent of partylist votes to get a seat in the House of Representatives.
Alfred Romualdez, another cousin of Marcos Jr., is poised for reelection as mayor of Tacloban, Leyte with 63,976.
Marcos Jr. and Duterte secured the support of their bailiwicks in Ilocos Norte and Davao City. The pair collected 356,221 and 342,554 in Ilocos Norte respectively.
Rights group Karapatan has called on the public to express their rejection of Marcos Jr. and Duterte as they lead the number of unofficial and partial votes as they represent “the worst brand of traditional politics and governance.”
Read: Reject Marcos Jr., Sara Duterte, rights group says
The rise of the Marcoses and the continued power of the Dutertes are accompanied by the rise of other once undignified political dynasties.
Dutertes of Davao City
The Duterte dynasty is expected to continue its reign in Davao City, which was earlier cemented by incumbent president Rodrigo Duterte, who served seven terms as mayor of Davao City spanning more than two decades.
His son and incumbent Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte now leads the mayoral race with 597,082 votes. Paolo Duterte, the eldest son of the president, also leads the race for Davao City’s 1st District Representative with 212,382 votes.
With the alliance between the two political families, the city delivered 624,357 votes and 660,977 votes for Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte, respectively.
In a recent pronouncement, Marcos Jr.’s camp said Sara, as presumptive vice president-elect, is slated to be education secretary. Sr. Mananzan said this poses dangers to young Filipinos, especially since education plays a big part in honing their consciousness. This, she added, can pave way for the distortion of the country’s history.
Read: ‘Purging of books is an attack on academic freedom’
“They started by removing supposed subversive books from universities. Soon they may be asked to remove materials that remind us of Martial Law,” Sr. Mananzan.
Arroyo in Pampanga
In the province of Pampanga, former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has been proclaimed as its second district representative where she ran unopposed with 233,042 votes.
Arroyo, who was embroiled with plunder and electoral sabotage cases, officially endorsed the tandem of Marcos Jr. and Duterte on April 5. She predicted a “landslide victory” for the pair in Pampanga.
Read: Progressive groups protest Arroyo release, blame Aquino for filing weak case
Marcos Jr. secured 735,245 votes while Duterte secured 628,233 votes in the province. Pampanga is the 10th most vote-rich province with 1.58 million voters.
Estradas in the Senate
The Estradas, another political dynasty involved in plunder and graft charges, also reclaimed seats in the national level.
Siblings JV Ejercito and Jinggoy Estrada, sons of former President Joseph Estrada, secured their seats in the Senate. Ejercito is in 10th place with 15,688,642 votes while Estrada is in 12th with 14,966,847 votes, as of May 12.
Estrada belongs in Marcos Jr.’s senatorial slate while Ejercito attended sorties and rallies of different presidential candidates including Marcos Jr., Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko” Domagoso, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and Senator Manny Pacquiao.
Estrada was among the senators arrested over the pork barrel scam in 2014. He was detained for three years until he was granted bail in September 2017. But he still faces plunder and graft charges in connection with the pork barrel scam.
In their home city, San Juan, Ejercito emerged as the top senatorial candidate while Estrada placed 14th. Both siblings had served as San Juan City mayor.
Read: All set for Independence Day protests vs pork scam, suspected coverup
The tandem won in San Juan City with Marcos Jr. and Duterte getting 42,636 and 42,499, respectively.
What can people do?
In an interview, Sr. Mananzan said that the wins of these political families and their allies show that in the next six years, there will be a lack if not an absence of traditional political opposition in a country that is supposedly a democracy.
This, she said, can be seen in the winning senatorial slate, where only one known opposition senator, and the progressive partylists lagging behind the elections, which she attributed to disinformation campaigns and red-tagging.
‘But the opposition can come from the people,” she said. (RVO)