Defeat of Dynasties: A More Critical Look

Screengrab from ABS-CBN News’ YouTube channel.

CHEERS TO ABS-CBN 2’s TV Patrol for a critical look into the defeat of some local dynasties.  

In a May 17 report, TV Patrol noted that political dynasties come and go and in most cases are only replaced by new ones. The newscast took off from the victories of several candidates over political dynasties in Metro Manila.

The mid-term polls saw the Ejercitos in San Juan and the Eusebios in Pasig losing their decades-long dominance in those cities. Former President Joseph Estrada lost his mayoralty bid in Manila to Isko Moreno. In Pasig, re-electionist Bobby Eusebio lost to Vico Sotto. In San Juan, Francis Zamora defeated an Ejercito’s mayoralty bid.

In the report, Ateneo School of Government Dean Ronald Mendoza warned that the public must be watchful of emerging dynasties. “You can put a dynasty there and they will essentially become the monster they replaced, particularly if they have dynastic tendencies,” Mendoza said.

The report mentioned the case of former Vice President Jejomar Binay as an example. Former human rights lawyer Binay was appointed Makati’s officer-in-charge in 1986. He used that post to establish the Binay dynasty which still rules the city to this day. Mendoza said it is important for voters to determine if their elected officials are fulfilling their promises or not, and if they are just using their posts to establish dynasties.

The report could have further illustrated family ties of some of the winners: Vico Sotto is related to Senate President Vicente Sotto III who is the father of Gian Sotto, newly-elected vice mayor of Quezon City. San Juan’s Mayor-elect Francis Zamora is son of Ronaldo Zamora, who was re-elected as the representative of city’s lone district. It would have supported Mendoza’s idea that the defeat of long-standing political families does not necessarily prevent its replacement by new ones.

These local results, particularly the victories over established names, were reported largely as success stories. Hopefully, journalists will follow up on this political narrative; checking whether the election of the new proves to be real change, or will be shown up only as the rotation of political rivals.