Politics in Ilocos Sur: A Family Business




What is a political dynasty? A common meaning is the repeated election and re-election of close relatives with the same surname to offices in the local and national governments.

In  Ilocos Sur, 18 of the 33 municipailites or 54.54% is lorded over one family.

Most of the political dynasties are limited to a particular town or city, for instance, the Valles of Sta. Cruz, Hernaezes of Sta. Lucia, Buenos of Santa, Elaydos of San Esteban, Purisimas of San Ildefonso, Tadenas of Sto. Domingo, Mirandas of Santiago, Tabandas of San Vicente, Gironellas of Salcedo, Singsons of Vigan City, Candon City, Bantay and Caoayan, Favises of Magsingal, Zaragozas of Narvacan, Segundos of Lidlidda, Gaerlans of Sigay, Maggays of Cervantes, Quintons of Sugpon and Balingsats of Galimuyod.


Elections have yet to be concluded but 18 of the 32 mayors in Ilocos Sur are given assurance of another term since they are practically unopposed in their respective turfs. The unopposed mayoral bets are Eva Marie Medina (Vigan City), Dr. Ericson Singson (Candon City), Mar Ruel Sumabat (Alilem), Sammy Boy Parilla (Bantay), Germelina Goulart (Caoayan), Benjamin Maggay (Cervantes), Jessie Balingsat (Galimuyod), Clifford Patil-ao (Quirino), Leopoldo Gironella Jr. (Salcedo), Chester Elaydo (San Esteban), JJ Bueno (Santa), Mark Purisima (San Ildefonso), Teresita Valle (Sta. Cruz), Joseph Tabanda III (San Vicente), Amado Tadena (Sto. Domingo), Josefino Miranda (Santiago), Aries Gaerlan (Sigay), and Fernando Quiton (Sugpon).

Political dynasty members are seen to use their superior wealth, following and access to public resources to favour themselves. They attract their followers and keep them loyal with patronage.
                                            
The framers of our 1987 Constitution recognized the importance of maintaining a level playing field in political access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may defined by law. (Art. II. Sec. 26)

In Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur, the longtime mayor slides down to vice-mayor to elevate his wife as mayor. Husband and wife tandem in the town of San Vicente remained un-opposed for so many elections now.
In Vigan City, the incumbent mayor, a daughter of a one time governor and also the niece of a former governor and congressman, is seeking another term. In the coastal town of Santa, father and son control the political power. The towns of Sta. Lucia and Magsingal are dominated by mother and son tandem. Candon and Bantay towns are also controlled by the same political family.

In the provincial level, former Ilocos Sur Representative Ronald Singson is running for the position he vacated after he was convicted in Hong Kong for drug trafficking. Ronald resigned from his post in 2011 after he was sentenced to 1 year and 6 months imprisonment by a Hong Kong judge. He was replaced by younger brother, Ryan Luis, who is now running for governor to replace his father.

Relatives of the Singsons are also seeking posts in the 2nd district of Ilocos Sur, Caoayan town, and Vigan.

I write, I choose. I vehemently opposed political dynasty.

In principle, there is nothing wrong with political dynasties. In practice, however, its occurrence demonstrates the exclusionary power structure in the Philippines, where local leaders endure to exert considerable impact in our country. 

Political lordship became a secluded property and a family business. Election fraud tied with political cruelty has forced it to exist and persist. Anti-graft laws were selective, punishing only the small people while satisfying the powerful and influential people.

What is wrong with the awareness of political influence in the hands of a lone family at the local level is the damage of the system of checks-and-balances inherent in a democratic system.

Political supremacy owned and controlled by one family is barren of limpidity and culpability. It is a fertile ground of graft and corruption.

In a province where political ancestry is a crucial political asset, charisma-based or popularity-driven polls affect Ilocanos to vote for "trusted brands" - implants of famous clans.

People in economically depressed areas tend to vote for candidates from the same political clan.

The people’s freedom to select and their inherent power to change political governance have been conceded.

Do we need brother tandem? Do we need mother-and-son tandem? Do we need a one family children? Do we need the whole family of these names? Do we need 2 of each for congressional and local seats when there are 96 million people to be represented?

Representation system should be better spread out to all sectors of society so everybody can have fair share in representation.

The electors’ inaudible atrocity has abruptly been demonstrated by such political dereliction. It has become ostensible that they are out to criticize these candidates to show their frustration of the kind of despondent leadership these political figures are out to display. In polls, the punters are sovereign and should show their sovereignty by way of criticizing these kinds of aspirants. It is only by acting as one can we change the face of Philippine politics and bring back the splendor of our nation.


Author: Paul Michael Camania Jaramillo

Student| Youth Advocate | Leader | Environmental Advocate | Writer | Blogger | RH Advocate

I am neither especially clever nor especially gifted. I am only very, very curious. — Albert Einstein
I write about darkness because I want to show the light — Jose Rizal


He has been involved in different advocacy and defending human rights. As a blogger, writer, netizen and an advocate, he has found focus & interest on sexuality & reproductive health, deaf rights & legal access and youth development, leadership, environment advocacy, issues in the nation and in the world, religion, culture and human rights At the age of 14, he has fully embraced the call of leadership.

He was a Lussoc National High School 'The Sring' and 'Ang Batis' news editor. A radical visionary leader, he has led organizations of the Supreme Student Government, Science Club, Youth for Environment in Schools Organization, Interact Club, Math Club, Philippine National Red Cross and other organizations in their institution. He was also awarded as a distinguished student leader as a former officer of the Supreme Student Government and received President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Campus Journalism Award. He attended two National Leadership Training for the Student Government Officers, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, Youth for Environment Summer Camp, Science Leaders Congress and Schools Press Conference. Joined and won in the several contests from their school to the national level.

He is the organist and an officer of the Church of Christ (Iglesia Ni Cristo).

Paul is a BS Accountancy student at the Northwestern University. He works for CBAA Biznews and  The Blog of Innocence: SilentVoice Points. He is the College Editors Guild of the Philippines-Ilocos Chairperson. CEGP is the oldest and broadest intercollegiate alliance of student publications in the Asia-Pacific.


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