'Political dynasties' haunt party-list system

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 31 2012 08:37 PM | Updated as of Nov 01 2012 06:16 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes on Wednesday maintained his personal stand against party-list groups whose nominees come from the same family or clan.

He told radio dzMM that the subject is still up for debate among members of the commission en banc.

Brillantes said the next announcement of cancellations of party-list registration and denials of party-list applications will be made next week.

He hopes for the poll body to release all cancellations and denials by November 15 and publish the final list of those who are approved for participation in the May 2013 elections by end of November.

Brillantes also hopes that the Supreme Court can, by December, rule on the appeal of those whose registrations were cancelled and denied by the Comelec, in time for the configuration of PCOS machines in January.

He explained that should the groups get a restraining order from the high court, their names will be printed on the ballot and configured into the machines.

Based on a study by watchdog Kontra Daya of existing party list groups and new party-list applicants, the following were found to have nominees who are members of the same family or clan or are related to other officials in government.

Ang Mata'y Alagaan (AMA)

The first 3 nominees of the group all come from the family of Justice Presbitero Velasco. First nominee Lorna Velasco is his wife; second and third nominees Atty. Tricia Nicole Velasco-Catera and Vincent Michael Velasco are his children.

Justice Velasco's other son, Lord Allan Jay, is currently a congressman representing the lone district of Marinduque.

Alliance of Mindanao Elders

Its first nominee is Jorge L. Banal is the father of Quezon City Congressman Bolet Banal and an appointed acting member of the board of directors of the Poro Point Management Corporation (PPMC). Jorge L. Banal served as a Quezon City Councilor for 4 terms.

Abante Retirees Partylist Organization (ABANTE RETIREES)

First nominee, Plaridel M. Abaya, was previously a congressman representing the first district of Cavite from 1995 to 2005.

He is the father of former Cavite congressman and Transportation and Communications Secretary Jun Abaya.

Alliance of Organizations, Networks and Associations of the Philippines, Inc (ALONA)

First nominee Danilo Suarez Jr. is a son of Danilo Suarez Sr., who is on his 5th term as Quezon congressman. Suarez Sr. served as congressman from 1992-2001 and again 2004-2010, except in 2001-2004 when his wife Aleta was the congressman. Suarez, Sr. is also one of the richest members of Congress. His congressional CV not only lists his bill but his memberships in the Manila Yacht Club, Makati Sports Club, Puerto Azul Country Club, Manila Polo Club, and other activities. His business conglomerate extends to many fields.

Suarez, Jr.'s brother David Suarez is the governor of Quezon, while Donaldo Suarez is a board member of the province and president of the Provincial Councilors League.

Ilaw Ng Bayan (ILAW)

The father of its first nominee, Gerard Hilarion Ramiro, is former Rep. Hilarion Ramiro of the 2nd District of Misamis Occidental (1987 to 1995, 1998 to 2001). His mother is former Rep. Herminia Ramiro also of the 2nd District of Misamis Occidental (1995 to 1998; 2001 to 2010), who is currently the governor of the province of Misamis Occidental.

Alay Buhay Community Development Foundation, Inc. (ALAY BUHAY)

First nominee Weslie Gatchalian is a brother of Valenzuela Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian and Valenzuela Rep. Rex Gatchalian.

Ang National Coalition of Indigenous People's Action Na! Inc. (ANAC-IP)

The first nominee, Jose Panganiban Jr., is the current Vice-Mayor of Angandanan, Isabela. His wife is the mayor of Angandanan, Lourdes G. Segarra-Panganiban.

Bagong Henerasyon (BH)

The nominees are Bernadette Herrera-Dy and her husband, businessman Edgar Allan D. Dy.

Kabalikat ng Bayan sa Kaunlaran (KABAKA)

First nominee Amanda Christina L. Bagatsing belongs to a political family. Her father is Rep. Amado Bagatsing, who was congressman of the 5th District of Manila from 1987 to 1998, 2007 until present. Amado Bagatsing's brother, Ramon Jr., was also congressman of the 4th District of Manila from 1987 to 1998. Their father, and Amanda's grandfather, Ramon, was former and longest serving mayor of Manila (from 1971 to 1986) and also served as congressman of the 3rd District of Manila from 1957 to 1971.


Its representative, Sharon Garin, comes from a political family in Ioilo. Her brother Richard Garin is the vice governor of Iloilo whose wife is also a member of Congress, Janet Garin as representative of the 1st district. Her sister Christine Garin is the mayor of Guimbal Iloilo. Mother Nimfa Garin is mayor of San Joaquin.


The Abono party-list's two representatives are Robert Raymund Estrella and Franciso Ortega III, who come from the Estrella and Ortega political clans in Pangasinan and La Union. Their net worth for the year 2011 is P17.2 million (Ortega) and P12.597 million (Estrella), respectively.

First nominee for the 2013 elections, Conrado M. Estrella III, is a brother of the incumbent representative Estrella. Conrado served as the congressman for the 6th District of Pangasinan from 1987-1992 and from 2001 to 2010.

Erika Caitlin T. Dy is the former second nominee Agbiag! Timpuyog Ilocano, Inc. (AGBIAG) and now is the third nominee of Abono. Dy is also related to Isabela Governor Faustino Dy III.


Current Rep. Nasser Pangandaman, who was agrarian reform secretary, is the father of Marawi City Rep. Hossein Pangandaman.