By: Jocelle Osana G. Dela Cruz
In life, there are things we have that no matter what happen we’re not gonna let anything nor anyone take it away from us;. We even do anything and everything just to hold on those things, it’s either because it makes us happy or because we get something out of it… and who’s good on this craft??? Of course a politician!!
A politician would take all the risk and win all the chances just to gain popularity and obviously to possess power that would put them on the top of the pedestal. And that’s the reason why there is a rampant dynasty not only in the Philippines but all over the world.
Well, I’m not really familiar with the entire political dynasty here in our country but there’s this clan that really capture my attention. I don’t know if it really is a dynasty because their family has been in the power for almost six decades or should I call it a legacy because they put a new definition to the word dynasty.
What I’m talking about is the Joson Clan of Nueva Ecija. Their political control in Nueva Ecija started when Eduardo L. “Tatang” Joson founded their provincial political party –BALANE (Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija)in 1987, and serve his term as a governor from 1965-1992. Woaw! That’s already 27 years!! Novo Ecijaños must have loved him that much for letting him served that long. I remember my mom telling me how good Tatang was (Well, as you must know, my family’s province is Nueva Ecija). “Nako! Kapag si tatang ang tumatakbo kahit walang campaign paraphernalia, nanalo sya! Tao pa nga ang nangangampanya para sa kanya eh!” –my mom boastfully described.
When Tatang Joson died in 1992, his son Eduardo Tomas “Tommy” Noriel Joson succeeded his term and run for gubernatorial election. Tommy served the land of Nueva Ecija from 1992-2007
Joson Clan continued its political control over the place when Eduardo Nonato “Edno” Noriel Joson became a Representative of the 1st District of Nueva Ecija and his brother Mariano Cristino “Boyet” Noriel Joson was elected as Mayor of Quezon, Nueva Ecija and as Vice Governor from 2004-2007. Another Joson –Eduardo Danding Joson is a former Vice Mayor of Cabanatuan City from 1986-1990. The legacy doesn’t stop around the circle of the full-blooded Josons because Josie Manuel-Joson, wife of Boyet also became a Congresswoman of 1st District of Nueva Ecija.
The magic continues when Edward Thomas Filart-Joson, grandson of tatang try his luck and won the Vice gubernatorial election last 2007. One more Joson won as Mayor of Quezon, Nueva Ecija.
As you can see, there is no denying that Joson really have something in them. I kept asking myself what it could be. Are they like mushroom that pops from nowhere? I don’t know. I have no idea!! But as I continue searching for the answer, I end up having 7M’s in my mind that must have been the reason on how families build a POLITICAL DYNASTY. Well, I’m not saying that the Joson used this tactics but maybe somehow they did.
So, here’s my list of 7M’s- an ingredient to a successful political dynasty:
The most successful families are those able to establish business empires not solely dependent on government largesse. They must also be competent enough to run these businesses well, allowing their members to survive electoral defeat and political ignominy.
In Landlords and Capitalists, political scientist Temario Rivera found that 87 families controlled the top 120 manufacturing companies from 1964-1986. Sixteen of these families — about 20 percent of the total — were involved in politics. Most of them were members of the landowning elite that emerged during the 19th century, including the Aranetas, the Cojuangcos, the Jacintos, the Madrigals, and the Yulos. "Through government influence," writes Rivera, "landed capitalists caused the diversion of state resources to traditional elite economic activities like sugar and coconut milling, limiting further industrial diversification."
Not all political families, however, are fabulously wealthy. Some are able to win elections by relying more on popularity, name recall, and political networks rather than money.
Elections require the mobilization of people and resources to ensure that votes are cast and counted in a candidate's favor. A congressman's political machine typically includes a network of lider at the village or barangay level, either the barangay captain, council member, or an influential person, such as a successful local entrepreneur or the head of a community organization.
These lider in turn mobilize a network of campaigners for the candidate. The campaigners will put up posters and streamers and conduct house-to-house visits, reminding voters of the candidate's good deeds. The lider may also get favors done for the villagers (such as help for a baptism or a burial), and if necessary, transport them to the places where they register and vote.
The lider get paid for their work — often in cash, but also in kind. In some cases, the lider get regular monthly allowances from the congressional payroll and the funds that representatives are given for their district offices. Incumbents have the advantage, because they can use the resources of their office to bankroll the cost of maintaining a lider network. A candidate's organization also needs to recruit pollwatchers (at least one per precinct) and ensure that they are briefed, transported to the polling centers, fed while they are there, and paid for their efforts. The organization needs to have paymasters — sometimes these are also the lider — who dispense money to voters, election watchers, and often, also the schoolteachers who man the polls.
3. Media or Movies
This is a recent addition to the arsenal of weapons available for dynasty building. Since the 1990s, celebrity power has been able to eclipse clan power, at least in some areas. This has left many families scrambling for the glitter and glamour of media or showbiz if only to heighten their electoral appeal. In the past, politicians merely hired entertainers to draw in the crowds: Today the entertainers themselves are running for office, shaking the complacency of political families and forcing them to reinvent themselves to be more acceptable to a media-inundated and celebrity-crazed electorate.
Those who were already media or movie celebrities before entering politics have a decided advantage as far as name recall is concerned. They can then leverage this asset to ensure they and their kin hold on to public office. Thus, showbiz dynasties have emerged. These, however, have been more successful in their bids for national, rather than local or district, office. In part, this is because name recall is of paramount importance when vying for national positions, while money and machinery often matter more in local or district elections. The more successful showbiz clans, though, have been able to win both national and local posts.
The most prominent among them are the Ejercitos: Movie star Joseph Estrada was a long-time San Juan mayor before being elected to the Senate in 1987 and to the presidency in 1998. Soon after his ouster in 2001, his wife Luisa or 'Loi' won a Senate seat and his son (by another woman) Jose Victor or 'JV' became San Juan mayor. In 2004, eldest son (by Loi) Jose or 'Jinggoy' was also elected senator, resulting in the Senate's first time to have a mother-and-son tandem.
Those who do not have direct access to media and celebrity make do with ensuring they get good media coverage. This is especially true for those who come from urbanized districts whose constituents are more thoroughly exposed to the media than those in the rural areas. This is also true for those whose ambitions go beyond their districts or beyond the House of Representatives and so need national exposure via the media so they can vie for higher office.
In medieval times, marriages were used to consolidate kingdoms and expand empires. In the same way, political marriages consolidate political networks and expand the reach of clans. The marriage of Benigno Aquino Jr. and Corazon Cojuangco in 1954 united two of the most powerful political clans in Tarlac. That same year, Ilocos Sur Rep. Ferdinand Marcos wed Imelda Romualdez after a whirlwind 11-day courtship. It was considered a master political stroke for the ambitious Marcos, as the Romualdez clan was influential in Congress-Imelda's cousin Daniel was then Speaker pro tempore and her uncle Norberto was once House Speaker. For a politician like Marcos — who had presidential ambitions and already had support from the Ilocano-speaking provinces of Northern Luzon — a Visayan bride, especially a looker like Imelda who came from a political clan in a part of the country where he had little influence, was an invaluable asset.
Of late, however, some of the clans have married into celebrity. This is because celebrities bring in the vote, and the appeal of a family name is enhanced by the glitter of showbiz.
5. Murder and Mayhem
The importance of political violence in dynasty building is exemplified by the saga of the Singsons of Ilocos Sur, which shows how an upstart family can wrest control of a political and economic bailiwick through violence. In 1970, Luis 'Chavit' Singson allegedly killed his uncle, strongman Floro Crisologo, to become, up to now, the undisputed boss of Ilocos Sur.
Violence is rooted in the political and economic geography of a political territory. Some clans had to resort to violence to assert and maintain their control. In other places, though, violence was not a requisite for political domination.
Again, Ferdinand Marcos comes to mind, if only because he was so adept at the tactics of establishing political hegemony. Marcos built his career by projecting himself as a World War II hero who formed Maharlika, a 9,200-strong band of anti-Japanese guerrillas that staged daring raids and sabotage operations in northern Luzon. The young Ferdinand was supposedly such a daredevil operator that he got 32 medals for his valiant efforts during the war. In 1947, as war hero, he was appointed to the Philippine Veterans Commission to lobby in the U.S. for better benefits for war veterans. In 1949, he ran for Congress in Ilocos Sur, again projecting his wartime heroism to heighten his electoral appeal. The emptiness of all his claims was exposed only in the 1980s: The war medals were fake and Maharlika never really existed.
Marcos, therefore, shows both the heights — and the limits — of mythmaking.
A potent myth can sustain a political family for several generations, but only as long as the family attempts to live up to some part of that myth. Up to the last, even when he was very weak from lupus and undergoing dialysis, Marcos tried to project the myth of potency and invincibility, of the big, powerful man who would lead his country to greatness.
Also enduring is the myth of "Erap para sa mahirap," which was largely responsible for making Estrada president. Although his lifestyle was one of bacchanalian excess, Estrada's movies had projected him as a man of the masses, and voters initially remained clueless about the dissonance between his private life and his public image. But even after his excesses had been exposed, the Estrada myth remained compelling to many poor Filipinos. His wife and sons are woefully charisma-challenged and they had not been publicly projected as protectors of the poor, but they have won elections because they are seen as Estrada's political surrogates.
The media, of course, are an important arena for the manufacture and dissemination of myth. Increasingly, voters make their choices based on the images they see on television. This is where news anchors have the edge. On television, they look intelligent, credible, and authoritative, even when they are merely reading from a text written by others. It is the projection that is important, and it is for this reason that Loren Legarda and Noli de Castro topped the senatorial races in 1998 and 2001, respectively.
7. Mergers (Alliances)
Political families who support the winning presidential candidate can expect to be rewarded after the elections. The presidential system is one of spoils: The president can appoint his or her choices to more than 6,000 positions in the bureaucracy. Traditionally these are given out to political supporters. Being a presidential ally also means access to government loans, contracts, and other benefits. This is why political families pool their resources to support presidential candidates.
Among contemporary politicians, Danding Cojuangco is among the most adept at building alliances. Since founding the Nationalist People's Coalition as a vehicle for his presidency, Cojuangco has nurtured and consolidated the NPC. Seeing the devastating impact of family feuds on the Cojuangco family fortunes, his branch of the family has also reached a rapprochement with his cousin Cory Aquino's branch. In 2001, they did not field candidates against each other. Instead Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III held on to his post as representative of the second district, while the NPC got Tarlac's two other seats: Danding's nephew Gilbert Teodoro for the first district and Noynoy's uncle Jesli A. Lapus for the third.
Cojuangco's contribution to dynasty building is conflict avoidance within the clan. He did this by conceding the second district of Tarlac to his cousins. He also got out of the Cojuangco tribal ground and carved out new districts for his sons: the fifth district of Pangasinan for Marcos or 'Mark,' and the fourth district of Negros Occidental for Carlos or 'Charlie.'
Not all political families can do this, of course. Cojuangco succeeded only because of the geographical spread of his formidable business interests. He runs the Northern Cement Corp. in Pangasinan and owns at least 3,000 hectares of land in Negros Occidental. Rather than dissipating resources in a debilitating family feud, he simply expanded his political influence so there would be enough to go around.
See how a politician will do anything just to remain powerful?! Maybe, Ai-ai Delas Alas is right... “Akin lang ang tronong ito kasi ako ang naghirap sa pag-buo nito”