Double 10 for Cebu, 20-20 for the Philippines
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - October 10, 2020 - 12:00am

Today is October 10, 2020. It dawns on me that in the Visayas there are only 10 plus 10 families that control political power. In Cebu, there are only 10 families who are in control. In the whole country, there are 20 in Luzon and another 20 in the Visayas-Mindanao areas. In Metro Manila, there are 20 too. Is this good or bad for our democracy? I would look at them both ways.

In Cebu, both province and city, for the longest time, the political families included the Osmeñas, the Ramas, the Cuencos, the Garcias, the Duranos, the Corteses, the Radazas, the Salimbangons, the Martinezes, and the Ouanos. In the Visayas, they include the Defensors, the Garins, and the Tupases of Iloilo, the Montelibanos, the Maranos, the Lacsons of Negros Occidental, the Teveses of Negros Oriental, the Chatos from Bohol, the Romualdezes and the Petillas from Leyte, the Mercados of Southern Leyte, the Espinas of Biliran, the Sys of Samar, the Dazas and the Ongs of Northern Samar and the Evardones of Eastern Samar. Fathers, mothers, sons, and grandsons, nephews, nieces, and cousins. The provinces and cities are like family corporations. Again, we are not saying that it is necessarily bad.

In Ilocos Norte, it is just the Marcoses and the Fariñases sharing if not competing and most of the time compromising. In Ilocos Sur, it is mostly Singson, (the Crisologos who used to dominate the area have been deported to Quezon City) and in La Union, it is the Ortegas lording over the province since time immemorial. There is no more Aspiras or any other clan who could give them a run for their money. The cousins the Bersamins, the Valeras, and the Bernos are constantly colliding in Abra. But in Isabela, the Dys have no formidable rivals except the Albanos but they often divide their turfs and find a modus vivendi to live and let live. The Padillas used to dominate Nueva Viscaya as the Josons used to lord it over in Nueva Ecija, Today, however, the Vergaras, the Violagos, the Naganos, and the Suansings sidelined the Umalis and the Antoninos.

In Pangasinan, it is still the Espinos and the De Venecias, in Tarlac, it is the Cojuangcos, and Zambales remains under the control of the Ebdanes, marginalizing the Magsaysays and the Delosos. Even the Gordons have lost Subic. Metro Manila is governed by the Binays, the Abaloses, the Zamoras, the Sottos, the Gatchalians, the Cayetanos, the Calixtos, and the Olivareses, and the biggest of them all, the Aguilar-Villar empire in Las Piñas. Cavite is the fiefdom of the Remullas, the Revillas, and Tagaytay belongs to the Tolentinos. Laguna is in the hands of minor dynasties, as the old clans of the San Luises and the Ejercitos had been eliminated. Just like in Batangas, there is no more Laurel but the Rectos and the Levistes remain. The Suarezes in Quezon have sidelined the Tañadas and the Alcalas.

In Bicol, it is the Villafuertes, the Puentevillas, the Lagmans, and the Salcedas, with Escuderos in Sorsogon. In Mindanao, the Plazas have disappeared, But the Dimaporos and the Alontos have remained with the Ampatuans. Mindanao is the home of many senators like Koko Pimentel, Migz Zubiri, Bong Go, and Bato dela Rosa, with the richest of them all, Pacman Pacquiao. The kingpins in Zamboanga are still the same mingled with Chinese family names, the ones who have the money. The Hatamans in Basilan, the Tans of Sulu, and the Salis of Tawi-Tawi continue to dominate the politics in the Tausug provinces. The Philippines is just a web of many strands controlled by clans and tribes, bound by blood and affinity, often colliding to fight for power and money, love, land, and glory.

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