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Political Family Essay

Chapter 1 covers five parts: (1) Background and Theoretical Framework of the Study, (2) Statement of the Problem, (3) Significance of the Study, (4) Definition of Terms, and (5) Delimitation of the Study Part 1, Background and Theoretical Framework of the Study, presents the rationale for the choice of the problem. Part 2, Statement of the Problem, describes the major and specific questions that this study will seek to answer. Part 3, Significance of the Study, cites the benefits that could be derived from the findings of the study.

Part 4, Definition of Terms, presents the conceptual and operational definitions of the key terms that will be used in the study. Part 5, Delimitation of the Study, specifies the scope of the study with regards to the variables, the participants, and the instruments that will be used to gather data. Background and Theoretical Framework of the Study “The family is the strongest unit of society, demanding the deepest loyalties of the individual and coloring all social activity with its own set of demands. ” Jean Grossholtz (1964, 86-87) In the Third World, the elite family has long been a leading actor in the unfolding of the national pageant.

More, specifically in the Philippines, elite families can be seen as both object and subject of history, shaping and being shaped by the processes of change. These families have provided a strong element of continuity to the country’s economic and political history over the century past (McCoy 1994, 1). In 1950s Robert Fox (1959, 6) described the Philippines as “an anarchy of families,” in which the Philippine political parties usually have acted as coalitions of powerful families. The rise of powerful political families was attributed to the Republic’s emergence as a weak, postcolonial state (McCoy 1994, 10-11).

According to McCoy (1994, 13), after Spain and United States colonial rule, the Republic thus developed as a state with both substantial economic resources and weak bureaucratic capacity. It is this paradoxical pairing of wealth and weakness that opened the state to predatory rent seeking by politicians. Based on Migdal’s research (1988, 9) on Third World politics, he finds that the source of the state’s weakness—the social organizations such as “families, clans…tribes, patron-client dyads” continue to act as competing sources of authority.

Despite the apparent influence and significant factor of the family upon wider society and its politics, most historians, both Filipino and foreign, have ignored this problem. According to Schneider (1969, 109-110), instead of studying and analyzing the Philippine political history through the paradigm of elite families, they have generally treated Philippine past and politics solely through as an interaction of state, private institutions, and popular movements.

Even social scientists, despite an obligatory bow in the direction of the family, have generally failed to incorporate substantive analysis of its dynamics into rendering of the country’s social and political processes. Social science as often happens in the study of the Philippines thus diverges from social reality, according to Alfred W. McCoy (1994, 1). At present, there is still a lacking scholarly analysis of either individual Filipino families or family-based oligarchies.

While other Southeast Asian societies have produced some useful biographies and autobiographies, the Southeast Asian regions still have little nondynastic family history that can serve as a model for future Philippine research (McCoy 1994, 2). One of the provinces in the Philippines that have no study about family-based politics is Aklan. The Province of Aklan is located in the Northeast portion of Panay Island. It was the oldest province in the Philippines organized in 1213 by settlers from Borneo as the “Minuro it Akean.

” In 1565 Miguel Lopez de Legaspi landed in Aklan, and divided the “Minuro it Akean” five encomiendas which he distributed among his farming followers. Along with political change, the Spaniards introduced Christianity. In 1716, the area of the “Minuro it Akean” was designated as a province but it was called Capiz. After the Americans took the country from Spain in 1901, Don Natalio B. Acevedo, Aklan delegation head, presented the first memorial for the separation of Aklan from Capiz to the Junta Magna headed by Commissioner Dean C. Worcester.

For the same purpose, the Aklanons in Congress filed numerous bills, including Urquiola-Alba bill in 1920, the Laserna-Suner bills in 1925 and 1930, and the Tumbokon bill in 1934. Aklan finally became an independent province when President Magsaysay signed into law the Republic Act 1414 on April 25, 1956. This was made through the efforts of Congressman Godofredo P. Ramos, and then the province was inaugurated on November 8, 1956. (Aklan Directory 2011, http://www. aklandirectory. com/aklan/, ret. 9/16/2012) Political families thrive in all but one province in the Philippines.

From Batanes to Tawi-tawi, with the exception of Kalinga, members of political families hold public posts, both elective and appointive. GMA News Research has identified at least 219 political families that dominate the country’s political landscape. (2011, http;//www. gmanetwork. com, ret 9/30/2012) Like these provinces, Aklan’s history is also filled with family-based politics. In order to better understand the present political situations, studying the political history of Aklan in the lens of the familial perspective can led to discover new dimensions in our national history.

The history of a political family in a particular province can be a microcosm of the kind of politics that happens in the Philippines. Thus, this study offers this perspective and understanding. Statement of the Problem This study is conducted to find out the political history of Aklan, through the case study in historical method of a selected political family in the province. Unlike Latin America, much more of the Philippine social research treated the country’s political history through its formal institutional structures rather than on the importance of the family and family history.

However, it can be seen that in the works of several theorists and researchers like Wolf, Grossholtz, Kuznesof, Freyre, and Schneider, political families in the Philippines and around the world are found to have a more dominant force in shaping the society’s history including political, social, and economic institutions. Specifically, this study will seek to answer the following questions: 1. How the political family in Aklan emerged? 2. How do they maintain their influence in the province? 3. What are the family’s political practices to retain power? Significance of the Study.

This qualitative research may be significant primarily to historians in analyzing the centrality of family-based politics to many periods and problems in the Philippine history. For social scientists, this study will help them delve the roles of family as a primary unit of political organization; and will serve as a model for future Philippine research. For political science students, the findings of this study will help them understand the influence of political families on the course of Philippine politics. This study will also help politicians to formulate political strategies and practices based on the history of a political family.

Lastly, this study can be added as a significant literature on the political history of Aklan; as well as, it can provide meaningful information for other related literatures. Definition of terms For the purpose of achieving clarity of meaning and interpretation, the following terms were defined.

The Case study approach as an empirical inquiry investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context. (Yin 1984, 24) The Historical method comprises the techniques and guidelines by which historians use primary sources and other evidence to research and then to write histories in the form of accounts of the past. (2012, http://en.wikipedia. org/w/index. php, ret. 9/30/2012) A political family is a family in which several members are involved in politics, particularly electoral politics.

Members may be related by blood or marriage; often several generations or multiple siblings may be involved. (2012, http://en. wikipedia. org/w/index. php, ret. 9/30/2012) The Province of Aklan is located in the Northeast portion of Panay Island, and has a total land area of 1, 817. 9 km? which is composed of 17 municipalities. It has a total population of 495, 122 (NSO 2007 census), and Kalibo is the capital town. (Aklan Directory 2011, http://www. aklandirectory.com/aklan/, ret. 9/30/2012) Delimitation of the Study This study will be conducted during the first semester of the school year 2012-2013 until the second semester of the school year 2013-2014.

This will be conducted among a purposively selected political family in the Province of Aklan. The case study in historical method will be used in this study to investigate the political history of the Province of Aklan. The researchers in order to collect detailed data needed in this study will employ participant observations, key informant interviews, directly interview the participants, and examine relevant records, documents, and reports.

Chapter 2 Review of Related Literature Chapter 2 includes previous studies on political families which are divided into the International Context, the Philippine Context, and the Visayan Context. The International Context includes the previous studies on family-based politics and the history of elite political families around the world. The Philippine Context includes studies about the Filipino family and Philippines as a weak, postcolonial state that led to the emergence of political families. The Visayan Context includes case studies of two political families in the Visayas — the Lopez family and the Osmena family.

Political Families The International Context In almost any country in the world, there are always leading political elite families that exist. A significant number of these families can be traced in United States, Brazil, and Mexico. In the United States, the well-known Adams Family of Massachusetts has been the subject of much autobiographical and biographical research. Meanwhile, the Pessoa family is popular as leading actors in Brazilian politics, and the Sanchez-Navarros’ family of Mexico is known for both wealth and power.

For several decades, Latin American historians have used detailed microstudies of elite families to discover new dimensions in their national histories. As Gilberto Freyre (1964, 155 and 161), a pioneer in this field, once argued, anyone studying a people’s past will find that historical constants are more significant than ostensibly heroic episodes and will discover that what happens within the family is far more important than often-cited events in presidential mansions, in parliaments and large factories.

Applying this perspective to Brazil, Freyre found that Brazil’s most distinctive elite families emerged in the sugar districts of the northeast during the sixteenth century- fusing land, sugar, and slaves to become patriarchs of “untrammelled power” or unlimited power and “total fiat” or absolute decree. Arguing that the patriarchal family still exerts a subtle influence on the “the ethos of contemporary Brazilians,” Freyre cites the case of President Epitacio Pessoa who in the early decades of this century was known as “Tio Pita” (Uncle Pita) in recognition of his penchant for appointing male relations to key government posts.

Another historian, Linda Lewin (1979, 263) has produced some of the most refined historiographic reflections on the connection between familial and national history in her writing on the Pessoa family of Paraiba State in Brazil. By the late 1970s the field of family history was so well developed in Latin America that another Brazilian historian Linda Lewin (1979, 263) stated that the “family-based” approach to the political history as a “commonplace in Brazilian history.

” Many historians had already employed the family historiography as an approach in discovering different dimensions of Brazilian political history thus making it popular around Latin America. Similarly, an essay by Felstiner (1976, 58) on the role of kinship politics in Chile’s independence movement began with the words “the importance of the family in Latin America goes unquestioned. ” Many historical documents show that the leading elite families in Chile, such as the O’Higgins family, started the movements for independence against the Spanish colonizers.

A decade later, Latin American historians were still unanimous in their belief that the elite family played a uniquely important political role in their region. Introducing eight essays, Elizabeth Kuznesof and Robert Oppenheimer (1985, 215) observed that the family in Latin America is found to have been a more central and active force in shaping political, social, and economic institutions of the area than was true in Europe or United States. Indeed, they found that institutions in Latin America society make much more social sense, particularly in the nineteenth century, if viewed through the lens of family relationships.

As democracy flourished in the young Latin America, elite families engaged in the political arena and started to stabilize political institutions, such as the electoral system and civil society. Charles H. Harris, a historian, (1975, 314) stated that the Sanchez-Navarros’ family is one of the oldest and most influential families of Spanish descent in Mexico since 1577. The Sanchez Navarro family’s “latifundio” or an estate composed of two or more haciendas is composed of seventeen haciendas and covers more than 16. 5 million acres—the size of West Virginia.

It is said to be the largest “latifundio” ever to have existed, not only in Mexico but also in all of Latin America. In Harris’ discussion of the acquisition of land, the technology of ranching, labor problems, and production on the Sanchez Navarro estate, and of the family’s involvement in commerce and politics, he finds that the development of the “latifundio” was only one aspect in the Sanchez Navarros’ rise to power. He also emphasizes the great importance of the Sanchez Navarros’ widespread network of family connections in their commercial and political activities.

Reflecting their rich historical traditions, America have also produced impressive family histories. Political families are not a new concept in the United States. The Adams family of Massachusetts, for example, has been the subject of autobiographical and biographical research. (Musto 1981, 40-58) The Adams political family is one of the most prominent political families in United States history, originating in Massachusetts and having a profound impact on the development of the nation’s path from the 18th century and onwards.

The family has produced numerous important New England politicians as well as two Presidents – John Adams (1797-1801) and George Adams (1851-1861) but also several ambassadors and literary figures. The children and grandchildren of the Adams family were raised with the idea that public service was expected of you. (2011, http://seattletimes. com/html/nationworld/2004164299_dynasty05. html, ret. 10/10/2012) Similarly, like other developed and developing countries around the globe, the history of Philippines is also shaped by elite families that play leading roles in the control and influence on institutions of the government.

The Philippine Context The political families are the actors that have played in the political landscape of the Philippines and have shaped the outcome of the past and are engaged in shaping the future of the Philippines. The Philippine history should not only be viewed as the interaction of different institution of society such as the state, civil societies, the Roman Catholic Church, and the different popular movements. Instead, we should also dissect its political history through the paradigm of elite families.

The importance of family-society relationship in the Philippines based on Jean Grossholtz’s description (1964, 86-870, “the strongest unit of society demanding the deepest loyalties of the individual and coloring all social activity with its own set of demands. ” He then remarked that the communal values of family are often in conflict with the impersonal values of the institutions of the larger society.

Many Filipino historians have been critical, and they generally disregarded the leading families and provincial elites in the Philippines on ideological grounds. Nationalistic historians have dismissed the country’s elites for being traitors and conformists to the colonizers. Teodoro Agoncillo (1960, 644-645), one the most famous historian in Philippine history, remarked that the ilustrados have betrayed the revolution. Renato Constantino (1975, 232), a contemporary of Agoncillo, called the same elites as collaborators.

According to the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, Jose Maria Sison, the country’s elites were a small alien element – either rural feudal landholders or urban, comprador bourgeoisie as cited by Guerrero (1979, 234-249). According to McCoy (1994, 4), most Filipino biographies, the potential building blocks for elite-family studies, are more hagiography (idolizing biography) than history. Many of these biographies are funded by the family or the person that is the subject of these biographies.

Biographers write as if death has cleansed what misdeeds their subject has done in society. Such accounts, McCoy added, are exoneration from the charges of their enemies, silence about their cunning or corruptions, and a celebration of their contribution to the nation. McCoy commented that the weak state and powerful political oligarchies have combined to make a familial perspective on national history relevant. The Philippines has a long history of strong families assuring social survival when the nation-state is weak.

In the 20th century, the state has collapsed, partially or wholly, at least four times in the midst of war and revolution. After independence in 1946, moreover, the Philippine central government lost control over the countryside to regional politicians, some so powerful that they become known as warlords. In Philippine politics a family name is a valuable asset. A good name translates strongly to an advantage in polling. Believing that an established name carries cachet and qualification, parties often favor a promising scion of an old line when selecting candidates.

Many Filipino politicians use their kinship networks (McCoy 1993, 10), to assure their ascension to power. A kinship network is a working coalition drawn from a larger group related by blood, marriage, and ritual. As elite families bring such a flexible kinship ties into the political arena, elections often assume a kaleidoscopic complexity of coalition and conflict, making Filipino politics appear volatile. It has a unique capacity to create informal political team that assigns specialized roles to its members, thereby maximizing coordination and influence.

The Visayan Context Most of the well-known political families in the Philippines have political roots in their home provinces. Whether in the provinces of Luzon, Visayas, or Mindanao, there would always be certain political families that would dominate the political arena. The Lopez Family In Alfred McCoy’s essay (1994, 429-517) “Rent-Seeking Families and the Philippine State: A History of the Lopez Family” illustrates the close connection between state power and the private wealth by elite families in the Philippines.

He says that in the Philippine setting, the study of a single rent-seeking family may be the most appropriate way of bridging the gap between western economic theory and the Filipino familial paradigm. Among the leading Filipino families, the Lopezes are, by virtue of their history, well suited for such a case study. Seeking knowledge of the family’s origins and early character, McCoy’s essay begins in the 1870s when the Lopezes enter the historical record as pioneer sugar planters on the plantation frontier of Negros Island. But early on 1850s, they already first appeared to be local merchants.

Basilio Lopez served as one of Jaro’s cabeza-de barangay and later as a gobernadorcillo. The growth of their political and commercial influence paralleled the emergence of national political elite (McCoy 1994, 440-441). While the second generation consolidated property and position within a regional planter elite, their children made a successful transition to sugar milling and commerce during the 1920’s. In the five generations of the Lopezes it has a history of both skillful male and female entrepreneurs and politicians (McCoy 1994, 441-444).

However, among the family’s twenty-six hundred descendants, it was Eugenio and Fernando Lopez, who initially raised the family’s position to first rank of national prominence. Backed by Eugenio’s growing wealth, Fernando Lopez was appointed as a mayor of Iloilo City for two years in September 1945. He quickly secured overall leadership of the province, relegating Jose Zulueta, his ally, to the position of perennial challenger. His career as provincial politician involved the using violence to advance their interests.

In 1946 the Lopezes shifted their capital and residence to Manila. They traded in influence and avoided violence. No longer rooted in the land or dependent upon the social power of the provinces, the Lopezes came to depend upon the state, through the medium of presidency, for the financial and regulatory concessions that would assure the prosperity of their corporations. With the Lopez brothers’ relations with a succession of Philippine presidents, they prospered under the administration of their allies from their patron Quezon, Sergio Osme? a, Elpidio Quirino, and Manuel Roxas.

In 1947, he was elected to the Senate. In 1965, the presidential candidate was Ferdinand Marcos. Fernando Lopez, despite his presidential aspirations, became Marcos’ vice-presidential running mate, creating a ticket that married private wealth to populist appeal. The Lopez alliance with Marcos was a strategic blunder born of tactical necessity. To insure the defeat of incumbent President Macapagal, the Lopezes had felt compelled to ally themselves with Marcos. Eugenio Lopez used his money, media, and machine to make Marcos president in 1965 elections.

Not long after, Eugenio Lopez launched a major expansion and diversification program at Meralco. Again, with the Lopez support Marcos was reelected in 1969. In January 1971, however, a break occurred, which erupted into what may be the most public and vitriolic split in the Philippine political history. According to Marcos, the Lopezes were demanding concessions to advance their interests. According to the Lopezes, Marcos was demanding shares in their family corporations. Using the Manila Chronicle, the Lopezes began an attack, publishing exposes of graft within the administration.

When a delegation of Tondo workers called upon the president at the battle’s peak, Marcos vowed: “we will crush the Lopez oligarchy to pieces. ” After suffering five months of media criticism, Marcos finally sued for peace by paying a call on Eugenio at his Paranaque residence (McCoy 1994, 508). Sixteen months later in Marcos’s declaration of martial law, the Lopez family became the main target of his “revolution from above. ” He used the same licensing powers that had built the Lopez wealth to destroy the family’s fortune and transfer their assets to a new economic elite composed of his own kin.

Paul Hutchcroft (1991, 414-450), a political scientist said that, “using the state and its army, Marcos became the first president since Quezon to reduce the autonomy of provincial elites. He employed economic regulations, backed by threat of force, to pursue the main aim of his rule-changing the composition of the country’s economic elite. In Negros Occidental, for example, Marcos created a new stratum of supralocal leaders whom he financed with rents. On July 1975, Eugenio Lopez died of cancer in San Francisco while Geny Lopez remained in prison on capital charges.

In the end, Marcos did not destroy the Lopez family’s accumulated legitimacy, contacts, and skills (McCoy 1994, 518). Marcos’s fall from power in 1986 heralded the restoration of the Lopez fortunes. In the restoration of the family’s fortunes under President Aquino, it is argued that Eugenio Lopez succeeded in handing down enough of his capital and skills to perpetuate his family’s position within the national economic elite. In his essay, McCoy (1994, 431) explains the role of rents for it has a good deal about the weakness of the Philippines and the corresponding strength of Filipino political families.

As defined by James Buchanan (1980, 7-8) rents appear when the state uses regulation to restrict “freedom of entry” into the market. If these restrictions create a monopoly, the economic consequences are decidedly negative—slowing growth and enriching a few favoured entrepreneurs. Competition for such monopolies, a political process called “rent-seeking,” can produce intense conflict. Anne Krueger (1980, 52-57) has argued that in many Third World countries rents are “pervasive facts of life. ” In India such restricted economic activity accounted for 7.

3% of their national income in 1964, while in Turkey rents from import licenses alone represented about 15 percent of the gross national product in 1968. In the Philippines, political economists have applied this theory to explain how the Palace’s rent-seeking courtiers after Marcos era used state power to plunder the country. Manuel Montes (1989, 84-148), a Filipino economist, argues that “the economic structure of the country stimulates, encourages, and provides the greatest rewards to ‘rent-seeking’ activities.

” As evidence for this provocative reconceptualization of rent-seeking, Montes offers his readers a superficial catalogue of businessmen who have served regimes from Quezon to Marcos. “In the presidency of Manuel Roxas,” says Montes in a typical passage, “Soriano, Eugenio Lopez… and Jose Yulo were influential businessmen. ” The story of Eugenio Lopez illustrates that for over thirty years, he had used presidential patronage to secure subsidized government financing and dominate state-regulated industries, thereby amassing the largest private fortune in the Philippines (McCoy 1993, 429-430).

In the Philippines, the succession of presidents has played partisan politics with the state’s economic powers, awarding loans and creating rents to reward the political brokers who assured their election. Underlying the executive’s partisan use of state power are political elites who fuse public office with private business. For the elites to justify the high risk of campaign investments, public office must promise extraordinary rewards. More than any other entrepreneur of the Republican era, Eugenio Lopez, Sr. , mastered the logic of political investment.

The Lopez brothers, being the most successful rent-seekers, formed corporate conglomerates that relied in some way upon the state licenses. Since all of their major corporations were in some sense due to rent system, their commercial success involved a commingling of business and politics. Such a system leaves an ambiguous legacy (McCoy 1993, 435-437). Not only in Western Visayas had leading political families emerged as national actors but also a significant number are found in Central Visayas. The Osmena Family.

Another political family that has long dominated the political landscape of the Philippines for many years since the beginning of the 20th century is the Osmena family of Cebu. The Osmenas rose to prominence when Sergio Osmena, Sr. was elected governor of the Province of Cebu and then as Speaker of the Philippine National Assembly during the American colonial period. He was eclipsed only in power by the political maneuverings that Quezon made to overpowering him in the National Assembly and capturing the post as the President of the Philippine Commonwealth in 1935.

After World War II, Sergio Osmena, Sr. went back to the Philippines as President to establish his control as head of the government in the Philippine archipelago. Osmena’s son, Serging, later became the governor of Cebu and candidate for the Presidency in the 1969 election against Ferdinand Marcos. The present generation of Osmenas is still politically active in Cebu and in national politics. The Osmenas dominated the political world of Cebu not through the usual guns, goons, and gold that are usually used by their political rival like the Sottos, Cuencas,and Duranos.

The Osmenas dominated the provincial politics of Cebu because they are highly skilled in the craft of politics. (Resil, 1993, p. 316) They are wealthy, but their wealth do not equate for their capacity to coerce people to vote for them. They use their wealth skillfully, by using it for political gains. They are not as rich as their opponents who have huge haciendas but they show their prowess as politicians during elections. Elections are an exercise deeply inscribed in the Filipino political imagination. Theoretically, an election provides the occasion for society to take cognizance to itself.

This is the time when citizens are most self-conscious, a season of stock-taking, when voters reflect on their collective state and history and make choices about leaders, policies, and “futures”. The “democratic space” or surface that allows an unlimited range for diverse values and commitments is most visible in incumbents submitting themselves for popular judgement and candidates presenting ideas of government, in the public exchange of contrary views, and, finally, in the voter weighing his or her options and casting a ballot in the ritual’s inner sanctum, the polling booth.

(Mojares 1993, 319) The reality of Philippine politics is not tidy. Intensive exploitation of mass media and propaganda techniques crowd public space during the electoral season. There are restrictions of thought and action; however, beneath the diversity and dynamism of election, these restrictions, according to Mojares (1993, 319), are an underdeveloped party system, elite dominance and ideological sameness of candidates, exclusion of those who fail to muster the considerable resources needed to mount a campaign, the subordination of issues to particularistic concerns, elaborate forms of terrorism and fraud, and the cultural baggage of traditional values of power and dependence.

Elections, therefore, do not constitute a free field but are in fact, an arena in which the existing limits on participation are further exercised and enforced. In Philippine elections we have a case in which the elite or dominant class usually constructs political reality for citizens.

This process may be seen in the centrality accorded to the election itself as field of action and a channel for effecting political change. In elections, obeisance is rendered to the “state” of the people are constituted or reconstituted as its “subjects”. In effect, the periodic holding of elections nourishes and renews the government’s system. In the process, it also tends to reify the existing system and deemphasize other areas of political work such as mass organizing, interest-group lobbying, and “armed struggle.

”(Mojares 1993, 320) Elections, by their very nature, provide us with a concentrated expression of the process of ideological domination. This is one area in which Osmena phenomenon is important since the Osmena have built their dominance less on sheer economic power (though the use of such power was basic in their rise) or physical repression (though they were not innocent of its methods) than on their mastery of the instrumental aspects of electoral power building. From this they draw their distinctive character as Filipino kingpins.

Skillful management of ideological practices takes precedence over reliance on superior economic leverage (as in the case of the Lopez family), a system of traditional patronage (as in the Durano Family), a mix of religion and militarism (as in Ali Dimaporo), or systematic electoral fraud as what the Marcoses did. The matter of ideology both as the world of social meanings and the politician’s stance in this world is germane to achieving an understanding of the Osmenas.


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