19 OUT OF THE 23 SENATORS HAVE RELATIVES IN GOVT


MANILA, MAY 27, 2013 (PHILSTAR) By Christina Mendez - Only four out of the country’s 23 senators in the 15th Congress have no relatives serving in elective posts or working as government employees.

Despite calls for the abolition of political dynasties, statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) for 2012 showed that a majority of the senators have at least one or more close relatives in public office.

Only Senators Joker Arroyo, Gregorio Honasan, Loren Legarda and Francis Pangilinan have no relatives in government.

President Aquino recently criticized abusive political dynasties, but said there are good and bad dynasties.

Aquino’s cousin Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV has won a Senate seat.

Under the SALN law, each government employee is also asked to identify his relatives up to the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity in the government service.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s son, Jack, ran but lost in the midterm polls.

Meanwhile, Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada will now be joined by his half-brother, JV Ejercito in the Senate.

Their father, former President Joseph Estrada, has been elected mayor of Manila.

Jinggoy’s daughter has been elected as councilor of San Juan, joining another relative in local politics.

The senator’s cousin, Emilio Ramon “ER” Ejecito, has been re-elected governor of Laguna.

Sen. Franklin Drilon, said to be a contender for the top Senate post, listed five relatives in government service, including a cousin, Jed Patrick Mabilog, who is a mayor of Iloilo City; and son, Patrick Drilon, who is assigned at the Senate.

Drilon’s brother Julius is the regional hospital chief of Corazon Montelibano Medical Center while his sister, Eleonor Gregorio, is a director at the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) office in Iloilo.

His sister-in-law, Carol Drilon, is a resident physician at the Philippine Heart Center.

Sen. Manny Villar’s son, Mark, has been re-elected as congressman of Las Piñas, where his (Sen. Villar’s) brother-in-law, Vergel Aguilar is the city mayor and a nephew, Carlo Aguilar, is a councilor.

Villar’s two brothers-in-law, Felimon Aguilar and Leopoldo Benedicto, are also serving political positions as barangay captain and councilor in Las Piñas, respectively. Another sister-in-law, Elizabeth Masangkay, is the barangay captain of Putatan, Muntinulpa City.

Villar is on his last term but his wife, Cynthia, succeeded in her senatorial bid and will be joining the new batch of senators - now with a full complement of 24 - this July.

Senators Alan and Pia Cayetano’s younger brother, Lino, is barangay chairman of Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City where Alan’s wife, Laarni, recently got re-elected as mayor.

Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos’ political clout is well-entrenched in Ilocos Norte where his mother, former first lady Imelda Marcos, is a congresswoman and his sister, Imee, is the governor.

Marcos has two first cousins, Mariano Marcos and Angelo Marcos Barba, occupying a seat as provincial board member and as vice governor, respectively.

Marcos’ wife, Louise Araneta-Marcos, is a part-time lecturer at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.

Sen. Ralph Recto’s wife, Rosavilma Santos-Recto, has been re-elected as Batangas governor.

The senator’s sister-in-law, Emelyn Santis, is executive assistant V at the provincial capitol of Batangas, while two other relatives also serve as employees at the capitol.

Recto’s cousin-in-law and a nephew-in-law are also employed in the Senate.

Senate majority leader Vicente Sotto’s son, Gian Carlo, won a new mandate as councilor in the third district of Quezon City while another son is also a councilor in Parañaque.

Sotto’s daughters, Romina Frances and Ciara Anna Sotto, are also part of his Senate staff.

Sen. Ramon Revilla’s son, Jolo, is now the new vice governor of Cavite while his brother Strike was re-elected as Bacoor mayor.

The senator’s brother-in-law, former Rizal governor Casimiro Ynares III, was elected as Antipolo mayor.

Sen. Francis Escudero’s mother, Evelina, won as representative of Sorsogon, taking over the post left by his father, Salvador Escudero III, who died of cancer last year.

Escudero also has two paternal uncles in elective posts in Sorsogon.

Sen. Lito Lapid has a son, Mark, assigned as chief operating officer of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), while his daughter, Ma-an Krista Lapid, is an immigration officer at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in Clark.

Lapid has no relatives in elective posts.

Sen. Edgardo Angara, also on his last term, likewise has relatives in elective posts in Aurora province. Angara will be replaced by his son, Juan Edgardo Angara, as senator in the next Congress after the latter won in the midterm polls.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has employed her son, Narciso Santiago III, as her chief of staff (political) at the Senate.

The senator’s sister, Nenalyn Defensor, is a commissioner at the Commission on Higher Education while her brother, Benjamin Defensor, is a director of SMC-HK.

Santiago is also a cousin of Arthur Defensor, governor of Iloilo. A cousin, Horacio Suansing, is a deputy commissioner of the Bureau of Customs.

Sen. Sergio Osmeña III listed in his SALN that he has a brother in public service, Rep. Tomas Osmeña, who is representative of the second district of Cebu.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson declared that his nephew is a councilor in Imus, Cavite. His son, Jay, lost to Revilla’s son in Cavite.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV’s brother, Antonio Trillanes III, is a member of his staff at the Senate.

He said he has no other relatives in elective position or working with the government.

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III has six relatives in government, including his first cousins, Henry Yusingo and Anthony Louis Idhaw, both assigned at the office of the senator. Another first cousin, lawyer Himerio Garcia, is assigned as a committee secretary also at the Senate.

Sen. Teofisto Guingona III’s mother, Ruth, is the outgoing city mayor of Gingoog who will be replaced by her daughter.

In his 2012 SALN, Guingona also said he has a cousin, Benjamin Guingona III, who is a city councilor in Zamboanga City.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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