Power Couples of Philippine Politics
So who says politics can't be romantic?
We did some research on who in Philippine politics are married to each other, and found out that the list was longer than we expected. Some couples belong to established political dynasties, while some couples established political dynasties, and a few have become legends not only because they hold considerable political power but also because of their romantic marriage.
The late Basilan Governor turned Congressman Wahab Akbar was a unique case, as two of his four wives (as allowed by Muslim law) also held elective offices. His wife Jum Jainuddin-Akbar succeeded him as Governor of Basilan; his other wife Cherrylyn Santos-Akbar was elected Mayor of Isabela City, Basilan. Both women held office almost at the same time.
Among the known husband and wife teams in Philippine politics are:
- Christian and Solita “Mareng Winnie” Monsod – He was formerly COMELEC Chairman; she was NEDA Director-General as well as Cabinet Secretary for Socio-Economic Planning under the Aquino administration. She is still a well-known television host and political commentator.
- Antonio and Aurora Cerilles – He was Representative of Zamboanga del Sur’s Second District and later became DENR Secretary. She succeeded him as Representative, then was elected Governor of Zamboanga del Sur.
- Juan Jr. and Salvacion Ponce Enrile – Son of the well-known Senator, he was Representative of the 1st District of Cagayan; she succeeded him as Representative.
- Gilberto and Monica Louise Prieto-Teodoro – A member of the Cojuangco clan, he was a Sangguniang Panlalawigan member in Tarlac, then Representative of Tarlac’s First District, then was appointed Secretary of National Defense. She succeeded him as Representative.
- Ernesto and Marina Clarete – He was the Representative of the First District of Misamis Occidental; she was a barangay captain before she succeeded him as Representative.
- Harry and Maria Zenaida Angping – He was the Representative of the 3rd District of Manila but later was disqualified for not being a natural-born citizen, enabling Miles Roces to run uncontested. She later ran against Roces and won back the post.
- Antonino and Herminia Roman – He was a former Assemblyman of the Interim Batasang Pambansa, then Assemblyman of the Regional Batasang Pambansa. He also became Deputy Minister of the Department of Finance, and later the Representative of the 1st District of Bataan. She succeeded him as Representative.
- Wilhelmino and Ma. Victoria Sy-Alvarado – He was formerly Mayor of Hagonoy, Bulacan, then Representative of the 1st District of Bulacan. Later, he was elected Vice-Governor of Bulacan. She was Vice-Mayor of Hagonoy, then succeeded him as Representative.
- Vicente and Soledad Eusebio – They were both Mayors of Pasig; their son Robert was City Councilor and later Mayor of Pasig.
- Aurelio and Czarina Umali – He was Representative of the 3rd District of Nueva Ecija and later Governor of the same province; she succeeded him as Representative.
- Antonio and Elisa Olga Kho – He was a former Mayor of Cataingan, Masbate, then Representative of the 3rd District of Masbate and later Governor of Masbate. She became the first female Governor of Masbate.
- Abdullah and Imelda Dimaporo – He was Representative of Lanao del Norte in the Batasang Pambansa and was later elected as Representative of the 2nd District of Lanao del Norte for three terms; she was elected Governor of Lanao del Norte. Their son Khalid also became Governor of Lanao del Norte.
- Democrito Sr. and Valentina Plaza – Dubbed the “father of the CARAGA Region”, he was Representative and Governor of the once-unified province of Agusan, then Representative and Governor of Agusan del Sur. She also became Governor of Agusan del Sur. Their daughter, also named Valentina, was also elected Governor of Agusan del Sur, while their son, also named Democrito, was elected Mayor of Butuan City. Other members of the clan held and still hold important positions in Agusan.
- Florencio and Henedina Abad – He was Representative of Batanes for four terms, and later was appointed Secretary of the DAR and Secretary of Education. She was also elected Representative of Batanes. Mention must also be made of Florencio’s parents, Jorge and Aurora Abad, both former Representatives of Batanes. Other members of the clan still hold important positions in Batanes.
- Ruben Sr. and Glenda Ecleo – He was a former Mayor in Dinagat Island and founder of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association, Inc.; she was later elected Representative of Dinagat Islands. Their daughter Geraldine became the first Governor of Dinagat Islands; their sons Ruben Jr., Allan I and Allan II were all mayors of municipalities in Dinagat. Other members of the clan also became mayors in Dinagat, thus ensuring the clan’s domination of the province.
- James and Priscilla Chiongbian – He was the representative of the Lone District of South Cotabato and later of the 3rd District of the same province. She was former Governor of Sarangani Province. Their son Erwin also became Representative of Sarangani.
- Adelbert and Luwalhati Antonino – He was formerly a Representative of the 1st District of South Cotabato and a Mayor of General Santos City. She was a three-term Representative of the 1st District of South Cotabato; their daughter Darlene also succeeded to that position. Adelbert’s parents, Gaudencio and Magnolia Antonino, were both members of the Philippine Senate.
- Alan Peter and Laarni Cayetano – He was City Councilor, then Vice Mayor of Taguig City, and was later on elected as Representative of Taguig-Pateros. He then became a Member of the Senate. She succeeded him as Representative.
- Manuel and Cynthia Villar – He was elected as Representative of Las Pinas and later became Senator. She was also elected Representative of Las Pinas.
- Jose Jr. (Peping) and Margarita (Tingting) Cojuangco – A member of the Cojuangco clan, he was Representative of the 1st District of Tarlac to the Philippine Legislature and the National Assembly. She was elected Governor of Tarlac.
- Richard (Dick) and Katherine (Kate) Gordon – He was Mayor of Olongapo City and Founding Chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, later elected to the Philippine Senate. He was also appointed Secretary of the Department of Tourism. She was elected Representative of the 1st District of Zambales and later Mayor of Olongapo City. His father, James Gordon, had been Mayor of Olongapo; his mother, Amelia, had also been Mayor of Olongapo and Representative of the 1st District of Zambales.
- Bayani and Maria Lourdes (Marides) Fernando – He was a former Mayor of Marikina City, later appointed Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways and Chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority. She was also elected Mayor of Marikina City.
- Ralph and Vilma Santos Recto – A member of the Recto clan of Batangas, he was a Representative of the 4th District of Batangas and a member of the Philippine Senate. She was elected Mayor of Lipa City, Batangas.
- Joseph and Loi Ejercito Estrada – He was elected Mayor of San Juan, then member of the Philippine Senate, then Vice President of the Philippines. Later, he was elected President of the Philippines. After he stepped down from office as a result of EDSA Dos, she ran for and was elected as Senator. Their son Jinggoy was also elected Senator.
The lives of the next two couples are diametrically opposed and inextricably linked in the annals of Philippine history. Both couples were married in the same year (1954) and had the same principal sponsor, then President Ramon Magsaysay; both marriages were considered very romantic, but at the same time forged alliances between powerful political clans. Yet they were political opponents, and the struggle between the two couples for more than ten years altered the fate of the nation.
- Benigno Jr. (Ninoy) and Corazon (Cory) Aquino – Scion of the Aquino clan of Tarlac, he was an aide to President Ramon Magsaysay, and was later elected Mayor of Concepcion, Tarlac, the youngest Mayor in the country at that time. He went on to become Vice Governor, then Governor of Tarlac. Later, he became the youngest member of the Philippine Senate. He was poised to become the next President of the Philippines if Marcos had not declared Martial Law. His opposition to the Marcos regime, exile, and subsequent assassination made him a legend. From the Cojuangco clan, also of Tarlac, she was the quiet wife who stood by him and followed him into exile. After his death, she was catapulted to the forefront of the opposition, which culminated in the EDSA Revolution of 1986 that toppled the Marcos regime. She then became the first female President of the Philippines. Their son, Benigno III (Noynoy), was elected Representative of the 2nd District of Tarlac and later became a member of the Philippine Senate.
- Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos – This couple was known for their "theme song", "Dahil Sa Iyo". From the Marcos clan of Ilocos Norte, he became a Representative of Ilocos Norte and the youngest congressman of his time. He then won a seat in the Philippine Senate, becoming the first minority party candidate to top a senatorial election. He then became Senate Minority Floor Leader and later Senate President. Later, he became President of the Philippines, was reelected twice, and finally declared Martial Law, which gave him free reign in the country for fourteen years. From the Romualdez clan of Leyte, she was a beauty queen who as First Lady of the Philippines wielded substantial power and influence in government. Her husband appointed her, at various times, to the offices of Governor of Manila, Minister of Human Settlements, and Ambassador Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary. She also became a member of the interim Batasang Pambansa. As First Lady of the Philippines, she became well-known worldwide for her extravagant lifestyle, even inspiring the word “imeldific”. After her family’s exile to Hawaii and her husband’s death, she returned to the Philippines with her children and was elected Representative of the 1st District of Leyte. Two of their children, Maria Imelda Josefa (Imee) and Ferdinand Jr. (Bongbong), were also elected Representatives of Ilocos Norte.
- The Information Site on Philippine Politics and Government (accessed January 4, 2008).
- Sheila Coronel. 'The seven M's of dynasty buidling'. Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. March 14, 2007
- "List of Names Considered Part of the Political Dynasty by Roger Olivares."(accessed on December 18, 2007).
- Clans still rule in 14th House but fewer in ranks (accessed January 4, 2008).
- More young reps in but old bunch still in House (accessed January 4, 2008).
- Record number of women at House Special Feature by Delon Porcalla, the Philippine Star, posted on ABS-CBN Interactive, May 30, 2007 (accessed February 11, 2008).
- Some of the most bitterly fought gubernatorial and congressional contests: Why they won, why they lost - Sympathy votes, more money and discontent propel underdogs to victory in local elections Special Report by Efren L. Danao Sr., dated May 27, 2007 on the Sunday Times of www.manilatimes.net (accessed February 11, 2008).
- Former governor of Agusan del Sur sets comeback Article on the Manila Times online, dated March 1, 2007 (accessed February 11, 2008).
- Political Families in the Philippines April, 2007 List of members of political dynasties in the Philippines on endpoliticaldynasty.com (accessed February 11, 2008).
- 1st woman gov of Masbate to fight poverty Article by Rev. Fr. Jessie Somosierra, Jr. on Philippine Daily Inquirer, dated May 28, 2007, posted on Civilization of Love, Fr. Jessie’s Blog, May 26, 2007 (accessed February 11, 2008).