2nd of three parts
DAVAO CITY (MindaNews /12 July) – Six of 27 provinces in Mindanao are ruled by governors, vice governors, representatives and mayors coming from the same family: the Romualdos of Camiguin, Cagas of Davao del Sur, Bautistas of Davao Occidental, Adiongs of Lanao del Sur, Tans of Sulu and the Salis of Tawi-Tawi.
Seventeen others are ruled by dynasties with at least two family members in the executive and legislative. Across Mindanao, dynasties rule over 23 of 27 Mindanao provinces, at least 49 of 60 congressional districts and 17 of 33 cities.
The newly-elected Governor of Camiguin, Xavier Jesus dela Fuente Romualdo, was the lone district representative from 2013 to 2022. He took over from his father, Jurdin Jesus, who was governor from 2007 to 2016 and from 2019 to 2022. Jurdin Jesus is back in Congress, a post he held from 1998 to 2007.
The governor’s brother, Ynigo Jesus, is mayor of the capital town of Mambajao while his uncle, Rodin, brother of Jurdin Jesus, is Vice Governor.
The lone district of Camiguin has been represented by a succession of Romualdos for 38 years from 1987 to 2025 – from the patriarch Pedro, to the son and grandson – and the gubernatorial seat from 1998 to 2025.
In neighboring Davao Occidental, the Bautistas continue to dominate and expand their control. Franklin is Governor, his sister Lorna is Vice Governor, brother Claude, is lone district representative. Franklin’s son, Brett, is number one Provincial Board member, while another son, Bradly, is mayor of Malita town. Estefanie Bautista-Dumama, is vice mayor and Benjamin Bautista III is number one councilor. Estefania and Benjamin III are children of Ben Joseph, brother of Franklin, Claude and Lorna.
Franklin, Lorna, Claude, Bradly and Estefanie all ran unopposed.
There will be two Bautistas from Davao Occidental in Congress: Claude and daughter Claudine who is representing DUMPER-PTDA party-list which claims to be the “boses ng bawat drayber at komyuter sa kongreso.”
In Lanao del Sur, the Adiongs continue to reign with Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr. reelected to what is actually his fifth term as he was governor for three terms from 2007 to 2016 and from 2019 to 2022. His son Mohammad Khalid or Mujam was re-elected as Vice Governor.
The governor’s brother, Zia was elected 1st district Representative, a post earlier held by his brother Ansaruddin, who is now mayor of Ditsaan-Ramain. Zia was a Member of Parliament in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and before that, a member of the Regional Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
In Tawi-Tawi, reelected Governor Yshmael Sali is joined by his son, Al-Syed, who was elected Vice Governor. Like Adiong, the younger Sali was also a Member of Parliament in the BARMM.
The governor’s nephew, Dimszar, is the lone district representative to Congress while the governor’s brother, Abduhasan, is mayor of Languyan town. Abduhasan is the father of Dimszar.
In Sulu, Abdusakur Tan is Governor on his sixth term, son Abdusakur, who was governor for two terms, is Vice Governor; another son, Samier, was reelected as Representative of the 1st district. (Updated: His daughter, Shihla was reelected mayor of Maimbung town along with her son Aiman as vice mayor).
Like most of the Bautistas of Davao Occidental, the Tans did not have to campaign. They ran unopposed.
Like the Bautistas, the Tans have another representative in Congress — Abdusakur’s daughter Shernee, on her third term as Kusug Tausug party-list representative.
Abdusakur’s relatives are also occupying top poses in the capital town of Jolo. Cousin Kerkhar Siraji Tan is mayor of Jolo, while the vice mayor is Kerkhar’s son, Ezzedin Soud Limpalan Tan. Edsir II Ahmad Tan topped the council race. Like Abdusakur’s immediate family, the Jolo mayor and vice mayor ran unopposed.
Shortly after the 2019 elections, Dr. Ronald Mendoza, Dean of the Ateneo de Manila University’s School of Government, said “Clearly, political clans have found a way around term limits, by fielding more family members in power—giving rise to more fat political dynasties.”
He said this became possible because other reforms intended to be implemented along with political term limits, such as the anti-dynasty law and political party reforms, “were not successfully implemented since the 1987 Constitution was crafted.”
“Plainly put, contrary to the claim of some politicians, the introduction of term limits was not able to meet its avowed objective of regulating political dynasties in the country because of the failure to introduce other ancillary reforms (notably an anti-dynasty law) mandated by the charter,” he said.
Mendoza noted that the extended stay in office of the dynasties “affords them more control over the domestic economy, which in turn fuels their continued expansion and staying power. It is a vicious cycle that traps many of our provinces in poverty and underdevelopment.”
All in the family
Basilan remains a Hataman country: Governor Hadjiman Hataman-Salliman was elected to a third term, brother Mujiv to a second term as lone district Representative and Mujiv’s wife, Sittie Djalia as Mayor of Isabela town.
The eldest son of Mujiv and Djalia — Ahmed Ibn Djaliv – entered the political arena this year as member of the Provincial Board’s first district while another relative, Marwan Hataman, was elected in the second district.
The mayor of Sumisip town, Jul-Adnan Praman Hataman was reelected along with running mate, Gulam Boy, his father, the brother of Jim and Mujiv.
Lanao del Norte remains a Dimaporo country with Imelda on her 6th and what she has repeatedly said will be her last term as governor. She will be term-limited by 2025 for the post of governor. Son Mohammad Khalid is ending his third term as first district representative and is expected to run for Governor in 2025. His sister Amina is representing the second district.
Since 1992, the province has known no other governor but the Dimaporos – Abdullah, his wife Imelda and their son Khalid. It has also known no other representative but the Dimaporos in the second congressional district continuously since 2001 and the first district since 2010.
In North Cotabato, Emmylou Talino-Mendoza is back as Governor, her fourth term. She was representative of the 1st district from 2001 to 2010. Her daughter, Samantha Santos, is now representative of the 3rd district.
The governor’s father, Rogelio Talino, is back as mayor of Carmen town, while her brother, Roger Ryan, is Vice Mayor.
Rise and Fall
In Bukidnon, Governor Rogelio Neil Roque ended the bid of the Zubiri dynasty to continue ruling as Governor. Roque defeated Manuel Antonio Fernandez Zubiri, son of long-time Governor Jose Ma. Zubiri, who served as 3rd district Representative from 2016 to 2022.
The Zubiris, however, continue to rule the 3rd district as they have been doing so since 1987 and Juan Miguel Zubiri, who represented the district from 1998 to 2007, has been reelected to another six-year term as Senator and is Senate President.
Jose Maria, the Zubiri patriarch, who had served as 3rd district Representative from 1987 to 1998 is back as representative. He was Governor from 2001 to 2010 and 2013 to 2022.
A succession of Zubiris represented the 3rd district since 1987 – Jose Maria, his sons Juan Miguel, Jose Maria III and Manuel Antonio. The patriarch, who is turning 82 in August, served as Assemblyman from 1984 to 1986, Representative from 1987 to 1998, Governor from 2001 to 2010 and 2013 to 2022 and is now back as representative until 2025.
The fall of the Zubiri dynasty from the gubernatorial post saw the rise of a new dynasty: Roque is governor while wife, Laarni, took over Roque’s seat as 4th district representative. Created in 2013, this district has been represented only by the Roques — Rogelio Neil from 2013 to 2022 and Laarni from 2022 to 2025.
In Davao de Oro, Arturo Uy’s bid for a return to the gubernatorial post he held for three-terms from 2007 to 2016, failed. From the Uys, the leadership is now with the Gonzaga dynasty – Governor Dorothy Gonzaga, former Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals, wife of third-termer 2nd district Rep. Ruwel Peter Gonzaga whose sister Ruwina, is number one provincial board member in the second district.
The Uys did musical chairs last year. Second-termer Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy filed his certificate of candidacy for a third term and his sister, Cathy, a councilor of Pantukan, for Vice Governor. A month later, the patriarch Arturo substituted for Jayvee Tyron for Governor and Jayvee Tyron slid to the vice gubernatorial post which he won.
Arturo Uy’s brother, Rey, is back as mayor of Tagum City in Davao del Norte.
In Surigao del Norte, Francisco Matugas is out as Governor, Robert Lyndon Barbers is back. But Matugas’ son, Francisco Jose II, was elected to a third term as 1st district representative and other family members in politics are still in office. Barbers’ brother, Robert Ace, was elected to a third term as 2nd district representative.
In Sarangani, which voted for former Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao as President, former lone district Rep. Rogelio Pacquiao, the world boxing icon’s brother, is now Governor. The brother of Manny Pacquiao’s wife, Russell Jamora, is number one provincial board member. In neighboring General Santos City, the Pacquiaos’ sister in law, Lorelei, is mayor. In Maasim town, cousin Zyrex was reelected as mayor.
In Zamboanga del Norte, Rosalina Jalosjos is governor while Seth Jalosjos is Dapitan Mayor.
The Jalosjos family has ruled over Dapitan City for 21 years, from 2004 to 2025. from Dominador to Rosalina to Seth. It also represented the 1st district of Zamboanga del Norte for 27 years – from 1995 to 2022. Rosalina is the first Jalosjos to win as governor.
In Zamboanga del Sur, the Cerilles dynasty has not been able to recover from its 2019 loss at the polls. But the fall of the Cerilles dynasty also saw the rise of the Yu dynasty – the erstwhile thin dynasty now fat: Victor Yu is governor, his wife is 1st Divina Grace is 1st district Representative to Congress and their daughter Victoria as 2nd district Representative. “
The Yu patriarch served as Representative of the 1st district from 2007 to 2016, was succeeded by his wife Divina Grace from 2016 until 2025.
The Uys of Dipolog have been mayor of the city from 1998 or 27 years by 2025 – from father Roberto to wife Evelyn and son Darel Dexter at three terms each.
In 2013, when Evelyn was on her third term as mayor, Roberto was on his first of what would be three terms as Governor of Zamboanga del Norte.
Misamis Occidental is now Oaminal country with Henry, 2nd district Representative to Congress from 2013 to 2022, elected as Governor; his son Sancho Fernando, the former mayor of Ozamiz from 2019 to 2022 succeeding him as Representative; and another son, Henry Jr., is now mayor of Ozamiz City.
Governor Oaminal defeated reelectionist Philip Tan, a six-term mayor of Tangub City; son Sancho Fernando defeated Tan’s wife, Jennifer, in the race for 1st district Representative. Jennifer was mayor of Tangub City for four terms
The Tans ruled Tangub as mayor for a total of 30 years — from 1992 to 2022.
In Misamis Oriental, the Unabias are now leading: Peter, 1st district Rep. from 2010 to 2019 is now Governor, while his son Christian was reelected as 1st district Rep. Unabia’s other son, Aaron Paul is mayor of Balingoan town.
In Agusan del Sur, the Plaza dynasty has only one member occupying a key post since 2019 – Adolph Edward as representative of the second district, who was governor from 2001 to 2007 and 2010 to 2019. Alongside the Dimaporo dynasty in Lanao, the Plaza dynasty in Agusan del Sur was among the oldest in Mindanao, their patriarchs serving as governor and congressman from the 1950s.
A succession of Plazas ruled as Governor for 27 years – from 1992 to 2019; as representative of the then lone district – 1987 to 1992 and 2001 to 2010. From 2010 to 2019, the first and second congressional districts were represented by the Plazas.
The entire Agusan del Sur provincial slate ran unopposed.
There are Plazas elected in the municipalities: Frederick Mark Plaza Mellana is mayor of Prosperidad; Randolph Borja Plaza is vice mayor of Loreto town. He also ran unopposed; Richard Mondejar Plaza is vice mayor of Santa Josefa and brother Carpin Mondejar Plaza Jr. is number 2 councilor.
Surigao del Sur remains Pimentel country. Governor Alexander Pimentel was reelected, his brother Johnny, who was governor from 2010 to 2016, was elected to a third term as 2nd district Representative. The governor’s wife, Roxanne, was reelected. Tandag City has elected no other mayor but Alexander and Roxanne Pimentel since the creation of the city in 2007.
In Agusan del Norte, the chief executives of the province and Cabadbaran City are two Amante women: Angel on her sixth term as Governor while her sister-in-law, Judy, wife of her brother John Erlpe, was reelected as mayor of Cabadbaran City.
Residents of Lamitan in Basilan have known no other mayor since the city was created in 2004 except the Furigays – Roderick and wife Rosita. By 2025, they will have ruled Lamitan as city mayor, for a total of 21 years.
Residents of Bayugan have not known any other mayor than the Asis family — from Magdalena to Kim Lope and Kirk. Kirk is on his second term as mayor while Kim Lope is vice mayor and Kim is number 1 councilor.
In Davao City, Sebastian Duterte, youngest son of long-time Davao City mayor and former President Rodrigo Duterte, is the third Mayor Duterte since 1988, interrupted only by one term – 1998 to 2001. His brother Paolo was reelected as 1st district Representative while sister Sara, who served three terms as mayor, is now Vice President.
Marawi City, Majul Gandamra earned a third term as mayor. The entry of his wife in the political arena, Princess Pala Amera Lanto, the number one councilor, has been viewed as Gandamra’s way of preparing his “successor.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)
Tomorrow: Beyond 2025: still all in the family?