What’s in a name? Everything for pols



One candidate now goes by the name “Edgardo Angara,” another by “Grace Poe,” and still another, “JV Estrada.”

In an election where voters clearly put premium on political pedigree, candidates from the two main senatorial tickets are tweaking their names for better recall and, eventually, to improve their chances in the May 13 elections.

Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco, campaign manager of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), on Friday acknowledged the need for candidates to capitalize on the popularity of relatives in politics.

Tiangco noted that no less than President Aquino himself benefited from the popularity of his parents—the late Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. and former President Corazon Aquino—in the 2010 presidential election.

“I hope the President won’t take this the wrong way but a huge portion of those who voted for him did so because of his parents. So he can’t say that he didn’t benefit from the popularity of his parents,” he said on the phone.

People’s habit

Supporting a candidate because of his association with a relative in politics is common among Filipino voters, the congressman said.

“You can’t change the habit of the people. If they like your parents, most likely they would also vote for you. At the very least, they would try to know you more,” he said.

The name-change appeared to have worked in the case of Representatives Jose Victor Ejercito and Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara.

Ejercito, who now uses his vastly popular father’s movie screen surname “Estrada,” placed fourth in the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey. Angara, who opted to drop “Juan,” said he “went up four percentage points.” He’s just outside the Magic 12 at 13th place.

Most number of absences

A revelation among UNA’s senatorial bets is Cagayan Rep. Juan Ponce “Jack” Enrile Jr. He was tied with another candidate for the 8th and 9th places in the SWS survey despite being among the House members with the most number of absences.

Tiangco rejected the idea that respondents generally confused Enrile with his more popular father, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

“I know for a fact that it’s not the case,” he told the Inquirer. “I have known his strategy from the start. He really presented himself to the public early on so that come the actual campaign, people won’t be surprised that it’s the younger Enrile, not the father, who is running.”

On their own merits

Dropping her surname Llamanzares also worked for Grace Poe, daughter of the late action star Fernando Poe Jr. who is running both under UNA and the administration ticket “Team PNoy.”

The younger Poe placed 10th and 11th in the SWS survey, up from 20th place last December. Tiangco attributed the improvement mainly to her decision to use only her father’s surname.

“People can’t really associate Llamanzares with FPJ,” he said.

Whether these candidates offer something beyond popular names would be up to voters to scrutinize, said Tiangco, who insisted that UNA bets could stand “on their own merits.”

‘Yellow’ Senate?

Angara said his improvement in the survey was not necessarily the result of his decision to adopt his father’s name in its entirety.

“I went up four percentage points but I’m not sure if that’s attributable to the name or the advertisements or the times I’ve gone around the provinces,” he said in a text message.

In Malacañang, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte dismissed as unfounded UNA spokesperson JV Bautista’s fear that a Liberal Party (LP) victory sweep in the senatorial races might produce a “yellow” or a “puppet Senate”—one subservient to President Aquino.

“The people will vote for whoever they want to vote for,” Valte said at a press briefing. “Nobody can dictate on the voters—whether they want it to be purely red, or yellow, or white, or black, it really is up to the voters.”

She said the color yellow had always been associated with the President and his mother, Cory Aquino, and added: “Both have stood for good governance and democracy. Only those who wish to go back to business as usual fear it.”

Valte was responding to a statement from Bautista that the victory of the administration’s 12-member slate would lead to a “yellow Senate,” referring to the color associated with the LP.

“If the voters want to vote for particular candidates because they support the reform agenda of the people, that is not for Attorney Bautista to dictate,” Valte said.

‘New opposition’ confusing

The Palace also expressed doubts if UNA could freely call itself the “new opposition,” with most of its leaders professing allegiance to Mr. Aquino while attacking the LP slate at the same time.

She reiterated that UNA was “confusing” the electorate by claiming it was not against the President.

Asked if she found anything wrong with the possibility of an administration electoral sweep, Valte said: “Historically, if you look at every election, every side will always say, ‘Vote straight because this is our platform’ … There is nothing wrong, at least on the side of the President, with wanting people to vote for those who will help further his reform agenda.” With a report from Michael Lim Ubac

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • indiosbravos2002

    Amp. Kung 4th place pa yang si JV, at makakapasok pa sa magic 12 anak ni Enrile. Aba I think mag-abroad na tayong lahat. Wala ng pag-asa bansang ito. Senado mapupuno na naman ng dagdag na kamag-anak at addtl Non performing Assets

    • aristeosj

      Sinabi mo pa!!!
      dinadaan na lang lahat sa slogan.pag hindi naayos ni Noynoy ang Pilipinas sa loobng tatlong taon pa,malamang babalik na namantayo sa kangkungan!!!

      God save this country!!!

    • http://twitter.com/ItsJERRYlicious Jerry Manilag

      Rep. JV’s service and leadership have been recognized by various bodies and organizations through the years. Among these awards are:
      9TH Top Prolific Lawmaker in the 15th Congress, having filed 149 House Bills and 18 House ResolutionsOne of 15 Most Outstanding Congressmen, Congress MagazineTOYM [Ten Outstanding Young Men] Awardee in 2007 for his performance as local chief executive of San Juan First Awardee of the Antonio Quirino Recognition Award, Rotary Club of Makati EastNational Press Club Recognition in November 2010 for his advocacy in protecting the welfare of Filipino journalists

    • http://twitter.com/ItsJERRYlicious Jerry Manilag

      Rep. JV’s service and leadership have been recognized by various bodies and organizations through the years. Among these awards are:
      (1) 9TH Top Prolific Lawmaker in the 15th Congress, having filed 149 House Bills and 18 House Resolutions; (2) One of 15 Most Outstanding Congressmen, Congress Magazine; (3) TOYM [Ten Outstanding Young Men] Awardee in 2007 for his performance as local chief executive of San Juan; (4) First Awardee of the Antonio Quirino Recognition Award, Rotary Club of Makati East; (5)National Press Club Recognition in November 2010 for his advocacy in protecting the welfare of Filipino journalists

      • indiosbravos2002

        Why do we need him? We already have an Estrada in the senate. Cant he just give all his ideas to his brother? Para naman di mukhang bugok utol nya. Also, cant he wait for another 3 years until Jinggy’s term ends? Baka mamaya yong nanay nya naman kumandidato? Garapalan na yan.

  • pedronimo

    One politician in one family is fair and square democracy. But a father, his 2 sons and his mistress, a mother and her sons, a husband, his wife, and his sister, a father, his wife, and two children- all wanting to wield political power- is not democracy but pure and simple GLUTTONY.


  • kolambogan

    I would like to think Mr. Christian V. Esguerra  a propagandist for candidates and political parties and not a true media practitioner who should enlighten the masses who supports the idea of winnability because of name recall of famous/infamous parents or relatives.

    Mr. Esguerra’s contention that Filipino voters cannot change their habits even for a better election conduct for a better society is a clear insult to all. An indictment that all Filipinos to be non thinking morons who will vote a namesake because an Estrada, Arroyo Marcos, Binay, Enrile, Angara, etc., etc., etc. are names famous or infamous because of shenanigans in public service, progenitors who have done nothing worthwhile but enriched themselves and their families and cohorts. What a shame Mr. Esguerra, you have very low regards of the Filipinos, instead of helping educate them your article put to shame the Filipino race and strengthen ignorance only to benefit people who have been screwing the people since they were born.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/AY4HIUV25JF4FK3OOC4R7JTEJE Casey

    Some dynasties are actually good. Nakapanood ako ng interview ni Sonny Angara and he;s actually good. Maybe let’s drop their last names nalng and look at their individual records instead.

    • http://imjinah.blogspot.com/ imjinah

      Monarchies specifically in Europe and Japan are among the best examples of dynasties. Many things are not always fixed good or bad in nature. It depends on how they are used at most.

      Back then, these ‘dynasties’ or whom we call monarchs and noble classes were far evil that what we could imagine. Some are even pure whacked. People just tolerated (or had to bear) them because of their “Divine Right” to rule the land and their lives as citizens of their realms.

  • BonnieBailey9

    Articles like these shouldnt be published. Media is supposed to be for the people and it shhould be used for good info and hindi paninira ng kapwa niya. Wala akong pinapanigan but para di ata maganda yung ganito. Besides, di naman tabloid to

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/I2TPPYP3FO4IOTV22ETTAFPBKY Janine

    Di naman kau pinipilit niya iboto niyo sila. kung ayaw e di wag. wag na sana palakihin ang issue na ito. besides, yung taong bayan na natin maghuhusga kung sino para sa kanila ang karapatdapat na nasa serbisyo.

  • mangtom

    pedronim: A resounding AMEN!!!

  • graciano82

    A dynamic president like Pnoy needs all the backing from the legislators including the citizenry. Check and balance in the political arena is most welcome if the sitting president is evil like Marcos, Estrada and Arroyo but with a president like Pnoy who had shown his honesty and dedication to push the envelope the farthest he can must be supported with legislators who believe and support his agenda. A hostile senate would only dawdle the passage of the reforms planned by Pnoy. 

  • manangvi

    Well, ganon talaga. A candidate will do anything to win in the election, kahit makisakay pa sila sa popularity ng mga kamaganak nila. May ugali kasi ang ibang mga Pilipino, iboboto nila ang isang tao hindi dahil sa kakayahan nito, kundi dahil kung sino ang kamaganak nito.

  • virgoyap

    If voters will choose candidates out of popularity does it mean that our voting populace still lacks maturity? Just asking.

    • ApoNiLolo

      You hit the nail right through the center of the forehead! Feudal and “welfare state” mentality coupled with “poor” education begot political immaturity!

  • vilmavee

    The rule of the Thumb that we should all follow, NO TO EPAL, NO TO POLITICAL DYNASTY.  Let us vote for those with new names, those with no name recall.  At least, we have a good chance of changing our system from corrupt Senatongs and Tongressmen.  Just vote for the unknown…….

  • Paking

    Pag-apply sa janitor na trabaho may qualification requirement (high school graduate or college under-graduate). Pag takbong senatong o tongressman, walang hinahanap na mabigat na kuwalipikasyon (maski inutile puwede) basta lang sikat o galing sa hurakot na pamilya. Sa ganitong sistema, paano tayo aasenso? Dapat may mabigat na pamantayan (good educational credential, good management experience, good moral character, atbp., atbp.,) bago payagang tumakbo para magserbisyo sa bayan. Kung hindi, patuloy na mga unggoy ang magpapatakbo sa Pilipinas at palibhasa mga walang alam gawin kundi magnakaw, ito ang ituturo sa anak na papalit sa kanya sa puwesto. Para maging senatong o tongressman, kailangan lang sikat o galing sa hurakot na pamilya, di kailangan ang matalino at matino. Mas mahirap mag-apply na janitor.

  • ApoNiLolo

    If that’s the political “norm”, then, why not change their name to Andres “Psy” Rizal. Recognizable by all, popular among the patriotic and identifiable among the younger generation. GangNam style pa! >: D

  • Guest

    Joseph the Carpenter
    Joe the Plumber
    Jesus of Nazareth
    Mary of Magdelene
    Juan dela Cruz (with a big cross to bear)
    Toro Dakong-utin (a gigolo in our province)
    Bebot Kitid-puday (a prostitute in our province)

    What’s in a name?

  • GatasNgCow

    Basta, NEGRO parin si Binay. 

  • DonkeyKong1

    Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, no matter the name, kahit Maligno Balahibo ang pangalan niya, MAGALING parin siya. Ang galing ng taong to and I’m going to see that he gets that senate seat. Sonny Angara ng Pinoy! 

  • Guest

    Sonny Angara’s only curse is his last name, really. The only negative feedback we hear around the Internet land is the accusations of Political Dynastying, which is perhaps, one of the lamest attacks ever. 

    Sonny Angara is an accomplished law-maker, a very good father, a man of integrity, and a very talented human being with a good heart. That alone, despite the name, will propel him to a senate seat. I actually see him being president someday. 

  • GeorginaBilson

    I’ve never seen someone so ripe for the senate seat like Sonny Angara. I really hope he wins this elections. 

    • juan12376

      I’ll give Sonny the ‘benefit of the doubt’ and will vote for him this coming election. My advise to him: don’t walk on his father’s footstep – show repect, love and compassion to the Pilipino people especially to those poor ones in Aurora. (We’ll watch his move).

  • Your_King

    That is probably the reason why Philippines has remained the same all these years and have lacked significant improvement because people vote for last names and celebrities and personalities and those with famous parents…they don’t vote for the most qualified and deserving candidates with prior real achievements.

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos