Power bequeathed: Generational shift and elite reproduction in the eleventh House of Representatives

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Development Studies

Subject Categories

Development Studies | Political Science


College of Liberal Arts


Political Science


This study is an exposition of the methods undertaken by the traditional, new and emerging socio-economic elites at maintaining their dominance in congressional politics, giving stress to the internal structure of the oligarchy and the mechanisms or strategies of their resilience in achieving, exercising and keeping power .This research utilized the case study method to illustrate how the House of Representatives serves as a nexus between local and national politics. The legislators who inherited their congressional posts from their parents are the main subjects of these case studies. The number of cases is seventeen. The sample is derived from the total number of representative who replaced his or her three-term parent. The study made use of primary and secondary materials. Key informant interviews were conducted to provide a first-hand assessment of the tactics and strategies that have assured political dominance in the congressional districts.A combination of adaptive strategies enabled political clans to maintain their dominance in congressional politics. Consequently, a variety of political clans have emerged in successive political regimes utilizing most of these strategies. The introduction of term limits in the 1987 Constitution was an attempt to widen the avenue for legislative recruitment. However, in the Philippines, limiting the term of elected officials is not enough to curb the dynastic ambitions of most political clans.

Political clans continue to perpetuate themselves in power either by fielding relatives as proxy candidates to warm their seats in Congress, or by totally bequeathing power to their next of kin. The election of children of political clan members indicates a generation shift in the country's power holders. Usually, a shift in generations is accompanied by changes in political outlook and the functions, roles and skills performed by the next generation of political elites. There is a significant transformation involving the shift from traditional elites to the rise of strategic elites composed of third generation traditional clans, new and emerging clans. This may provide a narrow window for change and reform in the political system. However, while the next generation of political elites demonstrate new political outlook, most continue to succumb to their parent's traditional mode of political contestation.Term limits have been proven simply as a minor obstacle for entrenched political dynasties. The rotation of political candidacy among political clans and proxy candidates are means utilized to get around term limits. Term limits alone is not enough to curb the dynastic ambitions of political clans. Therefore, efforts must be made to enact the anti-dynasty provision of the Constitution, and the process of electoral reforms and modernization must be completed.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

298 leaves


Children of politicians; Political leadership; Heads of state—Succession

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