Monday, May 30, 2022

What If of History: President Ferdinand R. Tabuebue, Jr.

The Marcos family name has an interesting history. While many Filipino families have surnames that were adopted in accordance with the 1849 Claveria Surname decree, it is interesting that the Marcos family already used "Marcos" as their last name prior to Claveria, then adopted a new surname to comply with the decree, but later would officially register Marcos as their official name.

The Marcos family has roots to Batac, Ilocos Norte where the surname has been traced back to the last quarter of the 1700s. The earliest ancestor of President-elect Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. that we can definitively trace is his 3X-great-grandfather, Don Gregorio Marcos, who was born on March 11, 1893. Unfortunately, his baptismal record (see below) does not state who his parents were and in fact simply states that he was padres no conocido, or parents unknown. This, despite him being described as a legitimate child. So we can only assume either the record keeper mistakenly wrote legitimate child in the record, or the other way around when he forgot to write down the names of Gregorio's parents. Whatever the case, family lore suggests that Gregorio Marcos was an assistant to the Spanish provincial judge in Laoag in the mid-19th century. His wife was also a Marcos named Maria who, according to some oral tradition, was supposedly Itneg by racial classification who was impregnated by the same Spanish judge her husband worked for. It is a possibility that it was Gregorio who was most likely the product of a liaison between a Spanish judge and a local woman, possibly Itneg as the oral tradition suggests.

Whatever the case, at least two of the children of Gregorio and Maria Marcos were baptized under the "Marcos" family name. Damaso Marcos, born on December 8, 1830, would have been too young to have been the one to register their family name to comply with the Claveria surname decree in 1849. Therefore, it was definitely Gregorio Marcos who would have officially adopted their Claveria-surname.

Even though the family already had a surname that was allowed by the provisions of the decree, the next decades saw the family name being listed in Batac's official records as either "Tabuebue" or "Tabuebue Marcos". These tell us that the family adopted "Tabuebue" as their new surname. It does not appear to be part of the list of surnames that accompanied the decree. It is very possible that the family simply reverted to an old indigenous name that they might have carried way before they used "Marcos". 

Damaso Marcos would later be listed as Damaso Tabuebue Marcos. His own son, President-elect Marcos Jr.'s great-grandfather, Don Fabian, would later officially revert the surnames to "Marcos Tabuebue" as seen in one official government gazette. Even the father of President Ferdinande Edralin Marcos, Mariano Marcos, was officially registered as Mariano Tabuebue when he was born on April 21, 1897. But records during the American period already consistently identified the family as using "Marcos" in all documents, which meant that they reverted to the use of their old surname and discarded the use of their adopted, Claveria-decree surname.

Had the family decided to stick with their adopted surname, we would have had a President Ferdinand Romualdez Tabuebue, Jr. today!

Saturday, May 28, 2022

All The Presidents' Sons, Daughters, and Relatives

The results of the may 2022 elections still baffle many political observers. While some say that the recent elections did not make any difference as far as dynastic politics is concerned, with many people from the same family running and winning, not all of these related families were successful. In fact, among the descendants and relatives of Presidential families, not all were lucky enough. Here is a run-down of the sons, daughters, and relatives of Philippine presidents who ran and won (or lost) in the recent elections:


For generations, the Aguinaldo clan has continued to dominate the politics of Kawit, Cavite. The fight for Mayor of Cavite was between two great-grandsons of President Emilio Aguinaldo: incumbent Mayor Angelo Aguinaldo (the son of Mayor Reynaldo Aguinaldo, who was the son of Emilio Aguinaldo, Jr.) versus Cavite 1st District Representative Francis Gerald “Boy Blue” Aguinaldo Abaya (son of Consuelo Aguinaldo Abaya, the daughter of Emilio Aguinaldo, Jr.). Angelo Aguinaldo defeated his cousin Boy Blue Abaya by just 3,028 votes. A brother of Boy Blue Abaya, former Kawit Vice-Mayor Dr. Paul Plaridel Abaya, failed to secure his bid as representative of the 1st district of Cavite against Ramon "Jolo" Revilla, son of Senator Bong Revilla. Jolo Revilla defeated Dr. Abaya 9,048 votes.

Former Kawit Mayor Federico “Hit” Aguinaldo Poblete, the son of Maria Aguinaldo Poblete and grandson of President Emilio Aguinaldo, lost his bid for Kawit Councilor and placed only in the 10th spot.

Final Tally: 1 win, 3 loses


Luis Carlos Mariano Laurel II, a grandson of President Jose P. Laurel, lost as councilor in Tanauan, Batangas, placing only 11th among the candidates.

Final Tally: 1 loss


What once was a family with many members holding various national and local positions, only 3 members ran and only 1 won. 

Margot Vargas Osmeña, former Cebu City Councilor and wife of former Mayor Tommy Osmeña, son of Senator Sergio Osmeña, Jr. and grandson of President Sergio Osmeña, and their daughter-in-law Bea Villegas Osmeña, both lost in their Mayoral and Council bids. Margot placed second to Mike Rama while Bea placed 12th in the race for Councilor in the South district of Cebu City.

Renato Osmeña, Jr., son of former Cebu City Vice-Mayor Renato Osmeña, who was the son of Edilberto Osmeña, in turn a son of President Sergio Osmeña, won and clinched the 5th place in the South district council.

Final Tally: 1 win, 2 losses


No direct descendants of President Ramon Magsaysay ran for office, but Angel Magsaysay - Cheng, daughter of his nephew former Governor Vicente Magsaysay (son of his brother Jesus del Fierro Magsaysay), ran for Mayor of Castillejos, Zambales but lost to Jeff Khonghun. A sister-in-law of Angel Magsaysay-Cheng, former Congresswoman Milagros “Mitos” Magsaysay, wife of Jesus "JV" Vicente, lost to Jay Khonghun.

Final Tally: 2 losses


Only former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, daughter of President Diosdado Macapagal, ran for Pampanga’s second district and won unopposed. Her sister-in-law, Maria Lourdes T. Arroyo, lost to Dino Yulo for 5th district Congressman of Negros Occidental by more than 42 thousand votes.

Final Tally: 1 win, 1 loss


No direct descendants of President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino ran in the 2022 elections, but several of her relatives did. Her former son-in-law, James Yap, won as councilor in the 1st district of San Juan, Manila. Lorenzo “Enzo” Oreta, the son of her sister-in-law, Senator Tessie Aquino-Oreta, ran for Mayor of Malabon City to replace his brother, incumbent Mayor Antolin Aquino Oreta III, but lost to Jeannie Sandoval by just 1,279 votes.

Among her Cojuangco relatives, Jaime Diaz Cojuangco, the son of Tarlac Rep. Charlie Cojuangco and grandson of the late Danding Cojuangco, first cousin of President Cory Aquino, won as Tarlac 1st district representative. Jaime’s uncle, Mark Cojuangco, won as 2nd district representative of Pangasinan. Another Cojuangco nephew, Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro, ran for Senator but lost.

Final Tally: 3 wins, 2 losses

Ejercito Estrada

The family of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada fared very well in the recent elections. Two of his sons, Jose "Jinggoy" Ejercito Estrada, Jr. and Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito won as Senators. 

His nephew, Emilio Ramon “ER” Pelayo Ejercito III ran but lost to Rosseller “Ross” Rizal for Mayor of Calamba, Laguna. Interestingly, Mayor Ross Rizal is the great-great-grandson of Gabriel Rizal Mercado, brother of Francisco Rizal Mercado, father of Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal.

ER Ejercito’s son, Jorge Jerico Ejercito lost to Karen Agape for Vice-Governor of Laguna Province. ER’s wife and Jerico’s mother, incumbent Pagsanjan Vice-Mayor Maita “Girlie” Ejercito, ran but lost the Pagsanjan mayoral race to Kuya Cesar Areza. A niece of President Estrada, Councilor Jannah "Jana" Ejercito lost to Atty. Bel Zamora for the Congressional seat of San Juan.

Final Tally: 2 wins, 4 losses


President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s three adult children won in their respective posts: daughter Sara is the incoming 15th Vice-President of the Philippines, while sons Paolo and Sebastian were elected as the first district representative and Mayor of Davao City, respectively.

Red Duterte, a great-grandson of Severo Duterte whose brother Facundo was the grandfather of President Rodrigo Duterte, won a seat in the 5th district provincial board.

Final Tally: 4 wins


Of course, the Presidential family who did the best in the recent polls is the Marcos family. Former President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos’s own son, Ferdinand “Bongbong" Romualdez Marcos, Jr. clinched the top elective post and is the incoming 17th President of the Philippines. His daughter, Imee Marcos, is an incumbent Senator.

Two grandsons of President Marcos won: Senator Imee’s son, Matthew Marcos Manotoc, won as Governor of Ilocos Nortes while President-elect Marcos’s eldest son, Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos, was elected 1st district representative of Ilocos Norte.

Michael Marcos Keon, a first cousin of both President BBM and Senator Imee, won as mayor of Laoag City, Ilocos Norte. Another first cousin, Eugenio Angelo Marcos Barba, won as congressman by a landslide with 127,867 votes in the 2nd District of Ilocos Norte.

Cecilia Araneta Marcos, President Marcos Jr.’s cousin-in-law on both the Marcos and his wife’s Araneta side, secured another term as vice governor of Ilocos Norte.

P.S. The relatives of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on his maternal side also did well but are not included here.

Final Tally: 5 wins

While political analysts are correct in saying that dynastic politics in the Philippines is stronger than ever after the May 2022 polls, it is also true that bearing the surname of a President is not always a sure win. As seen in the tallies above, among the various relatives of Philippine Presidents who ran in the recent elections, of the 33 candidates, only 20 won while the remaining 13 lost, some by a very large margin