The issue of power in the grip of entrenched families looms large over every election in the Philippines.
The influence of political dynasties is such that a number of measures seeking to reform the system have been allowed apparently to fester in Congress.
And yet, every election, the same names emerge the winners.
Take the recently concluded national elections, for instance.
Elected siblings and spouses, cousins, nieces and nephews, parents, and grandparents continue to litter the country’s political landscape.
Noticeably a number of these political dynasties come from showbiz.
Here are a few of them.
RICHARD AND LUCY. Lucy Torres-Gomez has just been re-elected the representative of the 4th District of Leyte. She is on her third term.
And, finally, her husband Richard Gomez made it as mayor of Ormoc City.
It can be recalled that he won in 2010 as a member of the House of Representative but was disqualified by the Commission on Elections for failure to validate his residential status.
Lucy then stepped in as his substitute in Congress.
Richard also ran for the Senate in 2007 but lost.
RALPH AND ATE VI. The Star for All Seasons Vilma Santos and husband Ralph Recto are another successful couple in the political arena.
Ralph was a three-term House of Representative member in Lipa City, Batangas, from 1992 to 2001.
He was also the youngest elected congressman during the 9th Congress in Batangas.
He became a senator in 2001 and, at 37, was the youngest senator of the 12th Congress.
He was re-elected in the Senate in 2010.
Vilma Santos or Ate Vi has just made history in this election as the first-ever female member of House of Representative for the 6th District of Lipa.
She finished her second term as the first female governor of Lipa, which she won in 2007.
She entered politics when she became mayor of Lipa City in 1998 and held the position for three consecutive terms.
TITO SOTTO AND HIS CHILDREN. This is the fourth time that Tito Sotto will serve as a senator.
Currently, he is one of the leading senatorial candidates.
He served as senator from 1992 to 2004, and was re-elected in 2010.
Before that, he served as vice mayor of Quezon City from 1988 to 1992.
His second child, Lala Sotto, has followed in his footsteps.
She is the elected councilor in the 2nd District of Quezon City. Prior to that, she was three-termer councilor in the 6th District.
Tito’s only son, Gian Carlo, has just been elected for his third term as councilor in Quezon City’s 3rd District.
Gian was member of Star Magic from 2007 to 2009.
Tito’s nephew, Vico Sotto, son of Vic Sotto with Coney Reyes, has just been elected councilor in the 1st District of Pasig City. A neophyte in politics, notably, Vico topped the race.
Another nephew, Wahoo Sotto, son of Tito’s brother, Val Sotto, is re-elected as councilor in the 2nd district of Parañaque.
THE ESTRADAS. Another well-known political dynasty in the country are the Ejercitos, led by Joseph “Erap” Ejercito Estrada, who has just secured his second term as mayor of Manila.
An experienced actor-politician, Erap was the 13th President of the Philippines. He was elected in 1998 and deposed in 2001.
He ran again as president in 2010 but lost to President Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III.
He first became mayor of San Juan in 1969 and was elected vice president in 1992.
Businesswoman Guia Gomez is again mayor of San Juan City for a second term. She first held the office in 2010.
She had a relationship with Erap and their son is JV Ejercito, who also served as mayor of San Juan and is now a senator.
The vice mayor position of the city has also been secured by an Ejercito.
Janella, Erap’s granddaughter, is the daughter of Jinggoy Estrada and wife Precy. Janella served as a councilor of the said city.
Erap's two nephews, ER Ejercito and Gary Estrada, sons of his late brother George Estregan, however, failed in their respective bids this election.
ER failed to reclaim his position as governor of Laguna, but his wife Girlie Ejercito has just been proclaimed re-elected mayor of Pagsanjan, Laguna.
Gary, on the other hand, lost in his bid for vice governor of Quezon province.
HERBERT AND HERO. Herbert Bautista is re-elected as Quezon City mayor.
He first held the position in 2010 via a landslide victory.
Previously, he served as vice mayor of the city in 1995, the youngest and the only bachelor to hold the position in Quezon City.
He ran for mayor in 1998 but lost to Ismael Mathay Jr.
He returned to politics as vice mayor of the city and held it for three consecutive terms before running for mayor again and winning in 2010.
His younger brother, Hero Bautista, a former actor, is elected as councilor of QC’s 4th District.
Herbert’s former partner, Tates Gana, ran as councilor in Quezon City but failed to secure a seat.
LANI AND SON JOLO. Lani Mercado is the elected mayor of Bacoor, Cavite.
Previously, she represented the 2nd District of Bacoor in Congress for two consecutive terms.
Her son Jolo Revilla has just won his second term as vice-governor of Cavite in this election.
He first held the position in 2013 and became the youngest vice-governor in the history of the country.
Jolo started as a barangay captain in Panapan VII in Bacoor in 2010.
THE YLLANA BROTHERS. Comedian Ryan Yllana is a re-electionist for a second term as councilor in Parañaque’s 2nd District.
In an interview, Ryan had said his older brother Anjo was his inspiration for his entry in politics.
Anjo Yllana is also re-electionist for a second term as a councilor in Quezon City’s 5th District.
His expansive experience in politics began in 1998 as city councilor in Parañaque.
He was re-elected in 2001.
He sought higher office in 2004 and won as vice mayor of the city.
He failed to secure a second term in 2007 and suffered another loss when he first ran for councilor in 2010.
He ran again as councilor in 2013 and won.
Jomari Yllana, a late bloomer in the family’s political history, is recently elected as councilor in the 1st District of Parañaque.
Apart from acting, Jomari is also into car racing.
QUIZON, MARQUEZ, MORENO. They may not be blood related, but Jeremy Marquez and Vandolph Quizon are brothers by affinity.
Jeremy is the eldest son of Joey Marquez, former husband of Vandolph’s mom Alma Moreno.
Vandolph, whose father is the late Comedy King Dolphy, ran and won as councilor in the 1st District of Parañaque. He made it to Top Six.
Jeremy, on the other hand, lost to Rico Golez for the vice-mayoralty in Parañaque.
Alma, a former councilor in Parañaque, also lost in her senatorial bid.