As a social institution, the family plays a significant role in Philippine politics. The political and economic domination of elite families in the country can be rooted in Philippine colonial history when colonial powers relied on co-opted local prominent families to maintain order and control (Hau 2017). Since then, the family has been a key institution for local elites to consolidate and perpetuate power. 
In this essay, I argue that the political developments leading to and until the conclusion of the 2022 Philippine elections show that a section of the country’s elite families are shifting away from the usual anarchic competition to a path of unity to insulate themselves and the institution of familial rule from threats of reform and other similar challenges in the future. This process can be described as the formation of a metaphorical Philippine Leviathan state, similar to how previously fractured communal, economic, and political elites in Malaysia and Singapore have come together to build strong authoritarian states to permanently protect themselves from the destabilizing threats of communism and liberal democratization (Slater 2010). 


Cleve V. ARGUELLES writes on political and social change in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. He is President and Chief Executive Officer of WR NUMERO, Assistant Professorial Lecturer in the Department of Political Science and Development Studies at the De La Salle University, and a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Political and Social Change, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, Australian National University.


Type of Manuscript:   Essay
Volume, Issue, Year:   Volume 58, Issue 2, Year 2022
Pages:   219–236

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