In the political landscape of Marikina, three-time Mayor Marcy Teodoro is a stalwart. From being a councilor to congressman and now a mayor, his star has only been on an upwards trend ever since he began a political career at the age of 21. Proclaiming himself as a proponent for “common sense governance,” many people look up to him as a progressive leader – one that serves the people using good governance and listening to the people as guiding principles. The mayor is also currently a co-convener of the Mayors for Good Governance Coalition alongside others like Joy Belmonte of Quezon City and Vico Sotto of Pasig. Yet, recent events have brought scrutiny for the jovial mayor.

Last February 28, 2024, Mayor Marcy Teodoro officially filed with the COMELEC to transfer his official residence to Loyola Grand Villas (LGV), an enclave home to mansions of wealthy professionals and political elites, part of both Quezon City and Marikina. This transfer changes his residence from Brgy. San Roque of District 1, where the mayor began his political career, to District 2, putting him at odds with Liberal Party member Rep. Stella Quimbo who is up for re-election.  The change of address despite being now registered in different districts raises the question of whether both Mayor Marcy and Cong. Maan still reside in the same home. 

Mayor Marcy’s partner in life is also his partner in politics: Marjorie Ann “Maan” Teodoro, has been representing the 1st District of Marikina in the House of Representatives since 2022 alongside her mayoral husband. The power couple are just one of many political dynasties who have multiple members in position at the same time, also known as “fat” dynasties. They crowd out genuine leaders, and instead fill up positions with their respective family members in order to circumvent term limits. In Metro Manila alone,  the Binays of Makati, the Cayetanos of Taguig, the Gatchalians of Valenzuela, and Belmontes of Quezon City continue to dominate the political scene. Husband and wife couples in politics also abound: Cong. Martin Romualdez and Cong. Yedda Romualdez, Sen. Peter Cayetano and Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano, Sen. Bong Revilla and Cong. Lani Mercado Revilla, just to name a few. The effect of such political dynasties has been well-documented: they can reduce quality competition vital for democracy, hinder development, exacerbate poverty, and weaken checks and balances. The temptation of keeping power in the family at the expense of the people is also a great moral hazard. 

With all that said, the spoils do go to the victors – they accrue to the family. In that regard, it seems as if Senator Koko Pimentel is also seeking to establish his own dynasty in Marikina, with his wife, Kat Yu-Pimentel, already positioning herself alongside Rep. Maan Teodoro in Distict 1 activities, as if to announce a future campaign, almost a year before the next election. Just recently, Senator Pimentel and his wife donated service vehicles to Marikina barangays in the 1st District, raising questions about the solon’s parochial activities in Marikina, given his national constituency. In any case, the Teodoro-Pimentel alliance is the icing on the cake; a political manuever that clearly aims to establish another political dynasty in the city of Marikina.

With the move to change his official residence with the Commission on Elections, Mayor Marcy Teodoro has invited unabashed criticism as well as doubts regarding the future of good governance in Marikina City. Transparency, integrity, and trust are the pillars of good governance. Marcy Teodoro, as a well-known convenor of the Mayors for Good Governance, should be setting an example. But the discrepancy between his official residence and his actual place of residence casts a shadow of doubt, and that’s even before discussing the shadowy political deals being made with the Pimentel family. So, while the mayor was once quoted as recognizant of the fact that power is transitory and his time will lapse – it seems like the next mayor might just be his wife, after all.

Political dynasties are not new – but their continued growth and proliferation should be a cause for concern for progressives. This isn’t just about the paperwork of filing for a change of residence in order to run in a different district. It’s also about the degradation of one’s moral compass in the pursuit of political power – something that could be marked by telltale signs of dynastic politics that have plagued even the stately politicians of the past and turned them into just another traditional politician or trapo.

Maybe one day, we will see a genuine public servant who can truly transcend the desire to keep political power within their family at all costs, even at the expense of the people.