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The Center for Southeast Asian Studies organizes and sponsors a number of events such as lectures, film screening, workshops, symposia, conferences, exhibits, and performances throughout the year.  Several of these events are in collaboration with other U-M units, and are often free and open to the public. To see what we have planned for this semester, please visit our 2020 Lecture Series page.

CSEAS Friday Lecture Series | The Sins of Their Fathers: Can Political Families in the Philippines be Held Accountable?

Sheila Coronel, Toni Stabile Professor of Professional Practice in Investigative Journalism; Director, Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism Columbia University
Friday, March 29, 2024
12:00-1:00 PM
Room 110 Weiser Hall Map
Attend in person or via Zoom. Zoom registration at

The 2022 elections saw the rise to the commanding heights of power in the Philippines of scions of two prominent political families: Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte, who were voted president and vice president, respectively. They are the children of two former presidents who have been accused of the most grievous offenses committed by a Philippine head of state since 1935, when first presidential elections were held during the Philippine Commonwealth, under the aegis of U.S. colonial rule. Ferdinand Marcos Sr. has been accused of grievous human rights abuses and of plundering as much as $20 billion dollars during his 20-year rule (1965-1986). Rodrigo Duterte (2016-2022) presided over a bloody war on drugs that killed thousands, many of them small-time drug peddlers or drug users in urban slums.

Are Philippine elections therefore not accountability mechanisms but more like laundromats that wash away the sins of the past? A cycle of wash, rinse, repeat, whereby political families like the Marcoses and the Dutertes can cleanse themselves of the taint of past wrongdoing and be fresh again?

This talk will examine the enduring hold of political families in the Philippines and the mechanisms that they employ to appeal to the electorate and to control the levers of political power at the local and national levels.

SHEILA S. CORONEL is director of the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism and the Stabile Professor of Professional Practice in Investigative Journalism at Columbia University. She worked for many years as a journalist in the Philippines and was a co-founder and director of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. She is the author and editor of more than a dozen books. She has received numerous awards for her work, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia’s highest prize.

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us at Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Weiser Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Asia, Philippines, Southeast Asia
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Center for Southeast Asian Studies, International Institute, Asian Languages and Cultures