Spice Boys (Congressmen)

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For the Liverpool FC football players, see Spice Boys.

The Spice Boys were six thirtysomething neophyte and two-term congressmen of the House of Representatives of the Philippines openly critical of the administration during Joseph Estrada's term as President of the Philippines.[1][2] The group's name is an allusion to the British girl-group, the Spice Girls. They also played a key role in Estrada's removal from office.[3][4]

The Estrada administration's equivalent of this opposition clique was a seven-member group of congressmen Estrada christened as the "Bright Boys".


The 1998 Philippine general election ushered in a wave of neophyte congressmen into the House of Representatives, filling 140 seats of the 220-seat Lower House.[5] About a fifth of its members were under 40 years of age, roughly equivalent to Generation X.[1] This influx of young blood changed the way legislative business was undertaken and the image of the Filipino politician, most of whom were derided as trapos or "TRAditional POliticians". Incidentally, the Spanish word trapo means "rag", as in rag doll or dish rag.

After the Lakas-NUCD party was reduced to 25 members at the height of the Charter-change debate in 1999 and became the minority bloc in the House, six young congressmen became media sensations due to their fervent opposition to the issue of making changes to the Philippine Constitution. This group came to be dubbed by the media as the "Spice Boys", effectively becoming the face and voice of the opposition.[6] As of 2001, the members of the group are no longer in the opposition and are holding positions in the Cabinet or Congress.[7]


The group consisted of:

  1. Rolando Andaya, Jr. – 1st District, Camarines Sur
  2. Robert Ace Barbers – 2nd District, Surigao del Norte
  3. Michael Defensor – 3rd District, Quezon City
  4. Hernani Braganza – 1st District, Pangasinan
  5. Federico Sandoval IINavotas-Malabon
  6. Juan Miguel Zubiri – 3rd District, Bukidnon
  7. Reyson Jay Tanio – 1st District, Bacolod

Post EDSA II[edit]

After the EDSA Revolution of 2001, the Spice Boys were assigned key positions in the Arroyo administration. In 2003, the Spice Boys pledged their support for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's 2004 Presidential campaign.[8] In 2004, three were given committee chairmanships in the House of Representatives. Andaya became chairman of the appropriations committee;[9] Barbers headed the accounts committee, and Zubiri, the committee on legislative franchises. Defensor became head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, while Braganza took over as agrarian reform secretary.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Boys 'N The House". The Investigative Reporting Magazine. VI: 6–9. January–March 2000. 
  2. ^ Esguerra, Christian V. (15 June 2012). "Estrada to Pimentel: Give and forgive". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 10 March 2017. 
  3. ^ Balana, Cynthia (15 January 2007). "President okays 10% pay hike, says Senator Arroyo". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2 March 2008. 
  4. ^ Pedrasa, Ira (14 June 2012). "JV Ejercito: 50% Erap, 50% hard work". ABS-CBNnews.com. Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  5. ^ Crisp, Penny (July 14, 2000). "The Hope of the Philippines". Asiaweek. Archived from the original on 15 May 2005. Retrieved 2008-03-02. 
  6. ^ a b Dizon, David (January 16, 2003). "Braganza courts the press". ABS-CBN. Archived from the original on July 1, 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-02. 
  7. ^ Alecks, Pabico (2001-10 to 2001–12). "The Aging of the Spice Boys". Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism Online. Archived from the original on 22 May 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-02.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. ^ Romero, Paolo (5 December 2003). ""SPICE BOYS" LAUNCH GMA'S CAMPAIGN W/ SLOGAN: 2010 PARA 'DI BITIN'". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 10 March 2017. 
  9. ^ "End of rainbow? Joe de Venecia's reign as House speaker challenged". Sun.Star Cebu. 26 July 2004. Retrieved 2 March 2008.