Filipino voting pattern

Filipino politicians use the latest campaign techniques, but still look upon voters as mendicants.

ADVERTISING guru Reli German tells the story of the time he was tapped to produce commercials and jingles for then candidate Ferdinand Marcos’s 1965 presidential bid.

The campaign was more of afamilyventure with no less than Marcos’s wife Imelda herself directing the troops. She would drop by German’s office to look over campaign materials and listen to the jingles being prepared for her husband’s campaign. “ It was more of Imelda that we were dealing with directly for the campaign in 1965,” German recalls. One night Imelda summoned German and his production team to the Marcos home in San Juan, where they were led to her bedroom, which had a closet full of shoeboxes.

The group, a team of professional advertising people, did not know exactly what they were doing in Imelda’s boudoir, but the mystery was soon revealed. German remembers that “ she took three shoeboxes and the boxes were offered to us, and they were full ofmoney! ” With that, the campaign production team was paid, and paid handsomely. German’s story does not only provide insights on the other uses Imelda made of her shoes (or, more precisely, the boxes they had come in).

It also tells us that advertising professionals had been involved in Philippine election campaigns as far back as 1965, when radio was reaching its peak and television, just beginning to make a dent in Filipinos’ consciousness. Then and now, however, professionals like German are relegated to the background, hidden members of the campaign team who are traditionally composed of the candidate’s trusted family members. Campaign professionals, though, have actually been around longer than that.

Soon after the United States introduced elections in the Philippines, the country’s former colonizer also exported to the islands U. S. -style campaigning. This included the use of the mass media to create and manipulate public images, the hiring of public relations and advertising professionals, and later, the employment of sophisticated tools like campaign research and polling. Candidates like Manuel Quezon, Ramon Magsaysay, and Ferdinand Marcos were sold to voters partly through images crafted by experts and peddled to the public through newspapers, radio, and later, television.

At least in terms of elections, the Philippines is not the laggard of Asia, but perhaps the first country in the region that has mastered the use of first-world election techniques. The first national-level Philippine elections were held in 1907. Photoshows voters reading campaign posters issued for that election. But it isn’t easy applying first-world election know-how to a third-world political setting. Despite what appear to be advanced campaign methods, the Philippines is still basically a feudal society where the family lords over political life.

And with the weakening of political parties — alongside the weakening of other institutions in society — the family has remained the country’s basic political organization. This feudal, family-oriented base is one of the factors that stunts the growth of political-campaign professionals. Four decades after Imelda Marcos successfully steered her husband to power, Philippine campaigns are still far from being well-oiled political projects run by professionals. In the Philippine setting, a political campaign machine — especially one designed for a presidential candidate — can be a complex structure with various compartmentalized sub-groupings.

The professionals would be embedded somewhere within, a silent and unknown minority who bow to tacticians and campaign operators. These tacticians and operators, in turn, are usually members and friends of a political clan. It isn’t altogether surprising that a campaign can still look like a mom-and-pop affair with the candidate’s wife as campaign manager, the husband a fundraiser, and all sorts of hangers-on filling the backroom. There is a difference in this year’s election, however. It is the first presidential election in decades in which political advertisements will be allowed.

It is the first time that the power of media in general — and television in particular — may determine who wins. At no other time in the nation’s history will candidates be sold like soap and toothpaste because 40 million voters will be relying on little more than visibility and image to make their choices. More than ever before, candidates and their campaign machineries will now need to use the media specialists, campaign managers, and assorted professionals to make themselves known to the public, and through whatever means available.

By passing the law lifting the ban on political advertisements, “ Congress was in fact saying there’s another way of winning,” says political consultant Malou Tiquia. And part of the message to candidates may be that there could be more room for the pros. For some candidates, this may be a welcome development, since it may mean more effective campaigns, i. e. more votes. But it may not necessarily be good news for the public. As U. S. political scientist Dan Nimmo points out in his book, The Political Persuaders, hiring professionals may just mean more sophisticated manipulation. Without question,” says Nimmo, “ the newtechnologyintroduces not only the possibility but indeed the likelihood of systematic deception in electoral politics. ” More and more, candidates will be seen in images and settings that do not really reflect who they really are and what they are going to do once elected to office. With more professional sleight of hand at work, the public may have a harder time distinguishing fact from fiction, especially when they remain unaware that experts now have more say in the show. IN THE so-called mature democracies of the West, there are experts for every task in a campaign.

In the United States, the election industry is huge, manned by a wide range of specialists including campaign managers, political consultants, public relations people, speechwriters, audio-visual experts, and fundraisers. They operate by a set of rules and design campaign strategies based on scientifically obtained data provided by another component of that growing industry: the profession of campaign research that includes not only pollsters but also psychologists and behavioral experts. President Quezon addresses a crowd.  That is not the case in the Philippines. For starters, there are very few such professionals in the country.

For example, there are only two or three reputable independent polling agencies in the Philippines. Image specialists, political consultants, and campaign managers are also hard to find. Two years ago, an organization called the Association of Political Consultants of Asia was formed, bringing together political technicians aiming to transform political consultancy and campaigning from craft toscience. Still, quips one political consultant: “ It’s easier to find a cardiologist who can do open heart surgery than to find a good spin master. ” That is partly why families and friends remain the captains of Philippine political campaigns.

Fernando Poe Jr.’s campaign machinery, for instance, is packed with his siblings and supporters in the entertainment world. Brother Conrad Poe handles logistics, sister Elizabeth Poe is the official scheduler, while erstwhile comedian and Senator Tito Sotto is the campaign manager. Even actors Rez Cortes and Richard Gomez have been assigned parts to play in the campaign, as has Poe’s swarm of stuntmen-friends who dabble as spokespersons, rallyists, and even act as Poe’s security cordon. On that point, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo isn’t far behind. Her brother Diosdado ‘ Buboy’ Macapagal Jr. s her campaign manager and fundraiser. First Gentleman Mike Arroyo is in the thick of her campaign, too, even if just last year, he had gotten embroiled in a scandal that portrayed him as using an alias to stash away millions of pesos of surplus campaign funds from his wife’s 1998 vice-presidential bid. Of course, a family-run campaign does not necessarily translate into an inefficient and ineffective venture. The most politically experienced clans have even elevated political campaigning to an art, and have over time mastered how to best maximize manpower, resources, and connections.

Elite families are especially skilled at this, putting the charismatic and media-savvy members at the frontlines, assigning the crafty and the cunning to the management side, and mobilizing the clan and its network for other tasks in the campaign, including recruiting campaigners, poll watchers, goons, bodyguards — even hitmen, if need be. But with this election promising more pros, campaigns are bound to be slicker than ever. There is, for instance, the advertising agency Campaigns and Grey and its stable of image specialists working for presidential candidate Raul Roco.

There will also be groups like Tiquia’s Publicus Ltd. , a political consultancy firm that provides campaign services to senatorial and local candidates. There is even the television production team TAPE Productions — which puts out programs like the noontime variety show “ Eat Bulaga! ” — acting as image makers for Fernando Poe Jr. Most of these professionals, though, remain in the background. “ It’s an underground industry-most of these people don’t carry calling cards, don’t introduce themselves, don’t appear at press conferences, don’t advertise their services,” says a political consultant. They get hired by referral and by word of mouth. The really good ones are overloaded with clients and forced to turn down others. ” For this article, they refused to be identified. “ You let the spotlight fall only on your principal,” this political consultant adds. Another one says, “ The pros are often relegated to the backroom, or they don’t have the stature to face the public. ” “ Undocumented experts,” is how yet another political consultant describes himself and his peers. The secrecy is understandable.

Most of them have day jobs, either as reporters, columnists, businessmen, advertising executives, legislative staff, or civil servants. Elections and political campaigns don’t come that often and cannot be a stable source of livelihood, which is why most political professionals consider themselves “ political sacadas” or sharecroppers whose work is seasonal. Besides, in the professions where they officially belong, moonlighting for politicians is an ethical taboo. Journalists working as public relations practitioners or political consultants would be violating the rules on independence, impartiality, and conflict of interest.

Some advertising agencies even insist that they have no history or record of involvement in political campaigns. Yet as far back as 1965, the presidential campaign was already a battle of the ad agency executives. | Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos display their affection for each other during their heyday.  For that particular campaign, adman Billy Esposo writes in a recent column, Marcos hired Proctor and Gamble’s creative team, which was composed of, among others, Miniong Ordonez, now of Jimenez Basic Advertising. Reli German was part of that team.

On the other side ofthe fence, says Esposo, Diosdado Macapagal’s “ image team was headed by the late Fenny Hechanova, himself a former adman from a pioneering agency called Philprom. ” When Marcos ran for reelection four years later, Esposo continues, he got Greg Garcia, who eventually headed the prominent ad agency Hemisphere-Leo Burnett. Greg Garcia, now retired but still part owner of Leo Burnett, is the chief image handler of Senator Panfilo Lacson. The reticence of many professionals in admitting their political work stems from the stigma it apparently carries. Political campaigning is often viewed as an illicit undertaking.

Players are perceived to ink deals and engage in dirty tricks and special operations that can go from wooing special interest groups and thinking up a candidate’s position on issues, to peddling propaganda, buying the media, and negotiating for votes with local party leaders. But much of the bad name suffered by political professionals has also been blamed on Marcos. After he declaredmartial lawin 1972 and abolished elections, the political pros’ skills and talents were put to use only to promote his Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (the only active political party at that time) or push his New Society.

It was a situation that didn’t allow skilled political organizers to thrive and develop a profession called campaign management or political consultancy. Although the Development Academy of the Philippines and the Department of Interior and Local Government became training grounds where political managers could hone their skills managing political organizations, all their work was still for Marcos’s benefit. The only other option was to escape the system and cross over to activist organizations or the underground Left, such as the National Democratic Front (NDF) or the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Today’s top party and campaign people, in fact, trace their roots to these diverse beginnings: Lakas’s Gabriel Claudio and Ronaldo Puno were products of the DILG, while Horacio ‘ Boy’ Morales and Rigoberto Tiglao, came from the leftist movement. PERHAPS the unsuspecting public should be thankful that the country still has a relatively tiny community of campaign management experts, resulting in often-chaotic campaigns that either reveal more than the candidate wants the public to know, or reveal so little that the voters are left annoyed.

In truth, present Philippine campaigns are quite like those in the United States were more than 100 years ago. In The Political Persuaders, which was published in 1970, Nimmo writes, “ A century ago, candidates relied on their wits, their friends, and a few trusted allies to mount a campaign for office. Few men specialized in selling political advice. The campaign specialists of that day were primarily party politicians. ” | Joseph Estrada is mobbed by adoring crowds during his 1998 campaign.

According to Nimmo, the campaign management industry is a “ direct descendant of the public-relations profession” that became popular in the 1920s. That was when U. S. capitalists were under attack by consumers who were reading in newspapers about unsavory business practices. Countering such criticism required a specialist who could proclaim the good side of U. S. industry. Thus was born the PR agent. “ In the process,” Nimmo continues, these PR people “ made increasingly adroit use of the means of masscommunication; the result was the burgeoning field of mass advertising. It would not be long before public relations and mass advertising would cross over to the world of politics, especially with the rise of television, and give birth to a profession that proclaims the good side of political candidates. Nimmo recounts that election campaigns soon became a battle for public exposure. That battle, however, hasn’t been easily fought and won. Many other things compete for the voters’ attention, and candidates need people who are masters not only at constructing the candidate’s message and image, but also at sending these in the most effective way that will make full use of manpower, time, and limited resources.

In short, campaigns need strategies. The U. S. -trained Tiquia, formerly a legislative staff member in the Philippine and U. S. Congresses, defines the ingredients that make for a good campaign strategy. These are listed in a book entitled Campaign Politics: defining the voting population being targeted, creating the message to be communicated, managing resources, timing, and tactics. Tactics include direct voter contact such as campaign events, rallies, and even door-to-door campaigning, and indirect tactics like media advertisements, billboards, and campaign paraphernalia.

Having a professional campaign team to implement the strategy is another necessity. The team is supposed to put order into the traditionally topsy-turvy exercises called campaigns. In this country, however, third-world realities can get in the way. For instance, Tiquia says, there are times when a candidate hires a professional campaign team that may find itself clashing with family members, or with yet another professional team working for the same politician. Problems like these only slow down the campaign.

Campaign Politics also advises politicians to plot their moves way in advance, get their hands on the best people before the competition beats them to it, and plan carefully how resources are to be spent. But there’s that manana habit of the Filipino-his penchant for not planning ahead and waiting till the last minute-which can wreak havoc on the campaign in many ways. As examples, Tiquia cites candidates who are buying TV spots only now, and are finding out that there are none available because an enterprising agency had purchased all that was left months ago.

It is now selling these “ on the secondary market” at much higher rates. There were, however, a few who bought spots early, and at rates that were far, far cheaper. Among the more visible swift-footed ones are presidential candidate Raul Roco and Panfilo Lacson, whose ads had been airing regularly since the campaign started, and senatorial candidate Mar Roxas. As if operating in such a third-world conditions weren’t enough, political professionals in the Philippines also have to deal with obsessive-compulsive candidates who try to control the campaign every step of the way.

Among the cardinal rules for campaigns, says one of the political consultants interviewed for this piece, is that “ a candidate cannot think and campaign at the same time; a candidate shouldn’t handle his or her own campaign. ” But most candidates refuse to leave things to the experts. Despite the enormity of her duties as president and candidate, Gloria Arroyo still decides where her campaigns sorties will go, political consultants say. Even members of her campaign still cannot fathom why she chose to launch her presidential bid in the hills of Cavinti, Laguna.

Observers could only guess that feng shui might have had something to do with it; taking the team to high ground probably bodes good luck, they said. But after Cavinti, the president went north, leaving observers still trying to discern a pattern in her campaigning — if there was really any at all. One consultant, though, says, “ Look at the route she has taken, and you’ll see that it’s like she’s drawing the number eight on the map-she goes up, she goes down, forward, then backward. ” Poe is said to be no different, at least as far as his political rallies are concerned. Remember that he’s a movie director, so he wants to have a say in how his rallies are produced,” says a political professional. But the king of Philippine movies is also a political neophyte, which has unfortunately resulted in Poe being kept in an artificial world where everything is stage-managed. Hence, everyinterview, every appearance has to be scripted. And having written lines for scripts, Poe tends to have a say in how his campaign is managed. “ The best candidate surrenders himself to his handlers,” says another political consultant. And if there was one who embodied this, it was Joseph ‘ Erap’ Estrada in 1998. Erap was a good follower in the sense that when you said the schedule was like this, even if it was so hot or he was already dead tired, he would still follow the schedule to the letter,” says Lito Banayo, who was on Estrada’s 1998 campaign team, and is now on Lacson’s. “ That’s why he was a joy to handle. Perhaps because he was an actor, he was used to having a call time, he had to be on the set at this certain time. He (carried that) discipline in the campaign. ” But another plus factor in the Estrada campaign was its near-perfect machinery, which was due to a generous influx of funds.

Ample funds and resources make a large part of a successful campaign. Reli German even says, “ The three most important things (in a campaign) are money, money, and money. ” The Estrada campaign in 1998 had that in huge quantities. Recalls Banayo: “ There were really a lot of people who helped in that campaign by way of cash as well as material donations. ” A feature of Estrada’s campaign sorties, for instance, were the motorcades and caravans where Estrada would appear beside his showbiz friends Poe and Nora Aunor, and they would then toss candies to the crowd.

Banayo says they never ran out of candies because the supplies just kept coming. Banayo explains the “ symbiotic relationship” of campaign elements: “ Once the perception or image of a candidate improves, the survey results become stacked in his or her favor, the numbers go up, the resources will pour in accordingly. ” Making the candidate more visible, his image more winnable, translates into more campaign contributors. Traditionally, political consultants say, donors such as Filipino-Chinese businesspeople who put in large sums of money into election campaign, initially give equal amounts to all candidates.

The money reportedly starts getting bigger only by April, when donors have a clearer idea who among the candidates is pulling away from the pack, and likely to lead the race. But Tiquia laments how fundraising, like the other aspects, remains a hidden but very important facet of Philippine campaigns. Candidates do not, in the course of the campaign, reveal who their funders are, and methods for raising funds are not always above board. In the United States, Tiquia notes, fundraising is a profession.

Professional fundraisers’ methods include organizing events or dinners, or sending out mail asking supporters to contribute to the campaign kitty. There are limits to the amounts supporters can donate. In this country, it is the field of contributors that is limited. The money comes mostly from Filipino-Chinese businesspeople; the bigger players are the likes of Lucio Tan and Eduardo Cojuangco, whose hearts, minds, and pocket the candidates have to compete for. In exchange, candidates promise them the moon, the stars, and even a piece of the economy.

And now to lure them — and the voters — candidates are tapping political professionals. The irony is that takes a lot of money as well. Nimmo notes, “ The professionals are for hire, but at very high prices. Fewer and fewer politicians can afford the costs of candidacy…. In an age when less affluent members of society are already disillusioned with a political arrangement which they perceive are shutting them out, it will hardly produce harmony to request that they play by the rules of an electoral game they cannot afford to enter. Source: http://pcij. org/stories/first-world-techniques-third-world-setting/ ‘Voters Harder To Fool With Empty Promises’ by Kathleen A. Martin, ABS-CBNnews. com Posted at 01/17/2013 11: 22 AM | Updated as of 01/17/2013 11: 22 AM MANILA, Philippines – Aspiring politicians will need more than a catchy jingle and an empty promise to capture the hearts of Filipino masses, advertisers said. Yoly Ong, group chairperson at Campaigns and Grey, said that based on various focus group discussions, Filipinos are more selective when voting for candidates. They (the masses) actually say, ‘peke yan e,’ because the promises are different from what the politicians actually do,” Ong told ANC’s Inside Business. ” In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s harder to fool the masses today,” Ong continued. Ong is behind President Benigno Aquino III’s successful campaign in 2010, and the brains behind the catchy ” Pag walang corrupt, walang mahirap” slogan. ” They (Filipino voters) have very different behaviors toward candidates. For presidential candidates, they don’t want the jingles. What they want to know is what the guy is going to do to improve their quality of life,” Ong said. But for the senatorial candidates, I guess it’s more of remembering who to vote for because there’s 12 people you need to choose,” Ong noted. Ong believes that for the national elections, the ” air war” or the television and radio will be the primary venues for warring candidates. But local candidates such as congressmen and mayors will still need to battle it out ” retail-elections” style, or going from house to house. Consultant Greg Garcia concurs with Ong, but stressed the role of television in political campaigns has ” dramatically” changed over the years. If you’re not on TV, don’t even think about running for national office because the penetration of TV is just fantastic,” Garcia said. ” I always advise clients that 80% of their money should go into media, and 80% of that 80% should go to television. Television is the only way to communicate to as many people as you can in the shortest amount of time,” he added. Garcia is the man behind Vice President Jejomar Binay’s successful 2010 bid. Garcia said Binay’s narrative of ” Ganito kami sa Makati, sana ganito din sa buong bayan” was the secret behind the vice president’s win. The campaign for the vice president was really right on… and I think every candidate must have a narrative to win,” Garcia said. ” It’s not just about name recall, what’s important is recalling the candidate’s narrative,” he stressed. Source: http://www. abs-cbnnews. com/-depth/01/17/13/voters-harder-fool-empty-promises Philippine Elections Will Stop Being A Sham When Voters Wisen Up By: Ilda, November 9, 2012 Poor Filipinos. We can only stand back and watch in awe at how the Americans conduct their successful Presidential election.

Less than a day after the US Presidential election, the winner could be declared without a hitch and without much contention from the losing candidate. Months of campaigning from both candidates come to an abrupt halt as soon as the winner is announced. It is back to work for everyone in the White House. The ease with which the US election sailed by so smoothly is not even because they have a computerized voting system. For many decades, US elections have always come and gone with hardly any drama. It’s just another walk in the park for people who follow a system that works.

In relative terms, there’s hardly anycheatingthat would cause the sorts of delays that could put entire institutions in doubt. In contrast, even the Philippines’ very first computerized election in 2010 was fraught with allegations of fraudulent activities as reported by some of the members of the local and international community who participated and observed the election. As mentioned in my previous article immediately after the 2010 election, foreign observers concluded that there was massive cheating involved in the first ever-automated Presidential election.

Apart from the problems encountered with the machines, there were other elements whose presence was questionable considering they should not have been in the polling stations in the first place. Observers witnessed a chaotic scene with strong military presence and lots of instances of intimidation in and around the polling stations. One international observer who was assigned at the Pampanga and Tarlac region even specifically mentioned that intimidation was rampant in Hacienda Luisita, the hometown of President Benigno Simeon “ BS” Aquino.

These were observations made by outsiders who are completely unbiased. It is incomprehensible why our public officials allow these things to happen. This is why until now there are still some people who question the legitimacy of President BS Aquino’s win. The following is a summary of theirobservationall throughout the country: Serious and systematic irregularities: – Vote buying – People lining up outside the candidate’s house waiting to receive cash or goods – There was no privacy in the polling stations – People could see what the voter is writing The ballot sheet could not be folded to cover the information – There were voters who were not stamped with indelible ink – There were voters who were stamped with ink before voting – There were people taking pictures and videos of voters for intimidation purposes – Police and military presence was strong. Despite reports of massive election fraud, majority of Filipinos don’t seem inclined to do or don’t even want to know anything about them. The Commissions on Elections (Comelec) and President BS Aquino’s media cohorts were quick to declare the election a success.

They wanted everyone to think that the first automated voting system delivered as expected and that Aquino’s win was a decisive one. Unfortunately, we will never know the truth. Filipinos will always be in the dark as to what truly happened because they chose to ignore boring details. Filipinos have this tendency to just listen to what the Philippine media is telling them. The Filipino people’s preference for turning a blind eye to impropriety is what’s preventing our country from moving forward. It is turning the Philippines into a nation of cheaters.

The irony is that we cry foul after a bad deed is done but we ignore the deed as it transpires. It seems we don’t want the inconvenience of having to deal with the fallout of reporting a crime in progress. We don’t even have protection for whistleblowers. Instead of commending people for their bravery in coming forward, Filipinos turn against the whistleblowers, making them look like they are making mountains out of molehills. People who are seen supporting the whistleblowers are considered “ sore losers”. This discourages people from doing the right thing.

Vigilance against crime is what will actually foster anenvironmentof trust in our society. If we know that illegal activities are not tolerated, we can be assured that people will be honest with their day-to-day activities. Sadly, we shun people who go out on a limb to expose corruption or any form of malpractice, but what we need to do is to help promote a society in which it is possible to speak out without reprisal about corruption, dangers to the public and environment, and other vital social issues. Until we change the way we think and do things collectively as a people, we will never have a smooth election like the Americans.

Here are some of the lessons I learned during the 2010 election that could help us in the 2013 Senatorial election and even the 2016 Presidential election: 1. Campaign platforms No one comes up with a credible platform during elections because voters don’t care about platforms. They cared about Noynoy’s love life and what he does in his spare time. Voters were also smitten with the “ Aquino Legacy” and are convinced that Noynoy will continue whatever it is they think that Ninoy or Cory could have achieved but for whatever reason did not. The voters don’t even have a clue what a platform is.

You have to wonder now how they plan to evaluate how Noynoy sticks to his campaign promises during his term of office. Lesson learned: Most Filipino voters are star-struck ignoramuses. If you want to run for the presidency in 2016, get an image makeover or try to appear “ good” and “ humble”. 2. Surveys and Polling firms Some Filipinos were dumb enough to think that if a candidate is popular, it means that he should be voted in as president. The fact of the matter is, candidates with a lot funds can hire polling firms and publish reports when it is favorable to them.

It was also reported that polling firms conducting the surveys in 2010 were closely linked to the presidential candidate leading the polls. Likewise, despite the number of candidates allowed to run, people were actually just choosing between two candidates. Lesson learned: Next election, call for more transparency around poll survey questionnaires; clamor for more polling firms to conduct surveys and be vigilant and critical of Media’s interpretation of the poll results. 3. Media Bias Noynoy Aquino was given more exposure by prominent media outlets like thePhilippine Daily Inquirer during the campaign period.

It didn’t matter how trivial the news was; Noynoy Aquino was always on the front page. Broadcast networks such as ABS-CBN also helped expose Noynoy to the masa through shows that flagged the “ Aquino Legacy”. Lesson learned: Media outlets owned and operated by members of the Philippine oligarchy will give more exposure to whoever presidential candidate offers concessions they can benefit from. 4. Religious endorsements A week before Election Day, the leader of Iglesia ni Cristo announced that they will be endorsing presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino.

It has been said that this religious group actually waits for the last minute before announcing their endorsement because they want to ensure that whoever they endorse actually wins — presumably with the aim of making a few deals with the president once in office. It was also said that Noynoy’s party was secretly courting that leader’s guarantee that the INC votes will be in their favor. Lesson learned: The endorsement of religious leaders depends on which candidate is popular; religious leaders can make or break a presidential aspirant; Filipinos will vote for whoever their religious leaders instruct them to vote for. . Election Day thugs and vote buying It seems that all of the above exercise with the possible exception of item number four will have no bearing on Election Day to the majority of voters because of the presence of thugs in the polling stations. As previously mentioned, police and military personnel who have no business being in polling stations and who are under the payroll of candidates, hang around to intimidate voters. If the Police and the military themselves are involved in this illegal behavior, to whom can the voters report the irregularity to?

The illegal activity called vote buying involves the buyer and the seller. They both are accountable for their actions. In this case, both parties won’t be willing to report each other because they both benefit from the activity. Unfortunately, the voter who sells his vote will only benefit in the short term. Lesson learned: As long as irregularities like this happens on Election Day, any efforts at educating the voters will just go down the drain. 6. Automated Machines It turns out that automated machines are not foolproof.

Reports abound of machines malfunctioning, machines found kept in someone’s shed, the discrepancies in time lapsed, and allegations of malicious software installed in the machine itself. Lesson learned: Filipinos cannot be trusted with both manual and automated election. Filipinos are very resourceful at finding a way to cheat. Lastly, here is the bottom-line: Filipinos are ultimately to blame for allowing fraudulent activities to happen. Politicians will keep trying to get away with cheating but it is up to us to decide if we will let them. Source: http://getrealphilippines. om/blog/2012/11/philippine-elections-will-stop-being-a-sham-when-voters-wisen-up/ 2013 Mix-And-Match Voting By Ramon Casiple, Mon, Jan 7, 2013 The weak political party system in the Philippines can be seen in the way voters will vote in the 2013 national and local elections. A cursory study of the voting patterns in the past elections showed that voters vote for a candidate on various grounds, among them their personal relationship to the candidate, a candidate’s popularity (not necessarily in politics), endorsement by respected persons, and, of course, what the candidate stands for in relation to voters’ own.

Nowhere in this list is a voter’s recognition of the candidate’s political party platform and program. The candidate, in this sense, sells himself, not the party. A tacit recognition of this can be seen in the way candidates and political parties present themselves to the voters. In streamers and billboards, the face and name of the candidate stands out compared to the party. Even in the party-list system—where the party-list groups are the ones to be elected–it has become more advantageous to present faces of their nominees in addition to the group names.

The result is mix-and-match voting by individual voters. Rarely do they vote straight for a party’s candidates. Source: http://ph. news. yahoo. com/blogs/communityvoices/2013-mix-and-match-voting-130754846. html Everything I Need To Know About Improving The Outcome Of Philippine Elections I Learned In Kindergarten By: benign0, February 25, 2013 Campaign platforms You’d think that the call for platforms is so new this year considering how much of the mainstream has now taken up the cudgels of beating this concept into the tiny skulls of the Filipino voters.

Yet only just four years ago, the idea of demanding platforms from candidates making their pitch to voters was so exotic. So exotic it was that I wrote a piece back in mid-2009 outlining the basic how-to’s of developing a campaign platform. As evident in what I wrote there, “ If we are to expect Filipinos to courageously rally around a serious effort to become a better country in the foreseeable future, it would help to see a leader who has it clear in his or her mind how to get us from A to B. ” it is obvious that the concept back then was quite new.

The call for platforms rose to a crescendo as the presidential campaign leading to the 2010 elections marched on. But as it became more apparent that the then front-running candidate, Benigno Simeon “ BS” Aquino III lacked one, had no inclination of producing one, and was happy enough to run entirely on the back of his family pedigree, many folk who had by then drank enough of BS Aquino’s Yellowist Kool Aid were loudly extolling the irrelevance of revealing clear governance platforms during an election campaign.

Instead, what to them was BS Aquino’s qualification to lead the country was his perceived honesty, integrity, and lack of a track record of corrupt practices. Funny how the most important lessons are learnt after the disaster had already wrought havoc. BS Aquino is now President of the Philippines and the very same bozos who thought platforms were not that important are now parroting what we had been saying back in 2009. Votereducation

In the lead up to and then in the aftermath of the 1986 EDSA people power “ revolution”, the idea that in “ freedom” lies the singular key to Philippine prosperity became deeply-ingrained in the Filipino psyche. It was all about freedom, and a blanket of demagoguery built around this simpleton’s message descended upon and enveloped the Philippine National “ Debate” in the subsequent 27 years. The Vote — the “ freedom” to choose one’s leaders — guaranteed that the right ones would be elevated to office as the prevailing thinking went.

This was, the activists insisted, the “ power” that the Filipino people “ regained” after the 1986 “ revolution”. But then as one bozo after another got elected into office since 1986, it became quite clear that the erstwhile thought leaders of the time simply gave Filipino voters too much credit. It turns out they were really not that smart after all. Freedom in the hands of the Filipino voter was like a blowtorch in the hands of a two-year-old. And so the idea of “ educating” Filipino voters came about.

The thing with “ voter education” is that it is really not that complicated. It comes down to something most normal people learned in kindergarten — that we are ultimately all accountable to ourselves for the decisions we made in the past. In a society renowned for a collective faculty for thinking that is stunted by amnesia and voodoo logic, “ voter education” should start with a re-visit of these kindergarten basics; that being accountable as a “ voter” encompasses a system of three key acts ofresponsibility: (a) Select the right leaders; b) Use the system to hold them accountable; and, (c) Hold ourselves accountable for the quality of the leaders we choose using the system. A lot of the focus of this year’s “ voter education” activist fad is on just the first one, selecting the right leaders. The harder part of the equation — keeping politicians on their toes in between elections is where the real deal lies. Unfortunately Filipinos are simply not up to delivering their part of the deal in between fiestas. And so politicians gravitate to the same old buffoonery… Grandstanding politicians

The reason Filipino politicians are so at liberty to make big, lofty, colourful, noisy, but hollow promises during election campaigns is because the Filipino voter simply drops the ball once the fiesta is over. Because Filipino voters simply fail to use the system to hold them accountable as a matter of routine in between elections and utterly lack an ethic of holding themselves accountable for the quality of the leaders they choose during those fiestas, Philippine politics is a con man’s wet dream. You only need a lousy product and a million suckers to make a lot of money in business.

And Philippine politics is, indeed, good business. And so we come to… The role ofsocial mediain Philippine politics In a recently-concluded “ convention” that saw one of the current crop of “ thought leaders” after another pontificate about what such a kewwwlllthing social media is, we learned that social media is unprecedented in the way it… – breaks traditional commuinication barriers; – serves as a platform for unfiltered egalitarian “ dialogue”; – elevates “ political discourse” by; – providing a more “ inclusive” discussion community; and, – prompts — and demands — quick response from its participants.

Yadda, yadda, yadda. In short (cutting through all the fad jargon), social media transmits andamplifies the “ voice of the people” at an unprecedented scale and efficiency so that every schmoe and her dog has a crack at the proverbial bullhorn once wielded by only the most powerful and influential people. Sounds nice — on paper. The thing with participating in social media chatter is that it is really a form of high-tech Chinese whispers. The Twitter “ retweet” and the Facebook “ share” functions are the 21st Century facilitators of this game — and it is now a game played on a vast scale.

Communication engineers will point out that the principle of signal degradation as data is transmitted, relayed, and re-amplified a number of times as transmission distance increases over a channel is the same as the way hearsay information is perverted in a typical Chinese whispers game. Human debate unfortunately remains analog, so the advent of social media — the digital intermediary in the propagation of this “ debate” — merely served as a more efficient way to accurately spread low-quality information.

With every digital factoid passing through Filipino brains in between retweets, the signal progressively degrades into noise. We see this degradation in signal-to-noise ratios everyday — when we make photocopies of photocopies and make photocopies of those photocopies, the quality of the copy worsens as the number of copies increase. Enlarge one of these nth-generation copies and you will come up with a really bad image. In the same way, amplify and transmit a bad signal over several iterations and all you get for your trouble is a louder and even noisier signal.

That is essentially what social media is doing for the Philippine National “ Debate”. * * * Indeed, everything essential to practicing democracy properly comprises stuff most well-bred people learned as little kids. Having a plan to get where one wants to go. Acquiring relevant information and applying it shrewdly. Regarding sales pitches with a critical mind. Being respectful and prudent when communicating with other people — regardless of the communication technology being used. You don’t really need a Masters Degree in political “ science” to really get all that.

When one understands fundamental problems using common sense, we tend to have a more practical regard for some of the silver-bullet “ solutions” that the savviest spin-meisters around us build buzzes around. Source: http://getrealphilippines. com/blog/2013/02/everything-i-need-to-know-about-improving-the-outcome-of-philippine-elections-i-learned-in-kindergarten/ BLOG POSTS: Policy Dialogue Series 2004 Academe Meets the Political Parties It has often been said that political parties in the Philippines are based on personalities, not on platforms and ideologies.

But individuals do not aggregate demands of sectoral interests. Ideally, parties become the key venues where policies and programs are shaped. In the end, it is still the parties who can be made accountable to their constituents and to the people come post-electoral politics. While it may be true that voting patterns in the Philippines have reflected preference for personalities rather than parties, the platforms of the political parties should still be subjected to public scrutiny. Source: http://twsc. upd. edu. ph/training_PDS1. html Date: March 01, 2004 Filipino Voting Patterns

By: Reynz According to some of the articles on the Internet about Filipino voting patterns, most Filipino voters choose their candidates based on the following:

  1. Utang na loob (Debt of gratitude)
  2. Winnability
  3. Charisma
  4. Media exposure
  5. Eloquence
  6. Pakikisama
  7. Ka-ching! ka-ching!

In other words, Filipino voters rarely vote on the basis of the following:

  1. Capability
  2. Leadershipskills
  3. Knowledge of the job
  4. Moral upbringing and,
  5. Fortitude

Source: http://www. reynaelena. com/2013/02/03/filipino-voting-patterns/ Date: February 03, 2013