Ateneo Policy Center revisits the 2016 Philippine Elections
16 May 2017
On May 12, 2017, the Policy Center of the Ateneo School of Government (ASOG), with the support of the National Academy of Science and Technology and Young Public Servants, hosted a forum titled, “A Year After: Revisiting the 2016 Philippine Elections” at the Escaler Hall, Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City. The forum featured various empirical studies on the voting patterns and behavior as observed in Philippine elections.
Dr. Ronald U. Mendoza, Dean of the Ateneo School of Government, welcomed the guests and the participants of the forum. Dr. Mendoza noted the importance of the process and the motivations behind election outcomes. He also emphasized that elections are a barometer of our democracy’s health and possible future.
The first session of the forum featured the research studies of Dr. Reinabelle Reyes of Ateneo de Manila University and Dr. Clarissa C. David of the University of the Philippines. Dr. Reyes, an astrophysicist and data scientist presented her work titled “How we chose our senators.” Using market basket analysis for the senatorial candidates, Dr. Reyes identified the senatorial candidates that were voted together in the 2016 national elections. She also presented the provinces that voted similarly, showing the marked difference in voting patterns relative to the geographical location.
Dr. David presented the study titled “Who chooses dynastic candidates.” The study showed that dynastic candidates are 3.6x more likely to win in an election. She also stated that inherited fame and elite support are some of the advantages of being a dynastic candidate. Dr. David acknowledged the importance of having an anti-dynasty law and policies that would support non-dynastic candidates. She also underscored the need to strengthen the political and electoral knowledge of the people through the educational institutions and the media.
The last session featured Mr. Tristan A. Canare and Dr. Filomeno V. Aguilar Jr., both from the Ateneo de Manila University. Mr. Canare presented the Ateneo School of Government’s research study on the patterns and correlates of vote-buying in low-income households. He noted that vote-buying may take place even prior to the election season. He also acknowledged that low-income households are usually susceptible to vote-buying due to their needs and possibility of longstanding relationships with political patrons. On the other hand, Dr. Aguilar’s study focused on the different perceptions of the poor on vote-buying. He concluded that the rural poor see themselves as accepting help rather than selling their votes. While the urban poor acknowledge that money-giving is a form of vote-buying but they do not consider themselves as vote-sellers.
The forum also featured Mr. James Jimenez of the Commission on Elections and Ms. Ia Denise Arnette Marañon of the Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral ng Paaralang Loyola as reactors. Director Jimenez acknowledged the importance of addressing the electoral issues that were discussed in the forum. He also mentioned that COMELEC innovates relentlessly to prevent incidences of electoral fraud. Ms. Marañon, a student leader, emphasized the importance of the role of the youth in the election process. She stated that the challenge for the youth is to not just study but also respond to the pressing social issues of today.
The forum was well-attended by 250 participants from different sectors such as the government, civil society organizations, media and the academe.