The Veracity of Vote Buying: Perspectives of the Philippine Electoral System
Vote-buying during election is a phenomenon in Philippine politics clandestinely practiced as underground activities by political candidates who utilize it as a political strategy. This study examined the vote buying phenomenon of the Philippines during periodic elections in the national and local levels. It utilized secondary data from various sourced agencies and published refereed journals on practices of fraud and vote buying which have crucially shape out election results and the electoral system of the country. The findings suggest that Filipino traditional voters attribute vote buying to “patron-client relations” during elections which temporarily achieve equality and justice when candidates accomplish their obligations and lend support to their constituents in times of needs. Operationally for many Filipino voters, vote buying as a tangible “gift” from aspiring candidates influence their choice and produce instrumental compliance. This phenomenon underlying the patron-client ties manifests a two-fold bond of reciprocity and mutual obligation which link individuals of disproportionate social status and authority based on the exchange of money and votes. The study concludes that vote buying as practiced in the Philippines has penetrated all levels of the bureaucracy. The veracity of vote-buying has become culturally intricate with fraud, intimidation and violent means to win the electoral race.
Keywords - Vote buying, electoral system, political culture, voters’ education, election exercise, data mining, Philippines