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Anatomy of Vote Buying in the Philippines

Vote buying has always been a regular feature of Philippine elections. It has been successfully used by moneyed politicians, often belonging to political dynasties, local gentry classes, and traditional clans, to entice the electorate to vote or not to vote for specific candidates.

In the recently concluded mid-term Philippine elections, quite a number of independent poll watchdogs observed that vote buying has become rampant compared to previous electoral exercises.

Some analysts pointed out that the automation of Philippine elections forced many candidates, especially at the local levels, to buy votes to ensure victory. That is because with automation, the avenues for electoral cheating became limited and more expensive. Thus, moneyed politicians were compelled to re-focus their so-called “black operations” through vote buying.