AAS Annual Meeting

Southeast Asia Session 20

[ Southeast Asia Sessions, Table of Contents | Panels by World Area Main Menu ]

Session 20: Roundtable: Philippine Elections in the Age of Automation: Democratic Ideals and Political Realities

Organizer: Paul D. Hutchcroft, Australian National University, Australia

Discussants: Julio Teehankee, De La Salle University, Philippines; Nathan Gilbert Quimpo, University of Tsukuba, Japan; Cleo Calimbahin, De La Salle University, Philippines

In the May 2010 elections, electronic scanners replaced an antiquated hand-written ballot system in use since the conventions of electoral democracy were first adopted in the Philippines over a century ago. After the long-delayed introduction of new technology, resulting in more rapid counting of the votes, how is one to assess the democratic quality of Philippine electoral exercises? In this roundtable, leading analysts of Philippine politics will provide succinct assessments of key aspects of the 2010 elections: 1) the performance of the Commission on Elections relative to other recent elections (Calimbahin); 2) the dynamics within the winning presidential campaign of Benigno S. Aquino III, focusing in particular on relations between the Liberal Party and local politicians (Gascon); 3) the role of opinion polls, viewed by some with suspicion but later used as benchmarks of electoral accuracy (Holmes); 4) perspectives from Mindanao and Sulu, and the relationship of the elections to broader patterns of political violence (Quimpo); 5) how major political clans fared in 2010 as compared to previous electoral contests (Teehankee); and 6) controversies surrounding the Supreme Court, heavily controlled by the outgoing Arroyo administration (Vitug). While the primary focus of the roundtable will be on the groundbreaking developments of 2010, participants will also examine the elections in historical context and offer prospective analysis on the coming electoral exercises in 2013 and 2016. The discussants (Hutchcroft and Rocamora) will provide comments on the presentations and assess prospects for further reform of Philippine elections and Philippine democratic institutions.