The Philippine Elections: Support for Democracy

By David Wurfel. In Asian Survey 2(3):25-37 (May 1962)

THE PHILIPPINES has just survived the fourth presidential election since independence. It was a wild spending spree, in long-standing Filipino tradition. Pre-election violence (mostly personal quarrels with a seasonal flavor—in only a few towns was violence organized with political intent) was given wide publicity and vote buying was rampant, but the freedom and honesty of the balloting itself and the tallying process were well-protected in almost all precincts. Therefore, despite some peculiarly Philippine pyrotechnics which we shall shortly chronicle, the election of Diosdado (“God given”) Macapagal as the fifth president of the Republic marked a substantial step in the direction of perfecting Philippine democracy, a democracy already nearer the Western model than any other political system in Southeast Asia. The Philippines is now the only country in Asia which has twice witnessed the transfer of power to the opposition party through constitutional processes.

The turnover of the reins of government to Macapagal’s Liberals has taken place amidst unusual bitterness, caused by discourtesy and irregularities on both sides. Nevertheless, the new Administration does provide some basis for hope that it will handle those reins more wisely and more honestly than its predecessor. There are some problems, however, which it has not yet faced squarely.

To understand better this most recent incident in the process of Philippine political development, it would be helpful first to sketch briefly the social and historical context. Philippine society is one of great extremes in wealth, accentuated by the enthusiastic and very conspicuous consumption of the upper classes. Gaps between high and low incomes have actually increased in recent years. Contrary to some predictions, however, this has not created a revolutionary situation. Revolution is, to a large extent, an act of frustration by leaders who find no career satisfaction in the existing social system. The Philippine social system is, for Asia, unusually fluid. Despite extremes of wealth, easy upward mobility permits advancement by ambitious persons even from the lowest social strata. Macapagal himself, truly a poor boy who became president, is the most recent and most dramatic example of this. (Many thought that Magsaysay moved from “nipa hut to Malacanang,” but he actually came from a middle class family.) The belief in the possibility of rising from rags to riches, from insignificance to power, may well be greater than the fact. But, at any rate, this belief exists, with enough examples to hold out hope to otherwise potential revolutionaries.

There are thus no sharp ideological cleavages in Philippine politics. Those who see opportunity for their own careers in the existing social system seldom talk of making basic changes in it. Widespread agreement on values inherent in the system is an important foundation for constitutional politics.

The Philippine constitutional structure itself is often assumed to be merely a replica of that of the United States. In fact, there are important differences. One is the high degree of centralization in the Philippines, contrasted with American federalism. But this centralization, which could be disastrous to national unity if too rigid, is itself changing. Only two years ago Philippine villages and other local entities were given substantial new rights of self-government. Barrios were for the first time given the power to tax.1 Though this power is just beginning to be used, it has already begun to encourage local initiative and to weaken the provincial political leaders’ control of the rural vote.

Perhaps as a beneficial consequence of the chronic over-abundance of lawyers and law graduates, respect for the Constitution and for the Supreme Court which interprets it is deeply ingrained in Filipino thinking—frequent disregard for traffic laws, election laws and laws protecting private property notwithstanding. In fact, political disputes which might not be considered by the American Supreme Court are often taken to the Philippines’ highest tribunal in the form of a legal controversy. The Court decides, and its decisions are respected. The most recent example of a major Court decision affecting politics related to the law passed last year to increase and reapportion Congressional seats. In August, the Supreme Court invalidated it on the grounds that it ignored the Constitutional mandate to create districts with an approximately equal population.2 This decision seriously hurt the Nacionalistas, the party in power, by reducing the total number of seats to be contested in this election, thus creating increased competition among the existing surfeit of Nacionalista candidates—averaging more than three per one-member district. Yet no responsible NP leader made any attempt to, or even suggested the possibility of, thwarting or evading the Court’s decision.

It is within a loose social structure, with little ideological conflict, and bound by a centralized—but now decentralizing—Constitutional system which is generally respected, that Philippine political parties have developed.

The Nacionalista Party, which had dominated pre-war politics, was challenged in 1946 by the Liberals, who were not necessarily more “liberal,” but were all followers of Manuel Roxas. With the election of Roxas as first president of the Republic, the Liberals gained control of the administration, and held it until 1953. The Nacionalistas, who had grown lean and hungry while out of power, re-entered Malacanang in 1954 under Ramon Magsaysay’s leadership. With the tragic death of Magsaysay and the assumption to office of his vice-president, Carlos P. Garcia, in March 1951, the restraint of stern honesty was removed and the Nacionalista Party supped well at the public trough. Garcia’s “old pro” leadership was not able to hold together the party as it had existed under Magsaysay, however, and the younger, more idealistic wing split off to form the Progressive Party of the Philippines. The PPP put up a full ticket in the November 1951 presidential election, running stronger than any previous third party, but in the final analysis merely helping to split incumbent Garcia’s opposition. In a field of four candidates Garcia won with only 43 per cent of the popular vote. However, the Liberals were able to elect a vice-president, Diosdado Macapagal.3

The Liberals and Progressives, recognizing the disadvantages of a divided opposition, attempted to create a “Grand Alliance” to defeat the patronage-rich Nacionalistas in the 1959 senatorial and gubernatorial election. But the Alliance broke up before election day and Garcia’s party again carried the field, with the Progressives trailing the Liberals. Steeled by the second defeat, the PPP finally accepted the necessity of opposition discipline, forgot past name-calling, put aside differences and agreed in October 1960 to merge with the Liberal Party. At this time there was also a tentative agreement that Vice-President Macapagal would be the Party’s 1961 Presidential nominee and that ex-Senator Emmanuel Pelaez, a 1959 Grand Alliance/PPP candidate, who was reported to have been Magsaysay’s personal choice for running mate in 1951, would be the vice-presidential choice. This agreement was kept.

Thus, after a brief aberration, two-party politics had returned. The influence of a list system election for senators, which would seem to encourage third parties, was not so great as that of the Presidential race. What is the nature of the two parties as revealed in the recent election? Both have stable leadership that has held the respective parties together in defeat and in victory since 1946. Both Garcia and Macapagal have been prominent members of the leadership core. In addition, each party has drawn unto itself a much less stable coalition of national and provincial leaders and their followers, so that Philippine political parties have been rightly called loose confederations of leadership groups.

There is no discernible difference in the class composition of the two parties. That the bulk of the middle class supported the Liberal candidate in 1961 merely indicates the point in the political cycle: the Liberals were the “clean” opposition fighting the Nacionalistas, a corrupt majority. Eight years earlier the roles were reversed.

Both parties are dominated by elite interests. But this does not mean that there is no difference in the character of the interests in each. For instance, the “tobacco bloc” (i.e., political leaders of the tobacco-growing Ilocos region) has for some time been composed predominantly of Liberals. The “sugar bloc” has since 1953 been united in its support of the Nacionalistas. In 1961 the National Sugarcane Planters Federation publicly went on record in support of Garcia. Not only did the sugar planters bet on the wrong horse, but they were unable to deliver the vote in “their own province,” Negros Occidental. (In 1953 they had switched to Magsaysay at the last minute.) This is the first such election defeat in the history of sugar politics. It is bad business for the sugar planters, who are dependent on the government-owned Philippine National Bank for the great bulk of their credit, to be in the opposition. Immediately after election day last November, the president of the Planters Federation, a Negros Nacionalista, resigned and was replaced by a Liberal from Macapagal’s home province of Pampanga. The sugar planters appear able to roll with the punch, but their political power is not likely to be so strong again.

Industrialists and tradesmen tended to oppose or support Garcia on the basis of their personal contacts with the Administration. Those whose connections were good looked forward to the continuance of such benefits as those conferred by the Central Bank’s Monetary Board in the field of foreign trade. Profit ratios in foreign exchange deals far surpassed those of the most prosperous legitimate business. Businessmen without such connections looked forward to the end of controls—primary cause of uncertainty for the honest producer—and the required party contributions which were so often the quid pro quo for an exchange license. They had reason to believe that though Garcia had made the same promise-under sugar bloc pressure—Macapagal, charter member and officer of the Free Enterprise Association of the Philippines, would be most likely to abolish controls. This assessment proved correct.

Even though Gil Puyat, Nacionalista vice-presidential candidate, was the first industrialist to run for high public office, the small, but growing industrial entrepreneurial class did not as a group rally to his support. There were at least as many who, thinking in particularistic terms, feared the growth of the Puyat family enterprises into a government-backed monopoly as there were those who welcomed the prospect of an industrialist in Malacanang who could protect industrialists’ interests. Interest group oriented organization is emerging, but is as yet an immature growth in Philippine politics. The majority of small farmers supported the Liberals this time, but, of course, because of their numbers, a candidate must gain their approval in order to win. An important percentage of the rural population can be considered in the “floating vote.”

On the ideological plane, the differences between the two parties in 1961 were at most minor, and in any case transitory. For instance, Macapagal charged Garcia with being “soft on Communism,” but the charge had only a little more validity than it had when used against Truman. It is true that the miniscule underground Philippine Communist Party sent out word to “campaign for Garcia” and that after the election, he released on clemency the captured American advisor to the Huks, William Pomeroy. It is also true, however, that the Nacionalistas had in Garcia’s term enacted legislation to outlaw the Communist Party (though it was already illegal by executive order) and that the police agencies of his Administration continued to investigate and arrest Communists and Communist suspects alike. He had not swerved from the Philippines’ anti-Communist foreign policy. Some of Macapagal’s charges had the unfortunate flavor of McCarthyism.

In the minds of certain observers the issue of “communism” and “nationalism” during the recent campaign were somehow linked. The Nacionalistas campaigned vigorously on a platform of “Filipino First,” attempting to attract the Filipino businessman and to use anti-Chinese and anti-American sentiment as a smoke screen to hide the damaging issue of corruption. That the tactic was unsuccessful is not surprising. No party has yet won an election in the Philippines on the basis of anti-Americanism. (The Liberals tried it in 1953.) The use of nationalism as a campaign slogan—to a greater extent than ever before in the post-war Philippines—reflected a genuine rise in nationalist sentiment among Filipino intellectuals and pseudo intellectuals during the past five years. (It also revealed the inability of those in Nacionalista campaign headquarters to assess rural attitudes.) To believe that this was merely a mimicking of the communist line is unfounded.

It is true that Macapagal is more pro-American than his predecessor, but the same contrast cannot necessarily be made between the two parties. During the campaign even Macapagal was forced by Nationalista attacks to make an affirmation of his own nationalism. The new administration cannot be assumed to be a willing handmaiden for all that the United States desires.

Because the major difference between the two Philippine political parties is that one is “in” and the other is “out,” the classic campaign cry of outs against ins, “corruption!,” spoken with fervent emotion, was usually the most popular point in Macapagal’s campaign oration.4 Garcia’s rebuttal was, at best, weak. To one audience he urged contemplation of St. Paul’s words, “faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love.” He condemned the opposition for “negative thinking,” “perhaps caused by dyspepsia.” In Visayan-speaking areas he gained warm applause by reciting some of his balaks, the type of poetry that has won him a certain amount of literary recognition, but apparently poems did not dispel the corruption issue. A sharp rise in rice prices shortly before the election also hurt Garcia, because the Liberals generally succeeded in blaming him for the crisis. But disgust with corruption was still the main theme of opposition voters in most areas.

The corruption surrounding the Garcia administration extended into the conduct of the campaign itself. The Nacionalista cause was probably hurt most by the July nominating convention, frequently referred to as an “orgy” because of the generous portions of wine, women, song—and cold cash—reportedly distributed to the delegates. Senator Gil Puyat, who had previously been a politician of unusually good repute, bought himself the vice-presidential nomination at this convention for a few million pesos—which he assumed at the time would ensure election victory—but was never able to regain his good name or the people’s confidence.

In a country famed for expensive elections, that of 1961 was the most costly. All candidates for all offices spent an estimated P80 to P150 million, with Garcia himself responsible for nearly half the total sum. This amount would include payments from both private and “public” funds made primarily for campaign purposes.

If P80 million were the correct figure, this would mean 8 per cent of the annual national budget. The same percentage spent for campaigns in the U.S. would amount to $7 billion, which would put quite a strain on the Hatch Act. In fact, even Filipino politicians are feeling the strain. The inability of Garcia and Puyat to buy victory with such vast sums may reverse the trend toward greater election expenses, at least temporarily.

Money failed to bring the desired electoral result for several reasons. Garcia’s ceremonious distribution of public works checks from local campaign platforms may have given immediate satisfaction to provincial audiences, since it was in the traditional pattern of a leader consolidating his position by distributing material benefits to his followers, but the same audiences were often disappointed to learn that lack of cash in the treasury, shifts in political priorities, or bureaucratic delay would prevent them from spending the checks for local projects before the election. Opposition candidates also weakened the political impact of this “pork barrel” by driving home the point, “This is just your own money which the Administration is returning to you; claim it as your right and vote as you please.”

Furthermore, an increase in expenditure has become necessary because the same amount of money now has less political effect than before. An important way in which well-oiled political machines spend money is by direct vote buying. In many areas the price of a vote has increased two or three times in the last decade until it may reach as high as {$x} in some places, or a week’s wage for a farm laborer. As election administration becomes more honest, it is more and more difficult for ballot marking systems to prosper and therefore easier for the “bought” voter to vote as he pleases with impunity. It is still easier to distinguish a particular individual’s ballot, whether legally or illegally, in the Philippines than it is in the U.S. because the voter must write in the name of his candidate. Adoption of a printed ballot is an urgent electoral reform in the Philippines today.

Despite a sharp rise in pre-election violence5 and increased vote buying, the 1961 election generally maintained the steady progress of the past decade toward cleaner election administration. The inconclusive nature of election trends, followed by the seeming appearance of a shift toward Macapagal in the last two weeks, caused impartial citizens to worry about the possibility of election irregularities being perpetrated to keep the Nacionalista Party in power. The Liberals, in a somewhat similar election in 1949, had committed irregularities on a large scale. Among the techniques used at that time was alteration of precinct election returns after the polls closed. Since Garcia did not appear to be preparing more blatant violations, clean election forces decided to concentrate on protecting the tallying process. The Commission on Elections, while it might have done more, did at least authorize the preparation of additional official precinct returns which for the first time were distributed to both party appointees on the precinct election boards, thus preventing board chairmen from conniving with the party in power.

Civic leaders wanted to take more active steps, however. The National Movement for Free Elections,6 founded in 1951 to protect the ballot, and spectacularly successful in 1953, had declined by 1961 to the point of complete ineffectiveness. In the familiar pattern of Filipino voluntary associations, it was easier to form a new organization than to revitalize the old one.7 A new organization, formed in mid-August, was dubbed Operation Quick Count (OQC). From the beginning it received substantial backing from the influential Manila Times. Proceeding from the premise that tampering with the returns-was made possible by the normally slow process of tabulation, for which such political appointees as municipal and provincial treasurers were largely responsible, OQC decided that the best way to assure an honest count was to have a quick one.

They thereupon set out to establish their own national network for gathering the returns.

The results of their efforts were remarkable. In less than three months, they had established a nation-wide communications network, including runners, motorcyclists, airplanes, and radio, telephone and telegraph communications, with cooperating bodies in almost every municipality in the islands. (The Commission on Elections uses only mails and telegraph.) With the support of Lions, Rotary, Jaycees, Knights of Columbus and various other civic organizations, OQC was able to report accurate and conclusive election returns to Manila within 20 hours of the closing of the polls, compared to the normal lag of two to three days. It is clear that Filipinos can organize rapidly and effectively for a good cause when they see the need.

Garcia’s charge that these were Liberal-inspired figures turned out to be a source of embarrassment to him later when their accuracy was verified. It is readily apparent that Garcia’s further claim that there was widespread fraud committed against him is unfounded. His charges must be labeled those of a bitter, defeated candidate. Authoritative sources report that he attempted to use these charges as a lever with which to persuade Macapagal not to prosecute members of his family and political friends. If so, the tactic did not work. One of the first criminal complaints brought by the Macapagal Administration was against the ex-President’s brother, Cosme Garcia.

Perhaps the most unique aspect of the 1961 elections in the Philippines was the nature and strength of independent candidates. To describe them provides new insights into the Philippine political process. Independent candidates for the presidency or vice presidency in the past had always run on a third party ticket. In 1961, however, there was an independent candidate for vice-president, Sergio Osmena, Jr., and one for president, Rogelio de la’ Rosa, neither of whom were officially allied with any other candidate, though unofficial alliances were numerous. (Voters may split their tickets.)

Osmena, maverick son of an illustrious father, wanted to be president. He decided to run as an independent for the vice-presidency because he believed that election to the vice-presidency in 1961 would be the easiest way to achieve this ambition, and because he was unable to get a party nomination, despite offers of substantial funds to both major parties for the privilege. The year 1961 was unusual because President Garcia, under the constitutional limitation of eight years on the president’s term of office, would only have been able to serve three years and three months if elected.

Sergio Osmena, Sr., founder of the Nacionalista Party and last president of the Commonwealth, had been a statesman of the old school, respected by friend and foe alike. While the father was in Washington during the war, however, the son remained in the Philippines, making a small fortune by selling scrap iron to Japanese military authorities. After the war he launched his political career, without the father’s blessing or support. While serving as mayor of Cebu City, governor of the province, and representative in Congress, Osmena Jr. has managed to be on all sides of all political fences, and at the same time has been able to maintain sufficient personal contacts to guarantee a substantial extracurricular income. He campaigned in 1961 on the questionable platform that he was the best qualified candidate to “clean up the mess” in Manila. While he was thus posing as an oppositionist, he made a not-so-secret deal with President Garcia for mutual support in the populous province of Cebu, and certain other places.

Since Osmena is from the Visayas and Filipinos tend to express regional loyalties in national elections, he badly undercut the strength of Pelaez, the Liberal candidate, who was also from the South. Because of his skillful welding of alliances with politicians all over the Philippines, because he successfully wooed “Bishop” Felix Manalo of the Iglesia ni Kristo,8 and because he capitalized on the sympathy extended to the family after his father’s death in October, Serging, as he is called, came close to winning. He placed a strong second, while Puyat came in a poor third.9

The independent candidate for the presidency was in some ways an even more colorful figure and certainly a greater threat to the Liberals, at least while he remained in the race. De la Rosa, before he was elected Senator four years ago, was known only as a movie star—a Filipino Clark Gable. Despite his unorthodox origins, he turned out to be a reasonably good senator. He made a real effort to understand and to help small farmers and fishermen in Central Luzon. He clearly had charisma.

De la Rosa’s decision to enter the race for the presidency was not entirely his own. While he was undoubtedly ambitious, he was not wealthy enough to afford a presidential campaign, and he had no political organization. According to well-substantiated rumor, a friend of Garcia helped to provide both. If this rumor is correct, it was a very clever move by the Garcia forces. De la Rosa comes from the same province as Macapagal—in fact, they are ex-brothers-in-law. By attacking Garcia as well as Macapagal, he appealed to opposition sentiment. With a much more attractive personality than Macapagal, he won rapidly growing support. By October, many people were predicting that he would get a million votes, or more than 10 per cent of the estimated total. Since nearly 90 per cent of this would be subtracted from the potential Macapagal vote, it could easily spell victory for Garcia.

Meanwhile, De la Rosa got the idea that he could actually win. His attacks on Garcia became less polite and more vigorous. He campaigned in the Visayas, Garcia’s home territory, which some say was contrary to the original agreement with the Nacionalistas. Garcia began to worry. What actually happened thereafter can only be surmised from a complex web of partly conflicting, partly complementary reports and rumors. Apparently Garcia grossly overestimated the damage De la Rosa was doing to him, and decided to stop his funds. This turned out to be a fatal mistake. De la Rosa’s ego was deeply involved in the campaign, so he decided to proceed, even going into debt to maintain his campaign organization.

It seems that De la Rosa’s increasing disillusionment with Garcia, his financial insolvency, and increasing pressure from family and friends who supported Macapagal caused him to decide finally to withdraw from the race, only ten days before the election, throwing his support to the Liberal candidate. According to well informed rumor, he also received a cash payment more than sufficient to pay his campaign debts. Macapagal’s margin of victory was less than the previously predicted vote for De la Rosa.10 An independent, who bid fair to be the perfect solution to the election dilemma of an unpopular incumbent, turned out to be most undependable for this purpose. The technique might have worked, but is not likely to be tried again soon. Needless to say, De la Rosa’s own political reputation is blighted.

The outcome of the senatorial elections was somewhat surprising. The Liberals, who were expected to get only half of the eight seats at stake, won six. Only one incumbent Nacionalista senator was re-elected, Lorenzo Sumulong. The three top Liberals11 were all close associates of Magsaysay and former Progressives. Macapagal has not given recognition to this Progressive electoral strength in the pattern of his appointments, however.

Despite Liberal sweeps of the other races, the Nacionaiistas won more than two-thirds of the seats in the House of Representatives. This reflects the weakness of Liberal candidates, as well as the fact that many Nacionalista hopefuls who were given money by Garcia to campaign for him spent it on their own campaigns. Party lines are not firm, however, and presidential power is great. After many weeks of intense maneuvering, and an offer of committee chairmanships to key Nacionalistas, a Liberal Representative, Villarreal, was elected Speaker.

The transition from the old to the new administration, despite a lack of ideological barriers and the general intimacy within the Philippine political elite, has not been a smooth one. Garcia helped to create a tense atmosphere by refusing to bow out gracefully. The Liberal “task forces” set up to arrange for the transfer of power were blamed by the Nacionalistas for attempting to make policy and administrative decisions before the inauguration. After the inauguration, conflict focused on the question of the tenure of persons appointed for a fixed term of office. Garcia had filled many such positions—including policy-making ones—with political cronies, and Macapagal was determined to get rid of them, in several instances to replace them—as it turned out—with Liberal politicians. But he has attempted to dismiss the good with the bad, and has openly flouted due process in order to do so—a serious blow to the already weak and harassed bureaucracy. The predominance of “old guard” Liberal politicians among Macapagal’s second string appointments means that this administration is bringing less new blood into governing circles than did Magsaysay. This is not surprising, however, since Macapagal himself is an “old guard Liberal,” having been with the Party since 1949.

Macapagal made a firm promise during the campaign to end all foreign exchange controls. He has carried out this promise, and earlier than many expected. His swift move to end controls did, in fact, prevent a large part of the speculation that had been feared. At the same time he substantially increased tariffs, before Congress reconvened, by executive order to compensate for the loss of protection which exchange controls had given to certain industries. Clearly Macapagal is taking a stronger personal role in the formulation and execution of national economic policy than have any of his predecessors. His doctorate in economics from the University of Santo Tomas may not be academically very meaningful, but it gives him a far better background than most Filipino politicians for making such policy decisions. Temporarily, at least, his policies seem to have been a success. Despite recent domestic price rises, the peso has held fairly stable on the international market. It is still uncertain, however, as to whether the ending of controls will provide the long-term stimulus to economic development which its advocates claim.

Macapagal’s promise to end controls was coupled with one to expand social welfare and reform programs. In this latter field, he has not yet performed. In fact, agrarian reform would appear to have been set back by the elimination of some experienced persons from administrative positions, despite the fact that the reform conscious Central Luzon vote, swung to him by De la Rosa, was decisive in the Liberal Party victory. Vice-President and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Pelaez, one of Magsaysay’s chief advisors on agrarian reform, who is better informed about and more firmly dedicated to agrarian reform than was Magsaysay himself, has not been allowed to influence policy or appointments in this field to the extent he had expected. His likely rival for national office in 1965, Senator Ferdinand Marcos, seems determined to prevent him from becoming identified with such a politically appealing program. Failure to reinvigorate agrarian reform programs begun under Magsaysay and to correct their shortcomings, if continued, will surely lead to disillusionment with Macapagal in the rural areas.

There are also grounds for concern about Macapagal’s ability to fulfill his promises to end graft and corruption. Exchange controls, a fertile soil for corrupt profit, have been eliminated, to be sure, but the opportunity to manipulate customs and reparations regulations remains. Macapagal has made some dramatic arrests, but a man who was in part responsible for the “reparations mess” has merely been reassigned. Even more discouraging in the long run is the new administration’s failure to recognize the urgent need for an increase in government salaries, the relatively low level of which is one of the basic causes for continued graft. Undoubtedly the standard of public morals will be lifted substantially above that of the Garcia Administration, at least for a few years, but how thoroughgoing and how permanent the clean-up will be remains to be seen.

The elections of 1961 have given Philippine democracy a new lease on life. In these elections, the Filipino people have reaffirmed their dedication to the electoral process as the proper democratic method for changing regimes, for punishing dishonesty and for rewarding honesty. But whether the new administration will use the time it has been given to strengthen the other institutions of democracy, e.g., a wide distribution of landownership and an efficient, as well as honest, civil service, is still in doubt. Unfortunately this election does not appear to have produced any fundamental realignment of Philippine political and economic forces in such a manner as to provide more adequate political support for the necessary changes. The weakening of the sugar bloc, however, may eventually have this effect.

DAVID WURFEL, assistant professor of political science at International Christian University, Tokyo, was recently in the Philippines on a Social Science Research Council grant. He is the author of the section on the Philippines in Governments and Politics in Southeast Asia.


1 Republic Act 2310, June 20, 1959.

2 Article VI, Sec. I, par. 5.

3 See my article, “The Philippine Elections: New Trends,” Foreign Policy Bulletin, January 1, 1958, pp. 60-64.

4 His intense concern for honesty in government can possibly be explained in part by a boyhood experience which apparently left a strong impression: his father was jailed for embezzlement!

5 Pre-election casualties were 35 dead and 34 wounded in 74 incidents. This death toll was double that of 1959 and triple that of 1957, but did not exceed the toll in 1953. Manila Times, November 9, 1961. In contrast, election day was quiet.

6 See James Dalton, “Ins and Outs in the Philippines,” Far East Survey, XXI, 12 (July 30, 1952), 111-123.

7 See Mary Hollensteiner, The Dynamics of Power in a Philippine Municipality (Quezon City: University of the Philippines, Community Development Research Council, 19617) for an excellent analysis of this point.

8 Church of Christ is a church of unitarian belief founded by Manalo, who describes himself as one of the archangels mentioned in the Book of Revelation. This is the fastest growing church in the Philippines, and the most tightly disciplined. Church members unswervingly accept Manalo’s instructions on how to vote; he thus controls the largest united voting bloc in the Philippines, now estimated at nearly one million. Though Manalo had endorsed national candidates before, this is the first time that one has relied so heavily on Manalo for his electoral strength.

9 Pelaez—2,394,400; Osmena—2,190,424; Puyat—l,181,981. Commission on Elections, Canvass of Votes … in the November 14, 1961 Election …

10 Macapagal—3,554,840; Garcia—2,902,966. Ibid.

11 Those elected were: Manglapus (LP)—3,489,658; Manahan (LP)-3,088,040; Sumulong (NP)—2,811,228; Rodrigo (LP)—2,1l0,322; Antonino (LP)—2,636,420; Osias (LP)—2,634,183; Katigbak (LP)-2,546,141; Roy (NP)—2,443,110. Ibid.


The author wants to thank Mr. Rafael Salas for invaluable assistance to his research. The author, however, is fully responsible for any errors and all conclusions.

Categories Philippines, General politics