- By Ernesto S. Saquibal, Jr. and Ma. Lindy B. Saquibal (completed October 2015)
The study examined politics in Iloilo by looking into Ilonggo voters’ perceptions of patronage practices of local politicians, and hose these conditions influence their attitude towards dynastic politics or intra-familial succession in the local level. A total of 384 respondents were surveyed through face-to-face interview. Chi-square and Gamma tests were used to determine the significant relationships between variables. Findings of the study reveal that the use of patronage has contributed to the election success of the Governor, Congressman, Mayor and Punong Barangay to Some Extent (40.8%) and to a Great Extent (18 3%). One in four (24 5 %) of the respondents were Not Sure or Uncertain of its effect while 11.8 percent noted that its effect is Negligible. With regard to their attitude towards ‘dynastic’ politics or intra-familial succession, one in five (22.1%) among the llonggo voters holds a positive attitude compared to three-fourths (74.5 %) who exhibit a Neutral Altitude towards these politicians. These findings thus suggest that the llonggo voter perceived that the extensive one of patronage has generally contributed to the election success of local politicians in the Province. These findings validate an earlier study on political patronage in Iloilo City by Saquibal (2008) that local politicians arc more inclined to implement patronage projects which are “easily visible” such as infrastructure projects, e.g. Roads, drainage systems, astesian wells and water hand pumps, and have “more immediate, tangible ‘personal’ impact on constituents in the form of social welfare services, i.e., medical assistance and assistance to victims of calamities,, as well as personal assistance, i.e., burial assistance, e.g., free cofins and funeral services. For sure, many of these projects do not respond to the long-term needs and problems of constituents, and have only a ‘fleeting’ impact on their lives. Often, these patronage projects served as functional ‘promotional’ tools from where local officials draw their political strength and support comes election time. Moreover, the Ilonggo voter exhibits a generally ambivalent attitude, but not a negativistic one, with respect to candidates from ‘dynastic’ families Respondents are more inclined to support ‘dynastic’ politicians that exhibit good personal qualities and performance while in public office. There is high consensus to reject candidates who are perceived to be corrupt. However, the practice of patronage cannot account for respondents’ attitude towards dynastic politics. Since the data was gathered primarily through a survey, thus limiting itself to quantitative results and analysis, it is recommended that in-depth interviews with key informants, i.e., local officials and community leaders be employed to come up with more meaningful analysis. Replicating this study in other cities and provinces in the Philippines and examining other variables might yield better understanding of Filipino electoral politics in the local level.