The electoral process, after all, is awash with money. Senatorial aspirants spent hundreds of millions of pesos for advertising alone. While the amount spent for vote-buying is unknown and unknowable, our data show that it cost P50 ($1.09) in one case. However, vote-buying usually cost P100 to P300 ($2.17 to $6.51) per vote. In Metro Manila and some provinces, it was pegged at P300 to P500 ($6.51 to $10.86) and in one case, P1,000 ($21.72) per vote was mentioned. There were also payments in kind like rice, movie passes, gas certificates and insurance certificates.
It is not hard to understand why so much money is spent. From the top down, those in power have direct legal access to governmental funds on a significant scale (especially for “pork barrel” from which they get a healthy cut). They are also in a position to receive funds from the private sector. Given the natural wealth of the country and its beautiful environment, there are many opportunities to “assist” developers, miners, landlords and investors of all kinds to achieve success in their business plans and strategies. Little wonder that the stock market and peso were stronger in the wake of an election which seemed to have produced an administration-dominated House of Representatives where “business as usual” is the overriding theme for the next three years.
Analyzing the composition of the Senate and the House of Representatives, one notices the existence of political dynasties. One observer noted that there are about 120 dynasties in the country. The recent elections did not change the situation.