In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Philippine Politics and Government

  • Introduction
  • Foreign Policy, International Relations, and Security

Political Science Philippine Politics and Government
Julio Teehankee
  • LAST REVIEWED: 26 October 2023
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 October 2023
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0366


The study of politics and government in the Philippines was borne out of critical junctures in historical state-making and nation-building in the country. From colonialism to nationalism, modernization, authoritarianism, and democratization, the Philippines is an interesting case study since it reflects significant periods in its political history. The emergence of political science in the Philippines has contributed to the rise of several Philippine politics and government theories that frame the analysis of its political development. Despite the early influence of American political science on the study of Philippine politics and government, Philippine political science has avoided quantitative methods until recently. Nonetheless, the latest studies by Filipino political scientists present a dynamic and pluralist perspective. For the most part, the bulk of research publications has focused on democratic and state institutions that include executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government; the bureaucracy; local government and decentralization; policymaking in general; the military and police; elections; voting; election rules; and political parties. Philippine politics has been largely criticized for being corrupt, patronage-based, and lacking ideological grounding. However, political and social movements have mobilized ideology in contesting power in the country. Essentially, there have been four ideological traditions in the Philippines: nationalism, liberalism, radical Marxism, and socialism. Despite several attempts to articulate an ideologically based discourse, Philippine politics continue to revolve around candidate-centered alliances of provincial bosses, political machines, and local clans, grounded on clientelistic, parochial, and personal inducements rather than issues, ideologies, and party programs. Nonetheless, alternative theories have emerged to challenge this view of Philippine politics. In recent years, the strong institutionalist and statist approach of the discipline in the country has been receptive to alternative and multidisciplinary perspectives. The Philippines is also home to a broad range of voluntary associations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and other manifestations of a relatively vibrant civil society and social movements. New ideological formations gravitating around postmodern, cultural, and identity-based issues have also emerged. Moreover, new challenges, such as democratic regression, authoritarian revival, and digital disinformation, necessitate looking at old problems with new academic lenses. In addition, domestic politics continue to impact how the country navigates its foreign policy, particularly in defense of its “national interest” in the rapidly shifting global arena.

Analyzing Philippine Politics and Government

Familiarizing oneself with the theories and history of Philippine politics and government is an initial step in understanding its intricacies. The development of political science in the Philippines has contributed to the emergence of several theories of Philippine politics and government that frame the analysis of political development. Subsections scan the literature on Philippine Ideologies; Patron-Client, Brokerage, and Machines; and Alternative Theories of Philippine Politics. A subsection provides the historical context of Philippine Political Development.

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