HomeAmerican Studies Asiavol. 1 no. 1 (2002)

Not Only in the Philippines: The Oddities of US-Philippines Political Cultures and Rituals

Marie Capili-Medillo

Discipline: Political Science



Abandoned ballot boxes, resuscitated dead voters, political parties exclaiming “fraud,” etc. These are only some of the many familiar and irksome incidents that mark a typical Philippine election season at any level, whether presidential, congressional, or local. Esteemed critics of Filipino political culture always project and mock these Philippine electioneering staples and oddities as amounting to an exercise that is exclusively and predictably Filipino, and therefore, a ritualistic subversion of the sacred US legacy and example of representative or liberal government to the islands. Such critics discuss and label our election proceedings with that characteristic inversion of the exceptionalist phrase “Only in America” into a satiric “Only in the Philippines.”