Vera Files


Democracy at Gunpoint: Election-Related Violence in the Philippines

February 1, 2013

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Democracy at Gunpoint examines election-related violence at a crucial time in Philippine politics.

On November 23, 2009, half a year before the May 10, 2010 elections, the worst election-related violent incident the country took place in Maguindanao. The carnage that left 58 civilians dead, including the wife of a gubernatorial candidate, forced government and civil society to step up efforts to address the festering problem of electoral violence that has been blamed on a range of factors, from intense political rivalries and warlordism to clans wars and the communist and Muslim insurgencies.

In 2010, the country also went through an automated voting and canvassing exercise in synchronized national and local elections for the first time. Automation was supposed to reduce opportunities and motives for violence.

This 212-page book revisits the elections in Maguindanao and in other areas traditionally labeled “election hotspots”—Abra, Nueva Ecija and Masbate in Luzon, the Eastern Visayas region, and Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao—and assesses if initiatives to curb election-relation violence indeed paid off.

The chapters were written by Carolyn Arguillas (Maguindanao); Artha Kira Paredes (Abra and Masbate); Carlos Marquez (Nueva Ecija); Ven Labro and Reyan Arinto (Eastern Visayas); Ryan Rosauro (Lanao del Sur); Jules Benitez (Sulu and Tawi-Tawi); and Antonio Manaytay (Basilan).



About Us

Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”
  • The Right to Vote: Filipinos with Disabilities and the 2013 Elections
  • Silenced: Extrajudicial Killings and Torture in the Philippines
  • Democracy at Gunpoint: Election-Related Violence in the Philippines
  • Local edge: Decent work–Stories from the grassroots
  • Bittersweet Stories of Farm Workers in the Philippines
  • Reporting on Millennium Development Goal 5: Improve maternal and reproductive health (A primer for journalists)


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