Elections in the Philippines: Illusion of Democracy?

In 1987, the Left-leaning Partido ng Bayan (PnB) which fielded candidates at the senatorial and local levels came under violent attack by state forces. Six congressional candidates were assassinated, six other provincial coordinators killed, and hundreds of party leaders and members attacked and harassed. PnB offices were bombed and rallies disrupted or broken up.

The year 2001 saw the breakthrough of Left politics in Congress with the progressive political party Bayan Muna (BM) taking the maximum three party-list seats available to it in the House of Representatives. Strengthening and expansion continued in 2004– with six seats going to BM and allied party-list groups AnakPawis (AP or Toiling Masses) and Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP). The political elite, however, responded with a systematic and increasingly violent crackdown not just on these parties which have decisively won seats in Congress but also on the larger social and mass movement that they represent and draw their strength from.

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