Patronage of the past and future: Legislators' decision to impeach President Estrada of the Philippines

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In patronage-ridden political systems, under what conditions is patronage a more or less effective tool of political influence? This question has been neglected in the patronage politics literature due to the unwarranted premise that patronage is almost always effective. This article addresses this understudied question using the case of President Estrada's impeachment in the Philippines in November 2000. In particular, I ask why some members of Estrada's party, LAMP, decided to endorse the impeachment of the president. Using logit regression analysis, I find that LAMP legislators' impeachment decision was influenced largely by their consideration of patronage from Estrada in the past as well as its value in the future. In particular, two factors are important. First, the LAMP members who had switched their party affiliation to LAMP after the 1998 election were more likely to endorse the impeachment than those who were already LAMP members in 1998. The primary explanation for this behaviour, according to my analysis, is that the new switchers received little campaign contribution from Estrada during the previous election campaign. Second, LAMP members who faced the term limit rule were more likely to endorse the impeachment than continuing members, most probably because the departing members accorded less value to future presidential patronage than the continuing members.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-540
Number of pages20
JournalPacific Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Dec 1



  • Estrada
  • Impeachment
  • Patronage
  • Philippines
  • Political party

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

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