In a series of discussions facilitated by the Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms (IPER) with other election stakeholders, including the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Phillipine military, and other election watchdogs, the following definitions have been tentatively put forward pending official adoption.
The Philippine national police is the agency deputized by COMELEC to ensure safe electoral process during elections and there have been efforts to make a thorough review on the definition of election violence. The absence of a unified definition and parameters often times cause confusion as to what are reported by the media and PNP.
Politically‐Motivated Incident (PMI): Any incident that is carried out and/or planned by any person or group of persons to influence the outcome of the elections or achieve specific political ends, whether it falls within or outside the election period. PMI shall be used as an umbrella term to include all incidents that may affect the outcome of the electoral process.
PMIs that have not yet been validated shall be called “Provisional Politically‐Motivated Incidents (PPMI). Upon validation, they are included in the PMI statistics.
Election‐Related Violent Incident (ERVI): Any act or threat of coercion, intimidation, or physical harm perpetrated to affect an electoral process, or that arise in the context of electoral competititon. This is used specifically in reference to the official election period between January and June 30 of the election year.
ERVIs may include the following: 1) Murder; 2) Kidnapping/hostage taking; 3) Strafing; 4) Grenade throwing; 5)Physical injuries; 6) Ballot‐snatching; and 7) Destruction of property.
ERVIs that have not yet been validated shall be called “Provisional Election‐Related Violent Incidents (P ERVI). Upon validation, they are included in the ERVI statistics.
Election‐Related Non‐Violent Incident (ERNVI): Any election‐related incident other than ERVIs.
ERNVIs may include the following: 1) Carrying and use of deadly weapons, firearms, armored land, water, and air craft; 2) Organization or reaction, strike or similar forces; 3) Suspension of elective officers; 4) Vote‐buying; 5) Vote‐selling; 6) Conspiracy to bribe voters; 7) Wagering upon result of election; 8) Coercion of subordinates; 9) Threats, intimidation, terrorism, use of fraudulent device; 10) Coercion of election officials and employees; 11) Transfer of officers and employees in the civil service; 12) Intervention of public officers and employees; 13) Use of undue influence; 14) Appointment or use of special policemen, special agents, confidential agents or the like; 15) Wearing of uniforms and bearing arms outside work; and 16) Illegal release of prisoners. These lists of ERVIs and ERNVIs may be expanded later based on further assessment. However, for the purposes of this manual, these will suffice. We also take note of ERVIs and ERNVIs that occur outside of the official election period, before and after it. This is in order to complete the picture of election violence related to a particular election. At any rate, all these are to be included in the PMI data.
Sources of Election Violence
Political Warlords: These are politicians who exercise or hold political authority in a certain locality and who have access to armed groups or arms that are or can be used for political gains. In some places where there is proliferation of arms, such as in the Bangsamoro areas, political warlords often have their own private armies. Sometimes, they develop their own security agencies or cultivate connections in the security sector, including the armed forces and the police.
Corrupt/partisan armed forces/police personnel: These are officers and members of the armed forces and the national police who have been bought or are politically partisan, and provide the armed services to a candidate in the elections.
These are usually members of the politician’s clan, a friend, someone who owe favors to the politician, or simply do it for the money. Some of them even make a second occupation or an industry of their participation in the election violence. Some of them also aspire to become political warlords in their own areas. Criminal syndicates or criminals: These are guns‐for‐hire who provide the armed services to a candidate in the elections. Their tie‐up to corrupt or warlord politicians allows for making illegal income and even in some cases, entry into or access to political power of criminal elements. The relationship may also provide certain protection for illegal activities.
Rebel groups or terrorists: These are rebels belonging to the New People’s Army (NPA) or the various Moro rebel or terrorist groups who, for their own cause or as part of an alliance with a politician, provide the armed services to a candidate in the elections. Their tie‐up to corrupt or warlord politicians allows for fund‐raising or arms, and even in some cases, entry into or access to political power of criminal elements. The relationship may also provide certain protection for rebel activities.
PDF : Election Violence in the Philippines (FES)
This paper focuses on the practice and prevalence of election-related violence in the Philippines. For the purposes of this paper, election-related violence will also refer to intimidation, coercion and non-physical forms of harassment. These are not strictly incidents of violence per se. However, Philippine election laws include these as election offences since they curtail voters’ decision-making and are preliminary acts to violence.
PDF : Understanding the Election-related Violent Incident of 2007 (IPER:2007)
PDF : Election Violence in the Philippines (The Gate: 2013)
PDF : Election Fraud and Post-Election Conflict: Evidence from the Philippines (Benjamin Crost, Joseph H. Felter, Hani Mansour, Daniel I. Rees: 2013)