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Kasuya, Yuko, and Cleo Anne A. Calimbahin. “Democratic backsliding in the Philippines: Are voters becoming illiberal?.” Asian Journal of Comparative Politics (2022): 20578911221136263.


Democratic backsliding by incumbents is one of the most prevalent forms of backsliding in recent global trends of democratic erosion. Understanding the attitude of voters toward backsliding incumbents is crucial because popular support is the basis of legitimacy for these incumbents. This article studies voter attitudes in the Philippines, where democracy was subverted by the incumbent president, Rodrigo Duterte, who served from 2016 to 2022. Specifically, we examine the validity of the claim that Filipino voters are acquiring a “taste for illiberal rule” made by some scholars. First, we analyzed the survey data regarding the support for various types of political systems, where part of the data comes from our originally commissioned survey at the Social Weather Stations. Second, we explored Pulse Asia’s longitudinal survey data on martial-rule support. Our investigation of these survey data did not find substantive support for the “taste for illiberal rule” proposition. Further, we argue that Filipino voters are contingent supporters of illiberal politics while supporting the procedural principles of democracy at the baseline.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.