From February through April, Rico Lozada was inundated with texts asking him to vote for Ferdinand Marcos Jr and his camp in the Philippines’ presidential elections. Minutes after one of the messages dropped, Lozada’s GCash e-wallet account received 5,000 pesos (US$95.50) from the same number, the Philippine voter told The Ken. He ignored the messages, but they kept coming till election day on 9 May, when he was handed hundreds of pesos wrapped in a Marcos flyer as he entered the voting booth.

“It didn’t change who I wanted to vote for, but I felt sorry for those who would be convinced by that cash.”

Lozada wasn’t the only target.


Isabel Martinez

Isa is based in Manila. She covers Southeast Asia's and the Philippines' media, employment and work, policy and investments, and other sectors reshaping consumer life.

View Full Profile

Enter your email address to read this story

To read this, you’ll need to register for a free account which will also give you access to our stories and newsletters

Or use your email ID