Scholarly study reveals Ateneans are the real ‘bobotantes’ of the Philippine electorate


A study conducted by the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) on the bobotante (stupid voter) phenomenon that plagues Philippine politics sought to test a hypothesis commonly-held amongst the Philippines’ “thinking classes” — that it is primarily impoverished voters (the majority of Filipinos) that are inclined to vote stupid.

The results published in an Inquirer report are seemingly conclusive. ‘Bobotantes’ are thinking voters the ADMU asserts.

“The poor vote is a thinking vote and you see it everywhere—you see it on how they consider candidates, you see it in vote processes such as vote buying. While we can easily say that is evil, the poor think about it in different ways; there might even be a sense of justice in the way they sell their votes,” Claudio said.

“It’s not a simple immoral act that they don’t think about. It is a well thought-out process. The process of selling one’s vote is a reasoned and logical process.”

So there you have it. The venerable ADMU has ruled that poor voters are actually thinking voters. So why then do idiotic and crooked politicians continue to be elected to critical Philippine Government positions?

The trouble with the Ateneo study is that the hypothesis they are testing is flawed to begin with. Anybody who’s spent time monitoring political chatter on Twitter and Facebook will find that some of the most educated and well-off Filipinos are the ones who do not apply sound thinking in the assertions and choices they make come election day.

The administration of Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III, is a good example. The Aquino administration was a product of the emo philosophies of the Philippines’ illustrado (“civil” and “educated”) classes. The Aquinos (the late Cory in 1986 and her son in 2010) were chosen not on the basis of their qualifications. They were chosen on the basis of the idea that the virtues of “sacrifice” and “prayerfulness” make a good Philippine president.

Indeed, current President BS Aquino triumphed in the 2010 elections over rival candidates who offered far more experience and qualifications suitable for the presidency. But Aquino seized the candidacy from then front-runner Senator Mar Roxas and went on to win the presidency on the back of a wave of sympathy following the death of his mother. The sectors of Philippine society that incited that mass sympathy wave was none other than the illustrado classes who should have known better.

We see, today, the way these otherwise well-heeled, Catholic university-educated bozos continue to prop up the old Yellow brand that has come to symbolise the no-results regime of emotionalism and voodoo politico-spirituality that has characterised the last 30 years of “democracy” that was supposedly “restored” by the Aquinos. The irony that flies above their pointed heads is that it is this very stubborn adherence to Yellow rhetoric that had doomed the candidacy of their hapless presidential bet Mar Roxas who, as of now, has virtually zero chance of winning in this year’s elections.

It is worth noting that the Ateneo (where this so-called study on ‘bobotantes’ was conceived) is a bastion of the same Yellow thinking that this sad sector of the Philippine electorate continues to foolishly latch on to as their philosophy of salvation. In mid April, a mock poll conducted by the Ateneo on its student body revealed that Roxas and Robredo top Ateneans’ preferences for the country’s next leaders…

Roxas topped the polls with 37.2% of the vote – or 875 of the 2,351 votes cast for president. Robredo received 74.86% of the vote for vice president, or 1,760 of the total votes.

This is interesting considering that the very study this esteemed university had conducted had concluded that the majority poor in the Philippine electorate are, in fact, thinking voters.

Note then that the preferences of Ateneans are wildly inconsistent with broader-based surveys showing Roxas and Robredo trailing former Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Bongbong Marcos. Suffice to say, there aren’t too many impoverished Filipinos who comprise the student rolls of the Ateneo de Manila. So by exhibiting a cult-like beholdenness to the Roxas-Robredo tandem inconsistent with the preferences of the majority of Filipinos (as revealed by bigger surveys), are Ateneans actually exhibiting a lack of an ability to properly think through their choices for President and Vice President of the Philippines respectively?

It is quite likely that Ateneans are, themselves guilty of practicing the very patronage politics that has long been seen to be the bane of modern governance in the Philippines. My colleague Ilda put forth this theory back in March following a statement issued by the Ateneo faculty collectively condemning Martial Law “historical revisionism” and going as far as accusing presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos of directly perpetrating alleged atrocities against Filipinos during the Martial Law regime of his father former President Ferdinand Marcos. Ilda was apparently spot on observing how…

[…] members of the Ateneo faculty are not using their critical analysis skills in dealing with the Marcoses. They are, instead, allowing their irrational bias towards the Aquinos to rule their thinking. A lot of people are baffled as to why they are not speaking out against the atrocities committed during the two Aquino regimes – Cory and BS Aquino’s term. It’s not like the extra-judicial killings had stopped after Martial Law. Military and police abuses still happened during Cory’s term and are still happening today during her son’s term.

The wholesale flawed thinking applied by the Ateneo faculty in the positions it takes in today’s politics has, unfortunately, rubbed off on the student body. That 37 and 74 percent of Ateneans would vote for Roxas and Robredo respectively says a lot about how very little thinking is actually going on in the halls of this hallowed citadel of Jesuit learning.

Credit this to a bad case of ivory towerism. The Ateneo has long encouraged that its graduates come “down from the hill” equipped with their expensive American education and get their hands dirty in the real world once they leave its tony campuses. Unfortunately, when the very leaders and educators of the Ateneo themselves remain trapped in The Matrix, the promise of true enlightenment will continue to elude the Philippine youth’s otherwise most promising cliques.


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106 Comments on "Scholarly study reveals Ateneans are the real ‘bobotantes’ of the Philippine electorate"

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Man InLaw

As a college freshman in Ateneo, I fully understand the support for Leni for her excellent diplomatic skills etc. However, I don’t understand the support for Mar; he’s way too passive and I think not much change will happen though I respect their votes. I was hoping for a MDS-Robredo tandem.

I’ll have to disagree with your statement that ADMU is totally an ivory tower, though. A lot have immersed themselves in different sectors of society. We do things, though we don’t like to flaunt it. I do respect your perspective, though.

Dick S. O'Rosary

Haha. A damning review. Good thing theres one Atenean (currently living abroad) who writes about their follies. I can understand qhy Robredo would top their mock elections, but Roxas? Come on.

It seems that this is mock election is more of an endorsement than an actual poll. Wasn’t it Ateneo that bucked the trend in the 2010 Presidential campaign where Gilberto Teodoro would consistently top University polls?

Arvin Chutangco

Not an Atenean, but I suppose you’re the “everyone who disagrees with me is an idiot” type? Ganun po ang dating mo.

Ben Sebastian

This write up holds true to the Ateneans on my FB wall. These elitist scumbags are completely out of touch and full of themselves. I say, to hell with them!

Sancho Alconce

That’s why Fidel Castro kicked them out of Cuba. Another thing…Acacia St. beside Ateneo de Davao campus. ‘Tis supposed to be a no parking zone. How come cars owned by these ateneo parents are parked on this short and narrow street the whole day. And lots of double parking to further aggravate the situation. Simple road courtesy they can’t, what about when no one is watching.


What the hell. A person who accepts a bribe or is voting based on their stomach is thinking? Pasok the article of Kate Natividad on intelligent people embracing dumbed-down “thinking”! Wait a minute, if something is dumbed-down, is it thinking?

It’s as if the study is justifying bribes! Again, what the hell!


They want Mar Roxas simply because he is a fellow Atenista (ateneo hs). It’s more of an image boosting, their claim to prestige. They dont care if Mar is incompetent. They were probably thinking it would be an advantage for them if a sitting president is an Atenista. Ang bababaw nila!


Kung totoo yang speculation mo, edi sana sa Alan Cayetano (na alumni ng Ateneo Professional Schools) ang nagtop sa VP nang Ateneo.

Fyi, Im not an Atenean.


Well, it is now the time of Bedans to shine. DU30 will win in May. Bedan lawyers and graduates/professionals will help DU30 in running the government. Ateneo is overrated.

I dunno, but election doesn’t always determine the performance of a president. Some candidates might have good track record but end up shit in the position. Some have very good flatforms but everything is stuck at planning. Some on the other hand are obviously predictable. Whenever we vote, regardless of who you vote, we always cross fingers. That is why never think that because other people vote binay, they are stupid. We are foremost just putting our faith in the candidate. “PS. I am not pro-binay” Try to learn other people and why they vote their candidate. Everyone has their… Read more »
Eterio Herrera

Agreed to the thirty two years of MADPnoy kulangkulang99 self interest yellow oligarchs mass media deception of a makapiling Pilipino who sold Sabah to Malaysia..


Benigno ikaw na talaga ang perfect lol. How much did you received for this? Lol


Sa UP mahirap ang math; sa Ateneo mahirap Bio; sa Lasalle mahirap ang parking. Whereas UP ppl are smart, Lasallites are rich, but Atenistas have the best of both worlds – I guess getting too puffed up got the better of them.

Brainwashed beyond recognition. I hope they recover from their jaundice plague before its irreversibly too late.


This makes soooo much sense. A recent study (in THEEEE *note the mockery* Ateneo) concluded that the poor are thinking voters. Ateneans are not poor. They are the opposite of poor. ergo, they don’t think. like at all. Their hypothesis is flawed to begin with because as students of THEEE ateneo they ARE flawed. well who isn’t really? definitely not you cause you’re perfect and everything you write about makes perfect sense. Do you have an IQ of 160? I THINK SO!!


As you said only about 2000 people voted in the mock elections and I know there are at least 6000+ students in its entirety. Not refuting any of your points though they might still hold true even if everyone voted


this coming elections is the final battle between democracy and communism.

our hope: Grace-Bongbong for democracy.


It is not surprising that Ateneo de Manila is biased . It supports the Aquinos, inspite of their corruption and incompetence.

An educational institution is for learning. Not dealing in petty politics. The common Filipinos are better in their choices, than these supposedly “thinking” idiots.

I cannot understand how they like Roxas and Robredo. Both are incompetents, with bad or no track record.

I am glad I did not studied in Ateneo de Manila.


I just thought of another theory: Could the thinking poor vote mean Erap? I mean, Erap is the most likely favorite of the poor, and he has a connection with Ateneo, right?


Mar? Si Dinggoy na lang …


the truth is: as long as hacienda luisita isn’t in the hands of the farmers, the Philippines will stay a miserable life. it is why the Pilipinos is suffering. and that’s created all this mess for 30 years under the yellow dynasty. and it’s not marcos who created martial law, it’s the yellows and the communist.