In 2010, political tensions in the Philippines threatened a stable transfer of presidential power. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was at the end of her tenure when Benigno Aquino III, son of two national heroes, won election in May. During the campaign, Aquino had accused Arroyo of corruption and mismanagement. Animosity, lack of planning by the outgoing administration, poor government transparency, and a weak political party system created obstacles to an effective handover in a country with a recent history of instability. However, a dedicated corps of career civil servants, a small but significant degree of cooperation between the incoming and outgoing administrations, and thin but effective planning by the Aquino side allowed for a stable though bumpy transition. The handover highlighted the importance of institutionalizing the transition process to avoid conflict and facilitate uninterrupted governance.
Robert Joyce drafted this case study on the basis of interviews conducted in Manila during November 2014. Case published April 2015.