Although pork barrel is important in securing presidential power, this chapter argues that the Philippine presidency cannot be reduced to its function as a patronage dispenser. The winners of post-Marcos presidential elections have not necessarily been the candidates with the best patronage machinery but rather those who had the most compelling campaign narrative. Moreover effective patronage distribution cannot guarantee a president’s survival because extra-electoral elite strategic groups can oust them from office through a people-power coup such as against Joseph E. Estrada in 2001. The chapter also critiques the “presidential-style” approach which assumes personality characteristics are crucial which misses key constraints facing presidents. As a supplement to clientelist and presidential style approaches, the chapter offers a relational concept of presidential regimes, using a modified version adopted from U.S. political scientist Stephen Skowronek. This allows the evaluation of presidential performance not just in terms of personal and persuasive qualities, but also on the basis of sequencing the presidency within a political regime and analyzes challenges within the context of strategic moments that lie between regime structures and presidents’ choices.