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Jan 25

Democracy with Southeast and East Asian characteristics

Today is the 75th birthday of Corazon C. Aquino, who was the Free Press’s Person of the Century. A welcome move: Chief Justice Puno: Fine will do for libel (see also SC to release circular on libel). Concerning another Supreme Court initiative, see www.soriano-ph.com on Habeas Data. Naturally, it’s driving Philippine Commentary bananas.

In other news, Ayala offers more proof of G-2 bombing.

In Davos, Finger Pointing, Preserving Legacies, Looking for Leadership engages those present. In his blog, Stuart Santiago tackles the possibility of a global recession.See also Joblessness seen rising in 2008.

The debate continues: New ‘PI’ eyes revision, not amendment. Just a distraction, so Talks on with foreign firms on NBN can proceed? Or part of a broader effort to keep relevant, as Mon Casiple suggests:

Charter change–in these end-game times–requires extraordinary measures in order to neutralize the overwhelming public opposition to a GMA charter change. The 2006 Cha-cha debacles are still fresh in the minds of both proponents and oppositors.

President Macapagal-Arroyo should stop all these political maneuvers by her subordinates to maintain her in power after 2010. It only make more difficult for her to concentrate on a legacy agenda and for her coalition to maintain its unity. One can discern already the separation of interests between her and some of her advisers.

If proponents of amendments have given up on the parliamentary option as too alien -and alienating of the electorate- they continue to flog Federalism (which I am interested in, too). Miriam Coronel Ferrer in Cutting up the Philippines dissects the issue, but points to how the proponents generally envision a kind of consolidation of existing provinces into federal states:

In two House Bills filed in 2004, Luzon will have the five federal states of Metro Manila, Northern Luzon, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog and Bicol. Visayas and Mindanao will each have three: Eastern, Western and Central Visayas; and Northern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao, and Bangsamoro Federal States. In all, 11 federal states.

The Citizens’ Movement for a Federal Philippines’ draft constitution aims for 10 states, with Visayas divided into only two states: East and West. The current Western Visayas provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros Occidental will be boosted by the inclusion of Palawan, currently under Southern Tagalog. All the other Visayan provinces will make up Eastern Visayas.

A trimmer proposal recommends only eight states — Northern Luzon (including the Cordillera), Central Luzon (including provinces in Southern Luzon and Metro Manila cities except Manila, Makati and Quezon City), a single Visayan state, Bangsa Moro, Northern Mindanao, and Southern Mindanao. In this proposal, the federal capital will be made up of Manila, Makati and Quezon City. Jose V. Abueva suggests transforming the Clark Economic Zone into the federal capital instead.

She then tackles the opposition of other places to these proposals (for example, Palawan, which wants to be its own federal state), and gives proposals of her own, such as dropping proposals for a Bangsamoro state; her proposal’s very interesting but bucks the conventional wisdom too much, or rather, takes the inclusive rhetoric of its proponents too seriously.

My view is that proponents of Federalism from outside government view it far differently than its supporters within government. People outside government, it seems to me, view Federalism as a means to give greater freedom to local governments, but also, that provinces need to be reconsolidated into larger, self-sufficient territories. Proponents from within government, who have already gerrymandered many provinces into existence, aren’t interested in consolidating the resources and territories of their fieffoms.

This passage from “Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations” (Martin Goodman) struck a chord:

Government without bureaucracy could operate successfully only if it was government with consent -even if the motivation for consent was ultimately the fear of extreme violence by the state as penalty for open opposition. Much administration, such as the collection of taxes at the local level, was in effect carried out on behalf of the state by local urban elites in return for Roman support of their local status. The success of government thus depended upon acceptance by provincial aristocrats of the value of honors and tites bestowed by local people and recognized by Rome. Much of the extant evidence for this “empire of honor” appears to confirm such a consensus. Inscriptions on monuments from all over the empire boast about the status of local magistrates and the favors granted to them, and through them to their communities, by governors and emperors. Such evidence suggests an integrated society of provincials willingly cooperating with a benevolent and responsive state. But of course only those individuals who accepted and benefitted from the system will have paid for such monuments to be erected…

…More significant than the overt recognition by provincials of their place in the Roman system of power was the nearly universal practice of patronage to give individuals of all backgrounds a sense of connection, however tenuous, between themselves and the emperor. Almost everyone in the Roman empire knew someone who knew someone who might be able to intervene, through however many links in the chain of patronage, at the center of power in the state…. But for the provincials far away from the locus of power in Rome, the most effective invocation of patronage ties was acheived either by traveling to Rome in person or sending an embassy.

I wish more people would explore the political goings-on in other countries in our part of the world, to see if some sort of patterns emerge to show whether or not politics as our part of the world practices it, has common characteristics. I believe it does: dynasticism, the single-part urge, tight connections between business and the political class, to name just three.

See also Sycip pitches Asian democracy model, more power to technocrats:

Although he was cut short of advising that the government should do away with the elections as this will curtail the rights of the people to vote, Sycip said legislators should be stripped off the powers concerning the economic matters of the country.

This would mean the rise of the technocrats, who should be insulated from the politicians. These select people will run the country’s economy and will have the necessary powers to immediately effect change or react in cases of emergency, such as the recent move of the US Federal Reserve to cut its interest rates by three quarters of a percentage point.

Sycip, 87, said these technocrats should be given powers like those of the Bangko Sentral’s, that can either raise or ease interest rates immediately without getting the nod of Congress or consulting the President.

He said with this type of system, the technocrats can even go against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, especially on family planning, in order to reduce the country’s population of close to 90 million.

Reading the dynamics of Japanese politics, see Japan’s Dilemma, where basically they have had single-party governance for close to six decades; or of the Taiwanese, see Taiwan Does the Presidential Math, where after decades of dictatorship they have developed a vigorous democracy, or Malaysia, see Malaysian Yumpies Just Wanna Have Fun (which suggests Tim Yap represents a regional Zeitgeist); or Thailand, see Thaksin’s Friends Are in Power, where they’re confronting the failure of their own version of Edsa Dos; the list goes on and on, as far afield as India.

In the blogosphere, Danton Remoto has a blog. His recent entries gives a pretty exhaustive list of senatorial candidates being proposed by the various parties. What’s amazing to me is that the parties are actively speculating on their senatorial bets -another sign of Arroyo fatigue? Or simply an admission by the entire political class -the leaders of all the parties- that they don’t intend to get anything done between now and 2010, so better to fuel speculation on elections they don’t even intend to have?

Torn & Frayed says the number of people who read books is dwindling:

Nevertheless and despite the terrible implications, I can’t help thinking that this is indeed “the twilight of the books”. As Samuel Johnson said, “people in general do not willingly read, if they have something else to amuse them”.

smoke takes a skeptical look at Christian Monsod.goodbye blue monday and Studentstrike continues the debate on the Left and Edsa Dos.. Re: the former, who asserts,

Sa paggamit ni MLQ3 ng resulta ng nakaraang eleksyon upang masukat ang laki at lakas ng Kaliwa kumpara sa mga dominante at pangunahing partido ng bansa, nakalimutan ata niya ang konsepto ng dagdag-bawas kung saan nabiktima ang mga kaliwang partylist at tumabo ng ganansya ang mga kandidato at partido ni Gng. Arroyo.

Uh, no. I considered that when I wrote:

Let’s argue the Left had only 1 out of every 4 votes cast for it actually counted, a potential constituency of 9,732,680. That puts it on parity with: Prospero A. Pichay, Jr. TEAM Unity – Lakas-CMD 9,798,355

She asks,

Sa mga komento, binaggit din ni Manolo na “in retrospect, the resign all call was the correct one to make.” Hindi ba’t ito ay dogmatismo sa pinakapayak na depinisyon ng salita?

No. That’s an opinion, a change of mind because a reflection made in retrospect -the opposite of dogmatism which never permits the changing of one’s mind or opinions.

As for her assertion,

Salamat kung inyong kinukundena ang pamamaslang. Subalit hindi rin naman nakakatulong upang matigil ito kung patuloy na ilalagay sa margins ang kaliwa. Kung patuloy silang ikokonsiderang insignificant. Kung patuloy na sasabihin na hindi pa sila tanggap ng mamamayan kahit na ang kasaysayan na ang magpapatotoo sa kabaliktaran nito.

The following readings will be relevant. See the columns of Juan Mercado: Guarded skepticism, from June 20, 2006, Have-gun-will-tax collection, September 5, 2006; Cry of the widows, September 6, 2007, Those grisly secrets, September 12, 2006, and Those sealed graves, September 14, 2006 (which may or may not include information presented in The CPP-NPA-NDF “Hit List” – a preliminary report).
(As for Jose Ma. Sison himself, he says Three Governments Persist in Persecuting Me. And there’s a dossier on why Romulo Kintanar’s death shouldn’t be blamed on the politburo. And much exculpatory material.)

But the ultimate point comes from Miriam Coronel Ferrer’s presentation (in the Forum on Violence Against Movements, Movements Against Violence), reproduced in PATH sums it up perfectly:

The language of anti-communism remains effective, given a general antipathy to communism, and an increasing alienation of the citizenry to national politics. To those who have fallen for this anti-communist rhetorical hysteria (defined by Wole Soyinka, first African to win the Nobel prize for literature, as the one-dimensional approach to all faces of reality, however varied or internally contradictory), the killings are not a case of ‘slaughter of innocents’ given that these people are somehow allied with the CPP-NPA. They don’t think much about the fact that slaughter remains slaughter; that the basic principle of respect for human life and human dignity is for everyone, including the enemy number one of the state, and yes, including terrorists; that there are rules even in war that must be followed, notably distinction between those who carry arms and those who do not. Meanwhile, businessmen and professionals may be morally aghast at the unabated killings of alleged communists, but are not motivated enough to put pressure to stop it, until somehow, it starts hurting their economic interests, or their immediate environment. The middle class will continue to fight for their own means of survival regardless of the course of Philippine politics.

However, class analysis alone cannot explain part of the lingering potency of anti-communism. Part of the effectiveness of the language of anti-communism and resultant alienation is also due to the CPP-NPA-NDF themselves “their excesses (revolutionary taxation of rich and poor, infliction of punishments), own pandering of violence and machismo, their inclusivity and dogmatic framing of Philippine society and politics, and their counter-monologue to the state’s anti-communist mantra. The purges, the CPP-NPA-NDF hopefully recognizes by now, cannot be simply forgotten without full retribution and honest accounting before former and present comrades and the greater public. The ghosts of murdered comrades will haunt the party forever. And though not particularly convincing to explain away the recent spate of political killings among those who study their politics, and revolting for the disrespect shown the dead lying in mass graves, the purges of the 80s and 90s will remain scraps (war material) to poke around with, in the AFP and police forces’ psywar ops.

In all, taken in the context of an untransformed state and reform-resistant state elites, the language of anti-communism coupled with anti-terrorism is actually anti-left (because the communists do not alone make up the Philippine left), and even more broadly, anti anti-status quo. Thus while we have our differences with the communist left, and as human rights advocates, oppose terrorist methods, we cannot tolerate the rhetorical hysteria of anti-communism/terrorism. We cannot be unconcerned with the killings of branded communists/terrorists, because the label easily includes all of us unhappy with the status quo, and exercising our rights to express our beliefs.

That razor-sharp statement of essentials having been made, what now do we make of scuttlebutt that a retired general linked to the time of the fast and furious and plentiful liquidations of activists, has now received a new lease on life -as the Deputy National Security Advisor. This man, when still in the active service, seems to have born command responsibility for some of the killings. Back in the saddle again, is it open season on the Left once more?

Postcard Headlines on land reform.

And finally, a UP Student’s Manifesto.

126 comments

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  1. anthony scalia

    cvj,

    …it would be foolish to propose a set-up without taking into account the “the people behind the set-up“. Sycip’s proposal to bypass an elected legislature is an attempt to escape transparency and accountability. Without legislative oversight, how do you propose making the ‘powered-up’ technocrats (aka people who are appointed) accountable to the voter? What makes Sycip think that technocrats know best? What makes Sycip think that technocrats care for the welfare of the people?

    My goodness, SyCip does not want to do away with the legislature altogether. He just wants the legislators to keep their hands off economic matters.

    well what makes you think the electorate knows best? we have to live with the choice of the majority, whether we like it or not. For example, Erap. And gloria too. I wonder if the UP School of Economics is mulling to take back her PhD.

    SyCip is only floating the idea of giving more power to appointed technocrats. Are you suggesting that even Cabinet secretaries be elected as well?

    Like you, i believe that the ‘elite’ have the power to make a difference if only they go beyond the interest of their class. Chiang Kai Shek realized (or was forced to realize) that what is good for the masses also makes sense in terms of political survival. It also makes good economic sense

    Agreed. Yet the solution may be for more people to ‘graduate’ up to ‘elite’ status, without them forgetting their humble origins.

    On the phenomenon of economic growth leading to more inequality, you can verify that by looking at the Gini coefficient of China in 1978 and their Gini coefficient today. (Gini coefficient is used by economists to measure inequality.) As i said, it’s not necessarily a bad thing (since it is in the nature of growth to be uneven) as long as the State looks after the welfare of those left behind

    Okay, pursuing that line of thought – what was the role of western style democracy in the quest for eradicating inequality, right before China’s take-off?

    I hope the proponents of a ‘trickle down effect’ read that. We never hear anything bad about China, just news that its economy is overheating. Yet its economic gains have yet to trickle down also to the grassroots level.

    So you actually consider Singapore a democracy?

    If I use your concept of democracy, no. If I follow SyCip’s formula, yes.

  2. anthony scalia

    cvj,

    oops, the 2nd to the last quote should have been in default mode

  3. anthony scalia

    …if people in imperial Manila keep on staging this “people power” mania, Mindanao will secede and declare a separate republic…. I pray that this narcissistic movers of “people power” keep this fiesta going (people power 1,2 3, 4…) and see what happens when people outside imperial manila who are dragged into this chasm of despondency get feed up.

    cvj, manuelbuencamino, and all fans of more ‘people power’ please take note

  4. Marcelo

    Since some are making illusions to ancient Greece, it might be timely here to remind ourselves of who unified ancient Greece: a part-Greek autocrat, considered a Barbarian by both the refined citizens of Athens and the soldier-citizens of Sparta, namely, Phillip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great. And when all the carnage that that father-and-son team unleashed was over, and the Greeks were still not unified, one of those idiotic…but no doubt heroic and philosphical…Greek rulers made the colossal mistake from which his world never recovered. He invited the Romans to come in and help him. The Romans obliged….and never left. The Romans stopped all the petty intra-Greek quarelling by restoring “order” and crusing every last glimmer of Greek independence.

    So be careful what you wish for!

  5. Marcelo

    Oops! I meant “allusions” not “illusions” in the first sentence of the previous post. Sorry. Hard to type on a bumpy surface, especially with slight dyslexia and astigmatism…ha ha!

  6. cvj

    Pero sa akin lang, dapat i-expel na from the republique ang Maguindanao. Ayaw ko namang sila lang pumili ng leader natin sa 2010. Tutal sinimulan na nila secession by electing the first regional senator (Zubiri) – Nash

    I understand where you’re coming from but i don’t think ‘expelling Maguindanao’ would do justice to Musa Dimasidsing’s sacrifice. Look at the results of Pagalungan which was under his responsibility:

    http://www.cvjugo.blogspot.com/2007/07/mama-mary-vs-musa.html

    What we should do is to help others like him to work for fair and clean elections.

  7. cvj

    Anthony, i don’t think Sycip or you have any right to deprive the rest of the Filipinos of their democratic rights. Just because you (or Sycip) think that the electorate has made inferior choices does not change that. Put another way, even if I happen to think that you have made inferior choices, it doesn’t give me the right to take away (or diminish) your rights.

    In tackling the challenge of economic development, the primary task is to identify and follow the right policies. The question of whether to arrive at those policies democratically or whether to have it dictated is a separate matter. We should study what policies China, Vietnam and/or India implemented and arrive at a consensus. What Sycip wants is a blanket authority without having any track record to show for it and without worrying about accountability. He doesn’t want the inconvenience of having to defend their policies in Plaza Miranda. That’s the arrogance inherent in the elitist mindset born out of a misplaced sense of superiority over the ordinary folk.

  8. anthony scalia

    cvj,

    “i don’t think Sycip or you have any right to deprive the rest of the Filipinos of their democratic rights. Just because you (or Sycip) think that the electorate has made inferior choices does not change that. Put another way, even if I happen to think that you have made inferior choices, it doesn’t give me the right to take away (or diminish) your rights.”

    ay juskoday! ano ba yan!?

    i started with – SyCip doesnt want to obliterate legislators – just keep them away from economic matters, and let the technocrats worry about economic matters

    then you’re giving the impression that even technocrats should be elected because the electorate knows better – so i responded with taking issue with the electorate knowing better. can you expect the electorate to choose the best guys for NEDA, DOT, DOTC, DOE, etc.?

    what we’re talking about, my friend, is the thought of an empowered technocracy!! technocrats are never elected!!

    “In tackling the challenge of economic development, the primary task is to identify and follow the right policies. The question of whether to arrive at those policies democratically or whether to have it dictated is a separate matter. We should study what policies China, Vietnam and/or India implemented and arrive at a consensus. What Sycip wants is a blanket authority without having any track record to show for it and without worrying about accountability. He doesn’t want the inconvenience of having to defend their policies in Plaza Miranda. That’s the arrogance inherent in the elitist mindset born out of a misplaced sense of superiority over the ordinary folk.”

    thats where the technocrats come in!!

    you want technocrats to defend policies in plaza miranda?!? are you serious?!? aren’t you aware that populist policies often turn out to be disastrous in the long-term?

    may i remind you – populism only works to get the votes. once a person is elected, he must do the right thing. And there are times the right thing isn’t the most popular thing

    my goodness, SyCip just wants to empower technocrats!! what accountability are you talking about?!? by the very nature of their job, public service, they’re already accountable to the people!

    matanong nga kita – ano ba ang nagawa ni SyCip sa iyo at ganun na lang ang pagkulo ng dugo mo sa kanya?

    hope you’re not an ex-SGV guy with a not-so-pleasant experience working there

  9. nash

    @marcelo,

    ah yes those romans. now THEY knew how to party. How I wish we’d be under them (pre-Christianity, after conversion they were no fun). Although I’m not too keen on the communal toilets.

  10. nash

    @cvj,

    yes, collective punishment is a bit harsh. i think we should give the citizens of maguindanao guns so they can defend themselves against the intimidation of their corrupt politicians and warlords.

    i understand why they did not stand up to their leaders, allowing this to happen in broad daylight.

    oh well, we’ll have to learn to live with Maguindanao Senator Zubiri. Maybe he will put forward electoral reforms in the senate.

  11. cvj

    I did not recommend that even technocrats should be elected. However, they should not be exempt from legislative oversight. This is to ensure that they are not oblivious to whatever pain their policies might cause. That’s part of being accountable.

    Policies may turn out to be disastrous whether they be populist or not. Of course the technocrats must be able to defend their policies in Plaza Miranda. What they do will most likely affect the livelihood of millions of Filipinos. Sacrifices must be clearly explained and should be seen to be fair. In any system, the ability to take in feedback and adjust is important, so insulating technocrats in their Ivory Tower is counterproductive. The problem is, technocrats have a superiority complex and believe that they should not even be bothered to explain to people whom they think are not as smart as them, which is the typical elitist attitude.

    Nothing personal about Sycip. I never met the person though my late Professor in Accounting did have a high regard for him.

  12. cvj

    Nash, in other countries, a corrupt periphery can be counterbalanced by justice coming from the Center. The problem is, the Central Authorities (Gloria Arroyo, Abalos and their military) are the ones who are working hand in hand with the local warlords to subvert the system. They are all in cahoots with each other. The sad thing is, the cosmopolitan middle class doesn’t think this is an important enough matter.

  13. anthony scalia

    cvj,

    “The problem is, technocrats have a superiority complex and believe that they should not even be bothered to explain to people whom they think are not as smart as them, which is the typical elitist attitude”

    there goes that familiar anti-‘elitist’ chant again. thats why they are technocrats in the first place – they are free to do the right but unpopular thing, not beholden to an electorate.

    typical elitist attitude? if the technocrats themselves would have to do the explaining, they can never do their job well! the explaining can be delegated.

    in the name of ‘check and balance’ the present technocrats could not function properly as they have to go through meaningless and time-consuming ‘inquiries in aid of legislation’. just educating the ‘concerned’ legislators on what technocrats are doing is already time-consuming

  14. cvj

    they are free to do the right but unpopular thing, not beholden to an electorate. – Anthony Scalia

    Everyone in public service must be beholden to the electorate. That comes with the territory. I can understand the necessity of doing the unpopular thing, but it is the responsibility of the technocrats to explain why such pain is necessary and to get buy-in from the public. As it is, the technocrats seem to care only for what is popular with credit rating agencies, the IMF-WB and foreign investors.

  15. mlq3

    anthony, a productive discussion might be for you to point out where, if any, a publicly-listed corporation allows management to run the show on faith, without the intervention either of a board, or of the board in turn being subject to a stockholder’s annual meeting. a board can remove a ceo at any time and a stockholder’s meeting can theoretically shake up a board. both involve voting. and both hold the threat of instant dismissal over those tasked with leading a corporation.

    now what is the difference between that system and representative democracy? in fact there isn’t even the guarantee of a fixed term beyond the interval between meetings.

  16. Silent Waters

    mlq3

    I think the whole CVJ-Scalia discussion veered away really from what is getting Scalia miffed…it’s really CVJ’s anti-rich, anti elitist stance ever since I’ve been reading this blog of yours. The way he writes these, it seems to me that the elites are the scourge of the universe and they should be gotten rid of like flies.

    Just my opinion….

  17. Bencard

    silent waters, it seems to me that cvj is anti-elite, anti-rich, anti-american, anti-arroyo, anti-democratic (except his own, homespun version), anti- legal, anti-conservative, anti-capitalist, and he dislikes people older than him.

  18. cvj

    Bencard, looks like you saved the best for last.

  19. Bencard

    mlq3, pardon me for barging in but i think the basic difference between corporate business governance and representative government is that the former is controlled by the number of voting shares (held by an individual or group of individuals with the most money), whereas the latter is controlled by the majority of the people (regardless of wealth, education, or physical attributes).
    both abide by a pre-set constitution and sets of laws or by-laws. a ceo favored by a single holder of majority shares can stay in office over the opposition of a thousand individuals holding the minority shares. even a corporate charter can be changed by that single individual/group majority shareholder so long as it doesn’t violate the corporation law and the rules of the s.e.c. in contrast, it is not as easy or simple to change a president of the state outside of his/her fixed tenure, or change the constitution of the land.

  20. Bencard

    now, cvj, are you admitting you ‘dislike’ your own father and mother? i don’t think they are ‘younger’ than you, are they? (lol).

  21. anthony scalia

    mlq3,

    “anthony, a productive discussion might be for you to point out where, if any, a publicly-listed corporation allows management to run the show on faith, without the intervention either of a board, or of the board in turn being subject to a stockholder’s annual meeting. a board can remove a ceo at any time and a stockholder’s meeting can theoretically shake up a board. both involve voting. and both hold the threat of instant dismissal over those tasked with leading a corporation”

    in the US, that scenario is already commonplace! There are lots of listed companies who have unaccountable management and a rubber stamp board. That usually happens when the CEO is also chairman of the board.

    But in the past decade reforms have been made. I think a non-CEO chairman is required now. And there are many activist boards ready to drop the CEO in a heartbeat.

    Too bad such events happening to local listed firms are not big news here

    “now what is the difference between that system and representative democracy? in fact there isn’t even the guarantee of a fixed term beyond the interval between meetings”

    the difference? let me mention some:

    – its easier to remove CEOs and board members. even for no reason, they can be removed. that can’t be done with elected public officials
    – elected LGU officials can be recalled, but the process is slower
    – the president can be impeached, but impeachment complaints can only be filed once a year
    – elected officials can be removed before their term ends, provided the conditions set by law are met
    – voters are not required to hold annual meetings
    – for the rest, I am adopting bencard’s comments

  22. cvj

    Manolo, i think businessmen (and other market-oriented individuals) are more responsive to one-peso one-vote more than one-person one vote hence the different attitudes when it comes to accountability and oversight.

  23. Silent Waters

    CVJ

    *sigh* here we go again….you certainly have it in for the people who were able to parley their talent into becoming rich. You never fail to imply the evilness that lurks amongst the rich and the elites. It really makes me wonder now if you were “inapi” by the so called rich/elite as a child.

    Now, as for the difference in attitude…guess what….the Filipino voter has the same attitude, don’t you think? Nagpapabayad naman sila kung gusto nila, di ba? Asus. As usual, it takes two to tango, you know. Walang babayaran kung walang magpapabayad.

    In your analysis, you always, always forget the factor of the human heart. You’re probably one of the those technocrats you hate so much. And that’s why you work in Singapore.

  24. Marcelo

    Everything in life, including politics, rests on the ability to find sensible balances. Sometimes those balances rest on points as sharp as the tip of the knife. OF COURSE technocrats (reasonably positive description)/bureaucrats (negative description)/civil servants (neutral description) have to be accountable. The trick is how to make them accountable without POLITICIZING them. Also, when you select a group by competitive examination, constant assessment through the ranks, or through political appointment on the basis of outstanding qualifications (whether in the real world of business or NGO work or the Ivory Tower — horrors)the members of this group are OF COURSE going to be an elite. That’s why they were recruited. In my view, there is nothing wrong with an elite service so long as it is built on talent and experience. The trick is how to ensure that such an unelected group supports national policy set down by our elected government. The civil service recommends, based on its best professional judgement. It does not (or should not) make political decisions. Decisions of that nature are the final responsibility of the political arms of government (the President, the Cabinet, and the Congress). Finally, many civil servants or elite technocrats were not recruited/appointed because of their political savvy in dealing with Mendiola. Theya re not supposed to win elections. Many of them are incapable of communicating outside of a policy brief. Advising the people what has to be done rests, again, with the political arms of government.

  25. Silent Waters

    Marcelo

    A sane discussion, for a change. At least a basis for a discussion. Unlike yung iba diyan na ideya lang nila ang tama. Yung sa iba, mali. 🙂

  26. cvj

    The trick is how to ensure that such an unelected group supports national policy set down by our elected government. – Marcelo

    I agree. That’s something Washington Sycip wants to bypass.

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