menu Menu
Democracy with Southeast and East Asian characteristics
By mlq3 Posted in Daily Dose on January 25, 2008 126 Comments 13 min read
Book of the week Previous Labor out of the picture Next

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.


Previous Next

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Federalism is very dangerous. I imagine, more and more people would voice out their racist ideas.

    Who’ll take Metro manila for instance?

    There’s also this problem of constitutional liberties. Can a governor ban a Filipino from living, finding work in a provice not of his birth?

    A single Visayan state. Can you imagine the fear this will inspire, especially on the Tagalogs. Have you any idea how huge the Visayan population is, and the Visayans have been practicing a brotherly form of tolerance towards the vocal Tagalogs.

  2. The Philippine Star article is not new evidence as it is similar to the one published in PCIJ that you linked to yesterday.

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

    so sycip want us to follow china’s model

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/04/opinion/04brooks.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    The Dictatorship of Talent
    By DAVID BROOKS
    Published: December 4, 2007

    Let’s say you were born in China. You’re an only child. You have two parents and four grandparents doting on you. Sometimes they even call you a spoiled little emperor.

    They instill in you the legacy of Confucianism, especially the values of hierarchy and hard work. They send you off to school. You learn that it takes phenomenal feats of memorization to learn the Chinese characters. You become shaped by China’s intense human capital policies.

    You quickly understand what a visitor understands after dozens of conversations: that today’s China is a society obsessed with talent, and that the Chinese ruling elite recruits talent the way the N.B.A. does — rigorously, ruthless, in a completely elitist manner.

  4. Washington Sycip exhibits the same Elitist mindset that is common among the Middle and Upper classes. It bears repeating that it was under technocratic leadership (of Cesar Virata and Jobo Fernandez) that the Philippines experienced its worse economic decline.

  5. We are the exact opposite. The establishment hates talent. Oh, you might mistake their patronizing attitude towards achievements based on talent as giving honor, but it is not. And our capitalist don’t think they need talent, just pretty people with connections to market imported goods.

  6. What Sycip conveniently forgets is that China first got rid of its original elite before embarking on its successful economic program. In our case, that would include him.

  7. The establishment hates talent… And our capitalist don’t think they need talent, just pretty people with connections to market imported goods.

    which is why we see the phenomenon of Filipinos flourishing outside the Philippines. the same Filipinos who stagnated when they were here.

    as i have said in comments past, Philippine establishments (both govt and private) seem to have a kind of peter principle syndrome.

    per wikipedia definition – “In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.”

    and this is observably what happens in our govt and corporate settings:

    A second complication is that entry-level jobs that are detail oriented and restrictive favour detail-oriented workers, yet hinder creative and innovative workers. By definition and necessity, entry-level jobs are the assembly line of an organization, and thus the most creative and innovative employees start in positions of incompetence. The detail-oriented persons are thus promoted over the creative employees. Often these creative employees are incapable of showing their work strengths because of the structured and restrictive assembly line environments, and then are tagged as bad employees.

    In reality, creative employees may be more suited to management jobs, but, because they are unable to use their strengths in the low-level jobs they hold, they never rise to management, and the innate flexibility and innovation needed for managing is lost to the company. The end result for an organization as a whole is that the organization will collapse when incompetents in the ranks outnumber the competent, resulting in the organization’s inability to produce results.

    that’s why rigid nincompoops rise to the top of CSC, while true talent soon gives up and moves elsewhere. (nepotism and utilizing connections not withstanding)

  8. MLQ,

    Studentstrike:
    “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?”

    You:
    “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.”

    Me:

    Kasi namam you used “correct” to describe their call. Di mo ba alam na sa mga komunista yun salitang “correct” ay naksaad sa dogma at kung anu-anong ilaw ang sumisindi sa utak nila pagnadidinig o nababasa nila yun? Next time gumamit ka na lang ng synonym, di nila alam yun kasi bawal ang synonyms sa vocabulario nila. And party line ay hindi freeway, makitid hindi malawak.

  9. MLQ,

    Oops. Upon further reflection, malawak pala ang party line. Hindi nga ba at napagkasya nila na suportahan nung Mayo si Joker Arroyo na estrella ng TU ?

    Ano kaya “correct” o counterrevolutionary yun?

  10. cvj,

    You still can’t do away with your ‘Sycip-elitist’ mindset. He advocates a system that suits the southeast asian model. SEA democracy for SEA. Too much Western style democracy doesn’t work for the Philippines.

    If Virata and Jobo fared poorly, it doesn’t mean that others would do similarly.

    What do you have against ‘elites’? Let me ask you again – do these ‘technocrats’ and ‘elites’ stifle the rights of others? prevent others from achieving their full potential?

    China got rid of its original elite? Hello? These ‘elites’ were there all along. And even assuming they disappeared, a new breed of ‘elites’ took over

    And before China ’embarked on its successful economic program’ it never practised western style democracy!

  11. so sycip want us to follow china’s model

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/04/opinion/04brooks.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    Look where is China now – Its now the 4th biggest economy in the world. By 2020, if growth rates stay the same, it will be the biggest economy in the world, going past the US and Japan. It dominates the Asian Games. It wins golds in the Olympics. The top badminton players, both genders, are Chinese.

    Maybe we have sugar-coated ‘crab mentality’ and called it ‘anti-elitism’.

    This is an interesting discussion topic – whats wrong with the China ‘elitist’ model? why it or it wont work here?

  12. What do you have against ‘elites’? – Anthony Scalia

    The elites, especially in the Philippines, are normally self-appointed by virtue of their proximity to wealth and power. Owing to the fact that Philippine Society is not, and has never been, a meritocracy, these people are hardly the cream of our society. However, they fool themselves into thinking they are and look down on the majority who are not part of their circle. They are therefore very efficient in packaging arrogance and ignorance. That’s why we got the economic debacle that was Virata and Jobo.

    Let me ask you again – do these ‘technocrats’ and ‘elites’ stifle the rights of others? prevent others from achieving their full potential? – Anthony Scalia

    Yes, though they usually rely on thugs to do the dirty work for them and the less they know about the messy details, the better they sleep at night.

    China got rid of its original elite? Hello? These ‘elites’ were there all along. And even assuming they disappeared, a new breed of ‘elites’ took over – Anthony Scalia

    The original elite (or what was left of it) retreated to China, learned their lesson and granted land reform to the local population. The new elite are the grandson and grandaughters of the revolutionaries who threw the previous generation of elites out. It is human nature for those who are born to privilege (in this case, of being part of the Communist Party) to have a sense of entitlement. That’s one of the reasons why periodic spring cleaning may be needed.

    And before China ‘embarked on its successful economic program’ it never practised western style democracy! – Anthony Scalia

    The successful economic program of China (and Vietnam, Taiwan and South Korea) was implemented after they took care of the problem of inequality. None of these countries, at the outset, practiced trickle down economics. By contrast, the local elite wants to govern on the basis of retaining the status quo.

    This is an interesting discussion topic – whats wrong with the China ‘elitist’ model? why it or it wont work here? – Anthony Scalia

    If you want to follow China’s model, you have to implement it whole and not cherry pick the part that is self-serving to those in power. Going to stage 2 market reforms will not result in economic takeoff unless we first accomplish stage 1 which is to address inequality. Market reform alone is not the ‘China model’.

  13. Marcos, on paper at least, also said the same thing about addressing inequality first. I think he called it ‘democratization’ of the land. That’s why land reform was one of the first proclamations after 1081. If you want to look for a SE Asian style democracy, perhaps a study of the pre-Martial law Marcos writings is in order. Forget about the reality of his implementation of his ideas first and focus on the theory. He might have had something there.

  14. Jeg, i think Marcos appropriated the zeitgeist, i.e. ideas that were originated by Recto (i.e. the Nationalists) and fought for by the old Philippine Left (i.e.the Huks among others). If anything, his original contribution is the idea that this can be accomplished via a ‘Revolution from the Top’ via a coterie of the best and brightest technocrats. We know how that turned out.

  15. JEQ,
    Marcos is one of those shallow intelligent people. bet most of his “theories” were borrowed or filched from advisers. He had no principles, he liked power and he like being smart. He could’ve have written a book one day and totally for got everything in it the next. Just like some academics I’ve encountered lately. All their arguments are ad hoc. No meat into the words.

  16. cvj: If anything, his original contribution is the idea that this can be accomplished via a ‘Revolution from the Top’ via a coterie of the best and brightest technocrats. We know how that turned out.

    Not well, I know. But perhaps it was a failure of implementation, and not a failure of the idea itself. Im all for the best and the brightest running things. That’s what’s supposed to happen anyway. You yourself point to the China and Vietnam experience, and it was bloody. A ‘revolution from the center’ as Marcos called it, would be less bloody since this revolution would be implemented in theory by someone whom the people voted for in an election, much like what happened in Venezuela. Perhaps we might have to go through ‘birth pangs’ like China and Vietnam did before we become a democracy in the real sense.

  17. Brian: Marcos is one of those shallow intelligent people.

    I wouldnt know about that, B. From what I gather, he was a rather forward thinking man who foresaw the energy crisis and the traffic mess in Metro Manila. That’s where the plans for the geothermal, hydro, and nuclear power plants came from, as well as the MRT/LRT, circumferential roads, and the Pan-Philippine hiway with all the Ro-Ro’s Gloria is claiming as hers.

  18. Jeg, even if we grant the proposition that the ‘best and the brightest’ should run things (something i would dispute), do you know where they are? Do you the current elite represents the concentration of the best and the brightest? Or could most of them be mired in poverty, unable to contribute their talents because they never got the opportunity?

    As it is, i wouldn’t trust leaving my wallet with the current ‘best and the brightest’.

    Perhaps we might have to go through ‘birth pangs’ like China and Vietnam did before we become a democracy in the real sense. – Jeg

    Devilsadvc8 would be pleased that you think that way. 🙂

  19. cvj,

    I think the people should decide in “general” terms and the best and brightest be given the responsibilit to expedite the essence of these “general” terms and make them practicable. This is the righteous way to delegate democratic power.

  20. BrianB, i agree. Modern Society, because of its degree of functional decomposition, operates on the basis of generalists and specialists working together. There is no place for the pre-modern elite and commoner hierarchy.

  21. cvj: Devilsadvc8 would be pleased that you think that way.

    Haha. Not that kind of birth pangs, cvj. I meant the kind Venezuela is experiencing now with their ‘revolution from the center.’ Devils wants a helter skelter type of birth pang.

    Jeg, even if we grant the proposition that the ‘best and the brightest’ should run things (something i would dispute), do you know where they are? Do you the current elite represents the concentration of the best and the brightest? Or could most of them be mired in poverty, unable to contribute their talents because they never got the opportunity?

    Youre still on elite = [self-proclaimed] best and the brightest. Im talking of an objective ‘best and brightest’ who could come from any strata, masa, middles, old and new rich, and the leadership of the country’s job is to make sure that they get positions of leadership if they want to. These are the people they should be attracting.

    Brian: All popular ideas of his day, just as CVJ mentioned.

    Again I wouldnt know, B. Maybe you could provide links to the zeitgeist in the late 60’s? Were the best minds already talking about the energy crisis then and the gridlock in the Metropolis?

  22. Not that kind of birth pangs, cvj. I meant the kind Venezuela is experiencing now with their ‘revolution from the center.’ Devils wants a helter skelter type of birth pang. – Jeg

    In that case, we’re in agreement. That’s what i told afd in the previous thread ( http://www.quezon.ph/?p=1653#comment-698327 ).

    (On the best & the brightest thing, my comment at 3:44 pm is still awaiting moderation.)

  23. you know how the site works. Try wikipedia on Korea, Malaysia, Singapore. The USA entry probably wouldn’t mention the economic approach but decades before the sixties, just after the depression, America was building “hard” infrastructure, e.g. dams, bridges. Connection the islands through a combination of bridges and boats would’ve been obvious. Geothermal energy? That must have been all over the science journals including Nature and National Geographic. If you’re argument is that he was more visionary than other Filipinos, I’ll grant you that. He was well-read for sure. These ideas were definitely in the air. The green revolutio was quite original, I admit. It was an exercise in self-reliance and perhaps the idea was to make every Filipio self-sufficient. All Marcos’s ideas where just the Filipino re-statement of all the good ideas, good and uncrontroversial, ideas of his time. He might have even put up a rocket science lab for future space exploration by Filipinos.

    His regime should’ve been peaceful and progress a no-brainer. Unless, he really believed that the comunists in his time posed a significant threat.

  24. sorry about the superfluous commas. I’ve been adding commas even when it isn’t appropriate… as if anyone noticed or cares.

  25. JEQ:

    in summary, Marcos had an unobstructed view of the future of our country and he had the power to make his vision real but he chose the path the more complicated (masalimuot) path.

  26. If you’re argument is that he was more visionary than other Filipinos, I’ll grant you that.

    More visionary than other Filipino leaders, yes. Who were they anyway? The Lopezez, Roxases, Osmenas… the old oligarchy. Da Apo wasnt from these clans.

    (And I dont mind the commas. In editing, I sometimes find I could eliminate half the commas I use.)

  27. @BrianB

    You ask why Marcos’ regime was the way it was given some of his bright ideas. Having grown up in the Ilocos Region where Macoy was much revered, the oldies tend to blame La Imelda…as in “Magaling si Marcos, si Imelda may diperensiya…”

    Although when you think about it now, hmmm, there is also nothing wrong with Imelda’s wonderful idea “Beautify the Philippines by only building Beauty….” ek ek to that effect.

    LOL.

    Well, South East Asian Democracy has its idiosyncracies. Kaya naman ang standard model of democracy hindi pwedeng -i-export kahit ipinagpipilitan ni Bush.

  28. The green revolution was quite original, I admit. It was an exercise in self-reliance and perhaps the idea was to make every Filipio self-sufficient. – Brianb

    Wasn’t that Rafael Salas’ idea?

  29. I think Sycip’s wants to infect our democracy with a lethal dose of syciphilis.

    A technocracy? Fer crissakes!

  30. While I have very little energy to spare in the defense of one Ferdinand E. Marcos, I would have to say that he was an ‘original’ in the sense that he dared defy the central dogma that American-style democracy is perfect for the Philippines, and the way in which he did it. With the inequality in Philippine society at the time, an American-style democracy in our country was a gross parody of the real thing. Benigno Aquino Jr. was on record as saying he wouldve done the same thing as Marcos did had he been given the chance. He said this in an interview with Teddy Benigno published in the Philippine Star (the link to a copy of which I can’t find). To me that’s quite an endorsement.

  31. Jeg, i agree with both Marcos and Aquino that American-style democracy and Philippine-style inequalities don’t mix well. The question is, which of the two would we rather live without? (Also, among the Left of that time, American-style democracy was not considered ‘perfect for the Philippines’. So even in this sense, he was not original.)

  32. “the communists do not alone make up the Philippine left” – miriam ferrer

    i agree with you, manolo, about limited public acceptance of the left. this is mostly because of the government’s anti-left anti-communist rhetoric that the media echo without distinguishing between left and communist.

    say ni randy david in a column back in june 18, 2006:

    ‘”THE fight against the Left remains the glue that binds,” Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo told her Cabinet the other day, after ordering the budget secretary to release an extra P1 billion to boost the renewed effort to crush the communist insurgency. Whoever fed Ms Arroyo this wrong and dangerous line is setting the stage for fascist rule. In equating the “Left” with armed rebellion, she effectively sanctions the use of death squads to silence political dissenters.

    ‘Though the likes of Gen. Jovito Palparan pretend not to know it, there is a huge difference between being Left and taking up arms against the government. To be Left is to be constantly concerned with the basic issues of justice and human freedom. It is to question the existing social order, to assail its assumptions, and denounce its oppressive outcomes. To be a leftist is to be committed to the long-term goal of structural change. In contrast, to be a rightist is to find nothing fundamentally wrong with the structure of society; it is to justify and defend its rules.

    ‘To take up arms in the pursuit of one’s political beliefs is an altogether different matter. The armed option is employed not only by leftists and rightists, but also by religious rebels and some millenarian cults. Not all leftists advocate the violent overthrow of the State, and not all armed groups are leftist. To be Left is to think and speak radically about social problems; to be an armed rebel is to participate in the forcible overthrow of government. Our Constitution outlaws armed rebellion, but it resolutely protects freedom of thought and of speech.

    ‘Having once flirted with leftists when she was a graduate student, Ms Arroyo ought to know these distinctions. That she has uncritically permitted herself to mouth a Cold War mantra betrays the dominant influence of militarists in her administration. These militarists are not just the former generals in the Arroyo Cabinet; they also include former leftists who, having tasted power, now disdain their ideological past. Former Party members usually become the most virulent rightists. Only the ideology has changed; the dogmatism remains.’

  33. The question is, which of the two would we rather live without?

    Honestly, I have to mull over that first. It’s a very tough call. You seem to favor eliminating inequality first and sacrifice some freedoms with your citing of the China/Taiwan/Vietnam model. Ironically, this sounds like “We are prepared to give up some of our freedoms just to move this country forward.” How is the China/Taiwan/Vietnam model different from Austero’s?

  34. The things that killed the Marcos regime are his health, our distinct hate for being disciplined too much and our love for everything foreign (including some of the policies and law that still exist today, from the American Era)

    A federal Philippines would have flaws to handle, but then again, most any system, such as a failure in Philippine Democracy, has its downsides. Maybe its time to have it federalized, no matter how scary it might be. Who knows, it might work, since we prefer the barrio-barrio system, instead of getting organized with one leader.

  35. Honestly, I have to mull over that first. It’s a very tough call. You seem to favor eliminating inequality first and sacrifice some freedoms with your citing of the China/Taiwan/Vietnam model. – Jeg

    As i mentioned above at 3:54pm above, in numerous comments, and in previous entries in my blog ( http://www./cvjugo.blogspot.com/2007/04/authoritarianism-what-is-it-good-for.html
    ) my first preference is for genuine democracy because i think our people will eventually manage to elect a leader that will genuinely serve the masses (as has happened in Latin America with their electoral revolutions).

    However, if it has to be a an authoritarian system, then we might as well put it to good use by directing it against the entrenched elite and oligarchs. Austero’s bargain by contrast was made in the context of preserving the status quo (aka “let’s move on”) which to me is the worst possible combination.

  36. cvj: [a] my first preference is for genuine democracy because i think our people will eventually manage to elect a leader that will genuinely serve the masses …[b] However, if it has to be a an authoritarian system, then we might as well put it to good use by directing it against the entrenched elite and oligarchs.

    I would have to agree. But [a] could lead to [b]. And [b] is a dangerous proposition as you have made clear in our other comment section back-and-forth’s. Authoritarian Gandhis are rare.

  37. @stuart

    where have you been? there is no such thing as ‘left’

    kasi nga as mentioned, as long as you rally against the administration (whoever it is) you are labeled ‘left’. Kaya tama si Erap “weather-weather lang yan”.

    PS. There will be a thanksgiving dinner at Manero’s house. Food includes dinakdakan, bopis,

  38. Oh well, where to start?

    Too much time has gone by and too much water has flown past. Never mind the Roman Empire. It’s too late for us to try even the more recent lessons of “how did they do it?” nation-building.

    We cannot follow the old European conservative ancien regime model of state consolidation employing the Church, the School and the Army.

    We cannot use the later liberal (yes liberal) method of reaching democracy through industrialization by opening the bureacuracy to all talents, regimenting farmers in factories, and using the Army as “the school of the nation.”

    We are temperamentally unable to follow our neighbors who chose technocracy and the “iron rice bowl.”

    (By the way, in every major case of successful Asian development, except perhaps for India, the technocrats were the architects of positive change while the political leadership provided the stability that allowed them to work whether the systems were unabashedly authoritarian or relatively democratic.)

    Politics will decide our future. And it will be in the end a question of trade-offs. Not between us, the ordinary citizens, but between the powerful, greedy and self-serving political factions that move behind the scenes.

    The trick will be: which of those factions to rally behind and when and in exchange for what?

    I suspect that the alternative will be even more unpleasant. Some guy in uniform who either thinks he’s Jesus Christ or Karl Marx incarnated (or maybe even both).

    Then life will be simple. Parades. Military music. And the Secret Police.

  39. I would have to agree. But [a] could lead to [b]. And [b] is a dangerous proposition as you have made clear in our other comment section back-and-forth’s. Authoritarian Gandhis are rare. – Jeg

    I agree. In fact you can see that tendency in Hugo Chavez’ Venezuela where he’s trying to implement his own Charter Change via referendum (which thankfully he lost). That’s why i believe that it is important for the middle forces not to squander the moral high ground because it’s power of moral suasion is all it has against any potential tyranny of the majority. Sad to say it chose to act foolishly by squandering away its values in defense of Arroyo. The thing is, with unequal societies, things are bound to come to a head at some point.

  40. MLQ3,
    In 2005, the backlog of the Judiciary was estimated at 800,000 unresolved cases. By 2010, this number could easily be a million. In Mexico, the history of amparo has not exactly fulfilled the promise. What we have in amparo and habeas data are major new sunrise industries for corrupt judges and fiscals. After all the gushing headlines about human rights there is no reason to expect that we will do any thing different with amparo and habeas data than the Mexicans. Which means bloated court dockets and escape from arrest for the most nimble of criminals. Heck you can get amparo from RTC judges, thousands of them! Ugh! No wonder the Constitution explicitly prohibits the Supreme Court from increasing, decreasing or modifying substantive rights through its Rule making power. But from the looks of it, the Supreme Court can do no wrong while the Public takes their activism for granted. As if Courts and unelected Judges have not in the past been the source of the worst depredations on democratic freedoms. Oh no, we have to go after the practically illiterate police for that.

    No greater destroyer of constitutionalism exists than the Philippine Supreme Court, nor a greater peril to democracy.

    Fear Puno. Not Razon.

  41. DJB, aww ‘cmon!

    cvj & jeg, pleased abt what? revolution? like Chavez’s?

    and jeg, it’s not helter-skelter. there is at least some order to it. kill or be killed. fence-sitters all die.

keyboard_arrow_up