Restoration is a hard act to follow: The Philippine Fifth Republic at the crossroads
Manuel L. Quezon III
Date & Venue
12.30–2.00pm Tuesday 7 March 2023
PSC Reading Room 4.27, Hedley Bull Bldg #130, The Australian National University
Abstract: The Marcos restoration took three decades to accomplish. It was made possible on one hand, by the post-1986 Fifth Republic of the Philippines proving incapable of reforming and thus, revitalizing itself. The democratic centre thus atrophied and proved itself incapable of resisting –or offering a viable alternative—to the coalition of traditional ruling families which recognized reform as an existential threat and united to wage a war of attrition that gave birth to the Duterte administration. This in turn was fostered by the bulwark of democratic thought and behaviour, the media, being unable to compete with social media. But the Marcos Restoration, by piggybacking on the Duterte autogolpe finds itself presiding over a system at the crossroads. In truth the dispute is no longer over the residual habits of democracy but rather which faction, those backing Marcos Jr. or his Vice-President, Sara Duterte, best articulates the anti-establishment, authoritarian populism of the original Marcos dictatorship. The outcome may lie in the hands of two elder leaders, both former presidents: Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Rodrigo Duterte, themselves representative of the urban and provincial ruling class. Similarly, a tug of war taking place between Washington and Beijing depends, for its resolution, on the sides the two powers decide to support.
About the Speaker
Manuel L. Quezon III is a columnist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Since 1994 he has been an opinion writer, editor and TV presenter, and served in two administrations, most recently as the chief speechwriter and communications official for the late President Benigno S. Aquino III.