In the Public Square with John Nery: In search of the center – Does it still matter?

When Ninoy Aquino returned to the Philippines from three years of exile in the United States in 1983, he did so in part on the advice of then-senator Soc Rodrigo, who told him he was needed back in the country to lead “the democratic center.”

This anecdote is striking and will make one wonder: Where is the democratic center in Philippine politics today? Does it still matter? In the context of a definite rightward shift under Rodrigo Duterte and the ongoing rehabilitation of the Marcos name, what is the role of the democratic center – whatever and wherever it is?

In this episode of “In The Public Square,” veteran journalist and Rappler columnist John Nery talks to historian, columnist, and explainer-in-chief Manuel L. Quezon III, who has written insightful pieces about the democratic center in Philippine politics. Quezon served past administrations in different capacities, including as undersecretary and later officer-in-charge of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office under the Benigno Aquino III administration.

John Nery: “Trying out something new: A ‘mini-series’ on 1 topic, to allow a deeper dive. Today’s episode, the 1st of 3, asks whether the political center, the middle path, still matters. Come for the Explainer’s brief on Marcos as Nixon 2, stay for his view on Jr as the new center.”

Manuel L. Quezon III.

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