Dump American Democracy!

The Palace, Waterside

This is an exercise aimed at getting outside the box in thinking about government. It is strictly an academic exercise, not a proposal to overthrow the worthy established government of the Philippines. Indeed, it has about a snowball’s chance in Pinatubo of even being useful. So consider it fiction, Joe’s delusional ramblings, as if he were dreaming and typed it up.

 
The blog germinated from this bit of creative insight from Edgar Lores:

 

  • 3. There should be a Santa clause in the Constitution: If the President is good, he should be allowed 2 terms. The determination of good should not be by referendum (which can be manipulated), but perhaps by a combination of several factors such as (a) internal benchmarks in the form of the President’s polling throughout his term and GDP growth; (b) external benchmarks in the form of economic ratings and extraordinary awards, for example the Nobel Prize award.

 

 

Clearly, Edgar is outside the box. And we want to join him there. That is, we want to set aside our preconceptions that government is supposed to be of ANY particular form. We know American form is broken by partisan acrimony, the Philippine try at dictatorship failed whereas Singapore’s succeeded, the British bicker in their inimitable parliamentary style, and some governments are forever tossing themselves out of office.
 
If you wish to assure yourself that there are no hard and fast rules as to what makes a good government, merely read the Wiki descriptions of different kinds of government. The following excerpt makes the point, all governments are pretty much unique:

 

  • Every country in the world is ruled by a system of governance that combines . . . [several] attributes (for example, the United States is not a true capitalist society, since the government actually provides social services for its citizens). Additionally, one person’s opinion of the type of government may differ from another’s (for example, some may argue that the United States is a plutocracy rather than a democracy since they may believe it is ruled by the wealthy). There are always shades of gray in any government. Even the most liberal democracies limit rival political activity to one extent or another, and even the most tyrannical dictatorships must organize a broad base of support, so it is very difficult “pigeonholing” every government into narrow categories

 

 

So that’s were we want to start on this particular bit of brainstorming. There are no rules to follow. What we need to be concerned about more than form is need.
 
That is, if we consider the Philippines, what do we want government to accomplish? The Philippines is organized like the United States, but, in case you have not noticed, the Philippines is not the United States. The Philippines has millions of very poor people who are consigned to making it through the day. What do they care about the esotery of government, or even the particulars like  cybercrime (they don’t have computers) or RH (they can’t afford to go to a clinic) or even divorce (their marriages are common-law because they don’t have needed documents or fees)? They vote with their stomachs for people with money and power. 

Not capability or character . . . necessarily.
 
The current Philippine form is democratic, or oligarchic, or plutocratic, or socialist democratic, or democratic republic depending on how you angle the civic-camera, like a well-oiled google-earth camera that rotates vertically or horizontally and spins 360 degrees. You can call it whatever you want, but it is what it is. A cracked plaster imitation of the failing US model.
 
Eventually, we idealists will have to figure out how to get from point A (where we are now) to point B (what we want our government to look like to be very, very good). But let’s start by thinking about the peculiarities of the Philippines. We can do that through succinct bullet-points and let you overlay any elaboration needed.
  • The island and regional layout of the Philippines makes for some profoundly different slices of the national pie. Different geographies and languages and histories and cultures and degree of commercial development. A host of different, prominent power players rule locally, generally family or clan based. They are like warlords without armies, although they may have police.
  • The provinces are outside Manila’s reach and operate on their own.  They are more autonomous, unique and separate from the federal government than American states. The nation is a federation in style,  with the House representing the regions in the national debate on laws. Somehow, these diverse views have to be melded into a harmonious and well-prioritized national agenda.
  • The Manila region is highly urbanized and gigantic, representing much of the nation’s economic might. Davao City and Cebu are large. Cagayan de Oro and Olongapo/Subic are substantial, and there are numerous fourth tier cities, getting bigger.
  • Approximately 10 million Filipinos, or 10% of the population, work overseas, employed in jobs from domestic to professional. Their voice is strong, and the Philippines provides many services for OFWs. But perhaps they should they have a direct in things, like with their own representative(s) in the House. That is, be recognized as caring citizens, not as people who have abandoned their homeland or are somehow disloyal. They are, after all, one of the main legs of the Philippine economic stool. (Choose your definition of “stool” wisely.)
  • The Philippine commercial base is predominantly agrarian (including forestry and fishing) and service-based (retail, medical, educational institutions, government). There’s not much manufacturing. Tourism is building and will probably become substantial. Real estate and infrastructure construction are large components. Trade is minimal and needs based; there is not a strong manufacturing driver of exports or a wealth/purchase driver of imports. The economy needs to get deeper and the middle class significantly broader.
  • The Executive branch of government is well-focused, staffed with capable people, and working earnestly and hard.
  • The Legislative branch is packed with name and fame; it does a poor job of law-writing, both from the standpoint of not having a prioritized agenda (reps spew our hundreds of laws which they wave in voter faces), and from the poor quality of the laws that are written (which is why the Cybercrime law is in the courts). The Senate is regularly ponderous and political and rigid and old and a place of great interpersonal tension rather than purposeful and productive. The House a rabble of locally famous people who can’t be bothered to show up at their Manila office.
  • The Judiciary is a mess, not always adhering to law (cash and influence means more than justice) ; therefore case law is not solid and rulings get overturned frequently. Nor is the Judiciary efficient (the backlog is shameful) or open to any but those with money (court fees and lawyers block out Juan and his troubles). The Chief Justice is disliked by other justices which means that acrimony is the dominant mood of the top lawmakers of the land.
  • Dynasties and connections with money, included among them a couple of well-established churches, heartily influence the governmental agenda. These moneyed interests lean on Executive and the Legislature. The failure to pass FOI is most likely connected to money and power because information, on it’s own, has no political axe to grind.
  • The nation’s many divisions are extraordinarily demanding and seemingly beyond compromise. Opinion makers have one opinion, theirs, and it is firm and fast and defended to the death. Compromise is hard to reach because conceding on any issue subjects one to relentless ridicule from the howling masses.
So you get the picture. And I am sorry to report, it is not a pretty one. Feisty, sloppy, divided, self-involved, inefficient, undisciplined, economically thin, running on favors. The Senate and Judiciary are embroiled in personal issues rather than focused on the people’s best interest.  

“But, Joe! You are our eternal optimist and you advocate a positive outlook on things! What’s with this panning of governmental structure and result?”

Because I want to see the twinkling of hope blossom into flaming pile of opportunity. The Executive branch is fundamentally sound and working to instill better values and outcomes.  That’s what I support.The Legislature may be waking up. We’ll see later this year. I support that, too. The Judiciary knows reforms are needed but can’t seem to get off the acrimonious dime. I support getting off the dime.
 
Besides, I’m not being negative here. Just describing the way things appear to my western-bent eyes. And, yes, the American governmental system is mightily screwed up, too. But that is not the subject of this discussion.
 
And so I ask “Idealist Joe”: “What should the Philippine government be able to do to compete?”
  • Executive needs to be executive. Driven by goals and performance measures. Skilled at delegation and follow-up. Like Mr. Aquino, but even more demanding and committed to results.
  • Term limits are an artificial device to ensure no one person dominates government. Yet, when term limits mandate the removal of a competent President, the protection becomes self-defeating. It weakens government. The important measure is strength of performance and result, not time limit.
  • Be smart. The legislature should be real lawmakers, not housewives and boxers. Legislators should be able to articulate laws that grant considerable autonomy to local regions while retaining strong national services that promote and protect the unified nation.
  • Be flexible. The legislature should be small enough that people can actually talk to each other in a give-and-take dialogue rather than through speeches and committee reports and the endless circles of indirect dialogue. Today’s process is mushy, slow and creates poor product. That is not a good way to compete globally.
  • The judiciary needs to be firm, fair and efficient. It needs to be able to discern important deeds (mass murder) from unimportant (annulment) and relegate the former to judges that can push matters forward without delay and the latter to administrators who quickly grant or deny applications.
  • Judges do not need to be independent if independence is an excuse for ineptitude. A “check and balance” should exist to make sure judges and the courts they manage are impeccibly fair, qualified and efficient.

So clearly we can see directions from this.

  • Executive should do more of what it is doing. Like, beyond 2016. As Edgar said.

 

  • Legislative needs to do a better job of writing law. More purposeful, more adept, bigger thinking and better writing.
  • The Judiciary needs to grow up, learn to read and interpret the law firmly and fairly, and get efficient.
We academic idealists want a nation that is upright in values, serves people of different wealth, education, cultures, languages and religions, and works efficiently and fairly. There is much to be done. It is a competitive globe, and this divisive, sloppy favor-ridden approach is simply not up to par with nations that seek to gain and hold a dominant position in Asia, namely, China, Japan, and South Korea.
 
What do we have to do to get that to read China, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines. Slop along, riding a cresting wave of honesty and little more?

I’d argue for more drive and better output from government.
 
Let’s define a hypothetical new government better able to operate forthrightly and efficiently toward a healthier, wealthier Philippines. Here are some wildly idealistic ideas aimed at chipping the rust off your cranium.

  • The legislature would work better if it is reduced in size and upgraded in law-making priorities and capability. 300 people is one unwieldy mass of humanity. The legislature should be able to agree on an agenda of priorities with Executive, and then write the laws to get the most important things done first. 
    • Get rid of the Senate. Have one legislative body given the job of writing the national rules and supervising national performance, much like a corporate Board of Directors (crafting of bylaws and policies, and granting approvals or denials of Executive proposals).

 

    • Reduce the House membership from 286 to, say, 21. Require that all be attorneys. Ban dynasties.
    • Give the House more power to mandate strong performance by the Judiciary, including forthright removal of judges for cause.
  • The Judiciary needs to be independent of external forces, either political or commercial, and focused on: (1) law and (2) efficient and fair renderings under the law. Case law is as important as the Constitution. Its development needs rigor and respect. End the current flaw that judges are not held to account.
    • Set term limits for judges, 4-year terms, extensions subject to ratification by the House or delegated independent panels appointed by the House. No more than four extensions (five terms) per judge.

 

    • Criteria for extension: opinions founded on objective law, efficient renderings, overturned cases below 25 percent. The House Judiciary committee would be charged with conducting the reviews of Supreme Court justices and making recommendations, subject to rebuttal by the respective judges.

 

  • Executive needs to be relentlessly judged on performance, much as a CEO of a public corporation is held to accountability by shareholders. This is called the “Ed Lores Principle of Productive Presidents”.
    • Legislature sets the goals for the President expressed as 4-year targets: GDP growth, trade volumes, manufacturing employment, personal income levels, whatever. Executive must follow through to meet those targets.
    • Make the President’s term a renewable contract, based on performance. Rolling 4-year term, extensions subject to ratification by the House. No more than two extensions (three terms) allowed.
    • National elections are called when the Legislature deems that a President’s period in office will end.
Next we will re-design God and his various prophets, sons, disciples,  angels and opponents. No topic is too big for us.
Comments
37 Responses to “Dump American Democracy!”
  1. Chris Castro says:

    "I would rather have a country run like hell by Filipinos than a country run like heaven by the Americans, because however bad a Filipino government might be, we can always change it." Manuel L. QuezonNot to mention "American Democracy" is covered in blood.

  2. Hi, Chris. American democracy is indeed covered in blood, generally to protect values we all cherish.MLQ got what he wanted it seems. I'm endorsing the last five words I suppose.

  3. Edgar Lores says:

    1. Wow.2. That’s a whole lot of detailed solutions for a lot of problems.2.1 The items on the Judiciary alone are worth their weight in gold. I was just commenting the other day that the Judiciary is the one branch that is not subject to checks-and-balances. Individual Supreme Court (SC) justices are subject to impeachment, but not the court as a collegial body.2.2 In its power of judicial review, for example, the SC has stopped the implementation of the RH Law for 120 days and rejected Risa’s (Hontiveros) motion to lift the suspension. The SC decision was on the basis of a 10-5 vote between progressives and non-progressives. Risa’s motion was based on the argument that (a) the law does not pose any threat to the constitutional rights of any individual and (b) that 11 women die every day due to lack of access to reproductive health services.2.3 Eleven (11) women. That is one more than the 10 justices who voted to stop implementation. That is 11 more lives every day – 1,320 lives in 120 days – to weigh on the conscience of a Church that glibly talks about the sanctity of life. 3. I will not go into the other good solutions you offer. Time enough for that. But just for the moment let us focus on this issue. Let the Judiciary, the political establishment and the Church go about their unmindful, neglectful ways of claiming to do good – while 11 lives are claimed back by a God served by these people who have no compunction, no mercy.

  4. Well, you have picked a good nugget from the pan of sand. When I started to address your comment about extending the president's term, I recognized it could not be done outside of some bigger context. So I wrote up the context, a government obsessed with productivity and competing, not pandering and self-service. The judiciary uses the claim "infringement upoon independence of the court" to remain ineffective. Well, damn, partner, independent incompetence is rather not the way to develop a crisp, competitive system of justice. I rather think the RH Bill is a case where law is not being applied, but judgess personal beliefs are being applied. That's wrong. The judges twist the laws words to suit their desired outcome, as if they are attorneys WHICH THEY OUGHT NOT BE. Which is mainly why case law in the Philippines is a big stack of stink.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Honestly, I would have preferred America to run our government. -JM

  6. Anonymous says:

    AGREE! Especially these two – Get rid of the Senate. Reduce the House membership from 286 to, say, 21. Require that all be attorneys. Ban dynasties. – JM

  7. JM, ha. Well, I suppose it's not too late to volunteer to be three new states, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. I rather think the NPA and Muslim terrorism problems would go away mighty-fine-quick, and a LOT of money would pour into the Philippines. Like bazillions of private and public dollars.

  8. Yes, what is the purpose of a Legislature, anyway? To write laws and make sure Executive and Judiciary are doing their job. How can 300 people really act decisively and intelligently when most of the people never show up at their Manila office to work? The senate can now and then get things done, but membership is rather personally and dynastically poisoned. Seems to me. Just an observation. Could be wrong.My whole structure is built on the notion of crisp, good thinking aimed at a purpose: to drive the Philippines into leadership in Asia. You can't get there if you are a bickering mob of favorite sons and daughters of no real direction except extending one's large sucking of the pork.

  9. Amy R says:

    There was a story I read as a student, about a writer who passionately claimed that allowing the Philippines to govern itself is like giving a little child a knife – he’d no sooner poke himself in the eye and kill himself. The Philippines is indeed a young nation, and metaphorically poking oneself in the eye has gone on for quite some time. One would expect though, that given decades of practice in self-governance, the “child” would have grown up. Your description of the different branches of the Philippine government, however, conjures a vision of a nation run by children.Santa Clause! A lot of people recognize that six years isn’t enough for a President’s term, because there is simply little or no continuity in terms of projects, policies, etc. Plus continuity would often depend on the next President’s brand of politics – and his/her degree of vindictiveness. It’s like constructing a building brick by brick, only to be torn down or abandoned when the next “foreman” comes along. As a nation, the Philippines lacks a sense of purpose. A good leader could change everything, and extending a good leader’s term makes an awful lot of sense. On the other hand, somewhere in my Philippine-schooled brain, a small man is burning an effigy of Marcos and is screaming “Martial Law!” at the top of his lungs. Marcos’s first term was apparently good too. Wasn’t this why the succeeding powers-that-be decided that six years is the prescribed shelf life of a President? That beyond that, he/she runs the risk of turning into a monster-dictator? Or have we just learned to live in the past, not learn from it?

  10. Chris Castro says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. Yes, my model does not have as powerful a president as today, because the legislature has the authority to end the president's term in office. The president is empowered to get productive stuff done, not dominate everything to personal advantage. I suppose it is possible for the legislature in this model to become a perverse cabal with self-serving aims, but I think that is rather difficult under today's ever watchful public eye, and with a fairly large group of 21.The changing of course, one president to another is indeed a jolt. If something is going well, build, don't stop. The problem we have is that so many people DON'T believe the Aquino administration is constructive or productive. It's weird. So the proposal suggests that specific measures be established that say what "constructive and productive performance" means BEFORE a term starts. Then if the President meets the targets, he or she stays on board, fewer questions, less divisiveness.

  12. Sorry, Chris, that goes beyond dialogue. Use your words, eh, and couch it in terms of the issue, not the person offering up an opinion. Thanks.

  13. Chris Castro says:

    You're right, I apologise.

  14. That guy reminds me of a professor I had in college. Rather intense fellow. haha. No problem.

  15. I totally agree with Ed Lores, if president is goot let him stay forever till love do them part. 6 years is too short for goot Philippine President while 6 years is too long for a corrupt ones.benign0 Aquino is a miracle! An anomaly of Filipinos. Vatican is right! A celibate president is a goot functioning president. A married president the wife gets to run the country.

  16. MLQ knows that Filipinos are up to no goot. Tjhat Filipinos are not pre-disposed to run a government nor honest enough not to dip their hands into the cookie jar. That is why Filipino government should be outsourced with 24/7 technical support and armed response.

  17. Anonymous says:

    A lot of good thoughts from you. Allow me to contribute something to the conversationBut first:1. "The provinces are outside Manila's reach and operate on their own. They are more autonomous, unique and separate from the federal government than American states…"I think it'a the opposite Joe. That why they passed the local govt law, There is only one national police force, Budget allocations are controlled by the president. Congress may pass spending bills but it is only the president wh can allocate them. Hence every Congress, (Batasan) is contrilled by the president. If there is any autonomy at all by governors or mayors it is only because they are either too remote or not important enough to merit Manila's attention.2. On overseas workers : "But perhaps they should they have a direct in things, like with their own representative(s) in the House."Representation is based on geographical units and population. Two, voting for local officials carry residence requirements. Overseas workers are allowed to vote for national officials and party lists through the overseas voting law. They can vote for reps through party list representatives. It's uo to them to organiza and elect their party list reps. As to local officials, it is only reasonable that only current residents should be the only ones to pick their local leaders.Regarding the solutions:1. "Get rid of the Senate. Have one legislative body given the job of writing the national rules and supervising national performance, much like a corporate Board of Directors (crafting of bylaws and policies, and granting approvals or denials of Executive proposals)."Here's the thing. One needs a body with a larger perspective than 250K plus voters and a small geographic area. Maybe electing senators by region could be considered. In short local perspectives need to be balanced by regional or national perspectives. A one house body like the Batasan will focus on pork and laws that are heavily weighed to their district's advantage.2. "Reduce the House membership from 286 to, say, 21. Require that all be attorneys. Ban dynasties."This is actually the problem. Both houses of congress are dominated by lawyers. There are not enough representatives from other professions – medical, engineering, science, agriculture, tourism, enterpreneurs etc. We focus too much on legality and legalisms and less on practical issues like problem solving and crafting policies aimed at growth. Would you rely on a lawyer or an industrialist to craft the nation's industrial policy? Would you rely on a medical practitioner or a lawyer to craft our health policies? How about an engineer versus a lawyer to write our safety codes?An interesting study would be to look at the ratios of lawyers vs other professions in the parliaments of the more successful asian countries. The last five words in MLQ's famous quote are the battle cry of everyone who is for democracy and self-determination and against tyranny. Without those last five words, the quote is senseless. – mb

  18. mb, I appreciate the thoughtful comment. Let me bounce off it, referring to your numbered items.General point 1: Interesting reading. Yet I get the impression Davao and Cebu are cities that are run very autocratically, and the Cebu governor thought she was important enough to confront the President. But I take your point, that significant control (money) rests with Manila. Certainly, Davao must seem like a long way from Manila, and therefore pretty much independent, or isolated.General Point 2: I accept what you are saying but it seems to me OFW's don't have much of a direct voice. I'll let OFW readers comment on their representation, if they feel left out or are okay.Suggestions 1. Yes, pork and politics. How to get it out. I need to reflect on that some more. It is a weakness of the model.Suggestions 2. Ahahahaha. I hate lawyers, except for those I like (JCC). haha. I approached it from the standpoint of who do I think can intelligently parse issues and put laws into words. A doctor can't, a boxer can't, a housewife can't. I think the national level ought not be writing medical laws except in a broad general way. Regulators ought to be providing the advice to the legislators, and writing the detailed law (regulations). The study you suggest would be interesting. MLQ's battle cry is without question profound. And the source of considerable ridicule.My battle cry in a similar circumstance might have been: "There are no preordained paths to heaven, and we Filipinos will choose our own, thanks."

  19. Michelle Obama for president in 2016!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Considerable ridicule when the last five words are dropped. Out of convenience by people out to make a point by misquoting. Lawyers can work on the staff of doctor, engineer, boxer and housewife legislators, like they do in the US. Lawyer-legislators can focus on laws that deal with the administration of justice, human rights etc. but they should stay away from areas that are outside their competency or expertise. Anyway, balance is what we need.I think OFWs have a big enough voice. Did you know that they have been added as one of the top priorities of the DFA's mission? Check their website under vision and objectives. OFWs were not there before. Notice how the president sends the vice president to appeal for mercy even for drug mules? Of course more can be done, funding is a problem as always. But I am familiar with consular services and I assure you that consular employees spend a disproportionate amount of time attending to the needs of OFWs. There are consular safe houses in many countries, places where OFWs in trouble are housed and fed until they can be flown home. Think global scale and you know how much resources are spent on that. Then there are the lawyers, translators, jail visitation trips, emergency evacuations, etc. Consular employees even risk life and limb not only for evacuations but also to rescue women trapped in the sex trade. I can say with certainty that for every complaint of neglect you have scores who are attended to. If at all, what OFWs might want party list reps. To get an even louder voice. If the reds can elect several party lists representing youth, farmers, women, educators, Bayan etc then OFWs should be able to elect a whole slew of reps. – mb

  21. Yes, "all attorneys" is too much. Concede. But somehow we have to get from boxers and ex-dictator's wives to capable executive-style lawmakers, people with big perspective but the ability to see detail and nuance. People pushing for a more competitive Philippines (like re-writing Customs law and not taking 25 years to do it).OFW's do get a lot of attention and resources, true. And the right to vote. OFW groups can also designate reps who has OFW's high on the priority list. Barring an outspoken OFW, I'll also accept your perspective on that.

  22. Democracy is for whites. Dictatorship are for non-whites.Democracy are for those that question God. Dictatorship are for religious compliant populationGod and dictatorship go hand-in-hand. Religion is to intimidate used by religious dictators. If someone astute enough to use Roman Catholicism to put fear on Filipinos runs the Philippines which are now being run by CBCP with barrio captains as priests and priestess.All corrupt poor countries common denominators is religion. Religion is bad for the mind but goot for the soul. Now take your pick. Heaven on earth for progress. Or, poverty for heaven after life.I prefer to live in poverty so I can have a spot in heaven. God says it is easier for a poor man to pass thru the eye of the needle than a rich man. That is why MLQ is my man.

  23. Religion is a strange beast to twist intelligence so inside out. To admire celebacy? To find women unsuitable to occupy the same pulpit as men? To murder those who don't quite buy into our stories? To discourage science?I have to admit, though, I like getting in a big empty cathedral and getting right with God. It's when it fills up with people that it becomes a less spiritual place. Go figure . . .

  24. J says:

    Actuallyl, I have no problems with the current form of government (except for some concern about judicial supremacism). The only problem I have is the people who man the government.

  25. Cha says:

    While we're thinking outside the box, may I add that every voter be, henceforth, required to show proof of possession of at least a basic understanding of the role and responsibilities of the position they are voting for? How many voters really understand, for instance, what a congressman actually does and what sort of qualifications therefore are required for the job? If they understood these, would they still be voting for the people they have voted for in the past? Seeing as we do not exist in this alternate reality that seems possible only outside the box we actually live in, maybe we can just do what we can to get as close to it as we can? Like maybe a blog that talks about those (the roles and qualifications for congressmen and senators), that is easily understood and passed around through social media is a step in that direction. Now, I don't know if this can be perceived as attempting to influence election results by a foreigner (if JoeAm were to write it). If JoeAm is not comfortable writing about this, maybe Mr. Buencamino might be willing to?

  26. Well for sure if we had more "executives" and fewer entertainers and names, the agenda for lawmaking might be much different. For me, the big flaw is the idea that "the people" are boss. Well, they can be, and we get what we have in people. The House is local favorites, the Senate dynastic names, the Executive friends and acquintances of the person in charge. No where is capablility a characteristic that gets put first and foremost.So I figure at least in my model, the Legislature is responsible for Presidential and judicial capability. And the people only need to figure out how to get 21 capable people into the Legislature. Based on the current senate campaign, I'd say they can get their hands around that, or will be able to as social media progresses. But 300 reps? That is a cattle stampede, not a government.

  27. Ah, our comments crossed in the ether, mine to J, yours above. The concern is identical: people making shallow choices.I couldn't write your blog. People might become drunk under the influence of a dastardly foreigner. MB would be good at it although he can be a cantankeours and contentious soul. He knows the inside of the Philippines, for sure. It would be impossible to get a handle on the candidates for House. I already selected my Senate people before being warned by those kind people at Immigration that there are addicts in the Philippines subject to the negative influences of ideas.Sigh.

  28. Jetlag807 says:

    Other than the Philippines being viewed as a "Democracy", I don't see the similarities with the US. Philippine Elections are based on "one-person-one-vote" but, after that, things fall apart. The Philippines does not have an Electoral College. The Philippine election process in general, insofar as candidates and political parties are concerned, is in a state of complete chaos as every conceivable "special interest' group has its own party and candidates have no lasting allegiance to same. In the Philippines, the Vice President has zero power and holds no constitutionally mandated position except the office itself. In the US, the President & Vice President are elected from the same ticket (example: Obama-Biden, Bush-Chenney, etc) and the Vice President serves as the President of the US Senate (the tie-breaker vote if needed). Members of the US House AND Senate are elected by a vote from their constituents. Example: Only voters who are residents of California can vote for a Senate Candidate representing California. In the Philippines, Senate Candidates are elected in a mass vote and win according to the most votes received Nationwide. The Philippine Judicial system is also vastly different from the US. In the United States, homicides cases are prosecuted whether or not the family of the victim wishes it or not, whether the victims family files a "case" or not. In the US, we have the "right to a speedy triall". Anyone who adopts this right must have their case heard within 30 (THIRTY) days or be released will all charges dismissed. In the US we have the right to a Trial by Jury or by Judge; its the choice of the person facing the charges as to which. In the Philippines, the Supreme Court can and does intervene on cases which have not gone through judicial process (steps) and, in cases involving business practices, there is no vehicle for arbitration other than the Supreme Court. Example: A someone files a TRO against a mining company with the SC. The SC slaps down a TRO and that's that. All this and so much more leads me to believe that our forms of government are completely different but the MAIN difference, in my opinion is this; the United States is a Federalist Government. That is to say, each State has the power to manage same as they see fir without any interference from the Federal Government so long as it does not conflict with the basic rules and laws set fourth in our (US) Constitution. Example: the US Federal Government (via the Judicial Branch) can say the sale and possession of Assault Rifles is legal but… It is up to each individual State to decide (by State referendum) whether or not they will adopt said policy… "Dump American Democracy"? I say American Democracy has not been established here.

  29. Our "Jack Ryan" analyst strikes again. What a clear and detailed comparison. Superb. About the only thing is that is the same is the names of the big body of common lawmakers and the little body of esteemed lawmakers and the top dawg.Your comparison is indeed classic. Thanks.

  30. Edgar Lores says:

    1. I think there’s deep truth here: democracy requires personal responsibility; mass religion, where only faith is required and not good works, is a forfeiture of personal responsibility. 2. As long as one has faith, one does not have to exert oneself. One can live in sin, because faith assures us of forgiveness and entry into heaven.3. For Filipinos who hold this belief, such as the senators, there is a double bonus: they can gain the whole world and not lose their own soul. 4. I believe Mariano has captured the corrupting influence of religion.

  31. Very keen extraction from Mariano's prose.

  32. Anonymous says:

    out 9M ofws less than 1M registered to vote and only about half actually voted-mb

  33. After reading all the comments, I arrived at a conclusion that commentators are thinking outside of the Philippines. What goot is thinking outside the box when the box is in the Philippines? Lookit those U.P. Ateneo la Salle (all ivy-schools) columnists, they have not touched what is dear to my heart and to all recovering humane societies and to justice:1. Forensics over affidavits2. Why all investigations turns to confessions and admissions.3. Journalists are protected species, others are not4. Oil companies are charitable institutions instead of their prices dictated by international market. 5. environment over oil drilling6. Aw, this is my favorite, has anybody got nabbed for wang-wang? To this day it is still zero, while, I hear it daily. Aha! Those wang-wangers must be benign0ers.I am being accused that I am jealous of Philippine ivy-school graduates. NO I AM NOT JEALOUS. The point of my attack at these ivy-leaguers is "if they are still dumb graduating from Philippine ivy-schools, just wonder what those unfortunate Filipinos that can never set their foot inside these schools are capable of thinking"? If Philippine bureacracy is rained on by these ivy-leaguers, therefore, Philippines will not ever go straight.It is the blind leading the blinds. Fortunately, there are OFWs, self-exiled self-deported themselves to think outside of the Philippines not ivy-leaguers thinking like minimum-wage working-class commoners.

  34. Interesting statistics. Perhaps OFW's don't need their own rep, but they need to be listened to, and I think government agencies are doing that. They ought not be considered second-tier citizens.

  35. Blind leading the blinds. I'm thinking how quickly information gets pushed into the background. What are the Ampatuans doing these days? What are we waiting on? So when forensics and investigation by jouralists is shallow information does not even come forward. Between that which is buried and that not found, people ciriculate in a world of shallow.That is the educated people.Those less educated circulate in a world of popular gossip, where "names" rise to the top of what little information is out there.

  36. EXCERPTS FROM Lee Kuan Yew Memoir. "He said we had many able people. There was no reason why the Philippines should not be as successful as other Asean countries. “Something was missing, a gel to hold society together. The people at the top, the elite mestizos, had the same detached attitude to the native peasants, as the mestizos in their haciendas in Latin America had towards their peons. They were two different societies; those at the top lived a life of extreme luxury and comfort, while the peasants scraped a living… they had many children because the Church discouraged birth control. The result was increasing poverty.” IT IS THE TISOYS AND TISAYS and adoring brown-skin-punk'd nose Filipinos to the tisoys and tisays !!!“The Philippines had a rambunctious press but it did not check corruption. Individual pressmen could be bought, as could many judges. Something had gone seriously wrong. Filipino professionals whom we recruited to work in Singapore are as good as our own. Indeed, their architects, artists, and musicians are more artistic and creative than ours… “The difference lies in the culture of the Filipino people. It is a soft, forgiving culture. Only in the Philippines could a leader like Ferdinand Marcos, who pillaged his country for over twenty years, still be considered for a national burial. Insignificant amounts of the loot have been recovered, yet his wife and children were allowed to return and engage in politics. They supported the winning presidential and congressional candidates with their considerable resources and reappeared in the political and social limelight after the 1998 election that returned President Joseph Estrada.” “Some Filipinos write and speak with passion. If they could get their elite to share their sentiments and act, what could they not have achieved?” LEE KUAN YEW was never banned, ex-commed, deleted by snotty stuck-up englishtzes-writing brown-skin Filipinos despite him commenting about the Philippines, which probably been a copy of mine.

  37. Very interesting quotes from the benevolent dictator who my first wife's mother used to work for (my ex is Singaporean Chinese). I think there is a scale, rather elastic, by which one is allowed to be honest or blunt or satiric. At the bottom of the scale is the Chinese satirist who called the Philippines "a nation of servants". No no, not allowed. At the top is the dignified elder statesman dictator of a very successful and modern city state. His words are wisdom. Down from him is JoeAm who these days can say pretty much anything because he has a track record that shows he is an earnest guy interested in the Philippines, and understands the nation pretty well. Then between Joe and the Chinese dude is Mariano who is simply too sharp of knife to accept. But the dictator can use your insight. Hell, I copy it, too!

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