Democracy in the Philippines is in the ICU

Democracy [Photo source: NewIndianExpress]

By Joe America

I had originally written that “Democracy in the Philippines is dead” but then reflected on the fact that there is an election in 2019 that will determine if one should just pull the plug . . . or maybe find a heartbeat and figure out how to strengthen it. Right now that heartbeat is extraordinarily weak, about 27 legislators weak.

This article will start a period of open discussion for the blog with occasional, less frequent articles.

The purpose of the blog has been to teach and learn about the Philippines. We have spent years watching and writing and debating. But the period of wonderment is just about over as current events confirm the essential dysfunction of the nation . . . for those who aspire to democracy and its ideals of fairness and kindness under laws, equality, and opportunity. The nation is led and populated by those who have no such patriotic inclination. They offer instead a demand for loyalty which is an inwardly directed type of patriotism the opposite of what democracy envisions.

Democracy in the Philippines is dead in the ICU.

What we have now is a shell of laws, basically ignored or used as expedient by the leadership, but not a functioning, representative form of government. Checks and balances have been eroded to the point that we know the outcome of legal or legislative debates before they are argued. There is no ethical framework that would discipline a hearing chairman who does not let other senators speak their minds, or invites political hatchet men as resource persons.

We have observed that the People’s IQ is missing the drives that make democracy work, a search for knowledge and respectful debate that sees unity and prosperity as key goals. The nation retains its tribal bearing and populist manner of decision-making. It is frankly not a very wise nation, as a collective. One only has to look around to see this.

The nation risks becoming increasingly unified by government order for obedience, rather than a self-inspired desire to get together and build something great. We can surmise that the national government will not be deeply engaged in finding solutions to this problem or that, except as it reacts to events and needs. Essentially, we will be assured of more of the historical same. Tribal rivalries, shifting loyalties among them, corruption, both of thought and money, and a system of order that does not prize equality or quality of output, but a stacking of prominence and benefits with levels of impunity and opportunities for wealth rising as one goes up the pyramid.

Well, we are not the only nation battling the forces of mass ignorance and decisions made in tribal anger. The US is descending to that as well, and other nations, too, as extremisms of many forms march into the debate and claim positions of power.

Extremism. Intolerance. Impunity. Oppression. Incompetence. These are the ways of our days. Climate change drives the weather, character devolution drives politics.

I don’t yet know if resistance is futile. It sure seems weak and ineffective today. Advocates for democracy are considered an enemy of the autocratic State, by the State, and the star-based media amplify the State’s accusations to generate bitterness toward decent people from across the land.

My guess is the resistance to the autocratic State will get smaller but increasingly violent and physical, riots in the streets or sniping from the jungle, with even more aggressive persecution and jailings of opposition leaders, but that is just a guess. It is not an advocacy or urging or postulated as a solution. It is a guess.

I can’t see beyond that. I think any government that is essentially corrupt of thought and fundamentally mean does not make a whole lot of people happy or wealthy in the long run. Tribes will do as tribes do. Fight.

I can’t imagine democracy being on the other side of the Duterte era. The fundamentals are not here, knowledge and a passion for union.

But I don’t know.

It’s like this block-building game on my computer, things way off in the distance disappear into a haze and the gamer can’t see what’s there unless he move closer.

So we can talk about things as we move closer.

The discussion forum is open.

Guest articles are welcome.


132 Responses to “Democracy in the Philippines is in the ICU”
  1. manangbok says:

    Maybe the world (and the Philippines too) is searching for its own equilibrium. Everything is in flux right now because liberal capitalism has failed a lot of us.

    But what is the alternative? There should be a balance between rampant development and keeping one’s identity. Mob rule (democracy has been equated with this, sadly) and authoritarianism. The right of the individual and the happiness of the majority. Yin & yang? Between somethingness and nothingness. Sorry … was inspired by this article —

    The point is, China rising (and all the philosophical worldview, the madmen and hooligans that go with her) as counterpoint to western liberalism is a sign of the times.

    Of course, neither will prevail over the other (at least that is what I am betting on).

    There will be a balance at some point. In the meantime, let’s enjoy (probably a “enjoy” is poor choice of word, maybe “tolerate”, “suffer”, “learn from”??) the ride 🙂

    • manangbok says:

      Let’s survive the ride 🙂

      • Speaking of our friend Nietzsche , manangbok

        here’s a great primer on Noble vs Slave mentality,

        read more here,

        but focus on this part first,

        “Here one must think profoundly to the very basis and resist all sentimental weakness: life itself is ESSENTIALLY appropriation, injury, conquest of the strange and weak, suppression, severity, obtrusion of peculiar forms, incorporation, and at the least, putting it mildest, exploitation;–but why should one for ever use precisely these words on which for ages a disparaging purpose has been stamped? Even the organization within which, as was previously supposed, the individuals treat each other as equal–it takes place in every healthy aristocracy–must itself, if it be a living and not a dying organization, do all that towards other bodies, which the individuals within it refrain from doing to each other it will have to be the incarnated Will to Power, it will endeavour to grow, to gain ground, attract to itself and acquire ascendancy– not owing to any morality or immorality, but because it LIVES, and because life IS precisely Will to Power.”

        • “Within the nobleman’s circle he treats his peers as equals and with respect, and admires his ancestors and the old; however foreigners are treated with aggression and domination. The ruler needs to find an outlet for his barbarian-needs; he therefore uses the oppressed and new comers as his slaves. Modern ideas, progression, and future are not something that he respects; rather his heritage and family is what become prominent.

          The oppressed and the weak become defined as the ‘bad’ and despicable in the eyes of the noble. The need for ‘Power’ creates the separation between the ruler and ruled and the ‘Narcissistic need’ produces the morality of power being good and the poor being bad. It’s important to note that in the master’s morality ‘evil’ isn’t used as the opposing force to good, the term bad is used. However later on we will see in the slave morality evil becomes the opposing force of the good.

          The second type of morality is the Slave-Morality, this morality is served to help the poor alleviated their suffering and become free from their ‘evil’ masters. The slave morality is based on ‘Revenge’ and ‘Resentment’ to the masters who they define as evil. The priest and poor people take revenge by flipping morality around and concluded that the master is evil and we need to be ‘not’ like him.”

          Does that sound familiar, manangbok?

    • The betting . . . I say that is hope, and it is meaningless. I can’t see the path to it. Well, I can, but I don’t see anyone around here who has the will and way. I’ve given up on the idea that hopes and wishes will do anything. Show me the money, the results, the progress. Criticizing Duterte or his sock puppets gets nothing.

  2. Francis says:

    “Is Democracy in the Philippines in the ICU?”

    I don’t think so. I think that “democracy” (rule of the people as a recognized principle of legitimacy) is still quite alive. In my opinion, it is “republicanism” (rule of law, of the constitution and fair institutions) that is (close to being) in the ICU. Filipinos recognize the power of the electoral mandate (observe: the high SWS ratings and the millions more followers of the administration bloggers) but Filipinos don’t exactly recognize the notion of rule of law and the necessity of (at least aspiring for) impartiality and fairness—things quite foreign to the Filipino who is unfortunately inclined by his or her circumstances to pursue what is good for the good of his clan and barkada above all else, to not care what the rules say—so long as his or her group is “in” and therefore gets a cut.

    I say “close to being” and not “actually in” the “ICU” because.

    Duterte is not Marcos—he is not a dictator, but a democratically-elected president (albeit with authoritarian tendencies) whose powers and mandate are still roughly within the current constitution. This might seem—given Duterte’s wild pronouncements—unbelievable, but it should never be ignored that this holds true; Duterte is still working under, as the whole PDEA/PNP switching, the suspension of the drug war for a certain period of time and the restoration of CHR funding demonstrates, the framework of a liberal democracy as a president—while Marcos could care less what the opposition thought while he clearly ruled as a dictator.

    Congress may have given President Duterte an extension of his Martial Law—but that was a case of two political institutions being relative equals scratching each other’s back. Compare that to the sorry rubber-stamping situation faced by the constitutional delegates who had no choice but to accept whatever drafts came from Marcos’ Malacañang to draft his constitution.

    Note, I am not saying that this does not clear the current administration of its faults. Not at all. But I am stating this because it is important to have clarity and precision.

    Duterte is not Marcos. That is something very important that the opposition should recognize. Very, very important. Because different issues require different approaches. One does not wear a fur coat in the summer. That is why it is important to ascertain whether it is summer or winter.

    • Francis says:


      (I left a sentence hanging!)

      I say “close to being” and not “actually in” the “ICU” because there are still signs that the pillars of rule of law and strong institutions are still standing, if creaking—civil society is still as vibrant as ever, the CHR budget was restored, dissent is still heard in the institutions even if they are trumped by other things…

    • chemrock says:

      Power corrupted Marcos.
      Duterte was corrupted before he had power. Guess what he becomes when he has power.
      (Corrupt not in the money-sense, but in their entirety as a human being).

      Marcos’ rubber-stamp legislature had no choice as you mentioned as there was no legal avenue for them.
      Duterte’s lapdogs have choices and so as you pointed out, democracy exist because they exercised their rights accordingly. They are lapdogs because they fear Duterte. Nationally elected senators must surely know they commit political suicide by being lapdogs because the majority masses did not vote Duterte.

      Bottom line is Duterte is not Marcos, you are correct.
      Duterte is far worse than Marcos.

      The worst is yet to be.

      • Edward says:

        In my last count I’ve been to 74 out of 81 provinces around the Philippines. . In ilocos the roads are wide and smooth, Tourism is generating income to the lokals. Bridges schools windmills are still are working and operational. Pangasinan , Lingayen Ramos’s hometown has NArciso Ramos Sports Complex (atleast), In Pampanga there’s Clark , to marcos’s credit his bridges, hospitals, Public Schools still operational and serving

        how about TARLAC? with 2 Presidents, (PNOy and CORY) 4 Senators (BAM TESSIE BUTCH NOY + Peping Cojuanco and DANDING). controversial SCTEX? I haven’t seen any signs of progress it remains Feudal in my observation. Name please a major project of the Aquino’s in tarlac? If lee Singapore is Lee kuan yews living monument can the Aquino’s claim the same of TARLAC? REALITY BITES: NINOY AQUINO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT is TAGGED as the Worst under PNOY’s Term. NINOY AQUINO=THE WORST? My god I dont see eye to eye with my dad but i will not allow that lowest form of Disrespect. No SANE and self respecting individual will humiliate thy fathers name. Maybe only PNOY.

        • chemrock says:

          Why the divergence to Aquinos?
          For NAIA’s problems, go ask Alvarez, don’t ask me.
          Last I heard, NAIA’s recent upgrade done by Pnoy admin and credit was hijacked by someone.

          • edward says:

            was it Pnoys time that the airport was tagged the worst? ye under his watch baby. NINOY AQUINO =THE WORST. if he cant honor the name of his father what does it tell you about the guy?

            • Sup says:

              No upgrade maintenance during Ramos, Erap, Gloria…only during Pnoy was there a huge improvement but it took some time to cancel the corrupt maintenance/ contractors deals…

              Actually one of the first things Pnoy did was de airport..

              from wiki

              ”On August 1, 2010, President Benigno Aquino III announced plans to utilize Terminal 3 to its maximum capacity by the Christmas season, which may mean moving international carriers to Terminal 3, but the goal was never reached.[26]

              The Philippine government has made a new plan where Terminal 3 would be fully operational by the end of 2011, but lowered their goal to 55% operational after further study.[27] The move of international carriers began in February 2011 with All Nippon Airways (ANA) starting a new service to Manila from Terminal 3, rather than Terminal 1 with other international carriers.[28] On July 31, 2014, Terminal 3 became fully operational.[29] ANA was the only foreign carrier at Terminal 3 until October 1, 2014, when five international airlines, namely Delta Air Lines, KLM, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, and Cathay Pacific, transferred operations from Terminal 1.”


              edward better be honest and do some investigation before making noise here in this forum….

        • karlgarcia says:

          Why was Tarlac not developed under Marcos and the succeeding presidents.
          There was Danding during Marcos, etc.
          Pampanga had clark.
          Pangasinan has the Hundred Islands and other tourism spots.
          Ilocos, never mind.

          But again why did the other presidents allowed Tarlac to be left behind, if it has indeed been left behind?

          • edward says:

            why was tarlac not left behind? oh so you admit that it is left behind indeed? again tarlac produced 2 aquino presidents 4 senators congressmen governor FACT! why dont u ask the aquinos/cojuancos why did they let their own backyard down.. isnt that lazy? or the case of feudal style management . landlord first bahala tenant..

            • karlgarcia says:

              Why do I have to admit anything are you here to trap your interlocutors to submission?
              Go fish or fly a kite.

              • Sup says:

                Just anther ”wannebee intellectual dutertard” caliber Sass, Nieto, Bruce, Mocha trying to anger honest objective investigative people in this forum…

              • edward says:

                blocked edward? oh no thats dictatorship

              • It is a private site open to those members of the public who agree to participate forthrightly, with respect. You violate the terms of participation and are not allowed to contribute outside the rules. In other words, it’s a civil discussion and you don’t qualify.

            • edward, please discuss issues in a mature way, not these easy allegations that represent the dumbing down of debate . . . that we avoid at this blog.

            • chemrock says:

              So Aquinos should have PDAF-loaded for benefit of Tarlac over others. What a waste they did’nt do that indeed. So silly of them.

              The reason they did’nt do that is because they don’t practice partisanship. As leader of the nation, there are national priorities.

            • edward: “oh so you admit that it is left behind indeed? again tarlac produced 2 aquino presidents 4 senators congressmen governor FACT! why dont u ask the aquinos/cojuancos why did they let their own backyard down.. isnt that lazy?

              They weren’t focused on their own backyard because they were busy focusing on the rest of the Philippines! (and i’m not even a “yellow”, LOL!)

        • madlanglupa says:

          You’re coming off as trollish, in that half the Congjuancos hate PNoy, and in fact tried to remove him from power.

      • Francis says:

        Duterte is not worse than Marcos.

        Duterte still operates under a democracy. Marcos—for a substantial portion of his reign—operates under a dictatorship. Duterte (for now) enjoys running a country booming with economic growth. Marcos ran a booming economy into the ground.

        Will he be worse? That is the golden question.

        It is not the current situation, but the future situation that is to be feared. I know that I’m being pedantic, but I think that’s something very important realize: because dictatorship and (democratically elected) populists aren’t the same banana—they require different tool boxes.

        • In a way he is worse… but probably more from the perspective of the older ones… including his former “Goebbels” Tatad..

          The older generations (whether yellow or Marcosian) believe in the Constitution and laws, probably as a safeguard against the inherent chaos they know is at the root of the Filipino.

          Marcos after all declared Martial Law FOLLOWING the 1972 Constitution, not against it. Miriam Defensor-Santiago was the great legalist – and pro-Marcos, never forget that.

          Duterte no longer cares that much about legality. But probably the erosion of that began sometime after 1986. Was it the inherent extralegality of EDSA1, even more of EDSA2?

          Or was it Cory and Ramos endorsing Alsa Masa in Davao, EJKs against Communists?

          Or was it Arroyo who kept fiddling around and inherently disrespecting many institutions? Could it have been that Aquino also partly misused impeachment for his own group?

          Was De Lima just Aguirre’s slightly more pro forma legal predecessor? I really wonder?

          Probably it was inevitable that the rules learned by rote from colonial masters would some day be ignored as they never were truly internalized, just adhered to as a matter of formalism.

          Well, now the country is a large ship at sea, run by people who only know about bancas.

        • chemrock says:

          Marcos was elected democratically too.
          Marcos was far smarter than Duterte. In one grand stroke he metamorphosed into a dictator. Marcos had to morp from egg, larva, pupa and to adult dictator.

          Duterte has been a dictator all his life. In school, in work, in Davao. He will occupy the space the platform provides him. As President, he has the whole nation, not to lead, but to lord over. Cory, FVR, GMA and Pnoy presidencies built up stronger institutions that is giving Duterte the resistance that Marcos never had.

          But you are right, the future situation is more to be feared. Marcos was corrupt and has no moral compass, but I would not describe him as intrinsically evil. The one that now sits in throne is evil through and through.

        • edgar lores says:

          1. To be able to judge who is worse – Duterte or Marcos – one would have to establish the criteria for judgment.

          1.1. Three criteria have been mentioned:

          o The form of government – dictatorship vs. democracy
          o The economy
          o The timeframe

          1.2. Are these criteria sufficient? Certainly, not in Chemrock’s mind.

          1.3. But before going further, the form of government is not a valid basis for comparison. A democracy run like hell can definitely be worse than a benevolent dictatorship. Thus, the criterion should be: irrespective of the form of government, who presided/presides over the republic better? This brings us to the other considerations.

          1.4. On the second criterion, it can be arguably said that the booming economy is despite Duterte and not due to him. Chemrock is on record that the dire effect of Duterte’s economic mismanagement won’t be felt until late next year or early 2019.

          2. The other criteria that Chemrock seems to be considering would be:

          o Death toll
          o Rule of law
          o Foreign affairs
          o Civility

          2.1. Certainly, there are other considerations apart from those enumerated so far:

          o Competence
          o Professionalism of cabinet
          o Policies
          o Business takeovers
          o Political prisoners
          o Morality
          o Risk Potential

          3. On the basis of the speculated criteria used by Chemrock, it can be indeed be said that “Duterte is far worse than Marcos.”

          3.1. Just on the death toll alone, compare the less than 4,000 deaths under Marcos in the 9 years of martial law vs. the unknown number of deaths but considered to be over 10,000 under Duterte in less than 2 years.

          3.3. The future situation is projected from the current situation. And the current situation is fearful. It is from this fearful reality that Chemrock projects and answers the golden question. He says, “The worst is yet to be.”

    • Seems like a lot of hair splitting. Call it what you will, but President Duterte controls the legislature and the courts. He is going after all the independent agencies. He controls the people, the media, and . . . with them . . . the AFP. If that is not near death for civility and laws and ideas about fairness and equality, I don’t know what is.

      • Papa Duts control over the people, his magic, will have to be broken.

        Aquino in the Senate yesterday was a start. More will have to come.

      • Francis says:

        The distinction is important, because the dealing with a dictatorship differs much from dealing with a regime that has authoritarian tendencies but is still a formal liberal democracy operating with a clear electoral mandate from the people.

        For instance—the usage of moral rhetoric as a means to address the failings of the regime.

        In a dictatorship—this is effective. Against the sheer (blunt and exposed) state repression and clear (i.e. an economy that is not about to fall apart but is literally falling apart) state failure, the power of the moral appeal is quite clear. This strategy—while on the surface, overly idealistic and pie-in-the-sky—was actually effective against Marcos during the waning days of his reign; it was moralizing that helped clear the gap between the marginalized opposition and the vastly overpowered party machinery of the Marcoses.


        “The economy is (so far) good and it looks like I won’t be affected by the PNP’s actions, so what’s this whole hullabaloo about our country going into the darkness!”

        To the apolitical folk—the people who usually don’t care about politics, the silent many—the moral rhetoric (alone) comes off as arrogant and/or melodramatic. Especially if the opposition has skeletons of its own in its closet; the moral rhetoric of “good versus evil” (alone) cannot work against a still formally liberal democratic regime, despite the authoritarian tendencies of said regime.

        It thus is important for the opposition not to see itself as defenders of the light, but as builders of the light. Not just as critics—but as a genuine government-in-the-wings, ready to offer not just criticism but also constructive proposals of alternative ways to govern.

        • Francis says:


          I.E. If I were the opposition, for instance, my response to the loads of federalism talk (Will we? Will we not?!) would be to not just have an obscure (to the public especially) statement stating in academese: well the LGU Code has decentralized matters enough, there’s that—but to instead elaborate and say: well, our vision for the Philippines involves a state that balances local needs with national needs and we have these [insert specific proposed programs/policies] to address the needs of regions that want more freedom from Imperial Manila, taking advantage of the best that current laws like the LGU Code have to offer while addressing their deficiencies.

          And to say it. Every day. Everyday, say: “I have this [insert idea/program/policy] to help improve the country.” And some people won’t like it. And some people might think it’s epal or attention-grabbing or whatever.

          But when placed against an administration that utters policy as if winging it from a hang-over, swinging back and forth—the image of competence.

          • chemrock says:

            Well said.
            I agree with you.
            Constant and consistent projection of their propositions, ideas, strategies, plans are important for the opposition. It is very much like national day parades (which there is none in Philippines) where the state puts on a grand show of their military prowess.

            I remember this well. When Pnoy admin started, Purisima was the Police chief. I had a discussion with a group on corruption in PNP rank and file and the high crime rate. I mentioned one point. That Purisima has to make his presence felt, physically. He needs to pop up in as many places, in every corner of Philippines and surprise visits to PNP stations. He needed media attention, socmed attention. He needed tons of publicity. Instead he chose to hide in his White or Blue House? and plan fiscal delinquencies. Compare him to Bato. The incumbent was everywhere. His presence was felt everywhere. Although the intentions were all misplaced, he did stamp his authority.

        • Agree, especially with the last paragraph. Thanks.

        • The Christian Democrats of Germany had to completely reinvent themselves after 1998.

          Schröder’s win was a shock to many, and seen gleefully by another many including myself.

          The new middle class or “Neue Mitte” who came from working class or migrant background.

          Who were cheerfully rude, to show the old crowd we didn’t give a fuck about their standards.

          One of the first reforms of Schröder BTW was taxes. More net but higher prices in the end..


          Schröder had a competent “little Chancellor” though in the person of Frank Steinmeier.

          Yes, NHerrera will recognized that name – today’s German President, the Grey Eminence.

          My Dengvaxia article mentions in an aside what the Chancellery does as a nerve center.


          Populists usually care little about details, but they need good assistants to do the real work.

          Same thing with Bavaria’s Franz-Josef Strauss – his man for details was Edmund Stoiber.

          Urban legends exist of Strauss starting the car and making Stoiber chase and hop in.

          Stoiber, the pedant who often stutters when speaking, became Prime Minister later on.

          There are times when people tire of populists and show, and look to the “boring” once more.

          It was the same nationwide when by 2005, Schröder had made too many mistakes.

          Merkel with her then still bad hairdo won. But she also had to reinvent her own party.

  3. karlgarcia says:

    If the same baranggay chairs, councilors,mayors,congressmen,governors,senators get elected in 2019. Some one sign the Do not Resuscitate consent form.

  4. Sup says:

    More Filipino adults now feel positive that their quality of life would improve within the next 12 months, the latest survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed.

    ”Philippines will only panic when there is no more hair paint available…”
    (Sarcasm intended)

  5. Philippine democracy the way it was taught by the USA has been severely sick for long. The administrative and justice system, a bastard of Spanish and US times, even more so.

    I mentioned in my very first blog article as PinoyInEurope that the BIOS and OS don’t match. Meaning that the underlying culture is not compatible with the stuff learned by ROTE from others.

    Hopefully the country will not have to completely go its own path from tribalism to modernity, like most Western countries did, but will slowly learn that playing by the rules is better than making them up.

    Sounds “anti-freedom” – it is. Against the freedom to counterflow and throw trash out of the window.

    How long Filipinos will have to imagine a strict, swearing Papa Duts to achieve that is the question.


    One measure of things might be what our language (I mean the real one spoken on the street) is able to properly express. LCPL_X and me recently had this discussion about development and language going hand in hand, how English and German had to grow to become equal to what Latin once was.

    And sometimes the civilized have to show the barbarians their limits. There was something cool about the way Aquino handled things yesterday in the Senate. It won’t turn the tide yet but it is a start.

    On the language side, we have the likes of PAB, who gets the street pulse better than any of us do.


    At the end of a learning process, a Filipino brand of democracy might emerge. If people care to learn.

    • LCPL_X and me recently had this discussion about development and language going hand in hand, how English and German had to grow to become equal to what Latin once was.”

      On the previous blog, manangbok , mentioned breeding outside of the gene pool to expand cognitive development, I told her i’ve proposed something similar in the past, ie. injecting foreign eyes into the situation, re Filipino-American lawyers to form an ACLU there, similar to your “sometimes the civilized have to show the barbarians their limits” ,

      My question to you Ireneo, re development and language, and a bit of eugenics, can (as manangbok proposes) inter-marriage, or inter-breeding if you will, also aid in development of language , hence cognition?

      ex. Jean Baptiste was Sagagawea’s son (a Shoshone woman) with Toussaint Charbonneau as the French frontier fur trapper as the father, in the Lewis & Clark expedition, then when Jean Baptiste was 3 yrs old, his parents agreed that it was in the best interest of their son to have him getting his education with Clark (who was an officer and a gentleman/man about town).

  6. Micha says:

    Democracy in the ICU?

    That is assuming we even had real democracy to begin with. People power was only conveniently used as a phalanx against the army tanks of Marcos but the concept of people empowerment was soon abruptly forgotten as the old feudal and oligarchic structure re-calibrated and re-asserted itself in a neo-liberal economic setting.

    Because most Filipinos felt betrayed or abandoned by the promise of people empowerment aka social and economic justice, they became susceptible to the charm and coarse rhetoric of a new demagogue who, it turns out, is nothing but a counter revolutionary intent to restore the glory and gory days of Marcos.

    So no, democracy in the Philippines is a false brand, a placebo at best that did not really deliver against the authoritarian, feudal, and plutocratic disease.

    • karlgarcia says:

      So what is so bad with neolib?
      Wiki definition:
      Neoliberalism or neo-liberalism[1] refers primarily to the 20th-century resurgence of 19th-century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism.[2]:7 Such ideas include economic liberalization policies such as privatization, austerity, deregulation, free trade,[3] and reductions in government spending in order to increase the role of the private sector in the economy and society.[11] These market-based ideas and the policies they inspired constitute a paradigm shift away from the post-war Keynesian consensus which lasted from 1945 to 1980.[12][13]
      what is bad?
      Is it:
      Free trade?’
      All of the above?

      • Micha says:


        Neo-liberalism is the oxygen that gives fuel to the greed, pillage, and corruption of mega corporations and private bankers which in turn is corrupting the system of capitalism championed by Smith and Ricardo.

        It views government interventions and regulations as anti-market but has no qualms seeking refuge and protection from government when the system is on the brink of near coma in 2008.

        • Miela says:

          But didn’t the sane happen with the state-sponsored mercantilism? It even led to the mass colonization of non-European lands, massive exploitation of non-white people (tobacco monopoly in the Philippines and the silver mines in Latin America for example). Mercantilism was largely state-sponsored. Very opposite of liberalism – which is not really that different from “neoliberalism”. Invisible hand, hands off government.

          • Micha says:

            State sponsored mercantilism which encouraged colonial exploits is NOT capitalism. It operated in feudal Europe centuries ago meant to hoard wealth silver and gold for its princes and kings.

          • Micha says:

            Capitalism was celebrated and started to germinate soon after the French Revolution. It was hoped then to democratize wealth, free the serfs and commoners, and cut off the last vestiges of monarchial and feudal rule in the spirit of liberte’, egalite’, and fraternite’.

            Fast forward two centuries later and the emergence of super wealthy capitalists and their cabal of private bankers assumed the role of the new feudal masters (Wall Street bankers call themselves masters of the universe) and the rest of humanity are slave laborers once again.

            Think about how a modern corporation operates. It’s authoritarian, governed from the top by a handful of people and, with the suppression of labor unions, employees are reduced to wage slavery.

            Capitalism is the new feudalism.

            • At least capitalism allowed for unions (which grew a strong middle class); this new sharing economy is worst, Micha.

              Though i’ve heard it described as mercenary economy, name a price will do the work… now with Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrency) truly separate from capitalist system. But is it better?

              Mercenary economy i’m familiar with, i have buddies that cycle thru, great for adventure and that quick buck (buy a truck or house after a gig or two), but not steady enough money where you can build a family around.

              I guess that’s why they’re encouraging millennials not to have kids (ie. bad for environment, ups your carbon footprint, etc.).

              But my concern, what if you have nothing to offer in this new “sharing” economy, nothing to share… what happens to you, Micha? You’ll be meat for the slaughter right?

            • karlgarcia says:

              Goodbye Washington concensus, hello Washington confusion.

              Click to access Rodrik_2006_Development%20Economics.pdf

        • karlgarcia says:

          Thanks Micha.

          • karlgarcia says:

            All you say maybe valid.

            Greed can destroy any system, it s in the leader, and the people behind.
            The so-called state sponsored colonislism made the banks bankrupt, thanks to Philip II, where we got our name.

            No one system or ideology is perfect in this imperfect world.So a mixed policy , having the best of all worlds are both practical and ideal.

            Globalization and deregulation has done its share in giving more choices, or competition.
            Greed as you said made it extractive, but protectionists policies is not the answer, if one can show us how to achieve inclusiveness, then very good.

            It can’t always be blamed on neolib.

            Government is important, without it, there is anarchy.
            We all saw what Kadamay did and can do, and it sucks.

            There must be a balance.

            • karlgarcia says:

              For the Philippines it is actually smuggling that lowers the price of stuff.
              That shouldnot be the case, our hacienda system failed not only because of the hacienderos but also the middlemen, they rake in the profit while the farmer remains poor.

              Eliminate the middleman, improve the value chain, if hacienderos and former hacienderos remain congressmen or governors, the poor farmers will remain poor.

              Pass the land use law and anti-dynasty law.
              The game will be tweaked if not changed.

              • chemrock says:

                Karl – you’re in enlightened mood. Jolly good points.

                I’ll just comment on ‘middleman’. This poor guy has often been portrayed as the evil one skimming off the poor. In reality they have an important role in the supply chain, we can’t deny that. There are many many reasons for their being — such as break bulk, closer to markets, credit provision, taking on jobs that producers don’t want to do, etc. One major reason is their reach to consumers or retailers. But their role is now being challenged by disruptive technologies. The middlemen will never be totally wiped off the face of the world come what may. Instead, I see disruptive technologies creating new forms of middlemen, the likes of Amazon, Ebay, Alibaba etc.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Many thanks Chemrock for your additional points.

    • Edward says:

      the Aquino’s are HAcienderos to begin with the only way they know about management is the FEUDAL way (Landlord to Tenant) LAZY!. Look at TARLAC after 2 President 4 Senators, number of Congressmen TARLAC REMAINS FEUDAL no ACENSO no PROGRESSO! name an old RICH Haciendero who is still relevant today? LOPEZ? okay but last time I checked the CHINESE businessmen are the LIONKINGS in Forbes List no more HACIENDEROS!

    • karlgarcia says:

      Privatization in the Pinas sucked because of the bad start of the two water concessionaires.
      If that would be the model or benchmark for privatization then never mind.

      I think we should open the economy.
      Telstra backed off to its partnership with san miguel because of the horrendous duopoly.
      If its open, we won’t have to to just rely on Chinese telcos, Telstra won’t be coy, European telcos would come in, etc.
      If foreign companies were allowed no more hiding the actual foreign ownership.
      PPPs would be a success with more foreign capital.

      Government owned corporations should go private.
      Customs failed us for so long, I dare say privatize it.

  7. Miela says:

    If the Philippine democracy is in the ICU, then it’ sole “life support” is the AFP. It seems to be that it is the AFP itself that is preventing a Marcos-era type of Martial Law while the senatongs and tongressmen as well as the executive department are dying to have Marcos-style martial law.

  8. Ed Gamboa says:

    Democracy is not an abstract idea. Now, we see it bleeding to death. As in the parable of the Good Samaritan, who among us will kneel down, roll up our sleeves, and attend to its wounds?

  9. Micha says:

    Democracy, according to Thomas Mann, is the only system built on respect for the infinite dignity of each individual man and woman, on each person’s moral striving for freedom, justice and truth.

    Mann calls for economic and political reform that “will create a true hierarchy of values, put money in the service of production, production in the service of humanity, and humanity itself in the service of an ideal which gives meaning to life.”


    • edgar lores says:

      That first paragraph should be the mission statement of a democracy and should be in the consciousness of each public servant in all branches.

      The emphasis is on respect for the individual and his worth.

      This echoes the UDHR which in its preamble states, “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world…”

      However, the preamble of our Constitution emphasizes, not the individual, but the “common good” and a “just and humane society.” In other words, the emphasis is on the collective.

      The Declaration of Independence also puts emphasis on the individual in saying that “…all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness….”

      I think this focus on the common good creates a lopsidedness in favor of the collective at the expense of the individual. The dominant ethical paradigm is Utilitarianism rather than Deontology (cause no harm) and Virtue Ethics (loyalty, honor, and duty).

      And so this focus leads to the Drug War, Martial Law, and RevGov.

      • The writers of the German 1949 Constitution such as Carlo Schmid must have read Mann..

        Click to access 80201000.pdf

        Article 1
        [Human dignity – Human rights – Legally binding force of basic rights]

        (1) Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority.

        (2) The German people therefore acknowledge inviolable and inalienable human rights as the basis of every community, of peace and of justice in the world.

        (3) The following basic rights shall bind the legislature, the executive and the judiciary as directly applicable law.

    • NHerrera says:

      [Paul] Thomas Mann lectured coast-to-coast in the USA during the period February to May 1938. He lectured, among others, on his thoughts about democracy as against fascism His lecture is contained in the text of “The Coming Victory of Democracy.” In 110 page pdf format, the text of the book is shown in:

      Click to access 2015.221831.The-Coming_text.pdf

      I find interesting the last few pages where Mann responded to the Dean of the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Bonn who informed Mann that his name is being stricken out from the roll of honorary doctors in the university.

      Mann was a recipient of the 1929 Nobel Prize for Literature.

  10. Democracy was in the ICU for the U.S.A. several times, Joe.

    At the outset with King George, which culminated in the Revolutionary War; then around 1800s the whole Federalist vs. anti-Federalist spat, which kinda culminated with the Hamilton vs. Burr duel, but kinda saved by the War of 1812, U.K. went at it again.

    then the continuous land grab westward, which made people question Democracy vs. empire building, which culminated in the Civil War, the North as the new U.K. imposing its will , revisiting the unresolved Federalist vs. anti-Federalist issue,

    then more land grab, which continued all the way to the Philippines. By the time we got to the Philippines, the Founding Fathers would not have recognized “American” democracy, with all the fat cats essentially calling the shots, newspapers starting wars,

    this culminated with these fat cats actually attempting a coup against FDR before WWII, saved by a Marine, then WWII broke out (continuation of WWI) which led to more democracy, public participation, the GI Bill got a bunch of Americans educated.

    Fast forward to now, 2016 represented the start of another Civil War, could be averted, but who knows. Compared to when the industrialists attempted their coup against FDR, all things considered, today is better than the 1930s.

    But after the Net Neutrality repeal of today, i gotta feeling the control of information will just be a lot worst, more fake news more propaganda. Essentially it is still about state rights and national power, the individual vs. the bigger collective.

    My point is that democracy is suppose to be in constant flux, if it was static, it wouldn’t be democracy. Democracy is always under threat, always in the ICU. Democracy is that little flicker of flame when attempting to light a fire in a wet damp environment, without any propellant.

    Democracy is fragile, period. it’s a premature baby ,

    • Yes, democracy is vibrant and is set up to wobble around a center line because people are reasonably well represented by reasonably ethical people in the legislature. That is not the case in the Philippines. The correction to center line is almost non-existent.

      History is a useful guide, not an insurance policy.

      • Not so much insurance policy, Joe, but its in the pattern. Your view is overly dependent on institutions as the catch all, when it should be the people.

        Whether the Philippines has a center line or not, is immaterial, I don’t think we have a center line here in the US, just fumbling thru as well, the difference i see is in participation, the threat of collapse is always there (though i concede CA is a great example of what happens when theres an over reliance on institutions, Lotus flower eating… )

        Hence DU30 is the hero the Philippines needs but not the one it deserves. Roxas, the ultimate yellow (or now Bam?), may have been the one the Philippines deserved, but its DU30 that needs to take the blame for the murders (EJKs), that needs to spank the Philippines, play the villain, and wake it up from its stupor (Lotus flowers galore… )

        So not insurance , Joe, DU30 is simply playing a role , whether the people will participate is crucial. Base on pattern there , EDSA 1 to 5 , the people do participate, they are just too peaceful, to cause their representatives that healthy paranoia democracy needs to breathe.

        Is DU30 Odysseus?

        • My focus is on the institutions, as it is easier to address them for remedial action.

          • Yeah, the institutions owe their existence, to the people (not the other way around).

            For example, the GOP and Trump are now floating the idea of firing Mueller. Trump and the DOJ can technically fire Mueller, but they have to seriously consider if people will take to the streets if they do… so i agree you can fix the institutions easier than the people (like herding cats w/ people),

            But if you keep forgetting how to address the people then IMHO it is all for naught. Folks in power can always drive institutions according to their will, that’s the design flaw of democratic institutions. And why democracy requires pissed off and/or paranoid people to keep this under check (even better with the 2nd Amendment ).

            • The presumption that one cannot address people if one addresses institutions is wrong, I think. One depersonalizes the argument by working on institutions, which means it may actually be listened to.

              • True , it’s not mutually exclusive, but the pattern here at TSOH, seems “yellow”-centric, ie. high falutin’ , less regard to the opinions of the masses (who tend to be seen as gullible and/or unwise). Wil comes closest to addressing the masses, but still “yellow”-centric in view. Just wanted to point that out, Joe, but I agree with you.

              • Read Francis. It is not a yellow blog, but, yes, most favor democracy and civility.

  11. NHerrera says:


    (I incorrectly posted this in the previous blog topic; it was meant to be the current one — hence posting it again.)

    Three aspects and their variations:

    * Two dimensions of health in the mind of a making-do (non-wealthy) Filipino:

    – Democratic health
    – Economic health

    * For each of these, the short-term deterioration is a spectrum or range

    – Drastic and fast
    – Not felt or minor, even felt as improving per SWS survey

    * For each of these, the probable long-term projections are

    – In ICU with prospect of recovery
    – In ICU with no prospect of recovery

    Current events clearly show the deterioration of democratic health, with economic health deterioration normally lagging, or not felt yet — in fact felt as improving in accordance with recent SWS survey.

  12. JayJay says:

    Hottest topic on social media at the moment is the Malacañang pre-debut photoshoot of Duterte’s granddaughter, with the presidential seal as background. Very polarizing, no middle ground, pure anger and bitterness in the comments sections. Kris Aquino’s helicopter use during the 2016 campaign has been dredged up for comparison. VP Leni’s “zumba” photo with the OVP background mentioned as well. I myself wasn’t compelled to like or comment on anything. I am just awed by the intensity of antagonism. Mr. Joe, as an objective observer, what do you think? Thanks a lot. And by the way, today’s TSOH article deeply saddens me.

    • I wish the young lady success at landing far from the tree as she moves on into adulthood. Her gown is beautiful, and she somehow brings youth and elegance to a place that is a bit of a barn. The seal was a mistake, but, hey, no biggie to those of us who wear the American flag as clothing.

      Sorry for the sadness. I’m sad about it as well, that so few supposedly distinguished Filipinos care about what is going on. Because they are getting theirs.

  13. edgar lores says:

    1. ”I can’t imagine democracy being on the other side of the Duterte era. The fundamentals are not here, knowledge and a passion for union.”

    2. This is a hard-eyed and bleak assessment of Philippine democracy. I could not agree more with the conclusion.

    3. If we look at the three branches of government, none live up to the ideals and aspirations of the Preamble.

    3.1. Does the Executive govern under the Rule of Law? Or the Rule of Power?
    3.2. Does the Legislature promote the common good? Or the personal good of each member?
    3.2. Does the Judiciary dispense justice equally to all, the poor and the rich? Or does it incarcerate the poor for years without properly laying charges and let the rich buy freedom or spend time in air-conditioned kubols? And does it properly punish plunderers? Or let plunderers off scot-free?

    4. And if we look at the demos, do they partake of the blessings of independence and democracy by conscientiously exercising the right of suffrage? Or do they vote for dynasties, crooks, and murderers? And do they obey the laws? Or do they take shortcuts, breach the law and offer bribes to policemen and judges when caught?

    5. We all know the answers to the above questions.

    6. I think the saving grace is the economy and the impetus of economic progress. The country has come a long way in the development of infrastructure and commerce and real estate.

    6.1. Filipinos are still enamored with malls and resorts. I note that in parts of the Western world, malls are dying due to the rise of online shopping. Why go out shopping when goods can be had at the cheapest prices from eBay or Amazon and delivered at the push of a mouse button?

    6.2. Hopefully, per Maslow’s Hierarchy, with the rise in the quality of living there will be a corresponding rise in the consciousness of people as to what makes for a good society. Hopefully, they will reread the Preamble and say, yes, that’s it. Yes, having the latest gadgets, white goods, a car, and a house are all to the good. But material wealth is not sufficient. We need spiritual wealth – and, as the Constitution proclaims, these are truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace.

    • edgar lores says:

      It would be good if we can reach this level of incorruptibility, liability (opposite of impunity), and accountability.

      Here, a female police sergeant was sentenced to 16 months jail time for pulling rank.

    • Micha says:

      I think the saving grace is the economy and the impetus of economic progress.

      Infinite growth is impossible on a finite planet. Somewhere along the way something’s gotta give. It’s made worst by the fact that the model we’re using now fosters extreme inequality which gave rise to a fascist monster in our midst.

      • edgar lores says:

        Agree. My horizon is… a century? And not a millennium. Although climate change may foreshorten my estimate.

        A century would be 3 – 4 generations — the equivalent of 17 presidential terms. Duterte is the 16th president, so we are halfway through my timespan.

    • The abuses of due process existed before President Duterte. Look at the condition of the jails. He is just stepping up the game, applying the weaknesses of Philippine society to good advantage. His advantage. He or whoever is setting up his agenda is high-skill. I fault the audience for being so gaga silly over boxers and movie stars rather than personal maturity and accountability, and I double-fault the school system for not teaching personal and social conscience.

      • edgar lores says:

        Agree. The conditions and squalor of our jails and their denizens (except for the drug lords in Bilibid) are… the worst of the third-world.

      • ISK says:

        “I double-fault the school system for not teaching personal and social conscience.”
        I may add good parenting during the formative years of a child.

    • 6.2. once you feel safe both materially and physically, the lust for power and money diminishes. Because I believe both in the Philippines stem from deep fear of being poor and/or powerless.

    • “4. And if we look at the demos, do they partake of the blessings of independence and democracy by conscientiously exercising the right of suffrage? Or do they vote for dynasties, crooks, and murderers? And do they obey the laws? Or do they take shortcuts, breach the law and offer bribes to policemen and judges when caught?”

      There WAS or IS a certain middle-class civic society around Daang Matuwid. Maybe not all of them were sincere, leading to the others saying they are just hypocrites. But at least some of them were/ are sincere. But a bit oblivious to the poverty around them, possibly. So the island of civic society within an archipelago of impunity simply was/is too small to survive for long.

      • edgar lores says:

        I believe that kernel of the demos is still there and sincere… but outnumbered?

        • Outnumbered by those who see everything in terms of patronage only.

          So yellow = serfs of LP/Aquino/Roxas who are in turn subservient to the USA/EU.

          “Kami naman”(tards) = serfs of Duts/Arroyo/Marcos who are in turn subservient to China.

          They don’t see qualified professionals as such, but only as “magaling magsalita ng Ingles”.

          So they don’t see unqualified favorites as wrong, just as evening up chances for “their side”.

          After all, the others only got their job by being Atenista/La Sallistas or ingleseros/mestizos.

          “Kami namang mga mahirap, maitim, pango, pangit, no-Inglis, no-Tagalog ang pagbigyan!”

          “Let Isabelle Duterte, one of US should get a chance to be a star to, like Jeane Napoles!”

    • “6.1. Filipinos are still enamored with malls and resorts. I note that in parts of the Western world, malls are dying due to the rise of online shopping. Why go out shopping when goods can be had at the cheapest prices from eBay or Amazon and delivered at the push of a mouse button?”

      What I noticed in the Philippines was that Filipinos went to the malls and resorts to cool off, air conditioning and/or swimming pools, same with casinos.

      Right here, people have their own air conditioning and pools, so malls and hotels to shop and travel mainly, but malls depending on where you are, are places where teenagers hang around, not to buy, but just to waste time & bother other people, then lately with smart phones you had flash mobs of the violent variety (mostly of black kids),

      So the impetus to buy online is there (malls are a hassle), the corresponding development and Walmart/Google’s attempt to take Amazon’s share of the market, is instant deliveries, with people delivering stuff to purchasers directly, the sharing economy.

      My point, if Filipinos get out of malls and resorts over there, where are they gonna cool off, edgar?

      • edgar lores says:

        My premise is that Filipinos will attain economic sufficiency in “gadgets, white goods, a car and a house.” So, naturally, they will live in fully air-conditioned houses. And if must be, cool off in the swimming pool.

        • My point was that they are not there yet. So where do they cool off in the mean time, edgar? I guess to the “yellow” later is a sure promise, whereas to the non-yellow now kinda sucks.

  14. edgar lores says:


    1. There is speculation that Justice Carpio might attend the impeachment hearing in the Lower House.

    2. I have unabashedly said that “Justice Carpio is the gold standard in SC decisions.”

    2.1. I remember the term “SC decisions” was not my original choice. It was “judicial wisdom.”

    3. Looking back, I stand by my judgment of Justice Carpio. The question that arises in my mind is: “Is Justice Carpio as wise in his personal decisions as in his court decisions?”

    3.1. I think that if he chose to testify – and testify against CJ Sereno – it would be a bombshell.

    4. What we have to understand about Justice Carpio is that he is absolutely independent and a stickler for the letter of the law in his decisions. He believes in the saying, “Let justice be done though the heavens fall.”

    4.1. Almost on every important issue in recent years, both CJ Sereno and Justice Carpio have voted on the same side. The only exceptions were the two cases against Grace Poe on the Comelec issue and the foundling-citizenship issue. In both cases, CJ Sereno (and Justice Leonen) exhibited “compassion” while Justice Carpio was “merciless.”

    4.2. So make no mistake. So far, the issues raised against CJ Sereno do not rise, in the present consensus, to the level of an impeachable offense. But if Justice Carpio agrees to testify against CJ Sereno – on a procurement issue — it could very well spell curtains for her.

    5. What motive would Justice Carpio have for testifying? I have two conjectures.

    5.1. My first conjecture is that Justice Carpio may not bear personal animosity towards CJ Sereno, but that he may not be able to contain his ambition to attain the crown of being the Chief Justice. We know he was bypassed by PNoy. He will reach the retirement age of 70 in 2019, so there is ample time for him to reach the apex of any justice’s career and wear the crown… however briefly.

    5.2. My second conjecture is that Justice Carpio may be a white knight charging into the fray to save the damsel in distress. He has shown a grasp of history and a deep love for the country in his study, research, and advocacy of the country’s rights in the WPS dispute.

    6. So which is to the fore for Justice Carpio — ambition or patriotism?

    We will know the character of the man in the new year.

    • NHerrera says:

      I agree, that event will be a bombshell. But whether Justice Carpio save or damn the damsel, his character will be assessed through the screen of what he says or testifies to; and the explicit or implicit motivation for doing so — what words/ phrases he uses, which no doubt will be parsed and analyzed.

      • edgar lores says:


        The cruellest cut of Fate for Justice Carpio would be is that if he testifies and CJ Sereno is impeached, and then… Duterte appoints another to the high chair of the High Court.

        Remember that Carpio and Duterte are at odds and at opposite ends of the WPS dispute. Justice Carpio has been scathing of the President — calling him a traitor — and Duterte has dismissed the Senior Associate Justice as “noisy.”

        When one strikes a pact with the Devil, one may foolishly think one is in control of his Destiny but the wily Devil usually has the last laugh — unless one is defended by Daniel Webster.

    • LG says:


      My image of Justice Carpio tells me, he may appear in the Congressional hearing not VS the CJ but to share his perspective (wisdom) on the issues in question, as did those justices and the court administrator who appeared already, that might bring to question the validity of those justices’ and administrator’s perspectives…in the process, rescue the fledgling dignity of the Judiciary and perhaps weaken the ongoing impeachment case.

      Justice Carpio may want to leave a Trusted Supreme Court. Or his toil and love for justice would be for naught.

  15. Sabtang Basco says:



    an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally , typically resulting in damage or injury.

    That is the meaning of ACCIDENT. Somebody stretched it further and it is in Philippine provincial news.

    The word is SELF-ACCIDENT


    “Taga-an also described the crash as “self-accident” since there was no other vehicle involved.”

    Read more:
    Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

  16. Raymond Lopez-Pozas says:

    The failure of Capitalism. Socialism too. And Communism. All power and most of the money goes to the wealthy and the ones in control. All failures. What does the future hold?

  17. edgar lores says:

    Columnist Solita Collas-Monsod agrees that Philippine democracy is in ICU.

    She laments and, at the same time, exhorts, “The death of our democracy is drawing near. The rise of constitutional authoritarianism is imminent. Fight!”

    We should be undergoing a Near Death Experience (NDE) now. Does anyone see the light at the end of the tunnel?

    • karlgarcia says:

      In NDEs some one usually leads you the light, who will guide us there?
      The thing is the democracy is not working is the main premise of Duterte’s handlers, the more they think that democracy is dead, the more they will push for a dictatorship.
      Revgov pffft, ML- still a work in progress(or failure).

    • NHerrera says:

      The blog article rephrased:

      Extreme deference to the Executive = Democracy in extremis

  18. karlgarcia says:

    Will Duterte do a Mao (closed) or Deng ( open) in terms of economic policy?

    Which is better:
    Inclusive growth or equality in poverty?
    (Does that mean everyone is poor?)

    • karlgarcia says:

      Views more in sync with Micha’s.
      Walden Bello on Global Capitalism.

      • Raymond Lopez-Pozas says:

        I think Bello’s article is obsolete. The Subprime mortgage crisis,the subsequent bailouts that governments had to shoulder to prevent the collapse of the worlds economies and the increasing power of corporations will define the limits and evolving definition of Capitalism.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Thanks for that Raymond.

        • karlgarcia says:

          This is also a dated article, but hopefully not that outdated.


          Is State Capitalism Winning?

          CAMBRIDGE – In the age-old contest of economic-growth models, state capitalism has seemed to be gaining the upper hand in recent years. Avatars of liberal capitalism like the United States and the United Kingdom continued to perform anemically in 2012, while many Asian countries, relying on various versions of dirigisme, have not only grown rapidly and steadily over the last several decades, but have also weathered recent economic storms with surprising grace. So, is it time to update the economics textbooks?

          In fact, economics does not say that unfettered markets are better than state intervention or even state capitalism. The problems with state capitalism are primarily political, not economic. Any real-world economy is riddled with market failures, so a benevolent and omnipotent government could sensibly intervene quite often. But who has ever met a benevolent or omnipotent government?

          To understand the logic of state capitalism, it is useful to recall some early examples – not the socialist command economies or modern societies seeking to combat market failures, but ancient civilizations. Indeed, it seems that, like farming or democracy, state capitalism has been independently invented many times in world history.

          Consider the Greek Bronze Age, during which many powerful states, organized around a city housing the political elite, formed throughout the Mediterranean basin. These states had no money and essentially no markets. The state taxed agricultural output and controlled nearly all goods production. It monopolized trade, and, in the absence of money, moved all of the goods around by fiat. It supplied food and inputs to weavers and then took their output. In essence, the Greek Bronze Age societies had something that looked remarkably like state capitalism.

          So did the Incas as they built their huge Andean empire in the century before the Spanish arrived. They, too, had no money (or writing); but the state conducted decennial censuses, built roughly 25,000 miles (40,000 kilometers) of roads, operated a system of runners to send messages and collect information, and recorded it all using knotted strings called quipus, most of which cannot be read today. All of this was part of their control of land and labor, based on centrally planned allocation of resources and coercion.

          How is it that societies as disparate as the Greek Bronze Age cities of Knossos, Mycenae, or Pylos, the Inca Empire, Soviet Russia, South Korea, and now China all ended up with state capitalism?

          The answer lies in recognizing that state capitalism is not about efficient allocation of economic resources, but about maximizing political control over society and the economy. If state managers can grab all productive resources and control access to them, this maximizes control – even if it sacrifices economic efficiency.

          To be sure, in many parts of the world, state capitalism has helped to consolidate states and centralize authority – preconditions for the development of modern societies and economies. But political control of the economy generally becomes problematic, because those running the state do not have social welfare or optimal resource allocation in mind. The state capitalism of the Greek Bronze Age or the Inca Empire was not motivated by economic inefficiency; nor did it necessarily create a more efficient economy. What it did was help to consolidate political power.

          At a deeper level, the real dichotomy is not between state capitalism and unfettered markets; it is between extractive and inclusive economic institutions. Extractive institutions create a non-level playing field, rents, and narrowly concentrated benefits for those with political power and connections. Inclusive institutions create a level playing field and give incentives and opportunities to the great mass of people.

          But herein lies the problem for state capitalism: inclusive institutions require a private sector powerful enough to counterbalance and check the state. Thus, state ownership tends naturally to remove one of the key pillars of an inclusive society. It should be no surprise that state capitalism is almost always associated with authoritarian regimes and extractive political institutions.

          This is not an endorsement of unfettered markets. The state plays a central role in modern society, and rightly so. Modern economic growth, even under inclusive institutions, often creates deep inequalities and tilted playing fields, endangering those institutions’ very survival. The modern regulatory and redistributive state can, within certain bounds, help to redress these problems. But the success of such a project crucially depends on society having control over the state – not the other way around.

          To argue that state capitalism’s success proves its superiority is to put the cart before the horse. Yes, South Korea grew rapidly under state capitalism, and China is doing likewise today. But state capitalism emerged not because there was no other way to ensure economic growth in these countries, but because it enabled growth without destabilizing the existing power structure. The genius of China’s state capitalism is that it ensured the continued dominance of Communist Party elites while improving the allocation of resources, not that it alone could have provided price incentives to farmers and then managed liberalization of urban markets.

          State capitalism will persist so long as existing elites are able to maintain it and benefit from it – even if economic growth ultimately stalls. And there is a good reason why it eventually will. Sustained economic growth presupposes inclusive institutions, because innovation – and the creative destruction and instability that it wreaks – depends on them. Extractive institutions in general, and state capitalism in particular, can support economic growth for a while, but only the sort of catch-up growth that South Korea experienced from the 1960’s to the 1980’s, before starting to transform its society and economy more radically.

          As the low hanging fruit from catch-up growth is consumed, China, too, will be forced to choose between the economic and social freedom, innovation, and instability that only inclusive institutions can underpin and continued economic, political, and social control in the service of the elites who control the state.”

  19. karlgarcia says:

    For those who have not read Irineo’s article about dengvaxia.

  20. Sabtang Basco says:

    MRP has been found to be in the wrong about evidences and the Philippine bureaucracy is right:

    Here: “In a 90-minute briefing on Thursday, policy analysts at the nation’s leading public health institute were presented with the menu of seven banned words, an analyst told the paper. On the list: “diversity,” “fetus,” “transgender,” “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “science-based” and “evidence-based.”

    I believe the American Government may have been eating plenty of Filipino foods lately. What Donald Trump is saying it should all be affidavit-based from witnesses.

    So, folks, take pride even though your Visas to America is denied because the American government is now rescinding “evidence-based’.

  21. – Randy David:

    “Despite its thick Western democratic overlay, Philippine society has, in many ways, remained fundamentally authoritarian. This authoritarianism is deeply anchored in the wide gaps separating the country’s wealthy and powerful elites from the impoverished masses. In this hierarchical system, leaders are expected to be oppressive and/or benevolent, and the people under them to be obsequious and/or rebellious. The veneer of democracy provided by our formal institutions tends to conceal this premodern authoritarian substructure.

    Mr. Duterte is different from previous Philippine presidents in that he not only recognizes this reality, he also thrives in it. He does not care to preserve the appearance of democracy and the rule of law by which previous leaders have legitimized their rule. When he became president, this former mayor from Mindanao brought with him to Manila the dictatorial/populist style of rule that served him well in Davao City.”

    • NHerrera says:

      Riding on the thought of Randy David, let us grant that — notwithstanding the known collateral damage associated with EJKs and the damage or weakening of government institutions as we know them, pre-Duterte — (and assuming for simplicity that we continue with the present form of government, weakened as it is, that is, we don’t get to the so-called Federal form of government), SWS survey finds that at the end of 6 years, majority, 70%, of the Filipinos are satisfied against 30% unsatisfied with their status.

      Then, what can we say?

      I say that it is still scary. Say, Duterte steps down with the election of a new President, are we to believe that such election, along with House Representatives, Senators, Governors, etc, will not be contrived? This question is asked, knowing fully well, that following normal human nature, the associates of President Duterte — let us grant here that Pres Duterte so endeared himself after six years to majority of the Filipinos that he will not be hounded after he steps down — will seek to not only make certain they don’t land in jail, but not lose their influence and “livelihood.”

      • “In this hierarchical system, leaders are expected to be oppressive and/or benevolent, and the people under them to be obsequious and/or rebellious.”

        That’s why I was so interested with the Korina Sanchez angle in all this. That was basically it, that was the election right there… that’s what it’s all about.

        Now if you get DU30 and his family in the same corner, Korina Sanchez was in (and by default Mar Roxas) , you’d chip at his support.

        DU30 vs. the innocent downtrodden ; but so far you have the opposite, DU30 as benevolent , yet rebellious to the old powers that be , which gives him a Robin Hood narrative, or at least Batman punishing the bad elements in Philippines society, from

        small time crooks (with no costumes) to big time crooks (with costumes). How do you chip at this hero narrative?

  22. karlgarcia says:

    “Where is ‘Dutertismo’ headed?
    Randy David
    By “Dutertismo,” I refer to the Filipino incarnation of a style of governance enabled by the public’s faith in the capacity of a tough-talking, willful, and unorthodox leader to carry out drastic actions to solve the nation’s persistent problems.  Trusting almost exclusively in the instinctive wisdom of the leader to determine what needs to be done, the public is concerned less with the rationality of policy decisions than with the leader’s manifest readiness to take full responsibility for all his decisions.
    Some call this form of rule “authoritarian.” I have no quarrel with the term, but I prefer to use it as a description for an entire political culture, and not just as a label for the person who becomes the repository of the public’s expectations. Heads of state like President Duterte are not solitary figures that stumble into the political scene by accident. They are, rather, the contingent products of a culture in which decision-making is seen as the duty of the brave and heroic few, rather than as the shared responsibility of active citizens and their elected representatives.
    Despite its thick Western democratic overlay, Philippine society has, in many ways, remained fundamentally authoritarian.  This authoritarianism is deeply anchored in the wide gaps separating the country’s wealthy and powerful elites from the impoverished masses.  In this hierarchical system, leaders are expected to be oppressive and/or benevolent, and the people under them to be obsequious and/or rebellious.  The veneer of democracy provided by our formal institutions tends to conceal this premodern authoritarian substructure.”

    • A very blunt assessment that agrees with what we have discussed here. The upshot, though, is quite powerful when we consider that it is wealthy and educated people who support President Duterte. My tweet on the subject:

      Every one of the Duterte supporters does not believe in human rights or democracy or civil behavior or defending national territories. Stunning, isn’t it?

  23. karlgarcia says:

    The author, who is a stocks market analyst is not so bullish about out economy.
    The game Duterte is pmaing is zero sum in nature.

    “With such rosy outlook, we can fairly assume that our local equity market will further get better, stronger and healthier.
    But having seen how the market reacted, a bull run may not be in the offing. Perhaps, fundamental risk factors are keeping investors guarded.
    The most serious of these factors are political in nature. One is the kind of resistance put up by the mainstream political opposition. Going over their maneuvers, they tend more to be destructive than constructive.
    On second thought, the brand of leadership demonstrated by President Duterte since he rose to power may also have something to do with this behavior. The game he is playing to put forward his administration’s agenda can be ascribed as the zero-sum game. This style by the President can lead to the demise of the mainstream political opposition.
    A zero-sum game is simply “a situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so the net change in wealth or benefit is zero.”
    This tenuous situation with the opposition is further complicated by the presence of other politically charged concerns such as the administration’s renewed hostilities with the New People’s Army, war with terror groups, and stalled talks on the autonomy of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front.
    Note, too, that we are losing foreign investors’ money because of the recent increase in US interest rates. This could also explain why foreign investors have remained net sellers.
    Bear in mind, therefore, that political and economic risk factors could drastically alter the equity market’s trading path in 2018.”

    • Sabtang Basco says:

      It appears Duterte drug killings did not matter to Fitch ratings. As long as the Filipinos are behind Duterte so does the economy. The Fitch must have factored in Filipino insensitivity to corruption which is close to zero under Duterte.

      The Philippine media is more focused on the killings than Duterte’s millions. I just wonder why. I also wonder why the Philippine media is not digging up on Duterte’s illegal drum import.

      Something is fishy.

      Philippine economy is resilient because there is no 401(k) in the Philippines. 401(k) is what middle class in the U.S. park and invest their money on. In the Philippines Filipinos cannot afford to invest and if ever they invest they are not protected. Only the mestizo class invest and would have the first hand knowledge if corporations would keel over.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Thanks for your inputs.
        The PERA law attempted for Pinas to have some sort of 401, but we lack in implemenatation, because of circuitry in laws and implementing bodies.
        Everything is a maze with obstacle courses inside them.


    The party’s over

    It’s time to stop wishing for a single, hardball opportunity to end this state of abuse. 2018 is yours – and ours – to fix…

    …For starters, we ought to stop romanticizing the people power revolution we mounted 3 decades ago and the norms it embedded in our lives.

    Democracy today is not some self-sustaining business that has recurring revenues. Consider it as a start-up swimming in rough waters that needs to innovate, evolve, adapt, learn. While it is true that we booted out a dictator 31 years ago, it is also true that we tolerated him for 20 years before that – especially as he held so much promise and potential. Authoritarians past and present seldom come via the backdoor. We usually elect them to office, often nurtured by business and political elites that fool themselves into thinking they could put them under control, and then realize their folly a tad too late.

    Germany’s conservatives made that mistake once upon a time, when they thought they could use – and tame – a politician named Adolf Hitler. Barack Obama referred to this in a recent speech in Chicago, where he cautioned Americans against assuming that “things continue as they have been.” They don’t, he said, and “things can fall apart fairly quickly.” The late Hugo Chavez caused the erosion of Latin America’s 3rd oldest democracy through a prolonged period of mixing good and bad practices, crafting laws and patiently prostituting the bureaucracy by applying method to his madness…

    …This isn’t the time, either, to romanticize the other “revolution” that ousted yet another plunderer, former President Joseph Estrada, with the help of mass movements and NGO leaders who connived with military officers who then instigated the armed forces’ unprecedented withdrawal of support from their commander-in-chief in January 2001. Look what that got us: Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The proud general who helped install her to power, Angelo Reyes, was later exposed for tolerating institutional corruption in the military, and he shot himself dead at the burial ground of his mother.

    President Duterte is very much aware of the military’s adventurous streak, which is why in the past year he has spent most of his time – and government resources – wooing them through all means possible. Beyond visiting their camps and wakes and raising their combat pays, the President signed a good number of proclamations that aim to solidify his ideological and personal bond with the troops, as he imposed martial law in Mindanao, terminated peace talks with the communist rebels, and declared the rebels’ party and armed group terrorists. His ramped-up rhetoric against the communists, his former allies, is meant for the military, his way of saying, “I’m not in bed with your nemesis, boys. I’m with you all the way.” The subtext to that, of course, is that the President expects them to be with him all the way too…

    ..We are in a tough, uncharted world. The train has left the station, so what can civilian political players and groups do about it?

    For starters, they need to recognize the benefit of slow death (for lack of a better term). The fact that freedoms, institutions, and processes are eroded bit by bit – and not in one blow (not that we’d want that) – allows political players some space to stop or delay the authoritarian path.

    This has ceased to be about the President. This is about the entire breadth of individuals and groups proclaiming their commitment to democracy and human rights and who are in a position to fight for it every single day…

    …It’s time to stop wishing for a single, hardball opportunity that would end this state of abuse and keep the fire of democracy burning. None is coming (short of an act of God). The party’s over, the hard work begins. The opportunity will come in small measures and moments, and whether these self-proclaimed democrats in and out of government would have the integrity to see them, the smarts to seize them, and the courage to act upon them beyond their sectarian interests.

    Just as it took the power of an organized people to get democracy back from a kleptocrat a lifetime ago, so does the task of keeping it.

    2018 is yours – and ours – to fix. Individually and collectively. And then who knows what, or who, would emerge from it?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

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

%d bloggers like this: