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									 THE MYTHS





Library of Congress Data has been applied for.
Copyright 2005, 2006


This book was written, revised and printed in the United States and the

Except as permitted under United States and Philippines laws, all rights are
reserved and in the name of Arturo Q. Trinidad, Escondido Management

DOC No. ________________________

ISBN No. ________________________

To ask questions about the book, correct and criticize its contents, contact Arturo
Q. Trinidad at telephones 032-732-6448 and 732-377-2017

This book was set in Microsoft Word by Jose Roberto Trinidad of Escondido
Management Corporation.
                        Table of Contents

Preface ......................................................................................... v

INTRODUCTION ........................................................................... 1

CHAPTER ONE REVOLUTIONS .............................................. 17

CHAPTER TWO REFORM ........................................................ 41

CHAPTER THREE POLITICS .................................................. 67

CHAPTER FOUR MEDIA ......................................................... 93

CHAPTER FIVE POWER........................................................ 119

CHAPTER SIX DEMOCRACY ............................................... 151

CHAPTER SEVEN                     CORRUPTION ...................................... 179

CHAPTER EIGHT GOVERNANCE ........................................ 203

CHAPTER NINE CRISIS......................................................... 217

CHAPTER TEN CONCLUSION ............................................... 237

SELECTED REFERENCES ...................................................... 259

Index 269


This is a second edition of an earlier book to unravel the
“People Power Revolution” in the Philippines. As originally
envisioned it is an academic discourse influence by the
writings of philosophers, historians, leaders, authors,
academicians and journalists. Among them are Filipinos whose
works are comparatively of highest excellence.

A revision is necessary to incorporate political developments in
the Philippines in 2005 and 2006. Materials from my studies
on philosophy as a fellow in Stanford University and Harvard
University were included. References, footnotes and citations
omitted in the original edition were also added. For easy
reading by my students of political economy a textbook format
has been adopted.

I owe my inspiration to the immediate members of my family.
My wife, Josefa Banzon, my son, Jose Roberto, and my
daughters, Marie Antonia and Riza Marie are my supporters.

While this book contains the points of view of many people
they are mostly academic and in essence apolitical.

As I approach my advancing years I write in leisure and I am
the only one responsible for what I write.

                                   Arturo Q. Trinidad


If there are leaders who are dictators, presidents,
communists, Christians, muslims and even
terrorists who have transformed their
countries all over the world, why
 did God and People Power fail
to bless the Philippines
with one of them ?

“Of course the Greeks too had their roots in the primeval
slime. Of course they too once lived a savage life, ugly and
brutal. But what the myths show is how they had risen above
the ancient filth and fierceness…”

                                       Hamilton, Mythology, 1942


A     s I write on the myths of people power, I risk defying the sensitive
      views of some people. But I draw inspiration from Larry Tomlinson‘s
      treatise on power. He wrote on leaders who feel powerless and they


play the power game because they are not loved.1 Most Filipinos have no love
for their president – Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. To Arroyo her Marcosian
leadership has been a game to be won. And she will lie; cheat, steal and pay to
stay in power. After five years as president at least 50 percent of the people are
barely subsisting on less than $2.00 a day. To end their miseries, they hope
their president will quit before her term ends. This distillation of Philippine
society into chaos is not solely the fault of Arroyo. Necessarily this book is not
on Arroyo alone. She is just one the presidential alchemists who have
contributed to the country‘s atrophy, albeit the principal one.2

Tomlinson‘s writings are not political. They are more of an academic inquiry.
But he reiterated the statement of principle of the American Association of
University Professors. He asked whether academia should teach or discuss
controversial topics. Tomlinson further quoted Einstein who defined academic
freedom as ―the right to search for the truth… and to teach what one holds to be
true… and to foster and defend intellectual honesty, freedom of inquiry…
committed to freedom of speech for all people…not just those whose opinions
are popular.‖ Tomlinson also advocated:3

“Membership in the academic community imposes on students, faculty
members, administrators… an obligation to respect the dignity of others, to
acknowledge their right to express different opinions…”


For more than three decades I taught in the University of the Philippines. Later,
I became president of the University of the East. In both institutions, academic
freedom is an uncompromising tradition. I was also Chairman of the Board of
Directors of Century Bank in the United States. Previously I served as a
member of the Boards of Directors of more than three dozen private Philippine
corporations. As an academician and corporate professional, I write to record
my observations. I have no grand illusions. I have no ambition to reshape
society. My only wish is to accumulate knowledge for my personal wisdom.
Like the medieval philosophers I am driven by puzzles. Their explanations
were to be dubbed ―philosophy‖ – the love of wisdom. And they can be
  Tomlinson, Larry, Power in American Politics: An Inquiry (1990) Iowa, Kendall/Hunt
Publishing Company, p. 74
 Cabacungan, Gill C. and Burgohio TJ., SWS: 54% want GMA to quit before term ends
2010 and Cheap Noodles, Rice useless as hungry have no money, (January 12, 2006)
Philippine Daily Inquirer
    Ibid. Tomlinson, p. 113

interpreted with the use of ordinary layman‘s language.4 Of course, I also
expect to learn more about the pursuits of Filipino leaders after Edsa 1 and Edsa
2. Their intriguing policies have been contrary to their own and the country‘s
interests. Their regrettable folly as leaders was traced by historian Barbara W.
Tuchman throughout history.5 She asks, why does intelligent mental process
seem to escape leaders? Of course, Tuchman wisely suggests fairness because
―nothing is more unfair …than to judge men of the past by the ideas of the

At this stage of my life, I do not seek any public office. But like Philip
Hamburger, who was 86 years old when he wrote one of his books, Matters of
State, I still seek knowledge and wisdom that I desire to share with others. 6 I
have allowed my mind to wander, somewhat freely. I am a happy man. I have
traveled widely, at home and abroad. I studied in the best universities in the
world – East and West. While I desire to influence other people‘s thinking, like
Antony Campolo in writing A Reasonable Faith, “I do not know how much
others need what I have to say but I know that I need to say it.”7

As an admiring Asian, I subscribe to what Sinnathamby Rajaratnam, a virtually
unknown Singaporean newspaper editor, political leader and senior statesman.
He wrote about Asia, particularly Singapore and its leaders in The Prophetic
and the Political (1987) in doing so he said:8 “I write as I please.” Rare for a
journalist, he wrote with unusual objectivity on the problems of Asia‘s
―Unfinished Revolution‖ and its possible trends. Lee Kuan Yew, one of the
most distinguished leaders of Southeast Asia referred to Rajaratnan as ―Raja‖.
Together with other distinguished Singaporean leaders they shaped a small state
into the most progressive country in the region.9 Furthermore I believe in how
 Stumpf, Samuel Enoch and Fieser, James ,Socrates to Satre and Beyond – A History of
Philosophy(1975), San Francisco, McGraw Hill)
 Tuchman, Barbara W., The March of Folly – From Troy to Vietnam (1984), New York,
Alfred A. Knoff, pp. 4,5)
 Hamburger, Philip, Matters of State – A Political Excursion (2000), Washington D.C.
Counterpoint, Perseus Book Group, pp. xx –xxi; See also Curious World – A New Yorker at
Large (1954) San Francisco. North Point Press, pp. ix, 3-6
 Campolo, Anthony, A Reasonable Faith – Responding to Secularism, (1983), Waco,
Texas, World Books Publishers, p. 9.
  Chang Heng See and Obaid ul Haq (eds,), The Prophetic and the Political, (1987),
Singapore, Graham Brash and St. Martins Press, p. 23
    Lee Kuan Yew, The Singaporean Story (1998), Singapore, Prentice Hall, pp. 160


John Ralston Saul, who wrote The Unconscious Civilization (1994), exercises
and preaches a quintessential value – freedom of speech without government
restrictions, but within the limits of the law. As a citizen and an academician,
Saul quoted Collin Morris:10

“I have simply been exercising my right as a citizen [not only as an
academician]–my Socratic right – to criticize, to reject conformity, passivity
and inevitability. What encourages me in this process is the „delight‟ that I
take in the human struggle.”

Hamburger, like Rajaratnan and Saul, also had the privilege of writing as he
pleased – without diktat or interference. Hamburger had a message to writers:11

“Be yourself. Be unafraid. Stretch your imagination. Above all seek the truth,
as you see the truth. Don‟t fret about the possibility of offending someone if
what you write is what you know to be correct…with that most precious elixir
– freedom.”

As a veteran of political observation, Hamburger chronicled leaders in politics,
mostly American presidents, in a nonpartisan voice. His writings have nothing
to do with labels or directions. He wrote with ―commonsense, decency and the
better angels of our nature.‖ I happily share my personal experience with
Hamburger who concluded:12

“I am one of the lucky ones. I am now and never have been a pundit. I have
certain fundamental convictions. What follows are the observations of one
man who has tried to keep his eyes and mind open.”

As a fellow in two of the best universities – Stanford and Harvard – I have been
exposed to the works of the eminent medieval and modern philosophers. But I
remain a layman. Dictated by common sense and decency I have to write on the
consequences of so-called Edsa ―revolutions‖. After almost two decades after
February 1986, presidential deception and corruption have continued to bedevil
the Philippines. When presidents lie, it seems that: ―they demonstrate that
while some… deliberate deception remain intolerable in public life, those of the

  Morris, Collin, The Discovery of the Individual (1987), University of Toronto in
Saul, John Ralston, The Unconscious Civilization, (1995), New York, The Free Press,
Simon & Schuster, p. 38
     Hamburger, op cit., Curious World, p. ix
     Hamburger, op cit., Matters of State, p. xv

{presidents} are not among them.‖13 But I am not writing on the lies and
failures of the four Philippine presidents after Edsa 1 from the perspective of a
know-all moralist. Or using the words of former President Corazon C. Aquino,
I am not one of “those armchair analysts who have it their calling to sow
despair and hopelessness as professional purveyors of gloom and doom.”14

Bertrand Russell, eminent British philosopher and world statesman was known
for his outspoken and unconventional views on social and economic
problems.15 He was troubled with skepticism and forced to conclude that what
passes for knowledge is open to reasonable doubt. Russell wanted certainty in
what people want and what leaders preach in religious faith. On the other hand
he had always a certain degree of optimism. He believed that in the modern
world, if people are unhappy, it is because they chose to be so. He lamented the
irrationality of people ―sitting down to lazy despair‖ in the face of facts that
cause them unhappiness. Russell may well write about the miserable Filipinos
or even Arroyo who have caused so much misery in her country, when he

“I find many men in our dangerous in our dangerous age who seem to be in
love with misery…who grow angry when hopes are suggested to them.”

“Why I write” are actually the words of George Orwelll. He had that question
in mind whenever when he sat down to write a book. He never though: ―I am
going to produce a work of art.‖ He wrote because there were lies that he
wanted to expose and some misleading facts to which he wanted to draw
attention. His concern was to get a hearing while I am incapable of writing
glorious books like Orwell, at least I share his desires in writing and not
necessarily in misery.17 I recognize the wisdom of Aquino‘s anguish as Thomas
Hobbes had written in Leviathan (1651):“…the pessimist‟s happiness in his

  Alterman, Eric, When Presidents Lie – A History of Official Deceptions and their
Consequences, (2004), New York, Penguin Books, p. 3
  Statement of former President Aquino during the 19 th anniversary of Edsa 1
published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (February 23, 2005)
  Russell, Bertrand, Reflections On My Eightieth Birthday, (1956) in Fowler, Margaret and
McCutchon, Priscilla, (eds.), Songs of Experience - Anthology of Literature on Growing
Old,(1991), New York, Ballantine Books, p. 45
     Ibid. Russell, p.46
 Orwell, George, Why I Write, (1946) in Douglas Hunt (ed), The Dolphin Reader, (1990)
Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, pp. 895, 901


message of gloom…”18 And I cannot ignore modern day non-philosophical
writings of journalists, Filipinos among them, who have kept their ears and eyes
open since 1986. The front cover of the special anniversary issue of Time
(February 27, 2006) and the inside article of Anthony Spaeth Glory Days sum
up everything:

“Twenty years ago, the Philippines ousted a dictator and inspired the world.
But the nation has yet to fulfill the promise of those glorious days. Coup
attempts…are a chronic problem… corruption never subsided….”


While far lacking the credentials of born writers like Bertrand Russell and
George Orwell, I have to write not to earn a living from an aesthetic piece of
work. It is also an academic requirement and a healthy consequence for being a
Harvard University Officer and Fellow in the Center for International Affairs. I
did research work mostly on social and political issues in Third World countries
particularly on corruption and reform The Center for International Affairs or
CFIA was founded in 1958. It facilitates multi-disciplinary research and studies
under Harvard University‘s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Fellows are invited
from many countries. Foremost among them was the late Senator Benigno
Aquino. Harvard has distinguished neighbors in Massachusetts Institute of
Technology and Tufts University where I also attended classes. My interest was
stimulated by the works and lectures of their eminent scholars and faculty
members. In Harvard one of my favorites is John Kenneth Galbraith. Like
Russell he cautions that it is a mistake to be too gravely depressed. At the same
time he recognizes that, in dealing with reform, no one can escape the feeling of
how precarious are the conditions in some countries. But Galbraith has always
been concerned with writers with confined views that they find most agreeable
to others. They address their writings to an audience with the intent of saying
what readers want to read or hear.19 Thus between February 20 and 25, 2006,
the Philippine Daily Inquirer has been publishing articles on Edsa 1. Most
played the tactical competitive game of a newspaper, printing what is
acceptable to a select group of readers and labeling those who disagree as
detractors. This is not to so say that the Inquirer has lost its professional creed.
It has continued to still the Filipino mind that is being numbed by unprincipled

  Hobbes, Thomas, Leviathan(1651) in Seymour-Smith, Martin, The 100 Most Influential
Books Ever Written – The History of Thought From Ancient Times To Today (1998), New
York, MJF Books, p.214.
     Galbraith, John Kenneth, The Affluent Society (1958), New York , Mentor Books, p. 17

leaders. The Philippines had also its Bertrand Russell and I refer my readers to
Hernando J. Abaya. (See Chapter Four on Media.)

In pursuing my inquiry on people power and corruption; I was guided by the
writings of our CFIA director, Professor Samuel P. Huntington. He wrote on
reforms in developing countries, which he said are in stages of modernization20
Huntington has cited the Philippines as one of the modernizing societies. He
said that in some modernizing societies: “Cabinet ministers are the most
corrupt of all.” He quoted George E. Taylor who wrote:21

“Politics is a major industry for the Filipinos; it is a way of life. Politics is
the main route to power, which, in turn is the main route to wealth… More
money can be made in a shorter time with the aid of political influence than
by any other means.”

In the Philippines, many tales on people power are inspired by pseudo political
personifications in combination with media hubris. While some are sincere and
based on real personal experiences, most of them are permeated with folksy
ambiguities and inconsistencies. Self-serving politicians and media speak of the
event as “the people power miracle”, as if it is in the class of the great Greek
mythology. Mythical accounts of fanciful heroism mostly by Ramos disciples
are written and published by newspapers.


The late Jaime Cardinal Sin in his homily during the 2003 people power anniversary
asked; “Is there nothing left of the EDSA revolution, except the myth?” He was
obviously frustrated with what has been happening after Edsa 1. Unlike Hamilton
Cardinal Sin knew the event was not a fictional creation. Hamilton had
described the tales of Greek mythology as the products of the fertile minds of great
poets. There are so-called myths that explain nothing at all but are pure
entertainment.22 People often speak of ―the Greek Miracle‖ as if it was based on
realities. Joseph Campbell later wrote that the tales of Greek mythology were known

  Huntington, Samuel P., Political Order in Changing Societies (1968), Connecticut, Yale
University, p.344 and with Nelson, Joan M. No Easy Choice – Political Participation in
Developing Countries (1976), Cambridge, Harvard University, pp. 2, 3
  Taylor, George E., The Philippines and the United States – Problems of Partnership
(1964), New York, Praeger Publishers; Ibid. Huntington, Political Order in Changing
Societies ,p. 67
     Hamilton, Edith, Mythology (1942), New York, Warner Books, p. 19


only as ―personifications brought into being by the human creative imagination.‖ 23
He preached myths the way others preached religion. But he claimed myths have
saving power and everybody needs myths. Anyone bereft of myths is forlorn.24 In
this book I used Campbell‘s ―exceedingly broad definition of myth, which
includes… beliefs as well as stories of all kinds.‖ Myths are supposed to tell stories
with ostensibly historical content. But they can also be figments of fraudulent
creation. Like Campbell Claude Levi-Strauss had studied myths as part of the
thought processes of mankind.25 According to Strauss people without historical
consciousness employ myths by telling stories without historical sense.

In Greek mythology the phrase tried to express the new birth of the world with
the awakening of Greece. “Old things are passed away; behold, all things are
become new.”26 In the ―people power miracles‖, there is no ―passing of the
old‖, as it was in Greek mythology. As a supposed revolution, people power
was expected to bring in new things to replace the old. But people power has
failed to meet this glorious expectation. Of course, those who have gained
power and wealth after Edsa 1 and later Edsa 2, particularly Ramos and Arroyo
and their sympathizers, would vehemently disagree with this conclusion. But
Ramos spoke with candor when he was asked twenty years after it happened,
why the gains of Edsa 1 had not been sustained: “That‟s not the fault of our
people. That‟s the fault of our elected leaders.”27

Leaders like Aquino, Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo have employed myths in the
present, devoid of historical sense, as instruments for political ends. But there
are also people power myths that were created because there were those who
sincerely participated in the Edsa 1 people power movement. And they are
proud of what they did. Estrada and Arroyo are not among them. In fact Arroyo
took advantage of people power and abused it during and after Edsa 2. Actually
there is nothing denigrating with the word “myth.” De Quiros wrote in his
column that “In the street sense of myth, it is a falsification of reality and in

     Campbell, Joseph, Oriental Mythology (1962), New York, Penguin Books, p. 31
  Segal, Robert A. , Joseph Campbell – An Introduction, (1990), New York, Penguin Book,
pp. 9, 11
  Levi-Strauss, The Savage Mind (1966) in Bottomore, Tom and Nisbet, Robert (eds.), A
History of Sociological Analysis, Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, New York (1978), p. 582.
     Hamilton, op cit. p. 14
  Balana, Cynthia D. FVR Ridicules GMA “Best Person” Claim ( February 23, 2006),
Philippine Daily Inquirer

its strict sense; it is a symbolic representation of reality.”28 But myths become
fabrications when they are weaved by political, economic and religious
propagandists. Most of them were nowhere near Edsa in 1986 like Aquino.
Many humdrum narratives about them as ―heroes and brains‖ of people power
would be written and accepted as truths with media as the moderator. Most are
simply shallow-minted ―lessons‖ full of metaphors and clichés, published and
passed on as words of wisdom in special issues of newspapers and magazines.
The French newspaper - France Soir would say, “Enough lessons from these
reactionary bigots.”

 On the so-called heroes, Maximo V. Soliven, a reactionary journalist, wrote in
his Philippine Star By the Way (2003) that: ―There were two kinds of EDSA I
heroes back in 1986.Those who were there in EDSA and those who pretended
to be there. Both would claim they overthrew Marcos in one tremendous
effort.‖29 To understand the myths of Edsa 1 and the country‘s present
collapsing order the recent past has to be understood. The roots of the unstable
conditions in the Philippines were seeded in September 1972. President
Ferdinand E. Marcos imposed martial law in the Philippines. For a brief period
the country became a ―New Society.‖30 Under a dictatorship it had a modicum
of discipline and tranquility. Marcos‘ ―ideal‖ government did not last long.
Together with his First Lady, the fabulous Imelda R. Marcos, they took to heart
abusing Lord Acton‘s dictum on absolute power. They controlled the media,
the courts and imprisoned political opponents. When presidents lie they create
malaise, divisiveness, hatred and negative perceptions. Arroyo would be
perceived as the worst Philippine president after Edsa 1. In fact the popular
perception is that she is even worse than Marcos.


Edsa 1 deposed Marcos in February 1986. Under strange circumstances he
would ―seek‖ refuge in Hawaii. The Filipinos could only perceive America‘s
motives. They have ardently supported Marcos for reasons of their own.
Typical of their faithlessness, the Americans promptly abandoned Marcos. The
U.S. military immediately accommodated his passage. As expected Aquino, the
new American favorite, accused Marcos of plunder. Meantime his legacy of
corruption continued under a succession of incompetent leadership led by
Aquino. As her term was about to end, she anointed Fidel V. Ramos as her
   De Quiros, Conrado, Myths( January 24, 2002) in Here’s the Rub, Philippine Daily
     Soliven, Maximo V. By the Way in The Philippine Star (February 2003)
     Marcos, Ferdinand E., Five Years of the New Society, (1978) Marcos Foundation Inc.


successor, perhaps as the principal beneficiary of Edsa 1. He was one of the
leaders of the movement. But he was also a key implementer of the Marcos
dictatorship in 1972. A graduate of the U.S. West Point Academy, he is
perceived as a psy-war and coup expert. As her Army Chief of Staff and then
Secretary of National Defense, Ramos protected Aquino from a number of
military coup attempts. Together with the Americans Ramos rescued her in
1989. It was natural that Aquino would generously support Ramos‘ candidacy
using government resources at her command. There were charges of cheating in
the presidential elections of 1992 and Ramos won with a slim plurality of votes.

What would later turn out to be tragic perception by the electorate happened in
the May 1998 presidential election? A popular folksy actor, Joseph Estrada,
was voted president with the highest winning margin in Philippine history. It
was also reported as one of the most expensive presidential elections. Financial
contributions came from rich Estrada supporters, mostly Filipino-Chinese
businessmen. Estrada was deposed by Arroyo, who perceived herself as a great
and moral leader. It was another momentous tragedy for the country. Both
Estrada and Arroyo would display incomprehensible presidential mediocrity.
Both are seriously lacking in moral prudence and intellectual temperance. In
explaining how the awful burden of the presidency does things to the mind,
Stephen Satris in Taking Sides – Clashing Views on Controversial Issues
(2001) quoted Dr. Paul Smith, president of Whittier College, who wrote on a
mental aberration that had afflicted Estrada before and Arroyo later on:31 ―The
thinking process can be frightfully inhibited by mental overload…‖ and the
highest positions of a country should be held by those who are best qualified –
mentally and morally.

In Pragmatic Illusions (1976), Bruce Miroff wrote that ―distortion of
perception … not the only unfortunate consequence… when elevated to a
supreme place…‖ The presidency has become a shame rather than a pride of
the country‘s political system.32 Distortion of presidential perception is not the
only tragic consequence once an unscrupulous Filipino leader becomes
president. Emboldened by power presidential corruption is barely hidden. The
results are clearly evident in the myths of Edsa 1 and Edsa 2. The country
desrved more honest leaders than Marcos. On the contrary, they showed that
corruption is not a monopoly of Marcos. All his successors have displayed a
―little grasp of …consequences‖, of their immoral actions in isolation from
  See Satris, Stephen (ed.) Taking Sides- Clashing Views on Controversial Issues (2000) ,
Seventh Edition, Connecticut, The Dushkin Publishing Group, Inc., p. 327
 Miroff, Bruce, Pragmatic Illusions – The Presidential Politics of John F. Kennedy, (1976),
New York, David McKay Company Inc., pp. xi- xiii, 17

sanity. George Ready wrote on the problem of isolation of presidents,
particularly in the twilight of their troubled rule.33 Embattled presidents were no
longer ruling with insights into common realities. He said that they lived like
monarchs, surrounded by deferential advisers who filtered and tailored
information that gave them false security. They pretended that ―everything is
under control. Former United States House Majority Leader Dick Armey wrote
with humor 40 hard-earned truths from politics, faith and life.34 “The greater
the pretension, the greater the hypocrisy.”


Pretensions of morality are usually expressed in religiosity and narcissism. It is
a form of therapeutic hypocrisy that hides their incompetence, insecurity and
dishonesty.35 They resort to allegories and metaphors and even use the name of
God to satisfy their quest for power and wealth. They create fantastic tales that
insult the people‘s credulity. Arroyo goes to mass everyday and prays every
night. But she is faced with ―plunging popularity.‖ Arroyo believes she is
bringing good changes to the Philippines. But more than 65% of the Filipinos
want her to resign. Her words chilled the country when she said. ―I am the
agent of change…Maybe that‘s why the Lord put me here at this time.‖36 The
dean of traditional Filipino politicians, Jose de Venecia, would later also point
to God who he claimed would decide on his becoming the future Prime
Minister of the Philippines.

Many hated Estrada because of his irreligiosity and immorality. One of them
was the late Jaime Cardinal Sin, the recognized leader of the Philippine
Catholic Church. The aging Cardinal was described by Stanley Karnow as ―the
country‘s shrewdest politician‖.37 He had been Aquino‘s religious counselor.
Cardinal Sin was relentless in his determination to punish the amorous Estrada,
being a known womanizer. Against the Cardinal‘s exhortation, majority of
Filipinos, most of them Catholics, voted for Estrada. Together with Ramos,

  Reedy, George, The Twighlight of the Presidency, (1971), New York, Mentor Books in
Miroff, Bruce Pragmatic Illusions, p. xii.
     Armey, Dick Armey’s Axioms (2003), New Jersey, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., pp. 129,162
  Lasch, Christopher The Culture of Narcissism(1978), New York, W.W. Norton &
Company, Inc., p.7
     Spaeth, Anthony A Matter Of Trust ( June 13, 2005), Time, Asia
  Karnow, Stanley, In Our Image – America’s Empire in the Philippines (1989), New York,
Random House, p.411


Cardinal Sin embarked on a campaign for the eventual removal of Estrada from
office and the installation of Vice President Arroyo to the presidency. Karnow
also described Ramos, one of those who plotted Edsa 1, as ―an undemonstrative
West Point graduate.‖ He added that Edsa 1 succeeded because ―providence
was assisted by clandestine American intervention.‖38

 Many watched with detachment as another people power ―revolution‖,
heralded as Edsa 2 started to unravel. It was not a countywide voluntary mass
movement in order to constitute a real people power uprising of the magnitude
of Edsa 1. It was actually a mobocracy. Pretenders from the upper-class, mostly
from the gated enclaves of the rich in Metro Manila, called their movement
another revolution. But it was a congregation of the elites who really never had
any love lost for Estrada. They were supported by young students of Catholic
schools, rich society matrons, the media and big business. Edsa 2 succeeded in
coercing Estrada, who was without military protection and support, out of
office. In the rural areas, Estrada has remained the favorite of the poor. It
would be reported later that Arroyo plotted against Estrada even before he
assumed office in 1998.

Installing Arroyo in power as an aftermath of Edsa 2 was tolerated by the
country‘s politicized and pretentious Supreme Court. She became an unelected
president like Aquino. However, unlike Aquino, many did not recognize
Arroyo as the President of the Philippines. Maritess Vitug reported in
Newsweek, (2001) that the corrupt Estrada government ―was still to fade into
the Filipino memories.‖ Estrada was able to create a myth of being a savior of
the downtrodden, an impression that did not fit Arroyo‘s image. Immediately,
Arroyo announced a ―moral‖ governance with a new cabinet of traditional and
recycled politicians, most of them Ramos loyalists. Like Aquino she would
claim it was God‘s will that she should become the president. Actually it was
print media, particularly The Philippine Daily Inquirer and its columnist,
Amando Doronila, who helped Arroyo dislodge Estrada. Doronila would even
write a book on his personal triumph. Now Doronila weeps. Wishfully, he had
read Desmond Tutu who fought the South African government on apartheid
and wrote:39

“Many who support the present unjust system in this country know in their
hearts that they are upholding a system that is evil and unjust and oppressive,
and which is utterly abhorrent and displeasing to God.”

     Karnow, op cit. p. 417
     Allen, John (ed.) Desmond Tutu- The Rainbow People of God – The Making of a Peaceful
     Revolution (1994), New York, Doubleday, p. 20


Edsa 1 brought back the glory of Philippine newspapers and their unique style
of journalism. But it did not diminish propaganda by the government which
continues to maintain the biggest media bureaucracy in the country. A rabid
anti-Marcos tabloid became the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “We are number
one!” its publishers from the private sector soon boasted. Edsa 1 was and is
being sold as a revolution. It is good business. Blessed with the spoils of
freedom of the press, it did not take long before the stockholders of the Inquirer
started bickering for control of its profitable shares. Print media appealed to the
base desires of human nature i.e. “Give them what they want.” And the
Inquirer did. It brought the newspaper fame and dividends, under a banner of
“Balanced News, Fearless View.” A skeptical question has remained
unanswered – was or is the Inquirer really an unbiased newspaper? As Peter
Kreeft had asked in Are There Any Moral Absolutes (1995): What are the
motives that impel newspaper publishers, their editors and columnists? He

“It takes only a little knowledge of modern psychology to reveal how much we
rationalize rather than reason, how often our arguments are supports for our
desires than honest searches for truth.”

“Caveat emptor” or readers beware! Tomlinson cautioned newspaper readers:
newspapers are rarely neutral intolerant. P.J O‘Rourke said in Parliament of
Whores (1991) that many reporters think of themselves as participants in the
political process. But ―under the modern journalist‘s code of Olympian
objectivity ―they are absolved of responsibility.41 They are drunk and ―seduced‖
by their proximity to power. The Inquirer, for example, is aware of its
influence. And it went after Estrada with unrelenting vengeance. Estrada was
not as circumspect as Ramos in dealing with print media. Estrada took on the
Inquirer, to the extent of encouraging groups close to him to boycott the
newspaper. In retaliation, the editors and opinion columnists of the Inquirer
unceasingly dredged up dirt against him. With Estrada‘s scandalous follies, it
was a foregone conclusion that he would lose the battle. For the Inquirer and its

  Kreeft, Peter Are There Any Moral Absolutes- Good Order (1995) in Miner, Brad
(ed.) Good Order- An Anthology- Right Answers to Contemporary Questions, New
York, Simon & Schuster, p………
     O‘Rourke, P.J. Parliament of Whores (1991),New York, The Atlantic Monthly Press, p. vii


corps of opinion columnists, it was a successful crusade. They exposed the
weak character of Estrada and supported Arroyo as his successor. She would
later reveal her real moral character and her contempt for media and truth. But
the Inquirer has shown that in spite of its support for Arroyo in Edsa 2, it would
not relinquish its duty to expose the anomalies in her government.


There many difficult questions to answer after Edsa 1 and Edsa 2. Great minds
of medieval and modern history have used the ―logic of dialetic ―to elucidate
the truth.42 Dialetic can be in the form of conversations, discourses, dialogues
or simply questions and answers. Dialetic has been used by great philosophers
as an effective method of getting the truth. Applying discourse can extract truth
from myths. But what is more difficult is getting the truth from leaders and
politicians and even from the Supreme Court. Huntington said that answers to
some political questions are not completely impossible to get. He mentioned
specifically the following questions:43

“What is the interest of the Presidency? What is the interest of the Senate?
What is the interest of the House of Representatives? What is the interest of
the Supreme Court?”

To Huntington‘s queries may be added a specific questions troubling many
Filipinos: “What are the interests of traditional politicians like Ramos and De
Venecia together with their subalterns?” Of course many are wishful that the
answers would be a ―fairly close approximation of public interest.‖ But public
interest differs from the interests of individuals. Personal interests are short-run.
Public interest exists through time. Using the words of John Maynard Keynes
and Aristotle, Huntington waxes optimism: “In the long run we are all dead.
The true policy is to ensure the longest possible life for both.”

It is difficult to fathom the minds of Arroyo, Ramos, De Venecia and their
disciples who share their mind-sets. To avoid the bias of current day political
thinking we have to go back to the words of medieval philosophers In the
Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes wrote that ―the secret thoughts of a man run over
all things, holy, profane, clean, obscene, grave, and light, without shame or
blame. He called these secret thoughts as “introspection.” They are not open to
inquiry. From the point of view of political theory, Hobbes asked certain related

  Hegel, George Wilhelm Friedrich Phenomenology of Spirit (1807) in Seymour-Smith, The
100 Most Influential Books Ever Written, New York, Barnes & Noble Books, p. 316
     Huntington, op cit. p. 25

questions: “What if the sovereign is a tyrant, what if he takes away far more
freedom than he needs, what if he is greedy and what if he becomes…or have
been found unsatisfactory?” Thomas Locke had answered these questions by
stating ―that peoples have the right to remove their sovereign.‖ In reality the
―covenant‖ is not between the people and the sovereign. It is between the
people themselves. Confronted with the character of a leader like Arroyo, they
have to make the decision.44

In writing The Myths of People Power I have to examine the character and
consequences not only the leadership of four presidents in the Philippines after
Edsa 1 and Edsa 2. Character is not confined to these personalities alone. It
encompasses the related events and institutions that had emerged after Edsa 1.
What is the real character of the Edsa 1 people power episode and the reform it
was supposed to introduce? Did it lead to any form of modernization? How
about the character of the post Edsa 1 media? And what is the resulting
character of democracy and politics? Did the leaders after Edsa 1 have a
common purpose or vision for the country? Or did they simply dominate others
by exercising the privileges of power? Philosophers throughout history had
studied these questions mostly through discourses and dialogues.

 The conversations of Socrates, who unfortunately had not written anything,
were preserved by Plato. He wrote them in the form of Dialogues where
Socrates was the leading character.45 Behind the conversations of Socrates there
are answers that can be detected on questions regarding the character of men.
His view was ―that success could never be more than a short term affair unless
it was founded on logical truth and moral right.‖ Socrates believed than a man
could be nearest to God if he had the least number of wants. He asked the
ultimate questions on the motives of human behavior: 46

“What is the final end of man?
{1} To enrich himself while he is alive?
{2}To cultivate a strong character and the many personal virtues?
{3}Or to be so productive that he leaves the world a better place for his having
live in it?”

     Hobbes, Thomas, Leviathan (1651) in Ibid, Seymour –Smith, Martin, pp. 212-214
  Plato – Five Dialogues (2002), Cambridge, Translated by Grube, G.M.A. Hackett
Publishing Company, Inc. Refer also to Stumf, Samuel and Fieser, James, Socrates to Sartre
and Beyond- A history of Philosophy (2005), McGraw Hill, Asia, p.37
 Feibleman, James K. Understanding Philosophy – A Popular History of Ideas (1973), New
York, Horizon Press, p.43


After the people power movements, Filipinos would find out that their leaders
would choose to answer the first Socratic question. Socrates preferred his
second question The country is still searching for a leader who can satisfy the
third and the best.


Scholars often attempt to distinguish “great” or social and
economic revolutions from those more limited upheavals,
which are only “political.” Revolutions are rare.

                                              Samuel P. Huntington, 1968

       he biggest myth of Edsa1 is it is a real and successful revolution. On April 5,
       1988, a symposium on the ―Birth of Democracy in the Philippines in 1986‖
       was held in Harvard University‘s Center for International Affairs. In Still the
Possible Dream; Democracy’s Birth, Dr. Werner Pfenning of the Free University of
Berlin questioned the validity of the Philippine people power as a popular social
upheaval. He viewed it merely as a political conflict that resulted in a “changing of
the guard,” or a change of some people holding political power in the country.

People power installed a revolutionary government, headed by widowed Corazon C.
Aquino, to replace the corrupt Marcos regime. Instead of instituting revolutionary
changes, Aquino granted preferment to a web of friends and relatives in her


administration. Soon a new group of privileged elites started to reap the rewards of
familism. Aquino was neither a revolutionary nor a reformist. During her rule, she
failed to challenge and alters the old traits of the Marcos dictatorship. Edsa 1 did not
have a chance against the overwhelming interests of the established oligarchs of the
country. Furthermore, the inexperienced Aquino who was suddenly thrust into
power did not have a vision- a blueprint for the long-term direction of the country.

Revolutionary Transformation

As the leader of a revolutionary government in 1986, the initiative in guiding the
necessary transformation in the country belonged to Aquino. But she did not have a
vision and ―was not a revolutionary determined to renovate society from top to
bottom…‖47 Visionary leaders should know ―what must unavoidably be changed,
and what most at all costs be preserved.‖ Why have countries in Southeast Asia like
Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea succeeded in changing their societies while
the Philippines has so far failed? Black has given an interesting insight on the
change in human affairs that mankind had experienced in the past. Its significance
can be appreciated in the context of what is now taking place. Actually the first
revolutionary transformation was the emergence of human beings millions of years
ago. The second great revolutionary transformation was that from primitive to
civilized societies. Within a few centuries, civilized societies have been altering their
character, ―sometimes failing to solve the problems confronting them.‖ Black
believes that ―it is still a matter of speculation why some failed and others
succeeded.‖48 At the most fundamental level, it must have been the leaders‘ inability
to keep the delicate balance required for survival between the maintenance of the
traditional pattern of values that serves as of social cohesion and the adaptation to a
new attitude that requires a revision of the traditional value system.

Every year thereafter, and mostly under the diktat of Ramos, the country would
celebrate the anniversary of Edsa 1 with familiar ―heroes‖ in center stage. There
would be retrospectives of alleged heroisms to perpetuate the myth of a revolution.
Foremost among those who implemented the Marcos dictatorship and who
continued to wield power, wealth and influence after Edsa 1 is Ramos. In 1992 he
succeeded Aquino as President of the Philippines. The Inquirer in its editorial on the
celebration of the 16th anniversary of Edsa 1 in 2002 stated that: ―People Power One
  Karnow, Stanley, In Our Image – America’s Empire in the Philippines (1989), New York,
Random House p. 423
  Black, C.E. The Dynamics of Modernization (1967) New York, Harper & Row, Publishers,
Inc., pp. 1-4
                                                       CHAPTER ONE – REVOLUTIONS

ousted the Marcos conjugal dictatorship. But 16 years after Edsa One, the vestiges
of the Marcos dictatorship remain. Many of its ranking officials still occupy key
posts in the government…officers who operated the martial law machinery still hold
important positions in the military…cronies and friends still exercise a powerful
influence in business, politics and society.‖ Ramos wants an annual glorious
celebration of the people power event every February. Much to his consternation his
image among the Filipinos has been destroyed. Ramos has simply faded away.

In 1983, former Senator Benigno Aquino, the heroic revolutionary oppositionist
who bravely fought Marcos, was assassinated. From thereon freedom marches
were held all over the country. There were rumors of armed rebellions to oust
Marcos until that faithful day in Epifanio de los Santos Highway known as
EDSA. In February 1986 thousands of people massed peacefully in EDSA,
which turned into a movement to bring down Marcos. With Marcos gone, many
―now it can be told‖ unfolded. ―Revolutionary heroes‖ appeared on the scene,
to claim credit to greatness. Some of their tales were real. Many were myths. In
2005 even Eugenia Duran-Apostol, the founder of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
quoted the late Ambassador Narciso G. Reyes: “The real revolution is yet to

The people power movement appeared to have happened spontaneously in
February 1986. But there was clearly a fomenting discontent among the people
prior to the event, that was to be labeled as the ―EDSA I people power
revolution‖. Years later, it would be followed by two more people
demonstrations. Both were considered unfortunate events by many Filipinos.
EDSA II took place in January 2001 and EDSA III followed in April 2001.
However they were unlike EDSA I in 1986, which was an idealized event not
only to the Filipinos. It focused world attention on the country but it would also
bring frustration and disillusionment. Thousands honestly participated in that
momentous event although some found it ―ungenuine.‖

Edsa 1 can be considered more a political coup d’etat than a real revolution. It
changed the political leadership in the country but did not drastically alter its
social institutions and policies. Edsa 2 was an illegal power grab. Like Edsa 1
there was no change in the social values of Philippine society. There was no
moral renewal. A real revolution leads to the creation of a new societal order.
There will be new leaders sustained by new myths. The ultimate outcomes are
“dramatic developments in the economy and social structure.” Democracy

   Article by Eugenia-Duran Apostol (February 24, 2005), founder and former
publisher, Philippine Daily Inquirer.


may exist but without drastic transformations no revolution can be said to have
taken place. In the sphere of politics, Christopher Clapham wrote:50

“A revolution is a rapid, violent and irreversible change in the political
organizations of a society. It involves the destruction of the existing political
order, together with myths which sustain it and the men which it
sustains…and sustained by new myths”

A legitimate revolution should have replaced the patterns of behavior of the
corrupt society under Marcos with a more puritan regimen. As a limited
phenomenon, it was unlikely to have occurred repeatedly. But within fifteen
years power-seeking interest groups replicated Edsa 1 with EDSA 2. Thereafter
or four months later a loosely organized third people power or a so-called Edsa
3 took place anew. None of these events offered and gave the Philippines a
more effective institutional order, “legitimized by…ideals of …social justice.”
In the words of Clapham, what took place was the strengthening of an old
oligarchic regime that was unable to establish effective links with the
countryside. Clientelism as a political structure was firmly institutionalized.
Clapham explained the harm that both the patrons and the clients impose on the
social system. The benefits are uneven with the patron, usually the country‘s
leader getting most of the share.51 The post Edsa 1 and Edsa 2 governments
simply perpetuated this principal weakness of the discredited old Marcos

Huntington also gave the elements of a real and successful revolution. He said
it is characterized by: “the rapid and violent destruction of existing
institutions, the mobilizations of new groups into policies and the creation of
new political institutions.” Interestingly, Huntington cited the experience of the
Philippines. The country had two modern-day revolutionaries from the left and
right. Luis Taruc headed the rural-based ―Huk‖ leftist uprising in the 1950s. It
was a movement approximating a revolution. On the right Huntington cited
former President Ramon Magsaysay who successfully aborted the brewing
Communist revolt.52 He was a symbol for the poor peasants who did not have
the opportunities to identify themselves with the democratic American-style
political system. Huntington wrote that earlier the ―Hukbalahaps‖ tried to
destabilize the new independent Philippine government .because they could not
participate in its emerging political institutions. The movement of poor farmers
  Clapham, Christopher, Third World Politics – An Introduction (1986),Wisconsin,
The University of Wisconsin Press, p. 160
     Op cit., Clapham, p. 58
     Ibid. Huntington Political Order, p. 276
                                                     CHAPTER ONE – REVOLUTIONS

headed by Taruc first attempted to achieve its goals by exploiting the
democratic electoral system. They participated in the elections and Taruc won
as a congressman in his district in Pampanga. But the legislature refused to
recognize his victory. As a result they returned to the hills of Luzon and were
ready to launch a revolution. But the leadership of Secretary of Defense Ramon
Magsaysay, one of the few honest cabinet members the country ever had,
undercut the farmers‘ uprising. Magsaysay with his strong leadership succeeded
in neutralizing the peasants‘ appeal. He would be elected president in a free and
honest election in 1953 – a rare occurrence in the country‘s corrupt political
system. As the country‘s leader he provided both symbolic and actual
opportunities for the peasantry to participate in the existing political
institutions. Tragically Magsaysay‘s efforts were cut short when he died in an
air crash in 1957. Since then the country would never have a leader of his
stature. He was both a reformist and a revolutionist.

 Aquino was different from Magsaysay. The left considered her a true-blooded
―comprador.‖ Her relationship with the peasantry was ―entirely delusory‖. At
the same time, .the right treated her with disdain. They would try to topple her
with destabilizing urban insurgency. In the rural areas Jose Maria Sison, who
took over Luis Taruc, revitalized the leftist Huk movement under the New
People‘s Army. Ironically, it was Aquino who set Sison free against the wishes
of the military. On January 22, 1987, less than a year after EDSA I, thousands
of poor and unarmed peasants belonging to the Kilusang Magbubukid ng
Pilipinas (KMP) were ―massacred‖ by the army in front of the presidential
palace in the street of Mendiola. This unfortunate event further fueled the
growing social unrest among the peasantry. Poverty and government apathy
continued to drive new recruits to the 33-year old communist insurgency
exerting pressure on the country‘s inept military.

Mutinous Military

From the beginning Aquino‘s support from the military was shaky. Media was
quick to acclaim that the leader of the movement was the widow of Aquino.
But she happened to be somewhere else when EDSA I took place. In any case
it overthrew an oppressive and corrupt government when the military went
against Marcos.. EDSA I brought back freedom, but it was also viewed as
disorderly and licentious. It was even exuberant, which gave it color, but it had
a threat of chaos. The most credible inside stories behind EDSA I would on the
―Reform the Armed Forces of the Philippines Movement‖ This group known as
RAM was headed by Gregorio Honasan, then a folksy revolutionary army
colonel. After EDSA I, RAM resumed its activism. It trained its revolutionary
sights on President Corazon C. Aquino. Later in 2003, he would be accused of
organizing another ―coup‖ to overthrow the government of President Gloria


Macapagal-Arroyo. RAM had somewhat disappeared, after Honasan apparently
became a reactionary politician – or a revolutionary in hibernation. Some of its
leaders joined Arroyo with tempting government appointments. But Honasan
has remained an enigma. Is he still a revolutionary? In the meantime the
military preserved its image of corruption and incompetence. Arroyo has
proven that the military has a price. A cunning leader with the use of
government resources can buy the loyalty of the military.

The real hero of EDSA I in 1986 was the Filipino soldier. Not one soldier
showed any intention of inflicting harm on their Filipino brothers. Yet just one
soldier firing a warning shot would have easily dispersed the unorganized
crowd in the EDSA highway. Marcos‘ Chief of Staff was raring to take on the
demonstrators but Marcos held back.. Edsa 2 in 2001 was different. It was an
organized mob whose ―hero‖ was General Angelo Reyes, Estrada‘s Army
Chief of Staff. He defected to the Arroyo camp and Estrada was left without
any military support. Estrada was evidently corrupt. But Edsa 2 removed him
from office in virtual violation of the Constitution. It is a myth to claim that
Edsa 2 was empowered by the people, especially the poor. After Edsa 2 Arroyo
corrupted the military by coddled the military and the police.But there are still
idealist elements in the military. Still amid the corruption in their upper ranks
many in their ranks who have remained true to their sworn duty..

In July 2003, seventy idealist officers and soldiers barricaded themselves in the
plush Oakwood Inn in Makati City. It appeared to be a mutiny but they claimed
their action was a crusade for military reform not an act of rebellion. They were
simply fed up with the corruption in the government and the military. It was a
smaller reprise of the coup attempts against Aquino led by Honasan. He would
also be accused of leading the Oakwood mutiny. Arroyo and her apologists,
headed by former General Reyes, were caught unaware. The military was
allegedly being ―micro-managed‖ by Reyes, who was the principal target of the
mutineers. Luckily for Arroyo, the mutiny was quelled within 24 hours.
Meantime corruption continued unabated among top military generals. In
September 2003, a poll survey showed that majority believed that the officers
were justified in staging a mutiny. The survey also revealed that real coup
attempts were likely. Since then, the question is whether there would be true
and violent coup attempts to come.

Social versus Political

Before his death Cardinal Sin deplored the destructive political factionalism after
Edsa 1. He was frustrated with the timid response of the people to the annual
celebration of the event. There was obviously a waning of fervor for the so-called
revolution. In his 2003 homily, the Cardinal was ambiguous when he touched on
                                                         CHAPTER ONE – REVOLUTIONS

the need for a well-grounded economic freedom. It was analogous to what David
Stockman wrote on ―social‖ democracy in The Triumph of Politics (1986).53
Stockman‘s theory was infected by John Kenneth Galbraith‘s thinking in Harvard
on ―redistributionism‖. It is lodged in the modern tradition of social democracy,
which is rooted in the redistribution of resources that would favor the poor not the
rich politicians. Was Cardinal Sin referring to this type of freedom that is social in
character? Politicians have traditionally favored and understood freedom that is
politically characterized by regular elections. Together with the rich they have been
enjoying the fruits of people power, what academicians have referred to as political
corruption and democratic capitalism. Among the poor, Stockman‘s theory of social
democracy was easier to grasp. The sparse crowd during the 17th people power
celebration in 2003 hardly understood what the late Cardinal meant. It was possible
in using the term freedom the late Cardinal probably meant a situation that is
restricted to the political system in the country. The crowd was apathetic,
particularly the poor. They were confused with the people power movement they
were supposed to celebrate. Was Edsa 1 a political or a social movement?

It has become clear to those who have studied theories of revolutions that their
political nature should be made autonomous from the social.54 The Garibaldi
movement in 19th century Italy was a confused episode. It contained some
profound elements of social revolution. Actually it had ―an unstable mixture of
elements; class struggle, nationalism, traditional elements of the soil, and a
variety of reactionary positions.‖ In many of the people struggles that emerged
in Asia and Africa the same kinds of mixtures existed. ―In many cases the
social element was more dominant than the others with the poor struggling
against class abuses. Hannah Arendt drew a distinction between political
revolution and social revolution. Her conception tended to distinguish the drive
for political liberation and democracy from the demands of social justice and
class conflict. Arendt illustrated the difference between the American
Revolution, which is political and the French Revolution, which is social.55

Based on Arendt‘s arguments, the Edsa 1 and Edsa 2 ―revolutions‖ were
political while the aborted Edsa 3 was social. Edsa 1 and Edsa 2 were also
made politically distinctive by the presence of the personal Machiavellistic
aims of some of the principal characters behind them. For instance Arendt has
  Stockman, David The Triumph of Politics – How the Reagan Revolution Failed (1986),
New York, Harper & Row Publishers, pp. 25, 391
   Hardi, Michael and Negri, Antonio Multitude (2006), New York, Penguin Group (USA),
p. 72
     Op cit. Hardi and Negri, p. 78


disputed the claim that the French Revolution was driven by the ―social
question.‖- a popular attempt to overcome poverty by excluding the wealthy
few for the sake of the poor. In her major work On Revolution (1961), Arendt
theorized that revolutions, especially in the modern era, exhibit the exercise of
fundamental political capacities.56 Arendt‘s philosophy is consistent with the
observations that Edsa 1 and Edsa 2 were movements dominated by the wealthy
and excluded the majority - the poor. But her attempt to make the political
independent of the social is controversial. Arendt tends to separate the urge for
political liberation from the demands of social justice. The masses find this
distinction difficult to comprehend. To the poor, social and political issues are
related and are even intertwined with their economic problems.

Acts of Conspiracy

When Cardinal Sin, Ramos and Arroyo conspired and organized Edsa 2 in
2001, they mimicked Edsa 1 that deposed Marcos in 1986. The poor who
participated were bribed and fed with ―adobo‖ lunch by rich society matrons.
From thereon any opportunist faction can attempt a ―power grab‖ by organizing
a crowd to congregate in EDSA. A mob of misled people marching down the
famous highway could easily pass as a ―people power revolution‖. In April
2001, it was the turn of the underclass to stage their own Edsa 3, or ―the poor
people power‖. But it appeared to be a disorganized outpouring of discontent
among the poor. There was no sign of any conspiracy. It was catalyzed by the
arrest of their idol. It did not matter whether Estrada was guilty or not of
plunder. It had a bigger crowd than the rich throng of Edsa 2. Arroyo diffused
the brewing uprising of the poor by using the police and muzzling the media.
However she failed to gauge the support for the arrested Estrada, the ―messiah
of the poor‖. Arroyo was quick to blame her political opponents for conspiring
and inflaming the people to go to Edsa for the third time. Eventually a smaller
disorganized segment made their way to Malacañang Palace. Immediately
armed military and police elements brutalized the unarmed protesters. It was
not unlike China‘s Tianammen Square. It was also reminiscent of Aquino‘s
Mendoza Massacre of poor farmers.

Ramos dismissed Edsa 3 as a ―non people power.‖ When Edsa 2 took place
earlier in January 2001, Arroyo was installed as president under an organized
conspiracy with the reported participation of Ramos. It was apparently hatched
from the time Estrada assumed office. Ramos was embarrassed when his
anointed alter ego, traditional politician Jose de Venecia, was soundly rejected
by the electorate. The rich and the so-called Makati business oligarchs who

   Hannah Arrendt (1906-1975), On Revolution from The Internet Encyclopedia of
Philosophy. Ibid., Huntington,on Arrend‘s On Revolution, p. 265
                                                           CHAPTER ONE – REVOLUTIONS

hated Estrada served as the front. Huntington-inspired questions could be raised
in Edsa 2. What form of political participation was it? Who inspired people to
participate in it? How relevant were political participations if the players were
mostly from more just one sector i.e., the rich? In the ensuing Edsa 3, where the
poor widely participated, Ramos already a rich ex-president exclaimed: “It has
no leaders.” Sadly he was correct. The poor did not have any leader. And
nobody conspired and paid them. It was a disorganized crowd. But nobody
anticipated its size. It was definitely much bigger than the organized elitist mob
of Edsa 2. For the first time the poorest, most marginalized and disenfranchised
people were out on the streets. The big difference was they lacked military and
media support. And the rich friends and supporters of Estrada were nowhere to
be found. Without a leader, thousands of the poorest of the poor rushed to the
gates of the Palace. It was a scary situation. Their only crime was they did not
have a permit to rally. They believed Estrada was their messiah. And he had
been wronged by the power elites. This time the military and the police were
behind Arroyo. It was an armed might that quelled the protestations of the poor.
The politicians who spoke and egged them in EDSA to march to Malacañang
disappeared. In the face of a real confrontation they abandoned the unarmed
agitated crowd .and fed them to the merciless power of corrupted generals of
the military and the police.

Edsa 3 clearly revealed the tragedy of the poor. They have no leader. There is
no oppositionist who can claim moral ascendancy over Arroyo. Since 1986 the
poor have been misled by illusionists who have failed to uplift their lives above
the level of poverty. Estrada proved to be a failure. Those who led Edsa 2
would be the recipients of rewards and praises. However they were not the kind
of leaders who proved to the poor that they can make things better. None of
them could claim having the qualities of a true savior of the poor. After Edsa 2,
Ramos would satisfy his megalomania. Aquino would relive her being chosen
one of the most influential women in Asia by Newsweek and picked by Times
as Woman of the Year in 1986. Arroyo would become president. But would
she prove that she had the character of an honest leader who would care for the
poor? Would she be a better president than Estrada, considered by many as the
worst? Or would she catch up with Estrada. Of course all of them had the
illusion that the poor had accepted them. European sociologist Ralf Dahrendorf
suggested the examination of coercive forces used by leaders in creating an
illusion of acceptance by the neglected citizens of their countries.57 Dahrendorf
agreed with Marx that the corruptible authority structures of democratic
capitalism produce conflict. ―What benefits those in charge is different from

   Dahrendorf, Ralf Coercion and Constraint Define Society (1959) in Bartech, Lynn and
Mullin, Karen Enduring Issues in Sociology (1995) San Diego, CA., Greenhaven Press, Inc.,
p. 68


what benefits subordinates.‖ Dahrendorf espoused what has been known as
―coercion theory‖. Other sociologists have come to call it ―conflict theory.‖
Opposing social and political forces can hold society together and can conspire
for perpetual change, albeit not necessarily orderly. Many leaders have failed
to appreciate this theory. For example Arroyo‘s illusion of ―being right‖ has
led her to believe that any opposition to her authority is an act of seditious
conspiracy to weaken the country‘s security. She has failed to learn from
history the travails and success of Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond
Tutu in their fight against government oppression. Archbishop Tutu wrote with
all the eloquence he could command that the security of a country does not
depend on military strength. He said that the police are being given draconian
power. But they do not know how to handle peaceful demonstrations. ―When
people were allowed to organize and meet freely, there was peace. It was only
when the right of peaceful assembly was denied that there was confrontation.
He concluded forcefully:58

“…the security of our country ultimately depends not on military strength
and a Security Police being given more and more draconian power to do
virtually as they please without being accountable to the courts of our

Like Archbishop Tutu, Dahrendorf emphasized that ―authority, as distinct from
power, is never a relation of general control over others.‖59 Immediately after
Edsa 2 the newly minted Arroyo displayed her authority to control the
opposition to her fragile ascendancy to power. Her fascistic tendencies
dominated the center stage of an illegitimate ―theater of power.‖60 She cracked
down violently on the hapless poor. Arroyo ordered the arrest of known
opposition leaders. Even members of her own cabinet said she might have
overreacted. Arroyo immediately assumed she was the state and her political
opponents are rebels. It could have been a colossal blunder. Some of those
being pursued by the government had strong support in the military and it
could be a cause for a coup against her. Fortunately for Arroyo, the elements in
the army opposed to her did not have time to unite in a violent movement with
the poor. She would turn out be a skilled politician. Arroyo would try to create
an image of an energetic and resolute leader. She would be a hard-working
president of action in contrast with the ―lazy‖ Estrada. But she tried to be an
  Allen, John (ed.) Desmond Tutu – Rainbow People of God – The Making Of A
Peaceful Revolution (1994) New York, Doubleday, pp. 9, 173
     Ibid., Dahrendorf, p . 94
     Mee, Charles L. Playing God(1993), New York, Simon & Schuster, p. 47
                                                               CHAPTER ONE – REVOLUTIONS

Estrada by playing to the poor who quickly rebuffed her. She tried to ―melt the
differences‖ between the rich and the poor. Arroyo tried to make the poor
believe that she was ordained. Instead she only aroused ―a variety of divergent
expectations.‖ Her public posturing was as banal as Estrada‘s depraved public
spectacle of immorality. Mee concludes that ―there are, perhaps, infinite
examples of the phenomenon of the persuasive creation of illusions in human

 As Estrada‘s vice president Arroyo was working with many conspirators and
plotters behind his back. The head of the armed forces, General Angelo Reyes,
had higher aspirations. He would see the opportunity of realizing his ambitions
by siding with Arroyo. It was a mutinous act to abandon Estrada. But Estrada
was a loser. He made no efforts to protect his presidency from turncoats. When
they sensed Estrada had nothing more to offer them, they abandoned him. They
considered self-interest not only a virtue; it was patriotic.62 Arroyo would later
named Reyes to her cabinet. Where his performance would later destabilize the
government. An idealistic group of junior military officers would accuse Reyes
of incompetence and corruption

Dilemmas of Revolutions

James F. Welles in The History of Stupidity (1999) lamented that years after the
French revolution happened, the new society that evolved “so closely
resembled the old”.63 The new rich just replaced the old. Democracy brought a
profusion of corruption. Capitalism, which replaced the concern for liberty,
equality and fraternity, encouraged an extreme of greed. The same social,
economic and political conditions continued to prevail as they were under the
old dispensations. The parallelism with the conditions in the Philippines after
Edsa 1 can be seen easily. Huntington would describe the situation in the
following words:64

“The factors giving rise to revolution, consequently, are as likely to be found
in the conditions which exist after the collapse of the old regime as in those
which exist before its downfall.”

     Op cit., Mee, p. 49
     Bennis, Warren Why Leaders Can’t Lead (1989), Los Angeles, CA., pp.36, 39
     Welles, James F. The History of Stupidity (1999), New York, Mount Pleasant Press, p
     Ibid. Huntington Political Order, p. 267


In the Third World a number of states have undergone successful revolutionary
changes. The most significant examples are China and Cuba. But the
Americans with their capitalist ideology would cite the Cuban Revolution as a
failure. Economically Cuba under Castro failed to perform as predicted. This is
undeniable and the major factor is the inhuman United States embargo. The
economic costs of moving from capitalism to socialism overwhelmed the
idealism and zealousness of the Cubans. So far American ideological hostility
has reduced the quality of life in Cuba to subsistence level. Gross national
production suffered from dislocations that could not be easily remedied due to
American-imposed sanctions. There is also no doubt that the radical political
changes introduced by Castro encouraged the migration of thousands of Cuban
professionals leading to ―brain drain.‖ The pressure on the administrative and
productive resources of the country increased. This necessitated state coercion.
Difficulties multiplied and scarcities appeared. In sum internal and external
doctrinaire challenges have continued to pose dilemmas for the revolutionary
regime. But while deeper social and political resistance is envisaged in the
future the Cuban Revolution is far from being a myth. It is a model of idealism
and coercion. The battle for survival depends on the success of Castro-style
intransigence against America hostility.65

The Soviet ―Great Socialist October Revolution‖ of 1917 was led by Vladimir
Ilyich Lenin. He and his followers were known as the Bolsheviks. Prior to the
success of Lenin there were several disturbances that were suppressed by the
government.66 Despite repression, radical movements increased under Tsar
Nicholas II. Russia‘s defeat by Japan in 1905 led to widespread discontent and
the Bloody Sunday Revolution. Similar to Edsa 3, unarmed demonstrators
converged before the Winter Palace where the military fired on them. For
sometime the tide of revolution was stemmed by the government. But popular
discontent mounted with the tsarist government refusing adamant to enact
reforms. In October 1917 Lenin announced the establishment of a new
revolutionary regime, together with Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin. They were
known as the Bolsheviks. While they had seized power with ease the new
government was confronted with immense post-revolutionary dilemmas.67

  Aguila, Juan M. del Cuba – Dilemmas of a Revolution(1988), London, Westview Press,
pp. 67-87
  Viault, Birdshall S., Modern European History (1990), New York, McGraw-Hill, Inc., pp.
334, 403
  Burke, Edmund Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790). Ibid. Seymour-Smith, pp.
298 -299
                                                              CHAPTER ONE – REVOLUTIONS

Statesmen and political philosophers were alarmed when the French revolution
took place in 1789. Philosopher Edmund Burke feared of its consequences. 68
England suffered from the aftermath of the English Revolution of 1688. It had
not involved a break with past. In fact it was a return to the constitutional
practice of an earlier time. While the French Revolution involved the people‘s
repudiation of their past, Burke predicted that France would eventually revert to
a military dictatorship. The first step in a real revolution is the complete
collapse of an old rule, similar to the Marcos order. Once its authority is
demolished, the old economic, social and political systems are also to be
dismantled. At this point the revolutionary process is supposed to be
irreversibly on the way. For Immanuel Kant perpetual peace was on the way.69

Huntington mentioned real revolutions that were not followed by violence.
Examples are the subsequent French Revolution of 1848 and the Cuban
Revolution in 1948. Cuba under Castro is peaceful despite clandestine
American destabilization. But there are also examples of revolutions that were
not real. Examples are the fall of the Syngman Rhee in Korea, the fall of the
Ottoman Empire and the fall of the Qatar Dynasty. Likewise the fall of Marcos
was not caused by a real revolution. But Edsa 1 could have marked the
beginning of a great revolution. It had a common cause as in the recognized
revolutions in history. It could have caused a radical change in the texture of
Philippine society. But post Edsa 1 revolutionary government did not change
the disposition of state powers. The Philippines simply went through a peaceful
transition in political leadership through a popular mass demonstration. But the
event did not constitute anything resembling the glorious revolutions of the past
In Political Order in Changing Societies (1968) Huntington wrote that
revolutions are rare. They are to be distinguished from insurrections, rebellions,
revolts, coups and war of independence.70

Clapham would confirm Huntington‘s key constituents of revolutions.71 In a
real revolution the new regime does not simply degenerate into an oligarchic
neo-patrimonial state. The Philippine experienced this degeneration after Edsa
1. With the demise of the Soviet Bloc and communism the term Third World
became obsolete. But in many developing countries, oligarchy and neo-

     Ibid., Viault, p. 408
     Ibid., Feibleman, Understanding Philosophy – A Popular History of Ideas, p. 145
  Ibid., Huntington, pp. 264-267. In these pages Huntington discusses comprehensively the
essence of true revolutions
     Ibid. ,Clapham, Third World Politics, p. 162


patrimonialism has remained untouched, as in the Philippines. In fact it has
become more entrenched. Relationships followed the old pattern of vassal and
lord. Familism, the loyalty and preference to one‘s kin was the primary social
value that became the hallmark of the Aquino administration.

For the poor even social revolutions are not always advances. James K.
Feibleman wrote on the lesson of history on social revolutions in
Understanding that:72

“Often the poor and ignorant remain poor and ignorant, and find they have
succeeded only in exchanging one set of masters for another. Tolstoy once
remarked that the rich would do anything for the poor except get off their

 Paraphrasing Feibleman, if we will substitute the word ―powerful‖ for ―rich‖,
then is just as true for leaders of governments who have been the benefactors of
revolutions. There is an exchange of masters but it takes place between
monarchs and aristocrats. It is analogous to Edsa 1 and 2. There are simply
exchanges of political rulers but oligarchy. In any case, Feibleman pointed out
that social revolutions do not occur overnight. If at all they take place,
―sometimes they result in gain, sometimes in a loss, but more often in a mixture
of the two.‖ A sharp reader will also discern right away the common thread in
Feibleman‘s philosophy and Edsa 1.73

Time International‘s Anthony Spaeth wrote that EDSA I in 1986 was truly
glorious. While it may not be a true revolution, it was the culmination of a
nation-wide discontent. ―The people who participated were genuinely brave,
far more than the crowds that gathered…on the same highway in 2001.”
With EDSA II, the Philippines acquired a dubious credit for ousting a president
by mob rule. As a result some people had casually referred to Arroyo as an elite
who was elevated to the presidency by a ―Rich People‘s Power‖. In contrast
Estrada was not considered an elitist. He was able to capitalize on a folksy
image of being for the poor. Unfortunately he only impoverished them further.
An admitted philanderer, he publicly displayed his masochism by showering
charity to his paramours thus enraging decent-thinking citizens. Still there is a
thin line between a revolution and a coup d’etat in both Edsa 1 and Edsa 2. And
between social and political in the two movements

     Ibid. , Feibleman, p. 87
     Op cit., Feibleman, p. 172
                                                            CHAPTER ONE – REVOLUTIONS

The Convent under Spain and Hollywood under America‖ have combined to
create widespread poverty not necessarily because of an alleged ―damaged‖
Filipino culture, but a damaged American-style political system introduced by
its American colonial masters. Mass media patterned after the United States
model have made matters worse. They have given rise to militant interest
groups of different leanings, names and acronyms. Each has their own hidden
agenda, most of them with a price tag. Philippine Daily Inquirer opinion
columnist Conrado de Quiros would write that he ―shed tears asking why
Filipinos behaved inertly resigned to their fate.‖ He made certain conclusions
by asking:

“Is this why all Philippine revolutions have failed? The revolutions against
Spain and America? The NPA communist revolution? Two People Power
“revolts? Is this why it is so easy for politicians and the wealthy elites to
control all institutions in the name of a restored democracy?”

Puritan Revolutions

The Katipunan Revolution (1892-1898) against Spain and the Filipino-
American War (1899-1902) against the United States were neither failures nor
myths. Being real and puritan revolutions they were unlike Edsa 2.which is far
from ―glorious.‖ Middlekauf defined a real revolution in ―The Glorious
Cause,”74 It is a struggle from the bottom. Middlekauf wrote: “Every
revolution is a puritan revolution.” The ―Bridge to the Katipunan‖ was the
Liga Filipina. The Katipunan was a puritan revolution. Its primer or
―Teachings‖ was puritan and was ―couched in elevated language.‖ It certainly
did not fail. It succeeded because of its leaders who made it truly representative
of the Filipinos. The revolution brought the divided parts of the Filipino people
together. It was ―the first concrete embodiment of the Christian Filipino
nation.‖ To Jose Rizal, a revolution by the upper classes ends when the transfer
of political power into their hands is achieved. But a true people‘s revolution is
won not in the mere change of political power.75 The Katipunan Revolution was
the struggle of the nation- the Revolution of the Filipinos. It was an affair of the
entire nation. Allegorically, it failed years later when Martial Law was declared
in 1972 and Edsa 2 took place in 2001. Edilberto Evangelista came home from
his studies in Brussels to serve the Revolution. He wrote:76
     Middlekauf, Robert The Glorious Cause -The American Revolution (1982)…..
  Corpuz, O.D. The Roots Of The Filipino Nation, Volume II (1989), AKLAHI Foundation,
Inc., Quezon City, Philippines, pp. 203, 209, 219, 222, 269
     Op cit. Corpuz, pp.223-224


“Let us not think that the Revolution is an affair of the Katipunan alone,
instead of a struggle expressing the true sentiments of the entire nation...Let
us not ignore the fact that…above all, the Revolution is that of all the people
who love their native land…even if they were not Katipuneros, voluntary
joined the struggle, to make sacrifices for the redemption of their

Jose Rizal had earlier peacefully campaigned ―awaken the feelings of his
countrymen.‖77 In 1886, he wrote Noli Me Tangere, a novel that denounced ―a
political system founded on the privilege of the rulers, discrimination against
the ruled…‖ Meantime the Filipino community in Barcelona founded an
association- La Solidaridad. It would publish a tabloid with the same name that
would call for reform in the Spanish rule in the Philippines. After four years
and still there was ―no promise of change, no relief from obscurantism or
repression.‖ from Spain. Rizal returned to Manila in June 1892. He went to see
Spanish Governor General Eulogio Despujol to plead his case peacefully. But
he was arrested, banished and incarcerated on orders of Despujol. Rizal was
eventually executed. He was like Benigno Aquino. ―driven by his inner ghosts‖,
obeying an obsession of destny and death.‖78

Rizal had earlier founded La Liga Filipina, which was considered a
revolutionary society by the Spanish government. Since their peaceful efforts
had obviously failed. The fiery Andres Bonifacio founded the Katipunan in July
1892. It was a short description of a wordy Filipino phrase that also had a
shorter acronym – the KKK. The members of KKK began their armed struggle
as irregulars and ill-armed partisans.79 Later Emilio Aguinaldo organized a
military academy with a meager budget. Unlike the well-funded Philippine
Military Academy of today which is good in producing rich generals, the
captains and lieutenants of Aguinaldo fought valiantly against the well-armed
Spanish military. ―The triumph of the Revolution was due to popular support.
The support was preserved by Aguinaldo‘s inate understanding of the link
between the Revolution and the welfare of the pueblos;‖ No present-day
Filipino leader has equaled the rare characters of Rizal, Bonifacio, Aguinaldo

 Fernandez, Jose Baron, Jose Rizal – Filipino Doctor and Patriot (1995),Published by
Manuel Morato, Qezon City, Philippines p. 108
     Ibid., Corpuz Roots,p. 208
  Agoncillo, Teodoro A. and Guerrero, Milagros C., History of the Filipino People (1980),
Quezon City, Philippines, R. P. Garcia Publishing Co., p.160
                                                       CHAPTER ONE – REVOLUTIONS

and their compatriots. On June 23 1898, Apolinario Mabini wrote a message
delivered by Aguinaldo:80

“…A people that has shown proofs if its endurance and courage in time of
trial and peril and of its industry and thoughtfulness in peace, is not destined
for slavery. Such a people is meant for greatness and to be one of the
instruments to govern the destines of mankind.”

To write that ―the revolutions against Spain and America were failures‖ betrays
the lack of historical sense in the opinions of Inquirer’s columnists Conrado de
Quiroz and Manuel L. Quezon III The Filipinos did not lose the revolutions
against Spain and America. It was repressed with brutality and overwhelming
force. In April 1898 America declared war on Spain. Aguinaldo had the
impression that the United States was a ―disinterested protector‖ of the
Filipinos. He was wrong. The United States president William Mckinley had
other plans. He ordered the occupation of the archipelago. ―It was the purest
and meanest imperialism.‖ After forcibly annexing Cuba, Mckinley forced
Spain to sell the Philippines to the United States for $20,000,000. It was part of
a web of American deceit. Actually the Spanish-American War in the country
was a sham. The ―phoney war‖ won by Admiral George Dewey over the
Spanish fleet in Manila Bay was part of the United States aggression on the
Filipino people – The First Vietnam War.81 Aguinaldo tried to preserve the
victorious Katipunan Revolution against Spain by fighting the Americans in a
civilized manner. President McKinley in a typical American doublespeak
declared they had ―not come to wage war ―upon the Filipinos but to protect
them under a policy of ―benevolent assimilation.‖ But his corrupt generals were
brutal. They came ―with a great deal of force and a poverty of understanding.‖
Richard Brinsley Sheridan, an English barrister, was in the Philippines at that
time. His report on the behavior of the Americans was corroborated by a French
journalist, Henri Turot. He described the United States policy as ―deceitful first,
the audaciously brutal.‖82 The Americans won but the Filipino Revolution
against them, led by the supreme leadership of Aguinaldo, did not lose. But
under American colonialism the Philippines would find a need for new leaders.

From the beginning of its colonial rule the Americans taught the Filipinos that
leaders could be developed through politics and elections. They were not

     Ibid., Corpuz, p. 270
     Op cit., Corpuz, p. 311
     Op cit., Corpuz, p. 399


educated to pursue honest careers in the civil service. Instead they were made
aware that successful political leadership could be achieved through ―free-for-
all spirit of grandiose promises, back-room deals and patronage.‖ Thus the style
of politics in the Philippines has developed after American model with the
stamp: ―Made in USA.‖ American-introduced education has encouraged
cynicism and idealism associated with corrupt American ―ward-heeler‖ type of
politics. Legislators and local leaders ―learned the pork-barrel practices of
American congressmen.‖ Philippine politics became a caricature of American
politics. 83

Meanings of Revolution

David S. Landes who teaches Development and Underdevelopment in Harvard
University wrote that the word ―revolution‖ has many meanings. 84 All of them
have their origins from a word that simply means a ―turning‖ or literally a
movement in a circular manner. The usual connotation is it is a change that
involves violence. The primary objective is a profound transformation that is
progressive particularly in the political sense. Landes used the word revolution
in its oldest metaphorical sense. It denotes an ―instance of great change or
alteration in affairs…‖ It is a word that denotes abrupt political change. The
emphasis is deep rather than fast. And it can either be bloody or peaceful. But
unfortunately it can ―backslide‖ and degenerate into being reactionary.
Revolution then becomes a contradiction in terms because of its circularity. It
turns the clock back from reforms to debasement and even destruction. Grob
and Billias had asked whether the American Revolution was really
revolutionary, leading Landes to ask: “When is a revolution not a
revolution?”85 Landes would answer this question by looking for unambiguous
measures. Landes meant the systematic collection of data by the government.
But this was hardly possible in the Philippines where the government tended to
use statistics that have always been considered ―fuzzy‖.

 Edsa 1 and 2 are not real revolutions. It is clear that they lack the progressive
connotations of a legitimate upheaval of institutional attitudes and practices.

     Pye, Lucian W., Asian Power And Politics – The Cultural Dimensions of Authority
      (1985), Cambridge, Massachusetts, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press,
      pp. 121-123
     Landes, David S., The Wealth and Poverty of Nations – Why Some Are So Rich And Some
     So Poor, (1999), New York, W.W. Norton & Company, pp. 187, 217.
      Op cit., Landes, p. 195. Refer also to Grob, Gerald N., and Billias, George Athan
     Interpretation of American History (1992) New York, The Free Press, p. 111
                                                              CHAPTER ONE – REVOLUTIONS

The lack of change or the turning back of the clock after Edsa 2 is not due to
Arroyo‘s pitiful insincerity and mediocrity alone. It is the fault of the cluster of
presidents who precede her after Edsa 1 - Aquino, Ramos and Estrada.
Together they betrayed the people by desecrating a legitimate people power
initiative. As leaders, they did not institute meaningful reforms. They tolerated
corruption and wasteful government spending funded by a regressive and
corrupt tax system. Politics was used as a means for acquiring power and
wealth. Politicians and media alike were bribed. Rampant illegal logging was
licensed to kill people side by side with environmental destruction. Democracy
and elections have become a farce. Meantime the chairman of the Commission
on Elections reigns supreme in spite of a Supreme Court verdict that he should
be investigated for graft.

Ramos who relishes in acclaiming himself as one the eminent Asian leaders To
Ramos the glory of Edsa 1 as an ―an admirable and remarkable success‖
belongs to him. He is irked when people ―try to downgrade it, diminish it, and
marginalize it?‖ It is obvious Ramos has failed to notice that for years after
Edsa 1, everyday brings news of tragic disasters that are the fruits of poverty. In
a coliseum just outside Manila in early 2006, close to a hundred of
impoverished old women were trampled to death fighting for tickets for
tempting prizes in a demeaning television program. The government took
advantage of the tragedy as a tool for vengeance on the program sponsors who
have been critical of Arroyo. Government probers reported as if with political-
laden glee: ―They were exploited, manipulated and treated like
animals…likened to throwing a small slice of meat to a pack of hungry
wolves.‖86 In Las Vegas public money was spent in casinos and 5-star hotels by
the ―First Gentleman‖ and politicians to create a euphoria and a dummy out of a
hapless and ignorant boxer. Greedy gamblers, politicians and presidential
relatives were in need of a figure to conceal their duplicity. In the process they
made the worship of violence as an inherent Filipino culture. There is no doubt
that this Filipino boxer is worthy of adoration as a ―Cinderella Man‖ by a
people hungry of honor. Ironically this hero, a cock-fighting gambler, has been
accused of violating the country‘s Family Code. Randy David called what is
happening to the country as ―The Tragedy of People Power.‖87 This is what this
book is about – the myths of a so-called revolution that has produced and
continues to produce tragedy after tragedy.

     Bordadora, Noeman and Nocum, Arman N., “Treated lie Animals”, Philippine Daily
     Inquirer, February 8, 2006.
     David, Randy, The Tragedy of People Power (January 22, 2006), Philippine Daily Inquirer


People‟s Apathy

The mastery of the revolutionary process for the betterment of their economic
conditions depends on the attitude of the people themselves. The apathy of
some people can be described by the almost humorous words of a famous
American sports personality, Tommy Lasorda. ―There are those who make
things happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what
happened.”88 Many belong to the last two groups. Many political analysts
agree that actual and potential political activism in the Philippines had waned
after Edsa 1 or more particularly after Edsa 2. The average citizen is frustrated
and wary of people power movements that would only put in power traditional
politicians and luck luster leaders like Arroyo. The media is also ambivalent in
their exhortations for increased societal activism among the people.
Newspapers and their opinion columnists have their own agenda. Some of them
were unwitting collaborators in the rise of Aquino, Ramos and Estrada to
power. Thus every opinion columnist has an explanation why the people are not
out in the streets despite the lies, corruption and oppression under Arroyo. But
they have to take sides for ―truths about society can be discovered only if one
takes sides.‖89

In searching for the truth, Aristotle would make some mistakes. It was because
he relied heavily on anecdotal observations. He made the point that the state
exists for the sake of everyone‘s moral and intellectual fulfillment. He also
proved that it is difficult to find the right answers to people‘s apathy. But in
reality ―whether a state produces the good life depends on how its rulers
behave.‖90 And the people will always criticize the state unless their conditions
of living can provide them with the good life. The apathy of most Filipinos is
due to the failure of their leaders to improve the poor a better life after Edsa 1
and Edsa 2. Aristotle did not overlook other causes such as fear. He said
government could take appropriate precautions against revolutions. For
example, a ruler must avoid despotic acts and instituting a rule for the benefit of
the wealthy class. After Aristotle philosophy took different directions. Four
groups of philosophers emerged, namely the Epicureans, the Stoics, the
Skeptics and the Neo-platonists. The Stoics claimed that human wisdom makes
people recognize what their situation will be in history. But there is one thing
that they can control, and that is their attitudes and emotions. People can sulk
     Lasorda, Tommy The Sporting News (July 28, 1986) in Ibid, Tomlinson, p. …
     Harrington, Michael, Taking Sides – The Education Of A Militant Mind (1985), New
     York, Holt, Rhinehart and Winston, p. 1
     Ibid., Stumpf and Fieser, p. 97
                                                            CHAPTER ONE – REVOLUTIONS

because of their situation but it can rob them of happiness. The Stoics
developed a ―theory of apathy.‖ It is their notion ―that nature is fixed and
ordered by God‘s reason.‖ 91

The Republic of Plato had introduced new thoughts on the moulding of states
and the role of peoples. Other books would follow on precepts on how rulers
could make their peoples live obediently as subjects. True philosophical
thinking on social issues including politics had begun with the Greeks. It had
not occurred to peoples of Asia to abolish monarchy as an institution. But it did
occur to the Greeks that the form of the state and how rulers should behave
rested on the people themselves to determine. In this notion was implicit as to
where the ultimate sovereignty in the state lay. The very nature of the power of
despots provoked questions on the minds of the Greek populace. Their apathy
grew into uprisings and repugnance to their rulers. In the Philippines, Salud
Algabre, leader of the Filipino Sakdalan rebellion in 1935 said: ― No uprising
fails. Each one is a step in the right direction.” 92

In June 1971 Romanian leader Nicolae Ceausescu inaugurated ―The Little
Cultural Revolution.‖ One of the main goals of the revolution was to reduce the
apathy and lethargy that permeated important strata of the Romanian
population, particularly the among its societal elites. Ceausescu had repeatedly
emphasized that without political commitment people cannot be expected to
fulfill their socioeconomic tasks. He felt that the Romanian population was not
easily aroused. As a result there were serious shortcomings in the economic
progress of the country. The pervasive apathy was traced most noticeably
among the youth. The young people were not politically informed. And the
potentials of their thinking abilities were not being addressed. Ceausescu
admitted there were mistakes in the actions of the state but Romania was then
one of the Soviet satellites. It was ironic that the activism Ceausescu sought
from the citizenry resulted in widespread discontent that led to his violent death
in a coup d’etat several years later.93 Although the Philippines are supposed to
be a democratic state there are dangerous tendencies in the Arroyo government
that run parallel with the Romanian experience. Arroyo prefers apathy even if
she has to use government resources to insure her stay in office. Many believe

     Op cit., Stumf and Fieser, pp. 103, 113
     Hoare, F.R. Eight Decisive Books of Antiquity – Plato‘s Republic (1991), New York,
     Dorset Press, p. 183 . Refer to E. San Juan Crisis in the Philippines – The Making of
     a Revolution (1988), Bergen & Garvey Publishers, Inc., Masssachusetts, p. 129
     Gati, Charles (ed.) The Politics of Modernization in Eastern Europe (1974), New York,
     Praeger Publishers, pp. 149-151


and feel that the apathy is simmering like fire under the ashes. Archbishop
Ramon Arguelles, a senior member of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the
Philippines warned: ―If President Arroyo and her gang do not show results in
the direction of purging all perpetrators of corruption and improving the lot of
the poor, this regime will crumble faster and more miserably than the past
{Marcos} dictatorship.‖94

Herbert J. Winter in People and Politics (1985) wrote that: ―apathy can result
from a sense of hopelessness.‖ 95 There is indifference that is also a reservoir of
active revolutionary actions. It can also be a form of support or security for a
ruler. But an underlying hostility is simmering underneath an apparent support
and it becomes a violent input when triggered. Winter concluded that a
government struggling for public support may discover that apathy is a
disadvantage in its effort to stay alive. The head of government needs the
positive support of its citizens and not their disinterest. Thailand experienced
revolutionary upheavals in 1932 and 1973 after periods of calm hopelessness.
In 2006 it is again going through the same problem. In Cuba the apathy of
people accustomed to lives of merriment but living in hopelessness under
Fulgencio Batista erupted into a revolution in 1958. The passive opposition
earlier opted for reformist measures. But they realized the quixotism of their
challenges. Batista of Cuba then was like Arroyo of the present-day Philippine
situation. The legitimacy of his regime was under insurrectional challenge. At
the same time he was not inclined to ―the preservation of individual liberties,
freedom of conscience and high standards of public morality.‖ Opposition
forces gradually assumed a confrontational posture through street protests and
clashes with the police.96

Revolutions of Modernity

The emergence of the revolution of the modern is rooted in the rebellion against
the medieval Catholic Church. It took ―three distinct and dialectically related
forms‖ They were the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Scientific
Revolution. The outcome of the Renaissance was the Scientific Revolution.
Philosophy in turn was intimately tied to the Scientific Revolution. Philosophy
acquired a new identity. It commenced ―its momentous transfer of allegiance
      Surbano, Marie A., Policar, Dona and Olaes, Sherwin C., Prelate: Arroyo
      Government to Crumbe Faster than Marco Regime (February 27, 2006) The Daily
     Winter, Herbert J. People and Politics (1985), New York, John Wiley & Sons, pp.38, 39
     Ibid, Aguila, Cuba, p. 33
                                                            CHAPTER ONE – REVOLUTIONS

from religion to science. It mirrored the new sense of real people empowerment
in every realm – physical, social, political, religious, and scientific and even the
metaphysical. It was a real revolution of the mind because ―the dream of human
freedom and its fulfillment could now be realized.‖97 The history of modern
liberation movements of today would show that they were driven not only by
struggle against misery and poverty but a profound desire for democracy. Hardt
and Negri argue that ―this democracy is a dream created in the great revolutions
of modernity but never yet realized.‖ 98 The forms of revolution have changed
through the twentieth century. A research into modern-day social and political
movements of resistance – or revolutions of modernity - would lead to a new
vision of our world and the creation of a new one.

But to a layman what is a Revolution of Modernity? Without using amorphous
terms as Hardt and Negri that they did in their book Multitude, modernity has to
be analogous to reform without resorting to violence. The term modernity refers
to a form of society that has its origin from Western Europe between the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It would later be used to describe of
advanced countries. Modernity conveys reform of the traditional system. The
process by which these countries have attained their present stage of
development is referred in recent times by historians and economists as
modernization. This process may be radical as in a revolution or gradual as in
reform. But modernity is not yet fully understood. It is also difficult to attain.
Edsa 1 is supposed to be a model of peaceful transition to modernity. The irony
is it brought neither revolutionary change nor reform. It is also ironic that in
France, which has already attained modernity, ―A Strange Kind of Revolution‖
has started to take place.

In March 2006 violent unrest was rocking the government of Prime Minister
Dominue de Villepin and President Jacques Chirac. The issue was on labor
reform, particularly on the hiring and firing of French workers. Sixty per cent
of French people have started to worry about an explosive situation. In France
―the word reformist is considered an insult. Confrontation always seems
inevitable.‖99 European and English historians refer to the French revolutionary
leaders as ―modernizers.‖ But France‘s history of numerous revolutions has

     Tarnas, Richard, The Passion of the Western Mind – Understanding the Ideas That
      Have Shaped Our World View (1991), New York, Ballantine Books, pp. 223, 248,
      271, 281
     Hardt, Michael and Negri, Anronio, Multitude –War And Democracy In The Age Of
     Empire (2004), New York, The Penguin Press, pp. 65, 67
     Marseille, Jacques, A Strange Kind of Revolution (April 3, 2006) Time Essay.


been mostly followed by public disillusionment. Similarly in Ukraine a
confrontational situation has also been emerging after their successful and
peaceful Orange Revolution. It seems that ―all revolutions, in the end, turn from
euphoria to disillusion.‖ According to Vaclac Havel, former president of the
Czech Republic, to ―make the change irreversible, a truly independent and
incorruptible judiciary is essential.‖100 This is what the Filipinos have been
missing after Edsa 1 and Edsa 2. Modernity is hardly understood by the masses,
who are simply yearning for justice and reform.


Martin, The 100 moat influential books ever written – The History of Thought
from Ancient Times to Today- particularly (a) John Stuart Mill On Liberty (b)
William Goodwin Political Justice Rousseau, Jean Jacques, Confessions,
(1781), pp.291-296, (c) Burke, Edmund, Reflections on the Revolution in
France (1790), pp. 296-299. Quote Burke p. 299 and link with Alexander
Hamilton by Ron Chernow and look up (2) Cohen, Joshua and Rogers, Joel,
On Democracy – Toward a Transformation of American Society, (1985),
England, Penguin Books Ltd.,pp.15-19. REFER ALSO TO (3) Ornstein,
Robert and Erlich, Paul New World New Mind (1989), New York, Dell
Publishing Group, Inc. pp. 2-3); (4)American Reformers by Ronald C. Walters;
(5) Frederic V. Grunfield Prophets Without Honor (6) Interpretations of
American History by Geral N. Grob and George Athan Billias, pp. 111 – 150
and (7) Kirk, Donald Philippines in Crisis- U.S. Power Versuds :ocal Revolt
(2005) Philippines, Anvil Publishing, Inc., pp. )

   Havel, Vaclav, Beyond Revolutionary Disillusion, (March 28, 2006)), Philippine Daily

The true Reformer turns his eyes first inward, scrutinizing
himself, his habits, purposes, efforts, enjoyments, asking What
Signifies this? And this? And wherein is its justification?

                                                              Horace Greely 1868101

T       here is no conflict between reform and revolution, according to Karl
        Polanyi in his classic Great Transformation (944).102 In today‘s
        conditions they are the same thing and they cannot be separated. The
processes of transformation are so radical that ―even reformist proposals can
lead to revolutionary change. But when democratic reforms are lacking or
inadequate then a revolution is possible. It does not matter whether one is a
reformist and not a revolutionist as Galbraith had described himself. Even in
countries that had experienced real revolution there is a continuing quest for
reform. The belief is that it is within the power of man to continuously improve
his environment without resorting to violence. But instituting reform is
historically difficult even in modern societies. In the Middle Period of the 19th
century there were times of restlessness. Every institution was questioned – the
church, the state, the law, the army, and even the family – was required to

  Greely, Horace, Reforms and Reformers in Recollections of a Busy Life(1868), New
York, p. 29
      Polanyi, Karl The Great Transformation in Ibid, Hardt and Negri Multitude, p. 289


justify itself. “Nothing was immune, nothing was sacred, and nothing was
taken for granted, nothing but the right of inquiry.”103

People power has brought this feeling of general restlessness among Filipinos.
The desire for improvement has become more intense with the sterility of
presidential leadership since after Edsa 2. So stated by Ralph Waldo Emerson;
―the doctrine of reform never had such scope as at the present hour.‖104 The
extravagance of abuses and too much falsehood in the Arroyo administration
have been driving the Filipino mind into the extreme of patience. But even in
America and England thinking citizens have always been asking for a ―day of
universal reform…when almost everyman you met might draw a plan for a new

New Society

Marcos had his ―New Society‖ in 1972. Arroyo would have her ―Strong
Republic‖ in 2003. Marcos also had his ―Crisis Government‖ while Aquino
had her ―Revolutionary Government‖ All of them envisioned the emergence of
a new political order. In 1977 Marcos spoke with conviction when he said: ―
One cannot transform a whole society in five-and-a-half years…the essential
point is whether the old order has been effectively replace, whether the grand
strategy of transformation is working.‖ He justified declaring Martial Law in
1972 because ―this system was in severe decay and… was powerless to effect
the needed changes in society.‖ He admitted that it was clear that the political
leadership ―saw in this situation an opportunity for winning public power by
unconstitutional methods.‖105 Ramos would also see this in 1996 as Arroyo
would see it in 2006- Charter Change or ―Cha-cha.‖ In trying to hold on to
power Arroyo has been using a Marcosian approach. Like Marcos she has been
blaming the machinations of opposition political leaders for ―destabilizing‖ her
Strong Republic. She has been unabashed in using the words of Marcos, that
―funds were channeled to various radical groups for the purpose of staging
demonstration and sowing chaos…thus undermining the national government.‖

   Commager, Henry Steele The Era of Reform 1830 -1860 (1982), Malabar, Florida, Robert
E. Krieger Publising Company, p. 7.
  Emerson, R.W. Nature, Addresses and Lectures – Man The Reformer (1841), Ibid.
Commager, p. 21 .
   Marcos, Ferdinand E. Five Years of the New Society (1977) Philippines, Marcos
Foundation, Inc., pp. 11, 12.
                                                              CHAPTER TWO – REFORM

Apparently Arroyo has been using Marcos‘ book on a New Society as a guide.
She has been mimicking Marcos and replicating his tactics. Paradoxically like
Marcos she has been blaming their own specie - old society politicians In a
speech in a World Bank-sponsored Philippine Development Forum in March
2006, she declared in a typical Marcosian rhetoric: ―The old-time politicians of
the status quo better stand back or get run over.‖106 Marcos claimed in 1977 he
had established a new political consciousness through the ―barangays and
sanggunians.‖ Arroyo claims she has arose through the same barangays the
people initiative which she calls the ―Sigaw ng Bayan‖ or ―Shout of the
Nation.‖ Marcos said ―we reach a turning point.‖ Arroyo through Press
Secretary, Ignacio Bunye, said: ―It is time for us to cross the Rubicon.‖ It is
clear that Marcos and Arroyo agree on the definition of the turning point.
Marcos said: ―Now we have established …a new political consciousness…for
the nation and involving the people, though the barangays.‖ To survive
politically, Arroyo is using the barangays. The Philippine Daily Inquirer
editorial, Dirty Deeds, of April 3, 2006 has denounced the Arroyo strategy,
calling it ―ultimately counter-democratic. ―While the consequences are dire, the
means used are also most foul.‖

In his guide for a New Society, Marcos wrote that the people were ―herded to
the polls‖, rather than enlightened on real issues. Herding is what Arroyo has
done to survive her personal crisis of presidential legitimacy. The Inquirer
editorial further said‖ ―Consider the effrontery of calling the DILG-supported
top-down signature campaign a ―peoples‘ initiative…The administration has
mobilized its resources to manufacture an alleged public groundswell; But
those… signatures were gathered in various ways and guises;…through
barangay assemblies voting…‖ But they know the public sees through the
whole Arroyo charade. The people also saw the scam of Marcos who claimed
that there is vitality and dynamism to the barangay system that lends promise to
new initiatives. Like Arroyo, Marcos believed in the mystical. He believed in a
―special angel.‖107 Both Marcos and Arroyo blamed the old society. They
claimed the old order has to be replaced. Both suggested that traditional society
politics placed a premium on the special interests of cliques. The two leaders
spoke with chilling unanimity that went beyond mere coincidence. Both said
that so much of governmental power is lodged in the very interests that needed
reform. But because of an alleged emergency situation both Marcos and Arroyo
took measures abridging human rights to ―ensure the security of the state.‖ In

   Cabacungan, Gil C., and Burgonio, TJ., GMA Rides Cha-cha Train- It’s Time for Old
Politicians to Stand Back or Get Run Over (March 31, 2006), Philippine Daily Inquirer.
   McDougald, Charles C. The Marcos File – Was he a Philippine Hero or a Corrupt
Tyrant? (1987), Philippines, San Francisco Publishers, p. 2.


declaring a state of emergency, the basic civil liberties of citizens were abused
by high government officials, the police and the military. Arroyo cracked down
on left and right foes, both real and imagined. Her cabinet officials were wary.
Her economic managers proposed a rescission of the emergency proclamation.
It was obviously infringing on the civil liberties of the citizenry and creating
uneasiness in the business community.

Civil Liberties

Dorr has lamented that the scope of civil liberties, particularly on human rights,
was extended to political rights only fairly recently In 1948 the United Nations
adopted The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.108 But controversy tends
to erupt in relation to the scope and meaning of certain qualifications of the UN
Declaration. For instance some countries believe the Declaration applies only to
racial discrimination. And some rulers will acknowledge the right of its citizens
to freedom of speech and of the press ―subject to public order.‖ Champions of
human freedom have often accused governments of abusing this qualification
that enable them to violate the fundamental rights of their citizens. Arroyo in
her controversial Proclamation 1017 declared a state of national emergency in
February 2006. She spoke of a ―tactical alliance between right-wing and
communist forces to oust her and create an unconstitutional regime‖
reminiscent of the Marcos‘ ruse in September 1972. In the United States the
Supreme Court can be trusted to play a leading role to further the cause of civil
liberties. Since the 1920s, ―the Court has held that the First Amendment
freedoms (speech, press, assembly and religion) are incorporated in the ‗due
process clause‘ of the Fourteenth Amendment, which restricts the states from
abridging the rights of citizens.‖109

The struggle to build a more just world is difficult when citizens are against
leaders like Marcos and Arroyo. With the resources of the government behind
them they can discourage those who articulate respect for basic human rights,
particularly the freedom of speech and the press. Those in power consider a
practical necessity any expression of dissent that can derail their hold to power.
To them the law or even the constitution can be changed. This is obvious in
Arroyo‘s tactics. When questioned her stock reply is: ―Go to the courts.‖ Dorr
states that the fact is: ―a truly just world require not merely a change in the
law…‖ Radical changes are needed. There must be a change in the attitudes of

      Dorr, Donal The Social Justice Agenda – Justice, Ecology, Power and the Church (1993),
      Quezon City, Philippines, Claretian Publications, p. 26.
      Ibid., Winter and Bellows People and Politics, p. 371.
                                                              CHAPTER TWO – REFORM

those who hold power. Law, or even the Constitution, is an inadequate
instrument for bringing about justice. Enacting or amending laws, much more
the Constitution, is a very tedious and expensive process. As the saying goes,
―justice delayed is justice denied.‖110 A California judge, Macklin Fleming,
argues that the quest for ―perfect justice‖ overemphasizes procedural rights,
which has to needless and costly litigation.111

Sense of Reality

Arroyo and her advisers knew that their political opponents would find it
difficult to seek judicial redress. Changing her hardened attitudes was not easy.
A leader like Arroyo could stonewall reality. She has been the most unpopular
president of the Philippines for the last two decades.112 But negative surveys
have not fazed her at all. Arroyo would ―not care if the public liked former
President Corazon Aquino, Fidel V. Ramos and Joseph Estrada more.‖ Social
Weather Station (SWS) president Mahar Mangahas said in an article written for
the World Association for Public Opinion Research Newsletter declared: ―Mrs.
Arroyo, whose critics still question her victory in the 2004 elections, has
received negative ratings from the public since August 2004.‖ In Thailand,
another Asian leader, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, had a different sense
of reality. Although Thaksin‘s party won 57 percent of the parliamentary
election of April 2006, he resigned in recognition of his plummeting popularity.
In reality it was unfortunate. In Thaksin, Thailand seemed to have a leader who
was capable of pushing a tough reform agenda.113

There are leaders with a practical sense of reality like Thaksin. He has also a
sense of history and honor. By resigning he avoided the ―March of Folly.‖ of
leaders throughout history. Thaksin was obviously acquainted with the heritage
of past Thai leaders. A leader has to understand the past to lead intellectually in
the present. Arroyo does not need a lecture in history to appreciate this
philosophy. After all she holds a doctoral degree and she studied in
Georgetown University in the United States. But Arroyo needs to re-educate
herself with the philosophy of great thinkers. She has alienated her own people.
She needs to ―rethink and put to constructive use‖ the remarkably rich

      Ibid., Dorr, p. 27.
   Ibid., Winter and Bellows, p. 382 citing Fleming, Macklin, The Prince of Perfect
Justice (1974) New York Basic Books.
     Cabacungan, Gil C. She is Most Unpopular, but GMA is Undaunted (April 5, 2006),
Philippine Daily Inquirer
      Sharma, Ruchir, Global Investor (March 27, 2006) Newsweek International.


inheritance of thought of great philosophers of the past.114 It might broaden her
mind-set and help her understand various traditions and theories of human
nature and why she has been so unpopular.

Some people may wonder whether it is worth giving attention to the religious
and non-religious traditions, philosophers, and speculative theorists of history.
Plato in his Republic was quite ambiguous about how individuals can change
themselves without institutional reform. But he clearly argued that‖ justice‖ is
essentially the same thing in both individual and society. It is ―a smooth
working together of the parts within the souls or of the classes in the state; the
lack of such harmony is injustice.‖ He insisted that it is harmony, which is
bound to make each of us a happier, more fulfilled human being.115 But how
can such harmony are attained? Thaksin showed how. He was aware of the
need for harmony in his country by recognizing its traditions. In resigning his
post, Thaksin said: ―My reason for not accepting the post of prime minister is
because this year is an auspicious year for the King, whose 60th anniversary on
the throne is just 60 days away…We have no time to quarrel …I want to see
Thai people unite and forget what has happened.‖ On the same day Thaksin
resigned, Arroyo was in a festive mood. At the same time the Philippine Senate
in its Committee Report No. 69 denounced Arroyo for her ―presidential
arrogance ‖ and her moves to ―control and muzzle‖ media allegedly to control
expression construed as inciting to sedition.116

In England the courts have construed seditious conspiracy narrowly. They
make certain that the executive branch adheres strictly and fairly to the rules of
procedure laid down by law.117 The responsibility of preserving civil liberties
rests on public opinion. It is respected in an ―unwritten constitution‖ that
Parliament shall not pass any law ―infringing upon the traditional civil liberties
of the realm.‖ In Japan the concept of basic civil rights was not rooted in pre-
World War II Japanese constitutionalism. But the postwar constitution grants a

     Stromberg, Roland N. European Intellectual History Since 178119 (1990) New
Jersey, Prentice Hall, p. 11.
   Stevenson, Leslie and Haberman, David L., Ten Theories of Human Nature (1998), New
York, Oxford University Press, pp. 104,189.
   Philippine Daily Inquirer Headlines: Thai PM Thaksin Quits, Senate Media Report
says GMA is not the State (April 5, 2006)
   Ibid., Winter and Bellows, p. 372, citing Bailey, Sidney D., British Parliamentary
Democracy (1966) Cambridge, Massachusetts.
                                                              CHAPTER TWO – REFORM

wide range of specific rights that include freedom of the press, assembly,
speech and academic freedom.118 Even in many young and democratic
developing countries in Africa, their constitutions provide for substantive civil
liberties, such as freedom of the press, speech, and religion. But like the
Philippines, in reality civil rights are eroded by courts ―packed with judges who
will do the government‘s bidding.‖119

In 1945 the Soviet Union was practically at the mercy of the Americans in the
nuclear arms race. In the frantic task of catching up with American supremacy a
brilliant young Russian physicist emerged. His name is Andre Dmitriyveich
Sakharov. The debt of the Kremlin to Sakharov in producing the first H-bomb
ahead of the United States is immeasurable. But Sakharov, to the consternation
of the Soviets, has set for himself a different goal – to promote intellectual
freedom. He believes that it is essential to human society – ―freedom to obtain
and distribute information, freedom for open-minded and unfearing debate and
freedom from pressure by officialdom and prejudices.‖ Sakharov argues that:
―Freedom of thought is the only guarantee against an infection of people of
mass myths, which, in the hands of treacherous hypocrites and demagogues,
can be transformed into bloody dictatorship.‖120 Sakharov‘s electrifying book –
Progress, Coexistence & Intellectual Freedom was translated and published by
the New York Times in 1968.

Almost half a century later, the New York Times would publish an editorial on
Arroyo – Dark Days for Philippine Democracy.121 The New York Times urged
President George W. Bush to warn Arroyo that she was ―undermining a hard-
won democracy.‖ and making the Philippines ―vulnerable to terrorist
pressures.‖ In its editorial, the Times also said: ―Filipinos thought they had put
an end to election chicanery and government intimidation when they overthrew
the Marcos dictatorship two decades ago.‖ When she was swept into power to
succeed the discredited Joseph Estrada, Arroyo was seen as an earnest reformer.
Her narrow reelection victory was in 2004 was tainted with fraud. After
surviving an impeachment attempt she declared a state of emergency. Since

      Op cit., Winter and Bellows, p. 373.
  Op cit., Winter and Bellows, p. 374, citing Gower, L.C.B., Independent Africa: The
Challenge to the Legal Profession (1967), Harvard University Press, p. 79.
  Sakharov, Andrei D., Progress, Coexistence & Intellectual Freedom (1968), New York
Times Book, pp. 27-30.
  Philippine Daily Inquirer, New York Times Slams GMA in Editorial: Dark Days for
RP Democracy (April 6, 2006) pp.1, 17.


then she has intensified pressure on her critics and on the press. The Times
concluded; ―No Philippine government has made such efforts to muzzle the
press since the Marcos era.‖ The US State Department has also reported
―serious problems‖ in human rights‘ violations in the Philippines. In Supporting
Human Rights and Democracy: The US Record 2005-2006, the State
Department supported its previous report that human rights abuses are
pervasive in the Philippines. It cited the Philippine National Police as the
―worst abuser‘ of human rights in the country.122

Long before the American Revolution a young Boston lawyer, James Otis, Jr.,
fought for civil liberties. The specific instance of Otis‘ poignant battle was the
warrant-less actions of authorities to enter or break into homes or stores to
search for smuggled goods.123 Although police had search warrants but these
were authorized for specific areas only. Defending the rights of privacy, Otis
pointed out that the power to issue general search warrants without specific
information placed ―the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty
officer.‖ The nub of Otis‘ argument was even if the writs had been authorized
by an act of Parliament, ―an act against the Constitution is void. That
Parliament was not omnipotent. An act by the Parliament against natural equity
is void. It could be restrained by an unwritten Constitution. The views
expounded by Otis led to a forceful political tract - A ruler like Arroyo is
supposed to listen to the people, not the people to her ends and ambition.


According to Huntington, if revolutions are rare, reforms perhaps are even
rarer.124 In the absence of either revolution or reform a country may stagnate. It
may also retrogress under a leader like Arroyo whose autocratic tendencies
have been trending to the erosion of democracy. Optimistically a change is
possible, albeit moderately. Huntington referred to moderate changes as
consolidation. He quoted Albert O. Hirschman who wrote Journeys Toward
Progress (1963) and A Bias for Hope (1985): “A reform…is a change in
which the power of hitherto privileged groups is curbed and the economic
position and social status of underprivileged groups is correspondingly
improved.” But in the case of Arroyo, instead of curbing her powers, she has
  The Daily Tribune, RP Yet To Solve Human Rights Abuses, Says US Report (April 8,
2006), p. 1.
   Morris, Richard B., Then And There The Child Independence Was Born: A Sense of
History – The Best Writing from the Pages of American Heritage (1985), New York,
American Heritage Press, Inc., pp.72-75.
      Ibid., Huntington, Political Order, p. 344.
                                                              CHAPTER TWO – REFORM

been seeking to amplify them. Her acts ―seemed to have only a dim relation to
reality.‖ Huntington further wrote that leaders have three basic strategies in
undertaking reform not necessarily in the following order. One is repression.
Another is persuasion and the third is broadened political participation. The last
two alternatives can lead to modernization. Marcos tried repression and he
failed. The leaders who succeeded him after Edsa 1 did not repress the country
but neither did they succeed in undertaking reform and modernization. Arroyo,
after Edsa 2 has been resorting to repression that has been leading the country
to political decay. Modernization is a ―multifaceted process involving changes
in all areas of human thought and activity.125

Modernization is considered a general process by which characteristics that
enhance development are acquired. It is best suited to the complexity of the
entire process of change. It is not too narrow to stress the economic aspect
alone. It covers the entire sweep of change but it can be employed with special
reference to political, economic and social reforms. The application of the term
modernization stems from a belief that society can be transformed and that
change is desirable. On the other hand, economists usually use limited terms to
describe changes accompanying development, such as ―industrialization‖ or
―progress.‖ Thus the advantage of using the term ―modernization‖ lies in its
broader scope to cover wider fields of innovation and reform. It is ―a
multifaceted process involving changes in all areas of human thought and
activity.‖ This process is discussed extensively by Huntington in Political
Order in Changing Societies (1987), which he wrote under the auspices of
Harvard‘s Center for International Affairs. It covers also the growth in the
economic activity and output of a society. But the Philippines under the all the
presidents after Edsa 1 has not met this requisite sufficiently. The Asian
Development Bank in its 2006 Asian Development Outlook (ADO) cited
factors that have stunted the economic growth of the Philippines. It lamented
that the country‘s economic growth performance has fallen short of making
―significant inroads into persistent high levels of poverty and unemployment.‖
Its high dependence on overseas workers‘ remittances has stunted potentials for
higher economic growth.126

Modernization as a general term describes the historical evolution of
institutions reflecting the dynamic improvements in knowledge. Apter states
that in reality connections between modernity and traditions are rarely simple.
But there certain types of traditional systems that are highly resistant to
      Op cit., Huntington, pp. 32-36.
      Dumlao Doric C., ADB Cites Other Factors For Stunted RP Growth (April 7, 2006),
      Philippine Daily Inquirer, page A-1.


reform.127 When age-old traditional political practices and symbolic personal
behavior are intertwined; political, economic and social reform is affected. This
is noticeable in the economic sphere where activities may have been allocated
to favor special groups. In this regard traditional applies to not only to Aquino
as a ―trapo‖ but also to Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo. It means “a fundamentally
closed, personalistic way of life, relatively fixed and not easily amenable to
development.” Political scientists tend to limit the term ―modernization‖ to
political and social reform needed for economic development. But Black
explains that a ―holistic definition is better suited to the complexity and
interrelatedness of all aspects of human activity.128

In many least developed democratic societies, particularly the Philippines, the
period of modernization analogous to an economic ―take-off‖, seems to be in
permanent transition. The process of transformation is agonizing and taking
place slowly. It is discouragingly discernible in so-called ―unrest
characteristics.‖ There is an evident lack of equity or leveling, not necessarily
equalization, in terms of income and opportunities in the rural areas. There is a
growing skepticism among the less endowed whether such inequities will
diminish, much less disappear. Arroyo ―won‖ in the May 2004 presidential
elections under serious doubts. Nonetheless it presented her with opportunities
to change. She could have introduced real reform to serve the public interest.
While Arroyo announced a post- election ten-point agenda for her ―extended‖
governance, critics would point out that her program of change did not include
ridding the country of corruption. There were so many pre-electoral debts to be
paid. Arroyo and her ―First Gentleman.‖ would later show how corruption, not
meaningful change would dispatch these debts.

There is convenient enemy in Communism. Arroyo and her spokesmen always
speak of the left even among the Catholic bishops Her apologists speak like
Hitler before World War II who proclaimed that ―he only wished to save
Europe from the corrosive ‗internationals‘ (Communist, Jewish, Jesuit…and so
on).‖129 The Politics of Anticommunism is an allergy that has recurred at
regular intervals in the past. It has achieved a new pitch of hysteria under

      Apter, David E.,The Politics of Modernization (1965), Chicago, University of Chicago
      Press, pp. 59, 121.
      Ibid., Black, The Dynamics of Modernization, p. 7.
      Cabacungan, Gil C., et al., Palace tries to ease CBCP fears; Gonzales hits “leftists in
      Church ( April 9, 2006 ) Philippine Daily Inquirer, p. 1.
                                                                      CHAPTER TWO – REFORM

Arroyo‘s administration, which is suffused with fear and suspicion.130 In the
meantime in rural areas, there is a ―vicious cycle of rural undercapitalization,
under productivity, under consumption, underemployment, overpopulation, and
pervasive misery…the undernourished peasants were scarcely permitted to
consume an adequate proportion of their relatively low food output because
government fiscal, tariff, and investment policies… forced them to sell at a
pittance…to raise cash for payment of…debts…and astronomically priced
essential…products.‖ The result is a general rural poverty full of resentment
and mistrust of urban society.131

Land Reform

James C. Abegglen, writing on The Challenge of Southeast Asia (1994), cited
the enormous disparities in income between wealthy and poor in the
Philippines. He wrote: “Land reform has been much discussed but never put
into effect.”132 Abegglen concluded that the Philippines would continue to
participate in ASEAN but at its periphery. Marcos declared a land reform
program as a mitigating act of ―tokenism‖ after he declared martial law in 1972.
Aquino ―accelerated‖ the program in 1987 but her non-revolutionary instincts
favored her family first. Instead of appeasing the poor, she antagonized them
further by practically reducing the Marcos land reform law into a scrap of
paper. It was tailored-fitted to save the family‘s Hacienda Luisita. Aquino
committed a folly by signing an Executive Order that would haunt her in the
years to come. In 2005 it provided the wily Arroyo a weapon of vengeance
against Aquino who dared asked her to resign. The Aquino Executive Order
No. 229 issued on July 22, 1987 reads:

“Corporate landowners may give their workers and other qualified
beneficiaries the right to purchase such proportion of the capital stock of the
corporation that the land assets bear in relation to the corporation‟s total
assets, and grant additional compensation which may be used for this
purpose. The approval by the PARC of a plan for such stock distribution,
and its initial implementation, shall be deemed compliance with the land
distribution requirements of the CARP.”

      Chafe, William H., The Politics of Anticommunism – The Unfinished Journey (1991),
       New York, Oxford University Press, p. 97.
      Rothschild, Joseph, Return to Diversity – A Political History of East Central Europe Since
      Wotld War II (1993) New York, Oxford University Press, pp. 12-13.
      Abegglen, James C., The Challenge of Southeast Asia – Sea Change (1994)………..


With the stroke of a pen Aquino transformed Edsa 1 into an ―unholy‖ uprising.
It would demonize the sanctimonious participation of the late Cardinal Sin in
that glorious event. Aquino institutionalized the transition from autocracy to
oligarchy and herself as a non-reformer. Soon it led to the ―Mendiola
Massacre‖ of January 1987. Thirteen unarmed peasants were killed and scores
were injured when the military fired on helpless demonstrators near the
Malacañang palace. It was a tragic spectacle to be repeated years later in May
2001, after Arroyo came into power. The attack on the landless poor in
Mendiola street was to characterize Aquino‘s policy on land reform and her
family‘s Hacienda Luisita. The 6,453-hectare Cojuangco estate in Tarlac should
have been distributed to its farm workers under the Comprehensive Agrarian
Reform program. Instead Aquino scorned the program by adopting a so-called
stock dispersion option (SDO). Years later or during Arroyo‘s rule, Aquino
would find herself on the receiving end – the object of the ire of a vengeful
Arroyo who obviously ordered the Department of Agrarian Reform to rescind
the Aquino SDO.

Under Aquino‘s alternative land reform program recipients were made ―co-
owners‖ of a stock corporation that would own the hacienda. As stockholders
they would receive dividends. And indeed they started receiving a paltry sum of
about $4.00 a year. In November 2004 the Mendiola Massacre of 1987 was
replicated in Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac. Seventeen poor workers and their
children were killed in a violent dispersal of a demonstration against the
management of the Cojuangco-controlled hacienda. Many more poor workers
would be killed in connection with the unrest in the Cojuangco plantation. In
Russia it was the cry by the poor for the distribution of large land holdings that
brought about initially the February Revolution in 1917. It led to the fall of
Tsarism under Tsar Nicholas II. Instead of implementing a legitimate land
reform program, the new revolutionary government agitated the poor Russian
peasants into seizing lands illegally. In spite of this anarchic land reform there
was general dissatisfaction of the masses with the Provisional Government.
Anti-government demonstrations took place. Soldiers joined the masses and
together they clashed with pro-government troops. The turn of events led to
―Great Socialist October Revolution‖ in October-November 1917 under
Vladimir I. Lenin.133 Following the October Revolution Lenin sought to
strengthen the Bolshevik socialist society. More land, including church
properties were seized and turned over to the peasants. Lenin also began the
process of creating a dictatorship, typical of the aftermath of a revolution.

      Ibid., Viault, pp. 407-408.
                                                                       CHAPTER TWO – REFORM

Brutal Reformists

Lenin pursued his brutal Bolshevik reform program. Actually there were series
of great reforms that started in 1860. They failed because they were driven by
the proletariat. Lenin would have more than fifty of the largest millionaires
arrested. The profits of the corrupt military would be published. In The History
of Russia (1996) Alexander A. Danilov wrote that Lenin‘s reform program was
not only brutal but also naïve.134 Those who deposed Tsar Nicholas II earlier
had allowed the radicalization of the masses. It then turned a newly- born
democracy into anarchy, which opened the door to Lenin‘s radicalism. The
situation in Russia in 1917 was similar to Tarlac and Northern Luzon, where
many poor peasants would be killed. Some were under ―mysterious‖
circumstances allegedly committed by the military. Clearly the deaths were
related to the conflict between poor workers and the family of Aquino in
Hacienda Luisita. With the weakness of the Arroyo administration, these
killings could become the seed of a Russian-type revolution. Similarly the
events in 1789 led to a major social upheaval in France.

In Iran the West, particularly the United States, had hopes that the Islamic
Revolution of the radical Ayotollah Khomeni would simmer down to
pragmatism. But it has lurched back to radicalism with the election of
Mahmoud Ahmadinijad as president in 2005.135 What is happening in Iran has
historical precedents. The revolution that took place twenty-six years ago went
through a ―quiet‖ period after a phase of radicalism. This is because this quiet
period was marked with corruption and a retreat from revolutionary goals.
Idealists then sought a ―return of the radicals.‖ It was similar to the Mexican
experience. The Mexican Revolution of 1910 was a challenge to the dictator
Porfirio Diaz. It was followed by a radical phase that ended in 1920 when
General Alvaro Obregon seized power. He limited land reform and ruled up to
1934. Then resentment built up among the Mexicans against growing
corruption in his government. With his ally, General Plutarco Calles, he averted
a brewing revolution by choosing an ―honest idealist‖, Lauro Cardenas, to
become president. Cardenas was known for his honesty. He refused to live in
the presidential palace and cut his salary in half. With popular support he
expelled Calles from Mexico. This indeed has a parallel in the Philippines.
Arroyo‘s ousted the corrupt Estrada but she is not known for her honesty. In
spite of her Ph.D., she seems to lack a sense of history. It has yet to occur to her

      Danilov, Alexander A., The History of Russia – The Twentieth –Century (1996), The
      Heron Press, USA, p. 43.
      Goldstone, Jack A. World View in the Inquirer (March 7, 2006).


that the corruption in her administration, similar to Iran and Mexico in the past,
can lead to radical action of the citizenry.

Like the Edsa episodes, the overthrow of the monarchy in Iraq in 1958 brought
new elites to power. It was supposed to usher in a new revolutionary paradigm
in governing a struggling third world country. Unfortunately, similar to the
Philippines, the structure of the old society was not destroyed. But author Said
Aburish would write on the reforms in Iraq several decades later in Saddam
Hussein – The Politics of Revenge (2001).136 Although Saddam was a
monstrous dictator, he was popular among the Iraqi poor. He implemented a
real land reclamation and reform program. He was inspired Lenin and the
Russian revolution of October 1917. The epic of Saddam Hussein became
relevant to the Filipinos when Arroyo decided to support George W. Bush‘s
demagogic war in Iraq. It was both a controversial and embarrassing move.
Arroyo violated the Philippine Constitution in the same manner Bush trampled
on the Charter of the United Nations. He appeared to have decided to take on
Saddam based on bogus evidence.137

Aburish‘s book on Saddam is a textbook on revolutionary leadership in modern
times. It described the political turmoil that consumed Iraq, a third world
country. The country under Saddam appeared to be in a state of upheaval.
Hoping to incite a revolution, U.S. President George W. Bush decided to get rid
of Saddam in 2003. He claimed that Saddam had ―Weapons of Mass
Destruction‖. Prior to his controversial invasion of Iraq there were attempts at
reforms in the country. They led to the rise and fall of its governments.
Eventually Saddam emerged as a strong but inhuman revolutionary. He did not
hesitate to challenge Western hegemony in the Gulf. The West had always
targeted Iraq with its vast oil resources as the most promising Arab country to
be kept under its control. In the meantime the Iraqi people remained backward
and poor. Of course, the United States and England had managed to put all the
blame on Saddam. He was no doubt corrupt but so were the people he dealt
with, including those from the United Nations. In 1996 the Security Council
allowed Saddam to sell ―oil for-food‖ within U.N. sanctions. Records later
uncovered in Iraq allegedly showed that companies and persons from France,

      Aburish, Said K., Saddam Hussein- The Politics of Revenge (2000) London, Bloomsbury
      Publising Plc.
      Kelley, James, Managing Editor, Our Special Series on Iraq One Year Later (March
      15, 2004) , Time, p. 4.
                                                               CHAPTER TWO – REFORM

Russia, China and even the United States skimmed off billions of dollars from
the $64 billion program that ran for seven years.138

The Americans, English, French, Germans and Russians had always kept their
sights on Iraq‘s rich oil resources, profitable arms contracts and various trades.
In fact, the invasion of Iraq by a so-called coalition was resisted by France,
Germany and Russia because they had much to lose in lucrative contracts with
Saddam. To Arroyo, an insignificant player in geopolitics, it was to her
personal interest to support the Bush. Bereft of the interests of the great powers
in the Middle East, still it presented her an opportunity to overcome her
unpopularity in her own country, Arroyo decided to join the coalition.
Democracy in Iraq would hang in the balance with the United States in a
Vietnam-like quagmire. Removing Saddam needed a solid plan behind it and
Bush did not have any. After a Filipino was kidnapped Iraq, Arroyo flip-
flopped and abandoned Bush‘s coalition. It would have been more honorable
had she decided not to join the fray at the outset. But that would run counter to
Arroyo‘s character.

Saddam was a brutal dictator but he was a social reformist. Among his acts as
president was decree to prevent people suffering because of their social origins.
He gave poor peasants the right to the land with adequate assistance from the
government to cultivate them.139 His strong arm methods were difficult for
people in the West to understand. But people in poor developing countries
know that democratic reform mechanisms are practically impossible to
implement. An element of fear and even terror is necessary. Saddam was a
hardened ―big city revolutionary‖, unlike former President Aquino. He was for
the total death of the old social order. In contrast, EDSA I and Aquino
preserved the old structure of power under Marcos. But in introducing reforms
in Iraq, Saddam resorted to brutal means. Consequently, he was demonized by
Western media.

The early economic reforms of Saddam were the envy of the other Arab
countries. It was true that they were instituted in dictatorial and inhuman ways.
But they were incomparably better than those of previous governments.
Although many suffered, Saddam‘s efficient dictatorial reforms impressed
others. It was a case of “the ends justifying the means.” They made sense out
of an unwieldy country. Saddam‘s reform was ―Iraq-first‖ and inward-looking.
Corporate America overtly supported him without knowing the real covert

      Mcgeary, Johanna The Fight Of His Life (December 13, 2004) Time, p. 30
      Ibid., Aburish, p. 184


cynical policy of the U.S. government.140 American suppliers competed with
other Western powers in supplying Saddam with biological, chemical and
atomic weapons. Later the West would depict Saddam as an evil dictator. No
matter, Saddam was a social and political genius. He was hated by many Iraqis
but he had also shown thoughtfulness for the poor and the disenfranchised. He
demonstrated a great understanding of ordinary people. No Filipino leader had
this character, except perhaps Estrada, who unfortunately turned a unique trait
into a disaster. Of course Saddam gave his enemies no quarters and no Filipino
leader was as brutal, even Marcos.

To the West, particularly the United States represented by the George Bushes,
Saddam had ceased to be a person. He was considered an upstart from a third
world country that happened to have vast resources of oil. He was to be taught a
lesson for instituting reforms in Iraq without Western acquiescence. George W.
Bush, the son, ―finished‖ in 2003 what his father failed to do in 1991. However,
even with the apparent defeat of Saddam in 2003, the Iraqis did not rise in
revolt as the Americans expected. The question that would remain unresolved is
whether American-style democracy will eventually bring peace and progress
for the benefit of the Iraqis. Even before Saddam decided to attack Kuwait in
1991, practically all Iraqis considered Kuwait as a province of Iraq. Kuwait was
overproducing oil depressing prices in the world market. It was favoring the
West and destroying the economy of Iraq. Saddam had not to attack Kuwait.
And he played into the hands of the West. The Western powers, led by the
United States and Britain were not promoting democracy in Iraq. They simply
wanted another dictator who would be beholden to them to replace Saddam.
―America and Britain have betrayed a stubborn inflexibility which perpetuated
their inability to separate the dictator from his people.‖141

In spite of negative Western propaganda, Saddam was able to create a well-off
but docile middle class. He implemented land reclamation projects and a real
land reform program by distributing agricultural plots to the landless. Reports
showed increased cropping. Income from oil also increased. Statistics revealed
real economic growth. They were unfortunately negated by his brutal human
rights record. According to Saddam, Iraq was too young for democracy. And
that it needed a strong leader who could give it direction. The United States was
not happy. Saddam was succeeding in proving that ―full bellies‖ would replace
the people‘s desire for a revolution or a democratic system. The big powers had
to resort to economic sanctions to bring the irrepressible Saddam to his knees.

      Op cit., Aburish, p. 229
      Op cit., Aburish, p. 318
                                                                 CHAPTER TWO – REFORM

As a third world revolutionary, Saddam was besieged by internal and external
aggression prior to and after the Gulf War. By 1991 these pressures were
inflicting misery on the Iraqi people. Most countries, except the United States
and Britain, were in favor of easing the economic sanctions imposed by the
ineffective U.N. Security Council. The U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright declared to the world on May 12, 1996:”The pain {of the Iraqi people}
was worth it.” Earlier Zbigniew Brzenzinski, former Carter‘s National
Secretary Adviser commented that the Iraq war with Kuwait; ―had been over-
personalized, over-emotionalized and over-militarized.‖142 Aburish‘s book on
Saddam Hussein should be a lesson for poor third world developing countries
hungering for reform, but dependent on the United States, like the Philippines:

“Only a change in the behavior of all individuals, countries and
organizations capable of influencing the Iraqi situation can stop this descent
into despair.”

Theory of Change

There is an inextricable connection between the concepts of revolution, reform
and change. Revolutionary changes in society and in human beings began more
than a million years ago. In fact it was “not until a billion years ago did the
antecedents of man emerge. This infinitely slow process may be termed a
revolution…” Great revolutions that transformed human affairs would occur
throughout history. The transformation was accompanied by reforms.
Huntington and Black would refer to them as modernization. Significant
changes in the level of understanding and the knowledge of man would also
take hundreds of thousands of years. They would be influenced by religious
beliefs and the works of great thinkers. Robert L Heilbroner would refer to
them as ―wordly philosophers.‖143 Heilbroner graduated summa cum laude from
Harvard University in 1936. He wrote more than two dozens of outstanding
academic books.

Long before the wordly works of the great thinkers written by Heilbroner,
philosophers had written on the concept of change that applies to human souls.
People like nature have shown an inherent tendency to behave under a flux of
change. Heraclitus (circa 500 BC) introduced the significant idea of reason as
      Op cit., Aburish, p. 304
      The Wordly Philosophers: The Lives, Times, and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers,
      A Touchstone Book, Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York, 1989, pp. and Teachings from
      the Wordly Philosophy, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 1996, pp. .


the universal law of change.144 But people notoriously disagree and behave
quite inconsistently. In later years Heraclitus‘ concept formed the foundation of
natural law. Epicurus who was born after Plato‘s Republic would write a
memorable poem On the Nature of Things. Eventually the principle of natural
law became the dynamic foundation of freedom that precipitated the American
Revolution. But still there would be meaningless strifes in the world,
―overwhelmed by the presence of good and evil.‖ For Heraclitus, strife is the
very essence of change itself. All change requires opposite and diverse things
creating ‗images of disorder.‖ This is one of the images that accompany the
notion of freedom. ―But the lover of freedom claims that any excess in the
administration of order destroys both freedom and life.‖145 It serves to be
reminded that freedom must be understood with a fresh mind and a constant
determined renewal of effort, which is necessary to the existence of change.
This is the first natural object of man‘s intellect that leads to the notion of free

There are so many books written on the theory of change. Various suggestions
for possible changes in society are given. But one becomes aware of the
difficulty in making these changes. Political and tribal leaders ―cannot be
refashioned completely and certainly cannot be genuinely changed within our
lifetime.‖147 How would a king in Nepal, a president in the Philippines, a tribal
chief in Afghanistan or a sectarian leader in Iraq change? Like Plato, Heraclitus
had advanced to his concept of change the idea of reason as the universal law.
This came from his religious conviction. To Heraclitus change is not a
haphazard movement. It is the product of God‘s universal Reason. All people
are supposed to share this universal principle as the essence of natural law. It is
available to all thoughtful people. The Stoics are known for believing ―that
people contain a spark of the divine within them.‖ While the Stoics did not
provide a satisfactory explanation why providence does not rule people‘s
attitudes, they believed in a common element shared by all. As Cicero put it in
De Republica, the first common possession of human beings and God is
Reason. And right Reason is Law. “Those who share Law must also share

      Ibid. Stumpf and Fieser , p. 15
      Simon, Yves R. Freedom of Choice (1969), New York, Fordham University Press,
       Editor‘s Preface by Wolff, Peter, Images of Disorder Press, p. 3
      Op cit., p. 153
      Ornstein, Robert and Oerlich, Paul, New World New Mind (1989), New York, Doubleday,
      p. 196
                                                                    CHAPTER TWO – REFORM

Justice” The theory of a universal law of justice was one of the impressive
contributions made by the Stoics to the Western thought.148

True Justice

St. Augustine wrote; “Indeed, without justice, what are kingdoms but great
robberies?”149 He went on to say that robberies themselves are but little
kingdoms where the booty is divided by the law agreed on. They assume the
name of a kingdom with the addition of impunity. St. Augustine referred to De
Republica of Scipio or Cicero, which advocates the cause of justice against
injustice.150 These are words of modern times where justice is usually to be
found in the courts. In the United States and the Philippines the supreme justice
is embodied in the Constitution. And the maxim is that the Constitution is what
the Supreme Court says it is. The consequences can hardly be overstated. Again
and again the U.S. Supreme Court has used its powers. And the results have not
always been acceptable. But the United States proved capable of correcting
itself. Under the leadership of Earl Warren, who was Chief Justice from 1953 to
1969, the Court became the very essence of true justice. In recent years the
appointment of a Supreme Court justice has to go through a rigorous process.
An appointee has to show not only a record of judiciary experience but
scholarly work in constitutional law.151

On January 19, 2001, Arroyo was sworn as president of the Philippines by then
Chief Justice Hilarion Davide. It was not surprising that the Supreme Court would
take sides in a political conflict. What was perplexing was the justices voted 13-0 in
throwing out Estrada in favor of Arroyo. But many of them did not concur with the
reasoning behind their decision. They were concerned that their action would court
―instability and anarch.‖ A former University of the Philippines law dean revealed
―What the Court really said about Edas 2.‖152 Justice Santiago Kapunan called
People Power ―vague and ambiguous. Justice Consuelo Ynares-Santiago described
it ―amorphous and indefinable.‘ She concluded bluntly that it is not one of the
modes to create a vacancy in the office of the President. It is not known what Justice

      Ibid., Stumf and Fieser, p. 114.
      Paolucci, Henry (ed.) The Political Writings of St. Augustine (1962), Washington, D.C.
      Regenery Gateway, p. 29.
      Op cit., Paolucci, p. 39.
      Brogan, Hugh The Pelican History Of The United States Of America (1985),
      England, Penguin Group, p. 219.
      Panngalagan, Raul C., Passion for Reason (February 3, 2006) Philippine Daily Inquirer


Artemio Panganiban said. He and Chief Justice Davide were instrumental in
Estrada‘s ―legal‖ ouster. Davide‘s integrity had earlier been questioned. It was
revealed that he lobbied for his appointment as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
with the help of Estrada‘s foremost Chinese friend. Panganiban‘s background was
not also immaculate. His earlier extra-marital indiscretion was public knowledge
more than his legal prowess. It was also known that he was appointed to the Court
through the influence of an ―intimate‖ presidential lady friend. It was rumored that
Panganiban had his sights on being the next Chief Justice after Davide. And in
helping Arroyo become president, Panganiban would realize his wish. Arroyo‘s
word may not be trusted but she is not known to be wanting in gratitude. Fortunately
the Supreme Court under Panganiban would show its independence in 2006 by
declaring certain acts of Arroyo as unconstitutional, albeit with some reservations.

The political upheaval preceding Edsa 2 was the result of mobilized demonstrations.
They were different from the spontaneous protests that led to Edsa 1, which toppled
Marcos and propelled Aquino to power. Estrada was an easy prey for self-appointed
public moral guardians because of his well-known prodigious appetite for women
and luxury. His out-of-wedlock children, sumptuous meals, nightly drinking
sessions with his ―midnight cabinet‖ were widely publicized. Ironically Estrada was
betrayed by an ill-repute drinking buddy who accused him of pocketing illegal
gambling profits and cigarette-tax revenues. These allegations eventually led to his
impeachment. Estrada‘s Senate trial turned into an all-out attack on his morality.
The prosecution claimed he amassed millions in different bank accounts under an
assumed name, nearly one hundred times his declared net assets. Estrada‘s downfall
came later on, when the Senate voted 11-10 to ―seal‖ an envelope submitted by the
prosecution as evidence against him. This vote in the Senate was an indication of
Estrada‘s eventual acquittal. A majority vote was needed to remove him from
office. It was evident that the prosecution had nowhere near that number. His
adversaries, among them Aquino, Ramos, Jaime Cardinal Sin, and the elitist sectors
were ―outraged‖. There was an apparent suppression of evidence and truth, as they
claimed. And soon they organized the second Edsa ―revolution‖ at the same site
Filipinos demonstrated against Marcos a decade and a half ago.

As thousands marched in the streets against him, Estrada suddenly was abandoned
by most of his allies. They would later be rewarded with high government positions
by Arroyo. For awhile Estrada felt secured with the support of the police and the
military. He refused to give up the presidency. Meantime the country‘s economy
continued to crumble. Estrada‘s position collapsed when the Army Chief of Staff,
General Angelo Reyes, withdrew his support for Estrada. Other members of the
Estrada administration and opportunistic police and military officers jumped ship.
Estrada was left powerless, politically and militarily. He took refuge in his mansion
in a nearby suburb. Immediately, Arroyo was sworn in as president by Chief Justice
Davide. There were protests from Estrada and his allies that the oath taking was not
                                                              CHAPTER TWO – REFORM

constitutionally correct. They claimed he never formally resigned from the

Many believed Edsa 2 was an injustice perpetuated on Estrada. It was an
organized unconstitutional ―power grab.‖ Estrada‘s powerful adversaries were
intent on removing him from the presidency. They motivated influential
participants by offering them with high government positions, especially in the
country‘s powerful police and military forces. Passive groups, mostly the
religious, were induced with moral exhortations from politicized factions of the
Catholic Church. Ramos, considered an expert psy-war practitioner and
Aquino, an avowed moralist, made themselves visible with Cardinal Sin to
pressure Estrada to resign. Many of those who joined them in EDSA II were
encouraged by a biased media, led by Estrada‘s nemesis –The Philippine Daily
Inquirer. And the ―crapulous homilies of religious leaders.‖ However, it could
not be denied that Estrada had evidently gone beyond the bounds of proper
presidential decorum. But there was no mass outrage. The poor were not
legitimate participants in Edsa 2.

Huntington drew a distinction between legitimate participants, who are private
elitist citizens and traditional professional politicians. A political professional
is someone whose primary profession is politics at times masquerading as a
revolutionist or a reformist, but seeking personal success in politics and
influence in government. Many of the private citizens who participated in Edsa
2 joined with the intention of influencing government decision makers for their
own personal interests. Some had ―virtually no understanding of their action.‖
Young students from Catholic schools or members of religious groups like the
―Couples for Christ‖ or the ―Civil Society‖ participated in EDSA II with some
elements of manipulation and coercion. Of course, there were also participants
with the honest conviction that a change was necessary. They believed with
good reasons that Estrada did not deserve to continue as the president of the

The World Problematique

All the Edsa ―revolutions‖ (Edsa 1, 2 and 3) have not narrowed the economic
gap between the rich and the poor. More than three decades ago, the Club of
Rome organized by Aurelio Peccei in 1968, had called for reform in developing
countries. It came out with a phrase to describe their problems. Peccei called it
“The World Problematique.‖153 The major manifestations of this

      The Club of Rome, founded in 1968, is a group of scientists, economics,
      businessmen, international civil servants, and Heads of State who are convinced


Problematique would dominate Philippine society. In fact the problems of
Philippine society had become more serious after EDSA I in 1986.and EDSA II
in 2001. The serious lack of ethical concerns in business and government fueled
by greed for money and power had grown more pervasive. These and many
other reasons had led to more corruption, crime and violence. Terrorism,
kidnapping and drug addictions have become commonplace, invulnerable to
police action that had deteriorated to a deplorable state of incompetence.

Arroyo would attribute the Problematique during her rule to poverty. It is the
other way around according to the Asian Development Bank in its report,
Poverty in the Philippines: Income, Assets and Access in early 2005. Poverty in
the Philippines has worsened since 1997. And it was due to the country‘s
Problematique of macroeconomic mismanagement, corruption, poor tax
collections, deficient infrastructures, high population growth rate and other
major constraints to economic growth. International agencies have been
unanimous in pointing to the slow pace of reforms in all the administrations of
the country, particularly after EDSA I and II.

The Club of Rome had recommended ―The First Global Revolution.” It would
deal with poverty and the other major elements of the Problematique that was
pervasive in developing countries. In the Philippines the most popular approach
to solving social problems has been through summits and symposiums. Ramos
was quick to call summits for every social problem that cropped up. Then
nothing would be heard of them later. While lacking in concrete
accomplishments, summits were never lacking in reports and exuberant
promises. The Club of Rome reported on this practice:

“There has been a runaway explosion of meetings of all sorts devoted to the
alleviation of hardships of poor countries. No one had bothered to do an
accounting of the expenses for plane fares, luxury hotels and the publication
of various reports and recommendations.”

According to the Club of Rome, the Global Revolution would not be an armed
rebellion. But it required revolutionary changes in the practices of people in the
developing world. It would be a set of simple prescriptions on reform. Changes
had to be initiated at the grass roots level supported by strong public opinion.
The task was to encourage social innovation by reforming national
bureaucracies that were mired in debilitating attitudes. It included adopting
social and political reforms based on a system of priorities and immediacies.

    that reform can lead to the improvement of developing societies. It produced
    reports such as The Limits to Growth and the Great Global Revolution.
                                                                     CHAPTER TWO – REFORM

The need to rethink development policies was deemed necessary by the Club.
Western educated economic planners were to reorient their ―catch-up‖
development plans. The rural poor had to be favored by shifting investment
priorities from urban large-scale to small-scale rural projects. They were to
examine the assumption that ―technology-based economic growth is the
inevitable path to be followed by all countries and all cultures.‖

The Club of Rome had recognized that one of the growth obstacles was the
neglect of agriculture. An example of agricultural neglect in the Philippines was
cited by John Naisbitt in Megatrends Asia (1996).154 Sculptured by Filipino
natives in the mountains of Banaue are the world famous rice terraces, now
doomed to extinction. What is happening in Banaue is happening all over the
country. ―Industrial development is devouring agricultural land at a
phenomenal rate.‖ Agricultural neglect is compounded by environmental abuse.
Everything is traceable to bureaucratic corruption and ineptness. In China
untrained peasants have been staging a legal revolution against bureaucracy.
The country‘s beleaguered peasantry has been suing bureaucrats marking a ―sea
change‖ in rural China. Poor farmers have become self-taught ―barefoot‖
lawyers who are ensuring that the downtrodden are given their day in court. It
is a non-violent form of revolt against the arbitrary use of power by

Stages of Reform

In the ―International Conference on China and the World in the Nineties‖ in June
1988, Deng Xiaoping defined reform in his century in three stages.155 The first stage
was to ensure that the people have adequate food and clothing, which was
accomplished ahead of time. The second stage was to enable the people to live
comfortably by year 2000. The third stage was for China to become a moderately
developed country by 2050. These were humble goals. Ramos on the other hand
created the boastful myth of pole-vaulting the Philippines to a ―tiger‖ economy by
year 2000. It could have been more realistic like China that began its reform
moderately in the countryside. Why? Because that was where 80% of China‘s
population lived. Deng believed that the peasants could grow grain and cash crops
in places suited to them. Then they would have enough food. Rural reform would
achieve much faster results than industrialization that would take time. There would
be an emergence of a large number of enterprises ran by villages and townships. By

      Naisbitt, John Megatrends – Asia (1996), Great Britain, Nicholas Brealey Publishing Ltd.,
      Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping etc…


applying the experience gained in the countryside, the reform of the entire economic
structure would follow.

Communism aside, the Philippines could learn about reform from China. Deng
Xiaoping declared that ―Reform is China‘s Second Revolution‖. He explained
his principle of being bold when deciding and carrying out reform. Deng
believed it would take normally five years before results were known. But in
China, it took only three years. At the same time he emphasized that it he did
not mean to say that everything China had done was successful. He advised
reformers to begin in the countryside and further quoted Mao Tse Tung:

“Take a confident step and then look around carefully before taking
another... Everything we do must seek truth from facts - in other words we
must proceed from reality.”

Deng Xiaoping in his talk with Melos Jaket of the Central Committee of the
Communist Party of Czechoslovakia on May 25, 1988 said: “We must
continue to emancipate our minds and accelerate reform.”

The economic catapult slogan of Ramos was hyperbolic. It was a poor copy of
Mao Tse Tung‘s “Great Leap Forward”. Ramos claimed that he placed the
Philippines on the way to industrialization. Contrarily, economic analysts, who
have kept close watch of changes in Southeast Asia, never considered the
Philippines in the league of the ―Asian tigers.‖ Its economic growth remained at
the low end, far below the progress of the newly industrializing countries of
Asia. In comparison, Thailand and Malaysia achieved NIC status, taking their
places beside Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and even China due to
mutual and favorable conditioning of their economic and political systems. In
the words of Otto Ulc, the efficiency of the political environment spilled over
the economic realm and vice versa. The market economy was allowed to
supersede the command economy, amid complex debate.156

Ramos, like Marcos, would also have competent technocrats his cabinets. But
they were chosen by giving a premium of loyalty and obeisance. He would also
try to implement his promise to alleviate the plight of the poor through his
Social Reform Agenda. But in June 1997 a prominent Jesuit priest, Fr.
Francisco Claver wrote then President Ramos a letter. Fr. Claver took the
president to task regarding his failed promise to help the country‘s marginalized
sectors. He deplored the slow minimal allocation of resources for programs for
the poor. In contrast huge amounts were allocated for presidential travels. He

      Ibid., Gati (ed.) on Ulc, Otto The Politics of Economic Reform, pp. 101-102
                                                          CHAPTER TWO – REFORM

“Thirteen months have elapsed, Mr. President, and we are not within striking
distance of the key goals of the Social Reform Agenda: access to quality basic
services, asset reform, sustainable development and institutional
building…the growth is jobless, ruthless, voiceless, rootless and futureless.”

The Social Reform Agenda was launched by Ramos in a glorious anti-poverty
summit in early 1996. He described it in his usual dramatic rhetoric. Ramos
was generous in the use of words, referring to his agenda as ―The Great
Equalizer‖. Ramos promised to create the institutions that would give the poor
access to jobs, and opportunities through financing institutions. What actually
happened was the country‘s biggest financial institution; the Philippine
National Bank was brought back to the brink of bankruptcy. Huge loans were
granted on ―behest‖ to favor chosen parties. Most of them were rich
businessmen close to the Ramos administration. But Ramos could claim credit
that his rule was never threatened with armed rebellion.

Not long after Edsa 2 the Arroyo administration was once again perceived to be
under threats of coup d’etat. The government and the military were as corrupt
as ever. But the officers and soldiers who seized a plush Makati hotel in July
2003 were not staging a coup. They were simply asking for reform. Unlike in
Edsa 2 they did not have a Ramos, an Aquino a Cardinal Sin and a General
Reyes. Without an organized mob to simulate a mass people power movement,
their movement failed. But it succeeded in catching public attention. A Pulse
Asia survey would reveal later that majority of Filipinos believed that the
grievances of the mutineers were genuine enough to justify a rebellion. They
fought in Mindanao where they were exposed to the inequities prevailing in the
armed forces. Generals had access to comfortable quarters while the ranks
fought the rebels with limited supplies and low combat pay. Their idealism was
shattered by what they have been witnessing. Government issues particularly,
ammunitions were being sold to the rebels by their officers who also shared
ransom money paid to the rebels. After failing to get any response through ―the
chain of command‖, they decided to take a more drastic action. There was no
swift and violent attack against the government, which was simply not in the
mood for reform. Misled into giving up, they were accused as malcontents and
charged with sedition. And the paranoid military, with politicized minions as
generals, would remain as corrupt as ever.

The following chapter would discuss of the role of ―Politics‖ in the Philippines,
particularly how they influenced presidential leadership and the management of
political power after EDSA I.


      “The politician is an honest man. He tells his lies by rote. The
        journalist makes up his lies, and takes you by the throat.”

                                                                       W.B. Yeats, 1993

“All leaders make mistakes. All politicians lie. All newspapers
represent. And most dangerous, all systems of governance are, or
may easily become, oppressive

                                                       Leonard R. Sussman, 1989

         liver H. Woshinsky in Culture and Politics (1995) wrote: ―Politics

O        everywhere reflects the culture of a time and place… To understand politics
         anywhere, you must first understand the culture within which politicians are
embedded.‖157 Referring to Filipinos, Huntington wrote as early as 1968, that
politics as a way of life is embedded in the Filipino culture. Among Filipinos, it is a
major industry – a way of life. It is the main route to power and the quickest way to
wealth.158 Political candidates spend millions of pesos for elective offices that pay a
      Woshinsky, Oliver H.Culture and Politics (1995), University of Southern Maine, Prentice
      –Hall Inc., p. 3.
      Ibid, Huntington, p. 67


pittance. It is a wonder how many politicians can amass a fortune after a brief
period of serving for the ―public good.‖ Aquino did not change anything in spite of
the awesome revolutionary power she inherited after Edsa 1in 1986. Although it was
premature to judge Aquino in 1987, early prognosis was far from optimistic. It could
be summed up in Sheila S. Coronel‘s article in the Los Angeles Times: 159

“Her government has become increasingly susceptible to charges of
corruption and a regression to patronage-based politics of the past.”

Arroyo has not learned anything from her predecessors, particularly Aquino.
Winning the May 2004 presidential elections, albeit under serious doubts,
presented Arroyo with opportunities to introduce real political reform, which
her predecessors failed to do. Like all of them she spoke a sincere mission to
cure the country‘s economic, social and political ills. Immediately she
announced a post election ten-point agenda for her extended governance. But it
did not include ridding the country of political corruption. Critics would point
warily to the presence of her ―First Gentleman.‖ Would he take charge of the
personal interest of the president and settling her pre-electoral political debts?

Managing Political Power

Lamperis writing on the Edsa 1 people power episode wrote that: “The
question is not how to acquire political power but how to manage it.” 160
Aquino practiced ―kinship politics ―during her presidency after Edsa 1. In An
Anarchy of Families (1994) Alfred McCoy linked the exercise of political
power through familial connections to specific historical case studies in the
Philippines. He traced the political history of the country ―through the paradigm
of elite families.‖161 After the Spanish-American war in 1901, the United States
pursued its policy of colonial domination in the country. It decided to
perpetuate the economic and political systems founded on the Spaniard legacy.
For more than three hundred years, Spain bred and supported the landed
oligarchies of mixed Chinese and Spanish ancestries in the country. With their
wealth and bilateral kinships they brought volatile factionalism into the local
political arena. The interaction between powerful rent-seeking families and the
weak Philippine state perpetuated also a system of political patronage in the
      Coronel, Shiela S., For the Philippines – A Dark Horizon for the New Year (December
      27, 1987), Los Angeles Times.
      Lamperis, Timothy J., From People’s War to People’s Rule – The New Tide of Mrs.
      Aquino’s People Power (1987), Asean Pacific Studies, Duke University.
      McCoy, Alfred W. (ed.), (1994) , The Center for Southeast Asian Studies , University of
      Wisconsin-Madison, Ateneo de Manila University Press, p. 433.
                                                                CHAPTER THREE – POLITICS

country even after the Marcos dictatorship. Leaders like Ramos and Arroyo,
together with traditional politicians have been invoke claims of omnipotence by
trying to circumvent the country‘s Constitution through so-called ―people‘s

In A World of Nations, Dankwart A. Rustow discusses upper-class and lower-
class initiatives.162 Political power in developing societies is held by the
oligarchic upper class. There are political factions among them seeking support
from among lower class elements. Power is obtained and held by the upper
class by corrupting mass suffrage. Lower class voters are intimidated, bought,
disenfranchised and cheated by corrupt upper class leaders. In Africa, Latin
America, the Middle East and Asia, rulers are circumscribing the rights of the
lower class. Political control by a narrow group of leaders affords them with
new forms of privilege and manipulation. The rationalizations for perpetuation
of their power come in many ways. The most common justification is the need
to amend a country‘s Constitution and its alleged ―archaic‖ form of
government. Ramos tried to amend the Philippine Constitution but the Supreme
Court frustrated his scheme. Arroyo in 2005 has started a similar move. There
is apathy among the lower class who are being misled by government
propaganda. Arroyo has managed to maintain her unpopular rule since 2001.
With the use of government resources she co-opts the military and a cadre of
supporters in a corrupt bureaucracy. The force of inertia has been working
against the interest of the lower class who are burdened with the equally selfish
aspirations of a divided opposition.

Few philosophers have been more often quoted on the paradox of the suffering
of man than Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the most radical democratic spokesman of
the 18th century. His opening statement in his Social Contract – “Man is born
free yet everywhere he is in chains.” Has remained valid throughout history.
Rousseau was convinced that popular rule was possible only in small
communities, where all citizens can truly elect their rulers.163 Political scientists
have eloquently warned of the danger to free and popular government from
dictators. After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United
States, President George W. Bush has made democratization of authoritarian
countries a strategic goal, particularly in Arab nations. But the move to
democracy has been faltering.164 In Egypt President Mubarak has delayed
      Rustow, Dankwarth A. A World of Nations- Problems of Political Modernization (1967)
      Washington D. C., The Brookings Institution, pp. 82-92.
      Op cit., Rustow, p. 92. Ibid., Seymour-Smith, p.290.
      Fattah, Hassan M., Arab Nations Falter in Moves to Democracy, The New York Times
      (April 18, 2008).


municipal elections due to the growing strength of his political opponents. The
same trend has been taking place in Jordan, Yemen, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
Comprehensive democratic reform is usually stymied by pressure groups who
are determined to preserve their hold on power. A high price is being paid in
sectarian strife. The Western-style culture being initiated by the Americans,
dealing chiefly with individual freedom is considered decadent under Islamic
extremist standards. It is obvious that the Arab mind is not accustomed to the
curtailment of the power of princes and rulers. There is a vast difference
between West and East.165 The Arab mind can not be made easily receptive to
the Christian and American concept of political reform.

Christian Political Writings

Despite the big difference in eras, the Christian writings of St. Augustine in the early
5th century presented a political concept of great influence among historical scholars.
Their effect on modern Christian mind would be uniquely pervasive and enduring.
    St. Augustine wrote on the rise and fall of powerful leaders and their regimes,
which are as relevant today as they were during his time. Of course they were an
object of controversy and that is where their greatness lies.167 St. Augustine, also
called Augustine of Hippo, was branded a political pessimist - a ―precursor‖ of
Machiavelli. At the same time he was also considered a prophetic utopian – a source
of that ―ideal of a world society which is haunting the minds of so many today.‖ St.
Augustine was an African pagan and later a Manichean. He turned to Christianity,
was baptized and became bishop of Hippo in 389, after fathering an illegitimate son.
He was a skeptic who believed that that there was no sure way to the truth. Then he
found himself on his knees before a text of Paul the Apostle.168 He claimed he wrote
232 books. His great political works included the Confessions and The City of God.
His political thoughts were provoked by religious controversy but were clearly
practical rather than theoretical. St. Augustine‘s account of the political regime of
the world is considered a masterpiece of political theory. He elaborated on the
Aristotlenean system of nature, which comprehends the entire range of erotic desire.
―In addition to ―economic greed and sexual appetite…it includes also lust for
political rule…‖169 More than 1,600 years later his political ideas have remained

      Schurman, T.E.W., The Abdication of the White Man (1963), Tafelberg-Uitgewers, Cape
      Town, p.13.
      Ibid., Tarnas, p. 143.
      Ibid., Paolucci, p. vii.
      Ibid., Seymour- Smith, Confessions, pp. 123-126.
      Op cit., Paolucci, p. xi-xii.
                                                             CHAPTER THREE – POLITICS

alive and interesting today – relived in the Philippines by Christian leaders like
Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo.

In a juridical translation by Henry Paolucci St. Augustine‘s political doctrine is
presented in two aspects, one descriptive, or theoretical and two, censorial or
corrective. It is descriptive when it is applied to empirically inviolable law like
the laws of planetary motion. But it is more influential when it is censorial and
applied to the obligations imposed by natural, divine and human laws – that
men ought to obey, but which they often violate. In his account of how political
regimes are undermined and destroyed, St. Augustine appears to be influenced
by Aristotle. Both anticipate the views of Machiavelli on statecraft. But St.
Augustine ―means to show how, with all the sweat, blood and tears…elaborate
schemes for domestic tranquility…it is nevertheless not the will of men, but the
will of God that is accomplished in history.‖ But on the rise and fall of nations
he did not hesitate to write in his City of God hesitate to write that ― If anyone
attributes it to fate because he gives the name of fate to God‘s will or power, let
him keep his opinion, but hold his tongue.‖170 These words can rankle the
minds of present day Filipino leaders who attribute their power and position to
the ―Will of God.‖ St. Augustine also wrote on The Origins of Coercive
Government. He mentioned the hosts of cruel lies that fill up the political
language of such governments.

Political Language

To simulate progress, all Philippine presidents after EDSA I, have used catchy
political languages. It is psycho-babble founded on propaganda. Clapham
explained that the objective of thought control could be achieved through the
“novelty of the euphemisms” of leaders. They glorified their perceived
accomplishment with boastful rhetoric. Their speeches were “peppered with
exhortations”, which no one took seriously.171 Marcos had his ―new society‖.
Aquino used ―people empowerment‖. To attract foreign investments, both
Ramos and Estrada resorted to a worn-out cliché – “level playing field.”
Estrada claimed he would not favor friends and relatives. Ramos was the expert
dissimulator He composed metaphors which were not grounded on reality.
“Road to NIChood” was one of them. Like Saddam, he claimed he would
catapult the Philippines into industrialization. Arroyo has not been far behind in
resorting to deceptive ―double-speak.‖ The Heritage Foundation, a Washington
D.C. a Republican policy think-tank, reported that Arroyo ―appears to have

      Ibid., Paolucci, p. xiii- xiv.
      Clapham, Christopher Third World Politics – An Introduction (1986) Wisconsin, The
      University of Wisconsin Pres, p. 52.


given up on convincing her constituents of her competence…has resorted to the
methods many dictators use to silence criticism.‖ The Foundation cited her
flagrant display of Orwellian ―double think.‖ Arroyo wanted to convince the
Filipinos and American policy makers that her unconstitutional suppression of
freedom of speech and information actually aims to preserve the
Constitution.172 Fortunately the Philippine Supreme Court in a stunning well-
praised decision declared Arroyo‘s brazen ―gag‖ on congressional inquiries
under her Administrative Order No. 464 as unconstitutional. Arroyo wanted to
curtail the right of Congress and the people to know about anomalies in her
government.173 In spite of the adverse Court decision Arroyo‘s flippant cabinet
officials declared a victory in an amazing assault on political logic and
language. The Philippine Daily Inquirer editorial (April, 23, 2006) described
them as ―desperately and all-too-transparently, in the contact sport of spin.‖174

The word ―spin‖ is an unpalatable description of modern political language. A
deeper philosophical insight into the language with its ethical implications has
been made by Brian Barry in Political Argument (1990).175 Barry postulated
the existence of a ―disembodied mind.‖ in political justification and argument.
Simply put, it is possible to misuse ―linguistic philosophy‖ by resorting to
traditional convention of words that are surreal and devoid of reality. For
example when politicians use the phrases, ―public interest‖ or ―public good‖,
what exactly do they mean? Once a politician has postulated a goal it is a matter
of pursuing it in amorphous language. One can substitute the word ―private‖ for
―public‖ to make a political statement more relevant to present-day conditions
in the Philippines. It would have more meaning in times when the people do not
believe what they are told. The public know how to deal with false statements
and lies. Barry declares an utterance cannot be equated with the intention of the
speaker. A politician, even a president, known for making false statements and
lies produces public anger. In Political Argument, Barry expounds how
language is used and conceived by discussing two theories – The Cuasal
Theory and The Intention Theory. The first theory can be explained simply: ―If
someone does not believe what he is told, it has no effect on him, but the

      Del Calllar, Michela P., US Think Tank Slams “Dictatorial” GMA (April 20, 2006) The
      Daily Tribune.
      Nocum Armand N. an Avendano, Christine SC Strikes Down EO 464 (April 21,
      2006) Philippine Daily Inquirer.
      Philippine Daily Inquirer Editorial They Lost It (April 23, 2006.
      Barry, Brian Political Argument (1990) London, Harvester Wheatsheaf, pp. 27-34.
                                                                   CHAPTER THREE – POLITICS

utterance does not lack meaning.‖ If the causal theory is rejected, the intention
theory is the next simplest theory which means: ―The meaning of an utterance
is to be identified with the effects which the speaker intends to produce in the
hearer.‖176 Estrada used both the causal and intention theories when he
elevated his political rhetoric to a high but hypocritical moral ground.
Complementing “Erap para sa Mahirap” (Erap for the Poor), he recited his
famous words, “Walang Kamag-Anak, Walang Kaibigan” (No Relatives, No

After pronouncing a moral governance, Arroyo embraced John C. Donovan‘s use of
language to prove that: “Politics is the father of lies.” Rina Jimenez David wrote
on Arroyo. (July 7, 2004).177 She said , unlike in the heady days after Edsa 2,
Arroyo‘s friends and allies in 2004 no longer harbored illusions about her. Arroyo,
like Aquino, might have said “all the right things about empowering the people and
reforming the government”, but it was clear she was simply interested in remaining
in power. Arroyo had shown that she would not hesitate to lie for political
expediency. She vowed not to run again for the presidency. If she ran again, Arroyo
claimed emotionally, the country would never be united. It was of course a lie and
regrettably a prophetic vision. Her renewed leadership, which was considered
illegitimate, divided the country more than ever. People do not know where and
how much truth lies in Arroyo‘s duplicitous political oratory. George Orwell
complained that a common politician‘s vocabulary is full of ―question-begging and
sheer cloudy vagueness‘.178 Arroyo is not alone in using loaded words. Ramos was
equally adept in metaphorical ―double-speak.‖ Political language is ―fraught with
emotional overtones that trigger strongly irrational feelings…words affect the
emotions rather than the intellect.‖ It is through words that values and beliefs of
people are developed. They permit us to share our experiences in the past and
present and convey our hopes for the future. But language can be used imprecisely
by leaders for their political lies and fantasies.179

      Op cit., Barry, pp. 17-18.
      David, Rina Jimenez At Large (July 7, 2004), Philippine Daily Inquirer.
      Rosenbaum, William A., Spanler, John W. and Burrris, William Analyzing American
      Politics – A New Perspective (1971), Wadsworth Series in Politics, p. 9 quoted George
      Orwell, Politics and the English Language in A Collection of Essays (1954) New York,
      Doubleday & Co., p. 169.
      Eshleman, Ross J., Cashion, Barbara G. and Basirico. Lawrence A. Sociology (1988),
      Illinois, Scott Foresman and Company, p. 111.


Political Conflicts

Political conflicts are normal. According to Vernon Van Dyke of Stanford
University: ―Politics can be defined as a struggle among actors pursuing
conflicting desires… When politicians are involved in conflicts, words become
weapons.”180 Participants exaggerate the merits of their positions and the
disadvantages of their opponents‘ position with words. They do it for their
audiences, for themselves and their patrons. The object is to win and even to
mislead. In using language as a weapon, the best battlefields are the television
networks, which welcome conflicts as business opportunities. Examples are
televised presidential debates beamed not only nationwide but all over the world by
CNN and BBC. William Safire in What’s The Good Word? (1982), wrote that
operatives working behind the scenes in these debates resort to ―language inflation.‖

The political conflict in the Philippines involving Estrada and Arroyo has
shifted to the courts. The Supreme Court has so far shown its judiciousness in
curtailing Arroyo‘s political adventurism. Estrada and his son have been on trial
and the people are watching. Estrada reportedly made millions of pesos in
payoffs from illegal gambling and the use of trust funds of two government
financial institutions to acquire control of a universal bank. It has been a
disaster for Estrada who pathetically served only two and a half years of his six-
year term and five years of incarceration. He became the second Philippine
president after Marcos to be booted out from office. Estrada‘s wife and son
were to be elected senators. No doubt many Filipinos still believe what the
Estradas are saying. In the Sandiganbayan, Estrada has testified in his behalf.
He has attacked his nemesis- Governor Chavit Singson – calling him a
―murderer and corrupt.‖ Governor Singson and the two heads of the
government financial institutions- the Social Security System and the
Government Service Insurance System - had escaped prosecution by agreeing
to become state witnesses. The question is who are really the guilty parties in
this episode? It is common knowledge that both Estrada and Singson have
murky character backgrounds. But how about the highly educated technocrats
who were the CEOs of GSIS and SSS during Estrada‘s time? They were
supposed to manage funds of workers in trust? They appeared to have acted to
show their loyalty to Estrada. It was out of gratitude for their appointments.
Then they turned their backs on him. They were supposed to be career
professionals whose job was to neutralize even presidential exploitation. What
is their accountability in serving and following the dictates of presidential
power? How did their sound opinions come into play in a multi-million

      Look for source or book on Vernon Van Dyke.
                                                                CHAPTER THREE – POLITICS

questionable transaction?181 Estrada claimed he never ordered them to do
anything illegal. He simply asked them to ―study‖ the deal that would lead to
his downfall.

Destructive political loyalty has continued to characterize the Philippines under
Arroyo‘s weak government. It was expected that foreign investors would
consider the country as more attractive without Estrada. Its bureaucrats and
labor force have a relatively high level of education. Its adaptability in the
general use of the English language is a decided advantage. Yet outside
investors have failed to come. Obviously they do not believe what they are told.
The causal and intention theories are obviously working against public interest.
Although the phrase public interest is widely used in Philippine politics, it has
become a meaningless expression. The government has been using its coercive
powers in the pursuit of quite other purpose. How to insure that the resources of
the state will be used to the pursuit of public interest and not the private interest
of rulers is one of the perennial questions of political theory.

Central to the question is the concept of what government should be to protect
the public from the evils of private interest. It is generally accepted that humans
are inherently corrupt and government is usually run by corruptible people.182
The clamor by politicians in power in the Philippines to change the form of
government has been creating political conflicts. There is divisiveness and
considerable instability in the country. The Arroyo government is so weak and
it is unable to move the country in the direction of national unity. Many believe
that a new or amended Constitution has to be submitted for a broad consensus
of the voters. But the problems is the country‘s electoral system is corrupt and
under the control of those in power. The level of legitimate voter participation
is kept low by a spoils system that keep entrenched rulers in power through
electoral cheating. Appointments to plum positions in the government and the
military are given to obedient supporters and allies. Arroyo‘s desire to extend
her tenure has led her to a plot to amend the Constitution. She resents the power
of the Senate and she hopes for the day when it will be removed from the
country‘s political realm. In the meantime the conflict between her and the
senators has been contributing to national deterioration. There are no political
principles involved but simply the lust for power.

      Silva, Edward T., and Slaughter, Shiela A. Serving Power – The Making of the Academic
      Social Science Expert (1984), Westport, Connecticut, Greenwood Press, p. 39.
      Brinkley, Alan The Unfinished Nation (1993), Columbia University, Volume One,
      McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York.


John Ralston Saul described politics in The Unconscious Civilization (1995) by
quoting Michael Oskeshott, the English philosopher: “Politics is vulgar, bogus, and
callous, because of the sort of people it attracts.”183 Oakeshott believed that politics
should be left in the hands of traditional politicians. Edsa 1 and 2 brought back the
power of families of traditional politicians. In local parlance they are called ―trapos‖
and they make up most of the oligarchic Filipino elites. In truth there has been no
real empowerment of the masses after both Edsa ―revolutions.‖ The power went
mostly to elitist individuals, their families and friends who have joined politics at the
expense of public interests. Philippine-style traditional politics would continue to
hound the country with economic instability. The May 2004 presidential elections
would produce candidates lacking in color and integrity. None were worthy of
becoming leaders that could lead the country to modernization.

Apter explains how connections between tradition and modernity are rarely
simple.184 Anthropologists have recognized that traditional factors create
immobilities that abort innovation ―Traditionalism‖ is distinct from ―tradition.‖
And ―modernity.‖ These distinctions ―leave unanswered why some traditional
systems accept innovation more easily than others.‖ This seems to be the case
of the Philippines, i.e. it is difficult for its traditional political system to accept
innovation. Corruption is deeply embedded in its political culture. For example
kinship is a form of traditionalism that is difficult to eliminate overnight. The
analytical scheme has to cover values, which are defined by normative and
behavioral dimensions. Values are further divided into instrumental and
consummatory.185 The combinations of these values help identify the problems
that confront present –day political leaders of the Philippines. In the final
analysis it boils down to their motives. Then we go back to the third question of
Socrates on the motives of human behavior as discussed in the Introduction of
this book.

In Philippine politics, the term ―modern‖ is applied in cynical contradistinction
with the term ―traditional‖. The latter expression assumes a pejorative context.
It is disparagingly used by combining the words traditional and politicians to
coin the allegorical word ―trapos‖ It connotes the conflict between upright
ethics and corrupt values of people in politics as a profession. The implications
are strikingly apparent when it is used to describe the behavior of present-day

      Saul, John Ralston, The Unconscious Civilization (1995)……….p…)
      Apter, David, E., The Politics of Modernization (1965), Chicago, University of Chicago
      Press, p. 81.
      Op cit., Apter, p.83.
                                                              CHAPTER THREE – POLITICS

political leaders. It is a natural assessment of their concern for their own private
interests at the expense of public interests.

Among all the Filipino presidents after Edsa Ramos was the most cunning
rhetorician. He had more guile in the use of words to project a determination in
instituting dramatic reforms in the country. Alfred W. McCoy in An Anarchy of
Families (1994) wrote on how Ramos drew a sharp contrast between the
principles and practice of family politics through presidential rhetoric. 186
Immediately after he assumed the presidency, Ramos surprised his colleagues
with a stinging attack on the country‘s pervasive system of rent-seeking
familial politics. The public thought he was ushering in a new brand of politics
that is pledged to reform. Ramos was brimming with presidential resolve as he
said: “We have to make hard decisions. We shall have to resort to remedies
close to surgery – to swift and decisive reform.” This is typical of Ramos
metaphors. After his term he would continue to regal Filipino and international
audiences, aspiring to become another statesman of the stature of Lee Kuan
Yew.187 But Ramos during his presidency did not have ―Lee‘s vision, astute
political judgments and strategy‖ that made Singapore a successful thriving

Ramos further vowed that politics would serve - not the family but the nation –
a system that would not enable persons with political influence to extract
wealth without effort from the economy. This was in obvious reference to
Aquino, his predecessor and benefactor. But the next day, Ramos issued
Executive Order No. 1, the first of his known dramatic presidential mandates. It
awarded cement manufacturers the right to import cement without paying
import duties for three years. The order was prepared by Ramon del Rosario Jr.,
the incoming Secretary of Finance. It was not incidental that his finance
secretary‘s family corporation was the leading cement producer and the primary
beneficiary of the presidential edict. For the next six years of his term, Ramos
would indulge in metaphors, creating a version of ―The Philippine Paradox.‖ It
is the paradox of unlimited promise and disappointing performance. Graham T.
Allison of the Kennedy School of Government in The Greek Paradox (1997)
wrote ―that all countries, like all individuals, face some gap between promise
and performance.188 He also wrote that it is simultaneously ―disturbing,

      Ibid., McCoy, p.
      On Lee Kuan Yew Memoirs: The Singapore Story (1998), Singapore, Prentice Hall, New
      York, by Malaysian Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin (1998).
      Allison, Graham T., The Greek Paradox………………..)


intriguing and instructive‖. In fact, the Estrada paradox was disturbing while
the Arroyo paradox was disappointing. The Ramos paradox was intriguing and
the Aquino paradox was instructive. They all exemplified the ―people power
paradox‖ that highlighted the gap between people‘s high expectations and the
disappointing performances of these presidents after the so-called Edsa 1

Implications of Culture (Refer Woshinsky an further to Pye and link with
Traditional Politics and Personalities: For Traditional Politics Refer to pp. 9
to 26, Black)
The growing general distrust of politics nurtured by corrupt and privileged
leaders is unsettling. The possibility of complete disorder arising from a feeling
of helplessness among a large number of people can result in violence. Normal
government can become impossible. In the Philippines the character of its top
political leaders has been pushing the country to the brink of disorder. For
example, the political crises that have prevailed under the Arroyo
administration in 2005 can be attributed to the malevolence of psychotic
politicians who are unaware of the destructive capabilities of their behavior.
Consciously or unconsciously, few of them are able to perceive the general
unrest and appreciate the real feelings of their constituents. It is significant to
note how one leader, albeit lacking in charisma but adept in using the resources
of government can influence the behavior of a majority number of politicians.
Black declares that,

 “In any society the composition and training of leaders – or the „elite‟, as it
is sometimes called – is a matter of social importance.”

Huntington has also argued that socio-economic modernization has expanded
political participation in developing countries. But in turn it has led to
corruption, instability and violence. He wrote unfavorably on the Philippines.
He said that the country was characterized with reports of widespread
corruption. Later Huntington also writes on the implications of culture.189 He
concluded that the influence of culture on social and political behavior is not
debatable. The importance of culture in social and political institutions was also
cited by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.190 He named a
number of Asian countries that have achieved remarkable success through the

      Huntington, Samuel P., Clash of Civilizations- The Remaking of World Order (1996),
      New York, A Touchstone Book, Simon & Schuster.
      Thatcher, Margaret, Statecraft, Strategies for a Changing World (2002).
                                                           CHAPTER THREE – POLITICS

efforts of their leaders with the right Asian values. The Philippines was not
included in Thatcher‘s list. A question that is commonly raised: “Is the
Philippines Asian?” The Philippines is an example of a developing country
with a highly politicized westernized culture. Its political system thrives on
patronage. Its most prevalent form is cronyism, a destructive form of patron-
client relationship widely practiced at the highest level of government. It has
been pervasive in all Philippine administrations. Marcos was the country‘s most
abusive patron. For two decades, he favored a corps of clients with huge loans
and government contracts, bordering on plutocracy. But it was not Marcos
alone who practiced destructive patronage. Presidential clientelism persisted
even after Marcos was toppled in 1986. High level patron-client schemes have
become a tradition. With more sophistication, their magnitudes have become
more plutocratic in the years after Edsa 1 and 2.

Actually, there is nothing sinister in traditional politics if it involves honest
intentions and healthy conflicts. After all the essence of politics is conflict of
intentions. However the intentions of Filipino trapos go beyond honest political
conflicts and legitimate public issues. They are mostly personal in nature where
political positions are used in accumulating wealth. To go around electoral laws, that
limit tenure of elected officials to allow fair rotation in office, incumbents groom
their wives, off-springs and siblings as their successors. The ethical scope of their
activities is candidly expressed by Peter Merkyl in the following words:191

“At its best, politics is a noble quest for a good order and justice, at its worst, a
selfish grab for power, glory and riches.”

Early Political Influences

To understand a country‘s politics we must go back to its early history. But
Philippine history before Magellans arrival in 1521 is shrouded in obscurity. There
are no written records. O. D. Corpuz in The Roots Of The Filipino Nation (1989) has
given an account of early Filipino political leaders – Mabini, Rizal, Aguinaldo
among them- who fought the Spanish colonial rule. Almost every Filipino now
misses the image of a Bonifacio with a bolo in his hands. They were not only
intellectual. They were brave, honest and nationalistic who rank the interest of the
Filipino people higher than their private ambitions. They were heroic symbols of the
past. They differed from present-day leaders because their motives were beyond
reproach. An early political history was also written by W. Cameron Forbes in The

      Merkyl, Peter – Look for this book.


Philippine Islands (1945).192 Actually there were early Filipino political statements
that dated to the 1860s that were both religious and political in nature. Filipino
priests led by Jose Apolonio Burgos were pressing for their rights to serve as parish
priests. In 1864 he debated the strong attack of a Madrid newspaper against the
Filipino clergy. He wrote Manifesto Addressed by the Loyal Filipinos to the Noble
Spanish Nation. This was the first time that the natives of the Philippines, then
known as Filipinas, were identified as ―Filipinos‖. The Spaniards had pejoratively
called them as ―Indios.‖ In 1821 the opening of the Suez Canal facilitated
communication and travel that exposed the Filipinos to modern politics going on in
Europe. Later in Spain, the revolution of 1868 by army generals took place. It
produced a constitution that provided for civil and political rights. But the restoration
of the Monarchy in Madrid in 1871 degraded the Filipino clergy. In Manila the
Filipinos asked that these rights be extended to them. The Spaniard friars in the
Philippines who controlled the colony‘s politics considered the agitation as sedition
against Spain. Filipino priests were made to perform menial services for the friars in
the parishes. In campaigning for civil and political rights the Filipinos organized the
Comite de Reformadores. Among its leaders were priests Mariano Gomes and
Jacinto Zamora. In its lay group were distinguished names that would become
popular in Philippine politics, such as Pardo de Tavera, Paterno, Garchitorena,
Genato, etc. Among the students at that time, Felipe Buencamino and Paciano Rizal,
an older brother of Jose Rizal emerged. They organized the La Juventud Escolar
Liberal to instill the free political aspirations of students, particularly in the
Universidad de Santo Tomas. As members of La Juventud, they were the ―auxiliary
soldiers ―of the Comite – the first ―Liberal Party‖ in Filipinas.193

In 1869 a new Spanish governor-general, Carlos Maria de la Torre y Navacerrada
arrived in Manila. While he came from the new liberal dispensation in Madrid, he
believed that the majority of the Filipinos had no share in the political tensions and
crisis in the colony. But he recognized that they were the victims of suffering and
oppression. On July 12, 1869, members of the Comite honored La Torre with an
evening serenade. It was an act of gratitude for his democratic actuations. The old
Spaniards, who were threatened by La Torre‘s liberalism called the event farcical
and seditious. They asserted that it was of the primary causes of the Cavite mutiny
of 1872. Actually La Torre had requested Madrid to relieve of his post as early as
January 1871. During his tenure there was a progressive surfacing of the Filipinos in
politics. La Torre had given equal audience to rival political factions in Manila. But
it was also paradoxical that he would describe the demands of the liberal reformists

      Ibid., Corpuz pp. 3-38. Refer to Forbes, W. Cameron The Philippine Islands (1945),
      Harvard University Press.
      Op cit., Corpuz, p. 6.
                                                           CHAPTER THREE – POLITICS

in Manila as ―foolish.‖ La Torre‘s successor in 1871 was Rafael de Izquierdo.
Although a liberal like La Torre, he believed that the influence of the Spanish friars
had to be maintained- a triumph of the friar orders. It was a blow to the new
Filipinos who avowed that they were a reformist political opposition that had
emerged under La Torre. In October 1871, de Izquierdo ordered that every person
should have cedula. It was a personal identification document initiated in Madrid in
1863. This order led to the Mutiny of 1872 in Cavite.

In January of that year many prominent Filipinos were arrested. Under a trial of
secrecy three Filipino priests – Gomez, Burgos and Zamora - were tried and
convicted to death. It is embedded in Philippine history as the Gomburza. The crime
was ―conspiracy against the political constitution of the State.‖ Many Filipinos
would find a remarkable coincidence in the events of 1872 with what has been
happening under the Arroyo regime. The terror of 1872 opened the minds of the
Filipinos to the future. ―1872 left an indelible imprint and was an obsession to the
next generation of Filipino leaders.‖ Apolinario Mabini, the political intellectual
came out and declared that the colonial government sought to intimidate the
Filipinos through the execution of the three priests. But instead of awe it wrought a
miracle. ―It enables the Filipinos to see their conditions for the first time.‖194 In
1891, Jose Rizal dedicated his second novel, El Filibusterismo, to the memory of the
three priests. Andres Bonifacio was inspired by their martyrdom and adopted
Gomburza as a code name in his Katipunan. Emilio Aguinaldo in proclaiming the
Filipino independence in 1898 credited Burgos, Gomez and Zamora for the
redemption of Filipinas. Corpuz wrote: ―We can understand that with the
martyrdom of the three priests, the seed of Christian Filipino nationalism took root
in good soil.‖ The Filipinos were awakened into the politics that was inevitably
intruding into their lives.195

American Political Influence

In 1898 public sentiment in the United States was greatly divided in regard to
the annexation of the Philippine Islands by the Americans. The idea of an
American colony in the Pacific was repugnant to the majority of the American
people.196 But President McKinley had a different view. He claimed that: ―The
sentiment in the United States is almost universal that the people of the
Philippines, whatever else is done, must be liberated from Spanish

      Op cit., Corpuz, p. 36.
      Op cit., Corpuz, p. 38.
      Ibid, Forbes, p. 45.


domination…‖ McKinley further declared that there was nothing for the
Americans to do ―but to educate the Filipinos and Christianize them, and by
God‘s grace do the very best for them, as our fellowmen for whom Christ also
died.‖197 Filipinos took the words of McKinley so seriously that some of them
organized the Partido Federalista to apply for political kinship with the
Americans. As a protectorate the colonial rule instituted in the Philippines by
the Americans placed emphasis on electoral politics rather than bureaucratic
and administrative capabilities.198 Party politics were encouraged based on
personalities rather than principles. Filipinos easily learned American
techniques of intrigue and personalized tactical maneuvering. At the same time
the cultural legacy from their former Spaniard colonial masters lingered on. The
concept of power as a function of status created continuing tensions that made
the attainment of national economic goals difficult. Power was increasingly
used to accumulate personal wealth. Social problems gave politicians the
opportunity to create gain through government contracts. Nowhere in Asia has
much wealth made to accrue to parties favored by the president of the country
as it did during the time of Marcos. Ironically there was no change under the
rule of all his successors to the presidency after Edsa 1. For example,
government power contracts with economic rents accruing to favored parties
were approved under the Ramos administration. Most of them were found
burdensome to the people. The country‘s corrupt American-style political
system persisted after Edsa 1 and 2 under a pluralist political situation similar
to the political power structure in the United States. Pluralism together with
capitalism encouraged the ―existence of different interest groups that struggle to
influence concrete political decisions.‖199 When Marcos was deposed, the
economic difficulties of the Philippines had already reached crisis proportions.
It was the culmination of years of corruption. The political chaos introduced by
Marcos continued under all the administrations after his departure. Selfish
bickering among traditional politicians (trapos) became more bitter under a
rediscovered regime of freedom. Rent-seeking activities flourished through
presidential connections. Public and private personalities used their influence
for self-enrichment through ―Directly Unproductive Profit Seeking (DUP)
Activities.200 Economic rent is the term used by political economists for illicit
profits generated through political connections.

      Joaquin, Nick Culture and History (2004), Philippines, Anvil Publishing, Inc., p. 316.
      Ibid., Pye, p. 52.
      Persell, Caroline Hodges Understanding Society (1990) New York University, Harper &
      Row, p. 366.
      Bhagwati, Jagdish Directly Unproductive Profit Seeking (DUP) Activities (1982), Journal
      of Political Economics, October 1982.
                                                            CHAPTER THREE – POLITICS

Lucian W. Pye, Ford Professor of Political Science of Massachusetts Institute
of Technology has studied and taught the paternalistic form of political power
that emerged in the Philippines under American tutelage.201 The Americans
taught the Filipinos a different approach in practical politics. Everything is
anchored on patronage. It took advantage of the negative aspects of Philippine
culture. In the process it strengthened largely family-based networks, the
cornerstone of the American-imposed political system. Gabriel Kolko discussed
this issue in Confronting the Third World: United States Foreign Policy
(1988).202 Corrupt American-style politics merges naturally with the existing
social order. Oligarchy has become more entrenched. Under the Americans
Philippine politics was built around patron-client ties. As a result the logic of
political power calculations in the Philippines is quite different from its
neighboring Asian countries. The Philippines came to independence with more
experience in popular politics that it learned from the Americans. Combined
with the legacy of Spanish colonial rule politics is personal and patrimonial.

The Filipinos were taught by the Americans that personal success and wealth
meant winning elections – not pursuing a career in the civil service. Under
American colonial policy a ―free-for-all spirit of grandiose promises ―to the
electorate was tolerated as part of democratic politics. Back-room deals
encouraged patronage.203 At the same time the Filipinos were promised
independence. In 1907 the Nationalista party, the ―first‖ political party under
the American regime was formed by Filipino politicians. It was considered the
oldest political party in the country – in fact in Southeast Asia. But during the
Spanish regime, Filipino reformist leaders of the Comite Reformardores had
established the Liberal Party. It was the beginning of a two-party system in the
Philippines. There were other parties of minor political consequence. Most
were created by some of the disgruntled members of the Nationalista and
Liberal parties. There was also the short-lived Partido Federalista with Filipino
members pathetically aspiring to become United States subjects after being
assimilated as American citizens. After World War II the Liberal Party was
resuscitated by Manuel Roxas. He was one of the Filipinos accused of
collaborating with the Japanese. General Douglas MacArthur, who intervened
in Philippine politics to make it a ―caricature of American politics, cleared
      Refer to Lucian W. Asian Power and Politics (1985), The Belknap Press of Harvard
      University Press.
       Kolko, Gabriel Confronting the Third World – United States Foreign Policy
       (1988)……..Look for this book.
      Ibid., Pye., p. 121.


Roxas of being a Japanese puppet without any hearings. From then on till 1972,
Philippine politics revolved around the extensive use of pork-barrel tactics.
Politicians who would lose nominations in any of the two existing parties as
candidates for elective positions would bring along their followers and create
splinter political parties. Ramos in failing to win such nomination and after
pledging to honor the result of a convention organized his own party and went
on to win the 1992 presidential election. A graduate of the United State Military
Academy he further popularize the style of politics that can be directly traced to
American influence. Through their education in America and under the
American – introduced educational system the Filipinos learned the language of
democracy. But Ramos was the ―Made in USA‖ model. He excelled in “The
combination of the rhetoric of democratic idealism and the materialistic
calculations of the ward-heeler…”204

Former senator Francisco Tatad, an erstwhile journalist whose reputation was
tarnished for being Marcos‘ press secretary, referred to the Philippine Senate as a
―dead institution‖. He said it has many mediocre members with no qualifications to
show but their popularity. Most do not even know the rules of the chamber, much
less the implications of serious national issues. In fact, when forced by
circumstances to speak, they are not capable of using proper parliamentary
language. With the low quality of politicians elected as legislators, all
administrations after EDSA I have yet to find the way out of traditional politics. Old
personality politics has blocked the creative use of the legislature to provide equality
of opportunity to the poor. Many are aghast how they can drive around in their low-
numbered expensive cars and remain blind to those living in suffocating shanties
along railroad tracks and riverbanks.

Political Conflicts

The world of politic is widely diverse with a bewildering array of opinions, motives
and activities.205 People are entranced with ―political soap opera.‖ The exciting
melodrama of Estrada‘s impeachment, the concerted effort of Arroyo‘s allies to
protect her from impeachment, and the tearful ―apologia‖ of Arroyo on the infamous
―Garci tapes‖ were shown on television. The audiences were either amused or
infuriated. Congressmen, and witnesses made a spectacle of themselves. Woshinsky

      Ibid., Pye, pp. 121-123.
      Woshinsky, Oliver H., Culture and Politics – An Introduction to Mass and Elite Political
      Behavior (1995) , University of Southern Maine, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New
      Jersey, p. 20.
                                                           CHAPTER THREE – POLITICS

would take one step back and ask an obvious question. ―Just why is conflict
common?‖ His answer was simple. Human beings differ from one another. They
have different goals. Add to this recipe one additional ingredient. Needs are many
and wants are unlimited. Most are striving for more. And there are government
resources that can meet these needs.206 One major related question is there real
ideology involved in these conflicts. And in what ways, if any, do their attitudes
simply reflect their desire to advance their interests as professional politicians? In
Yoguslavia, Gati cited the observation of a leading student of public administration,
that ―it is impossible to construct a new system alongside the continuing domination
of the administration.‖ The agencies in the executive departments are run by
―politicrats‖ whose decisions are aimed more for leverage for advancing their own
values and ambitions. The public perceive them as ―politicized bureaucrats‖ who are
nothing more but obedient servants of power.207

Politics and Terrorism

What is the relationship between terrorism and reform? Many believe terrorism
in Mindanao is a complex combination of religious extremism, banditry,
poverty and corruption, particularly in the military. In Afghanistan the Russians
were quick to brand the Taliban as bandits. By doing so, the authenticity of
terrorism was denied, which was the surest way to misunderstand it.
Rubenstein wrote: “One need have very little sympathy for terrorist to insist
that they are neither brutes nor devils, but people in many ways like us.”
Aware of this reality and holding any judgment on terrorism, what are some of
its similarities and dissimilarities with people power? Terrorism is also a form
of political and social revolution although it may embrace incomprehensible
religious ideology. Religion, even Catholicism, practices terrorism through
thought control, the very essence that people power hoped to eradicate. Both
reflect cultural values but terrorism has a more deep-rooted historical
antecedents. Its motives are less personal. And its leaders are not demagogic
politicians. In 2005 The United Department of State expressed concern over
rampant corruption in the Philippines that ―could compromise the country‘s
antiterror campaign and render it vulnerable to terrorist attacks.‖ Aside rampant
corruption the United States 2005 report cited ―low morale‖ and ―lack of
cooperation between police and prosecutors.‖208

      Op cit., Woshinsky, p. 23.
      Ibid., Gati, pp.185, 191.
      Dizon, Nikko US: Corruption Hindering RP Antiterror Campaign (May 1, 2006),
      Philippine Daily Inquirer.


Third world‘s most radical political reformers might not have Saddam‘s
criminal mind. In fact any comparison would be unrealistic. No Filipino shared
the attributes of Saddam except his desire for Iraq to be ―catapulted‖ into the
twentieth century. Abburish also wrote that there was no excuse in the horrors
Saddam inflicted on his people. However the world should be aware of the
myths created by the United States and other Western powers that created the
evil in Saddam. They armed and supported him earlier for their own selfish
interests. Bush and Blair would later cover their lack of moral standards by an
arrogant disregard for the opinions of the rest of the world and international
law. However Bush was not lacking in believers. Arroyo was out of the league
of geo-politicians. But she would aspire for greatness by pretending to be one
of them. Her duplicitous pretension revealed her true character and exposed the
Filipinos to the ire of terrorists.

Richard E. Rubenstein of Roosevelt University of Chicago spent ten years
studying terrorism. His book, Alchemists of Revolution – Terrorism in the
Modern world, was published in 1986. He would relate terrorism with poverty
because the poor have felt betrayed and victimized. And those who have
resorted to violence have done so because of despair. Their failure to be heard
is not just a disappointment; it is an identity-shattering blow. It suggests “that
in a world of promises and excuses, equivocation and lies, only violence is
unambiguous and trustworthy.” Many leaders of terrorism are not in the
league of demagogic politicians, although they may be radically religious. The
leaders who have identified themselves with EDSA I and II have also claimed
deep religiosity.

Using the words of Rubenstein, ―a clear-eyed look at the terrorist mentality, its
origins and consequences‖ without Western bias is necessary. It would help
formulate the steps necessary to reform and strengthen the campaign against
terrorism. Among others, it would require drastic reforms in the military.
Actually it was during the Aquino administration when the Reform the Armed
Forces Movement or RAM re-emerged. Instead of reforming the armed forces
during his rule, Ramos politicized it. At the same time he militarized the
government with his favorite generals. Arroyo, who was beholden to the
military, followed suit. Terrorism was soon widespread and again the military
turned to the Americans for help. Kidnappings which were rampant during
Ramos time grew. In Mindanao Muslim insurgents funded their activities by
kidnappings for ransom, which they shared with government officials, its
negotiators and the military.

The United States was fully supportive of Marcos notwithstanding his
dictatorial tendencies. After the assassination of Benigno Aquino in August
1983 massive demonstrations began to take place in the country. The
                                                         CHAPTER THREE – POLITICS

Americans obviously became concerned. Together with the communist
insurgency American interests in the Philippines, and consequently Asia, were
felt to be endangered. American ambassador William Sullivan was for a status
quo in U.S. support of the country, with or without Marcos. They were
obviously concerned with the American bases in the Philippines. But they
needed a ―suitable replacement‖ for Marcos. This meant someone they could
control. Edsa 1 produced Cory Aquino and the American hegemony appeared
safe under her. Aquino dutifully reported to the U.S. Congress upon her
assumption to the presidency. American-style democracy has been―restored‖
safely as a showcase in Asia. But Aquino failed to rectify the corrupt hangovers
left behind by Marcos. The new ―revolutionary‖ government under Aquino
rewarded chosen oligarchic families with concessions. Her own elite Cojuangco
clan was given special treatment in the implementation of the country‘s land
reform program.

Edsa 1 and 2 proved that it was easy for a so-called revolutionary regime to
slide back to the conventional clientelist state. It has been difficult to break
away from the old Marcos order. Edsa 1 was certainly not a revolution of the
Cuban order. Due to bureaucratic inadequacy and corruption the rural areas of
the country remained a destabilizing base of terrorism. It is not poverty alone
that threatens the elitist urban government. This is the simplistic theory of
Arroyo. Even terrorists have convictions, maybe more honorable that those of
the elites. As Clapham has written, reforms with a real mechanism for power-
sharing and participation in politics by and behalf of ordinary people outside
the existing corridors of influence have to be made. To this day Edsa 1 has
failed in bringing about this change in the Philippines. The country has
continued to flounder economically due to the weakness of its social and
political institutional structure.209

The high expectations ushered in by Edsa 1 have turned into disillusionment.
Many are waiting with frustration the reform that would characterize at least a
semblance of a real revolution. Ideally, it would have involved the destruction
of existing archaic political institutions and the creation of new ones. In the
process new groups would be mobilized into politics. The ideal result would be
increased political participation. This would then produce a cycle of more
reforms, ultimately leading to social and economic maturity. Due to poor
leadership this cycle has simply failed to take off. In other third world countries
new political orders have been taking root and progressing successfully.
Vietnam, a nearby neighbor of the Philippines, is an example. The Philippines
has failed to keep up with its neighbors primarily because of political reasons.

      Ibid. , Clapham , p. 160.


Clapham wrote: ―The Philippines is another state where an acceptable political
order appears to be possible but is none the less some way from

Political Personalities

Who participates in politics? The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism has
an answer by examining the Philippine legislature – the praetorian assemblage of

“What we found was troubling, but hardly new: Philippine legislators constitute a
select and exclusive segment of society. They are richer, older, better educated,
and better connected than the rest of us.”

(On Political Dynasties and Abuse (Refer to PDI, April 11, 2006)

The PCIJ has shown that majority of Philippine legislators are members of political
dynasties. Their families have been in public office for generations. They are
hardly representatives of their ―constituents.‖ They are multimillionaires and
tragically they set the rules for a poor nation. Family clans continue to corrupt the
electoral system. After EDSA I the use of money for dirty electoral tricks and
violence for coercing voters have become normal in all elections. Corrupt political
bosses, many of them warlords from patriarchal families, who were powerful during
the Marcos era, have reconsolidated their positions as kingpins under the system of
―new management‖ under Aquino and later under Arroyo. Arroyo‘s family has
strengthened its political dominance in the bailiwick established by his father, the
late Diosdado Macapagal. With public funds at their disposal and projects under
their control, they have captivated the minds of the poor with money and petty
patronage. Those who are hostile are coerced by armed goons. All over the county
political clans have become entrenched dynasties. Provincial governorship have
been transformed into heirlooms that are bequeathed to wives, childrens and kins.
As their power and wealth flourished, they become indispensable to national leaders
who are quick to court their support. Of course, most of them have also become

      Ibid., Gati, pp.185, 191.
      Coronel, Shiela S. , Chua, Yvonne T., Rimban, Luz, Cruz, Booma B., The Rulemakers –
      How The Wealthy and Well-Born Dominate Congress (2004), Philippine Center For
      Investigative Journalism, Quezon City, p. viii.
                                                                CHAPTER THREE – POLITICS

William Godwin in Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1973) argued that all
human beings are naturally equal. He believed that government corrupts governors
and their subjects and creates inequalities. He asked, what would be more just than
that the wealth of those in power, to which all are entitled, be shared among the less
fortunate.212 Filipino leaders have increasingly failed to measure up to Goodwin‘s
concept of fundamental morality and social equity, even after Edsa 1 and more
particularly after Edsa 2. For example, there was no promise of equity in Arroyo‘s
―New Morality. As expected it was met with apathy by the poor – a ―so what else is
new‖ attitude. To them, Arroyo was just indulging in politics-as-usual sloganeering
that would not feed their empty stomachs. In The Moral Economy (1998) John P.
Powelson wrote that in a moral economy no one should be poor. Then he asked:
“How come only a few are rich?”213 This question should have been: “How come
many politicians are rich?” Powelson believes that economic morality among
politicians has two requisites: (1) an acceptable ethical behavior according to some
high standards and (2) an approval for creditable performance derived by popular
consensus of all the citizens affected. Unfortunately, the behavior and performance
of most elected Filipino leaders barely meet Powelson‘s requisites. While there are
some outstanding lawmakers, meandering investigations and political power
grabbing schemes have tainted their stature. Many are elected in expensive
elections that are virtual popularity and vote-buying contests. Among Philippine
senators are a motley group of TV and movie personalities.

The late 19th and early 18th centuries produced great public figures in the realm of
Philippine politics. History is a fascination with great public figures and noble deeds
and events. But many lesser figures have been lionized as well.214 Central Michigan
University It does not apply only to the United States. Virtually in all societies the
realm of politics – ―theoretical politics, practical politics, politicians‖ – is a privilege
of the elite. The statement that political history is about great men because of their
noble deeds is debatable Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Saddam, to name a few, have
fascinated historians. Hitler was a politician. In the 1920s, he organized the German
National Socialist Party and was elected Chancellor in the 1930s.215 In the
Philippines there was Marcos and now Arroyo, regarded as an aspiring autocrat.
Both may belong to a different category of politicians. The question is who should

      Ibid., Seymour – Smith on William Godwin, p. 308.
      Powelson, John P. The Moral Economy etc…p.…
      Purcell, Sarah J. The Commemoration of Heroes during the Revolutionary War – An
      Essay (March 3, 2006.
      Ibid., Woshinsky, p. 161.


ultimately make the moral judgments?‖216 Politics reflects the time and place.
Eventually history will judge Arroyo and the other Filipino presidents after Edsa 1.
For the present poll surveys have so far shown that Arroyo has not yet equaled the
tyranny of Marcos. But most Filipinos had already judged her as unfit to be a leader.
Arroyo had earlier declared that ―she is the best person to lead the country.‖ Ibon
Foundation, an independent think-tank organization conducted a nationwide sample
survey from March 16 to 25, 2006. The results showed that almost seven out every
10 Filipinos believe that the economy will not get any better so long as Arroyo
remains in power.217 Of course Arroyo, as did Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, believes
she is an emissary of God. She usually shows excessive piety in public, insulting the
intelligence of the people.218

Edsa 1 altered the conditions on how voters choose their leaders. Print media has
become less reflective. People have turned to television. With the ―idiot box‖
usurping mass media, everything is reduced to personalities. Candidates for public
office do not deal with issues. As such they are judged by their popularity. TV
viewers are conditioned to accept what they see and hear about them as the truth.
Henry Fairlee who wrote The Parties and Seven Deadly Sins Today (1967) asked:
“Can television, by its nature, ever tell the truth?” 219 Fairlee argued television
creates its own events. However carefully television is used, it cannot avoid
deception and distortion. It has a vested interest in violence and disaster. In reporting
it concentrates on violent incidents to the exclusion of the whole event. In the
Philippines, TV personalities pandering personal gossips and scandals are the most
popular. In the case of print media, or newspapers, we can go back to the
observations of the famous French Aristocrat – Alexis de Tocqueville- who visited
the United States in 1831. He described the format and contents of an American
newspaper. Like a Philippine newspaper its pattern has not changed through the
years. They are full of advertisements and the rest are mundane local political news
and opinion columns.

      Commager, Henry Steele Should The Historian Make Moral Judgment?: Ibid., A Sense of
      History, p. 464.
      Yap, Jun P., and Ibon Pinoy Majority: Arroyo “Not Best Person” To Lead RP (April 38,
      2006) The Daily Tribune.
      Ibid., Woshinsky, p. 6.
      Look for Fairlee, Henry The Parties and Seven Deadly Sins Today (1967), etc….p….
                                     CHAPTER THREE – POLITICS



“Even as today‟s journalists assert their right to greater
interpretive freedom, they find it difficult to admit to the
partiality an interpretation entails…The danger lies in
identifying a partial viewpoint with common good and the whole

                                                        The Media Elite, 1986

M           ass media and politics are activities of language and images. There are
            countless books and publication on both subjects. They nurture public
            opinion through words. The contents of political actions consist of
exchanges of views, debates and arguments. Politicians need mass media to
articulate their positions to the public. Ironically politicians usually tell people not to
believe they read in the press or see on television. During elections in democratic
societies words and pictures swamp mass media in exaggeration. But by choice,
mass media can influence public perception. It is their privilege to choose what
words to print and what images to project. They can slant electoral reporting to favor
a candidate. The supporters of the late Fernando Poe Jr., a presidential candidate in
2004, complained that they were helpless in fighting media bias. ABS-CBN, a
network owned by the powerful Lopez family was accused by the widow of Poe for
being unfair in their coverage of the 2004 elections. Actually the proliferation of
media sound-bites and paraphernalia had made the event one of the most


controversial elections in the world.220 More than half a century ago George Orwell
wrote 1984. He came out with the word Newsspeak. Orwell also made some
predictions, which fortunately had not come to pass. For example the word freedom
has still remained its meaning. But it has been abused and used as an instrument of
oppression. The medium is words in the form of news that tend to control the mind.
And it is done through mass media. ―And nothing is as effective in enslaving the
mind as the clever use of language.‖221 This chapter is not an attack on mass media.
Neither does it present its history. But it focuses how mass media influence attitudes,
foster alienation and create myths. It hopes to show ―how the media are, in turn
influenced by others – individuals, groups, government agencies, politicians, and
other mass media.‖222

“Interplay of Influence”

In the mid 1970s, when Jamieson and Campbell began writing Interplay of
Influence, there were limited mass media networks. There were no VCRS and
camcorders. Simulcasts and simulsats were rare and even unheard of. And neither
were there ―blogs‖ (weblog). Networks of ham radios in the 80s provided the
mainstream of people‘s private broadcasts even across country borders. They share
and convey political opinions with each other. Direct political interchanges swarmed
the air waves like bees. They discussed not only personal experiences but political
ideologies instant and uncensored exchanges of informal news and opinions on
current issues.223 By the end of the 20th century they have discovered the internet.
Millions of people enjoy the direct interplay in mass media of news, advertising, and
politics. Simultaneously technology created cheaper TV and broadcast channels that
have made political interaction possible on a mass scale. ―It increased the subtlety
of the persuasive strategies used by politicians, advertisers, and journalists.‖ It also
marked the birth of the ―Fairness Doctrine‖ through self-regulation.224

      Medel, Angelita Gregorio (ed.) The Dilemma of Philippine Campaign Politics-
      Alternative Campaign Strategies in the 2004 National Elections (2005), Ateneo School
      of Government, Philippines, Platypus Publishing Inc., p.2.
      Harth, Erich Dawn of a Millennium – Beyond Evolution and Culture (1990), Boston,
      Little, Brown & Company, p. 122.
      Jamieson, Kathleen Hall and Campbell, Karlyn Kohrs Interplay of Influence – News,
      Advertising , Politics, And The Mass Media (1992) Wadsworth Publishing Company,
      Belmont, California, p. 1.
      Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog.
      Jamieson and Campbell, op cit. pp. xv, 1
                                                                 CHAPTER FOUR – MEDIA

At present a comprehensive definition of mass media is available on the web. It is
used to reach a large audience, except in countries with a paranoia for freedom like
China. Even in other developing countries, like the Philippines, there are general and
specialist institutions that serve this purpose. Mass media includes newspapers, TV,
radio, books, magazines, cinema, and lately the internet.225 There are many channels
of communications through which messages flow. They operate without borders.
Called ―Google Searchers” and “bloggers”, they have their own websites with
internet addresses. With this modern technology the influence of mass media works
both ways. Mass media persuades the public but many people can influence mass
media. Cellular phones and television have become linteractive. Viewers can exert
countervailing pressure on decisions that governments, politicians, news people, and
advertisers make. There is real participation and reciprocity. Affordable text
messages have become a part of political mass communication. The late Cardinal
Sin proved it in the Philippines in 1986. His text messages reached thousands of
people who joined the mass demonstration in Edsa 1. At the same time, three
fundamental assumptions have become evident on the development of the most
pervasive and influential mass medium – television. First, that all communications
can be reciprocal. This is possible because channels are created jointly by the source
and the audience. They interact or a transact. Second, each mass medium can have
unique resources with distinctive capacities for inducing participation. Third, the
nature and impact of mass-mediated messages can impact freely on the economic
and political system. But it is not really unregulated. There are still many mass
media outlets, which are large business corporations. They have to be constrained by
governmental and internal regulations lest they exploit the public not only for
political purposes but also for profits. Of course there is again public pressure that is
expected to bear on them as a countervailing force. While ―blogging‖ can be a
potent force for developing self-awareness it is susceptible to some downsides,
particularly its effects on credible news reporting.

Distorted Messages

Messages from mass media are usually produced by a few for consumption by
many people. Some are distorted consciously or unconsciously. People receiving
them from standard private and public sources have no easy opportunity for
immediate feedback with their producers. This is particularly true of books. Many
are well written by distinguished and highly educated authors. They are mostly good
but many authors, especially Filipinos, are relatively unknown. Unlike news media,
particularly newspapers and TV, few books written by qualified academicians are
deliberately distorted or motivated by political interests – liberal or conservative. But
some highly Filipinos do not write in simple English to prove their scholasticism.


Messages are distorted with complex sentences and difficult words. An example is
E. San Juan‘s Crisis in the Philippines – The Making of a Revolution (1987) This
book was originally printed in the Philippines and written by a Filipino educated in
the University of the Philippines and Harvard University. San Juan wrote that
Filipinos under the influence of the Americans articulated and understood justice,
moral dignity and liberty in their abstract form. But while San Juan wrote with
reason and authority his messages were ambiguous. His sentences were kilometric
in length. To San Juan, anybody who simplifies the writings of great philosophers
are ―skimmers.‖ And to fully understand San Juan, especially on his criticisms of
Huntington‘s advocacy of modernization, one needs to refer to the Dictionary of
Difficult Words. But as a professor of comparative literature at the University of
Connecticut, San Juan is far from being a member of ―The News Mafia.‖226

A relatively unknown Filipino free-lance is Manuel Festin Martinez. He wrote a
simple and straight-forward book on the Grand Collision between Aquino and
Marcos.227 While there no lengthy footnotes in his book to distract the reader it is
also difficult to verify and countercheck his quotations. Referring to Marcos,
Martinez wrote in 1984: ―And so like Macbeth, even like Ramesis dealing with
Moses , Marco has hardened‖ Like Arroyo, three decades later , Marcos met calls
for him to resign like Macbeth, telling Macduff in their final duel: ―I will not yield.
To kiss the ground before young Malcolm‟s feet. And to be baited with the
rabbit‟s curse.‖ Martinez‘ quotation and Macbeth words are unbounded by time.
Arroyo has hardened against her own people‘s wish that she resign as president.
The people have no love for presidents who ―lie, cheat, and steal.‖ Marcos promised
a ―heroic leadership.‖ Arroyo has promised a ―moral leadership.‖ Again Martinez‘
words have rung true: ―With the economy in shambles, a garrison state in the
making and the political scene a vast wasteland of resentment and despair, more
ordeal seem in store for the Filipino people without their having tasted a single drop
of the triumph.‖228 Like Marcos‘ brilliant but tragic glory, Arroyo‘s blazing career
has been disintegrating ―in an avalanche of hostile jokes and angry oaths‖ from her
own people, thanks to people power in Edsa 2.

The News Mafia

The News Mafia operate both in the public and privates sectors. Bernard Goldberg
worked for CBS News in the United States. He won seven Emmy Awards.
Goldberg was rated as one of the ten most interesting people on television. In 2002
      Ibid., San Juan, E., Crisis In The Philippines – The Making of a Revolution (1988).
      Martinez, Manuel F. The Grand Collision – Aquino vs. Marcos (1984) A P & Resources,
      Ibid. pp 12-13.
                                                                 CHAPTER FOUR – MEDIA

he authored Bias – A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News.
Goldberg wrote that he saw ―how striking the similarities are between the Mafia and
the media.‖ As a mocking emphasis he claimed that it was no disrespect for the
Mafia.229 Goldberg added that there is a difference though. The Mafia wise guys
operate in the dark shadow of the underworld. While the news guys operate in bright
sunlight. Like many politicians, the strategy of not a few journalists is – protect your
image by ripping your critics. Divert attention by discrediting them. Goldberg
added: This is what politicians do all the time with great success: “When they are
caught doing what they shouldn‟t be doing. They attack their accusers.” In the fly
leaf of his book Goldberg quoted Steven Brill:

                       “When it comes to arrogance, power,
                       and lack of accountability, journalists are
                        probably the only people on the planet
                          who makes lawyers look good.”

Goldberg made an analogy between the fictitious characters of a TV series- The
Sopranos- and journalists. He said that ―these are people who are exquisitely and
monumentally delusional…‖ But deep down they are a bunch of honorable men.
They only hurt people who hurt them. Goldberg‘s cold-blooded book was based on
twenty-eight years of firsthand experience with one of the three big families – CBS

Several famous names from elite families were identified with the News Mafia in
the Philippines before martial law: Roces, Lopez, Madrigal, Elizalde, Menzi, Taylor
and Soriano.230 With their conglomerates of business interests they have to be ―pro-
Establishment. They have not forgotten how Marcos.crushed the Lopez media
conglomerate in 1972. Prior to martial law the Lopez family had shown how private
wealth could be amassed by cooperating with the state.231 Some publishers under
Arroyo‘s rule have been reactionary and careful not to step on her sensitive toes.
Yap, Locsin, Soliven, to name a few have been playing it disgustingly safe. But
many have remained undaunted - Yambot, Jimenez-Magsanoc, Tan and the gutsy
Cacho-Olivares. Arroyo‘s obedient police chief, General Arturo Lomibao, has
stand-by marching orders. Newspapers who would dare transgress Arroyo‘s
guidelines have to be watched and ―protected‖ from subversive elements. Secretary
      Goldberg, Bernard Bias – A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News
      (2002), Regnery Publishing, Inc, Washington DC, p. 9.
      Abaya, Hernando J., The Making of a Subversive – a memoir ( 1984), New Day
      Publishers, Quezon City, p. 163.
      McCoy, op cit. p. 430.


of Justice Raul Gonzales has declared that the Inquirer is too strong to touch and
fight. What has been extremely difficult for Gonzales and the hypertrophied
politicrats of Arroyo is to fight truth. It is anathema to them. As Secretary of Justice,
Gonzales and Arroyo‘s servile legal advisers have been abusing the legal apparatus
of the government to ―oppress and contain.‖- creating a veritable anti-people
monstrosity. ―Moreover, the state is too remote from individuals; its relations with
them too external and intermittent to penetrate deeply into individual consciences
and socialize them within.‖ In Trust, Fukuyama wrote that the legal apparatus is
used to serve as a substitute for trust, which leads to the undermining of ―organic
solidarity.‖232 But the Filipino nation has been discovering its trust in its Supreme
Court. The Court has been defending democracy against Arroyo and her discredited
senile advisers. The people have found national pride and dignity in Justice
Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez. Her exceptional legal acumen made not only the
Filipinos proud, but also its women. Of course the support of Chief Justice Artemio
Panganiban has to be ―acknowledged and appreciated.‖233

William Grieder wrote Who Will Tell The People (1992).234 He said that media rely
on the statements of leaders and institutions in power. In doing so, it enhances the
media‘s own standing within governing circles. It protects them from disfavor. And
it also provides them with good income. The Arroyo government has been
advertising in newspapers. Most have been false if not misleading. The Social
Weather Station (SWS), a respectable private research and polling firm has deplored
the advertisement of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), the leading
government news mafia bureau. In April 2006, PIA came out with expensive
advertisements in two leading local broadsheets – “Let the Numbers Talk – We Are
Winning the War Against Corruption”. It was actually a blatant distortion of the
results of a recent SWS poll survey. Since the year 2000 it has done five “Surveys of
Enterprises on Corruption.” These surveys have been funded by The Asia
Foundation with resources provided by the United States Agency for International
for International Development. (The subject of corruption will be discussed in detail
under Chapter Seven.) According to the SWS, the PIA ads, which came out on April
23, 2006, used altered headings that made it appear that respondents declared in
dealing with government agencies that no bribes were asked. The truth was a sample
of Filipino enterprise managers were asked to tick off at random their replies from
seven choices of the types of bribery to which they have been exposed. For their

      Refer to Fukuyama, Francis Trust (1995), Free Press Paperbacks, Simon & Schuster, New
      Cruz, Isagani A. Requiem for a Tyrannical “Decree” ( May 14, 2006), Philippine Daily
      Look for book – Grieder, William Who Will Tell the People (1992), etc……
                                                                   CHAPTER FOUR – MEDIA

own reasons some volunteered to choose: ―None of the above‖, or ―Don‘t know‖ or
―Refused.‖ The results gave the PIA an opportunity to deliver a distorted message
to the people through paid advertisements in two leading newspapers.235

A Dangerous Profession

Arroyo has been making the ousted dictatorship of Marcos look trivial. Since
Arroyo grabbed power in January 2001, thousands of cases of human rights
violation have been recorded. Political repression has increased since May 2004
when she won amid charges of massive cheating.236 Arroyo has shown lack of
appreciation of the role of press freedom. On the eve of World Press Freedom Day
on May 3, 2006, The Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFPJ) declared with concern
that Filipino journalists had ―reason to worry.‖237 Arroyo also received a stinging
rebuke from Republican Senator Richard Lugar of the United States Senate Foreign
Relations Committee. Lugar called for Arroyo tp thoroughly investigate and
prosecute attacks on journalists. (Footnote- US Senate to Gloria: Solve RP
Journalists’ Killings (May 5, 2006), The Daily Tribune; US Senate Raps GMA Over
Media Murders (May 5, 2006 ) AFP, Philippine Daily Inquirer)) In connection with
the 2006 World Press Freedom Day theme of “Media and Good Governance,‖
Lugar said: ―Democracy depends on the free flow of information to the public,
which depends on a press free to do its work without government intimidation.‖ The
Paris-based Reportters sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders) has ranked the
Philippines as the second –most dangerous country for journalists after Iraq. The
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines has advised Arroyo to listen to the
US Senate and to consider what Lugar has said as a warning. But the Arroyo
government, particularly Ignacio Bunye, who carries the tittle of press secretary, and
the political Philippine Ambassador in Washington , Albert del Rosario who was
never a career diplomat, has not appeared impressed.

“Puppetry –The Best Way”

These are the words of the late Hernando J. Abaya. As an author and journalist he
is more than a myth. He was a part of a legendary Philippine media with a
determinable basis of greatness. Abaya demonstrated how General Douglas
MacArthur coodled the collaborationist and reactionary elites headed by Manuel
      SWS: Government Paper Ads on Corruption Poll ―Misleading‖ (May 10, 2006), The
      Daily Tribune.
  A New Wave of State Terror in the Philippines (2005), Ibon Foundation , Inc., Ibon
Books, Manila, Philippines, p. 1.

 Papa, Alcuin, et al., Media Group Says GMA Doesn’t Understand Press Role (

May3, 2006) Philippine Daily Inquirer.


Acuna Roxas, the father of Senator Mar Roxas. Those who fought the brutal
Japanese invaders who became close to the heart of MacArthur were ―hounded and
tarred with the communist paintbrush.238 Without the help of media would the
Filipinos view MacArthur and the Americans as great benefactors? Unlike some
well-known Filipino journalists Abaya could have easily become rich by joining the
hordes of opinion columnists who ―attacked and collect then defend and collect.‖
On these columnists, Abaya wrote: “But the press, one may say, is only being
practical and realistic. Maybe, when editor-publishers still dipped fingers in
printer‟s ink, to the position of influence, and affluence, many of the presselite
enjoy today. Pampered by the privileged few…today‟s breed of newspapermen,
especially the columnists have themselves become privileged…Verily , the
newspaperman, like the politician or the public man before him , has succumbed
to this subtle and pervasive type of corruption in our society.”239

Abaya never regretted choosing ―the road less traveled.‖ He wrote: ―On the whole,
life has been kind to me. It has been worth living. If, as I turn 75, the chance were
offered me, I would gladly live it again.‖240 The following section is a digress - a
personal and sentimental insert on a great Filipino journalist. It should perhaps go to
an appendix or simply a footnote. But it so important that it should be a major part
of this book.

 I worked closely with his daughter –Ching Abaya – then a brilliant young girl who
just finished her studies in the United States. Among others, Hernando J. Abaya
dared to write two books- Betrayal in the Philippines and The Untold Philippine
Story. In 1972, Marcos incarcerated him in Camp Crame – a punishment for having
a free mind. I accompanied Ching to our Chairman in the Philippine National
Bank- Juan Ponce Enrile- who ordered his release. Ching gave me later a copy of
his latest book –The Making of a Subversive. He is the Philippines’ Bertrand
Russell – “an inverterate optimist- a believer in the majesty of the human spirit…I
still look forward to the day when darkness will lift and you and I will see the light at
the end of the tunnel.”


      Foreword of Abaya‘s The Making of a Subversive by Jose B.L. Reyes (October 3, 1983).
      Abaya, op cit, p. 171.
      Ibid. Preface.
                                                                  CHAPTER FOUR – MEDIA


Perestroika and Strong Republic

The Edsa episodes have produced myths in the same manner that the Great Russian
October Revolution had its folk tales. The Russia propaganda machine, comprising
of news writers, authors film-makers, theatre producers and actors, was mandated to
―boost people‘s belief in the ideological achievements of communistic socialism.241
Lenin had set up in Russia the ―dictatorship of the proletariat.‖ He hoped it would
lead the country to an utopian state of equality an cooperation. It was a grand vision
inspired by Karl Marx. But the system of Lenin was inherited by Joseph Stalin. He
created a one-party government. Stalin claimed that the Communist Party under him
represented all the people. Those who disagreed were shipped to Siberia. Stalin
eulogized servility. He saw the ―bourgeois democracy‖ of the West as fraudulent –
―the outcome of elections manipulated by the media.‖242 In 1968 Leonid Breznev
announced the Breznev Doctrine, which aimed to strengthen and preserve the
Soviet system. He was succeeded by Mikhail Gorbachev who had a different
vision. Seventy years after the October Revolution Gorbachev came out with his
Perestroika. ( Footnote - Gorbachev, Mikhail Perestroika – New Thinking for Our
Country and the World (1987), Harper & Row Publishers, Cambridge, pp……)He
wanted a strong Soviet Union. Socialism was encountering enormous problems and
it had to contend with what the bourgeois revolution had failed to accomplish. In the
Philippines Arroyo has been weakly struggling after she came to power under extra
legal means. Her rule has been battered with chronic economic, political, and social
crisis. Like Gorbachev Arroyo made a pompous but declaration. But she was not as
sincere. She declared she would transform the country into a Strong Republic. But
her alleged cheating in the 2004 elections has instead reduced the Philippines to a
weak state.


Press Freedom Day

      Gorbachev, Mikhail Perestroika – New Thinking for Our Country and the World (1987),
      Harper & Row, Publishers, New York , p. 25.
      Watson, Jack B. (ed.) Success In WORLD HISTORY SINCE 1945 (1989) John Murray,
      Athenaeum Press, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, Great Britain, pp. 6-7.


For the 13th time the United Nations would celebrate Press Freedom Day on May 3,
2006. Juan L. Mercado asked; ―Where do we stand?‖ Marcos never bothered to
know. But since 1986 tallies 57 journalists have been murdered in the Philippines.243
Mercado wrote that the body count tells only part of the problem. Journalism is
committed to ferreting and reporting the news. ―The process often raises hackles of
governments and vested interests who‘d suppress information on specious grounds.‖
The Arroyo administration has considered that it is necessary to muffle mass media
for the ―security of the state.‖ Of course, Arroyo has not been alone. She has found
company in Cameroon, Myanmar, Iran, China, Mexico, Colombia, North Korea,
Cuba, Syria, among others For awhile after Edsa 1, the Philippines was considered
the ―freest in Asia. Then came Arroyo with her ―politicrats‘ who imagined the mass
media is dangerous to their political health. Mercado wrote on William Pitt who
became Prime Minister of Britain at the age of twenty-four. The American
Revolution had forced the English to take a mental-stock of their anomalies. Pitt
surfaced in England‘s Age of Reason. From the outset he was frustrated by the
traditional 18th century politics. Mercado quoted Pitt: “Necessity is the plea of every
infringement of human freedom…It is the argument of tyrants. It is the creed of

Some opinion columnists are like politicians. They enjoy the privilege of having the
last word. They are rarely neutral and intolerant. They attack those who do not agree
with them, to the extent of being insulting.

Writing on the rights of journalists in The Media Elite (1986), S. Stanley Lichter,
Stanley Rothman and Linda S. Lichter stated:246

 Many people say that television broadcasts had become rubbish. Veronica Leigh
asked in Let Us Discuss Media (1987):”Is television rubbish?” Many television
commentators and talk-show hosts exemplified what Veronica Leigh wrote: “When
television began in 1936, it would have been inconceivable that fifty years later
bad language, violence and sometimes quite explicit sex scenes would be being

      Mercado, Juan L., Those Hapless Messengers (May 2, 2006), Philippine Daily Inquirer.
   Commager, Henry Steele Churchill’s History Of The English-Speaking Peoples (1958),
Barnes & Noble Books, New York, p. 296.

      Look for this book – The Media Elite.
                                                                CHAPTER FOUR – MEDIA

beamed into the nation‟s living room.” Televised violence has been condemned by
many civic organizations to no avail. They claim that as a result it has encouraged
the climate of violence in the country. Nothing useful can be gained from seeing
people being killed or maimed. To many, television makes people, especially
children, lazy and apathetic. It cannot replace books as a learning tool. But Veronica
Leigh also presented the other side: “Television has also scored many notable
successes in the field of learning. People may condemn television for the triviality
of many of its broadcasts, but it has undoubtedly given us opportunities to extend
our education and experiences far beyond anything our grandparents would have
imagined when they were children.”

However in late 2004 the media refused to accommodate the presidential
spokesman, who told newspaper readers: “Skip the front page and go straight to the
inside pages” He would be disappointed to read, deep in page six of the Inquirer
(October 17, 2004) the following: “Read for yourself: Amid economic difficulties,
an increasing number of Filipinos are going hungry.” More news on
controversies involving presidential questionable appointees filled the inside pages.
There were reports on money-losing corporations that have continued to pay fat
salaries to its top officials against presidential orders. Together with senior military
officers they have been reported to harbor unexplained wealth. An American think
tank described Arroyo as the weakest leader in the region. As usual, Arroyo‘s
spokesman would try to spin around the news by discrediting their sources.

The Business of Spinning

In Spin Cycle (1998) Howard Kurtz wrote on the Press Secretary as a member
of the presidential propaganda machine. His job is to repeat whatever ―facts‖ or
assertions the president has approved for public consumption. In his job he is
but a flack protecting his client. After EDSA II, the presidential flack machine
became more active. The Press Secretary was replaced by the Presidential
Spokesman who does daily spinning for the president. No doubt, information is
a key factor in governance and economic development. However distorted
economic information spun repeatedly by a government propagandist can
undermine credibility. On the other hand, unrestrained reporting on the
problems of government can create negative reaction among foreign investors.
Irrational reporting particularly on crime and violence also sow fear and worry
among expatriates.

In general media tend to accommodate presidential spins. But EDSA II in 2001 took
place amid the negative spins that worked effectively against Estrada. His inability
to neutralize them betrayed the level of his competence as a politician and a
wordsmith. Street demonstrations grew and were blown into a ―revolution‖ by
media. It was different from EDSA I, popularly referred to as the ―People Power


Revolution‖. EDSA I brought down a dictatorship. It was a glorious and peaceful
event that focused world attention on the Philippines. Unfortunately, while it
restored democracy it failed miserably to reform a corrupt political system. EDSA II
was different. It degraded EDSA I. It was a dubious mass action that was projected
onto television as another people power revolution.

Alan C. Robles (1992) called the journalists that made up the post Edsa 1 media
elites - The Print Warriors. They are the spinners for government in exchange for
special privileges like gun permits ―to protect themselves‖. They demand special
treatment by dangling their press IDs and car plates prominently for everybody to
see. Robles asked: “Seven years after EDSA what happened to the Philippine
Press?” His answer it has become exuberant, a euphemism for irresponsibility.
“They are noticeably prissy when they come to their own secrets.” Many questions
have been asked about the abuses committed in the name of press freedom. Robles
quoted Professor Felipe Miranda, a political scientist of the University of the

“Is the country safe in the hands of such people? the media have not been
responsible…look at media, broadcast and print, and you‟ll really see there‟s
sensationalism and simply sloppy journalism.”

There are still many questions about the free press that EDSA I revived after being
suppressed by Marcos. Robles would answer these questions by discarding ―some
cherished myths‖ borne by a ―revolution‖. First the press is just a messenger who
does not deserved to be shot for bringing bad information. It is not so, according to
Father Ibarra Gonzalez of Ateneo University. The functions of media depend on
what the owners and journalists are – ―economic or political interests of media
professionals‖. Leonard R. Sussman in The Press- The Power & Technology of
Freedom (1989) contended without controversy that journalism is inescapably a
business. It faces all the competition for profit in a market economy.

The bottom line in the newspaper business is that money is nothing but an abstract
factor, depending on what is vital to the publisher. Miranda wrote further: “If you
want press freedom, buy your own press.” This is the reason perhaps why there has
been so many newspapers in the Philippines after EDSA I. Another myth is that
media is corrupt because journalists receive very low salaries. Miranda explained
that the real reason why there is corruption in media is the ―friendly environment to
corruption‖ This is attributable more to the weakness in character of Filipino leaders.
There has been a general deterioration in the country‘s social and political
institutions, including the Church, which has become politically active after EDSA I.

Of course there are exceptions. Many media people are dying for exposing
government anomalies.(TO BE CONTINUED – REFER TO IBON
                                                                CHAPTER FOUR – MEDIA


Being Number One

―We are number one‖ proclaimed the Philippine Daily Inquirer. It also emerged as
the most profitable newspaper in the Philippines after Edsa 1. Many believed the
Inquirer deserved it. But has it been a dispasionate reporter of news? Sussman cited
Albert Altschull, professor of journalism in Indiana University who held that: “The
content of the press is directly correlated with the interests of those who finance
the press.” There is a paradox in the first myth that the press is just a messenger.
The second myth is that the press is run purely for profit in itself. Newspapers
proliferated after EDSA I but most of them lost money. The motive is political
derived from press power. Miranda explained: “People become publishers because
you can use newspapers as focal instruments for exerting pressures.” Publishers
care more about political power than the interests of the public. Another myth is a
newspaper can be ―balanced and fair‖. Estrada came to know better. The Inquirer
taught him a lesson.

In news reporting, the publishers and editors of some newspapers determine which
persons, which fact, which version of the facts and which ideas shall reach the
public. Their biases are evident in their contrasting headlines and news reporting.
Favorable information on persons they dislike is suppressed. In many instances, the
administration in power is treated favorably. For example, except for one pitiful
newspaper – The Malaya. Others for unknown reasons ignored the so-called EDSA
III. Was it because they were threatened by the military under Arroyo? It was
incredible how the press and TV stations ignored the presence of millions of poor
people, unlike the attention they showered on the earlier EDSA II, made up mostly
of the elites. What was not reported did not happen. It would have been foolish for
the Inquirer to support EDSA III. After all it was in a state of euphoria, after its
successful ―crusade‖ to remove Estrada from office. Estrada was evidently corrupt
but direct proofs were difficult to obtain. The Inquirer never gave Estrada a
breathing spell. Its power to print, ―projecting it self as the people‘s surrogate‖, was
sufficient to turn back the power of the poor that backed up the beleaguered Estrada.

Estrada was not extra kind to the Inquirer. In retaliation the Inquirer did not
hesitate to magnify his murky character. In contrast Arroyo offered columnists
and or their spouses government posts. Not all of them capitulated. Apparently,
the objective of Arroyo was to minimize militant elements in media criticizing
her administration and the involvement of her husband in government deals.
Management, if not manipulation, of the ―independent‖ press was never an
unlikely agenda of her governance. Ramos, a psy-war operator was adept in
handling the press while Estrada was clumsy. Arroyo has not been a novice.


She has been good in co-opting some newspapermen by offering them
appointments in government. An Arroyo appointee from the Inquirer was
Rigoberto Tiglao. He would become one of her ―spin doctors.‖

The important issues and images brought before the public by mass media are
determined by a handful of people. It may be the producer, the editor, their deputies,
the publisher or the owner. The news that makes the front pages and the air lanes are
carefully selected to suit a purpose. In a way mass media even in democratic
societies can be restricted. In some democratic developing countries, the power to
define the limits of public discussion of issues is not the sole prerogative of the
editors and even the owners. In the Philippines this privilege is shared not only with
the government but also with the Catholic Church, especially after EDSA I. All have
a common objective. It is the quest for wealth and power.

Mass media was not a 20th century development. James F. Dunnigan wrote in
The Power of the Media (1999) that mass media developed in early 19th
century as a result of the industrial revolution and the steam powered rotary
press. And it was not as varied as the present-day mass media. The rotary press
introduced mass circulation of newspapers. They began to influence public
opinion, which was recognized by politicians. Mass media became a major
political force. In fact it was behind the Spanish-American war – the annexation
of Cuba and the Philippines. Publisher Randolph Hearst was a media
warmonger – getting the right people elected and appointed in government to
support his views. Newspapers and journalists were commonly bought off. This
practice would continue for many years up to the present. Muckraking by
digging up scandals popularized ―yellow‖ journalism. Many newspapers would
resort to sensationalism to ―make a buck‖ and to increase circulation. Radio,
TV, internet, web and cable came but they have not replaced the newspapers.
Their opinion columns would continue to make many feel helpless. Libel laws
are usually inutile against the untrammeled privileges of journalists in the name
of freedom of the press.

Burt Dragin wrote in Return of The Muckraker (2001) that In the early 1890s
newspapers and magazines were the only mass media. Close to a century later,
the mass media would include radio TV, tabloids and even computers.
Competition would reduce most of them to the category of muckrakers.
Newspapers are after circulation. To sell they have to catch public attention.
Many newspapers would give more attention to opinions written by highly paid
columnists rather than legitimate news reporting by reporters on the beat.
Aquino ignored them during her term. But Estrada was less circumspect. He
took on the Inquirer with vengeance. In retaliation, the Inquirer dredged up dirt
against Estrada, which was not a difficult task. To the Inquirer it was a
                                                           CHAPTER FOUR – MEDIA

―crusade.‖ To Estrada‘s sympathizers it was simply muckraking analogous to
John Bunyon‘s Pilgrim’s Progress and The Man With The Muckraker.

Some reporters on the beat would write news like opinion columnists. In 1904,
American President Theodore Roosevelt labeled a reporter, Ida Tarbell, a
―misguided woman‖ for alleged biased reporting. By criticizing Tarbell,
Roosevelt made her a heroine. She would be considered the patron saint of
investigative journalism. Dragin wrote that there were a number of
investigative journalists who criticized the government and were branded as
―misguided‖. Among them were Barbara Ehrenreich who wrote Nickel and
Dime: On (Not) Getting By In America and Lincoln Steffen, who wrote Shame
of the Cities, a series about political corruption.

As in the United States, radio, TV, internet, web and cable came to the
Philippines after EDSA I, but they did not replace the newspapers. Words and
opinion in print made many feel helpless. Sussman wrote that a handful of
newspapers exerted great influence in determining what readers read. Together
with television they created reality. Everything left unreported, did not happen.
Opinion columnists presented themselves as knowledgeable analyzers in all
fields. Mostly onion-skinned, they overreacted when anybody dared to criticize
them. Sussman further quoted an American editor who said:

“That when you look at all the media that surround us, you realize why
people feel they‟re living in a press state, that is no different from a police

Biased news commentaries on politics usually come from paid public relations
practitioners. Newspapers can act as vigilant critics especially of public
officials they dislike. They can also mitigate with favor their corrupt acts if
these officials treat their reporters and columnists with ―kindness.‖ It needs
more than paying them off. It demands recognition of ego and power. Press
people believe they belong to a privileged and powerful breed. Theodore White
commented in connection with the Watergate Crisis:

“What lay at issue in 1972 between Richard Nixon on one hand and the
adversary press and media in America, on the other was simple: It was

Has EDSA I created an illusion that the mass media has reformed and has
become fair and objective? Is mass media free and independent in the
Philippines since 1986? A parallel analysis with the mass media in the United
States, from where the Philippines had drawn its model, could be an eye-
opener. Michael Parenti wrote an essay in American Politics (1992) about


journalists who were reportedly and evidently ―on the take‖. The Philippines
has its own brand of column writing that enable some opinion writers to extort
money by attacking and defending local personalities. At times, these
columnists, their relatives or their surrogates even seek and accept
appointments in the government. One female columnist in the Inquirer would
have her husband accept high paying appointments in the government after
retiring from the military.

Many columnists write practically on anything, even when their knowledge on
the subject is scant. However, they enjoy the privilege of heaving the last word.
Raul J. Palabrica of the Inquirer wrote that the opinion section of a newspaper
is exempt from the rule of objectivity. It does not warrant the truth, genuiness
and relevance of the comments made by opinion columnists. It is up to the
readers go decide. Robles wrote; “At any rate the popularity of columnists has
skewed the goals of professional journalists themselves…” After EDSA I, in
the absence of repression, the apparent aspiration of many reporters is to
become a columnist. They tend to color their news reports with their own
opinions. The prestigious professional newsmen of the pre-martial law years
have become a rarity. But there are still journalists who are true professionals.

There is a difference in news reporting and column opinion writing. Most reporters
are objective but the final decision as to which or how his reporting will be finally
published is not his prerogative. Veronica Leigh wrote that everything depends on
the paper and its editors. The news is ―carefully selected, slanted and angled.‖ Many
editors, behaving like opinion columnists, inject their personal views in their
decisions what to print and write. There is practically no boundary between news
reporting and opinion writing in the print media. For example, personal bias in
opinion writing was obvious in the September 3, 2003 edition of the Inquirer.
Amando Doronila, a self-acclaimed political guru, wrote in his page 3 column: “If
we talk of public opinion, a backlash is building up on {Senator} Lacson and the
Senate. Lacson’s expose’ has damaged his political future than it has harmed
Arroyo, a non-official.” On the same page, in contrast, Rina Jimenez-David wrote in
her column: “Judging from call-in reactions to radio and TV shows yesterday, the
public seems to be giving credence to Lacson’s revelations…” Doronila led the
―crusade‖ to disgrace an inutile Estrada. and to put Arroyo in power. It was expected
that he would become an Arroyo apologist. And he would make conclusions partial
to Arroyo, whom he helped become president.

It takes only a superficial knowledge of any subject for any newspaper
columnist to express as an opinion with absolute uprightness. The pursuit of
truth is the most glorious motive any columnist can claim in justifying an
unfettered freedom of expression. Motive may be objective but intention can
be subjective. Intention is influenced by situation. Columnists expose
                                                            CHAPTER FOUR – MEDIA

corruption and search for the truth but at the same time they may ―exploit the
subconscious.‖ Some may be cozy or softened into being friendly, especially
when enticed with prestigious government positions. Once in government they
become spin doctors, massaging information and feeding propaganda to the
public for self-serving reasons. A columnist whose close relative is the recipient
of high appointment from the government may have a different intention than
one who had not received any such favor at all.

EDSA I signaled a change in media democratization. There was a proliferation
of opinion columnists of all sorts. They write with indiscriminate license,
shielded by law from revealing sources of information. Senior Minister Lee
Kuan Yew of Singapore warned the Philippines about its exuberant press. Press
articles on the disorderly conditions in the country would discourage foreign
investments. As usual the Philippine press would react strongly to Lee Kuan
Yew‘s observations. “Better a licentious press than no freedom of the press” –
a Jeffersonian quotation, Arroyo wisely echoed in public. Aquino never hid her
dislike of the press. She even said she never bothered to read newspapers.
Ramos knew how to coddle media. He reportedly read all leading newspapers
and their columns everyday. Estrada was emotionally immature, especially in
dealing with the Inquirer. Aware of Estrada‘s fatal indiscretion in fighting the
Inquirer, Arroyo would rather counter with her own propaganda, rather than to
fight the press head-on.

Francisco Tatad wrote that Estrada must have thought his popularity could
overcome the power of the press. Estrada took on a widely-circulated
newspaper, the Philippine Daily Inquirer during his term. He might not be
aware that no politician, except the late British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin
had ever succeeded in fighting the power of a popular newspaper. Tatad wrote
in A Nation on Fire - The Unmaking of Estrada and the Remaking of
Democracy in the Philippines (2003) that: ”The Inquirer wrote more front
page, editorial, column and cartoon attacks on Estrada than all other
newspapers combined.” The Inquirer lionized Estrada‘s enemies. Estrada was
irrepressible and he was frequently mauled in ―ambush interviews‘, which were
too cerebral for him to handle. Instead he decided on a dumb war against the
Inquirer that ultimately helped ruined him.

Estrada‗s experience could be compared with American presidents Herbert
Hoover and Lyndon Johnson.. David Halberstam wrote in The Powers That Be
(1979) that they felt they were driven from office by the press and were angry
at the media. Halberstam‘s book was probably not in Estrada‘s limited reading
list nor was he aware of the experiences of Hoover and Johnson. But Estrada
should at least be aware that media could create or destroy politicians. After


EDSA I, media became free but that it was fair is a myth. Referring to the
media, Halberstam quoted Johnson who said:

“All of you guys in the media. All of politics has changed because of
you….You have given us a new kind of people…They are your creations,
your puppets…Your product.”

Estrada , like Herbert Hoover failed to recognize the need to cater to the whims
of media, with its dominating power after EDSA I in the Philippines. Ramos
was like Franklin Roosevelt He recognized the new order that media would
enter the everyday life of politicians. Media could look into their private lives.
Ramos gave media weekly press conferences. He was determined to be the
prime manipulator of news being the president and the greatest newsmaker of
the country. Referring to Roosevelt, Halberstam had written: “He understood
what journalists needed….that the high official who gives the greatest
amount of information can define the issue and thus dominate the
government.” On the other hand, Estrada assaulted media by going after the
Inquirer. His private life was far from being invulnerable. The result was he
gave more power to the Inquirer.

Compared to Aquino and Ramos, print media was harsher to Estrada. The Catholic
Church, particularly Cardinal Sin, and many from the business sectors could not
accept that a former actor, for whom more than ten millions had cast their votes in
1998, could become president. After EDSA I, kidnappings for ransom became
rampant, especially under Ramos. Estrada, campaigning on a platform of fighting
crime and poverty, won in the 1998 presidential elections. Estrada appointed a no
nonsense head of the national police. At the same time, he announced the
resumption of capital punishment for heinous crimes, particularly kidnappings.
Immediately there was a vehement outcry from the Church. The irony was Estrada,
although popular with the poor, could not get enough media support. And his
behavior continued to be confoundedly corrupt as to constitute childlike stupidity.
His supporters wonder whether Estrada underestimated the intelligence of the
majority of the people, including the poor, who put their trust in him. To be sure
Estrada had nobody to blame but himself for his downfall. He succeeded in
catalyzing those who hated him to organize EDSA II.

It is no secret that media depends largely on advertising for its income. Estrada
made the Inquirer a crusader by pressuring his friends in business not to
advertise in the newspaper. But Estrada‘s stupid action backfired. With the
mass media rallying behind the Inquirer against him, how could his friends
help Estrada? Few of the Estrada faithful during his brief stay in Malacañang
came out to defend him when he was dishonored in January 2001.
                                                                CHAPTER FOUR – MEDIA

 It is the pride of the Philippines to declare it has the ―freest media‖ in Asia. But is
Philippine media really free and objective since 1986? An examination of the mass
media in the United States, from where the Philippines had drawn its model is useful
for the sake of analogizing. In 1992, Michael Parenti wrote on the the free and
independent media. in American Politics – Classic and Contemporary Readings
(1992). Parenti believes that media simply cannot seriously scrutinize government
and economic elites or facilitate genuinely open political debate. He considers mass
media as essentially a business. Like the government they have corrupt elements in
their midst. They are independent in name. Coverage of news is highly political.
More serious issues in both the domestic and international scenes such as the
environment, globalization, terrorism, etc., are given superficial attention.

Presidential Hypocrisy
(REWRITE BELOW and MORE ON ARROYO)For a time particularly after
Edsa 2 the Philippines under Arroyo displayed a modicum of freedom by
―protecting‖ freedom of the press. Unfortunately it has brought the country
more harm than good. The Philippines also suffers form its American heritage.
Judicial interpretation of the freedom of speech, particularly of the press is
dictated by the principles of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Free speech is defined broadly to include not just words but also other forms of
expression. Examples are peaceful assembly, burning of the flag, wearing of
black armbands, etc., which are considered subversive in democratic but less
tolerant countries like Singapore and Malaysia. But they are more politically
and economically stable compared to the Philippines. EDSA I and II created
aberrations of the freedom of expression in the Philippines. Many Filipinos are
proud in calling them ―revolutions‖ or ―people power.‖ Unfortunately they
brought only superficial changes that were hardly revolutionary. EDSA II was
an imitation of EDSA I and it only tarnished the image of the country.

Mahathir Mohammad wrote on The Ephemeral Issue of Freedom in A New
Deal for Asia (1999). He cited said that an inevitable issue that crops up in Asia
is the appropriateness of Western values. The American definition of freedom
particularly freedom of the press can be harmful to Asian culture. What if one
journalist‘s freedom causes the loss of freedom of another to have a decent life?
What if it causes people to suffer, an excuse to whip up conflict or incite hatred
or vendetta or extortion and to rob others of freedom, dignity or well-being?
When reporting is based on less than credible information, to create tension, to
cause failure, and to earn a living, journalism become at odds even with
American value of fairness. But Filipinos are inclined to embrace American-
style investigative journalism, which is practically licentious reporting. In the
process, they can always claim shield behind the Constitution.


Does the principle of freedom of the press apply not only to muckraking but
also to personal hatred? Speech philosopher, John Arthur in Taking Sides
(2000), argued against Mahathir‘s concept of harm. Freedom of the press may
be extremely disagreeable but it should not fall under the category of harm.
Another philosopher, Arthur Satsis has asked, does the principle of freedom of
the press applies to hate opinion columns? In an apparent reply, Satsis also
argued against Mahathir. On the other hand, philosopher Thomas W. Heard
argued that some form of speech should be regretted, when they cause serious
personal harm. Nonetheless they may be tolerated when they refer to the acts
of public officials and lawmakers.

It is rational to expect that readers would like newspapers to have high
standards of constraints in enjoying freedom of the press. For instance, the Los
Angeles Times have a fact-checking group that reviews the facts with
columnists before a copy is published. An editor and a reporter of the popular
magazine, Vanity was suspended and made to face a federal grand jury
investigation. This is unheard of in the Philippines. Opinion columnists in
Philippine newspapers regularly write, ―hit pieces‖ using derogatory language.
Inflammatory accusations come from ―unnamed sources‖. Many readers have
come to accept that the relationship of newspapers to the truth is superficial.
Every news item has to be read with caution.

In Justice and the Geography of Differences (1993), David Hurley has written
on the question of values of some opinion columnists. To permit personal bias
into even the domain of opinion writing renders a journalist suspect to pursuing
an ulterior motive. Ramon Tulfo, an Inquirer columnist, invaded domestic
privacy in writing about the family life of Senator Lacson. In general opinion
columnists, except those writing about movie personalities, exclude from public
disclosure the private lives of government officials and their spouses. But in
―no hold barred‖ society like the Philippines everything is fair game. Familial
matters are not distinguished from subjects that serve public interest. The result
is opinion columnists are suspected in giving value to material considerations.

Philippine newspapers usually justify their free wheeling journalistic incursions
into the privacy of individuals because they are in ―pursuit of truth‖. But the
object of pursuit is not the issue. It can be defamatory as to cause personal
embarrassment and anxiety. This is the concern of Mahathir. Western style
journalism does not consider the harm it inflicts on persons and the Asian
culture of shame. Personalistic writings can cause harm to the children of the
subject under attack, who are unable to lead normal lives. In fact, this can be
true any place else in the world.
                                                            CHAPTER FOUR – MEDIA

Some journalists make inflammatory accusations from ―unnamed‖ sources.
They are actually hate ―spinners,‖ resorting to personal calumny and the
denigration of character. As a result, to the outside world they create an image
of a country with a damaged culture. Even in schools budding student
journalists are given a distorted picture of what is freedom of expression.
Student editors who are impressed with license harass those who disagree with
them. Truth becomes secondary to hostility. One question to be resolved in the
case of opinion columnists is whether they write to express hate. An example
was Tulfo‘s ―hit piece‖ on Senator Lacson that appeared to be motivated by
hatred. It was difficult to tell whether Tulfo was out on a vendetta. David
Hurley wrote on the question of values of opinion columnists. By permitting
personal bias into the domain of opinion writing, a columnist becomes suspect
to pursuing an ulterior motive.

With the usual exceptions, Philippine newspapers, like television are becoming
rubbish. Complimenting television, newspapers are mostly characterized with
news commentaries rather than factual reporting. Many columnists with their
analyses assert their opinions aggressively, insulting those who question their
positions. Even priests and foreigners have become instant journalists to take
advantage of the people‘s innate gullibility. Aside their connections with the
publishers, most columnists lack the knowledge to write critically on social and
economic issues with depth and intellect. They are rarely objective and are
consistently parochial in their writings. Some broad sheets are actually peddling
―brainless printed junk food.‖ through tabloid journalism. The goal is to attract
through sensational headlines and to entertain with sex and gory stories. They
simply pander to the readers‘ base instinct.

The most appalling thing about this decline in quality of newspapers is that
some publishers and editors are aware of it. Many are driven by their own
personal interests. Many readers have come to accept that the relationship of
newspapers to the truth is superficial. Every news item has to be read with
caution. Newspapers are the publishers‘ fiefdom, protecting their own values
and interests. They meddle directly with the news reporting of their reporters
and the opinions of their columnists. Indirectly they can meddle through the
budget. Their newspapers cover personalities and politics at the expense of
fairness. They are not neutral. Estrada found this out when he fought the
Inquirer that led to his downfall. In fighting Estrada Inquirer became a political
vengeful machine.

Philippine newspapers practice what is called ―necro-journalism‖ or the
journalism of dead movie celebrities. The space given by newspapers to the
deaths of actress Nida Blanca and actor Rico Yan was unprecedented. They


proved how the print media is obsessed with the faces of movie celebrities.
However, they seldom give as much attention to artists, poets, author and those
from the higher arts.

In South Korea three prominent newspaper publishers were jailed in August
2001.They allegedly evaded payment of millions of dollars in taxes. The arrests
followed an investigation of the so-called six ―papas‖, particularly the three
most powerful publishers. In turn the newspapers accused President Kim Dae
Jung of stifling the media. Of course, a bitter confrontation between media and
the government is harmful. News reporting turns bias when other journalists
unite in sympathy against the government or any of its officials. Media loses
objectivity with the ―facts be damned.‖ attitude. Objectivity is an impersonal
ideology that is supposed to check the abuse of power – not simply to diminish
the power of powerful people like the president.

Philippine mass media, after EDSA I, has become a political and an
entertainment sector more than a real news sector. It is entertainment
embellished heavily with politics. Ill-willed bias and character assassination
have depicted a country of ruthless individuals in unabashed pursuit of power
and sex. The public may relish the drama that produce heroes like Estrada but
the ultimate victim is the country. Nonetheless, television is never lacking in
sponsors. Airtime is monopolized by downright silly advertisements that
appeal to the base instinct of viewers. Commercials characterize Filipinos as
uncouth imbeciles with problems that are easily cleansed with toilet humor.
Soap-box series without any worthwhile social content highlight the adversities
of the country‘s Western-oriented culture. Everything has to fit the political
and economic orientation of mass media.

Arroyo said she had no plan to gag the media. In one of her TV programs, she said
that “the cure might be worse than the sickness.” She was commenting on a
statement of businessman Raul Concepcion, that the government could use a
scheduled economic summit “to reflect whether the (country’s) free-wheeling
democracy and press are deterrent to economic growth.” Concepcion, chair of
the Federation of Philippine Industries, also hinted that Arroyo could use special
presidential powers to clamp down on the supposedly “freewheeling practices of
Philippine democracy.” Concepcion‘s statements echoed the warnings of Lee Kuan
Yew, the father of the Singapore‘s economic miracle. Lee, at every opportunity, has
lectured the Philippines on its exuberant democracy, which, he says, “leads to
undisciplined and disorderly conditions… inimical to development.” However,
Arroyo was right in saying that the Philippines would not thrive under a dictatorship.
She said:
                                                               CHAPTER FOUR – MEDIA

“Our country experienced dictatorship under he late President Ferdinand E.
Marcos, and look what it did to us. The bad legacy of the Marcos dictatorship
continues to haunt us to this day, and is causing many of the country‟s political,
economic, social and moral problems.”

In Singapore Lee Kuan Yew was hated by the western media. The Herald was the
most critical. It was quick to exploit any government policy, which unavoidably
attract criticisms from some sectors of the country. Criticisms were inevitable in a
country with a multi-racial society resulting in communal and racial politics.
Singapore, similar to other Southeast Asian countries including the Philippines, has
been the object of communist subversion. When Lee cracked down on the
communists, the Herald quickly accused Lee of being cruel and demeaning. The
newspaper charged Lee‘s government of resorting to torture to exact confessions
from suspected communist agents. Whatever was the truth, the fact is Singapore has
been the least threatened by Communism in Southeast Asia.

Arroyo said that it is better when she disagrees with the media reports. “It‟s in the
context of press freedom. I‟d rather say the reports are wrong and that I am
irritated than clamp down on the freedom of the press.” Well said for a president
who has a reputation for lying. After all she was helped a lot by a largely
sympathetic press in her assumption of the presidency. Obviously knows the
important role that the press plays in a democracy. The president‘s statements
echoed those of Thomas Jefferson, who said that if he were made to choose between
licentious press and no press freedom at all, he would not hesitate to choose the
former. Jefferson also said:

“The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object
should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should
have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I
should not hesitate a moment to prefer that latter.” The world believed Jefferson
but who would believe Arroyo? Distrust grows with every speech she makes.

Under the law there are supposed remedies against a licentious reporting. Libel suits,
complaints to the Press Council or a newspapers‘ ombudsman, a newspaper boycott,
etc. But these remedies are not easily accessible to an ordinary individual, except
for those who are in power. Of course, lack of press freedom is worse. The country
had ample experience with the suppression of press freedom during the Marcos
dictatorship. It is an experience it would not want to go through again. The freedom
of the press is the bedrock of all freedoms. Many rulers intent in controlling a
country would first suppress the freedom of the press. Benjamin Franklin put it this


“The liberty of the press is indeed essential. Whoever would overthrow the liberty
of a nation must begin by subduing the freedom of the press.”

 ―Politics had triumph,‖ David Stockman wrote disappointingly in The Triumph
of Politics – Why the Reagan Revolution Failed (1986). As in the Philippines,
congressmen would block cuts in their pork barrel. They have created the
illusion that their spending has always been the ―will of the people‖. Arroyo
would remain capitulated by this political farce. In the words of Stockman, she
has held the economy hostage to a ―reckless unstable policy‖. Arroyo would
even have the audacity to proclaim that she has solved the country‘s fiscal
crisis. None of the international credit rating agencies would believe her. The
sovereign credit rating of the country would continue its downgrade spiral as
the country drifted into a serious economic peril.

Language and lying are the common tools of many politicians and journalists
alike. In The Concise Book of Lying (2001) Evelyn Sullivan, who teaches in
Stanford University wrote and warned about the language of ―public servants‖
aimed at distorting, misleading, and otherwise deceiving. Sullivan quoted
George Orwell, who wrote Politics and the English Language (1946), without
changing a word:

“In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the
indefensible…Political language has to consist largely of euphemisms,
question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness… Political language – and
with variations this is true of all political parties…is designed to make lies
sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity
to pure wind.”

Mass Media Rubbish
(TO ABAYA P. 164)

Mass Media Corruption

To most Filipinos mass media corruption is both a simple and complex issue.
(Footnote – Florentino-Hofilena, Chay etc…)

Investigative Journalism

Filipino journalists are capable of ―no-frills and unpretentious enterprise
reporting ―not necessarily corporate-funded investigative journalism.     (
Footnote -Doronila, Amando Riding AFP Tail, Ending Up Its Jaws (March 13,
                                                          CHAPTER FOUR – MEDIA

2006, Philippine Daily Inquirer).247 Ideally a good newspaper should provide
the citizenry with facts to know the truth, which is anathema to Arroyo and his
obedient politicrats. Unbiased investigative reporting can provide both
knowledge and understanding. (DISCUSS MORE)

The Citizen Reporter

Some newspapers have good opinion columnists who are capable of giving
readers practical wisdom. They have good intentions but at times they write
with an air of intellectual arrogance and self-serving moral righteousness.



“More seductive than sex…
More addictive than any drug…
More precious than gold
And one man {woman} can get it for you.
For a price
                           Power, 1986 (Footnote- Ibid.
Tomlinson, p. 67)

“These were people who worshipped „the lethal
power of the blade‟- the power to take rather than
give life that is the ultimate power to establish and
enforce domination”

                                                     Maritas Gimbutas, 1987

          iane Eisler in The Chalice and The Blade(1987) examines the history and
          the future of human society in relation to power and domination. The chalice
          symbolizes the power to give and nurture while the blade stands for violence
and dominance. One result of Eisler‘s examination is a theory of cultural evolution.
It is about cultural transformation that proposes two basic models of society. The
first is the dominator model that ranks half of humanity over the other. It is based on


the principle of domination. The second is the partnership model that is based on the
use of power to link people rather than ranking them one over the other.


Eisler raised questions that are related to Philippine society. It is oligarchic and
it ranks rather than links its constituents. Filipino leaders with wealth and
power dominate others who are lower in rank. They see to it that those who
oppose them know they are lower in stature. Aquino who comes from a landed
class was not elected to power. She was gifted with it by the people behind
EDSA I. Once in power she dominated them, albeit unlike Marcos. The
Catholic Church became her powerful partner in government. It was Jaime
Cardinal Sin who called on the people to go to EDSA. Cardinal Sin dominated
Aquino. In turn she dominated the poor landless farmers to protect her landed
family and oligarchic friends. She never allowed her enemies to forget who was
on top. In several instances she would remind her critics with disdain lest they
forgot: “I am now the president.”

In spite of popular Cardinal Sin, the Church has started losing its dominance
among the once Filipino Catholic faithful. Fundamentalist and Charismatic
religious groups of all sorts have been proliferating. Members of these sects,
mostly the low educated poor, are now under the spiritual and political
domination of their glib-talking organizers. Taking their cue from the
influential Iglesia ni Kristo, ministers of all sorts are dominating their gullible
followers and trading their cohesive voting power with politicians. Many
believe that these opportunistic groups are causing a disturbing transformation
in the political system. They support undeserving political leaders in exchange
for favors.

Stephen L. Carter in God’s Name in Vain – The Wrongs and Rights of Religion
in Politics wrote: that the religious are tempted by political power. They are
seduced by the sheer delight of being dominant and at the center of things.
Carter claimed history has taught us that religions tend to fall too deeply in love
with the art of politics. In the process they “lose their souls - very fast.” He
took a look at the medieval Catholic Church, with its desperate and impossible
ideal of building a “total society”, by approving the misconduct of leaders in
power. He cited religious leaders who, after having touched the levers of
power, have refused to let them go. So they have become not religious, but
political leaders. This tendency has caused the Church to go through agonizing

The Roman Catholic Church has been losing followers to groups, particularly
like the El Shaddai. These groups are as political as the Church with their
                                                             CHAPTER FIVE – POWER

leaders dominating their followers. Throughout history messiahs of all types
have been cropping up like Mani, who at the age of 12 in years 228, allegedly
received divine visions. They established religious groups that were spin-offs
from the Church. At the same time, they shared the bounty of politics with their
followers believing in the true path to the ―Kingdom of Heaven.‖ Their
dogmatic teachings are a mixture of fables and truths. Most are based on simple
literal, if not distorted, interpretations of the Bible. Passages in the writings of
apostles are translated and interpreted loosely in the vernacular. How is the
Church to hold its own in competition with these new religious groups when
Catholics are joining them in big numbers?

The El Shaddai is an interest faction masquerading as a religious group under
its charismatic leader, Miguel Velarde. He has been imposing his values on
thousands of poor and ignorant ―born again‖ Christians. He speaks with
promises beyond what the Church offers. He has been dominating both his poor
followers and powerful political leaders alike. Arroyo was quick to reward him
using government resources for his group‘s support, similar to Estrada. While
Velarde has been a politically accommodating leader, he has been wily in
bargaining for economic favors. It is obvious that Velarde has been dominating
politicians, including presidents, with religion.

The Estrada presidency was both supported and harassed by partisan civic,
business and religious organizations. ―Civil Society‖ groups became visible
when Estrada won the 1998 presidential elections. Their agitations proved
disturbing to Estrada and he was unable to control them. Questions have been
raised on how these groups manage to dominate the political system during the
weak governance of both Estrada and Arroyo. Are they a boon or a threat to
the well-being of the country? Are they really non-partisan? Who are the people
behind them? Are they uncompromising with their principles? Or are they
under the domination of the various agendas of their sponsors who are hidden
from the public eye?

An understanding of the motives of civil society groups could be gleaned from
Beyond Politics: Markets, Welfare & The Failure of Bureaucracy (1994)
written by William C. Mitchell and Randy T. Simmons. They wrote that these
are groups who know the effectiveness of public demonstrations, in lieu of the
ballot box. Through media they create concentrated passions. They achieve
their private goals better by having their own people appointed to key positions
in government. They are engaged in obfuscation, myth making and even play
acting to stimulate both hatred and excessive hope among the poor. In the
process they manage to receive and distribute economic ―rents‖. Unscrupulous
leaders take advantage of them for electoral mileage. After EDSA I and II,


these groups have gained prominence and influence by claiming credit for the
―success‖ of people power.

John Ralston Saul in the Unconscious Civilization (1995) wrote: “History is
full of men and women who had to sing one tune or another for their
supper.” They organized themselves into ―cavit society‖ groups professing
moral Christian values. In seeking power they did not show a clear choice if
they wanted to play a public or a religious role. In the Philippines they are the
product of the reigning patrimonial political structure. They trade courtier-like
behavior for political and economic influence. Many of their members are
highly educated and influential personalities. Saul further wrote on these
Catholic elites in Europe who proposed corporatism as an “alternative to
democracy.” They had accepted the Industrial Revolution as long as
independence of thought was relegated behind loyalty to the Church. As
religious leaders they have been advocating active citizen participation in
politics as in the case of EDSA II. Their objective is to shift power from the
majority to their groups.

An interest group, the Christian Nationalist Union of the Philippines emerged in
October 2004. It proposed that an ―interim government composed of the
country‘s former leaders‖ should take over the government from Arroyo. The
Chairman of CNU is Salvador Enriquez, a known subaltern of former President
Ramos. The so-called interim government would have Ramos as a core
member. Former Senator Francisco Tatad, a follower of deposed President
Marcos, claimed he ―had just come from consultations with Filipino groups
abroad‖. He said that they welcome the idea to ―save the country and
democracy from destruction‖. Enriquez also reported that members of
Transparency International, who met in Kenya in October 2004, viewed the
election of Arroyo to a second term as the ―mother of all corruption‖ in the
country. In all their consultations, Enriquez said everyone agreed that the root
of the country‘s crisis is Arroyo herself. The questions are: Who are behind this
group? Is there something sinister in their motives? What is the role of Ramos
in the group‘s agenda?

The dangers of civil society groups and factions with their hidden agendas were
brought out by James Madison in The Federalist Papers (1788). Madison noted
that they were “sown in the nature of man”. He suggested that relief from their
self- interests should come through controlling the effects of their advocacy. In
pursuing their own brand of political participation they could destabilize rather
than reform a corrupt system. The Council of Philippine Affairs or COPA,
headed by a Ramos loyalist was the most active in Estrada‘s time. Many have
viewed its role and motive in the Arroyo administration with skepticism. John
F. Bibby have cited examples in Governing by Consent (1992) how power-
                                                           CHAPTER FIVE – POWER

hungry groups could be divisive through the consequences of the actions of
their leaders. Their agendas are the children of their desire for power, which do
not differ from those of the Church and the military. They could either be
praised or condemned, depending on the motives of their sponsors.


In The Anatomy of Power (1983), John Kenneth Galbraith of Harvard
University wrote on this innate desire for power:

 “History is ordinarily written around the exercise of power – that by
emperors and kings, the Church, dictators, democracies, generals and armies,
capitalist and corporations.”

Of course he did not write directly on events in the Philippines but his words,
being universal, are relevant to the exercise of power and domination by the
Church, the politicians, the oligarchs, the generals and media and interest
factions but not the people. They have strengthened the myth of Aquino‘s so-
called ―People Empowerment‖ after EDSA I.

Galbraith wrote on the awesome power of the Church. He said that its influence
provides significant sources of conditioned power with extraordinary
comprehensiveness and effect of enforcement. Estrada never realized that he
was actually being dominated by the Catholic Church led by Cardinal Sin, who
hated him for his well-publicized infidelities. The Cardinal reminds many of
Oscar Wilde who wrote, “A man who moralizes is usually a hypocrite.” But
not all moralizers are hypocrites. However they tend to dominate and they want
others to comply with their preferences. They are unable to tolerate independent
thoughts that are different from their beliefs. Their way is the only way.

There is no doubt that Cardinal Sin was a pillar of EDSA I. But his dramatic
role in that event clothed his priestly position with power to dominate policies
that rightfully belonged to the state. As one of two cardinals in the country,
Jaime Cardinal Sin, who retired in 2004, was not actually the Catholic Church.
Yet he spoke and acted as if he was the Church. He defended his behavior by
claiming he was protecting the people from harm. Together with former
President Cory Aquino, who could not even influence the morality of her own
daughter, they acted as if they had a monopoly on morality. Many believe they
have no right to decide what is good for anybody. They have to realize that
they are arrogantly manifesting hostility to lifestyles they personally disliked.


Powelson brings to mind the dogmas of the Catholic Church, preached by many
of its leaders. The Church ―headed‖ by Jaime Cardinal Sin and the Catholic
Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) continued to propagate their
doctrines in parallel with the myths of EDSA I and II. They would continue to
breach the separation of the Church and the State. Meantime, the influence of
the Catholic Church would continue to shrink. Paraphrasing John Kenneth
Galbraith in the Anatomy of Power (1986), while once there was only one
source of religious conditioning, that of the local Catholic priest, now there are
many voices from many preachers and churches.

They are the “Talibans of National Morality ―(2003), wrote Rina Jimenez
David. Qouting Armida Siguion-Reyna, Jimenez-David cited the concerns of
the Catholic Church. She claimed that it has religious anxieties and fears and its
Filipino bishops have been driving the Church to intolerance. And that as a
result it is causing misery to others with ways of life and beliefs different from
them. Alarmed by the growing “avant-garde” thinking in the country, the
Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is inclined to dissuade
Catholics from adopting the modern teachings on religion The CBCP does not
appear to agree with the Jeffersonian principle of religious liberty. In American
history, Thomas Jefferson was known to be consistent in his hatred of
domination through religious intolerance. To him, what was needed was liberty
fully protected by the law so people could believe or not to believe as they
would see fit. Jefferson believed that in many countries and in every age the
Catholic prelates have been known to be hostile to liberty.

The Church has an active interest group in the powerful conference of bishops
or CBCP. This group has been dominating controversial issues, particularly the
problem of population growth. Basic to its virtual domination of religious
thinking is the control of young minds in education. EDSA II was an example
where students of minor age in Catholic schools were required to demonstrate
against Estrada, who was singled out by Cardinal as an enemy of the Church.
Estrada was against the Church doctrine on birth control. The Cardinal was
always against the use of condoms because “it encourages sex out of wedlock”
and the Church frowns on illegitimacy. Yet, even the prudish Church of
England has a more understanding view of illegitimacy:

“For there is nothing remotely wrong with children being born to unmarried
parents; but there is everything wrong with children being brought up in

It is a universal practice of international agencies that provide aid for
population control to require countries like the Philippines to contribute internal
funds for their own programs. Estrada did not seek the permission of the
                                                             CHAPTER FIVE – POWER

Catholic Church, much less Cardinal Sin, to fund a population control program.
To Estrada it was only logical that the Philippines should have a population
control program. The biggest deterrent to the country‘s economic growth has
been its unchecked population growth. While Estrada approved an
appropriation to purchase contraceptives, the Catholic Church was privileged to
approve this appropriation. And as expected it refused.

Government policies that have grown subservient to Cardinal Sin after EDSA I
was hardly given notice by the media. For example, the requirement of
international sources of aid that the Philippines put up its share for a population
control program has not been any publicity. Even when the country failed to
respond too this need because of the Catholic Church there was hardly any
backlash from media or the civil society groups. One of the reasons, why
Cardinal Sin hated Estrada was due to his defiance of the Church‘s stand on
population control. Estrada‘s Health Secretary, Alberto G. Romualdez set aside
a budget of around P70 million for the purchase of contraceptives for the
program. But Estrada never thought of seeking the permission of the Catholic
Church in pursuing a population policy.

After EDSA II, even Arroyo‘s Health Secretary Manual Dayrit, was aware that
the country‘s high population growth rate had to be checked. Accordingly he
supported Estrada‘s budget. But the appropriation for contraceptives had to be
cleared with the CBCP, which promptly thumbed it down. As a result, foreign
sources of aid for the country‘s population program had given up on the
Philippines. In other countries, religion has not been an obstacle to population
control. Getting permission from the Church for the population program is one
of the most glaring violations of the Constitutional provision of separation of
the Church and the State. It is one of the major obstacles to growth.

Thomas Crouch, ADB country director in a 2001 report stated: “High
unemployment and population growth, combined with low income growth,
suggest that the incidents and severity of poverty in the Philippines remained
relatively unchanged.” He deplored that in spite of efficient formulae to
mitigate rapid fertility declines, achievements could be wiped out by Asia‘s
swelling population. So many children were being born in Asian countries
today that even if high birth reductions were achieved, its population would
continue to grow because of sheer momentum. It would seem that whatever
were done, populations would still keep on expanding. How do we prepare for
that? The answer evidently lies in family planning. There are success stories.
Sri Lanka and Thailand, which have spread female literacy, good maternal and
child health and access to contraceptives, are examples.


Developing Asian countries with high population growth rates cannot possibly
attain their goals of lowering poverty levels, boosting economic growth and
improving the quality of life of their citizens. But lack of support from religious
leaders and erratic backing from governments and leaders beholden to the
Church have made the Philippine population one of the fastest growing in Asia.
As a result the problems of lowering poverty levels, boosting economic growth
and improving the quality of life of its citizens have remained unsolved. The
only thing the Church has being doing is to get involved in politics. It has yet
to show that has been helping the poor in spite of its huge wealth, which is not
even taxed. Modernization requires the subordination of the Church and the
weakening of its leaders. In the Philippines the principal political forces are the
presidency, the Church, the landed and business oligarchs and the military.
Since EDSA I the Church have been trying to gain the upper hand.

Ignoring adverse realities the Church, through the CBCP, would reject
Estrada‘s initiative on population control. It is unfortunate that the Philippine
government could not appropriate funds for family planning without the
consent of the Catholic Church. As a result international agencies prefer to go
to countries where religious leaders are supportive of population programs or
where they merely look the other way. Aquino never hesitated to display her
religiosity through unconditional obeisance to the Church. She had used the
name and influence of the Church for her political agenda. With a society
perceived to be deeply religious, being the only Catholic country in Asia,
politicians have to display spirituality to prove their high moral integrity. They
must pray publicly and ask everybody to pray. They must be seen with
religious prelates as Arroyo has been doing. These acts are calculated to support
the principle that the truly devout like “The rich don‟t steal.”
Beside the problem of population, the Church has shown unwavering positions
in several controversial issues. An example is capital punishment. The
Philippines has one of the highest crime rates in the world. Kidnappings with
murder have given the country a dirty image abroad especially among foreign
investors and expatriates. After EDSA I, kidnappings became rampant,
especially during the Ramos administration. Campaigning on a platform of
fighting crime and poverty, he won in the 1998 presidential elections. In
keeping his promise Estrada appointed a no nonsense head of the national
police, albeit under controversial circumstances. At the same time, he
announced the resumption of capital punishment for heinous crimes,
particularly kidnappings. Immediately there was a vehement outcry from the
Church. There are many who believe the law on capital punishment is useless.
It is there but the government is unable to implement it because of objections
from the Church. If the Church has to be consulted for implementing a law,
why pass it in the first place? Or why not simply repeal the law?
                                                            CHAPTER FIVE – POWER

The introduction to Ethics in Public Office (1990), a compilation of readings in
political science deplored the aftermath of EDSA I – “where priests enjoy more
being street marchers”. These activists in robes can hardly be called spiritual
preachers. While they have laudable objectives they tend to dominate public
policies with their religious instincts which they try to impose on the political
system. They use what Galbraith defined as ―conditioned‖ power to dominate
others into submission by promising them “their reward in Heaven”. The
Filipino mind has always been conditioned by dogmatic Church teachings. This
mentality is evident among Filipinos when they deal with westerners. It is the
result of Spanish friars who pounded on the Filipino sub-conscious the idea that
as brown ―indios‖ they were intellectually inferior to the fair skinned Spaniards.
D.R. SarDesar in Southeast Asia (1997) wrote:

“The Filipinos‟ submissive attitude was partly the result of the friars‟
constantly telling them how intellectually inferior they were.”

Upton Sinclair in the Profits of Religion (2000) wrote on the power of “the
score of great religious in the world like the Catholic Church”. He said that
each has millions of true believers – and each is a “mighty fortress of graft.”
Sinclair has admitted he was America‘s head muckraker. He exposed
corruption and social injustice in religion. He also wrote The Jungle that
helped the U.S Food and Drug Act to enact laws to protect American
consumers. In 2000, his controversial book, Profits of Religion exposed the
profits earned by the great religions in the world. Sinclair deplored particularly
the crimes of the Church. He claimed, everywhere it sanctifies stupidity and
canonizes incompetence. It dominates societies in many forms. Sinclair‘s
writings apply to the Philippines, where the Church‘s desire to dominate the
entertainment industry is common knowledge. Catholics who would dare read
Sinclair‘s book would be reminded of the Holy Inquisition. It would inform
them how the authoritarian Church tortured Galileo because he proved that the
doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church on the galaxy was wrong. But there are
still honest and sincere Catholic prelates like Archbishop Oscar Cruz. At the
risk of losing his life he has been battling the curse of illegal gambling, which
has appeared to benefit those close to Arroyo.

 Cardinal Sin‘s authoritarian interest in politics and his desire to control even
the movie industry in the Philippines had shocked many Catholics. He sought
to dominate the Arroyo administration with his brand of moral
authoritarianism. Dr. Nicanor Tiongson, a professor in the University of the
Philippines, was tempted to join the Arroyo government, which he later
regretted. He accepted the Chairmanship of the Movie and Television Review
and Classification Board. In 2001, he came under vicious attack from Cardinal


Sin for approving the showing of a movie - ―Live Show‖. He resigned. This
episode showed how Cardinal Sin could use his influence to dominate the
bureaucracy. Tiongson declared:

“It is ironic that the freedom of expression that liberated us from a corrupt
and incompetent government will become the victim of religious bigotry.”

The Church has to be consulted in practically every political and social issue
that arises. During his time, Cardinal Sin‘s blessing had to be obtained for their
resolution. One could read Sinclair who turned over the pages of history to
write on the damning record of the Church‘s opposition to every advance in
every field of science. Have the conditions changed today? Columnist Jake
Macasaet of Malaya asked: “What is Cardinal Sin‟s Role in the Arroyo
Regime? The social programs of her government… are dictated by the
Cardinal.” Columnist Ellen Tordesillas wrote the unholy alliance of the Church
and Arroyo was a form of moral authoritarianism. Aquino and Cardinal Sin
have blurred the lines that divide politics and religion. There is no doubt that
Cardinal Sin was sincere in his crusade against Marcos and Estrada. In
retirement many wished he could be Arroyo‘s spiritual counselor.

 Success like power could go to the heads of even the “men of God”, arrogating
unto themselves the politics of the state. They would become makers of
presidents. With their influence, they could interpret civil and moral laws in
“ways favorable to themselves”. These words came from John C. Donovan
who wrote People, Power and Politics (1993). He said that the politics of
religion like the politics of the state, involves the exercise of power, which
Cardinal Sin enjoyed immensely after EDSA I. This power could have been
used by Cardinal Sin to bring to the Philippines tranquility and cooperation
between the rich and the poor. Quite contrarily, he used it to generate new
patterns of conflicts that had led to social fragmentation and strife.

In supporting EDSA II, Cardinal Sin has caused the shifting of political power
to the group of Ramos, the military, Aquino and her elites and the Cardinal
himself. After the enthronement of Arroyo as president, Cardinal Sin was again
to be consulted in a “collective leadership” movement, which he rejected in
good gesture. Nonetheless, it would show that politicians have started to view
the Church and the State in the Philippines as practically inseparable. Seeking
the permission of Cardinal Sin would become a courtier-like ritual of political
leaders like Aquino and Arroyo. Ambitious power seekers and even plotters
have to get the blessings of the all-powerful Cardinal to enter politics or to grab
the presidency. This would give Cardinal Sin the notion that he had the divine
power to choose who should lead the country – like God would choose who
would be saved on judgment day.
                                                            CHAPTER FIVE – POWER

What should be the role of the Church in the economic system of a country? It
is necessary to go back to the problem of population to answer this question.
Kunda Dixit in Dateline Earth: Journalism As If The Planet Mattered (1997)
would elaborate on the issue. He wrote that whatever miracles poor Asian
countries could do with their agriculture, the achievements would be wiped out
by their swelling populations. In spite of programs for fertility decline, so many
are being born in Asia that the continent‘s population has continued to grow
because of ―sheer momentum‖. The answer is in family planning. Thailand has
reduced its population growth rate from 2.4% in 1965 to 1.0% in 1996. The
reduction has been so successful that there has been talk of giving birth
incentives. In some rural areas children have completely disappeared, and
schools have had to close down.

Those who have studied European history would recall the rise of the papacy,
which dominated the Roman Catholic Church in the middle ages. Grahame
Clark in World Prehistory (1963) wrote how the Church enforced the preaching
of Christian piety in Europe. At the same time there were poverty, filth and
disease. Many popes engaged themselves in the pursuit of temporal political
power that was inconsistent with the spirituality of their calling. The result was
the rule of civil order deteriorated into chaos. Ultimately the new Holy Roman
Empire failed to displace the old Roman Empire. The ills of earlier periods
contributed to more unrest and despair. It is easy to see that the same situation
existed after EDSA I. The rich and the Church continued to dominate the poor.
Corrupt traditional politicians, special interests groups, and the military, which
were dominant under Marcos, have remained in power under a succession of
weak national leaders.


Writing on the power and domination practiced by leaders inevitably brings up
Machiavellism. Niccolo Di Bernardo Machiavelli wrote Il Principe (The
Prince, 1517). At the time of its writing, Italy was in a state of ruination. Its
weak rulers were constantly under French domination. Machiavelli wrote on
the proper use of power by rulers or by princes. He examined why some rulers
were weak and he suggested remedies. Machiavelli‘s writings would become a
prescient wisdom for modern day leaders. In fact they could well be about all
the Philippine leaders, who came into power after EDSA I. But Machiavelli
during his time did not have to contend with the complex sources of power that
exist now in the Philippines. He would have been bewildered by the power
centers in Congress, the judiciary, the military and the executive bureaucracy,
particularly the presidency.


It is likely that many who speak and write about Machiavelli have not really
read his The Prince or his Discourses. Chances are, most Filipino leaders like
Estrada never heard of him or at least studied his background. Christopher
Clapham wrote that the successful leader who subscribes to the principles of
Machiavelli is: “He who can attract loyalty, can control or destroy potential
rivals… and can reach some accommodation with powerful external political
and economic forces.” Estrada was certainly not this type of a leader. Robert
Payne in The Corrupt Society (1975) wrote: “Machiavelli, in the service of
tyranny, is the practiced obfuscator.” Ramos was not a tyrant but he was an
obfuscator. He practiced Machiavellism, which The Borzoi College Reader
(1974) has described: “amoral political deceit and manipulation.”

Galbraith in his writings on power admitted he was influenced by the works of
Machiavelli. He wrote that he suspected Machiavelli ―is most frequently cited
by people who have not read him‖. After all, Machiavelli was only a
nondescript Italian bureaucrat. He became a political analyst by force of
circumstances. He began writing on his observations of rulers after he was
removed from government. Many writers have been using the term
Machiavellian ambiguously, most of the time out of ignorance. They create the
impression that a being a Machiavellian necessarily meant being evil. The use
of power under Machiavellian rules was not confined for serving selfish
interests. Knowingly or unknowingly, many political leaders had used
Machiavellian rules to lift their people out of demoralization.

Huntington also wrote on Machiavelli. He particularly touched on the ―mottled
aspect of Machiavellian balancing and intriguing‖. Huntington said they have
been the masks of politics in many developing countries. They are the reality in
a weak state like the Philippines. It is the same in other countries like
Argentina. Quite similar to the Philippines, Argentina has remained in a
constant state of unease. It has been battered by financial crisis with persistent
threats of impending coups. It is similarly a feudal state. Machiavelli had
differentiated a feudal state from a bureaucratic state in the manner they are
governed. In a feudal state the executive functions are exercised by one
individual, usually the president. It is oligarchic. The scope of political
participation of the people is narrow and institutionalized in the electoral
system. When this system is defective the balance of power shifts to the

Machiavelli was not a political elitist. Unfortunately he was implicated in
political conspiracies. Changes in governments imposed on him undeserved
political misfortunes He was imprisoned and tortured. Being a keen observer of
politics, religion and human nature, he wrote on the weaknesses of his times.
His dictums on power were based on his own experiences in public service and
                                                            CHAPTER FIVE – POWER

his knowledge of ancient history. It may be said that many astute leaders of
recent times managed to stay in power by applying in practice Machiavellian
hegemony. On the other hand, quite as many lost their power because of
ignorance of Machiavellian teachings. The Prince was actually a manual
outlining the virtues to be followed and the vices to be avoided by leaders in
governing turbulent states. For Machiavelli, the main concern of a leader
should be to maintain his rule, protecting himself from internal and external

Estrada‘s ultimate failure was hastened by his inability to use the vast power of
the presidency to dominate his political enemies. Estrada‘s moral deficiencies
and the Machiavellian talents of his adversaries dominated him. When the
power of a ruler is threatened, Machiavellism justifies using foul means. With
all his personal failings, Estrada never resorted to unethical means. While
Machiavelli has many critics, he has never been accused of taking ethics out of
politics for the sake of power. His maxims have become synonymous with the
politics of necessity. But The Prince was not supposed to be the personification
of evil. While Machiavelli‘s writings were on conditions in Italy in the late 15th
century their relevance with present day situations in the Philippines are
evident. Estrada could have learned and applied successfully Machiavellian
principles on the effective use of power. But he did not.

Michael A. Ledeen wrote Machiavelli on Modern Leadership (1998) where he
discussed why Machiavelli‘s rules are as timely and important today as five
centuries ago. In all likelihood Estrada, who was known to be a street-smart
politician, has never heard of or read anything about the Machiavellian
principles of leadership, most particularly on preserving power. Brad Milner in
Good Order – An Anthology – Right Answers to Contemporary Questions
subscribed to these principles of power. Ramos and his close adviser, former
General Jose Almonte, with their military background, apparently knew them.
They have shown adeptness in using the rules set by Machiavelli, albeit
selectively, to suit their personal interests. During his administration, Ramos
practiced what Machiavelli called dissimulation. He presented an image of
virtue with his subalterns immunizing him from incrimination.

Ramos was equally adept in practicing the principles of The 48 Laws of Power,
written by Robert Greene in 1998. On the other hand, Estrada violated
practically all the principles enunciated by Greene. The laws were based on the
accumulated wisdom of illustrious statesmen that included Napoleon,
Machiavelli, Bismarck, Talleyrand, Mao Tse Tung and other great rulers of
Ancient China and Rennaissance Europe. They presented a simple premise:
Power is a game with rules that are timeless and definitive. They can ruin


anyone who transgresses them as Estrada did, particularly Law No.2 which

      “Never Put Too Much Trust In Friends, Learn How To Use Enemies.”

Contrarily, Ramos knew how to choose and use enemies, Estrada being one of
them. Ramos followed Greene‘s Law No.7 to perfection by taking, all the credit
for his acts and passing on the blame, if any, to his loyal if not hapless
subordinates. This law states:

     “Get Others To Do The Work For You But Always Take The Credit.”

Certain basic skills are required in playing the game. The most important is the
ability to master one‘s emotions, a skill that eluded Estrada. His angry response
to the criticisms of the Inquirer was a moronic blunder. Greene wrote:

      “Anger is the most destructive of emotional responses, for it clouds your
vision the most.”

In the case of Ramos‘ predecessor, Cory Aquino, it was not certain whether she
was conscious of being a Machiavellian. The Politics of Kindness to the poor,
especially the small farmer, was not in her agenda. She protected her landed
clan and suppressed the protestations of poor peasants, culminating in the
infamous ―Mendiola Massacre‖. Knowingly or unknowingly, she misused her
power, transforming the Philippines from a weak into an ―effeminate‖ state.
While Machiavelli has fascinated many great leaders, Filipino presidents like
Aquino, Estrada and Arroyo, have either misunderstood or have not educated
themselves in the proper use of Machiavellian rules.

After EDSA II, Arroyo tried hard to motivate Filipinos by concentrating on a
question posed by Machiavelli: “Is it better to be more loved than feared, or
more feared than loved?” The situation in the Philippines under her
administration tended to show that she was neither feared nor loved. In Arroyo,
EDSA II did not bequeath the country with a leader capable of earning the
respect of the law-abiding and the fear of the lawless. But it allowed greedy
military generals to plunder the country. For many years they disguised and
abused their avowal of devotion to Arroyo by appropriating for themselves
funds of the military. This hypocrisy was not missed by Galbraith who wrote
about it in his writings on military power.

Aquino, Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo might be surprised that Machiavelli
would be ―saddened, frustrated, sometimes even enraged by the sight of their
mediocre leadership. Ledeen described this leadership as: “More corrupt than
                                                           CHAPTER FIVE – POWER

courageous, more self-indulgent than great of spirit.” Ledeen‘s writings
would remind present day Filipino leaders that stability exists only in the grave
and they should be ready to change at all times. Unfortunately they have
appeared incapable of in prudence. A parallel commentary was made by
Edmund Burke, a well known social philosopher, in Reflections on the
Revolution in France (1967). Prudence is a virtue lacking among leaders in
history. Barbara Tuchman had also pointed this out in her March of Folly
(1984). Estrada was miserably lacking in prudence. He failed to change not
only his strategies but also his character.

The people who voted for Estrada in 1998 knew about his personal background
and they ignored it. There were clear warning signals and there were no
guarantees Estrada could change his ways. In the case of Arroyo, she still has
the opportunity to change and to accept prudence as one of her highest duties.
Relevant to the consistent refusal of failed leaders to change their ways,
Ledeen‘s quotation of Ralph Waldo Emerson would come to mind:

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little
statesmen ...”

 Estrada, being wooden headed, openly maintained and spoiled his mistresses.
The rise and fall of Estrada gave credence to Machiavelli‘s belief that success
could make a leader more vulnerable to immoral self-indulgence. Aware of his
moral weaknesses, he was also not wise enough to anticipate the moves of his
enemies. He was no match to his predecessor, former President Ramos, who as
a psy-war expert appeared well honed in Machiavellian dissimulation up to the
end of his term.

According to Ledeen, Machiavelli believed that success most often went to
rulers who were quick to realize mistakes and to make immediate amends. Like
good sport coaches, they quickly figured out why they were losing, and then
they made appropriate changes in their strategies. Of the generation of Filipino
leaders after EDSA I and II, including Ramos, no one has embodied this ideal
side of the use of Machiavellian power. The causes of the success seem to elude
Filipino leaders. For times change, but Filipino leaders after EDSA I did not
change with time. High level corruption became more pervasive, dragging the
country to near ruin. Changes in the way Filipino political leaders use their
power usually came in speeches and slogans that were rarely backed in deeds.
Exemplified by Ramos, Arroyo has been making speeches on corruption, which
nobody has taken seriously. All of them have only succeeded in hardening
world-wide the perceptible endemic corruption in the country.


Ledeen claimed that contrary to popular perception, Machiavelli‘s exhortations
to rulers were based on Christian morality. However his concept of Christianity
was at odds with the prevailing practices of the clergy. Machiavelli considered
the Roman Catholic Church too corrupt to accept and practice his moral
concept. Machiavelli recounted the saga of King Louis XII of France who lost
his rule of Lombardy in Italy in 1499. France was then regularly engaged in
incursions into Italian states. King Louis came into Italy on the invitation of the
Venetians who wanted to control Lombardy. Once gaining a foothold in
Lombardy, he committed the mistake of empowering the Church by adding
temporal power to its spiritual authority through Pope Alexander. As a result he
increased the power of the Church and lost control of Lombardy. Had King
Louis knew better, he would never have let the Church acquire too much
power? Because of the Lombardy episode, Machiavelli wanted a more Spartan
Church. He believed it should devote its efforts to the glory of the spirit rather
than the power of the cardinals.

Ledeen wrote that Machiavelli favored violation of religious strictures by
leaders whenever necessary. Nonetheless he wanted his leaders to have
religious faith. He counted virtue as the highest possible achievement of people
in power. Machiavelli pointed out that throughout history the reigns of even the
most virtuous leaders were usually short-lived. Also many rulers failed to draw
the line between virtues and vices. They favored their own interests at the
expense of their subjects. Machiavelli wrote his dictums on power more than
five centuries ago but they would remain as ―timely and important today‖. The
word Machiavellian when given a dirty connotation, could be used to describe
not only leaders like Estrada who hungered for wealth as a president too much
too soon. Being a Machiavellian could also best described Ramos, who
perpetually thirsted for power and domination over others, even after his
―graduation‖ as president.

Many would be a surprise to know that Machiavelli reserved the greatest scorn
not only for corrupt leaders but also for those whose desire for power was
insatiable. Ramos, like Arroyo, was known for not keeping his word for the
sake of gaining power. Evelin Sullivan who teaches writing in Stanford
University wrote in The Concise Book of Lying (2001):

”One of the most disturbing episodes of Genesis, vividly remembered by
anyone exposed to Bible stories at an impressionable age, has to do with
deception for the sake of power and wealth.”

Sullivan further defined liars to mean anyone who deceives in anyway. But she
may give Arroyo and many political leaders small consolation when she wrote:
                                                           CHAPTER FIVE – POWER

“Hypocrites are prime examples… but nowhere is there a commandment not
to be hypocritical.”

Still, according to Sullivan, the greed for power may be the motive for lying,
but the poor who suffer are the victims. She wrote:

“That while motive is the main thing, it is not the only one: the people lied to
and the lie‟s effect on them also matter.”

It is significant to bring up here a dirty side of Machiavellism, explained by
Ledeen. According to Machiavelli a prudent ruler should not keep his word
when keeping it is to his disadvantage. This would justify the decision of
Arroyo not to keep her word that she would not run for reelection in 2004.
Sullivan also wrote that there should never be a shortage of legitimate reasons
to disguise your disregard of your word. But Machiavelli warned rulers that
more often than not, regimes had fallen because of faithlessness that led to
internal decay. He reminded them that they could be toppled from either within
or without. Estrada was a leader who self destructed. He fought both internal
and external forces. Internally, his enemies included himself. Estrada failed to
change his character. He was unable to develop prudence and temperance and
in the process he became an easy picking for his enemies. Arroyo has been
facing this dilemma. Could Cardinal Sin who has retired help her?

Against Ramos and his more cunning supporters, Estrada was not a match.
Failing to win the elections, Estrada‘s enemies led by Ramos were fired with
compulsion to regain power and to continue the domination of the country by
all means. They have savored the trappings of power and they were determined
to regain them. They were earlier frustrated in tampering with the Constitution.
They would get back into power by creating chaos during Estrada‘s brief and
corrupt administration. In a democratic state like the Philippines, power under a
righteous leader is an essential unifying force. Unfortunately power, which has
a moral stigma, has been used for both good and evil by Filipino leaders, even
after Marcos was deposed by EDSA I.


The President of the Philippines is perhaps more powerful than the President of
the United States from the point of view of checks and balances. The Philippine
Supreme Court and Congress could easily be swayed by the powers of the
presidency. Estrada failed in exercising these powers because he acted and
behaved like a small town mayor. Estrada‘s loyal town folks were very
forgiving of his lifestyle as a mayor. However as head of state, the public and
media became more discerning about his behavior. The public also felt


disappointed. They have held in high esteem with the ―macho‖ roles he played
as a movie actor. Instead what the public saw was a lazy, portly and unhealthy
looking leader with nocturnal habits unworthy of the presidency.

Galbraith wrote on the power of personality, which has been manifested by
many great leaders all over the world. Similarly, in Essence of Leadership
(1999), Andrew Kakabadse and Nada Kakabadse introduced the importance of
personality in the concept of “Personal impact power”. It depends on how a
leader presents oneself as attractive to others. Physical attributes such as height,
weight, size and physical appearance would be considered to be essential
aspects of power. Together these personal features help a leader in being
charming and projecting a ‗nice-to-be-with‖ image. People are proud of their
leader when they look good in the presence of other foreign leaders. Seeing
their leaders with an unhealthy protruding tummy does not exude pride. A
leader lacking in physical height, standing like a dwarf among towering foreign
heads of state, is also a source of national embarrassment.

It may be unfair and even insensitive to relate the physical unattractiveness of a
leader to his or her effectiveness. However the dominance of a leader can be
influenced a great deal by physical projection. Ronald Reagan and Margaret
Thatcher are examples. Their nice physical attributes contributed to a
perception of strength in character. Marvin Olasky, editor of World, a Christian
news weekly, examined the personalities of American presidents in The
American Leadership Tradition (1999). He wrote that George Washington was
far from an almighty president. But it was his personality that held things
together in a struggling new country.

“And few presidents have had the presence of Washington, who possessed, in
the words of one observer, Benjamin Latrobe: something uncommonly
commanding and majestic in his walk, his address, his figure and his
countenance.” Olasky also cited the imposing personality of Andrew
Jackson: “Tall and thin, he seemed austere, honest and determined – a man
born to command.”

It is difficult to make a definite conclusion on the connection between the
private and public lives of leaders. Private character may or may not dominate
public performance. Many American presidents who have performed publicly
with distinction have also violated norms of morality in their private lives.
Marvin Olasky, author of thirteen books on history and culture wrote:

”Journalists often insisted that private action has no effect on public policy.
Some went even further, arguing that immorality makes far more creative
                                                           CHAPTER FIVE – POWER

Curt Gentry, who also wrote thirteen books on American culture, revealed in J.
Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets (1991) how the former FBI director
collected derogatory information on the private characters of the American
presidents he had served. With his private ―dossiers‖ he managed to hold on to
his post for forty-eight years under eight presidents. Most of them were
considered great leaders, particularly Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight
Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy. None of them lost power in disgrace like

Power can be lost by leaders and inherited by others under different conditions
as it did due to the EDSA episodes. Inherited power is acquired, not necessarily
through family lineage but through revolutions or mass movements similar to
people power. According to Machiavelli, inherited power can be acquired
through chaos, the grace of fortune (fortuna), the help of others or through
personal ability (virtu). Inherited power usually produces leaderships that sink
into degeneracy. Aquino and Arroyo were simply inheritors of extra-
constitutional power through chaos, fortune and the help of others. This type of
inherited power usually produces regimes that eventually lead to a cycle of
instability. Power that is inherited under chaos, similar to people power,
usually produces leader that sinks into degeneracy. Ledeen described the
Machiavellian syndrome of inherited power and degeneration. The Philippines
went through this syndrome since EDSA I in 1986. Earlier, Marcos inherited
power from himself by declaring martial law. Then he devoted his rule to
excesses of extravagance and every form of corruption. His rule did not last.

Arroyo agonized after inheriting power in EDSA II. She was constantly under
siege from the so-called civil society groups, who believed she owed them her
ascendancy to power. Ramos‘ followers were reportedly behind this civil
society, maliciously referred to as the ―evil society‖ (Malaya, November 28,
2001). It was common knowledge that one of the brains of EDSA II that made
Arroyo president was Ramos. Consequently, she was under his domination and
was constrained to appoint Ramos people to her government. She also faced
constant threat of a coup not only from Ramos‘ loyalists in the military but also
from young idealist officers who could not stand the corruption in the military
and her government.

After EDSA I a supposedly virtuous and revolutionary government was
established. Cory Aquino, the widow of the heroic Benigno Aquino inherited
the power graciously given to her by the men behind EDSA I. She was
supposed to reassert the primacy of democracy and to use revolutionary power
to institute reforms. The power Aquino inherited soon sank into degeneracy.
Greed and patronage became widespread through cronyism. Like the old ―bad‖


Marcos state, the new ―good‖ state was threatened with uprising, this time from
the military. In time the poor began to watch the oligarchs, the noble landed
rich symbolized by Aquino with disdain. Rural unrest grew stronger led by Jose
Maria Sison, who would continue to harass the country in exile in faraway
Amsterdam. As an act of appeasement, the ultra leftist Sison, who was under
military detention, had been set free by Aquino. The military, which was in a
state of uneasiness, considered Aquino‘s decision a mistake.

Once again Machiavelli‘s dictum proved to be correct. Incompetent hereditary
rulers could remain in power but with the greatest of effort. Aquino needed a
white knight to save her from the reformists in the military. She was lucky to
have a loyal Army Chief of Staff in General Fidel V. Ramos. American
colonial might was also ever present to save her. She was to finish her term
under constant siege. In gratitude Aquino anointed Ramos as her successor. The
resources of government helped Ramos get elected president in 1992, courtesy
of outgoing Aquino. Ramos won with a very slim margin over his closest
opponents who claimed he cheated. After the elections, there was a change
from the meek Aquino to the upbeat Ramos. Once in power, the former general
always had a mouthful of metaphors. He mesmerized the people with rhetoric,
promising to ―pole-vault‖ the country to prosperity by the end of his term. He
became a world traveler to attract foreign investors to support his ―whim and

The way Ramos handled the press was a textbook course in domination and
manipulation. Ramos also completely dominated his subordinates in
government. With the able help of his national security adviser, Ramos dug
deep into Machiavellian dissimulation. Failing to tamper with the Constitution,
he anointed a loyal successor in the person of House Speaker Jose de Venecia,
the ultimate traditional politician, for the 1988 elections. In spite of the backing
of government resources de Venecia suffered a humiliating loss in the 1988
presidential elections. But he would remain the country‘s foremost epitome‘ of
a traditional political wheeler-dealer. Booma Cruz and Danilo P. Lucas wrote in
describing de Venecia in The Lord of the Pork A Most Promising Pol (1998):

“A supposed crony of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, the Aquino
government resurrected de Venecia‟s fortunes, while Ramos seeks now to
crown him with the ultimate honor, the presidency.”

Luck was to come to the side of Ramos. Asia was on the upbeat and the
Philippines had a share of the economic windfall taking place in the region.
Aquino literary left the country in the dark with electric power
―brownouts..Ramos touted himself as the savior of the country. He approved
contracts signed by the National Power Corporation with Independent Power
                                                             CHAPTER FIVE – POWER

Producers (IPP). They would prove to be uneconomic, as discovered years after
his ―graduation with honors‖ as president. Consumers have to shoulder the
onerous Ramos IPP contracts. In simple terms consumers were asked to pay for
electricity they did not consume. The Philippine Senate wanted Ramos to
explain his actions. In reply Ramos asked metaphorically, proving he is still the
master equivocator: “Why, have I been a bad boy?”

 A new leader in the person of Estrada emerged in 1988. Unschooled in
Machiavellian ways, he rekindled the cycle of national degeneracy all over
again. His ineptness allowed pseudo people power episode to take place,
perpetuating the syndrome of political instability that was initiated by Marcos
culminating in EDSA I. Estrada tolerated his enemies, particularly Ramos, to
create an atmosphere of continuing chaos. Organized interest groups mobilized
mass demonstrations demanding Estrada‘s ouster. They finally succeeded when
EDSA II in January 2000 forced the beleaguered Estrada to leave Malacañang.
A politicized Supreme Court decided to legalize the ascension of his vice
president to the presidency.


One of the respected law practitioners in the Philippines is Rene AV. Saguisag.
A Harvard Law School graduate, he was a human rights advocate during the
Marcos dictatorship. He was elected senator but he did not pursue further
reelection. Nobody could pin any wrongdoing on Saguisag, except being a
defense counsel for the disgraced ex-president Estrada. On October 22, 2004,
he wrote in Bands of Brigands in his T.G.I.F. column in Today: ―In 2001, an
aberration saw the so-called ‗civil society‘ erased the 1998 popular mandate by
replacing Erap and Loi with Glo, Mike, Nani and The Firm. This despite the
Arroyo‘s alleged link to graft in the garments board, and the supposed issues of
the couple in their finances and personal lives, etc.‖ Many knew Saguisag was
referring to the Supreme Court for the aberration and Glo was President Arroyo
and Mike was the ―First Gentleman.‖

A leader can maintain power and dominate opponents through ―extra-legal‖
means. The appointment of the Presidential Counsel of former President
Ramos, to whom President Arroyo is beholden, to the Supreme Court is an
example. Most justices of the Supreme Court have to perform delicate
balancing acts. Inevitably their decisions have to be consistent with the interests
of the appointing powers to whom they owe their tenure. The appointing
process of the members of the Court does not encourage independence. Ideally
justices should be accountable to the public but the Court has been accused in
the past for being policy makers that favor the presidency. A notable case was
the Court decision on the sale of the Manila Hotel. The Supreme Court


obviously decided a legal issue as a policy-making body. It set aside the result
of a legitimate bidding process in the name of ―judicial review‖. The decision
favored an influential publisher of a Philippine newspaper over a Malaysian
bidder who won the bid fair and square. The result is the Supreme Court is
viewed by many legal thinkers as less than supreme in its decisions.

Every Philippine president has a favorite law office referred to as ―The Firm.‖
It may be more appropriate to call them a legal political ―farm.‖ The firm has
its own stable of brilliant lawyers, usually belonging to the same university
fraternity. These lawyers would eventually become top state counsels, Cabinet
secretaries and even justices. Arthur Villaraza, formerly of the Carpio Villaraza
Cruz Law Office was Arroyo‘s chosen presidential personal counsel. Avelino
Cruz would become Secretary of National Defense. Many would remember
Cruz as ―behind the release of P1billion of GSIS money‖ to complete the
Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard, regarded as the most anomalous and
expensive highway in recent memory. The politicization of the justice system
was started by Marcos to consolidate his power. It was one of his legacies
perpetuated by his successors.

Arroyo became president without the poor helping her and vice versa. She had
her hero in Governor Chavit Singson of Ilocos Sur who blew the whistle on
Estrada, fighting over illicit income. Singson was Estrada‘s partner in the
notorious numbers game and he too was far from being immaculate. In his
bailiwick, Singson was well known for political “gangsterism.” By betraying
his own benefactor, Singson was able to reap untold rewards. The beneficiary
of his infidelity was a grateful Arroyo who would repay him the honorific
sobriquet: “Father of EDSA II.” Arroyo further appointed his sister to head
the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes (PCSO) where she practiced charity by
making herself the highest paid government official of the land.

To put Arroyo in power, Ramos and Almonte planned their domination of
Estrada. He easily accommodated them by plunging into self- disintegration.
Estrada lacked the desirable virtues of Machiavelli. He lived like the great
Italian. Machiavelli was a ―liver‖ whose days and nights were full of sexual
activities. He fell in love often. Machiavelli, in confessing in one of his letters
about a love affair wrote: “Everything seems easy to me and to her every
desire…And though I seem to have entered great trouble, yet I feel it in such
sweetness.” Machiavelli‖s desires were not unlike Estrada‘s. They
overwhelmed Estrada‘s superficial dedication to his work. Ledeen seemed to
have Estrada in mind when he wrote:

“Ambition takes us up…create more wealth, expand our domination…{but)
once we reach our pinnacle , however, the spoils of victory …leads us into the
                                                             CHAPTER FIVE – POWER

path of temptation…sloth, greed and…self-centered sins and vices…
downward to disintegration…and domination by others.”

The Constitution of 1986 decreed a single six-year term for Philippine
presidents. The principle is that a president who was not allowed to run for re-
election would make decisions base on what is right and not what is popular for
political purposes. Ramos tried to go around the single-term no re-election
restriction. With his supporters he attempted to amend the Constitution.
Aquino virtually did it by anointing a successor – Ramos. Estrada simply
would not be bothered by a single-term. To his detractors, Estrada would not
aspire for an extension of his misrule. So he allegedly tried to make his billions
as early as possible, or barely two years into his term.

Like Barbara Tuchman, Dick Morris wrote that throughout history men and
women have sought power through every manner of stratagem. Using his words
in Power Plays (2002): “In a world of opportunism the greed for power
dominates men and women.” They knew that there were various paths to
power. There were strategies other than buying another presidential election.
With Estrada‘s wayward ways, finding a scandal that would eventually destroy
him would not be difficult. Ramos and his adviser, Jose Almonte saw
immediately the opportunity in Estrada‘s weakness. His path was leading to self
destruction. Recent history in the United States would suggest that scandals
could hardly remove a sitting president. A wily leader like Clinton could
overcome even the most scandalous of scandals.

In the 1992 American presidential elections Robert Dole out spent William
Clinton, two to one but Dole lost. This was in spite of sexual scandals linked to
Clinton. Later, a more steamy sex scandal failed to bring Clinton down. What
brought down Estrada? Was he a flawed leader ? One thing was certain. He was
not a Clinton and he was up against more formidable enemies. Marvin Olassky
looked closely at Clinton, particularly his private character and public action. In
a way Estrada was like Clinton. They shared the same moral ambiguities. To
them, a president‘s sexual practices have no relation to their public decisions.
Olassky concluded that many people think the issue of adultery is important.
“But others do not want examinations of presidential trysts.”

Estrada also proved that no leader could succeed without appreciating the
norms of hard work. He partied and gambled with friends. In the process he
degraded his values and lost his vision. Soon he was governing without any
strategy – especially a strategy for change. In a short time he forgot the people
who supported him. Estrada failed to understand the workings of power that
would have made him a true leader. Well-known figures in history had sought
and acquired power. Some succeeded in preserving their power and others


failed like Estrada. Morris has examined how great political leaders played the
game. From Abraham Lincoln to Junichiro Koizumi, heads of states stood on
their chosen principles and won. Estrada could have been one of the winners –
but he chose to commit political suicide. He failed in his dedication to his
avowed dictum: “No Friends, No Relatives.”

Ramos was not also known for his marital fidelity. But he managed his private
affairs with finesse. Ramos was skilled in Machiavellian ways better than other
Filipino presidents, particularly Estrada. Skillful still were Ramos‘ diversionary
explanations of anomalous multi—million peso government contracts he
approved during his term. He typified the Machiavellian ruler who possessed
the guile and craftiness of the fox. With cases of graft during his administration,
he was able to dissimulate involvement and escape prosecution. He managed to
appear virtuous by distancing himself from unpopular acts that he attributed to
his subordinates. During his term he used buzzwords, slogans, and anecdotes to
advantage. He made sure all his alleged achievements were proclaimed
endlessly, until these were accepted as fact. After his presidency he was able to
convince Arroyo to appoint him as some sort of a senior statesman in the
category of Singapore‘s venerable Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

 As taught by The Prince, a leader may have to “act periodically in a way that
is at odds with conventional morality. He must therefore learn how to
dissimulate…” Even after his term, Ramos managed to wield power and
dominate the Arroyo presidency that he helped installed in EDSA II. He
refused to fade away by continuing to present himself as a ―statesman of
virtue‖. Ramos was the archetypal leader who espoused a new order but
practiced the traditional ways of patronage politics to dominate others and
consolidate his power. In truth, all Philippine presidents after EDSA I have
emulated the Marcos‘ practices of patronage in government. It was plain
hypocrisy for Arroyo to claim that she would remove the politics of patronage
during her term. For example, her appointment of General Leandro Mendoza,
former head of the Philippine National Police, as Secretary of Transportation
and Communication was pure and simple political patronage through the
exercise of compensatory power. The Inquirer editorialized it as ―Mendoza‘s
Reward‖ (June 15, 2002). It violated Machiavelli‘s precepts on the proper
choice of ministers in government.


 The Prince reminds rulers that the selection of ministers is a task of no little
importance. It reflects on the prudence of rulers. “The first impression one
forms of a ruler‟s intelligence is based on an examination of the men he
keeps around him.” Mendoza was appointed in the cabinet by Arroyo because
                                                             CHAPTER FIVE – POWER

he neutralized the Philippine National Police, enabling Arroyo to grab the
presidency in EDSA II. He admitted he has to read something on transportation
and communication because of the rewarding Arroyo appointment. But like a
Ramos appointee he was not supposed to bring distinction to his new position.
The Inquirer concluded: “His stint as PNP chief for the past year and a half
has not been distinguished.”

Machiavelli teaches rulers not to deviate from good but they should know how
to act badly when necessary. Ramos knew this rule well. A ruler must appear
to be ―all-merciful, all-trustworthy, all-integrity, all-humanity and all-religion‖.
Nothing is more important than the last quality, especially in a country
perceived to be deeply religious. Ramos was known to be merciful in using his
presidential powers, especially to defeated political allies and erring appointees.
It was common knowledge that he encouraged a group of rejected senatorial
candidates to organize a law office and rewarded them with legal contracts.
Cabinet members who had gone astray and then left their posts without
incurring his ire were known to have received compensatory posts. In private
Ramos was reported to vent venom on those he perceived were against him. He
was reported to have a soft spot for Imelda Marcos, Enrile and Aquino. But he
would reportedly show his ingratitude by making unflattering remarks directed
to Aquino, who was his patron, as Marcos was his mentor under martial law.

There were many interesting tales on Ramos. Chit Estella wrote an essay on
him in 1998 - Riding into the Sunset, or into a Second Sunrise Alongside
Ramos‘ vaunted accomplishments were reports of graft-ridden deals. Estella

“He made many appalling appointments and brought into his Cabinet with
little or no distinction, save for their loyalty for him…Let no other
government official dare try and take the play away from him and thwart his

An example of one of Ramos‘ appalling appointees was Amado Lagdameo. He
was appointed General Manager and CEO to the Public Estates Authority
where he created anguish due to his blind obeisance to Ramos. The
Commission on Appointments would later reject his promotion and designation
as Secretary of Transportation and Communications. There was also the story
of Danilo Vizmanos. Like Ramos he studied in an American institution. He was
in King‘s Point, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, when Ramos was in West
Point. Both joined the Philippine military. Vizmanos resigned when martial law
was declared in 1972. Vizmanos considered Ramos a brilliant military planner-
―probably the best in the world‖. Having said that, Vizmanos did not have good
words for Ramos: “He was not a Mabini or a Bonifacio.”


Under former President Diosdado Macapagal, Ramos‘ military career was at
dead-end. With Marcos he found the path to power. Marcos exerted a big
influence on Ramos but some military insiders believed that Ramos ―was the
architect and planner of martial law‖. For his own ambition he developed the
art of pursuing what many said was a ―two-faced‖ career in the military.
Actually, he sat on the fence and took the ―middle course,‖ which Helen Keller
described in the following statement:

I can find no middle course between…truth and falsehood, or any of the
great inconvertible opposites that are excellent or compatible with
enlightened self-interest or the principles of a genuine civilization. A middle
course is really a compromise with evil.

Ramos would abandon the middle course in going against Marcos. As president
Ramos‘ favorite recruitment ground was the military where he could pick loyal
followers. A former Cabinet member described what Ramos expected from his
subordinates. “The one criterion is: Will it serve his interest?” Ramos and his
ward, Arroyo knew this criterion too well. Their actions are clearly
Machiavellian. Ledeen would quote Isaiah Berlin in The Originality of
Machiavelli (1955):

“In Machiavelli‟s world – the real world as described in the truthful history
books – treason and deceit are commonplace…all undertaken for personal
satisfaction, like: that which comes from dominating, not harmoniously with

Galbraith in The Anatomy of Power (1983) wrote:

“There is successful expression of power when the individual submits to the
purposes of others not only willingly but with a sense of attendant virtue.”


 People power in EDSA I in 1986 was a successful expression of power. It may
not be a classic revolution but those who attended the first people power
movement did so with a sense of virtue. It was not the case in EDSA II. Many
individuals and groups that joined EDSA II were interested in economic power,
political power, military power, religious power and the like.

Estrada was dominated by the Philippine military. When EDSA II took place it
was headed by a politically-oriented general. Estrada failed to gauge his loyalty.
The power of the military did not escape Galbraith‘s attention. It could be the
                                                            CHAPTER FIVE – POWER

subject of personal abuse and public unease. Military power or lack of it could
make or unmake a leader. In EDSA I and EDSA II, it was lack of military
power that dislodged Marcos and Estrada. The military was restive during the
administrations of Aquino and Arroyo. There was a constant fear that it would
stage a coup anytime. American military power saved Aquino in 1989. She
also had a loyal Army Chief of Staff, General Fidel V. Ramos, who was to be
rewarded later with the country‘s presidency. Estrada was less fortunate. His
Army Chief of Staff, General Angelo Reyes decided to be a turncoat. It was
Arroyo who would reward him with a cabinet position. To avoid Estrada‘s fate,
Arroyo has to pamper the military. Still the nagging concern that the military
might unseat her anytime has persisted.

One of those who helped Arroyo assumed power was Ramos. As a former
general he was close to the military. To many political observers Ramos
dominated her agenda, which was beholden to the military. She was Ramos‘
avid student in the art of dissimulation. Upon assuming the presidency after
EDSA II in January 2000, she called for a new politics of virtue and morality.
She would soon join the roster of incapable Filipino presidents since EDSA I.
All of them failed to seize the opportunity to end the vicious cycle of political
corruption and social instability bedeviling the country. All the presidents after
EDSA I, particularly Ramos, resorted to rhetoric and metaphors to project
credibility and to impress the people.

Arroyo‘s failure to exercise a dominant rule was weakened by a credibility
dilemma. She was unable to convince most of the people that she was a sincere
and compassionate leader. To Arroyo‘s consternation, the poor treated her as a
pariah and resisted her entreaties and even heaped on her insulting sobriquets.
Many considered her not only as arrogant and quick to anger but also lacking in
honesty. On December 30, 2002, the anniversary of the death of Jose Rizal, the
Philippine national hero, Arroyo made: “A martyrdom speech full of better-
world rhetoric that reached beyond politics to the spiritual.” Her declaration
of war against politics and her decision not to run for the presidency in 2004
attracted much publicity. Most Filipinos doubted her sincerity.

A sample poll survey by the Ibon Foundation in early 2003 showed that almost
half of the voters in Metro Manila did not believe what Arroyo said in her
December 30, 2002 Rizal Day speech. Arroyo dramatically declared she was
not interested in the presidency in 2004. Among the downtrodden, which had
more faith in the incarcerated Estrada, the speech was simply another Arroyo
―spin‖ for power. In The Agenda (1994) Bob Woodward wrote on the “Politics
of Virtue and Kindness” of Hillary Clinton, which Arroyo appeared to
unwittingly, albeit deceitfully, appropriated as her ―anti-politic‖ theme. Hillary
called for a national awakening because the country is suffering from a


“sleeping sickness of the soul.” Arroyo, like Hillary called for ―new‖ politics
to counteract a national crisis.

EDSA I gave birth to Filipino ―bourgeous‖ who have organized themselves in
so-called civil society groups. They have joined up with powerful business and
religious interest factions, especially in going against Estrada. Many considered
them the elites who seek to dominate others by imposing their moral codes.
They have the power to destroy outside ambitious power climbers like Estrada
who became president to their bitter resentment. Of course, they are active in
politics and government where they subscribe to the code of aristocracy. David
Brooks called them ―bobos‖ in Bobos in Paradise – The New Upper Class and
How They Got There (2000). Edmund Burke was quoted by Brooks on the
ideals of bobos in seeking to exercise power and domination:

“To be bred in a place of estimation… to stand upon such elevated ground as
to …be take a large view of the widespread and infinitely diversified
combinations of men and affairs in society… to be formed to the greatest
degree of vigilance, foresight and circumspection in a state of things in which
no fault is committed… to be led to a … regulated conduct… (to be)
considered as an instructor of your fellow citizens …to act as a reconciler
between God and man… these are the circumstances that form… a natural
aristocracy without which, there is no nation.”

EDSA II also produced its own bobos. They took advantage of a so-called
second people power ―revolution‖ to gain power and to dominate Philippine
society. The two crucial words in bobo politics are power and domination.

In The Chalice and the Blade (1987, Riane Eisler examined the use of power
and domination by those with rank throughout history. The chalice symbolized
power while the blade was the sign of domination. Power and domination did
not produce good leaders. Warren Bennis explained in Why Leaders Can’t Lead
(1989), why those in position of leadership could not lead. He said that many
leaders who seek power and domination have not been truthful. Eisler quoted
Gandhi who shunned power and who said: “We must be the change we wish to
see in the world.” Marvin Olasky would count Henry Clay among great
Americans who failed to become president of the United States. Like Arroyo,
quite too late, Clay realized he needed repair. He would make ―gargantuan‖
speeches but many knew the hypocrisy in his words. Many also now know
when Arroyo like Clay, aspiring for power, would use oratory to dominate the

In exploring power and politics in the Philippines, it is the practice among
academicians to look at the experience of American leaders. This is not
                                                             CHAPTER FIVE – POWER

surprising considering that the country was formerly an American colony. But
Lucian W. Pye, a Ford professor of political science in Massachusetts Institute
of Technology, hardly gave credit to the Philippines and its leaders. He wrote a
book,     Asian Power and Politics- The Cultural Dimensions of Authority
(1985). Pye discussed extensively power and politics in Asia, particularly in
China, Japan, Korea, India, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. But he
has no nice words for the Philippines. He unfavorably mentioned the country in
the following paragraph, which appears in his book:

“The colonial bureaucracies built by the Europeans in a sense tidied up the
traditional Indian and Southeast Asian proclivities to see power as the
hierarchical ranking of people…The exception to this was American rule in
the Philippines, where emphasis was placed in electoral politics rather than
bureaucratic and administrative policies. The introduction of party politics,
based on personalities rather than principles, did, however reinforce
traditional Philippine attitudes of power as patron-client relationships, and
hence did not produce so great a change in Filipino thinking as might have
been expected. Power remained a matter of establishing contacts and seeking
the security of dependency.”


After EDSA II the poor converged again in another people power demonstration,
loosely referred to as EDSA III. This time It was viewed by media as an organized
rally manned by Estrada sympathizers. Another religious group, the Iglesia ni Cristo
(Church of Christ) supported the demonstration, using its own radio and cable TV
stations. Suddenly after five days of reporting the two stations stopped their
coverage. As if six armored army carriers threatening their transmission tower were
not enough, Arroyo sent top-level emissaries to deliver the ―message‖ to the INC.
News reporters assigned in Malacañang were immobilized. Their movements were
restricted and their equipment was confiscated.

Now in power, it was the turn of Arroyo to talk and act tough. An unarmed mass of
poor people mounted a doomed siege on Malacañang on April 30, 2001. The army
and the police showed no mercy in beating up helpless protesters in front of
television cameras. Arroyo declared a ―state of rebellion‖ and ordered the arrest of
several opposition personalities without any warrant. Senator Miriam Defensor
Santiago said ―the detention cell is a place of honor.‖ Arroyo further declared her
readiness to declare martial law, a sign of what Barbara Tuchman called ―wooden
headedness.‖ In The March of Folly (1984) Tuchman wrote:

“Folly is a child of power. We all know, from unending repetitions of Lord
Acton‟s dictum, that power corrupts. We are less aware that it breeds folly; that


the power to command frequently causes failure to think - that the responsibility
of power often fades as its exercise augments. The overall responsibility of power
is to govern as reasonably as possible in the interest of the state and its citizens. A
duty in that process is to keep well-informed, to heed information, to keep in mind
and judgment open and to resist the insidious spell of wooden-headedness.”

Mark Landler of The New York Times (May 2, 2001) reported the wariness
generated by the brutal crackdown of the EDSA III demonstrators who
approached harmlessly the presidential palace. Their crime was they did not
have a permit. Arroyo ordered the arrest of several political oppositionists who
joined the demonstration, accusing them of attempting to grab power through a
coup d‘etat. Now people power in the Philippines has become synonymous
with power grabbing. Arroyo knew an active crowd of several thousands could
unseat her from her ―uneasy throne‖. The foreign press reported:

 “Philippine people took the streets and ousted President Estrada – but who
really made the key decisions that sealed his fate?”

Senator Juan Ponce Enrile was one of the principal characters of Edsa 1.
Together with then General Fidel V. Ramos they divested Marcos of his power.
There were some questions on their personal motives in turning their backs on
Marcos. In any case they appeared magnanimous when they handed the
presidenc to Aquino. While Enrile regretted his decision Ramos obviously did
not. He would succeed Aquino as president later. Estrada would be elected
president after Ramos only to be depose by Arroyo in Edsa II.. In the so-called
Edsa 3, Senators Enrile and Honasan would emerge as alleged co-plotters
together with former police chief, Panfilo Lacson. They were out to remove
Arroyo from power. Lacson had distinguished himself as a police reformer and
a nemesis of kidnapping but under controversial circumstances. During the
administration of Aquino, the government unsuccessfully prosecuted Enrile for
a so-called complex crime of rebellion with murder. Under Arroyo the
government would try to prosecute Lacson.

Like Marcos, Arroyo would confirm that once in power, she was ready to take the
most provocative action. Arroyo went after her perceived enemies. Unfortunately,
unlike Estrada, Arroyo has yet to enjoy the distinction of being acceptable to the
poor. Arroyo was more successful in fueling their antagonism. She was creating her
own ―wooden horse‖ among the downtrodden that have started to resent her
luxurious travels Similar to EDSA I, it was expected that the exuberance of EDSA
II would not last. Arroyo and her ―First Gentleman‖ would fail to earn the respect
of the poor. Incarcerating the inept Estrada did not make sense to his sympathizers.
Oligarch Oscar Lopez, the head of the Lopez conglomerate, which included the
Meralco and ABS-CBN, surprisingly cautioned the new government of the
                                                            CHAPTER FIVE – POWER

deepening rupture in Philippine society. EDSA I heightened the expectation of the
poor. For more than fifteen years they had waited in vain. But all the post-EDSA I
administrations, which were characterized with economic malaise, have not
alleviated their miseries. To the poor, ABS-CBN would later be viewed as a bias
supporter of Arroyo.

Unfortunately Arroyo seemed incapable of matching the effectiveness of her
disgraced predecessor, in connecting with the poor. Alex Magno, a Filipino
political analyst, was quoted by the San Francisco Chronicle (May 2, 2001),

“There is a rage in the underclass… They are looking for a hero, a guardian,
a benefactor… (the) urgency of addressing the underclass… is a great
challenge. Arroyo herself recognized the need “to talk to people with deep-
seated resentments, which feel that the elites are exploiting them.”

In San Francisco, staff writer of the San Francisco Chronicle (May 6, 2001)
reported the disappointment of Filipino American activist Rene Ciria Cruz, who
led his co-activists in 1986 in storming the Philippine Consulate. He could not
understand the belligerence of the Filipino poor against Arroyo. With the
perception that Estrada extracted millions of pesos in kickbacks, it was
expected that even the poor would shun the former actor. Yet they treated him
like he was the movie star of old. It was obviously engendered by the deep
chasm between the rich and the poor.

In the heady days of Arroyo‘s ascent to the presidency many were tolerant of
the means of how Cardinal Sin, Aquino, Ramos ―short-circuited‖ the
Constitution. Except for the so-called Makati elites and young students herded
by Catholic private schools, the silent majority watched the EDSA II spectacle
with apathy. There was also the apprehension that those behind EDSA II would
be the same people who could make things difficult for Arroyo. More than two
years after EDSA II, people were still asking: “Who is the real President of the
The words of Professor Pye would be the subject of the next two chapters of
this inquiry on The Myths of PeoplePower – The Crisis of Leadership in the


“Democracy …has become more demanding … a way of life rather than
affiliation… to make some sacrifice in other things, such as opportunities
 to make a lot of money, exercise a lot of power and enjoy an enviably high

                                                           Sheldon Wolin
                                                        Princeton University

I    t is not difficult to understand the dilemma presented by Sheldon Wolin,
     Professor Emeritus of Princeton University, on democracy. (Footnote –
     Wolin , Sheldon Look for this book)Filipino politicians have adopted
their own perverse style of democracy. In the same manner they have chosen
corrupt politics as a way of life. Huntington also a Professor Emeritus of
Harvard University has written about this predisposition to politics and
corruption in the Philippines. In Political Order in Changing Societies (1968),
nobody has ever questioned his conclusions. And no Filipino has considered as
derogatory, Huntington‘s statement that: “Politics is the quickest way to
wealth in the Philippines.” (Footnote – Ibid, Huntington, p….) Marcos was
one of the most avid readers among Filipino leaders. He obviously had read
Huntington ans Locke. (EXPAND AND REFER TO SAN JUAN p. 8 and
his footnote 15, p. 197.              REFER ALSO TO MARCOS “THE


The Philippines would become the ―darling of the world‖ because of its
peaceful Edsa ―people power revolution‖ in 1986. The oppressive Marcos
dictatorship was dismantled and democracy was ―restored‖. But the country‘s
socio-political system remained flawed. The crisis that led to EDSA I remained
unresolved. Economic and social problems have worsened to points of
upheaval under a succession of incompetent leadership. Instability remained
pervasive as ever. Corrupt politicians and army generals were empowered but
not the people. Together with the oligarchs they continue to accumulate wealth.
Corrupt businessmen dominate the economy. Media is as biased and irrelevant
as the Church. The democracy that was ―restored‖ is dysfunctional.

Unconstitutional Precedents

Nobody can deny Estrada‘s scandalous behavior. But it cannot also be denied
that Fidel V. Ramos, his predecessor, had a hand in deposing the inept Estrada.
Ninez Cacho-Olivares, an embattled journalist under the Arroyo government
wrote ―Fidel V. Ramos has been trying hard to erase his image as a destroyer
of Philippine democracy…‖ (Footnote- Cacho-Olivares, Ninez Political Has-
Been ( March 21, 2006), The Daily Tribune )In 2001, Ramos encouraged the
military to stage a coup d‘etat against the constitutional Estrada government
.which led to EDSA II created a dangerous precedent. It weakened the
democratic moorings of the country‘s Constitution. It nurtured injustice and
divisiveness. Estrada appeared to be guilty to many Filipinos but not to his
supporters among the poor. Estrada was removed from the presidency without
due process. Instead of allowing his impeachment to follow its constitutional
course, Estrada was forced to leave his post through an organized
demonstration, mostly of the upper class. It was far from a real mass uprising
that would constitute a real revolution. Unfortunately the Supreme Court
decided to support the anomaly.

As in EDSA I, the delusory EDSA II has still to show signs that would bring
reform to modernize an existing neo-patrimonial society. What became obvious
was the Philippines had made people power part of its political culture. An
article in the Inquirer, Estrada‘s nemesis, stated:

“Filipinos know and understand people power. They understand it to mean
strengthening the collective power of the Filipinos to topple its presidents, like
Marcos and Estrada. However, they also realize that removing a president
through people power should not be abused…otherwise democracy would be
a farce.”
                                                       CHAPTER SIX – DEMOCRACY

John Kenneth Galbraith called it in The Nature of Contentment (1992), “the
dictatorship of the proletariat, or the democracy of the masses.” It meant that
crowds could be made to flood into the streets and show that their numbers are
great enough to constitute a revolution. Supported by a handful of political and
religious leaders, the desire for moral rejuvenation may appear to be authentic.
Lewis Mumford in The Myth of the Machine-The Pentagon of Power (1970)
warned of the danger of regression into the past, with the original monopoly of
power by a few remaining as ominous as ever.

(MOVE TO ―DEMOCRACY‖)The dramatic impeachment of Estrada
highlighted the dysfunctional democracy in the Philippines. It strengthened the
belief that corruption has become more pervasive in the country even after the
so-called EDSA revolutions. Furthermore, Estrada‘s departure caused many to
question whether the Constitutional system really works in Philippine-type
democracy. There was serious doubt about the integrity of Estrada, but was he
really guilty? At the very least, many believed he was guilty of inappropriate

EDSA II took place in the Philippines in January 2001. This was before
Estrada could be adjudged guilty by the Senate. Rather than strengthening the
country‘s weak democratic structure, it was a deteriorating element. Unlike
EDSA I it was met with doubt. The foreign press referred to it as a ―de facto
coup ―. Seth Mydans wrote in the New York Times (2001) that while EDSA I
was used by the people to bring back democracy, EDSA II was a mob rule
staged by interest groups. Jim Mann of Los Angeles Times (2001) wrote:

“No matter how understandable it was, this outburst of people power does
not feel like an advance for the cause of democracy, quite the opposite.”

The Associated Press (2001) reported:

“The change in power in the Philippines was no boost for democracy,
because it was done outside the Constitution.”

Actually there was no change at all. A new leader would weakly preside over a
status quo of corruption, political tension, crime and insurgency, economic
disarray and poverty. Who is responsible for the instability in the Philippines?
Has people power introduced an irrelevant and disorderly democracy to the



John Saul called it “Mob justice” in The Unconscious Civilization (1997).
Marvin Olasky called it “Mobocracy” in The American Leadership Tradition
(1999). It takes place when citizens take responsibility for dispensing justice
through so-called direct democracy. EDSA I was different. It dismantled not
only a corrupt regime but also an oppressive dictatorship. It was a widely
welcome emancipation from human rights abuses by Marcos. Quite differently,
Estrada was intimidated out office by the military-backed EDSA II on charges
of corruption. Unlike Marcos, Estrada was under impeachment but he was far
from being a dictator. According to the Supreme Court, Estrada should be
considered ―resigned‖, even before the impeachment proceedings had reached
a conclusion. The impartiality of the justices who decided against him was
resented by many Filipinos.


Every year since 1986, thousands of organized celebrators were mobilized to
rejoice the resurrection of democracy in EDSA I. Speakers would extol the
glory of a ―revolution‖ now regarded by many as a big disappointment.
Stripped of its mythology, many Filipinos were unable to see the reasons why
government has to sponsor the annual celebrations of EDSA I and its successor,
EDSA II. Except for the holiday that makes paid workers happy, the
celebrations produced more irritated motorists than genuinely enthusiastic
participants. Those who were blessed with prestige and power by EDSA I and
EDSA II would continue to link arms with Ramos, Aquino and Arroyo and
listen to the political homily of Cardinal Sin. While time was thinning out the
anniversary crowds, the truly faithful could find solace in Upton Sinclair who
wrote in The Profits of Religion (2000), that there are still:

 “The truly religious people, those who hunger and thirst after
righteousness… who believe in brotherhood as reality.”

IN Current Issues and Enduring Questions- Methods and Models of
Arguments from Plato to the Present (1987), New York, A Bedford Book,
St. Martin’s Press , P. 72: Refer also to Commager’s in A Sense of History –
The Best Writing from the Pages of American Heritage (1985)) Boston,
Houghton Mifflin Company, p.461)
                                                        CHAPTER SIX – DEMOCRACY

EDSA I has truly honest sympathizers. They would go to the EDSA Shrine to
pray and thank God for the return of democracy to the country. Unlike the
political ―sermons‖ of Cardinal Sin, there would be some inspiring homilies.
Bishop Socrates B. Villegas is an example. He refuses to allow politicians to
desecrate the EDSA shrine with their yearly circus. In one of his touching
homilies, Bishop Socrates spoke with a sincere appeal befitting a non-
politicized and true spiritual leader:

“What does the Lord ask us to do about the past? He says the past should
only instruct us. We must learn lessons from our mistakes, then lift them up
to God‟s mercy. God‟s mercy is stronger than the mistakes of the past. Let us
look to the past and follow it to teach us. It is not there to imprison us,
enslave us, or set us in bondage. The past is not our master God is.”

Bishop Villegas told the dwindling EDSA crowd to look at the past and to learn
from their mistakes. More than a decade and a half after EDSA I in 1986 and
two years after EDSA II in 2000, the Philippines was still mired in a complex
combination of social, economic and political problems. It was obvious that the
behavior and mistakes of its political, military, religious and civic leaders had
produced mostly nothing but myths. Who are these leaders‘ masters? Who are
their believers?

Douglas Elwood wrote Philippine Revolution – 1986: A Model of Nonviolent
Change (1988).(Footnote no. 21) He said, EDSA I brought to the Philippines a
form of democracy that was vulnerable to the abuse of interest factions and the
turbulence of class conflict. More specifically, it did not bring equity to the
poor. It failed to improve the standard of living in the country. Instead it
brought wealth and power to a small group of oligarchic resource-rich elites
who were restored to eminence by Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, herself coming
from an oligarchic clan.

It was clear that the fate of the presidency and democracy in the country was
dictated by the military. Estrada was not a threat to democracy like Marcos.
But in the words of Saul, he appeared “all too intent upon the acquisition of
money.” Ironically, the Arroyo administration that took over the Estrada
government was perceived to be not only illegitimate but also corrupt. First on
the list of government agencies deemed to be graft-ridden was the military. It
was the bigger destabilizing threat to democracy. The Armed Forces Chief of
Staff, Angelo Reyes, who turned his back on Estrada, was hardly a role model.
He was rewarded with a plum cabinet position by Arroyo. In no time Reyes
converted the military into a client-oriented bureaucracy. For this reason, the
Arroyo government has been constantly besieged by coup rumors from


disgruntled military officers. Democracy has been under threat at every turn.
Every military officer is a potential turncoat and worst, a corrupt and wealthy


Writing in the Inquirer’s Residual Issues (2003), columnist Randy David said
that EDSA II was an extra-constitutional route to power. It gave the people an
alternative to the accepted democratic notion that the legitimate road to
political power is by election. It weakened Philippine democracy and its
constitutional system. Arroyo became president without being legitimately
elected by the people. Consequently, she would stop at nothing to achieve
legitimacy. And she would use all of the resources of the government to do so.
While she was declared the winner in the May 2004 presidential elections, her
victory was fraught with charges of massive cheating. Even moderate Church
and civic groups have questioned the legitimacy of the elections. Thousands of
voters were either disenfranchised or bought. Arroyo would remain the reason
behind the people‘s disappointment in people power. David would later write,
if the participants of EDSA I and II were to be asked if they would join another
people power, they would likely say no – a blessing in disguise for Arroyo.

Mark Malloch wrote in Budapest, Voting Does Not Democracy Make (2004).
More than a revolution, EDSA I created earlier an illusion of a panacea. It
brought “free and regular elections.” In reality elections were hardly free.
Votes were bought and cheating was rampant. The prevailing crisis in the
Philippines could be traced to the public sense that the Arroyo government was
illegitimate. To many Filipinos the legitimacy of the government of Arroyo
was not grounded on solid constitutional principles. People and Politics
(1985), written by Herbert Winter and a group of American university
professors, states that legitimacy is the principle upon which authority rests in a
democratic political system. Poll surveys would show that the May 2004
presidential elections did not give Arroyo‘s presidency an acceptable

A legitimate government has several dimensions. In a democracy, the leader as
a ruler, must be chosen in a truly competitive election. Power acquired through
questionable and unconstitutional means could not be regarded as legitimate.
Chang Heng Chee and Obaid ul Haq in The Prophetic & The Political –
Selected Speeches & Writings of S. Rajaratnan (1987) defined legitimacy in
terms of acceptable moral values and social norms. Power from legitimacy
should spring from fair and uncoerced consensus of the bulk of the community.
EDSA I removed Marcos who was not only rapacious but abusive of human
rights. But Arroyo came into power by forcing out Estrada from office.
                                                       CHAPTER SIX – DEMOCRACY

Whether her unelected ascension to power was acceptable to the community
has remained in doubt. Chang and Obaid wrote:

“For most of recorded history, it was regarded as an act of treason to remove
even the most rapacious and incompetent ruler.”

When Aquino became president in 1986, it was not after a ―free‖ election. Her
supporters claimed that she lost in the ―snap‖ presidential elections in January
1986 because they were rigged by Marcos. Her ascension to the presidency was
based on this unsupported assumption. In fact, it was possible that Marcos
really won although his critics claimed otherwise, albeit logically. But where
were there any proofs? There were attempts to bless Aquino‘s presidency with
legitimacy. The election results would be ―reviewed‖. Then Marcos‘ victory
would be declared spurious. But this was not easily possible. It would require
due process. The first real test of electoral democracy after EDSA I was the
presidential elections of 1992. The leading presidential candidates against
Ramos were Eduardo Cojuangco and Miriam Defensor Santiago, a feisty
controversial woman lawyer with questionable mental consistency.

Although the vituperous Santiago was quite popular, she found herself
suddenly trailing Ramos. She was consistently leading the canvassing of votes
for several days. But Ramos would win the counting in 1992. It was the same
way Arroyo would win in 2004. Both emerged victorious under questionable
circumstances. Their victory confirmed a systemic flaw in the country‘s voting
system. It was easily vulnerable to manipulation and ―dirty tricks‖. Votes
could be bought or padded or shaved. The ―bright boys‖ of Ramos and Arroyo
knew how to play the game to undermine the system. In 2004, many voters
were disenfranchised and there were reports of rampant vote-buying and
cheating. Arroyo‘s opponents were powerless and Lord Acton‘s aphorism has
assumed an opposite direction: “Powerlessness also corrupts.”

Kenneth Janda wrote in The Challenge of Democracy (1989) that: “The heart
of democracy lies in the electoral process.” Elections can lead to the
legitimization of a regime. But accepted normative principles have to be
observed. They include specifying who are allowed to vote and how the votes
are counted. With many voters unable to vote and with returns being
manipulated, elections are useless and democracy is an illusion. Political
science scholars believe that the normative principles of elections are hardly
respected in a poor developing and highly politicized country like the
Philippines. Eight years before EDSA I, Juan J. Linz and Alfred Stepan made a
systematic examination of why democracy had failed in many countries. Their
scholarly book, The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes – Crisis, Breakdown &
Re-equilibration was published in 1978. The book has become more relevant,


with crisis after crisis recurring in the Philippines since 1986. Among the
elements of breakdown examined by Linz and Stefan: “Ligitimization as a
problem for democratic leadership.”

(MOVE TO ―LEGITIMACY”)Many Filipinos refused to accept the Arroyo
government as legitimate. Arroyo owed her presidency to the military,
perceived to be as corrupt. A perfidious Army Chief of Staff abandoned Estrada
and was rewarded by Arroyo with the cabinet position of Secretary of National
Defense. The military under him remained incompetent as ever, leading to the
failed Oakwood mutiny of young and idealist officers in July 2003. Arroyo, like
Aquino, allowed the interests of the corrupt economic-political-military elites to
prevail. In return Arroyo would give them rewarding appointments for their
loyalty. Meantime the instability of impending coups and frequent
demonstration of the poor would continue. Thousands of poor Filipino workers
suffer in degradation working abroad to escape poverty and despair. Writing
on Arroyo, Conrado de Quiros in the Inquirer’s There’s the Rub wrote:

“GMA is a pariah…in her own country. An unelected and undeserving
President, she has openly defied the Constitution, EDSA II – or the people
who made EDSA II possible…and plain common sense.”
 (END OF MOVE TO “Legitimacy”)

Ramos‘ victory in 1992 initiated the illegitimacy of elections in the Philippines
after Edsa 1. They are not only expensive popularity contests but a dirty game
of tricks. Military and electoral officials are bought and elections are ―won‖ by
falsifying election returns. Adding and subtracting of votes (“dagdag bawas”
in the vernacular) in the canvassing of ballots was introduced by Ramos‘ bright
boys particularly in Mindanao. Money, military and machinery were the key
elements behind the election of Ramos. Some ―distinguished‖ senators, notably
Juan Ponce Enrile, would be accused of using the Ramos‘tricks in winning a
senatorial seat through falsified retrurns from Mindanao. . It was Arroyo‘s turn
to play the game in 2004, producing clumsily the infamous ―Hello Garci‖ tapes.
The result is an unstable and illegitimate presidency. In other elective positions,
movie and TV personalities with moneyed supporters were favored. Female
screen stars became the wives and a boon to ambitious and struggling
politicians. Being a popular movie actor or being married to a popular actress is
a surefire formula to political stardom and a seat in the senate. While Edsa 1
brought back elections it did not bring back real democracy.


Elections after Edsa 1 have not led to the development of efficient social and
political institutions, which the majority of the people expected. The socio-
                                                             CHAPTER SIX – DEMOCRACY

political and legal frameworks of the country remained in a state of
decomposition. Regular elections did not strengthen them. The country‘s
leaders have so far failed to reform the corrupt institutions Marcos left behind,
which were grounded on patronage and cronyism. As a result the country was
constantly in crisis. All the elected and unelected presidents after EDSA I had
failed to govern in a way that the underprivileged expected them to do. The
country has continued to lag behind its most successful neighbors, who have
upgraded the foundations of their social, economic and political institutions
with or without democracy.

The relative economic success of more effective authoritarian regimes in Asia,
like Singapore and Malaysia, has led to doubts on American-style democracy.
Was the Philippines ready for the type of democracy characterized by
patronage politics? In Capital Corruption – The New Attack on American
Democracy (1984), Amitai Etzioni characterized “Washington as a
marketplace, where deals are struck” and where interest groups seduce
politicians with money and vice versa. It is not different in the Philippines,
which has been schooled in American politics. Philippe Rise in examining the
economic crisis that took place in Asia in 1997 in Asian Storm (1998) quoted
Michel Camdessus of the IMF who said that:

“Financial crises can be avoided only if governments are determined to avoid
institutional paralysis, bureaucratic complacency, and indulgence in crony
capitalism that has so long characterized them…we will be in grave error…if
growth prospects lead us to believe that further reforms are not necessary.”

In his homily during the 17th anniversary of EDSA I in 2003, Manila Archbishop
Jaime Cardinal Sin in lamenting the continuing crisis confronting the country said.

“We can hardly call our nation a model … of being the example…in maintaining
{our} democracy. We are not. There can only be political democracy through a
well-grounded economic democracy.”

He lamented how politicians would always say that they would do something about
the country‘s social ills, only to forget them later. He further said that: “Politicians
seemed to “specialize in tearing one another and bringing themselves
down….{and} inconclusive congressional debates represent the stalemate of
conflicting private interests.” Was Cardinal Sin a purveyor of gloom as Cory
Aquino would put it during the 2003 EDSA I anniversary? Was he simply being


(Discuss ―DEMOCRACY ―based on G. Bingham Powell, Jr. Contemporary
Democracies (1982).

Democracy has as many nuances as the adjectives used to describe it. People
are confused. After EDSA I, the Filipinos sought to discover the virtues of
economic democracy through capitalism. They expected that the democracy of
the post-Marcos era would bring them American-style comforts. Unfortunately
what they discovered were more ills from market-based client-centered
political system, which Stockman said has been “riddled with waste, excess
and injustice”. With the departure of Marcos, state control of industries gave
way to clientelistic private capitalism characterized with economic ―rents‖.
Influential entrepreneurs took most of them. Jim Collins wrote in Built to Last

“All you greedy capitalists want is to go out and make obscene amounts of

The capitalistic entrepreneurs during the Marcos rule resorted to cronyism.
Under Aquino, it was familism. The ―Era of Greed‖ did not end with EDSA I.
All Philippine presidents after 1986 led in the practice of ―client-oriented
politics‖ as described by James Q. Wilson in Bureaucracy: What Government
Agencies Do And Why They Do It (1989).

What kind of democracy existed in the Philippines after EDSA I? Fareeed Zakaria,
editor of Newsweek, in The Future of Freedom: Liberal Democracy, At Home and
Abroad, questioned the idea, “that the mere holding of an election should mark a
country‟s transition into democracy.” He implored his readers to appreciate
political continuity. It is true that elections are needed for democracy to flourish but
they should be free and fair. EDSA I brought back elections to the Philippines, but it
also brought back excessive politics and corruption. Elections are held under a
defective electoral system and a corrupt Commission on Elections. James K.
Feibleman, an author of thirty one books on philosophy and democracy, wrote in
Understanding Philosophy – A Popular History of Ideas (1973):

“Many countries have tried to copy the democracy which has worked in England,
France and the United States, but they failed because they adopted the practices
without absorbing the philosophy.”

Karim Rastan in The Inquirer in September 2003 asked:
                                                         CHAPTER SIX – DEMOCRACY

“Has the Philippines deteriorated into an unfettered dysfunctional democracy –
in danger of discrediting the very idea of democracy itself?”

The answer is in Stockman‘s words:

“The fact is, politicians can be a menace. They never stop inventing illicit
enterprises…that bleed the national economy…Politicians rarely look ahead.”

For politicians, perpetual hold to power ―is the scope of their horizon‖. Elective
positions are passed on to wives, sons, daughters and in-laws through patronage,
cheating and vote-buying. All along, the Philippines have been aspiring to become a
country like the United States – described by Zakaria as:

“A country that values simple-minded populism and openness above integrity,
leadership and long-term planning.”

Most Asian countries are wary of American-style democracy, which has
dominated the Philippine political landscape. Singapore and Malaysia have
successfully resisted the influence of America and their economies have gone
much farther than the Philippine economy. Burma seemed to be following the
Singaporean and Malaysian model when its military leaders announced they
would follow an ―enlightened path to a modern democratic state‖. They have
promised general elections to their people. Hopefully it would lead to a
capitalist-oriented economy with their own brand of democracy similar to
China, on the way to prosperity. Meanwhile, the question that has been
constantly asked is: “Is democracy in the Philippines capable of creating a
strong middle-class by taking care of the country‟s teeming poor?”

S. Rajaratnan, a respected senior statesman and journalist from Singapore made
a speech in 1966, which was printed in The Prophetic & The Political (1987).
He said that after decades of democratic rule many countries of Asia have
steadily fallen back and are still falling back in the race for economic
emancipation. In the Philippines, even after EDSA I .statistics would show that
up to the present, the gap between the rich and the poor is growing wider. Of
course this is not true in all of Asia. To mention a few, there are exceptions like
Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia and most recently Thailand. While
the Philippines have been reporting economic growth it has still a long way to
go to catch up with its neighbors who are considered less democratic. The signs
are evident that the country has been descending into chaos with its brand of
free-wheeling American-style of democracy. Disenchantment after EDSA I and
II has been growing and many people have rejected these episodes as mere


Francisco de Vitoria was one of the most influential political theorists in 16th
century Europe. Like Aristotle he considered that the best form of rule was
authoritarian under a monarchy and not democracy. It was of course a
tantalizing theory and many rejected it. Countries with no sovereign ruler and
are ruled by a popular administration boasted of their freedoms. They accused
the citizens of other non-democratic countries of being servile to their
autocratic rulers. This view was also accepted by other non-democratic
societies contrary to Vitoria‘s writings, found in Political Writings (1991).
Vitoria considered those who disagreed with him as stupid and ignorant.

Vitoria offered what he called his first corrolary, which is: “That there is no
less liberty under a monarchy than under an aristocracy or timocracy.”
Vitoria used the term ―timocracy‖ in referring to democracy. Aristotle would
use the word democracy as the ―perversion or corrupt form of timocracy‖. In
his book Politics (1233-40), Aristotle differentiated the rule of one man or
monarchy, from the rule of a group of nobles (optimates), or aristocracy, and
the popular rule of the multitude, or timocracy. Vitoria said there was no
greater liberty in one form than in another. Vitoria agreed with Aristotle on the
impractical impossibility of direct rule of the multitude. It leads to sanctions
and abuses because power has to be delegated to ―certain men‖ encouraging

The best arguments for democracy could be found in Alexis de Tocqueville‘s
Democracy in America (1833). It was a masterpiece that had many editions and
translations but was widely accepted as a global interpretation of American
democracy. The book was written by Tocqueville because he was preoccupied
with the thought of the approaching irresistible and universal spread of
democracy. Tocqueville wrote in 1848 that while all the counties n Europe had
been ravaged by far and civil strife, the American people alone had remained
―pacific‖. Almost all of Europe had been convulsed by revolutions but America
had remained free even from riots. Through the years it had preserved all rights
and guaranteed private property better than any other country on earth.
Anarchy was unknown in America.

Tocquevillle also wrote that we should not turn to America “in order to
slavishly copy the institutions she has fashioned for herself, but in order that
we may better understand what suits us; let us look there for instruction
rather than models; let us adopt the principles rather than the details of her
laws…” Harvey Mansfield and Delta Winthrop wrote in the Hoover Digest –
What Tocqueville Would Say Today (2001) that Tocqueville had written ―the
best book on democracy‖. However, they quoted Russell Baker who claimed:
“In our time people, even presidents, would cite Tocqueville without even
reading him, even more than the Bible and Shakespeare.”
                                                       CHAPTER SIX – DEMOCRACY

Some Asian leaders have preached and followed Tocqueville‘s words of
caution on adopting American democracy. Notable among them were Lew
Kuan Yew of Singapore and Mahathir bin Mohammad of Malaysia. Contrarily,
Filipino leaders have found in the American model a ―perfect‖ paradigm to
emulate. The results have been conclusive with Philippines finding itself in the
lower rungs of the economic spectrum compared with Singapore and Malaysia.
James C. Abblegen had referred to the Philippines as ―The Poor Man in Asia‖
in Sea Change (1994). It is not an uncommon description of the country, much
to the discomfiture of its political leaders and American-educated economists.

Quite differently, Singapore and Malaysia looked to the east for a model.
Under Mahathir, Malaysia took a look at the Japanese experience. His
recurring theme was ―Look East‖. He rejected Western models and turned to
Northeast Asian models instead, that would give priority to economics over
politics in adopting democracy. The same outlook was adopted by Singapore,
which has been the most successful of the countries of Southeast Asia. The
authoritarian brand of democracy of its former prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew,
brought economic growth and prosperity to his country at the expense of
political freedom. But unlike the Philippines, the government of Singapore was
never politics-centered. Its leaders have not allowed higher-status groups to
gain economic advantages and positions of privilege through patronage

Amartya Sen, the 1998 Nobel Prize winner in economics declared: “The most
important thing that has happened in the 20th century… is the rise of
democracy.” He argued at the ―World Bank Conference on Democracy,
Market Economy and Development‖ in Seoul in February 1999 that democracy
was established as the ―normal‖ form of government to which any nation is
entitled. He added that we do not need to establish afresh each time that a
certain country is ―ready for democracy. It is taken for granted‖. Sen did not
take into account what democracy entailed in a developing country like the

Asian authoritarianism suffered setbacks in several developing countries in
Asia. Marcos tried it in the Philippines and he failed miserably, and so did
Suharto of Indonesia. But Kevin Hewison et. al., in Southeast Asia in the
1990s, writing on Authoritarianism, Democracy & Capitalism (1993), stated:
“…it must be recognized that challenges to authoritarianism are not always
successful. This was emphatically illustrated in the crushing of China‟s
democracy movement and in Burma where the manic military regime refused
to acknowledge the election victory of the civilian opposition.” The question
is what type of democracy existed in these countries.


Democracy was restored in the Philippines by EDSA I in 1986, referred to by
the Inquirer as a ―democratic revolution‖. But the question that has remained
unanswered is: “Is the Philippines ready for democracy?” More specifically
is the Philippines ready for Amercan-style democracy? Or is it compatible
with Filipino values? It is actually not a simple question. American political
scientist, Francis Fukuyama has reiterated the common position that there are
many different cultures in Asia. There is no single set of values to speak of.
However, democracy has not brought stability to the country. Many political
economists have argued: “Democracy is a culturally relative term and indeed
there is no regime that does not in some way describe itself as democratic.”

Images and allusions to a ―damaged‖ culture produced under an American-style
democracy have offended many Filipinos. They are known and seen to be almost
always smiling in the face of all kinds of adversities. Many consider the behavior
idiotic. Understandably, this observation earns the resentment of many well-
meaning Filipinos. Being mostly Catholics, Filipinos stand out in non-Christian
Asia. Filipinos are easily swayed by religious rhetoric. They are not easily led to
massive rage. Protest demonstrations are left to factions organized by politicians and
so-called ―civil society‖ groups with questionable intentions. However, the majority
watch from the sides with disinterest and even apathy. Sociologists blame the low
standard of education for the country‘s problems. For good reasons, some point to
the mass media. For one, television is mostly engaged in ―show-biz‖ trivia. And
gossips. But Filipinos do not hesitate to elect TV personalities to high office.

Deng Xiaoping espoused democracy in China. But Amartya Sen was cautious
in making a generalized statement on democracy. He warned that: “While we
see the need for democratic institutions` they must not be viewed as
mechanical devices for development…{but} conditioned by our values,
priorities and sense of justice.” The question was whether the Philippines,
especially with the departure of Marcos after EDSA I, had acquired the
conditions that could be considered compatible with democracy. Not long ago
the World Bank extolled the more successful authoritarian technocracies in
Asia. Unencumbered by democratic practices such as heated elections and
licentious media, they created what was also to be considered a myth - the so-
called ―Asian Miracle.‖

Prior to August 1997, many World Bank economists were joined by
academicians who favored strong authoritarian governments, free from
political carpings and conflicts. The Asian Economic Crisis of 1997 ―muted
their voices‖. What were the conditions that led to Asian miracle, which would
metamorphosed into a crisis. Caroline Hodges Persell of New York University
in Understanding Society has identified common conditions that contribute to
                                                        CHAPTER SIX – DEMOCRACY

the crises in both democratic and authoritarian societies. These conditions in
combination with each other have caused serious upheavals, even armed
revolutions in many countries. One situation is the high expectations of people,
as in the case of the Philippines after EDSA I.

The frustrations from Aquino‘s oligarchic rule disappointed and annoyed many
Filipinos. There was also the expectation that in deposing the allegedly corrupt
Estrada, Arroyo would minimize corruption in government. It turned out to be
another source of dismay. Another condition is the high degree of economic
inequality due to a wide income gap between the rich and the poor. The result
is political instability. A serious condition is the existence of an ineffective
government that is unable to change old institutions. Existing leaders are also
viewed as being weak. All the above conditions can be found to exist in the
Philippines, especially after EDSA I. When the poor become angry about
iniquitous social conditions they may get to support an overthrow of the
existing government.

Unlike the Philippines, social inequity does not exist in Singapore. Former
Prime Minister Lee KuanYew has a different idea of democracy, unlike that of
many Filipino leaders who are influenced by American thinking. While he
curtailed democratic freedoms, he established societal stability that favored the
poor. Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom, Kim Dae Jung of South
Korea and Deng Xiaoping of China.had also their own ideas of democracy.
Churchill famous words on democracy as ―the worst possible system – except
for all the others‖, was quoted by Alan M. Dershowitz in Contrary to Public
Opinion (1992). Dershowitz explained how different ideologies would give
varying prominence to the social, political, economic and other dimensions of

EDSA I created the heady but false feeling that the people had the power to
change the various underlying institutions of the country. Charles Handy in The
Age of Paradox (1994) wrote: “Democracy used to mean that people had the
power, but now that translates that the people have the vote, which is not the
same thing.” When the electoral system is defective this power resides among
the politicians, the military, the oligarchs, the big businessmen and even the
Church. It is hardly the way for the common people to be empowered and
influence directly what is going on around them. Deng Xiaoping lamented how
his own Communist party members practiced democracy. He criticized them
because they believed that they could do whatever they liked. Consequently the
middle sections of society became displeased. Deng said:


“They interfered in government. They went even a step further. They
believed that party leadership was above everything else and that they could
do no evil.”

Deng had concluded that as a result of faulty party leadership, the government
had not respected by the masses. The Party had alienated itself from them. It is
unthinkable that a supposedly democratic country like the Philippines could
learn about democracy from Deng or China. In one of his numerous writings
title, ―Oppose the Concept of Ruling the Country by Party”, Deng wrote: “If
we say China is a semi-feudal country and a country that lacks democracy, it
is reflected in our Party. Our members are not used to the practice of
democracy…The concept of…ruling the country by the Party had brought
about disastrous consequences.” Deng could have been writing about the

Many would find it difficult to accept that a dysfunctional form of democracy
similar to Deng‘s description of democracy in China would follow EDSA I in
the Philippines. The truth became apparent when Aquino became president.
She had to respond to a series of coup attempts that placed her government in a
state of confusion. In the meantime the family and oligarchic groups that
dominated her political party pursued their own self-interests. It was ―familial‖
democracy of greed that made the rich richer while the poor became poorer.
Aquino, like Marcos did nothing to reduce poverty in the rural areas by
reluctantly instituting a non-substantive land reform program after EDSA I.To
protect the Cojuangco clan, one of the richest landed dynasties in the
Philippines, Aquino was not inclined to implement legitimate agrarian reforms
in the country.

In general income distribution in developed countries in Asia, like Japan,
Taiwan and Singapore has been relatively egalitarian. It has been increasingly
improving in favor of the poor in Malaysia, Thailand and elsewhere in the
region as well except in the Philippines where the disparities in income
between wealthy and poor have remained enormous. Land reform has been
much discussed but never put into effect. Hacienda-like holdings, similar to
Aquino‘s Hacienda Luisita, have dominated the agricultural sector. On the
surface, Aquino espoused the encouragement of large-scale, ―monocultural
petrochemically‖ dependent agriculture. In the process she ―exempted‖ her
family‘s Hacienda Luisita from land reform.

Large-scale agriculture has often meant even larger-scale dependency, and the
slimmer the margins of error the greater the scale of disaster. At the same time
the reconnoitering of Wendell Berry and others in The Unsettling America:
Culture and Agriculture (1972) has shown that sustainable, diversified forms
                                                         CHAPTER SIX – DEMOCRACY

of agriculture and culture exist. They also preserve rural ecosystems and
communities that remain relatively immune to the debilitating fluctuations of
prices and interest rates. Reliable studies, based on the study of actual farms,
have demonstrated that farming practices that use no chemical fertilizers or
pesticides can maintain, relatively speaking, both productivity and
sustainability. Berry said in clear and specific context: “The introduction of
industrial technology… involves a gross simplification of the agriculture
itself as well as a drastic complication of the free market under a a
capitalistic democracy.” It requires a cash economy and credit, which in turn
favors the large oligarchic producers in the case of developing countries like
the Philippines.

Phllips W. Shively discussed in Power and Choice (1999) the income
inequalities in selected countries including the Philippines based on a World
Bank study. The percentage of all income that goes to the poorest 20 percent is
compared with the percentage of all income that goes to the richest 20 percent
of the population. The greater this difference is, the more unequally are
incomes distributed. In thirteen countries studied, the Philippines ranked
fourth with a high difference of 41.3%, India, the poorest state with a per capita
GNP of $340 against $1050 of the Philippines, was better off with 33.3%. As
expected, poorer states are often burdened with considerably greater inequality
of incomes than developed economies. However, in the midst of poverty there
may be found a small group of landed and business oligarchs who are
extremely rich as in the Philippines. They have made free market identical with

The World Bank believed that if governments would make an effort to do so,
even poor countries could redistribute incomes somewhat. Its development
economists had come out with theories like GWE or Growth with Equity and
RWG or Redistribution with Growth. Belarus, which still has a rather
unreconstructed Communist-led government, has a low income difference of
21.8%. It has successfully made efforts to promote equity together with India ,
which has made real efforts at redistribution. Nevertheless, the fact is those
who have high incomes usually also have a good deal of political clout and are
able to defend their interests vigorously. Whether it is the landowners of Brazil
or the privileged bureaucrats of Belarus, those who are well off in society
generally make sure that government redistribution does not bite very deeply.

Washington Sycip, founder of SGV, a reputable Manila-based company of
international auditors and consultants wrote in Asiaweek (February 2, 2001)
about ―impoverished‖ democracy. Quoting a political commentator, Alex
Magno, he said the Philippines is a poor argument for democracy in achieving
progress. He questioned whether the democracy the country inherited from its


American colonizers in the last fifty years was meaningful for most Filipinos.
Sycip wrote: “It is easy for us to organize demonstrations against „dictators‟,
„trapos‟{traditional politicians} and „corruption‟ but it is difficult for us to
unite and find working solutions to our society‟s problems – poverty.” The
rise in poverty is linked to the shocking burden of debt carried by many
countries in the South, including the Philippines. The scope of their debt
burden has become so enormous that these developing countries as a whole
have paid more interest and principal to the wealthy countries and their banks
than the total amount they received back from them in the form of investments,
credits, and development assistance.

 According to the 1992 U.N. Human Development Report, ―The current debt-
related net transfer from the developing to the industrialized countries stands at
$50 billion a year.‖ In other words, since 1982 the rising standard of living of
the wealthy countries has been partially subsidized by the developing countries.
This leads to the significant conclusion that each inhabitant of these countries
must work nine months of his or her life simply to pay off external debt. And
children in these countries, through no action of their own, are born into an
ever increasing debt obligation. The intractable and horrific reality of poverty
in the Third World reveals four ―laws‖ govern the dynamics of debt today.
They make clear that the rising affluence of the wealthy nations is inextricably
linked to the increasing impoverishment of the poor.

The first law is that the poor nations must bear the full brunt of external shocks
in the world economy, shocks over which they have no control. In response to
outside shocks, such as an imposition of higher export barriers or a raising of
import prices (especially the price of oil), the poor nations have had no
alternative but to borrow money acceptable in the international exchange from
foreign banks, simply to remain in position. According to the 1992 Human
Development Report: “20 of 24 industrial countries now are more
protectionist than they were ten years ago… [a reality which costs] the
developing countries ten times what they receive in foreign assistance.”

The second law is that debts increase despite every significant effort on the part
of the poor nations to pay them off. Between 1982 and 1988 the total debt of
the Third World more than doubled, despite the fact that together during that
same period the Third World nations paid no less than $830 billion to their
creditors – an amount more than what they had owed in 1982. How do we
explain this startling reality? It occurred because of shocking high rates of
interest in the 1980s: “The developing countries effectively paid an average
real interest rate of 17% during the 1980s, compared with 4% by the
industrial nations.”
                                                        CHAPTER SIX – DEMOCRACY

The third law is that debts rise because of the poor nations‘ efforts to pay off
their debts. This law, known as the law of Irving Fischer - “The more people
pay, the more they owe.” - has also operated on a large and devastating scale.
Many poor nations, wanting to get out of the debt trap (especially because of
rising interest rates), sought to increase their exports even more, because only
increased exports could bring in the key currencies needed to pay off their
debts. But in the declining world market, every increase in the quantity of
exported goods caused prices to plummet. As a result, export revenues fell
instead of rose, and less money was available to pay off debts because of lower

In spite of their efforts to pay, the poor nations‘ indebtedness to the wealthy
nations grew. For the Third World, the combined effect of these three laws had
led to the fourth law - that impoverishment rises while debt is being paid off.
In the face of the inability to pay escalating debts, rich creditors through the
World Bank and the IMF have been requiring the poor nations to adjust their
economies ―structurally‖. The effects of ―structural adjustment programs‖ have
sometimes been catastrophic. Frequently they entail lowering wages and
decreasing by as much as one-third expenditures in so-called soft, non-export-
related areas, such as health and education. Often, such as in Brazil and in the
Philippines, structural adjustment programs require the promotion of large-
scale, export-oriented agriculture at the expense of local culture and
appropriate-scale farming, farming that feeds the local population. This
transforms small farmers into environment refugees who have no place forms
small farmers into environmental refugees who have no place to live and no
ability to feed their children.

Jodi Jacobson of the World Institute on Hunger and Development has
estimated the total number of environmental refugees in the world today to be
more than 10 million people. The combination of lower wages, sharply
decreased levels of health care and education, and the loss of access to land
have led to further horrific, grinding, relentless poverty in the Third World. In
the case of the Philippines, this of course does not tell the whole story. The
average life expectancy in the Philippines has improved by ten years during the
last three decades, and the adult literacy rate grew to 92 percent of the
population. However, these averages may never be used to justify the misery
and poverty that virtually destroys the poorest segments of the population and
that, to a large degree, are the direct consequence of the extremely high debt
owed to foreign creditors. Poverty, environmental degeneration, and
unemployment are stark realities with funds going mostly to debt servicing.

In the World Bank Forum on Democracy in Seoul in 1999, Singapore‘s former
prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew was not present in spite of his sterling record.


He was not expected to be popular in the conference, considering his views
preferring economic prosperity before political freedom. Ramos of the
Philippines, where prosperity has been elusive in spite of too much freedom,
was invited. As usual he responded with worn-out rhetorical abstraction by
saying: “The challenge for us is to correct the mismatch between global
markets and national entities, to reconcile market forces with social justice,
and to ensure development and democracy go together.” It is old rhetoric but
what he said is true. Briefly he could have that there is a need for more
equitable global arrangements. But Ramos is not known for brevity.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Nakasone Yusuhiro, one of the Asian leaders
in the 1999 World Bank Forum was more specific. He cautioned against too
drastic a swing toward freedom. He warned: “Overemphasis on democracy
has the danger of causing disorder.” However, Fukuyuma in The End of
History and the Last Man declared that Western liberalism with its tenets of
democracy, the rule of law, human rights and free enterprise would be
triumphant, as it was after the cold war. There was one highly objective voice
in the World Bank Forum on Democracy in Seoul in 1999 and it came from Pei
Minxin, a China-born and former professor of politics in Princeton University.
Using regression analysis, with data from dozens of countries, Professor Pei
analyzed the interrelation of democratization, rising incomes, economic
liberalization and their effects on governance. His interesting conclusion was,
there is no clear evidence that democratic governments promote development
better than authoritarian ones. Nor does greater political freedom improve
governance appreciably. Indeed corruption tends to rise in new democracies,
particularly less affluent ones.

After EDSA I, Ramos governed the Philippines with hubris. He never stopped
indulging in metaphors but he was unable to convert them into reality. When
he ―graduated‖ in 1998, the country was in crisis although he boasted that he
left after creating an ―economic miracle‖. If he did, none of them gave visible
prosperity to the Filipinos. The ills of corrupt governance such as cronyism,
graft and corruption were still widespread. Later, EDSA II gave rise to illusions
of economic salvation. However, outside the favored few, many more
Filipinos were suffering in unsolvable poverty. The Arroyo government would
always present encouraging but questionable NEDA statistics on poverty. In
reality impoverishment in the country has become more evident.

While their Asian neighbors were prospering the Philippines has been lagging
behind. Latest statistics in 2004 showed the Philippine economy has been
growing at an average of 3.1 percent over the last 30 years. Other Asian
countries have fared better with supposedly lowly Indonesia at 5.3 percent,
                                                       CHAPTER SIX – DEMOCRACY

Thailand at 5.7 percent, Malaysia at 5.9 percent, Singapore at 6.3 percent,
South Korea at 6.4 percent and China at 7.8 percent.

Arroyo vowed to create jobs. Of course, tt was a hollow commitment.
Columnist Teodoro C. Benigno, a non-economist, lectured Arroyo who has a
doctorate in economics: “You promise, you almost guarantee, you, as
president for the next six years, you will create six million jobs, possibly ten
million…To create jobs you have to jumpstart a prostrate economy. You
cannot do that alone.” To prove she was sincere, Arroyo has gone to
unproductive populist spending. She got the Metro Manila Development
Authority to hire thousands of workers to paint and re-paint street and sidewalk
curbs. One does not need a Ph.D. in economics to understand real job creation
is a complex mechanism that is not easy for the government to undertake

Of course, many took Arroyo‘s self-serving promises with derision especially
when they ageing workers, with Arroyo‘s face printed on the backs of their
shirts, could be seen ―practically digging holes and then filling them back in‖.
The Asian Development Bank in 1999 had made it clear that creating jobs is an
endeavor that belongs to the private sector, which is more capable of
researching, planning, investing and developing productive markets efficiently.
Fortunately, the Philippines have been blessed with the earnings of its overseas
contract workers. Remittances from these workers have augmented the GNP
but they have also created dependency with the idle living on the
industriousness of their countrymen amid indignities in foreign countries.

Saul wrote: “Whenever governments adopt a moral tone – as opposed to an
ehical one – you know something is wrong.” Arroyo declared a moral
government after EDSA II, which was received with contempt by the public,
especially the poor. John P. Powelson in The Moral Economy (1997) argued
that in a moral democratic economy no one should be poor. How come only a
few are rich in the Philippines? Economic morality in a democracy has two
requisites. One, an acceptable ethical behavior of the country‘s leaders
according to some high standards and two, an approval of its leadership derived
by popular consensus of all people affected. Arroyo has failed to meet these

Similarly Estrada failed as a leader because he ran short of the requisite of
acceptable ethical behavior. On the other hand, Arroyo lacked both ethical and
legal legitimacy to lead, based on widely accepted moral and constitutional
principles. In the type of democracy that the Philippines have become famous,


the reaction to immoral governance has been to resort to ―people power‖.
Instead of transferring power through fair elections or valid constitutional
process, the usual response of vested interest groups is to call people to the
streets. It may be peaceful but is it fair? This para-constitutional movement has
led to a continuing crisis of uncertainty and confidence in the Arroyo
government. Another area of concern in the Arroyo government has been the
country‘s continuing fiscal crisis.

The Asian Development Bank has also warned the government that the
management of the national budget is the barometer of the country‘s ability and
credibility to pursue its economic program. In spite of glowing reports from
Arroyo‘s ―economic team‖, the government has actually been suffering
setbacks to contain its huge budgetary deficits. Its main revenue generating
agencies have consistently failed to meet their targets. In its report, the ADB
cited the threatening level of the country‘s fiscal deficit. Huge borrowings were
causing economic instability with debt servicing crowding out priority
investments. The peso has been continuously depreciating due the political and
security crises prevailing in the country. Arroyo has also to tackle the problem
of raising more than P690 billion pesos to service foreign debts in 2005.
Interest payments alone, of more than P300 billion would be more than 33
percent of the national budget of about P900 billion.

There was no end to the Philippine foreign debt crisis. Prior to EDSA I, Marcos
had resisted the so-called structural reforms imposed by the World Bank and
IMF, particularly on changes in the Philippine financial system. Marcos
cronies were raiding government financial institutions, particularly the
Philippine National Bank and the Development Bank of the Philippines.
International banks were all over the Third World lending their excess petro-
dollars but they were wily enough to demand sovereign guarantees, which the
poor countries provided through their state financial institutions. In 1987
Jeffrey Sachs of Harvard University recognized that many poor countries like
the Philippines, Argentina, Mexico, etc. were too impoverished to service these
loans and he recommended debt ―forgiveness‖. Sachs showed that debt relief
could raise the capacity of a poor country like the Philippines to repay its
foreign debts. After EDSA I, Aquino was confronted with paying more than
$28 billion in foreign loans but she was too proud to ask for debt relief,
particularly for foreign liabilities incurred fraudulently.

In September 2003, Archbishop Fernando Capalla, the incoming president of
the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines, made a round of the
country, particularly Metro Manila. He talked to important people in
government, Congress, judiciary, military, business, ambassadors, muslim
personalities and brother bishops and priests of the Church. In an open letter to
                                                        CHAPTER SIX – DEMOCRACY

the public, Archbishop Capalla arrived at the conclusion that the Philippines
was in crisis and at the brink of a ―revolutionary situation‖. He mentioned
disturbing ―main indicators‖, which included the Oakwood mutiny in Makati
in 2003 and the expose on the alleged corrupt practices of the ―First
Gentleman‖ Jose Miguel Arroyo.

Archbishop Capalla blamed media. for its ―unusual behavior‖ and politicians
for ―too much politicking‖. The archbishop deplored the focus on bad news and
the tendency of the people to believe them. He also blamed ―those in power
who bypass the rule of law towards their own sinister objectives‖. Not long
after Bishop Capalla issued his open letter on the crisis facing the country,
Manila Bishop Socrates Villegas, known as Cardinal Sin‘s alter ego, said, the
country is faced with a leadership crisis. In a homily, he declared:

“The shepherds are looking after themselves, fattening themselves while the
sheep are famished…The shepherds of our country are scattering the flock
with the noise of self-interest, of vested interest, of selfish politicking,
because for them to divide is to conquer.”

Teofista Guingona, Arroyo‘s hand-picked Vice President warned in September
2003 that the Arroyo government could unravel ―within a month or two‖. He
was apprehensive of the backlash of the corruption charges against Arroyo‘s
controversial First Gentleman. He revealed the simmering unrest among
soldiers, which could explode anytime. Leaders of civil society groups that
helped installed Arroyo to the presidency agreed with him. They feared that the
restiveness of the people could lead to serious upheaval. The problem was
Guingona was perceived by his critics as a leftist and a possible cause of
divisiveness that could further threaten the fragile democracy in the country.
He would later be rewarded with an ambassadorship position to quiet him
down. It was a typical Arroyo co-optatio. In May 2004, Arroyo made sure she
would win the presidential elections, which she did. But it was dubious and
divisive. Senator Juan Ponce Enrile in a privileged speech in the Philippine
Senate warned of a ―ticking bomb‖ that has to be defused. He said:

 “The outcome of the national elections, while officially settled in favor of the
sitting President, has been marred by an overcast of doubt in the minds of a
vast number of our countrymen regarding its cleanness, veracity and

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohammad wrote on the
ephemeral issue of democracy and freedom. He said an inevitable issue crops
up in Asia , and the relevance of western values in A New Deal for Asia (1999).


He deplored freedom of the press under western democratic standards, which
actually has been causing ―the loss of freedom to have a decent life under an
Asian culture of shame‖. Asians were made to suffer by whipping up conflict
and hatred between families. It has also encouraged vendetta and extortion. It
has robbed others of freedom, dignity or well-being. Democratic journalistic
reporting, based on less than credible information has destroyed reputation and
has led to failure of helpless victims to earn a living.

Mahathir‘s philosophy was at odds with the American-style democracy
embraced by the Filipinos after EDSA I. ―The public needs to know‖ according
to the Americans. They argued that absolute freedom of the press encourages
creativity, efficiency and flourishing economy. Does it really? Is the right to
publish whatever a journalist or a newspaper wishes, regardless of the
consequences to society without limits? Mahathir argued that ―Untrammeled
Freedom‖ – the basic rights of journalists; the oppression of the rights of many,
are not covered by libel laws. The inalienable rights of the press nullify the
rights of an individual and even the majority, – a form of injustice and
oppression. The conflict was recognized by David Hitchcock in Asian Values
and the United States : How Much Conflict? (1999).

In the past, rulers especially of less developed countries have followed three
possible paths. First, statism by which government would intervene in
practically all-economic activities.       Second, was libertarianism, where
government would cease altogether at the extreme to intervene in the
economy? Third, was the moral economy, which would lie in between statism
and libertarianism? Corruption was supposed to be diminished by reducing the
power of government officials that could be corrupted. American congressman
Jerome Waldie stated in the Nixon Impeachment Journal (1975) that it was
inevitable that a time would come when this constant accumulation of
presidential power would have to be checked. He claimed that this
transformation has to be clearly understood not only by the president in office
at that particular moment in history, but by presidents yet to come.

Again Mahathir was smiling, according to Stephen Glain of Newsweek. In his
article, The New Strongmen (February 2005) he wrote: “A fresh breed of
leaders has put state control back in style, with surprising success.” Unlike
the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand have strong visionary leaders. An
example is Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who has been instituting
effective forms of state controls. His ―Thaksinomics‖ is against the free market
paradigm promoted by the United States. The result so far is a country growth
rate above the global average. Actually Thaksin has not been alone. Leaders in
other continents have taken note of the scandal-ridden American economic
                                                         CHAPTER SIX – DEMOCRACY

models. The question, of course, is whether this counter-Western
interventionism which is taking place not only in Southeast Asia would endure.

D.R. SarDesai of UCLA wrote in Southeast Asia) - Past and Present (1997)
that it is necessary that power be diffused to the people. The People Power
Revolution only heightened the people‘s expectations but power was not
diffused to them. Although Aquino appeared to have succeeded in ―restoring‖
democracy with ―free‖ elections, she failed to alter traditional political
practices. In spite of her claim that she empowered the people, there was no
genuine transfer of power to the common man. Power continued to be
exercised by most of the same families, groups and individuals who have
traditionally controlled the country‘s political system, through patronage and

All the presidents of the Philippines after 1986 have so far been tempted to
pursue their own hidden agendas. What are the principal causes of this
collective paradox? The answers can be found by paraphrasing the various
writers in The Greek Paradox. For example, the Philippines have ―imported its
institutions and democracy in bits and pieces from the United States‖. The
defining features of the country‘s political system are weaknesses derived from
its American-style politics. The Philippines can learn from the wisdom of
leading Greek academic thinkers who have explored the ―Greek Paradox‖ and
concluded that:

   There are blatant discrimination in the distribution of social benefits and
    harmful overprotection of fragment economic system, structural rigidities,
    weakness of civil society that are the result of the ―logic of particuliarism‖;

   There are existing vested interest camps that are bound to offer change,
    which is necessary to cure the inefficiency and minimize the corruption of
    the state-controlled sector and state-dependent private entities;

   There is a need for reformists to focus on controlling the political and
    social costs of externally imposed structural reforms that will create a
    flexible economic markets and solid responsible political institutions;

   There is a too much concentration of power in the media serving as a ―core
    factor of inertia‖ that works against fair articulation of ideas; and,

   There are three crucial items needed to strengthen political participation in
    developing societies: genuine decentralization and accountability; buildup
    of a meritocratic civil service; and the separation of Church and State.


The Philippines has remained chronically in crisis after democracy was
restored by EDSA I. Client-centered politics have remained excessive at the
highest level of government. Poverty has remained pervasive. In 2002, foreign
leaders met in Monterrey, Mexico in 2002 to discuss the poverty that has
plagued many developing societies. In 2004, the World Bank reported that
while China, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam saw their poverty levels decline,
poverty reduction was less robust in the Philippines. The benefits of growth in
the country have not been widely shared. There was a consensus that
clientelistic ―rent-seeking,‖ a favorite term of economists in academe, has
become more insidious in the Philippines, unlike in ―squeaky-clean‖

The Philippines has continued to participate in ASEAN but it has been
languishing at its periphery. Singapore and the Philippines are extremes in per
capita income and in terms of the effectiveness of their respective
governments. Roland Cheo Kim San examined the economies of seven Asian
countries in In Shifting Sands: Examining the Loss od Business Confidence in
Asia (1999). Five were Asean, namely Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand,
Malaysia and Singapore, while the other two were non-Asean, Japan and
Korea. His objective was to explain the comparative loss of business
confidence in these countries and why the so-called Asian Miracle has
obviously ended.

Two columnists and economists, Noel Reyes of Business World and Calixto
Chikiamco of Manila Standard, have exposed the illusion of the strong
economic performance of the Arroyo administration, particularly in agriculture.
Reyes and Chikiamco pointed out that while farm production increased in
quantitative terms, farm gate prices fell sharply, resulting in lesser revenues to
farmers. In short, the farmers have been worse off under Arroyo. The increase
in farm production was not due to any increase in investments because the
agricultural sector has been losing jobs. Cost of farm production has been
increasing. Farmgate prices, however, have been declining. They claimed the
Arroyo administration has no cause for celebration.

For awhile Thailand had been emerging strongly after the Asian Crisis of 1997,
especially under Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The situation would later
change in 2005 when Thaksin, like Arroyo, was accused of corruption. He
would resign in 2006. Since 1932, Thailand has withstood 13 revolution, 8
constitutions and more than 30 charges of administration – marked by
governance by decrees and military rule most of the time. However it has
shown that strong civilian leadership could withstand the restlessness of the
military. The Philippines, considered one of the top graft-ridden countries in
Asia, has been facing both fiscal and military crises. In the words of Peter C.
                                                        CHAPTER SIX – DEMOCRACY

Newman, who wrote on the transition of political leadership in Canada in The
Distemper of Our Times (1968), the key is ―the energy of the commanding
presence‖ of presidential leadership. This presence has not been felt in the
transition from the Marcos dictatorship to a restored democracy since EDSA I.
It has been crisis after crisis. The problem has been the absence of honest and
visionary leadership. What the country got were bad governance and
widespread corruption, particularly in the military.

The perception that there was widespread crisis due to corruption in the
Philippines did not end with EDSA I and EDSA II. Philippine leaders have
been ignoring the leftist rantings of Jose Maria Sison on government
corruption, who unfortunately, has been fighting his pro-communist
―revolution in the comforts of the Netherlands.‖ It is difficult to accept the
violent tendencies of Sison‘s communism, although they run parallel to the
vision of a moral economy, where everybody shares common values and
aspirations. In The Philippine Revolution: The Leaders’ View (1989), Sison
and Rainer Werning wrote:

“Through abuse of political power, a new set of crooks composed of the
president‟s close relatives and friends replaced the old set headed by Marcos
and his cronies.”

It is character, James David Barber had written in The Presidential Character
(1992). He wrote:

“Power may corrupt – ennoble or frighten or inspire or distract a man. The
result depends on his propensity for, his vulnerability to, particular kinds of
corruption or cleansing – in short, on his character.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt‘s character could be gleaned from a speech he made
in 1936, which is relevant to type of governments the Philippines have had
since after EDSA I:

“We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as
government by organized mob…I should like to have it said of my first
Administration that in it, the forces of selfishness and lust for power met their

Can any Philippine president after EDSA I say the same words?

The character of all the Philippine presidents since EDSA I had shown
vulnerability to corruption as evidenced by their peculiar types of leadership.
Arroyo would give credence to this statement with her weak character and


questionable leadership. In effect she has perpetuated the collective dismal
performance and dishonesty of her predecessors after EDSA I. She has been
stretching her credibility to the point of distrust. Cher Jimenez of Today
(November 16, 2004) reported on Arroyo‘s ―losing trust of bishops‖ due to her
contrasting statements that placed doubts on her honesty. Many would find it
difficult to forget her dramatic Rizal Day lie made on December 30, 2002. She
stated in her usual ringing tone that she would not run again for reelection. She
admitted that the country was in a crisis of divisiveness and that she was one of
the reasons for this division.

Arroyo turned back on her word and her ―victory‖ in the May 2004 elections
was considered by many as another blow to democracy. But there was still a
nagging wish that she would use her ―mandate‖ as an opportunity to rid the
country of its perennial crises. All the presidents after EDSA I did not have the
political will to reform the corrupt bureaucracy left behind by Aquino and
made worst by Ramos, Estrada and by Arroyo herself People have been asking:
What kind of governance has these presidents rendered since EDSA I?

The next chapter will attempt to answer the question. Meantime this chapter on
Democracy and Crisis would end with a quotation from John Ralston Saul:

“A single line from David Hume lies at the heart of the {question}: Nothing
is more certain that men are, in a great measure, governed by interest….the
public good is a fiction and that self-interest must rule.”

Their land is filled with silver and gold, and there is no end to their
Their land is filed with horses, and there is no end to their chariots;
Their land is filled idols;
They bow down to the work of their hands;
And so people are humbled, and everyone is brought low.”

                                                           Isaiah‟s Oracle
                                                           8th Century B.C.

T      here are no great issues. Elections are governed by the logic of silver and
       gold. The popularity of idols reigns with money and guns. The goal is to
       win by all means and create wealth for self, relatives and friends. Of
course, there are still principled voters who detest traditional politicians, called


―trapos.‖ Unfortunately they are a minority and powerless. The addiction to
empty, even dirty, political ―spinning‖ is one the traits of Filipino voters. They
easily accept the high level of pretense of their candidates. They enjoy ―the spin
and the shifty convictions‖ of those running for public office as the natural way
of things, not to mention the monetary considerations they offer. EDSA I did
nothing to educate the electorate. And as described by.Michael Lewis in Trail
Fever – Spin Doctors, Rented Strangers (1997): The electoral process is
characterized by “empty speeches, hollow candidates, dirty tactics and
political operatives who made their living by telling people things that were
not true.”

In general, Filipino voters lack political wisdom and good sense. They choose
their leaders on the basis of popularity. Estrada was elected president with an
overwhelming majority in 1992 in spite of his flawed character. He was a
college ―drop-out‖. But in the Philippines, the character and intellectual traits of
politicians hardly count. His being a popular folksy actor gave him mass
appeal. It endeared him to the electorate, mostly poor and low-educated voters.
Arroyo, with her comparably high education, knew she had to play up to the
Filipino preference for popularity, especially of entertainers. In running for the
vice presidency she assumed a movie star ―look-alike‖ image and won with a
big plurality. She easily beat her close opponent, a former president of the
University of the Philippines who was also a former president of the Philippine

Estrada‘s popularity was also enhanced by the failure of his predecessors after
EDSA I to meet the expectations of the poor. None molded the presidency with a
vision with an ideological foundation that would relieve the anxiety of the
downtrodden. The need for an appealing presidential ideology was pointed out by
Frank Freidel in Our Country’s Presidents (1966) and by James David Barber in
Tne Presidential Character (1992). Aquino spoke of people empowerment but she
was a temporizing president. And it did not stop her from shrewdly granting political
favors, especially to her rich family friends and relatives. Aquino ―anointed‖ Ramos
as her successor who would substitute rhetoric for ideology.

Ramos was a wordsmith who excelled in political sloganeering. John C. Donovan in
People Power & Politics (1993) called it: “The Fog of Rhetoric.” With his military
mind he treated the national landscape as a battlefield. He confused everybody about
what was going on. He was adept in metaphors that altered the perception of reality
by the poor. And Ramos did not change the spoils system by indulging in patronage
that favored big businessmen. He coddled the military. In spite of scams involving
huge government contracts, Ramos was never brought to court by the Ombudsman
whom he appointed to office. He has astutely passed on the burden of accounting for
the corruption during his term to his hapless subalterns. Greg Hutchinson described
                                                       CHAPTER SEVEN – CORRUPTION

Ramos in Hot Money- Warm Bodies (2001) as: “the consummate survivor” and
“the master of subterfuge.”

Estrada was equally a dismal failure as a leader. He wrecked the presidency with
apparent lack of concern for his place in Philippine history. Estrada proved that the
products of a faulty electoral system were dishonesty and impotence in governance.
However, corruption was not a monopoly of his rule. It has characterized all the
governments in the Philippines after the so-called people power revolutions.
Without exception, all the presidents from Aquino, Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo
would reject any notion of graft in their respective governance. Records would show
their rule was riddled with corruption. After the departure of Marcos patronage
politics characterized all Philippine administrations. Corrupt ties between top
political leaders, high-level bureaucrats and power brokers led to huge exchanges of
money and favors. The only question is: Which administration is the worst?

Many Filipinos believed that the evidence of corruption against Estrada
presented at his Senate impeachment trial was conclusive. Ellen Tordesillas and
Greg Hutchinson described Estrada‘s greed in Hot Money, Warm Bodies
(2001). He denied accepting gambling kickbacks. But even if he were acquitted
of plunder charges, many were convinced that he would not regain his
credibility or the confidence of the people. It was a shame that Estrada would
cause a negative world focus on the Philippines. Asiaweek equated the crisis in
the Philippines to a ―morality tale‖ starring Estrada. Later Arroyo would banner
―A Strong Republic‖ steeped in morality. At the same time her ―First
Gentleman‖ would be accused of corruption.

Estrada was never popular among the gentrified elites. Most were wealthy
descendants of Spanish colonialists who comprised the well-heeled Makati and
Forbes Park power brokers. They considered Estrada, who boasted about his
middle-class origins and who never concealed his capacious sexual appetite, as
an uncouth impostor in the palace. He was not discriminating with his
―friends‖. Many were shady businessmen and gamblers It gave credence to the
claims of his detractors that he was a second-rater, unfit to rule and certainly
not one to act in the best interests of the country. Among the poor he was the
visionary hero but he failed them.

In January 2002, Southeast Asian political analysts attended a forum in Manila.
The participants unanimously agreed that cronyism was the key cause of
corruption and economic malaise in the region. Cases cited were scandals
involving the ―First Gentleman‖ of Arroyo of the Philippines and the husband
of Megawati of Indonesia. Edmund Terence Gomez, a Malaysian professor


said during the forum: ―With the emergence of democracy, the state is
increasingly being captured by capital…‖ which influences the outcome of
elections. This brings into question the quality of democracy that is emerging
in the region. Some of the cronies currying favor with governments are “old
faces” who have survived transitions of power. The political analysts in the
forum have a concluding lament. In spite of political upheavals in the
Philippines and violent uprisings in Indonesia, corruption in these countries
under democracy has remained unchecked.

What appeared to be a personal crusade against the corruption of Arroyo took
place in October 2003. Teofisto Guingona, Vice President of the Philippines,
resigned from Arroyo‘s party as its president. He cited the failure of Arroyo to
implement reforms despite her promise to concentrate on good governance. For
a while many were impressed with Guigona‘s ―idealism‖. It would soon
become a disappointment. Arroyo would try to co-opt him with a ―tempting‖
ambassadoriship to China. It is the practice of Arroyo to appoint ambassasors
as an act of patronage rather than recognition of intellectual and diplomatic
competence. Guingona would later reject the appointment and would even ask
Arroyo to resign as president. After all he had already said:

“The people are bedeviled by corruption worse compounded, which vitally
erodes our economy, deepening the poverty of our people…Even in our party,
there exist personalities accused of graft who continue to hold power…”

Marcos and Estrada were brought down by people power because they shared
something in common. Columnist Conrado de Quiros wrote: “They were not
just corrupt, they were rotten to the core.” There was corruption in Arroyo‘s
administration, as there was corruption under Aquino, Ramos and Estrada. The
scale of pillage the Ramos administration may be even bigger than that of
Marcos and Estrada. Ramos was the chief of the Philippine Constabulary for
many years under Marcos, which was to become the Philippine National Police.
This institution has remained mired in politics and perceived to be the most
corrupt among the armed services. While Ramos has evaded prosecution, the
people have not forgotten the questionable deals during his watch. Arroyo‘s
rule was under destabilization due to corruption. “They all do it,” Marvin
Olasky wrote in The American Tradition (1999). It is a cynical view but many
believe it is true.

It has been conventional wisdom to blame culture for the corrupt tendencies of
Filipino leaders. Many have reacted angrily to any reference to a so-called
―damaged‖ culture. Many also considered with amusement a statement of a top
                                                        CHAPTER SEVEN – CORRUPTION

government official that ―Filipinos are a happy people.‖ Consequently they are
not prone to revolution or civil war. They would not miss celebrating their
annual town fiestas even under the most stringent economic conditions. On the
other hand this ‗happiness‘ can be taken as a sign of hopelessness and apathy.
Appearing happy may be a defense mechanism. While it may prevent violence,
it can eventually erupt in violent anti-regime demonstrations.

J. Christine Altenburger‘s Patronage Ethic Gone Amok, one of the 23 essays in
Ethics in Public Office (1999) claimed patronage ―conflicts with several basic
ethical tenets‖. Most politicians would disdain patronage by having ―clean the house
out‖ and ―kick the rascals out‖ platforms. But once in power they would turn out to
be irrational patrons of corruption. Historian Barbara Tuchman has written in The
March of Folly (1984), that the rejection of reason is the most common folly of
leaders throughout history. The ruler of a state is supposed to be ―the servant of
divine reason‖, to maintain order and to respond to the needs of their constituency.

Unfortunately divine reason is more often than not overpowered by irrational
personal frailties. This is the problem of all the post EDSA I Philippine presidents.
They easily succumb to protecting their private and familial interests, to perpetuating
themselves into power, to achieving high public status and to accumulating wealth.
Estrada is the classic example of a popular leader whose faculties, and consequently
his governance, were dominated by the ―Tuchman folly‖. Reason was available to
him as an alternative yet he rejected it in favor of ―unreason‖ and self-destruction.

In The Unconscious Civilization (1995) John Ralston Saul wrote:

“Virtually every politician portrayed in film or on television over the last decade
has been venal, corrupt, opportunistic and cynical, if not worse.”

Ramos is not an exception to Saul‘s axiom. There were reports that he attained
the presidency under corrupt circumstances. Either Eduardo V. Cojuangco or
Miriam Defensor Santiago reportedly won in 1992. Santiago, a vociferous
female law graduate of the University of Michigan is known for her tendentious
disposition. Lacking popular support because of her vitriolic vituperation, she
protested in frustration. But many believed Ramos lost in the elections but won
in the counting. Unfortunately neither Cojuangco nor Santiago could match the
known ―dirty tricks‖ of Ramos and his corrupt ―bright boys.‖. They would
introduce the art of corrupting elections in the Philippines. But there were those


who were thankful for Ramos‘ ―victory‖ as a lesser evil. When Ramos left the
presidency in 1998, he tried to create a perception of being a great statesman -
the economic savior of his country in the stature of Singapore‘s Lee Kuan Yew.
He claimed that he finished his term with a legacy of economic reforms. It was
of course a myth. Actually his governance was also perceived as corrupt. It was
capped by accusations of massive scams. A financial crisis also marred his
―graduation with honors‖. In reality his boastful clichés and slogans, “level
playing field,” “road to NIChood,” etc., only generated more disillusionment
and heightened class antagonism. Ramos governed with metaphors and
hyperboles. He allegedly solved the country‘s energy problem. In reality he
bequeathed the poor a financial scourge with questionable ―private power‖

Another historian of recognized authority, John Payne has written on corrupt leaders
through history in The Corrupt Society (1975.). Like Tuchman, Payne analyzed the
historical parade of corrupt leaders. As if referring to Arroyo and the Philippines,
Payne wrote further that in a corrupt society there are no martyrdoms and no one
should underestimate the power of deceit. Arroyo deceitfully lied in a ―political
martyrdom‖ speech in December 2002. She promised not to run for president in the
forthcoming May 2004 presidential election and swore off politics. From the day
she made her promise of political sacrifice, the familiar processes of corruption
became more widespread. Payne said:

 ”Significantly, corruption sets in first at the top…None are so pious as the
corrupt; moral adages are always on their lips; they practice cold-blooded deceit
all the more hopefully when they can invoke morality and they are well aware that
they are committing a fraud.”

The ADB and OECD would recommend in Taking Action Against Corruption in
Asia and the Pacific (2002) in the so-called ―Pillars of Action‖. Pillar 1 calls for
Developing Effective and Transparent Systems for Public Service. However, the
systems would be a difficult to implement in a country rich in patronage and where
appointments to high public office are dictated by electoral favors and personal
loyalty. The practice was grossly abused by Arroyo whose political debts mounted
with her election bid in May 2004. The result was lack of transparency that has
always plagued all Philippine administrations. Most of her obedient political
appointees could at best equal the Mexican technocrats known as ―the perfume
boys‖ or los perfumados – the deodorizers in government.

In July 2004, the IMF showed its concern for the quality of transparency in the
Arroyo government. The agency expressed doubts over the integrity of the country‘s
financial data. It confirmed the 2002 findings of the Wall Street Journal that the
country has been inflating it current account position. The Arroyo ―economic team‖
                                                         CHAPTER SEVEN – CORRUPTION

admitted with embarrassment the ―error‖ in the recording of export receipts, which
were conveniently doubled. In July 2004, the Arroyo government was required by
the IMF to make monthly instead of quarterly financial reports to avoid giving time
to the window-dressers – the los perfumados - to work. Another area of concern that
has raised doubts regarding the integrity of government data is poverty statistics.
Questions have been raised why the poverty estimates under Arroyo‘s governance
had suddenly shown remarkable decrease in its incidence.

As a legacy of the Marcos rule, the Philippines has been suffering from a ―crisis of
transparency‖. After the assassination of the heroic oppositionist Benigno Aquino,
Central Bank Governor Juan C. Laya was accused by the IMF of ―window
dressing‖ the country‘s foreign exchange reserves. Being a man of integrity, he
resigned. The Arroyo government admitted double accounting of export receipts in
2004. Under Arroyo‘s fuzzy reporting, the country was facing a serious downgrade
in its credit risk rating. In a perverted presidential culture, where bureaucrats serve
―at the pleasure of the president‖, nobody resigned. Many wished bureaucrats would
eventually serve at the pleasure of the people.

The natural handmaiden of corruption of those in power is cronyism, where the
good of particular individuals prevail. Jim Rohwer in Remade in America (2001)
wrote that Singapore has been the only country in Asia where corruption has
remained a minor factor in governance. When Lee Kuan Yew became prime
minister in 1959, Singapore was poor and behind the Philippines in economic
stature. According to Rohwer, corruption was common in Singapore at that time due
to pressure from communism and the ethnic Chinese. With strong political will,
Lee “stamped out corruption before it could take root.” But it has failed to
establish a precedent. In the Philippines, political will has continued to be the ―rarest
of commodities.‖ Quoting Donovan:

“In the best style of democratic politics, they bend one way on Monday, another
way on Tuesday, and claim to be leading boldly on Wednesday.”

In January – February 2005 the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC)
of Hong Kong polled more than 900 expatriates in Asia on their perception on
corruption in countries across the region. Indonesia was ranked the first most corrupt
Asian country with the Philippines coming in second. As expected the perfumados
in Arroyo‘s cabinet were furious. The Secretary of Justice, a political appointee
ignorant of the consequences, said “Ignore PERC!” But it gives advice to banks,
corporations and even governments that do business in Asia. The likelihood is that
they would prefer to listen to PERC rather than a political appointee in Arroyo‘s
government. With all things equal they would rather invest say in Malaysia and
Thailand or even Vietnam. The Philippines has consistently obtained low ratings in


PERC corruption surveys. After the angry protestations, speeches would follow and
corruption would continue as usual.

Rance P.L. Lee gave meaningful definitions of corruption in Corruption and Its
Control in Hong Kong (1981). He cited Arnold J.Heldenheimer‘s categorization of
corruption by orientation: 1) market-centered, 2) public-interest-centered, and 3)
public-office-centered. In the market-centered orientation, a corrupt official is like a
businessman. He tends to use his office to maximize his profit. The public-interest-
centered orientation invites the dilemma of defining ―public interest‖. Corrupt
officials hide behind its ambiguity. The public-office-centered orientation defines
corruption as an act that violates the formal rules of public office for private gains.
Lee explained the three categories are interrelated. All of them comprehensively
cover the corruption that has been in existence in the Philippines.

After EDSA I and EDSA II the presence of multi-millionaires in the legislature and
the military became more prominent, as money politics became more dominant.
Rance P.L. Lee showed a significant negative correlation between corruption and
economic growth. In 1992, talking about China and corruption at the top he
concluded that: “The redeeming factor is the top people at the center are clean…
haven‟t accumulated wealth. They don‟t need the wealth.” Lee‘s words would not
find truism in the Philippines where corruption had already been too deep rooted at
the top to eradicate. There has never been a Filipino leader, especially after EDSA I,
with the stature of Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, known for his strength of character
and unassailable honesty. Paraphrasing Ranch P.L. Lee: “Word would get around
and the whole establishment would get to know it.”

There have been concerns in how the top Filipino political and military leaders have
been corrupting public revenue spending causing inadequacies in civilian and
military infrastructure. David Faure described the concept in Paying for
Convenience: An Aspect of Corruption That Arises from Revenue Spending in
Corruption and Its Control in Hong Kong (1981). Revenue spending would go
beyond budgeting to actual spending and the distribution of perks in both civilian
and the military agencies. Most involved payments to buy convenience to realize
higher profits in infrastructure projects and material purchases. In the process
financial advantages change hands. The budget is the best medium. Senators and
congressmen use the war against poverty to justify their ―pork barrel‖ while generals
use the war against terrorism to justify their operations. Of equal concern is the risk
of going after the military that has gained much power after EDSA I and II. Weak
and illegitimate leadership has spawned not only ingenious military corruption but
also military terrorism.

Columnist Teodoro C. Benigno called the widespread corruption of the national
budget by senators and congressmen, “political terrorism.” To cover widening
                                                         CHAPTER SEVEN – CORRUPTION

budgetary gaps post EDSA I fiscal management has always been foreign debt
oriented. In 2003 the Philippines was the second largest sovereign foreign borrower
after Japan. It recorded a fiscal deficit of almost 200 billion pesos, or 4.6 percent of
the country‘s gross domestic product. In 2004, this deficit was projected to surpass
300 billion pesos. The specter of a debt crisis under the newly ―minted‖ Arroyo
administration was imminently approaching disaster. Public sector debt had already
exceeded five trillion pesos. With a doctorate in economics, Arroyo has still to prove
her prowess in fiscal governance. To remain in power, she has to embrace
bargaining with political terrorists and play the patronage game even with the

The poor quality of governance in the Philippines has remained the major deterrent
to the country‘s economic growth. Respondent firms in a 2003 Annual Corporate
Survey by a think tank, Wallace Business Forum, made this conclusion. The survey
indicated that China , Thailand and India outperformed the Philippines. The survey
assessed governance in terms of corruption, political instability, peace and order
conditions, red tape and inconsistency of government policy. The survey
complemented the results of the World Competitiveness Survey released in 2003 by
the Institute of Management Development (IMD). The IMD is an international
business school in Switzerland. It publishes the World Competitiveness Yearbook.
together with the Asian Institute of Management. It analyzes how a nation‘s
environment creates and sustains the competitiveness of enterprises.

Similarly PERC of Hong Kong prepares periodic country risk rating reports on
Asian countries. Based on a PERC report on the Philippines after EDSA II, the
Inquirer’s headline on February 25. 2002 read: “RP Listed Among Asia‟s
Worsening Democracies.”` In terms of average GDP growth, it was noted that the
Philippines lagged behind practically all its neighbors, China, Korea, Singapore,
Malaysia, Thailand and even Indonesia. Lack of political will, poor governance, low
quality of leadership, inadequate infrastructure, high cost of doing business,
economic and financial instability, a defective judicial system., and questionable
legitimacy of the of the government could be discerned from the PERC report as
the country‘s negative factors.

In 2004 the Philippines was ranked second to the last among 60 Asian countries in
terms of competitiveness. Its ranking worsened to 52nd from 49th the year before.
Actually the biggest decline was in 2003 when the country‘s ranking deteriorated to
49, from 40 in 2002. On the other hand, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong,
Taiwan and India have all shown steady improvements in their rankings. The
London-based Transparency International has consistently reported the Philippines
as the third most corrupt country in Asia. In 2003 and 2004 it was ranked 11th


among countries worldwide with the worst corruption cases. TI explained that it
conducted at least three surveys administered to locals and expatriates. The
Philippines was only better than Bangladesh and Indonesia. In 2005, the Philippines
was the second most corrupt in Asia, next to Bangladesh. The 2005 PERC survey on
corruption would confirm the inglorious rank of the Philippines, this time second
to Indonesia.

The reports on widespread corruption in the Philippines have been embarrassing to
Arroyo. She became president after EDSA II on the premise that Estrada was
corrupt. Her numerous anti-corruption campaigns appeared to be nothing but
publicity stunts. Actually corruption was neither Estrada‘s nor Arroyo‘s monopoly.
Marvin Olasky wrote: “They all do it.“ The Aquino, Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo
administrations had all consistently placed the country high in the ranks of countries
which were perceived to be corrupt. Reuters asked in late September 2003: Is the
“drive against corruption all hype and no bite?” In self-reply, Reuters cited
bumper stickers spotted on Manila streets, which cynically read: “Don‟t Steal, The
Government Hates Competition.” Marcos and Estrada had made the top ten list of
most corrupt leaders in Asia. The crisis in leadership has not eased up with the
departure of Marcos and Estrada.. Arroyo has been been catching up. In 2005 she
vowed to fight corruption, which she has being waging with oratory. In the words of
Olassky: She has been making tough speeches to “spin herself into high
principle.” Olassky also cited a political maxim that applies to Arroyo: “Live by the
speech, soon overreach.”

Many are tired of Arroyo‘s penchant for crafty perorations. According to Reuter, the
question was whether Arroyo‘s anti-graft campaign was only aimed at winning over
citizens, “who were sick of the widespread corruption and blueberry
bureaucracy.” Shiela Coronel, executive director of the Philippine Center for
Investigative Journalism wrote: “The bureaucracy has had a history of riding out
administrations.” Arroyo has been riding out , biding time after breaking her ―no
politics‖ martyrdom. She promised not to run in the May 2004 presidential
elections. Many did not believe her and they proved to be correct. Arroyo‘s
governance was not only considered as illegitimate, weak and corrupt. It was also
characterized by her ―assaults on the Constitution‖. In the Philippines‘ Second
Citizens Caucus in February 2003, majority of the delegates preferred the early
eviction of Arroyo from the presidency. Out of 302 delegates, 262 believed that
Arroyo had consistently violated the Constitution and deserved to be impeached.

The incidence of corruption in the Philippines could be correlated with the
worsening efficiency of its bureaucracy. In terms of rules and policies, the
Philippines has not been as investor-friendly as the other Asian countries. As a
result, the country has become less attractive to foreign investors. As a consolation
to the Philippines, Indonesia came out the least attractive. All governments after
                                                       CHAPTER SEVEN – CORRUPTION

EDSA I have faced deterioration of investors‘ confidence to the point of crisis.
Elections were restored but elected legislators were quick to recover their pre-
electoral expenses with ―casbah-like pork barrel‖ funds. They would claim that the
―funds go back to the people.‖ In the meantime the bureaucracy and basic
supporting infrastructure have remained inefficient and inadequate.

International agencies would blame corrupt bureaucracies, which have become
worse in Asia, as an obstacle to development. There were a few exceptions,
such as in Singapore and Hong Kong. In 2002 PERC released the results of its
regional survey of Asian bureaucracy. Among expatriate businessmen, the
Philippines and Indonesia were cited as the most frustrating in terms of rules
and red tape in their bureaucracies. Both countries have many rules that were
the subject of various interpretations by different bureaucrats. Similarly situated
were China, India and Vietnam. Hong Kong was singled out for having the
least rules. While Singapore is ruled with stringent and seemingly non-
democratic rules, they have enforced them clearly and fairly. Meanwhile China
has been instituting reforms in its bureaucracy since it joined the World Trade
Organization. On the other hand the same could not be said about Philippine
bureaucracy. War-scarred Vietnam is doing better than the Philippines.

Much could be held wrong with the performance of the country since 1986. As
Galbraith had written in The Nature of Contentment (1992), this poor performance
could be attributed to the “inadequacy, incompetence or generally perverse
performance” of the country‘s top political leaders. Similarly to be criticized were
members of the Congress, governors, mayors and other politicians. Funds from
government guaranteed borrowings for pork barrel projects “were recycled
back to support congressional races in an innovative, if perverse step, toward the
public financing of electoral campaigns. Thus the full faith and credit of the
government were brokered across the country to find the highest rate of return.”
This meant abusing the fiscal system. Unfortunately the situation could be
considered a reflection of the preferences of a corrupted electoral majority. “We
attribute to politicians what should be attributed to the community they serve.”

The Philippines has been lacking of principled leadership capable of neutralizing the
negative factors of an inefficient bureaucracy under poor governance. Earlier on,
former President Marcos appeared to have the traits of a good leader but he proved
to be corrupt. His successors, after he was deposed did not do any better. His
departure created heady feelings among both old and new politicians, but their
attitudes were traditional. They have been branded in the vernacular as ―trapos‖, a
derogatory word meaning a dirty rug. Christopher Clapham would refer to them in
World Politics (1985), as ―routinised‖ politicians unable to introduce and manage a
new system. Ramos and Arroyo would claim they were above politics yet they
would prove to be quintessential politicians. Actually all Philippine presidents after


EDSA I actually practiced destructive political clientelism. They acted as sovereign
patrons with clients from among deeply entrenched oligarchic groups and families.
After EDSA I the people expected honest governance that would emancipate the
country from poverty. But they would be disillusioned by the corruption in
government, which remained pervasive even with the departure of Marcos.
Henry and Richard Blackaby emphasized in Spiritual Leadership (2001) the
importance of effective governance. Over the years since EDSA I weak
leadership has dominated the country. In Philippine politics, ―charisma‖ is
accepted as synonymous to strong leadership. Estrada has this appeal among
the poor. He could easily have been the classic charismatic leader. He obtained
an exceptional 43% of the popular votes in 1998. They came mostly from the
poor who adored him almost blindly. In spite of this charisma, Estrada proved
to be an inadequate leader. His main problem was his character` He was a
famous action actor who became a municipal mayor. He appeared to be an
honest small town executive who bequeathed his salaries to the poor. When he
became president, Estrada failed to appreciate the requisites of being the leader
of a country. He was unable to rise above the limitations of his character.
Estrada proved that charisma was a feeble base for sound and honest leadership.

Columnist Randy David wrote in Public Lives- EDSA II Revisited (2003), that
Estrada thought history was benevolent to him. Consequently, he displayed
scandalous corruption in mockery of the popular vote he received in 1998.
Estrada showed contempt for the formal institutions from which he drew his
authority. He dissolved the wall between official and personal affairs by
proudly carrying on his indiscretion to the Office of the President. He crossed
the line of decency by publicly carrying out his immoral and intimate affairs
that eventually caused his downfall. With his charisma with the poor who
exalted him, Estrada could have been a great president. Of course Estrada, like
Arroyo, did not have a monopoly of presidential corruption. David wrote:

“There was nothing extraordinary in what Estrada was doing. Nearly all the
presidents before him were suspected of inappropriate behavior.”

The country has been wanting in good leaders. In the words of John Edward Haggai
in Lead On! (1985): “The country does not need power holders; not mutual
congratulations experts; not influence peddlers; and not crowd-manipulating,
exhibitionistic demagogues.” But EDSA I failed to produce the type of leaders
which the country needed. None of the presidents after 1986 brought change and
greatness to the country. Many blamed Marcos for stunting the development of real
leaders during his 16-year rule. His cousin, Fidel V. Ramos, became president
through two-faced opportunism. Although he claimed he was the country‘s
                                                       CHAPTER SEVEN – CORRUPTION

economic savior, the poor were unconvinced. Estrada emerged as the alternative.
He gained popularity as a political leader through the movies. As an actor he became
a folk hero among the poor by playing ―robin hood‖ roles. He created a myth that
he could solve all the perceived problems of the downtrodden. Soon after he was
elected mayor, Estrada started longing for higher offices, his eyes set on the
presidency. He was an exemplification of the words of Thomas Jefferson:

“Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his

Unlike in the case of Ramos, the Ombudsman was relentless in going after Estrada.
Intimidated out of office, Arroyo would become his forced heir. But she would
struggle in uniting the country. She ―won‖ in the May 2004 elections and most
Filipinos would continue to live in poverty and near hopelessness. .During her term
one of the government ―deals‖ that bothered Arroyo was the Fraport-Piatco contract.
In July 2003 Arthur Villaraza from the ―Firm‖ filed libel cases against newspaper
publisher and columnist Ninez Cacho-Olivarez. It was obviously a ―gag‖ suit.
Olivarez had earlier published alleged attempts by presidential aides to extort $70
million from German investors in the new Ninoy Aquino International Airport
Terminal 3. Villaraza allegedly asked for $20 million from the German company
Fraport to solve the company‘s legal troubles. A taped transcript of the attempt was
submitted by Olivarez to the Philippine Senate to prove the extortion. Olivarez said:

“This is what Malacañang, presidential aides and the President‟s personal lawyer
Arthur Villaraza wanted suppressed.”

Aside from Villaraza, Olivarez pointed to Avelino Cruz, one of the senior
partners of ―The Firm‖ and Arroyo‘s adviser on strategic projects as one of the
presidential cronies involved in the controversial airport contract known as
Fraport-Piatco, which Arroyo had ―cancelled‖ earlier. Practicing ―presidential‖
law counseling. being a politician and loyal military officer are not the only
easiest path to being powerful in the Philippines. Another passport is being
appointed as a revenue or customs collector or a provincial police commander.
With their meager salaries they become ―underpaid‖ millionaires in no time at
all. They share their luck with many ―honorable‖ relatives in the notorious
numbers game called ―jueteng‖. Meantime at the bottom of the heap are the
impoverished masses, ready to join any people power ―movement‖ for a free
―adobo‖ lunch as they did in EDSA II. Walled enclaves with armed security
guards shield the wealthy and the powerful, symbolizing the gap between the
haves and the have-nots.

Arroyo immediately announced a reform program based on a ―new morality‖.
Assisting her was his ―First Gentleman‖ Jose Miguel Arroyo. Those who knew Mr.


Arroyo were amused. As in the case of Estrada, the notion was that the unsavory
character of its leaders, their relatives and friends could be ―cured ―with the help of a
media blitz. John Pilger called it “government by the media for the media” in
Hidden Agendas (1999). (Footnote ) Public perception of powerful individuals could
be altered and designed for and by the media. But the poor would remain
unimpressed. To them, ―photo-ops‖ and the public display of concern to their
problems by Arroyo and her spouse was nothing but media propaganda. Huntington
and Nelson had written on the propaganda of leaders in developing countries. They
concluded that invariably the masses in these countries would receive their rulers‘
media image with cynicism and derision.

When Arroyo became president, her ―First Gentleman‖ took over the sensitive task
of dealing with cronies. Rich Government Owned and Controlled Corporations
(GOCCs) were his turf. Appointments in the GOCCs went to his friends. Any
criticism against these corporations was taken by Arroyo as a personal attack on her
or the republic. For instance, instead of investigating alleged anomalies in the
Philippine Gaming Corporation, Arroyo chose to defend it. PAGCOR is cash-rich
and it is where her husband‘s chosen appointees reigned. A Catholic bishop asked
for the abolition of the corporation. He called it ―a big symbol of indolence,
decadence and corruption. Referring to the gaming corporation, the Inquirer
(September 22, 2003) asked:

“What do you call a government unit that includes over 100 consultants…hired
…the month Ms. Macapagal Arroyo assumed office? Or what do you call a
government-owned and controlled corporation that spends P120 million …to
acquire over a hundred cars for the use of its officers? The list goes on…and the
government‟s milking hand has been rather busy.”

Another embarrassment of the Arroyo government arose from the acts of an
alleged operative of the president and the ―First Gentleman‖. They reportedly
used the presidential veto on the franchise of two telecommunications firms to
―milk‖ somebody of payments. Businessman Pacifico Marcelo, owner of the
Philippine Communications Clearinghouse Inc., and the APC Interface
Network Inc., came out publicly to accuse ―agents‖ of the presidential couple
who approached him and promised to work for the recall of the presidential
veto. Recounting a meeting with Arroyo herself, he said he entered Malacañang
through the backdoor. Arroyo allegedly told him he could not operate a
telecommunications clearinghouse ―as long as I am the president.‖ On whether
she could be impeached due to the allegations, Arroyo nonchalantly said:
“Well, maybe if that should happen, then I will have to take my course of
                                                      CHAPTER SEVEN – CORRUPTION

Stephen Skowroneck described in The Politics Presidents Make (1993) how
modern presidents had to be leaders to act as successful agents of political
change. EDSA I in failing to bring reforms had made poor governance a normal
state of affairs in the Philippines. The situation has called for skill in
governance that avoids striking questionable bargains for private gains. All
presidents after EDSA I had practiced the same kind of politics ingrained in
Philippine culture. Political patronage in the form of sophisticated and corrupt
clientelism involving huge government projects and contracts flourished at the
highest level of the bureaucracy. It is usually forgivable for Filipinos to
comment on the faults of Philippine culture. Once a foreigner does it then
Filipino pride rises to the fore.

Lee Kuan Yew

When Singapore‘s Lee Kuan Yew spoke with candor on what was wrong with
Philippine governance after EDSA I, he touched a sensitive chord. Former
senator and Marcos spokesman, Francisco S. Tatad, wrote in Making the
System Work: Beyond the Year 2000 ((1995): “He has rare virtues but he
belonged to another time and clime.” Actually Mr. Lee did not say anything
new about the Philippines when he said the country needed more discipline
especially after EDSA I. But according to Tatad, Mr. Lee denigrated democracy
for such a remark. At the same time, Tatad admitted that there has been a
breakdown of law and order after democracy was revived in the Philippines in
1986. Tatad could have spoken during Marcos‘ ―time and clime‖ when he said:

“Our people although great believers in democracy, are not great believers in
the tedious process of democracy…Our citizens despair…they have come to
believe that the justice system does not work…”

 Many Filipinos would find Tatad‘s statement paradoxical. Although he was a
former journalist and Philippine senator, his chilling appearance on television
in behalf of martial law and Marcos in September 1972 would remain
embedded in the country‘s memory. Nonetheless Tatad wrote quite eloquently
in his book “The Pride of Power:”

“Politicians, old and new , eventually claimed full credit for the triumph at EDSA
and spent the next six years congratulating themselves on their unique
achievement…saying it was their example that inspired other oppressed
people…to stage similar uprisings...”

Nobody can argue against what Tatad wrote that the solution to the country‘s
chaotic governance lies in reforming the country‘s corrupt power structure. He said:


 “Law enforcement in the hands of police agencies is fraught with inefficiency
and corruption. The prosecution arm of the government is mired in politics with
.the judiciary and the legal profession engaged in unethical conspiracy of power
deals. Ordinary criminals are treated like animals in a penal system where
powerful transgressors are kept behind bars as honored guests or treated like
heroes outside the prison cells.”

Filipino leaders generally claim they practice ―new politics‖. Arroyo would
announce a ―new morality‖, to put an end to the politics of patronage and corruption.
Before he declared martial law, Marcos spoke of a new ―politics of achievement‖
under a New Society. Then he proceeded to plunder the economy through his
―politics of clientelism‖. Many blamed the First Lady, Imelda Marcos for perfecting
the art into a carnage. Aquino would have her ―politics of familism‖. Ramos would
follow with his ―politics of metaphors‖, and Estrada with his ―politics of
friendships‖. Arroyo would learn from all her predecessors with her ―politics of

If Marcos had his ―Achilles, heel‖ in his First Lady, Arroyo has her ―First
Gentleman.‖ Under no circumstances would they accept that their respective
conjugal partners were liabilities to their administrations. Like Imelda Marcos, Jose
Miguel Arroyo has been accused of using his influence in arranging questionable
government deals. As early as November 2001 an interest group that called itself
The People‘s Consultative Assembly openly accused the Arroyo couple of flagrant
corruption. The group claimed it helped Arroyo became president in EDSA II. But
Identifying themselves in media, the group embarrassed Arroyo by naming her to
―The Hall of Shame.‖

For a brief period after EDSA II in 2001, the country went through a ―Gloria
Euphoria.‖ The day after she assumed office Manila‘s main stock index went
up more than 34%. It was taken as a sign of a new beginning. However the next
day the market slipped 45 points. Reality had eclipsed euphoria. It was obvious
that it would take more than another people power to clean up the mess in
governance left by the country‘s succession of presidents of questionable
competence after EDSA I. Still in place was the destructive legacy of Marcos.
Both EDSA I and II were unable to extricate the country from the morass of
problems fed by corruption, poverty, greed, immorality, ego and haughtiness.

“Politics is leadership” according to Graham Little in Political Ensembles: A
Psychosocial Approach to Politics and Leadership (1985). One of the demands
of politics is for a strong leader, another is for a group leader and the third is for
an inspiring leader. None of the presidents after EDSA, from Aquino to Arroyo
had come close to the standards of these three demands. The strong leader is
expected to ―get things done.‖ He or she has to see that things do not get out of
                                                     CHAPTER SEVEN – CORRUPTION

hand. Simultaneously individual contest, progress and propriety are
encouraged. As a man like Reagan, or as a woman like Thatcher, he or she is
expected to control and to do so constitutionally. Decisiveness and action are

The public can always discern irresolution and lack of will in a leader. Cory
Aquino did not have the will and she left things undone. Aquino failed to
address the country‘s social ills. She did not establish solidarity. Instead she
deepened divisiveness. A strong-willed leader must be eager to show strength
by displaying a moderating temperance. This means being sincerely self-
effacing and always ready to listen. It does not mean befriending the
downtrodden through media hype or losing one‘s temper publicly, the way
Arroyo has been wont to do. Her shallow staging of concern has been received
with derision by the poor. The inspiring leader‘s job is to communicate without
being ridiculed. But Arroyo was a favorite subject of jokes in media; some of
them could be considered degrading, not only to her personally but also to the
presidency. An inspiring leader should be able to lean on media and Arroyo
could not, in spite of the ―spinning‖ her public relations handlers.

The head of state must not project an impression of playing out a ―soap-box‖
drama. Michael Duffy and Dan Goodgame wrote about George H. W. Bush
dislike for insincerity in Marching in Place (1992). The former American
president decried ―show-biz‖ photo opportunities for public consumption. He
shunned cheap political propaganda from the White House. He refused to
transmit exciting news of the future if they could not be supported by reality.
Otherwise, it would generate false expectations from the people. It is
unfortunate that Arroyo, burdened by the barnacle of gratitude to those who put
her in power, has yet to meet the demands of humble but truthful leadership.

In People, Power & Politics (1993, Donovan referred to a 1978 study on
Leadership, by James MacGregor Burns. He drew a sharp distinction between
―transactional‖ and ―transformational‖ leadership. Transactional leadership is
associated with the real world of messy politics. Presidents usually bargain with
other powerful political powerful leaders, especially from congress. They
compromise public interests in an effort to promote pork barrel projects.
Transformational leaders are reformers who practice event-making leadership.
Burns views the transformational leader as the heroic executive who uses great
ideas to move people. In doing so, they bring about profound transformations
in the society. They succeed in lifting people out of their everyday lives so that
they are morally enlarged. No such leader had come forth in the Philippines
since EDSA I, giving rise to greater expectations and deeper frustrations among
the poor.


Estrada was a different type of a transactional leader. He ―transacted‖ with his
friends. He was not unlike former United States President Warren Harding
whose immoral behavior engulfed his presidency. Robert Shogan wrote The
Double-Edged Sword: How Character Makes and Ruins Presidents, From
Washington to Clinton (1999). He narrated how Harding “would not
separate himself from his crooked friends.” Estrada would claim that he did
not steal any of the people‘s money. But he never denied the ―commissions‖ he
received from his friends for transactions involving state-owned corporations.
It is regrettable that Estrada, like Harding, simply could not distinguish the
difference between private and public interests.

Huntington (1968) also wrote about weak American presidents including
Harding, Grant and Buchanan, whose actions did not coincide with public
interest. They had distinct interests of their own apart from the interest of the
people. In the case of Estrada, his interest as president did not coincide with
the interest of the presidency. He also ran short of the moral requisites of a
leader. Writing on moral conduct, James Ray Bond weaved through the
behavior of individuals, families and governments in Moral Behavior – The
Foundation of Human Society (1989). His book showed how leaders chose to
use their positions of power to pursue excessive living styles. It was inevitable
that they would have no choice but to commit scandalous acts of financial
extractions from other sectors of society.

Estrada has been accused of committing extortive acts and many believed he
deserved to be punished. Bond discusses four primary moral virtues, which
most Philippine presidents lack, particularly Estrada: fortitude, prudence,
justice and temperance. To practice these virtues, political behavior should
conform to acceptable high standards. Estrada did not meet these standards.
Like Arroyo who succeeded him, Estrada practiced what Galbraith described as
compensatory power. They obtained submission by the use of affirmative
reward or the giving of something of value. Estrada was accused of dispensing
favors to his friends for pecuniary considerations. And Arroyo was criticized
for using government resources to win over her critics and opponents.

With notorious ―friends‖ like Atong Ang, Chavit Singson, Mark Jimenez, to name a
few, Estrada did not need enemies. Unfortunately he had many powerful
adversaries. Ramos was one of them. Estrada‘s perceived corruption and bad
governance enhanced the Machiavellian talents of Ramos and his former national
security adviser, Jose T. Almonte. With the intervention of Cardinal Sin and the
unrelenting attacks of the Inquirer, the downfall of Estrada became imminent. In
addition there were the landed oligarchs, elitist members of the Makati Business
Club, the holier than thou Couples for Christ and ―civil society‖ groups. Former
Governor Chavit Singson, Arroyo‘s favorite gentleman-gambler, .exposed Estrada
                                                        CHAPTER SEVEN – CORRUPTION

as a money-hungry president. Estrada had apparently succumbed to the temptation
of immediate pleasures. He pursued a nocturnal lifestyle, which ironically, he
shared while gambling with Singson. Estrada‘s moral behavior went beyond
maintaining several paramours. He was a wooden-headed leader, an archetype of
Barbara Tuchman‘s breed of power wielders.


It was the military and the Supreme Court that gifted Arroyo with a supreme
position. It was also the military that made her a weak president. It had to be
watched and coddled to avoid a coup. Christopher Clapman wrote in Third World
Politics (1986):

“While the coup reflect little more than the ambition and disaffection of the
person who leads it, it often more basically expresses the discontents of the
bureaucracy…{and} those of the armed forces…”

 Arroyo‘s Secretary of Defense, the former Army Chief of Staff General Angelo
Reyes, who deserted Estrada, was perceived to be corrupt by many young and
―idealist‖ officers ot the armed forces. In July 2003 they staged an ill-fated mutiny,
known as the Oakwood Mutiny, demanding his resignation. It was expected that
Arroyo would ―reject reason‖ and condemn the young officers as ―rouges‖. Max V.
Soliven wrote, ―Quite noticeably…a culture of corruption continues to permeate the
military establishment‖. Eventually she had no choice but to accept Reyes‘
―resignation‖ only to appoint him again as a ―Kidnapping Czar‖ with cabinet rank.

The seeds of contempt for the military were planted during martial law years of
Marcos. Many would point to former President Ramos, the head of the Philippine
Constabulary under Marcos and the Secretary of National Defense under Aquino, of
being responsible for the shady reputation of the military. J.A. de la Cruz in
Recycling FVR (2003) wrote: “The former president {Ramos}may have been able
to stay above the fray…but that does not absolve him from having presided over
the force‟s notoriety for years…Then, there is the question of his handling the
AFP Modernization Program…” Unlike Estrada and even Marcos Ramos had so
far evaded prosecution for corruption committed during his administration. Ramos
excelled in what Clapman, in writing about politics in the third world, referred as the
Machiavellian leadership of a fox. He wrote:

“The fox is a manipulator who avoids committing himself…retains the ability to
disassociate himself …leaving some subordinate to shoulder the responsibility.”


Not a single military officer has yet to be punished by the Arroyo government due to
corruption and incompetence in Mindanao. In July 2003, one of Southeast Asia,s
most dangerous terrorist, Indonesian Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi, was captured by the
Philippine military. Later he was able to escape after reportedly paying off his
Filipino captors. The Australian Prime Minister John Howard attributed the escape
to corruption of Philippine authorities. Arroyo, who suffered international
embarrassment from the escape, even rewarded erring generals with promotions.
This was in spite of damaging reports from an investigating committee of the House
of Representatives and the Army Inspector General indicting them for
incompetence. Under suspicious circumstances, al-Ghozi would be killed in an
―encounter‖ with the military in Mindanao. Father Cirilo Nacorda of Basilan had
earlier said that the―war‖in Mindanao was nothing but a stage play – in the
vernacular, a ―moro-moro‖ being waged by the corrupt military for its own benefit.

It is common knowledge that Arroyo has to pamper the military to protect her
uneasy presidency. Almost all retiring generals are rewarded with high income
positions in the government to assure their subservience while they are in active
military service. Arroyo became President with the backing of these generals
and they have to be patronized, lest they decide to displace her as they did with
Estrada. When Arroyo became President, General Angelo Reyes was rewarded
for making a ―tough‖ decision. He was appointed as Secretary of National
Defense. The opposition in the 25-man Commission on Appointments
subjected the former Armed Forces Chief of Staff to intense grilling. The
questions centered on his perfidious decision to withdraw military support from
former President Estrada. Many considered his action as mutinous. Reyes was
asked to explain from where, and from whom, did he secures a legal authority
to ―pull the rug‖ from under Estrada.

What was Reyes‘ justification in deciding to abandon Estrada who was his
commander in chief? Many believed it‘s the right of the people to revolt against
a tyrannical ruler like Marcos. But does this include the right of the military to
take sides in a political conflict as in EDSA II? Reyes commenting on his
mutinous defection to the Arroyo camp in EDSA II said that: ―It was a very
difficult decision.‖ He recognized that the president is the commander in chief
and that military law dictates that you have to follow your superior. But then he
added that ― if we did not decide on it (the defection), there would be blood on
the streets, (there would be) turmoil….So we avoided such condition… We had
to make tough decision. I‘m accountable to history for that decision.‖ Many
claimed it was plain treachery and that Reyes deserved to face a court martial.
Of course, Arroyo thought otherwise. Reyes should be rewarded for his turn-
                                                        CHAPTER SEVEN – CORRUPTION

The group of young idealist officers that mutinied in July 2003, known as the
Oakwood Mutiny, accused Arroyo of being weak and corrupt. Together with
her were corrupt top defense officials ans military generals headed by Reyes..
In August 2003, the Philippine Senate was convened into a committee to
investigate the Oakwood Mutiny. The mutineers were supposed to be given a
chance to air their grievances freely. It was not bound to be, as pro-Arroyo
senators ganged up on the young leader, Navy Lt. Antonio Trillanes IV. They
heard the truth and they did not like it. Trillanes and his comrades insisted that
the Senate should probe military and government corruption. Arroyo was
unmoved. She refused to get the message and instead she was determined to
―throw the book‖ at the beleaguered mutineers who declared:

“The AFP is corrupt, the government is corrupt. That is it. Let us focus on that.
If we can‟t accept that the government is corrupt and the AFP is corrupt, then we
will not go anywhere. That is the message plain and simple.”

The Oakwood Mutiny in 2003 failed but the ―rebels‖ won the hearts of the public
who knew that corruption was widespread in the country. Never mind that staging a
mutiny was improper and that the mutineers were hard put proving their charges.
Still there were many who believed them. There were simply too many generals
living in mansions and pursuing fabled lifestyles beyond their means. Malversation
of trust funds by top military officers was known in military circles. The President
and Congress immediately undertook inquiries but they were nothing but publicity
stunts. Meantime the Oakland mutineers of 2003 were ready to be punished, a price
to be paid for their ―guts‖. While the Inuirer has been kind to Arroyo its editorial of
August 14, 2003 read:

“This country is sinking from an excess…of investigations…of the failed July 27
coup. The audacious…disgruntled military officers has rattled the fragile
foundations of…Arroyo‟s „Strong Republic‟ more strongly than their wildest

 There were investigations of how peace funds were misused in the 1992
presidential elections to insure Ramos‘ election. Full blown Senate inquiries of
the PEA-Amari contract and the Centennial Exposition Project cast doubts on
the honesty of his governance. Ramos would give congressional investigations
of corruption during his time scant notice. Instead scapegoats were made to
assume the blame for all the controversial projects of his administration. His
subalterns included Cesar Sarino who was president of GSIS, Salvador
Enriquez then Secretary of the Budget, Amado Lagdameo, former PEA General
Manager and the late Vice President Salvador Laurel, as Chairman of the
Philippine Centennial Commission.


In the Centennial Exposition Project, documentary proofs unearthed by the
Senate, through information revealed by a whistleblower would show millions
of pesos were wasted in a useless project with the blessings of Ramos. Joseph
Ocol, a former executive assistant to the Clark Development Corporation
President and a retired general with close ties to Ramos and his psy-war and
security adviser, Jose T. Almonte, was the whistleblower. As in the PEA-Amari
scam, Ramos would escape prosecution in the Centennial Project scandal. His
lower functionaries would shield him. And they would be unjustly charged in
the Sandiganbayan.
Chay Florentino-Hofilena and Ian Sayson of The Philippine Center for
Investigative Journalism vividly described the corruption in both the PEA-
Amari and the Centennial projects. In preparing for the celebration of the
Centennial of the Philippine Revolution by Ramos, contractors and duty-free
shop owners delivered millions of pesos for the event at the Manila Hotel in
1998 in the presence of Cesar Sarino. With acting budget secretary Salvador
Enriquez, Sarino had been accused of illegally releasing government funds to
finance the Ramos‘ presidential campaign in 1992. After an investigation, the
House of Representatives recommended the prosecution of Sarino and
Enriquez, which Ramos promptly ignored. Under Arroyo Enriquez‘ conscience
would be touched. He would speak against Arroyo‘s corruption and would
demand her resignation from the presidency.

Earlier in his term, a grateful Ramos had amply rewarded both Sarino and
Enriquez. Sarino was gifted with the presidency of the GSIS and Manila Hotel,
and Enriquez was appointed permanent Secretary of the Department of Budget
and Management. It was not a surprise that Enriquez would declare support for
the biggest ―white elephant of the Ramos administration‖ - the Centennial
Exposition in Pampanga. Enriquez would declare: “The centennial is an
important event in the life of a nation and I would go along with the
President in admonishing everybody to participate.” Ramos would later
promote Enriquez to the position of Secretary of Finance. Meantime the
Centennial Exposition, which Enriquez said would ―catalyze development‖
exposed instead the inefficiency and extravagance of the Ramos government.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee found Ramos liable for malversation of
public funds during the 11th Congress in 2001. The Committee recommended
the prosecution of Ramos and six of his cabinet officials including former Vice
President Salvador Laurel, who would later die. The Committee concluded that
Ramos allowed the illegal use of savings of several government offices and
financial institutions amounting to about P9 billion. Among these institutions
were the Social Security System, the Government Service Insurance System
                                                       CHAPTER SEVEN – CORRUPTION

headed by Sarino, the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank
of the Philippines.

Like Marcos, Ramos used government financial institutions for his
controversial projects. These GFIs were required by Ramos to contribute P350
million each for the Centennial Project. In addition, budgetary savings of
several executive departments were diverted for the project by Secretary
Enriquez. These diversions were in violation of the General Appropriation Act.
The committee also noted that the national government was not able to record
the billions of pesos it spent for the project. It also failed to attract foreign and
local investors as claimed. The Supreme Court would later allow the indictment
of Laurel for graft. But the Ombudsman, Aniano Desierto, would clear Ramos.
After all it was Ramos who had appointed Desierto to his post. With his
―strategic‖ patronage appointments, Ramos had remained unscathed unlike
Marcos and Estrada. Up to this writing, Ramos had still to make a full
accounting of the billions of pesos spent for the AFP Modernization Program.

Ramos would bask in self-acclamation as one of the ―great ― Asian leaders in the
mold of Lee Kuan Yew and even Deng Xiaoping. After he helped in deposing
Estrada, Ramos had himself appointed as an ambassador extraordinaire to strut the
world of his ―accomplishments‖. The economic crisis of 1997 took place during his
term but Ramos would never be caught without any means of obfuscation. He was
quick to put the blame of the country‘s economic woes on others. This time he
adopted Malaysia‘s Mahathir as his idol pointing to foreign investors as
opportunistic culprits. But many economists knew much of the blame for the
country‘s economic problems were home-grown. Ramos always spoke of ―sound‖
economic fundamentals during his governance. By the time his term was to end in
1998 the government coffers were next to empty and banks were on the brink of
bankruptcy, festering with bad loans. As usual the state-owned Philippine National
Bank was the forerunner. Marcos had earlier run it to the ground and the
government would come to its rescue with taxpayers‘ money.

In The Affluent Society (1958), Galbraith discussed the starvation of the public
services essential in a developing economy. From this failure, people hear
much of ―blackouts‖ and energy crisis as in the Philippines. After EDSA I,
Aquino in a fit of ―moral‖ anger abolished the Department of Energy and
scrapped its energy program. She hated Marcos, which was understandable.
The department was headed by a close friend and crony of the former dictator.
Consequently` the country was mired in a energy crisis. Frequent power
blackouts ravaged the economy that was already on a tailspin.

In 1992, when Ramos became president the National Power Corporation, a
state-owned energy company, entered into a frenzy of contracts with so-called


independent power producers (IPPs). By the time Ramos finished his term 47
IPP contracts worth of $10 billion had been signed. The result was an excess
capacity of more than 4,000 megawatts. There were reports that the contracts
were overpriced and disadvantageous to the government. As much as $1 billion
were allegedly spent as bribes by private producers, who were in turn paid for
―unconsumed and ungenerated‖ power. Of course, the consuming public
suffered from the contracts. The costs were passed on to consumers in the form
of so-called purchase power adjustments (PPAs) equal to a high as 104% of
their electricity charges. With Arroyo in power and with Ramos behind her
ascension to the presidency, the former president would again escape

Anthony Spaeth analyzed dispassionately the economies of nine Southeast
countries in his article Cringing Tigers in Time magazine on July 7, 2003.
Included in his list were poor countries like Laos, Cambodia, Burma and
Vietnam. What went wrong since 1987 particularly after the so-called Edsa
Revolution of 1986 in the Philippines? Vietnam did better with an average
growth rate of 7 %. The Philippines could boast only of the fact that it was freer
than its neighbors, characterized by its people power movements. Yet it
continued to be governed by an ―oligarchy of powerful feudal families.‖
Economic growth was slow because of corruption. It is difficult to accept
Ramos conclusion that Edsa 1 was a ringing success.

“The shepherds are looking after themselves, fattening
themselves while the sheep are famished…The shepherds of
our country are scattering the flock with the noise of self-
interests, of vested interests, of selfish politicking, because for
them to divide is to conquer.”

                                          Bishop Socrates Villegas, 2003


Ronald Reagan was president of the United States for eight years. Yet the media
was not kind to him. He was described as a simpleton, a dunce and an air-head. Eric
Alterman in When Presidents Lie (2004) and Robert L. Bartley in The Seven Fat
Years (1992) have both good and bad words for Reagan. Unlike his successor,
George H. W. Bush who served only for one term and who graduated from Yale
University, Reagan studied in a relatively unknown school called Eureka College
somewhere in Midwest America. Reagan himself said he learned economics in
Hollywood. In college he said he majored in extra-curricular activities. When
Reagan became president in 1980, he inherited from Jimmy Carter a nation in the
grips of economic crisis. Interest rates and inflation were soaring, fueled by years of
fiscal crisis. As president, Alterman claimed, Reagan “repeatedly and
deliberately misled the American people.” Yet according to Robert L. Bartley, who
was editor of the Wall Street Journal, Reagan veered the country away from disaster.
Two years into his first term he engineered a vigorous economic growth. Reagan


was able to solve the country‘s financial crisis although his Reaganomics became

EDSA I created a media hype denigrating the Marcoses and canonizing
Aquino. James Hamilton-Patterson‘s book, America’s Boy – The Marcoses and
The Philippines (1998) was one of the latest to hit local bookstores. The book
took a look of the Philippines more than a decade after EDSA I. However, it
was apparent that the book blemished the Philippines and Aquino more than it
tarnished Marcos. Hamilton-Patterson wrote that Aquino was not actually the
saintly Christian she was made to appear. She was vengeful and unforgiving.
She tried to appear resolute but the people knew that the country was not in the
hands of a strong leader. She was evasive and temporizing. Her favorite
reaction to issues was: “I keep my options open,” which led to energy-wasting
scuffles in her government. Hamilton-Patterson also wrote about the number of
political activists who disappeared during Cory‘s rule, more than Marcos‘
human rights victims under martial law.

Fuzzy Statistics

Both Ramos and Arroyo are adept in rattling of statistics to prove how good
the economy has been under their watch. Their politicrats have shown their
sllegiance to the saying – “THERE ARE LIES, DAMNED LIES, AND
STATISITCS.” (Footnote- Collas-Monsod, Solita Get Real – Lies and
Statistics (May 13, 2006) Philippine Daily Inquirer)Meantime the severity of
unemployment and poverty has remained unchanged. It has become obvious
that Arroyo was afflicted with the Ramos power syndrome. Her obsession has
been to remain in power beyond 2004 by all means. She ―won‖ in very
expensive elections in May 2004 and under questionable circumstances. Since
Arroyo‘s ―reelection‖ she has resorted to bargaining and buying out opposition.
True to her character, Arroyo‘s political philosophy is wanting in honesty.

Moral Governance

Students of philosophy know Plato, perhaps the greatest philosopher of all times.
Plato became famous for his Dialogues and his Republic. It was written more than
two thousand years ago but it touches on many topics that have remained
perpetually contemporaneous.. Foremost among them is ethics in the governance of
a state.. In the Republic he concentrated on the politics in an ideal state as a social
theory. Plato wrote on the meaning of the word ―moral‖ in governance. To many
                                                         CHAPTER EIGHT – GOVERNANCE

people it has something to do only with sexual practices. However, it goes beyond,
for example, the immoral sensual pleasures of Estrada. To Plato, it refers to all
human behavior. It applies to everything that is good and bad in governing a state.
Plato would divide the citizens of a state into distinct classes. First are the Guardians
and the would-be leaders. They would be educated in astronomy, mathematics and
philosophy, among others. They would rule only once they reached the age of thirty
five. Presumably they would have gained enough wisdom by then. Plato was not in
favor of politicians, rather than statesmen, as rulers. Plato was, therefore, concerned
with their attitudes beyond their education. They should possess the wisdom of
knowing what is good and true in the exercise of power.

Arroyo‟s Ethics

Arroyo has always been the object of scorn whenever she tried to ―clone‖
Estrada. She was a spectacle in portraying herself as “Ina ng Bayan” or
Mother of the Nation.


With Arroyo‘s reign characterized by daily uneasiness, are there prospects of
another coup or even a real revolution in the Philippines? Or would Arroyo be
able to lead up to the end of her term? In the meantime would there be
legitimate political participation by the people, short of a violent upheaval, that
would lead to reform? What would be the participation of ex-presidents,
Catholic cardinals and bishops, cronies, professional politicians, military
generals and retirees, self-appointed moral guardians, business and pressure
groups, the NBI and Arroyo apologists? Would they simply aspire for more
―rents‖ and more power?

Arroyo‘s concept of moral governance, like Aquino‘s was anchored on hypocritical
religiosity and public display of piety. Social policies have to be subservient to the
the Catholic Church. Their leadership never considered the negative ethical
ramifications of patronage politics. Arroyo and her ―First Gentleman‖ were unable
to distinguish between what they have the right to do and the right thing to do. In
going amok with patronage and political bargaining, they brought in more ―dirty
hands‖ to her government that was already conceived to be grossly corrupt.
Together with her predecessors Arroyo would frustrate James David Barber who
wrote and hoped:


“..that political parties, Congress, media, colleges and universities could develop
leaders with „advance rationality‟ …The Presidency is a concern we ought to
think about not in the context of moral perfection but in the contest of basic
political leadership in the reality of democracy…we need a President whose
character and style…can contribute to a real fix for the country…”

Elections under a restored democracy were marred with outright vote-buying
and cheating. Urgent economic needs of the poor were hardly met with
governance assuming a more oligarchic form.
Filipino politicians have yet to break away from traditional political thinking. Not
surprisingly, they are generally perceived as corrupt. Filipinos practice American-
style politics, but with a post EDSA I and II ―revolutionary‖ flavor. The United
States does not hesitate to enforce its electoral laws but not in the Philippines. Take
these cases as examples. In January 2002, the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission
levied the highest penalty on its City Council President, Alex Padilla for campaign
violation. In 1999, Padilla broke the cap on election spending. At the same time two
other councilmen were prosecuted for spending $1.0 million each for a position that
pays $133 per month. These prosecutions could never happen in the Philippines
where ballots are bought in the open for as much as P3, 000 per vote. In the May
2004 elections many Filipinos believed that Arroyo won reelection through massive

In “distinguishing their own interests and those of the people whom they
rule,” Philippine presidents after EDSA I have big gray areas in practicing their
styles of leadership. Aquino led with a mix of religiosity and familism. Ramos
was a vainglorious leader with futile aspiration to be another Mahathir
Mohammad of Malaysia or a Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore. Soured with
corruption, Ramos sweetened his governance with empty metaphors. Estrada
would succeed Ramos. But he would neutralize his charisma by being
hopelessly corrupt. Arroyo would force him out. Branded a liar, Arroyo was a
far cry from Prime Minister Thanksin Shinawatra of Thailand. Although he
made his country a star performer in Southeast Asia Thaksin resigned with
honor after being pressed by an elitist ―mobocratic‖ movement. He was
contemptuous of the old-style politicians who long courted the Bangkok elite.
Although corruption also existed in Thailand, it was not as damaging as in the
Philippines. All the four Filipino presidents after Edsa 1 have not undertaken a
reform agenda that would remove the Philippines from the list of most corrupt
countries in Asia and the world. On the other hand ―In Thaksin, Thailand
                                                      CHAPTER EIGHT – GOVERNANCE

seemed to have found a leader with a decent chance of pushing a tough reform
agenda.‖ (Footnote – Sharma, Ruchir Why Thaksin is Tanking (March 27,
2006), Newsweek International)

Third world countries have followed different paths in developing their economies.
Some preferred statism, where government intervened in practically all economic
activities. Marcos took this route with disastrous consequences. Others took the
extreme alternative where government ceases altogether to intervene in the
economy. A few adopted moralism where politicians adopt a moral economy that
lies between extremes. In a moral economy, corruption is reduced, although not
eliminated by neutralizing the power of politicians and factions. Aquino and Ramos
veered away from statism after EDSA but their administrations became arenas of
intervention through political patronage. Dominant politicians extracted rents
through government favors. Big contracts with state- owned corporations and pork-
barrel projects transferred money into the hands of relatives and friends. During
Aquino‘s rule the Catholic Church also intervened in state functions and influenced
government policies.

For fear of losing the political support of the Catholic Church, Aquino and Arroyo
refused to confront the problem of big increase in the population. They yielded to
the interests of family and politics at the expense of the poor. Poverty remained
widespread and was addressed ―statistically‖ through definition. Galbraith had
succinctly concluded:

“No solution is so effective as providing income to the poor. Whether in the form
of food, housing, health services, education or money, income is an excellent
antidote for deprivation. No truth has spawned so much ingenious evasion.”

Unlike his vociferious reaction to Estrada‘s apparent malfeasances, Cardinal Sin was
strangely silent in Arroyo‘s time. Cardinal Sin has retired. Undeniably he was
admired by most Filipinos in his heroic role in EDSA I. But the Cardinal was prone
to breach the line of rationality in EDSA II. He was an intensely ―polarized‖
religious leader. He openly indulged in partisan politics. Cardinal Sin was quite
unlike another ―son‖ of the Roman Catholic Church, the scholarly Jesuit, Heinrich
Pesch S.J. In total harmony with Christian ethics and Catholic theistic theology,
Pesch preached a set of principles in his marvelous book – Ethics and the National
Economy – written in 1818. His theory, called the Solidaristic System of Human
Work called for “conscientious human action based on justice and charity.”
According to this theory, in ethical governance, justice governs while charity
motivates and predisposes. Their object is the common good rather than the interests
of chosen individuals and groups.


Arroyo immediately pronounced a ―moral‖ governance when she assumed power in
2001 – but not an ethical rule. What is the difference? Moral governance would use
religiosity as a good partner of patronage politics. In the same vein, Jim Wallis in
Soul of Politics (1995) quoted Yale law professor Stephen Carter, who wrote the
provocative Culture of Disbelief (1993) reflecting on the influence of religion on
political issues. While they could be positive, they could also serve terribly negative
ends. In Carter‘s words:

”History and experience tell us that religious vision can turn into sectarian
divisiveness, justifying some of our worst human behavior.”

Divine Mission

All the governments after Edsa 1 were suppose to have their own divine
missions. Edsa 2 brough in Arroyo with her governance supposedly blessed by
deity. In pursuing their missions all these government had their own crop of
disciples and cronies. The ―saintly‖ rule of Aquino was no exception. Evelyn
Waugh wrote an essay - Mexico: An Object Lesson in Brad Miner‘s book, Good
Order – An Anthology: Right Answers to Contemporary Questions (1995). She
said that “no government is ordained from God.” (Footnote – Waugh in
Miner) But when EDSA I made her President of the Philippines Aquino said:
“It is God‟s will.” Then she used ―God‘s Will‖ by indulging in ―familism‖. A
bandwagon of instant authors and biographers practically canonized Aquino.
Amid the hype, the question that was posed in 1986 was: “Can she make it?”
A skeptical reply came from Stephen Bosworth that was printed by the
Washington Post in 1987.(Footnote no. 19) Stanley Karnow would elaborate
on Bosworth‘s skepticism. Was there a logical rationale behind the doubts of
Borsworth and Karnow on Aquino? In Our Image- America’s Empire in the
Philippines (1989 Karnow would write: (Footnote on Bosworth in Karnow)

“The question itself requires definition. If making it, means turning the
Philippines into a stable, prosperous, self-confident model of democracy in a
developing country, the answer is clearly – no.”

Like Aquino, Arroyo would credit God for her ascent to the presidency. But like
Aquino she did not bring good governance to the country. In fact being ―unelected‖,
majority of the Filipinos considered her rule as illegitimate and lacking in popular
mandate. Her governance was wracked with disunity due to clientelistic favors she
had to pay to those who helped her to unseat Estrada. She was supported by the
                                                         CHAPTER EIGHT – GOVERNANCE

military, which was known to be afflicted with deep-seated corruption, and
discontent. It was difficult for Arroyo to establish political stability under a cloud of
corruption, insecurity and illegitimacy. In 2003 the instability of Arroyo‘s rule was
further exacerbated by the defections of her major political supporters, including the
vice president and the majority floor leader of the senate. These events emphasized
the disunity in Arroyo‘s governance.


According to Clapham,, legitimacy is essential in achieving national unity. And
legitimacy is ascribed to the leader. In the case of the Arroyo government, its lack of
legitimacy was the single most basic reason for the fragility of her governance.
Coup plotters seek to “control the state just as corrupt officials seek to profit by
it.” Illegitimacy is reflected in the lack of accepted and enforceable public values. In
turn it ―fuels governmental insecurity amounting sometimes to paranoia.‖ It also
abets personal and political corruption. Both the legitimacy and stability of the
country rest on a ―rational - legal authority‖. Unfortunately the Philippine Supreme
Court corrupted this authority by making a political decision to put Arroyo into
power. Clapman wrote that the “ test of rational – legal authority lies in the
behavior of public officials and especially the courts…” Unity also bridges the gap
between a leader who comes from a privileged class like Arroyo and the ordinary
people that make up the majority of the population.

Clouded with illegitimacy, Arroyo began her ―moral‖ governance in 2001 by
appointing a Secretary of Justice who was later forced to resign for extortion. For
―unknown‖ reasons, Arroyo would still retain him in the cabinet for ―development
projects.‖. In 2003, the Swiss government started investigating him for suspicion of
laundering $2 million in a Swiss bank account. At the same time, Arroyo‘s husband
was also accused of money laundering. It has become apparent that her ―First
Gentleman‖ was the administration‘s principal destabilizer. Through his friends,
appointed by Arroyo in rich government corporations, Mr. Arroyo has been linked
to the approval of shady government contracts. Not a few believed he was guilty.
The Philippine Senate held a hearing to investigate a mysterious bank account under
a fictitious name, attributed to Mr. Arroyo. A younger brother, Ignacio Arroyo,
confessed he was behind the mysterious bank account. However he refused to
answer questions, invoking ―his right to privacy‖. Instead of being exonerated, the
―First Gentleman‖ was made to appear more guilty.


The May 2004 presidential elections further weakened the legitimacy of Arroyo‘s
presidency. Three surveys conducted by well-known organizations were in full
corroboration. Most Filipinos believed Arroyo resorted to cheating to defeat her
opponents. More than half of those surveyed believed that the victory of Arroyo
and her running mate, Noli de Castro was earned through foul means. Columnist.
Conrado de Quiros wrote in the Inquirer’s There’s The Rub (September 13, 2004):

“You do not have to dig deeply for signs of cheating, the thing was done
barefacedly…we need a leader who is honest, upright and forthright, not one who
lies, cheats and steals.”

The Gobal Revolution advocated by the Council of the Club of Rome in The
First Global Revolution (1991) was on governance. It hoped to stop the
growing inefficiency in the governments of developing countries. It would
encourage the elimination of corruption in their prevailing political systems. Of
course it has been proven that this would be easier said than done, especially in
the Philippines. Action would come in mere exhortations through oratory,
received with derision by a cynical public. Emotional speeches would prove
useless if their leaders were perceived to be corrupt. The people are intelligent.
They know what is happening. And they are fed up with the cacophony of
propaganda from presidential image builders. It was actually on ―The Theory
of Chaos in Governance‖. It presented a solution to the Problematique
described by the Club of Rome more than two decades ago.

Power-grabbing through mob rule using people power has become another
facet of the chaotic Philippine culture that is detrimental to change. The chaos
in the Philippines, under Arroyo‘s governance, was described by The
Washington Times in its editorial of August 6, 2003. It lamented: “Mrs.
Arroyo‟s inabilities as a leader and lack of control of the military make an
already volatile country even more dangerous.” .The situation in the
Philippines had deteriorated from bad to worse under her administration.
Corruption in the military had allowed a top leader of the al Queda-linked
Jeemah Islamiya to escape from a maximum security prison. Jemaah Islamiya
was behind the murderous bombing in Bali, Indonesia. “This not the first time
that terrorists have escaped from Philippine custody”, the editorial stated.
There is a “bold lack of respect for civilian authority…a consequence of the
way the President came to power without a democratic election.” It was the
intervention of the military that put Arroyo in power. The reality is that she
owes the military for her position as much as she needs it to keep herself in
                                                        CHAPTER EIGHT – GOVERNANCE

In its editorial dated September 15, 2003, the International Herald Tribune wrote
about the vulnerability of Arroyo, which was common knowledge. The IHT
editorial cited the constitutionally shaky way in which she became president.
Repeated coup rumors and corruption involving her ―First Gentleman‖ were also
destabilizing the Arroyo administration. The accusations against Jose Miguel
Arroyo might have been politically motivated but many believed them. Spoofs on
radio and television have been damaging Arroyo‘s waning popularity. Furthermore,
she was ambiguous as to whether she would run in the forthcoming May 2004
presidential elections. It would be good for the country‘s battered economy if she
would keep faith to her declaration that she would not run. Then she could “rise
above the fray and set about fulfilling some of her promises to reform the
economy and the military”.

Columnist Randy David described the Philippines as ”a nation heading toward
disaster” in April 2002. David said that. in spite of the changes in leadership after
Marcos, things have not improved. Population growth has remained unabated while
limited natural resources have been exposed to abuse. Malnutrition and disease have
continued to stunt the brains of children living in poverty. Despair has been pushing
the poor and jobless to crime while a corrupt military has remained a threatening
force to political stability. The country‘s deprivations have become inexplicable with
the relative economic success of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.
Migrant Filipino workers have been flocking to these countries even under
degrading working conditions. Galbraith in The Nature of Mass Poverty (1979) had
referred to this migration as an ―escape‖. So far the Philippines had failed to
provide the opportunity for “those so motivated to escape the equilibrium and
culture of poverty.” Consistently, since EDSA I, Filipino political leaders have been
negligent of agriculture resulting in the worsening rural impoverishment.

Perceptions of corruption and patronage in appointments of cabinet officials have
always plagued the Philippine presidency. Arroyo‘s administration has not been an
exception. Familial relations in the case of Aquino, loyalty considerations in the case
of Ramos, marital infidelities in the case of Estrada and the questionable ―First
Gentleman‖ under Arroyo characterized the new politics of people power. Ramos
was known to have made many appalling appointments in his cabinet. The criterion
was loyalty to the point of vanity. Ramos‘ appointees were bound never to shine
brighter than the president. They were not supposed to bring distinction to their
posts. And many of them bungled their jobs. They tainted the presidency but they
became unfortunate scapegoats to absolve Ramos.

After Edsa 2 many Filipinos immediately doubted the morality of Arroyo‘s
governance. She announced a ‖moral‖ cabinet , with a friend and politician,
Hernando J. Perez, as Secretary of Justice. It was obvious that her newly designated
disciples hardly constituted a group capable of reforming the country‘s corrupt


political system. Instead of the achievement of public goals, it would become
evident that the promotion of individual interests would dominate her agenda.
Behind her was her ―First Gentleman.‖ Many of his friends would dominate
positions of influence in her cabinet and in resource-rich government corporations.
From the start the Arroyo government faced an impossible task of changing public
cynicism. Her gifted finance secretary, a Harvard MBA graduate, was soon
embroiled in a questionable billion-peso bond issue. Her Secretary of Justice was
accused of blackmail and extortion.

The electoral and judicial systems in many developing countries like the
Philippines have remained inefficient and corrupt. They discourage reforms in
the attitudes and practices of voters and the choice of public officials to govern
them.. While there are existing electoral laws they are honored more in the
breach and abetted by a politicized Supreme Court. For instance, illegal
campaign contributions and expenses beyond legal limits take place without
restraints. Most voters in the rural areas are manipulated, coerced or persuaded
by monetary inducement to follow the dictates of local political ward bosses.
The consequences are leaders, like Estrada, are elected to top public offices
where they are pressured by moneyed supporters into corrupt governance.

The first and more important step in instituting electoral reforms, according to
Mario Cuomo who wrote Reason to Believe (1995), is to reduce the influence
of money in elections. Kenneth Janda in The Challenge of Democracy (1989)
quoted a United States House Speaker who once said:

“There are four parts to any campaign: The candidate, the issues of the
candidate, the campaign organization and the money to run the campaign,
without money you can forget the other three.”

In the Philippines, there are only two factors: popularity and money. Issues
hardly matter. Arroyo has rightfully claimed that elections are influenced by
patronage and popularity. In any case patronage is not petty political favor but
clientelism fueled by money from electoral supporters expecting favors from
government. It is no wonder that Filipino politicians elected to office spend less
time serving their constituents than accommodating the interests of their
wealthy campaign contributors. Estrada‘s campaign kitty was reportedly funded
by his Chinese friends, whose financial activities eventually contributed to his
downfall. Later Arroyo ―won‖ in May 2004 with government financial
resources backing her up.

It is unfortunate that those with integrity would avoid public service due to the
vulgarity of politics. The willing would present their selves for election to
public office, offering nothing more than mere popularity. It would also be
                                                     CHAPTER EIGHT – GOVERNANCE

futile to place the burden on the electorate. Glorious attempts to correct the
deficiencies of governance due to corrupt electoral systems that bred ill-chosen
leaders have obviously failed. Paraphrasing the report of The Club of Rome, in
the Philippines, ―oceans of misery and poverty…crippling indebtedness…huge
deficits…corruption and violence‖ have characterized the years of misrule
under Aquino, Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo. The tragedy is compounded by the
lack of a qualified leader in the horizon who can bring hope better governance
to the country.

After Estrada was deposed, Rigoberto Tiglao, a former Inquirer columnist and
who was briefly a Harvard fellow in journalism suggested in his column
Outlook (2001) that Arroyo should ―Tackle Corruption Finally.‖ He then
proceeded to heap praise on Arroyo. In gratitude the new president offered
Tiglao to become her official spokesman. He readily accepted the offer
although earlier he had written that the January 2001 People Power or EDSA II
was not a moral revolution:―It was neither dramatic nor soul searching.‖
According to Tiglao, it was corruption that brought down Estrada, not his
marital infidelities. As Arroyo‘s public defender and personal flack, Tiglao
would find his patron beleaguered with charges of corruption. In the Inquirer,
his former colleagues, Neal H. Cruz and Conrado de Quiros were unrelenting.
They would continue to harangue Arroyo with stinging words. On October 27,
2003 Cruz wrote: “..the people are fed up with this (Arroyo) administration:
there is so much crookedness in it.” On the same date, de Quiros wrote: “ the
Inquirer has every reason to retract its Person of the Year award to GMA
(Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) last year…Impeach Gloria.” Amid these ringing
attacks on the presidency Tiglao was silent. Of course he was still an ardent
Arroyo admirer. And his idealization of a president perceived as corrupt would
soon be rewarded. Tiglao would be appointed ambassador to Greece.

Presidents would minimize charges of corruption and bad governance with media
hubris and even lies. In Olassky‘s words:

“They would do whatever it took to retain power… they would resort to “the
conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of
the masses…”

During the time of American President Woodrow Wilson, citizens believed that a
president was bound by his word. Filipinos have begun wondering whether
presidential practice had changed. Olassky wrote on the public and private lives of
famous American presidents, from Washington to Clinton. As leaders, some were
great but others were deeply flawed. Of interest to many people were the leaders
with healthy sexual appetites. Olasky said:


“Amazingly they got by. Among the notorious were Kennedy and Clinton. They
successfully practiced the separation of the state and sex.
Surveys after surveys would show that majority of Filipinos had lost their
confidence in Arroyo‘s governance. The 302 delegates who met in a Citizen
Caucus in early 2003 measured her governance against her declarations. Almost
unanimously the delegates agreed that the country was in crisis because she
failed to meet her commitment to govern with integrity. The caucus concluded
that her governance was one of the worst since the ouster of Marcos. The fact
that she became president with ease was belittled by the participants. One week
after incumbent President George W. Bush visited the country in October 2003,
a poll survey by IBON Foundation, an independent research institution, showed
that 61.98 % of those surveyed wanted Arroyo to resign from the presidency.

Arroyo hardly took notice of the proceedings of the Citizen‘s Caucus. It was
apparently of no concern to her that the people trust in her governance was seriously
eroded by persistent questions concerning the legitimacy of her rule. The perception
that corruption was pervasive at all levels of her administration was obviously deep
seated. The public debt has been growing because the government was unable to
collect taxes and stop smuggling. Insurgency and crime were growing concerns. The
electoral system has been hopelessly corrupted. Media has become abusive. EDSA
II brought in a new president in Arroyo but the country‘s woes have turned from bad
to worst.

In July 2003, Malaya Columnist Ducky Paredes wrote in “RP in Trouble” that
governance in the Philippines as ‖a developing country falls very short in
doing any developing.‖Paredes cited a 2003 report of Standard & Poor.
According to S&P, the sovereign debt under Arroyo was already almost ninety
percent of the country‘s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The S&P concluded
that the debt-heavy financial governance of the economy, headed by Harvard-
educated Jose Isidro Camacho made it ―vulnerable to adverse external
developments‖. In simple terms, the Arroyo administration was not in control
of the economy due to incompetent financial governance by her economic
team. Sovereign borrowings were used for keeping an inefficient bureaucracy
and a weak currency afloat. Camacho was partial to issuing bonds in
international markets where they got poor responses from risk-averse investors
and had to be sold with embarrassingly high yields. Philippine bonds were
considered as unwise investments.

A press kit on the Philippines was distributed to the press by the US-AID in
July 2003. The kit mentioned that at the time of the regional currency crisis in
1997 – 1998, or during the time of former President Ramos , over 25 percent of
the Philippine population was living under the $1-per-day poverty line as
calculated by the World Bank. Poverty has remained the country‘s major
problem even after Ramos left and Estrada came into power, followed by
Arroyo. According to the US – AID press kit: “Governance issues and

corruption prevented the Philippines from achieving the development of its
neighboring economies.”

In the Philippines, each cabinet secretary has six undersecretaries. All are immersed
in rules reeking with politics. This was the legacy of Aquino who bloated the
bureaucracy with political appointees. Osborne and Gaebler in Reinventing
Government said that the people in government are not the problem; it is the system.
But this is not true in the Philippines where the problem is both in the system and
the people in government. Paul Tabori wrote that the explanation is partly found in
the stupidity of bureaucrats in power in The Natural History of Stupidity (1993).
Tabori declared:

“Perhaps the costliest form of stupidity is red tape. The cost is double, for
bureaucracy not only drains the population of useful labor strength. How much
initiative smothered, how many contacts severed because of the insolence of
clerks, the myriad-branched parasitical growth of red-tape?”

Obstructionism in governance in the Philippine bureaucracy can be traced to greed
and ignorance. Unholy alliances of bureaucrats with corrupt elements are tolerated
by the stupidity of equally corrupt politicians and incompetent leaders. Olasky had
written how Andrew Jackson‘s governance took a strong stand against an impotent
bureaucracy. He stopped big corrupt bureaucrats and small haughty government
clerks alike from being entrenched. He made the word bureaucracy to mean
something positive. Now in the Philippines, bureaucracy has been failing the public,
especially in a crisis situation. But bureaucracy can be made to work efficiently as
in Singapore, under a stable political system. Unfortunately, people power has not
brought stability to the political system in the Philippines.



“Crisis does not necessarily purge a system of folly: old habits
and attitudes die hard.”
                                        The March of Folly
                                   Barbara W. Tuchman, 1984

Tomlinson has written about a book, Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985) by a
New York University Professor, Neil Postman. It is about television and how it
has ―made public discourse take the form of entertainment.‖ According to
Postman TV has degraded intelligent discussions of public issues of
consequence. In television arguments and counter arguments are not properly
scrutinized. There is no time to analyze assumptions and definitions. ―As a
result, our brains are mush and we get ‗sillier‘ by the minute.‖ Howard Dean,
suggested a cure for mush brain. He called it Reflective Thinking. In moral-
value issues such as corruption it is necessary to do reflective thinking because
it is very hard to get reliable facts and go into the real bottom of things. The
objective of reflective thinking is to predict consequences. According to Dean a
reflective thinker asks ―What is or was the case?‖ or ―Is it wrong?‖ These
questions should also be asked in the case of the decision of the Philippine
Supreme Court that made Arroyo a president. It is a moral –value issue similar
to Arroyo‘s use of stonewalling and euphemisms to hide the truth on charges
that she ―lies, cheats and steals.‖ (Footnote. Ibid. Tomlinson on Howard Dean
(1963). Effective Communication: A Guide to Reading , Writing, Speaking and
Listening, New York, Prentice –Hall Inc., pp. 67-68.)



Thers much reflective thinking going on controversial moral-value issues of
Edsa 1 and Edsa 2 . The principal issue is whether the two episodes are a
revolution? The consequences on the country‘s institutional practices due to
the behavior of leaders like Aquino, Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo have resulted
in doubts in the revolutionary values of either or both movements.. These
doubts should be evaluated and debated . To be sure Edsa 1 is too glorious to be
falsely used and even institutionalized by newspaper propaganda. The
Philippine Daily Inquirer would want to publish more tales and myths on Edsa
1 on its 20 anniversary. What are the Inquirer’s objectives? (Footnote – Refer
to Inquirer’s published invitation)

 Controversial institutional practices usually consist of of moral –value
activities affecting public and private social interests. Political leaders are
perceived to be incapable of reflective thinking that will run counter to their
private interests. They are too biased to provide an objective perspective on
controversial issues confronting the country. This is particularly true in
particularly in the military and electoral institutions where no president would
dare institute reforms that could affect their chances of winning elections.


Leadership is integral to the problem of changing a government. There are
thousands of books and million of words written on leadership. (Footnote-
Tuchman, Barbara. Expand and link with was written earlier in original version
on The March of Folly in ―Introduction‖)

(For footnote - Landes, David S., The Wealth and Poverty of Nations – Why
Some Are So Rich And Some So Poor, (1999), New York, W.W. Norton &
Company, pp.200-230, 442-443)

“Excerpts from e-mails, documents in espionage case”, and “For 7 months,
FBI clueless on Fil-Am spy, says report- Washington (January 19, 2004) and
―US Embassy calls De Castro                   Illiterate.” January 20, 2006 ,
Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Classified official documents containing the US embassy critical assessments
of the weak leadership of Arroyo became public in 2006. This happened when
charges were filed in a New Jersey District Court that two Filipinos conspired
to overthrow Arroyo by passing allegedy classified US government information
to politicians in the Philippines. They were actually of public knowledge in the
country. Strangely the inept FBI, which has figured prominently in the Iraq
                                                            CHAPTER NINE - CRISIS

bungling intelligence report on weapons of mass destruction has given the case
much importance. In essence the documents contained: (MORE ON THIS

Estrada evoked doubts and mysteries that most of his supporters would want to
forget. His political enemies like Ramos, Almonte and Cardinal Sin triumphed
because Estrada was unable to ward off allegations of corruption. His disgrace
was unimaginable, and like Richard Nixon, he seemed to have isolated himself
from moral reality. H.R. Haldeman in The Ends of Power (1978) wrote on the
mistakes of Richard Nixon as president. He could have written about Estrada,
who similar to Nixon: “He gave his enemies a sword, which they plunged in
and twisted, to bring about his collapse.”

Many noted American journalists and authors have written on the dalliances of
their presidents. Years before his presidency Bill Clinton had demanded that
Nixon should resign. But it was not because of conjugal perfidy. It was over the
Watergate scandal. Nixon was never even suspected of being a philanderer by
the public. In private he was also rumored to have offered support to Marianna
Liu, a hotel hostess he met in Hong Kong. Unlike Clinton who lied before the
American people Estrada was truthful. He was a self-confessed marital
adventurer. Ramos was persistently rumored to have sired a love child with a
well-known socialite. This was the subject of an article by the Philippine
Center for Investigative Journalism. But Ramos was able to stonewall his
philandering up to the end of his term. Estrada failed.

Leadership UNDER ―CRISIS‖
Dr. Arnold Hutschnecker, a psychotherapist who treated Richard Nixon when
he was still Vice President urged: “Mental health certificates should be
required of political leaders.” Perhaps, Estrada needed a mental health
certificate. Nixon and Estrada were both accused in media of alleged ―stashing
away piles of cash‖. Like Estrada, Nixon was unconvincing when he said:
“these charges would fall… I have never had the urge to accumulate wealth…”
Yet gambling flourished in the Bahamas and Nixon was linked to gambling
through Meyer Lansky. Nixon was also suspected of having accumulated ill-
gotten gains and had opened secret accounts abroad. Nixon reportedly traveled
to Zurich every year throughout the eighties. Estrada was accused of opening a
big bank account under a fictitious name. He allegedly even had the gall to sign
illegal bank documents in the presence of several witnesses.
(END OF MOVE TO Leadership under ―CRISIS‖



After the departure of Marcos, Aquino under the guise of people empowerment
promised a just governance with maximum people participation in politics and
government. However, like Marcos, she lodged power in a small coterie of friends
and relatives. The result was to put the country in the grip of political convulsions.
The military was in a stage of unrest and soon Aquino was fighting coup after coup.
The just society that was supposed to follow Marcos‘ oppressive new society was
nowhere to be found. Aquino slammed the opposition by putting her critic, Juan
Ponce Enrile to jail with unconstitutional charges. She tried to use the law
―creatively‖ beyond accepted jurisprudence. Meantime the country remained
emasculated with corruption.

In Memories of Overdevelopment (1998), Luis H. Francia, wrote a critical
essay, Women of the Year, comparing Cory Aquino with Imelda Marcos.
Francia cited two journalists: Lucy Komisar, author of Corazon Aquino - The
Story of a Revolution (1988) and Carmen Navarro-Pedrosa, who wrote Imelda
Marcos - The Rise and Fall of One of the World’s Most Powerful Women
(1988). Komisar and Pedrosa both wrote that Aquino and Marcos represented
the landed gentry. Komisar was kind to Cory whom she painted as an
―international icon‖ and who was Time‘s Woman of the Year in 1986. At the
same time, Komisar criticized Cory for failing to change the feudalistic socio-
economic system of the Philippines. According to Komisar, Cory also failed to
address the problem of poverty and substituted the ―politics of personalism‖ for
Marcos‘ ―economics of cronyism.‖ Finally, Cory left the presidency of the
country with a military wracked by politics and factionalism.

The man who saved Aquino was former General Fidel V. Ramos, her Secretary
of Defense whom she anointed as her successor. Later Ramos would instigate
the turnaround of the politicized military against Estrada. He was the perennial
fence-sitter who betrayed his cousin, Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1986. As an ex-
president he could not get over his megalomania. In 1997 Ramos failed to
tamper with the Constitution to extend his tenure. Senator Blas F. Ople would
write The Plot Against the Constitution – The Ramos Conspiracy (1997). On
September 19, 1997, Ople wrote that Ramos distanced himself from reality:
“In the scientific world, this is recognized as an unmistakable symptom of
instability or a psychological breakdown.”

Ramos has always deluded himself on the issue of economic recovery. He
refused to accept that at the end of his term, the peso had collapsed, the stock
market had crashed and the government coffers were empty. “Internationally,
the President’s status has degraded from a heroic flag-bearer of
democracy in Asia to a pathetic political figure, an illegal usurper of
power.” In EDSA II, Ramos succeeded in making the military with the help of
handful of retired and politicized generals, the ultimate arbiter of power in the
                                                              CHAPTER NINE - CRISIS

country. With Estrada gone, Ramos was back in the limelight as the dominant
politician behind a fledgling President Arroyo.

James Danzinger examined the role of leaders in Understanding the Political
World (1998). He wrote that leaders should go beyond setting of goals but also
articulating them. The effective leader could mobilize the people‘s support for
his goals, regardless of their economic status in life. A president lacking in this
crucial leadership skill would fail to galvanize the people, especially the poor,
in the accomplishment of his goals. The true leader is one who could ―act‖ and
project a strong unifying symbol, without building up resentments and snickers.
Estrada could have played this role but he decided to miss a great opportunity.
The public and media were apparently ready to turn a deaf ear to reports of his
adulterous life. But he went overboard.

At issue in instituting a new government is how the political democracy of
elections and legislation can be reformed. Among the most important subject of
effective thinking is the efficacy of getting the genuine consent of the people in
a country where the electoral system is corrupt. What is the possibility of
getting the real response of the electorate through the present members of
Congress and the existing Commission on Elections? In the light of the
discreditable 2004 presidential elections and 2005 congressional desecration of
impeachment proceedings, can the people trust their congressmen, the Comelec
and its commissioners? Complementing the Problem of Consent is the Problem
of Process. (Footnote here on ON THE PROBLEM OF CONSENT and
PROBLEM OF PROCESS. Berenice M. Fisher and Anselm L. Strauss,
Interactionism in A History of Sociological Analysis, Tom Bottommore and
Robert Nisbet (eds), 1978, New York, Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, pp. 447-

Is it necessary or even possible to get this consent through people power or a
real revolution? Is an amendment of the existing Constitution sufficient? Or
will a shift from a presidential to parliamentary system the best alternative? If
so who will lead this shift? Former President Fidel V. Ramos who is seriously
afflicted with megalomania? His only qualification is after being president he
became richer than many Filipinos. {Footnote- de Quiros, (January 16, 2006),
Mob Rule in There’s The Rub, Philippine Daily Inquirer) Would it be Speaker
Jose de Venecia, the epitome‘ of a traditional politician? Would it be the
disgraced Estrada who still has a strong following? Or would it be the vain-
glorious Cory Aquino? Would the people trust them as honest agents of
change? The notion that these traditional mainstream politicians do not


represent self-interest groups does not find strong support among the majority
of the Filipino people. The consensus is that their actuations in the past have
provided enough insights that cast doubts on their competence and sincerity in
promoting moral change. Would isolating these politicians from the process of
change bring better prospects of achieving national progress and harmony?

The “Hello Garci” Tapes
Schlensinger writing on the American Presidency said that the president is the
central player in a country‘s political order. {Footnote - Arthur M. Schlesinger,
Jr. (General Editor) The American Presidency in Tom Wicker (2002), Dwight
D. Eisenhower,Times Books, New York.p. } He said that the American
Founding Fathers accepted Alexander Hamilton,s proposition in the 17th
Federalist Paper that ―energy in the executive is a leading character in the
definition of good government.‖ But there is the possibility that the operations
of the government may be endangered by the speculative mind of a strong
president.{Footnote – Kesler, Charles R. The Fedealist Papers (1999), New
York, Signet Classic, Penguin Group (USA), pp 116-117}Thus the American
system, which was adopted by the Philippines as a U.S. colony, comes to focus
in the presidency. Schlensinger reminded people that presidents are not
supermen. They are human beings too. Presidents make mistakes and in the
process make statements that their enemies branded as lies. This is the case of
President George W. Bush in Iraq. He believed intelligence reports that Saddam
had weapons of mass destruction. So did many other leaders including British
Prime Minister Tony Blair. But it is debatable whether he told a lie. Tomlinson
wrote that ―our ancestors also made mistakes. But they stopped huddling under
trees to escape lightning after a few were electrocuted.‖(Footnote-Ibid.
Tomlinson, p.1.) Arroyo was different. In the shameful ―Hello Garci‖ tapes, she
resorted to a bizarre logic. Arroyo did not admit a mistake. She called it a
mental ―lapse‖. But she admitted she called up a Commission on Elections
official whose name she did not bother to reveal. Everybody knows that it is
―Garci‖ or Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano. Coronel called
Garcillano a ―Master Operator.” As an election fraud expert he has the skills
that Arroyo needed in winning the 2004 presidential election. (Footnote –
Coronel, Shiela S. (2005) Master Operator in I Report, Philippine Center for
Investigative Journalism.).

The tapes revealed alleged rigging of the 2004 election results, many believed
Arroyo cheated. And there were street-driven calls for her to resign. Through
the cunning use of government resources she had managed to survive. But
Arroyo had not emerged stronger. Instead she presented to the people her
fascinating deceitfulness in institutionalizing a pernicious legacy of instability
                                                             CHAPTER NINE - CRISIS

and deception. The entire truth is yet to be known but they have already
convinced most people an insight on the potentialities of an immoral leader.
But have they become apathetic to Arroyo‘s unethical rule? Why have they
failed to assume the responsibility of seeking out the truth? Schlensingers
wrote that presidents serve as inspirations to the people but they also serve as
warnings. They provide bad examples as well as good. Nations have no right to
expect that it will always have wise rulers. There will be wicked leaders,
ambitious of power with contempt of law. The frailties of rulers reflect the
flaws of the people who choose and place them in their position of mandate.
Schlensiner quoted the French political philosopher Joseph de Maistre who
said: (Footnote. Ibid. Schlensinger)

           “Every nation has the government it deserves.”

Doronila wrote that the controversy over the tapes was a national shame. But
the people seem not to care. They have apparently realized they have nothing to
gain. Was it because people power movements like Edsa 1 and Edsa 2 are
useless? Doronila wrote: (Footnote – Doronila, Amando (January 4, 2006) A
Year of Living More Dangerously in Analysis, Philippine Daily Inquirer)

“The poor and the common people cannot be mobilized to march in mass
movements because they have learned that Edsa 1 brought Aquino to power
and Edsa 2 brought Arroyo to power, and the change did not generate social
programs that at least provided relief from poverty. They have realized that
the cabal that came to power with Aquino and Arroyo belonged to the elite
and divided the spoils and opportunities brought about by change among

Have the myths of Edsa 1 and Edsa 2 made the people apathetic of people
power? Have they decided it is not their responsibility to seek a good
government or a moral leader? That it is actually the duty of a moral leader to
assure the people of a good government? Have they become lethargic to the
point of helplessness on reforming their crafty presidents? Are they concerned
with who would replace the wily Arroyo as president? Would a new president
be just another Aquino or Arroyo? Or is it really a matter of priorities for them?
Are they simply more concerned with how they can survive? Is the pursuit of
livelihood their top concern that they just cannot not join street marches and
forego a day‘s earning? But then is there a limit to what the people can tolerate
from a sly president? How do we judge whether or not that people are about to
reach the point when they feel that their president and her government are not
worth keeping anymore? Thomas Jefferson who wrote the Declaration
declared: (Footnote- Ibid. Tomlinson. P. 42)


“That whatever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends ,
it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it and to institute a new

The key ingredients of Filipino political ideology, which are the product of
American indoctrination are liberty, justice and equality. Like its former
masters, most Filipinos in the American Declaration of Independence(1776). It
upholds the belief that governments exist to protect the natural rights ot its
citizens. And it can be change if they fail. In being governed men are endowed
with unalienable rights and the heads of governments derive their power from
their consent. Ann Coulter wrote there are standards and precedents in
removing a president who do not deserve this consent. {Footnote – Coulter,
Ann (1998). High Crimes And Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton,
Washington D.C., Regnery Publishing, Inc. pp. 19-21}

On Justice

In the law, particularly the Constitution, like cases are supposed to be treated
alike. Congressmen and even the justices of the Supreme Court are covered by
this principle. The Philippines is completely different. Cases are not treated
alike. Arroyo should not be treated like Estrada regardless of the circumstances.
But congressmen and justices treated the Estrada and Arroyo cases under
standards and considerations, in the words of Coulter, ―with such alacrity as
make the head spin.‖ Coulter had favored Clinton‘s impeachment. She wrote
on Clintons‘s paid and unpaid friends whom she labeled as FOBs. In the
Philippines there are also many friends of Arroyo or FOAs. At the rate
witnesses are lying under oath and subordinates are being kept from telling the
truth arroyo has managed to hide the truth. Many believe that most of them are
paid with government funds. Congressmen who are nothing but political hacks
decide on political preferences rather than a judicious interpretation of the law
and the Constitution. For reasons most Filipinos know, they interpreted justice
their way and ―shredded the Constitution‖ to prevent Arroyo from being
impeached. Tomlinson wrote how easy it is for a body containing a majority to
act with arbitrary bravura in dispensing justice. He quoted Anatole France
(1901) who wrote: {Footnote. Shapiro, Nat (ed) (1984), Whatever It Is. I’m
Against It, in Tomlinson Justice in American Politics.)

                 “Justice is the sanction of Injustice”

With every new revelation about Arroyo‘s apparent corrupt behavior there is
the presidential spokesman of inopportune honestry, to justify her conduct. If
he and the president lie as they are wont to do they are confident that eventually
                                                             CHAPTER NINE - CRISIS

all the accusations against the president will disappear. One corroborating
statement from a paid Arroyo flack absolving the president of any wrongdoing
is enough. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion. Everyone is entitled to his
own lies. In the case of Arroyo and her apologists they are entitled to their
bold-faced canards. Nixon‘s attorney general, Elliot Richardson, said ―honesty
is the best politics.‖ To Arroyo stonewalled lying is the best policy.. After all
she has the power and the force. With braggadocio Arroyo declared: ―We are
the superior force. Our opponents must either toe the line of the national
interest for which we stand , and fiscalize responsibly with statesmanship, or be
relegated to the wayside of irrelevance or ignominy.‖ {Footnote – GMA will
not cut term in 07(January 15, 2006), Philippine Daily Inquirer.}To arroyo her
critics are losers. They are destabilizers. Arroyo is a disciple of Coulter‘s
words. People are ―very, very tolerant. They won‘t tolerate losers. Nothing
matters except winning. It is fine to lie and cheat and manipulate because honor
is just a word. It is just hot air, and the country doesn‘t really believe in it.‖
(Footnote. Ibid. Coulter. P. 22) In playing a hardball political game no Arroyo
aide should be stunned into honesty. They should be adept in making fuzzy
denials with ―escape hatches‖ that will enable them to say: ―Prove it!‖ The
presidential couples‘s motto and fulfilled by the presidential spokesman is:
Deny. Deny. Deny. Prove it!


A forum was on electoral reform held by group who call themselves ―The
Black and White Movement‖ on January 18, 2006. {Footnote – Jimenez-David,
Rina, Comelec Officials Should Be Charged (January 20, 2006) in At Large,
Philippine Daily Inquirer.}It was pointed out in the meeting that more than two
years ago, or on January 13, 2004 to be exact, the Philippine Supreme Court
made a much admired decision. It nullified a contract between the Comelec and
the supplier of Automated Counting Machines. The Court decried the ―illegal
and abusive acts of the Comelec‖ in wasting P2.3 billion of public funds in an
anomalous transaction- ―The Comelec Modernization Scam.‖ The result was it
derailed the modernization of the electoral system. As directed by the Court, the
Ombudsman, Simeon Marcelo, prepared the indictment papers for the
concerned Comelec officials to face trial in the Sandiganbayan. According to
Jimenez-David, who is a respected columnist, former Senate President Jovito
Salonga spoke in the forum and said the ―First Gentleman‖ talked the
Ombudsman out of proceeding with the prosecution of the Comelec scam case.
Salonga categorically stated that he personally asked Marcelo about the


reported pressures coming from the ―First Gentleman.‖ Marcelo replied in the
vernacular, ― That‘s why I want to resign.‖ There are other cases in the Office
of the Ombudsman where the ―First Gentleman‖ is reportedly meddling. One is
the alleged overpricing of the most expensive avenue on record – the President
Diosdado Macapagal Avenue named after Arroyo‘s late father. The other is the
extortion case against Arroyo‘s former Secretary of Justice Hernando Perez.
(Footnote – Zamora, Fe, Mike A Lobby One Reason Marcelo Quit, says
Salonga, (January 19 2006) Philippine Daily Inquirer)

The Inquirer editorial On the Spot ( February 16, 2004) touches on a shame that
has begun to spread. The Supreme Court has taken an admirable step of
threatening to cite the Office of the Ombudsman for contempt. The Court had
earlier ordered the Ombudsman to determine the criminal liability of Comelec
officials for rigging a P1.3- billion contract to automate the counting of votes.
These shameless officials headed by Bejamin Abalos, have been refusing to
resign. He is known to enjoy ―political immunity‖ being close to Arroyo

Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay wrote The Federalists
popularly known as The Federalist Papers in 1788. But they never thought of a
presidential spouse with the honorific tile of ―Fist Gentleman‖{Footnote –
Hamilton-Madison-Jay, The Federalist Papers (1788), Kesler, Charles R. and
Rossiter, Clinton, (ed), (1961), Signet Classic, New York.}

  Impeaching a president who has manifestly committed impeachable offenses
is provided for in the Constitution. It is a matter of duty of citizens. It is an
obligation that should not be frustrated by legal technicalities. The people do
not have to stage an armed revolution. There is no need for a bloody movement.
As it happened in February 1986, the Marcos government was removed by the
people without a shot being fired. The question that is usually asked is, if
Arroyo were to be removed who would lead the new government?

Schlensinger had asked: ―What makes a great president?‖ ( Footnote – Ibid.


(MOVE TO ―CRISIS‖ – Leadership and Character )
                                                             CHAPTER NINE - CRISIS

On Trust

Arroyo is distrusted by the majority of Filipinos who want her to resign. The
four presidents after Edsa 1 and Edsa 2 were trust-rated in a sample survey by
Pulse Asia Inc., in March 2006. Ironically the demonized Estrada who is facing
plunder charges showed the highest trust rating among the four leaders.
(Footnote- Erap Trust Rating Soars To 48%, The Daily Tribune, March 17,

When Arroyo pronounced fresh governance with a ―New Morality‖, it was
received with mixed feelings. Soon the government was in a state of crisis and
divisiveness. In The Moral Economy (1998) John Powelson wrote that moral
behavior goes beyond being corrupt or being an avowed philanderer. (Footnote
- Powelson, John The Moral Economy (1998)…….)It includes being fair,
judging others devoid of prejudices, and without inflaming hatred. For
century‘s powerful emperors and popes have tried to decree a moral society.
Religious leaders touted the Christian value and the ―Word of God‖. They
preached ―forgiveness with justice‖, which they practiced with their ―vicarious
power.‖ This power is usually exercised by leaders who require others to
behave in a way they themselves would not do voluntarily.

Throughout her inherited term Arroyo was hard pressed building up an image
of high morality and credibility among Filipinos. As a ―last‖ resort, she lied and
made a martyrdom promise on. December 30, 2002. To the jubilation of many
Filipinos, Arroyo renounced her intention to run for the presidency in the
scheduled elections in May 2004. Actually many doubted not only the
legitimacy of her non-electoral rise to the top but also her ”palabra de honor.”
Arroyo was consistently in the tail-end of all poll surveys since her ascension to
power. Was her decision a political martyrdom and an act of unselfish political
will? Or was she simply lying? Arroyo would turn back on her word. While she
would ―win‖ in the May 2004 elections her credibility would still be tainted
with charges of cheating to assure her of victory.

The character of American presidents has been examined by many historians
and journalists. Marvin Olasky authored The American Leadership Tradition –
Moral Vision From Washington To Clinton (1999). Of late, two best-selling
authors wrote about recent United States presidents. Bob Greene wrote
Fraternity – A Journey in Search of Five Presidents (2004). Eric Alterman
wrote When Presidents Lie – A History of Official Deception and its


Ian Buruma wrote on leadership in Asia in Newsweek‘s The Last of the
Strongmen, (October 20, 2003). He claimed that:

“Most Asian nations are governed now by colorless men.”

The Philippines was always behind its neighbors because of its colorless
leaders, known more for their mediocre governance especially after EDSA I.
None could match the leadership qualities and the legacy of the effective
leaders of Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and South Korea, to name a few.
These countries were all saddled with the problems of a developing society but
they prospered better than the Philippines. However, during all the Philippine
administrations after EDSA I the country‘s National Economic and
Development Authority (NEDA) reported encouraging strides in the alleviation
of poverty in the Philippines. There would be doubts on the integrity of data on
poverty used in these reports, which would be ―redefined‖ later.

Robert C. Tucker wrote Politics as Leadership (1981) and was quoted in S.
Rajaratnan: The Prophetic and the Political (1987) as saying: “Leadership is a
process of human interaction in which some individuals exert or attempt to exert,
a determining influence upon others.”

Lee Kuan Yew (MOVE AFTER Leadership UNDER ―CRISIS‖)
S. Rajaratnan is a distinguished Singaporean statesman and a prolific author. He has
cited leaders in Singapore, like Lee Kuan Yew, who have to prove their worth
through deeds rather than words. They successfully set up national goals and
persuaded the people to accept them through examples that generate confidence and
optimism. The most important achievement of Singapore is it has leaders who have
succeeded in creating an enduring stable political order in the country. The
Philippines has not produced similar leaders since after EDSA I.

S. Rajaratnanan described Lee Kuan Yew as a politician who was not prone to
“public beating of breasts and shedding of tears.” He did not boast about his
accomplishments or his concern for the poor. He was not an Aquino who
proclaimed she had empowered the people or a Ramos who claimed he would
―graduate with honors‖ at the end of his term. Neither was Lee an Estrada nor an
Arroyo who played up to media their alleged compassion for the poor. It is true that
Lee disciplined media in Singapore to the point of suppression, but when all were
said and done, he had make life better for Singaporeans. Honesty and pragmatism,
rather than American-style chaotic liberties, have made life in Singapore more
humane and dignified. The secret of the success of Lee in Singapore is his political
will in fighting corruption with personal integrity. Almost two decades after EDSA
I, there is no Filipino leader who can be considered ―pragmatic and unsentimental to
                                                                CHAPTER NINE - CRISIS

politics and economics‖ as Lee Kuan Yew was in leading Singapore to

Historically, exceptional politicians had emerged as great leaders. America produced
Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, James Madison and others. In Russia,
although they had different political values, there were great leaders like Lenin,
Trotsky and Stalin. China had Dr. Sun Yat Sen, Chang Kai-shek and Mao Tse Tung.
India could be proud of Gandhi and Nehru. Singapore, a very small Asian country
contributed Lee Kuan Yew to the world hall of fame of great leaders. Could the
Philippines claim the same honor? Is there a Filipino leader in the near horizon that
could stand shoulder to shoulder with recognized leaders of Asia, much less the
world? Does Arroyo‘s vice president, Noli de Castro , a product of television and a
heart beat away from the presidency; possess the attributes of a leader? Is he a
potential Estrada whose popularity failed him? What about Noli de Castro‘s ties
with the oligarchic Lopez clan, which owns the ABS-CBN television network?

Why do Filipinos turn to entertainers in electing their leaders? Jessica Zafra, author
and journalist, has an interesting theory. She wrote The TV Democracy in
Newsweek Issues 2005 (February 2005). She warned: “No Joke: Everyone likes to
laugh at the Philippines for actor-politicians, but they‟re a prototype for your next
leader.” To Filipinos politics is show business. There is a suspicion that Filipinos
turn to entertainers for leadership because politicians and government are seen as
distant. With the Philippine movie industry practically in hibernation, television has
become very visible. It provides cheaper and more accessible entertainment to the
poor. It is also an instantaneous communication medium not only for entertainment.
Television has become an interactive political forum with viewers airing their
miseries on the air instead of going to the government. Under these circumstances
Noli de Castro, like Estrada in his movie roles, stepped out of the tube to articulate
the people‘s fantasies.

Popular movie and TV personalities can capture the imagination of an electorate,
mostly the poor, to dominate elections. It was no wonder that a television
newscaster, like Noli de Castro, whose qualifications were either unknown or even
non-existent, could top a senatorial contest. With his popularity he would get more
votes than the former president of the state university or the law graduates of
University of Michigan and Harvard University. Noli de Castro presented TV
viewers with entertaining pseudo-documentaries. And he displayed exceptional flair.
He would aspire successfully for the vice presidency of the country. It has made
many people uneasy. He became a television icon because of rampant violence and
widespread corruption in government. He won on the basis of popularity alone. His
victory was also tainted by being Arroyo‘s running mate, whose reelection was
considered dubious by many Filipinos.


Noli de Castro‘s popular programs were shown on ABS- CBN television network
owned by the elitist Lopez clan. Many have been deploring the questionable
partiality and biased interpretation of programs in this network. They usually come
in the form of ―investigative reporting‖. Television provides an advantage and easy
access to politics for so-called investigative journalists. They can resort to
untrammeled reporting and use the Constitution both as a tool and a shield for
gaining popularity. Poll surveys would show that de Castro was so popular that he
could win if he would run as senator in spite of his lack of qualifications and
experience for public office.
(END OF MOVE TO ―CRISIS‖ UNDER Leadership or Lee Kuan Yew)


From the beginning there was a problem of credibility of the Arroyo
presidency. Although it could be considered a biased source, Estrada‘s lawyer,
Alan F. Paguia wrote “Estrada vs. Arroyo: Rule of Law or Rule of Force”.In
simple language, Paguia analyzed the events that surrounded EDSA II and how
the Supreme Court failed to avoid political partisanship. The Chief Justice and
another member of the Court decided to make a political decision by taking the
side of Arroyo in violation of the Constitution. In EDSA III, there was no
Cardinal Sin calling on the ―faithful‖ to come to EDSA. The millions that
massed before the statue of the Virgin Mary, which Cardinal Sin claimed is an
exclusive shrine of his flock, went there spontaneously. While many were pro-
Estrada, it was not armed rebellion. But it revealed sinister indications that the
country was heading toward disaster. In times of chaos leaders look for alibis,
even scapegoats. In sociology there is a syndrome – “Blame the victim.”

Arroyo would blame poverty for the emergence of terrorism. In supporting
President George W. Bush‘s campaign against terrorism she grossly simplified
the problems of terrorism and poverty. Both phenomena have long been studied
by political and social scientists, even before the treacherous attack on the twin
towers in New York City. Assuming Arroyo‘s theory was correct then terrorism
could be solved simply by removing poverty. Then the question would be:
What causes poverty, particularly in the Philippines? It is a difficult question
but many would blame it on too much corrupt politics in the country. (END OF

 There is no doubt that corruption and governance depend on good leadership,
which in turn depends on the character of the leader. In The 21 Indispensable
Qualities of a Leader (1999), John Maxwell listed character as the heart of the
development not only of a leader but of a human being. Can people trust your
                                                             CHAPTER NINE - CRISIS

word or your handshake as a legal contract? The quality of the leadership of
Aquino, Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo are all under question.For certain, Arroyo
has proven that her word cannot be trusted. Maxwell quoted Alan Berhard who

“The respect that leadership must have requires that one‟s ethics be without
question…A leader not only stays above the line between right and
wrong…{but} stays well clear of the gray areas.”

Maxwell also wrote that:

“Leaders are effective because of who they are on the inside - in the qualities
that make them up as people…Everything rises and falls on leadership.”

In her State of the Nation speech in July 2004, Arroyo sounded an ominous
warning on the country‘s serious fiscal and debt problems. According to a
paper prepared by a group of economists from the University of the Philippines,
her proposed solutions might have not been understood. The only reaction they
aroused was ―broad opposition and deep resentment‖. The paper concluded:

The problem of the country is “a question of leadership… and all that
remains now is the test to determine whether… the quality of its leadership
will suffice to save its people from an impending economic meltdown that has
been largely predicted and is perhaps entirely unnecessary.”

Who was to blame? Should the people give credence to what columnist Neal
H. Cruz wrote in The Inquirer, that: “There is nobody to blame for the
economic crisis but GMA.” On February 25, 2003, the 17th year anniversary of
EDSA I, the Philippine Consultative Assembly, a citizen watch group came out
with a statement of national concern. While the caucus might have political
color, it could not be denied that the Philippines were suffering from a festering
complex of problems, a ―Problematique”, burdened by a succession of
incompetent leadership after the departure of Marcos. Michael Schuman‘s
article, Going For Broke was published by Time on August 23, 2004 after the
eleven U.P. economic professors wrote its alarming paper on the potentially
disastrous fiscal crisis in the Philippines. Schuman wrote:

“The Philippine economy has long been one of Asia‟s worst performers, left
in the dust while neighbors Thailand and Malaysia have raced ahead.”


 Endemic corruption, an inefficient bureaucracy and widespread violence have
kept foreign investors away. This inquiry intends to look into the U.P.
professors‘ conclusion that it is a question of leadership in the ensuing chapters.
(Footnote here)

EDSA II would take place later in 2001, but both it would not relieve the
Philippines of continuing crisis - its ―Problematique”. More than three
decades ago, the Club of Rome defined this problem as the complex crisis of
social disorder, economic despondency and political impotency. This crisis,
which has been commonly experienced by most developing countries, has
developed into chaos after EDSA II in the Philippines. Columnist Jarius
Bondoc depicted it vividly when he wrote a Country Heading to a Fiery
Upheaval in August 2003. He described the Philippines as:

“A country adrift in a sea of woes…just buffering rudderless on stormy

As Barbara Tuchman had written: “Crisis does not necessarily purge a system
of folly: old habits and attitudes die hard.” EDSA I was supposed to put an
end to the systemic crisis that Marcos brought to the country. However,
revolutionary changes were not in Aquino‘s agenda in 1986. Paraphrasing
Stockman in describing former U.S. President Ronald Reagan: “{She} was a
consensus politician, not an ideologue.” Arroyo, like Aquino, did not have a
program for radical changes. And she “would dislocate and traumatize the
here-and-now” of Philippine society. As defined by Thomas Sowell, they did
not present to the people a vision for thought and action. Aquino would blame
the numerous coup attempts during her presidency which was indicative of her
weak leadership. Arroyo in turn would look for extraneous global factors to
blame. Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston wrote about political leaders in Creating
America - A Tapestry of Hope (1999) “who in a time of economic crisis…are
all too ready to find scapegoats.”

EDSA I ended fourteen years of dictatorial rule under Marcos. But crisis best
described the seemingly unending domestic problems that confronted the
country after EDSA I. Escalating foreign debts and widening fiscal deficits
have been approaching meltdown proportions. Deteriorating basic
infrastructure, widespread violence, threats of terrorism and political instability
have together discouraged the flow of foreign capital into the country. These
problems could be traced back to Aquino‘s rule after EDSA I. June Hutchinson
examined the situation in the Philippines after EDSA I in Southeast Asia in the
1990s (1993). She concluded that: “Most assessments have considered
                                                             CHAPTER NINE - CRISIS

Aquino as a disappointment.” Considering her style of leadership, which was
personalistic and was characterized with clientelism and kinship, Hutchinson‘s
verdict on Aquino is logically correct.

Aquino reinvigorated the class structure that had earlier destabilized the
Marcos government. Under her rule wealthy families dispossessed by Marcos
were brought back to prominence. Hutchinson further said that: “Aquino‟s
promise to deliver democratic government did not include any serious
attempt to carry out socio-economic reform.” Hutchinson quoted several
political commentaries written on Aquino. On the first congressional elections
under Aquino, after her ascension to power, Hutchinson wrote:

“The combination of money, high media visibility, leftist ambivalence and
the continuing influence of patron-client relationships won the day.”

 Beginning with Aquino, regime changes after Marcos have not brought any
transformation in the country‘s political structure and practices. Most elected
officials were either traditional politicians or members of traditional political
families. They were usually richly landed or were dominantly engaged in
commercial and industrial activities. It was inevitable that all governments after
EDSA I,being client-centered, would find it difficult to gain confidence from
the people..

The tyranny of Marcos was a blessing. It united the Filipinos. This unity
manifested itself in the 1986 massive demonstration in EDSA. It is an
appropriate place for a freedom movement. EDSA is the acronym for a
highway named after one of the Filipino heroes of the Philippine revolution in
the late 1800s. Media referred to the political episode as the ―People Power
Revolution.‖ It was actually a political ―changing of the guard‖ or as James A.
Morone had described earlier, a “democratic wish”, which he wrote in his
book The Democratic Wish (1950). The historic 1986 episode was to be called
EDSA I. The organized ―mob‖ in January 2001 was called EDSA II. It forced
then President Estrada out of office outside the legal sphere of the

 During Aquino‘s administration abuses took place in the name of a ―restored‖
democracy. Journalistic excess, buzz words and empty slogans were weaved
together into myths as cover ups for inefficient rule and governmental
corruption. Aquino nursed a curse that suggested a female president was
incapable of leading a country that was recovering from the vestiges of
dictatorship. Many participated in the EDSA I demonstration that forced
Marcos to flee. However some did not accept that it was the people that
installed Aquino to power, a belief supported by a restive segment of the


military. Eventually her administration was buffeted by a series of coup
attempts. They were led by the Reform the Armed Forces Movement or RAM
headed by a young army officer, Colonel Gregorio V. Honasan.

Ironically Aquino became president because the military, headed by Marcos‘
Defense Minister, Juan Ponce Enrile and the Armed Forces Vice Chief of Staff,
General Fidel V. Ramos, installed her to the position. Ramos was anointed by
Aquino in 1992 and elected president amid charges of cheating. In 1998 the
Filipinos elected Estrada with a big majority. Arroyo deposed Estrada in EDSA
II. Without exception all the Filipino presidents after EDSA I have joined the
―march of folly‖ of leaders described by Barbara W. Tuchman. None has
bothered to reform the corrupt institutions left behind by Marcos, particularly
the military. The result is a never ending crisis that reached near disastrous
proportions under Arroyo.

In his book In Shifting Sands (1999), Roland Cheo Kim San analyzed the root
of the crisis that has confronted the Philippines for many years, particularly
after EDSA I - the loss of business confidence. His figures showed the
Philippines behind its Southeast Asian neighbors in attracting foreign
investments in export-oriented industries. Since 1995 it has the largest current
account deficit among Asian countries, due to its anemic export performance,
based on IMF‘s World Economic Outlook.

 Jim Wallis discussed the ―Signs of Crisis‖ in The Souls of Politics (1995). He
quoted the prophet Isaiah on the harmful consequence of a society‘s greed and
social injustice, which the late Cardinal Sin lamented in his 2003 homily: “The
people turn on one another, especially the politicians, until “the people’s
spirit is emptied out.” Wallis explained d the other signs of crisis such as
poverty, crime, violence and terrorism. He said that poverty by itself does not
necessarily generate violence and terrorism. Arroyo has stated that terrorism is
due to poverty. It was a gross simplication of a complex crisis. According to
Wallis, it is the loss of hope that creates criminals and terrorists. Both are the
consequences of an underlying problem – the profoundly moral and spiritual
crisis plaguing a country. This crisis would continue to face the Philippines
under the democracy restored by EDSA I in 1986. Eighteen years later, or in
2004, the 9/11 Commission, investigating the attacks on the World Trade
Center and the pentagon in the United States, would classify the Philippines as
one of the sanctuaries for terrorists.

                                                           CHAPTER NINE - CRISIS

Not much is known about a scholarly Franciscan friar, Francois Rabelais. In the
mid 16th century he wrote Pantagruel (1532) and a little later Gargantua(1534).
He made fun of “soul and asshole” Ecclesiastical authorities and scholars in
Sorbonne thirsted for his blood because he dared to emphasize and prove ―that
truth can speak with several voices.‖ On liars and hypocrites Rubelais wrote:
(Footnote – Rabelais Francois Gargantua and Pantagruel (1532-34) in Ibid,
Seymour-Smith, pp.164-166)

You hypocrites and two-faced, please stay out;
Grinning old apes, potbellied snivelbeaks,
Stiffnecks and blockheads. Worse than Goths, no doubt…”

(DISCUSS Legitimacy under ―CRISIS‖.)



            Politicians have abused and betrayed people power.
                         What has happened to us?

                                               Bishop Socrates Villegas
                                           EDSA II 2004 Anniversary Homily

       he ―People Power Revolution‖ of February 1986 or Edsa 1 has still to be

T      considered by historians as a significant event that meaningfully reshaped
       Philippine society. After more than three decades the country has remained
mired in crisis. It has been a dreary experience for most Filipinos. Political
economist of the University of the Philippines has called the regime after 1986 the
―EDSA system.‖ (Footnote – Bello, Walden, et al., The Anti-Development State –
The Political Economy of Permanent Crisis in the Philippines (2004), University of
the Philippines, Quezon City, CORASIA Inc., p. 1) Time‘s lengthy article, 80 Days
That Changed the World (March 31, 2003), would dent Filipino pride. Edsa 1 was
not considered a revolution that would contribute political and social consequences
in time. It did not belong to the category of India‘s Freedom Day of August 14, 1947
nor of South Africa‘s formal day of emancipation from apartheid on February 11,
1990. But it was recognized as one of the decisive moments of the 1900s.


Filipinos can stand proud of Edsa 1. To this day, people power is the country‘s
unique contribution to the world. It is changing history everywhere. But the
yearly display of ―enthusiasm‖ for the event is managed and organized by the
government. Self platitudes serve more to people alienation. The world saluted
when freedom was restored without a shot being fired. And the widow of the
heroic and assassinated Benigno S. Aquino, ―Cory‖ Aquino would become
president, only to preserve the oligarchic status quo. Religious intercession
would be tolerated by the state with cardinals, bishops and preachers getting
involved in politics.

Aquino‘s governance favored vested groups and family interests. There were no
serious attempts to reform a corrupt socio-political structure left behind by
Ferdinand E. Marcos. Aquino declared people empowerment as if the people
alone by themselves could institute reforms. She failed to accomplish to lead
them as their president. She had an opportunity for greatness in her family-
owned Hacienda Luisita. Aquino could have set a noble example. The poor
peasants in the hacienda could have been extricated from the country‘s
backward agrarian economy. But Aquino decided to miss the opportunity to
leave a lasting legacy. She excluded Hacienda Luisita from the land reform
program. Max V. Soliven wrote in By The Way – Philippines Star (July 2,

 “A leader‟s legacy – as did that of Rome‟s – lies in the example and the
institutions that a leader leaves to succeeding generations.”

Jose Rizal had warned rulers who refused to institute reforms. In The
Philippines A Century Hence (1889), he cited Machiavelli:

“If those who guide the destinies of the country persist in their refusal to
grant reforms, in making the country retrogress…they will succeed making
them gamble away the miseries of an insecure life.”

Rizal imagined the ideal possibility that reforms could come from above.
(Footnote- Villanueva, Alejo L Jr. Bonifacio’s Unfinished Revolution (1989),
Quezon City, New Day Publishers, p. 37) In his Manifesto to Some Filipinos
(1896), Rizal wrote:

“I have also written (and my words have been repeated) that reforms, in order
to be fruitful, must come from above, that those that come from below are
shaky, irregular and insecure.”

Adulterous adventures and dishonesty of famous leaders are common
throughout history. Estrada‘s behavior breached the norms of morality. So were
                                                        CHAPTER TEN - CONCLUSION

the actuations of other presidents after EDSA I, particularly Arroyo‘s. Her
presidency would be branded the worst after Marcos. All her predecessors after
Edsa 1 were short in visionary virtues expected of good leaders. Francis
Hesselbein describes these leaders who lack the vision to spawn strategic
transformation. (Footnote – Hesselbein, Francis. On Mission and Leadership- A
Leader to Leader Guide. (2002), New York, A Wiley Company.) and Thomas
Sowell in “All the presidents after EDSA I used slogans as substitutes for
visions and as cover-ups for corruption. None has cast away the curse of
Marcos. Together they created the grand illusion that they have empowered the
people. The truth is they empowered the oligarchs, the politicians, the press, the
Church and the military. This statement may rankle many people particularly
Cory Aquino but many more others believe and know it is true. Thomas Sowell
in A Conflict of Visions – Ideological Origins of Political Struggles (1987)
wrote: (Footnote – Sowell, Thomas. A Conflict of Visions- Ideological Origins
of Political Struggles (1987)

“A vision, as the term is used here, is not a dream, a hope, a prophecy, or a
moral imperative, though any of these things may ultimately derive from
some particular vision.”

None of the presidents after EDSA I presented any semblance of a vision to the
Filipino people. From the time of Aquino to Arroyo, Filipinos hungered for
presidential vision. If any of them had one at all, it has certainly failed to
reverberate through Philippine society. And the people were never aware of it.
Sowell further wrote that often, special interests prevail and these are
masqueraded as visions. For example it would appear that Ramos‘ vision was
to ―catapult‖ the Philippines to industrialization by the year 2000. It was a
tragic vision. Ramos encouraged big and controversial projects that generated
economic rents for vested groups and individuals. Aquino‘s vision appeared to
be people empowerment. But who were the people who were really
empowered? And who profited from her vision?

A special issue of Time (October 11, 2004) would include Aquino as one of
Asia’s Heroes. She would be quoted as saying: “My current goal is to expand
the concept of People Power, with which I hope to be forever associated.” It
was and still is a meaningless and abstract statement. She proved it to be in vain
during her six-year rule. She was neither a revolutionary nor a reformer, and
much less a leader. Aquino blamed the coup attempts against her. In her own
words, the question is, did she make a difference? In 2004, Hacienda Luisita,
owned by her family, would be the scene of violence due to workers‘ unrest. It
was Aquino‘s legacy to the poor peasants, hopelessly waiting for a difference.


(MOVE        BELOW          FOR        CONSISTENCY-          POSSIBLY          TO
S. Rajaratnam (1966) spoke of ―modernization revolution‖ in the VII Congress
of the International Youth in Vienna. He said: “we must learn to distinguish
between genuine and spurious revolutions.” A seizure of power, similar to
EDSA I, followed years later by massing of herded demonstrators in EDSA II
does not mean a revolution had taken place. Once the street celebrations had
ended the social, political and economic landscape remained unchanged. The
only changes were in the faces of leaders, while the old order of corruption and
oppression persisted. There were no serous efforts to introduce appropriate
reforms in the social, political and economic fields. Political instability and the
ambition of military officers combined to produce crisis after crisis. The
Philippines has to yet initiate real transformation in the quality and stability of
its government. Changes in the social and economic fabric of Philippine
society have to go beyond words. They were not destined to happen under the
country‘s crop of leaders after Edsa 1. George H.W. Bush would have said as
he did: “The status quo is unacceptable.”248 (EXPAND AND LOOK FOR

Aquino‘s “status quo presidency” failed to appreciate the desired elements of
reform through―modernization‖, Huntington‘s preferred term for development.
Aquino called for ―people empowerment.‖ But she did not give it any
substantive meaning in the form of legitimate political participation that would
lead to reform. People empowerment was interpreted and transformed into mob
justice through organized mass demonstrations. Professional politicians used
people power as an instrument for pursuing their own special interests.
Empowerment of the people became a euphemism for hidden political agenda.
Estrada‘s term in office was short in moral reform. It was also an economic disaster.
The business elites wanted him gone almost from the day he assumed the
presidency, in spite of his landslide 1998 election victory. The allegations of
corruption and his controversial impeachment trial merely provided the galvanizing
issues. Street protests became a frequent occurrence, many of them mobilized by
his enemies. Most were businessmen, professionals and students from the upper-
class. While few of the lower-class people who voted for Estrada cared to participate
in another ―revolution‖, EDSA II took place and it soon intimidated him out of
office. (END OF MOVE)

On ―The Nature of Leadership‖, in The Age of Uncertainty (1977), John
Kenneth Galbraith wrote:

      On George W. Bush etc……….
                                                          CHAPTER TEN - CONCLUSION

“For what do people look in leaders, however selected? For what should they
look?... all of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was
the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in
their time.”

Confronting the anxiety of the people has been the principal essence of
leadership lacking in all Philippine presidents since EDSA I. Poverty has been
the source of anxiety of the majority of Filipinos, but Aquino, Ramos, Estrada
and Arroyo together were unable to address the growing economic miseries of
their time. While insisting they have alleviated the plight of the poor, the people
knew better. Since 1986 they have been disillusioned by the false claims of
their leaders.

Ethics in Public Office is a nondescript locally published book. It has 23 essays
worth reading by Filipino leaders and bureaucrats. They were written by well
known authors, including Robert Payne who wrote The Corrupt Society (1975)
and Niccolo Machiavelli who wrote Il Principe (1513). The essays are relevant
to the crisis of leadership in the Philippines, with leaders lacking in ethics and
trust. The book‘s introduction describes what the EDSA I people power has
brought to the country:

“{There} is now another wave of younger Filipinos, whose public school
teachers often get involved in partisan polities; whose legislators would rather
be… implementers of public work projects; whose kidnappers are in
lawmen‟s clothing; whose priests enjoy more being street marchers and
whose „many fine‟ judges… money can buy. These… are happening in the
immediate aftermath of a so-called „revolution – to restore democracy‟… in a
merry chase to what could be anything else but in the public interest.”

Instead of reforms from the top, EDSA I was glorified with state-managed
ceremonies in a ―shrine owned by the Catholic Church‖. And instead of helping
reform society, Catholic bishops occupy themselves with politics. They have
failed to realize that they are more needed for the moral reformation of leaders,
without taking sides in partisan conflicts. Their conference is also needed to
guide the electorate without favoring candidates. In political contests, priests,
bishops and archbishops have used religion or allowed its use as a weapon. The
Roman Catholic Church is a religion that teaches truth. It has doctrines that
have endured history, more than any ―charimastic‖ or fundamentalist religious
group that tend to corrupt rather than uplift society‘s morals. It is a true religion
and its ministers can convince the disenchanted and the wayward to embrace it
more than their preference for politics. But religion in the Philippines, like


politics, has assumed the dimensions of show business. Priest and ministers
perform before big crowds of people like entertainers.

 “Where are the people?” The Inquirer of February 26, 2003 asked, as a
sparse crowd gathered in the Catholic-owned shrine during the EDSA
anniversary the day before. “There was hardly anyone…attendance was
minimal almost zero,“ former President Ramos bemoaned. He could not
imagine grandstanding in a celebration of ―People Power‖ without people.
Compounding his apparent insensitivity to reality, Ramos blamed the Arroyo
government for its poor preparations for the affair. There was no doubt that
Ramos could have ―stage-managed‖ the affair better. Ramos‘ predecessor,
Aquino was more down to earth. This time she did not blame the people she
claimed she had empowered. She had blamed them before for expecting too
much. With humility, she said:

“We find our people today tired and disillusioned, desperate for the magic
formula that will bring back the glory of February 1986.”

It was obvious that to many Filipinos, that EDSA I being a real revolution was
a myth. Ramos himself has accepted the truth, when he concluded:
“Maybe next year, it might be really zero.”

Cardinal Sin was rightfully given much credit for EDSA I in 1986. An astute
but honest politician, he would wield influence on the government. The
cardinal would repeatedly cross the line between the church and the state.
Aquino tolerated him by hewing Catholic dogma in solving the country‘s
population problem. The Church has strongly resisted artificial programs to
limit population. Walter W. Benjamin, a specialist in Christian ethics from
Duke University, referred to The Tragedy of the Commons (1969), written by a
leading exponent of population policy, Garrett Hardin. He held Third World
nations responsible for their desperate plight:

“For years they have been concerned more with demagoguery than with

In 2004 the anniversary crowd was even thinner. The trio of Aquino, Ramos
and Arroyo was at the EDSA shrine to listen to the usual annual homily. This
time it was not Cardinal Sin but Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales who
lamented EDSA I. “It was only a fiesta,” he chided the quiet crowd. He cited
the current style of politics, manner of governance and mode of leadership in
the country as proofs that the Filipinos have not learned anything from EDSA I.
                                                       CHAPTER TEN - CONCLUSION

In 2005 Arroyo began the celebration by ―inviting‖ celebrators. She delivered a
stinging speech against corruption. Many found it hypocritical.

Columnist Teodoro C. Benigno wrote, “The drums of memory do not pound
anymore.” Superlatives were spoken but most Filipinos had grown weary of
seeing Aquino, Ramos and Cardinal Sin. There were too many celebrations
without transformations. Aquino had earlier faulted the people for expecting
too much. While she would admit that the people were disillusioned, she still
claimed their expectation was the cause of the disappointment. Maybe too
much reforms were propounded after EDSA I that made her president. But
many blamed her as the obstacle. She simply failed to deliver as a reformist.

During Aquino‘s term and his own time, Ramos herded celebrators from public
offices and schools with the help of the Catholic Church. Ramos was lavish in
self-platitudes before a captive audience. He was the supreme embellisher of
facts and composer of metaphors, which had no groundings of reality. Years
after he ended his term and desensitized with megalomania, he was unaware of
a brewing public alienation with the rule of his ward, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo,
whom he helped install to power. Greg Hutchinson, an investigative journalist,
has described Ramos as: “A master of the subterfuge.”

The Philippines remained a poor straggler under Ramos. It was not a model of
change in a region that went through a ―growth miracle‖. Ramos claimed credit
for the morsel that somehow fell the country‘s way. He invited foreign
investors and attracted them with muiti-billion peso projects, characterized with
doubtful legality. Meantime pockets were lined with kickbacks with trails
leading to Malacañang. Verbal presidential orders were given to obedient and
ambitious bureaucrats. Many of them were willing to immunize the presidency.

 Robert L. Bartley, editor of The Wall Street Journal, wrote The Seven Fat
Years (1992) where he quoted Lloyd Bentsen: “Eventually we would awake.”
Paraphrasing Bartley: “The Ramos rule was an epoch of illusion.” It was a
six-year ―coma―. Slogans were confused with solution and rhetoric passed for
reality. Ramos attacked poverty with his Social Reform Agenda, which was
littered with ―abstruse theoretical jargon‖ and confusing details. In reality his
agenda smacked of Marcosian tutelage with clientelism at its core. Benefits
accrued to both patrons and clients at the expense of the poor. Later, Estrada
would inherit the practices of his predecessor but without the covert
Machiavellian finesse to protect his self.

Ramos was a Machiavellian leader. Later, to remain in power, Arroyo would
try to emulate his skills. After all it was known that Machiavelli observed the
“ruling techniques of Cesare Borgia – his ruthless skill in maintaining his


princedom through times of chaos.” In 2004 Arroyo would ignore reality
presented to her by opinion polls showing the growing public disenchantment
with her rule. The massive turnout of people during the funeral of her principal
opponent in the May 2004 elections, Fernando Poe Jr., would give credence to
the perception that Arroyo cheated Poe to win the presidency.

In 1986, EDSA I forced Marcos into exile. It was a bloodless massing of
people. While it was an expression `of defiance it was hardly an armed
uprising. Journalist Max V. Soliven wrote:

“And to be blunt, if the military and elements of the police hadn‟t joined the
EDSA uprising and the tanks, armored cars had rolled, and military fire,
we‟d have ended as ketchup on the sidewalk.”

Marcos could have crushed EDSA I but he did not have the support of the
military. EDSA II in January 2001 was much less a revolution. It was an
organized mob, linked by hatred of Estrada, perceived by many as corrupt. It
confirmed the Filipino predisposition for fiestas. EDSA II had an atmosphere of
a festival. It was a ―mobocracy‖. But Estrada lacked the support of the military
to crush it. It is relevant to to quote a near-aphorism from P.J. O‘Rourke‘s
Parliament of Whores (1991):

           “Be silent, wretch, and think not here allow‟d
            That worst of tyrants, an usurping crowd”

                                        --Alexander Pope, trans., The Iliad

EDSA II was a ―usurping crowd‖ supported by Aquino, Ramos and Cardinal
Sin. It did not empower the common people but the power elite. Writing on The
Power Elite (1983), C. Wright Mills concluded that among those who compose
the power elite, “it is the military that has benefited the most in its enhanced
power…” The so-called people empowerment in EDSA II has destabilized the
country, with the military emerging as the most dominant and corrupt
institution. The military knows the prevarications happening at the top. It also
knows that they have the power to bring down the government anytime. The
people also know that its generals have to be wooed. Together with their top
comrades in the national police, appointments in the cabinet await them after
their retirement. In the meanwhile their spouses can prepare their egg nests
abroad with dollar accounts and properties. The honest ones can rise up in arms
as the Oakland mutineers. The risk is they will be punished for their honesty.

The corruption charges against Estrada appeared substantiated. Singapore
Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew described the leadership of Estrada in The
                                                        CHAPTER TEN - CONCLUSION

Singapore Story (2004) as “pleasure loving.” Under an assumed name, Estrada
allegedly deposited huge amounts of money in the Equitable-PCIB Bank. The
overall money collector was Governor and gambler Chavit Singson, who would
be honored by Arroyo as the ―Father of EDSA II‖. The entire scheme was
convincingly narrated in Hot Money-Warm Bodies: The Downfall of Philippine
President Joseph Estrada (2001), by Ellen Tordesillas and Greg Hutchinson. It
was Estrada‘s scandalous womanizing that paved the way to his downfall. And
it was his failure to husband military support that ultimately forced him out of
the presidency. To remain in power Arroyo has to court military support.
In spite of its long roster of generals the Philippine military has been perceived
as weak and corrupt. There are many generals living beyond their means.
Ramos has initiated the ―modernization‖ of the military but it was considered
questionable. So far it is neither modernized nor reformed. It is only bigger. In
American parlance, generals are ―a dime a dozen‖ in the Philippine military.
There are course honest ones among them. Apropos to military reform is
Randolh S. Churchill book, Winston S. Churchill (1967). It relates how the
great leader reformed the British army. It has since become one of the best
armies in the world. The following words of Winston S. Churchill are relevant
to the condition of the present day Philippine military:

“There has been a great demand for army reform and I am pledged to it up to
hilt…No one has pledged himself to army reform need accept any
scheme…without counting the cost. Still less…is any obligation to support
schemes of army increase. A better army does not necessarily mean a bigger
army. There ought to be ways of reforming a business other than by merely
putting more money into it.”

The words of Churchill are enlightening but they are of no import to the
decision makers in the Philippine military. They have different and misplaced
priorities. Putting less money into the organization is not one of them. Robert
M.Hutchins credited philosopher Scott Buchanan in Embers of the World
(1970) for being the first person to mention the significance of the
enlightenment of the people of developing countries. In the Philippines many
are now enlightened on the myths of people power, much to the dismay of the
people who have profited and continued to worship the movement. Only a few
developing countries have experienced real enlightenment under a Western-
style democracy where a really free electoral system exists. Many intelligent
Filipino voters have doubts about the legitimacy of the electoral and party
systems in the country. Candidates are known to undermine the country‘s
election mechanism The perception is: Business groups or big businessmen,
especially rich “aliens”, are the most guilt “tinkerers.”


The Filipino culture yearns for democracy. Marcos threatened this yearning.
EDSA I or people power has not produced the promised viable governments
more humane than his dictatorial rule prior to 1986. Actually it has been quite
the opposite. It was predicted that a freer democratic governance would give the
Philippines a more stable society. This has remained a frustrated dream. After
two decades and two or three EDSA people power revolutions democracy has
failed to give the Philippines a much needed stability. Samuel P. Huntington in
The Clash of Civilizations (1996) wrote about democracy and ―the chaos
paradigm‖, which created an accurate picture of what has been happening in the
Philippines since EDSA I.
EDSA I created an atmosphere of unbridled freedom. Print, TV and broadcast
media flourished to serve private interests. In the words of Leonard R. Sussman
in Power The Press & The Technology of Freedom (1989), a ―press state‖
emerged. Sussman wrote that just as Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir
feared, Western-style press freedom would lead to license and irresponsibility.
And journalists would tend to believe that any form of restriction must
eventually lead to oppression. Sussman concluded:

“To be sure, an irresponsible press – can poison the well of understanding
and do harm to a democratic state.”

Together with politicians, journalists shared a rediscovered freedom. EDSA I
turned a long-endured suppression of the press into a free-wheeling liberty,
which was abused and used as a heady license for sensational reporting.
However, there are still many crusading professional journalists. Unfortunately
they would become endangered specie. Liam Fitzpatrick reported in Newsweek
(March 21, 2005):

“Outside of Iraq, the Philippines is the world‟s most dangerous place for
journalists , who find themselves beset by poverty, corruption and murder.”

Former Army Chief of Staff Angelo Reyes and his wife would figure in
allegations of corruption. As Arroyo‘s Secretary of Interior and Local
Government he has shown lack of prudence, to say the least of his controversial
talents. His unkind words would rankle in the minds of hard hitting journalists:

“These journalists who were involved in nefarious activities – if they were
killed or threatened because of those activities, and not because they were
crusading journalists, then I don‟t that is a crime against freedom of
expression. I am not saying that it is not a crime. But the point is this: People
get mad, no?”
                                                       CHAPTER TEN - CONCLUSION

Like their American colonizers, Filipinos want democracy. But Margaret Mead
had written in A Way of Seeing (1970), that: Even “many Americans are
confused about what, exactly, democracy means.” After EDSA I Filipinos
simply equated democracy with elections. Unfortunately the electoral system
has remained flawed and open to corruption. Estrada‘s actor son, Jinggoy
would be charged with plunder. Yet he would be elected senator in the May
2004 elections. He would join other entertainers with dubious capabilities. It is
an indication of how Filipino legislators and leaders are chosen by the
electorate or by the Commission on Elections. Arroyo‘s brother-in-law, alias
Jose Pidal, a self-confessed money launderer, would be ―elected‖ congressman.
Many believed Arroyo cheated on the way to another six-year term.

In August 2004, 11 faculty members of the University of the Philippines School
of Economics warned Arroyo that the country was facing a crisis bordering
collapse. The academicians, in their paper, The Deepening Crisis: The Real
Score on Deficits and the Public Debt, concluded it was a question of
leadership. There was no doubt that this conclusion is correct. In the past, the
economy failed to avoid the foreign debt crisis, the energy crisis and the Asian
financial crisis due to lack of leadership skill. The May 2004 elections were
divisive and there was too much distrust of the leadership of a ―reelected‖
president. The distinguished U.P. professors could have concluded. their paper
with a Cinton-esque sound-bite: “It‟s Leadership Stupid!”

Faculty members of the Economics and Political Science Departments of
Ateneo de Manila University also came out with their own paper: Beneath the
Fiscal Crisis: Uneven Development Weakens the Republic. They proposed their
own ―10-Point Agenda for Economic Democratization‖. It was an apparent
answer to Arroyo‘s vision for ―A Strong Republic‖ The paper concluded that
the quest for a strong republic has to be more than just empty rhetoric:

“Otherwise, the Philippines will be condemned to an existence characterized
by persistent muddling through from crisis to crisis and never quite getting

No words could be more succinct than what columnist Neal H. Cruz wrote in
As I see It (September 13, 2004) in the Inquirer:

 “Nobody to blame but GMA for fiscal crisis… GMA did not tell the whole
truth about what happened….there is nobody to blame for the economic crisis
but herself. The usual excuse of new presidents is to blame their
predecessors. But in her case she preceded herself. The mess in her first three
years, because of her all consuming desire to be re-elected….although she
had promised not to run for re-election.”


Arroyo does not hesitate to lie. Lacking in honesty, the poor view her well-
publicized compassion for them as nothing but plasticity. Many listened with
scorn when she said, “I rather be right than popular,” after survey ratings
showed how unpopular she was with the people. Columnist Randy David in
Secrets (December 15, 2004) in the Inquirer was sharper and more accurate in
writing on Arroyo as a liar, a cheater and even a thief:

“A leader lies, cheats and steals; the citizens will lie, cheat and steal.”

Why did Arroyo lie in her Rizal day martyrdom speech? Evelin Sullivan in The
Concise Book of Lying (2001) has a possible answer:
“Of course, depending on the liar‟s mental state, the desire for something,
may appear the fear of not getting it…The fear of of losing something –
money, a job, a marriage, power, respect, reputation….,etc., etc – is one

 Andrew and Nada Kakabadse wrote that people love to hate their leaders. In
Essence of Leadership (1999), they discussed how the level of trust and
confidence between leaders and their followers can suffer due to denial.
Filipino presidents from Aquino to Arroyo have gone through this state. They
reject unfavorable feedbacks. Aquino would blame the people for their high
expectations. Arroyo would simply stone-wall negative feedbacks. In August
2004, the Social Weather Station conducted a poll survey of the newly ―re-
installed‖ Arroyo administration. There was a marked drop in the president‘s
approval net rating to 12 percent from 30 percent in March before the elections
of the same year. The SWS said that the drop in Arroyo‘s ratings is connected
to: “The widespread public suspicion that she cheated in the May 2004
presidential elections.”

Writing on political corruption, American sociologist Amitai Etzioni said,

“There have always been select groups within society that used their power to
make government heed them more than the rest of the people.”

Arroyo would heed Aquino more than the poor. When rich families are owners
of large states, similar to Hacienda Luisita, they are referred to as oligarchs.
Soon after EDSA II in January 2001, Arroyo had described in Asiaweek how
she would govern the country. She said she would just be a “good president,
not a great president.” She committed to improve people confidence in the
government by example to ―lead the rich to pay more taxes‖. She patronized
Aquino and summed up her hypocrisy by making her day by saying:
                                                        CHAPTER TEN - CONCLUSION

“The problem of our country is governance, not oligarchs.”

EDSA II in 2001 was to Arroyo as EDSA I was to Aquino in 1986. Cardinal
Sin was on record in saying that one woman president for the country was
enough. They were good in ―making changes around the edges‖ like facial
make-ups that beautify but do not change anything. Compared to EDSA I,
EDSA II was not popular. The SWS survey in 2001 showed that on a
nationwide basis only 3% joined any rally against Estrada. Within metro-
Manila the participation was 11%. These figures hardly indicated a popular
uprising. But many felt that Estrada deserved to be ousted. But 66 % believed
in having a trial to judge if Estrada was guilty or not of the impeachment
charges against him.
Through the years, after EDSA I, politicians have abused the national budget
for personal gain. Many senators and congressmen enjoyed their ―pork‖
without restraints. Throughout the history of the United States the pork barrel
has been the biggest source of corruption. In studying American leadership
tradition, Marvin Olasky revealed: Andrew Jackson as president refused to
allow the government to become the “universal dispenser of good and evil.”
He vetoed spending measures that “would merely encourage congressmen
to sit at the pork barrel and logroll their way to legislative longevity, to build
campaigns for office instead of a country.” Of course, Arroyo is far from
being an Andrew Jackson.

“Where is the pork?” Congressmen asked in disappointment amid the fiscal
crisis in 2005. They have approved the increased Value Added Tax in
anticipation for their usual largesse. Meantime, through corrupt administrative
procedures, they would allow the faulty implementation of the VAT. The
senators were not far behind. With the exception of a few, they would maintain
their pork barrel allocations. It was unexpected that the people would view with
resentment the corrupt bargaining with a ―pork-greased‖ congress. With
Arroyo, they have just given the poor a ―double whammy‖. In her usual
manner, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago suggested: “That all senators and
congressmen just commit mass suicide as the best public service to the

From the time he became president in 1988, Estrada started committing
political suicide. His most insidious adversaries were Cardinal Sin, Ramos and
Aquino. But no doubt Estrada has violated the moral sensibilities of the
Filipinos. Unfortunately the interests of the Estrada bashers were not communal
but personal and political. On January 16, 2001, the Philippine Senate through
majority vote decided to shield Estrada who was facing impeachment. It
refused to open an envelope containing damaging evidence on Estrada‘s secret
bank accounts. Many were incensed. Street rallies were soon organized by the


anti-Estrada groups. Behind most of the demonstrations was the husband of

Ironically, Estrada who was reputed to be a smart politician, besides being a
popular with the masses, failed to neutralize the maneuverings of the groups
who supported Arroyo. He was also unable to coexist with a hostile media.
Hopelessly, he tried to defuse the belligerence of the press. His personal battle
with the Inquirer was viewed as disastrous to his presidency. The Inquirer had
more firepower especially with the help of the Catholic Church and moralistic
megalomaniac groups led by Aquino and Ramos. Estrada pursued the
clientelistic relationships with the haves at the expense of the have-nots.

Meanwhile, the country‘s neighbors have been dislodging themselves from the
morass of degeneration. For example, Thailand has been successful in
instituting reforms, albeit under an autocratic and even revolutionary approach.
In the Philippines, established elite groups have so far proven that they were
extremely difficult to dislodge, but Estrada during his brief rule was known to
get the upper hand of corrupt exchanges. Together with Estrada, except in
words, none of the presidents that came after Marcos showed a deep
commitment to drastic changes. Clapham believed only revolutionary changes
could reverse poverty in a third world country like the Philippines.

Exemplary public performance did not appeal to Estrada. But private immoral
malfeasances did. He did not have the intellect of Clinton and Kennedy, who
both practiced adultery while being presidents. Estrada thought his popularity
with the poor would pull him through. As an actor and even the mayor of a
small town his immoral behavior did not hurt him. But being president was
different. He needed both innate brilliance and instinctive cunning, particularly
in dealing with the affairs of a country and in fighting his political adversaries.
It was expected that he would not remain in power for long. To be sure, he met
these expectations in no time at all. Arroyo was his beneficiary.

EDSA II enthroned Arroyo to the presidency in 2001 but she failed to gain
credibility among majority of the Filipinos. The presidential election in May
2004.brought a compelling fear to many Filipinos. It was expected that she
would stop at nothing to earn credibility. Sussman referred to this public
anxiety as an: “Orwellian conclusion - a political tragedy on a vast scale.” To
the skeptics, an acceptable political order after the May 2004 presidential
elections was an illusion. Considering the quality of candidates for the
presidency, including Arroyo, none has the potential a leader capable of leaving
a legacy to succeeding generations. Arroyo would win but her ―victory‖ would
only prove that elections in the Philippines were a sham. Reacting to her proud
speeches columnist Teodoro C. Benigno wrote and addressed Arroyo:
                                                      CHAPTER TEN - CONCLUSION

“The whole archipelago is seething with unrest… You talk like Demosthenes
but…you do not have…his prominence, his greatness…”

Arroyo‘s insincerity as a leader and the dubious mandate she ―received‖ in the
May 2004 elections were described by a columnist, Isagani A. Cruz, in the
Inquirer issue of September 12, 2004, who wrote:

“On the same day President Arroyo issued AO 103, (ruling out lavish
lifestyles) the papers also reported her trip to China. She took with her…First
Gentleman, five department secretaries…as well as…hair dresser and
manicurist…Her abjurations against ostentation and improvidence…but not
to her own profligacy… is like an insult to the overburdend (Filipino)
people…. The reference to mandate (by Arroyo) is interesting… But
ironically the word „mandate‟ also instantly reactivated images of the dubious
manner in which she would be proclaimed winner in the last elections.”

Again Teodoro C. Benigno in Here’s The Score in The Philippine Star on
September 20, 2004 was blunt:

“The truth is finally beginning to emerge. Facts, figures and statistics that
were conveniently concealed before by the leadership are now emerging…by
force of circumstances and a republic beginning to…come apart. The May 10
elections proved a fiasco…The cheating was massive. There was so much
government loot spent on the elections, so much fraud. The face of evil, the
wages of evil, could not be hidden anymore.”

Would Arroyo become worse than Estrada? Senator Joker Arroyo, her
erstwhile supporter, surprisingly gave the answer. He described Arroyo‟s
“presidency as worse than that of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.” The Asian
Wall Street Journal (October 7, 2004) printed a commentary by the Heritage
Foundation of Washington D.C. Dana R. Dillon, senior policy analyst of the
Foundation and its specialist on Southeast Asian affairs, described Arroyo as:

“The weakest leader in the region…an equal opportunity weakling…who
would rather appease than confront…She has accepted nearly $ 100 million
a year in military, development and food aid from the United States since the
September 11 attacks, at the same time working against American interests
on a variety of issues.”

Arroyo was supposed to offer new moral incentives that unfortunately also
gave way to material desires. Her reforms were cosmetic and even fraudulent.
EDSA II gifted Arroyo with the presidency but it was a far cry from EDSA I.


On the other hand, Estrada was popular with the poor. However, in reality he
did not do anything dramatic for them. His major accomplishment was
tarnishing the presidency. Estrada became a helpless ―punching bag‖ with his
press flacks unable to give him succor. He became the most media-abused
Philippine president of recent times.

Against civilian mismanagement the military usually finds it necessary to
intervene with a level of politicization that it is beyond its expertise to handle.
Communist and Muslim separatist rebels have continued to roam the
countryside, practically unrestrained by a corrupt military. On July 27, 2003 a
military mutiny erupted again in the Philippines. While the mutiny failed to
dislodge Arroyo, the public was sympathetic to the mutineers. They were
headed by a young and idealist navy officer. He would testify before the
Philippine Senate and declared boldly: “The military is corrupt. The
government is corrupt.” The senators were flabbergasted but they would not
dare question that corruption has become more endemic under Arroyo.

After EDSA II, Arroyo had yet to reduce immorality in her new government.
There has been a scarcity of investors‘ confidence in the country. It was
internationally known that she was not installed by popular mandate but
through the help of a notorious gambler. Her husband, Juan Miguel Arroyo,
carried the title of ―First Gentleman.‖ It was a rare honor being referred to as
the premier gentleman of the country although to many it was joke. He had
boasted that he and his group were ready to use force in EDSA II to assure her
wife‘s ascendancy to the presidency. It was natural that another Marcos‘
―conjugal partnership‖ would be installed in Malacañang once Estrada was

―First Gentleman‖ Arroyo would stonewall and brush aside charges of
corruption against him. Like Estrada he would be accused of raking in dirty
money. Many knew his friends were rewarded with juicy positions, especially
in big government corporations, which they promptly abused. Like Marcos,
Arroyo would ignore that the presence of her spouse was generating discontent
about her administration. It would have been statesmanlike had Arroyo kept
him away from spicy government deals. But Arroyo‘s folly was typical of
Tuchman‘s ―March of Folly‖. Paraphrasing one of Tuchman‘s narratives:
“Follies could be perverse when leaders were deaf to rising discontent of the
people.” It was tragic because her ―friends‖ and advisers would not dare
express the truth to her. Like Tuchman, Archbishop Oscar Cruz would say:
“They never learn.”

Tuchman wrote that a delicate choice in receiving information is necessary for
holders of high offices. This means an objective equity in self-perception.
                                                        CHAPTER TEN - CONCLUSION

Leaders have to equalize good and bad publicity about their performance.
(Footnotr – Ibid, Tuchman The March of Folly, p……) Arroyo has desensitized
herself about negative feedbacks pertaining to her behavior, including that of
her husband. They have isolated themselves from reality with positive
feedbacks from self-serving functionaries. Arroyo, who has not hesitated to tell
lies, proclaimed that her growing unpopularity was due to her insistence to do
things right. She would even claim that no less that Pope Paul John II ―told‖ her
to go into EDSA II. Tuchman has written about this common affliction among
power-wielders – “the disease of divine mission.”

Citing James M. Hensely , Paul H. Goldiner referred to leaders who have
failed to achieve an equitable concept of themselves. (Footnote- Ibid, Goldiner
Down to Earth Sociology, p….)They ―float on clouds‖ of deception. No matter
what people say, they are unable to accomplish a realistic internalization of
positive and negative information. A ―cordon-sanitaire‖ of their loved ones and
operatives juggle information for them and the people. All the presidents after
EDSA I, from Aquino, to Ramos, Estrada and particularly Arroyo, suffered
from a delusion of support and attractiveness. This delusion has bred the
―Myths of People Power‖ and the crisis of leadership that now afflicts the

According Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the CBCP, the crisis of
leadership is just the ―tip of the icebrerg.‖ Lagdameo said that such a crisis has
seriously affected the poor who wer ―oftentimes exploited and treated like
commodities. Graft and corruption have been flagrant and endemic, breeding
poverty.‖(Footnote – Esguerra, Christian V. Corruption at Root of RP
Problems (March 6, 2006) Philippine Daily Inquirer)The failure of all the
Filipino presidents after Edsa 1 and 2 to provide the basic requirements of
sound leadership for the economic security of the country is undeniable. The
alternative is to allow and even encourage the people to seek and express their
own aspirations in degradation elsewhere. Many Filipinos after EDSA I have
no choice but to seek opportunities in foreign lands. Resources in their own
country are not reasonably available to them. Inefficiency in governance is as
dramatic as violence in the streets. Both have become more common and
deeply pervasive in all the administrations after both people power movements.
Rampant kidnappings have earned the country the ignominious title of the
―capital of kidnapping‖ of Asia.

Politics in the Third World as in the Philippines is largely a matter of survival
of individuals and groups for self-serving interests. The question is what role
politics has to play in the governance of any country. According to Clapham the
legitimate purpose of politics in government may be ultimately reduced to two.
(Footnote – Ibid, Clapham, Third World Politics, p…..)The first and most


important is security of the people who must be kept safe, but the Philippines
has remained an unsafe country after EDSA I and II. Security has become a
lesser priority. The late Jaime Cardinal Sin had earlier said that politicians
seemed to give more priority to ―tearing one another and bringing themselves
down.‖ They waste time in inconclusive congressional debates in order to
secure their own private interests.

The second requirement of governance is efficiency. But corruption goes hand
in hand with bureaucratic inefficiency and vice versa. In the words of Clapham:
“Inefficiency and exploitation are both expressed through a neo-patrimonial
pattern of social relationships, and most evidently through corruption.” The
degree to which governments after governments engage in extractive corruption
has been growing since the departure of Marcos in 1986. Clientelism has
become self-perpetuating. Revenues extracted from the people are used to fund
the pork barrels of ―soul-less―politicians in the legislature. Scarce public
resources are redistributed to a privileged few. An inefficient ―bureaucratic
bourgeoisie‖ share economic rents with those with political influence while
fiscal deficits and public borrowings grew to the point of crisis.

Paraphrasing Jim Wallis who wrote The Soul of Politics (1995), crisis is the
word that best described the domestic situation in the Philippines under
Arroyo‘s governance. The report of 11 professors from the U.P, School of
Economics painted an impending grim scenario for the country. Arroyo refused
to take the blame. And her perfumados refused to see the light. Aquino would
enter into ―corrupt bargaining‖ with some congressmen and senators for a
higher Value Added Tax .Their principal concern was the protection of their
pork. At the same time abusive officials of government corporations are
allowed to draw obscene salaries and allowances. All of them lack a coherent
social vision amid a growing crisis. They are “at their lowest ebb of credibility,
confidence and respect...Their cold-heartedness is now a judgment upon our
coldness toward them. Indeed, we are reaping what we have sown.”

President Carter spoke on the cure for malaise in his Address to the Nation on
July 14, 1979. What he said is relevant to the conditions in the Philippines:

“The gap between our citizens and our Government has never been so wide.
The people are looking for honest answers, not easy answers: clear
leadership, not false claims and evasiveness and politics as usual.”

Eric Alterman, a best-selling author with a Ph.D. in history from Stanford
University wrote When Presidents Lie – A History of Official Deception and Its
Consequences (2004). On lying, Alterman cited Seymour Hurst, the great
investigative reporter, who has attempted ―to draw a connection between lying
                                                        CHAPTER TEN - CONCLUSION

to one‘s family and lying to one‘s nation.‖ Arroyo‘s lies were like former
American Vice President Al Gore‘s inconsistencies in the 2000 U.S. election.
In the words of Alterman, they were emblematic of their discomfort with their
own personas. In the case of Arroyo‘ it was her inability to relate to the poor as
a ―real person‖ rather than a shrewd politician. According to Alterman,
presidential lying could be tolerated if they did not intend to undermine the
electoral process. Unfortunately, that was exactly the purpose of Arroyo‘s lies.

Why do leaders lie? We go back to Evelin Sullivan who wrote that moral
philosophers and religious thinkers had rationalized lying throughout history. It
is not the root causes of lies that matter. It is the nature of a given lie that is
significant. Sullivant quoted Immanuel Kant:

“To lie is a crime of man against his own person and a baseness which must
make a man contemplate in his own eyes…To be truthful (honest) in all
declarations, therefore, is sacred and absolutely commanding decree of
reason, limited by no expediency.”

In January 2005 Standard & Poor downgraded the country‘s sovereign credit
rating.. At the same time the Philippine Daily Inquirer (January 20, 2005)
reported in a bold headline: “RP No. 2 on Corruption List.” It mentioned a
report of the Asian Development Bank that the Philippines has become the
second most corrupt country in Asia, next to Bangladesh . ADB in turn cited
the Global Competitiveness Report and the Annual Executive Opinion Survey
by the World Economic Forum. The downgrading and the reported ADB study
were serious indictments of Arroyo‘s governance. S & P‘s decision simply
indicated that Arroyo‘s response to the country‘s fiscal problems was not

Arroyo had earlier stated that she had ―solved‖ the fiscal crisis. Arroyo and her
economic team were in a state of denial. They were not fazed by the damaging
reports of S & P and ADB. In fact her political apologists were even critical of
the reports of these international agencies. In an interview in November 2004,
Archbishop Oscar Cruz said, Mrs. Arroyo has been consistent in her
inconsistencies that ―place doubt on her honesty‖. He pointed out the numerous
instances when Arroyo had not kept her word. In 2004 she flip- flopped on the
fiscal crisis facing the country. Cruz added: “She said we are in a fiscal crisis,
now she said it‟s over, it‟s so hard to believe her. It‟s so sad.” Of course none
of the international agencies monitoring her performance agreed with her.
Arroyo has degraded fiscal management to the ability of the government to
borrow at high costs due to poor country risk ratings.


Sissela Bok of Harvard University wrote that when lies are made ostensibly for
the divine mission of advancing the public good, ―they form the most
dangerous body of deceit of all‖. (Footnote – Bok, Sissela, Lying: Moral
Choice in Public and Private Life (1978)………..)On January 20, 2004, the
third anniversary of EDSA II, Arroyo piously closed her eyes as she prayed in a
mass in the EDSA Shrine. She just missed the earlier homily of the bishop. It
would have been fitting for Arroyo to have heard Bishop Villegas say that
politicians were giving a bad meaning to politics. He deplored that:

“Politicians have abused and betrayed people power…The politics of
convenience and compromise that we see around us cannot save the nation.”

The problem of the Philippines has been in the dishonesty of its top leaders.
Arroyo had vowed she would not seek the presidency in 2004. She was honest
enough to admit she would only foment disunity. She lied and proceeded to
bankrupt the treasury to ―win‖ an election in a divine mission. Consequently
she would create more hunger and would gift the country with the specter of
economic collapse. To many Filipinos the problem of the country has been
moral leadership. David cited Etzioni‘s book, The New Golden Rule (1996) on
insights to understand the leadership problem of the country. David wrote:
(Footnote – David, Randy Leadership and the Common Good (January 9,
2005), Philippine Daily Inquirer)

 “The government of President Macapagal-Arroyo is not a coercive regime,
but neither does it thrive on the moral commitment of its citizens….Her style
is that of a politician…She pays her way to power… her public display of
religious piety, persuades no one. It only breeds antipathy and distrust.”

 In the words of Eisler: (Footnote – Ibid. Eisler, The Chalice and the Blade,

“A leader, who believes that trust in the government must be restored, must
demonstrate the competence and honesty to hold that trust. Fiery speeches
are useless if that leader is perceived to be incompetent and dishonest.”

The legacy of Arroyo, the second female president of the country, would be
measured eventually by the trust she received from the people. Many believed
Arroyo has weakened the democratic institutions in the country. She has
undermined the electoral and judicial systems. With the help of her obedient
perfumados and propagandists she has acted in irrational and possibly,
impeachable ways. Resources of the government have been exploited to give
her rule legitimacy. Her victory in the May 2004 presidential elections was
                                                      CHAPTER TEN - CONCLUSION

dubious. Aldous Huxley deplored that: (Footnote – Huxley, Aldous, Brave New
Word Revisited (1958)……….)

“Politicians and their propagandists prefer to make nonsense of democratic
procedures by appealing almost exclusively to the ignorance and irrationality
of the electors.”

Near the end of 2004, newspapers reported how the public continued to view
Arroyo in low esteem. Poll surveys showed majority of Filipinos have doubts
on the integrity of her reelection as president, earned by cheating her prime
opponent Fernando Poe Jr. Many foreign businessmen were also dissatisfied
with her performance. Arroyo has failed in almost all key economic concerns,
from carrying out key fiscal reforms to curbing corruption. Arroyo would orate
and promise a better future for the Filipinos by instituting reforms in the
coming 2005. In December 2004, Archbishop Oscar Cruz was quick to rebuff
Arroyo. He said people should not count on new promises of Arroyo who has
yet to fulfill her 2004 reform pledges.

The myths of people power have their roots in the high expectations and
frustrations of the people. They were nurtured by symbolic leaders who could
not lead due to lack of integrity. Aquino symbolized oligarchy and failed
expectations. Ramos was the symbol of subterfuge and metaphors. Estrada was
the symbol of immorality and decadence. Arroyo was the symbol of lies and
hypocrisy. All shared something in common. They failed to lead with high
integrity. People expected them to be sober, moral and truthful. Instead they
gave the people a crisis of leadership. Newsweek Issues 2005 called it
―leadership deficit‖. Many would suggest a change in the country‘s leader. But
another EDSA ―mobocracy‖ to unseat Arroyo could be as traumatic as EDSA
II. A violent alternative to force Arroyo out of Malacañang would be disastrous.

The qualities required for outstanding leadership have become rare among
Filipino politicians. Most Filipinos believe Arroyo does not have the qualities
of a good leader. In the Pulse Asia survey of March 2006 65 percent of
Filipinos want her out of office. But she believes she is ―God-anointed‖. Yet
the level of trust between her and the people is at rock bottom. And the
questions in the minds of the people are: How can we convince her to give up
the presidency? How can we believe what she says? The best scenario is for
Arroyo to accept reality. There is little doubt that she is a disciplined and an
intelligent person. She is capable of re-thinking her vision for the good of the
country. For Arroyo there is still hope. But she has to abandon her falsity and
the politics of maneuvering. In the words of the professors of Ateneo de Manila
University, she has to show political will - “the rarest of commodities.” This
means she has to put aside her own personal interest for the common good. Or


she can continue with her peroration and in her own words: She can “hold the
nation hostage to a future devoid of hope”

The majority of the ordinary have lost hope on Arroyo. Archbishop Oscar V.
Cruz said ―that many are unimpressed with her claim of the best in leadership.‖
and her unabashed statement that she in office due to the ―direct intervention of
God.‖ (Footnote – Cruz, Oscar V. Archbishop Unimpressed and Unafraid
(March 21, 2006) The Daily Tribune.)

But it also feels good to read in the Foreword written by Robert F.
Kennedy for his brother John F. Kennedy‘s famous book - Profiles of
Courage (1964) - winner of the Pulitzer Prize. The foreword, a quotation
from Lord Tweedsmuir reads:

“Public life is the crown of a career, and to young men it is the
worthiest ambition. Politics is still the greatest and most honorable

(CONCLUDE           WITH        ARCHBISHOP           DESMOMD            TUTU‟S
This list is eclectic and far from being comprehensive. The books in this list
influenced the themes explored in this book.

Abegllen, James C., Sea Change – Pacific Asia as the New World Industrial
Center, Te Free Press, Macmillan & Co., New York, 1994

Abueva, Jose V., People’s People Perception of People Power. Philippine
Daily Inquirer, February 17, 2002

Aburish, Said K., Saddam Haussein – The Politics of Revenge, Blumsberry,
London, 2001

Acosta, Rene, Arroyo Regime “Ripe for Picking” –CNU, Today, Philippines,
October 22, 2004

Adeney, Bernard T., Strange Virtues – Ethics in a Multicultural World,
Apollos, Inter-Varsity Press, England, 1995

Alterman, Eric, When Presidents Lie, A History of Official Deception and its
Consequences, Penguin Group, New York, 2004

Barber, James David, The Presidential Character : Predicting Performance In
The White House, Prentice – Hall International, UK, 1992

Bartley, Robert L., The Seven Fat Years- And How To Do It Again, The Free
Press, New York, 1992

Benigno, Teodoro C., Here’s The Score- The Final Unraveling? The
Philippine Star, September 20, 2004

Bennis, Warren, Why Leaders Can’t Lead , Jossey – Bass Publishers, San
Francisco, 1989

Bibby, John, Governing by Consent, Congressional Quarterly, Inc., Washington
D.C. 1992

Bond, James Ray, Moral Behavior – The Foundation of Human Society, Don
Publishing Company, South Carolina, USA, 1989


Borjal, Art A., Dilemma- Jaywalker, The Philippine Star, June 23, 1997

Campbell, Joseph, Oriental Mythology – The Masks of God, Penguin Books,
New York, 1962

Chang Hee Chee & Obaid ul Haq, S.Rajaratnan – The Prophetic and the
Political, St. Martin‘s Press, New York, 1987

Cheo Kim San, Roland, In Shifting Sands: Examining the Loss of Business
Cofidence in Asia, McGraw – Hill Book Company, Singapore, 1999

Churchill, Randolh S., Winston S. Churchill – Young Statesman, Houghton
Miffin Company, Boston1987

Chikiamco, Calixto V., Not EDSA III But ERAP II, Manila Standard, February
4, 2002

Clapham, Christopher, Third World Politics- An Introduction, The University
of Wisconsin Press, Wisconsin, 1986

Cruz, J.A. dela, Recycling FVR, Malaya, September. 4, 2003

Cruz, Neal H., As I See It, Philippine Daily Inquirer, September 13, 2004

Cuomo, Mario, Reason to Believe, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1995

Dairo, Joan, Desierto Did Same for Ramos, Malaya, October 17, 2001

Danilov, Alexander A., et.al., The History of Russia – The Twentieth Century,
The Heron Press, USA, 1996

David, Randy, Public Lives – EDSA II Revisited, Philippine Daily Inquirer,
January 19 2003

David, Jimenez Rina, At Large, Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 7, 2004

Deng Xiaoping, Selected Works 1982 – 1992, Foreing Language Press, Beijing,

Donovan, John C., et. al., People Power and Politics – An Introduction to
Political Science, Bowdoin College, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc.,
Maryland, 1993
                                                         SELECTED REFERENCES

Doronila, Amando, EDSA II Worries Western Media ,Philippine Daily
Inquirer, January 31, 2001

Dillon, Robert Dana, Arroyo’s Policies Disappointing, Heritage Foundation,
October 7, 2004, www.heritage.org.

Elwood, Douglas J., Philippine Revolution – 1986: Model of          Nonviolent
Change, New Day Publishers, Quezon City, Philippines, 1988

Etzioni, Amitai, Capital Corruption – The New Attack on American
Democracy, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, 1984

Faure, David, Paying for Convenience :An Aspect of Corruption That Arises
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Florentina-Hofilena, Chay and Sayson, Ian, Centennial Scandal in Betrayals of
the Public Trust, Coronel, Shiela S. (Ed.), Philippine Center for Investigative
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Francia, Luis H., Memoirs of Ovedevelopment and Essays of Two Decades,
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Friedel, Frank, Our Country’s Presidents, National Geographic Society,
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Galbraith, John Kenneth, The Affluent Society, Mentor Books, New York, 1958

Galbraith, John Kenneth, The Age of Uncertainty, Houghton Mifflin Company,
Boston, Massachusetts, 1977

Galbraith, John Kenneth, The Nature of Mass Poverty, Harvard University
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Galbraith, John Kenneth, The Anatomy of Power, Houghton Mifflin Company,
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Galbraith, John Kenneth, The Nature of Contentment, Houghton Mifflin
Company, New York, 1992

Gentry, Curt, J. Edgar Hoover -The Man and the Secrets, W. W. Norton &
Company, New York, 1991


Goldberg, Bernard, Bias – A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distorts the
News, Regnery Publishing, Inc., Washington D.C. 2002

Graham, Allison T., and Nocolandia, Kalypso (Eds), The Greek Paradox –
Promise vs. Performance, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1997

Greene, Bob, Fraternity – A Journey in Search of Five Presidents, Crown
Publishers, New York, 2004

Grieder, William, Who Will Tell The People: The Betrayal of American
Democracy, Touchstone, New York, 1992

Hamburger Philip, Matters of State – A Political Excursion, Counterpoint,
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Hamilton, Edith, Mythology, Warner Books, New York, 1942

Henseley James M. (Ed), Downto Earth Sociology, The Free Press, New York,

Hesselbein, Francis, et. al., (Eds), On Mission and Leadership - A Leader to
Leader Guide, Jossey Boss, A Wiley Company, 2002

Hildebrand, Dale, To Pay is To Die: The Philippine Foreign Debt Crisis,
Harvard University, 1992

Houston, Jeanne Wakatsuki, A Tapestry of Hope in Moser, Joyce and Waters,
Ann, Creating America, Stanford University, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 1999

Huntington, Samuel P., Political Order in Changing Societies, Yale University,
Connecticut, 1968

Huntington, Samuel P., and Nelson, Joan, No Easy Choice – Political
Participation in Developing Countries (1976), Harvard University, Cambridge,

Huntington, Samuel P., The Clash of Civilizations and theRemaking of World
Order, A Touchstone Book, Simon & Schuster, 1997

Hutchins, Robert M., Wofford, Harris, Jr..(Ed), Embers of the World:
Conversation with Scott Buchanan, Center for the Study of Democratic
Institutions, Santa Barbara, California, 1970
                                                        SELECTED REFERENCES

IBRD/World Bank. The East Asian Miracle- Economic Growth and Public
Policy, Oxford University Press, 1993

Janda, Kenneth, et. al., The Challenge of Democracy, Houghton Mifflin
Company, Boston, 1989

Jimenez, Cher, Arroyo Losing Trust of Bishops as Incidence of Poverty
Worsens, Today, November 16, 2004

Kakabadse, Andrew and Kakabadse, Nada, Essence of Leadership, Global
Manager Series, ITP, London, 1999

Karnow, Stanley, In Our Own Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines,
Random House, New York, 1989

Kennedy, John F., Profiles in Courage, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1956,
Perrenisl Classics, 1964

King, Alexander and Schneider, Bertrand, The First Global Revolution: A
Report by the Council of The Club of Rome, Pantheon Books, New York, 1991

Kreept, Peter, Are There Any Moral Absolutes – Good Order, Miner Brad (Ed),
Simon & Schuster, New York, 1995

Kurtz, Howard, Spin Cycle – Inside the Clinton Propaganda Machine, The Free
Press, New York, 1998

Lee, Rance P.L., Corruption and Its Control in Hong Kong, The Chinese
University Press, Hong Kong, 1981

Lewis, Michael L.,Trail Fever - On Spin Doctors, Rented Suckers and Grizzly
Politicians on the Way to the Presidency, Adolf A. Knopf, New York, 1997
Little, Graham, Political Ensembles: A Psychological Approach to Politics and
Leadership, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1985

Liu, Melinda and Macleod, Lijia, Barefoot Lawyers, Newsweek, March 4, 2002

Machiavelli, Niccolo, The Prince and     the Discourse, New York, Modern
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Mangahas, Malou (Eds.) , The Search for the Centennial President –
Showdown 98, The Manila Times – Ateneo Center for Social Policy and Public


Affairs, Philippines, 1998

Mansfield, Harvey and Winthrop, Delba, What Tocqueville Would Say Today,
Hoover Digest, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, 2001

Maxwell, John C., The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader ,Thomas Nelson,
Inc., Tennessee, 1999

McCoy, Alfred W., (Ed), An Anarchy of Families: State and Families in the
Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University Press, Manila, 1994

Middlekauff, Robert, The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution – 1763-
1789, Oxford University Press, New York, 1982

Mills, Wright C., The Power Elite in Points of View, DiClerico, Robert E., and
Hammock, Allan S., (Eds.), Addison – Wesley Publishing Company,
Massachusetts, 1983

Miner, Brad (Ed), Good Order – An Anthology – Right Answers to
Contemporary Questions, A Touchstone Book, Simon & Schuster, New York,

Mitchell, William C., and Simmons, Randy T., Beyond Politics: Markets,
Welfare & theFailure of Bureaucracy), Westview Press, Oxford, 1994

Mumford, Lewis, The Myth of the Machine: The Pentagon of Power, Harcourt
Brace Jovanovich, Inc., New York, 1970

Naisbitt, John, Megatrends Asia – The Eight Asian Tigers That Are Changing
The World, Nicholas Brealy PublishingLimited, Great Britain, 1996

Neher, Clark, D., Souhteast Asia – Crossroads of the World, Center for
Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, 2000

O‘ Rourke, P. J., Parliament of Whores, The Atlantic Monthly Press, New
York, 1991

Osborne, David and Gaebler, Ted, Reinventing Government- ow the
Entrepreneurial Spirit is Transforming the Public Sector, Penguin Books, New
York, 1992

Paredes, Ducky, RP in Trouble, Malaya, July 11, 2003
                                                           SELECTED REFERENCES

Payne, Robert, The Corrupt Society, Praeger Publishers, New York, 1975

Plato‟ s Republic , Translated by G.M.A. Grube, Hackett Publising Company,
Indianapollis, 1974

Pesch, Henreich, S.J. , Ethics and the National Economy, Herder &
Company,,Germany (1918), translated by Ederer, Rupert J., Divine World
Publications, Philippines, 1988.

PERC, Hong Kong, RP Listed Among Worsening Democracies, Philippine
Daily Inquirer, February 25, 2002

Pfenning, Werner Dr., Still the Possible Dream – Democracy’s Difficult Birth,
Philippines, Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, April 5, 1988

Phillips, Kevin, Wealth and Democracy, Broadway Books, New York, 2002

Pilger, John, Hidden Agendas, Vintage – The Random House Group Limited,
London, 1998

Powelson, John P., The Moral Economy, University of Michigan Press, Ann
Arbor, 1998

Pye, Lucian W., Asian Power and Politics: The Cultural Dimensions of
Authority, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1983

Quiros de, Conrado, There’s The Rub, Philippine Daily Inquirer, April 30,

Quiros de, Conrado, There’s The Rub, Philippine Daily Inquirer ,September 13,

Rohwer, Jim, Remade in America, Crown Business, New York, 2001

Rubenstein, Richard E., Alchemists of Revolution – Terrorism in the Modern
   World, Basic Books, New York, 1986

Safire, William, What’s The Good Word?,Times Books, New York, 1982

Saguisag, Rene AV., Bands of Brigands – T.G.I.F., Today, October 22, 2004

Satsis, Stephen (Ed)., Taking Sides – Clashing Views on Conservative Issues,
Duskin-McGraw Hill, Connecticut, 2001


Saul, John Ralston, The Unconscious Civilization, The Free Press, Simon &
Schuster, Inc., New York, 1995

Schuman, Michael, Going For Broke?, Time, August 20, 2004

Shively, Phillips W., Power and Choic: An Introduction to Political Science, McGraw-
Hill Companies Inc., U.S.A., 1999

Shogan, Robert, The Double-Edged Sword: How Character Makes and Ruins
President, from Washington to Clinton, Westview Press, Colorado, 1999

Sinclair, Upton., The Profits of Religion, Promentheus Books, New York, 2000,

Sison, Jose Maria with Werning, Ranier, The Pilippine Revolution : The Leader’s View,
The Mendiola Massacre, Crane Rusack, London, 1989

Skowreck, Stephen, The Politics Presidents Make, Harvard University Press,
Cambridge, Massacusetts, 1993

Spaeth, Anthony, Cringing Tigers , Time, July 7, 2003

Soliven, Max V., By The Way – Philippine Star, July 2. 2004

Sullivan, Evelin, The Concise Book of Lying, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, New
York, 2001

Tabori, Paul, The Natural History od Stupidity, Barnes and Noble, Inc., New
York, 1993

Tatad, Francisco S., Making the System Work: Beyond the Year 2000, Reyes
Publishing, Inc., Philippines, 1995

Taylor, George E., The Philippines and the United States: Problems of
Partnership, Prager, New York, 1964

Thatcher, Margaret, Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World,__________,

Tiglao, Rigoberto, Gloria para sa Masa, Outlook, Philippine Daily Inquirer, January
31, 2001

Tiglao, Rigoberto, EDSA is Again Telling Us ?, Outlook, Philippine Daily
Inquirer, February 23, 2001
                                                         SELECTED REFERENCES

Tomlinson, Larry, American Politics: An Inquiry, Kendall Hunt Publising
Company, Iowa, 1990

Tuchman, Barbara W., The March of Folly – From Troy to Vietnam , Alfred A.
Knoff , New York, 1984

Villegas, Bishop Socrates B., Jesus Loves You – Homilies at the EDSA Shrine,
Anvil Publishing, Manila, 1998

Vitug, Marites, Tightening the Noose – The Lower House Moves Quickly to
Oust Estrada, Newsweek, November 27, 2000

Vitug, Marites, The Philippines – Gloria Takes the Reins, Newsweek,, February
5, 2001

Welles, James F., The History of Stupidity, Mount Pleasant Press, New York,

Wilson, James Q., Bureaucracy : What Government Agencies Do and Why
They Do It , Basic Books, HarperCollins Publishers, USA, 1989

Wofford, Harris, Jr. (Ed), Embers of the World, The Center for the Study of
Democratic Institutions, Santa Barbara, California, 1970

___________Days of our Lives: 80 Days tat Changed Our Lives, Time, March
31, 2003

___________2004 Asia’s Heroes,Time, October 11, 2004

___________Crony Capitalism Hounds Asian Economies, Philippine Daily
Inquirer, January 21, 2002

___________Ethics in Public Office – 23 Essays on the Philippine Crisis in
Public Ethics and Public Trust, 19__

_____________Fighting Poverty, Far Eastern Economic Review, April 4, 2002

____________My Example is Integrity – On President Arroyo and How She
Will Govern, Asiaweek, February 2, 2001

____________Opposition Says Desierto Part of Cover-up, Malaya, October
17, 2001


___________ Taking Action Against Corruption in Asia and the Pacific, Asian
Development Bank and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and
Development, ADB,Manila, Philippines, 2002

____________San Francisco Chronicle, ay 6, 2001

____________ Asiaweek , January 19, 2001

____________Fighting Poverty, Far Eastern Economic Review, April 4, 2002

Benigno, Teodoro C. Here’s the Score, The Philippine Star, April 28, 2002

Benigno, Teodoro C. Here’s the Score, The Philippine Star, February 4, 2003

Tiglao, Rigoberto, Philippine Daily Inquirer, February 16, 2001
A                                                                             122, 123, 125, 126, 131, 134, 137,
                                                                              138, 139, 140, 143, 144, 145, 146,
A Bias for Hope ..................51, 65, 80, 214                             148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154,
ABS-CBN ......................................... 41, 58                      155, 156, 157, 158, 160, 161, 162,
activists ................................................... 42              163, 164, 165, 166, 168, 169, 170,
ADB See Asian Development Bank                                                171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 178, 179,
Age of Paradox ..............47, 132, 143, 214                                180, 181, 182, 186, 187, 188, 189,
Alchemists of Revolution ............... 43, 218                              190, 191, 192, 193, 195, 196, 197,
Allchemists of Revolution............... 43, 218                              198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204,
Allison, Graham T. ................................. 47                       205, 206, 207, 208, 211, 213, 215,
Almonte, Jose T. .......................... 168, 175                          221
Alterman, Eric........................... 20, 60, 205                    Arroyo, Ignacio T. ................................ 169
Altschull, Albert....................................... 65              Arroyo, Jose Miguel ...... 13, 17, 35, 37, 41,
America .................................................... 2                104, 140, 162, 163, 165, 169, 179,
Anatomy of Power ...........14, 85, 110, 214                                  180, 182, 201, 202
apartheid .............................................. 185             Arthur, John ............................................75
Apostol, Eugenia ...................................... 5                ASEAN See Association of South East
Aquino, Benigno S. .............................. 186                         Asian Nations
Aquino, Corazon C. ..5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12,                             Asia 8, 9, 11, 18, 19, 31, 34, 45, 46, 48,
      15, 16, 20, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31,                                 58, 62, 73, 74, 78, 88, 89, 90, 92,
      33, 34, 36, 37, 41, 42, 43, 47, 48, 49,                                 103, 113, 120, 124, 127, 128, 129,
      51, 55, 57, 60, 61, 67, 70, 72, 82, 85,                                 130, 133, 141, 142, 144, 150, 153,
      86, 89, 91, 95, 96, 101, 102, 103,                                      154, 156, 157, 158, 170, 187, 204,
      106, 108, 110, 118, 121, 123, 124,                                      206, 211, 212, 217, 221
      125, 131, 132, 133, 140, 142, 146,                                 Asian Development Bank... 9, 44, 88, 138,
      148, 149, 150, 151, 153, 157, 159,                                      139, 153, 206, 221
      162, 164, 165, 166, 170, 177, 179,                                 Asian Economic Crisis......................... 131
      181, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191,                                 Asian Miracle ................... 8, 131, 144, 215
      192, 197, 198, 199, 203, 204, 208                                  Asian Values ........................................ 142
Argentina ........................................ 93, 140               Associated Press ................................. 115
Arroyo, Gloria Macapagal . 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10,                            Association of South East Asian Nations
      11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 25, 26,                                 .......................................... 46, 51, 144
      27, 28, 30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38,                            Ateneo de Manila University ....vi, 64, 196,
      39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 46, 47, 48, 49,                                 208, 216, 217
      53, 54, 55, 57, 58, 59, 61, 62, 63, 65,
      66, 68, 69, 70, 73, 78, 79, 80, 83, 84,
      85, 87, 88, 90, 91, 96, 97, 98, 99,                                B
      101, 104, 105, 107, 108, 109, 110,
      111, 112, 114, 116, 117, 118, 119,                                 Bahamas.................................................73


Banzon, Josefa ......................................... v      Catholic Church .. 9, 10, 14, 17, 37, 38, 39,
Barber, James David........... 145, 148, 149                          42, 65, 67, 72, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87,
Bartley, Robert L............................ 60, 191                 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 97, 115, 117, 130,
Belarus ..................................................134         132, 140, 149, 151, 162, 187, 189,
Benigno, Teodoro C. .. 138, 155, 191, 200,                            190, 191, 199
     201                                                        CBCP See Catholic Bishops Conference
Bennis, Warren .....................................112               of the Philippines
Berry, Wendell ......................................133        Centennial Scandal ..... 175, 176, 213, 216
Bias for Hope, A ................ 51, 65, 80, 214               Center for International Affairs ...... 3, 4, 22,
Blackaby, Henry and Richard ..............160                         218
Blanca, Nida ...........................................77      Century Bank............................................ 2
Blue Ribbon Committee .......................176                CFIA See Center for International Affairs
Bob Greene ............................................20       Chang Hee See.................................... 212
Bok, Sissela ..........................................206      Chang Heng See ..................................... 2
Bond, James Ray .................................167            Changes2, 4, 7, 22, 23, 30, 38, 46, 51, 61,
Bondoc, Jarius ......................................123              70, 96, 97, 99, 102, 107, 112, 113,
Borgia, Cesare......................................192               115, 128, 131, 132, 143, 149, 155,
Bosworth, Stephen ...................................7                161, 163, 178, 191, 198, 208, 211,
broad sheets ...........................................76            213
Brooks, David .......................................112        changing of the guard ....................22, 125
Buchanan, James................ 167, 194, 215                   Cheo Kim San, Roland ................126, 144
Budapest...............................................117      China 11, 31, 34, 46, 50, 58, 95, 113, 127,
Bureacracy............................................122             129, 130, 131, 132, 137, 144, 155,
Burke, Edmund.............................. 96, 112                   156, 158, 201
Burma .................................. 127, 129, 178          Christian.. 14, 60, 83, 84, 92, 97, 100, 130,
Burns, James MacGregor ....................166                        151, 190
Buruma, Ian ..........................................174       Church of Christ ..................................... 39
Bush, George H. W. ...............................46            Churchill, Randolh S. ........................... 193
Bush, George W. ......... 27, 28, 29, 43, 173                   Churchill, Winston S. ....................193, 212
Cacho-Olivarez, Ninez .........................162              Civil Society ...................................... 38, 83
Camacho, Jose Isidro ..........................173              Civilization.................. 2, 54, 116, 152, 219
Camdessus, Michel ..............................120             Clapham, Christopher .... 23, 93, 160, 204
Campbell, Joseph.....................................3          Clapham, Christopher ..... 23, 93, 160, 204
Canada .................................................145     Clay, Henry ........................................... 112
Capalla, Fernando Archbishop ............140                    Clinton, Hillary....................................... 111
Capitalism .............................. 26, 129, 221          Clinton, William ....... 20, 73, 106, 111, 167,
Cardinal Sin ..9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 25, 36, 37,                         183, 200, 216, 219
     42, 48, 72, 82, 85, 86, 87, 90, 91,                        Club of Rome .. 44, 45, 123, 178, 181, 216
     120, 121, 126, 140, 151, 168, 185,                         Columnists 6, 49, 50, 70, 76, 91, 123, 138,
     190, 191, 192, 198, 199, 204                                     155, 160, 169, 173, 179, 190, 191,
Carter, Jimmy .................. 60, 82, 151, 205                     197, 200
Castro, Noli de ......................... 58, 59, 169           Communist .................... 48, 132, 134, 202
Catapult.......................................... 34, 187      Concepcion, Raul ................................... 78
Catholic Bishops Conference of the                              confidence ...... 35, 57, 124, 126, 139, 144,
     Philippines............ 14, 86, 87, 88, 215                      158, 172, 197, 198, 202, 205

Congress .ii, 31, 33, 93, 99, 140, 150, 159,               Danilov, Alexander A. .............................26
      172, 176                                             Danzinger, James...................................62
conjugal dictatorship .............................. 22    David Rina Jimenez................................69
Constitution .. 7, 16, 27, 42, 59, 61, 74, 99,             David, Randy ...... 117, 160, 179, 197, 201
      103, 106, 115, 125, 158                              Davide, Hilarion.......................................36
Corrupt Society, The ......93, 152, 188, 218               De Quiros, Conrado .16, 49, 50, 170, 182,
Corruption... vi, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14,                190
      16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 26, 31, 32, 33,              debts...... 17, 124, 135, 136, 139, 140, 153
      34, 35, 43, 44, 45, 46, 48, 49, 54, 55,              decadence ................................... 162, 208
      56, 58, 59, 61, 64, 66, 67, 68, 70, 72,              deception ................................. 56, 98, 203
      73, 74, 84, 85, 90, 96, 97, 98, 99,                  Defensor, Miriam ............... 8, 40, 119, 199
      101, 102, 104, 106, 107, 108, 111,                   Democracy....7, 13, 14, 15, 19, 21, 23, 24,
      114, 116, 117, 120, 122, 125, 128,                        26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 39, 42, 48, 50,
      131, 134, 137, 140, 143, 144, 145,                        58, 62, 64, 66, 67, 71, 74, 78, 84, 99,
      146, 149, 150, 152, 153, 154, 155,                        102, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119,
      156, 157, 158, 159, 160, 162, 163,                        120, 121, 122, 124, 125, 126, 127,
      164, 165, 168, 169, 170, 172, 173,                        128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134,
      174, 175, 176, 178, 179, 180, 181,                        136, 137, 138, 139, 141, 142, 143,
      182, 186, 187, 189, 190, 192, 193,                        145, 146, 150, 154, 158, 164, 178,
      195, 197, 198, 199, 200, 202, 204,                        180, 185, 189, 194, 195, 207, 213,
      206, 208                                                  214, 215, 218
Coup d'etat ................................. 16, 23, 93   Democratic Wish ................................. 125
Coup d'Etat6, 8, 12, 16, 23, 40, 48, 49, 61,               Demosthenes ...................................... 200
      102, 110, 115, 116, 117, 123, 125,                   Dershowitz, Alan M.............................. 131
      132, 168, 169, 172, 179, 188                         Desierto, Aniano .................................. 176
credibility... 16, 35, 71, 111, 139, 145, 200,             Dialogues ................................................62
      201, 205                                             dictatorship 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 18, 22, 23,
crisis.... 18, 19, 60, 68, 113, 119, 120, 123,                  25, 26, 28, 29, 31, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37,
      126, 131, 144, 146, 177, 196, 215,                        39, 40, 41, 49, 51, 55, 56, 60, 61, 64,
      221                                                       78, 79, 82, 84, 92, 99, 101, 102, 103,
cronies ........... 7, 13, 17, 22, 139, 145, 162                104, 105, 107, 108, 109, 110, 115,
Crouch, Thomas .................................... 88          116, 117, 118, 120, 121, 123, 124,
Cruz, Avelino ................................ 105, 162         125, 129, 130, 133, 139, 145, 149,
Cruz, Neal H........................... 18, 182, 196            150, 153, 157, 160, 161, 163, 164,
Cruz, Oscar Archbishop .............. 206, 208                  165, 170, 171, 173, 176, 177, 179,
Cruz, Rene Ciria .................................... 42        186, 187, 192, 194, 200, 201, 202,
Cuban Revolution ............................ 27, 32            204
Cuomo, Mario ...................................... 180    Dilemma ............................................... 212
                                                           Dillon, Robert Dana ............................. 201
                                                           Discourses ..............................................93
D                                                          Domination..............................................19
                                                           Doronila, Amando ...................................69
Damaged culture 4, 32, 39, 49, 50, 53, 74,                 Dragin, Burt .............................................67
   75, 76, 77, 101, 130, 133, 136, 141,                    Duffy, Micahel ...................................... 166
   154, 163, 170, 178, 179, 194                            Duke University.............................. 51, 190


                                                                       195, 198, 200, 202, 203, 204, 205,
                                                                       206, 208, 212, 213, 220
E                                                                 Estrada, Joseph ... 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16,
                                                                       29, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42,
economic rents 17, 83, 121, 150, 187, 204                              47, 49, 57, 58, 61, 62, 63, 65, 66, 67,
economists......18, 20, 129, 130, 131, 134,                            70, 71, 72, 73, 77, 83, 85, 86, 87, 88,
     144, 177                                                          89, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 101,
EDSA See Epifanio de los Santos                                        103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 110,
     Avenue                                                            111, 116, 117, 118, 123, 125, 131,
Egyptians ..............................................126            139, 141, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150,
Ehrenreich, Barbara ...............................68                  151, 152, 153, 157, 160, 161, 165,
Einstein .....................................................2        167, 168, 170, 171, 173, 174, 177,
El Shaddai ........................................82, 83              179, 180, 181, 182, 186, 188, 192,
Elections ...8, 9, 10, 13, 16, 17, 19, 24, 54,                         193, 195, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202,
     55, 59, 62, 66, 72, 83, 89, 99, 102,                              203, 208, 220
     103, 106, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121,                           Ethics ......54, 89, 151, 152, 188, 211, 218,
     122, 124, 127, 130, 139, 141, 142,                                221
     143, 146, 158, 161, 169, 175, 179,                           Etzioni, Amitai ...............................120, 197
     180, 181, 192, 195, 196, 197, 200,                           euphemism ....................................... 34, 80
     201, 207                                                     Eureka College....................................... 60
electoral reforms .......................... 119, 180             Europe ....................... 84, 92, 95, 127, 128
electorate .......59, 147, 148, 181, 189, 196
Emerson, Ralph Waldo ..........................97
England............................ 28, 87, 122, 211              F
Enrile, Juan Ponce .......... 40, 61, 125, 141
Enriquez......................................... 84, 175         factionalists ............................................. 10
Enriquez, Salvador ................ 84, 175, 176                  factions .......... 7, 37, 84, 85, 111, 130, 150
Epifanio de los Santos Avenue ...2, 5, 6, 7,                      Fairlee, Henry ......................................... 56
     8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19,                        Faure, David ......................................... 155
     20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31,                      Federal Bureau of Investigation........... 101
     32, 33, 34, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42,                      Federalist Papers ................................... 85
     43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 51, 54, 55, 56,                      Feibleman, James K. .....................50, 122
     57, 58, 60, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68,                      First Gentleman .... 13, 17, 35, 37, 41, 104,
     69, 70, 71, 72, 74, 77, 82, 83, 84, 85,                            140, 162, 163, 165, 169, 179, 180,
     86, 87, 88, 89, 91, 92, 96, 97, 99,                                182, 201, 202
     101, 102, 103, 105, 107, 108, 110,                           fiscal crisis..18, 60, 79, 139, 196, 199, 206
     111, 112, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119,                           Folly2, 40, 96, 123, 125, 147, 152, 203,
     120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126,                                 220
     127, 130, 131, 132, 137, 138, 139,                           Fr. Francisco Claver ............................... 48
     141, 143, 145, 146, 148, 150, 151,                           Francia, Luis H. ...................................... 61
     152, 155, 156, 157, 158, 160, 161,                           Fraport-Piatco...............................161, 162
     162, 163, 164, 165, 167, 168, 171,                           Free University of Berlin .................22, 109
     173, 174, 177, 179, 182, 185, 187,                           Freedom Day........................................ 185
     188, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194,                           freedom the press .... 64, 74, 75, 122, 141,
                                                                        185, 195

free-wheeling..................78, 127, 134, 195                  Hamburger, Philip .....................................3
French Revolution................ 26, 27, 28, 92                  Hamilton, Edith....................... 1, 3, 60, 214
                                                                  Hamilton-Patterson James.....................60
                                                                  Handy, Charles .................................... 132
G                                                                 Harding, Warren .................................. 167
                                                                  Harvard Law School ............................ 104
Galbraith, John Kenneth .5, 14, 39, 85, 89,                       Harvard University .... 3, 4, 21, 59, 85, 104,
     93, 96, 100, 110, 151, 159, 168, 177,                             113, 114, 139, 173, 180, 182, 206,
     179, 188, 213, 214                                                214, 215, 218, 219
Germany ........................................ 28, 218          Haussein, Saddam ... 1, 27, 28, 29, 30, 40,
Global Revolution...........45, 181, 206, 216                          116, 177, 201, 211
Goldberg, Bernard ........................... 65, 80              Hesselbein, Francis ............................. 187
Gomez, Edmund Terence ..................... 13                    Hidden Agenda .............................. 37, 218
Gonzalez, Ibarra Father......................... 64               History of Stupidity ......... 26, 159, 219, 220
Goodgame, Dan .................................. 166              Hitchcock, David .................................. 141
Goodwin, William ................................... 55           Hofilena, Chay Florentino .................... 175
Governance . 8, 11, 13, 14, 17, 19, 51, 53,                       Honasan, Gregorio ............................ 6, 41
     57, 61, 62, 63, 66, 71, 83, 137, 139,                        Hong Kong ..... 34, 73, 154, 155, 156, 157,
     144, 146, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153,                                158, 179, 213, 216, 218
     154, 156, 158, 159, 160, 163, 164,                           Hoover Herbert .......................................71
     165, 168, 169, 172, 173, 174, 175,                           hope .......................83, 126, 181, 187, 208
     177, 178, 180, 181, 182, 186, 190,                           Howard, John....................................... 171
     194, 198, 203, 204, 206                                      Hukbalahap.............................................24
Government Financial Institutions ....... 176                     Human Development Report ..... 135, 151,
Government Owned and Controlled                                        167, 211
     Corporation................................... 162           Hume, David ........................................ 146
Government Service Insurance System                               Huntington, Samuel P. 3, 4, 17, 21, 23, 24,
     ......................................105, 175, 176               26, 27, 33, 37, 38, 51, 53, 93, 114,
Great Leap Forward............................... 34                   167, 194, 215
Greek........................................................ 1   Hurley, David ................................... 75, 76
Greek Paradox, The .............. 47, 143, 214                    Hutchinson, Greg...35, 124, 149, 191, 193
Greene, Bob........................................... 20         Hutchinson, June ................................. 124
Grieder, William...................................... 63         Huxley, Aldous ..................................... 207
Gross National Product ............... 134, 138                   hypocritical ....................... 34, 98, 149, 190
Growth with Equity ............................... 134            Ibon Foundation................................... 111
Guardians............................................... 63
Guingona, Teofisto......................... 13, 140
Gulf War ................................................. 30     I

                                                                  IBRD See International Bank for
H                                                                      Reconstruction and Development
                                                                  Independent Power Producers ... 103, 177
Hacienda Luisita .... 25, 26, 133, 186, 188,                      India....... 58, 113, 134, 156, 157, 158, 185
    198                                                           Indiana University ...................................65
Haggai, Edward ................................... 161


Indonesia . 13, 14, 50, 113, 129, 144, 154,                      L
     156, 157, 158, 178
Internatioal Monetary Fund 120, 126, 136,                        Lacson, Panfilo .................... 41, 69, 75, 76
     139, 153                                                    Lagdameo, Amado ......................109, 175
International Bank for Reconstruction and                        Land Reform 25, 26, 30, 31, 133, 186, 198
     Development.............................9, 215              Landler, Mark.......................................... 40
international law......................................30        Lansky, Meyer ........................................ 73
International Monetary Fund ...... 120, 126,                     Laurel, Salvador ...........................175, 176
     136, 139, 153                                               Laws of Power ........................................ 95
Investigative Journalism . 55, 73, 157, 175,                     Leadersv, vi, vii, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 14, 15,
     213                                                               17, 19, 23, 24, 29, 30, 33, 34, 37, 38,
Iraq 27, 28, 29, 30, 195                                               39, 42, 43, 44, 46, 47, 49, 51, 53, 55,
Isaiah............................................ 109, 126            56, 57, 58, 60, 62, 63, 65, 73, 81, 82,
Israelites ................................................126         83, 84, 85, 88, 91, 92, 93, 94, 96, 97,
Issues.................9, 58, 117, 181, 208, 219                       98, 99, 100, 101, 103, 104, 106, 107,
                                                                       110, 111, 112, 113, 115, 116, 118,
                                                                       120, 123, 125, 127, 128, 129, 131,
J                                                                      137, 138, 139, 141, 142, 143, 145,
                                                                       148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 155, 157,
Jackson, Andrew ................. 100, 159, 198                        159, 160, 161, 163, 164, 165, 166,
Jacobson,Jodi.......................................136                167, 168, 169, 170, 172, 174, 175,
Jaket, Melos............................................48             177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 183, 186,
Janda, Kenneth ........................... 119, 180                    188, 189, 192, 193, 196, 197, 200,
Jefferson, Thomas............. 58, 78, 86, 161                         201, 203, 205, 207, 208, 211
Jimenez, cher .......................................145         leadership5, 13, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 27, 33,
Johnson, Lyndon ....................................71                 40, 43, 51, 57, 58, 62, 74, 91, 94, 96,
journalists v, 20, 59, 61, 64, 65, 67, 68, 69,                         111, 112, 115, 119, 123, 124, 132,
     72, 73, 74, 76, 77, 79, 80, 141, 195                              138, 140, 141, 144, 145, 148, 149,
                                                                       150, 155, 156, 157, 160, 165, 166,
                                                                       170, 174, 175, 177, 179, 188, 190,
K                                                                      193, 196, 198, 201, 203, 205, 207,
Kakabadse, Andrew .............................100               Lee Kuan Yew .... 57, 58, 70, 78, 107, 129,
Karnow, Stanley ...................................7, 9                131, 136, 150, 154, 155, 163, 177,
Keller, Helen .........................................109             193, 216
Kenya ......................................................84   Lee, Rance P.L.............................154, 155
Keynes, John Maynard ..........................17                legacy5, 8, 31, 32, 78, 153, 159, 165, 174,
kidnappings........................ 43, 72, 89, 204                    186, 188, 200, 207
Kilusang Magbubukid .............................24              Leigh, Veronica ................................ 59, 69
Kim Dae Jong ................................ 77, 131            Lewis, Micahel ...................................... 148
Komisar, Lucy .........................................61        libel 141, 162
Kurtz, Howard .........................................70        Lichter, Stanley S. .................................. 59
Kuwait .....................................................29   lifestyle ................................... 86, 172, 201
                                                                 Lincoln, Abraham ...........................58, 107
                                                                 Linz, Juan J. ......................................... 119

Little, Graham....................................... 165          Maxwell, John C. ................................. 174
Liu, Marianna ......................................... 73         McCoy, Alfred .........................................31
Lombardy ............................................... 97        Mead, Margaret ................................... 195
Los Angeles City Ethics Commission .. 54,                          Media ... 19, 51, 56, 59, 65, 66, 67, 68, 72,
      75, 115                                                            73, 77, 80, 115, 125, 130, 173, 213,
Los Angeles City EthicsCommission ... 54,                                214
      75, 115                                                      Media Elite ..............................................59
loyalty .. 16, 27, 84, 93, 109, 110, 153, 179                      Megawati.................................................13
                                                                   Mendoza Massacre ........... 11, 25, 96, 219
                                                                   Mendoza, Leandro .............................. 107
M                                                                  Mercado, Orlando ...................................10
                                                                   Merkyl, Peter...........................................54
Macapagal, Diosdado .................. 105, 109                    messiah.......................................... 11, 116
Madison, James............................... 58, 84               Metaphors .. 8, 34, 47, 102, 111, 137, 149,
Mafia ....................................................... 65         150, 165, 191, 208
Magno, Alex ................................... 41, 134            Mexico ...................................... 7, 140, 143
Magsaysay, Ramon ............................... 24                Middle East .............................................28
Mahathir Mohammad .................... 74, 150                     Middlekauf, Robert .................................23
Makati City..... 10, 12, 35, 42, 48, 140, 168                      military .. 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 22,
Malaya ..... 66, 91, 102, 173, 212, 218, 221                             24, 25, 33, 37, 43, 44, 48, 61, 62, 63,
Malaysia . 9, 18, 34, 50, 74, 113, 120, 126,                             69, 85, 88, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96,
     127, 128, 129, 133, 142, 144, 150,                                  102, 109, 110, 111, 116, 117, 125,
     154, 156, 157, 174, 177                                             127, 129, 132, 140, 144, 149, 155,
Malloch, Mark ....................................... 117                156, 162, 168, 170, 171, 172, 178,
Manila Hotel .........................104, 175, 176                      179, 187, 192, 193, 194, 201, 202
Manila Standard ........................... 144, 212               Mindanao ........................... 43, 44, 49, 170
Mansfield, Harvey ................................ 128             Miner, Brad ...............................................7
Mao Tse Tung ...................... 31, 34, 58, 95                 Miranda, Felipe .......................................64
March of Folly..... 3, 40, 96, 147, 152, 185,                      MIT 4, 113, 214, 217
     195, 197, 203, 216, 220, 221                                  Mitchell, William C. .................................83
Marcos, Ferdinand E. . 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12,                      Mobocracy ......7, 11, 33, 38, 48, 115, 116,
     18, 22, 23, 25, 26, 28, 29, 31, 32, 34,                             125, 178, 192, 208
     35, 36, 37, 39, 40, 41, 49, 51, 55, 56,                       Moral Economy................ 14, 55, 138, 218
     60, 61, 64, 78, 79, 82, 84, 92, 99,                           Morality... 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 17, 20, 23, 30,
     101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 107, 108,                                  34, 36, 37, 39, 55, 57, 62, 63, 73, 78,
     109, 110, 115, 116, 117, 118, 120,                                  84, 89, 90, 91, 94, 97, 99, 106, 112,
     121, 123, 124, 125, 129, 130, 133,                                  118, 126, 138, 139, 142, 145, 149,
     139, 145, 149, 150, 153, 157, 160,                                  150, 151, 153, 161, 167, 168, 169,
     161, 163, 164, 165, 170, 171, 173,                                  177, 180, 182, 187, 189, 199, 200,
     176, 177, 179, 186, 187, 192, 194,                                  202, 205, 206, 207, 208, 211, 216,
     200, 201, 202, 204                                                  218
Marcos, Imelda ..............61, 108, 164, 165                     Morris, Dick .......................................... 106
marital fidelity........................................ 107       Mumford, Lewis ......................................39
Massachusetts Institute of Technology .. 4,                        muslim ............................................ 43, 202
     113, 214, 217                                                 Mydans, Seth ....................................... 115


Mythology ...................... 1, 3, 15, 212, 214            Paguia, Alan F. ....................................... 42
Myths 1, 3, 5, 6, 13, 14, 15, 19, 23, 30, 64,                  paredes, Ducky .................................... 173
    125, 194, 205, 208                                         Paredes, Ducky .................................... 173
                                                               Parenti, Michael................................ 69, 73
                                                               Pariah .............................................16, 111
N                                                              patronage ... 4, 32, 55, 102, 107, 120, 122,
                                                                    128, 129, 142, 149, 150, 151, 152,
Naisbitt, John ..........................................45         153, 156, 163, 164, 177, 179, 181
Nature of Contentment . 39, 159, 179, 188,                     Payne, Robert ................................93, 188
    214                                                        PCA See Philippine Consultative
New Deal for Asia, A ..................... 74, 141                  Assembly
New Society......................................5, 164        Peccei, Aurelio........................................ 44
New York Times ..... 40, 43, 115, 131, 211,                    Pei Minxin ............................................. 137
    212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218,                         People Power .. v, vii, 1, 3, 5, 6, 10, 11, 18,
    219, 220                                                        19, 20, 22, 23, 33, 34, 39, 40, 44, 47,
Newly Industrialized Country..............8, 34                     48, 49, 50, 51, 54, 60, 63, 74, 84,
Newspaper Publishers . 65, 211, 213, 214,                           101, 103, 110, 112, 115, 117, 125,
    218, 220                                                        139, 142, 148, 149, 159, 162, 165,
Newsweek Magazine10, 11, 58, 122, 142,                              178, 180, 182, 185, 186, 187, 188,
    174, 195, 208, 216, 220                                         189, 190, 193, 194, 203, 207, 208,
NIC 8, 34                                                           211, 213
Nixon, Richard ..................................68, 73        People's Consultative Assembly ...18, 165
                                                               PERC See Political and Economic Risk
                                                               Perez, Hernando J. .............................. 180
                                                               perfumados ................. 153, 154, 204, 207
                                                               personality ......................................56, 100
Oakwood Mutiny...... 12, 16, 140, 170, 172
                                                               Pfenning, Werner ................................... 22
Obaid ul Haq............................ 2, 118, 212
                                                               philanderer..................................14, 38, 73
Ocol, Joseph.........................................175
                                                               Philippine Constabulary .................49, 170
oil resources....................... 28, 29, 30, 135
                                                               Philippine Consultative Assembly.......... 18
Olasky, Marvin 20, 49, 100, 101, 112, 116,
                                                               Philippine Daily Inquirer . 5, 12, 16, 18, 22,
      148, 157, 198
                                                                    38, 39, 57, 63, 65, 66, 67, 69, 70, 71,
Ombudsman ........................ 149, 161, 176
                                                                    72, 75, 77, 95, 108, 117, 122, 130,
opinion columnists .. 12, 57, 65, 68, 69, 70,
                                                                    156, 163, 168, 170, 182, 189, 190,
      75, 76, 77
                                                                    196, 197, 199, 201, 206, 207, 211,
opportunism ................................. 106, 161
                                                                    212, 213, 218, 220, 221
Order .................................. 7, 94, 216, 217
                                                               Philippine Gaming Corporation............ 162
Orwell, George .......................................79
                                                               Philippine National Police..................... 108
                                                               Philippine Paradox, The 47, 132, 143, 214
                                                               Philippine Press...................................... 64
P                                                              Philippine Senate 35, 36, 56, 69, 103, 141,
                                                                    148, 162, 169, 172, 175, 176, 199,
Pacific............................. 51, 153, 211, 221              202
Padilla, Alex ............................................54   Philippine Star ................. 6, 211, 212, 221

Philippines ii, v, vi, vii, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10,               Power 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14,
      11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22,                           15, 16, 18, 19, 22, 23, 25, 27, 28, 32,
      23, 24, 26, 27, 31, 32, 34, 35, 36, 38,                           33, 35, 36, 37, 39, 40, 41, 44, 46, 47,
      39, 40, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 50, 51, 54,                           48, 49, 51, 54, 55, 57, 61, 62, 63, 64,
      56, 57, 58, 60, 61, 63, 64, 65, 67, 68,                           65, 67, 68, 70, 71, 74, 77, 79, 80, 81,
      69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 78, 79, 84,                           82, 84, 85, 86, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94,
      85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 93, 94, 96,                           96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103,
      99, 101, 103, 104, 113, 114, 115,                                 104, 105, 106, 107, 109, 110, 111,
      118, 119, 120, 122, 123, 124, 126,                                112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118,
      127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133,                                122, 124, 125, 128, 132, 139, 140,
      134, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 142,                                142, 143, 145, 149, 150, 151, 152,
      143, 144, 145, 148, 149, 150, 152,                                154, 155, 156, 159, 161, 162, 164,
      153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158, 159,                                165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 174, 177,
      160, 162, 163, 164, 167, 173, 174,                                178, 180, 182, 185, 188, 190, 191,
      176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 185,                                192, 193, 194, 197, 198, 200, 203,
      186, 187, 188, 189, 191, 194, 195,                                205, 207, 208, 214, 217
      196, 200, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206,                           Power Elite ................................... 193, 217
      207, 211, 213, 216, 217, 218, 219,                           Power Plays ......................................... 106
      220, 221                                                     President . vii, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 17, 20,
Pidal, Jose ............................................ 196            33, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 47, 48, 58, 59,
Pilger, John ............................................ 37            60, 61, 62, 70, 71, 72, 73, 77, 78, 82,
Plato ....................................................... 62        83, 91, 94, 96, 98, 100, 101, 102,
Political and Economic Risk Consultancy                                 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 109, 111,
      ..................... 154, 156, 157, 158, 218                     112, 116, 117, 118, 120, 122, 125,
political ills................ 17, 92, 121, 137, 166                    128, 132, 138, 140, 142, 143, 145,
political interests . 2, 16, 17, 22, 28, 30, 33,                        146, 148, 149, 150, 152, 154, 157,
      35, 38, 54, 64, 65, 76, 85, 92, 93, 95,                           160, 161, 162, 163, 165, 166, 167,
      98, 104, 121, 133, 134, 150, 151,                                 168, 170, 173, 174, 175, 177, 179,
      152, 166, 167, 180, 181, 186, 187,                                180, 182, 186, 187, 188, 191, 196,
      194, 199, 202, 204                                                197, 198, 199, 200, 202, 203, 205,
Political Justice ....................................... 55            207, 208
Political Order in Changing Societies . 3, 4,                      pressure groups......................................17
      7, 23, 25, 47, 94, 114, 215, 216, 217                        Prince, The.........92, 93, 94, 107, 108, 216
political will....... 16, 58, 146, 154, 156, 208                   Princeton University..................... 114, 137
Politics .................................. 2, 69, 74, 220         Problematique............18, 44, 45, 123, 178
poll surveys ............................................ 16       Profits of Religion ..................... 15, 90, 219
Polotical ...................................... 2, 57, 212        Public Estates Authority....................... 109
Pope Alexander ..................................... 98            Pundit ........................................................3
population ...........................72, 73, 76, 157              Purchasing Power Adjustments .......... 178
poverty.. 13, 16, 43, 44, 45, 48, 50, 61, 62,                      purious revolutions......................... 33, 118
      72, 87, 88, 89, 92, 116, 126, 133,                           puritan revolution ....................................23
      134, 135, 136, 137, 144, 153, 155,                           Pye, Lucian W...................................... 113
      160, 161, 174, 179, 181, 191, 195,
Powelson, John...................................... 14


Q                                                              Rohwer, Jim ......................................... 154
                                                               Roosevelt University of Chicago............ 43
Qatar Dynasty.........................................27       Roosevelt, Theodore.............................. 68
quagmire .................................................28   Rosario, Ramon del Jr. .......................... 47
                                                               Rothman, Stanley................................... 59
                                                               Rubestein, Richard E. ............................ 43
R                                                              Rule of Force ............................42, 51, 207
                                                               Russia ................................ 26, 28, 58, 212

Rajaratnan, S. ........................ 57, 118, 127
Ramos, Fidel V. .... 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 22,
     34, 36, 37, 40, 42, 43, 45, 46, 47, 48,
     49, 57, 61, 62, 66, 70, 72, 73, 84, 85,
     89, 91, 93, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 101,                      Sachs, Jeffrey....................................... 139
     102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108,                        Safire, William......................................... 57
     109, 110, 119, 125, 137, 146, 148,                        San Francisco Chronicle. 41, 42, 211, 221
     149, 150, 157, 160, 161, 165, 168,                        SarDesai, D.R. ..................................... 142
     170, 173, 175, 176, 177, 179, 181,                        Sarino, Cesar................................175, 176
     187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193,                        Satsis, Arthur .......................................... 75
     199, 203, 208, 212                                        Satsis, Stephen ........................................ 9
Reagan, Ronald .................... 60, 100, 123               Saul, John Ralston ...... 2, 54, 84, 146, 152
red tape ................................ 156, 158, 159        Sayson, Ian........................................... 175
Redistribution with Growth ...................134              scapegoats .................... 42, 123, 175, 180
Reform 6, 8, 13, 17, 19, 22, 28, 29, 32, 33,                   scholars .................................................. 21
     43, 45, 47, 51, 102, 119, 120, 125,                       Sea Change .......................... 46, 128, 211
     133, 139, 143, 158, 163, 180, 186,                        Sen, Amartya................................129, 130
     189, 191, 200, 202, 208                                   Senate ..17, 35, 36, 56, 69, 103, 141, 148,
Republic ........................... 35, 62, 172, 196               162, 168, 169, 172, 175, 176, 199,
Return of the Muckraker.........................67                  202
Reveolutionary.... 6, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30,                  Seoul.................................... 129, 136, 137
     31, 32, 38, 45, 50, 54, 74, 102, 123,                     Shogan, Robert .................................... 167
     140, 188, 200                                             Siguion-Reyna, Armida .......................... 86
Revolution . v, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 15, 16, 21,                Sinclair, Upton .................................. 15, 90
     22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31, 32, 33,                   Singapore . 34, 50, 57, 58, 70, 74, 78, 107,
     36, 38, 39, 43, 44, 45, 46, 49, 50, 51,                        120, 126, 127, 128, 129, 131, 133,
     61, 63, 64, 67, 79, 84, 96, 110, 112,                          136, 144, 150, 154, 155, 156, 157,
     115, 118, 125, 130, 142, 144, 145,                             158, 159, 163, 174, 179, 193, 212
     175, 181, 182, 185, 189, 192, 213,                        Singson, Chavit ................... 105, 168, 193
     216, 217, 218, 219                                        Sison, Jose Maria.................. 24, 102, 145
Reyes, Angelo ..7, 37, 110, 117, 170, 171,                     Skoroneck, Stephen............................. 163
     195                                                       Slogans...................... 8, 97, 107, 125, 187
Reyes, Narciso G. ....................................5        Smith, Paul ............................................... 9
Reyes, Noel ..........................................144      social democracy ................................. 121
Rhee, Syngman......................................27          Social Weather Station ................197, 198
Rizal, Jose ................... 111, 146, 186, 197             Society .... 2, 10, 14, 22, 23, 26, 27, 32, 34,
Robles, Alan C........................................64            39, 41, 44, 61, 75, 78, 81, 82, 83, 84,

      87, 89, 101, 104, 111, 112, 123, 126,                      T
      130, 132, 134, 141, 143, 152, 167,
      168, 174, 187, 189, 194, 198                               Tabori, Paul.......................................... 159
Socrates ................................................... 2   Taiwan....................34, 113, 133, 157, 179
Soliven, Max V. ....................170, 186, 192                Talibans............................................ 44, 86
Soliven, Maximo V. .................................. 6          Tarbell, Ida ..............................................68
SONA See State of the Nation Address                             Taruc, Luis ..............................................24
South Africa.......................................... 185       Tatad, Francisco ........................ 56, 71, 84
Southeast Asia ......8, 9, 13, 34, 46, 78, 90,                   Television 9, 39, 56, 58, 59, 66, 67, 68, 69,
      113, 124, 126, 129, 142, 150, 170,                              78, 80, 130, 194
      201, 217                                                   Terroristsvii, 31, 43, 44, 74, 124, 126, 155,
Soviet Bloc ............................................. 27          156, 178
Sowell, Thomas ........................... 123, 187              Thailand ... 9, 18, 34, 50, 88, 92, 113, 127,
Spaeth, Anthony ............................ 38, 178                  133, 142, 144, 150, 154, 156, 157,
Spin Cycle ...................................... 70, 216             174, 199
spinners ...... 63, 66, 70, 82, 111, 148, 157,                   Thatcher, Margaret .......................... 4, 100
      216                                                        The Press.. 64, 74, 75, 122, 141, 185, 195
spinning .................................. 71, 148, 166         There's the Rub ..................... 16, 170, 218
Sri Lanka ................................................ 88    Third World .................... 23, 168, 204, 212
Standard & Poor .................................. 206           Tiglao, Rigoberto ........................... 66, 182
Stanford University... 56, 79, 98, 205, 215,                     Time Magazine 18, 38, 61, 178, 185, 187,
      216                                                             219, 221
State ................................................. 3, 214   Tocqueville, Alexis de .......................... 128
State of the Nation Address................... 17                tomlinson, Larry ..................... 1, 2, 12, 220
statism .......................................... 142, 150      Tordesillas, Ellen...................... 35, 91, 193
statistics ....... v, 50, 62, 127, 138, 153, 201                 transformations ..46, 81, 82, 124, 142, 187
Status Quo .......................33, 46, 115, 186               Transparency International............ 84, 157
Stepan, Alfred ...................................... 119        Trinidad, Arturo Q. ............................... ii, vii
Stockman, David............................ 79, 121              Trinidad, Jose Roberto .........................ii, vi
Strong Republic ..................... 35, 172, 196               Trinidad, Riza Marie................................. vi
stupidity .................................... 72, 90, 159       Tuchman, Barbara W. ............. 3, 125, 147
subservience ........................................ 171        Tucker, Robert C. ...................................57
subterfuge ............................149, 191, 208             Tufts University .........................................5
Suharto ................................................. 129    Tulfo, Ramon ..........................................75
Sullivan, Evelin ....................... 98, 197, 205            Twin Towers ...........................................43
Sun Yat Sen ........................................... 58
Supreme Court10, 17, 36, 39, 42, 99, 104,
      116, 169, 176, 180
Sussman, Leonard R. .............. 53, 64, 194
Sycip Gorres Velayo ............................ 134
                                                                 United Kingdom ................................... 131
Sycip, Washington ............................... 134
                                                                 United Nations ............................... 30, 135
                                                                 United States ii, 20, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 54,
                                                                      60, 68, 69, 73, 99, 106, 112, 122,
                                                                      126, 142, 143, 167, 180, 198, 201,


University of Michigan ........... vi, 8, 59, 218                 Western ...... 28, 29, 30, 43, 45, 74, 75, 77,
University of the East................................ 2              129, 137, 142, 194, 195, 213
University of the Philippines ... vi, 2, 18, 64,                  White House .................................166, 211
    90, 148, 196                                                  Wilde, Oscar ........................................... 85
                                                                  Wilson, James Q. ................................. 122
                                                                  Winter, Herbert J. ................................... 50
V                                                                 Winthrop, Delta..................................... 128
                                                                  Wolin, Sheldon ..................................... 114
Values .....4, 23, 44, 58, 74, 75, 76, 83, 84,                    wordsmith .......................................63, 148
      106, 118, 123, 130, 141, 145, 169                           World Bank ..... 9, 129, 130, 131, 133, 134,
Van Dyke, Vernon ..................................56                 136, 137, 139, 144, 174, 215
Vanity ......................................................75   World Bank Forum on Democracy ..... 136,
Velarde, Miguel.......................................83              137
Vietnam3, 28, 34, 144, 154, 158, 178, 220                         World Institute on Hunger and
Villaraza, Arthur ........................... 105, 161                Development ................................ 136
Villegas, Socrates ...................................15
Vitoria, Francisco de ............................127
Vitug, Maritess ........................................10        X
Vizmanos ..............................................109
                                                                  Xiaoping, Deng. 31, 46, 48, 130, 131, 132,
                                                                      177, 213

Waldie, Jerome.....................................142            Y
Wall Street Journal ........ 60, 153, 191, 201
Wallis, Jim ............................ 126, 151, 204            Yan, Rico ................................................ 77
Washington.......7, 20, 100, 120, 134, 167,
     178, 183, 201, 211, 213, 214, 219
Watergate Crisis ...............................68, 73            Z
Waugh, Evelyn .........................................7
Welles, James F. ....................................26           Zurich ...................................................... 73
Werning, Rainer....................................145

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