The Politics of the Philippines takes place in an organized framework of a presidential, representative, and democratic republic whereby the president is both the head of state and the head of government within a pluriform multi-party system. This system revolves around three separate and sovereign yet interdependent branches: the legislative branch, the executive branch, and the judicial branch. Executive power is exercised by the government
under the leadership of the president. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two-chamber Congress: the Senate (the upper chamber) and the House of Representatives (the lower chamber). Judicial power is vested in the courts with the Supreme Court of the Philippines as the highest judicial body.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Local government is exercised by local government units from the provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays. While the most regions do not have political power, and exist merely for administration purposes, autonomous regions have expanded powers more than the other local government units. While local government units enjoy autonomy, much of their budget is derived from allocations from the national government, putting their true autonomy in doubt. Elections are administered by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). The elected officials are the president, vice president, members of Congress, regional governors and assemblymen, provincial governors, vice governors and board members, city and municipal mayors, vice mayors and councilors, and barangay (village) chairmen and councilors. Elections are for fixed terms.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">All elected officials have three-year terms, except for the president, vice president and senators, which are six years. All terms begins and ends on June 30 of the election year. Elections above the barangay level are held every three years since 1992 on the second Monday of May, all positions are disputed except for president and vice president; presidential and vice presidential elections are held every six years since 1992. Single-winner elections are done via the plurality voting system: the candidate with the highest number of votes is elected. Multiple-winner elections, except for representatives elected the party-list system, are done via plurality-at-large voting. Each voter has x votes, with the x candidates with the highest number of votes being elected.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">For representatives elected the party-list system, a party that won at least 2% of the national vote wins one seat, with additional seats, but not exceeding three seats, depends on the number of votes it received. If the number of sectoral representatives does not reach 20% of the membership of the House of Representatives, parties with less than 2% of the vote are given a seat each until the 20% membership is filled Importance of the Study</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">This research paper will talk about how our government runs today. The anomalies and controversies make Philippines on the spot light. We will also been able to point out the powerful politicians that rule the country for almost a decade! With this study it will help us realize the wrong doings of the politicians.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Definition of Terms<br /> Kleptocracy/kleptomaniac – somebody with obsessive desire to steal. A government that ruled by thieves. Impeachment – politician order to remove from the service<br /> Amassed – to bring a large quantity of things together over time Embezzlement – to take for personal use the money or property that has been given on trust by others, without their knowledge or permission Cronyism – special treatment and preference given to relatives, friends or colleagues, especially in politics Derogatory – expressing criticism or a low opinion</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Bribery – the offering of money or other incentives to persuade somebody to do something, especially dishonest or illegal Nepotism – favoritism shown by somebody in power to relatives and friends, especially in appointing them to good positions</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">II. Body<br /> Graft and Corruption<br /> ‘Corruption is the abuse of power by a public official for private gain.’ (Bellow, 2003) There is a long history of graft and corruption within the government of the Philippines. This corruption reached its apex during the height of the Marcos regime. Corruption and thievery was so bad under the rule of Ferdinand Marcos that in the late 1980s, the Guinness Book of Records listed the Philippines as the all-time most corrupt government in the history of the world. The Marcos government was labeled a kleptocracy, literally meaning that it was a government ruled by thieves.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">A kleptocracy can be defined as a dishonest form of governmental corruption where the government exists solely to increase the personal wealth and power of its officials and the ruling class without regard for the wider population. From the years 1972 to 1983 the United States provided $2.5 billion in bilateral military and economic aid to the Marcos regime, and about $5.5 billion through multilateral institutions such as the World Bank. Marcos took a large percentage of the United States aid money for himself and his cronies. In 1986, 56 Filipino Assemblymen signed a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Marcos for alleged diversion of U.S. aid for personal use, citing a July 1985 San Jose Mercury News expose of the Marcoses’ multi-million dollar investment and property holdings in the United States.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The properties allegedly amassed by the Marcos family were the Crown Building, Lindenmere Estate, and a number of residential apartments (in New Jersey and New York), a shopping center in New York, mansions (in London, Rome and Honolulu), the Helen Knudsen Estate in Hawaii and condominiums in San Francisco, California. Bribery, embezzlement, vote buying and illegal gambling were rampant under Marcos rule in the Philippines. Marcos looted billions of dollars from the Filipino treasury, and the corruption reached its high-point with the assassination of Marcos’ political opponent Benigno Aquino. Graft has subsided in recent years, and in 2007 the Philippines ranked last place in the 13 Asian economies that were studied. (unpan1.un.org. www.britannica.com) (http://www.reference.com/motif/history/history-of-graft-corruption-in-the-philippines)</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">There are many types of corruption that can occur in government entities. Some of these are extortion, nepotism, embezzlement, bribery, cronyism, patronage, and graft. Some of the more common types that are found are extortion, embezzlement and bribery. (www.politicalcorruption.net) The causes and effects of corruption, and how to combat corruption, are issues that are increasingly on the national and international agendas of politicians and other policymakers. For example, the World Bank has relatively recently come around to the view that economic development is closely linked to corruption reduction (World Bank 1997) and there have been numerous anti-corruption initiatives in multiple jurisdictions (Heidenheimer, Johnston, Preston and Sampford 2002).</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Moreover, the very recent Global Financial Crisis has revealed financial corruption, and spurred regulators to consider various anti-corruption measures by way of response. By contrast, the concept of corruption has not received much attention. (Abed and Gupta (eds.), 2003) Existing conceptual work on corruption consists in little more than the presentation of brief definitions of corruption as a preliminary to extended accounts of the causes and effects of corruption and the ways to combat it. (Anechiarico and Jacobs, 1998) Moreover, most of these definitions of corruption are unsatisfactory in fairly obvious ways. (Baker, 2005) According to a World Bank study in 2008, corruption in the Philippines is considered to be the worst among East Asia’s leading economies and the country has sunk even lower among those seen to be lagging in governance reforms. (Dumlao, 2008)</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index published by global watchdog Transparency International, showed that the situation in the country had improved slightly but still remained serious. (Dizon, 2009) The Philippines ranked 3rd among 180 countries included in the index, up from its previous 141st ranking in 2008. The nation scored 2.4 in the TI index, compared to 2.3 in 2008, which ranked it equal to Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Baltic state of Belarus. (Dizon, 2009) Corruption exists in all levels of the government, especially among high-level civil servants, according to the US Department of State Investment Climate Statement 2013. (Investment Climate Statement 2013 from the US Department of State) Companies generally have little confidence in the Philippine judicial system, and this is due to the allegedly incompetent court personnel, corruption and long delays of court cases. (en.wikipedia.org)</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">List of political scandals in the Philippines<br /> Rolex 12, 1972 – controversy involving Pres. Ferdinand Marcos’ favoring certain Generals to propagate his terms of office. Coco Levy Fund Scam 1970s<br /> Bataan Nuclear Power Plant bribery and graft case. 1980s<br /> Imelda Marcos’ shoe collection 1980s<br /> Operation Big Bird, 1986 – the bungled plan of the Philippine Government to retrieve the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses in Swiss banks. PEA<br /> Amari Scam 1990s<br /> Subic Bay Leadership Dispute, 1998 – Pres. Joseph Estrada’s Executive Order No. 1 orders the removal of Richard Gordon as Chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), and replaces him with Felicito Payumo. Textbook Scam & Nepotism – Pres. Estrada appoints relatives to government positions, and intervenes in their behalf.1990s Hot Cars Scandal – Pres. Estrada assigns seized vehicles by the Bureau of Customs to his Cabinet secretaries and favored political allies.1990s BW Resources scandal – Pres. Estrada and associates profit from an alleged stock manipulation scheme.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">2000s Estrada Midnight Cabinet – Chief of Staff Aprodicio Laquian jests in a press conference that he is the only one sober during the President’s “Midnight Cabinet,” drinking and gambling sessions in Malacañan Palace. 2000 Jueteng Gate 2000 – Chavit Singson exposé on President Joseph Estrada receiving jueteng payoffs and bribes. This led to the impeachment of Estrada and eventful downfall Hello Garci scandal, 2004 – scandal involving Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on committing electoral fraud during the 2004 National Elections. Fertilizer Fund scam, 2004 – controversy involving accusations that Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante diverted Php 728M in fertilizer funds to the 2004 election campaign of President Arroyo. GSIS-Meralco bribery case, 2008</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Philippine National Broadband Network controversy, 2008 – (also referred to as the NBN/ZTE deal or NBN/ZTE mess) involved allegations of corruption in the awarding of a US$329 million construction contract to Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE for the proposed government-managed National Broadband Network (NBN). Euro Generals scandal, 2008 – involves Eliseo de la Paz and several Philippine National Police officials who went to Russia on October 2008 to attend the Interpol conference. De la Paz was detained for carrying a large sum of undeclared money. Pimentel III vs. Zubiri Senate Electoral Protest, 2008</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">2009 National Artist Controversy, 2009 (en.wikipedia.org)</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Pork Barrel Scam<br /> Pork barrel is the appropriation of government spending for localized projects secured solely or primarily to bring money to a representative’s district. The usage originated in American English. (Drudge 2010) In election campaigns, the term is used in derogatory fashion to attack opponents. Scholars, however, use it as a technical term regarding legislative control of local appropriations. (Bickers and Stein 2008) In the Philippines, the term “pork barrel” is used to mean funds allocated to the members of the Philippine House of Representatives and the Philippine Senate to spend as they see fit without going through the normal budgetary process or through the Executive Branch. It can be used for both “hard” projects, such as buildings and roads, and “soft” projects, such as scholarships and medical expenses.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Beginning in 2006, the amount was ₱70.0 M for each Representative and ₱200.0 M for each Senator. This pork barrel system was stopped by President Ferdinand Marcos during his dictatorship but was reintroduced by President Corazon Aquino in 1986. The program has had different names over the years, including the Countryside Development Fund, Congressional Initiative Fund, and currently the Priority Development Assistance Fund. During the presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the PDAF became the biggest source of corruption among the legislators. Kickbacks were common and became syndicated–using pre-identified project implementers including government agencies, contractors and bogus non-profit corporations as well as the government’s Commission on Audit. In August 2013, outrage over the ₱10 B Priority Development Assistance Fund scam, involving Janet Lim-Napoles and numerous Senators and Representatives, led to widespread calls for abolition of the PDAF system.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">This also included the pork barrel funds of President Aquino that amounted to several billions of pesos.The Million People March which occurred on August 26, 2013, National Heroes’ Day in the Philippines, called for the end of “pork barrel” and was joined by simultaneous protests nationwide and by the Filipino diaspora around the world. (Francisco 2013) Petitioners have challenged the constitutionality of the PDAF before the high court following reports of its widespread and systematic misuse by some members of Congress in cahoots with private individuals. Three incumbent senators and several former members of the House of Representatives have been named respondents in a plunder complaint filed with the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Public outrage over the anomaly has resulted in the largest protest gathering under the three-year-old Aquino administration. (gmanetwork.com) In November 19, 2013 The Supreme Court declared the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or more commonly known as the pork barrel, as unconstitutional. In a briefing, the high court declared the PDAF Article in 2013 General Approriations Act and all similar provisions on the pork barrel system as illegal because it “allowed legislators to wield, in varying gradiations, non-oversight, post-enactment authority in vital areas of budget executions (thus violating) the principle of separation of powers. (http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/336120/news/nation/supreme-court-declares-pdaf-unconstitutional)</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Political Dynasties in the Philippines<br /> Politics in the Philippines has been under the control of a few notable families. It is normal for a politician’s son, wife, brother, or other kinsman, to run for the same or other government office. The term coined by Filipinos to describe this practice is “Political dynasty”, the equivalent of anoligarchy in political science. One can trace its roots from the Spanish colonial times where favored families of the mestizo stock, or the Illustrados were given responsibilities of Gobernadorcillo, or Alcalde. As such, these men have wielded some influence in their communities, and patronage politics was a common undertaking. During the early years of American rule of the Philippine Islands, these Illustrados joined the democratic process introduced by the Philippine Bill of 1902.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">During this period, family names such as Cojuangcos, Lopezes, Marcoses, Osmeñas, Aquinos started to emerge, later on becoming household names. The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines states in Article II Section 26, “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.” Many have called for the Congress to pass the Anti-Dynasty Law, but this bill has been passed over by each Congress since 1987. Some have pointed that oligarchy is the root problem of all the corruption in the Philippine government. Despite the entry of the Party List System in the 11th Congress, the proportion of lawmakers with relatives in elective positions have remained the same in the post-Marcos political scene.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Political scientist Dante Simbulan, in a study of the elites of Philippine politics from 1946 to 1963 lists 169 prominent families. These families have produced 584 public officials, including seven Presidents, two Vice Presidents, 42 Senators, and 147 Representatives. The tables below outline the demographics of families in politics. (Coronel, Chua, Rimban, & Cruz 2007)</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In the 14th Congress of the Philippines (from July 23, 2007 to June 4, 2010), it was surveyed that more than 75% of the lawmakers are members of the old political families. (Ubalde 2007)</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">List of political families in the Philippines<br /> 1 Abad Family (Batanes)<br /> 2 Abalos Family (Mandaluyong City)<br /> 3 Abaya Family (Cavite)<br /> 4 Acosta Family (Bukidnon)<br /> 5 Aguilar(-Villar) Family (Las Piñas City & Muntinlupa City)<br /> 6 Albano Family (Isabela)<br /> 7 Alcala Family (Quezon)<br /> 8 Alfaro-Alfelor Family (Camarines Sur & Bulacan)<br /> 9 Almario Family (Davao Oriental)<br /> 10 Alonto Family (Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte)<br /> 11 Ampatuan Family (Maguindanao)<br /> 12 Andal-Contreras Family (Oriental Mindoro)<br /> 13 Angara Family (Aurora)<br /> 14 Antonino Family (Nueva Ecija, La Union & General Santos City)<br /> 15 Aquino Family (Sorsogon, Agusan del Sur & CARAGA)<br /> 16 Arroyo Family (Camarines Sur, Negros Occidental and Pampanga)<br /> 17 Asistio Family (Caloocan City)<br /> 18 Atienza Family (Manila)<br /> 19 Bagatsing Family (Manila and Muntinlupa City)<br /> 20 Barzaga Family (Cavite)<br /> 21 Belmonte Family (Quezon City)<br /> 22 Bernabe Family (Parañaque City)<br /> 23 Binay Family (Makati City)<br /> 24 Caorong Family (Lanao del Norte;Kauswagan, Iligan City)<br /> 25 Calalay Family (Quezon City)<br /> 26 Calixto Family (Pasay City)<br /> 27 Castelo Family (Quezon City)<br /> 28 Cayetano Family (Muntinlupa City, Pateros and Taguig City)<br /> 29 Cerilles Family (Zamboanga del Sur)<br /> 30 Climaco Family (Zamboanga City)<br /> 31 Cortes Family (Mandaue)<br /> 32 Cojuangco(-Aquino) Family (Tarlac)<br /> 33 Crisologo Family (Ilocos Sur)<br /> 34 Cua Family (Quirino)<br /> 35 Cuenco Family (Cebu)<br /> 36 Datumulok Family (Lanao del Sur)<br /> 37 Defensor Family (Iloilo and Quezon City)<br /> 38 De Venecia (Pangasinan)<br /> 39 Del Mar Family (Cebu)<br /> 40 Dimaporo Family (Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur)<br /> 41 Dominguez Family<br /> 42 Dumlao Family (Nueva Vizcaya)<br /> 43 Duterte Family (Davao City)<br /> 44 Dy Family (Isabela)<br /> 45 Echiverri Family (Caloocan City)<br /> 46 Ecleo Family (Dinagat Islands)<br /> 47 Ejercito Family (Estrada/Estregan Family) (Laguna, Manila, Quezon, and San Juan City)<br /> 48 Escudero Family (Sorsogon)<br /> 49 Espinosa/Martinez Family (Cebu/Masbate/Iloilo City)<br /> 50 Eusebio Family (Pasig)<br /> 51 Fajardo Family (Nueva Ecija )<br /> 52 Fua Family (Siquijor)<br /> 53 Fuentebella Family (Camarines Sur, Negros)<br /> 54 Gaje/Locsin Family (Negros Occidental, Iloilo)<br /> 55 Galicia Family (Davao Region)<br /> 56 Garcia Family (Bataan)<br /> 57 Garcia Family (Cebu)<br /> 58 Garcia Family (Davao City)<br /> 59 Garin Family (Iloilo)<br /> 60 Gatchalian Family (Valenzuela City)<br /> 61 Gomez Family (Laguna)<br /> 62 Gordon Family (Zambales)<br /> 63 Guingona Family (Agusan, Bukidnon, Negros Oriental and Misamis Oriental)<br /> 64 Imperial Family (Albay)<br /> 65 Jaen Family (Leganes, Iloilo)<br /> 66 Jagunap Family (Leganes, Iloilo)<br /> 67 Jalandoni Jover Family (Iloilo City)<br /> 68 Jalosjos Family (Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay)<br /> 69 Javier Family (Navotas)<br /> 70 Noriel-Joson Family (Nueva Ecija)<br /> 71 Lacson Family (Antique, Cavite, Negros Occidental and Manila)<br /> 72 Lapid Family (Pampanga)<br /> 73 Lapus Family (Tarlac)<br /> 74 Laurel Family (Batangas)<br /> 75 Lecaroz Family (Marinduque and Batangas)<br /> 76 Lim Family (Southern Leyte)<br /> 77 Lobregat Family (Zamboanga City)<br /> 78 Lim Family (Palawan)<br /> 79 Maliksi Family (Cavite)<br /> 80 Manrique Family (Boac, Marinduque)<br /> 81 Mangudadatu Family (Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao )<br /> 82 Macapagal Family (Pampanga)<br /> 83 Madrigal Family<br /> 84 Magsaysay Family (Zambales)<br /> 85 Masigan Family (Isabela)<br /> 86 Mastura Family (Maguindanao)<br /> 87 Mendiola/Siojo/Mercado Family (Bulacan, Pampanga, Mindoro, Samar)<br /> 88 Mitra Family (Palawan)<br /> 89 Nepomuceno Family (Pampanga)<br /> 90 Olivarez Family (Parañaque City)<br /> 91 Ortega Family (La Union, Negros Oriental)<br /> 92 Osmeña Family (Cebu)<br /> 93 Pacquiao Family (Sarangani)<br /> 94 Pimentel Family (Cagayan de Oro)<br /> 95 Plaza Family (Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Cagayan)<br /> 96 Ponce Enrile Family (Cagayan)<br /> 97 Rama Family (Cebu)<br /> 98 Ramos Family (Pangasinan)<br /> 99 Recto Family (Batangas)<br /> 100 Remulla Family (Cavite)<br /> 101 Revilla Family (Cavite)<br /> 102 Reyes Family (Marinduque)<br /> 103 Reyes Family (Palawan)<br /> 104 Robredo Family (Camarines Sur)<br /> 105 Roco Family (Camarines Sur)<br /> 106 Roman Family (Bataan)<br /> 107 Romualdez/ Lopez Family (Leyte)<br /> 108 Romulo Family (Pasig) and (Valenzuela)<br /> 109 Roxas Family (Capiz)<br /> 110 Santillan Family (Batangas, Cavite, Manila, Antique, Albay, Pampanga)<br /> 111 Sarmiento Family (Buenavista, Marinduque)<br /> 112 Singson/ Gacula (Ilocos Sur)<br /> 113 Sinsuat Family (Maguindanao)<br /> 114 Sotto Family (Cebu, Quezon City & Paranaque)<br /> 115 Suarez Family (Quezon)<br /> 116 Teves Family (Negros Oriental and Muntinlupa)<br /> 117 Tiangco Family (Navotas)<br /> 118 Tañada Family (Quezon)<br /> 119 Tolentino Family (Cavite)<br /> 120 Ty Family (Surigao del Sur)<br /> 121 Umali Family (Nueva Ecija)<br /> 122 Uy Family (Isabela)<br /> 123 Uy Family (Zamboanga del Norte)<br /> 124 Violago Family (Nueva Ecija)<br /> 125 Villafuerte Family (Camarines Sur)<br /> 126 Villarreal Family<br /> 127 Ynares Family (Rizal)<br /> 128 Zubiri Family (Bukidnon)<br /> (Ederic and Vallarta 2007)</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Political Killings<br /> The political killings in the Philippines are a series of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of Left-wing politicians and activists, journalists, human rights advocates, the political opposition, and outspoken clergy that have increased dramatically since 2001. Numerous actors are said to be responsible for these killings which include the New People’s Army and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Left-wing political groups, such as the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, meanwhile blame the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit, and government-backed militias. They state that it is part of the official government policy of eradicating the threat from the insurgency of the Communist Party of the Philippines and was officially sanctioned by the government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo with the codename of Oplan Bantay Laya (Operation Plan Bantay Laya).</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">These series of events have placed the Philippines on the human rights watch lists of the United Nations and the United States Congress. Philip Alston, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings has criticized the Philippine government for not doing enough to stop the killings, many of which had been linked to government anti-insurgency operations. The political killings in the Philippines, with an estimated death toll of over 1,200 in 2010, began during the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2001. These include extrajudicial harassment, torture, disappearances and murder of civilian non-combatants by the military and police.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The events are thought to be linked to the “War on Terrorism” in 2001 and includes more than 850 mainstream journalists and other public figures and the harassment, detention, or torture of untold more. (Balgos 2013) Many commentators have criticized the killings, such as James Petras and Robin Eastman-Abaya, who have said that “Human rights groups provide evidence that death squads operate under the protective umbrella of regional military commands, especially the U.S.-trained Special Forces”. (Shepsle and Weingast 1981) The historian, E. San Juan, Jr., meanwhile, writes that the estimates of killings vary on the precise number, with the government estimating only 114. It has failed to gain any convictions, and as of February 2007 had only arrested 3 suspects in the over 100 cases of assassination. (San Juan, Jr. 2006)</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">He also alleges that the Arroyo government initially made no response to the dramatic increase in violence and killings writing that the “Arroyo has been tellingly silent over the killing and abduction of countless members of opposition parties and popular organizations”. (E. San Juan, Jr. 2006) He later writes in February 2007, that the United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston implicated the Philippine police and military as responsible for the crimes, and in his report, Alston charged Arroyo’s propaganda and counter-insurgency strategy with the act that “encourage or facilitate the extra-judicial killings of activists and other enemies” of the state.( San Juan Jr. 2006) and that “the AFP remains in a state of almost total denial… of its need to respond effectively and authentically to the significant number of killings which have been convincingly attributed to them” (Batario 2003)</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Most of those killed or “disappeared” were peasant or worker activists belonging to progressive groups such as Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, GABRIELA, Anakbayan, Karapatan, KMU, and others (Petras and Abaya 2006). They were protesting Arroyo’s repressive taxation, collusion with foreign capital tied to oil and mining companies that destroy people’s livelihood and environment, fraudulent use of public funds, and other anti-people measures. Such groups and individuals have been tagged as “communist fronts” by Arroyo’s National Security Advisers, the military, and police; the latter agencies have been implicated in perpetrating or tolerating those ruthless atrocities. —San Juan, Jr. 2006</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The online publication Bulatlat states that “According to a recent international fact-finding mission of Dutch and Belgian judges and lawyers, [the government-created body] Task Force Usig ‘has not proven to be an independent body…the PNP has a poor record as far as the effective investigation of the killings is concerned and is mistrusted by the Philippine people”. (Bulatlat.com) Task Force Usig dismissed nearly half of the 114 cases of assassination as “cold” (“DILG should urge Task Force Usig to really investigate all political killings – KMU”) and, of the 58 cases where charges were brought, has secured only convictions only twice. (San Juan, Jr. 2006)</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">As a result of the state of emergency in 2006, Presidential Proclamation 1017 was signed by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, which according to Cher S. Jimenez writing in Asia Times Online, “grants exceptional unchecked powers to the executive branch, placing the country in a state of emergency and permitting the police and security forces to conduct warrantless arrests against enemies of the state, including…members of the political opposition and journalists from critical media outlets. With 185 dead, 2006 is so far (2007) the highest annual mark for extrajudicial government murders.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Of the 2006 killings, the dead were “mostly left-leaning activists, murdered without trial or punishment for the perpetrators”, the issuance of the proclamation conspicuously coincided with a dramatic increase in political violence and extrajudicial killings. (Sison 2014) Current Secretary of Justice and former Human Rights Commissioner Leila de Lima has stated that she seeks a resolution to the problem. The New York Times reported in 2010 that an estimated 1,200 civilians have died due to the campaign. (Conde 2010) On August 2010, the Armed Forces of the Philippines announced that the counter-insurgency program would end by December 31, 2010. (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20100816-287112/Activists-slam-extension-of-Oplan Bantay-Laya)</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Maguindanao Massacre<br /> The Maguindanao massacre, also known as the Ampatuan massacre after the town where the mass graves were found, (Perez 2009) occurred on the morning of November 23, 2009, in the town of Ampatuan in Maguindanao province, on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. While the 58 victims were on their way to file a certificate of candidacy for Esmael Mangudadatu, vice mayor of Buluan town, they were kidnapped and brutally killed. Mangudadatu was challenging Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan, Jr., son of the incumbent Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan, Sr. and member of one of Mindanao’s leading Muslim political clans, in the forthcoming Maguindanao gubernatorial election, (Jimenez-David 2009) part of the national elections in 2010.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The people killed included Mangudadatu’s wife, his two sisters, journalists, lawyers, aides, and motorists who were witnesses or were mistakenly identified as part of the convoy. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called the Maguindanao massacre the single deadliest event for journalists in history. (Alcuim 2009) At least 34 journalists are known to have died in the massacre. (Zonio, Aquilies (2009) In a statement, CPJ executive director Joel Simon noted that the killings, “appears to be single deadliest event for the press since 1992, when CPJ began keeping detailed records on journalist deaths.” The CPJ further noted that, “Even as we tally the dead in this horrific massacre, our initial research indicates that this is the deadliest single attack on the press ever documented by CPJ.” Even before the Maguindanao massacre, the CPJ had labeled the Philippines the second most dangerous country for journalists, second only to Iraq. (Alcuin 2009) III. Conclusion</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Our government is a mess. There’s this saying that, even though you’re not yet born, you had automatically a debt. Philippines is a rich county but due to the crocodile system in the government, our economy is slowly going down. Rich people continue to get rich while the poor people becoming worst. Scarcity and food shortage is rampant especially those who live in Manila. Street children, malnourished kids, squatter’s area – what a sight. Politicians have many promises during the election campaigns, where did it go after they had won? Are they made from steel or ice? They tend to ignore the problems and live just for themselves thinking how much they will get from the money of the people. But who must blame? It is still our fault. Why? Who was the one that make those politicians on their position?</p> <p style="text-align: center;">IV. References<br /> BOOKS<br /> Abed, George T. and Sanjeev Gupta (eds.) (2003) Governance, Corruption, and Economic Performance, Washington DC: International Monetary Fund. Denmark; HarperCollins Publisher</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Anechiarico, Frank and Jacobs, James B. (1998) The Pursuit of Absolute Integrity: How Corruption Control Makes Government Ineffective, Chicago: University of Chicago Press</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Bellow, Adam (2003) In Praise of Nepotism, New York: Doubleday</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Baker, Raymond, (2005) Capitalism’s Achilles Heel: Dirty Money and How to Renew the Free-Market System, Indianapolis: Wiley</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Coronel, Chua, Rimban, & Cruz (2007) The Rule makers Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism p.47</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Coronel, Chua, Rimban, & Cruz (2007) The Rule makers Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism p.49</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Heidenheimer, Johnston, Preston and Sampford (2002) Investigating Local Governments p.89</p> <p style="text-align: center;">PERIODICALS AND JOURNALS</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Alcuin (November 26, 2009). “Maguindanao massacre worst-ever for journalists”. Philippine Daily Inquirer</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Balgos, Cecile (2013) “Deadly dirty work in the Philippines (page 1)”. Asia Times</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Batario, Red (2003) A Human Rights Watch Submission to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the Universal Periodic Review of the Republic of the Philippines Human Rights Watch; Investigating Local Governments. Manila Bulletin</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Bickers, Kenneth N.; Stein, Robert M. (2008). “The Congressional Pork Barrel in a Republican Era”. The Journal of Politics 62 (4)</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Conde, Carlos (July 5, 2010) Leftist Activist Is Slain in Philippines. The New York Times</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Drudge, Michael V. (2010) Special Correspondent. “Pork Barrel” Spending Emerging as Presidential Campaign Issue”. Manila Bulletin</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Dumlao, Doris (June 25, 2008). “WB: Corruption in RP worst in East Asia”. Philippine Daily Inquirer</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Francisco, Rosemarie (26 August 2013). “Tens of thousands of Filipinos<br /> protest “pork barrel” funds”, Manila Bulletin</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Jimenez-David, Rina (November 24, 2009). “Understanding the unbelievable”. Philippine Daily Inquirer</p> <p style="text-align: center;">San Juan, Jr. (September 18, 2006). PHILIPPINES: Class Struggle and Socialist Revolution in the Philippines: Understanding the Crisis of U.S. Hegemony, Arroyo State Terrorism, and Neoliberal Globalization. Philippine Daily Inquirer</p> <p style="text-align: center;">San Juan, Jr (March 28, 2007). “Philippines: Filpina Militants Indict Bush-Arroyo For Crimes Against Humanity”. Republished by Asian Human Rights Commission in News</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Shepsle, Kenneth A. and Weingast, Barry R. (1981). “Political Preferences for the Pork Barrel: A Generalization”. American Journal of Political Science 25 (1): 96–111</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Zonio, Aquilies (November 24, 2009). “Inquirer man recounts harrowing tales of survival”. Manila Bulletin</p> <p style="text-align: center;">OTHER SOURCES</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Dizon, David (November 18, 2009). “RP corruption ranking improves slightly: TI”. ABS-CBN News</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Ederic Eder; Allan Vallarta (20 April 2007). “GMA News Research: Political families reign in almost all of RP”. GMA News and Public Affairs</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Perez, Analyn (November 25, 2009). “The Ampatuan Massacre: a map and timeline”. GMA News</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Ubalde, Mark J. (June 29, 2007) 9:21pm 75% sa bagong Kongreso mula sa political dynasty GMA News</p> <p style="text-align: center;">WEB SOURCES</p> <p style="text-align: center;">en.wikipedia.org</p> <p style="text-align: center;">http://www.reference.com/motif/history/history-of-graft-corruption-in-the-philippines</p> <p style="text-align: center;">http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/336120/news/nation/supreme-court-declares-pdaf-unconstitutional</p> <p style="text-align: center;">http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20100816-287112/Activists-slam-extension-of-Oplan-Bantay-Laya</p> <p style="text-align: center;">http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1943191,00.html<br /> unpan1.un.org. www.britannica.com</p> <p style="text-align: center;">www.politicalcorruption.net</p> <p style="text-align: center;">“What Drives Macapagal-Arroyo’s “Silent War”?”. Bulatlat.com</p>
A self-confessed “man of many flaws and contradictions,” the Philippines’ new president-elect, Rodrigo Duterte, now has the tough job of uniting the country. However, the tougher job will be convincing everyone that the Philippines is not regressing and his policies are indeed fit for a modern democracy.
The former mayor of Davao City used his first press conference since capturing almost 40 percent of the votes in the May 9 general elections to set the record straight about his policy on killing criminals.
“If you resist, show violent resistance, my order to police [will be] to shoot-to-kill,” he told reporters in Davao.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
The 71-year-old has also vowed to bring back the death penalty, a policy that was abolished a decade ago.
Duterte’s controversial plan to use extrajudicial killings as a way to end crime within six months of his presidency earned him a lot of attention and votes. While the rest of the world cringed at his tough-talking rhetoric and foul comments about women during the campaign, many Filipinos cheered. It is troubling that such a blatant disregard for human rights received overwhelming support from the Philippine public.
While the Philippines is Southeast Asia’s oldest democracy, it has gained a reputation as one that has been captured by political dynasties. Political scientist Benedict Anderson called it a “cacique democracy,” a country where power is passed from one oligarch to the next. Running for public office is indeed a family affair in the Philippines. Prominent surnames like Aquino, Roxas, and Marcos are linked to an influential elite with traditional connections to wealth and power.
Known to Filipinos as Rody, Duterte led a populist campaign that appealed to a rising anti-establishment sentiment fed up with the usual suspects ruling the country. His strong family roots to Cebu and Mindanao in the south set him apart from past presidents. But if his resume is anything to go by, it seems Duterte is all for the status quo of powerful family dynasties. While promoting himself as a challenger to the country’s poorly performing political elite, he had already built his own tight clique in Mindanao’s capital.
Duterte’s consolidation of power in Davao City dates back to 1988, when he first served as mayor for three consecutive terms before being forced out of office after reaching the constitutional limit in 1998. After doing a brief stint representing Davao City in the House of Representatives, Duterte ran for the city’s top post for a fourth time in 2001 and was re-elected consecutively until hitting the three-term limit again in 2010. His reluctance to see political change led him to run as vice mayor to his daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio, only to win back the title of mayor himself in 2013.
The familiarity of the Duterte brand and its hardline approach, which has been credited for turning Davao City from a crime hotspot into one of the Philippines’ safest metropolises, is certainly one of the reasons he has maintained his popularity for almost three decades. It is no surprise that Duterte’s children also cleaned up in the elections. With his daughter back in the mayor’s seat and son Paolo Duterte winning the vice mayoral post, the Duterte dynasty in Davao City will live on. Duterte has successfully sold his family brand to the rest of the country. It seems Filipinos want a change, at whatever the cost.
Although Duterte has secured enough support from the Philippine public to take the highest office in the country, he does not, however, have the approval of Philippines’ political elite. While current President Benigno Aquino’s implied warning of a return to dictatorship with a Duterte victory can be seen as a political move to endorse presidential candidate Mar Roxas as Aquino’s preferred successor. But the comment will not be easily forgotten, even as the fever pitch of the campaign trail dies down. It will be hard for Duterte to shake off nicknames like “dictator in waiting” and “Dirty Harry,” especially after his latest “shoot-to-kill” comment and vows to reintroduce capital punishment. The political opposition will no doubt evoke these titles to weaken and discredit his presidency.
Antonio Fuentes Trillanes, a retired Navy officer-turned-senator notorious for leading coup attempts has already warned that a possible military intervention should not be ruled out. One must take seriously the history of military coups that have dogged Philippine political history since the fall of the Marcos dictatorship. The administration of Corazon Aquino was subjected to at least seven coup attempts between 1986 and 1992. Most recently, President Joseph Estrada’s removal in 2001, and several attempts to remove Arroyo during her presidency, demonstrates a long practice of military coups in contemporary political affairs.
While Duterte has indicated salary increases for police, soldiers, and troops, it is yet to be known whether he will pursue the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines with as much energy as Aquino. President Arroyo, who critics accused of being too cozy with the Chinese, ignored external defense and instead focused on quelling domestic terror threats during her term of government. In contrast, the Aquino administration had to respond to increased tension in the disputed waters caused by incidents with Chinese patrols boats in Reed Bank in 2011 and the two-month military standoff in Scarborough Shoal in 2012, among others.
Duterte will inherit a P83.9 billion ($1.77 billion) AFP modernization program, of which Aquino has already spent P56.79 billion on “big ticket” items. With modernization linked to protecting the country’s claims in the South China Sea, Duterte’s openness to explore other options with China may mean investment in external security will receive less attention.
While not denying that the maritime dispute with China is a threat to national security, Duterte has confirmed he wants closer ties with Beijing. This suggests he will resurrect policies from the Arroyo administration, rather than continuing the more popular approach of his direct predecessor. Duterte has signaled that joint exploration of oil and gas in the disputed waters is an option, which is a surprise considering Arroyo’s 2004 Joint Seismic Marine Undertaking agreement with China was widely considered to be a sell-out of Philippine territory. Following this deal, Arroyo secured Chinese funding for the controversial North Luzon Railway, a contract that later became included in the corruption charges filed against her. On a similar note, Duterte said he would “shut up” about China’s reclamation activities if the Asian superpower provided critical transport infrastructure in return.
Once the honeymoon period is over, the criminal killings begin, and Duterte gets too close to China, his family brand might quickly lose its popularity. While he is trying to unite the country, the potential for human rights abuses and risks in the South China Sea will divide it. After a long turbulent history of coup attempts and political instability, the question is, how long will the Philippines — public, military, and political elite combined — put up with the man of many flaws and contradictions?
Danna Diaz is a freelance broadcast journalist. She tweets @dannamdiaz