Saturday, March 08, 2014

THE POLITICS OF THE FILIPINOS



Salus populi suprema lex esto” ("The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law.") - Cicero

"Without moral and intellectual INDEPENDENCE, there is no anchor for national INDEPENDENCE". - David Ben-Gurion (1886-1973, Polish-born Israeli Statesman, Prime Minister )


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Hi All,

The below Soliongco columns were written 40+ years or almost two generations ago; and so far nothing has changed for the better, but actually for the worst. We the few native so-called educated, just like the foreigners or aliens who we have allowed to take over our homeland, can oftentimes take care of ourselves, the rest (native majority) we just say: "Tough luck!"

Bert


THE POLITICS OF THE FILIPINOS
Written by Indalecio P. Soliongco, Editorial Writer/columnist, Manila Chronicle 


Politics in the Philippines is as involuted as an intra-uterine device, and its purpose, as the experience of the years has shown, is to prevent the conception of ideas or the realization of projects that will benefit the masses. This is why, again, like the operation of the intra-uterine device Philippine politics works in a secret but rather effective way of accomplishing what it is intended for to accomplish.

In the eyes of even the most interested foreigner, Philippine politics is one great confusion of ends and means, of principles and personalities, of slogans and resounding rhetoric. It is all that, I admit, but to say that there is no more is to misjudge completely the cunning and ingenuity of the Filipino politician.

In better-run societies where the substance of democracy more than its form is zealously guarded and as zealously respected, politics is the way by which politicians react to the needs and tempers of the people. This is the reason for the clearly defined difference between the Whig and Tory parties in England a century back, and between the Labor and Conservative parties today.

In the U.S. for all the discussions on the essential common characteristics between the Republican and Democratic parties there are major differences without which there would never have been a Herbert Hoover or a Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Thus, it is not an everyday event in America that a republican Congressman jumps over to the Democratic camp because of his failure to land the G.O.P. nomination in his own district. And certainly, such a phenomenon as a guest candidate is almost, if not totally, unknown.

All this is why no foreigner, American or British  can write authoritatively on the politics of the Filipinos. Only a Filipino who has lived here all his life can write anything meaningful about so fascinating a subject. He need not be a politician or political scientist. 

But it is absolutely necessary that he must have some sort of expert knowledge, some intuition, as it were, with which to guide himself in those dark recesses of the politician's mind and soul, there to see and understand the signs of self-interest and the hypocrisy that is used, like an academic solution, to transmute such self-interest into a shining, self-effacing patriotic virtue.

Self-interest having become the commodity which makes up the staple of the transactions among politicians, Philippine political parties lose the meaning for which they exist in societies which have long ceased to be jungles. And the speeches of the Filipino politician -the vast, vast majority of them anyway- have been reduced to a meaningless jargon which is useless to use for or against him, whether he belongs to the highest or to the lowest. (8-04-1971)


The Spoils System

It would be fruitless to study the politics of the presidential system of government of the Philippines as a phenomenon isolated from the state of want of the broad masses of Filipinos and from the social and economic elitism of a fortunate few at the time that the Americans began to recognize the necessity of enlarging the autonomy of the natives.

Now, one of the outstanding features of the politics of the presidential system is the division of the spoils immediately after the elections. To make the claim that is true only now and not before because of the effectiveness of the civil service is to mouth a piece of aggressive ignorance.

For what is nearer the truth is that the Philippines under the Americans or during the Commonwealth or as a supposedly sovereign Republic has never had a civil service as this term is understood in Britain, France and Germany.

Thus, the spoils system, in its grossest term, soon developed, in the hands of winning politicians, into an instrument with which to reward jobless and unemployable followers and capture their permanent loyalty. If the rules governing the grant of rewards and promotions and the application of punishment in the Philippine civil service were as rigid as those in Britain, the followers would be given recompense in a form other than employment in the government. What is therefore obvious in the Philippine experience is that an effective civil service is hardly indispensable if the system of government is presidential.

This is why to this day in such barren and desecrated regions as the Ilocos and vast portions of Mindanao , politics has acquired the character of a fratricidal war to the death. For what is at stake is not some valid issue which can be subjected to a form of civilized discussion; what is at stake is the very means of livelihood of the miserable Ilokano or Muslim peasant.

But the spoils system is not the exclusive monopoly of the camp followers. It is as much the source of privileges and material rewards of those who compose the elite, the rich who literally wager their fortunes on the outcome of the elections. And this, it should be clear to one acquainted with the dynamics of sociology and economics, is the obstacle to progress.

Our saving grace of the unrestrained use of the spoils system during the Commonwealth, however, is that there were some Filipino leaders who performed with the style and in accordance with acceptable sets of values. Quezon, for instance, for all his sense of gratitude to his bosom friends, to send one of them, Felipe Buencamino, to New York and there undergo the ordeal of a sojourn in Sing-Sing. Earlier  the president of the PNB and his relative were imprisoned for acts which today are considered mere misdemeanors.

Whatever the penalties which came in the wake of rank abuse, one can see that the worst aspects of the presidential system suited the weakness and failings, not the strength and impressive potentialities of the Filipino's character.

And in no epoch during the short history of Filipino political experiences was this more vividly shown than during the entire period from the inauguration of the republic to the present.

The presidential system has become one of our own but let it be said in fairness to the Americans that the Filipino postwar leaders, which means to say, all the Presidents without a saving exception, improved on the model to suit their individual needs and requirements and those of their particular group.

Roxas, utilizing his enormous powers, opened the country for a second but more subtle colonization; Quirino began the practice of placing at the disposal of friendly businessmen and  industrialists and using those institutions to force his critics and rivals into line; Magsaysay destroyed what remained of an already shaky civil service and sanctioned the ascendancy of American CIA and military power; Garcia so deeply a captive of his own dictum: "There is nothing wrong in a public official who wants to provide for his future," that his principle of Filipino First degenerated into a Me First ordinance; Macapagal was so confused in his vindictiveness that he dissipated himself during the first two years of his term; and Marcos after bettering the example of his predecessors, distinguished himself by transforming the Philippines into a military society and eroding, perhaps finally and forever, the lower branches of the judicial system.

One would ask, "But what was Congress doing all the time?" The so-called separation of powers, so valid in the United States, is one characteristic of the presidential system that was discarded here. And without the check and balance of an alert Congress, a Filipino President easily progresses into a dictator.

The fixed presidential term which in the U.S. provides a source of stability for American society was transformed in the Philippines as a safeguard for the abuse of the already awesome powers of the President. 

For under no circumstances can a Filipino President, whatever the magnitude of his thievery and whatever the degree of his incompetence, he removed before his term is over. The provisions for impeachment are a joke, and Congress, under the present system, will always remain a congregation of rascals subservient to the president.

If the Con-Con delegates want to preserve the increasingly degenerate body of Filipino political leaders, if they want to perpetuate the deceptive fiction of Filipino suffrage, and if they desire nothing more than the perfection of the spoils system then they should vote blindly and passionately for the presidential system. (7-10-1971)


Philippine Political Parties

For all the years in which the Filipinos have been exposed to politics, they have failed to learn one elementary but crucial fact about it, and that is, the inextricable connection between politics and political parties. This failure, more than anything else, is responsible for the fragility of our political parties as organizations for the inculcation of political discipline.

it can be said, yes, that Philippine political parties have managed to survive. But their survival stems not so much from their popular strength as from the support of politicians with names. Sometimes this support derives from the identity of purposes between the politician and the party; sometimes it is the result of the fact that the party, because of its history and platform, can impart to a political aspirant a certain prestige; and sometimes it is given in exchange for what the party can provide in the way of power and influence.

But the great mass of the people are as removed from the affairs of political parties as they are from the mainsprings of government. It is true that there are provincial and town committees which are party organizations and in which the voters are supposed to be represented. But even in these small organizations, the local politician has all but the final say. This is specially so if, to use the common expression, such a politician has delivered the goods - meaning pork and patronage.

In national conventions, the same relation of power and authority between the political leader and the masses prevails. The national candidates, particularly the senators, are chosen by the directorate which more often than not, is as expressive of the popular will as an exclusive social club.

Theory negates all these. But in so important a matter as political parties, theory has in a way of being misleading and is often the victim of what is factual. And what is factual about Philippine politics is a negation of all the theories about it.

But if theory and what is factual ever coincide, then Philippine political parties will truly become popular organizations. They will be preserved more by the adherence and loyalty of the people to them than by the connection of politicians with them. They might even have the tendency toward that cohesiveness and exclusivism which, paradoxical as it may seem, is the natural tendency of all democratic political parties which are meant for the people. 

It will take years before this tendency becomes the characteristic of Philippine political parties. For one thing, the necessary requirement to this tendency is a political maturity of the highest order. For another, this tendency is only possible where the social well-being is dependent upon the principles and ideas which become substantive only when they are embodied in party platforms.

But when this tendency develops, our political parties will cease to be the tenuous organizations that they seem to be today. membership in them will become more or less a lifetime affair, and defections will be rare. Most important of all, the voters will be voting on the basis of platforms and programs and not on the basis of persons and personalities. (3-11-1962)


Party Loyalty

Both politicians and those who observe their behavior are deeply concerned with reports that defections from one party to another in the provinces have attained massive proportions. Their common fear is that unless these defections are held in check in time, the party system and all that it implies will become a thing of the past. 

consequently, appeals are being made to those who are abandoning or who are about to abandon their party ties to consider the political future of the nation. They are being asked to relegate personal interests and ambitions somewhere in the background in favor of the preservation of the two-party system.

No doubt some will heed these appeals. They will hold on to their old party affiliation and participate in the fight for dominance. And, convinced as they are of the necessity of preserving the two-party system, they might even lend a hand to stop the exodus.

But it is not wise, we believe, to wager that they will succeed. For the sad truth about Philippine politics that must be admitted is that the understanding and appreciation of the two-party system, particularly in the lower echelons of the political structure, are at least rudimentary.

This, however, is not due to the inability of the lower order of politicians to understand and appreciate the democratic value of the two-party system. This us due to the fact that in the Philippines, more so than in any other undeveloped country in this part of the world, politics is practically the only means of livelihood open to the man of more than average talent and ambition. 

Thus, for themselves as well as for their followers, the politicians of uncertain party identity, completely disregard such notions such as party loyalty and party discipline. Their immediate and perhaps their only concern is to be in power, for to be in power is an insurance of survival.

As long, therefore, as political survival is the main consideration and as long as political survival is the condition precedent to the task of earning a living, party loyalty will remain a rhetorical expression.

How long this state of things will prevail, is difficult to say. But how to remedy it has been demonstrated in those areas if the country where politics has more or less ceased to be an economic activity.

The point, then, is that dependence on politics will be less when there are non-political enterprises like factories and flourishing farms and thriving commerce to absorb the voting population. When this stage of development is reached, politics will be restores to an art in which loyalty to party and party discipline are the essential components. (10-16-1962)


Quality of Voters

One political myth which the propagandists of Philippine democracy have been carefully nursing is that of all the peoples in Southeast Asia, the Filipinos are the most politically sophisticated. The most flattering commentary simply means that the political acts and decisions of the Filipino of voting age are superior to those of his brothers in other parts that those acts and decisions are formed by a careful deliberation over issues and men.

If this commentary were true, the Philippines would be a veritable political paradise, and such spectacles as a former actor of immense beauty and charm standing on the floor of the Senate and discoursing on so esoteric a subject as the fate of South Vietnam would not at all be possible.

The grave burden of drafting economic plans and projects would be left in the hands of political economists and foreign policy would be the concern of experts, not of politicians whose worth is measured by the number of peasants they can call their friends.

The embarrassing fact, however, is that most of the men and women who hold the floor in this country are hardly intimate with the problems they are supposed to solve. They are in the councils of the state, not because of their background or knowledge but because of their command of the so-called rural vote.

This in itself is a negation of the accolade that the Filipino is the most politically sophisticated in Southeast Asia. For the officials and leaders he has chosen are not the most reliable index to his vaunted sophistication. On the contrary, they are a complete negation of that virtue.

But easily the invincible proof that the Filipino has yet a thousand miles to go to prove his political sophistication is that it is in the Philippines and not anywhere in Southeast Asia that the delivery of voters by the thousands by political leaders from one party to another on polling days has been raised to the level of an exact science.

The news that readers encounter almost everyday during the campaign about ward heelers and politicians in office selling themselves and their followers for a negotiated or dictated fee is the best indication of the sheep-like quality of the Filipino voter. 

For these transactions are agreed upon by the leaders without so much as a by your leave from the voter whose commodity is on sale. He learns of it only when the word is passed around that he is subject to a new loyalty. He accepts, and to his undying shame, he does so without any sense of discrepancy.

Thus it is only in the Philippines where a political leader of some affluence or influence is capable of making the completely undemocratic promise that he can deliver so many number of votes on demand. It is only here that the landlord or the rich provincial merchant can substantiate his fealty to the highest ruler, not only by cash but also by the votes of his tenants or subalterns.

Now, it is true that this traffic in votes is not as rampant as it was ten years ago. But there is no denying that pronounced vestiges of it still remain in many regions, particularly in those regions which have not been touched either by economic uplift or by peasant protest.

As long as these vestiges remain, Philippine democracy cannot be said to have reached the viable stage. And certainly, as long as these vestiges plague us, the political sophistication of the Filipino voter is an insult. (11-12-1963)


"Political Sophistication"

One of the favorite boasts of the Filipinos is that of all the Asians, they are the most politically sophisticated. I do not know how this boast originated and I am not aware of any situation or development in this country which imparts any justification for it. But there are thousands who persist in making the boast, and I suspect that the reason for the persistence is the confusion in the popular mind about the meaning of the phrase political sophistication.

Now, I like to believe -and i hope I am correct- that the phrase means the capacity to understand political issues and their implications, not necessarily in the abstract sphere but in the hard practicality of the business of living. 

To the majority of voters, however, political sophistication is nothing more or less than the ability to establish the proper political connections, or, having already established those connections, the ability to exploit them to the highest amperage. In practical terms, this means participating in a campaign, either as a solicitor of votes or as members of a well-paid ubiquitous goon squad.

While the monetary reward of these self-serving political activities are not to be ignored, the coveted prize is employment in the government in any capacity, preferably in a capacity which requires neither mental effort or physical exertion.

It is these -- the free meals and the pocket money during the campaign that comes at the end of it -- which makes politics so attractive to Filipinos, the literate as well as the illiterate. And so, what is presented is the deceptive picture of a people who are passionately interested in politics, who even get killed because of politics, but for wrong, immoral and entirely selfish reasons.

The first result of this condition is the creation of convenient groups which for want of a better term are labeled political parties. But because these groups are organized merely for the acquisition of votes and for the holding of power and because the consent and loyalty of voters can be had by appealing to the naked needs of the stomach, the spectacle of politicians jumping from one group to another and of otherwise decent citizens going into  politics to attain success in business acquires a certain commonness which dulls but does not erase the evil of such a deed. 


Dishonest Expectations

On the other hand, the voters, have been spoiled by the corruption of politicians, descend to the lower levels of business. Their importunities increase and their sense of values become hopelessly welded to their dishonest expectations. their participation and interest in partisan politics rise to new intensities, and the eternal issues of general welfare and security of the future are supplanted by issues which their immediate needs and conveniences dictate. 

This is why the real problems which retard the progress of this country, problems like the economic and political vassalage which the United States exercises over us, our chronic state of underdevelopment, the almost endemic corruption which erodes the already shaky democratic structure of our government, and the political education of the electorate are still to be solved.

Nor is there any possibility that these problems will be solved in the foreseeable future. For politicians, even the least corrupt among them, are essentially pragmatic. 

And imprisoned in their pragmatism, they are irrevocably convinced that only by attaining public office can they serve whatever principles they profess and only by yielding to the clamor of the voters can they capture the votes that will keep them in office.

Thus, a terrible dilemma develops, the electorate becomes a demanding mob, the situation deteriorates, and the old cliche about bread and circuses ceases to be one and assumes a terrifying reality. (8-27-1967)



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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

President Ramon Magsaysay and President Carlos Garcia - On Two of Our Past Presidents, A Contrast


Salus populi suprema lex esto” ("The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law.") - Cicero


"Without moral and intellectual INDEPENDENCE, there is no anchor for national INDEPENDENCE". - David Ben-Gurion (1886-1973, Polish-born Israeli Statesman, Prime Minister )



**********************************************************

NOTES: Colored and/or underlined words are HTML links. Click on them to see the linked posts/articles. Forwarding this and other posts to relatives and friends, especially those in the homeland, is greatly appreciated). To share, use all social media tools: email, blog, Google+, Tumblr,Twitter,Facebook, etc. THANKS!!

Read on Scribd mobile apps: iPhone, iPad and Android.

Free download as PDF, TXT or read online for free from Scribd, point-click to open-->SCRIBD/TheFilipinoMind

Click to checkout: Primary Blog Posts/Readings for my fellow, Native (Malay/Indio) Filipinos-in-the-Philippines

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Hi All,

In our search for understanding of the perennial predicament in our homeland, a visit to the history of how our past presidents led or, more aptly, ruled provides us some historical insights; that is, allows us to discern patterns and trends that we of subsequent generations can identify as permeating our present so-called national leadership.

The late I.P. Soliongco wrote a series of articles about our post-WW2 presidents from the years 1946 to 1971, the year of his death. His articles though dated are so alive and resonate in the thinking Filipino mind, given that his critical analyses and observations are so relevant, 60+ years ago today.

In his Introduction to Soliongco's articles about our post-WW2 presidents (from 1946 to 1971), one of our great nationalist, the late Prof. Renato Constantino stated : " Soliongco's writings on post-war Philippine presidents are particularly enlightening because he always viewed them from the overall perspective of RP-US relations..."

In below article, I. P. Soliongco provides us a critical analysis of both the Magsaysay and Garcia presidencies. As stated by Prof Constantino in his Introduction: "...He (Soliongco) described the colonial mentality and policies of Roxas and Magsaysay were the most pro-American of Filipino leaders... The Garcia administration was the first to try to restrain the expansion of foreign interests in the economic sphere."

I add that here Soliongco presented us a contrast of two presidents:

  • President Magsaysay as one who lacks a deep appreciation of what Filipino nationalism is all about and who do not understand the military (tunnel) mind. After my reading, I realize Magsaysay is our "poster boy" for using military men in civilian/government offices, it was not Pres. Marcos. This pattern has expanded in each subsequent presidents, even having one as President - Fidel Ramos. I remember during the Marcos Regime, one of my older cousins, a PMA graduate told me about the folly of having military men in civilian offices.
  • Conversely, President Garcia demonstrated his economic nationalism, understanding of neocolonialism even before this term became common knowledge. Note Garcia's independence of mind, that is, free from the influences of foreigners (American, Chinese), of the Catholic Church/hierarchy and the military establishment.

(President Roxas and President Quirino were earlier posted; other presidents to follow.)


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PRESIDENT RAMON MAGSAYSAY


The statement that President Magsaysay was supported officially by the Americans in the electoral campaign of 1953 is not something which can be proved as if it were a geometric proposition. But those who recall those days will not easily forget that from the time Mr. Magsaysay was appointed Secretary of National Defense --the recommendation for his appointment was hand-carried to president Quirino by Ambassador Myron Cowen-- to the day he met with that tragedy, he was literally under the guidance, if not under the custody, of then Col.Edward Lansdale.

As Secretary of National Defense, Mr. Magsaysay took advice from the Colonel, and the Colonel was by his side in the Camp Murphy office almost everyday. It was no secret at the time that the campaign against the Huks were discussed by the two, and even in the harassment of newspapermen, Lansdale could justly be suspected of having a hand.

What would make the participation of the Americans hard to believe was the tacit consent given to that participation by such advocates of nationalism such as Recto, Laurel and Tanada.
But one must remember that in 1953, the deterioration of the Liberal Administration was complete. Corruption was everywhere, and everywhere there was fear that the horrible farce and fraudulence of the 1949 elections would be repeated with vast improvement in technique and virulence.

And in 1953, the only contender with President Quirino for the loyalty of the army was the Secretary of National Defense. The Nacionalistas argued that, with the army neutralized, there was no chance for the incumbent to be re-elected. And to them, his re-election by foul means would be a prelude to violence.

Moreover, let us admit here that the nationalist elements among the Nacionalistas were as desperate as the American revolutionaries at the time Washington was about to cross the Delaware. They would have welcomed any aid from any quarter, and the Americans were ready with their aid --and with Ramon Magsaysay.

The decision to accept American intervention was made, as everybody knows, in the presence of the highest officials of the American Embassy. The intervention was accompanied by goodwill and some unofficial cash --and Magsaysay won by the largest majority garnered ever in the short history of the Republic.

On the day President Quirino conceded, Magsaysay was a house guest of Mr. J. Antonio Araneta. From there he went directly to Malate Church where a Te Deum was sung. Later, he went straight to the grounds of the American Embassy where Ambassador Raymond Spruance, Minister William de Lacey, the ubiquitous Lansdale, and other American officials were lined up to meet him.

The President-elect jumped from the Araneta cadillac straight into the arms of the Americans. He was taken to the yacht of the American embassy where he spent the whole day and night. Mr. Araneta, who was also invited, declined and returned home.

Two days later, the President-elect held a luncheon in the white house of Mr. Senen Gabaldon in the old Santa Mesa. The house had served as one of the many campaign headquarters, and he thought it would be nice to have some talk with his American advisers and with some of those Filipinos who had supported him.

Present were Senator-elect Emmanuel Pelaez, J.V.Cruz, Col. Lansdale, Capt. Buhanan (I am not sure of the spelling of his name but I remember him distinctly) and another American.

In the beginning, the talk was more or less general, but later, the president-elect announced to the person seated next to him his decision to appoint J.V.Cruz as his Press Secretary.

Towards the end of the meal, the need for a place of rest for Magsaysay before his inauguration was raised , and quick as a gun, Col. Lansdale suggested a place he knew near Saigon which would be ideal for the purpose. The Filipinos, led by Senator-elect Pelaez objected, and Magsaysay to his credit understood.

It is, of course, difficult to show how the closeness of the Americans to Magsaysay could prove official American assistance during the campaign. But it is not difficult to show that such a closeness made Magsaysay, probably next to Manuel Roxas, the most pro-American President the Filipinos ever had.



American Governor

There is no complaint about the well-known habit of President Magsaysay of going to the remote fastnesses to meet the people, acquaint himself with their problems and, in his own unorthodox way, attempt to improve their lot in life. We imagine it is his duty to do so; it is even his obligation to compel his subordinates to emulate his example.

But we have every right to complain if Pres. Magsaysay carrying the spirit of democracy to absurdity, goes out of his way to meet every American official who happens to have anything to do with Philippine-American relations.

There was a time when he could do so with impunity. That was when he was a captain of the guerrillas. That was when he was Secretary of National Defence. Then he could safely discuss the most serious matters even with an American colonel.

But now he is the president of the republic, elected by the largest majority in the nation’s political history. As such, he has to observe certain amenities which, at times, he might find irksome. But he can’t help it. The dignity of his office demands it and the dignity of his people will suffer if he ignores those amenities.

He will never be criticized, we repeat, as long as he deals directly with Filipinos, or for that matter, with private American citizens.

But it is entirely a different proposition if he deals with American officials. he has absolutely no business dealing with them. He has enough number of subordinates whom he can assign to discuss with American military or embassy officials.

But given the way things are at present, even an American lieutenant or a minor embassy employee feels that he has a lien on the President’s time. The result of this unhappy situation is disastrous to the prestige of the Filipinos. And it is beginning to dawn upon them that their government is an extension of the American government and their President nothing but an American-appointed governor-general.



Sniffing at Nationalism

A statement released by Malacanang yesterday --a statement released by J.V.Cruz and approved by Pres. Magsaysay-- stated that the administration had been laboring quietly and effectively to establish Philippine ownership of territory occupied by American bases “long before the so-called nationalism got underway.”

It is only to be expected that Pres. Magsaysay should sniff at nationalism, considering that he does not have the faintest idea of what it means. It is also to be expected that J.V.Cruz should be condescending in his attitude toward nationalism because of his belief that, to be in the good graces of his master, he must needs to be vicious.

We venture the opinion, however, that five years from now, the so-called nationalism which today is the subject of Malacanang’s derision will be a full-blown thing, and Pres. Magsaysay and his press secretary,assuming that they will still prefer the Star-Spangled Banner to the Philippine national anthem, will have found they made a mistake.

It is perfectly understandable that Pres. Magsaysay and his press secretary should want to take credit for what they regard as a major diplomatic victory. We expect them to do so. But in doing so it is not necessary for them to be so smug about a feeling and a movement they don’t understand and for which they, like the rest of the foreigners in the country, cannot possibly have the slightest sympathy.

But what are President Magsaysay and J.V. Cruz crowing about? They are crowing over the fact that they have succeeded in persuading the United States to issue a waiver of her claims of ownership of the pre-war bases. In other words, they admit, by implication, that the U.S. was justified in her claims. Under the circumstances, it is safe to presume that the U.S. waived her claims out of regards for the wishes of Mr. Magsaysay and Mr., Cruz.

But if President Magsaysay had really desired to assert Philippine sovereignty of pre-war American bases, all he needed to do was reject the American claim. There is such a claim and it can still be rejected.

But it seems that we have to be satisfied with a waiver so that Mr. Cruz, with the current consent of President Magsaysay, can be as witty about Filipino nationalism as his spiritual brothers, the American sergeants and the carpet-baggers. (5-30-1956)



Misuse of the Noble Word


One of the leading lights of the Grand Alliance* who is at the same time a candidate for a seat in the Senate came out the other day with the rather curious statement that the Nacionalistas were responsible for wrecking “the nationalistic machinery begun by President Magsaysay which could have been the instrument for wrestling alien control of the country’s economy.”

(*The Grand Alliance participated in the 1959 senatorial elections with the support of the CIA. It was actually a loose coalition of politically ambitious representatives of the Nacionalistas, Liberal and progressive parties. - See Joseph Smith, Portrait of a Cold Warrior, NY, 1976, pp.312-320)

It is unfortunate that the speaker did not take the trouble of explaining the nature of the late President’s nationalistic machinery. As it is, the only machinery of president Magsaysay’s we recall was headed by an American by the name of Colonel Edward Lansdale, a man whose understanding of, and sympathy for, Filipino nationalism are about as much as Raul Manglapus’ understanding of, and sympathy for, Protestantism.

It was this machinery of President Magsaysay’s which sold him to the people and which later formed the nucleus of the Magsaysay for President Movement (MPM). Now, it is not on the record that this machinery ever identified itself with the seething nationalist movement. As a matter of fact, it was this machinery which sought to retard the movement by deflecting the people’s mind from it to something innocuous like “positive” nationalism.

It is a favorite argument of the Grand Alliance that Pres. Magsaysay was himself a great nationalist. To prove their rather far-fetched claim, they point to the modification of the Bell Trade Act into the Laurel-Langley Agreement, the panel discussions on the bases issue and the approval of the nationalization of the Retail Trade Act.

The intellectual dishonesty which pervades these so-called proofs should be obvious to anyone who is privy to the facts.

  • In the first place, Pres. Magsaysay was so brazenly pro-American that he could not conceive of any form of Philippine nationalism which was not sanctioned by his American advisers and friends.
  • In the second place, all the nationalistic laws which were passed during his administration and all the negotiations which were conducted during his term were originated by Nacionalistas, not by him. True, he signed the laws and agreed to the holding of negotiations. But he did so not because he was a nationalist but because he knew that in his early years as president he could not reverse the honored policies of the party to which he was merely a newcomer. 

The Nacionalistas, for instance, had been agitating for a revision of the Bases Agreement long before they invited Mr. Magsaysay to be their candidate. Senator Recto delivered speeches everywhere to bring home to the people the inequalities of the Agreement. He urged its early revision, and it was he, alone by himself, who refuted the American claim that the United States owned the lands occupied by her bases in this country.

The revision of the Bell Trade Act had been a basic Nacionalista aim even before Mr. Magsaysay thought of changing his party affiliation. It was the then Vice President Garcia who headed the committee which made a thorough study of the defects of the Act. And if Mr. Garcia got the post it was not on the initiative of President Magsaysay but on the insistence of the directors of the Nacionalista Party.

President Magsaysay could, for a few years more, be remembered with love and loyalty. But, we respectfully submit, not for his nationalism or for his so-called machinery for nationalism. For to speak of the nationalism of Mr. Magsaysay is to misuse a useful and noble word. (9-5-59)



RM’s Advisers


The Cabangbang bill, which was approved by the House the other day, would ban army officers from appointments to civilian positions in the government. This is a belated attempt to remedy a situation which arose during the brief administration of the late President Magsaysay.

During that time, the military organization was almost completely depleted of its ranking officers because of the policy pursued by the late President. He appointed them to key positions in the government and to directorships in the various government corporations. His closest advisers were generals and colonels. These were the people who helped him chart the course of the state, and in many instances it was their attitude and temper which colored his acts.

The body politic assumed such a form as to create doubt as to whether the government was in the hands of the representatives of the people or in the hands of a military junta. The principle of the supremacy of civil over military authority was honored with nothing more than lip service, and military brass began to assume an attitude of supercilious arrogance and to consider themselves called upon to carve order out of chaos.

It is no wonder that even after the tragic death of their patron, the military persisted in this attitude. Some of them, unable to accept the reality of the transfer of power from President Magsaysay to President Garcia, pursued their thoughts to their logical conclusions and developed a messianic complex. Theirs, they convinced themselves, was the moral obligation to save the country from the rule of politicians.

In a way, President Magsaysay could not entirely be blamed for his abject dependence upon army officers. 
  • In his meteoric rise from Congress to Malacanang via the National Defense route he did not have the opportunity to form any but military friendships and acquaintances. Moreover, his volatile temper and 
  • his intellectual limitations made him an easy prey to the seductive allure of the seeming discipline and deceptively precise thinking of the military
  • He never understood the nature of the democratic process and his sectarian view, the professional politicians, who are used to answering back and with whom he could not carry a sustained argument, were a necessary evil.

He therefore preferred the company of military officers who were compelled by their curious sense of discipline to say yes to their master but who took out of their frustration on their hapless subordinates - and on the people.

Because of their training, military men, we are prepared to admit, are perhaps qualified to perform military functions which require little imagination and less understanding of the concept of freedom. But it is precisely this training and all that it implies which disqualify them from civilian tasks - tasks which involve dealing with civilians as human beings with inherent rights. (2-3-60)



Mesmerizing the masses


Magsaysay’s accomplishment is, if we may be permitted to be blunt about it, nothing more nor less than an improved technique of politicking, of running a propaganda machine, and of mesmerizing the amorphous masses into reacting to presidential decisions and utterances into a well-conducted chorus.

That the Magsaysay administration can not be credited with an accomplishment other than this is indeed tragic. For all of the administrations we have had, the Magsaysay administration had the popular support which, properly used, could have enabled President Magsaysay to be different from his predecessors, to be the spearhead of a social and economic renascence.

For from the point of view of chronology, President Magsaysay represented a departure from the past. He was strictly a product of post-war years, tied by no umbilical cord to the political tradition of a past and better forgotten era.

It is quite true that when he campaigned for the presidency and when he assumed office he was surrounded by the surviving representatives of that era. But it also true that they were helpless without him. They depended on him for everything that they had hoped to be. He could have put them in their respective places and he could have reorganized the structure of the body politic so that his beloved common people could have had something more tangible to buoy them up than a winsome smile and a warm but evanescent presidential handshake. But President Magsaysay chose the path of least resistance, and, to paraphrase a memorable phrase of the late Harold J. Laski, instead of attempting a ruthless diagnosis and embarking upon a cure, he preferred to chant slogans. (5-4-57)



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"... there is perhaps no other independent country in the world where alien control of the economic life is as wide and pervasive as in ours. Reduced to stark realities, such a condition makes a mockery of our independence and robs it of substance and meaning … As long as this condition persists, we shall remain in many ways a colonial country. " - Pres. Garcia


PRESIDENT CARLOS GARCIA


Garcia’s relative freedom


One tremendous fact which should not be forgotten about President Garcia’s victory is that neither the church nor the Americans had anything to do with it. Indeed, it might even be said that the church and the Americans had their respective preferences. Their preferences, to be sure, were unofficial, but subtle measures were taken during the campaign to convey to the electorate notion that this or that candidate had the backing of the Americans or enjoyed a certain amount of ecclesiastical sympathy.

Now, it can be safely said that President Garcia won because of the efficiency of the Nacionalista machine and because of the aid extended to him by people who believed in him and who placed a firm reliance on what he once called “my middle-of-the-road temperament.”

To our mind, this is a fact of overwhelming significance, for then, unlike, say, President Magsaysay, he need not be burdened with the thought that, in solving the problems of the nation in the proper way, he might be committing an affront to American or ecclesiastical sensibilities.

Certainly, when he finally settled down to single out the key men who will help him run the government, he need not, like his predecessor, hold their recommendations and connections above their qualifications and integrity.

Thus, he is under no compulsion to retain the services, say, of Ambassador Carlos P. Romulo merely because this gentleman is known the world as an American agent.

Nor is the President under any compulsion to suggest the election of a man to the presidency of the University of the Philippines whose outstanding merit is that he is backed up by the church or by its numerous lay organizations.

There is no advocacy here of the appointment of men in high positions in the government or grounds of their anti-Americanism. But it is humbly suggested that qualified men should not be barred from the government service because of their independent views or because of their refusal to be votaries of conformity.

The manner of his election should enable President Garcia to act and think independently. The sad experience of his predecessors should teach him that compromising the national welfare for the sake of appeasing the prejudices of pressure groups inevitably leads to disaster of which the country is invariably the victim. (11-18-57)



Economic Nationalism


President Garcia could have not chosen a better occasion to clarify his views on economic nationalism than the dinner at the Manila Overseas Press Club the other night. His audience was made up of Filipinos and foreigners whose professions and whose economic predilections made it necessary for them to take in and ponder his every word.

How they received his views hardly matters. What matters is that they know exactly where the present administration stands on the question of economic nationalism.

They know, for instance, that the implementation of economic nationalism is subject to the international obligations of the Philippines as embodied in the Parity Amendment and the Laurel-Langley Agreement. But they know too - for the President told them clearly - that those obligations will cease to be binding in 1974. Above all, they know the President, unlike his predecessors, does not harbour dangerous illusions about the nature of Philippine independence.

In a significant portion of his speech, he said:

“The ugly but incontrovertible fact about the economy today is its dominance by aliens. In some respects, this situation is unique, for there is perhaps no other independent country in the world where alien control of the economic life is as wide and pervasive as in ours. Reduced to stark realities, such a condition makes a mockery of our independence and robs it of substance and meaning … As long as this condition persists, we shall remain in many ways a colonial country. Our most intractable problems do in truth derive from this fact. Full economic development is retarded and stagnation stubbornly holds sway over significant areas of our national life. As a consequence, great masses of our people are deprived of their just participation and commensurate rewards in the economic growth of the nation. Unless corrected in time and decisively, such a condition could pose an ever present threat to the stability of our social order.”



The two important truths in these sentences - the truths that as long as aliens control the national economy, “ we shall remain in many ways a colonial country” and that unless Filipinos gain control of that economy, there will always be a “threat to the stability of our social order” - must be fully understood by both Filipinos and foreigners before they can appreciate the compulsions behind economic nationalism.

The two truths are so related that the second is the necessary consequence of the first. One need not be a professional sociologist to know that the instability and the excrescences of our social order stem not so much from the maliciously erroneous theory that the Filipinos are inherently corrupt as from the fact that they are under the economic domination of an alien minority. They are - if we may be permitted to quote from a previous column - “scroungers in their own country.”

As scroungers, they have no choice but adopt the ethics and sense of values as scroungers.
 


Let them be the masters in their country, and they will be able to afford the luxury of adopting and living by the superior ethics and morality of masters. (1-18-60)



The Military and the Press



About the most happy aspect of the present administration is the gentle but firm refusal of President Garcia to be impressed by either newspapermen or the military. It was only the other day, let it be remembered, that these two groups of men were held in such high esteem that there were not a single government directorship which was not open to them.

Perhaps more in the spirit of cooperation than in the spirit of self help, they honored the government by accepting the choicest appointments it could offer. Thus the military and the newspapermen became government fixtures. As a matter of fact, one could not help gathering the impression that the government would cease to function without the steadying hands of journalists and soldiers.

There has been advanced an array of reasons for the ascendancy of newspapermen and the military during the regime of President Magsaysay. 
  • One is that the newspapermen were mainly responsible for selling him to the people. 
  • Another is that the military was the only group with whom Mr. Magsaysay had been intimately associated during his political career. 

The triumphant conclusion is that he had to honor the first because he wanted to show his gratitude and he had draw men from the second because his acquaintance with civilians were severely limited.

Undoubtedly there were some members of the military who have comforted themselves rather well in civilian pursuits. But we have to hear of an outstanding achievement that can be traced to any newspaperman in the government service. He had, we repeat, to be grateful to them. And he was - to the point of selling them.

Now, President Garcia seems to be a man of different orientation. He grew up among civilians and it is in them that he has sublime faith. It is possible that he respects soldiers and newspapermen, but there is considerable evidence to show that his respect for them is not so much as to make him place vital government functions in their hands.

Indeed, there is every reason to believe that he prefers newspapermen to stick to their job of reporting and commenting on the news and the soldiers to stay at their jobs of defending the country and maintaining peace and order.

Unlike President Magsaysay, therefore, President Garcia would rather the government remained under civilian control.
But what is most satisfying is that he would rather the newspapermen remained newspapermen. This, we believe, is all to the good, for then newspapermen would be able to do their work faithfully without the fear that in doing so they might be committing an affront to the President. (4-29-57)

*****************


NOTES:

Salus populi suprema lex esto” or "The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law."

Over a millennium apart, both Cicero of the Roman Republic and John Locke of Great Britain recognized the sovereignty of the people and the latter’s right of rebellion or revolution against a government that works against the “common good.”

Fast forward today, no post-WW2 Philippine president has so far acted according to that supreme law.


What should we native Filipinos do then? Should we:

do nothing --bury our heads in the sand and maintain the attitude and behavior of selfish individualism "kanya-kanya" and "tough luck" dismissal of those less fortunate as usual? or

inform ourselves about/to appreciate more deeply the roots of our perennial perdition and then decide what to do for the sake of the "common good."}

****************************************END OF POST**********************************


The below link will show a short list of my past posts (out of 543 posts so far) which I consider as basic topics about us native (indio)/ Malay Filipinos. This link/listing, which may later expand, will always be presented at the bottom of each future post. Just point-and-click at each listed item to open and read.

Thank you for reading and sharing with others, especially those in our homeland.

- Bert

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http://www.thefilipinomind.com/2013/08/primary-postsreadings-for-my-fellow.html

Monday, November 04, 2013

President Elpidio Quirino and the Cult of Power (1948 to 1953); Suppressing the brutally frank "Hardie Report" on Agrarian Reform


Salus populi suprema lex esto”  ("The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law.")  - Cicero

Without moral and intellectual INDEPENDENCE, there is no anchor for national INDEPENDENCE. - David Ben-Gurion (1886-1973, Polish-born Israeli Statesman, Prime Minister )

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Hi All,

Our second post-war president was Elpidio R. Quirino, who as Vice President rose to the presidency when Roxas died in 1948. Then he was elected to the Presidency in 1949, amid claims of a fraudulent presidential election. In below article, I. P. Soliongco provides us with his brief narrative/critical analysis of the Quirino presidency,1948-1953. (President Roxas was earlier posted; other presidents to follow.)

Not covered in this Soliongco narrative of the Quirino presidency is  Agrarian/Land Reform, one of the most important issues of the time and that still remains being kicked around by our homeland’s rulers and thus, unresolved to this day. Historically, the agrarian reform problem was/is a lingering societal malaise that gave birth to several uprisings or rebellions; and which in the early 1950s significantly threatened the Quirino regime.

Worried with the global upsurge of anti-colonialism, nationalism and the threat of world communism; and in the Philippines, seeing the Huk rebellion as part of this external or global concern (instead of solely an internal Philippine problem), the U.S. leveraged its foreign aid by demanding internal reforms in the Philippines. Thus President Truman sent an economic survey mission led by American banker Daniel W. Bell.

Thereafter, the Bell Mission made the usual and general recommendations of better taxation, improved bureaucracy, etc. and alluded to land reform, but with a closed-door caveat from U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson to not seriously challenge the entrenched Filipino elite/oligarchs. As a follow-up to the Bell Mission, the Quirino regime signed on the so-called Quirino-Foster Agreement.

The Agreement in which the Philippine government pledged to implement the necessary measures to fulfill the aspirations of the Filipino people while the U.S. will provide the required financial and technical aids. Where-from the U.S. sent Robert S. Hardie, who was instrumental in the efficient and effective implementation of land reform in post-war Japan, to do a similarly more detailed/specialized land tenure and development project in the Philippines.

The “Philippine Land Tenure Reform: Analysis and Recommendations” aka “Hardie Report”  was completed in 1952. It was strongly approved and recommended in Washington, and by the the public, press, liberal reformists and labor organizations in the Philippines. (below book image - it has a summary of the major findings, conclusions and recommendations of the 300-page original report. My Google search into the topics of Philippine Agrarian Reform did not yield this particular Hardie Report, I found one that mentioned only the Bell Mission which led to the Hardie Study, I was able to purchase the book from hole-in-the-wall treasure chest: Solidaridad Bookstore at Padre Faura, Ermita)

However, when submitted to President Quirino, Speaker Eugenio Perez,  and then Congressmen Diosdado Macapagal, Jose Feliciano, Jose O. Corpus, with their landholding elite/supporters in government, i.e. Jose Yulo, Elizalde, Montinola, Cabili, Cuaderno, etc. all spoke and fought hard against the Report, even called it “communist-inspired.”  These guys forgot or were ignorant that strongly anti-communist General Douglas MacArthur himself employed Hardie for reforming post-war Japan!!

By the end of the day, the Quirino regime suppressed publicity of the Hardie Report and did not implement its recommendations. And unfortunately for the Hardie proponents and the peasants, the U.S. government by 1953 came under Republican President Dwight Eisenhower; with his chosen ultra-conservative Secretary of State John Foster Dulles who:

  • emasculated the Hardie Report; (aside from) replacing Hardie and his progressive colleagues,
  • did not put enough pressure on the Quirino regime to act for social justice;
  • instead encouraged just a program of land resettlement. (See documented letter in U.S. Embassy about impressions re Quirino regime.); which
  • subsequently and officially shelved the Hardie Report into oblivion and dustbin of land reform history.
In lieu of total land reform, partial land resettlement was implemented later by President Ramon Magsaysay The land resettlement project --hijacking the "land for the landless" rebel slogan-- sited in Mindanao was made for ex-Huks; and together with soldiers stopped the peasant uprising and the cry for total land reform.

I see land resettlement as a land-grab that somewhat parallels events in U.S. history: influx of the white settlers into the land of Native Americans and the latter's subsequent, practically genocidal demise.

Overall, we can safely argue now that this Magsaysay resettlement solution was partial and short-term; and greatly contributed to the endless Mindanao conflict  between Christians and the Moros - the original occupiers of the resettled lands. A solution that begot a new and continuing problem.

Thus, the land reform issue, with increasing impoverishment for the peasants, extrajudicial killings of tenants/farmers, etc., 60+ years hence continue to the present day.

In hindsight too, later self-proclaimed “Poor Boy from Lubao" President Macapagal would pay lip service to land reform (and in lieu guarantee the entrenched oligarchic status quo), as other presidents had done before; and after him --including his daughter President Gloria Arroyo-Macapagal-- would do.

Similarly and predictably, we can not expect any better from the Aquino boy midway through his presidency, as we did not get any action from her "religiously Catholic" mom, Cora Aquino - who had the best opportunity, like Ferdinand Marcos, to implement radical reforms but did not, because bottom-line she/her family belonged to the landholding aristocracy/elite/class.

- Bert


“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” -

" Fear history, for it respects no secrets" - Gregoria de Jesus  (widow of Andres Bonifacio)

# Philippine presidents
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ON PRESIDENTS , ET AL
QUIRINO AND THE CULT OF POWER
Written by Indalecio P. Soliongco, Editorial Writer/columnist, Manila Chronicle
Edited by Prof. Renato Constantino



What we like about President Quirino is his perfect equanimity in the face of public clamor that he lift the suspension of habeas corpus. We suspect that this quality of the President arises from his inability to hear any other voice save his and that of President Truman.


We cannot force him to heed the country’s wish, for the simple reason that he knows best what is good for him. He has come to the conclusion that the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus is useful to him for deeply personal reasons. What right, therefore, do we have in suggesting that he does something against his interests?


Without the writ, he is a virtual dictator. Already, his minions are arresting people for voicing criticism of him. Pretty soon, he will don the uniform, and speak from balconies. and there will be the inevitable goose-step.


But we have a feeling President Quirino will not restore the writ. He will have ingenuous reasons to support his refusal. Even if 19-million Filipinos were to raise their voices for the restoration of their basic right, the President would be deaf.


Therefore, we suggest that all our petitions be directed to president truman. perhaps, Mr. Truman will hear, and when he hears, he might speak. And when he peaks, President Quirino will surely listen --and hear.


In the meantime, we shall advise our 19-million fellow countrymen from uttering any word of criticism of our President. Thou shalt not take the name of Elpidio in vain. (2-01-1951)



Emergency Powers Forever


After a brief but painful illness, what should we hear but the disquieting news that President Quirino has been behaving in the manner of a boy who is being deprived of something which has only been loaned to him but which he has learned to prize as his own?


We are referring of course to the tenacity with which the president is fighting to retain his emergency powers. Unless the man really wants to become a dictator in name as well as in fact, which we doubt, it is difficult, if not impossible, to understand his peculiar attitude.


Because we are tolerant about matters concerning president Quirino, we can very well appreciate his desire to continue enjoying emergency powers. But tolerant as we are, we confess we were rather shocked to hear that His Excellency in effect threatened to use his constitutional right to impose martial law should Congress deny him what he wants.


The authority to grant emergency powers to the Chief Executive belongs to Congress. In other words, in so far as emergency powers are concerned, Congress giveth and congress taketh away. If it is the opinion of Congress that President Quirino should no longer be clothed with emergency powers, we hardly think it proper for him to insist otherwise.


When he said that Congress must take full responsibility for whatever might happen as a consequence of his being deprived of his emergency powers, he should have stopped there. It was the only apposite thing he could say under the circumstances. he had no business resorting to threats, nor had he the right to act as if it were the obligation of the legislators to be yes-men all their lives.


In point of fact, we even think that it will be for his own good if he is divested of powers other than those provided in the Constitution. For one thing, he will never be accused of abusing what has been denied him. For another, it will be his supreme chance to show that even without emergency powers he can still rule like a statesman.


The pages of history are replete with accounts of presidents and rulers who became famous by virtue of the enormous powers in their hands. We hardly think this is a great achievement. It is when a president can rule wisely and justly without resorting to the use of emergency powers that he can be described as truly great. We should like to advise President Quirino to strive toward this goal --at least, for a change. (2-16-1952)



The Tragedy of EQ


The great tragedy of Elpidio Quirino who passed to his reward late yesterday afternoon is that of a man who allowed the pomp and glamour of power to dull his otherwise keen and observant mind. He never forgot, even for a moment, that he was President, and never did allow this fact to be forgotten by his followers and advisers.


He was, in a manner of speaking, a captive of his great vanity. And because he was such a captive, he failed to hear the popular heartbeat. During his heyday, he was virtually insulated from the masses --to whose welfare he paid lip service --by a coterie of self-seeking advisers who massaged his ego to elephantine proportions.


They told him nothing but the rosiest news and they brought him nothing but the most flattering reports of his great popularity among the people. All these, of course, was a great lie.


But President Quirino had ceased to recognize the bitter truth; all he wanted to hear was sweet flattery. And of this, his so-called friends and advisers had an enormous store. They gave it to him thick and he accepted with grace and often with gratitude.


Thus, towards the close of his career, he lost contact with the people. As a matter of fact, we even believe that he did not care what the people thought or how they felt. He would much rather hear the soothing words of the Malacanang courtiers.


It would be a different story if President Quirino had peered through the walls of his study and seen what was happening outside. Certainly, he would not be such a sorry figure if he had the courage to know the unvarnished truth, if he had the moral strength to recognize the friends from the opportunists.


His life in retirement must have been bitter indeed. For he was left virtually alone. Even the followers and self-appointed advisers he rewarded with jobs and opportunity for making money denied him the benefit of their company.


This is not a judgment on president Quirino as a public servant. That judgment is better left to time. But what he did and did not do as President makes a fine source of material for a study on how power corrodes thought.  (3-01-1956)





Truth and PowerRobert S. Hardie and land reform debates in the Philippines, 1950-1987
Centre of Southeast Asian Studies, Monash University, 1990 - History - 209 pages



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{Below is a repeat INTRODUCTION from earlier post on President Roxas :

In our search for understanding of the perennial predicament in our homeland, a visit to the history of how our past presidents led or, more aptly, ruled provides us some historical insights; that is, allow us to discern patterns and trends that we of subsequent generations can identify as permeating our present so-called national leadership.

The late I.P. Soliongco wrote a series of articles about our post-WW2 presidents from the years 1946 to 1971, the year of his death. His articles though dated are so alive and resonate in the thinking Filipino mind, given that his critical analysis and observations are so relevant, 60+ years ago today.

In his introduction to Soliongco's articles about our post-WW2 presidents (from 1946 to 1971), one of our great nationalist, the late Prof. Renato Constantino stated : " Soliongco's writings on post-war Philippine presidents are particularly enlightening because he always viewed them from the overall perspective of RP-US relations..."

NOTE:
Salus populi suprema lex estoor "The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law."  
Over a millennium apart, both Cicero of the Roman Republic and John Locke of Great Britain recognized the sovereignty of the people and the latter’s right of rebellion or revolution against a government that works against the “common good.”

Fast forward today, no post-WW2 Philippine president has so far acted according to that supreme law.

What should we native Filipinos do then? Should we:


  1. do nothing --bury our heads in the sand and maintain the attitude and behavior of selfish individualism "kanya-kanya"  and "tough luck" dismissal of those less fortunate as usual? or
  2. inform ourselves about/to appreciate more deeply the roots of our perennial perdition and then decide what to do for the sake of the "common good."}



****************************************END OF POST**********************************


The below link will show a short list of my past posts (out of 543 posts so far) which I consider as basic topics about us native (indio)/ Malay Filipinos. This link/listing, which may later expand, will always be presented at the bottom of each future post.  Just point-and-click at each listed item to open and read.



Thank you for reading and sharing with others, especially those in our homeland.


- Bert


PLEASE POINT & CLICK THIS LINK:  

http://www.thefilipinomind.com/2013/08/primary-postsreadings-for-my-fellow.html





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"Those who profess to favor freedom
and yet deprecate agitation
are men who want crops without
plowing up the ground;
they want rain without thunder and
lightning.
They want the ocean without the
awful roar of its waters.
This struggle may be a moral one
or it may be a physical one
or it may be both moral and physical
but it must be a struggle.
Power concedes nothing without a
demand
It never did, and never will."

– Frederick Douglass
, American Abolitionist, Lecturer, Author and Slave, 1817-1895