Saturday, May 15, 2010

Our Filipino Politics - Republic of the Oligarchic Few (Beyond the 2010 Elections)


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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
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
It never did, and never will." – Frederick Douglass
 American Abolitionist,LecturerAuthor and Slave1817-1895)
(quoted in Fr. Salgado's book: Philippine Economy - History and Analysis, 1985) 

Rampant corruption in public institutions/offices including the military, top to bottom is a symptom of disease: the disease of absent nationalism in combination with the disease of immature christianity/religion. Without being repetitive here, I just want to say that these have been discussed in previous posts.

It may be tiring and seemingly hopeless, but we need to keep alive, to continue the discussion of fundamental issues that cause our predicament, especially to those who can not escape/emigrate, the uneducated, the impoverished. For many, if you do not know and understand, you can not care.  Hopefully, we can reach and help them gain an appreciation and understanding of "what's really going on." 

As to the source of leadership, we Filipinos still look up and limit ourselves to the same socioeconomic-political elite, the same prominent dynasties, many of whom were traitorous: of selfish, collaborationist and mendicant (anti-nationalist) variety. There is potentially good leadership, maybe still unknown, OUTSIDE the selfish, morally bankrupt and consistently subservient elite. 
Even many of us -the so-called educated-  who do not belong to this elitist ruling class aspire to become, by hook or by crook, thus to belong someday. And we learned and unwittingly adopted the Platonian anti-democratic and elitist thinking of the philosopher-king and so we look down on the uneducated, slum-dwellers, sacadas, laborers, peasants; throw in the thought of a Manny Pacquiao running for representative office in our Republic, etc. 
So far form our experience, all of our highly (and typically foreign) schooled government bureaucrats and/or technocrats (i.e. Finance Ministers) from the Marcos Dictatorship to the present and Presidents continually prostitute our homeland, giving away our national patrimony, killing our national industries and agriculture to result in massive unemployment, underemployment and manpower export with its social costs; letting foreign businesses and foreign institutions effectively control our national economy and yield our national sovereignty by letting foreign influences direct our politics for their own benefit. . 

Not to mention the thousands of nationalistic natives assassinated or murdered by our JUSMAG-trained military who have been brainwashed to equate nationalism as communism (not realizing that true communism does not welcome nationalism - though it will use it and vice-versa). All made easy by our traitorous rulers.
When we have done away with our massive ignorance and gained significant nationalist consciousness, we native Filipinos can surely find and actively ensure that only individuals -who with courage and strong Filipino nationalism- earn respect and support; thus who will successfully propel the people to fight, and finally win for the common good of the native majority. 

Because without the impoverished majority knowing and understanding(lead to not caring beyond selves), they can not unite and act for radical changes that are long overdue. We may not see the realization now or during our lifetime. But we have to try and do so, for the next generations.

For another, there's no place like home, our country of birth. 

That's how I feel and think - Bert.
Below is a short but profound piece by Prof. Roland Simbulan about the 2010 Philippine Elections.


"Organization is the weapon of the weak in their struggle with the strong." Robert MichelsPolitical Parties

By the Policy StudyPublication, and Advocacy
Center for People Empowerment in 
Governance (CenPEG)
April 26, 2010

They say that elections in our country are like the game of musical chairs. In reality, however, elections are contests exclusively for the elites and their families who will later use their political positions of power for private gain for themselves and their affluent families. They are exercises for the oligarchy in sharing political power among their coterie of the elite. While more than 70 percent of our people are poor, more than 80 percent of the elected representatives in Congress and presidency belong to the exclusive multimillionaires’ club, based on their own declared assets and liabilities.

Factions of the oligarchy and bureaucrat capitalists have maintained their power by manipulating the poor and powerless especially during electoral contests. They have used the poor as their tiradors or hitmen in their contention for limited seats of political power at the national and local level.

But no matter how much they pretend to come from the ranks of the poor, or to project themselves as "maka-masa," especially in their electoral propaganda, one can see how they have gained from their positions of political power.

Can the oligarchy nationalize and expropriate land and private property under the auspices of a genuine agrarian reform law as Cuban President Fidel Castro did in May 1959 when he led by the example in implementing Cuba's sweeping Agrarian Reform Law by first nationalizing his own family's sprawling hacienda in Biran, eastern Cuba?


The coming Philippine elections are further validating the long-held truism that:

  • The elections are basically contests for the elite and economically powerful.The major political parties running for national positions are basically money machines, and convenient alliances of political clans and dynasties, and are not based on real genuine, consistent party principles or platforms.
  • Politics is still very personality-oriented.

But these characteristics of Philippine electoral politics are also the limitations of oligarchic power. These limitations are on the following grounds:

  • Oligarchic power thrives on the low awareness of the people and the divisions among the non-elites. Once the people become socially-aware and organize, they challenge the very foundations of elite rule.
  • Oligarchic monopoly of state power can never be expected to deliver policies and services for the vast majority of the poor and oppressed.
  • Oligarchic power limits the exercise of true political democracy and the realization of social justice.
  • Oligarchic power reduces the democratizing economic benefits that may come from economic growth. The economic pie and GNP/GDP may grow each year, but only a tiny speck of the population will corner this added wealth for themselves and benefit from it.
The real hope

This is why the hope is not in the electoral struggle per se. The real hope lies in deepening the processes of democratization, in strengthening and widening the grassroots citizens' movements which can act as an effective countervailing force against the economic, political and military domination of the oligarchy - both foreign and local. Thus, elections at the national and local levels should not be a mere contest among the factions of the elites and bureaucrat capitalists, among whom we are often limited to choose from. The real struggle is between the continued oligarchic rule and the exploited/oppressed toiling masses.

And real power is not also in state power per se. Real power is in an empowered citizens' grassroots movement seeking to wrest control of economic and political power from the oligarchs

The role of people's movements in their engagement with the elite-driven state is not just to provide an effective check and balance in the state, or to share a token of that state power. Their role is to develop alternative local and national leaders for the emergence of a genuine political party of the non-elite to challenge oligarchic power. For this, it may be necessary to unify the country's diverse progressive and left-of-center forces behind a coherent political program.

What therefore, are the tasks at hand for people's organizations and social movements which are participating in the coming political exercise?

  • Use the whole electoral exercise to expose the bankruptcy of oligarchic power and corrupt oligarchic politics that only reinforce if not legitimize the monopoly of political and economic power of the few. And we should show to the electorate whose consciousness we are raising that we are the genuine people's alternative to the corrupt patronage politics of the oligarchy.
  • Show by example that "New Politics" and "Politics of Change" is always a principled one; it must maintain its high moral ground and should never imitate the practices of corrupt traditional politicians and the parties of the elite, just to get positions of power. It should not be used by any faction of the old or nouveau riche oligarchy in their bid for power. To do so is to act like a hatchet person of one oppressor against another. We should avoid riding on the discredited political machines of the elites which are fueled merely by money and patronage. How we win, is how we will govern.
  • Maximize the election to raise the level of consciousness of the people, to make and develop new contacts in all provinces and regions, and to organize and further broaden and strengthen people's organizations. Special focus and more serious work should be given to our engagement with local government units (LGUs) for consolidating grassroots political power.

The greater tragedy of oligarchic power and politics is if the hoi polloi -- the poor victims themselves -- fight and kill one another while the exploiting classes playfully swap musical chairs in an elite game we call elections.

(This issue analysis was written by Prof. Roland Simbulan, Senior Fellow of CenPEG, centennial professor and former Faculty Regent of the University of the Philippines system.)

For your comments/suggestions please send your email to;


Anonymous said...

Perhaps the question Bert is whether the majority of Filipinos bother to care to knowing about nationalism, love of country and/or the common good?

Seems the brainwashing effect of mass media and our educational system has succeeded in producing self-centeredness as a common trait among Filipinos nowadays.

Most are focused on self gratification or just too busy trying to survive because of poverty that there is no room to being educated to love our country, be aware of such as thing as working for a common good nor even care for our neighbors who have now grown alienated from one another in their walled up lives among our "educated" Filipinos.

Quote unquote kasi mukhang marami--rami ang magaasta mal-edukado kahit na may mga Phd.

Someone in this emailing list sometime back (forgotten who) mentioned the need for behavior modification as what is needed to create such ove of country and for Filipinos to work for a common good in order to achieved positive societal transformation in the Philippines.

This leads us to the question on how this can be done?


Bert M. Drona said...


Thanks for your feedback and I can only restate my response in a previous post:

True, analysis... in fact we have actually been overanalyzed by some fellow Filipinos and foreigners of varying spins; but unfortunately it is only a few the so-called educated who are really aware of what's going on. And many of us are afraid of radical change, the necessary change.

I can only suggest that we start with the late Prof.Renato Constantino writings, coupled with culture: religion, customs, habits,.etc.

Change can only occur when a person or a society realizes his/its strengths and weaknesses, have a desire,courage and willingness to change, to do away with the weaknesses. Of course, these are easier said than done for one person; more so for a society.

In our case, as a society, a directed education for nationalism is sine-qua-non, but given past and present realities, even such education can not be expected (IMF/WB, since the time Marcos started obtaining loans, has imposed conditions including our educational system (less humanities/liberal arts, more on vocational.

Given our subservient regimes, only a nationalist and necessarily violent revolution can impose such; a revolution carried by a native populace who are consciously nationalistic and thus have chosen nationalist citizens as leaders, and latter all constantly under their watch for consistency to the aims of Filipino nationalism.

It is not simple since we do not operate in a vacuum, more so in the now globalized society. It is much, much more difficult than say, in the premartial law years as well as during Cory's regime; where we had the two best opportunities for radical changes - but these were greatly wasted opportunities.

And for the sake of discussion, given our present realities, even if today we had changes in the direction we desire here, it will probably take at least a generation to realize the fruits of a nationalist revolution.

But since we Filipinos are mostly cowards and not the likes of Bonifacio, Mabini or Sakay, it may or may not happen. Thus the quotation I inserted (by Frederick Douglas).

I hope I will be proven wrong.




The greater tragedy of oligarchic power and politics is if the hoi polloi -- the poor victims themselves -- fight and kill one another while the exploiting classes playfully swap musical chairs in an elite game we call elections.

The reality is that it is not "IF". The tragedy lies in "FOR AS LONG AS" the majority of the descendants of the INDIOS circa 1571 among the different classes of slaves, i.e., "Aliping Mandirigma", "Aliping Saguiguilid", and "Aliping Namamahay", will fail to regain their own true consciousness, individually and collectively, by discarding the myths, the lies, the illusions and the delusions that were hammered into their psyche by "The Sword and The Cross" and which were slammed down further and spread all over the 7,107 islands through the copy-cat version of the US Public School System.

The reality is that by themselves the present and future generations of the Pinoy "hoi polloi" or MASA can never free themselves from the insidious, nefarious, and vicious cycle of bondage that their ancestors among the INDIOS allowed themselves to be subjected and shackled.

The reality is that the "trigger" can only come from a "core group" from among the "Middle Class" who are simply sick and tired of watching the "Grand Zarzuela con Moro Moro" that was launched on 04 July 1946.

The reality is that power is never given up, never granted, but must always be taken, not just figuratively but literally, or re-taken by those who would have given up by sheer default.

There is still hope for the present generations of the Pinoy MASA and the Middle Class. All it takes is for a "core group" within the Middle Class, imbued with Patriotism, Integrity, and Excellence, who will be ready and willing to kill in order to free themselves and the rest of the Middle Class and the Pinoy MASA.

The reality is that changing the political destiny of the marginalized majority of the inhabitants of the 7,107 islands can only have a "fighting chance" through armed uprising, and liberating each barangay of the more than 42,000 barangays spread all over the 7,107 islands from the stranglehold of the "Ruling Elite".

Bert M. Drona said...


Thanks for the feedback.

I do not know your age,but frankly in the 1960s and early 1970s, the middle class identified with the Marcos dictatorship since the latter implemented its short-term peace and order, of course for its selfish reasons. The middle class with most of the oligarchy played to the tune of the dictatorship given the typical disgust for the truly poor/masa. Ss the middle class aspire to join the upper classes, even join the oligarchy.

It is only after years of declining prosperity for these two classes did they woke up and started aligning with the poor who were/are always the expendable victims. Then when Benigno got murdered, these classes went for Cory of out naivete, sentimentality and dislike for true and radical changes (read Frederick Douglas quotation so apt for most of us).

I do not think and believe that the middle class or any other class has an exclusive ownership for radical and fundamental changes for the common good.

All classes must be welcomed though we can expect again some in the middle class but most of the poor to bear the brunt and effort of the national struggle.