The 1898 proclamation of independence

One hundred twenty-four years after our elders proclaimed the Filipino people’s independence from Spanish colonial rule, we may perhaps view with more understanding, and even admiration, the seemingly strange manner in which they performed that defining act. More specifically, why they invoked “the protection of the Powerful and Humanitarian Nation, the United States of America,” even as … Read more

The apolitical in politics

It may sound like a contradiction in terms. But, in fact, it happens most of the time. Irrespective of social class, the average voter tends to be driven more by unconscious dispositions than by explicitly formulated opinions on the issues that candidates represent. Only the latter type of participation can properly be called political. I … Read more

Marcos Jr.’s bid for legitimacy

Winning the vote may give one the legal right to assume an elective position, but it doesn’t automatically confer on the victor the legitimacy that he/she needs to effectively govern. Legitimacy is public acceptance of one’s right to rule, something that some elected leaders have to earn almost throughout their terms in office. In the … Read more

All in the family

When members of the same family vie for positions in government, the seeds of corruption are planted. The boundaries between home and public office are blurred. Family loyalty trumps public accountability. Public funds are privatized, and governmental power is used to advance not the common good but the interests of a few. These lessons in … Read more

A Marcos government and the pink movement

Around noon on June 30, a new government headed by Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will be inaugurated. At about the same time, a new movement that took shape in the final leg of Vice President Leni Robredo’s 2022 presidential campaign will formally launch its manifold presence in the post-election landscape. The intertwining of these two modern … Read more

The battle to change mindsets

Whether Vice President Leni Robredo wins or loses in the May 2022 elections, the campaign to make her president has produced something unprecedented in Philippine politics. It has unleashed a tide of citizen activism rarely seen in elections. It has spawned a social movement that seeks nothing less than to reshape the society of which … Read more

Why Filipinos vote the way they do

While a good number of thoughtful Filipinos believe that the May 2022 presidential election is a watershed moment for our country and for generations to come — one that demands the most careful reflection about the kind of nation we want to be — this is not necessarily how the majority of voters think about … Read more

Leni and the struggle for a revitalized democracy

While the May 2022 presidential election has been portrayed by pundits as a choice between strongman rule and liberal democratic governance, there is another way of looking at it that, unfortunately, may be more attuned to current Filipino political narratives. This is the view that sees this year’s presidential contest as largely a reprise of … Read more

Citizen engagement against the surveys

  Those mammoth pink crowds that have materialized almost overnight in various places, in support of the presidential team of Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, appear to be saying only one thing. “The surveys draw a picture that doesn’t include us. Governors pledge our votes as though they belonged to them. We … Read more

Oligarchs and cronies

Business groups, who foresee the election of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in the May 2022 presidential contest, are anxiously asking what kind of president he might be, especially on economic matters. Would he be like Marcos Sr. who, from the start, sought not only to restructure the Philippine economy but also to intervene directly in the … Read more