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I NTRODUCTION

A Second Look at Democracy


Jose J. Magadia, S.J. and Edmund Ramos

D emocracy has become a battle cry in many parts of todays world. Many
a scholar, politician, journalist, revolutionary, and student hail its virtues
and even the common tao on the street talks about it and why its slow processes are
nevertheless necessary. Francis Fukuyama (1992) declared it as the final form of
human government.1 Yet, despite this seeming general acceptance, actual empiri-
cal experiences have varied greatly, across time and across cultures, focusing on one
or another of its many elements and aspects. This seriously raises the question of
whether all these different parties are talking about the same phenomenon at all.
This introduction sketches in very broad strokes how democracy emerged as
the most favored system of government at the dawn of the twenty-first century.
It is noteworthy that as these developments took place, democracy itself was
changing and evolving, until it finally settled on what would qualify as a mainstream
definition, with some basic elements, as articulated by Western academics of the
twentieth century. An alternative definition, however, has been provided by several
political theorists as well. This definition is proposed and discussed extensively
herein in the hope that the reader develops a deeper appreciation of the concept of
democracy. Most importantly, this introduction takes up the very real case of de-
mocracy in the Philippines, reflecting especially on the many gaps and loopholes of
this countrys experience. From this concrete perspective, the readers are invited to
step back and take a second look at democracy, and consider how it might be rede-
fined and reincarnated in the context of Filipino politics and culture.

DEMOCRACY RISING
In its birthplace in Ancient Greece, democracy was seen by classical philosophers
like Plato and Aristotle as an undesirable form of government. The thinking then
was that such rule of the demos (the unruly poor or the chaotic masses) was inferior to
other forms that were built on wisdom and order. Only in Athens, where it is believed
to have first appeared, did the earliest form of democracy gain some following. Yet
2 INTRODUCTION A Second Look at Democracy

many aspects of Athenian democracy would appear strange and unfamiliar to the
modern observer. For example, every citizen in Periclean Athens took part in the ev-
eryday affairs of their polis, and more directly so in major decision making, when the
individual citizen would take his turn as a member of the ruling Assembly. Direct
citizen participation was built on the premise that no one should be elected to a top
position above the rest, because each was assumed to be equally capable of holding
public office. In lieu of elections, Athenians drew lots to determine who would become
leaders of the Assembly. Neither was there intermediate institution such as a bureau-
cracy, specialized court, or delegated power. The Assembly was the singular and
therefore central institution of democracy at the time.
The unpopularity of democracy continued right up to the nineteenth century
when it was still seen as basically mob rule. Very few democracies emerged during
the stretch from the French Revolution at the end of the eighteenth century to the
rise of one-party regimes in the mid-twentieth century. One of the few clearly posi-
tive references could be found in Abraham Lincolns Gettysburg Address in 1864,
which hailed democratic government as one that was of the people, by the people
and for the people. This has been held since as a popular definition of democracy,
which clearly linked government to the people indicating that individuals could impact
the process of governing in many constructive ways. As pithy and as inspiring as
this statement might be, it is clearly inadequate as far as definitions go, as it raises
questions and issues that remain contentious, and as different political actors are able
to reinterpret it according to their particular political preferences and values (see box
1). In fact, to this day, democracy remains a highly contested idea.
In the aftermath of World War II and with the defeat of the authoritarian re-
gimes of Germany and Japan, a worldwide rejection of dictatorship and fascism
set the stage for an upsurge in the popularity of democratic rule. Political systems
previously based on the principle of the divine right to rule gave way to a prior
imperative of representation in government. This formed the core of the different
definitions of democracy that were developed in postwar academia. A recent ver-
sion embodies the mainstream that has won a considerably wider acceptance. It
states that democracy is a political system where the most powerful decision mak-
ers are selected through fair, honest, and periodic elections in which candidates
freely compete for votes and in which virtually all in the adult population are eli-
gible to vote (Huntington 1991, 7), and thus choose their representatives in gov-
ernment. To this, other scholars have argued for and insisted on liberal qualifiers
and requisites to this definition, particularly championing individual and collective
liberties that could curb the powers of leaders who might be tempted to impose
their wills on their constituents (Diamond 1999, Zakaria 1997). Nevertheless, the
undeniable core among all this is still the voice and consent of the people, choosing
leaders who speak and act on their behalf.
Because it is founded on a system for choosing governments through free and
fair electoral competition at regular intervals, a democratic government is pre-
ferred because it offers the best prospect for accountable, responsive, peaceful,
INTRODUCTION A Second Look at Democracy 3

predictable, good governance (Diamond 1999, 2). American scholar Robert Dahl
further observes that democracy promotes freedom as no feasible alternative can
(see Diamond 1999, 3). Other positive benefits that its champions claim include the
promotion of peace, economic development, and responsiveness to social inequal-
ity. Such ideals have won such a broad following that many ideological blocs have
appropriated the label democracy even while fulfilling only its most basic mini-
mal/procedural prerequisite.
Indeed, at the heart of this conception of democracy among Western academ-
ics is the electoral exercise. Joseph Schumpeters 1942 definition, which was among
the earliest, was focused precisely on this point. He emphasized that democracy was
not so much an ideal system, representing a clear worldview with corresponding

Box 1. Government of the People, for the People, and by the People?

1. Who are the People?


a. As a single cohesive body bound together by a common or collective interest,
the people are one and indivisible. This generates a model of democracy
that focuses upon the general will, or collective will.
b. As heterogeneous body, the people can be taken as the majority. This
implies that democracy is majority rule or the tyranny of the majority
(Alexis de Tocqueville).
c. As free individuals each having the right to make autonomous decisions, the
people is everyone. This implies that only decisions made unanimously are
acceptable.
2. How Should the People Rule?
People Govern Themselves: they participate in making crucial decisions that structure
their lives and determine the fate of their society
a. Direct democracy suggests that popular participation entails direct and
continuous involvement in decision making through devices such as refe-
rendums, mass meetings, among others
b. Representative democracy (voting) implies that when people vote, they do so
not only to make the decisions, but also to choose who will make decisions on
their behalf.
c. Totalitarian democracy suggests that true democracy is absolute dictatorship.
Fitting examples of such rules are the regimes of Mussolini and Hitler.
3. How Far Should Popular Rule Extend? What is the Proper Realm of Democracy?
Public vs. Private?
a. Liberal individualists aver that democracy should be restricted to political
life. They add that the purpose of democracy is to establish a framework of
laws within which individuals can conduct their own affairs and pursue their
private interests. Thus, democratic solutions are appropriate only for matters
that specifically relate to the community.
b. Radical democrats suggest that the general principle of democracy is
applicable to all areas of social existence. The people, therefore, are seen to
have a basic right to participate in making ANY decision that affect their lives.
In Andrew Heywood, Politics, 2d ed. 2002, 7072.
4 INTRODUCTION A Second Look at Democracy

component features and prescriptive strategies. Rather, what he referred to as de-


mocracy was essentially the method for identifying those who will govern. Rather
than democracy, Schumpeter spoke about the democratic method which he then
defines as that institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions in
which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle
for the peoples vote (Schumpeter 1942, 269).
Different versions of the same basic elections and rights-based definitions have
been offered by Western social and political scientists through the twentieth cen-
tury, on which other theories and observations were subsequently built. For in-
stance, one of the more recent and interesting popular theories was proposed by
Samuel P. Huntington, who takes a macro historical view and observes how the
number of these democracies increased and decreased, in a series of waves and
reverse waves. By wave of democratization he simply meant a group of democratic
transitions . . . that occur within a specified period of time that significantly out-
number transitions in the opposite direction or authoritarianism during that pe-
riod (Huntington 1991, 15). The first wave that was long and slow happened from
1828 to 1926 and was followed by a reverse wave of democratic breakdown from
1922 to 1942. After World War II, the second wave took place and lasted until
1964. It was then followed by a second reverse wave starting from 1961 and end-
ing in 1975. In 1974, the third wave began and witnessed the overthrow of right-
wing dictatorships in Greece, Portugal, and Spain, the retreat of the generals in
Latin America, and, most significantly, the collapse of communism (1625).
Among the third-wave cases is the Philippine democratization experience of 1986.

REDEFINING DEMOCRACY
Despite the conduct of regular elections, many democracies are considered
flawed. The Philippine experience, for example, points to the need for a review and
reevaluation of the definition of democracy based on suffrage. This mainstream
definition can be viewed as being limited in scope, and lacking in elements that are
seen as necessary components of a democracy (see box 2).
An alternative definition of democracy that may prove more useful is the fol-
lowing, which is a slight revision of the one given by Philippe Schmitter and Terry
Lyn Karl (1993, 40):
Modern political democracy is a system of governance in which rulers are held
accountable for their actions in the public realm by citizens, intervening (a) directly,
through their own actions,2 or (b) indirectly, through the competition and coopera-
tion of their elected representatives.
Implied in said definition is the clear distinction between modern democracy
and the ancient Greek models. Since the 1950s, democracy has been liberated from
some of the negative connotations previously attached to it. As a system of gover-
nance, it is concerned not only with the terms and methods of access to public of-
fice, but also with the conduct and quality of decision making of those who do gain
such access. For such a system to work, democracy must be embraced by the
INTRODUCTION A Second Look at Democracy 5

Box 2. The Philippine Democracy Audit Project


Source: <http://www.phildemocracyaudit.com>

What is the Philippine Democracy Assessment?

The Philippine Democracy Assessment (PDA) is a systematic audit by its own citi-
zens of the country's political life in order to answer the questions: How democratic is it in
practice? How far have we progressed and what remains still to be done? What are the key
problems faced by democracy? How can we improve on what we have already achieved?
The Philippine Democracy Assessment is inspired by and part of a loose network of
countries doing their respective democracy audit, using the framework of the International
Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) based in Sweden.

What are the indicators used in assessing Philippine Democracy?

The Philippine Democracy Assessment adopts the framework of the International


IDEA in assessing democracy, using the following indicators:

Citizenship, Law, and Rights


1.Nationhood and citizenship
2. The rule of law and access to justice
3. Civil and political rights
4. Economic and social rights
Representative and Accountable Government
5. Free and fair elections
6. Democratic role of political parties
7. Government effectiveness and accountability
8. Civilian control of the military and police
9. Minimizing corruption
Civil Society and Popular Participation
10. The media in a democratic society
11. Political participation
12. Government responsiveness
13. Decentralization
Democracy beyond the State
14. International dimensions of democracy

population governed, or, at the very least, passively accepted by most. Moreover, in
the context of global realities in the aftermath of World War II, such a system must
be institutionalized and enshrined in a constitution, which is the articulation of the
fundamental rules and principles of the nation-state, the basic political unit of re-
cent times. The following sections present the elements of above-mentioned broader
notion of democracy, and reiterate, expand, and apply some of the more salient
points given by Schmitter and Karl.
6 INTRODUCTION A Second Look at Democracy

THE ACTORS
In the alternative definition of democracy, two main groups of actors are iden-
tified: rulers and citizens. While the term ruler seems convenient and succinct, it
also carries with it a suggestion of hierarchy, a sense of imposition or even coer-
cion. The term fails to capture the reality that democratic governance is centered
more on the interaction between those endowed with actual political power, and the
highly diverse and diffuse body that is the peoplewhich grants this power
rather than on the behavior of political authorities. Despite this weakness, the term
is retained, since, as will be shown below, other elements of the definition provide
the necessary correctives.
The other major agent in the definition is the citizen. It is significant to un-
derscore the term, and to distinguish it from the rhetorical people and the patron-
izing ruled, or governed.
Recent developmental conceptions of citizenship have shifted away from the
merely passive and legalistic sense of privileges received through membership in a
body, as embodied in a Social Security number or a passport or a voters ID card, to
which are attached rights or benefits or entitlements or liberties. While these are
not denied, what is emphasized, in more current studies, is a more proactive sense
of responsibility for the promotion of the common good in society, the pursuit of
shared ideals and values, and the development of all means to secure the welfare of
each individual. It is in this spirit that citizens would be willing to accept a system
of governance that will realize these goals in the most effective way.
Among the practices of good citizens are
fidelity in the payment of taxes;
conscientiousness in the observance and promotion of rules, and of the
principles that enforce a rule of law;
deference to authorities who discharge their duties properly, and respectful
critique and challenge of those who are remiss;
vigilance as regards abuses that would jeopardize the common good, and
monitoring potential problems;
concern for current issues, for example, political and economic stability,
environmental management, traffic regulations, combating corruption, and
others.

R ELATIONSHIPS
In a democracy, the central relationship between rulers and citizens is account-
abilitythe ruler is accountable to citizens, who in turn have the right and the
responsibility to exact accountability of their rulers. Democracy vests power in the
peoplecitizens who desire the best outcome for each one and for society at large,
and who opt to take advantage of a system that accords chosen representatives and
spokespersons with the authority and the power to make decisions on behalf of the
entire populace. These chosen representatives can then enforce these decisions as
they see best. This trust is the basis for accountability.
INTRODUCTION A Second Look at Democracy 7

A good definition of accountability is provided by the Asian Development


Bank: the imperative to make public officials answerable for government behavior
and responsive to the entity from which they derive their authority. Accountability
also means establishing criteria to measure the performance of public officials, as
well as oversight mechanisms to ensure that the standards are met.3 Included in
this imperative is governments submission to mechanisms of audit, both inter-
nally and externally, in areas like finance and budget management, economic plan-
ning, and even political orientations.
The most fundamental political audit mechanism in a democracy is the conduct
of elections. Through electoral exercises, citizens choose their representatives for
both the crafting of policies and the implementation of programs. Although this is
a minimum requirement and a minimum indicator for the existence of democracy,
its importance cannot be emphasized enough, as the proper conduct of this exer-
cise can provide a solid foundation for truly meaningful development and a stable
political democracy. To ensure the integrity and legitimacy of electoral exercises, it
is critical that eligibility criteria for different public offices are oriented towards the
election of the most effective representatives of the people, and that rules for the
conduct of elections are clearly articulated, closely followed, and constantly evalu-
ated and improved. The carrying out of these safeguards promotes foundational
accountability.
Elections alone, however, are not sufficient for a democracy to work well. Just
as crucial will be the setting up of alternative mechanisms through which account-
ability can be exacted by citizens of their rulers. These alternative mechanisms,
which are particularly significant during the lengthy periods in between electoral
exercises, include various forms of grievance mechanisms, insertions in policy mak-
ing, and implementation by individual citizens or citizens organizations, public
hearings for important social and political issues, debates on media, lobbying, bod-
ies and processes for the monitoring and evaluation of government projects, and
other similar activities. The main protagonists that engage government in these
activities constitute what has come to be known as civil society (examples are
given in boxes 3 and 4).
This dynamic relationship between rulers and citizens is captured by recent
analyses that have focused, not so much on government, but on governance. The
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has provided a definition for
this term, which is accepted in many circles: The exercise of economic, political,
and administrative authority to manage a countrys affairs. It is the complex of
mechanisms, relationships, and institutions through which citizens and groups ar-
ticulate their interests, exercise their rights and obligations and mediate their dif-
ferences.4 Governance, thus, includes, at the same time transcends, government.
Given the above discussion, one can see how rulers can likewise demand of citi-
zens a basic loyalty to a system that would allow those endowed with authority to
carry out the mandates they have been charged with. Such a system, which is set in
8 INTRODUCTION A Second Look at Democracy

Box 3. Watchdogs from Civil Society: PCIJ


Source: <http://www.pcij.org>

The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) is one of the more
visible organizations that engages the various players in Philippine politics. In its
Web page, the Center identifies itself as an independent, nonprofit media agency
that specializes in investigative reporting . . . to delve into the causes and broader
meanings of news events, and seeks to make a distinct contribution to the consoli-
dation of democracy:
The Center believes that the media play a crucial role in scrutinizing and
strengthening democratic institutions. The media couldand shouldbe a cata-
lyst for social debate and consensus that would redound to the promotion of pub-
lic welfare. To do so, the media must provide citizens with the bases for arriving
at informed opinions and decisions.
The Center was set up to contribute to this end by promoting investigative re-
porting on current issues in Philippine society and on matters of large public
interest. It does not intend to replace the work of individual newspapers or radio
and television stations, but merely seeks to encourage the development of inves-
tigative journalism and to create a culture for it within the Philippine press.

Among its achievements, PCIJ lists the following:

23 April 2001. PCIJ reported how, four days after it assumed office, the Arroyo
government gave the final approval, in the form of a Department of Justice rul-
ing, to a controversial power plant contract ran by the Argentine firm IMPSA.
That report raised questions about the propriety of the ruling issued by Justice
Sec. Hernando Perez and was used in a Senate investigation on the case held in
January 2003.
JulyOctober 2000. PCIJ released three reports on President Estrada's unex-
plained wealth and the mansions he was building for his mistresses. All three be-
came part of the impeachment suit filed against the President in November
2000.
11 March 1996. PCIJ reported that Health Sec. Hilarion Ramiro was responsible
for large-scale anomalies in the Department of Health and was skimming off as
much as 40 percent from government contracts. Two weeks later, Ramiro was
forced to resign.
11 October 1993. PCIJ wrote about Rose Marie Baby Arenas, alleged presi-
dential paramour, and her supposed influence on the affairs of state. Three days
later, the Securities and Exchange Commission took over a disputed one third of
the shares of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the only paper that ran the story.
17 August 1993. PCIJ reported that the House Speaker, Jose de Venecia, left a
trail of unpaid debts amounting to P5 billion, when he was head of the Landoil
conglomerate in the 1980s. One week later, the Senate began an investigation of
Landoil Resources Corporation.
INTRODUCTION A Second Look at Democracy 9

place through a constitution, must be able to provide rulers with the structures and
parameters for the effective exercise of power. It must provide an institutional de-
sign, which spells out clearly the processes for policy making, the rules for the
implementation of programs and the enforcement of laws, the mechanisms for ar-
bitration between contending citizens and bodies, the relationships between gov-
erning bodies and the various levels of authority, the duties and responsibilities of
citizens to government. Consequently, such a design will determine the various
forms of governmentpresidential or parliamentary or a combination of ele-
ments from each, federal or unitary or a combination of elements from each. Like-
wise, the basic features of a judicial system, a bureaucracy, and institutions for
national security (the police, the military) and the preservation of a rule of law
must be established. One important indicator that the system is working is the

Box 4. Watchdogs from Civil Society: G-Watch

G-Watch is short for Government Watch, a project began in 2000 by two units
of the Ateneo de Manila Universitythe Ateneo School of Government and the
Ateneo Center for Social Policy and Public Affairs (ACSPPA). The project was con-
ceived as a concrete response to the very serious problem of corruption, utilizing a
preventive, deliberately nonconfrontational approach, which was at the same time cre-
ative in that it involved a positive engagement of government institutions. Specifi-
cally, the project aimed to check corruption before any extensive damage is done,
through the proactive mobilization of vigilant citizens and citizens groups that work
with government institutions, and to offer assistance by ensuring that services prom-
ised are properly delivered. In this way, it tries to contribute to a more competent and
credible government institutions.
Its textbook count project began in 2002, for instance, involved cooperation
with the Department of Education. In this, G-Watch pioneered in improving govern-
ment service by working with thousands of local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts units and
parent-teacher associations nationwide, to monitor the delivery of textbooks and
teachers lesson guides, and to check on the quality of textbook printing through print-
ing warehouse inspections. Likewise, G-Watch engaged the cooperation of more than
twenty different civil society organizations in the project.
This textbook-count project yielded positive results:
In 2003, 37 million textbooks amounting to P1.3B were tracked to 5,500
delivery points.
In 2004, 13.6 million textbooks amounting to P660M were tracked to 7,499
delivery points.
In 2005, 1.26 million textbooks amounting to P63 million were tracked to
4,844 delivery points and 8,401 distribution sites.
Project Director Redempto Parafina points out that as a result of this project:
(1) prices of textbooks were reduced by 4050%; (2) the Department of Education
was able to improve its record by cutting down the time from the bidding of contrac-
tors to the delivery of textbooks from twenty-four months to only twelve months; and
(3) delivery errors were reduced to as low as 5% on the average.
10 INTRODUCTION A Second Look at Democracy

maintenance of processes that ensure the smooth transfer of power from one party
of power holders to another.
The given definition of democracy makes clear that the relationship between
citizens and rulers covers only those actions in the public realm (Schmitter and
Karl 1993, 41). The extent of what is public, however, varies from country to coun-
try. Among democracies that incorporate elements of a socialist economy, for in-
stance, the public realm has a wider coveragethat might include extensive
systems of social security, public ownership of mass transportation, and even some
major industrial corporations. On the other hand, democracies that call for more
freedom in the conduct of economic activities may prefer greater privatization (see
box 5). At the core of considerations of what would fall in the public realm is a
societys basis for what it considers to belong to the people as a whole (e.g., a natu-
ral resource; a work of art; a historical heritage), and what it values as a common
good (e.g., values, principles, and national interests, that might be articulated, for
instance, as foreign policy or social policy). What might also be included in such
considerations is a societys relationship to market forces, both locally and globally.

PROCESSES
Democracy must incorporate three very critical processesrepresentation, co-
operation, and competition.
The foundational process is representation (44). Given more complex contem-
porary realities as population size increases, the good of the people is often best
served through systems that address the various concerns of a country more effi-
ciently. For this to happen, not everyone can be directly involved. In a democracy,
this means extending to citizens the privilege of directly choosing some key repre-
sentatives to critical posts of responsibility. This also means providing a system
that would identify and employ personnel who can help these chosen leaders carry
out their mandates. Those directly chosen go through an electoral system, and their
auxiliary personnel are tapped through the government bureaucracy.
Through representation, voice is thus given to the people as a whole, who may
be categorized according to distinct interests within a society. These interests often
take the form of clearly delineated social cleavages. The cleavages can be regional,
geographic, ethnolinguistic, ideological, or those based on class, gender, age, religious
belief, or employment. The people can also be identified in terms of distinct forms
of marginalization (e.g., the disabled, veterans, indigenous communities). Begin-
ning with these cleavages, the freedom intrinsic to a democracy would allow individu-
als of similar interests to organize themselves into associations that could sustain a
more lasting voice in society. These associations can themselves serve as agents of
representation, or they can promote other spokespersons as their representatives.
Thus, one of the indicators of a healthy democracy is the peaceful coexistence of and
constructive interaction between individuals and groups bearing different identities,
in a society able to maintain authentic pluralism, through the bargaining and ex-
change among different interests, as brokered by their representatives.
INTRODUCTION A Second Look at Democracy 11

Box 5. Privatization

Privatization can be defined simply as any shift of the production of goods and
services from public to private (Starr 1988, 641). Since the 1980s, it has been iden-
tified as one of a string of related strategies for the structural adjustment of the
public sector of the economy, which had been owned or controlled by government or
state. To privatize involves the states disengagement from direct ownership or con-
trol of enterprises for economic production, and their transfer to the private sector,
with the overall objective of achieving economic efficiency.
The authoritarian regime of Pres. Ferdinand Marcos saw the expansion of the
public sector as government took control of many private enterprises, which served as
milking cows for the dictator and his cronies. This enlarged and inefficient public
sector, which was inherited by Corazon Aquino in 1986, became so burdensome, not
only because it was not profitable, but more especially because it drained the already
meager resources of the government. It was in this context that privatization was
pushed by the neodemocratic regime that took over in 1986.
Advocates of privatization insist, on the one hand, that economic efficiency can
only be advanced through competition in a free market. Opponents of privatization,
on the other hand, point to how the free market continues to marginalize the very poor,
as they call on government to take responsibility for the provision of public services,
instead of passing it on to private business. Certainly, the issue is more complex than
this. There is little doubt, though, that the issue is a major bone of contention for many
political players, as each country will have to decide the limits of what is private and
public in the economic realm.

In all this, an additional parameter must be kept in mind, starting from the
principle that democracy promotes and protects the freedom that would enable
each individual to seek his or her good. But in a contemporary context of multiple
actors and multiple interests, interpersonal conflicts are unavoidable, given the
great variety of ideas and values, even in the most homogeneous of societies. Thus,
for contemporary democratic societies to be sustained, mechanisms must be set in
place that would provide for both cooperation and arbitration among and between
interests, to ensure that as individuals pursue their own good, the harm that
this might cause to any other member of society is diminished, if not completely
eliminated.
First and foremost, members of a democratic society are expected to try vari-
ous forms of cooperation (43). Consensus building and negotiation assume im-
portance, towards the achievement of this objective, as well as activities that lead
to a sharing of resources. Such activities call for great diplomacy and openness,
usually demanding much preparation, perseverance, and skill of those engaged in
them. Among the activities that can be undertaken to facilitate cooperation are de-
liberations and discussions among stakeholders of a particular issue, projects that
can incorporate inputs from different actors, pact making among political actors,
academic fora that can bring players to a more objective understanding of a situa-
tion, and even interreligious dialogues.
12 INTRODUCTION A Second Look at Democracy

However, given the initial reality of significant differences in interest among


the citizens of a country, a classical means of resolution is through structures of
competition (4142). As a matter of fact, competition is at the heart of what is
seen as one of the most fundamental of democratic processeselections.
As elections have to do with providing for representation, they are also seen as
a rational means of settling differences between interests by determining the gen-
eral policy orientation of government. This is where authentic political parties can
play a critical role, as they are seen to represent a specific set of interests within
society as something preferable over others. As the pluralism of choices expands,
of parties and interests enabled to organize themselves, so is democracy better
served. With this variety of preferences, the voter is then bestowed the freedom of
determining for himself or herself, who of the candidates can represent him or her,
and promote what he or she might consider good, at a given time. As this good
can shift in time, so, too, the parties or candidates entrusted with power can shift
from one side to the otherso the incumbent today may very well be the opposi-
tion of tomorrow.
Thus, democratic theorists point out that truly competitive exercises are char-
acterized by (a) an alternation in office (where the opposition has a nontrivial
chance of winning); (b) ex ante uncertainty (the incumbents have a decent chance
of losing); (c) ex post irreversibility (those who win the elections are allowed to
occupy office and exercise power); and (d) repeatability (elected leaders are always
leaders pro tempore) (Przeworski et al. 2000, 16).
For this to happen, the other crucial element of competition, beyond parties
and associations, is the smooth conduct of elections, through functioning electoral
systems and incorrupt electoral management bodies. This means that electoral
rules must be clearly and unequivocally articulated, and accepted by all. Principles
of majoritarian rule or proportional representation or the incorporation of minor-
ity groups must be explicit at the onset. The design for the competition must have
been studied and prepared for, and regulations for the breaking of political im-
passes must be stated in such a way that there can be no room for doubt. Once all
this is accepted by the contenders, and once the campaign is started, the electoral
competition must be allowed to run its course, and the supervising body must play
the role of neutral arbiter.
Once representatives are chosen, the arena of competition moves from the vot-
ing precincts and into the halls of government. It is there that contending parties
representing their constituents interests decide among themselves how to listen to
each other and cooperate and build consensus, or if necessary, how to settle and
resolve differences. It is a political procedure that is built on the assumption that
once agreements on how to resolve differences are made, the contending parties
would abide by said agreements so as to avoid chaos and social disorder.
Thus, like all regime types, one finds in a democracy that unique set of arrange-
ments that determines (1) methods of access to all major public offices, and the
characteristics of those admitted to or excluded from such access; and (2) the rules
INTRODUCTION A Second Look at Democracy 13

that govern the making of publicly binding decisions (Schmitter and Karl 1993,
40). In the case of democracy, this is fortified through various means of institu-
tionalization, by which these arrangements are habitually known, practiced, and
accepted by most, if not all, citizens.

THE PHILIPPINE EXPERIENCE OF DEMOCRACY


Jos Abueva (1997, 3) points out that in the Philippines, there have been three
attempts to establish a democracy. The first was during the Philippine Revolution of
liberation from Spain in the late nineteenth century, culminating in the inauguration
of a democratic albeit short-lived Philippine Republic. A second try took place with
the gradual buildup of a colonial democracy under the United States, particularly
in the 1930s, which was thereafter abruptly halted when the country came under
Japanese occupation. Finally, the third attempt was the historic EDSA People Power
Uprising of February 1986 that put an end to the authoritarian regime of Ferdinand
Marcos, and replaced it with a new democratic government.5 Abueva (1997) sug-
gests that in this third attempt, the Philippines moved towards consolidation or the
culmination of democratization as a process of democratic institution building . . .
despite rightist military rebels attempts to establish another authoritarian regime.
One of the most important first steps to reestablish democracy after the fall of the
Marcos dictatorship was the drafting of the 1987 Constitution.
The 1987 Constitution declares in its Preamble an unequivocal dedication to
democratic ideals. Through this fundamental law, a government is set up which
distributes powers among three coequal branches. It provides for an intricate and
sturdy web of checks and balances of one branch by the other, to prevent any usur-
pation of power or any encroachments on the mandates entrusted to the distinct
branches. A comprehensive Bill of Rights is also written in to protect the ordi-
nary Filipino citizen from possible abuses either by those in positions of authority
or by fellow citizens seeking to take advantage of others. Moreover, the 1987
charters famous Article 13 is unique in the contemporary world, as an explicit ar-
ticulation for the promotion of social justice and equity. Noteworthy as well is how
the Constitution clearly provides space for civil society organizations to flourish
and to engage government directly; this expands participation beyond usual po-
litical convention.
After the drafting of a constitution, the other basic step taken toward the forti-
fication of Filipino democracy was the immediate restoration of elections. By May
1987, a new legislature was set to take office, with the election of 20 senators and
200 representatives to a bicameral Congress. In the two years that followed, local
elections were also held. By 1992, a fully synchronized election cycle was set in
place. Since then, two other presidential elections were conducted (in 1998 and
2004), and a party-list system of proportional representation was established in
Congress.
Yet, many problems continue to trouble Philippine democracy.
14 INTRODUCTION A Second Look at Democracy

BROKEN DREAMS?
Much has changed since the overthrow of the Marcos dictatorship. People have
recovered liberties that had previously been lost; democratic institutions have been
established and have persevered; and systems seem to be in place. Given this situ-
ation, the expectation provided by pro-democracy theorists would be that these
democratic arrangements would translate into greater good for the Filipino people.
Unfortunately, the more glaring reality is that the Philippine experience of demo-
cratic system, thus far, has been more on the negative:
Our democracy still suffers from government deals that jeopardize the peoples
interest. Our supposed government of the people entered into a contract that
constructed the Diosdado Macapagal Highway, a 5.1-kilometer asphalt road
that cost P1.1 billion of taxpayers money, and was said to have been
overpriced by close to P700 million.6 It enacted an Oil Deregulation Law that
has made many Filipinos more vulnerable to constantly shifting world
petroleum prices. It ratified a Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the
United States that has seriously undermined the capacity of the Philippines
to freely make juridical decisions on the growing number of sexual abuse
cases against US servicemen. At the end of 2005, there have been 82 such
cases of violations of Filipino women and 15 of minors.7
Our democracy is still characterized by political dynasties where political patriarchs
and matriarchs can bequeath public office to their relatives as if it were their private
property. The basis on which such supposed government by the people can
claim to be truly representative of the people can be seriously challenged.
None of our presidents really belongs to and represents the lower class. Our
Senate has come to be populated more and more by military men or media
celebrities. In the House of Representatives, one of three congressmen/
women has at least one close relative in public office and more than half of
them are members of political families that have maintained political
influence through several generations despite changes of presidents and
regimes (Gutierrez 1994). A good number of our local offices are tightly held
by caciques and local bosses (Lacaba 1995, McCoy 2002, Sidel 1998). As
mentioned above, the party-list system was mandated by the 1987
Constitution in order to open up space for alternative parties dedicated to
the causes of marginalized sectors (e.g., urban poor, women, indigenous
peoples, disabled), and so to circumscribe the power of oligarchic groups that
tend to dominate Congress. While the implementation of the mandate has
had some success in allowing alternative voices in the halls of the legislature,
the system is still very limited and full of loopholes.8
Our democracy still suffers from widespread poverty. About 3.97 million families
living under the protection of a government for the people remain poor9
while most of their leaders can trace their origins to late nineteenth century
ilustrado and mestizo families (Gutierrez 1994, 3). The democracy that
should link the government to the people falls short on many occasions, as
INTRODUCTION A Second Look at Democracy 15

the regularity and quality of service delivery fluctuates, and development


becomes difficult to sustain.
Worse, the exclusive legitimizing power of elections has been so shattered by
systematic and deliberate cheating that has involved even those on the very top of the
government hierarchy. In the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the Commission on
Elections (COMELEC) is mandated to ensure clean and honest electoral
exercises. Unfortunately, the experience in this regard has been uneven, and
the list of anomalies has grown (see box 6) to the point of seriously
questioning the very credibility of COMELEC and undermining Philippine
democracy itself.
Still another problem, as some analysts see it, is that Philippine politics has had to
work within structures inherited from and artificially imposed during the US
colonial period, which were drawn from a very different context, with very different
socioeconomic and cultural foundations. In time, these structures have been
deformed and corrupted, resulting in many of the problems mentioned
above.

All this and more continue to challenge the democratic ideals set forth in the
1987 Constitution. More seriously, some compatibility questions might even be
raised: Is democracy a Western invention that can never be successfully replicated
in non-Western cultures? Are there historical events or fundamental cultural traits
that have hindered the Philippines from actualizing the promises of democracy?
Might it be more effective to look into historical rootsfrom the Mandala/Negara,
the Trinitarian Rule (Datu, Panday and Baylan), the different barangay societies
(principalities; petty plutocracies, whether warrior or migrative), Spanish central-
ized governmentto rediscover a system that will match Filipino values?
Might the strong Filipino family orientation and its extension into politics bet-
ter match political arrangements more similar to those in some of the other Asian
nations, like Singapore and China, which have combined authoritarian features of
government to achieve higher levels of economic development? Is there any sig-
nificant difference between democracy and authoritarianism when it comes to effec-
tiveness in fostering development? Should the point of some military men be
seriously considered, who for the last two decades courted people with promises of
a disciplined, peaceful, corruption-free and developed Philippines? Should the 1987
Constitution be amended or revised, after its weaknesses have become obvious?
When and how might such alteration take place? Can nonviolent People Power still
be resorted to as a political strategy, or has it been overdone? Is the Philippines
hopeless as a democracy?

ACTORS, RELATIONSHIPS, PROCESSES


The Philippine political system, which is unitary and presidential, is fortified
by laws that set the parameters for governing. Within these parameters, individual
rulers, or persons in authority, must exercise leadership and develop their own
16 INTRODUCTION A Second Look at Democracy

Box 6. Election Anomalies

Election anomalies in the Philippines are legionphenomena that under-


mine the credibility of the ballot:
vote buying
cheating in the vote counting: misreading of names on the ballot,
wrong recording of votes on tally sheets
fraud in recording: dagdag-bawas (vote shaving, augmentation,
alterations, erasures in official records)
deliberate padding of votes
flying voters
voter harassment: threats, kidnapping, sowing fear
spread of wrong information regarding disqualification of
candidates
campaign violence among candidates and their supporters
ballot-box snatching, tampering
ballot substitution
voter disenfranchisement due to faulty/inefficient registration
bribery of poll officials to cheat
tendency or ability to illegally overspend on campaigns
violations of the Fair Elections Act, which set caps on the exposure
of candidates on mass media
use by incumbents of government/taxpayers funds for campaign
purposes
Problems arising from the inefficiency in the conduct of elections are com-
pounded by self-interested candidates who engage in fraud, and a popula-
tion made vulnerable by extreme poverty. Worst of all is the possibility
that because so many anomalies have not been checked over the years,
many Filipinos might have become skeptical, and even cynical, and that
the sense of moral outrage at this situation has been lost.

unique styles. It is possible, therefore, for a ruler to be more consultative in one


policy area than in another, and for differences to exist from one leader to the next
for as long as this is done within the confines of law. What cannot be compromised
is the core of the responsibility of rulers: the promotion of the common good, the
protection of the integrity of the nation, and the defense of its sovereignty and its
freedom from all forms of foreign control.
Rulers cover a considerable range of individuals, organized into smaller
bodies and institutions that seek to function as a system. The 1987 Constitu-
tion of the Philippines, like many other presidential Constitutions of recent times,
INTRODUCTION A Second Look at Democracy 17

(1) organizes rulers in terms of the legislative, executive, and judicial depart-
ments of government; and (2) distinguishes between the national government and
the different local government units (LGUs) that constitute the nation-state.
The first point above reflects the principle of the separation of powers. Each
of the departments, or branches, of government has distinct primary roles,
within their respective spheres of responsibility, such that the capacity of the other
two branches to intervene is limited by law. Thus, though the president of the Phil-
ippines, the so-called chief executive, has powers to initiate the crafting of laws,
this role is bestowed mainly on the women and men of Congress, for whom this is
the primary task.
To ensure the effective functioning of the whole system, even as the distinctive-
ness of the three branches is upheld, and to protect the people from abuses of
power, the 1987 Constitution has likewise built into its system mechanisms for
both coordination and checks and balances between the branches of government.
Some examples are the following:
Checks and balances among the three branches and between government and the
private sector: To appoint judges of the lower courts, the president can only
choose from a list of three nominees for a specific post, as prepared by the
Judicial and Bar Council, which in turn is supposed to be composed of the
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (from the judicial branch), the Secretary
of Justice (from the executive branch), a representative of Congress (from
the legislative branch), and three others from outside government.
Checks and balances between the executive and the legislative branches: Members of
the Cabinet are appointed by the president, but are subject to approval by a
Commission on Appointments of Congress.
Checks and balances among the three branches: While the president can conclude
treaties and international agreements, their validity is provided by the
concurrence of at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate.
Moreover, the Supreme Court can also subsequently rule on their validity
and constitutionality, should questions be raised on this.

However, the reality of checks and balances is another story. Two central insti-
tutions that back the executive department are the bureaucracy and the military.
As chief executive, the president shall have control of all executive departments,
bureaus, and offices, and as commander-in-chief, the president can call on all the
armed forces of the state to prevent or suppress lawless violence and coercion.
These provide the Philippine president considerable powers, which are further aug-
mented by openings that allow the executive to encroach on the mandates of the
other branches. For instance, the presidents policy-making powers, which ideally
belong mainly to Congress, are vast, covering foreign policy, emergency powers,
and significant influence in the overall legislative and policy agenda of government
(Wurfel 1988, 76ff). Moreover, with the executives supreme control over the re-
lease of public funds, the presidents power over the House of Representatives and
18 INTRODUCTION A Second Look at Democracy

even local governments can be quite impressive. Congress, however, has unfortu-
nately not been as assertive or as productive in the face of executive initiatives to
take the upper hand (Stauffer 1975, Caoili 1989). All this points to a distinct area
of further study, research, and reflection: theories that can capture the shifts and
concrete dynamics between the branches of Philippine government, across time.
The 1987 Constitution distinguishes between two levels of government: na-
tional and local government units. The Philippines is one of many countries that
maintains a unitary form of government. In this unitary system, the relationship
between national and local is much more integrated than in a federal system, so
that there are strong lines of coordination between national and local, and the ex-
traction and distribution of government resources are done mainly from the na-
tional center. Within this unitary framework, the 1987 Constitution provides for
the establishment of autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao10 and the Cordille-
ras, in consideration of the unique cultural heritages in these two areas, which im-
pact on their forms of governance. The actual implementation of autonomy for
these regions, however, is another complex issue altogether and merits a separate
and more comprehensive treatment.
What must be noted is that within this unitary form of government, an ex-
plicit provision is made for greater decentralization. The value for decentralization
is articulated in terms of establishing local government mechanisms that are more
directly responsive and accountable to the grass roots. Because these mechanisms
sustain devolved powers, they have strong potentials for more participatory gover-
nance, as well as more efficient mobilization of resources and delivery of public
services.
Since the restoration of democracy after the Marcos era, Philippine civil soci-
ety has been recognized as being among the most active in the world. It extends to
all the major sectors of society, and has made its presence felt in almost all policy
areas and levels of government.11 The responsiveness of government leaders and
institutions to citizens and citizens groups exacting accountability, to the point of
revising a prior position at times, is an indicator of a democracy that functions way
beyond the minimal conduct of elections.
Governmental structures that are hospitable to nongovernmental participa-
tion likewise help much in instilling a spirit of cooperation. In the Philippines, the
Constitution has been especially open to civil society actors (see box 7), especially
since the EDSA People Power Revolution that led to the democratic transition of
1986 and the drafting of the 1987 charter. This charter, in itself, was very much a
product of the action of civil society organizations.

DEMOCRACY: DO WE WANT IT?


Given the foregoing alternative definition of democracy built around account-
ability, we need to ask: Is democracy the best way of organizing our political life in
the Philippines? The writers of this essay are inclined to say yes for the following
reasons:
INTRODUCTION A Second Look at Democracy 19

There has been a long tradition of democracy in the country. Through


history, Filipinos have gotten used to the mechanisms and arrangements
provided by democracy, however imperfectly these have been implemented.
Top among these is respect for individual rights and freedoms. Filipinos have
learned to treasure the opportunity to express their preferenceswhether
that is in the electoral exercise or in other public venues, like mass media,
public gatherings, or within freely formed organizations. They have also
enjoyed the privilege of having some voice in the choice of their leaders.
Likewise, protest has been exercised by various groups and at various levels.
The negative experiences associated with moments of Philippine history
when democracy was curtailed have further strengthened the Filipinos
preference for democracy. Coercive and restrictive tactics used by the
Japanese during World War II, human rights violations during the
authoritarian regime of Ferdinand Marcos, many violent acts perpetrated in
pockets where warlords and private armies hold sway, and the abuses by

Box 7. The 1987 Constitution Welcomes Civil Society

Built into the 1987 Constitution are provisions that signal the institutionaliza-
tion of the participation of civil society groups in Philippine politics. Among the
most prominent provisions are:
Article II, Declaration of Principles and State Policies, Sec. 23: The State shall
encourage non-governmental, community-based, or sectoral organizations that pro-
mote the welfare of the nation.
Article VI, the Legislative Department, Sec. 5 (2): The party-list representa-
tives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives in-
cluding those under the party list. For three consecutive terms after the ratification
of this Constitution, one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives
shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant,
urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors
as may be provided by law, except the religious sector.
Article X, Local Government, Sec.14: The President shall provide for re-
gional development councils or other similar bodies composed of local govern-
ment officials, regional heads of departments and other government offices, and
representatives from non-governmental organizations within the regions for pur-
poses of administrative decentralization to strengthen the autonomy of the units
therein and to accelerate the economic and social growth and development of the
units in the region.
Article XIII, Social Justice and Human Rights, Sec.1516: The State shall re-
spect the role of independent people's organizations to enable the people to pursue
and protect, within the democratic framework, their legitimate and collective inter-
ests and aspirations through peaceful and lawful means The right of the people
and their organizations to effective and reasonable participation at all levels of so-
cial, political, and economic decision-making shall not be abridged. The State shall,
by law, facilitate the establishment of adequate consultation mechanisms.
20 INTRODUCTION A Second Look at Democracy

those in power that considerably and unnecessarily undermine democracy,


are just some of the experiences that have turned people away from
authoritarian means, and make them vigilant about its reappearance.
Yet the positive experiences associated with democracy have had a strong
impact on the people. To this day, Filipinos take pride in the peaceful EDSA
revolution of 1986 that restored democratic rule after years of authori-
tarianism. This even created waves throughout the world, and underlined
the importance of People Power in bringing about change. The high level of
participation in nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and peoples orga-
nizations (POs) has been an outstanding Philippine landmark in Asia and in
the world, and has shown that concerted action built around a clear consen-
sus of principles can help realize the common good in a more intense and
effective way. Significantly, the initiatives of such groups have been
important in forming, revising, and even rejecting policies made by the
government. On top of all this, freedom of the press has been an important
element in bringing about positive change.
Given the distinct set of cleavages in Philippine societydivisions along
lines of socioeconomic class, regional languages, and subcultures, and even
religiondemocratic means have proven useful in forming and imple-
menting policies, in settling differences, and in determining general national
orientations.12 The crafting of good legislation and the greater devolution of
powers to local government are just some indicators.
Linked to the long tradition of democracy mentioned above, is the reality
that through the decades, Filipino cultural values have been formed and
informed by experiences associated with democracy. This includes basic
tenets such as the respect for human life, dialogue and cooperation among
stakeholders, pursuit of social goods through nonviolent means, appreciation
of the Constitution and of constitutional means, among others.

Evidently, though, Philippine democracy still has a long way to go. Much needs
to be done in order to bring the benefits of democracy to all Filipinos, in terms of
greater access to social, economic and political opportunities for the betterment of
their lives. The electoral system cries out for reform, for more credible elections. The
political party system continues to suffer from the legacies of patronage, which finds
its roots in continuing poverty and inequality. The deficits in these key institutions
have seriously undermined the very idea of representation that is a core principle
and value in democratic systems. The connection between policy and politics still has
to be smoothened out. The bureaucracy (civil service) has been moving towards pro-
fessionalism, but at a very slow pace, because of the many errors of past administra-
tions. Citizenship still has to be strengthened further, as people have tended to depend
too much on the very weak electoral processes.13 Corruption continues to plague Phil-
ippine society, both in the public and private sectors, and this has been abetted by a
culture that has learned to tolerate high levels of abuse of power.
INTRODUCTION A Second Look at Democracy 21

With the 2010 elections over, many reformers remain cautious as regards the
long term impact of the automated elections. Some have couched their calls for re-
form in terms of charter change. If sustainable and long-lasting reform is to take
place, others say, Philippine democracy must really be reimagined and reinvented.
Such an undertaking will involve a combination of very complex tasks: fortifying
those parts of the current conventional institutions that still work, repairing those
that can still be salvaged, breaking away from those that are completely ineffective,
while at the same time patiently working with the many sectors of Philippine so-
ciety to chart a path towards reforms that will truly be beneficial to all Filipinos.
This litany for the need for reforms can go on and on, and much more can be added.
But even as the timing, content, and politics of such change must be supervised
closely, neither can it assure an enduring remedy to the ills that beset the countrys
political processes.
Yet given the basic choices, it would still seem that democracy is the best alter-
native. Admittedly though, the success of efforts at building a democracy that is
not merely nominal, but more importantly functional, effective, and efficient, will
depend a lot on decisions that are made by the different players and sectors, as well
as the establishment and consolidation of institutions that truly work.

GUIDE QUESTIONS
1. Where is the birthplace of democracy and what is was the ancient view of
democracy?
2. What is the modern view of democracy?
3. Who are the main actors in a democracy and what are their roles?
4. What are the three critical processes in a democracy and why are these to be
considered critical?
5. How can/should Philippine democracy be assessed?

NOTES
1 Fukuyama is the author of the 1992 book, The End of History and the Last Man.
2 The slight revision proposed by the authors of this chapter emphasizes that citizens in-
tervene both directly (through their own actions) and indirectly (through their representa-
tives). While this idea is not lost on Schmitter and Karl, it is made more explicit in this revision,
since direct citizen action has been a major experience in several countries, the Philippines
included.
3 http://www.adb.org/Documents/Manuals/Operations/om54.asp.
4 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP, 1997), Governance for sustainable

human development - A UNDP policy document, http://mirror.undp.org/magnet/policy/.


Last viewed on 17 August 2009.
5 In 1934, the Tydings-Mcduffie Act called for the establishment of the Philippine Com-

monwealth. The 1935 Constitutioncreated through a Philippine Constitutional Convention


and approved by the United States governmentthen became the basis of said Common-
wealth. In 1946, the United States granted the Philippines its independence. Philippine po-
litical parties and leaders subsequently emerged to rule the country and elections were held
periodically. In 1972, then-President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law, promulgated
22 INTRODUCTION A Second Look at Democracy

the 1973 Constitution and banned political institutions such as political parties from operating.
The dictatorial regime continued until 1986 when a popular nonviolent uprising ousted
Marcos.
6 http://www.cyberdyaryo.com/statements/st2002_1004_02.htm. Last viewed on 16

January 2006.
7 http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2005/nov/08/yehey/prov/20051108pro9.html.

Last viewed on 16 January 2006.


8 The history, rationale, and praxis of the party-list system are given explanation and

evaluation in Rodriguez and Velasco (1998), Libunao and Abelardo (1998), Adriano (2001),
Tangkia and Habaradas (2001), Rodriguez (2002), and the various articles in Tuazon (2007).
9 http://www.wpro.who.int/countries/05phl/. Last viewed on 16 January 2006.
10 To begin examining the problem of Muslim rebellion in Mindanao, an important work

is Vitug and Gloria (2000). Other perspectives are also given in McKenna (1998), Tan (1993),
Che Man (1990). A local comparative and analytical perspective is given by Abinales (2000).
Efforts at resolving the conflicts are many, and the literature is too vast to be adequately re-
viewed in this short note.
11 Basic knowledge regarding the work and expanse of civil society in the Philippines can

be found in various works in Silliman and Noble (2002), Wui and Lopez (1998), Coronel-Ferrer
(1998), and Alegre (1996). Beyond this, the literature is again vast. For example: Magadia
(2003) and Lopez-Wui and Tadem (2006) provide insight into the dynamics of the relations of
civil society with the state; Hilhorst (2003) presents a very focused study that allows readers to
see the actual dynamics within nongovernmental organizations; and Hedman (2006) shows
how civil society has contributed to the strengthening of democracy through the mobilization
efforts by various sectors of society, with a special focus on election monitoring.
12 Although reality shows that public policy in the past has not resolved problems of insur-

gencyin Mindanao, and, by the New Peoples Armythe authors believe that resolving said
conflicts through democratic (e.g., political settlement) rather than militaristic means is the
better way to end the long-standing wars in the country.
13 With elections deeply embedded in a highly personalistic and patronage-based political

culture, many Filipinos view electoral contests as opportunities to negotiate with and gain con-
cessions from politicians in exchange for votes.

REFERENCES
Abinales, Patricio N. 2000. Making Mindanao: Cotabato and Davao in the Formation of the Philip-
pine Nation-State. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press.
Alegre, Alan, ed. 1996. Trends and Traditions, Challenges and Choices: A Strategic Study of Philippine
NGOs. Quezon City: Ateneo Center for Social Policy and Public Affairs.
Abueva, Jose V. 1997. Philippine Democratization and the Consolidation of Democracy since
the 1986 EDSA Revolution: An Overview of the Main Issues, Trends and Prospects. In
Felipe B. Miranda, ed. Democratization: Philippine Perspectives, 181. Quezon City: U.P. Press.
Adriano, Fermin. 2001. Prospects and Scenarios for the Party List System in the Philippines.
Unpublished paper, written for the Ateneo School of Government and Friedrich Ebert
Stiftung (FES).
Brilliantes, Alex. 1999. Decentralization, Devolution and Development in the Philippines.
Urban Management Programme-Asia Occasional Paper no. 4. Paper presented for the workshop
on Decentralization and Development during the Asia Development Forum-East Asia:
The Unfinished Agenda held in Manila from 9 to 13 March 1999 and organized by the
Economic Development Institute of the World Bank, and, the Asian Development Bank.