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Defend What Republic?

Forum romanum 6k (5760x2097)one is tempted to ask in the recent discussions on Solicitor-General Calida’s call to “Defend the Republic” and the responses to it (link) – not only because the Republic does not coincide with the President or his supporters. Any republic, but especially the Philippines, will in fact I think consist of three Republics and their respective intersections:

  • The Political Republic – the groups in power and how they interact.
  • The Street Republic – the people on the street and their day-to-day issues.
  • The Idealistic Republic – those who want to make the country a better place.

Populists are at the intersection of the Political and the Street Republic. Socially conscious people cross between the Idealistic Republic and the Street Republic regularly – Vice-President Leni Robredo has done this for many years. And there are those who keep the Political Republic from harming the Idealistic Republic – an ever-present danger given the nature of power.

The latter group can include – depending on one’s point of view – Supreme Court Judges in the United States, military officers in Turkey, the deceased King Bhumibol of Thailand, French public intellectuals, the House of Lords in the United Kingdom and more. There is no really strong institution of that sort in the Philippines, not even the Catholic Church. Just some occasional persons.

There are of course those who make sure that inspite of all idealism, the needs of the man on the street are met. In Germany I think of the efficient police and justice system to deter crime, as well as the encompassing system of social security to prevent massive poverty and the resulting crime and unrest. Memories of the Weimar Republic have faded, but have fortunately not died.

In addition to that, the man on the street has to KNOW that his needs are taken care of. Or others will offer to take care of those needs, and misinform him that these needs are taken care of. Hopefully the public education system of most European states has remained able to maintain a level of mass education that will keep the populists out of power – the coming times will show it.

The Philippines today paints a picture of the strong usually just ruthless, the good often timid and not rooted enough, and the man on the street barely able to make ends meet, much less understand what is really going on. Political, Street and Idealistic Republics seem too far from a central point to form a sufficiently large intersection. A real res publica, meaning “public matter” in Latin.

Irineo B. R. Salazar

München, 17. March 2017

9 comments to Defend What Republic?

  • (German Constitution)

    (1) The Federal Republic of Germany is a democratic and social federal state.

    (2) All state authority is derived from the people. It shall be exercised by the people through elections and other votes and through specific legislative, executive and judicial bodies.

    (3) The legislature shall be bound by the constitutional order, the executive and the judiciary by law and justice.

    (4) All Germans shall have the right to resist any person seeking to abolish this constitutional order, if no other remedy is available.

  • Mariano Renato Pacifico

    Dual citizenship is now in vogue. Mexicans can be a U.S. and Mexican citizen at the same time so are Filipinos. On whose side the Mexican-American are on Trump immigration? Are they in favor of America or Mexico? What about Filipino-Americans? After they pledged allegiance to American flag and constitution they hop in a bus to the nearest Filipino Embassy to apply for Filipino citizenship, again, pledge allegiance to Filipino flag and Constitution. Whose side are they really on? In my vocabulary this is truly a betrayal and treachery of either/or/both countries. They are double-crossers. A spy mole of both countries whose patriotism and nationalism is in question. I am absolutely sure when Philippines is attacked by China they’d throw their Philippine passport and retain American passport. When America is attacked by Russia I am absolutely sure they wanted to retain American passport than Filipino passport because Philippine military would surrender just by a fly-by of Tupelov like Marcos surrendered when Reagan drive-by-shoot Malacanang with F-14.

    Why do Filipinos wanted Filipino citizenship? For what purpose? What benefit? Being a Filipino has no benefit at all unless they are masochist to love miseries. Walking in Makati they’d still look Filipino unless they waive their American pass. A Filipino who abandoned their country can still buy property in the Philippines unless when they surrendered their Filipinoness they changed their Filipino name to Joe America. Changing their name wouldn’t make them look American.

    What exactly the purpose of dual citizenship? Philippines cannot protect former Filipinos. I AM ABSOLUTELY SURE AMERICA WOULD PROTECT AND HELP ME IF I WAS KIDNAPPED IN THE PHILIPPINES. Can Philippines protect a Filipino in Dubai? I BET MY MANSION THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT CAN HELP A BEHEADED FILIPINO by donating a KABAUNG and free flight back to the Philippines including piecing the dismembered carcass of Filipino.

    Can a Filipino defend a Republic? I DOUBT. Filipinos been under Spain for 400 years … Filipinos report to Americans for 50 years … 5 years under Japan … Americans saved Filipinos for Japanese carnage and colonized again for another year …. then turning it over in a silver platter to Filipinos. To this day, Philippines has been under Filipinos. Now, China is encroaching into territorial seas of Philippines. Would they protect their Republic? Or, would they fly to America.

    That is a question.

  • – just above barangay, but visible nationally is the municipal level. A res publica often does exist there… like here:

    Pateros has only 63,000 people, but they are densely packed into a warren of shops, houses and shacks radiating from a 200-year-old church.

    The Bonnet Gang terrorizes the town with apparent impunity, picking off targets in slick operations usually after dark.

    Mayor Ponce blames it for all of the 64 vigilante-style killings in Pateros since the drug war began, including three in February.

    Supporting the president while decrying the violence his policies have unleashed is not Ponce’s only dilemma.

    He must also try to reassure fearful constituents, many of whom say they believe the Bonnet Gang is secretly run and staffed by police.

    “Why? Because from day one … we have not arrested anyone,” he said. “That is why people are thinking they are police officers.”

    Joven Gatpayat, a city councilor who heads Pateros’s anti-drug abuse council, said the killers carry out operations like professionally trained men.

  • karlgarcia

    You forgot the Banana Republic.

    • – Monsod did not forget the Barangay Republic:

      We can’t seem to capture our national legislature, executive, and judiciary, so let’s at least make sure our voices are heard, and followed, when it comes to the local counterparts. It is much easier to do, except we don’t do it. Too small. But hey, don’t drug-dealing and -buying, and all other crimes, take place in barangays?

      So let’s make sure they are run right.

      The barangay is where local government starts, and the barangay assembly is the perfect place to exercise our heretofore ignored people power. We cannot afford to ignore this opportunity to take back our government.

      But, Reader, before you go on March 25 to your barangay assembly, please do your homework so no one gets to snow you. Everyone 15 and above can go. How to do your homework? Go to the internet for the Gising Barangay (for a PowerPoint presentation), or e-mail Manny Valdehuesa, chair and convenor of Gising Barangay Movement, at and ask him for materials.

      If you can’t do this for yourself, do it for the country. The alternative, of course, is to enjoy the rape.

  • sonny

    Elegant and succinct presentation of reality, Irineo. Bravo!

    Now, if only a real-time model of the “intersections” of the 3 res publicae will accompany and guide us. Thanks, bro.

    • – a part of the picture is offered by MLQ3:

      I wonder about the ff: esp. with reference to “no real political parties that align and discipline cabinet orientations…” one cannot underestimate the role factions play here, and the responsibilities handed out to the exemplars of those factions. Largest of all would be the legatees of the Ninongs and Ninangs (FVR, GMA, BBM, JEE); the President’s own Home Town Administrative Factions (Go vs. CabSec and the bureaucratic reindeer games that take place within every Palace), and the Financiers (Finance, literally): the ups and downs go all the way to the second and third-tier appointments, where you can tell which ones are entrenching and which ones are being edged out. But it would require a thorough analysis of the fleet, so to speak, using your naval analogy: the destroyers, cruisers, and tenders around the battleships and the pocket battleships. They have strong orientations: the Administrative Factions particularly, are divided between Pragmatists and Ideologues. But all factions operate with relative autonomy and the Center –the Bossman– hasn’t given up home town ways and as you say, is weak when the factions collide. Similarly, by December, 1998, the JEE admin was already in disarray; but again as you point out it finally collapsed and fell due to its own decisions in how to handle internal conflict among its factions. The Bossman is different from JEE in one sense: he is less interested in seeking acceptance from the old elite and more interested in supplanting it, which makes the battleship a little less crucial –the battleship is indeed the bridge to the moneys-that-be, but those monies have been proven to line up, whoever is in charge. Meanwhile the battleship is proving less able to fill crucial posts such as DBP, SSS, with its people: these battleship-only posts are ending up being parceled out as standard patronage (and GMA if you look, is proving very adept at stuffing economics-related positions with her own people, which isn’t necessarily an alignment with the battleship). Which leaves us with the witnesses and the one faction emerging as more broadly aligned than most others: the military, whether within the official family, or the senate, a function of the weakness of the police faction.

      To which Prof. Romero replied, “Excellent picture of the tug-of-war in the cockpit, Manolo. The President is indeed himself the battlefield and we await how exactly he will be quartered by all these factions pulling him in various directions. Good point about the military; the Philippine Army Senior Leaders Conference is happening this week. This might give us an insight into the thinking of the generals on what is happening in the ountry and their role in it.”

      My response: It is this part –the vacuum that is radically expanding the military’s influence and role to an extent we haven’t seen in over a generation– that is most interesting and a potential cause for concern. If we are witnessing the end of the road of the post-Edsa I-III era (as I think it is: the system has proven moribund in that it cannot even reform itself, and because of media and other factors, the political class is exhausted of ideas and even popular support, what we have is the substitution of media-obsessed events for actual political movement, because most people are really tuned out, which means intrapolitical competition is increasingly expensive, but increasingly incapable of mobilizing warm bodies except on a rental basis, the exception being the remnants of the old middle classes, which is undemocratic in its instincts because it fears the larger whole), then this hands the military the role of determining the outcome of things. Which, again, for all the improvements over their martial-law era counterparts is still fundamentally a body uninterested in democracy, we have a very big problem. – for context, the post by Prof. Romero on Dominguez

      Strongest Mind, Weakest Link?

      It is ironic that he who may be considered one of Duterte’s strongest minds in the Cabinet could be the source of his downfall. He is, in the language of the Divergent series, the “Insurgent”. It is not the weak-minded cabinet members and top officials like Yasay, Aguirre, Panelo that will provide the coup d’grace to his credibility, and thus, his power. They are just the front act.

      When Duterte says, like a mafiosi boss, if Mighty Corporation will offer to double its payment for its unpaid excise taxes of P1.5 billion to P3 billion, he will take the offer, and it will be as if nothing happened (no prosecution, no penalties, no jail).

      Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez quickly said in effect, “ah! ah! Not so fast. Duterte does not know what he is talking about. Mighty Corporation will be investigated and prosecuted.”

      Duterte was silent after this open contradiction. He can afford to lose Yasay. But he cannot afford to lose Dominguez (his class valedictorian, the brightest of the lot, he tells repeatedly in his speeches). Dominguez is one of the few secretaries who is a tangible link to “normal”, legitimate, establishment business elites in the Philippines. Losing Dominguez is like losing your most powerful battleship.

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