Is Democracy Right For The Pinas?

Editor’s Note: We now have a another contributor, Dennis Horner, who would like to respond to some of the points raised in Konrad’s post on the recent elections and democracy, Pinoy style. Dennis now lives in the UK but was a resident of the Philippines for many years until 2009. He has a new (second) Filipina wife, three grown kids scattered across the Philippines and Europe and restores old British Seagull outboard motors for fun and profit!

Once again, the views expressed by the writer are his own.

What About King Noynoy?

Why do we all seem to think that democracy is the only valid and viable form of government for everyone on this planet? Some races/cultures/ethnic groups actually prefer a more autocratic style of rule and respect a strong leader rather than enjoy being ruled by committee.

While we often lampoon the Philippines election circus they do try hard to emulate their previous American masters in style if not the actual spirit of things. But is a democratically elected (just bear with me for now, ok?) government the best answer for Pinoys?

Given they are only Filipino once they leave their country and until then they are Cebuanos, Bicolanos, Pampangans and so forth… is it right to expect them to all agree on one leader, one party and one ideology? What about a federated republic like Malasia or even the USA? Or a Constitutional Monarchy like the UK and Australia and I think, Canada and New Zealand? We could lend you our monarch but her successors are probably more attractive to Filipinos given the way they carry on in the media like telly novella artistas some times.

How about a benevolent dictatorship? Many old timers still feel they had that with Marcos but those snatched off the streets and hurled into Bilibid Prison might not share their view. Martial law and military junta’s have worked in some countries for limited times such as South Korea, Thailand and various South American locales with varying degrees of success.

Or what about a socialist state? Democratic socialism allows free enterprise and private capital but ensures everyone in the state gets a share of the wealth. This would upset the catholic church as the poor would finally be properly looked after and the rich would have little to whine about other than having to actually pay taxes for once.

But whatever system of governance is applied, the system is only as valid as the people applying it and the people it is applied to accepting and obeying it. An unpopular system will result in civil disturbance worse than we have seen in nearby Thailand recently. It would be wrong to impose a Burmese style of military rule and full blown socialism has proven to be lacking in the argy-bargy world of free market capitalism.

There are lots of factors to consider but the main one is would a different form of governance make any difference? Or would the same people who rule now, rule then albeit with a different title in front of their names?

Election Results

Here are the official COMELEC election results for the recent Presidential elections in the Philippines.


  1. Benigno Aquino III: 12,233,002 / 40.19%
  2. Joseph Estrada: 7,749,597 / 25.46%
  3. Manuel Villar, Jr.: 4,329,215 / 14.22%
  4. Gilberto Teodoro: 3,243,688 / 10.65%
  5. Eddie Villanueva: 916,543 / 3.01%
  6. Richard Gordon: 431,954 / 1.41%
  7. Nicanor Perlas: 42,205 / 0.13%
  8. Jamby Madrigal: 37,119 / 0.12%
  9. John Carlos de los Reyes: 34,833 / 0.11%


  1. Jejomar Binay: 12,025,429 / 39.51%
  2. Mar Roxas: 11,213,563 / 36.84%
  3. Loren Legarda: 3,259,963 / 10.71%
  4. Bayani Fernando: 847,100 / 2.78%
  5. Edu Manzano: 593,653 / 1.95%
  6. Perfecto Yasay: 295,558 / 0.97%
  7. Jay Sonza: 50,722 / 0.16%
  8. Dominador Chipeco, Jr.: 40,335 / 0.13%

The total registered voters is 50,723,733 with a turnout of around 55%  to 57%

Our new contributor and commentator, Konrad Hille, has submitted this opinion piece on the election results. Konrad has lived in the Philippines since he left his native East Germany shortly after it ceased to exist in 1989. He speaks Tagalog, Pampangan and English fluently as well as German and Russian. A former Intelligence Officer in the DDR army, Konrad is married to a Filipina, has several children and a very definite point of view. We hope his comments will provide food for thought. His opinions are purely his own and do not represent the views of the management of this site.

Democracy At Work?

Only getting half the registered voters off their lubots and into a polling place is a bit sad until you remember people get killed during elections in this country. What is really tragic is that Erap Estrada managed to come second with nearly 8 million votes! This is the same ex-President who was impeached for stealing millions from the public coffers. He spent a few years in comfortable house arrest before GMA pardoned him.

This highlights a tendency of the Filipino to forgive and forget rather than perhaps embarrass anyone by remembering the nasty, dirty, impolite truths. It also shows how they like to vote for someone they feel sorry for, NoyNoy Aquino III is the son of the dead Cory Acquino who was voted in because people felt sorry for her being the widow of the assassinated Benigno Acquino Jr.

The whole family is filthy rich and that is because they own vast amounts of land and other businesses and ignore their own land reforms. They have exploited the poor people, the masa, just as have all the other rich oligarchs in politics. Nothing has changed and nothing will change in this country. The rich, ruling ‘elite’ of fair skinned mestizo and Chinese-Filipino families will continue to plunder the country and live well with their real estate holdings in the US and hidden overseas bank accounts. Meanwhile the people they are elected to serve suffer, pay more for basic necessities and too many starve or die from lack of enough money to get proper medical attention.

It would make me very angry except for one thing, the Philippines is a democracy and I know about democracies. After all I spent the first forty years of my life in the German Democratic Republic. Of course it was easier for us as we only had the one political party to vote for. As they say, in a democracy, the people get the government they deserve and if 45% of them can’t be bothered to vote and of those who do 25% vote for a criminal who has plundered and raped his country once already… then they deserve everything they get.