Claro M. Recto patterned the Philippine Constitution after the U. S. Constitution so that President Franklin D. Roosevelt would ratify the Tidings-McDuffie Act which would enable the Philippines to regain their freedom. President Roosevelt approved the Constitution because the purpose of benevolent assimilation was to teach the Philippines how to form and administer a Republican form of government that would recognize human rights.
In accordance with the U. S. constitution, the Philippine Constitution is regarded as the supreme law which promotes democracy to which all laws are subordinate. The word democracy arose from the Greek word, Demos, which means 'many' while the latter part of the word means 'rule' and so the word would come to mean 'Rule of Many'. However, it is obvious that the goal of democracy; the very foundation on which the ideology was built, is a concept that has not come to be realized in the Philippines. There are three important points that must be addressed before one can analyze democracy; that is that democracy: for the people, by the people and of the people.
The first point implies that the aim of an efficient democratic government is to make sure that all citizens of the state enjoy the human rights which are inherent to them through the creation, implementation and interpretation of law as overseen by the executive, legislative and judiciary branches of government. The second point focuses on the source of power which is the people because government officials should represent the needs of the people while the third clarifies that these officials are, in essence, accountable to the people. Looking at the history of injustice, corruption and prevalent poverty, the problem is not that there is too much democracy but that there is too little because the concept of democracy is not understood or perhaps ignored by our so-called "public servants." To prove this, we shall look at several historic events which are supposedly the manifestation of democracy. The first example of such is the EDSA Revolution which occurred in the 22 nd of February 1986.
While many would argue that it is an example of too much democracy because the mob mentality asserted itself so much that it deposed Ferdinand Marcos, we shall take a different view. Let us first look at the reason why it occurred. So many allies of Marcos and his family profited from the misery of the people because they did not understand that they were suppose to serve the people. After 26 years of ignorance of our rights, the people were clamoring for change. The people wanted to change the leaders of government because the government was self-serving, and inefficient.
Marcos' purpose was to annihilate the power of the masses by having the elite control the society. The elite few were composed of his associates and family members. The control of the people were slowly transferred to the elite who possessed both wealth and political influence which allowed them to make political and economic decisions that would benefit themselves instead of the masses. In essence, they were the source and beneficiaries of power. When former President Marcos was ousted, the primary aims of the Aquino administration was to destroy what the 'power structure' of Marcos left, to bring back the integrity of the society towards the government, and to put an end to the rebelliousness of the military and radicals.
But unfortunately the Aquino administration wasn't able to accomplish its objectives. First of all, peace talks brought about nothing more than temporary solutions, the abundance of communist movements remained; despite the written settlements between the new government and the army, the army never acquired complete trust from the government; the violation of human rights worsened, finally, the revised constitution still favored the elite and the Aquino constitution did not wipe the power from the Marcos supporters. (Bakker, 1997: pp. 20-33) Another example is the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) II, which took place on the 17 th of January 2001. The primary reason for the gathering of most of the citizens during this incident was to remove the former President Joseph Estrada from his position. Let us look at the cause of why this occurrence really took place.
Rumors emerged from different sections of the society suspected him for corrupting the whole nation, and having a big role in heading the scams that were going on during his reign as president. Both these rumors and statistics brought about the trial for his impeachment. The trial gave suspicion to the people by showing the possibility of Estrada in paying all his Senators under him to do everything they can to prove him not guilty. Suspicion of the people, both lay and elite, brought about chaos and therefore began the EDSA II. Therefore, the people lost their trust from the President which generally initiated the elite to influence a few of the low class to the ousting of Estrada in unity with them. The administration of Estrada was handed down to his Vice president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo whose goals however, were not in whole accordance to the ousting of Estrada.
She mostly continued the goals of Ramos' administration instead of Estrada's. Being an economist, she wanted to somewhat concentrate on bringing the economy upward, but her intentions weren't meant because of the chaos that has been going on in the world and in our own country. She also wanted to obtain stability among the citizens, but seeing the continuous threats and terrorism from rebellious groups it is easy for us to see that this objective of hers might never be achieved. She may have provided the Filipino citizens with solutions to these problems, yet it is obvious that the solution is just temporary that it would never be used by the succeeding president. In conclusion to this argument, the Philippines has too little democracy because the people don't really understand what democracy is and what it should be. Even most of the former and present government officials, and the citizens do not understand what should be done for the country to be a democratic nation.
There is no official fact that the officials do not know the exact meaning of democracy, or that they are just acting as if they truly understand what the nation should be doing in order for Filipinos to be democratic. It is obvious, however, that these officials are wise and intellectual for they were able to persuade the people to put them in their desired positions. What is not right, though, is that these officials are using there power of persuasion to convince the people that democracy is when they stand together against an official, instead of addressing them that democracy is actually when they control the government. The examples of both People Powers are the best examples that show how Filipinos perceive democracy. For them, standing together against a government official is democratic; they never took time to realize what would happen to the nation once an official is replaced. In my opinion, democracy should be, if against an official, well thought about, but if the problem with the official is very insignificant, then the people does not need to rally but just needs to let the official realize what he should do for the better of the nation.
The people, therefore, should never take for granted the petty mistakes of an official, for this simply shows how we take care of our nation as well. The people should also, always be reminded that they were the ones who placed the officials in their rightful positions, as a result, they should be responsible for what they have decided upon. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Agoncillo, Teodoro (1990). History of the Filipino people. Quezon City: Garotech Publishing. Bakker, Jan W.
(1997). The Philippines justice system. Netherlands: Leiden University. Hardin, Russell (1999).
Liberalism, constitutional, and democracy. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc. Schumpeter, Joseph A. (1976). Capitalism, socialism and democracy. New York: George Allen & Unwin, Inc.
Other sources: (1993-1995). Microsoft (R) Encarta (R) 96 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation: Funk & Wagnalls Corporation. (2001). web Accessed on: August 11, 2003.