Wednesday, March 07, 2007

State Chart of Philippine Democracy: Future Scenarios

Here is a state chart diagram showing the state of Philippine democracy as defined by the combination two sets of attributes: dictatorship/democracy, elitist/popular. This maps possible future scenarios to the above combination.

State Diagram of Philippine Democracy: Future Scenarios v1.1

If the result of the May 2007 elections favor Arroyo, there would most likely be a renewed push for a Unicameral Parliamentary form of government . Once such a system is place, i can imagine three possible outcomes:

Scenario 1: Unicameral Parliamentary within an Elite Dictatorship IMO, the most likely outcome would be a one party legislature controlled by a prime minister coming from the ranks of the business elite or alternatively, a proxy who is controlled by him/her (e.g. Chiz Escudero backed by Danding Cojuangco). This would preserve the current structure where the elite dominates with our vestigial democratic institutions serving a window-dressing function.

Scenario 2: Unicameral Parliamentary within an Elite Democracy If no single party dominates parliament, then a minimal form of elite democracy could emerge, which essentially means the preservation of the status quo in favor of the oligarchy. In this environment, it may be possible for middle-class oriented groups such as Kapatiran to aspire for some level of representation in the legislature which is why i made a notation in the diagram that the middle class may consider this as the "best" option. What i believe would actually take place is the resurgence of religious oriented parties (e.g. INC, El Shaddai, CFC and JIL) a-la Lebanon and/or Iran.

Scenario 3: Unicameral Parliamentary within an Popular Democracy If a charismatic populist tycoon in the mold of Thaksin (or a designated proxy) wins the prime ministership with a big enough majority, then we could have a rehash of what happened in Thailand. Given a sufficient sense of history, he/she can choose to turn his back on his own class and become a champion of the people in the manner that Marcos and Erap attempted (or pretended) to be. A unicameral parliament would make it easier for him/her to ram through radical legislation that would address social inequities and he would be hailed as the Filipino Hugo Chavez.

Scenario 4: Presidential system within an Popular Democracy Similarly, if Arroyo does not do well in May 2007 and/or the Presidential system somehow survives, then the opportunity remains open for a charismatic populist to bring the Latin American wave to our shores. This would bring about our transformation from an elite to a popular democracy.

Scenario 5: Presidential system within an Popular Dictatorship Scenario 3 and 4 above may not necessarily be a stable outcome. If society has been polarized enough between e.g. the EDSA Dos and EDSA Tres crowds, then the system may degenerate into a popular dictatorship similar to what seems to be happening in Venezuela today. The middle class, having squandered its moral capital defending Arroyo, would be unable to prevent the tyranny of the majority.

Scenario 6: Other forms of Popular Dictatorship At this point, there seems to be a minimal chance of the CPP/NPA capturing the hearts and minds of the majority. However, once the ordinary foot soldiers in the service of their elite masters notice that they are the ones holding the guns, then given such an epiphany, the soldiers can use force to constitute a new order in the name of the people under an alternative non-Communist, most probably militantly nationalist/neo-fascist ideology.

For the above, the assumption is that the Philippines remains a unitary state. As such, failed state anarchy (a-la Somalia) and fragmentation (a-la former Yugoslavia) outcomes are not shown.

Above entry updated here (on Feb 22, 2008).


lateralus said...

Your "best" case scenario is just depressing. The last thing I want to happen is to have country gripped by vise of theocracy.

cvj said...

Benj, thanks for the feedback. Which is why i enclosed the word best in quotation marks. My personal preference is Scenario 4, but that will only happen if Cha-cha does not get revived after May 2007.