Bagamat ang Pilipinas ay lumaya na sa kamay ng mga Kastila noong ika-12 ng Hunyo 1898 at ipinagmamalaking makalipas ang mahigit isandaang taon ay isa na itong ganap na demokrasya, hindi nito lubos na nalalasap ang mga biyaya na pangako ng demokrasya na tinatamasa ng mga bansang pinamahalaan ng ganito.
Marahil ito ay dahil sa kabila ng pagkakaroon ng mga demokratikong mga proseso, patuloy na alipin ang Pilipinas ng mga mapang-aping kaisipan na minana natin sa mahigit tatlong daang taon sa ilalim ng pananakop at paniniil ng mga Kastila.
Patuloy na itinuturing ng Pilipino ang sarili bilang alipining indio na umaasa lamang sa mga grasya ng kanyang pamahalaang hari na kanyang patron, parang umuupang magsasaka sa kanyang panginoong may lupa.
Kahit na may kapangyarihang pumili sa eleksiyon, pamantayan pa rin ng Pilipino ang piliin ang kanyang patron.
Hindi yata lubos na naintindihan ng Pilipino na sa demokrasya siya ang makapangyarihan, may soberanya. Sa kanya nakasalalay ang pananatili o hindi ng sinumang nasa pamahalaan. Siya ang magpapasya ayon sa kanilang ipinakitang sigasig sa paninilbihan kung karapat-dapat manatili sa pwesto.
Hanggang hindi tuluyang lumaya ang Pilipino sa mapang-aping kaisipan na ito, hindi tunay na demokrasya ang sistema ng pamamahala sa Pilipinas.
Ano ang palagay mo?
Ano kaya ang palagay ni Jose Rizal, bilang probinsyanong intsik, bilang liberal, bilang repormista, bilang propagandista?
Why does democracy promote development in some countries and poverty in others?
Democracy is not correlational with development. Put another way, although almost all the wealthy nations in the world are democratic, it is not always the case that democratic institutional arrangements like open elections lead directly to growth. Democratic mechanisms do not guarantee improvement in social welfare through successful policy processes.
Ideally, democracy is a mechanism that ensures competition among a country’s leadership for the promotion of successful policies (Bueno De Mosqueta and Root, 2000:9). It is assumed that voters will dismiss governments that produce policy failures. In other words, leaders compete through effective policies for development. In this sense, democracy ought to be driven by performance. Since leaders are motivated to hold on to power, the risk of being ousted from office if they fail to produce economic growth is an incentive for them to govern for prosperity.
But in the case of the Philippines, democracy is not driven by performance. Rather, democracy is driven by patronage, or loyalty to personalities. Like the politics in India, leaders in the Philippines come to office by virtue of their personal appeal. Thus, they rule by fiat (Bueno de Mosqueta and Root, 2000:11).
This could be attributed to the colonial conception of the role of the state as patron who doles out rewards to its followers for their loyalty. This is the systemic source of corruption in governance because leaders deliberately create failed policies that organize economic opportunities for their followers to collect bribes. The guarantee that they remain in office by buying loyalty is an incentive for them to govern for plunder.
To overhaul this corrupt culture of democracy, the Filipino people must discover, through their struggles with corruption, the legitimate role of the state. They must realize that their leaders are not patrons that dispense favors and they are not clients who return the favors by voting for the patron’s party. Instead, they must understand that leaders are civil servants accountable to them as duty-bearers bound to deliver on their rightful claims to welfare and prosperity. As the sovereign who wield supreme authority, the people must reward its leaders only on the basis of their performance in creating effective policies.
See Bueno de Mosqueta, Bruce and Root, Hilton (2000), “When Bad Economics Is Good Politics” in Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce and Root, Hilton, eds., Governing for Prosperity (New Haven: Yale University), 1-16.