• We’re no longer a democracy. Are we now a kakistocracy?

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    FRANCISCO S. TATAD

    FRANCISCO S. TATAD

    I did not get the word from Plato or Aristotle, the fourth century BC Greek philosophers, who first wrote about democracy. I got it from a friend this Christmas, who thought the word best describes the Philippine government under the past president B. S. Aquino 3rd and President Rodrigo Duterte. The word is kakistocracy.

    It is Greek in origin, but came down to us from Europe in the 17th century. It derives from the Greek kakistos, meaning worst, the superlative of kakos, meaning bad, and it means “a government by the least qualified or worst persons.” Other than North Korea, South Sudan, Armenia and a couple of others, not many countries are listed as such. So the word is not much in use. But my friend believes DU30 has spent the last six months trying to convince the world we had become one.

    The three coequal and coordinate branches of government that used to characterize our democracy no longer operate. So we have ceased to be a democracy. President Rodrigo Duterte has placed himself on top of the entire constitutional structure, rules by whimsy through sound bites and half-baked declarations, and speaks as the lone authority for the entire government, which is himself. There are no degrees of excellence in the bureaucracy or the Cabinet.

    He decides what is legal and what is moral; what he says, as in the killing of Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte inside his detention cell in Baybay, Leyte at four o’clock in the morning, cannot be overriden by the law, as the courts see it, or the bare-faced facts of the case, as perceived by the clearest lens.

    My friend believes that DU30 by himself has turned our muddling democracy into a kakistocracy.

    A passion for killing
    DU30 has killed and likes to talk of killing. He indulges in profanities and obscenities like it was his second nature, and talks about weird things he has not quite sorted out in his mind, then calls the media “crazies” or “fools” for quoting him. Maybe they are. Indeed, they are. For why should any sane person quote any bumbling politician who claims God had spoken to him while he was 30,000 fleet up in the air on his way home from Japan, without ever wondering whether the insomniac was on drugs or plainly delusional? But if the media are crazy, what about him? What makes him do what he does and say the things he says? It’s not anybody’s idea of normal.

    No one ever had accused DU30 of killing anybody before he started bragging about the killings he had done either as prosecutor or as mayor of Davao. In an interview with the local Esquire magazine, in March 2015, before he ran for President, he said he had never killed any innocent individual, but “killing criminals is not new to me,” he said. “I will not allow criminals to play with the lives of people, I play with the lives of criminals.” As a 17-year-old he first got involved in a rumble at a beach party, he recalled; it wasn’t a killing, “but maybe I stabbed somebody to death—-something like that,” he said. There were other incidents where he said he had given the orders that led to the killing. But he insists he is no killer.

    The health issue
    In a recent Malacañang forum, DU30 spoke about his constant migraine, Barrett’s esophagus and Buerger’s disease, and his regular use of Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, which is said to be 50 times stronger than heroin, and used by doctors to treat cancer patients, in order to control the pain in his spinal column. His revelation about his use of Fentanyl prompted Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th to call him a “drug addict” who should surrender to the police for rehabilitation under his ongoing war on drugs. Sen. Panfilo Lacson and others called it a “national concern” and demanded that his medical records be released to the public.

    At first, DU30 denied any suggestion of addiction, saying there’s no monkey on his back. Then he was quoted as saying he had merely made up the story, and they were nuts to believe him. This reminds me of an old hometown politician who never told a truth in public: when a neighbor denounced him for all his lies, he replied that nobody had a right to complain because he himself did not believe what he was telling them. This was not the first time the President used this line. In a few instances before, his spokesmen and trolls in the social media said the fault belonged to those who took DU30’s words hook, line and sinker.

    Who are listening to DU30?
    The trouble is, this does not happen in small-town gatherings alone, in General Santos or in Davao, where those listening to the President are familiar with the storyteller and know only too well when he is simply letting off hot air. It happens even when he is talking to the media, who like to quote everything, or to a mixed audience that includes foreigners, who may be listening to him for the first time. In fact, he sometimes chooses these crowds to make the most controversial statements, without the benefit of prior study or subsequent clarification.

    To ingratiate himself to the Chinese, he announced his military and economic separation from the US during his state visit to China. Then he recently used his seven-minute telephone call to President-elect Donald Trump from Davao to assure the latter that he would be working closely with the new Republican administration, despite his announced “separation” from Washington, and his aligning with China and Russia “against the world.” He appeared to have found in Trump a “soul-mate.” For a while there seemed to be quiet fence-mending on the US-Philippine front in anticipation of a reset under Trump.

    The latest blast
    But when DU30 learned that the Millennium Challenge Corporation had deferred the voting on its proposed assistance to the Philippines, DU30 blasted the US again, this time in the presence of the new US Ambassador Sung Kim, whom he had received with utmost cordiality, if not warmth, much earlier. Under President Barack Obama, the Corporation gave the Philippines a $454 million grant, after President B. S. Aquino 3rd promised to force the enactment of the Reproductive Health Bill, which the Filipinos had opposed for the last 15 years. It appears that a renewal of the MCC grant was now being premised on the human rights record of the DU30 government.

    Evidently pissed, DU30 said he did not need a few million dollars aid from the US when China was ready to give him $50 billion. Then he renewed his threat to abrogate the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement, unless the US was willing to pay for the privilege of US forces visiting here. However DU30 made no mention of the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, which allows US troops and facilities to be stationed inside Philippine military bases.

    Both the VFA and EDCA are rent-free. So was the 1947 US-Philippine Military Bases Agreement, which expired in 1991. But the Marcos government succeeded in winning compensation from the US for the use of the bases in the 1980s, through the Economic Support Fund. The two governments worked on it through diplomatic negotiations, without Marcos raising the issue in such vulgar tones.

    The US responded calmly to DU30’s latest blast by reiterating its willingness to work closely with the DU30 government without any hint of nursing any grievance. The fact that DU30’s threat of abrogation was limited to the VFA alone, without any mention of the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, which is the mother treaty, and EDCA, which allows the permanent deployment of US facilities and forces, is a clear softening on the part of the autocrat. This is why Washington can afford not to look disturbed at all by the latest polemic.

    Ignoring the source of quotes
    In that sense, the US may have found the secret of responding to DU30’s political broadsides. Don’t take everything DU30 says literally and seriously. It’s all for the benefit of the mob. Wait for the next headline and the sound bite. And try to get an inside track on the real thinking of the President. It is the media, though, that remain stuck with the problem. Since they have been called crazies and fools for quoting everything DU30 says, without asking him first whether or not he means what he says, they will have to find a much more intelligent way of covering the presidency.

    Prior to martial law, when some Manila newspapers decided to sympathize with the Leftist insurgency and take a strongly partisan position against the Marcos government, they decided to airbrush the President’s official statements on the most important issues, claiming they already “knew the truth” and that what Malacañang was saying was not the truth. As presidential press/information secretary and spokesman at the time, it became my duty to remind the publishers and editors of these newspapers that their duty was to report what Malacañang was saying on the issues, and allow their readers to decide whether or not to believe what was being said. The newspapers had the right and the duty to state very clearly what they believed and did not believe, but only after reporting what Malacañang said.

    I did not always win the argument. But I believe that experience could provide a helpful guide to our mass media, who have to continue reporting what the President says in his midnight or early morning conferences and still risk being called crazies or fools by the very source of all the crazy quotes. Are they prepared, even just for once, to not report any of the sensational things the President is saying to impress his barrio crowds? Are they prepared to do to DU30 what Chino Roces and company were once prepared to do to Marcos?

    fstatad@gmail.com

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    29 Comments

    1. Kleptocracy versus kakistocracy defined

      Kleptocracy, a government or state in which those in power exploit national resources and steal. Kakistocracy, a state or country run by the worst, least qualified. The author describe the PDU30’s government run by an incompetent people and he place all that characteristic on the the lap of PDU30, Let it be known to the author, that the US election was declare for the first woman president, HRC, who is describe as competent, has 30 years of political experience both domestic and foreign loses the election and still the progressives clamor that she is a better president than the PEOTUS. Just like the author who would I say is a Macoy loyalist clamoring for the return of the Marcos brand claim that a political savvy and thieving Marcos is the best that the Philippines ever had. The PEOTUS run his candidacy very unconventionally that baffle even the brightest political hack. Even now, he is not the POTUS yet has made a difference in the lives of the common american (the Carreir deal in IN.) and has made an indirect impact in foreign affair (drone return of China; Taiwan congratulation). PDU30 has never claim to be a statesman. He does not want to be like the tyrant, full of bombast. He has seen my Philippines unable to get off the airstrip unable to fly. He did the very best possible way, crude or no, politically correct or no,t to bring back greatness in my Philippines. He has brought positive changes to my Philippines unconventionally within six months..

      Compare to the kleptocracy of the tyrant Marcos, just live Nigeria, Liberia and Haiti, run by a well polish thief gave the Philippines air full of deceit, and his graft and corrupt cohorts plundering the country. My Philippines would rather have an unqualified president that produce positive changes than a savvy and polish politician that only care for himself and his family, enriching his pocket and still in his own word “not satisfied”. Thank you

    2. Banyagang Makabayan on

      Mr. Honorable former Marcos’ Information Secretary and Senator Tatad,Isn’t it that it is usually that you are totally obedient and subservient to your old boss Marcos, that’s why you perceived now President Duterte to be a Dictator like Marcos?

      While it’s true that PDU30 talk, and talk harsh and so insulting a lot, He also had already walked and done a lot, while the other two branches of the Government, the Legislative and Judiciary, you are expecting to work effectively with the Executive branch hand in hand up to now, had none, except all those Televised Inquiry/Investigation in Aid of Legislation which at the same time had achieved nothing, and the Judiciary’s too slow dispensation of Justice.

    3. We have a Psycho-Maniac president who speak two tongue like a snake with killer instinc.. He uses the War on Drug as an excuse to kill without mercy. We are now the topic of discussion around the globe . We are now compare to North Korea, Sudan, and other dictatorial state. He always say in public that he will resign if somebody will ask him.. I said please resign and save our country some dignity.

    4. Yonkers, New York
      21 December 2016

      The Filipino people, in particular those who have access regularly to the country’s Mass Media and their columnists benefit immensely from reading the well-written and highly enlightening columns of former Senator Francisco S. Tatad–as I have for several years now.

      In this column of his, “We’re no longer a democracy. Are we now a kakistocracy?” in The Manila Times of December 21st, he makes the compelling case, well-documented, why in fact and sadly the Philippines is no loner a “democracy,” which is to assume that it has ever been one, but is now a “kakistocracy” under a psychotic Little Tyrant named RODRIGO DUTERTE.

      It is altogether possible, however, that the Philippines under Little Tyrant Duterte is in fact worse than a “kakistocracy” because he has succeeded seemingly completely not only in doing away with the Constitutional system of CHECKS AND BALANCES between the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial, he has moreover succeeded in inflicting a REIGN OF TERROR on the Filipino people, a warrantless genocidal extrajudicial drive which has netted for this blood-thirsty drug addict and maniac some 5,8000 hapless victims so far.

      I suppose Senator Francisco S. Tatad, the scholar, will need to research farther back than Plato or Aristotle to find the correct world to accurately describe what the Philippine Government as redesigned by Duterte should be called. If he cannot find one, then I suggest that Mr. Tatad INVENT one.

      MARIANO PATALINJUG
      patalinjugmar@gmail.com

    5. I’d really like to see facts rather than soliloquy. Tatad is one of the trapos who have experienced several turns of administrations.To me he is a tumble weed like all ‘seasoned’ trapos.

      Minister of Public Information under President Ferdinand Marcos from 1969 to 1980
      as a Senator of the Philippines from 1992 to 2001
      was one of the 11 senators who voted against opening an envelope that had been alleged to contain incriminating evidence against then Philippine President Joseph Ejercito Estrada

      Look into his Republic Acts to see which needs scrutiny if any. Go to eFOI:
      https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1370&dat=19961016&id=D2YVAAAAIBAJ&sjid=zQoEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2774,2554477

    6. Nobody has ever thought among presidents to visit Jolo and Basilan except this guy Digong. Nobody has ever thought of giving free medicine next year and free college and university education, except misc fees, except this Digong, nobody has come up and wants to do it to connect Iloilo to Negros to Cebu to Bohol, not just ideas but in plans except this ‘man Digong’…he is also is a proponent of Federalism which is controversial subject but at least he believes it and many believes it too especially the Visayans and the Mindanaoans, remember Canoy?
      So hope we see a light in the tunnel with this man or this country is to the dogs, for all its beauty because of the continuing plunder of the rich and the elites and not looking down to the poor and the needy. The guy may not be the ultimate solution, he mauy just be a forerunner to the next good thing to come…at least to this temporal planet!!!

    7. Much had been said about DU30 madness, psychological and physical sickness; Thus, he is corrupting the balance system of democracy in making himself the center of all power in the government, so much so that he does whatever he desires to do with the power entrusted to him by the electorate. Is it not dictatorship already? But what do we do with his madness now? What do we do with his crime against humanity in killing suspected drug users, peddlers and even innocents people? Mr. Kit, this time is the time to act, a time to talk to the different sectors of society, and the time to make a concrete and collective actions of the society.

    8. Mr. Tatad,

      What you described in your column about Duterte’s behaviors are accurate description of symptoms of someone with psychopathic disorders. Wouldn’t you agree that Duterte is insane?

    9. Even the SWS, which is a tool of the anti-Duterte yellows cultists, admit that he has the support of 80% of the people. If you are correct, then that means that the Filipinos are stupid for supporting the worst ever, and the only bright Filipinos are the Duterte bashers. I have my own brilliant thesis: since Duterte is the worst, and his bashers are the brightest, this is just the law of evolution at work, the survival of the fittest, which means it is nature’s design. Therefore it is the bright (but weak?) Duterte bashers’ fate to be out of power and they should just accept their fate like real Christians and SUFFER IN SILENCE.

    10. I wonder why, there are still people who believe, this foolish president, the worse president we ever have. I do not any of his policy, I hope, he stop harming the country inside and out. I hardly, seen him accomplish anything, what a fool.

      • laylayang pilipino on

        despite the achievements for his first 6 months still he’s your worst president? shame on you.

      • how can a ‘foolish president’ be such a good speaker except for his bad mouthing? its no joke to be on that podium with all our problems, problems he inherited from previous administrations, so to speak. have a good day!

      • Let’s hope your entire family is raped or killed by addicts then and only then will you understand. Let’s hope that happens. game?

      • laylayang pilipino on

        martial law? they can rally anytime they want. they attack the president yet he still let you say anything you want because its your right. what kind of martial law is that?

    11. “Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive” (PROVERBS 17:28).

      “A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart” (PROVERBS 18:2)

      “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one who is perverse in his lips, and is a fool” (PROVERBS 19:1)

      • Duterte will save this country from the likes of you. Believe me. Yellows are useless losers. Unneccasry in society.

    12. This is a simple and yet effective article that clearly state DU30 state of mind. Don’t stop writing as your article give us a hope and information yet to be found in other broadsheet. Thumbs up.

      • You don’t know that this writer is a hater of the current Pres.. Nothing now in his write ups is proactive in our way of dealing the everyday life in our streets … btw he has a political mindset that leans on how we cannot be of help to our country and lambasting somebody else … his write ups is not helping instead it was conditioning the minds of the readers to hate this President … So many who profess as pious people yet their intentions is hollow for the welfare of our country. Try to analyze if my assertions is correct or not.

    13. not again, the same lines over and over again! and same bad D30 even before the elections, really cant get over it ? this writer is suffering from “MAKULITCRACY” – makulit and and gone crazy over d30!
      and dont start with nincompoop Trillianes – shouldnt he deserve firing squad for high treason?

    14. How pathetic we are has become as a nation……at least we have a President who ask for Gods forgiveness for the carnage which is happening right now….For more than two decade there were thousands who were killed and vanished and no one ever apologized under the Marcos Regime…After the 1986 revolution the so called defenders of democracy became the looters in government. Feudal and Political Dynasties even flourish and poverty became the canvass of Philippine society…No one apologized even within the members of the Church up to now who are supposed to defend values at the highest form. Many of the church members are still praying for Kapitan Tiago’s soul because the precedent shares them with his bounty, even when they know that Kapitan Tiago is so corrupt .
      One thing is different …..the President knows our problem…his detractors ignore our problem to preserve themselves…..
      .

      • Hmm I agree that this President although hated by a few and worshipped by the poor and ‘oppressed’ due to financial miseries, while the few are living in opulence, maybe just the right guy, with all his faults but his love for ‘pece’ for the country….

      • w/c is good compared to Noynoy’s hypocrisy and lies. Gotcha. There’s no coming back from that one. Whatever your reply is a forced one. Hehe.

      • Over 2 million Filipinos left to go live and work in another country in 2015.

        due to chronic joblessness and low wages – from 2,500 daily before Aquino assumed office in 2009, 4,018 in 2010, to 6,092 daily by early 2015 (per Department of Labor and Employment data).

        The majority are now composed of ignorant and simple-minded sheep who view Duterte’s antics as entertainment.

        Maybe there are just no decent people left in the Philippines who wish to run for political office.

        Which explains NoyNoy, DoDirty,
        The Senate and House of Reprehensibles

        Clearly these people serving in the government are the best the Philippines has to offer.
        They may be witless, they may be psychotic, they maybe corrupt but we don’t have anyone better.