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The Organic-Hierarchical Paradigm

and Politics in the Philippines*

HE SUBJECT I would have wanted to discuss is: "A Theory of
Philippine Politics/" But, since a theory, strictly defined, is a set of
propositions systematically interrelated with a view to describing,
explaining, and predicting reality, and since I have written only two books
about Philippine politics, which analyze only some of its aspects, I know it
is not possible for me to expound on this topic. Howeygr, jf theory *r, used
in a more limited way, e.g., as a model or a paradigm, which is a set of
propositions designed to be more or less isomorphic with an aspect of
reality with a view to indicating the general patterns and relations of the
significant parts of that aspect of reality, I believe I can discuss with you
Philippine politics from a theoretical viewpoint. Thus, I have entitled this
discussion ""The Organic-Hierarchical Paradigm and Politics in the
The organic-hierarchical paradigm of Philippine politics is one of the
fruitful results of my study on the politics of Occidental Mindoro, which
was recently published under the title The Political Elite and the People}
That study showed that the people and the political elite in Occidental
Mindoro perceived the society and the polity as an organism composed, of
hierarchical elements. One principal indicator of their perception of society
and the polity as an organism is language. The other is political and social
The linguistic terms used in Occidental Mindoro, a province which had
been peopled by Uocanos, Tagalogs, Visayans, and other Filipino
ethno-linguistic groups, for the basic unit of society, the family, for
instance, are all organic. Thus, Ilocanos call their brother or sister kabagis.
Bagis means intestine literally and umbilical cord figuratively. Prefixed with
ka, the term, therefore, means part of one's intestine or umbilical cord. A
relative among Ilocanos is kabagian, whose root word bagi means body.

Published as Monograph No. 1 (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1973).


Descendants of a person in relation to grandparents are aLo called in terms
of body or organic partsapo iti tumeng, apo iti bukong-bukong, and apo iti
dapan. Literally translated, these words mean grandchild of the knee,
grandchild of the sole of the foot, and grandchild of the flat part of the
foot. The Tagalogs and the Visayans have essentially the same terms as theUocanos, although one may observe some variations in nuances and
. connotations, owing mainly to ethnic experiences and problems. The
Tagalogs, for instance, have terms like apo sa tuhod, apo sa sakong, and apo
sa talampakan, corresponding exactly to the Ilocano terms, although the
Tagalog word for brother or sister is quite ambiguous if taken alone. The
Tagalog brother or sister is kapatid or kaputol, which means "a part of." But
part of what? Organic or inorganic? However, in the context of terms such
as apo sa tuhod and the like, it is clear that kapatid refers- to a part of the
With regard to polity, the terms used are also organic. Thus, the terms
for governor, mayor, and barrio captain are pangulo ng lalawigan, pangulo ng
bayan, and pangulo ng baryo. The keyword here is pangulo, which means one
who plays the role of head. The representative or congressman of the
province himself is called kinataivan, one who embodies. The sub-leader of
the pangulo is his kanang kamay (right hand) or bisig (arm); and his
_ followers, and supporters are his mgq gaiamay (fingers).
Behavior m the society and the polity, therefore, is regulated by the
basic law of an organisminterdependence of hierarchical elements. This is
reinforced by folk sayings. The Tagalog folk saying is; Ang sakit ng
kalingkingan ay damdam ng buong katawan (The pain suffered by the little
finger is suffered by the whole body). The Ilocano counterpart is Uray la ii
kDdt ti magaradgadan isu amih ti bagi ti masakitan (Even if it is only the little
finger that is scratched, the whole body is hurt)
Accordingly, in the polity the political elite are expected to lead,
protect, and think for the people; and the people are expected to support
the political elite. Thus, the relationships between die political elite and the
people or between the political elite and their subordinates are symbiotic
and paternalistic^
The symbiotic relationship is clearly shown in the politics of patronage'
as practiced in Occidental Mindoro. The political elite, who desire power
and status, acquire their desiderata through the voting support of the
people. The people support the political elite because die elite take care of
the people's desideratapersonalistic and particularistic needs, such as aid
for medical, legal, funeral, and similar expense; a recommendation for a job
or promotion in one's work; feeder roads; schools; loans from a bank;
license or permit; a contract or franchise, and the like. In this symbiotic
relationship, the political elite and the people get what they desire to
getthe political elite, power and status; the people, patronage of various
As regards die paternalistic relationship between the political elite and
their subordinates, this is illustrated by the typical behavior of die governor
or a mayor of a town in cases involving quarrels of subordinates. What

The Organic-Hierarchiciil Paradigm . . . / 165

does the governor or mayor do in such cases? One executive in Occidental

Mindoro, replied: "I resolve the problem as a father would in his family. In
appropriate cases, I give castigo (punishment) to guilty persons so that they
would learn. The members of my office are like my children. In fact they
are part of my official family. They also regard me as their father.2
Based on these considerations, we can now construct a paradigm of a
political system, together with its politics. This polity is an organism, with
a head, body, arms, legs, hands, feet fingers, and toes. The body grows
through the ingestion and absorption of external elements which can be
incorporated. Those elements which it cannot incorporate, because they are
destructive or cancerous, are purged, rejected, destroyed, or neutralized. Its
politics, therefore, is a politics of incorporation. The principal components of
the political system are the political elite and the people, the political elite
acting as head, and the people serving as the body, together with its limbs
and other organic parts. The political elite are recruited from a principal
part of the body, the principalia, which incorporates into itself all emerging
socio-political forces which can be incorporated into die political system.
The relationship between the political elite and the people is not a conflict
or enmity relationship. On die contrary, it is one of symbiosis and
paternalism. I shall call this model of the political system and the politics
the organic-hierarchical paradigm.
iSuch a paradigm is applicable to and fruitful for the study of the
political system and politics of the Philippines. First, it can be used as a
fruitful device for collecting significant data and identifying the major
trends and patterns of politics in die Philippines during the last 100 years,
from 1872 to 1972. This is a very significant period because its opening
year marked the rise' of Filipino nationalism and its terminal year marked
the proclamation of Martial Law with revolutionary implication and
repercussion to the Filipino people. Second, the paradigm can also be used
to shed light on the politics of martial law from September 21, 1972 to the
present. Thus, if the paradigm can indeed serve as a heuristic device, it
will bring order to the hodgepodge of countless facts, bring out the
essential meaning, and alert everyone who is interested in the main
patterns of the politics of the past and the present of die political elite and
the people of the Philippines. And finally, the paradigm can be used as an
effective device. for the future political modernization and development of
the country. But it must be used with care because there are great dangers
in it that could set back Philippine development

In discussing and analyzing the politics of die last 100 years from 1872
to 1972, we must begin with the principal part of the political system, the
principalia, from which the top political elitethe headship in the
Philippinesis recruited. This principalia, which is composed of social
elites, is also the torso of the polity. The source from which the important


leaders of the top political elite are also recruited/ the principalia did not
emerge instantly but gradually developed in stages before and during the
100-year period. Parenthetically, even today it is still growing through a
politics of incorporation.
The original elements of the principalia were an aggregate composed of
the traditional principalia (cabezas de barangay, capi tones and gobemadorcillos),
- who were also a landed elite3; an emerging commercial elite (natives and
mestizos who were becoming prosperous as middlemen between, on the one
hand, the traditional principalia producing sugarcane, abaca, tobacco, and
coffee and, on the other, foreign businessmen who had established
themselves in the Philippines after the termination of the galleon trade in
1815); and an emerging new agricultural elite which had been recruited
from the emerging commercial elite.5 Their political ideology at the time
was not yet crystallized, although they were well known for their
pragmatic orientations. In the 1870s, the starting point of our analysis, these
elites were already well-established. They were to be joined later by other
The ilustrados were the next aggregate of elites who joined the
principalia. It was soon invigorated tremendously when the landed and
commercial elites of the Spanish regime became more prosperous during
the first two ^decades of the Apierican regime. Much later, it was further
broadened by the inclusion of professional, industrial, and technocratic
elites. It must be taken for granted, however, that the religious and the
military elites are also significant elements of the principalia. The religious
elite has been a significant social force in the Philippines since the Spanish
regime, but the military elite is relatively a newcomer.
The ilustrados were intellectuals who flourished during the Propaganda
Movement (arbitrarily fixed here from 1872-1895) and the Philippine
Revolution (1896-1901). Their principal representatives are Jose Rizal,
Graciano Lopez Jaena, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Felipe Calderon, and
Apolinario MabinL Their major contribut:on to the politics of 1872-1972 is
the political formula of liberal democracy and nationalism.6
The ilustrados were an ambitious social force, the products of higher
education either at Manila or abroad, especially Spain, during the closing
decades of the Spanish regime. In general, they came from families which
had grown rich in commerce in urban towns or had become prosperous
from agricultural enterprises. However, a few came from the lower class
who were helped by rich patrons, Spaniards or native Filipinos. Most of
them were mestizos, Spanish or Chinese, and natives whose parents were
traditional local political leaders (i.e., capitanes, gobemadorcillos and cabezas
de barangay).
The ilustrados desired power and status as enjoyed by the Spaniards,
but these were closed to them by the Spanish colonial system. Thwarted in
their ambitions and rising expectations, they inevitably clashed with the
Spaniards. In their struggle for power and status, perceived in terms of
liberty, they developed nationalism and liberal democracy.

The Organic-Hierarchical Paradigm . . . / 167

The execution of three Filipino priestsMariano Gomez, Jose BurgoS/

and Jacinto Zamorain 1872 is generally regarded as the beginning of the
rise of Filipino nationalism. In any case, Jose Rizal, the most prominent of
the reformists, dedicated his second novel, El Filibusterismo,7 to these priests.
In his first novel. Noli Me Tangere,8 Rizal also attributed the rise of national
consciousness to the martyrdom of the three Filipino priests in 1872. Rizal
wrote: "The sleep has lasted for centuries, but one day the thunderbolt
struck, and in striking, infused life."9
By 1889, the rise of nationalism had given birth to the La Solidaridad,
the organ of the Propaganda movement which was led by Jose Rizal,
Graciano Lopez Taena and Marcelo H. del Pilar. In the maiden editorial of
the paper, the reformists specifically advocated the political formula of
liberal democracy. Parts of the editorial read: "Modest, very modest indeed
are our aspirations. Our program aside from being harmless is very simple:
to fight all reaction, to hinder all steps backward, to applaud and accept all
liberal ideas, and to defend progress; in brief, to be propagandist above all
the ideals of democraqf so that these might reign over all nations and
beyond the seas."10
In order that liberal democracy would be propagated in the Philippines,
the reformists did not only write for the la Solidaridad but also produced
novels, such .as those which Rizal wrote; delivered speeches before various
audiences; formed civic-political organizations; participated in art contests
and academic conferences; and printed and distributed propaganda letters.
All these activities were net only designed to help in the establishment
of liberal democracy in the Philippines but also meant to bring about the
formation of the FHipino nation and the nationalism of the Filipinos. As
Rizal wrote in 1888 to Mariano Ponce: "Let this be our only motto: For the
welfare of the native land. On the day when all Filipinos should think . . .
like us, on that day we shall have fulfilled cur arduous mission, which is
the formation of the Filipino nation."11
The political formula of liberal democracy and nationalism of the
reformists was not only continued in the Philippine revolution. It was also
strengthened, popularized, and. partly institutionalized during the great
struggle. It was strengthened because it became the rallying ideology of the
revolution. It was popularized because the ideas of liberal democracy and
nationalism of the ilustrados were written into native languages, especially
in Tagalog. Andres Bonifacio, the Father of the Katipunan, translated RizaTs
patriotic last farewell poem into Tagalog,12 and Emilio Jacinto, the brains of
the Katipunan, popularized RizaTs ideas in Tagalog, paraphrased in
"Liwanag at Dilim," "Ang Kartilla ng Katipunan," and other works.13 It
was partly institutionalized because the ilustrados of the Revolution like
Felipe Calderon, worked hard for the inclusion and adoption of liberalism
and democracy in the Malolos Constitution, die organic law formulated and
approved by the Congress of the FLoiippine Revolution in 1898-1899.14
Article 3 of the Malolos Constitution, for example, provides that
"sovereignty resides exclusively in the people." A portion of Article 4
declares: 'The government of the Republic is popular, representative.


alternative, and responsible/' The same article also states that the
government is to be "exercised by three distinct powers, called the
legislature, the executive, and die judicial." Furthermore, die article says:
'Two or more of these powers shall never be vested in one person or
corporation; neither shall die legislative power be entrusted to a single
individuaL" Article 5 spells out the provisions on die status of religion and
. church-state relations as follows: "The state recognizes the freedom and
equality of religious worships, as well as the separation of the church and
state." And Tide IV, composed of Articles 6 to 32, provides for, among
others, a bill of rights guaranteeing the rights of expression, association,
petitioning the government for redress of grievances, property, inviolability
of correspondence and domicile, and a judicial process in accordance with
To summarize the development of the ilustrados, as well as their
contribution to the politics of 1872-1972, we may put the whole thing in
four propositions: (1) The ilustrados emerged as a significant social force in
the 1870s and 1880s; (2) they developed the ideology of liberal democracy
and nationalism in the- 1880s and 1890s as they fought for liberty, power
and status vis-a-vis the Spaniards; (3) although they were working
essentially for their group's interests, they were also latently working for
the people's interests because the language of their ideology was general
and national; and (4) they laid trie foundations of liberal democracy and
nationalism as the main pillars of the basic political formula of the
Philippines even before the Americans brought their organic laws to the
country in 1900 and other subsequent years.
If the ilustrados provided the principalia with a political formula, the
landed and commercial elites gave it an economic ideology. The latter
elites, which were already established during the 1870s, became very
powerful during the first two decades of the American regime. By the third
and fourth decades, they definitely had become entrenched in the
Philippines. They have remained powerful even fter the independence of
the Philippines in 1946.
Between the two, the landed elite is more important, because the
commercial elite was primarily only a spill-over from the former. The
landed elite became very prosperous during the first two decades of the
American regime because it was subsidized by the Americans. The principal
instrument of subsidy was the free trade or preferential-treatment-in-trade
policy of the United States.15 According to this policy, trade between the
Philippines and the United States would be free of tariffs and duties. Or, if
tariff and duties were to be imposed, they would be in accordance with a
gradually increasing schedule. This was to provide a transition period
during which export traders in the Philippines would adjust to the
changing trade relations without wrecking the Philippine economy. The
pivotal law of this American policy, although amended and modified in
later years, was the Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act of 1909.
Since the economy of the Philippines under the American regime has
been essentially an economy of an underdeveloped countryand it remains

The Organic-Hierarchical Paradigm . . . / 169

so even today despite significant developments in several areasPhilippine
export trade was not in manufactured products but mainly in agricultural
products. These products were sugar, coconut, abaca, and tobacco. Free
trade or preferential treatment in trade assured good profits in these
products; and so sugarcane, coconut, abaca, and other plantations were
enlarged and modernized. To further promote and protect their interests,
the landed elite organized associations, such as the Philippine Sugar
Association, Tayabas Coconut Planters Association, Philippine Abaca
Federation and the Chamber of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Thev
also formulated and developed an ideology revolving around the idea of
free enterprise.
From the landed elite or from the activities set in motion by the landed
elite, commerce or business as a significant social force subsequently
developed. Those businessmen who were not directly recruited from the
landed elite came from the American, Spanish and Chinese nationals or
other aliens, from some members of traditional local elites, as well as some
enterprising individuals who were not members of traditional local elites.
Commerce or business was stimulated to flourish because imports from the
U.S., as well as from other countries, had to be distributed. As business
began to prosper, it also gave birth to various associations. The Chamber of
Commerce of the Philippines was founded in 1903; the Chinese General
Chamber of Commerce in 1904; and the Manila Chamber of Commerce, an
association of British, American, and Swiss and other nationalities, in 1912.
In 1920, the Americans seceded from the latter and formed the American
Chamber of Commerce of Hie Philippines.16 Like the landed elite, the
business or commercial elite adopted die idea of free enterprise.
In the meantime, the U.S. introduced her political formula and
economic ideology in the Philippines. The American political formula was
liberal democracy, based on a presidential system of government. This
political formula came to the Philippines in the three organic acts brought
by the United States to the Philippines: (1) McKinley's Instructions of 1900,
(2) the Philippine Bill of 1902, and (3) the Jones Act of 1916.17 The
economic ideology of the US. was free enterprise.
The four principal elite groups composed of the traditional prindpalia,
the ilustrados, the landed elite, and the commercial elite banded together
and actively collaborated with the US. After all, their belief system of
liberal democracy and free enterprise was not contradicted by the American
political formula and economic ideology. Instead, it was reinforced and
legitimized by the American belief system. Thus, the bulk of the political
elite of the Philippines during Hie entire American regime was recruited
from other new emerging social forces which the principalia had been
incorporating into its ranks.
Women as a new social force were already emerging as early as the
first decade of the American regime. The universal language of the political
formula of liberal democracy as enunciated by the Propaganda Movement,
the Philippine Revolution, and the early American organic laws involved a
call for the emancipation of women. And as early as the time of Rizal,




who wrote a special letter to the women of Malolos, women were

welcomed as equal partners in national development. In 1905, the
Association Feminista Filipino, organized by prominent ladies of the times,
launched a feminist movement19 By the 1930s the movement was so strong
that the male-manned political system gave in by incorporating women as
part of the body politic. A few of them were also admitted as members of
.the political elite.
Professionals had started emerging, too, as a new social force as early
as the first decade of the American regime. Although there were doctors,
lawyers, teachers, and other professionals even during the Propaganda
movement and the revolution, these were a social force not as professionals
but as ilustrados. In the first decade of the American regime, a few
professional groups were established, such as the Philippine Medical
Association, founded in 1903, and the Philippine Bar Association,
established in 1904.20 But these groups were still very weak. By the 1930s
and 1940s, however, they grew stronger, although it was not until the
1950s that the professionals had become sc numerous that they had to be
considered as a very significant social force in the political system of the
country. For instance, in the ten-year period between 1956 and 1966, more
than half a million professionals were graduated from Philippine schools.21
Aside from doctors and lawyers, the .most important professionals in the
country before the proclamation of Martial "law in 1972 were the teachers,
the engineers, the nurses, the accountants, the journalists, TV and radio
professionals, and the architects.
Professionals emerged and developed as a very significant social force
because they were nourished on fertile ground. The fertile ground was the
mass educational system introduced by the United States'after it took over
the Philippines as a colony from Spain in 1898. Moreover, Filipinos in
general have a very favorable attitude towards education. It is significant to
note that the national hero of the Philippines, Dr. Jose Rizal, is a
professionala doctor and a teacher. In any case, high schools have
proliferated since 1946, producing thousands of high school graduates, from
which professionals were recruited.
What is the basic belief system of professionals?. In general, it is safe to
conclude that it is liberal democracy. The Philippine Public School Teachers
Association, for instance, declares in its by-laws that it will promote and
inculcate ideas of the Philippine Constitution, which is based on
liberal-democratic principles. The Philippine Bar Association believes in
safeguarding constitutionalism and the rule of law. The Philippine Medical
Association recognizes in its advocacy and participation in the
implementation of Medicare the doctrine of solus populi supremo lex esto. The
journalists and other professionals of tire mass media believe in freedom of
speech, the press, and other liberal-democratic rights. The engineers, nurses,
and other professionals have organized themselves and carried on. their
activities in their respective associations in accordance with democratic
principles and practices.

The Organic-Hierarchical Paradigm . . . / 171

In short tle professionals have been incorporated into the body politic.
Because of their strategic positions and high status, they have also become
part of the principalia.
Industrialists relatively are latecomers as a social force in the
Philippines. If a decade is to be chosen to mark their coming of age, it is
probably the 1950s. In any case, the Philippine Chamber of Industries was
founded in 1950.22 Its economic belief system, like that of the landed and
commercial elites, is free enterprise. Since liberal democracy safeguards ib
economic ideology and interests, it also adopts liberal democracy as its
political formula. Industrialists have also joined the principalia of the
Philippines. They emerged as a social force principally through
governmental subsidy. In the late 1940s, the Quirino Administration
adopted economic policies on import controls, tax exemptions to infant
industries, and similar legislation.
Technocrats are probably the latest additions to the principalia. They
are spill-overs from the professionals, the business elite, the industrial elite,
and the military. They are ltighly regarded as experts in various fields.
Believing in efficiency, they themselves are efficient in the advocacy and
implementation of their ideas based primarily on means-end analysis. With
a pronounced distrust against politicking, they are a sharp contrast to
compromising and contentious politicians. Theystarted to become important
in the 1960s, with the election of President Diosdado Macapagal.23 Under
President Ferdinand Marcos in the late '60s and early 70s, technocrats were
given additional positions of authority. They are now incorporated into the
political system.
The religious elite, on the other hand, has been a significant social force
since the Spanish regime. In fact, during the Spanish regime, in Christian
Philippines, it was the dominant partner in the duumvirate of church-state
government24 Although religion has been separated from the state since
1899 by a constitutional provision, it still remains so significant a social
foxcc that it cannot be cast aside in our consideration of the recruiting
ground of the poli^cal elite. In Muslim Philippines, most political leaders
tend to be Muslim religious leaders until now. No non-Catholic has been
elected President of the Philippines thus far, and Catholic interests have not
been without some representative or defender of the faith in the national
government2 The Iglesiar ni Kristo has played significant roles in the
election of political elites,26 and to a certain extent the Protestants and
Aglipayans have also influenced governmental elites. In any case, whether
religion is a direct recruiting ground of the political elite or not, it is
definitely a major social force in the Philippines if only for the reason that
religion, whether Muslim, Catholic, or otherwise, is followed by almost 100
percent of the nation; and as such, incidentally, it also has an inhibitory
influence against the success of communism.
The military is another significant social force in the Philippines.
Although it is not a very big military force, having only about 50,000 men
and officers in 1971, still it is a most significant social force to reckon with
because of ib more or less monolithic organization, professional leadership.


high morale, an ideology of service to the nation, as well as its efficient

and superior communications network, and ample resources in guns,
airplanes, trucks, boats, and other war materiel27
The military as a social force traces its history to the Philippine
Revolution, but it was not until World War II that it became a major social
force in Philippine politics. It is incorporated in the body politic under die
^doctrine of the supremacy of the civilian over the military. Its political
formula apparently is liberal democracy, although it seems that
modernization is its operative ideology at present28
What about civic organization elites, the peasantry, labor, the studentxy,
the socialists, and the communists? Are they not also component parts of
the prindpalia?
Civic organization elites, such as leaders and ranking members of the
Rotary dub, the Philconsa, Knights of Rizal Knights of Columbus, Lions
Club, Civil Liberties Union, League of Women voters, and others, do not
require any extensive discussion. They are spill-overs from professional,
commercial, industrial, religious, and other elites; and as such, they are also
incorporated into the body politic.
The peasantry and labor are not yet significant social forces, although
they are already emerging as such.29 As social forces, they are weakened
by a leadership which has not sprung from among them, bv endemic
factionalism, by the manipulation and shrewd6 politics "bf thepolitical elite,
and by poor economic conditions. However, since they have numbers on
their side, they may yet become major social forces in the Philippines. They
are incorporated in the body politic as followers of various significant
elites, but they are not yet admitted into the ranks of the printipalia.
The studentry emerged as a significant social force in the lab? 1960s
and early 1970s, but it could not join the ranks of the prindpalia. In the
first place, it is put in a disadvantageous position by its youth, for the age
of entry into the political elite is middle age. By the time they reach this
age bracket, these young people are no longer students. By then they have
normally graduated into the professions, in which case, the probability of
incorporation into the prindpalia is high. Or by then, as married people,
under the pressure of their new family responsibilities, they become
vulnerable to the politics of incorporation. In the second place, like
peasantry and labor, it is caught in the grip of endemic factionalism. And
finally, it has no independent source of funds, unlike other significant social
forces- It has to rely only upon contributions, gifts and donations. Students,
however, have numbers, and, frequently, idealism, too. These two resources
when harnessed by a united competent leadership could transform students
into a significant "veto group" or a countervailing power against or a
strong ally of the political elite.
The socialists and the communists may be classified as radical social
forces. The Communist Party was established in the Philippines in 1930,
and the Socialist Party in 1932.31 The two merged as a combined social
force in 1938, and in 1942, their top leaders organized and led the
Hukbalahap. The Huttxilahap collapsed by the mid-'50s; and since that time

The Organic-Hierarchical Paradigm . . . / 173

the old communists have parted ways. Luis Tame, after serving a prison
term, returned to the political system, claiming that he never became a
communist like some of the Lavas.33 The Lavas, in the meantime, remained
old-line communists, following the Moscow orientation. In 1968, after some
preparatory organizational activities starting in 1964, Jose Maria Sison
established another Communist Party, following the Mao Tse-Tung
thought34 Thus, the Communist Party tecame a divided radical group, in
the same manner as the Hukbalahap was divided into the Taruc faction and
the Lava faction.
How did the political elite react to the communists and the socialists?
In accordance with the politics of incorporation, the political elite attempted
to co-opt some of the radicals that it could incorporate. During the
Commonwealth period, the idea of social justice was used to win them
over. After Philippine independence, the political elite attempted to
incorporate the socialists and the communists through various social
legislations, such as the Magna Carta of Labor, various land reform laws,
and even barrio legislations. However, the political elite never really
compromised its political formula of liberal democracy with the ideology of
communism. Thus, in 1932 the Supreme Court outlawed the Communist
Party,35 and in 1948 President Manuel Roxas acted in the same manner as
regards the Hukbalahap and the Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Magsasaka
(PKM).36 In 1957, the Congress of the Philippines followed suit, adopting
R.A. No. 1700 outlawing the Communist Party and similar organizations.
And in 1971, President Ferdinand Marcos suspended the privilege of the
writ of habeas corpus, rounding up and detaining suspected leaders of the
Communist Party and its front organizations.3
Considering these developments during the last 100 years, we can,
therefore, summarize the main pattern c' politics of the Philippines as a
politics of incorporation of those social forces that could be incorporated
and of the outlawry of those whose belief system was opposed to the
established political formula of liberal democracy. As the politics of
incorporation ran its course, the oolitical system became democratized and
oriented towards the welfare of the people.
It may be useful to summarize some of the significant social and
political changes in the Philippines in connection with democratization and
progress in promoting the welfare of the people.
With regard to democratization, the following developments are
significant First, the electorate of die nation gradually increased from about
1.5 percent of the total population in 1907 to about 30 percent of the entire
population or about 100 percent of the total adult population in the
1970s. Second, more and more .officials of the country came under the
voting power of the electorate. During the first decade of the American
regime, the members of the lower chamber of the national legislature (the
Philippine Assembly), as well as local officials of municipal and 'provincial
governments, were placed under the elective control of the voters. In 1916,
the members of the upper chamber of the legislature were also placed
under popular vote, and in 1935 even the Presidency became elective.40 By


the 1950s, city officials followed suit. In 1959, the office of the ViceGovernor of provinces became elective too, and by the 1960s, even local
barrio officials were placed under the people's control through die ballot
Third, the people also won the fight to reformulate and adopt a
constitution for the nation. In 1934-1935, the people won this right in
substance for in spite of the fact that the Constitution adopted had to be
. approved by the President of the U.S. and certain conditions had to be
complied with, on the whole, the people were allowed to exercise the
constituent role. In 1967, again this right was exercised by the people to
elect delegates to propose amendments to the 1935 constitution. In 1970, the
people did elect the delegates, and in 1971 the delegates convened at
Manila to propose the amendments.
Fourth, representation of the people on a geographical basis was
broadened by functional representation through activities of interest group
leaders. The broadening of the base of functional representation was
effected with the proliferation of interest groups.41
And fifth, the party system of the country progressed from a oneparty system at the beginning of the century to a two-party system after
World War II. Philippine elections, therefore, became more competitive.42
As regards progress in promoting the welfare of the people, the
advances made in education, life expectancy, local autonomy, social
legislation, and housing have also been very significant.Tn education, for'
instance, literacy increased from 25 percent in 1903 to 33 percent in 1970.43
In life expectancy, the increase was from 11.54 years in 1902 to 51.17 years
in 1960 for males and from 13.92 years in 1902 to 55 years in 1960 for
With regard to local autonomy, the barrio people were granted powers
of electing barrio officials as well as enacting referendum measures in the
1960s. As regards social legislation, laws protecting child and women labor,
protecting labor rights to form unions and go on strike, and providing for
retirement insurance and medicare benefits for both public and private
employees, have also been enacted. And with regard to housing, people
living in houses made of light materials had been reduced from about 94
percent in 1903 to 68.6 percent in 1939. By 1960, only 57.52 percent lived in *
houses of such materials; and in 1970, this was further reduced to 42.15
percent. On the other hand, people who lived in houses of strong materials
increased front 4.7 percent in 1939 to 12.2 percent in 1960 and to 32.05
percent in 1970.45
And what was the basic relationship between the political elite and the
people during the period from 1872 to 1972?
During the latter part of the Spanish regime and the early part of the
American regime, the political elite definitely were leaders and the people
docile followers. Thus, the political elite led the Propaganda Movement; and
although the initial leaders of the Katipunan were not the ilustrado political
elite, ultimately the leadership of the Revolution went to them. In the end,
when the ilustrados laid down their arms and collaborated with the
Americans, the Revolution finally collapsed. The people abandoned the

The Organic-Hierarchical Paradigm . . . / 175

revolution when their leaders decided to come to terms with the United
After the collapse of the Philippine Revolution, various new social
forces emerged and developed in the Philippine political system, gradually
broadening the principalia of the country until it included not only the
traditional principalia and the ilustrados but also the new religious leaders,
landed, commercial, professional, industrial, technocratic, military elites and
spill-overs in civic organizations from various elite groups. From the
prindpalia the political elite, whose main motivation was to win power and
status, were recruited. To realize their desiderata, the political elite adopted
a politics of patronage vis-a-vis die people and a politics of incorporation
vis-a-vis the emerging social forces. Ultimately, they established a Filipino
democracy in the country.
It is Manuel L. Quezon who can serve as the representative of the
political elite of 1872-1972.46 In terms of political strategy and tactics,
Quezon adopted the politics of incorporation, the basic pattern of politics of
1872-1972. He incorporated into the Nacionalista Party, practically every
major sector of Philippine societythe landed and commercial elite, die
professionals, the Americans, the Democratic Party, Claro M. Recto the
Oppositionist, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the youth, the women, the civic
groups, and the mass media. He even attempted to incorporate labor, the
peasantry, the socialists and the communists.
What Quezon could not incorporate, he tried to destroy or neutralize.
Thus, he fought Governor-General Leonard Wood and other political
enemies tooth and naiL
Quezon served under a Constitution wliich provided for a presidential
system of government, with separation of powers of the coordinate
branches of the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary. But this system
of government was contrary to his conception of being head of the
Philippine body politic. So, after being elected President of the
Commonwealth, he immediately asserted his leadership of the government
Professor Joseph Ralston Hayden, vho was also Vice-Governor of the
Philippines in 1933-1935, wrote that President Manuel Quezon definitely
acted as Head instead of President of the Commonwealth because Quezon
transformed the Office of the President to that of a National Chief. Hayden
Mr. Quezon has not only known how to govern, but has actually
governed. There is no evidence that he has been emharassed by the
"interference" of any other element of the state, or by any group
within the Philippines. Mr. Quezon has been both President and
"national leader . . " He has dominated both the executive and die
legislative branches of government . . . Especially during the early
days of the Commonwealth, the presidential direction of the
legislative machine was perfectly open and undisguised. When he
submitted his initial program and some twenty "must" bilb to the
first special session of the National Assembly which was called ten


days after the inauguration of the new government. President
Quezon set up an office in the legislative Palace and went there
personally to see his bills through-

We have just finished the analysis and description of Philippine politics
from 1872 to 1972 in terms of the organic-hierarchical paradigm. In that
analysis I sought to show that the organic-hierarchical paradigm is a useful
heuristic device for indicating the principal patterns of politics of the last
100 years. Is the paradigm also bright enough to shed light on the politics
of martial law which was proclaimed in the Philippines last September 21,
I shall argue that it is.
We might begin the analysis by finding out how President Marcos
perceived himself, his subordinates, and the Philippine polity in general in
the context of the martial law he declared. Three of his recent speeches
during the martial law period definitely showed that his perception of the
martial law administration was in terms of the organic-hierarchical
paradigm. To the President, he is the head of the national polity, and the
various government officials are his eyes and ears, his arms andfingers. He
is also the father, and the rest of the people are his children. The nation,
therefore, is one extended family, an organic whole in which everyone is a
kabagian, a relative, to everybody.
In a speech delivered in Cebu on July 4, 1973 before the governors and
city and municipal mayors of the Visayas, Presidennt Marcos told the local
officials: "I want you to be the eyes and ears of the President . . . You are
directly under me. You are my implementing fingers and arms."4* The
same thoughts were conveyed to the members of the Kutipunan ng mga
Barangay at Malacaftang Palace on September 11, 1973. President Marcos
addressed the barangay leaders: "You will be the principal instruments of
progress. Keep in touch with the people. This is my message to you on
.my birthday . % . Be my eyes, my cars, my tongue, be my hands and arc-3
. . . Since this is your role, perform it well. I will perform mine with all
the energy and talent God has given me."49 And in the Manila speech
before the public accountants celebrating their golden jubilee cn March 19,
1973, President Marcos said: "I wanted to congratulate you on your 50th
anniversary ... 1 wanted you to bear the message to everyone that I have
come before you, to appeal as a patient father who lcoks at the . . .
children ready to break the crockery and the chinaware. But before you
break the chinaware, father is watching and may have to spank yOu if you
do. I don't believe that there will be any necessity for that because we
have reached a level of responsibility."50
President Marcos also adopted the politics of incorporation in his
martial law administration. The President, soon after announcing his
proclamation of martial law on September 23, 1972 by nationwide TV and

The Organic-Hierarchical Paradigm . . . / 177

radio networks, immediately attempted to incorporate all government units
as integral parts of the martial law organic body. Thus the President
ordered that "all executive departments, bureaus, offices, agencies, and
instrumentalities of the national governments of all the provinces, the cities,
the municipalities, and barrios throughout the land shall continue to
function under the present officers and employees and in accordance with
existing laws"51 until otherwise ordered by the President. Likewise, the
President ordered that "the judiciary shall continue to function in
accordance with its present organization and personnel and shall try and
decide in accordance with existing laws all criminal and civil cases"52
except certain specified ones. To allay the people's fear of a military
takeover, the President assured the nation:
1 have proclaimed martial law in Accordance with the powers
vested in the President by the Constitution of the Philippines. The
proclamation of martial law is not a military takeover. I, as your
duly elected President of the Republic, use this power which may
be implemented by the military authorities but still is a power
embodied in the Constitution to protect the Republic of the
Philippines and our democracy. A republican, a democratic form of
government is not a helpless government When it is imperiled by
-the danger'of violent overthrow, an insurrection or rebellion, it* has
inherent and built-in powers wisely provided for in the
Constitutioa . .
1 repeat, this is not a military take-over of civilian government
functions. The government of the Republic of the Philippines which
was established by our people in 1946 continues. Hie officials and
employees of our national and local governments cor.tirue in office
and must discharge their duties as before within the limits of the
After announcing the incorporation of all government units into the
martial law administration, the President incorporated the military by
get*ng the support of the military top leadership. Although military
support must have been obtained before the proclamation, the symbolic
incorporation of the military took place ir. Malacanang oh September 26,
1972, three days after the public announcement of the proclamation. On this
date, the top officials of the military, including the secretary of National
Defense, gathered at the Ceremonial Hall of the Palace after a call by the
Commander-in-Chief in order to assess the development since the
application of martial law in the country. In this conference, which was
broadcast by radio and TV throughout the nation, it was clear that the
nulitary was loyal to the Republic and the Commander-in-Chief. As the
military top leaders applauded the President after his speech explaining the
rationale of martial law, the military was symbolically incorporated into the
martial law administration.


After the military, the administration proceeded to incorporate other

significant sectors of society and the political groups of the polity. The
mayors of the Metropolitan Manila were among the first. They were
followed by the municipal chiefs of police, provincial fiscals, executive
judges, congressmen, municipal and city mayors, provincial governors, and
delegates to die Constitutional Convention.
. The peasants were also objects of incorporation, and the President made
his bid to integrate them by proclaiming the revolutionary decree
emancipating the tenants from bondage of the soil on October 21, 1972.54
The symbolic incorporation of the peasantry took place at the Maharlika
Hall of Malacaftang on the same date the decree emancipating the farmers
was proclaimed. Atty. Jeremias Montemayor, President of the Federation for
Free Farmers, as well as several representative members of the association,
attended the proclamation ceremonies at Malacaftang.
Other socio-economic sectors or political groups followedthe
Philippine Chamber of Industries, the Chamber of Commerce, and the
Chamber of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the labor unions, Muslim
groups, the Manila Rotary Club, the District and City Engineers League of
the Philippines, the Katipunan ng mga Barangay, public accountants, the
Philippine Inventors Society, the Philippine Medical Association, the
Integrated _Bar of the Philippines, and the Veterans Federation of the
While various socio-economic sectors and political groups were being
incorporated into the administration, the public and private schools were
being consolidated through the regulatory and supervisory activities of the
Department of Education and Culture. At the same time, the mass media,
supervised by a Mass Media Council, were serving as communication
cha.jels from the martial law administration to the general public of the
ideas on the need for discipline, cooperative work, and Operation
PLEDGESPeace and Order, Land Reform, Economic Development,
Development of Moral Values, Governmental Reorganization, Educational
Reforms, and Soda! Services.
And what about the persons who were strongly believed to be the
leaders* and followers of rebellious movements and subversive activities, and
rightist groups planning a coup d!etat or attempting to assassinate
government officials? They were instantly arrested and detained for
investigation. However, attempts to incorporate those detainees who could
be incorporated into the New Society were made through the grant of
pardons, either absolute or conditional, or selective amnesties to deserving
persons. Thus, since the proclamation of martial law, periodic releases of
arrested individuals have been effected. Hundreds of detainees have been
incorporated into the New Society through this approach. However, those
who are unrepentant or intransigent and are regarded as serious security
risks have not been release d.
Considering that practically every significant socio-economic group or
political sector in the Philippines has already been incorporated into the
New Society, one can now conclude that the martial law administration has

The Organic-Hierarchical Paradigm . . . / 179

already consolidated itself as a system of government. Buc it has not only
consolidated itself; it has also been significantly legitimized/ although
students of politics may perhaps contend that its legitimation has been as
yet incomplete. The martial law administration has been legitimized by
several acts: (1) approval by the Constitutional Convention of the proposed
New Constitution, with provisions stating that the proclamation of martial
law, as well as other proclamations, the general orders, the letters of
instructions, presidential decrees, and acts promulgated, issued, or done by
President Marcos shall be part of the law of the land and shall remain
valid and binding after the lifting of martial law or the ratification of the
New Constitution, unless modified, revoked, or superseded by subsequent
proclamations and other presidential acts, on November 29, 197255; (2)
ratification of the New Constitution by the Citizen's Assemblies in January
1973; (3) proclamation by the President of the Philippines on January 17,
1973 that the people through the Citizen's Assemblies had ratified the New
Constitution;56 (4) resolution of the Supreme Court on March 31, 1973
declaring that "there is no further judicial obstacle to the New Constitution
being considered in force and effect"57; and (5) the decision of about 90
percent of the Filipino electorate in the July 27-28, 1973 referendum that
they wanted President Marcos to continue as head of the government
beyond 1573., and finish ,fhe reforms .he had initiated under Martial Law.?8
Tfie martial law administration has not only been successful in
consolidating and legitimizing itself. It has also been effective and efficient
in implementing the rationalization of the structure of authority of the
Philippine political system.
In the days before martial law, especially the two years immediately
preceding the proclamationof martial law by President Marcos, it cannot
be denied that there obtained in the Philippines a structure of authority
rent by contradictory principles and elements, bringing about costly and
wasteful delays or even paralysis in government decision-making. There
was no principal center in the political system. What existed were
numerous power structures clashing with one another as the*' struggle for
status, power, and spoils in the polity. The governmental system, which
was framed in terms of separation of powers, encouraged or made
inevitable conflicts between or among the coordinate branches. To aggravate
the sorry situation, the legislative branch of the government was
fragmented by numerous power blocs, cliques, and factions. To render the
whole thing almost an impossible state of affairs, there were multifarious
interest groups, hustling lobbyists, and scandal-mongering mass media
badgering, pestering, importuning, and sometimes intimidating the
policy-makers. Even the President, who was believed to be very powerful,
was hamstrung by several significant countervailing elites who had the
capability to emasculate, mutilate, and even annihilate policy proposals of
the Chief Executive. Hence, the policy-making process was haphazard,
discontinuous, bahala na, and frustrating.
After the proclamation of martial law,59 this frustrating state of affairs
was supplanted by a reorganized governmental structure in accordance with


tfcs principles of means-ends rationality, integrating all agencies and units

under the Martial Law Administrator, the President, who is also
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The legislative
obstructionists/ the partisan lobbyists, the ubiquituos fixers, and the
numerous and garrulous political cooks who tended to spoil the political
broth, were eliminated. As a result, policies could be passed and
. implemented expeditiously, whether land reform or the national budget
Red tape in the bureaucracy had been cut quickly. Several incompetent
unnecessary, or notoriously undesirable personnel in the government had
been removed. As a result the objectives of the New Society were in the
process of becoming attained.

We have just applied the organic-hierarchical paradigm to past and
present Philippine politics.
There remains the future, which is the most significant period,
especially to creative political participants. Of the two aspects of timepast
and futurethe latter is the more significant because, as Bertrand de
Jouvenel says, with regard to the past, "man can exert his will only in
vain; his liberty is void, his power nonexistent"; but "the future is a field
of liberty and power."60 We cannot change or undo what happened in the
past but we are free to formulate, revise, or redirect our future goals, and
we have some power to realize them. And compared with the present, the
future is still more significant, for the present is merely an infinitesimal
period while the future is vast. Since it is also an area of liberty and
power, it provides political actors much room for tactical or strategic moves
m order to carry out or change goals.
In relation to our subject, the relevant questions are (1) In the
immediate and distant future, what ends should we pursue or seek to
attain? (2) In order to attain those ends, wliat paradigm must we use? (3)
Are lliere dangers that could arise from the use of the paradigm? (4) If
there are dangers,, how can we cope with or avoid them?.
In order that the ends for the nation which we shall posit will be
realistic and relevant, we must relate them to actual Filipino concerns and
to man as man. According to Cantril, in a 1959 survey of the Philippines,
the aspirations Filipinos had for themselves were61:


Decent standard of living


Family life


Own house


The Organic-Hierarchical Paradigm . . . / 181

Own business





Modem conveniences

Improved standard of living

Recreation and leisure

Congenial work

Health for self

On the other hand, the aspirations Filipinos had for their nation at the
time were62:
Good government


Technological advances _ ... -


Improved standard of living






Economic Stability

National Independence

Averch, Denton, and Koehler, in their 1969 study of Philippine society,

economy and politics, found that Filipinos perceived that the number one
national problem involved g-ateral economic issues, such as raising taxes,
increased exports, and high cost of living; number two national problem
was widespread graft and corruption; number three was high crime rate;
number four, dissidence or HMB problem; number five, rapid population
growth; and number six, treatment of minority groups.63
Secretary Francisco S. Tatad, speaking during the symposium on
Philippine development at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on June 28, 1973, said
that the aspirations of Filipinos for their country, as disclosed by a survey
in Greater Manila, were, in the order of importance: 'That it (the country)
industrialize; that it be economically stable; that there be lasting democracy;
that there be clean and honest government that there be full employment
for the population; that there be equality between the rich and the poor in
the eyes of the law; that there be an effective control on the prices of
commodities; that there be free education for those who want and deserve


to be educated."64 As regards their fears, they were "involvement in war or
revolution, invasion by a foreign country, economic crisis, riots, violent
demonstrations, natural calamities, abuse of government power, and the
curtailment of free speech."46
With regard to man as man, I believe that we cannot improve upon
Aristotle's conclusion made about 2,500 years ago: "Man is by nature a
political animal"66
Based on these considerations, we can summarize all these as being
subsumed under, first modernization of the country at the social economic,
cultural and political levels; and second, political development
Under the present circumstances where the private sector either lacks
adequate resources, or is unwilling to invest in social economic, cultural,
and political modernization and political development, or tends to be
motivated more by particularistic rather than national interests, it can be
easily seen that social, economic, and cultural modernization cannot be
advanced significantly unless political modernization first occurs. We must,
therefore, modify our proposition from the earlier formulation to the
following: the ends which the Philippines must pursue are political
modernization and political development
At this point, it is necessary not only to define political modernization
and political development but also to distinguish one from the other.
Political modernization is a* process of change from a minimum to a
maximum level of rationalization of authority, national integration, and
popular participation.67 Political development, however, is a process of
change from lack to full flowering and fruition of the rule of law, civility,
and social justice.68 The former is a new field of interest of political
sociology, and the latter is the perennial concern of political philosophy.
Both, however, are major and legitimate interests of political science.
What paradigm must we use in order to bring about political
modernization and political development?
I believe that the original paradigm which was discussed earlier can
take care of these two political goals. The paradigm has a powerful logic
for political modernization, and it has a wise precept for political
. -.

The logic of the original paradigm, which can take care of political
modernization, is die logic of the dominant head. According to this logic,
all parts or elements of the system not linked or related to the head
should be linked or related to it.
Thus, in the political system where the structure of authority is
composed of contradictory social forces and norms, rationality can be
realized by bringing to bear upon it the logic of the organic-hierarchical
paradigm. This was in fact effected through the proclamation of martial
law, which subordinated all units and agencies of the government under
the martial law administrator and suspended or aboHshed the activities or
operations of political organs which ran counter to the work or objectives
of the administration. However, the organic-hierarchical paradigm need not
necessarily appear in the form of martial law administration. It could

The Organic-Hierarchical Paradigm . . . / 183

appear in other forms of centralized government. As a matter or fact,
martial law is not the normal manifestation of the paradigm for martial
law administration is an emergency government In political systems, such
as the Philippines, where liberty, human dignity, and democracy are higly
valued, it is justifiable only under such abnormal situations as an invasion,
a rebellion, an insurrection, or imminent danger thereof.
National integration, likewise can be realized by the application of the
original paradigm, for its logic requires all unattached elements to be
integrated with the main body. If the paradigm, therefore, is used as a
means for national integration of the Philippines, it follows that all cultural
communities or aggregates, such as the Tasadays, Muslims, labor, peasantry,
students, and the youth between 15 and 20 years old, if not yet integrated,
must be integrated with the body politic
If the policy of national integration is followed, it will also mean that
more and more social and political groups will become participants in
Philippine politics. The paradigm, therefore, ultimately becomes an
instrument for increased popular participation. National integration and
popular participation, however, should not be construed as having only
quantitative dimensions. They also have qualitative aspects which shall be
discussed later in liberal democracy.
The original paradigm can also, lend itself as an effective instrument for
the political development of the nation because it has a wise precept which
can guide or teach the political elite and the principalia to live by the
values of the rule of law, civility and social justice. This is the precept
which teaches: Ang saSdt ng kclingjdngan ay damdam ng btumg katawan.
This precept prescribes defense or promotion of the interest of the
weak, the poor, and the minority, whether as persons or regions. Such
persons or regions are usually oppressed, dominated, discriminated against,
or otherwise unjustly treated because of their weakness or poor resources.
Since the precept gives special care to the poor, the weak, and the
minority, it necessarily prescribes the norms of the rv'e of law, civility and
social justice. The precept tells the political elite and the principalia: "If you
don't want to suffer, take care of the sufferings of the weak."
Hence, since the weak are easily oppressed, in order that they will not
be subjected to oppression, there ought to be the rule of law, under which
the weak and the strong are equal; there ought to be civility, so that even
the poor are not humiliated; and there ought to be social justice, so that
everyone, whatever his status, position, or role, will receive his due in
accordance with his nature and attributes.
Which of the two endspolitical modernization and political
developmentshould be regarded as the higher value?
Ay the present stage of Philippine development considering the strategic
position and ample resources of the government, the lack of sufficient
resources of or the unwillingness to invest resources by private sectors in
modernization projects, the relative weakness of social and political
infrastructures, the urgent need to catch up with the modernization and
development achieved by other countries in a short time, it cannot be


denied that political modernization is a necessity. As early as June 1965, I

said during the golden jubilee celebration of the Department of Political
Science of the University of the Philippines: "Our problem now is no
longer how to gain independence, but how to modernize as a nation
economically, socially, and politically/'69
But political modernization must be subordinated to political
, development. Political modernization is required, but it is only an
intermediate end, and, therefore, only a means to a higher end. The higher
end is still political development, which involves rule of law, civility and
social justice.
Why do I commit myself to political development? Why is it that I
regard it as a higher end?
Following Aristotle and Cicero, I would say that man's unique attribute
is his capacity to build a civilization.70 Civilization, however, is the
flowering and fruition of the civitas, of the polis. There can be no
civilization if there is no city, no sambayanan. Outside the polis or the
civitas, man is a savage or beast. As either a savage or a beast, he will
follow the way of the brute, the law of the jungle. Thus, if the law of the
jungle is followed, there will only be the survival of the strongest, and
nature will be red with gore. Thrasymachus' terrible doctrine will be king:
"Justice is nothing else than the interest of the stronger."71 Hobbes' grim
generalization will be vindicated: "Ir. such condition^ there is ... no society
. . . and which is worst of all, continual feare, and danger of violent death;
and the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty brutish, and short."72
But what are the marks of a civitas, a polis,. a civil order? The three
most-important ones found in the ideas of great political thinkers, such as,
Confucius, Mencius, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, St. Augustine, Marsiglio of
Padua, Ibn Khaldun, St Thomas Aquinas, Locke, Rousseau, Montesquieu,
Jefferson, Madison, Mill, Rizai, Mabini, Sun Yat Sen, Gandhi, and Laurel,
are the rule of law, civility and social justice. These three cardinal virtues
themselves are not the ultimate values. The ultimate value is man
himselfhis life, liberty, dignity, and happiness.
If the summum bonum is man himself, who can enjoy his life, liberty,
dignity, and happiness in a civitas or sambayanan, with the foundations of
rule of law, civility and social justice, it follows that political development
must have a higher value than political modernization.
There is another reason why I regard political development as the
higher end of man. This time political development must be contrasted to
economic or material development. While economic development, like
political modernization, is urgently needed in the Philippines today, it does
not follow that it should be given a higher value than. political
development. As the Hebraic-Christian doctrine, enunciated about 2,000
years ago, says: "Man shall not live by bread alone."73
Like the Graeco-Roman idea of Aristotle and Cicero, the .HebraicChristian doctrine posits the uniqueness of man. And for the same reason,
it concludes by justifying human freedom and dignity. According to this
idea, all animal beings, including man, have material needs. This fact

The Organic-Hierarchical Paradigm . . . / 185

underlies man's fmitude. But man is not only made for material things.
With a spark of the divine, he aspires for higher values of the
spiritfreedom, justice, and human dignity. Therefore, because man is
unique, he cannot be treated like lower animals. Lower creatures, such as
pigs, may be contented if their material needs are provided for. To man, a
contented pig, fed with the best food and housed in a well-lighted,
air-conditioned, faultlessly sanitary pen, is still a pig. Without liberty,
justice, and human dignity, what is economic development for? Or, as
Aldous Huxley has argued with cogency in his Brave New World, "What is
life for, if man's humanity and dignity are denied?"74
Let us summarize the argument of this section so that it can be related
easily and clearly to our final point
To take care of Filipino concerns and man as man, two goals must be
pursuedpolitical modernization and political development. Political
modernization can be effectively taken care of by the original paradigm
because it has a powerful logicthe logic of the dominant headto bring
it about. Political development can also be taken care of, if the head
follows the logic of the precept; Ang sakit ng kalingkingan ay damdam ng
buong katawan. Of the two political valuespolitical development is the
higher value, because man is the ultimate end.
As matters stand, it can be seen that jpofitUgl development ne. d -not be
given higher priority by the government or the head even if it has been
posited to be of higher value. In the first place, the head may not believe
in the rule of law, civility and social justice, and it may not follow the
precept of giving special care for the poor, the weak and the minority
because the head is superior, powerful, and autonomous. In the second
place, there are no political or social institutions provided which will see to
it "that the head does not abuse his powers, discretion, and authority.
The original paradigm, therefore, is fraught with possible dangers. As I
see it, there are at least three dangers which could arise from its
application, setting back what has been gained thus far in Philippine
political development
First the original paradigm may lend itself to endangering the rights
and liberties of the people, especially their constitutional and democratic
rights and liberties. During the last 100 years, the Philippines had gained a
lot of ground in this area. For this reason, students of politics have
concluded that among the numerous new nations of the Third* World, the
Philippines is one of the very few which have succeeded in establishing
and maintaining a constitutional democracy.75 The original paradigm posits
organic unity and coordination. In the attempts of the head to coordinate
and integrate all persons and groups into, as well as rationalize the
structure of authority in the body politic, the head could impose absolute
conformity or uniformity. Although rights are not absolute, there are valid
limitations to them as they are exercised in a social context Still, there are
areas of human dignity, liberty and happiness which the government or
head should not encroach upon or violate. Otherwise, man, the ultimate
end, is regarded as worthless, a mere thing or means. Considering that the


government or head of the polity has tremendous resources upon which to

base its powerauthority/, money, armed forces, the mass media, the
governmental bureaucracy, and the like, the danger definitely is dear even
if it is not inevitable.
Second, the original paradigm could inhibit the emergence or the
discovery of the truth about various aspects of the society, the economy,
culture, and politics. The original paradigm posits hierarchy, and in the
hierarchy, there is an all important and superior head. The head himself, or
the people around him, may believe that the head is omniscient. If the
head believes that it is all-knowing and can never make a mistake, any
view which is contrary to its own will would be regarded as invalid, false,
or wrong. If the people recognize the superiority of the head, they might
feel that there is no need to reason out, bring out facts to, or articulate
views with, the head, either on grounds of inherent inferiority to, or simple
fear, of the head. The original paradigm, therefore, could bring about a
state of affairs where illusion or delusion is regnant. In the realm of
policy-making, this could result in the adoption of policies which violate
people's ideas of what is right or good, or policies which are contrary to
the reality of society, the economy, culture, and politics.
And third, the two dangers, once they are abroad, could strike fear in
the hearts of people. This fear would then undermine die legitimacy of the.
"regime, for the regime will be precarious if based on fear instead of active
consent of the people. As the legitimacy of the regime becomes precarious,
the leadership of the regime itself will be gripped by fear, prompting it to
use coercive measures. As the vicious circle of fear becomes more
entrenched, the basic foundations of polityrule of law, civility, and social
justice, whatever substance of them existswill be weakened until they
ultimately collapse. With their collapse, the entire civil c-der would follow,
plunging the whole system either into anarchy or dictatorship.
There is a crucial question, therefore, which must be answered with
regard to the original organic-hierarchical paradigm. The problem is: How
can the paradigm be used for political modernization and political
development but still cope with or avoid its dangers, thereby vindicating
man as the summum bonum of political life?
The answer to this crucial question is also an answer to another big
problem: What kind of government is the best and most appropriate for
the Philippines?
These two problems appear too formidable to tackle. Actually, they can
be answered easily if we do not ignore our culture and history, as well as
our basic national concerns. The answer, if based on these considerations,
will have to be: We must adopt Filipino liberal democracy in order to achieve
modernization and political development In other words, Filipino liberal
Democracy is the best and most appropriate kind of government for die
I say it is Filipino in the sense that we should have a government that
follows the main patterns of the original organic-hierarchical paradigm; that
is, it must have a Pangulo, adopting a politics of incorporation and guided

The OrganiC'Hiererchical Paradigm . . . / 187

by the wise precept of Ang sakit ng kalingkingan ay damdam ng buong
katawan. These elements of the original paradigm must be included in the
government of die Philippines not only because they provide a powerful
logic supporting an effective and efficient government to tackle the big
tasks of modernization and an enlightened precept enjoining the political
elite to give special care and protection to the people, thereby promoting
political development, but also because they cannot be cut off since they
are the very roots of Filipino political culture.
It is for this reason that in spite of the American idea of presidential
government, with its principle of separation of powers and checks and
balances/ which was introduced in the country as early as 1900, the
Philippines has always had some kind of dominant executive.
And I say it is liberal democracy in the sense that it must embody the
liberal-democratic ideas of Jose Rizal, Graciano Lopez Jaena, Marcelo H. del
Pilar, Emilio Jacinto, Apolinario Mabini, The Malolos Constitution,
Mckinley's Instructions of 1900, the Philippine Bill of 1902, the Jones Act of
1916, die 1935 Constitution, the New Constitution of 1973, Sergio Osmeha,
Manuel Quezon, Jose P. Laurel, Claro M. Recto, Ramon Magsaysay,
Diosdado Macapagal, and Ferdinand Marcos, as well as interpretations and
elaborations of all organic laws by the Supreme Court Among the basic
elements of the liberal-democratic belief system as embodied in tiu: ideas o.'
these men, organic laws, and interpretations of such laws are popular
sovereignty, the bill of rights, private property, competitive party system,
pluralist politics, independence of die judiciary, separation of church and
state, and the supremacy of the civilian authority over the military.
Practically all these are Western in origin or inspiration, but they are
integral parts of Philippine history developed by Filipinos as they
responded to the various problems and crises of Philippine society,
economy, culture, and politics during the last 100 years. They cannot be
discarded, therefore, without doing violence to Filipino political tradition.
The more important reason, however, why they cannot be discardedin
other words, why they should be incorporated in the government of the
Philippinesis that they can. regulate or civilize the primitive and elemental
force inherent in the original paradigm. More specifically, the political
institutions of liberal democracypublic opinion, political parties, interest
groups, elections, independent judiciary, and a vigorous legislature-can
regulate the Pangulo through their healthy functioning; and the political
principles of the separation of church and state, supremacy of the civilian
authority over the military, and the bill of rights can civilize the political
elite who may not follow the precept of Ang sakit ng kalingkingan ay
damdam ng buong katawan. The last especially can also provide the
qualitative elements lacking in national integration and popular
participation, two of the aspects of political modernization, which were
discussed eailier only in their quantitative dimensions.
Fortunately, for the Philippines, the incorporation of liberal democracy
into the original paradigm does not have to begin only now. Liberal
democracy was advocated by Rizal, del Pilar, and Jaena as early as die


1880s; and the Philippine Revolution of 1896-1901the first national

revolution against colonialism and imperialism in Asia and Africawas
fought under the banner of liberal democracy.
Since then/ Filipinos have carried on their sodab economic/ cultural/ and
political life under the aegis of an evolving and dynamic liberal democracy,
adapting themselves through reforms as required by needs, problems, and
crises of the changing times. However, there are still some national officials
and several journalists who conclude that liberal democracy has failed in
the Philippines. I take issue with them on this conclusion because, on
balance, liberal democracyproperly understood as Filipino liberal
democracyhas been workable/ although since the 1960s it has been
working under severe strains, owing primarily to (1) uninstitutionalized or
partly institutionalized new social forces which have emerged from the
rapid modernization of the Philippines since World War II, and (2) a
misunderstanding that liberal democracy must necessarily manifest itself as
American liberal democracy.77 In any case, it is not that liberal democracy
has failed in the Philippines but that some of the most significant political
elites and social forces failed to live by the ideas and the ideals of liberal
democracy; or it is not that the essential elements of liberal democracy
failed but only some particular aspects of it which are peculiar to the
native of _the U.S.e.g., the separation of powers and checks and .balances.
Hence, the worst that can be said about Philippine liberal democracy is
that it has not worked like American liberal democracy or that it has not
sufficiently socialized some elements of the system into the ways of liberal
democracy. In either case, the situation is neither irreparable nor hopeless,
for the tradition of liberal democracy in the Philippines is one of the
longestprobably it is the longestin Asia and Africa. Filipinos can always
fall back on this long tradition in repairing and maintaining the country's
liberal democracy. But it cannot be repaired and maintained if Filipinos do
not use as the foundation of the political system the imperatives of the
organic-hierarchical parad^m.
There is another kind of argument being presented te show that liberal
democracy has failed in the Philippines. According to this view, liberal
democracy failed because the country succumbed to martial law on
September 21, 1972; and since then it has become die law of die land. This
thesis is likewise untenable because martial law was used and is being
used not as a weapon of dictatorship per se but as an instrument of a
liberal-democratic regime to defend itself against its enemies as provided
for in the Constitution. In other words, it is a constitutional weapon to
cope with national emergencies such as invasion, a rebellion, an
insurrection, or imminent danger thereof. However, it is pointed out that
martial law has been incorporated in the new Constitution in Article XVII,
and this provides that it can be lifted or amended only through the initial
action, which is discretionary, of the President. Hence, it is concluded,
martial law could become permanent in the Philippines. This thesis,
however, has to be rejected because it is well to remember that the
incorporation of martial law as part of the law of die land in the new

The Organic-Hierarchical Paradigm . . . / 189

Constitution is put in an article under the heading 'Transitory Provisions."
In any case. President Marcos has made several assurances that martial law
is only an emergency measure; and when the emergency is over, it will
have to be lifted.
To summarize the evaluation of the original organic-hierarchical
paradigm as a means for the political modernization and development of
the Philippines, there is no doubt that
1. It provides a powerful logic for the political modernization of the
2. It has a wise precept to guide the political elite and the
prindpalia to focus their attention on political development; and
3. Coupled or merged with liberal democracy, it can be transformed
into a new model of government resting on the rule of law, civility,
and social justice.