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Marcos 2

The elite in the Philippines has never relinquished its hold on politico-economic power. After 50 years of American tutelage, the Filipino elite instituted a two-party system that regulated the factional conflict between elite parties. But Ferdinand E. Marcos short-circuited the system and installed himself as a dictator in 1972.

His faction of the Philippine elite – the cronies -- robbed the country’s coffers dry. Some 14 years later, the Filipino people ousted Marcos with the EDSA Uprising.

The dictator along with his family fled the Philippines on February 25, 1986. Unfortunately, the pre-martial law elite reestablished themselves. They emasculated the attempt to institute genuine agrarian reform.

They sat on such reform proposals as the elimination of political dynasties. Aside from relegating advocates of people’s power to the sidelines, they even are coopting such mechanisms as the party lists.

The elite learned how to use the multiparty system in their favor.

Elite democracy returned with a vengeance. But like in 1972, the country faced again the crossroads this 2022 campaign – popular democracy or dictatorship as symbolized by Ferdinand Marcos Jr?

Vice President Leni Robredo symbolized the movement toward a better Philippines. Marcos, and his unity with elite families identified with corruption and human rights abuses, embodied the return to the strongman rule of his father.