The Philippines: a country governed by people who reflect the society that elected them

Does the solution to the multitude of ills that plague the Philippines reside in politics? Is it really the quality of government that is behind the chronic failure that is the Philippine nation? Think again.

[Photo courtesy Today in History.]

Perhaps there was a time when there were lots of scapegoats that Filipinos can count on to account for the wretched state of their society. First it was colonial imperialism — yes, that much-loved evil bogeyman that Filipinos finger as the perpetrators of the wholesale “victimisation” of their ancestors. The “scourge” of imperialism as we know now is gone (one can argue that it isn’t considering the way Filipinos’ independence and sovereignty itself remains debatable, but that’s another topic in itself), but the Philippines remains as degenerate as it was during its colonial periods. Then there was the “tyranny” of the regime of former president Ferdinand E. Marcos. That too eventually ended, but the now renowned failure to launch of the Philippine nation persists like a stubborn rash.

So much for those excuses. Becoming “free” and practicing true “democracy” was pitched as the “new hope” of a nation “long victimised” by the forces of authoritarianism and imperialism. We now have both “freedom” and “democracy”. But prosperity and justice still elude us.

What democracy really achieved for Filipinos was to prove once and for all that the real underlying problem of their society had more to do with their cultural character. One “promising” president after another was “elected”. They came and went and left the same hollow shell of a nation they inherited from their predecessors. The uncomfortable reality became evident: representative democracy gave us governments and leaders that more accurately reflected the character of the people that elected to be subject to and led by these respectively.

In short, “true” democracy as applied by Filipinos did, indeed, bring out the TRUTH about Filipinos — that Filipinos are inherently unjust thieving liars. Those three traits are traits Filipinos seem to like to attribute to their politicians. The trouble is, in a democracy where leaders are elected by popular vote, any finger you point at government is ultimately a finger that points back at the electorate.

As the eminent United State President Abraham Lincoln invoked:

that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

We can thank the perpetrators of the 1986 Edsa “revolution” for turning the Philippines back into a country that lives up to those ideals. Unfortunately what simply won’t perish from this earth is the reality that there is something profoundly inherent in Filipinos — the Filipino Condition — that rubs off on their politicians, specially now that the ordinary Pinoy wields absolute power over the composition of their government. It will take many more generations and a prayer before this condition that dooms an entire society to muddle along in mediocrity for the foreseeable future is purged from its cultural DNA. Before that happens, we can only expect more of the same sort of politicians to rule these sad islands — the same sort who possess the same traits of the very people who voted for them.

Will the Philippines become a better nation given the right leader? Perhaps. But how does the “right” leader come to power to begin with? That is the real issue. In a nation where the wrong arguments always win, this hypothetical “right” leader does not stand a chance of being elected. And that is the tragedy that is the Philippine Nation — a country that is 100 percent “potential” and zero percent realisation.


Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of

Leave a Reply

44 Comments on "The Philippines: a country governed by people who reflect the society that elected them"

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
phil pilarta

i love reading your posts….and i agree with you that filipino culture and the attitude of pinoys is the main reason why genuine change is unlikely to happen on this country that is always on a downward spiral.

nelson ongpauco

hindi magbabago ang buhay sa pinas hangang may kurap na politiko at gahaman na negosyante ..kahit sino ang maging presidente kapag hindi nakiisa ang mga politiko ay walang mangyayaring pagbabago sa pinas

Reasons why Filipinos fails collectively… 1. Mis-attribution of Blame most Filipinos have someone or something to blame even for the slightest mishaps. We often point our fingers upon others or sometimes upon ourselves instead of expending efforts to make things right. 2. Fear of failure / Rejection. We may not reach peak performance because we often avoid the really important challenges in life for fear of failure, or by being ridiculed for failures. 3. Lack of Confidence / Over Confidence Lack of confidence can melt away our ability to get the expected results. Conversely, persons with too much self confidence… Read more »

Say benigs, wasn’t it also Abraham Lincoln to whom the following quote is attributed to:

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

And look at the state of the Philippines now: a house divided against itself.

The kamot-ulo reflex of Filipinos when things turn out unfavorable for them is very telling. Why do we show an inability and ineptitude to learn from our mistakes?

Does some big catastrophe have to come along and make our society crash so that our stupid Filipino ego finally gets pricked? So that we can finally rebuild our cultural character towards the right path?


This is the sad truth about our country as a whole. Yes, we had democracy but thanks to most gullible Filipinos (mostly Yellow Zombies), democracy here is abused. It was treated as a spectator sport. There is no such thing as democracy if it was a mob rule.

As one friend stated this: We can never move forward as a country if apelyidos, athletes and artistas always matter.

‘Tal pueblo, tal gubierno.’ -Jose Rizal

Hyden Toro
Our political leaders do not serve the interests of the people. They serve themselves; their cronies; and their families…this is the reason, we have political family dynasties. Monopoly of power , is their agenda. We , the Filipino people can only solve these problems. Germany was defeated; but , its people came out from its World War II defeat; and became a better nation. They faced and accepted their mistakes in the Holocaust. Japan was defeated. However, it also became a better nation. Prosperous and contributor of advanced technology…People determines the course of their nation…leaders are just a part of… Read more »
This is all B.S. There has NEVER been a CLEAN AND HONEST elections since 1967. 1971 was fairly clean because of the COMELEC Chair at that time. Afterwards, it has been horrible. It is difficult to have good leaders if the votes are not counted – by the very COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, with the collusion of its citizens arm- NAMFREL and various MEDIA COUNTS. Let there be cheating in election spending or guns, goons and gold. But at least, COUNT THE VOTES! And now we have COMPUTERS! It made cheating so much easier. Just ask the hackers! Counting votes from… Read more »
in a democratic country, the best capitalist will always position themselves to be in the side of the people…and then screw the people when they got hold of power in the government democratic system will not work…it is a system that recognizes only the majority…once you get 51% all bets are down and the remaining 49% minority will be left at the mercy of the 51% majority so that there will always be 2 opposing factions, however, majority always wins… Politicians are always motivated solely by “SELF INTEREST” which, in economic form, is “CAPITALISM”… bottom line…the oligarch, (capitalist) motivated by… Read more »

Ban the practice of all religions. That crap about the infallibility of the word of god being the superior law as against the law made and written by man is I think one major reason why we are not moving. We always seek for favorable divine intervention to make up for our habitual mistakes both in electing the same politicians and in asking for divine forgiveness and forget about guilt later whenever we offend others.


I sort of believe that policies dictate the kind of behavior you want to have.

Maybe Pinoys should get an annual cash dividend if the economy performs. That’ll get them thinking about the economic skills of who’s at the helm.

No annual cash dividend for citizens = impeachable offense.

Crazy idea.

Change in culture? How much change? Which items? Do they all have to change at the same time? Is it even possible to change by phases?

True.. true.. true. The people can’t do much for the country after the elections, as it is the government that has power over the taxes we pay. What happens is that the people ALWAYS seem to be too lazy to think, and is contented to feed off the media, on who to vote for. Take our current president, for example. He didn’t perform in congress. He didn’t perform in the Senate. Yet, the people didn’t bat an eyelash when he was declared president after a very questionable electronic election (with zero safeguards against cheating). Now we’re being entertained by a… Read more »
The Filipinos for the most part do not care about the country as a whole when they vote for a leader – they care about whether they can benefit individually from voting for the leader, or vote based on belief in a leader as some sort of personal savior. Just like the immediate followers of datus and rajas in the past who hoped to have their share of the loot, and the slaves who felt mystical allegiance. Something that sort of worked when there were less people on those islands with an overabundance of resources and when the world was… Read more »

[…] I am quoting from a GRP article here: […]

bing de la vega

It matters not that others still write negatives about P-Noy. Did they write about his predecessors’ plunders? This president is doing all his best to reduce corruption. He never said that he will eradicate it for that is just saying that one can eradicate rats,,,
pun intended astehre are still lurking beneath government halls and its walls. P-Noy, carry on and spray them all with anti rats,,


When the country has slipped in the world corruption index in the past 3 years and is now classified as a ‘flawed democracy’ by the United Nations then clearly p-noy is out of his depth and should go back to his previous job – of doing nothing.
Oligarchs, like leopards, do not change their spots


The sad reality here is people who read, understand and participate in this blog are vastly out numbered by the ignorant and easily swayed. Remember, the majority of the people of this country think smart people are evil elitists who dont believe in God. They almost voted a former impeached president back to power! Crazy times.

don’t blame the people too much, they suffered enough. The problem is true to everyone in this world, but more true in our country because politicians know they can get away with it. IMHO, the solutions are, transparency… follow the money ( goverrnment budget) from the top all the way down to the barangay level, use the internet, radio, television or even social media like FB to follow the trail. Every public official financial transaction should be made public all the time, if you want to serve the people, otherwise go do something else. Lastly, we need an independent, foreign… Read more »

Marcos era is the only era that philippines was known worldwide. Where white nations didn’t expect Marcos that such person in such country posses superb intellect, he lift Filipino people up, second to Great Japan. And what Filipinos do?because of lack of understanding and ignorance they oust him. So let me ask one thing, did Philippines acheive more after Mrcos era?obviously N-O-T-H-I-N-G

Leon HW

The solution is to eliminate all plunderers period. It’s quick, low cost, effective and permanent.