A Dictatorship of Your Own Making

If you search the Internet for a definition of a dictatorship you will find a variety of opinions, but they all seem to agree on certain basic characteristics:

  • Single-party rule. We tend to identify “dictators” as individuals, but historically dictators have always been the spear-tips for powerful organizations.
  • Justification of abuses. Dictatorships must always have an “enemy,” so that they can assert their actions, no matter how apparently unfair, unethical, or immoral, serve some “higher purpose” for the people, promoting “equality” or “stability” or “fighting forces of repression.” The usual tip-off that a government has dictatorial tendencies is a noticeable increase in the very problems the government says extreme measures are needed to combat.
  • Suppression of opposition. There are degrees of suppression, of course; stronger dictatorships can take more overt (and sometimes violent) steps to render political dissent ineffective, less secure dictatorships must resort to subtler means.
  • Manipulation of information. The dictatorship relies on control and use of the media to spread the message the government wants its people to hear.
  • Subversion of the legal system. A dictatorship cannot allow courts to be independent.

Any of that ringing any bells?

In Noynoy Aquino, this country has chosen a leader who has placed what little administrative authority he does not reserve for himself (and given that it now requires Presidential approval to fix the toilets at the airport, it’s very little) in the

1,700 islands. 95 million people. But this one Ladies' Room at the airport requires my personal attention.

hands of incompetents chosen not for any technical skill but their level of sycophancy, has made the fundamental justification for his presidency the “fight against corruption” (as personified by his evil predecessor), suppresses opposition in and the freedom of action of two co-equal branches of government through unprecedented (and, incidentally, illegal) control over their finances, operates a large and – their ineptitude notwithstanding – intensely active propaganda department, and openly defies rulings of the highest court in the land.

The uproar over the uncharged and unconvicted former President Arroyo’s being prevented from leaving the country for medical treatment has finally shaken at least a part of this country out of its torpor to realize there is something very undemocratic and very wrong with the way High Chancellor Sutler President Aquino is discharging his office. But the woeful “State of the Nation” described by former Senator Ernesto M. Maceda last week on the occasion of Pee-noy’s 500th day in office didn’t just happen overnight. Everyone should have seen what was coming when Aquino coyly suggested – almost before his mother’s corpse had a chance to cool off – that his presidency would be ordained by God.

Of course, a country where the opinion of a beauty queen on a subject other than fake boobs and spray tan is actually considered a serious debate topic probably shouldn’t be surprised to find itself in a serious social and political predicament. And how it might sort itself out of this mess without causing itself further misery and embarrassment is anyone’s guess.

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About BenK

I write a column for The Manila Times on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Most of the energy sector and the heads of several government agencies probably wish I didn't.

37 Comments on “A Dictatorship of Your Own Making”

  1. Lee Kwan Yew was de facto fascist dictator of Singapura during his term. His style was authoritarian, but not blemished by moral and financial endemic kleptocracy, a major feature of governance in our decaying society.

    Many in the opposition left that country, many were jailed and apparently many were liquidated. It took an iron hand to install progress and order. Today, Singapore is on top 10 of the most advance economy in the world. GDP per capita is one of the highest, population is well controlled and highly educated.

    Democracy will not work in a country savaged by rorts. There needs to be order first, progress then democracy as an end product of success.

      1. No, but model Lee Kwan Yew leadership can be copied like what DengXiaoping did to China after meeting with Lee for advice.

        Sure, but only after a couple of hurdles—to name but a few: Lee Kwan Yew did not violate any constitution just to impose subservience on his constituents. Lee Kwan Yew has genuine vision, while AbNoy really doesn’t. LKY also knows what to do—He is even perceived to be a technocrat. AbNoy relies on what he calls “discernment” and “advise” from his KKKs. Because of their culture and thinking, Singaporeans can be disciplined while Pinoys have this tendency to think that they are so special, they oftentimes perceive themselves as likely exemptions from the rule of law. LKY is himself very disciplined and decisive, while AbNoy tends to choose the path of least resistance and is easily swayed by his benefactors. LKY is a realist while AbNoy is living a lie—a myth; a fantasy. Above all—and this is the biggest hurdle—Lee Kwan Yew is competent and AbNoy is not.

        We have to await a better leader who actually has what it takes to be another LKY.

        AbNoy is just one big joke—a way for the oligarchs to sneer at the rest of us without us even knowing.

  2. Everyone should have seen what was coming when Aquino coyly suggested – almost before his mother’s corpse had a chance to cool off – that his presidency would be ordained by God.

    “Providence has ordained that I should be the greatest liberator of humanity. I am freeing man from the restraints of an intelligence that has taken charge, from the dirty and degrading self-mortification of a false vision called conscience and morality, and from the demands of a freedom and independence which only a very few can bear.” – Der Führer

    1. “Everyone should have seen what was coming when Aquino coyly suggested – almost before his mother’s corpse had a chance to cool off – that his presidency would be ordained by God.”

      “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”
      – Romans 13:1

      President PeNoy got that one right. Problem is, it’s the only thing he got right. Everything seems to be going wrong.

    1. She’s right. There is a case to be made for the Supreme Court acting with imprudent haste on the matter. But her point at the very end is exactly right, too; an order of the SC is what it is and must be honored.

  3. @SK: so the leftists surrounding bs now is not a coincidence after all?

    i seriously FEAR what is happening in this country. is it true that the pnp already declared they will only follow the doj’s (ergo, bs’) directive and not the sc? egad! i thought our men in uniform are mandated to uphold and protect the constitution?! this is anarchy.

    to quote miriam: i want to slash my wrist!

    1. The country has been sub-stage anarchy since midway martial law years. And again, there was no real change after those so called EDSA revolutions. The products of those wasteful years from government neglect mirrors todays Ph society. Marcos could have done, and changed the course of Ph history, but his human nature showed his weakness as a spoiled leader. We have lost the battle to progressive democracy. Drastically our nation searches in lost on the need of strong leadership with moral base intention to truely reform of our economy.

      Sadly today, we see multi-partisan forms of interest. Many are destructive self-seeking kleptocrats that had gain seats to government power and control with embesselment on taxpayers money. We see widespread poverty, and crime in endemic proportion never seen in the early days of Martial law years. Successive leadership showed no improvement to change the lives of many. We still lurked as an Oligarchy state of the old past with social injustices of the mass well framed by Marx as an agenda to give rise to left wing power.

      Yes, we are in anarchy, but remember that Bastille Day was born because of this true People Power model.

  4. Can anyone enlighten my limited understanding?

    This birdbrain act of the executive to break constitutional law is just to save face because they were not able to incriminate former Pres. GMA.

    Does anyone know they were not able to press charges against GMA?

      1. Raissa Robles wrote (in value-crushing detail) about a loophole exploited by a circular issued by GMA’s Justice Secretary that De Lima then used to slap the travel ban on her.

        So they’re over there at that blog exchanging high fives about it not considering that for all the whole vindictiveness that Noynoy exhibits over anything and everything related to Arroyo, they end up actually celebrating the use of some of the work GMA left behind for their own purposes.

        The point is really more around the whole question that you rightly raise here about why to this day no charges have been filed in court against GMA by De Lima’s mob. And it highlights the desperation that is evident in the DOJ having to resort to using legal artefact that is a direct legacy of the administration they ironically demonise.

      2. @benign0,
        Being a weapon of her own creation, Gloria knows how to disarm it, which she did when the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. What she might have miscalculated is that the new wielder would ignore such formalities.

        Well of course, even in Gloria’s hands, this circular is still rendered impotent if one really wishes to escape the country. Just ask Senator Bon Voyage.

      1. Wow! So with all the mumbo-jumbo in SONA and press conferences that GMA is the root of all evil, they couldn’t even get a single conviction or much less press charges.

        The incompetence is getting chronic.

        Since the elections, my wife is muttering that this Aquino guy is inept on any position except babysitting Josh.
        Now it’s getting clearer and clearer that’s it’s more than her female intuition in action.
        It’s actually the real thing.

        Praise God for creating women!

  5. Hail der Fuhrer! The rights of the master yellow race should be considered paramount above and over the rights of the few Arroyo family wearing the yellow star of David! The interest of the nutzie state of brilliant intellect is over and above the law!

    Der Fuhrer is unmerciful and ruthless against those he pinned with the yellow star of David! He is truly the greatest nutzie of the master yellow race! There is no freedom and democracy! There is only the iron will of der Fuhrer! His word is law! Sieg heil!

  6. Hail der fuhrer! His tax blitzkrieg directed at doctors by tax ministry head, Kim Henares is a brilliant tactic! This harassment, lifestyle check is a fishing expedition! These acts are worthy of the nutzie state!

  7. i am just thankful that i am from the 1st world and realise the gulf with 3rd world countries which have no clue about business/integrity/free speech/decency or how politicians should behave. certainly not like a soap opera playing legal ping pong and personal vendettas between the feudal elite. how despicable and demeaning.
    this is trailer trash meets jungle bunnies.
    no style, no education – certainly not eton, cambridge etc,
    no wonder FDI declines. no serious investor wants to deal with money grabbing peasants.
    cojuangco aquino exemplify the new philosophy of grab as much as you can for the next 4 years.
    unfortunately people will only realise too late how the monopolies are getting bigger and controlling high prices, low wages with no choice but critically no innovation.

  8. Nazi’s Adolf Hitler of Germany, and Napoleon of France, established their dictatorship, when their countries were economically in trouble, and politically unstable.
    Adlf Hitler, used the Jews as his escape goats. Napoleon used conquest, to prove he was the true leader…Both went down, in history.
    Noynoy Aquino is an incompetent leader, who try to prove he is not…so, he has to do this: usurping the Power of the Judiciary. It’s a bad precedence…It’s up to us, if we allow him. If you don’t stand for something. You’ll surely fall on anything. That was what the German people did in their Nazi era…then, they complained, when they were forced to march thru the Death Camps: “We were lied to…”

    1. Now that I read this again, it somewhat reminds me of something…

      Did we not vow, as one human race, the three nevers? Did we not say “Never Forgive; Never Forget; Never Again!” after learning of the horrors perpetrated by the Nazis?

      BUT I DIGRESS.

      The way PNoy acts, why he did not become an Emperor yet somewhat puzzles me.

    2. Noynoy Aquino is an incompetent leader….- Hyden Toro

      And that’s the reason why I cannot understand the anti-Noynoy people here. You said that Noynoy is incompetent, stupid, do-nothing, know-nothing, etc. and believe at the same time he has the potential to become a dictator? Hebigat!

      Make up your mind guys.

        1. Yes, of old, but we’re not dealing of old here. We’re talking of the now. And when you say ‘old’, what is your time line?

          You have to name names pal. Remember, you are identifying Noynoy as a potential dictator. So it is just fitting that you identify people for purposes of comparison because right now, I cannot think of any dictator who even resembles the character of Noynoy.

          Maybe is someeone like him in history but until you come up with the name/s we’ll just be guessing.

        2. See my reply below dated September 1, 2012 at 3:27 pm.

          Besides, there is no point in your asking for similar dictators to compare. You even limit it to present-day dictators, a criterion which is just as pointless. I know your next step, when given an example, would be to nit-pick on that example by finding differences to even tangentially-related aspects by saying “but Noynoy isn’t like this and isn’t like that”. In the end, the argument gets derailed.

          We all know what dictatorship is all about. We are aware of what is happening right now. There is no guessing, all one has to do is note the current events and tick the corresponding checkbox in the definition of dictatorship.

  9. The insinuation that Noynoy could possibly be a dictator in the making is like a very corny joke that was begging for a laugh or even a chuckle.

    I think even the anti-Noynoy here will agree with me that Noynoy can’t hack it. Even if he has ambitions to become a dictator he will surely fail because he doesn’t have the character, the focus and the cunning of a dictator. As the words of the anti-Noynoy here reverberates, how can he be a dictator when he’s just too stupid.

    But since everything in this world is possible, if such suspicion comes into a fruition, I think, we’ll have a dictator in Noynoy exactly like what Borat was in the film “The Dictator”.

    1. And that is where the confusion lies. How can a dictator, who is an inherent manipulator, be manipulated?

      Dictators are what they are because they are not incompetent stupid, do-nothing, know-nothing, etc. like Noynoy. They are called as such because they are manipulators to the max.

  10. You assume someone should work on his own to attain dictatorial powers. You should know that dictatorship can just fall into someone’s lap. One way is by inheritance, like in North Korea.

    Another way goes like this: someone else does the hard work (planning and execution to consolidate power to the president to fulfill some goal) while all one has to do is play one’s role (be the president and fulfill said goal), and it so happens the fruits will also have to be received in accordance to roles (the president receives dictatorial powers).

  11. You assume someone should work on his own to attain dictatorial powers. You should know that dictatorship can just fall into someone’s lap. One way is by inheritance, like in North Korea.

    North Korea is a communist country. It is basically ruled and ran by the Kim family. There’s no point of comparison with PH.

    The leadership do not just “fall on someone’s lap”. Power is transferred down the line within the family. Since dictatorship is the nature of the system, the succeeding leader will realy ‘work’ hard to maintain the status quo and to ensure the continued existence of the system.

    Noynoy, as of this moment is not a dictator. He inherited nothing from Cory in terms of power or authority. Again, the comparison is way off.

    Another way goes like this: someone else does the hard work (planning and execution to consolidate power to the president to fulfill some goal) while all one has to do is play one’s role (be the president and fulfill said goal), and it so happens the fruits will also have to be received in accordance to roles (the president receives dictatorial powers).

    That’s not a dictator you’re talking about, that’s a puppet.

    1. It is clear from your post that, for North Korea’s new dictator, the hard work of maintaining their status quo comes after he inherited the position of dictator. There was no competence nor hard work needed to attain the position in the first place.

      By the way, at that part I wasn’t comparing North Korea’s dictator to Noynoy, I was giving one example of how a dictatorship can be effortlessly achieved.

      On the other hand, I am saying that Noynoy effortlessly achieved his dictatorship because someone else did the hard work for him. He merely played his role as president which happens to include gaining dictatorial powers.

      Noynoy is now a puppet with dictatorial powers. On his own, he is unable to wield these powers effectively, but with the aid of the puppet master these powers deliver results.

  12. The old, bald boy has been described in the press as dictator and autocrat. Constitutional experts would call his rule a tyranny as this is aimed at controlling the two vital branches of government. His has been also described as a monocracy. Make no mistake about it. He is a dangerous man being advised by dangerous men and women.

    From the beginning… His deceit and deception was apparent in his slogans, political promises, control and manipulation of key people in government.

    As I said before… the L sign no longer stands for Laban. It was never about Laban. It was all about Linlangin and Lokohin. We are not the boss. He and the people who surround him are the boss.

    The GRP peeps have described him as stupid, incompetent, lazy, do-nothing, know-nothing, etc. This is my own view… The dictator BSA is a mad, evil, genius.

    Remember he now has full control and is consolidating and expanding this control. All this without firing a shot or declaring Martial Law.

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