A hypothetical situation: benevolent dictatorship, Philippine style

I had just finished reading for the nth time one of the Op-Center series books by Tom Clancy. The title is Op-Center: Balance of Power. Take note that this is a fictional work, and that this is not a book review.

To give a brief background, the Op-Center, or National Crisis Management Center (NCMC), is a team created by the US President to resolve conflicts in potential trouble hotspots, both domestic and international.

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Spanish officials have intelligence regarding increasing civil unrest among their different ethnical groups, thus they have quietly requested the assistance of the United States. On the way to a high level diplomatic meeting with Spanish contacts, an Op-Center representative is assassinated. The fears are confirmed: there are forces at work that want another Spanish Civil war, and to seize control of the government all for themselves.

Where am I going with this? I mentioned this book because, to a certain extent, I see parallels between certain parts of the plot, and the reality that is unfolding here in Philippine politics.

The book highlights a fictional unrest situation between the different ethnic groups in Spain. Those mentioned are the Castilians, the Catalonians, the Andalusians, the Basques, and the Galicians. At first it seemed that a group of Catalonians and Basques was the villain. They had plotted the assassination of the Op-Center representative, in order to keep the US out of their affairs. Their ultimate plan was to cause a financial meltdown wherein they could present themselves as the only solution. Thus, the rest of the Spanish people would be indefinitely reliant on them.

In our current situation, we have the different interest groups whose differing agendas always put them at odds with each other. We have the Oligarchs, the Filipino People, the Aquino Administration, the Armed Forces, the Legislative branch, the Supreme Court, the NPA, and the MILF. The Oligarchs and the Aquino Administration have been working hand in hand for some time, in order to assure that everyone else stays obedient or friendly to the administration, and reliant on the mediocre products and services offered by the Oligarchs’ big business.

Let’s talk more about the main antagonist in the book. General Rafael Amadori of the Spanish Army was associated with Francisco Franco, the former Generalissimo of Spain. He is of Castilian descent, and an authority on El Cid. He believes in benevolent militarism (a fancy name for a police state), and militarism without conflict. His ultimate goal is to crush all opposition within Spain and to make Castile the political and military hub of the entire kingdom, with him being the head. In short, he is a megalomaniac.

President Noynoy Aquino (PNoy) on the other hand, is the son of the late Corazon Aquino and Benigno Aquino Jr. His parents are most famous for bringing an end to the Marcos regime through the well-remembered EDSA People Power revolution. He believes that his way is the straight path, and that God is on his side. I would not be surprised if he has a Messiah complex, nor if he believes in benevolent dictatorship (same as benevolent militarism above, except that Aquino is not an Army officer). His ultimate goal, as it stands, is to subjugate all branches of government to him, and to remove all personnel who criticize him, do not share his point of view, or are simply associated with his enemies. In short, he is a megalomaniac too.

In the book, the premise is that the Castilians, Amadori’s ethnic group, have always believed that only they deserve to be Spain and all the other ethnic groups are just squatters. PNoy’s clan, the Cojuangcos, on the other hand, have refused to give up any of their Hacienda Luisita land to the farmers since the second half of the 20th century.

General Amadori allowed his enemies to continue their own plans to create instability, and then neutralized them at the right time. By doing this, he moved troops and influenced events while appearing to stop a counter-revolution. PNoy, on the other hand, has publicly been humiliating and vilifying his perceived enemies in public forums. By doing this, he is mobilizing his yellow horde and influencing events while appearing to purge his government of “corrupt officials”.

Is this a case of reality resembling fiction? It sounds a bit creepy.

Although General Amadori surfaced as the real antagonist in the book, one difference between it and the Philippine situation is this: is PNoy the real antagonist in this plot, or is there someone else behind the scenes, yet to show up, who is waiting for the right time to influence events in his/her favor?

I must mention here that General Amadori met his end by being killed in a shoot-out. The military arm of Op-Center, Striker, had breached the General’s headquarters. With some inside help, and assistance from parts of the Spanish Army not under the General’s command, he and his forces were put down.

In the current scenario, we are at the point where PNoy is eliminating his opposition. Even while the Chief Justice Corona’s trial is not yet over, this sends a message to all his political enemies. If you cross him, you’ll meet a similar fate: a slow and painful death.

Now comes the hypothetical part:
1. Will the Filipinos ever see through PNoy’s facade of “anti-corruption” for what it really is?
2. Will Filipinos eventually come to think that stepping down is the only option for PNoy?
3. If it comes to the point that the Filipino people will no longer put up with PNoy’s mistakes and vindictiveness, are they or any members of the Philippine Army going to storm Malacanang?
4. For Aquino to let go of his post, is foreign intervention going to be necessary?
5. Will Aquino resort to assassination of foreign officials, as a message for them to stay out of local affairs?
6. If Aquino will not go willingly, is neutralization (i.e. assassination) the only course of action that is left?
7. Will the momentum of the course of events engineered by Aquino and his team last even after he is not President anymore?

The Philippine state of affairs is definitely worthy as a plot for a suspense thriller, or a comedy of errors. Take your pick.

38 Replies to “A hypothetical situation: benevolent dictatorship, Philippine style”

  1. Nice article, but I think your creative juices are overabundant. President Aquino is not much different than any other old-school Filipino, and there are no young-school leader’s with the connections to get into office. I’m not sure young-school Filipinos have any different motives backing them. It is all self-enhancement. President Aquino will serve out his term. The condition of the country will improve marginally. And I will publish an article on trust later today, the result of your inspiration.

    1. Joe, skip the PC. Just tell me you think I over-analyze things.

      Let’s hope you’re right about the country improving even just marginally. In the end, one of us will get to say “I told you so”.

      1. I’d say yes, you stretched it out a bit in this article. For me, it was partly because you used an Op Center book, which isn’t really the best of Tom Clancy. He’s just a co-creator; this is one case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. I didn’t read this particular book though, just echoing the critics and my own assessment after reading another Op Center book.

        Anyway, I digress, the thing is, the comparison’s a stretch. Philippine real life beats fiction in sheer incredulity. At this point I’d just digress some more and issue my usual remark on why no writer has taken advantage of this and conjure a mix of action-packed and cerebral political thrillers that may surpass Tom Clancy. The last international best sellers still belong to Jose Rizal.

        1. Peste, good to find readers hereabouts; there are so few. I agree, the Clancy joint efforts are like the Ludlum joint efforts. Easy ways to make money on a famous author’s name, with only 25% of the eloquence of the original author. And you are right, it is hard to match the Clancy ability to intertwine modern warfare and spy technology with political drama. Anyone who can generate 1,000 pages of action-packed suspense is all right in my book. I like the early Clavell novels for Asian history and drama (Shogun, Tai Pan), and I like the Crichton novels for science stories. We need a Filipino Clavell, which I suppose is what Rizal was, for his time.

        2. I think FallenAngel meant this as a stretch in the same way people use exaggerated analogies. Just ride with it.

      2. Angel, that wasn’t a PC; it was a compliment. I admire people who are creative and can extend from the known to the unknown. But the leap here is overmuch, in my opinion, from a practical matter. But you are right, we’ll see how this very real modern drama plays out.

    2. Joe, if you’re saying President Aquino is an ordinary guy like any other, I’d agree with that.

      But so was Adolf Eichmann.

      1. ChinoF, if Eichman was normal, and Aquino is normal, then all normal people are murderers. Is that your logic? Mine is that it is ridiculous to expect Aquino to be Jesus just because the critic believes HE is Jesus.

        1. @Joe America, I think the “logic” that this guy ChinoF is simply arguing is that a person regarded as “normal,” like PNoy, has a capacity to do EVIL as Adolf Otto Eichmann was.

          Chino F is perhaps referring to Hannah Arendt’s book, “Eichmann in Jerusalem,” on his Holocaust trial, particularly:

          “the conclusion of several Israeli psychiatrists that Eichmann was ‘normal.’ She called him the embodiment of the “Banality of Evil”, as he appeared at his trial to have an ordinary and common personality, displaying neither guilt nor hatred. She suggested that this most strikingly discredits the idea that the Nazi criminals were manifestly psychopathic and different from ordinary people. Eichmann himself said he joined the SS not because he agreed with its ethos, but to build a career … and that even the most ordinary of people can commit horrendous crimes if placed in certain situations and given certain incentives.”

          Hence, Chino F’s argument would boil down to how the individual defines the term “normal,” a “general” definition, while the “Jesus” you cite in your response concerns a “particular” person.

        2. Domingo, ahh, I appreciate the elaboration. I dislike the association of President Aquino in any way with that other normal guy. The only way they are the same is that they are subject to the ways and pressures of their surrounding society; the Philippines is not Hitler’s Germany.

        3. The way Penoy and Eichmann is the same is in their manipulation of power. (Maybe, for Penoy, how he is being manipulated by his handler to perform the manipulation.)

          Pressure from the surrounding society??? Jeeez…I’ll label the person who made this claim an idiot.

          The way both of them have been executing their powers is as if they are gods!

          No second thoughts. All they know is nothing is impossible for them.

          For me, it’s an idiocy to say that Penoy is being subject to pressure by a surrounding society.

          And what is that pressure pray tell me?

        4. Yes, Domingo explained it well. I think there’s more to our president than meets the eye, although a lot out there have already unraveled this.

          Which brings me to Trosp’s comment. I think the pressures Aquino feels are the same a puppet feels when different hands pull its strings in different directions. Because, I believe, he is a puppet.

      2. I think Pnoy’s attitude and character is shaped by too much playing video games. That’s why in governing this nation he wants to control everything to achieve his selfish ends. He can’t distinguish now the difference between virtual and real world. I bet he is searching for cheat codes to beat CJ Corona. Maybe fallen angel may look into Pnoy’s favorite games to better understand the psyche of this man.

  2. @FallenAngel

    I like your scenario building and assessment of the situation style of writing. It gives the the readers a chance to think and analyze. I laughed when the dictator Aquino was described as old school. He is one character who is totally obsessed and focused on his perceived enemies. His continuing black propaganda, trial by publicity and fabrication style speaks for itself. His “cleansing” reform program is intended to remove his perceived enemies, promote his cronies impunity and destroy freedom, democracy and the final block to his absolute control… The Supreme Court. I might give a worst case scenario later. Have a nice day!

  3. VP Binay better watch his back. PNoy’s 6-year term (with no re-election) ends in a little over four years from now and his partymates have already conceived a “12-year LP Reign.”

    As the next presidential election nears (2016), I’m sure PNoy’s supporters from the Left would want to create some chaos (even earlier) to justify, perhaps, a term extension, martial law or some other “dirty tricks”–“tricks,” that Bourne would probably be able to readily anticipate and deflect–to remain ensconced within the corridors of power, if the LP strategists feel Roxas may not be able offset Binay’s Boy Scout and Estrada (Jinggoy) connections.

    Jason Bourne, we’re certainly not; so, we’ll just have to wait.

  4. all is now focussed on creating a staged rent a mob on feb 25 to pressure those senators who cannot be bribed or blackmailed, and a fast track/early end to the trial before the break on march 23.
    if it goes beyond this date it would be disastrous for p-noy. not only would what little momentum there is be lost, but it would be difficult to stop the SC ruling on hacienda luisita becoming final and executory (which it is not yet). then game over for p-noy whatever the result of the impeachment

  5. 1. Will the Filipinos ever see through PNoy’s façade of “anti-corruption” for what it really is?
    Probably not, no thanks to the oligarch-controlled media.

    2. Will Filipinos eventually come to think that stepping down is the only option for PNoy?
    At this rate, no.

    3. If it comes to the point that the Filipino people will no longer put up with PNoy’s mistakes and vindictiveness, are they or any members of the Philippine Army going to storm Malacanang?
    If it comes to that, even money that’s the case.

    4. For Aquino to let go of his post, is foreign intervention going to be necessary?
    Depends; if a “People Power”-esque revolt unseats him (Oh, the irony!), foreign intervention would be unnecessary. If Der Fuhrer, on the other hand, will not step down…

    5. Will Aquino resort to assassination of foreign officials, as a message for them to stay out of local affairs?
    If he does, two words: EPIC FAIL.

    6. If Aquino will not go willingly, is neutralization (i.e. assassination) the only course of action that is left?
    Tyrannicide is the more appropriate term. And yes, if it comes to tyrannicide, sic semper tyrannis.

    7. Will the momentum of the course of events engineered by Aquino and his team last even after he is not President anymore?
    Only time will tell.

  6. The absolute dictator wannabe has so far used the following in his quest for power. His abusive use of the machinery of state against his perceived enemies is obvious. This is seen in the continuing use of black propaganda, trial by publicity and fabrication of evidence. These acts of vilification in destroying characters and reputations are supported by supersonic railroading of cases against them. While he brags about the straight path and cleansing reforms, he insulates his cronies. They act with impunity while Mr. Aquino is seen as above reproach. This is setting all the evil precedents that may be repeated in the administrations to come. His final goal of conquest is of course the Supreme Court. The last bastion of democracy. Will the dictator employ extremist action? The eyes of the international community will soon become critical should this happen. Use of force in people mob rule has its risks. The infiltration of communist reds, rightists, anarchists, Islamic Extremists and red infected civil society groups is highly possible. This may cause area-wide destabilization in the National Capital Region and in other areas. The only countermeasure standing in the way is the AFP, PNP, other law enforcement and civil government. Mr. Aquino cannot afford to be seen as launching a coup against his own democratic government in the capital. He cannot afford the use of extremist force against the sovereign people without the risk of a reactionary counter strike. Extremist action on his part will lead to his political destruction. This will also lead to the destruction of his rogue political mass base. Destabilization, a coup, or rebellion is not an option for the dictator. Mr. Aquino believes that his paid mass group of supporters will be enough to turn the tide in his favor. But what about the silent majority? If he is truly mad and wants to visit destruction on the NCR then he shall reap the whirlwind from the domestic and international communities. We dare you to try it Mr. Aquino.

  7. I am a big Tom Clancy fan and have read most of his books. Though his books are fiction, large parts of it are based on events that happen, whilst most people are not aware of these events.

    I like your article, you are a gifted writer. As for your question “is PNoy the real antagonist in this plot, or is there someone else behind the scenes”

    I believe PNoy is neither a Strategist nor calculated enough. PNoy is volatile and he acts without thinking or planing.

    There is one person though who is an amazing tactician and strategist who is biding his time and will step in at the right moment. This person will be acceptable to the majority of Filipinos.

    Though he is in a very high position where you would expect him to comment about the many things that have happened over the past year including the treatment of GMA and Corona. Thus far he has not backed the president on any of these issues (which means that he is against it) nor has he spoken out against the president.

    At the right moment President in waiting Binay will step in and save this country.

    1. Something tells me that Binay is waiting for the King in Yellow to self-destruct and pick up the pieces. Far-fetched? Maybe, just maybe…..

      1. Well, in my honest opinion Binay would make a better president than Mr. Megalomaniac. I also made that observation about Binay just waiting for Baldymort to self destruct.

        1. Lets not fool ourselves, everyone in Filipino politics is corrupt some more than others.

          Having said that, if I look at Binay’s track record in Makati and as VP he has done enough to improve the economy. He is a strong and smart person with all the right qualities that a leader needs.

          Maybe if we all unite behind one person and we promote him as a serious replacement for PNoy people might listen to us.

          If we just point out the problems in the current administration without offering a viable solution, people will not listen.

    2. Mark, thanks for the compliment. I almost trashed this article because I didn’t think it would hold water.

      Pointing out problems and presenting solutions make up a delicate balancing act. It would be easy to fall into the trap of shoving one’s suggestions down everyone’s throat, which leaves no one better off. Instead, it’s much better (and more rewarding) to help people think for themselves. And I believe this is what attracted me to this site.

      A key take away from our situation with Aquino is vigilance. If it should happen that he step down, and Binay takes his place, we have to make sure that we didn’t raise another dragon who will burn us to the ground.


      1. I fully agree with you though I will point out that if you look at the revolutions that took place over the past year in the middle east you will notice as follows:

        A country like Tunisia where people stood united to achieve their goals, the revolution was fast and successful.

        On the other hand in Egypt and even more so in Libya and now Syria they have been less successful because they could not unite behind one figure.

        There is no perfect leader currently who is able to step in, therefore we wont have a choice but to unite behind the lesser of all evils.

        Without unity we will not achieve anything we will just continue with the same cycle.

        1. I agree on what you said about the lack of unity. It would be like putting out small fires by stepping on them.

          Having the military support the people wouldn’t hurt either.

    3. The strategists do not have to occupy a high position in the . They just have to own a vast amount of money and interests to protect.

      Maybe they are blokes named Danding, Peping, Eugenio, …

  8. I have already withdrawn my personal support to the dictator Aquino. My loyalty is not to the yellow ribbon. My loyalty is to the red, white and blue; the Constitution, Country and the Sovereign Filipino People.

  9. I guess it’s still one of the most common facts in history: that nearly all, or even all, ‘evil’ dictatorships actually start out as benevolent dictatorships or as a promise of such. That’s why I believe the benevolent dictatorship will always be a pipe dream.

  10. During the Spanish Civil War…Two factions were involved: the Communists or Socialists; and the Royalists, Fascists and others, who were against the Communists. Russia’s Stalin and other Communists from Europe, and other countries sent people to fight war against: the Fascists. Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler, sent: arms, tanks and the Candor Fighter/Bombers Squadron, with the new “Stuka” Dive Fighter/Bomber Planes, to test the capability of this new German plane. Another Fascist leader named Mussolini, sent Italian Fascist soldiers to fight for Fascist Franco. Of course, Franco won…because of the overwhelming Fascist support. It’s the Nazi’s Germany War Technology, that won the Spanish Civil War; no other…Innovations of War technology wins war…
    Our case is much different. There is the Monopolist Oligarchs,Feudal Oligarchs, NPAs operatives, MILF, YellowTards, Political opportunists. All are allied with Noynoy Aquino, and the Cojuancos….We have the ordinary people, like you and me,who want him out. There are men behind the shadows, pulling the strings on Noynoy Aquino. He is on a Rock and a hard place…and he is still bent on alienating people…this will be his downfall…

  11. The present absolute dictator wannabe is not “benevolent”. His abusive use of the machinery of state against his perceived enemies is proven. The continuing blitz of black propaganda, trial by publicity, fabrication of evidence, mass media and survey manipulation is being done. Supersonic railroading of cases, ordering the senators to defy the SC TRO and staging campus tours or his making statements on the merits/details of the Impeachment Trial is a violation of the sub-judice rule and is also public knowledge. Mr. Aquino’s Plan B involves the use of mixed reds and yellows, possibly bangsamoro groups and civil society groups as a people mob power to force the issue. He wants the Supreme Court neutralized and cleansed of CJ Corona and other justices. The latter not being his appointees. Will the US support the destruction of democracy and freedom in allowing complete domination of the three branches of government? For all we know there is already a covert investigation. Planning may also be ongoing to counter a combined red dominated coup or rebellion using the guise of “people power.” Mr. Aquino has been observed by the free press as sleeping with the red CPP-NDF mainstream, socialist/progressives in the highest corridors of power. There is red infiltration in government departments, etc. It is a known fact that the MILF has a tactical alliance with the NPA. While we were distracted by the Impeachment Trial, Mr. Aquino approved expanded autonomy and a parliamentary government for the MILF without the approval of the people in Mindanao. I posted this above in the lower posts. His secret talks with the MILF in Tokyo, Japan and NPA proposals for a coalition government remain secret. The details have never been revealed to the public. Should the U.S. be convinced of his betrayal to the institutions of democracy and freedom they will act. Selling out the government, territory and people to the enemies of the state is not an option. This will create a grave security problem in this part of the world. The US might pressure him through political means or launch covert operations against him.

    1. Take note that Mr. Aquino directed government officials and employees to attend the EDSA anniversary crowd. Mr. Ochoa and Mr. Llamas are the organizers of the government funded event.

      1. All the dirty secrets of Mr. Aquino can be revealed. Should a foreign element enter the picture it would be clandestine operations. I wonder if the dictator has a dossier in one or two foreign spy organizations? His psychological profile may be in the file. The time is running out. The dictator’s true destructive potential may be unleashed soon. If he is a double agent for democracy and for the enemies of the state or a mad man bent on destruction we will all end up the losers. Plan B will be the beginning of the end of the rule of law. It will be the rule of an enemy mob. We are almost there. I hope I am wrong.

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