I have always found the term "Western-style" democracy to be about as logical as "Western-style internal combustion" or "Western-style space exploration". I think that the term "Western-style Democracy" obscures the fact that democracy is not a style, not a custom or fashion or cultural artifact. Rather it is a technology and an invention that has been discovered and proven to enable human beings to live together in peace and prosperity without giving up their inherent rights and freedoms. "Western-style democracy" makes as much sense in a way as "Western-style scientific method." Democracy after all, is not a religion, but a method of mediating the relations of men and nations: it is a Constitution of Liberty, Sovereignty and Government. I think the term "Western-style democracy" is usually employed by those who are against its exportation and "forced establishment" in places "that don't want Western-style democracy," or "that aren't ready for Western-style politics." (In US History, such places have included the Philippines, Germany, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and now Iraq.) But democratic nations are expressions of their people's will and self-determination, of their character and their ambitions. However, it is strictly speaking true: you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink.
In the United States the people have just spoken in the 2006 midterm elections.
DONALD RUMSFELD resigns. Exeunt, stage right. Robert Gates will have to clean up.
San Francisco's NANCY PELOSI will be the first woman Speaker of the House of Representatives, lights please: stage left, as she vows to lead "the most honest, open and ethical House" in US history. (Many will remember she said that.) A few weeks ago, CBS 60 Minutes' Leslie Stahl did an in-depth on the woman set to be two heart beats away from the Presidency. Speaking of which, possibly the first woman president of the US has been re-elected to a Senate seat in New York, Hillary Rodham Clinton. But I am sure my good friend Rodel Rodis in that sublime City by the Bay, and its highest elected Filipino-American official, is ecstatic, and rightly so. PDI Research has a roundup of Filipino-American candidates.
But lest the klieg lights blind, read also Ramesh Ponnuru, How to Win By Losing (via John Marzan).
Meanwhile back in the Archipelago...
Manolo Quezon (The Explainer) and his guest, Atty. Ed Lacierda were discussing the ongoing controversy over "voting separately" or "voting jointly" arising from an ambiguity in the following 1987 provision:
Article XVII - Amendments Or Revisions -A plain reading of this provision, in my opinion, leads inexorably to the conclusion that there is actually very little ambiguity to this provision. Proposing amendments to, or revision of, this Constitution must be done by an "Act of the Congress" whose form and substance must conform to the requirements of the Constitution. In Lambino vs. Comelec, the Philippine Supreme Court indeed found that the Lambino Group's "Initiative Petition" was insufficient in form because the full text was not attached to the signatures, and unconstitutional in substance for being a Revision, which is prohibited in the people's initiative mode.
Section 1. Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by:
(1) The Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members; or
(2) Constitutional Convention.
Now the question comes before us: Can a House Resolution signed let us say by 100% of all the members of the Lower House, be found by Comelec (and the Supreme Court upon an inevitable petition for certiorari!) to be sufficient in form and substance and be submitted to the people for ratification in a plebiscite? To me the Nograles-Pichay-Jaraula House Resolution is simply D.O.A. in this regard because a House Resolution is NOT an Act of The Congress. It is a mere act of the Lower House. It is thus insufficient in form ab initio. There is a growing air of forlorn desperation in the attempts of the House leadership to force a plebiscite on a wholescale revision of the Constitution. They really need to do everything and anything to avoid the coming 2007 elections, which are shaping up to be a disastrous referendum on the Arroyo regime that will usher in a Hanging Senate. See also the Comment Thread at MLQ3's blog.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has gotta be worried about all the Western-style Democracy she is about to get next year.
Saddam Hussein finds even more defenders at the Philippine Daily Inquirer, whose editorial waxes ever so eloquently about Justice and the Law and human life, whilst steadfastly ignoring the evidence of crimes against humanity and genocide presented against Mr. Saddam Hussein in what was indeed a chaotic and imperfect trial. But it's too much to suggest that Saddam might actually be INNOCENT, or that the Iraqi Court has no legitimacy. I suppose they are being consistent since they have utter disdain for Philippine Courts also (except when they like the Decision!) having proclaimed recently that a majority of Filipinos doubt the fairness of the Supreme Court. But who are we, really to question the Iraqi court's rights and existence? It didn't help the Republicans very much anyway, so why piss on the little retribution and happiness the relatives of Saddam's victims may now enjoy in that unhappy land?