Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Notes on the New Society of the Philippines by Ferdinand Marcos


Title: Notes on the New Society of the Philippines
Author: Ferdinand Marcos
Original Publication Date: 1973
Pages: 214
Genre/s: History, Academic, Filipiniana


Marcos has proven too well that his political charisma can be fully translated in what he writes. Notes on the New Society of the Philippines is no exception to that (Caution: He might win you over).

Just as his tyrannical and definitively despotic regime pretentiously stood for the mere vestiges of democracy itself, so too does this book contain what the ideals Marcos has sought to ennoble which, as history judged it to be, succumbed to nothing less than corruption and iniquity.

Aside from the standard fill of making things superficially palatable, of unfounded and unsubstantiated conclusions and the not too subtly contrived authorial biases, Notes on the New Society of the Philippines can still infallibly function as the proverbial window to the soul of one of the most remembered Presidents in the Philippines, not in a noble nor revered manner (save what could be called fundamentally fanatics in existence), but still remembered.

Let us take in hindsight what he wrote in page 50 concerning the Constitution and Martial Law.

"The Constitution therefore provides for its (Martial Law) survival in a clear, orderly and democratic manner for the instrument used is not only legal but moral in the highest sense. It places the proclamation of martial law under the Rule of Law.

This resolves the eternal moral question of Ends and Means, The Constitution, being democratic in spirit and content, does not recognize means which are not integral with, or not logically follow from, its ends, even though that end may be self-preservation itself."(Emphasis mine)

And on page 127 on Martial law and its so called uniqueness.

"Our martial law is unique in that it is based on the supremacy of the civilian authority over the military and on complete submission to the decision of the Supreme Court, and most importantly of all, the people. It is unique in that it does not seek to maintain the status quo but has instead brought about radical reforms.(Emphasis mine)

We all know how that turned out to be, with old Justice Teehankee(later C.J. under Cory Aquino) barely holding out, but certainly with great conviction and nothing less of the ideal.

Much can be said and deduced with these meager passages. I do not intend to misquote nor offer an unwarranted argument lest I fall in the same boat. Deductions are clear as can ever be as echoed in the annals of history.

In hindsight, this perspective relegates the human capacity in determining morality, which I believe is an entirely different thing with what is legal. This stand does not come with surprise. Marcos has alienated the people and these words point to his mental inclination to pursue such ends, and history sufficiently offers us the more than adequate manifestations of his bearings.

And just as most writings concerning sociological and cultural matters, Notes on the New Society lies in the plain of the ideal. And if not for critically examining the facts, all would have but remained an enigma, hauntingly questioning us, what went wrong? What revelation it would have been if the ideal remained, forever to be, an ideal, but depressingly, it became a corrupted, depraved and brutally oppressive reality beyond any recognition.
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