It’s the (Non-) System, Stupid! Explaining ‘Mal-development’ of Parties in the Philippines

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This chapter will search for an aspect of political parties that:

  1. can explain the mal-development of party politics in the country; and
  2. can provide a feasible point of reference for party reform measures.

It studies the current system (or the institutional-legal context within which parties operate), to explain the behaviors that the system elicits given its characteristics and features. Embedded in these laws and institutions are power relations that are then perpetuated by the state of politics and the existing political culture.

Overcoming the system (or non-system) is possible, but its probability is quite low at the moment. The most immediate step, therefore, is to clearly articulate a new system for the operations and functioning of parties, as well as improving the modernizing role that parties have to play in state-building and economic development. To refrain from doing so would consign our parties to being mere agents of patronage- and personality-based politics—in which case, the best op on for the county would be to abolish them all together.

This is a chapter by Aceron in the book, Reforming the Philippine Political Party System: Ideas and Initiatives, Debates and Dynamics.