". . . When Ninoy
emerged from prison, it seemed clear to those who knew him that much had changed in him.
The superb political animal - shrewd, fast, eloquent, and brave who had placed his
immense talents in the service of the Republic in the hope of public honors, had evolved
into a man for whom love of country was the other face for his love of God . . ."
Widow of Benigno S. Aquino
(from speech delivered on March 10, 1984)
home > the spirit > what we need
for democracyAdvanced Economic Development
- It is rare that you will find
stable democracy in societies, which are not economically advanced. One reason is that you
will not find many urbanized, literate and sophisticated population that expects
participation in the political process in these countries. A second reason why societies
with advanced economic development are usually democratic is that they have large middle
classes that has a stake in the system and is the reluctant to support political
alternatives without fearing by conflict. In countries, which have a large impoverished
class, it is unlikely that the ruling class will oppose any meaningful extension of
Restraint of Government Power
- Democracy is best served if
there are institutional checks on the powers of the state. Such checks can be achieved through
recognition of the powers granted to and limits imposed on the different branches of the
government, as well as the recognition of individual freedom found in the Constitution.
Absence of Major Division
- For democracy to survive,
there has to be a general consensus on values and widespread commitment to the existing
political order. Minor splits/divisions are healthy, but if a sharp political split
is present, society tends to divide into military camps unwilling to make compromises
necessary for democracy to work. The potential for conflict, in turn, may pressure
a government to become strong in order to contain such struggles/fights.
Tolerance of Dissent
- Tolerance of criticism and
dissenting opinion is fundamental to democracy in the sense that it deters governing
parties from equating their interests to the national good.
Access to Information
- Democracy requires citizens
to make informed choice. When citizens are denied access to information or are given false
or misleading information, then the ability to make intelligent choices becomes
impossible, and the democratic process becomes a sham.
Diffusion of Power
- If power is diffused, and no
one group can obtain monopoly over it, the prospects for democracy are enhanced. The
separation of power centers provides a system of checks and balances, and
each group must take account of the others.