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as argued by Koelble and Lipuma (2008), “different histories and cultures
produce different democracies”. Democracy could be “re-territorialized in local
and national contexts” such as the case of post-colonial democracies (Koelble
and Lipuma 2008). The empirical studies mentioned above used predetermined
categories of democratic conceptualization. Conventional typologies like
procedural vs substantive or liberal vs economic do not effectively capture the
distinctions between views of democracy. For example, people may rank economic
growth as an important aspect of democracy in surveys. Yet it is not clear
whether they see economic growth as essential in a democracy together with
other institutions and process or it could be considered a democracy as long as
it delivers economic growth.  Thus it is
important to look deeply on the ideas of democracy of the governed through the
use of qualitative measures.

Some qualitative studies on definitions of
democracy have borrowed methodologies from other disciplines such as discourse
analysis and ethnography from anthropology. The meaning locals ascribed to
democracy are effectively captured due to the “anthropologist’s
ethnographic method, their relationships with people outside of formal and
elite political institutions, and their attention to alternative worldviews”
(Paley 2002). Ethnographic method is frequently used in Africa where
ethnographers explore how natives interpret and appropriate democratic
processes or aspects of Western democracy into their culture. Anthropological
studies also try to find linguistic counterparts to democracy.

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Discourses on democracy will be different
between matured, consolidated democracies and democracies with limited to no experience.
Authoritarian regimes, often recognizing the normative legitimacy of democracy,
could capitalize on alternative discourse of democracy to disguise their
authoritarian nature and delay democratic transitions.

and Shi (2015) have argued that before democratic transitions, such as in
authoritarian societies, the battling ideas and discourses must be understood
first. Using mainland China as the specific case, they examine two existing
discourses of democracy: guardianship discourse and liberal democratic
discourse. The liberal discourse emphasizes the role of political democratic
institutions which are then avenues for attaining democratic rights for example
right to elect and to participate. Contrary to that, the presence of “virtuous
and competent political leaders” is the focus of guardianship discourse. Based
from the guardianship model of governance put forward by thinkers like Plato
and Confucius, it argues that leaders with deeming characteristics should be
selected and could be trusted to act in service of the interest of the public
(p. 25). These two discourses clash with each other as the guardianship
discourse undermines the importance of institutions and “promotes paternalistic
meritocracy in the name of democracy” (p. 36). Lu & Shi then surveyed which
discourse Chinese citizens accept. Results show that guardianship discourse is
more embraced but the liberal discourse is also gaining ground. These battling
discourses of democracy are exploited by the Chinese Communist Party
particularly the guardianship discourse. Even the results of a study done in
the 1990s inidcated that Chinese citizens’ discourse on democracy includes
meritocracy (Peng 1998). Farrelly also demonstrates how discourses of democracy
are being used to influence politics using the case of dominant groups in the
UK. Using Critical Discourse Analysis as framework, an analysis of texts
including Labour Party election manifestos and white papers on new mechanisms
of participatory governance at the local level revealed that “the
discourse of democracy has become an anti-democratic political tool” (Mulderrig
2016). Prominent leaders have used the language of democracy to justify their
actions and decisions as being done in the name of democracy.


The Development of Democracy in the Philippines
and the Role of Congress

Philippines is chosen for a number of reasons. First, Philippines democratize
during the third wave of democratization. Those states that democratize during this
period have gained attention as they are characterized to have diverted from
the Western liberal democracy and are struggling to stabilize democracy.
Second, despite the long traditions of democratic rule, it is argued that
Philippine democracy has not yet consolidated. Democracy is still not the only
game in town. Third, the colonial history of the country could play a role in
how democracy is shaped in the minds of the citizens and the ruling elites.

as a form of governance was introduced in the Philippines during the period of
American colonization. Filipinos have not been able to practice governing its
own country during the more than 300-year rule of Spaniards. As with the
Manifest Destiny, United States has the goal to export democracy to other
states such as the Philippines. When principles of democracy were imbibed to
the population, the American government planned to give the right to
self-determination to the Filipinos. The Philippine Commonwealth of 1935 was
patterned after the democratic constitution of the United States. Democracy was
being strengthened in the country but was disrupted when then President
Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972 and started his dictatorship
rule. During this time, human rights were violated, Congress was locked down,
media was suppressed, the 1935 Constitution was abolished, and freedom was
attacked. The Marcos rule ended after the famous 1986 People Power revolution
wherein people took their struggle to remove Marcos and his family from office
into the streets. The Cory Aquino administration immediately drafted and
ratified the 1987 Constitution and comes with it the restoration of democracy
in the Philippines. Despite that, others have argued that true democracy was
not in place but elite democracy was restored. The political arena is still
dominated by traditional landed elites as well as political families. This is alongside rampant
corruption, weak institutions, patronage politics, powerless political parties
and marginalization of the masses (Dressel 2011). Other scholars have coined terms to describe the
kind of democracy found in the country such as Benedicts Anderson’s cacique

also have been surveys that measure Filipinos view of democracy. Asia Barometer
Survey administered Wave 1 of its survey during 2001-2003, Wave 2 in 2005-2008,
Wave 3  in 2010-2012 and Wave 4 in
2014-2016. Both Wave 1 and 2 employed open-ended questions while Wave 3 and 4
used close-ended questions. In the close-ended questions, for each item, respondents
were asked to choose for one of four definitions of democracy corresponding to
social equity, good governance, norms and procedures and freedom and liberty.
At least 3 out of 4 of the respondents in the 2002 survey have been able to
give a definition and 64% of it identifies democracy with freedom and
liberties. Yet Waves 3 and 4 showed that Filipinos now give more emphasis to
social equity as essential to democracy. Freedom and liberty still occupy a
large portion but only follows second to social equity.

important feature of democracy is a working legislative branch. The Philippine
Congress served as both an arena and actor in the restoration of democracy in
the Philippines (Caoili 1992).  The
Philippine Legislature underwent series of changes before it arrived in its
current bicameral form. Malolos Congress could be said as the first Congress in
the Philippines which was dominated by ilustrados. The Malolos Constitution
already embodied democratic principles as it has elements of separation of
church and state, elections and the Bill of Rights.  During the American colonization, the 1902
Cooper Act by the US Congress established a bicameral legislature with the
Philippine Commission as the upper chamber while the elected Philippine
assembly will serve as the lower chamber. The 1916 Jones Law further
strengthened the role of Filipinos in the Congress. The Philippine Commission
was replaced by 24 Filipino senators and served as the upper chamber.
Legislators at the time play vital roles as they constitute delegations sent to
the United States to lobby for the Philippine independence. After the Japanese
invasion in the 1940s, Philippine Congress continued to be a bicameral body but
was weakening as it faces difficulties and poor performance. Congress was
locked down by Marcos and was replaced by the Batasang Pambansa which follows a
parliamentary style. The creation of the 1987 Constitution brought back the
bicameral legislature and added the party list sector.

to the 1987 Constitution, the Philippine legislature has legislative powers,
executive powers through its members constituting the Commission on
Appointments, judicial powers over election of its members, impeachment powers,
and diplomatic powers such as declaring state of war and ratification of
treaties. These powers serve as checks and balances among the branches of
government which in turn strengthens democracy. Additionally, the legislative
branch still faces a number of issues. One criticism is that traditional elites
and political families continue to dominate the branch.

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