Law, Politics, and Morality in the Philippines (Follow me on Twitter@setectivebogart)
LAW, POLITICS, AND MORALITY
IN THE PHILIPPINES
Photo credit: Author
VIVENCIO “VEN” BALLANO, PhD
In the Photo: Baby Johann Karl Ballano &
Brother-in-law Conrado Torralba
WHAT IS POLITICS?
THE WORD “POLITICS” COMES FROM THE GREEK WORD:
“POLIS”= CITY OR STATE.
“POLITIKOS” = “OF, FOR, OR RELATING TO CITIZENS”:
THE PRACTICE OR THEORY OF INFLUENCING
INDIVIDUALS OR GROUPS IN SOCIETY
II. CLASSICAL DEFINITION (LASWELL 1950)
Politics is “Who gets what, when and how”
This means that politics is based on the degree of power and
authority a person or group has in society:
The greater is the power and authority, the more a person or group gets what
they want in society or government in a shorter period of time and in a more
A powerful person with social connections can get what s/he wants by just a
phone or cellphone call, but a poor and powerless person is uncertain to get
what s/he wants in a longer period of time and in most inconvenient way.
2 LEVELS OF MEANING OF THE WORD
GENERAL SENSE: POLITICS AS DYNAMICS OF
POWER IN SOCIETY; EACH PERSON OR
GROUP IN SOCIETY HAS THE RIGHT TO
EXERCISE POWER TO GET WHAT S/HE
WANTS IN SOCIETY OR GEOVERNMENT
SPECIFIC/PARTICULAR SENSE: POLITICS AS PARTISAN
POLITICS, I.E., ENGAGING IN
POLITICAL PARTY POLITICS,
NOTE: Priests, religious and bishops are not
allowed to engage in partisan politics,
i.e, to occupy public office; governnent
are prohibited by the Civil Service to engage
partisan politics in the bureaucracy.
POWER IN SOCIETY
ALL POLITICS INVOLVE POWER AND AUTHORITY
POWER: THE ABILITY TO INFLUENCE OR COMPEL THE
OTHER TO ACT AGAINST HIS/HER OWN INTEREST
SOME COMMON TYPES OF POWER:
1. COERCIVE: POWER THAT USES FORCE, VIOLENCE AND
INTIMIDATION TO OBTAIN ONE’S WISH.
2. PERSUASIVE: POWER THAT APPEALS TO THE EMOTION OF
THE OTHER OR EMPLOYS PERSUASION TO
OBTAIN ONE’S WISH.
3. CONSENSUAL: POWER THAT OBTAINS THE MAJORITY VOTE
THROUGH DIPLOMATIC MEANS TO PURSUE A
PERSONAL OR GROUP PROPOSAL.
OLD CONCEPT OF POWER: POWER IS POSSESSION. If a person has wealth, he has power.
NEW CONCEPT (M. FOUCAULT): POWER IS EXERCISED THROUGH EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES, MANIPULATIONS OR
OTHER TACTICS TO CONTROL THE OTHER. A rich man can be powerless if he doesn’t know
how to use his wealth to control the other. E.g. David was able to defeat Goliat because of an
effective use of power or strategy.
AUTHORITY IN SOCIETY
AUTHORITY: A SPECIAL TYPE OF POWER GIVEN BY THE
PEOPLE, USUALLY THROUGH ELECTION OR
DELEGATION ; A LEGITIMATE POWER, A
RIGHT TO RULE.
NOTE: A person can be powerful without authority. Examples: the bully,
the “Siga,” the criminal, corrupt public official, etc.
: A person can also be with authority but cannot exercise power.
Examples: Presidents in exile; monarchs during regency, a
Pres. Quezon in exile in
the US during the Japanese
: An honest public servant can be both powerful and authoritative.
SOURCES/TYPES OF AUTHORITY
CHARISMATIC: AUTHORITY BASED ON PERSONAL
TALENTS/TRAITS OF THE LEADER.
Bro. Mike Velarde receives authority from his
charm and talent in public speaking/preaching.
TRADITIONAL: AUTHORITY BASED ON WHAT IS HANDED
DOWN FROM THE PAST OR TRADITION.
Priests receive authority from the bishop through
the traditional apostolic succession.
RATIONAL-LEGAL: AUTHORITY BASED ON WRITTEN
LAWS. THIS IS THE MOST COMMON
TYPE OF AUTHORITY IN MODERN &
Pres. Aquino receives his authority from the Philippine
DISTRIBUTION OF POWER AND AUTHORITY
IN THE PHILIPPINES
UNEQUAL DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH AND INCOME IN THE
PHILIPPINES TRANSLATES TO UNEQUAL DISTRIBUTION OF
POLITICAL POWER IN THE PHILIPPINES.
INVERTED PYRAMID MODEL: AROUND 5% OF THE POPULATION
ENJOYS MORE THAN 70% OF THE WEALTH WHILE THE 70% WHO LIVE
BELOW THE POVERTY LINE ENJOYS ONLY AROUND 30% OF THE
IMAGES/MODELS IN UNDERSTANDING
POLITICS IN THE PHILIPPINES
PATRON-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP: POLITICS BASED
ON DEBT-OF-GRATITUDE OR “UTANG NA LOOB”
: THE HACIENDERO OR LANDLORD AS THE
PATRON AND THE LANDLESS FARMERS & THEIR
FAMILIES AS CLIENTS.
: THE PATRON PROVIDES PERPHERAL NEEDS OF
THE CLIENT SUCH MEDICINES, LOANS, BURIAL
EXPENSES, ETC. IN EXCHANGE THE CLIENT &
HIS/HER RELATIVES VOTES FOR THE PATRON
OR WHOEVER HE ENDORSES DURING
A STRONG POLITICAL PARTY OR POLITICAL MACHINE
IS IMPORTANT IN WINNING PHILIPPINE ELECTIONS.
MOST POLITICIANS WANT TO BE A MEMBER OF THE
RULING OR DOMINANT PARTY TO WIN ELECTIONS
RATHER THAN RUNNING AS INDEPENDENT
DEMOCRACY IN THE PHILIPPINES IS PATTERNED IN FAVOR OF
THE RICH FEW OR THE ELITE.
THE PHILIPPINES IS GOVERNED BY A FEW RICH FAMILIES OR
PATRIMONIALISM AND POLITICAL DYNASTY
PATRIMONIALISM TREATS PUBLIC OFFICE AS PRIVATE OWNERSHIP
WHICH CAN INHERITED BY RELATIVES.
PATRIMONIALIM CAN LEAD TO POLITICAL DYNASTIES IN THE
THE DYNAMICS OF LAW IN SOCIETY
WHAT IS LAW?
MAX WEBER: THERE IS LAW IF THERE IS COERCION AND A SPECIALIZED STAFF TASKED TO
ENFORCE OR IMPLEMENT IT.
TYPES OF LAW:
SUBSTANTIVE: THE CONTENT OF THE LAW ITSELF. THOSE FOUND
IN THE LEGAL CODES.
E.g. Revised Penal Code of the Philippines (criminal law), New Civil Code of the
Philippines (civil laws), Labor Code (labor laws)
PROCEDURAL: PROCEDURES OR METHODS IN PROCESSING A
CASE IN COURT. THOSE FOUND IN THE RULES
OF COURT. E.g. The Revised Rules of Court in the Phils.
Example of Substantive Law
THE NEW ANTI-RAPE LAW OF 1997 (RA 8353)
"Article 266-A. Rape: When And How Committed. - Rape is committed:
"1) By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the
"a) Through force, threat, or intimidation;
"b) When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious;
"c) By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and
"d) When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented,
even though none of the circumstances mentioned above be present.
"2) By any person who, under any of the circumstances mentioned in paragraph 1
hereof, shall commit an act of sexual assault by inserting his penis into another
person's mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object, into the genital or anal
orifice of another person.
Example of Procedural law: How to file a
Section 1. Institution of criminal actions. — Criminal actions shall be instituted as follows:
(a) For offenses where a preliminary investigation is required pursuant to section 1 of Rule 112, by
filing the complaint with the proper officer for the purpose of conducting the requisite preliminary
(b) For all other offenses, by filing the complaint or information directly with the Municipal Trial
Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts, or the complaint with the office of the prosecutor. In Manila
and other chartered cities, the complaint shall be filed with the office of the prosecutor unless
otherwise provided in their charters.
The institution of the criminal action shall interrupt the running period of prescription of the offense
charged unless otherwise provided in special laws. (1a)
Section 2. The Complaint or information. — The complaint or information shall be in writing, in the
name of the People of the Philippines and against all persons who appear to be responsible for the
offense involved. (2a)
Section 3. Complaint defined. — A complaint is a sworn written statement charging a person with an
offense, subscribed by the offended party, any peace officer, or other public officer charged with the
enforcement of the law violated. (3)
Section 4. Information defined. — An information is an accusation in writing charging a person with
an offense, subscribed by the prosecutor and filed with the court. (4a)
Section 5. Who must prosecute criminal actions. — All criminal actions commenced by a complaint
or information shall be prosecuted under the direction and control of the prosecutor. However, in
Municipal Trial Courts or Municipal Circuit Trial Courts when the prosecutor assigned thereto or to
the case is not available, the offended party, any peace officer, or public officer charged with the
enforcement of the law violated may prosecute the case. This authority cease upon actual intervention
of the prosecutor or upon elevation of the case to the Regional Trial Court. (This Section was repealed by A.M.
No. 02-2-07-SC effective May 1, 2002)
The crimes of adultery and concubinage shall not be prosecuted except upon a complaint filed by the
offended spouse. The offended party cannot institute criminal prosecution without including the guilty
parties, if both alive, nor, in any case, if the offended party has consented to the offense or pardoned
LEGALITY AND MORALITY: IS IT ALWAYS LEGAL TO BE
LEGALITY AND MORALITY: 2 STANDARDS OF CONDUCT
BASIS OF MORALITY: DIVINE
LAW (Bible, Tradition, Religious
BASIS OF LEGALITY:
(Statutes, legal codes, manual
IDEAL SITUATION: HUMAN LAW MUST BE BASED ON DIVINE LAW
ACTUAL SITUATION: HUMAN LAW SOMETIMES CONFLICTS WITH DIVINE LAW, THUS AN ACT
WHICH IS LEGAL CAN BE IMMORAL, OR ILLEGAL BUT MORAL
EXAMPLES OF LAWS/ACTS WHICH ARE LEGAL BUT
ACT/LAW LEGAL IMMORAL
CIVIL WEDDING Recognized by the State,
Family Code of the
by a judge
Not recognized by the
Catholic Church as
sacramental wedding, not
blessed by God as
solemnized by a priest or
MARTIAL LAW (PD
Recognized by the state
during Marcos era
immoral due to human
right abuses as a
consequence of the law
NOT PROVIDING ALMS
TO BEGGARS IN
Quezon City government
passed the anti-
mendicancy law that
The Bible teaches charity
especially the poor who
really in need.
LEGAL BUT IMMORAL: THE CASE OF THE
LAW ON ADULTERY AND CONCUBINAGE
THE PHILIPPINE LAW ON ADULTERY AND CONCUBINAGE IS AN
EXAMPLE OF A LEGAL BUT IMMORAL LAW AS IT IS HIGHLY UNJUST
AGAINST WOMEN AND MANIFESTING A DOUBLE STANDARD ON
1. TWO NAMES BUT ONLY ONE CRIME: MARITAL INFIDELITY.
Adultery which sounds more serious because of the Biblical
connotation is applied for Filipino married women, while Concubinage
which sounds foreign to Filipino ears is applied to married men.
TYPE OF EVIDENCE NEEDED TO CONVICT
ADULTERY AND CONCUBINAGE
FOR ADULTERY: INDIRECT EVIDENCE CAN BE
SUFFICIENT (pictures showing intimate
moments, text messages, love letters, etc.
FOR CONCUBINAGE: DIRECT EVIDENCE ONLY & UNDER 3
CIRCUMSTANCES ONLY: 1. Cohabitation (living together like
husband and wife in a separate home )
2. Sexual intercourse in scandalous way
3. Bringing & sexual intercourse with the
mistress in conjugal home
PENALTY FOR ADULTERY IS HEAVIER THAN
IMPRISONMENT FOR ADULTERY:
PRISION CORRECTIONAL IN ITS MEDIUM TO MAXIMUM TERMS
IMPRISONMENT FOR CONCUBINAGE:
PRISION CORRECTIONAL IN ITS MINIMUM TO MEDIUM TERMS