Twin Genre Mistakes about Philippine Constitutional Democracy

The conventional account of Philippine democracy’s founding and its written constitution both suffer from a genre mistake. In this account, the 1986 Revolution ushered back the freedoms lost during the Marcos dictatorship; hence the only freedoms restored in 1986 were the same ones that maintained the oppressive and corrupt rule of a narrow oligarchy which the dictatorship had temporarily displaced. I argue, based on a history 'from below', that the Philippine founding was not a mere democratic restoration, but was instead a democratic revolution: the protagonists of 1986 sought to usher in new individuals and groups onto public decisionmaking bodies which heretofore systematically excluded them. For this purpose they inscribed onto the 1987 Constitution a political infrastructure of democratic pluralism by giving individuals and groups various formal and informal channels for directly participating in policymaking.