The late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. explained his idea of “democracy” during an open forum following his speech at the Wilshire Ebvell theater in Los Angeles, California on February 15, 1981.
His remarks on democracy were prompted by this question posed by the moderator:
According to the Boston Globe magazine you call yourself a Christian Socialist. Will Christian Socialism help poor Filipinos?
And Ninoy Aquino answered:
What do I mean by Christian Socialism? Very simply, Christian Socialism means to me, an equal opportunity for advancement and the full development of the human being.
This means that the poorest person in the land must be given the equal opportunity for education.
Not all men are created equal in their talents some are more brilliant than others. But we must give every citizen of the republic the equal right and equal opportunity to quality education, that’s number one.
Number two, the Christian socialist believes that the great legitimizer of government is the ballot not the bullet. And therefore because we believe in the ballot. We believe in a majority rule. So that if the majority should opt or should win in a contest then the minority should accept the majority mandate. But we put a colatilla – that the majority even if it wins must respect minority rights.
Number three, we do not believe in the exploitation of man by man. Meaning, we do not believe in unbridled capitalism where the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer. In a developed country like America you may have capitalism, but in a country like the Philippines with very meager resources and a developing economy, we must harness our meager economy and maximize their benefit. And therefore there should be centralized economic planning and the government must actually give us the direction so as to prevent any overlap.
Example, in the Philippines today because it is profitable to have condominiums, and profitable to have office buildings, all the millionaires in the Philippines are putting up all their money in office buildings and condominiums to the detriment of our industrial development. They go where the quick buck is.
I believe that we should go where the long range interest of the Filipino people is.
Finally I do not believe in the monopoly of basic industries. Why should one family monopolize one electric company in the Philippines? Or why should one family monopolize the ownership of one airline company in the Philippines? Or why should one company monopolize the telephone company in the Philippines? Since the government is funding all of these to begin with, these families are borrowing from government institutions and must depend on government guarantees, then I say let the government own them and let the people share in the profit.
Christian socialism therefore is nothing more than democracy.
Does this sound familiar?
Do you agree? What do you think?
Joey Rixom says
Even though I am not a Filipino, this is my home and as someone who is interested in understanding the culture and future of my home, it is a relief to read that there are/were Filipinos who were not only uncannily well educated and influential, but also had sincere and good intentions for his people. What does bother me though; that by making the statements above he probably created a lot of resentment, by using the word “Socialism” and suggesting that capitalism might not be suitable for the Philippines for example, he probably ended up on an FBI/CIA watch list and most likely became a “commie” in the eyes of many Americans.
More so, as the person above makes very clear, by using the word “Christian”, some might completely lose the plot. Not focusing on the contents of Ninoy’s statements nor his intentions in general for his people, regardless of religion. This person types a whole lot, but nothing of value regarding the subject at hand; instead focusing on the fact the he read the word “Christian”. A “ploy” for his campaign? Are you serious! This man gave his life, literally! for his people (not just the Christians), and you still doubt his intentions? An impressive feat of ignorance if you ask me… In the answer above Ninoy does not make any reference to religion, at all, how could you possibly make this about religion? Strange behavior IMHO…
I forgot to place in the intro – Ninoy Aquino’s use of “democratic socialism” was also quite politically calculated.
He was then known as “Amboy” – American Boy.
He needed to shake off that tag, too.
Personally, I find Ninoy Aquino a very fascinating study.
He was a lot like Marcos, but prison changed him in many ways. In other ways, he remained the same.
Thank you for your interest.
Rallie F. Cruz says
Dear Raissa and Joey,
When I said I have no doubt about Ninoy’s sincerity in his faith and in his dedication to the country, I am honest with it.
Agreeing with you on the usage of the Word Socialism at that time is tantamount to being branded as un-democratic with the word and I really found him very calculating with all his actions and words.
I have been one of his avid followers and from him I almost agreed with his campaign on the emancipating the masses by creating “Barrio Power” which the Marcos regime renamed as “Barangay Power” also with which I found the creation not a really great creation to empower the people but rather to make it as the weakest form of government which Marcos have taken advantage of.
Filipino election is largely dependent on the collective vote of several Christian group like Iglesia ni Kristo and El Shaddai and any candidate is rest assured of winning once this groups have announced who they favor most. What more if it is also supported by the Catholics. In this decade, Islamic votes also has the bearing. By this, you should know already why Ninoy did use the word Christian Socialism.
Rallie F. Cruz says
Let us not be so naive about Ninoy’s ploy of using Christian as the basis of his campaign.
I am not judging however his sincerity on the matter but purely knowing his intelligence and cunning personality, the country at that time of his speech is about 80% Catholic and 5% other Christians denominations with the rest as Islam, Buddhists and others.
We know that all religions in the world teaches what is right, good and just and no one religion holds the monopoly of the truth. The intelligent mind would never single out Christianity as the only source of good governance and Ninoy knew that too well.
However, using Christian principle in the Phillipines or in the United States of America where there are able Filipinos who could be behind his campaign to bring down tyranny will be a strong force to be reckoned with by the dictator.
His death was even made stronger by the comparative death of Jesus for what he stood for and Cory who was totally backed up Catholic Church, the other disgruntled Military and the non-Catholics who were just plainly had enough of atrocities from the Marcos regime.
Have you thought of using LiveFyre commenting system for your blog?
As for Aquino. The son certainly fell far from the tree.
Ninoy Aquino would be embarrassed with what has happened with his legacy. The country is worse than what he would have been able to achieve.
He may not have been able to stop the exploitation within his lifetime. He might have been able to minimise the corruption.
I’ll explore LiveFyre.
Don’t rule out the son Aquino just yet.
Most of the things happening right now have their roots in the administration of Aquino’s college economics professor, Gloria Arroyo.
Meanwhile, gotta go.
My editor wants me to write a first person account on – the day I met Khaddafy.
Should be fun. I did meet him in 1987.
Nanie Geronimo says
I agree with what he outlined. But the parameters then are different now. Technology application is already changing the equatIon. Access will be more democratized. Even government will be unable to control content exposure. Hence, political democracy will be unstoppd. On the economic side, equal opportunity also means the visionaries and thought leaders be given thE chance to propose development initiatives, from mining to infrastructure. RegulatiOn in a system that is free and fair maybe a contradiction. But so is Christian socialism. It is a leader, like Ninoy,who we need NOW!