View profile

Manolo Quezon is #TheExplainer Newsletter - Restoration Accomplished

Manuel L. Quezon III
Manuel L. Quezon III
My column suggested simply saying “next” or “future” president instead of “presumptive.” We don’t know who’s helping put together his coming Cabinet but we know it’s half technocrat, half politico. The future First Lady is, likely, key.
As it turned out, yesterday Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte were proclaimed president-elect and vice president-elect by Congress.

This week's The Long View
Future president | Inquirer Opinion
On mandates and expectations
The day began with some reflections on mandates, transitions but ended on a note I’d previously begun commenting on: that of a Restoration. Here’s my interview on ANC.
Historian: Marcoses can claim 'vindication' with majority poll win, but comes with bigger challenges
Historian: Marcoses can claim 'vindication' with majority poll win, but comes with bigger challenges
Scenes from a Restoration
Consumatum Est
Consumatum Est
So someone asked, after the Restoration Scene we witnessed in Congress, is there something about us Malays that brings about these restorations (upon news in Malaysia, Najib is making a comeback, and talk of nostalgia for Suharto in Indonesia).
My reply: I think it’s a human trait. Restorations have their own dynamics: one of them being, the restored dynasty often makes the fatal mistake of assuming their restoration is a sign of renewed love from the people that once ousted them. Often, it’s not.
Rather, it’s the outcome of stubbornly remaining in the game, so that when options are exhausted, they become useful in the political calculus for those who’d prefer the risk of a restoration, to the dangers of losing power if they don’t bring the deposed back to the table.
Restoration 3.0
[ANALYSIS] We have been down this road before: The dynamics of Restoration
Emotional quotients
In the Philippines, a dictator’s son won because illiberalism is popular - Vox
Here is the quick problem with interesting articles like the one above. The story prior to 2016 was actually the frustration of the illiberal to maintain their illiberal ways: hence swinging back and forth between populism and reform. 2016 broke the impasse, but why? Answer lies in emotion.
It was a seismic moment just as the liberal-democratic restoration accelerated after a previous seismic moment in 1983. When that emotional moment arrived, it justified all that would follow, including embracing the illiberal package deal because fundamentally packaged as heart.
It is the empathetic brutality that became the key because it replaced what was found to have been absent –the lack of empathetic heart in reform. This is what code words like “elitist” actually means because the brutalism that replaced it may be vulgar, but it is very proud.
That pride is lived out in reflected glory by the constituency that’ discovered something fundamentally missing from the divisions post-1986. The country lurched back to what has been its frustrated, because majoritarian, historical identity. Tasting that, it clings to it.
Nor is the brutalism new: afaik researchers discovered the poor among others already associated liquidations with local governance; when local governance was elevated to national governance, then what was already normal in the local became normalized nationally. The fundamentally hierarchical aspect of it was always exemplified by the President himself who was always touchy and resentful of anyone ignoring he belonged to the provincial barons: Marcosian in that sense of slighted petty nobility exacting vengeance on the metropolitan elite. Restorations in this sense, are reassertions of traditional values in the face of unsettling complexities of globalization and modernity, which risks creating a permanent underclass which craves the familiar comforts of patronage and static class structure where all know their place and roles.
The more I look at it from every angle the more two lenses remain durably sharp in understanding the dynamics of the past 30 and possibly next 30 years.
You can look at what I mean by measuring public satisfaction. Note where it plunged: in March 2015. It had remained in the cellar during the illberal Arroyo years.
It’s clearer if you just look at the numbers. The swinging between reform and populism and the fatal drop, after surviving all previous shocks (including self-inflicted ones) after 2015 and its replacement with a new consensus that sustained stratospheric approval.
I do believe the design of a system can have profound effects on political behavior: the law of unintended consequences is particularly evident here at home. Politics may be managed scientifically (polling to measure opinion, even social media manipulation to fool) and governance may be approached rationally, but it is fundamentally an emotional experience and it is the quest for the way to mobilize emotions once unleashed that preoccupies those who participate in politics. Therefore to understand it requires trying to identify the mood swings, basically.
Outtakes from a Restoration
The semiotics of power: accompanying the future Vice President is the former President-Speaker. Thus, 2/3 of the soon-to-be Ruling Coalition. The crouching Romualdez like his cousin knows he’s politically living on borrowed time. Perhaps reading too much despite their being elected as a tandem that Marcos and Duterte arrived separately. Put another way would have taken very little to underscore UniTeam by both symbolically arriving at the Batasan together.
Neil Arwin Mercado
Davao City mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte, arrives here at Batasan Pambansa. She is set to be proclaimed as the 15th vice president of the country. 📸: Lakas-CMD @inquirerdotnet https://t.co/U0OSPwdADP
Family dynamics. Semiotics of the future First Lady’s terno (we haven’t had someone formally play that role in 21 years!) it’s steel grey and the dots look like rivets. Literally, iron butterfly.
My favorite line from the movie “Anastasia” (1956). The dowager empress is told by a courtier as they see guests arriving: “Majesty, it’s like the good old days!” “Yes,” the old ex-empress replies, “I can smell the mothballs.”
Lian Buan
Imelda Marcos, who was never seen during the campaign of her son, joins him at the Batasang Pambansa for the proclamation. Imelda Marcos is appealing her conviction for 7 counts of graft. She is free on bail for humanitarian considerations out of old age.

📸 Bongbong Marcos IG https://t.co/hYDHiHovYa
Semiotics of New Society 2.0 the future First Lady takes the future President in hand and leads the way:
RadyoInquirerOn-Line
WATCH: Pagdating ni presumptive president @bongbongmarcos sa Batasang Pambansa para sa proclamation ceremony.

Sinalubong si Marcos Jr. ng mga pagbati at palakpakan.

🎥: Richard Garcia/Radyo Inquirer On-Line

#VotePH #OurVoteOurFuture https://t.co/KI7YiHfED9
In a previous era when Filipinos still appreciated satire you can imagine the parody news report writing itself: “The President-elect arrived at the Batasan… accompanied by Mr. Marcos.”
But seriously, the New Society 2.0 has all the warmth between the tandem of the Marcoses and the Lopezes in 65-69, complete with Inday Sara upstaging the future president by arriving in a chopper like a president. Meanwhile Madame Marcos arrived in an L300 like someone on parole.
RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News
Lakas CMD Video: Mayor Duterte with former Senator Marcos, Jr on standby at the Legislative Executive Lounge of Batasan Pambansa ahead of their Proclamation https://t.co/Bnmznv2QvJ
The other part of the semiotics of a proclamation is it’s usually a victory over the previous regime. For only the second time in our 5th republic, this is a continuity regime, yet the outgoing president overshadows the incoming one in being liked/adored.
Meanwhile on open mike time, the Senate Majority Leader is complemented on his hair dye.
A good observation, below. Authenticity matters and they are establishing themselves as apart from New Society 2.0, down to dressing-down.
These two represent 2/3 of the Ruling Coalition.
These two represent 2/3 of the Ruling Coalition.
The semiotics of power: If it were possible for Inday to look tougher, then she did it with the instant wardrobe change to polo barong.
And still, faithfully beside her, is ex-President-ex-Speaker Arroyo.
Quick Change
Quick Change
In one respect. the Marcos Restoration will be a relief to the political class, even as Inday serves as a reminder that the breather is only temporary: they are a known quantity, know the rules, are integrated into the national web.
Madame in full spraynet-splendor, helmet hair defying gravity: The ozone layer died a little today. She casts a shadow on the next first lady. Imagine what’s going on through her mind.
Acknowledging she who holds the balance of power:
ABS-CBN News
@bongbongmarcos @indaysara @_katrinadomingo Marcos asks for Arroyo's guidance ahead of proclamation as Philippines' 17th president https://t.co/I96YzTSHVF
Did you enjoy this issue? Yes No
Manuel L. Quezon III
Manuel L. Quezon III @mlq3

I'm a columnist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer; an Editor at large at Spot.ph; I write on history, politics and culture; and I write speeches and have worked in political communications; and I used to broadcast (which is where The Explainer comes from); I also set up and maintain the Philippine Diary Project; this is a newsletter to keep readers abreast of what I've written, am writing, and think about what's going on as well as a way to expand topics and conversations on all sorts of issues. Ideally, this will come thrice weekly:
1. Every Monday: Electoral-Merry-Go Round, on the Road to the 2022 Presidential Elections
2. Every Wednesday or Thurday: My column, "The Long View" along with additional material/thoughts on the topic.
3. Passion Project Weekends: reviews and recommendations books, movies, and other things; updates on The Philippine Diary Project and other things I find interesting. If my podcast comes out, this is when I'd promote it.

In order to unsubscribe, click here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Created with Revue by Twitter.