Critical Criminology Meets The 2010 Philippine Elections

But the view that “a few good men”, under God, will cleanse the Republic is simply abstract hope. Particularly where there is no program of changes at the level of capitalist and landlord exploitation. Rather it is more likely that the conditions for corruption being unchanged, the phenomenon will continue, though it may take somewhat different forms ( as was clear in the new forms of electoral cheating and fraud which arose due to the introduction of technology).

Of course what is needed is a “critical” program of transition to a more just society in which Filipinos would have the opportunity to freely and comprehensively discuss the fundamental sources of moral and legal malaise, exploitation and repression which mar this beautiful and resource rich country. From such a peoples’ analysis could come answers to the problems of general corruption, poverty and social injustice. We are talking revolution.

Lacking revolutionary transformation in the short term, in an analysis submitted to the Peoples’ International Observers Mission by myself and Jacques Morial, it was proposed that instead of pathologizing corrupt perpetrators of electoral violations as positivist criminology would suggest, the new government should take steps to begin to deal with significant structural causes of corruption. Of course we did not call for a revolutionary transformation from capitalist society, no Philippine government would consider that idea seriously. But we indicated changes which would help to focus on serious structural problems in the country. I re-produce the substance of that paper:
“Problems of fraud and corruption and other electoral violations continue to plague the Philippine archipelago. These problems should be seen primarily as the result of social structures and processes which have historically favored the wealthy and powerful.

The electoral problems therefore should not be seen as resulting from individual, class or community pathologies.

We believe that the newly elected government must initiate social, political and economic policies which are designed to create a more just society, including a re-distribution of resources to:

1)areas which have historically been discriminated against (e.g. Mindanao, Cordillera);

2) groups which have historically remained in poverty (urban and rural poor);

3)peasants who have long sought meaningful land reform: now is the time for substantial land reform.

An initiative in support of this recommendation would be the establishment and funding of an independent Research Center for (1) the study of the effect upon the electoral process of major social structures and government policies; and (2) the development of effective policies and programs to empower stakeholders to directly address these challenges.”

Unless the public debate is shifted away from the positivist discussion of the surface causes of corruption and poverty, technological and other electoral violations, and is focused on the underlying causes of such phenomena arising from exploitative capitalism, the prospect of Filipinos abandoning “vote-and-hope” and instead acting for systemic change must be counted as not very likely. (

Share This Post