Most Filipinos support strongman rule—survey

THE majority of the Filipinos remains satisfied with how democracy works in the country, the latest Pew Research Center report says, adding half of the  Filipinos it surveyed were supportive of strongman rule as an acceptable form of governance.

In its latest Spring 2017 survey conducted across 38 nations including the Philippines, some 69 percent of the Filipinos surveyed said they were satisfied with how democracy works in the country while 31 percent said they were not satisfied. 

And 36 of 38 countries who were asked the same question (excluding Turkey and Vietnam), a global median of 46 percent said they were very or somewhat satisfied with the way their democracy was working compared with 52 percent who were not too or not at all satisfied. 

Support for representative democracy, a democratic system where the representatives elected by citizens decide what becomes law, still remains high in the Philippines at 82 percent, with 32 percent saying it was a very good way of governing the country and 50 percent saying it was somewhat good. Another 16 percent of those surveyed said it was bad for the country. 

A global median of 78 percent backed governments by elected representatives.

The Philippines elects officials to occupy key posts in government including the President, the Vice President, members of both chambers of Congress and local government officials. 

The Filipinos surveyed also had a good view of having direct democracy in the country, with 67 percent saying it was good for the country and 29 percent saying it was bad. 

Despite the widespread support for representative democracy, commitment to  democracy among Filipinos remains shallow at 15 percent, with  67 percent saying they were less committed or supportive of at least one non-democratic form of government.

Twelve percent said that they do not support any form of democracy in the Philippines. 

Support to non-democratic forms of governance is highly evident, with half of the Filipinos surveyed or 50 percent expressing support for autocracy, with strong leaders making decisions without interference from parliament or the courts. Some 16 percent said it would be a very good way to govern the country and 34 percent said it was somewhat good. 

Another 47 percent said it was a bad way of governing the country (26 percent somewhat bad; 21 percent very bad). 

Unconstrained executive power remains popular in the country after some executives extended or consolidated their power in recent years, such as the Philippines, Russia and Turkey, the opinion polling firm noted. 

Ferdinand Marcos, who was chief executive for 21 years from 1965 to 1986, ruled as a dictator under martial law from 1972 until 1981 and his regime was marked by corruption, extravagance and allegations of countless human rights violations. 

Recently, President Rodrigo Duterte, whom the opposition accused of paving the way for another dictatorship, threatened to declare a “revolutionary government” instead of martial law, with the view of eliminating the need for him to report to Congress.

Support for military rule remains lukewarm for most of those surveyed, with 56 percent saying it would be bad for the country while 41 percent said  it would be good to have military leaders leading the government. 

Among those supportive of military rule, the less educated in the country (47 percent) see more value in a government run by generals and admirals while 37 percent of those with more education agreed. 

Topics: Filipinos , Pew Research Center report , Democracy , Strongman rule
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.