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264. Bureau of Intelligence and Research Intelligence Note1

The Philippines Tries One-Man Democracy

While there is nearly universal acclaim in the Philippines for the abatement of crime and violence during the first five weeks of martial law, Filipinos are waiting to see whether President Marcos really intends to eliminate Communist dissidence and to fundamentally reform Philippine life. Marcos’ security measures so far appear aimed more at his own political opponents than at Communists, and his “reforms” have been little more than conventional bids for popular support which could have been initiated without martial law. The more radical part of Marcos’ reform program has so far been largely hortatory, and nothing he has yet done directly threatens the entrenched economic interests of the country’s oligarchy. What he clearly is doing is erecting a one-man constitutional regime which permits him to stay in office indefinitely, with almost unlimited powers, under a veneer of parliamentary democracy. Marcos wants to have a new constitution completed and approved by the country within about three months, which will enable him to control the government for several years without having to call elections if he finds it inexpedient to do so.

[Omitted here is discussion section of Marcos’ one-man rule.]

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 15 PHIL. Secret; No Foreign Dissem. Drafted by Analyst Edwin L. Barber and Director Paul M. Popple of INR’s Office of Research and Analysis for East Asia and Pacific on October 27.