Criminal Law Outline Articles 1-11 part 1

Criminal Law

Article 1: Time when Act takes effect

History: October 18 1927 the AO 94 of the DOJ tasked the commission to revise the old penal code.

The old penal code took effect on July 14, 1887 until December 31, 1931. It was published on March 13 and 14 1887 in the Official Gazette and took effect 4 months later after publication.

Revised Penal Code was approved on December 8, 1930 and took effect on January 1, 1932. Felonies prior to the January 1, 1932 will be punished by the code enforced at the time of commission, Art 366 of RPC.

Theories in Criminal law:

  1. Classical Theory- basis for criminal liability is free will and punishment’s purpose is retribution.
  2. Positivist Theory-

Article 2: Principle of Territoriality of the RPC

The RPC shall take effect within the Philippine archipelago and also outside of its jurisdiction in certain cases (even if the crime has been committed in a foreign country as long as such acts affect the political and economic life of the nation).

Cases outside the territory:

  1. Any Philippine ship or Airship that is duly registered in the Philippine Bureau of Customs. Crimes committed in these ships in the high seas, shall be tried under the RPC, but if these ships happen to be in a foreign territory, crimes committed shall be tried in the foreign country.
  2. Forging or counterfeiting of coins or currency note of the Philippines and Introducing such to the country.
  3. When the offender is a public officer or employee should commit any offenses (in Page 26) abroad shall be tried and prosecuted here.
  4. Crimes that are against the national security and the laws of nations: treason, conspiracy to commit treason, espionage, flight to enemy’s country, piracy and mutiny on the high seas, etc.

RTC (Regional Trial Court) has jurisdiction over al crimes committed on the high seas.


  1. Except as provided in the treaties and laws of preferential application.

e.g RP-US Visiting Forces Accord, The Military Bases Agreement between the RP and the US, and RA No. 75.

  1. Crimes committed aboard a foreign merchant ship or airship on the high seas is not triable in our courts. This is so because our merchant ships are considered as an extension of our territory, so as the foreign merchant ships.
  2. Continuing Crimes: US vs Bull.
  3. Crimes committed on a Foreign Merchant Vessel while on the Philippine waters are triable in our courts: US vs Bull.

Two Rules as to jurisdiction over crimes committed in foreign ships:

French Rule: Such crimes are not triable in the courts of that country unless their commission affects the peace and security of the territory or the safety of the state is endangered.

English Rule: Such crimes are triable in that country, unless they merely affect things within the vessel or they refer to the internal management thereof.

PP. vs Wong Cheng (Smoking of opium aboard a foreign merchant ship within the Philippine territory constitutes a felony against the RPC)

US vs Look Chaw (Mere possession of opium doesn’t constitute a felony or breach of public order thus it is not triable in our courts. However, if such opiums are landed from the vessel unto the Philippine ports/soil, this shall constitute an open violation against the laws of the Phils.)


US vs Ah Sing (If the ship is not in transit and Philippines is its port of destination, the mere possession of opium on board the vessel is liable because he may be held guilty of illegal importation of opium.)


1. Philippine courts have no jurisdiction over offenses committed on board of foreign warships even within the Phil. Territory.

Merchant Ships vs Warships

-Merchant ships are subjected to territorial laws.

-Warships are always reputed to be the territory of the country to which it belongs.

2. RA No. 9372 Human Security Act of 2007 (passed on March 6 2007) has extra-territorial application.


Article 3: Felonies.


  1. Acts or Omissions that are punishable under the RPC. (Acts should be external; and should constitute a felony under the RPC WHILE Omissions should include inaction.)
  2. Act or omission is incurred by means of dolo or culpa. PP vs Gonzales (Tenants: Gonzales spouses murdered their landlord.)

If no law punishes an omission, then the omission is not a felony. P. 35 PP vs Silvestre and Atienza (Mere passive presence at the scene of another’s crime, mere silence and failure to give the alarm, without evidence of agreement or conspiracy, is not punishable.)

Nullum crimen, nulla poena sine lege: No crime when there’s no law punishing it.


  1. Intentional Felonies (with malice by means of deceit or dolo)
  2. Culpable Felonies (without malice by means of fault or culpa)

Imprudence: deficiency of action; lack of skill

Negligence: deficiency of perception; lack of foresight. The reason for punishing acts of negligence is to protect his own person, rights and property, and those of his fellow beings to keep them from being exposed to all manner of danger and injury.

Voluntariness of the action: (Classical School of Thought: Felonies are done with free will) All felonies whether by means of dolo or culpa should be performed voluntarily by the felon. PP vs Ramirez (When the hunter thought his companion was a deer and shot him dead, the act was performed voluntarily but without malice; thus, the accused was guilty of Homicide through reckless imprudence.)

++When there is compulsion or prevention by force or intimidation, there is no voluntariness in the act.

Requisites of Dolo or Malice:

  1. Freedom: no compulsion Art 12 (5-6)
  2. Intelligence: Insane, infants 9 years under, minor 10-14 yrs. old are acting without discernment and intelligence.
  3. Intent: Purely a mental process, is presumed and the presumption arises from the commission of the unlawful act. PP vs Sia Teb Ban (Accused took the watch and alleged as defense that intent was not proven. From the felony committed freely and deliberately, intent to gain was presumed indisputable and conclusively.)

++However, the presumption of criminal intent does not arise from the proof of the commission of an act which is not unlawful. US vs Catolico (The act of a person does not make him a criminal, unless his mind be criminal.)

PP vs Taneo (A person who got up in his sleep, left the room with bolo in his hand and attacked the wife who stopped him is not criminally liable because he acted in a dream, and had no criminal intent.)

Mistake of Fact: a misapprehension of fact on the part of the person who caused injury to another. PP vs Oanis

Requisites of Mistake of Fact as a defense:

  1. Act done would have been lawful had the facts been as the accused believed them to be.
  2. Intention of the accused in performing the act should be lawful.
  3. Mistake must be without fault or carelessness on the part of the accused.

PP vs Formaran (When the defendant swore to Civil Service Form No. 1 that he was never accused of a violation of any law before any court was prosecuted for perjury. It was held that in view of the factual background of the case, the act of the defendant can be considered only as an error of judgment and did not indicate an intention to commit the crime of perjury. Thus he is not liable criminally for perjury because he had no intent to commit the crime. P. 45)

US vs Ah Chong and PP vs Oanis

In Ah Chong case, there is an innocent mistake of fact without any fault or carelessness on the part of the accused because the accused had not time to make sure who the person behind the door was and he had to act immediately.

In the Oanis case, there was no circumstance that would press the accused to act immediately since the victim was sleeping. The accused had all the time and opportunity to assure the identity of the victim. Thus, the act of killing the victim was done with carelessness.

++Lack of intent to kill the deceased because he intended on killing another does not relieve the accused from the criminal liability. PP vs Gona

++No crime of resistance when there is a mistake of fact. US vs Bautista (One who resists an arrest thinking that the officer was a bandit but then submits upon being informed by the police officer cannot be guilty of crime of resistance.)

++Mistake of fact has to be done without negligence. PP vs Fernando p. 49

When charged with an intentional felony, absence of criminal intent can be a defense. PP vs Pacana p. 50

Requisites for Culpa:

  1. Freedom
  2. Intelligence
  3. Imprudence and Negligence or Lacks Foresight or Skill.

Mistake in the identity of the intended victim is not reckless imprudence.

A person causing damage or injury to another, without malice or fault, is not criminally liable under the RPC. US vs Catangay. Provided that the act must be lawful

Special Penal Laws

Dolo or malice is not required in crimes punished by special laws. It is enough that the prohibited act is done freely and consciously. PP vs Bayona (Carrying firearms within the polling station during elections are prohibited by special laws. Although, intentions were not criminal in nature, it is enough that the prohibited act was violated. However, if a man doesn’t have the intent to perpetrate the act prohibited, he does not violate the provision of the law. P 54

Good faith and absence of criminal intent are not valid defences in crimes punished by special laws.


Mala in se: wrongful from their nature (e.g. rape, theft, homicide, etc.) The intent governs in Mala in se

Mala prohibita: wrong merely because prohibited by statute (e.g. illegal possession of firearms) The inquiry is, has the law been violated?

Intent: the purpose to use a particular means to effect such result

Motive: is the moving power which impels one to action for a definite result. Motive does not prevent an act from being a crime. (e.g. Euthanasia)

When is motive relevant?

  1. The identity of the accused is disputed.
  2. There are 2 antagonistic versions of the killing.
  3. No eyewitnesses to the crime and there are several suspects.
  4. Where evidence is circumstantial. PP vs Oquino.

Motive is proved by evidence, but proof of motive alone is not sufficient to support a conviction. Lack of motive may be an aid in showing the innocence of the accused.


Article 4: Criminal Liability

Criminal Liability is incurred by a person committing a felony although the wrongful act done be different from what he intended and a person performing an act which would be an offense against persons or property.

**One who commits an intentional felony is responsible for all the consequences which may naturally and logically result therefrom, whether foreseen or intended or not. PP vs Cagoco (The deceased died because he fell from a slope due to a fist blow at the back of his head. Obviously, when one commits a felony, he intends the consequences of his act. But some in instances the felon doesn’t intend the consequences.)

He who is the cause of the cause is the cause of the evil caused.

++When a person has not committed a felony, he is not criminally liable for the result which is not intended. PP vs Bindoy (When one’s bolo has been snatched and in efforts of keeping his possession of the bolo, struck the breast of a bystander is not criminally liable because law allows a person to use the necessary force to retain what belongs to him.)

Actually the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended.” The causes are:

  1. If there’s mistake in the identity of the victim PP vs Oanis;
  2. Mistake in the blow, another person got hit instead of the intended victim PP vs Mabugat;
  3. Act exceeds the intent, i.e. the injurious result is greater than that intended PP vs Cagoco.

The felonious act should be committed.


  1. attempting to commit suicide;
  2. Self defense; Defense of Relative, stranger.

++Any person who creates in another’s mind an immediate sense of danger, which causes the latter to do something resulting in the latter’s injuries, is liable for the resulting injuries.

++Wrong done must be the direct, natural and logial consequence of felonious act:

  1. The victim was threatened or chased with a knife, jumped into the water and drowned;
  2. PP vs Quianson (when the victim removed the drainage from the wound because of extreme pain and restlessness which then resulted in the development of peritonitis which caused his death, the accused will be liable.)
  3. Even though the cause of death was the erroneous or unskilful medical or surgical treatment, the accused who incurred the mortal wound would still be liable. PP vs Moldes.
  4. The Victim was suffering from internal malady:
    1. a.      Blow was efficient cause of death
    2. b.      Blow accelerated death
    3. c.       Blow was proximate cause of death
    4. The offended party refused to submit to surgical operation. US vs Marasigan (When the accused drew a knife and struck Mendoza but instead, cut the middle finger of Mendoza.)P 74
    5. The resulting injury was aggravated by infection.

PROXIMATE CAUSE: is that cause,which, in naturaland continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result would not have occurred. Bataclan vs Medina (When the passengers in an overturned bus died out of fire simply because the rescuing villagers’ torches caught fire with the gasoline leak, the driver and the bus company shall be held liable because their negligence was considered as the proximate cause.)

++There must be a relation of “cause and effect” the cause be a felony and the effect be an injury.

++To determine the Proximate Cause in the case of Bataclan vs Medina; Is it the negligence of the driver resulting in the fall into the canal and overturning of the bus; or the fire that burned the bus?

*The PC was the overturning of the bus, because when the vehicle turned not only on its side but completely on its back, the leaking of the gasoline from the tank was not unnatural or unexpected; that the coming of the men with a lighted torch was in response to the call for help made not only by the passengers, but most probably, by the driver and the conductor themselves, and since it was dark, rescuers had to bring with them torches and this was more natural that rescuers would innocently approach the overturned bus to extend aid and help.

NB: The gravity of the crime doesn’t depend on the more or less violent means used, but on the result and consequence of the same and if the accused had not ill-treated the deceased she would not have died. PP vs Luces

Page 78-79 (Not efficient intervening causes)

Death of the victim is presumed to be the natural consequence of the physical injuries inflicted if:

  1. The victim before the injury, was in normal health.
  2. Death may be expected from the phys. Injury
  3. Death ensued within reasonable time.

PP vs Tammang (The teacher who spanked the kid harshly having been confirmed that the kid was in normal health condition before the incident and then died 3 days after the brutal incident, it can be incurred that the teacher is liable for homicide.)

Distinguishing Cagoco and Rockwell cases:

In the former case, there was no active force that intervened between the felonious act and the result. In the Rockwell case, there was an active force (the jumping of the horse upon the deceased) which produced the result.


  1. a.      US vs delos Santos (When there’s slight physical injuries inflicted upon B and then he deliberately immerses his body in a contaminated cesspool, thereby causing infections, A cannot be held liable for the crime of serious physical injuries.)
  2. b.      PP vs Palalon (When A struck the boy in the mouth and then later the boy died. The death could have been caused by other factors such as fever prevalent in the locality.)
  3. c.       US vs Embate page 81-82
  4. d.      Urbano vs IAC (Tetanus was distinctly held possible by the medical findings as an efficient intervening cause of the the death.)



  1. The act performed would be an offense against persons and property.
  2. The act was done with evil intent.
  3. Its accomplishment is inherently impossible; or the means employed is either inadequate or ineffectual.
  4. The act should not constitute a violation of another provision of the RPC.

Example cases: PP vs Balmores (When one tries to murder a corpse)

Why punish impossible crimes? to suppress criminal propensity or criminal tendencies. Objectively, the offender has not committed a felony, but subjectively, he is a criminal.


Article 5: Duty of the court in: (1) connection with acts which should be repressed but which are not covered by the law, and (2) in cases of excessive penalties.

Requisites of (1):

  1. The act is not punishable by the law*;
  2. The court deems it proper to repress such act;
  3. The court must render** the proper decision by dismissing the case and acquitting the accused;
  4. The judge must report to the Chief Executive through the DOJ, stating the reasons which induce him to believe that the said act should be made the subject of penal legislation.

*There is no crime if there is no law that punishes it.

**DURA LEX SED LEX (The law is the law even if it is harsh.)

Requisites of (2):

  1. The court after trial finds accused guilty;
  2. Penalty provided by law and which the court imposes for the crime committed appears to be clearly excessive because—
    1. The accused acted with lesser degree of malice PP vs Monleon, and/or;
    2. There is no injury or the injury caused is lesser gravity.
    3. The court should not suspend the execution of the sentence;
    4. The judge should submit a statement to the Chief Executive through the DOJ, recommending executive clemency.

PP vs Monleon (where the husband did not intend to kill his wife but on the process of maltreatment, the wife died)

Executive Clemency:

  1. recommended for the wife who killed her cruel husband Montemayor, J. concurring in PP vs Canja
  2. PP vs Manlapaz


Article 6: Stages of Execution

  1. ATTEMPTED FELONY: when the offender commences the commission of felony directly by overt acts, and doesn’t perform ALL the acts of execution which should produce the felony by reason of some cause or accident OTHER THAN his own spontaneous desistance.

Two Stages:

  1. a.      Internal Acts – mere ideas; not punishable
  2. b.      External Actsf – cover (a) preparatory acts* and (b) acts of execution.**

*Preparatory Acts are not punishable except: mere possession of picklocks under Art. 304 are preparatory acts to robbery.

**Acts of Execution are punishable.


++The external acts must be related or must have direct connection to the overt acts of the crime the offender intended to commit. PP vs Lamahang (The accused was seen attempting to get inside a closed chinese store by entering his leg into the small hole he created on the wall. He was then charged with attempted Robbery but the court ruled that he be charged only with attempted trespassing because the intentions of entering was obviously disclosed by his actions of making an opening through the wall)

++PP vs Lizada (The SC of Spain, in its decision of March 21, 1892, declared that for overt acts to constitute an attempted offense, it is necessary that their objective be known and established or such that acts be of such nature that they themselves should obviously disclose the criminal objective necessarily intended, said objective and finality to serve as ground for designation of the offense.)

++PP vs Eduave (If anything yet remained for him to do, he would be guilty of an attempted crime.)

NB: It is a sort of reward granted by law to those who, having one foot on the verge of crime, heed the call of their conscience and return to the path of righteousness. (Viada, Cod. Pen., 35-36)

SUBJECTIVE PHASE: In attempted felony, the felon never passes this phase. The part where the offender still have control as to whether or not to stop or dissent from performing all the acts needed for the commission of a felony. (e.g. poisoned soup put in the mouth of the victim, not yet swallowed)

  1. FRUSTRATED FELONY: when the offender performs ALL the acts of execution which should produce the felony as a consequence but which, do not produce it by reason of causes independent of the will of the perpetrator.

The felon performed all the acts needed and thought that he had killed or achieved the felony intended, but the victim did not die. (e.g. in a murder or homicide case) US vs Eduave (When the felon thought he had killed and threw the body into the bushes. He then declared that he killed the complainant but death was not resulted; thus, the accused is guilty only of Frustrated Murder.)

PP vs Sy Pio (When the accused enter a store, fired at the owner, and when asked by Kiap why he fired, he shot Kiap in the right shoulder; Kiap run and hid himself. For shooting Kiap, the accused was charged with frustrated murder but the court held that he was only guilty of attempted murder since the accused did not perform all the acts needed.)

PP vs Dagman (When there was use of deadly weapons and mortal wounds were inflicted; and the accused thought the victim was dead simply because the victim feigned death to survive the felonious attack, the accused was guilty with Frustrated Murder.)

++ It could be a frustrated felony if the wound inflicted was mortal. P. 108

++ If the crime or felony is not produced because of the timely intervention of a third person, it is frustrated.

Is there frustration due to inadequate or ineffectual means? –Such frustration is placed on equal footing with an impossible attempt. J

  1. CONSUMMATED FELONY: when all the elements necessary for its execution and accomplishment are present.

Every crime has its own elements.

  1. In murder and homicide, the victim must die for the felony to be consummated.
  2. In theft, without the intent to gain, theft is not consummated.
  3. In estafa, deceit or abuse of confidence must be proved, otherwise there shall be no felony—only civil liability.
  4. In robbery with violence against persons, if the element of intent to gain is not proved, the accused can be found guilty of grave coercion, another felony.
  5. For forcible abduction, element of lewd designs should be proved, otherwise the accused may be held liable for kidnapping and serious illegal detention, another felony.

How to determine whether the crime is only attempted, frustrated of consummated?

  1. A.      Nature of the Crime

++Arson: it is not necessary that the property is totally destroyed by fire. It is consummated even if only a portion of the wall or any other part of the house is burned. The consummation of the crime of arson does not depend upon the extent of the damage caused. PP vs Hernandez. However, if rags soaked with kerosene oil were placed near the wooden partition of the house but were not lit, shall only be frustrated arson. US vs Valdes (read this case) p 113

  1. B.      Elements of the Felony

***refer to the previous notes above J

There is no Frustrated Theft. US vs Adiao and Valenzuela vs PP. (Former case: Actual taking with intent to gain of personal property, belonging to another, without consent constitute, is sufficient to constitute consummated theft. It is not necessary that the offender carries away or appropriates the property taken.)

+++The cases above repealed the rulings in Dino and Espiritu cases.

Difference between the cases: In the Espiritu case, it was held that the crime of theft was consummated because the thieves were able to take or get hold of the hospital linen, although they were not able to get the benefit of such linen.

In the Dino case, the crime was held to be frustrated because the fact determinative of consummation is the ability to dispose freely of the articles stolen.

  1. C.      Manner in Committing the same

1. Formal Crimes: Consummated in one instant, no attempt. (e.g. slander, false testimony, and sale of marijuana and other prohibited drugs-PP vs Marcos)

2. Crimes consummated by mere attempt or proposal or by overt acts: (a) Flight to enemy’s country (b)Corruption of Minors.

3. Felony by omission.

4. Crimes requiring the intervention of two persons to commit them are consummated by mere agreement:

5. Material Crimes: There are three stages of Execution. (e.g. Consummated, Frustrated, Attempted RAPE; Consummated Homicide, Frustrated Murder, Attempted HOMICIDE.)

NB: There is no attempted or frustrated stage for impossible crimes because in impossible crimes, the offender already performed all the acts of execution however it did not produce the desired result because of inherently impossibility and inadequate or ineffectual means employed.


Article 7: Light Felonies

Light Felonies are those which penalties are arresto menor (imprisonment from 1-30 days) or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos, or both. Art 9, par 3. (STAMI)

  1. Slight physical injuries
  2. Theft
  3. Alteration of boundary marks
  4. Malicious mischief
  5. Intriguing against honor

Light felonies are punishable only if consummated. EXCEPTION: if the committed against persons or property, they are punishable even if attempted or frustrated.


Article 8: Conspiracy and proposal to commit felony

*Mere conspiracy or proposal is not a felony since such acts are mere preparatory acts. EXCEPT when the law specifically provides for its punishment (e.g. Treason, coup d’etat, rebellion, insurrection, and sedition); the offenders of such felonies need not to perform the act, mere conspiracy is sufficient.

The act of one is the act of all: Conspiracy as a manner incurring criminal liability, not as a felony itself. The degree of involvement or participation doesn’t matter.

Theory of Absorption: Incurring criminal liability through conspiracy absorbs the felony of conspiracy. (e.g. When a group of people conspires to rebel against the government—thus constituting conspiracy as a felony—did actually rose and rebel, they will no longer be charged with conspiracy as a felony but with rebellion itself.)

PP vs Lopez (The evidence shows that they cooperated in a common design to kill Chu. Regalado initiated the killing when he stabbed Chu on the chest, and the two other appellants joined Regalado in chasing Chu, with Regalado hitting Chu with firewood along the way.  Then, when the three of them had cornered Chu, Aragon boxed and kicked Chu, enabling Lopez to stab him several times. These indicate a conspiracy.)

Quidet vs PP (For failure of the prosecution to prove conspiracy beyond reasonable doubt, petitioner’s liability is separate and individual. Considering that it was duly established that petitioner boxed Jimmy and Andrew and absent proof of the extent of the injuries sustained by the latter from these acts, petitioner should only be made liable for two counts of slight physical injuries.)


  1. Their acts are aimed at the same object (unity of purpose)
  2. Their acts, though apparently independent and different from each other, were in fact concerted and cooperative, indicating closeness of personal association. (unity of execution)

PP vs Muit; PP vs Malibiran

NB: Direct proof is not essential to establish conspiracy, and may be inferred from the collective acts of the accused.


  1. That a person has decided to commit a felony;
  2. That he proposes its execution to some other person or persons.

++ It is not necessary that the person to whom the proposal is made agrees to commit treason or rebellion. What constitutes the felony of proposal to commit treason or rebellion is the making of the proposal.

++ Proposal can be punishable if the it is an overt act of the crime of corruption of public officer. (e.g. One tries to offer money to a public officer to induce him not to perform his duties, but the offer wasn’t accepted by the officer, is liable for attempted bribery.)

Reason why Conspiracy and proposal is punishable: In ordinary crimes, the state survives the victim, and the culprit cannot find in the success of his work any impunity. Whereas, in crimes against the external and internal security of the State, if the culprit succeeds, he would obtain the power and therefore impunity for the crime committed.


Article 9: Classification of Felonies according to their gravity

Heirarch/Order of Punishments


-Reclusion perpetua (indivisible)

– Reclusion temporal (divisible)

-Perpetual of temporary absolute disqualification

-Perpetual of temporary special disqualification

-Prision Mayor (divisible)

-Prision Correccional (divisible)

-Arresto Mayor (divisible)



-Arresto Menor


NB: Divisibility of punishments: Maximum, Medium, Minimum.



Artice 10: Offenses not subject to the provisions of this code


First Clause: The RPC is not intended to supersede special penal laws.

Second Clause: The RPC is supplementary to special laws, unless the special law provides otherwise.

  1. Special Laws: are penal laws punishing acts not defined and penalized in the RPC.
  2. Supplementary: The provisions of the RPC shall only provide what is lacking in the special laws.


Article 11: Justifying Circumstances (Part 1)

I – Self-Defense

There is no crime committed, the act being justified, if there is self-defense. Self-defense must be proved with certainty by sufficient, satisfactory and convincing (SSC) evidence that the following are present:

  1. Unlawful aggression (indispensible requisite);
  2. Reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel the aggression; and
  3. Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself.

Burden of Proof is shifted to the party invoking self-defense. This means, that the accused is partially admitting the commission of the felony but alleges to have acted only through self-defense. Failure to prove such allegations (self-defense) will provide venues for conviction of the felony or crime.

Self-defense: defense of the person or body and his rights. It is deemed lawful and justifiable since it is man’s natural instinct to protect, repel, and save his person or rights from impending danger or peril; it is based on the impulse of self-preservation born to man and part of his nature as a human being.

Since it is impossible for the state to protect its citizens all the time and avoid present unjust aggression, self-defense is lawful.

Lawful aggression:

  1. Fulfilment of a duty; or
  2. Exercise of a right.

PP vs Gayrama (The act of a chief of police to use violence by throwing stones at the accused when the latter was running away from him to elude arrest for a crime committed in his presence, is not unlawful aggression, it appearing that the purpose of the peace officer was to capture the accused and place him under arrest.)

US vs Merced (The deceased entered the room where the accused and the wife of the deceased were lying, and assaulted the accused with the bolo he was carrying. The assault was natural and lawful, for the reason that it was made by a deceived and offended husband in order to defend his honor and rights by punishing the offender of his honor, and if he killed his wife and the paramour, he would have exercised a lawful right and such acts would have fallen within the sanction of Article 423 (now Art. 247) of the RPC.)


The threat or assault must be immediate and imminent kind. PP vs Alconga (There is unlawful aggression when the peril to one’s life, limb or right is either actual or imminent.)

  1. Actual Physical: attack has actually broken our or materialized and present. Thus, mere oral threats, threatening stance or postures, and intimidations are not unlawful aggressions.

US vs Jose Laurel (Laurel kissed Castillo’s girlfriend. Days after the incident, Castillo invited Laurel to fight wherein Castillo used a cane against Laurel. Laurel, on his defense used a pocket knife, thus employed reasonable means to prevent or repel the attack)

  1. Threat: must be offensive and positively strong, showing the wrongful intent to cause an injury. There is a peril to one’s limb. US vs Guysaco. (The wife became suspicious of her husband and went to the barrio where his husband was and upon reaching the house, the wife entered the house and saw her husband with another woman (owner of the house) and with jealousy, attacked the woman and killed her. There was no threat or actual aggression from the owner of the house, thus self-defense could not be invoked.)

Collinares and Concillado cases

Baxinela vs PP

What constitutes unlawful aggression?

  1. Slapping on the face constitutes unlawful aggression since the face represents a person’s dignity. PP vs Sabio
  2. A strong retaliation for an injury or threat may amount to an unlawful aggression. In this case, the assaulted became the offender and that there is no self-defense.

What doesn’t constitute unlawful aggression?

  1. Mere belief of an impending attack is not sufficient, neither is an intimidating or threatening attitude. (e.g. mere push or shove not followed by any other acts)
  2. Foot-kick greeting

++Retaliation is different from self-defense. In retaliation, the aggression that was begun by the injured party already ceased to exist when the accused attacked him. In self-defense, the aggression was still existing when the aggressor was injured or disabled by the person making a defense.

++The attack made by the deceased and the killing of the deceased by defendant should succeed each other without appreciable interval of time. US vs Ferrer (If the witness was on the spot at the precise moment when the deceased attacked the defendant, and the latter fired the revolver for the express purpose of preventing the assault, as is alleged by the defense, it would be natural and logical that the said witness would likewise have witnessed the firing of the revolver, because both acts must have been simultaneous or at least must have succeeded each other without appreciable interval of time.)

++The unlawful aggression must come from the person who was attacked by the accused.

++A public officer exceeding his authority may become an unlawful aggressor.

++Natured, character, location, and extent of wound of the accused allegedly inflicted by the injured party may belie claim of self-defense.

++Improbability of the deceased being the aggressor would belie the claim of self-defense. (e.g. an old man was alleged to have assaulted a 24-year-old accused would be unlikely to have.)

++When the accused did not give a statement to the policeman after he surrendered would be inconsistent with the plea of self-defense.

++When the aggressor flees, the unlawful aggression no longer exists. Thus, chasing and killing the aggressor doesn’t warrant self-defense.

PP vs Alconga  (Black jack players cheating on each other and upon discovering that he was being cheated on, the deceased and the accused came to blows. The deceased delivered failed blows to the accused and the latter crawled firing his revolver at the deceased. The deceased with his dagger and the accused with his bolo fought and after having wounds, the deceased ran away but the accused followed him and another fight took place and then the accused killed the deceased.)

++However, if it is clear that the aggressor seems to be retreating in order to take more advantageous position, the unlawful aggression did not cease to exist, but rather it continues on.

There is no unlawful aggression in the ff:

  1. In concerted fights;
  2. When there is an agreement to fight; and
  3. The challenge to the fight must be accepted.

++Aggression which occurred ahead of the agreed time and place (of the fight) is considered unlawful.

++One who voluntarily joined the fight cannot claim self-defense.

Stand ground, when in right: where the accused is where he has the rright to be, the law doesn’t require him to retreat when his assailant is rapidly advancing upon him wfith a deadly weapon. US vs Domen

Unlawful aggression in defense of other rights:

  1. Attempt to rape a woman: defense of right to chastity; PP vs dela Cruz (embracing a woman, touching her private parts and throwing her to the ground for the purpose of raping her in an inhabited place is an unlawful aggression); PP vs Jaurigue (Placing of hand of a man on the woman’s upper thigh is unlawful aggression.)
  2. Defense of Property PP vs Apolinar (A landowner saw a man carrying something and thought that the man stole his palay, shot the man dead. Defense of property is not of much importance as right to life, and defense of property can be invoked as a justifying circumstance ONLY when it is coupled with an attack on the person of one entrusted with said property.)
  3.  Defense of Home

In the case of dela Cruz the stabbing of the rapist using a pocket knife by the woman (victim) was deemed of reasonable necessity. In the case of Juarigue, the claim of self-defense was deemed incomplete and the means used was of no reasonable necessity, and thus, excessive.

 ++The belief of the accused may be considered in determining the existence of unlawful aggression. (e.g. A intimidates B with a pistol, B, thinking that the gun was loaded stabbed A which caused the latter’s death. It turned out that the pistol used by B was only loaded with powder and his intention was only to intimidate B)

The doctrine that require a man being attacked to ascertain whether the pistol was real or not defeats the very purpose of self-defense.

++Even if the aggressor used a toy pistol, provided the accused thought it to be real would still constitute unlawful aggression.


The law protects the one who repels an actual aggression and also the one who prevents an expected or imminent aggression since the person attacked is not duty-bound to expose himself to be wounded or killed.

However, the means employed, SHOULD be reasonable.

Reasonableness depends on the circumstance. The accused is not expected to be capacitated of thinking rationally at the hype of an aggression, thus if killing the aggressor would result, it is justifiable.

No Reasonable Necessity:

  1. When the aggressor is unarmed;
  2. When the aggressor ran away PP vs Alconga
  3. c.       PP vs Rivera (killing the person who attempted to burn your house with your two kids were before you managed to get them out alive and safe, would be unreasonable.)

The person defending is not expected to control his blow.

  1. US vs Macasaet (a person defending is not in the position to think and reflect coolly or to wait after each blow to determine the effects thereof.)
  2. US vs Mack (If it was necessary for the accused to use his revolver, he could hardly, under the circumstances, be expected to take deliberate and careful aims so as to strike a point less vulnerable than the body of his assailant.)

++In repelling or preventing an unlawful aggression, the one defending must aim at his assailant, and not indiscriminately fire his deadly weapon. (Galacgac case where he was attacked by Pablo Soriano and his head was struck with iron bar causing blood to ooze over his eyes and he fired his weapon randomly.)

NB: The means used to repel or prevent the unlawful aggression must be of equal measures and capacity with the means used by the aggressor. (e.g. Fist for fist, pistol for pistol, dagger for daggers, etc.) However, in some instances wherein means are not freely laid out in front for him to choose, such use of means would be deemed reasonable.
 PP vs Lara (read later)

++ Perfect equality between the weapon used by the one defending himself and that of the aggressor is not required because the person assaulted does not have sufficient tranqulity of mind to think to calculate and to choose which weapon to use. PP vs Padua

++What the law requires is rational equivalence in the consideration of which will enter as principal factors the emergency, the imminent danger to which the person attacked is exposed, and the instinct, more than reason, that moves or impels the defense, and the proportionateness thereof does not depend upon the harm done, but rests upon the imminent danger of such injury.

++Use of bayonet against a cane is not reasonable since bayonet could have been sufficient to ward off the blows of the aggressor.

Other Important notes:

  1. Reasonable necessity of means employed to prevent or repel unlawful aggression to be liberally construed in favour of law-abiding citizens, otherwise, the law-abiding shall be at the mercy of the lawless elements.
  2. When one is peace officer, he is required to overcome his opponent since a police officer is not required to afford a person attacking him, the opportunity for a fair and equal struggle.
  3. If the one defending is a private individual, he is expected only to prevent or repel aggression.


This third requisite is present—

  1. When no provocation at all was given to the aggressor;
  2. The provocation given was not sufficient;
  3. Even if the provocation was sufficient, it was not given by the person defending himself; or
  4. Even if a provocation was given by the person defending himself, it was not proximate and immediate to the act of aggression.


  1. Verbal argument cannot be considered sufficient provocation.


  1. US vs McCray (When one challenges the deceased to come out of the house and engage in a fist-fight with him and prove who is the better man.)
  2. PP vs Sotelo (When one hurls insults or imputes to another the utterance of vulgar language) But it is not enough that the provocative act be unreasonable or annoying. PP vs Dolfo (Electrician asked his assistant to come but the latter did not. Then he threw a pc of wood at his assistant while the latter threw it back. He started to beat his assistant, but the latter defended himself, and inflicted a mortal wound at the former. A petty question of pride does not justify the wounding or killing of an opponent.)
  3. PP vs Getida (When the accused tried to forcibly kiss the sister of the deceased, the accused gave sufficient provocation to the deceased thus self-defense couldn’t be utilized.)

Battered woman syndrome: RA 9262 Anti-VAWC of 2004. A person who has been cyclically abused and controlled over a period of time, suffers from BWS.

-either physical or psychological coercion;

-battling must be at least twice;

-produces low self-esteem; traditional beliefs about home, the family and the female sex role; emotional dependence upon the dominant male; the tendency to accept responsibility for the batterer’s actions; and false hopes that the relationship will improve.


  1. Tension-building phase
  2. The acute battering incident
  3. The tranquil, loving or at least non-violent phase.

Because of the recurring cycles of violence, her state of mind metamorphoses.



Political Science 183 Handout

“International Trade”


—  Introduction to understanding the political economy of the global trading system

—  Conflict between the continuing political importance of the national border and its declining economic relevance.

—  Political conflicts over trade exist with the growth of transnational production.


I. Definitions:

  • ____: refers to the exchange of one commodity for another.
  • ___________________: comes when the exchange is conducted across national borders.
  • __________________: (to trade) are erected wherever different political authorities decide to prohibit or restrict their citizens’ access to foreign goods and services; or they may be made more costly for citizens of a country in comparison with similar domestic goods and services.
  • _____________: refers to policies designed to restrict the import of goods and services. It may take forms like:
  • ______: refers to the application of a duty (denominated in monetary terms) against goods and services from a foreign supplier.
  • ______: refer to the application of a quantitative restriction against goods and services from another country or region, as well as health and safety requirements.
  • _________: are made to particular industries to help them to be competitive on the international market. E.g. depreciation allowances, cash grants and tax holidays.
  • _________________: limit the availability of foreign currency for the purchase of foreign goods.
  • __________________________: include bureaucratic procedures, systems of advance payment, minimal domestic content rules, special marketing standards, and health and safety provisions.
  • ________________ restraints: refer to the situation whereby one country agrees to limit its exports to a third country.
  • Medium of________: can be of barter or money.
  • ______ system: a direct exchange of commodities takes place.
  • _____: can be cowrie shells, gold, or our modern bills and coins that is a store of value and a means of exchange.


II-A. Theoretical Perspectives: ____ _____

  • Liberal _________ Economy
    • Emphasizes the benefit of trade; benefits everyone; increases __________; and raises ____________
    • Countries that engage in trade improve their economic growth, become more ______, powerful, and efficient
  • _______ Trade Theory
    • It propounds a ________-___ view of something that most people perceive as being zero-sum.
  • Theory of Comparative Advantage
    • Sometimes known as ___________ costs, by the British political economist David Ricardo in the 19th century.
    • According to the theory of comparative advantage, countries should __________ and produce goods and services for which they possess a comparative advantage.
  • Factor Endowment Theory
  • ____ _____ Theory
    • Trade is viewed as an ______ of growth: which includes the diffusion of _________ of production and organizational techniques, and changed patterns of demand.
  • It states that comparative advantage arises from the different relative factor endowments of countries.
  • A country will have a comparative advantage in the production of those goods that uses intensively the factor it has most in abundance.


II-B. Theoretical Perspectives: _____________

  • Mercantilist
    • For mercantilists, trade was a ____-___ game with one country’s gain equivalent to a loss sustained by its trading partner.
    • Mercantilist writers advocate the __________ of economic life in order to enhance state power or to protect a variety of national groups from ___________.
  • Adam Smith’ s ________ Advantage
    • Smith argued that two countries could benefit from trade if they ___________ in the goods they produced best and ______ with each other.


  • Two arguments
    • ______ Industry Argument

¡  It argues temporary __________ for industries likely to become competitive on the world stage.

¡  According to advocates of protection, governments should _________ and protect those industries that have the potential to develop efficient production but which at the moment would be destroyed by fierce international competition.


  • ________ ________ Argument

¡  Countries need to be self-__________ in the production of certain strategic industries because dependence on external markets can ________ a nation’s security.

¡  It is understood that if free trade jeopardizes other non-economic objectives of a nation such as national security, governments should impose ____________ in order to protect society.


  • Radical Critic of Free Trade
    • The writers stress the importance of historical power _________ in the creation of comparative advantage.
    • The emphasis of the redistributional benefits of free trade
    • _______ exchange theory
    • _____________ degradation
    • ______-bias Trade


III. Major Developments


1. ______ and Protectionism

—  _____ has increased more rapidly than production after the end of the World War II, which was a clear indication of increased internationalization of economic activities and of the greater __________________ which has come to characterize the world economy.

—  Growth production has _______ but international trade has _____ more than four-fold since 1945.

—  This means that a larger and larger percentage of what is produced ends up being ______ to other countries.

—  Trade _______ growth.


2. Changing _____________ arrangements

  • The origins of the post world-war II international trade regime are to be found in Anglo-American cooperation during the WWII.
  • This liberal trade regime was created basically reflected primarily American interests.
  • The international trade regime is not a laissez- faire system but rather one of managed trade.

The trading regime is based on four key principles:

  • ___-______________: a tariff on an import from a GATT/WTO member had to be placed on all other GATT/WTO members in a similar manner with the exception of customs unions, or free-trade areas.
  • __________: intended to ensure that when one counrty lowers its tariffs against the exports of another contry, it will in turn be granted equal trade concessions.
  • ____________: refers to the fact that any discrimination must be clearly visible. Tariffs are considered the only form of discrimination.
  • _______________: reflects the commitment to the creation of a multilateral trade regime, multilateral cooperation in maintaining a rule-based system, and engaging in periodic rounds of tariff-cutting.


IV. Key Issues


A. Developing Countries’ Interests:

  • ____________ __________ was of central concern to the developing countries.
  • Intellectual ________ Rights:
  • Demand for _______ and differential treatment (S&D)


B. Regional Trade Agreements:


—  Trade ______________

—  Investment liberalization,

—  the management of ________ conflict,

—  ________ economic restructuring, and

—  _________ integration.


Two Phases of the Development of Regionalism

—  First Phase: Creation of EEC

—  Second Phase: Mid-1990s


Impacts of these phases on World trade

—  First Phase: Regionalism was relatively ______.

—  In the developing world, the aim of regional economic arrangements was to stimulate _________________ which meant that such organizations were more concerned with trade diversion than trade creation.

—  Second Phase: in the second phase of regionalism many of the new associations have adopted a policy of open regionalism making the reductions to trade more compatible with multilateral commitments.


C. Legitimacy

—  As trade agreements at the multilateral and regional level have proliferated and influenced domestic political economies, increasing concern has been voiced by various segments of civil society in many states.

—  Some groups worry that regional and global institutions are insulated from democratic control.

—  They contend that business and political elites have considerable input into the structure of such agreements, but citizens find it difficult to hold their governments accountable for the decision-making authority transferred to international institutions.

—  Democratic credentials of the WTO and regional trade agreements have been subject to debate.

—  According to Critics of WTO, WTO is an undemocratic organization because no consensus exists on the definition, meaning or practice of democracy.

—  Critics argue that the organization fails to provide sufficient access for civil society groups in its deliberations.

—  The WTO has been responsive to criticism but this has not silenced the critics.

—  In efforts to bolster its Legitimacy, the WTO has derestricted documents, held consultations with NGOs, and accepted submissions from outside parties.

—  In response, supporters of the WTO point out that the organization is an intergovernmental forum in which decisions are based on consensus, and subject to ratification by national parliaments.


V. Conclusions:

—  Experience with tariff negotiations has led to the observation that most countries favour trade liberalization in principle but are reluctant to undertake unilateral reduction of trade barriers because it would open their markets leaving them vulnerable to international firms.

—  The MOST obvious reason why protectionism remains a central feature of the world economy is that all economies need some degree of protectionism in order to _______.



BR: Theda Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions

Dawn Hugies E. Bandoy

BA Political Science III


Content and Critic for Theda Skocpol’s States and Social Revolutions, A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia, and China. Cambridge, 1979.





In the first chapter of the book, States and Social Revolutions, Theda Skocpol talked about the various theories that could be applied when studying social revolutions and its causes. In the first part, Skocpol defines social revolutions as the basic changes in social structure and in political structure.


Basically, social revolutions are what we have as successful changes within a certain society. All theories would generally suggest that social revolutions occur with the presence of a collective action (to which purpose varies) acting against the current political authority until the revolutionary movement happens to overthrow the regime. Theories such as the aggregate-psychological, political-conflict, and the value consensus admits that social revolutions are contests of power; seemingly endless conflicts occur due to different goals. However, these theories are said to vary from each other due to how each of these theories define the causes of revolutions.


First theory was the Aggregate-psychological theory which attempts to explain revolution in terms of people’s psychological motivations for engaging in political violence or joining oppositional movements. This theory was related to Ted Gurr’s Why Men Rebel, wherein he explained that political violence are collective attacks within the community against the present political regime. People tend to engage themselves in revolutions due to psychological reasons like competing political groups/incumbents; cultural and practical conditions; and relative deprivation. Relative deprivation is when there’s a ‘gap between the valued things and opportunities they feel entitled to and the things and opportunities they actually get,’ as how Skocpol puts it.


Political Violence, according to Aggregate-psychological theory, is into three major forms: turmoil, conspiracy, and internal wars. Revolutions, large-scale terrorism, guerilla wars, and civil wars are just examples of conflicts that belong to internal wars. Internal wars are said to be different from turmoil and conspiracy because they’re more organized than turmoil and more mass-based than conspiracy.


Second is the Political Conflict theory which argues that conflict among governments and various organized groups contending for power must be placed at the center of attention to explain collective violence and revolutions. (Skocpol, 1979: 9) This theory was then related to Charles Tilly’s From Mobilization to Revolution. He defines political violence as an outcome out of competition over power and of conflicting interests. Violence is not the objective in a revolution; rather, it’s the collective action that is the objective.


In the Political-Conflict Theory, it argues that no matter how discontented the people may become, they cannot engage in political action (known as political violence) unless they are part of at least minimally organized groups with access to resources. It is obviously shown here that resources play an important role in decision making whether or not a certain group of people will rise up and vie for power.


In Political Conflict Theory, it was also emphasized that in a revolution there is a contest for ultimate political sovereignty over a population and challengers succeed at least to some degree in putting out of place the existing power-holders. This is why there’s a notion of multiple sovereignty. In multiple sovereignty, there are shifts of power in terms of resources; proliferation of revolutionary ideologies, increase of popular discontent; and formation of an alternative body who claims authority and that this body acquires respect from followers.


Ted Gurr and Charles Tilly analyzed revolutions as special types of political events understandable in terms of general theories of political violence or collective action.


However, Chalmers Johnson’s Revolutionary change reflects the third theory that Skocpol got. The Value Consensus Theory attempts to explain revolutions as violent responses of ideological movements to severe chaos in social systems. The social system, according to Skocpol, is an internally consistent set of institutions that express and specify core societal value-orientations in norms and roles. These value-orientations have been accepted by the majority and they have been the reality-defining standards of the society. In the third theory, the Value Consensus Theory, political authority must be legitimized in terms of societal values. This means that the manner the society defines issues gives authority to an administration to exercise power to govern.


In the face of the revolution, Johnson puts it that violence is just a strategy and a technique of the active organization to achieve the societal change they wanted. This has to say, in other terms, that to spark a revolution is to accept violence for the purpose of causing the system to change and transform. Only successful revolutions change the core value-orientations of a society and for an organization to get them successful is to have value-oriented movements and that one should be willing and be prepared to use violence against authorities.


Revolutions, for these to happen, need serious ‘dis-synchronization’ of the core value system of the society. When we speak of dis-synchronization, this means that people gets disoriented and then open to alternative values proposed by the revolutionary movement. When this happens, present authorities will lose their legitimacy and will rely more on coercion and force to maintain societal order. Of course, as much as dis-synchronization is possible, resynchronization isn’t also very far to happen especially if the present authority is smart and cunning to preserve the present value system.


Therefore, revolutions only happen because authorities lose legitimacy. The key elements here are value orientation and political legitimacy.


In Theda Skocpol’s State and Social revolutions, value consensus and aggregate-psychological theories are taken aside because Skocpol believed more on the ideas adapted from the Marxist and political-conflict perspectives.


As we all know it, Marxist conception of class relations are always a potential source of patterned social and political conflict. There have been class relations between peasants and landlords. Historically, revolutions happen, for Marxists, because there are differences in social classes and their interests. There’s also presence and absence of the organizations and the resources available.


We have to consider the two kinds of social transformation. I mentioned this in the first part of this article. The first kind has to do with institutional change. This kind of change deals with the gradual replacement of the leaders like what we have during elections. The other kind speaks of structural change which has something to do with changing the class structure as a whole. When we speak of structural change, this means that the entire social system of that society will be changed overthrowing the old administration replacing it with a new one, usually coming from the social movement itself. However, social revolutions for Skocpol include both changes in the institution and changes in the structure also. These two changes have to go along side by side to achieve the genuine ‘social revolution’ defined by Skocpol.



The Causes of the Social Revolutions


Such causes of the Social Revolutions were focused on the ‘structures’ and ‘situations or events’. From my own understanding, ‘events’ are the incidents or the happenings whether based in time frames and locations. These events could involve individuals who act the circumstances. The events that occurred in 1787-9 in France, 1917 in Russia, and 1911-16 in China have weakened the autocratic monarchies and have disordered the administrative authority over those rebellious lower classes. Thus, according to Skocpol, revolutionary crises in France, Russia and China developed when the Old Regime became powerless in meeting with the contradictions and challenges posed by the evolving international situations. Such revolutionary transformations are usually spearheaded by the revolts from below.


In terms of structure, France, Russia, and China have been agrarian societies wherein they were fully established as Imperial states. These Imperial states are proto-bureaucratic wherein power was not so greatly centralized. In these imperial states of France, Russia, and China, the primarily important and dominant class was basically the landed upper class. Agriculture was mainly more important than commerce and industry.


As what Skocpol pointed out, the significant problem that these Old Regimes were not commercial, industrial classes and landed upper class. Instead, the fundamental political tensions of the Old Regimes were the relationships of producing classes to the dominant classes and states; and in the relationships of the landed dominant classes to the autocratic-imperial states. This has to say that the landed dominant class and the autocratic imperial states are both partners when it comes to exploitation of the workers, as well as contenders for control over the peasants’ labor.

Internal and domestic problems were not the sole causes of why there are social movements. In the late eighteenth century France, early-twentieth century Russia, and mid-nineteenth through early twentieth-century China, the monarchies of the Old Regimes proved to implement sufficiently basic reforms or to promote rapid enough economic development to meet and withstand the particular intensity of military threats from abroad that each regime had to face. Political crises, according to Skocpol, were the failure of the Old Regimes to cope with foreign pressures. As how Lenin puts it, social-revolutionary political crises emerge as it seems impossible to the ruling elites to maintain their rule. Crisis in the policy of the ruling class will result to discontent and resentment of the oppressed below.



Internal Tensions and other Foreign Pressures




As what I have mentioned above, social revolutions have causes and factors, and indeed, there are plenty of reasons why political movements arouse. It is too shallow for one to say that the French Revolution was caused by famine and rampant poverty all over France; it could be one of the reasons, though.


Despite the 50-year expansion in France, there was still a relative decline of France’s military build and the royal bankruptcy in the context of international military situation compared to other European states. We will look at the challenges posted at the French state. Absolute monarchy came to France in 1643. By then, the government was not so centralized in fact, it became multi-layered. Some new controls were enforced directly over the old ones without scraping off the old system first. Bourbons now have become the supreme power in Europe and they boarded on military enlargement. This created alliances which then developed oppositions between the European states.


France is primarily an agricultural society in seventeenth century until eighteenth century. However, the French agriculture at that time was relatively backwards compared to the English agriculture. Although the land area of France is relatively advantageous, the land was either owned by peasants or was rented out by landlords and because of its wide land area and expensive transporting fares, transportation of goods from one place to the other was not that easy. Therefore, French agriculture was in a way ineffective.


When we speak of dominant classes, the French system wasn’t ‘feudal’ nor ‘capitalist’ but the peasantry were made to provide for duties through rents and dues and that this was enforced by the state institutions. Social stratification in France also made gaps between Estates and its members. These social classes were based on how much one is better than the other. A base for wealth was proprietary. This means that the more properties you own, the wealthier you are and the higher your social class becomes.


Also, the wars that France engaged itself to have strained its resources making France lose a lot and gain nothing. France even lost many empires from the war. Winning wars seemed to be very difficult, sometimes impossible, because France, compared to its enemy—Britain, had less resources to finance its activities and naval.


Because France had shortages in finances, it borrowed lots of money from other states with very high interest rate. Finance ministers tried ways wherein the state can maximize its revenues like increasing the taxes to be paid. Everybody, including the wealthy government beneficiaries, resisted successfully. This financial crisis paved way to the revolution led by the Third Estate which was soon joined by the Second Estate. At first, the King opposed the revolution but military personnel could not be relied on to suppress the popular uprisings, leading to military breakdown.


Series of events have shown that the masses were eager enough to join themselves in the revolution. In the summer of 1789, there was a nationwide wave of revolution, culminating in the Fall of Bastille in Paris. People were roaming looking for freedom and food and liberal revolutionary leaders took over the political government, forming militias, and then successfully created the National Assembly having new constitution and new electoral process.




China is an independent powerful empire over centuries, capable of safeguarding itself from attempted attacks. China has an agrarian economy and society of villages involved in locally focused marketing networks. It was also an Imperial state administration which recruited and deployed educated individuals certified by an elaborate examination system.


Most of the people living in China were peasant agriculturalists. They owned, rented, and bought parcels of land. When it comes to paying taxes, people rely on marketing activities like trade while other wealthy families make use of investments that are income-generating.


The Dynasty was autocratic, semi bureaucratic, and centralized. It made sure that despite the size of China’s land area, it was a single society. The dominant class was basically the landlord families. There were foreign disturbances and domestic problems face by China. Western nations intruded and had massive attacks against China through treaties and invasions to open China trade threatening China’s sovereignty.


Imperial authorities were undermined and the people were mainly unhappy with all the taxes that they had to pay to replenish all the financial shortages that the state faced. Revolutions breakthrough 1911 after the peasants have felt that they’ve been squeezed hard to pay duties for revenue collection of the state.


With all these internal factors and foreign intrusions, China decided to finally have structural reforms including in education, specialized central ministries, national budgeting, others.


Both revolutions in France and in China were caused by pressures coming from developed nations abroad which then resulted to the occurrence of domestic dilemmas between the autocratic elites and landed dominant class.



Social transformations in France and China are different to that of the Tsarist Russia because French and Chinese revolutions were mainly caused by the autocratic attempts to reform and that resource-mobilization were resisted by politically dominant classes while Russian Revolutionary crises developed under after defeats in war.


Imperial Russia was born under the reign of Peter the Great (1682-1725). Although Russia’s agrarian economy somehow remained as backward as it was, its bureaucratic state power developed and Russia’s military machineries were technologically advanced through mid-nineteenth century until early twentieth century.


Imperial state’s socioeconomic basis was serf-based. This was shown in the landlords/serf relations. In considerably productive parts, landowners would get income from tenants who till their land. In unproductive parts, lords share their serf’s income from industrial labor. Russia became a single power in Europe after 1815. After the revolutions in 1848, Russia became very powerful in Europe but its industries were slow to develop causing its failure in the Crimean War.


In sharp contrast with the French and Chinese landed upper class, the Russian landed nobility was economically weak and dependent. Serfdom in Russia was consolidated not by commercializing landlords but rather under the movement of centralizing tsars determined to extract from the people sufficient resources to support military forces for defense and expansion in threatening geopolitical environment.


In the Russian revolution of 1905 and 1917, Skocpol said that they were similar even if others will say that the second was just a continuation of what the first started. 1905 revolution started in a losing war with Japan. It is a revolutionary movement drawing from all classes of society gathered momentum and eventually forced tsar to agree to civil liberties and a legislative Duma (full demands were for liberal constitutional monarchy) in October 1905.  Yet, by 1907, all gains had been lost as tsar ended limited, peripheral and short (began 1904) war with Japan in 1905 with a peace treaty and brought troops home to deal with revolution, allowing him to roll back all constitutional concessions (95).


1917 revolution began during World War I. Russia could not remain aloof from this conflict, nor withdraw from once mobilized—war was to be total and defeat possibly massive.  Once Russia entered in 1914, it had to begin prolonged struggle with the much better-equipped and better-supported German army; Russian military defeat and economic and administrative chaos was inevitable.


Agrarian Structures and Peasant Insurrection


Chapters 2 and 3 says about the causes of the Revolutions in France, China and Russia and arguments were that: internal tensions and even intensified pressures from abroad may lead any state organizations and institution to be susceptible to administrative and military collapse; and the agrarian sociopolitical structures which facilitated widespread peasant revolts against landlords.


In the Agrarian Structures and Peasant insurrections, Skocpol stated that no matter how massive and huge societal political crises may be, it is not enough to create social revolutions like that of France, Russia, and China.


Barrington Moore’s phrase would best explain it, “the peasants… provided the dynamite to bring down the old building.” Therefore, the revolts led by the peasantry will then destroy the agrarian class relations and will weaken the political and military supports of the society.


We have to consider that Skocpol views the social revolutions in a structuralist perspective using political conflict theory of Tilly. As a review, political conflict theory stressed out that political violence is not the objective of social revolutions rather it is the outcome of the social revolutions. The goal of social movements is the collective action; thus Skocpol stated in Chapter 3 that urban workers and peasants play a visible role in revolutions, whether or not they’re successful.

Given that the social revolutions we’re talking about, have occurred in agrarian countries like France, Russia, and China, where peasants are the major producing class, it is understandable that without peasant revolts, urban radicalism in predominantly agrarian countries has not been able to accomplish social-revolutionary transformations.


Skocpol state repeatedly, especially in the third chapter, that peasant revolts are vital for the society to attain genuine social transformation and that the three revolutions in France, Russia, and China were truly remarkable because it became widespread and that they were directed against the landlords.


We ask what changed the peasants and what made these people capable of revolting against their landlords. Going back to the political conflict theory, a group of people, no matter how discontented they may become will not be able to organize a revolt unless they are part of at least the minimal source of resources. According to Eric Wolf, the ultimate factor on why the peasantry will be capable of rebelling is the relation of the peasantry to the field of power which surrounds it. A rebellion cannot start from a field of impotence. Peasants must have internal leverage and power to organize for collective action against their exploitative superiors.



The Outcomes of the Revolutions


After discussing the causes of the social revolutionary crises particularly in France, Russia, and China, the results and the outcomes of these revolutions will be next on the list. Going back to the goals and perhaps the reasons why social revolutions occur, changing the social structure of the Old Regimes, and replacing them with what the new legitimate authority wants.


Going straight to the point, the social revolutions that occurred in France, Russia and China resulted to some major changes in the state, leadership, and in class relations. According to Skocpol, peasant revolts against landlords transformed agrarian class relations which gave way to the bureaucratic and mass-incorporating nation-states. The landed upper classes lost their special roles which provided leverage to them under the Old Regime.


The results of the French Revolutionary crises were the abolition of seigneurialism; however, there was no redistribution of land property. With regards to the Chinese Revolution, the events generated a state that was highly centralized and basically thoroughly bureaucratic. However, landed upper classes are still powerful over those who doesn’t have lands; thus, peasants could not revolt on their own. In Russia, the effects of the social revolution were the total elimination of the Tsarist armies; and the redistribution of the lands driving away the landlords making way for the peasants.


The similar outcomes of all the three revolutions were the vulnerability of the dominant classes because of the fear that social upheavals may emerge again. Also, in the three states, popular groups were available for political mobilization. Processes of revolutionary state-building would describe the upshots of the said social revolutions. These processes varies in France, Russia and in China, though.


Points of View


Actually, this is not mainly a critic alone to the idea of Skocpol about the definitions, causes, and processes of social revolutions. In fact, I adhere to some of her points and ideas about the causal situations of the revolutions in France, Russia, and China. Here, I will just add some points which I believe are somehow relevant to the study of social revolutions.


When it comes to presenting the facts and ideas regarding the causes and effects of the Social Revolutions in France, China and Russia, Skocpol made it easier for the readers to comprehend the data since she used tables to compare and contrast the different events, aside from the well-explained chapters. Her view was of course biased leaning to the structuralists.


Regarding the theories presented in the first chapter of the book, Skocpol clearly differentiated the theories explaining the causal – of the revolutions. Although, each theory—that of Relative Deprivation; Political-Conflict; and Value Consensus—were right in a way, or two.


As we deal with the revolutions, particularly that of France, Russia, and China, it is clear and easy for us to understand such different, yet similar, events using theoretical perspectives. Using Aggregate-psychological theory, it can be applied to the three revolutions because of the basic reason that social revolutions were mainly because people—particularly the peasants and the working class—were growing discontented. This discontentment develops because of the gap that the masses feel between the valued things they feel entitled to and the things they’re actually getting. For example, when we speak of our basic human rights, these are inherent and once these rights get violated, we tend to revolt and form ourselves organizations with those who share same advocacy as we do.


Political Conflict theory is somewhat similar to the aggregate-psychological theory or relative deprivation theory but only differ in a part wherein the Political Conflict theory argues that no matter how dissatisfied the peasants may become, unless they have the capacity to acquire resources, they can not just organize a massive political movement against the authorities. Although this idea of the political conflict theorists is sometime right, I still don’t believe that resources should determine one’s willingness to change the social structure of the society. Perhaps, in reality, it would be very difficult to organize political upheavals without resources to finance the activities but it is not impossible.


Skocpol is in exchange of ideas with Marxist arguments about social change.  While Marx would argue that relative deprivation and material conditions cause the formation of class consciousness and revolution, Skocpol argues that it is not injustices or material conditions but rather political opportunity (especially breakdown of state administration and enforcement mechanisms as well as agrarian sociopolitical structures) that leads to (successful) revolution.  Also, successful social revolutions involve both peasants and dominant class on the same side (though not necessarily working together) against the ruling government. Skocpol is talking about social revolutions, which involve overthrow of most existing societal structures, and take place on a different level, one could argue, than social movements and cultural change.

BR: The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas Friedman

Dawn Hugies E. Bandoy

BA Political Science III

A Book Review for the course PS 178


The Lexus and the Olive Tree

Thomas Friedman



One thing that would best describe the message of the book is to say that in this world, it’s all about struggle. Friedman, someone who claims to have understood globalization, would say that the cold-war international system of friends and enemies have been replaced by the current international system which encourages alliances and competitiveness between states.

Globalization, as opposed to the old cold war system, created a walled-off world having the spread of democracy and freer trades between states permitting more and more people to get access to information, communication, and other technological achievements. Borders have been slowly fading and it seemed like we’re now living in a borderless world. Filipinos and other nationalities, for example, have been widely scattered around the globe that ever square mile anywhere in this world could be a world in itself because of the mixed national identities present. In this new international system called globalization, there has been interconnection and higher rate of interaction between people and cultures across the globe. The cold war was also an international system which lasted roughly from 1945 to 1989, after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It focused on the balance of power by the two super powers namely the US and USSR.

The book is mainly an effort in explaining how this new era of globalization became the dominant international system at the end of the twentieth century replacing the Cold War system and how this international system influences everyone’s domestic politics, trade and commerce, environment and international relations. The book looks at the new system, plugging into it, sees some criticisms regarding the system and finally studying the role of America in the new system.

The new international system keeps highlight on the democratization of information, of finances, and of technology. According to Friedman, the establishment of this new international system isn’t just because of some trends and fads but greatly because of the dissemination of information beyond borders which made the people truly aware of what was really happening on the other side of the world. People started to compare themselves, like their cultures, technologies, policies, ideologies, and others with other people from different races and nationalities.

The walls that they once put up to hold us back fell down thus welcome the new age of globalization. Continents and islands have been replaced by the vision of one world. Thanks to the democratization of information and technology our government can’t hold us back within our walls because even before they start building and fortifying walls to keep us from the outside, technology has found a way to lower and weaken the walls.

Alongside this globalization and new era of interconnection it has always been a struggle in preserving our very own cultures. According to the author, the Lexus signifies the improvement and economically advances made by each state as a respond to the present and defining international system we call globalization. Normally, each state has its own natural desire of fitting into the whole picture. We tend to blend in. So if the rest of the world is freely trading with each other, there’s a tendency of magnifying the benefits of trades economically and politically since chances of war will be lessen. How can one say this? Say for example the Golden Arches Theory of Friedman which then says that two states both with McDonald’s in them has a less tendency of fighting each other since they both have their McDonald’s.

On the other hand, the olive tree signifies basically the culture. Borders in the past were measured by olive trees and it has always been a dispute regarding who owns the olive tree and where one puts it.

One of the discussions in the book is keeping your own olive tree standing and healthy growing despite the advances made by the Lexus. Cultures and traditions have been consistently disregarded when it comes to economic and political progresses. As a country becomes busier in maintaining peace and accord with other countries and other international organizations, the vitality of conserving cultures become less of a priority.

Obviously, in a world where everyone interacts with each other every minute of the day, it is quite difficult to stay who we were because we tend to copy, edit and paste cultures from others and apply them to our own olive trees and claim them to be ours. As what Friedman claims, people tend to preserve and protect their own cultures against influences of other cultures brought to us by globalization. But that’s not always the case.

Culture, as by definition, would denote someone’s belongingness. It would reflect a group of people’s traditions, norms, rituals, ideologies, basically—lifestyle. They say culture is what defines who the person is. Filipinos are known for being hospitable to visitors—which will then partly explain why there were three foreign occupations. Some would actually say that one should be preserving their own culture because that would define who they are and who they should be. But as for me, culture isn’t something that stays just as it is forever. It is human nature that we interact and as Thomas Aquinas said, man is a political and social animal. Part of our being social is our need for interaction and relationships with other beings. Thus, it would be normal to say that we rationalize our actions—even the things we say to be our norms. Culture is actually how people act and respond to different situations. It’s a set of traditions that a certain group of population agreed and liked and with this ever changing likes that we have, we tend to adjust and blend, adjust and blend, and adjust and blend. Parts of those adjustments we make were greatly affected by so-called globalization. So I say that as globalization comes and becomes our very own international system, we do away with the old cold-war system and with the old customs.

It doesn’t really matter whose cultures dominate or whose cultures fade because cultures don’t just fade because we’ve been compelled to erase them. Our culture would always be present, just modified. What’s important is that all of us have a place under the sun for ourselves. Economic and political ideologies could be coercively imposed to other states but culture spreads itself naturally. One cannot impose one’s culture to others simply because belongingness cannot be dictated and that it’s a natural response of humans. So whether they call it westernization or McDonaldization, it doesn’t really matter because for me, it’s more of a universalization process.

Thus, we usually say communism and socialism failed. One thing that’s left is capitalism and we have to work hard to make it work. It may need national unity because only the fittest survive in the world of competition. We may prefer to attain economic advances and political prestige in the international arena but we will come to a sweet realization that we can never do away with our very own olive tree. We need to belong, I’m afraid that’s the vitality of our existence—to associate ourselves to others. After all, globalization isn’t just about influencing each other and connecting with one another. It’s also about surviving in rough seas.

It would be unfair to think that globalization did not have any contradicting ideologies that would renounce its efficacy as an international system. There were theorists and revolutionary thinkers like Engels, Lenin, Marx, and Mussolini who planned nondemocratic alternatives—communism, socialism, and fascism—which will abandon the brutality of free-market capitalism and a world that would never be dependent on a bourgeois capitalist system. These alternative ideas aim on having a government centrally planned and fund everything, as to distribute to each worker his/her basic needs and expect from them a contribution according to their abilities. These alternatives; however, did not work. As what one of my college professor would always say, their ideas were bright and great however it would be of a waste because it will never be put to practice because these alternatives forgot something very important—it’s human nature.

Indeed, the fall of communism in USSR and China was because they forgot our very nature that we are humans thus we respond to incentives. We aim for betterment and progress. We want to be compensated for every effort we exert and we want to gain more and more; not contented with what socialism and communism promises us. Because of this human nature, it would always be impossible to put those bright ideas into practice—unless of course there would be a change of heart. But that would be a different story.

So what differs most is the standard of living that both systems could offer. If we’d be contented with one-flavored everything or we’d rather have a wide variety of choices, it’s all up to us. But again, history has decided already and in this case, free-market capitalism won. Thus, as how Friedman puts it, the only alternative ideology left is capitalism. One road—Speed may differ but still there’s going to be one road.

The only way for a state to be fit for this international system, globalization, is for it to adopt and adjust. That’s when one puts on his own version of The Golden Straitjacket—which is the defining political-economic garment of globalization. Once this ‘one size fits all’ golden straitjacket has been put on by any state, two things seemed to happen: economic grows while politics shrinks. Economic grows because of more trades, foreign investments, and efficient use of resources under pressure of global competition. Political capacity of the state shrinks because influence from outside forces seems to undermine that capacity.

One thing I learned in some other courses is that this free-market capitalist system has always been profit-driven, has a tendency to exploit laborers, and is motivated by the principle of expansion. Given these concepts attached to capitalism, one can be rational enough to say that there’s no one theory or system that has no negative side. As they say, no matter how thin you slice the cake, there would always be two sides.

On globalization, one side has been the positive side, I say. It promotes interconnection, trade and commerce, interaction, alliances and international relations between states. It looks at the world as a one stage arena wherein everyone is welcome to join and compete. There are no obvious enemies because everyone seems to actively participate in the drama. Everyone has a role to do and everyone helps one another. Everyone is a producer and a consumer at the same time. Everyone seems to be lining up one long line—where the head is connected to the tail—and what everyone does affect the whole like a domino effect.

However, just because this international system has been applied in the current situation, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have any negative side. Like what I’ve said above, the capitalist system brought about by globalization is prone to the tyranny of the wealthy class. Survival of the fittest, as what they’d usually say; global outlook—forgetting the small and tiny details; profit-driven and ready to exploit laborers from the third world countries all for the sake of economic profit.

Wrapping it up, globalization has indeed been the current international system replacing the old cold war system of alliances. It isn’t just a trend or a façade but really the system we are into now. The choice between Lexus and the olive tree would still be up to us. Of course we can choose both but the degree of importance we put in differs. Whether or not this globalization brings more positive effects to our economic, political and social aspects, one thing is sure about this system. States are left with one obvious choice: that is to join the league and compete.

BR: Return of History and the End of Dreams by Robert Kagan

Dawn Hugies E. Bandoy

BA Political Science III

Book Review on The Return of History and The End of Dreams by Robert Kagan



Is it indeed possible to speak of international community? We thought that the end of the cold war can be associated to the end of ideological conflicts between capitalism and communism, and the clash of national interests between nation-states.

Looking from the liberalists’ perspective, globalization—with intermingling of cultures, trade pacts between countries, economic and cultural integrations—has somehow changed the international system today. Peaceful commercial competition paved way for peaceful coexistence between states. The hopes that a globalized economy would make conflicts impossible and that nations will then liberalize, first economically then politically, became blurry when the world reached the twenty first century.

The end of the cold war can be linked to the shameful collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and in the Eastern Europe leaving the capitalist a victor. With Capitalism comes globalization that replaced the old notion of clashing national interests that is said to have end history. Perhaps, the realists were right when they see it as just a mere pause of the tensions, rather than as a transformation itself.

Russia, China, Japan, USA, India, and even Iran have risen and have become great powers now and sadly they’ve been competing with each other very hard. As how Lord Palmerston puts it, “nations don’t have permanent friends but they have permanent interests” and they’re more than willing to do what they can just to protect those interests. Military powers of states have been growing alongside its economic and political influences. These national interests of states clash resulting to alliances and counter alliances that is said to be a thing of the past. Thus, history has returned.

Yes, there may be a pause or an end of ideological conflicts in the cold war but not long enough, these conflicts have returned and are dominating the geopolitics of the 21st century. Now, the world is having an ideological conflict between democracy and autocracy. Communism passed away from the scene but critics to democracy have not. Plato and Aristotle regarded democracy as the rule of the greedy mob. For every democratic state like the US, Great Britain, and France, there’s equal autocratic states of Russia, Germany and China. Autocracies of Russia and China learned how to be open in economic activities abroad while suppressing the political activities at home.

These autocracies wanted what they’ve always wanted: to dominate in the world stage and to get rid of other great powers. Liberal democrats have become popular after the fall of the Soviet communism making autocratic states a minority. The US and its democratic allies have always been able to impose their views on others not because they’re right but because they’re powerful to do so. But then, the success of the autocratic Russia and China shows that autocracy, perhaps, can be a good bet after all.

Aside from the democratic-autocratic conflict, there’s also a divergence between radical Islamists and modernity that globalization brings. These radical Islamists reject the liberal world’s concept of ‘universal values’ because they adhere to having Islam back to its unpolluted origins. They regarded modernity as to liberation of women, weakening of the influence of the church, political freedom especially in expression where one could commit blasphemy and make fun of symbols of faith. Despite how hard these radical Islamists fight to attain what they want, that is to get rid of democracy brought about by modernization, they will never be satisfied because the great powers don’t have the desire to give them what they want.


Whether or not the Soviet communism in the end of the cold war collapsed, whether or not there is globalization, and whether or not there has been an end of history, conflicting ideologies will always be present as long as interests vary from state to state but then again, we all need each other not just culturally and politically but also economically. We depend on other states in terms of energy source, food, and other materials. We also affect others even if we are staying inside our own fences. The ozone-depleting gasses that an American emits, affect the Philippine atmosphere. So, whether we like it or not, the presence of an international community is quite needed to make sure that rules and rights are followed and protected. Perhaps, international community is not elusive at all! Perhaps, it started already way back hundreds and even thousands of years ago because of the need of interaction between states. It could be that the only elusive thing is mutual understanding within the community.

PS 178: Term Paper about Burmese and Indonesian Military Politics

University of the Philippines Cebu College

Social Sciences Division


Comparative Analysis on

Military and Politics in Burma and Indonesia








In partial fulfilment of the requirements in

Political Science 178










Ms. Mae Claire Jabines







Janneil Monica Morales

Dawn Hugies E. Bandoy




Second Semester

S.Y. 2010-2011


Chapter 1


As an institution, the military plays an active role in the politics of a state.  All systems of rule are underpinned, to a greater or lesser extent, by the exercise of coercive power through the institutions of the military and the police (Heywood, 2003). As an arsenal of national interest, the military may be inclined to intervene in politics.

The military, though not a part of the formal government of a state, nevertheless serves as an indispensable tool of the state for coercion and legitimization of its actions. According to Heywood, four factors distinguish the military from other institutions and civilian organizations. First, as an instrument of war, the military enjoys a monopoly of weaponry and coercive power. Second, the military is seen as an extreme form of bureaucracy with its tight organization, hierarchy and a strict culture of obedience. Third, it is characterized by a distinct culture and set of values. Fourth, the military generally regard themselves as “above politics” which may contribute to military inclination to politics. While the central purpose of the military is to be an instrument of war, nevertheless, it may also operate as a powerful interest group that influences defence and foreign policy. It may help to maintain domestic order and stability and may displace civilian government with a form of military rule. This paper focuses on the fourth aspect of the military.

Burma and Indonesia are among states whose military inclination in politics is strong in the Southeast Asian region. Unlike other Southeast Asian countries which have experienced periods of military rule, Burma has been under uninterrupted military rule for almost five decades. Originally called the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), the junta took direct political control on September 18, 1988 (Callahan, 2010). Army leaders grafted a military command structure, promised market reforms, neutralized political opposition, constructed a more modern physical infrastructure, survived and splintered down on several sizable popular protests. Renamed the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) in 1997, the ruling junta also devised a constitution aimed at maintaining military influence in politics under its own version of a democracy. Against widespread predictions of its imminent fall and despite failing to achieve domestic or international legitimacy, the military government has prevailed.

Since its inception at the time of Indonesian independence, the military has had a defined role in both defence and politics, particularly during the Sukarno (1945-1965) and Suharto eras (1966-1998) (Bhakti et al., 2009). While this role has been somewhat reduced in the Reform era (beginning mid-1998) through various stages of military reform, many of the underlying principles of the involvement of the military in politics still remain in reality. They maintain that the military continues to influence, and even dominate, political and economic affairs.

The military rule in Myanmar has been the subject international scrutiny and criticism with its authoritative control on governance and its seemingly distorted version of democracy. The end of military rule in Burma has been demanded, anticipated, predicted, and scripted by its myriad critics at home and abroad but military hold in Burmese politics remain strong and intact in contemporary times. Like Burma, the role of the military in Indonesian politics has also been a subject to international scrutiny. The military in Indonesia has been regarded as an instrument of coercion and political violence.

Statement of the Problem

This study aims to compare military politics in Burma and Indonesia. Specifically, it aims to answer the following:

  1. Looking at the historical context of Burma and Indonesia, what has been the role of the military in politics? How did the military came into power?
  2. What are the sources of legitimacy for military actions in these states?
  3. What is the relationship between military and government and military and civil society in both states?
  4. What are the changes in the role of the military in the politics in Burma and Indonesia?
  5. How does authoritarianism and militarism shape the orientation of military politics in Burma and Indonesia?


This paper is a comparative analysis of military politics in Burma and Indonesia. It aims the following objectives:

1. It seeks to examine the role of the military in state politics through a historical and institutional perspective.

2. It seeks to compare how the military achieves legitimacy in both states.

3. It aims to determine military relations with civil society in Myanmar and Indonesia.

4. It also aims to study how military politics in both states affect their international relations especially with other states in Southeast Asia.

5. This paper also aims to analyse the role of the military in the politics of Burma and Indonesia in the context of authoritarianism and militarism.


Significance of the Study

Traditionally, it has been believed that there’s a sharp distinction between civilians and soldiers in values, process and ideology. The military was concerned with professional skills, values and weapons. Concerns of the military on foreign policy flowed from its interest on national security and was likely to be imperialistic and expansionist.

Although military rule has been regarded as a detrimental to democratic rule, it is still important and essential for a state to have its military well-seasoned. Military role in politics is of course for the execution of the governmental policies with the use of coercion and force. In the two states of Burma and Indonesia, this research paper aims to look into the vital role of the Military in the political aspect of the state.

There is a need to look at the military politics in Myanmar and Indonesia to understand the politics of these states. The military can be regarded as an indispensable character in Myanmar and Indonesian politics. By comparing the military politics of both states, we could trace the basis of the power and legitimacy of the military– how it came to power and what is its character as institution in the context of Myanmar and Indonesian politics. By studying the military politics of these states, we could see how it affects their relations with other states especially in the Southeast Asian region. Furthermore, by comparing the military politics of these states, we would see why they have a strong inclination for military rule.


Scope and Limitations of the Study

This research paper is an examination on the vitality and indispensability of the roles and functions of the military in Burma and Indonesia. These two states have strong military influence in their political system. The researchers would like to look at the sources of legitimacy of the military rule which varies it from other states in the southeast region.

According to Heywood, military mainly considers themselves as “above politics” which would sometimes contribute to their intervention in politics. While the central rationale of the military is to be an instrument of war, nevertheless, it may also operate as a powerful interest group who influences defence and foreign policies. They are important in the maintenance of political and social order and may displace civilian government with a form of military rule. The paper focuses on this aspect of the military.

Theoretical Framework 

Authoritarianism is a belief in, or practice of government form above, in which authority is exercised regardless of popular consent (Heywood, 2002). Authority in this context rests on legitimacy. The practice of government from above associated with monarchical absolutism, traditional dictatorships and most forms of military rule is concerned more with the repression of opposition and political liberty rather than the radical goal of obliterating distinction between the state and civil society. Authoritarianism usually embraces an incomplete ideology or in many cases a number of overlapping and sometimes contradictory ideologies (Funderburk and Thobaben, 1994). The distribution of political power is shared among economic, clerical, military and political elites. In the point of view of authoritarianism, the role of the citizen remains passive.

Authoritarian regimes therefore emphasize the claims of those above than the individual liberty (Heywood, 2002). In the case of Burma, the rule of the military junta can then be classified and can be associated to as an authoritarian regime. However, the concept of authoritarian is different from totalitarian because it can be said that authoritarian regime can tolerate minimal degrees and levels of freedom in terms of religion, economic and other aspects.

This paper utilizes the authoritarian ideology in analysing the military politics of Burma and Indonesia. Burma is an authoritarian regime with a military junta in the place of a civilian government. The concept of authority is a highly relevant term to the role of the military in Burmese politics. While Indonesia may claim to be a democratic government, strong elements of authoritarianism still remains intact especially with the prevalent role of the military in state politics.

This paper also seeks to explain military politics in Burma and Indonesia in the context of structural functionalism. The Burmese situation exhibits a strong inclination to militarism with the full control of the military junta, as an institution, in almost every aspect of the Burmese society. Even though the role of the military has diminished with Indonesia’s transition to democracy, militarism still remains a relevant trend in Indonesian politics. Structural Functionalism focuses on the positive and negative functions of social structures.  Societal functionalism is a particular type of structural functionalism that aims to explain the role of social structures and institutions in society like the military; the relationship between these structures; and the manner in which these structures constrain the actions of individuals.

In the context of Burma and Indonesia, military, as an institution, can be seen as a possessor of a huge role in influencing politics. The execution of the dual function of the military in Indonesia under Suharto’s regime, which allows the military to defend the national security and participate in the civilian government at the same time, has resulted in the involvement of armed forces in non-military fields, characterized by the filling of bureaucratic positions by military personnel. The product of this instance was that the Indonesian military became less practiced in its key role of offering defence but more active in the aspects of politics and business. The military’s all-encompassing role created problems during the political crisis of the late 1990s. According to structural functionalists, individuals have little or no control over the ways in which particular structures operate.

Another approach we would like to use in this study of military politics in two countries is the democratization theory. Simple identification of civilian control with democratic government, and military control with absolute or totalitarian government: the military may undermine civilian control in a democracy, acquiring power by legitimate processes. According to Diamond and Lipset, democracy is defined in terms of three essential and generally accepted conditions: meaningful competition for government office; a high level of political participation; and a level of civil and political liberties sufficient to ensure competition and participation.

A central pillar of modern democratic theory is the doctrine of constitutionalism which, in its simplest form, refers to limited government, a system in which any body of rulers is as much subject to the rule of law as the body of citizens. An important concept in this theory is the idea of civilian supremacy. According to Dahl, democracy requires not only that armed forces be subject to civilian control, but also that ‘those civilians who control the military and police must themselves be subject to the democratic process.’








Conceptual Framework


This paper looks at the role of the military in the politics of Burma and Indonesia in a historical and institutional perspective. It also looks at the sources of power of the military in both states by determining the source of legitimacy for military actions towards state politics. This paper also examines the relationship of the military to the government and civil society of Burma and Indonesia and assesses the contemporary issues of military politics in both states. More importantly, this paper analyzes the role of the military in Burmese and Indonesian politics using the comparative framework. It will determine parallelisms in the military politics of both states. It also explains the inclination of the military to the politics of Burma and Indonesia in the context of authoritarianism and militarism. Having given a comparative analysis, this paper will provide policy recommendations in relation to the issues of military politics in Burma and Indonesia.










Chapter II




While Burma was a British colony, Indonesia was a colony of the Netherlands. There were fundamental differences in the colonial administrative policies of these two European powers. In the 1960s, after the capture of political power, the military regimes in both Burma and Indonesia attempted to bring back political stability and economic developments but the experiments in developing new instruments and institutions have been so different that they have brought divergent results for both the countries.


  1. I.                   Military Politics in Burma

Burma (also known as Myanmar or the Union of Myanmar) is located in South-East Asia on the Bay of Bengal. It shares borders with Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand. In this research paper, the country is referred to as Burma and its people as Burmese. However, the current government is referred to as the Myanmar Government (Commonwealth of Australia, a handbook, 2006).

Burma has been ruled by the military forces called Military Junta. In the Burmese Tatmadaw, or the Burmese Armed forces, the army is the most privileged sector of the three forces. The Burmese Military has ruled for four decades now because of the intimidation of its military intelligence apparatus and the brute strength of its well-seasoned army (Carpenter and Wiencek, 2005).

Soldiers are everywhere in the country. Although the military cannot directly rule the nation as a government, it still controls Burma and treats it as a commodity. Thus, citizens live in constant fear of attacks from all sides, from both the political and the armed groups.

The Burmese armed forces, called Tatmadaw, have the second largest army in South East Asia and are the sixteenth largest armed force in the world (Carpenter and Wiencek, 2005). The command structure of the Tatmadaw has evolved over the years, polished by real and imagined internal and external threats. Burma’s army grew from a respected, heroic force that ousted foreign occupiers to become an occupying army over its fellow countrymen.


Burma was administered as part of British India until 1937 and it became independent in 1948 (Bowers, 2004). There was a period of constitutional government until 1962, but this was characterised by civil war, insurgency, and corruption. There was a short period of military government, at the request of the civilian authorities, in the late 1950s, which led to new elections. However, the situation did not improve after the elections and in 1962 the armed forces intervened again, staging a coup, arresting members of the Government, suspending the constitution, and ruling initially by decree. From 1962 Burma was a one-party state ruled by the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) of General Ne Win, which was closely allied to the armed forces (Ibid).

The vitality of military forces in Burma started in its nation building in the 11th century with the establishment of Bamar (formerly known as Burman) hegemony over other indigenous nations when British forces had to be fought against in 1885 (Funston, 2001).

The World War II brought Japanese-militarism and fascist practices into Burma. Following anti-Japanese resistance and the successful confrontation with the British imparted fame and glory to the new politico-military elite (mainly Bamars) and legitimated them as the saviours of independent Burma.

In July of 1974, Burma’s independence suffered a most traumatic tragedy when Bogyoke Aung San, considered as prime mover of the movement and national hero, was gunned down with members of his legislative assembly by political assassins. This experience of the fascist rule and the assassination of the Aung San together with the influence of leftist ideologies over the nationalist elite, who became the major protagonists in post-independent Burma, created a historical legacy which introduced considerable tensions into the post-independence political process (Ibid.)

After the independence of Burma in 1948, Burma was then established as a parliamentary democracy under the Constitution (Ibid.). The Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL) –the national front that was formed as a clandestine resistance movement against Japanese occupation—dominated the Burma’s political arena for a decade and formed successive governments after winning elections in 1947, 1951 and 1956.

There were communist and ethnic rebellions that erupted soon after independence. There was a period of constitutional government until 1962, but this was characterized by civil war, insurgency, corruption and mismanagement. There was a short period of military government, at the request of the civilian authorities, in the late 1950s, which led to new elections (Bowers, 2004).

However, the situation did not improve after the elections and in 1962 the armed forces intervened again, staging a coup, arresting members of the Government, suspending the constitution, and ruling initially by decree. From 1962 Burma was a one-party state ruled by the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) of General Ne Win, which was closely allied to the armed forces (Ibid.).

In 1988 an economic collapse provoked popular unrest, which came to threaten the BSPP’s control. Ne Win officially retired, but he was believed to retain influence behind the scenes. At first the unrest was put down with force. Several massacres of opposition demonstrators as the military attempted to maintain its position occurred in Burma.

The regime’s control came under increasingly serious threat through the year, prompting efforts to resolve the problems peacefully. These efforts, however, were unsuccessful, but they culminated in the BSPP’s decision to hold free elections and to bar the military from direct involvement in politics. The armed forces staged a coup, and it was not clear whether the whole episode had been an internal power struggle between the party and the military, or a grand strategy to perpetuate their joint influence (Funston, 2001).

A State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) was formed to run the country, renamed Myanmar, until elections could be held. Elections took place in 1990 and the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of independence hero General Aung San, won absolute majorities of votes and seats (Ibid.). The SLORC refused to recognize the results of the election, and instead it continued its repressive rule. The SLORC held Ms Suu Kyi under house arrest until 1995, and harassed and imprisoned members of the NLD.

In 1997 the SLORC was replaced by a State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), but this did not represent a change in the senior leadership nor in the repressive nature of the regime. Many political prisoners were still held captive and Ms Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest again from 2000 to 2002 and from 2003 to date (Bowers, 2004).

Burma has numerous ethnic minorities in outlying regions, and the periphery has been in a state of civil war to a greater or lesser extent since independence (Funston, 2001). The Burmese military has been accused of abusing the human rights of ethnic minorities, both insurgents and civilians. Disappearances, extrajudicial killings and torture are usual pictures as is forced labor in the service of the military and the forced relocation of individuals and communities. Some of the ethnic minority groups have turned to illegal activities such as narcotics production and illicit logging. They have also been accused of human rights abuses against civilians and non-combatants (Bowers, 2004).

In the economic field, the SLORC abandoned state socialism in 1988 and has since pursued similar policies on liberalizing trade and investment to those followed in China under Deng Xiaoping or in Vietnam since the late 1980s (Ibid). However, the regime’s poor reputation abroad, and calls for sanctions and boycotts by the NLD and by human rights campaigners, has held back investment. Coupled with mismanagement of the economy, this has left Burma as one of the poorest countries in the region.

Burma was admitted to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in July 1997, despite protests from Europe and North America. Following the admission relations between ASEAN and the EU and the USA were strained. The EU and the USA have imposed sanctions against Burma (Ibid.).

Between 1962 and 1974, Burma was ruled by a revolutionary council headed by the general, and almost all aspects of society (business, media, production) were nationalized or brought under government control (even the Boy Scouts). In an effort to consolidate power, Ne Win and many other top generals resigned from the military and took civilian posts and, from 1974, instituted elections in a one-party system (Funston, 2004).



  1. II.                Military Politics in Indonesia

The military is the single most powerful and influential force in Indonesian society (Carpenter and Wiencek, ed., 2005). Since its vital role in the struggle for independence against the Dutch colonials, the Indonesian military has wielded colossal power. Indonesia’s military force is small for the country’s population size and huge geographical spread.

The Indonesian military was originally created from peoples’ armed forces. Following Indonesian independence, proclaimed on August 17 1945 and recognised by the Dutch in 1949, there were no regular or systematised national armed forces (Bhakti, et al, 2009). Because the new republic needed military officers during the interim struggle with the Dutch in order to maintain its independence, the Badan Keamanan Rakyat (BKR/People’s Security Board), was established on 1945. The BKR was placed under the Indonesia National Committee (KNI) which was comprised by the Central Indonesia National Committee in Jakarta and the Regional Indonesi National Committee. The BKR was the founding institution of the contemporary military, made up of soldiers from the struggle for independence and was ‘borne from the womb of the Indonesian revolution’ (ibid).

As the military developed, many armed forces’ personnel, including both Dutch-trained and Japanese-trained officers, became members of political parties or organisations. These officers took the position that they did not need to separate their professional duties from their political activities within society. This characteristic of the armed forces was thus established as a consequence of the existence of BKR, which remained inseparable from state politics after Indonesian independence. Elements of BKR were dominated by the view that there was no need for a separation between the army and politics.

At the birth of Independence, PPKI (Panitia Persiapan Kemerdekaan Indonesia or the Committee for Indonesian Independence) suggested that the newly formed BKR should be eliminated. President Sukarno eventually changed the name of BKR to Tentara Keamanan Rakyat (People’s Security Army/TKR) on October 5, 1945. Seen in this context, civil supremacy seemed dominant since the establishment of the BKR and eventually the TKR. The struggle of the people against the return of Dutch colonial power in the post independence period was the main factor behind the change of the TKR to the Tentara Rakyat Indonesia (Indonesian People’s Army/TRI) on January 1, 1946. A month later, TRI was changed again to the Tentara Republik Indonesia (Republic of Indonesia’s Army/TRI). With the structural merger of some of the militia into TRI, the name of TRI was again changed to Tentara Nasional Indonesia (Indonesian National Army) on May 5, 1947.

Two important events further laid the foundation for the role of the military in politics: first, the declaration of martial law in 1957, which allowed the military to be active in politics as they ran the state of emergency; and second, the introduction of the ‘middle way’ concept by General Nasution in 1958 which provided the opportunity for the TNI to become involved in the government (ibid.). This concept was introduced to prevent the military from instituting a coup d’état against the civilian government. The military was expected not only to act as an instrument of the government which was dominated by civilian politicians, but more importantly to have absolute role in Indonesian politics.

From 1965 with Suharto taking over until 1998, the Indonesian military was known as the Angkatan Bersenjata Republik Indonesia (ABRI) – Armed Forces of the Republic of Indonesia. Suharto used the military to build personal power and a dictatorship. He also established a parallel structure of military and civilian authority in order to control the bureaucracy. During the Suharto regime, the dual function (dwi fungsi) of the military as both a defence force and a participant in civilian politics and governance was legitimised by Law No. 20/1982 on State Defence Regulations (Bhakti, et. al., 2009).

The implementation of this dual function of the military has resulted in the involvement of armed forces in non-military fields, characterized by the filling of bureaucratic positions by military personnel. As a result, the Indonesian military became less professional in its key role of providing defence but more professional in politics and the business sector. The pervasive role of the military created huge problems during the political crises of the late 1990s. In the 1999 elections, ABRI was banned from participating and were to remain neutral. The bureaucracy, which had been a driving force during every election in the New Order era, was also to remain neutral, After the 1999 elections, ABRI’s political role was gradually reduced.

Since Suharto’s resignation, Indonesia has had three presidents. Vice President B.J. Habibie succeeded Suharto. After his bid for reelection failed, Abdurrahman Wahid was elected by Parliament in October 1999 despite not having won a plurality. Vice President Megawati Sukarnoputri succeeded to the presidency in 2001 following Wahid’s impeachment foe incompetence.

Since the fall of Suharto’s New Order regime in 1998, Indonesia has launched a number of initiatives to reform its previously omnipotent armed forces (Meitzner, 2006). As a symbol of reform, the armed forces renamed itself the Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI or Indonesian National Armed Forces) on April 1, 1999. These change reflected the devolvement of the Indonesian National Police (INP), which had previously been a fourth branch of the military, alongside the army, navy and air force. The Department of Defense and Security was likewise renamed the Department of Defense to indicate the removal of internal security from the military’s mission (Carpenter and Wiencek, ed., 2005).

These successes, however, have been counterbalanced by serious omissions and failures. One problem that the post-Suharto administrations seriously tackled is the issue of military self-financing. Since its inception in the 1940s, the Indonesian military has raised much of its own funds through a large network of businesses, cooperatives, foundations, and other formal and informal enterprises. These fund-raising mechanisms, in turn, have enabled the armed forces to operate from a position in which they are not exclusively dependent on budget allocations from the state. Despite efforts to increase state control over the defense budget after 1998, the military has continued to rely on large amounts of off budget funds.

Most important, policymakers did not proceed with initiatives to reform the territorial command structure (kodam). Territorial commands were one of the instruments used by the New Order regime to create a ‘military’ government shadowing the civilian government (Meitzner, 2006). Moreover, the difficulty of dismissing the territorial command lies in the fact that it is connected to the myth of NKRI (Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia – Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia) (Bhakti et. al., 2009).

Amidst these changes and the pressure to end the powerful political role of the military, Indonesia has faced a serious and fundamental problem of domestic security provision. The adherence to retaining the territorial command of TNI has important connections to the conflicts still occurring in some parts of Indonesia (ibid.). The National Police, who were initially given authority to handle internal security, have been unable to manage the conflicts fully. There are concerns that if the territorial commands were shut down, chaos would result; without the necessary commands to control emerging conflicts, the security of the region would automatically be somewhat disturbed, and this would generate chaos in the internal organisation of TNI itself. Thus, to date there have been no moves towards abolishing the territorial commands.

It is impossible to talk about military politics in Indonesia without looking at the security threat faced by the state. The separatist movement in Aceh and Papua constitute the greatest threat to Indonesia’s national security (Carpenter and Wiencek, eds., 2005).

Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM, Free Aceh Movement), active since 1976 but brutally suppressed by Suharto’s army until 1998, is now believed to control as many as half the villages in the province, located at the extreme western end of the archipelago. Wahid’s response to this movement was to work towards a political rather than a Suharto-style military solution however it is contradictory or inconsistent in its particulars (Liddle, 2001). But efforts to quell separatism had put in a military character during Megawati’s regime.          With the failure of peace talks, President Megawati declared martial law in the province by 2003 and the army launched its largest operation since the 1975 invasion of East Timor (ibid.) Martial law was extended through mid-2004. Security forces continued their strong operational presence in Aceh and have seriously degraded the size and capabilities of GAM.

The situation in Papua/ Irian Jaya located at the far eastern end of the archipelago is perhaps less serious but more grave than in Aceh. Less serious because the Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM, Free Papua Organization) is much more poorly organized, trained, equipped and led than GAM and cannot yet amount a substantial military campaign; more grave because most Irianese have never felt a part of Indonesia (Liddle, 2001). Wahid’s initial response to Papuan separatism had been similar in the Acehnese case, favouring political over a military solution.

Aside from the separatist movements, Indonesia faces the internal threat posed by outbreaks of severe violence among ethnic and religious groups – known in  Indonesia as SARA (“ethnicity, religion, race and intergroup conflict”) (Carpenter and Wiencek, eds., 2005). A most notorious example of is the formation and deployment of the radical Muslim group LJ which was initially used by hard-line military and civilian figures in opposition to reform efforts by Wahid (ibid.). The PDI-P, the ruling party of Megawati Sukarnoputri is affiliate to three paramilitary youth groups. These groups affiliated to the military and sponsored by political elites avoid responsibility by pointing to an Indonesian “culture of violence” (Collins, 2002).

The military has had a curious role in the post-Suharto government. Both Wahid and Megawati’s cabinets have included military officers in ministerial posts. The TNI has demonstrated that it cannot always be controlled by its political masters and it is threatened internally by factionalism. Although TNI influence has been reduced, it remains a formidable player in the Indonesian political sense (Funston, 2001).











Chapter III



This paper looks at military politics in Burma and Indonesia within the context of structural functionalism, democratization and the authoritarian political ideology.

Structural Functionalism studies and examines the roles of certain institutions and how these societal institutions affect and may constrain individuals. Now, we will delve into the military in Burma and Indonesia and we will consider their military as an institution that has been affecting the political dealings of the state.

Militarism has been defined as “aggressiveness that involves the threat of using military force” and the glorification of the ideas of a professional military class and predominance of the armed forces in the administration or policy of the state (Heywood, 2002). The military’s coercive power and operational efficiency are not only of significance in international politics but it also plays a decisive role in domestic politics. Certain states confront levels of political tension and unrest that are quite beyond the capacity of the police or the civilian government. This occurs particularly in the case of serious, religious or national conflict. Given such circumstances, military intervention could be justified in the context of guaranteeing the integrity of the state. In the case of Indonesia, the military very much plays a central role against ethnic conflicts and movements for separatism. On the other hand, efforts can be seen from the Burmese military junta to quell democratic movements considered to be a threat to state security and a challenge to the ideals of the junta. In cases where legitimacy has collapsed altogether, the military may become the only prop of the regime, safeguarding it from popular rebellion or revolution.

The military can also be an instrument of policy i.e. the military can sometimes act as interest groups which shape the administrative policies often influencing the civilian government on its policy choices especially in the field of strategic defence. The military is not always content to act as an interest group exerting pressure on and through civilian politicians. It’s monopoly of weaponry and coercive power gives it the capacity to intervene directly in political life, leading in extreme cases of military rule (Heywood, 2002). The defining feature of military rule is that members of the armed forces displace civilian politicians. One extreme form of military rule is the military junta. The military junta in Burma controls all aspect of governance – political, economic and social. The notion of a civilian government does not exist in this context as civilians are virtually excluded from governance. The case of Indonesia is, however, different as there is not a complete form of military rule. Although Indonesia has historically been under military dictatorships, its transition to democracy diminished the role of the military. Unlike Burma, the notion of a civilian government is present in the Indonesian context. But as already repeatedly mentioned in this paper, the military has continued to exercise influence over Indonesian politics.

The most dramatic manifestation of the power of the military is the removal of a civilian government through a coup d’état. The military seizes power in order to displace the existing political leaders as with the case of Indonesia or establish a form of direct military rule as with the case of Burma. Reasons for the seizing of power of the military can be attributed to poor economic performance of a state and when there is a weakening in the legitimacy of the existing government. Military intervention in politics is less when the state establishes a strong democratic culture. In Indonesia however, democracy is a much contested concept and as such Indonesia is prone to military intervention in its politics.

Noteworthy, is the composition of the government in both Burma and Indonesia. Political leaders are strongly affiliated with the military. Moreover, members of the military dominate administrative posts.

Military regimes belong to a broader category of authoritarianism. Military authoritarianism has been most common in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia. The key feature of a military regime is that the leading posts in government are filled on the basis of the person’s position within the military chain of command.

According to Heywood, although forms of military rule are deeply repressive, this classification encompasses a number of regime types. In some military regimes, the armed forces assume direct control of government. The classical form of this is the military junta. The second form of military regime is a military-backed personalized dictatorship with a single individual gaining pre-eminence within the junta or regime. In the final form of military regime, the loyalty of the armed forces is the decisive factor that upholds the regime, but the military leaders content themselves with “pulling the strings” behind the scenes. Such a distinction, however, may fuel an appetite for constitutional and representative politics, and reduce the scope for direct military intervention.

The main difference between Burma and Indonesia is the form of authoritarian rule they exhibit. Burma is a complete authoritarian state wherein the military junta dictates governance and the flow of public life. It is highly inclined to authoritarianism partly because of the iron hand of authority in the government and its affiliation to the military. Indonesia could be said to have a flawed democracy – not yet a complete democracy on the one hand but not a full authoritarian state on the other. While Burmese military junta enjoys a complete monopoly of authority, the military in Indonesia only holds a certain degree of authority as the larger portion of authority remained within the government. The role of the military in both states, however, is highly questioned by the international community as both Burmese and Indonesian military had been attributed to masses of political violence. Although, there are manifestations of questioning the authority of the junta and movements towards democracy in Burma, the military continued to impose absolute authority. The Indonesian military never enjoyed the possession of absolute authority nevertheless; they remained relevant in state politics.

However, aside from the structural functionalist and authoritarian approach, we will also utilize democratization in examining the cases of Burma and Indonesia. In Burma the army restored civilian politics after two years but soon after again intervened and has remained in power since, becoming one of the modern world’s most durable military regimes. In both Burma and Indonesia the military had played a prominent part in the achievement of independence and soldiers had played an early role in government. In both countries, having intervened decisively, the military consolidated its position by expanding into civilian administration and business and by establishing a military-dominated political party. Both regimes have maintained strong central control, repressing opposition (especially on the ethnic peripheries), and both have had a poor record in terms of civil and political liberties.

But there the similarities end. In Indonesia at least some of the trappings of a democratic system have been largely maintained, with three effectively state-approved parties contesting elections (which have been consistently dominated by the military-backed Golkar); fairly purposeful policy making has achieved an impressive rate and reasonable distribution of economic development, and since the late 1960s a fairly high degree of political stability has been maintained. This has contributed to a degree of performance legitimacy that has enabled President Suharto to remain in power for almost thirty years, despite criticisms of what Filipinos might have labelled croneyism and frequent predictions of his regime’s imminent demise. In contrast, Burma abandoned any pretence of participatory politics after 1962 and has waged an ongoing war against non-Burman ethnic groups as well as, for some time, a communist insurrection. These factors, coupled with a record of economic performance which by 1987 had reduced Burma to one of the world’s poorest countries, and a high degree of political repression, has severely undermined the legitimacy of the regime. This culminated in the unsuccessful popular uprising of 1988, from which emerged a more repressive military regime. In both cases the lack of pronounced divisions within the military (once Burma had effectively purged the army of its non-Burman elements) has been a factor in regime maintenance, though in Burma in 1988 it looked for a while as though a people power movement along the lines of that in the Philippines two years earlier might force a regime change with military acquiescence.

Role of the Military in Burma and Indonesia

Unlike the military junta in Burma, Indonesia’s military has had a gradual role in state politics. While Burma is a complete authoritarian regime with the junta having complete control of the governance of the country, Indonesia is a democratic state whose government is highly affiliated with the military. However, the concept of democracy in Indonesia is a flawed one partly because of its inclination to military politics. Although military role in politics has been diminished throughout the years with changes in political leadership, the military as an institution has remained strong in Indonesian politics. This hold of power by the military can be explained partly by the deep political and economic problems, social pressures, and internal security threat that Indonesia faces. Seen in this context, the military is an indispensable tool of the Indonesian state. Based on the historical context given above, we can observe changes in the role of the military in Indonesian politics. Changes in the role of the military in the politics of Indonesia are readily observable.

During the Old Order era and the New Order era under the Sukarno administration and the Suharto administration respectively, the Indonesian military had a strong and pervasive political role through its presence in various civil institutions, the state apparatus and the business sector. The military played a key role in the Sukarno regime. The army’s most important goals have been to consolidate its political position, to keep political parties generally from ever resuming the control of the government  and in particular to weaken and finally destroy the PKI. Since 1959, the army has been able to restrict the PKI’s activities but the mere fact that the PKI could be controlled or gradually weakened was not enough to assure its final demise. In addition to defeating the PKI, they must also buttress their legitimate right to take part in the political life of the nation and for this; they require popular support (Tilman, 1969). Sukarno himself played a balancing act between sworn enemies, the PKI and the military but increasingly leaned towards the PKI.

The military was a key player under Sukarno, but became dominant under Suharto. Dwi fungsi was incorporated into law. Focusing on its socio-political role, the military has divided the territory of Indonesia into territorial commands or kodam (Funston, 2001).  The military dominated almost every aspect of civilian government. The implementation of this dual function of the military has resulted in the involvement of armed forces in non-military fields. Furthermore, there was a significant presence of the armed forces in the cabinet of the day. Important to note is the alliance of the military and the business sector. The military involved itself over a series of business linkages in order to achieve a certain amount of self-funding. This issue later on became a problem for the military as observable in post-Suharto regimes.

The political role of the Indonesian military since the fall of Suharto in 1998 has been significantly diminished through structural and legislative change, and to some extent public oversight. The political and business roles of the military were publicly challenged and its need for reform highlighted. In the aftermath of the 1999 general election, the position of the TNI-Police faction in parliament through reserved seats in each layer of government was reduced and following the 2004 general elections was completely erased (Bhakti et. al, 2009). The depoliticization of the military and the credibility of the internal reforms undergone by the TNI is questionable however. The retention of the military’s territorial command received the greates censure. The territorial system was maintained as the power base of the armed forces in the regions, allowing them to tap into economic resources at the grassroots level and defend their role as a significant player in local politics. The continuing alliance of the military with the Indonesian business sector or the self-funding of the military undermined the establishment of an effective and democratic civilian control over the military.

The military junta in Burma has been proven historically to be essential in the Burmese politics. Burmese military has a strong hold in Burmese government mainly because of its historical self-portrayed indispensability in attaining independence; culture and traditional beliefs; and the vital role it plays in maintaining and ensuring national security, peace, and order in Burma. Basically, the true essence of military forces in Burma lies with the fact that they are the ones responsible for maintaining the short distance from and keeping all national interests in constant reach. These national interests may of course include national security, genuine national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and freedom from outside forces. Once threats come in crashing, military forces make sure everything is under their control. Internal and external threats are the ones to be prevented and as much as possible removed from sight by the military.

Internal threats, examples of these, are those rebellions and uprisings within the state. Soon after Burma’s independence in 1948 from British rule, several ethnic rebellions came up as they continue to pursue their different various ideologies and interests. Once the interests of the government don’t go with what some ethnic organizations want, tendencies for upheavals arise. Dissatisfaction of the government can also be a perfect factor why internal dilemmas start to exist in a state, particularly in Burma.

External threats are those we consider to be coming from outside the state such as territorial occupations, international disputes regarding contrasting policies and territorial disputes, and some direct and indirect interventions of other states. All these situations pose threats to the state and the military then incurs its purpose.

One source of legitimacy of the Burmese military is its claim of being an indispensible agent in attaining the independence of Burma. Burma was occupied by the British forces for more than a decade and the military junta claimed that it was of their intervention that the Burma achieved its independence. In a culture that had undergone colonization, it is quite understandable that people may tend to have higher regard and respect for the military personnel because of the interventions and tasks they have made in order to assure that peace and order is kept.

Culture has also played an essential role in legitimizing the military authority in Burma. Burmese culture has been well grounded on Buddhism and concepts of Karma (Carpenter and Wiencek, ed., 2005). The traditional concept of dynastic rule and legitimate authority goes back much further in time and was influenced by Buddhism and Hinduism. Burmese tend to have much patience and tolerance to the repressive rule. Military rule came into existence in 1962 but people’s rebellion came in 1988. Leadership was based on moral and ethical codes of conduct. These ethical codes of Buddhism served as a counterbalance to tendencies of absolute rule.

The sources of legitimacy in Burma and Indonesia quite differ from each other, as is shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Sources of Legitimacy of Burmese and Indonesian Military

Burmese Military

Indonesian Military

Burmese Way to Socialism by Gen. Ne Win

National Ideologies and Ideas posed

Religious and Cultural Beliefs influenced greatly by the Buddhist and Hindu faith.

by different Political Leaders under different Political Regimes.


While the legitimacy of the military junta in Burma lies in the state ideology (Burmese Way to Socialism) of the country as well as the inclination of the Burmese towards the Buddhist fate, source of legitimacy of the military in Indonesia is closely connected to national ideology and the ideas of particular leaders. The table below shows the different regimes of Indonesia and the ideologies they try to promote.

Table 2. Source of Legitimacy of the Indonesian Military


Source of legitimacy for the Military


Sukarno’s “Old Order”



Suharto’s New Order



Post-Suharto governments


Guided Democracy

The “middle way”


Dwi fungsi – Law No. 20/1982



Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia “Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia”


Bhinneka Tunggal Ika “Unity in Diversity”




Initially, the military derive its power from its claim to the significant role it played in Indonesian independence and its struggle against the Dutch colonials.

This idea laid the foundation for the military’s political role, and these were later developed by the New Order, which created parallel military and civilian (governance) structures. It is important to note that civilian politicians in the post independence period were weak, forcing members of the military to seek roles beyond simply being ‘tools of civilian government’. The military’s role in guarding state sovereignty against internal factional politics between political parties was the main argument providing support for their excessive role. Army officers brought into politics a political outlook shaped by their army experience. It was by no means a well formulated outlook. It put great emphasis on national consensus, unity, obedience, and discipline. These predilections were very much in tune with Sukarno’s presentation of Guided Democracy, on which many officers gave their full support – short of accepting Sukarno’s demand for a cabinet that would include the Communist Party (PKI) (Tilman, 1969).

Under Suharto’s New Order, the dual function of the military as both a defence force and a participant in civilian politics and governance was legitimised by Law No. 20/1982 on State Defence Regulations.

There has been debate over the form of the Indonesian state during the Reform Era, specifically whether the unitary state is still suitable for Indonesia or whether there is an alternative, more appropriate, model, such as federalism. During these debates, the military always argues that NKRI is a given, and cannot be changed.

The military suffered an apparent problem in terms of the internal security in Indonesia. Internal conflict, both in the form of vertical conflicts (e.g. separatism in Aceh and Papua) and horizontal conflicts (e.g. social violence, communal, religious, and/or ethnic conflicts) has occurred in different parts of Indonesia. The above context shows a classic example of how the military is used as an instrument for coercion in by Indonesian government and elite leaders.

Military Relations with Government and Civil Society

The Military or military-related interests control the most lucrative and productive sectors of Burma’s formal economy. The Tatmadaw not only uses Burma’s rich resources to pay for military imports but also receives additional, hidden, subsidies in the form of free or below-cost, goods and services. Benefits for military personnel have been magnified and common in Burma. Regular citizens and foreign residents pay huge amounts for electric bills, much of which s free to military. Staples also like rice, oil, gasoline, and others are available to military families at below market prices and then resold by officials for a profit.

When it comes to budget allocation, Burmese government budgets on health and education are among the lowest in the world on a per-capita basis. And a part of the very small health budget is often diverted to special health and education services open only to military personnel and their families. Clearly, the Burmese government gives important to the Military politics unlike Indonesia. This can be well explained by the historical events in Burma which gave high regard to military.

There is no concept of civilian government in Burma given that it is a complete authoritarian regime ruled by a military junta. Indonesia however remains democratic as the idea of a democracy remains popular to the Indonesians. Thus civilian government still remains intact in the context of Indonesian politics. However, traditional role of the military in the politics of Indonesia has been carried over despite the changes in regimes in the country.

Indonesia suffers from a difficulty in the transition from autocracy to democracy. Historically, the military has played a dominant role in civilian government especially during the Suharto years. Most notable is the fact that Indonesian political leaders are strongly affiliated with the military and most come from high ranks in the military hierarchy. Because of the ideologies forwarded by leaders, the military had penetrated into civil and ministerial posts in the government. Although reforms were introduced, the military remained in relevant to Indonesian politics. Post-Suharto regimes resort to military actions to forward political change. Indonesia is a country with diverse ethnicities. It also suffers a geographical disadvantage providing the basis for security threats within the country. As long as Indonesia suffers from these security threats, the military will continue to be an indispensable instrument of coercion of the government and its role in politics, prominent.

Military-civil society relations can be said to remain unfriendly. Even with the military’s claim of a significant role in Indonesian independence, its relationship with civil society has been tarnished due to military violence and coercion towards the different ethnicities and their call for separatism. Aside from the separatist movements, Indonesia faces the internal threat posed by outbreaks of severe. The reputation of the military and the police have been greatly damaged by revelations of human rights abuses throughout the country. More disturbing is the fact that the government deliberately instigate violence or inflame SARA incidents for political purposes. In Indonesia, the greatest threat of violence arises from the existence of paramilitary youth groups linked to the military, political parties and Islamic organizations.


The military has been seen as a prevalent figure in the politics of Burma and Indonesia. Historically, the military in both states had a claim to the independence struggle against colonizers. Important factors can be attributed to the claim of legitimacy of the military in both states such as their role in the independence movements, the national ideology of the state including the ideas of particular leaders, its role to quell internal and external unrest and ultimately, religion. The relationship of the military with the government and civil society has been one of cooperation and hostility. In Burma, the military junta dominates government while in Indonesia the government is highly affiliated with the military. Hostility arises in the relationship of the military with the civil society in both states because of the abuses of the military in its functions and the violence it instigates through its actions. Militarism shapes the role of the military in politics as there is a strong belief or desire in both states to maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests especially in Burma. Militarism brought in the military culture in governance as well as its undertakings in state and administrative policies.  The main difference between Burma and Indonesia is that the former is a full authoritarian state controlled by a military junta while the latter although claiming to be a democratic state still has a partial but significant role of the military in politics. As such, the junta in Burma enjoys monopoly of authority while the military in Indonesia is greatly limited by the civilian government.










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Websites:…/Structural_Functionalism.doc   © 2011 by Robert O. Keel.

Third Entry: Diary: OJT Last Summer 2011

It was our third day when we were unexpectedly sent to Inayawan Landfill, currently called Inayawan Control Dumpsite. It was around 10:30 in the morning when we arrive there and as soon as we got there, we met Ms. Rosa, the employee in charged.

Basically the discussion was about the MRF (Material Recovery Facility) and the processes that undergo within it.  MRF began its operation last 1st of April 2011. Wastes are segregated into two basic groups: biodegradable and non-biodegradable. Each group of waste undergoes different processes before it becomes another product that is useful and is income generating.

For biodegradable materials, they have to be shredded first into tiny bits and are mixed well with sawdust and biosolution before it is being cooked in the Bioreactor for eight hours. It is said to have precisely one ton of mixture every load. The result of this stage is a blackish shredded waste that is air-dried and is heaped inside the facility. It is important that these mountainous of blackish shredded cooked material isn’t dried under the sun nor is it exposed under rain and wet conditions.

Then, it can be placed in their hand made beds where they let them rot and decompose naturally by covering them with used sacks and watering them everyday. When moisture starts to appear, Bermi worms or African Night Crawlers do the magic by hastening the decomposition process which will result to organic fertilizers we have in markets.

Instead of using Bermi worms they let the blackish shredded material dry up forming little chocolate hills and during harvest time, they use Hammermills to shred the material again and then they use strainers with three layers wherein the last layer serves as the producers of the finest organic fertilizers ready to be sold.

For non-biodegradable materials, they don’t get such long processes like biodegradables do. They just undergo shredding machines to make them look finer and viola! these shredded plastics are commonly mixed with cements to create and produce hollow blocks and foot paths. Such companies like SIMEX and APOCEMCO are willing to buy such products for their hollow block productions.

The tour in the Inayawan Control Dumpsite was indeed a learning and remarkable experience for both of us. Aside from the usual reminders we get from people like proper disposal and segregation of wastes, we also learned the value of what we have. Landfills, like what we have in Inayawan, can also be a source of income not just for the barangay but also for individual scavengers who daily get their food supply from the money they earn in picking up sellable materials like bottles and metal plates.

However, such closure of the Inayawan landfill led to displacement of jobs and decrease in their usual incomes. Currently 81 men from different families living near the area have job orders and they are paid the minimum wage rate of P297 a day. However, the issue here is that since there is now a strong implementation of waste segregation, sellable materials would now hardly reach the dumpsite because some barangays and people opt not to throw them with their other wastes but sell them individually and earn extra income.

—dungagi lang J