A Conversation with Lila Ramos Shahani and Vicente L. Rafael on the Philippine Elections

Shortly after the ascension of Corazon Aquino to the presidency in the aftermath of the overthrow of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, Benedict Anderson wrote his famous essay, "Cacique Democracy" to give a short but bracing account of Philippine politics as a a kind of casino, where people are allowed to play during elections, but where the house, controlled by a network of oligarchs, always invariably wins. How accurate was his description? How much have things changed since Cory's time? Has "cacique democracy" given way, or at least been mitigated by other political forces? 

In the midst of the 30th anniversary of People Power, or EDSA I, it is no doubt a good time to ask these and other questions. In May, Filipinos will be going to the polls. At stake are the positions of President, Vice-President, half of the Senate and Congressional body, and numerous other local offices. In this informal conversation hosted by the Filipino & Philippine Studies Working Group, Assistant Secretary Lila Ramos Shahani and University of Washington professor Vicente L. Rafael will address some of the more pressing issues at stake in this election. Along with the audience, they will try to unpack some of the curious alliances, hidden agendas, surprising segues, and other perverse developments that characterize this year's elections and ask if they are at all comparable to the upcoming elections of its former colonial master, the United States.

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Lila Ramos Shahani is currently Assistant Secretary and Head of Communications for 26 government agencies dealing with poverty and development collectively known as the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cabinet Cluster. She is also the spokesperson for Inter-Agency Council Against Human Trafficking (IACAT). She is also a regular columnist for the newspaper The Philippine Star.

Vicente L. Rafael is Professor of History and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Washington in Seattle. He is the author of several works on the history and politics of the Philippines. 

Event details
Date: 
Saturday, March 19, 2016 - 3:00pm - 4:30pm
Location: 
341 Dwinelle, Level F/G