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Moral Politics in the Philippines: Inequality, Democracy and the Urban Poor

Studies the middle class, civil society, moral excuse as a political antagonism in the Philippines after democratizing the country in 1896. Defines the dual public spheres which separate Philippines’ people into citizens and masses where the middle class viewed themselves as moral citizens with democracy domination, but the masses were judged as the poor, engaged in illicit activities and backed flaw leaders or populist counter-elites. Looks at people power movements in electoral politics, urban governance, and the moral division of the nation that hurts the democracy. Describes situational escalations, including the middle class’s toppling populist president Joseph Estrada through an extra-constitutional movement in 2001, distrust in electoral process due to the moral division, the middle class’s supports on law enforcement against the interests of the poor, demolition of informal settlement and street vendors, the reunification against corrupt president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and the victory of president Benigno Aquino II in 2010 that neutralized the nation by his anti-corruption moral politics. Concludes that the moral politics lead each group considers the others as a threat to democracy and cause the social structural inequality.