I thought it was common knowledge, Goose Egg. The Philippines has been fascist - or at least under heavy fascist influence - for the better part of the 20th century. It’s one of the reasons they had such a “close relationship” with the US during the Cold War years. The only people who don’t realise it are Filipinos.
The history and policies of the Partido Nacionalista has strong parallels with the original Spanish Falange (there are even a couple of prominent political family names that crop up in both countries) and some similarities to Mussolini’s Italy. The concepts of National Socialism are enshrined for eternity in the Constitution (I assume you’ve read it?). Marcos is listed under “Fascist leaders” on Wikipedia, since the NP was the party with which he had the strongest links, at least during his heyday. The defining characteristics of a fascist state are:
Corporatism, which is the overt management of business and industry to serve State policy, ostensibly for the public good but in practice to facilitate grand larceny and social control. In the Philippines, corporatism is characterised by closed industries (government-approved licenses and certifications for professionals), a planned economy (including some limited price-fixing), protection of state-affiliated monopolies, and heavy state interference in the details of business operations. The main weapon against business is the BIR, which has open-ended authority to levy any taxes it pleases upon anybody, and can thereby give favoured industries a boost or shut down ‘undesirable’ ones. I surmise that Corporatism is popular in the Philippines because it’s associated with the Roman Catholic church (although their views on the subject are rather more idealistic) and resembles traditional clan-based allegiances.
Highly traditional/conservative social attitudes, especially regarding gender roles, allegiance to State and Country, racial/national purity and superiority, and ‘moral purity’. For example, lip-service to religion, rejection of meaningful foreign participation in the economy, “Pinoy Pride”, male chauvinism, and opposition to contraception are all historically consistent with fascist values.
Suppression of opposing political views, with violence if necessary. I don’t think much needs to be said on that point, except to note that violence is rarely necessary because Filipinos (as a broad generalisation) do tend to believe and repeat whatever they’re told to believe, and will aggressively shout down anyone with an opposing viewpoint. The threat of violence from the Police and the Army is muted, but ever-present. There probably are some decent Filipino policemen, but nobody in their right mind would trust the Police force as an establishment.
Point (1) makes fascism easy to confuse with communism. In theory, fascism proposes a benevolent state apparatus that resolves social conflict by deciding who gets what, while communism proposes that this is achieved by common consensus. In practice, fascist and communist states are virtually indistinguishable.
The Philippines is far better organised that you think; once you’ve established a system of education that discourages thinking and prevents any intellectual progress or discourse, and a legal system that prevents 90% of the population from accessing the law, it’s easy for an oligarchy to keep its position with minimal effort. The Marcos government was a model of efficiency - at all the wrong things, obviously, but Marcos was far from stupid and built a complex, mostly-legal structure to carry out his pillaging. Much of what he built remains intact. There are academic studies about what he did and how he did it. Google it. The place appears disorganised because of deliberate obfuscation of State functions. Complicated and logically-inconsistent rules, massive redundancy of data and job functions, and reams of (apparently) pointless forms and procedures are not (entirely) down to incompetence. They are there to discourage the average person from looking under the rug.
I’ll have a listen to the BIR thingy later (the comments are intriguing) - got to get on with some work for now! Basically the tax system of the Philippines is fucked. If people declared their taxes honestly, the country would be in a worse mess than it is already. The BIR is not there to raise revenue for worthy social infrastructure, but to keep the great unwashed in their hovels. Cheating the taxman is an act of patriotism.