[Blueboard] An invitation to a talk -- From Constitutional Imperialism to Constitutional Dictatorship: The Colonial Origins of Martial Law

Rofel G. Brion rbrion at ateneo.edu
Tue Apr 18 11:22:08 +08 2017

The Department of Interdisciplinary Studies

invites you to a talk by

*Leia Castañeda Anastacio*

*From Constitutional Imperialism to *

*Constitutional Dictatorship:*

*The Colonial Origins of Martial Law*

      5:00 to 6:30 pm

           Wednesday, 19 April 2017

        Faura Hall Audio Visual Room

        Ateneo de Manila University


Ferdinand E. Marcos’s Martial Law regime represents an apparent legal
anomaly - that of a constitutional dictatorship in a liberal democratic
republic. Nonetheless, it would be simplistic to attribute this
contradictory construction solely to Marcos’s deft lawyerly machinations,
for he was enabled by an institutional and doctrinal matrix that
concentrated and unfettered power more than it diffused and restricted it.
In turn, this arrangement was spawned by benevolent imperialism’s attempt
to reconcile traditional imperialism’s coercion and absolutism, on the one
hand, with the American tradition’s democratic and constitutional values,
on the other. Deploying a representative, progressive, yet limited colonial
government, American officials and their Filipino elite collaborators
undertook to modernize the Philippine Islands through colonial democracy
and developmental capitalism. But the promise of America’s liberal empire
was negated by the imperative of insulating American authority from
Filipino political demands. Premised on Filipino incapacity, the colonial
constitution weakened the safeguards that shielded liberty from power and
unleashed liberalism’s latent tyrannical potential in the name of
civilization. Essentially preserved by the 1935 Philippine Constitution,
the constitutional despotism forged in the colonial encounter bequeathed an
ominous legacy for the independent Philippine republic, providing both the
apparatus and justification for constitutionally sanctioned authoritarian

*Leia Castañeda Anastacio* graduated Summa Cum Laude and as the
Departmental Awardee of Interdisciplinary Studies from the Ateneo de Manila
University College of Arts and Sciences in 1989 and Class Salutatorian of
her J.D. (Juris Doctor) class, with a Second Honors Silver Medal and the
Gold Medal for Best Thesis, from the Ateneo de Manila University School of
Law in 1993. Following her selection as one of the Ten Outstanding Students
of the Philippines (for the field of Law), Leia placed first in the 1993
Philippine Bar Examinations and then left for the United States to pursue
her LL.M. (Master of Laws) at Harvard Law School, graduating in 1996. After
doing research as a visiting scholar with Harvard Law School’s East Asian
Legal Studies program and Dartmouth College’s History Department, she
returned to Harvard Law School for doctoral studies in law and became its
first Filipino woman S.J.D. (Doctor of Juridical Science) graduate in 2009.
A fellow with the Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History at the University
of Wisconsin-Madison, Leia was awarded Harvard Law School’s Yong Kim ’95
Memorial Prize in 2008 and the American Society of Legal History’s William
Nelson Cromwell Foundation Dissertation Prize in 2010. She is the author of
The Foundations of the Modern Philippine State: Imperial Rule and the
American Constitutional Tradition in the Philippine Islands, 1898-1935,
which was published by Cambridge University Press in 2016 with its
Cambridge Historical Studies in Law and Society series.
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