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DLSU’s Richard Heydarian: SoKor, PH used to be twins. What went wrong?

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In the 1950s, South Korea and the Philippines had the distinction of being poor Asian countries even as they were both treaty allies of the United States.

But by the 1980s, De La Salle University political science professor Richard Heydarian notes that South Korea has outpaced the Philippines in terms of economic growth despite both countries being ruled by dictators Park Chung Hee and Ferdinand Marcos, respectively, around the same time.

In a Facebook post, Heydarian wrote: “[B]y 1980s one became a leading industrial power, while the other among biggest manpower exporters due to lack of employment prospects at home. Don’t ask me who had the ‘better’ dictator.”

While democracy was eventually restored in South Korea and the Philippines through peaceful “people power” revolutions, Heydarian suggested that only Seoul learned its lesson on not having corrupt leaders.

“[O]ne has a Congress that just impeached a corrupt president (daughter of the former dictator) and is investigating the heir of Samsung, the biggest oligarch, the other, meanwhile, has a Congress that bypasses genuine advocates and investigates the fine details of sexual life of its members…,” he said.

The stark contrast in the fates of South Korea and the Philippines prompted Heydarian to ask: “What went wrong?”

On March 10, South Korea’s constitutional court upheld the parliament’s vote to impeach President Park Geun-hye over allegations of corruption and cronyism.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives earlier this year investigated the alleged involvement of Senator Leila de Lima in the drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison. Among the topics discussed at the hearing was the supposed existence of a sex video featuring the lawmaker and her former driver and boyfriend, Ronnie Dayan.