The thesis analyses the association between corruption and political stability using the Philippines as a case study during the time of the Marcos regime. Research on corruption has shown that die direct consequences of corruption are felt on the economy, society and polity. There is both theoretical and empirical evidence to suggest that corruption causes economic development and growth to falter by promoting a climate which is not conducive to investment both foreign and domestic, by increasing bureaucratic requirements and by decreasing market competitiveness. The literature also maintains that indirectly and mainly through economic stagnation corruption results in social ills, such as, poverty, illiteracy and an increase in income inequality gaps. Politically, corruption analysts have only tentatively discussed links between corruption and political instability and done so by primarily using intervening variables such as loss of governmental legitimacy. Hence, there appears to be a gap in the literature regarding theoretical discussion and empirical evidence concerning the effects of corruption on the polity and particularly concerning political stability in terms of regime stability. The thesis explores these two facets of an under-theorised area and the lack of evidence regarding interaction between corruption and political stability and posits that corruption directly caused political instability in the Philippines under the Marcos regime. Political instability in the thesis is defined in terms of a dramaturgical event constituting an extra-constitutional executive ouster.
Using both primary and secondary sources and a comparative historical narrative approach the researcher explores three different corruption types existing under Marcos, crony capitalism, military favouritism and electoral manipulation and demonstrates how these types of corruption caused regime instability. Both primary sources such as reports, surveys and interviews and secondary sources were used to support the argument and eliminate rival hypotheses. Primary sources comprised interviews, a questionnaire survey, two Work Shops and an examination of documents, and official records. Secondary sources analysed were in the form of books, journal and magazine articles and newspaper reports.
Case study methodology was chosen as die route to highlight the contextual complexities of corruption and political stability in the era under examination. Corruption in the Philippines under Marcos maintained a unique role interrelated to structures and institutions embedded in the system of governments. The researcher believes that corruption is enmeshed in a country's political economy, its structures and institutions and that in order to fully understand the complexities and subtleties of corruption it must be seen within its own milieu and how it is entrenched within state systems.
The route chosen to prove causal relationship in the thesis was through the elimination of rival hypotheses or proof of non-spuriousness. Three theories of causes of political instability economic stagnation, military repression and lack of electoral freedom were refuted using empirical evidence. Although corruption was not the only remaining variable which could have produced political instability, it was shown in the thesis to be a substantial causal variable.
The thesis demonstrates how counterelites disenfranchised, marginalised and unable to participate in spoils due to cronyism, military favouritism and electoral fraud fought back as vehicles of regime change in a so-called People Power Movement to oust the corrupt dictator. The thesis finds that the relationship between processes of political instability as in regime change and corruption are mutually reinforcing and that in the case of the Philippines, due to excessive presidential corruption in an authoritarian environment, economic, military and political counterelites united in opposition, mobilized and overthrew a corrupt regime, its leader and supporters.