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Editorial: Titles and Auhority

Organized governments in history began from the Divine Right Theory: That authority to rule emanates from God.

Thus, the Holy Bible, the oldest book on the history of Israel, tells that the people asked Samuel, the servant of the Lord for a King to lead and rule them.

Then history tells that the right to rule evolved into many forms. In Europe the monarchy was later on succeeded by feudalism.

Abusive feudalism led to the creation of Jeffersonian Democracy in America, the theory that stands on the foundation that “the voice of the people is the voice of God.”

Monarchy in England soon became a democracy where government is run by a Parliament elected by the people. But the Monarch remained to be a figurehead of state.

In the Islamic Middle East, some Kingdoms became Caliphates, a variation of the monarchy. The Caliphates evolved from the religious teachings of the Prophet Mohammad while the Kingdoms like the one in Saudi Arabia continues to reign according to the Divine Right Theory.

In Muslim Philippines, before the introduction of Jeffersonian Democracy through the Manila based central government, a combination of the monarchy and caliphates seems to be the foundations of government.

Dominant heads of families headed the Sultanates as authorities endowed by the Almighty Allah with the right to rule. And by tradition, the eldest male in the family usually succeeds the reigning Sultan when the latter dies or when he is too old to rule.

There were variations along with the passage of time that occur especially when the reigning Sultan does not have a son to succeed him. However, this rarely occurred since in Islam polygamy is allowed and one of the wives could have given a son.

In the Monarchy in England, modified by Feudalism, the Monarch has the authority to confer titles such as Knighthood even to a commoner.

In Muslim Mindanao Knighthood in England seems to have its equivalent in the Datu. A Datu may just be an ordinary Mama (Man) if not of his exemplary exploits both in war and peace.

But the Datu is just a Title. Although, it bears high esteem and respect in society, it does not carry any authority to rule.

Society can have as many Datus as there are successful men who excel in their respective endeavors especially if by their successes they have contributed to the welfare and well-being of many other people.

Perhaps, the recent conferment to Mar Roxas of the Title of Datu in a well-attended ceremony in Marawi City should be taken along the foregoing premises.

Roxas’ being a Datu should not be considered a breach of the traditional authority to rule that comes along the crowning of a Sultan and other traditional leaders.


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