The PCIJ Guide to Government

This book is intended to be a road map. a manual, a guidebook to those who wish to understand how various branches and agencies of government work. Understanding government is key for any citizen who has to deal with the state and its various instrumentalities — whether it is to obtain information, to assert his/her rights, to demand accountability, or simply to satisfy his/her curiosity.

Written by veteran journalists, the book provides a basic backgrounder that explains the powers and fucntions of various officials and agencies, including the presidency, the legislature, and the courts. When necessary, it describes the structure of, and the key processes or procedures followed in, thos agencies. Thus, readers will find in this book a table on how a bill becomes a law and a map on the procedures laid down for criminal cases. They will also find a flow chart explaining project cycles followed by state agencies tasked with implementing infrastructure and other projects. At the end of each chapter is a directory that lists important addresses, telephone numbers, and websites.

At the same time, the book tries to provide more depth by analyzing how various officials and agencies have exercised — even abused — their powers in the past. It shows how rules and procedures have been bent, mangled, or ignored in courtrooms, jails, even the august halls of Congress or Malacañang. The book pinpoints what citizens should watch out for, where the potential for abuse and malfeasance can occur.

© 2003, 320 pages, ISBN 971-8686-37-1

The book is available at the PCIJ office. For more information, email or call (+632) 4319204.