Originally posted here.
In the days after the late DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo’s untimely demise and the nation’s subsequent mourning, one word began cropping up, slowly but surely, on the minds and lips (or screens) of a few Filipino intellectuals: necropolitics. From the Greek prefix necro-, meaning death, Western theorists have used this term to describe the relationship between sovereignty and the power over life and death, or in African philosopher Achille Mbembe’s words, the assumption that the ultimate expression of sovereignty “resides, to large degree, in the power and the capacity to dictate who may live and who must die”. However, the emerging necropolitics observed here in the Philippines is of a different sort. Rather, it is the odd phenomenon wherein a person’s death, in the right circumstances, can confer political power to the deceased, and in many cases, to his or her next of kin.