Is President Aquino an Idiot?

From the Humpty Dumpty New World Dictionary:

  • Idiot: (noun)  A person with a good education who applies it poorly.
The top cop in the Philippines is Justice Secretary De Lima. Well, she is in control of the attack dogs, the investigators, the public dicks, the prosecutors.  DILG Secretary Roxas is the top uniformed cop, the guy with the big baton and huge police force. Throw in the army under Secretary of National Defense Gazmin and we have all the muscular power and might of the Philippine State. It is huge. It is ready to pounce.
Sottocopied from Raissa’s Top Blog

It is lined up against some skinny guy in a small room with a computer and a keyboard typing words that fly out of his brain as he does his best to agitate for a better Philippines.

The nation that shot an educated, sophisticated, articulate and passionate Dr. Jose Rizal for expressing  opinions is at it again, at its crude best.


Expression and oppression. The beauty and the beast. The free and the fear-inspiring.
Here is what Justice Secretary De Lima had to say about the new Cybercrime Law:
  • “On a finer legal point, no legislator can unilaterally ask for a suspension of a law nor can we decide to suspend. . .On the ground, we will just be judicious on the first few cases to allay fears of abuse or excesses in the exercise of such power and also to gain trust.” [Inquirer]
So the government’s stand on this law is clear:
  • “Trust us.”
Never mind that laws are written in black and white to protect citizens. That is the whole purpose of the Constitution.  It is not written in the warm fuzziness of trust.

  • Constitution, Article III, Section 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.

I’m not an attorney, but i know when a law is suggesting ordinary people sit down and shut up and be obedient to their betters. The black and white of the Cybercrime Law is scary. And by being scary, it has the power to oppress and suppress simply having been written.

Look at how many commenters are asking, “can I say this now?”
  • “Can I say that Senator Sotto is an idiot?”
  • Joe knows. Senator Sotto is an idiot. An idiot is a man who studied Dr. Rizal’s works yet does not grasp how oppression works, with the powerful intimidating and arresting the powerless. He inserted the libel section of the law. He whined about cyber-bullies.
Well, that’s what Senator Sotto and other privileged lawmakers want. They want people to question, to think one more time, to error on the side of judiciousness. To edit out harsh words. They want protection for the powerful from the people.
The One and Only

They want the Philippines to be a nation of disingenuous sweet words where candor and hot opinion are censored from the public’s mouth as if they were overgrown warts carved off the noses of hypersensitive legislators.

Who, really, are we protecting with the libel, snoop and “unplug’em” provisions of the Cybercrime Law? Are we protecting children? Women? The innocent and the helpless? Scam victims? Predator victims?
No. We are protecting the powerful who fear that their power is at risk from some skinny guy with a computer typing “Senator Sotto has no ethical clothes!!!” We are protecting the Good Senator and his colleagues from bullying by the millions of poverty stricken Filipinos and the only advocates they have, bloggers and columnists.
Time to crack down on perverts and bloggers, eh?

President Aquino, following his tried and true pattern of being the mouthpiece for his staff’s questionable findings, fell into line on the law, too, with a good amount of equivocating wobble to cover his tender bases:

“We believe that we need to really address crimes that are not clearly covered by laws. But let me repeat, maybe on (online) libel, I’m not in favor of removing (the provision). For example, if you write something and it is libelous, you have a liability. If you’re a broadcaster on radio and TV, you also have responsibility. If what you said was libelous, even on the Internet, maybe it’s still libelous. . . .if what you said was wrong, maybe the one aggrieved or whose rights were impinged should have redress. . . . “
“Rights are always bounded when it impinges on the rights of others. So if the penalties are excessive, have them amended. If some of the procedures are arbitrary, there are (implementing rules and regulations) yet so we can include (provisions) to avoid abuse of the powers that the state will be exercising.” [PhilStar]
Maybe this, maybe that. Somehow I am not feeling any lessening in the “chilling effect” that the law imposes.
I am hearing people . . . leaders . . . largely tone-deaf as to the most fundamental right its citizens have. The right to speak openly and freely. To opine. To use language that bites or stings. To advocate for progress by ripping to shreds those who would stand in the way. To call names and issue non-violent threats. “You’ll be out of office in 2016, Bubba Sotto!”
Sharp, unkind words. For effect. Like these:
  • The President is an idiot if he thinks this law will garner more investments for the Philippines.
  • The President is an idiot if he thinks tourism will increase because of the protections this law imposes.
  • The President is an idiot if he thinks this law will promote the kind of vibrant discussion that is necessary to bring the Philippines into the modern era of good governance, productive processes and constructive social values.
  • The President is an idiot if he thinks this law will advance his advocacy for a better, more honest Philippines.
  • The President is an idiot if he thinks a lot of educated people around the globe will NOT arrive at the conclusion “Ah, yes, the Philippines. That’s the Banana Republic of Asia, right?”
This is a law with scant protections for little people. The protections for the little people, those of us without attorneys in the closet to advise us on when we are vulnerable to libel charges or having our internet unplugged, is “trust us”.
Let’s be perfectly clear here. The Cybercrime libel protections are for powerful people with the money to file a libel case and a raft of lawyers at their disposal. People with the authority to shut off criticism simply by filing a charge.
The protection is for Senator Sotto. It is not for JoeAm. Or Raissa. Or benigno. Or Ellen. Or Noemi. Or Angela. Or Cocoy. Or Rappler columnists.

It is not for Jose dela Cruz, whose family will sit down tonight to another meal of salt on rice.

It is protecting the very same people who are inadequate to the task of putting meat on Jose’s plate. Inadequate to the task of passing an RH Bill. Inadequate to the task of passing a Freedom of Information Bill.
Bloggers have learned to deal with criticisms that are loud and emotional and insulting and even erroneous. It is their job. It is the nature of the environment they agree to work in. The words fly because they are sparks from the friction of new ideas grinding against old ones that don’t work. Sparks of enlightenment. Sparks of progress.
And Senator Sotto is an idiot because an idiot does not grasp that it is HIS job to listen to complaints and insults from the people he represents. Within those complaints and insults are legitimate thoughts and passions that ought to be understood, not crammed into jail.  
The defenders of this monstrosity of totalitarian intimidation have not a clue as to the grace and wisdom of Jose Rizal or Thomas Jefferson. They’ve gone to the best schools in the world, many in the United States. They have studied law and passed the bar. They have more diplomas on the wall than Jose has plates in the cupboard.
And they are stunningly tone deaf about democracy requiring OPEN DOORS to expression. Not doors with huge, muscular body guards standing by with batons and telescopes and listening devices and pliers to snip the internet lines, determining who can pass through.
Look all you idiot bubba legislators, if there is an error in legal renditions the error MUST BE IN FAVOR OF THE LITTLE PEOPLE. Not the powerful.
Yank the obscene libel provisions and the right to unplug sites without warrant and get on with protecting children and scam victims and predator targets and the real people who need your help.
Stop your outrageous self dealing as if you were equal in vulnerability to a child being dealt naked and violated into the porn market.
41 Responses to “Is President Aquino an Idiot?”
  1. GabbyD says:

    its a certainty that your "The President is an idiot if…" statements will not be a successful case of libel.

  2. Right. Because I did not say he is an idiot. It is up to him to determine if he is or not, or up to people deciding if they want to leave the Philippines off their investment or visitation lists because it still behaves like a thug. When his popularity tanks, he might even think "boy was I an idiot to have signed that ridiculous law with the stinko libel provision."

  3. Anonymous says:

    Pnoy is feeling the heat what with the coming elections. He's trying to save face by issuing those statements. He can't find a way to salvage the situation without diminishing his power. Wrong move, Mr. President! Side with us little people. Don't abandon us because we'll surely abandon you're senatorial bets.DocB

  4. Anonymous says:

    "Aquino defended cybercrime law""Enrile defended Cybercrime and said it's up to Supreme Court to dismantle it"What is dangerous of Aquino is his bold approach to confront the same people who have been touting his daan matuwid policy, people who are his allies with his fight against corruption. He defended Puno, he is cavorting with Enrile opening the wounds on martial law victims. Who are advising him! Or better yet, did he read the provisions of Cybercrime or was it shoved to him to sign after assurance by his adviser.How much longer could we tolerate his obstinence or idiocy? When do we say enough is enough? Does he think because his principle is the right direction, we would be hesitant to oppose him because the loser is the country and we are equally responsible for abandoning his policy?Better to have a leader taking care of his Boss before his friends rather than tolerate him to continue his bad habit despite excellent policy on good government. Tolerance is the opium of Filipinos. Nobody is irreplaceable!Johnny Lin

  5. In earlier writings, I described his pursuit of his agenda as determined. Now I fear it is showing up to be merely stubborn. I fear he has lost sight of his principles and reason in order to cuddle with and coddle his friends. It betrays his ideals. Padaca, like De Lima for Chief Justice, is an appointment that need not have been made. It undermines his integrity and tags her with "favorite" on any contested ruling. So it undermines her, too; just like Arroyo undermined Corona by midnight appointment.

  6. Yes, I thought he would come out different on the libel provision, rather than defending it. But he comes out looking like Sotto, a thug. No where in his words are an appreciation for free speech. Rather, he favors limits. Old school. Old school.

  7. Edgar Lores says:

    I find I have to plagiarise my favorite author again. With Rappler's permission, this is what I had to say just a minute ago:"Bullying is defined as "the act of intimidating a weaker person to make them do something".When we use the social media to comment on public figures and we are respectful in our language but not necessarily in the idea itself, I do not see this to be bullying. It is a weak individual's opinion on the behavior of a strong public figure. The opinion may just happen to conjoin with the opinion of others in cyberspace. Hopefully, that conjoining becomes a force to correct the excesses of public figures or to point them in the right direction. Whether we like it or not, social media has become the imperfect tool for democracy. There is no denying the tool will be abused; perhaps that is the price of freedom that public figures have to pay. But now the people can directly participate in state affairs in a timely manner, and do not have to wait for 4 or 6 years to give feedback. The genie has escaped from the lamp and there is no putting it back."

  8. I was thinking more about your characterization of this as choosing sides. The interesting thing is that Sotto and even the President are so attuned to the criticisms they hear that they don't hear the support, silent or stated, that put them in office. It's like they believe the people who elected them have turned. No. The people who elected them want to be able to continue to offer support, but not when their rights are diminished by threat.

  9. Yes, and if elected people viewed the criticisms they hear as "signals" rather than absolute truths, they would hold such signals valuable and work to make sure the signals don't become the truth. President Aquino is sensitive to criticisms like Sotto (remember his blast at ABS-CBN at their birthday party). His response on the libel provision reflects an insecurity, I fear, and a lack of comprehension of the positive ideas or forces being squelched along with those he perceives as bad.I'm amazed at this, actually. Having blogged for a few years, I have been misrepresented hundreds of times and insulted more than that. These guys want to blunder through the aisles of public service with no one watching?

  10. Edgar Lores says:

    That's a fine distinction.With PNoy I generally approve, but specifically disapprove.With Sotto, I generally and specifically disapprove.

  11. Edgar Lores says:

    Actually, Johnny echoes the fine distinction between the general approval and the specific disapproval. And in DocB, Johnny and JoeAm's warning, the danger is clear: many instances of specific disapprovals may become one general disapproval.What's that dictum about great minds?

  12. Attila says:

    Is President Aquino an Idiot? I just watched the movie about the Paco Larrañaga case called "Give Up Tomorrow". It was shown on PBS on today (Sunday) evening here in New York. After watching it I'm not having illusion about the Philippines anymore. This is a very sick country. Too many idiots on a wide scale for sure.

  13. Idiots abound. Of course, so do they in the U.S. Congress.I think the Philippines has been on a path to healing. That's why I was dismayed at President Aquino's statement that freedoms must be limited when they impose on the rights of others. Yes, but the lines can be drawn liberally, to permit the agitation and tensions that promote growth. Or they can be drawn tightly to cut them off.The libel law here is sure to cut off expression because the powerful have the tools to use it that way. The attorneys and the aptitude for filing cases.His stance on this goes 180 degrees opposite his clean governance stance. When Human Rights Watch objects to the law, and President Aquino ignores that viewpoint . . . he does so at the nation's peril. When he defends oppressive laws against sharp online voices and is tone deaf to the beauty of free expression, one is inclined to ask, why, really, has progress to hunt down the extrajudicial murderers gone so slowly?Is he but a thug, too?

  14. Anonymous says:

    I am not sure about this myself. Call me an idiot, moron, thug, an immoral pig, a womanizer, drunkard, gambler, heck, what do I care. But call me a thief, plunderer, murderer, arsonist, rapist, child molester, estapador that's another thing. At the height of the Corona impeachment, bloggers had a heyday calling Corona a thief and a plunderer. I thought that was out of bounds. As much as I do not harbor any goodwill for GMA, calling her plunderer when that is yet for the courts to ascertain, is also out of bounds.-ricelander

  15. You echo my feelings about this. Occasionally I miss, but I find myself typing "alleged" when I say GMA is a thief. There seems to be a line between insult for effect of argument and insult that is meant to harm. And that is the point of libel laws, I suppose. My solution to this would be to amend the libel laws, if necessary, to explicitly include online expressions. But not include libel within a law aimed at preventing crime on the internet. Including it in the internet law tends to rob the entire internet of free expression. Also, the filing of a specious libel charge ought to itself be declared libel so that if a charge fails to stick, the accuser does not get off Scott free. Not jail, but a fine. Then the act of levying a charge to punish would be diminished.This approach would also solve young Angara's problem that he wants to decriminalize libel on one hand, and double the fines on the other (internet law).Finally, this notion that fines on the internet ought to be doubled states explicitly that these old dogs find the internet threatening and wish it weren't a part of our modern world. They consider the internet itself worthy of double punishment.They fail to see the enormous good that is available.

  16. baycas says:

    It's more mum in the Philippines!

  17. Indeed. I'm looking forward to the first libel case filed under this cyberlaw. Care to wager when it will be? Next week? In three months? In six months? I say five months. You over or under on that?

  18. andrew lim says:

    Joe,Short off-topic notes:1. Mar Roxas gives a dressing down to top PNP officials. (Inquirer Oct 8) Hmmm… Let's see if this is effective and improves his image on decisiveness…2. UST Varsitarian (school paper) attacks Ateneo and La Salle on RH stand. (Rappler and Interaksyon balita) Hmmm…. This is actually not off-topic, since it is about idiots…ha ha ha

  19. Anonymous says:

    Do you think Sotto is a lying thief according to Sarah Pope?Johnny Lin

  20. Ah, fascinating question, Johnny. Leave it to you to find the the fly in the argument so to speak. He has not been proved a thief so alleged is proper. But I think he is a lying thief for stealing Pope's original thinking, such theft to be considered acceptable according to the social norms of Philippine society, because Pope is a foreigner. Rather like rip-off of pirated CD's is okay for most. If Sarah Pope were a Philippine resident, she could and would sue his socks off for using her ideas to promote legislative acts that could damage the nation, a use exactly opposite of what she would intend. She would win. My declaring him a lying thief considers all the probabilities and improbabilities and comes down with a Rambo-like judgment. Personal to me.

  21. I read about Roxas. Bully for him. I'll have to read up about the idiots. That's my subject matter for today, obviously. Thanks for the leads.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Your answer is ambigousPlagiarizing without attribition is proven so why use "allege" Stealing is not limited to material things, ideas are included. Johnny Lin

  23. I believe journalistic convention requires "alleged" until it is proven in a court of law.

  24. They argue until they are alike?

  25. GabbyD says:

    @ricelanderthanks for articulating this. NONE of the bloggers have gone to bat for the logic of having libel online.the needs needs to be repaired, but libel can, possibly even should, be on there.

  26. Cha says:

    The Cybercrime Prevention Act is undeniably not one of the high points of Aquino's presidency but I wouldn't go so far branding him an idiot over this one. If I do, what then would I call Senator Sotto?

  27. Jetlag807 says:

    You already know my answer to this question. I will give him (NOT the Senate) the benefit of doubt for possibly not being aware of the provisions which have caused worldwide condemnation (Section 19). Those provisions came as a complete surprise to all of us but… After hearing the uproar of contempt and protest regarding the language of the provisions which impede and penalize Freedom of Speech & Expression, he should have "asked" the Congress to, at the very least, revise or delete said provisions. Instead, he does the most idiotic thing a leader of a Democracy can do… He comes out in favor of the provision! Yes, he is an idiot! He is an idiot to think that the support of his followers will overpower the anger of those who believe in Free Speech!But here's what I find really idiotic… His followers are willing to give this law a chance and trust government to "do the right thing" and not abuse their power. Totally idiotic! That's the reason why REAL Democracies have laws protecting Freedom of Speech in the first place! Short of yelling "FIRE" in a crowded theater or making a direct threat of violence against an individual or group, Freedom of Speech and Expression is supposed to be just that… FREE! By coming out in support of these provisions of the Cyber-crime Law, Pnoy shows us that he does not like criticism and will not tolerate it in any form. A completely idiotic way of thinking when you consider he is a politician! This guy wouldn't last five minutes in the US! There, you have have nationally (& internationally) syndicated political critics (pundits) on the airwaves (not just the internet) from sun-up to sun-down. After a hard day of work and being bombarded with pundits on Radio and TV, a given US politician may think its over after the evening news cycle. But wait! There's still the Late Night Talk/Comedy shows like Letterman, Conan, Stewart, Kimmel & Leno that will take full advantage of the days political news item and lampoon it to death. The following morning, "clips" of the comedic commentary will be broadcasted on ALL networks. If you ask me, politicians here in the Philippines have got it way too easy! Pnoy has got it way too easy and he's an idiot for thinking people will take this sitting down! He is an idiot for even dreaming about defending this law! He should have just woke up and apologized!

  28. Jetlag807 says:

    Cha,They, Aquion and Sotto, are both IDIOTS. The jury's still out on which one is the most idiotic.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Let's call Pnoy then the lesser idiot and Sotto superidiot. Hahaha. To those giving Pnoy the benefit of doubt, this stage is akin to temporary insanity. Before the fall. Wouldn't trust Pnoy or his rahrah boys on this one. DocB

  30. Jetlag807 says:

    DocB, I lost what little trust and respect I had for these Knuckle-Heads (is it OK to use the term "Knuckle-Head" Joe? LOL Just kidding) after the Bus Hostage Fiasco… Its all been downhill from then on!

  31. Edgar Lores says:

    1. Super?2. Medium?3. Plain?

  32. Anonymous says:

    Myself, I got disillusioned when Pnoy bought that porsche. Gave him benefit of doubt. Doesn't know power of symbols or high- mindedness. Now I'm not so sure. All of them wallowing in the muck. Bam Aquino, Padaca. Still hope they get their bearings…DocB

  33. Yes, President Aquino is not an idiot. However, it appears that he is stubborn, he favors friends, and he either does not have a deeper meaning of freedom of expression or he is hyper sensitive to criticism. Sotto has the same qualities, and more.

  34. Yes, I know where you are coming from on his hyper-sensitivity and apparent inability to grasp the importance of free expression to his good governance agenda. He appears to equate good governance with tough cops and rigid rules rather than high ideals.

  35. Knuckle-Head is great. Perfect, actually.

  36. Jetlag807 says:

    Joe; Thanks. From hence forward, when the need to use a demeaning adjective, I will refer to the Aquino and/or his Administration (aka The Student Council) as "Knucklehead/s". DocB; If we were talking about a private citizen, I would say "MEDIUM". However, since this is the President and, as such, has all the power and information of the Philippine Government behind him; I must classify him as "SUPER" and a candidate for the 2012 Darwin Awards.

  37. Certainly, glad to help. IN fact, you may append the descriptor "certified" to Knuckleheads, as I herein certify that they are indeed Knuckleheads way too often.

  38. Sorry about the late response. My internet got knocked off in the middle of my comments yesterday. I don't mind about the Porsche. He is young and single; let him pretend.I sense Mr. President doesn't have a refined sense of high democratic values or the diplomatic grace to treat the public as his boss. He says they are the boss in his SONA. But he does not preserve the values they cherish. Like free expression, unrestrained by authoritarian heavy-handedness.

  39. Anonymous says:

    JoeAm, thanks for your reply. Hope you don't get paranoid now that your internet keeps on getting knocked off. You might get pregnant.DocB

  40. I think it is the cybercops practicing their finer techniques.

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