The Life of Reyes

Enrile-Rappler

Word Association – “Worm” (Photo Source: Rappler)

Ruby Tuason’s decision to tell all has turned the pork scandal on its ear. Three people, in particular, are in a fine state of apoplexy at the moment: Gigi Reyes, former assistant to Senator Enrile, the old man himself, and Janet Napoles, who was on the road to freedom until Ruby popped back into the Philippines and laid out her role in the massive theft of hard-earned, honestly paid taxpayer money.

I’ll do some preliminaries, then give you an idea of what the life of Ruby is currently all about. And the life of Reyes. And the life of Enrile. And the life of Napoles. And the lives of a few others who experienced a jolt when Ruby flew in and delivered her testimony.

The Life of Despicable Creatures

The stolen taxpayer money – hundreds of millions of pesos – was intended for good deeds. There are so many needs in the Philippines for the money, spent honestly. But it went elsewhere.

What is the mind set . . . the value set . . . of people who would steal this money? These are not destitute people. They are people of means, of wealth, of authority. Some even had a promising future.

How do they rationalize their despicable acts to themselves?

“I deserve this money because [insert reason]”

  • “Because I work hard and am underpaid.”
  • “Because poor people are beggars and we should stop coddling them.”
  • “Because everybody here does this kind of thing.”
  • “Because people hereabouts respect a good conniver. It’s proof of a superior intelligence.”

Ruby could not find anything to put into the blank. All she heard were the imagined whispers of her grandkids talking about what a shame their grandmother was. And it broke her heart.

The others – the guilty without conscience – do what the guilty all over the world do. Deny and point fingers.

  • “It’s a witch-hunt by President Aquino.”
  • “She just delivered sandwiches.”
  • “You can’t prove anything.”

Well, we’ll see . . .

The Life of Ruby 

Ruby is relieved. She is ashamed, yes. Under a lot of pressure, yes. But she no longer has vampires sucking her conscience dry. They suck loudest during the dead of night when all you have is yourself and the darkness.

Ruby is also likely to go free. She was a small player in a big-time scheme, no matter how badly Jejomar Binay wants to make her a main culprit. He is an agent of Estrada and Enrile, nothing more. We should work very hard to make sure he stays nothing more.

Ruby delivered a huge gift to the prosecutors. She gave first-hand witness that two people got cash kickbacks from the waylaid pork money: Reyes and Senator Estrada. And she tied the noose tighter around Janet Napoles’ neck. Ruby was recruited to transmit the stolen money. She earned P40 million for the amounts she delivered upstream, which someone calculated to be about P800 million. She said she’d sell her house and do what she had to do to pay the P40 million back.

The Life of Reyes

Gigi Reyes is in a horrible vise. The assumption we all make is that Reyes passed the money she received from Ruby directly to Senator Enrile, or deposited it into one of his accounts. But only Gigi and maybe Senator Enrile know where the money went.

Enrile, of course, denies any knowledge of the affair. These days, I see a picture of him and a word association automatically pops into my mind.

“Worm.”

He holds his silence. He does not speak forthrightly to explain things. He does not speak up to relieve Gigi Reyes of her agonizing burden. He figures she can just fall on the sword. He is confident she will protect him.

If Gigi indeed passed the money to Enrile, she would be crazy to fall on that sword. If she was an active party to the scheming, she’d better keep running. I’m guessing she is likely to be the next to turn state’s evidence. I figure the odds are 60 to 40 that she will return home and seek the same relief that Ruby found.

It is very clear to whom prosecutors are speaking when they encourage other witnesses to come forward. They can’t offer promises, but they have dropped very blunt and open hints that they are not after the middlemen. Or women.

Gigi has a choice to make: Live a life of darkness, angers and ghosts, or reconstruct a new life based on coming clean and accepting the consequences.

The Life of Enrile

Deniability. That is Enrile’s life. Protecting his ability to deny anything and everything. But I would bet he is agonizing and fuming.

It seems to me the man has no conscience. He would sell poor taxpayers and his trusty, loving assistant down the river to try to keep in place this flimsy facade that he is a big shot.

He is the littlest shot in the Philippines as long as he keeps up with the deceits that fewer and fewer people buy with each passing day. Indeed, he is a little shot no matter what he does. His grandkids and great grandkids will bear the reflection of his deeds all their lives.

“He is innocent until proven guilty!” you may exclaim.

And I respond, he is guilty of not coming forward to explain how things worked, and how his constitutionally defined mandate to get vouchers for his PDAF disbursements got overlooked. How HIS accountability got set aside.

The Life of Napoles

Janet Napoles has a life measured in a few meters, and time. She will not be outside a prison cell or a hospital room for a long, long time. She will not be a state’s witness, as she is a principal in the thieving and there is plenty of evidence in the paper trail and testimony of credible witnesses. Ruby sealed her future and I peg her likely term at 15 years. She is now 50 years old. She will depart jail as an old woman. Furthermore, her daughter is unlikely to cavort with the rich and famous of Los Angeles again. Unless she marries one.

The Life of Benhur Luy

Our hero, the whistle-toting chubby guy who brought flak vests into style in the Philippines, is also greatly relieved. He has been carrying the load of an entire nation’s passion for honesty and an end to being used and abused by unscrupulous government officials. In Ruby Tuason, he has a heavy hitter corroborating what he has explained, adding to his credibility. And taking some of the burden from him and his compatriots of the whistle.

The Life of Jinggoy Estrada

If we need heroes, we need goats, and Senator Estrada is the Goat in Chief. What a horrid example of a guy who will blame anybody rather than simply talk straight about what he did. He is the opposite of honorable. In trying to slime everyone from the President to Ruby Tuason, he has only slimed himself. He’s done. Cooked. He only walks around because he has ZERO shame.

I wish Ombudsman Morales would just put this guy out of our misery, OUR misery at having to hear him when all we want is straight-dealing. Get him out of the Senate. Don’t let him soil it a day longer.

The Life of the Philippines

It is improving markedly. The honest and the courageous are the heroes. Ruby Tuason is a hero in my book, forgiven for bowing to the pressures of the rich and powerful, and praised for walking head up into Secretary De Lima’s office.

The nation is doing what it NEEDS to do to pry corruption out of the back rooms and broom closets of the nation. Down and dirty, loud and clear, get those scurrilous worms out of our honorable vision of the Philippines as a decent nation.

UPDATE

April 19, 2014: Gigi Reyes returns to the Philippines to “face the charges”.

Comments
104 Responses to “The Life of Reyes”
  1. Dee says:

    “RA 6770, Section 24. Preventive Suspension. — The Ombudsman or his Deputy may preventively suspend any officer or employee under his authority pending an investigation, if in his judgment the evidence of guilt is strong, and (a) the charge against such officer or employee involves dishonesty, oppression or grave misconduct or neglect in the performance of duty; (b) the charges would warrant removal from the service; or (c) the respondent’s continued stay in office may prejudice the case filed against him.
    The preventive suspension shall continue until the case is terminated by the Office of the Ombudsman but not more than six (6) months, without pay, except when the delay in the disposition of the case by the Office of the Ombudsman is due to the fault, negligence or petition of the respondent, in which case the period of such delay shall not be counted in computing the period of suspension herein provided.”

    Why are the pork barrel principals not suspended or put on an administrative leave? What is the hold up? Is Enrile really that powerful and intimidating? What about Jinggoy and Bong? What makes them so special and untouchable?

    • brianitus says:

      What makes them so special? Bong has his Agimat. Jinggoy has some Panday blood in him. Enrile, the years have made his face calloused beyond regular thickness. Besides, any move by them that might suggest that they’re guilty, like going on leave, is just plain suicide. They have their name, or what’s left of it, to protect.

      • Dee says:

        Lawmakers = lawbreakers.

        Maybe they need a refresher course in moral and ethics or re-read RA 6713:

        http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra1989/ra_6713_1989.html

        • brianitus says:

          Well, they’ve got to be lawmakers. Their lives depend on it.

          “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” — Frederic Bastiat

          • Joe America says:

            That quote is spectacular. I’ve borrowed it for the right column.

          • andrew lim says:

            @brianitus, @Joe,

            Related to this is my previously discussed “amoral familism” where families engaged in corruption develop a code of their own, much like the Mafia, the Sopranos, the Corleones, and the notorious family dynasties we have. The needs of these “families” come before society, and the bad aspects – corruption, nepotism, etc come to the fore.

            It is a dark fruit of family oriented societies, unlike the more individual oriented ones.

          • Paul Lazo says:

            Excellent quote, but let’s keep in mind that this works for good as well as bad. I could easily swap the word plunder with, compassion, honesty or any other “good” word. The point being that if we truly want to change we have to do more of what we wan to see. If our leaders refuse to do that, what’s preventing us from being honest and compassionate? “Be the change you want to see” – Gandhi

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, it is unfortunate the Ombudsman has not taken steps to protect the dignity of the Senate by preventing the kinds of ugly display we saw yesterday as Guingona and Estrada faced off, and as parties of both sides try to negotiate their positions in the press. As a judge recuses himself from a case that has touched him, the legislators who have cases pending should be suspended until their honorable authority is restored, or they are found wanting in character. I agree that the failure to act decisively and quickly in complex judicial situations is one of the big problems in the Philippines.

      • Dee says:

        How about Gloria trying to pass laws while in police custody? Is she still being paid from the government coffers?

        If Napoles had been a public official, she would not be in jail right now. When are they going to stop giving her special treatment and put her in regular jail?

        • Joe America says:

          See the quote above offered up by brianitus. It is the system, to coddle the crooked amongst the crooked. Our job is to keep the pressure on the system until IT breaks down.

    • arn alf says:

      im really happy to know about this preventive suspension thing. but to test other people’s opinion, i’ve shared this to inquirer blog and there’s one long negative response, and let me quote:

      Wrong.

      The only time when a lawmaker is suspended is when he is recommended to be suspended by the Ethics Committee of either House or Senate which simply means that you have to file a complaint in the Ethics Committee and the lawmaker undergoes due process in the said committee. Your above cited law does not apply to nationally elected officials. Preventive suspension is an administrative measure. In short, the Ombudsman has no administrative supervision over the congressmen and senators. Yet, even assuming arguendo that it is applicable, it is still premature to preventively suspend them on the following grounds:

      a. Dishonesty, oppression, or grave misconduct are administrative cases and not criminal cases;

      b. The word “charges” suggests that a complaint or information has been filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in the Sandiganbayan already. The DOJ complaint is not the charge per se. The charge refers to the possible complaint or information that the Ombudsman will file against the accused. This is not the case since the Ombudsman is still investigating the issue and has not yet found “probable cause” as a ground to file the complaint or information hence, premature;

      c. How can the senators continued stay in office prejudiced the case when the acts or omissions were committed outside the confines of the senate? The crimes were committed in the office of Napoles together with the aid of Luy and other cohorts turned whistle blowers and maybe with the help of DBM officials, implementing agencies, and LGUs. The allegation that grease monies were handed inside the senate itself is only for the purpose of implicating the senators of the crime of plunder and not the commission of the pork scams itself. Note that if you will give credence to Luy et al, the commission of the acts of pork scams were already completed before the alleged grease monies or commissions were handed to the senators and other cohorts. If all evidence will be admitted, there is even the possibility that the senators will be convicted not as principals of the crime but mere accomplices or accessories after the fact. This is so because evidently they don’t qualify either as principals by direct participation, principals by inducement, or principals by indispensable cooperation.

      Finally, here’s a clue for the bloggers: Even if those signatures of the senators will be proven authentic, those are still not enough to constitute either as principal by direct participation or indispensable cooperation. The reason is that the recommendation of the lawmaker is still subject to protocols of the DBM officials, implementing agencies, and LGUs. Perforce, if you will give credence to Tuason’s affidavit, then you will have to charge the senators with Direct Bribery and not Plunder. If evidence so warrants then they will be convicted as principals.

      do you agree on what he explained here?

      • Dee says:

        No. I do not agree. There are legal loopholes that could be exploited to argue the senators’ case but please read the excerpt below and tell me what you believe:

        “1987 Constitution of the Philippines

        Article XI – Accountability of Public Officers

        Section 12. The Ombudsman and his Deputies, as protectors of the people, shall act promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner against public officials or employees of the Government, or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations, and shall, in appropriate cases, notify the complainants of the action taken and the result thereof.

        Section 13. The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following powers, functions, and duties:
        (1) Investigate on its own, or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public official, employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper, or inefficient.
        (2) Direct, upon complaint or at its own instance, any public official or employee of the Government, or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, as well as of any government-owned or controlled corporation with original charter, to perform and expedite any act or duty required by law, or to stop, prevent, and correct any abuse or impropriety in the performance of duties.

        (3) Direct the officer concerned to take appropriate action against a public official or employee at fault, and recommend his removal, suspension, demotion, fine, censure, or prosecution, and ensure compliance therewith.

        (4) Direct the officer concerned, in any appropriate case, and subject to such limitations as may be provided by law, to furnish it with copies of documents relating to contracts or transactions entered into by his office involving the disbursement or use of public funds or properties, and report any irregularity to the Commission on Audit for appropriate action.
        (5) Request any government agency for assistance and information necessary in the discharge of its responsibilities, and to examine, if necessary, pertinent records and documents.
        (6) Publicize matters covered by its investigation when circumstances so warrant and with due prudence.
        (7) Determine the causes of inefficiency, red tape, mismanagement, fraud, and corruption in the Government and make recommendations for their elimination and the observance of high standards of ethics and efficiency.
        (8) Promulgate its rules of procedure and exercise such other powers or perform such functions or duties as may be provided by law.”

        http://www.gov.ph/constitutions/the-1987-constitution-of-the-republic-of-the-philippines/

        • edgar lores says:

          1. Two quotes from Miriam:

          1.1. Direct quote: “A senator cannot be impeached. A senator cannot be charged before the Ombudsman, because under the Ombudsman Act, the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over senators. A senator can be subjected to preliminary investigation by the prosecution service under the Department of Justice. But the justice secretary, being a cabinet member, is always solicitous of the desires and wishes of a senator, for fear that they might concoct an investigation against her, or they might cut-off her budgetary appropriation.”

          1.2. Indirect quote: Santiago said that under the Constitution, the Senate committee on ethics and privileges may investigate for improper behavior a senator, and may even impose the penalty of removal from office.

          2. My opinion: Under the separation of powers, the Office of the Ombudsman is under the Executive Department.
          2.1. The highest public official in the Executive Department, the President, can only be removed by the Legislative Department through impeachment. The President is an elected official.
          2,2, Similarly, the highest justices in the Judiciary can only be removed by the Legislative Department through impeachment. The justices are appointed officials.
          2.3. The Constitution provides this for the removal of members of the Legislative Department: “(3) Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all its Members, suspend or expel a Member. A penalty of suspension, when imposed, shall not exceed sixty days.”
          2.4. Conclusion: Neither the Executive Department nor the Judiciary can remove a member of the Legislative Department, and the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction.

      • Joe America says:

        I’m not an attorney so can’t speak to the legalisms cited in the letter.

        I suppose it is the way of a legalistic society that is built on escaping accountability that defendants and attorneys will use every legalistic trick in the book, or even try to write some new ones, to avoid being held accountable. I suppose they have the “right” to do so. And maybe they will succeed. It is also our right and accountability to recognize bad behavior and get it out of the system, in any way we can.

        I appreciate Dee’s excerpt from the Constitution, a document that does assign accountabilities to ombudsman and senators with the INTENT of keeping the nation honest. If procedures are used to escape that intent, they ought to be ruled unconstitutional.

    • Allan jose justiniani villarante says:

      I don’t think the Ombudsman has the power to administratively suspend members of Congress. As senators and congress persons are members of the Legislature, it is only the head of the chamber who can order the suspension of these officials. The Ombudsman may however conduct separate or parallel investigation, and file a case against erring officials of Congress, proceed with the prosecution, and leave it to the courts to make the necessary judgements. Courts may penalize members of Congress, including, suspending them.

    • Paul Lazo says:

      He who has the gold makes the rules and he who makes the rules keeps the gold 🙂

  2. andrew lim says:

    The biggest tell to me is than none of the Senators embroiled in this even expressed the remotest outrage/shock/disgust that money entrusted to them got lost, and their staffers were involved in it.

    At the very least, if these were truly innocent men, they would have fired them right away, instead of keeping quiet and try to wriggle themselves out of it.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, it is so surreal, the failure of those charged to simply account for their acts. Zero accountability. Zero. It is enough to convince me they are guilty. Every time Estrada blames someone, it is like holding a mirror up to show his likeness to a weasel.

  3. andrew lim says:

    Joe, this idea just popped in my head after watching an interview of her: Leila de Lima for President in 2016. Nobody can belittle her intellect, her accomplishments, and what she has stood for the past years. The perfect anti-Binay. The guarantee that the pork barrel scammers will be convicted. The one who will continue the fight against corruption.

    Can we mount a campaign to start the snowball?

    • Joe America says:

      You know, I have liked her since when she headed the Human Rights commission and swam upriver against the tides. Forthright, honorable. A very real problem, though, is that I don’t think her public image is calm and removed. It is tight and pressured. I think to succeed she would have to develop a very quick upgrade in “presentation”. I’m still a Poe fan, although sensitive to the notion that she may simply be too “nice”.

    • edgar lores says:

      Preliminary Linguistic Analysis:

      A. Meaning

      1. Leila is one variant form of “Laila” and it originates in the Arabic language. It means “Dark-haired Beauty”.

      2. The name consists of two syllables.
      2.1. Lei is a garland of flowers.
      2.2. La is the sixth note in the diatonic scale.

      B. Inferences

      1. Leila may signify a “dark horse” for a race.
      2. The name comes from the Middle East where saviors have risen.
      2. Lei is a welcome floral offering.
      3. La is a happy melody when we sing “La La La La La”.

      C. Preliminary Conclusion

      The indications are auspicious.

    • Geng says:

      I’d say this is a timely idea. And while we’re at it, why not endorse Senator Grace Poe or Congresswoman Lani Robredo for Vice President? They could be the best combination to continue this fight.

  4. edgar lores says:

    This national tragedy reaches such heights of drama and spectacle and depths of villainy that one is forced to paraphrase Shakespeare.

    1. We do lend our ears – and our eyes, and our hearts.

    2. We have come to bury Sexy, Pogi and Tanda, not to praise them.

    3. Tanda played noble Brutus to the conjugal dictatorship. And it was the citizens, personified in Ninoy, who grievously answered for their faults.

    4. The evil that these men do will surely live after them, the good – not so much. They are all, all honorable men.

    5. When the poor have cried, these men have emptied the general coffers and laughed – their ambition is truly made of sterner stuff.

    6. Tanda attempted thrice (?) to present himself the kingly crown, and he was thrice refused. Both Sexy and Pogi had ambitions of wearing the kingly crown themselves, and now their hopes are justly dashed.

    6.1. But their noble party leader, the honorable Dark Lord, is close to realizing their thwarted ambitions. We all did love him once, for his cause of giving legal assistance to victims of the conjugal dictatorship. But now for the causes of honesty, integrity and justness, he must not win the kingly crown, lest we mourn.

    7. O judgement! Do not flee to brutish beasts and to men who have lost their reason.

    8. Bear with us. Our hearts are in our mouths and we cannot pause until a faithful Thorn or Rose ascends to the kingly crown in 2016.

  5. cha says:

    So my friend up there beat me to quoting Shakespeare. Then I’m going to the movies instead.

    If the lives of these cast of flawed characters were to be turned into movies, here’s what I reckon would be some very apt and fitting titles :

    The life of despicable characters : Hearts of Darkness (aka Juan Tamad Goes to Congress)

    The life of Ruby: The Homecoming

    The life of Reyes: The End of the Affair (aka Farewell My Concubine)

    The life of Enrile : The Man Who Wasn’t There

    The life of Napoles : The Color of Money (aka I Remember Mama)

    The life of Benhur Luy : Benhur (duh!) aka Full Metal Jacket

    The life of Jinggoy Estrada : Dumbo (aka My Life as a Dog)

  6. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    RUBY TUASON – As a grandmother, a Social Secretary in Malacanang and a mother taught her children and grandchilden right from wrong. Working in Malacanang glowingly exudes power more than the Executive Secretaries of CEOs. Even a Janitor in Malacanang can throw his weight around, of course, outside Malacanang but just the same it got power.

    In a race to get quick rich, which is the norm of Filipinos, she has a job on the side as a personal delivery woman for Napoles which Benigno vehemently denied, “I did not have photographic relation with that woman, Napoles!”.

    She delivered taxpayers money in a luggage purportedly allegedly to Tanda Johnny and Bong Pogi. Delivery Fee? A cool 8-10 million pesos. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT! She delivered. She complied. She got paid. THERE IS NOTHING ILLEGAL. Well, from my perspective. Ruby did not know what was in the luggage. Of course, If I were Napoles, I wouldn’t tell Ruby what was inside, else, Ruby would get a first-class ticket to Tenerife and never return with the luggage. Napoles knows that Filipinos are crooks, of course not all considering the constitutionalizing of Internet Libel.

    Ruby went to the States with a stash not exceeding $10,000 of course. Americans are very strict, when they say not more than $10,000 a visitor/immigrant/citizen should not bring in $10,000 in cash except if it is declared.

    While in the U.S. Ruby subscribed to The Filipino Channel (I encourage Filipinos to unsubscribe TFC because it is not goot) and read looney Philippine Newspapers that are free for the taking.

    Ruby found out she was fingered the bagman of Napoles not just a delivery woman. She read some more: How much, How it was delivered, To Whom, When, How ALL IN THE NEWSPAPERS.

    OMG! “What would my children and grandchildren think of her?” she mused. She did not know it was taxpayers money.

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, my, Mariano. I’ve missed your incisive wit and riddles. “I did not have photographic relation with that woman, Napoles!” Bill Clinton could not have said it better.

  7. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    In the other side of the Pacific, de Lima got a pile of Affidavits of dal-dal and pang-damays from Witnesses that have axe to grind, political affiliation, jealous and eng-gets. de Lima can have Ruby extradited from the U.S. and re-export to the Philippines. Problem is THE AMERICANS! Dang these Americans !!!

    If de Lima did that, Americans will ask her probable cause of extradition. Americans will have de Lima submit solid, air-tight, incontrovertible evidences: A mini court hearing. But de Lima has only pile of frayed Affidavits signed, sealed and delivered by Witnesses that have axes to grind.

    To avoid embarassment before Americans, de Lima offered her freedom and her delivery fee in lieu of another Witness Account written in Affidavit form signed notarized and dry sealed.

  8. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Ruby decided to turn into State Witness. Ruby explained to her children and grandchildren there is nothing to lose: She cannot be incarcerated; She can keep the delivery fee; She can be seen as COURAGEOUS !!! A HERO!!!

    She has to do a lot of research for her Affidavit. She has to read plenty of Filipino Newspapers and watch TFC. From there, with her best impeccable englischtzes, she wrote an Affidavit implicating Tanda Johnny, Bong Pogi and Napoles.

    Ruby is laughing all the way to the bank and the Filipinos will not get back their money.

    I AM HOPING MY COMMENTS ARE NOT LIBELOUS. It should not be libelous BUT COURAGEOUS to promote and propagate HUSTISYA MATUWID AMERICAN STYLE.

  9. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    So, billions and billions of cold cash were deposited to Tanda Johnny and Bong Pogi’s Bank Account. Bank did not report humongous cash deposits, luggage full of cash, to an individual personal account to Central Bank as required by anti-money laundering Law. Bleah! This is only a law. It can be circumnavigated.

    Why cash? Because it cannot be traced.
    Where did these luggage full of cash came from? Of course, from the Bank. Withdrawing luggage-full of used, non-sequential humongous cash also requires report to Central Bank and nobody reported it BUT THEY DID ON RENATO CORONA.

    How did they cover their tracks from the government agency to NGO to cashing piles of cash to personal account?

    EASY! EASY!!!! WITNESS ACCOUNTS bearing basketful of Affidavits. No need for paper trail. WITNESS ACCOUNTS ARE EASY TO BE HAD ….

    • Joe America says:

      It would be helpful if bank secrecy laws were changed to allow police investigators to have access to bank account balance and transaction records with proper court warrant. Right now, they have to use affidavits because they are blocked from the facts themselves. The conclusion should point to the need for laws that stop protecting the crooks.

    • Joseph-Ivo says:

      It would help as in Europe that carrying more than 200,000 peso in cash is illegal, except with a written permission from a mayor. It would help as in Europe that not one Euro cash is allowed for capital good transactions as houses or cars.

  10. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    If de Lima has had solid, incotrvertible, air-tight evidence she wouldn’t be needing Affidavits of dal-dal and pang-damays. She’d sue them all till Philippines goes bankrupt. But she did not. She accepted applicants and supplicants for State Witness Program.

    In the Senate, as I read from the papers, they are investigating by mouth. It is pure Q&A. No evidence. No forensic accounting. No COA numbers. Just pure and simple question and answer. Well, that is what I read from the papers. They are doing Clintonesque He-said She-said. Affidavits and counter-punching-affidavits to no end.

    The reason Myanmar, Kampuchea and Ho Chi Minh have more foreign direct investments because the investors are afraid: THEY ARE AFFIDAVITS AWAY FROM JAIL.

  11. Joseph-Ivo says:

    The root cause of the problem are bad math teachers. Filipino’s have no feeling for figures whatsoever. If they had, we would have something much more powerful then EDSA 1.

    10 billion peso disappeared in the Napoles scam. That means 100 peso from every Filipino. Just imagine, you walking outside and everybody giving you a 100 peso bill, including kids and even babies. Then continue to the mall, the wet marked, everywhere the same, now you have enough to buy the most expensive car and drive to Metro Manila where the same thing will happen over and over again, your helpers going to the Visayas, Mindanao, rest of Luzon, every Filipino giving you 100 peso! Can you see your children organizing a party, your mom smiling in her grave?

    And think of the …..* having a change of mind and want to pay back their ill-gotten wealth. Estimated by some to $10 billion, other say if you add what cronies made and value the total at today’s prices you could easily multiply by 10. Thus ……**, her children and cronies walking around giving every Filipino 40,000 peso, children, babies included, in the shanty towns and up to the most remote hills of the most remote islands. Can you imagine the faces of a family with 5 children just receiving 280,000 peso? Can you imagine the boost of the economy?

    If all these crooks had some better knowledge of simple figures and some better imagination, would they dare the same? If each Filipino knew that he was robbed of considerable amounts of money again and again, would he just let go? Wouldn’t there be an Ibarra organizing a revolution?

    *I like to avoid a libel conviction, please fill in the name of a famous Filipino dynasty.
    ** I like to avoid a libel conviction, please fill in the name of a famous Filipino shoe lover.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      According to some looney newspaper reports, Ruby got 5% commission and this is just estimate.

      Let us go back to ERAP-Para-Lahat-Pantay-hERAP, ERAP got half-a-billion peso in commission within 2.5 years of his regime. If half-a-billion peso is just 5% in Jueteng Commission imagine how much betting money the people of Luzon dropped into Jueteng: Jueteng only exist in Luzon. Divide half-a-billion by 5%, divide the result with 2.5 years of Erap’s tenure, divide that by the population of Luzon and there you have it. I cannot give the exact figures, like journalists and Senate cannot give exact figures of how much PDAF money wa missing, because my calculator is only up to 1 billion.

      Let us also recall the BILLIONS (plural) of rice bribe money to Bureau of Customs. Billions with an “s” is not a figment of my imagination. It came from Inquirer banner. BILLIONs !!! NOW IMAGINE, if this is realistic, HOW MANY DO I NEED TO BRIBE IN BUREAU OF CUSTOMS? 100? That way too much! 50? Naaah, you have to have very few to eliminate rats gnawing on rice. Now do the numbers how many gazillions each would receive from BILLION of pluraled pesos each would get.

      THAT IS WHY FILIPINOS NEED GOOT CHINESE MATH TEACHERS. WE NEED GOOT JOURNALISTS THAT ARE GOOT IN MATH.

    • edgar lores says:

      I read that the vote was 12-1-2 on the online libel provision. I sure would like to know the names of that lone maverick justice and those two abstentions. I would hope those three are Sereno, Leonen and Perlas-Bernabe, but I would not be surprised if Carpio is in the mix. If the first three are included in the 11, then Juan is deeper in the merde.

      • edgar lores says:

        The abstentions are Perlas-Bernabe and Velasco who took no part. Sereno, Carpio and Leonen issued concurring and dissenting opinions.

        On the online libel provision, it appears that the lone dissenter is Leonen. Sereno concurred with the partial unconstitutionality of the online provision but dissented on section 6, which is the imposition of a penalty one-degree higher than existing law. Carpio concurred but wants to strike down the original libel law (Article 354), upon which the online provision is based, with respect to public officers and public figures.

        At least that is what I gathered.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      After 2nd read of your comment I found that Php10,000,000,000.00 Pesos lost in PDAF scam?

      … who was it who said in the news report that Ruby got 5% commission the most …

      … and she only got 8,000,000.00 to 10,000,000 in commission ?

      … 5% of Php10,000,000,000.00 is not Php10,000,000.00 gotta be more like Php50.0M?

      … Is that why she turned herself in?

      … because she got shorted just like BenHur?

      SOMEBODY GOTTA PAY!!! No wonder she has the courage to drag her children and grandchildren along for the ride to get the difference that she was not given.

      When it comes to mobster shorted by commission they’ll say anything to get even. Just like Bong Sexy, he dragged the name of Benigno in impeachment vote buying scam.

      Talking about “Those who have not sinned cast the first stone” it looks like Philippines swarms with sinners.

      May God have mercy on their souls. Deliver me from Libel Suit.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Here is another why the Filipinos need math.

      The people of the Philippines prefer Q&A than present COA Report which is in number form. The Senate can only come up with round up numbers. They say Php10.0B and the other sayed Ruby got 5% Commission of Php8-10M. Their math just doesn’t add up.

      So, to avoid embarassment they prefer Q&A. Never mind COA Report. I hear COA will soon be abolished and replaced by Tarot Card Readers, Fortune tellers, Voodoo masters and the most coveted WITNESS ACCOUNTERS will replace Forensic Accounters.

      Based on the above, definitely, the foreign investors will be inticed to invest in the Philippines because they can have voodooo accounting that has not existed in 1stWorld Countries.

  12. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    So, folks! Here is a primer on how to get rich quick without going to prison and keep the money and become a courageous hero:
    1. Steal and Deliver;
    2. Once caught, apply for State Witness
    3. If denied State Witness status, accuse Benigno of buying impeachment votes

    To the Mastermind not to get caught:
    1. When you steal MAKE SURE EVERYBODY GETS THEIR FAIR SHARE
    2. Go to America
    REMEMBER: The Philippines was happy enough to grab hold of $23M dollars in Marcos billions that his family stole. That is how strict the Americans are. They need Proof over Affidavits

    ALL OF THE ABOVE WORKS ALL THE TIME.
    CRIME PAYS IN THE PHILIPPINES.

  13. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    How Filipinos are judged:
    1. By association;
    2. By Affidavits;
    3. By Body Language;
    4. By Witness Accounts

    #3 is very recent and modern. Tandang Johnny and Bong Sexy were found guilty by Conrado just by Body Language alone it makes polygraph test like the days of daVinci. It appears the Americans are way behind the Philippines when it comes to justice system. We do it easy. Quick, Simple and People just drool over it.

  14. edgar lores says:

    Out of topic.

    1. From Rappler: “TED TE, SUPREME COURT SPOKESMAN: The Court also ruled on the constitutionality of online libel when it further declared that Section 4(c)(4), which penalizes online or cyber libel, is not unconstitutional with respect to the original author of the post but unconstitutional only where it penalizes those who simply receive the post or react to it.”

    2. I think the Supreme Court has left a way out.

    3. If JoeAm writes something he is the original author of the post. And his way out is his claim that “Nothing in this blog should be taken as a truth.” and “no malice is intended.”

    4. As we are simply receiving and reacting to JoeAm’s post anything we write cannot be classified as online libel. It would be unconstitutional for us to be penalized under the Cybercrime Law.

    4.1. In fact, what we write does not have to be a direct reaction to what is in JoeAm’s blog. We simply have to be in receipt of it.

    Can anybody punch holes in this hypothesis?

    • Joe America says:

      Ha, day two after the Supreme Court’s ruling and the insane criminalization of online comment, which is a GLOBAL arena, is being discovered to be slipperier than a wet eel doused in oil. Actually, I am going to incorporate my blog in America. No problem.

      But I have an even better idea. Why don’t our public servants start behaving like grown-ups, accept responsibility for problems under their watch, and get this nation humming. Then we can all go to the beach for a swim and a snooze. Or in your case, to the Brisbane river bank . . .

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        “…accept responsibility for problems under their watch…” – Joe

        They cannot accpet responsibility for problems under their watch because THERE IS NO PROBLEM.

        Publishing Problem on-line in the internet is now GLOBALLY ILLEGAL !!! SO, NO SOLUTION TO A PROBLEM BECAUSE THERE IS NO PROBLEM.

        I just love the geniuses in Filipinos.

        And when they retire, they do not stay in the Philippines. They go to America where justice requires physical and scientific PROOF until proven otherwise. By the way, how can scientific proof proven otherwise when it is absolute unlike Witness Accounts.

        In the Philippines, when public “servants” retire, they do not write memoirs unlike in the U.S. Instead, they write counter-affidavits.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      We are sinners because Adam and Eve sinned – Christian Doctrine

      Those that commented on libelous content is innocent is violation of the Christian Doctrine: Adam and Eve sinned, therefore, you and I are sinners.

      Above doctrine is immortalized by Ruby. Children and Grandchildren of Ruby sinned because she sinned. That is why She writes piles of Affidavit to redeem herself, her children and grandchildren despite knowledge that reputation cannot be redeemed after the fact.

      But Ruby believes in “The Truth Shall Set Her Free”. Tumpak! She is FREE with pabaon of Php8-10 MILLION. With many thanks from the Filipino taxpayers, Badge of Honor and the most coveted, Badge of Courage.

      Could this be a hint of religious liberation?
      ————————-

      DISCLAIMER: “Nothing in this blog should be taken as a truth, no malice intended”

      Is in consonance with Christian Doctrine: Read the Bible. Memorize the verses. But do not interpret it literally. No malice intended.

      Why bother read blogs if it is not taken as a truth? Why waste time reading the bible if it cannot or should not be interpreted literally?

      Why read at all? For what purpose? Entertainment? Or, information? Or, intellectual exchange?
      ————————–

      Supreme Court is sending Filipinos subtle messages towards secularism. Looks like we are going to have RHBill. But with regards to FOI, nobody can punch holes at Vatican.

    • edgar lores says:

      Someone has asked if my interpretation of no penalty applies to tweets as well. I think that if the tweet references a hashtag then no penalty should apply. However, if it does not, the tweeter is the original author and is subject to the Cybercrime Law.

  15. letlet says:

    Last Sunday on the 5th anniversary of the Servants of Divine Mercy, i asked our Spiritual Director, Fr Cerino why, inspite of the religiosity of the culprits of PDAF scam, they committed the despicable acts of scam.

    He said they ” lacked two C”.
    1. Christ – they don’t practice Jesus Christ teachings
    2. Conscience – they have no conscience.

    Their poor souls are already in the Queue to Hell. In one of the visions of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal, where Our Lady showed to the three children a vision of sinners in horrible Fire of Hell, they ( the children) were so horrified they couldn’t looked. Tanda is so nearing to the end of his life, I would say YOU SINNER REPENT, REPENT.

    • edgar lores says:

      The thing with religion though is that if Tanda repents at the last minute he gets to join the queue to Heaven. In effect he gets his cake and he gets to eat it too. So then who pays for all the unnecessary suffering he brought upon the poor, the uneducated and the unwashed?

      One cannot say that all the poor, uneducated and unwashed will be recompensed because some of them may also lack the two C’s.

      And, really, does Tanda get redeemed straight away just by saying he repents and he believes?

      I’m not trying to be contrary, I just want to understand the mechanics, as it were, of religious justice.

      • andrew lim says:

        @edgar

        Last minute conversions to me are useless. Doing whatever you like up to your last minute, even if it is sinful, will earn you a ticket straight downwards. They never run out of power or video tape Upstairs. 🙂

        Perhaps the scammers interpret the story of the thieves crucified beside Jesus – Barabbas? who asked for forgiveness in his last hours, and still got saved, as their last minute model.

        That is why I reject also the notion of purgatory, because many interpret it as a halfway house, and so one can sin as he pleases because everyone will be forgiven, if he serves time in purgatory.

        It all encourages corrupt behavior to persist.

        • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

          Last Minute Conversion Works Fine in the Philippines.

          RUBY DID A LAST MINUTE CONVERSION for telling the truth based on the principle “The Truth Shall Set Her Free”. Now she is free plus pabaon of Php8-10 Million.

          Witness Program is another form of legalized BRIBERY if the Philippine Government case is weak. They will pile upon pile of Affidavits. More Affidavits more guilty.

          The court of law in the Philippines is in the newspaper. The evidences are Affidavits. The defense will submit counter-punching counter-affidavits. Then the back-and-forth of Affidavits and counter-affidavits.

          The Commission on Audit is not in the picture because COA Reports are in numbers form. Filipinos cannot understand numbers. Sure do know Witness Accounts.

          That is why there are no foreign direct investments because of the following:
          1. Filipinos are absolutely, definitely, totally NOT GOOT IN NUMBERS;
          2. The Foreign Investors are just jail away by Witness Accounts
          3. The Foreign Investors are Affidavit away from Jail
          4. The shortest distance between eng-get and Jail are: Witness Accounts and Affidavits no Forensic Accounting Needed. Because Forensic accounting is a foreign language.

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        Tanda Johnny is already blessed by God for celebrating his 90th Birthday happy and healthy.

        Tanda Johnny must have done something goot that the rest of the Filipinos did not.

        93,999,999 Filipinos have direct dial to their God. These Filipinos know a Filipino die because of their sins. The early they die, the more sins. The longer they die, the less sins. That is the prevalent principle of Filipinos.

        Therefore, Tanda Johnny will celebrate another Birthday. Many thanks to PDAF money, he’ll have enough to go abroad and operated by non-praying doctors.
        ——
        When I had an operation and the doctor and nurses were praying THAT NEARLY SCARES ME TO DEATH. Is it God that is operating on me? Or is it the doctor with the help of God! OMG !!!

        Another that scares me to death are pilots of PAL. They pray before they fly. OMG! SCARRRY !

        • letlet says:

          @ Edgar, Mariano

          I agree with you about Tanda who caused so much suffering to the poor, to the uneducated. I would say if he repent he would not go straight to Heaven. We have our own beliefs about purgatory and heaven.

          I went to a pilgrimage last February 1 – 6 to Our Lady of Knock in Ireland where we had a ferry trip to Ireland. There was a storm, the sea was quite rough, the waves bashing our ferry and we prayed. Halfway, the sea became calm and we reached Ireland safely. but the day before going back to Uk, the storm was back again and all the ferry trips were cancelled due to extreme bad weather. As we are going back the next day, we prayed for a calm day so we can have a safe ferry journey across the sea. Well, the next day, we had a good day and a good trip back to UK. I would say God answered our prayer.

          • letlet says:

            BTW, I suppose even if Tanda repent for his sins but didn’t return the monies he stole from the taxpayers, it’s not repentance at all and no forgiveness from God.

          • edgar lores says:

            Letlet,

            1. Thanks. I think you are one of the blessed.

            2. As Mariano opines, Tanda is also blessed but perhaps in another way. If I may quote him out of context, it’s positively “scarrry”.

            3. Andrew provides another viewpoint. He agrees with you that Tanda is in the queue to Inferno, but he does not accept the notion of Purgatory.

            4. On the face of the evidence, and this is my own personal subjective perception, I see three possibilities:

            4.1. The Christian paradigm of salvation cannot hold true for many reasons, the main one being that it is not universal, it is exclusive. So, too, the paradigms of other religions.
            4.2. It may be that all religions are true, meaning a Christian goes to either Heaven or Hell, a Muslim either to Jannah or Jahannam, a Hindu goes to one of six heavenly planes or attains liberation from the cycle of birth and death, agnostics go to limbo, atheists go nowhere, and so on.
            4.3. It may be that we simply have no idea about the grand scheme of the universe – if there is one.

            5. If I were to choose from those three possibilities, I would pick 4.2 for being the most universally just: everybody goes to their own version of heaven except the poor atheists. (To validate this possibility, I have used the phenomenon of superposition – that is, that all possible states are possible at the same time.)
            5.1. On Tuesdays, I tend to think that 4.3 is the reality. But this option seems so unjust when one considers the investment in religion that people have made throughout their lives through all of history. Unless the Grand Scheme incorporates all visions of heaven and surpasses all the grandeur and spectacle of the opening ceremonies of the summer and winter Olympics combined.
            5.2. Perhaps we should ask Michael Martinez, another of the blessed. He comes from the gates of Hell, according to Dan Brown, and he has been to Sochi, his own version of heaven.

            • Joe America says:

              Multiverses of heavens. Cool.

            • Adrian says:

              On 4.2, therefore, “you must wager”. Pascal is one smart guy.

              • edgar lores says:

                I like the eclectic approach of the Chinese – they pray to multiple gods, sort of hedging their bets.

            • Mel NL says:

              @Edgar
              Have you read the “Proof of Heaven” written by a neurosurgeon named Dr. Eben Alexander? Very interesting! Hope you have time to include it together with your reading books…

              • edgar lores says:

                Mel NL,

                Thanks, I’ve heard of it. I’ve read “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” by Sogyal Rinpoche and am fascinated by the concept of bardo. Birth and death seem to be similar in one respect: the light at the end of the tunnel is us being born into a new world.

                I would like to believe, but I have come to the point that beliefs do not matter. As I say elsewhere in this thread, beliefs are just attachments to self.

      • Paul Lazo says:

        That is exactly what religion is about…forgiving. The parable of the prodigal sums it up nicely.

  16. Jeff Guapo says:

    On The Life of Napoles: “Ruby sealed her future and I peg her likely term at 15 years.” Is it an error on naming Ruby instead of Napoles?

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, Jeff, I could have been clearer on that statement. “Ruby sealed Napoles’ future . . . and I peg Napoles’ likely term at 15 years”. Thanks for clarifying that.

  17. edgar lores says:

    My word association is Brutus. bastard, betrayer, thief, butcher, putschist.

    I nominate him for 5 Golden Blutos (Brutus).

  18. Joseph-Ivo says:

    So far all we saw was politics, not justice, especially in the senate hearings.

    People engaged in a barangay know what happens in barangay politics: favors to family members, kickbacks, derailment of funds… and all consequent behavior. If they see any similar behavior at the municipal level, they extrapolate this as corrupt politics too. So the Senators are “victims” of what happens on lower levels in politics. People recognize irate negations combined with peanut a butter defense, distractive manoeuvers… and they make conclusions without having all the “facts”. Even worse they assume that the astute senators have ample resources to better “hide” their wrongdoings, so even if they see weak evidence they will still strongly suspect corruption. Whatever the future legal outcome will be, people will not change their mind.

    Will they change their mind at the ballot box? No, most will remember it as “politics as usual” and their alliance with local “fixers” will be stronger than their inclination to reject the villains. The courage to resist the temptation for an immediate reward might be too weak, they will not wait for a later, greater reward of eradicated corruption.

    EDUCATION, parents and teachers teach your children to act on their own judgment and show them the value of deferred gratifications.

    • edgar lores says:

      Joseph, thank you. These are deep insights. I note that you offer many insights – such as “The Filipino does not exist” – that do not attract the attention of other commenters.

      1. You paint such a picture of hopelessness at every level of government administration from the barangay through to the municipal and provincial levels up to the national level.

      2. And as you point out, we all look to education as the solution.

      3. I agree to both points. I think worldwide the solution offered is always education. And I am in consonance with you on the value and virtue of independent judgment, which is self-reliance, and on expanding the time horizon through delayed gratification. Filipinos will surely fail the marshmallow test.

      4. The difficulties with education are (a) that it is slow and (b) that teachers and parents do not have nous of what to teach because they – and the entire culture – do not have the virtues we speak of.
      4.1. And as we have learned, you can teach virtue but if you do not exhibit it, it is useless.

      5. When you say parents and teachers should teach children “to act on their own judgment”, this is a very important point. I cannot overstress how important this insight, this principle is.
      5.1. But this point goes against the entire grain of Philippine culture which is authoritarian, which asks people to obey their parents without question, to pay homage to their elected officials, and to follow their priests with blind belief. The Catholic faith and all its derivative denominations (INC and Aglipayan) have conditioned the faithful to accept the singular authority of their highest church official.

      6. To be able to teach children to trust and to act on their own judgment will take enormous decondtioning and reconditioning of the entire culture.
      6.1. We know for a fact that the Church is in dire straits worldwide although the local following, as shown by the results of the Univision Survey, is very conservative and still aligned to a great degree with the non-progressive doctrines. Judging from social media comments, some people have left the Church. But even so, these apostates seem to exhibit the same strength of conviction in their apostasy as they evinced in their former belief. They have not acquired the flexibility of mind and of judgment that we speak of.

      7. In my own development, I name the first step in the act of relying on personal judgment as “negation”. To arrive at truth, you must first negate everything. The bias of culture, the bias of parents, the bias of peers, the bias of politicians, the bias of priests, and your own bias. This requires an inner strength and a faith in your reasoning powers, both heart and mind.
      7.1. The next steps would be basically those of the scientific method which might involve framing the issue correctly, researching the issue, formulating a hypothesis (or model as you prefer) through intuition and logic, and testing the model against reality.
      7.2. The scientific method is taught in schools but it is taught as a method of examining objective reality with the stress on empiricism and measurement. It is not taught, in a modified form, as applicable to subjective reality, to matters of personal opinion and belief.

      8. (Parenthetically, beyond the scientific method is the notion that hypotheses and models with respect to beliefs are merely attachments to self. But to get to this level, our consciousness must arrive at item 7 and its corollaries first.)

      • Joe America says:

        Wonderful statement of the Filipino condition, and thanks to Joseph-Ivo for setting the stage with his incision. I do think that, in a discussion thread as rich and deep as this one, readers sometimes get fatigue trying to grasp all that is here. I mean, one comment from Mariano is an hours work to fully get. I know I hit the wall. This thread deserves a week of parsing, I think. It’s like reading Hume or C.S. Lewis when we are used to John Grisham or Batman comic books. . .

        • Man, these are long comments. I appreciate the intentions, everyone, thank you. But I humbly suggest that short and snappy would keep us all reading (and understanding).

          • Joe America says:

            Good of you to stop by, Candy. We aspire to have discussions that are meaningful and allow people to get into the details of complex issues. So lengthy discussions are encouraged. It is not necessary that you read all that is written, but I’m thinking it would be good to challenge yourself and study some of the material that is presented. There is genius here. I would not want the blog to become just another forum where people pop off their one liners and we never get to probe the whys and ways of things.

      • Paul Lazo says:

        Edgar, you seem to do your self in with this response. Your points 1-6 display the lack of the negation you demand in point 7. Much of what you express in points 1-6 are based on your experiences and the paradigms you live in or have lived through.

        As a sample let’s look at some points:
        3…”Filipinos will fail the marshmallow test” while no official survey has been done the growth in sales of mutual funds and life insurance policies seem to demonstrate that there is a growing number of Filipinos who will pass the marshmallow test.

        4. ….– and the entire culture – do not have the virtues we speak of. I can assure you many families have the “virtues we speak of.” Maybe as a culture we do not display them and to say that we do not have them is grossly irresponsible…case in point, 20 years ago,forming a queue to catch a bus or jeep was unimaginable. I also notice that many are becoming more conscious of not littering. While long strides still have to be made compared to 20 years ago, there is an improvement.

        5 and 5.1 – the fact that many churches have grown, and I even dare say that single parents have increased in number show that younger people are making their own choices and acting based on their own judgement. – this also negates point 6.

        6.1 – You seem to have formed an opinion that Churches are rather insular in there thinking. I hope you have spent enough time to truly understand what Churches stand for and represent before making such a conclusion. If you haven’t I encourage you to spend 15 to 20 years with Church before making any conclusions…or should I say negations. As for point 7, if humanity actually did this, there would be only one universal truth and humanity would be come as colorless as the former USSR (everybody wore the same clothes, ate the same bread had the same haircuts – or am I talking about current day North Korea – only in either case there would be no leaders because they too would be wearing the same clothes eating the same bread etc,)

        What bothers me most about this approach is that there is no universal truth (which is what point 7 seems to imply). Truth will always be relative. Recently science, yes science has shown that different brains, given the same food, nurture, love and care and environment will still process information differently and come to different conclusions. The wise men of the past knew this – the Talmud says – we do not see the world as it is, we see the world as we are and more modern thinkers (Covey and Coelho) said the same thing. I believe that this one truth that has stood the test of time. It is also my belief that God knows this and knew this would happen once he gave man “free will” thus he allows several religions to exist. God giving man free will was an act of love like a parent allowing their child to make his own decisions.

        • cha says:

          Paul is right, Edgar’s commentary is based on his experiences and if I may add, possibly from inferences and insights gained from reading Filipinos writing from and about the country from different platforms.

          Paul, too, is coming from that side of this big elephant we call the Filipino condition that he himself is able to see and touch.

          Both perspectives to me are worthy of consideration. They are both snapshots of a bigger picture we all want and need to see. I’d say we probably need to see even more.

          For instance, what do those working in government now, those who are actually trying to do right by the people and country they serve, what do they really see? And what of the Filipinos actually already doing well, living honest and decent lives, raising upright and responsible children, what does it look like from where they stand? And what do these young people, still full of ideals and visions of a bright future for themselves, what are the images playing repeatedly in front of them?

          From where I stand, it’s not really a matter of who is right and wrong here. It’s really about opening ourselves up to different perspectives, to the possibility that there is more out there that we have yet to see and understand. “Those who know, do. Those who understand, teach.”

        • edgar lores says:

          Paul,

          “We think in generalities, but we live in detail.” – Alfred North Whitehead

          • Joe America says:

            As a generality, I’d opine that most Filipinos think in detail.

          • edgar lores says:

            Paul,

            1. Sorry, I do not want to appear dismissive. I hold respect for all beings. We can go tit-for-tat on all of my items, but that will just result in confirmation bias.

            2. But let me point out the paradox in your last paragraph:

            2.1. You contend that my methodology does not recognize universal truth, that it will result in truth being relative.
            2.2. Next you state a universal truth from the Talmud: “We do not see the world as it is, we see the world as we are.”
            2.3. If this universal truth that you cite is true, then you have just proved that all truth is relative. This is postmodernism in a nutshell.
            2.4. To “see the world as it is” is, in my present understanding, to stand outside belief.

            3. There are universal truths. But none is true for us individually until we realize them. We can realize truths intentionally or accidentally. The approach I suggest Is a method of intentional deliberation to internalize truth, whether that truth is universal or not. But having internalized a truth, we should not stop there. We should be skeptical especially whenever new evidence confounds our truth. It should be employed in all the Big Questions that we encounter in life, and perhaps even the little ones.

            • Paul Lazo says:

              Excellent Edgar! I will have to admit that if you did not respond in such a manner, I would have been disappointed. And yes to go tit for tat on every point might get us expelled from this blog 🙂 I feel that everyone, regardless of: age, culture, sex, upbringing, economic strata and education, processes information as you suggest we do. We will only stop when we are satisfied with the answer we get. I am not a scientist or an academic and I have never conducted a study; but, I have worked with Filipinos from practically all levels of society form the extremely poor to the ultra wealthy, from the uneducated to the ultra educated and they all process information, questions, concerns etc the same way. What is different are the paradigms they have, which will obviously lead to different conclusions. However, I do notice that the first step in encouraging a different point of view is accepting (without being critical, dismissive or eager to ask why) other view points first. Some once told me that the measure of ones education (both academic and cultural) is the ability to live with the uneducated. As Cha pointed out:

              “… it’s not really a matter of who is right and wrong here. It’s really about opening ourselves up to different perspectives, to the possibility that there is more out there that we have yet to see and understand. “Those who know, do. Those who understand, teach.”

              • edgar lores says:

                Paul, thanks.

                1. Please do not misunderstand the concept of negation. It is not outright rejection of other people’s views, it is the opposite. It is careful consideration of them. The negation is the last step in the process, not the first step.

                2. The first step is taking other people’s views and examining each in turn, trying to understand the whys and wherefores. You ask of each, “Is this true?” Whether the answer is “Yes” or “No”, you have to dig deeper, perhaps through many levels. Part of the reason is confirmation bias. We may not be aware of it but our bias runs deep down into subconscious levels.

                3. The method demands many qualities, but I will name three: empathy, honesty and judiciousness. Empathy in that it allows you to understand why people feel or think in a particular way. Honesty in that you must examine the reasons for your Yes or No, like is there self-interest involved? And judiciousness in that you are satisfied that you have used your intuitional and logical abilities to the full.

                4. As your universal truth asserts, people will arrive at different conclusions. This is partly explained by different levels of clarity in seeing and different levels of capacity. This is also partly – or I would say largely – explained by conditioning.

                5. Conditioning, in the sense of Joseph’s models of understanding, is usually the accepted cultural norm. It is the predominant paradigm. Religion for most of history has been the most important paradigm for just not only understanding existence, but also for carrying out, living out existence. People rarely arise above the norm.

                6. The advantage of models or paradigms is that it facilitates understanding. You see something and you can easily sort it out by placing it into its own proper pigeonhole.
                6.1. The approach is very pragmatic. In Joseph’s methodology, if you cannot fit something into a model, then you revise the model or find another model. So when you say God, Joseph asks which God? Which model? And does the particular model fit our present understanding of the universe?
                6.2. The disadvantage of a paradigm is the paradox that while it facilitates understanding at the beginning and allows us to survive and live unexamined lives, it becomes a barrier to seeing. In the end it prevents true understanding. What we see is not reality but what we think that reality is. The tree that we see is no longer a fig tree. It is simply a tree. And we lose the sense of wonder at its unique shape, color and form. This is the essence of your universal truth.

        • Joseph-Ivo says:

          Religion is 100% based on beliefs, unrestricted, whatever the source, whatever the interpretation and it always has supernatural elements, its truth is absolute. God as the Holy Trinity, Jaweh, Allah, or Re, Zeus, Apollo, Wodan, Krishna, Vishnu, Brahma, Shiva, Shakti, Zarathustra, Yuanshi Tianzun, Lingbao Tianzun, Daode Tianzun… one or many, the choice is individual with little natural observations in favor of one or the other, the choice is mostly determined culturally (parents). Jesus as the Son God or the Son of God, Jesus as 2 natures in one person or not, human since conception, birth or eternity… few grounds to decide for as an individual and the Bible contradicts (or is open for different interpretation). Luckily there is more to religion than just the definition of God, mainly codifications to live well, the core of the Bible, Koran, Buddhism, Confucianism… But what is “good”, mainly vertical as “good servant of my God” or horizontal “good fellowman”?

          Truth, universal or not, is an irrelevant concept. Instead, does it align with my “model” of the world or not? Yes, then I can accept my interpretation of my observation and keep my model. No, then I have to reject my model or my interpretation of the observation. So truth is now split in two concepts: interpretation of an observation and a model.

          1- How our senses work and how our brain interprets what we observe is quite well documented. From the millions of impulses we get our brain makes a very limited selection to proceed and compare with the library of interpretations we have stored. This process works fast, doesn’t overheat our brain and most often produces workable “pictures” of reality. Careful, the system is not foolproof as magicians since the ancient Egyptians know so well. And a goldfish in a bowl never sees a linear movement outside the bowl.

          2- Every model is a good model. But for me the better models have some qualities, they are consistent, are repeatable, align with my observations and do not need miracles to explain. The best models are the more simple ones. If in your model the dinning table disappears every night when you turn of the light, that’s perfectly OK, but you will need some extra explanations when in the morning after an earthquake you find debris on top of the table, that’s alright too, but after a while your model will becomes quite complex so I might prefer the simpler model where the table does not disappear at night.

          Discussions should be on observations or models only, not on truth or (religious) beliefs.

  19. Joseph-Ivo says:

    @Edgar Lores, Your analysis is so correct, only for the timing I’m more optimistic. You only need a critical mass to generate change. You can cut the elephant in pieces too, you don’t have to swallow it at once. One step at a time, on parent, one teacher, one child, one sphere of life.

    Luckily the environment is changing. In front of an I-pad children often trust what they are doing, “I like” and “share” are individual decisions. The enormous gaps between church teachings and reality help to start thinking. Younger parents are less strict in po’s and blesses. Urbanization helps, people in cities are more independent. OFD’s become more assertive. K+12 will create some extra time to practice and experience by yourself, the average college student will be more mature.

    Don’t underestimate the behavior at the top. The president seems not corrupt, nor is his cabinet (the majority?). The president is a team player able to delegate. Robredo was different. Some entrepreneurs are enlightened. Corona is gone. Cleansing going on in the Senate (?).

    We will get there.

  20. QueenGeeee says:

    Reblogged this on Queen G and commented:
    Not something to be proud of.

  21. Gaudz Pacot says:

    There should be a law suspending the senators’/congressmen’s lawmaking functions immediately when their integrity is in question. How can we rely on crooks making laws for all of us to follow?

    • Joe America says:

      It may be that the attention should turn to Senator Cayetano who heads the Senate Ethics Committee. His committee is empowered to suspend. Why has he not acted? Reporters should ask.

      • edgar lores says:

        1. I just looked up the website of the Philippine Senate. The Chairman of the Ethics and Privileges is not named. There is no Vice either. The members are Binay and Sotto. The ex-officio members are Recto, Cayetano and Enrile.

        2. Right now, no one is looking after the behavior of senators.
        2.1. Perhaps no one is qualified to chair.
        2.2. The membership casts doubt that matters of ethics can be tackled in any meaningful way. Senatorial privileges, yes; senatorial ethics, no.
        2.3. I shudder just looking at the names in the committee.

        3. Another defect of the Constitution: The Legislature can act to remove the top officials of the other two branches, the Executive and the Judiciary. But neither the Executive nor the Judiciary can act to remove any senator or congressman. It is left to the Legislature to act upon itself to suspend or expel members. Clearly, the system of checks and balances is one-sided in this respect.
        3.1. I think the President should have the power to suspend, upon recommendation of the Ombudsman, and the Judiciary should have the power to expel, upon recommendation of the Executive.

        • Joe America says:

          Definitely the progress toward good behavior is stalled by the system. Who appoints Committee members, I wonder. What does it take to remove one? Man, what a dysfunctional Ethics Committee. It is beyond laughable.

          Yes, a Constitutional amendment is needed. There are zero checks against a legislature from an ethics committee stocked by likely plunderers and liars. Sottoethics. Gadzooks.

  22. Ismael says:

    WE FILIPINOS MUST elect and go back to the days when the Philippine senators and Congressmen were HONEST and QUALIFIED LAWMAKERS AND NOT MONIED and UNQUALIFIED ACTORS ACTING TO BE LAWMAKERS.

    • Joe America says:

      You know, I think being in the profession of acting ought to automatically disqualify a politician on the basis of trust. We never know when they are being straight with us. (Half kidding.) 🙂

  23. Juan dela Cruz says:

    another agency that must be held accountable in this scam is the COMMISSION ON AUDIT. This is the agency that is mandated to look into each and every government transaction and sees to it that the money was spent for what and where it is intended. But the big question is why did these transactions slip the sight of the COA. They might also be in the payroll!!!

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