The hardhearted priest in the hardhearted Philippines

Crucifixion of Brian

Monty Python: Crucifixion of Brian

Once again two seemingly unrelated incidents clinked a loud, unified chime in my certified cerebral collection center for the putting together of things.

One, a Philippine priest berated an unwed mother who had brought her baby in for baptism, accusing her of living in sin and claiming the baby was born in sin. As if Jesus was brought into the world by Ozzie and Harriet in a suburban condo on the West Bank, NSO-certified live birth tucked securely into the straw of his manger.

Bethlehem is a rocky place where houses and mangers are dark and dusty hovels of space smaller than a nipa hut, and believe me, Jesus came into this world in a condition not unlike the baby of the unwed mother. Of odd parentage and poor until three strange guys on camels following a star, a tale I find to this day to be a bit contrived if not downright loopy, dropped off some goodies, the gold being much more prized than the frankincense or myrrh.

Back in the Philippines, the hardhearted priest quickly apologized after a brutal but bloodless you-tube crucifixion nailed him firmly to the parish wall. The video of  the out-of-touch “welcome to God’s world, ya little sinner” rite went viral and the priest caught a major case of contrition.

The second incident was an editorial by someone who knows someone who knows someone who heard President Aquino threatening to resign because he is fed up with all the criticism he is getting. Like, he gets very little love, not even from the Supreme Court or popularity polls or legislators who have balls made of fluffy nerf stuff.

Well, I get where the President is coming from, for this is the most thankless, hardhearted batch of so-called patriots I have ever witnessed in my life.

  • The media are like vultures, circling and looking for any dead meat they can find to toss into the headlines whilst passing over the wholesome stuff that would uplift the people. It’s the only flock so perverted by sensationalism that it would twist a rumored Nobel nomination for the President into a critical scandal. We won’t even talk about the patriotism of Nora Aunor’s adoring, loud, self-inflated, small-souled carping buzzards.
  • The nation’s sizable cast of high-powered crooks, their friends, families, cohorts and assorted ass-kissers are like hyena’s slobbering for fresh flesh off the man who is about the only honest guy in the Philippines.
  • The internet crowd, especially those in social media, are smart-aleck showoffs of no heart and much insult; they subject those of differing views to a verbal hazing unlike the best that a red-bull hyped La Salle fraternity band can deliver. The anti-Aquino trolls are the worst of the lot, closed to the idea they just may be undermining the nation.
  • The ignorant voters, well, they display their patriotic integrity, intelligence and brave sacrifice anytime someone with a bag of rice drops by to tell them what to do.

Face it, this may be a Christian nation, but it is one that thinks charity is stealing from the poor, compassion is a smart-assed put-down in an on-line discussion thread, and appreciation is impeachment of the man who single-handedly raised the Philippines from the banana republic gutter of Asia to the podium of sterling example, a peaceful, firm, growing, increasingly high-principled and productive leader in Asia.

The Philippines can claim a style exactly like the stone-hearted, compassion-deficient priest.

You want to see thankless in action?

Watch all the Filipino patriots nonchalantly and drunkenly hang at the cock fights, or rabidly cheer the boxing and singing and basketball stars, or hone their PC skills on Grand Theft Auto, or slouch under the mango tree sucking tuba, or shop for whitening creams and shampoos to make their hair shine like Toni Gonzaga’s, or line up to warble off-key at the karaoke machine while the President’s popularity dives from lack of support and the incessantly ravenous and rabid vultures, hyenas, internet frat packs and ignorant citizens party like the fiesta will never end.

But it will end.

And hardhearted Filipinos will get what they give.



43 Responses to “The hardhearted priest in the hardhearted Philippines”
  1. Janice says:

    I think this mentality of some priest have to do with which “order” they were “schooled”. Having gone to CICM/ICM Catholic schools, I never saw the kind of hostility like the CBCP shows

    But then, the CBCP do have origins from the Spanish friars whereas the CICM/ICM come from the Belgian missionaries. Could it be the Romance vs Germanic culture?

    The CBCP has for example been hostile towards remnants of indigenous beliefs like the mythical creatures… the CBCP, I remember, was so against the “Aswang Festival”. Yet the CICM up north is actually very tolerant of many native beliefs that they don’t “scold” the natives for butchering pigs as sacrifice to please ancestral spirits.

    The CBCP itself is in need to a massive culture overhaul. A leadership that is geared towards compassion, not instilling “fear”

    You know what is worse about the Anti-Aquino trolls in the internet? Glorifying Marcos just to prove how “bad” the Aquino clan is/was.

    And I’m not sure why the Philippine media thinks this chismis is so news worthy?

    Is it just me or these people feel like they’re the PH version of the “Tea Party”? LOL

    • Joe America says:

      The CBCP is very much a political body totally removed from the teachings of Jesus, it seems to me.

      You are right about the glorifying of Marcos. What an aberration of civil thinking.

  2. Rey V says:

    My feelings exactly Joe. Problem is, they’re not going to be the only ones to end up with nothing. They’re going to take the whole country down with them.

  3. Greg Hill says:

    Sounds like you were having a low day, and when this news item arrived on your desk you became even more despondent. On the up-side, priests in the Philippines are now on notice that they can’t get away with the uncharitable behaviour of the past. Some good will come of it.
    (I can’t believe I just wrote that; I tend towards a glass-half-empty sort of person.)

    • Joe America says:

      Ahahaha, well, I’m glad my dark grousing allowed you to see the light of positivism. I just got tired of the bubble of carping and negativity that is destroying the progress the Philippines is making. People whacking at trees and not enough people seeing . . . or appreciating . . . the forest. There is no counterweight to the big ball of criticism that has built up.

      Time to rejuvenate the yellow force field. “Get off my president’s back!”

      He’s got a heavy enough load to carry without all the piling on.

  4. andrew lim says:

    Just recently, I had a reunion with friends from way back, and one of them is actively involved in these lay Catholic organization, Couples for Christ. Now, he is a good person, and nothing will change our friendship, but what I noticed is that he has become a crude and nosy person, making sarcastic and annoying comments on the rest of the group’s personal lives, specifically their marriages.

    I have met others like him who are active in other chapters of Couples and they behave similarly.

    Perhaps their involvement in that group gives them a sense of “expertise” or authority, and hence they come out with summary judgments. But this is what Pope Francis has warned about – the theological narcissism and self-reverence, the thinking that since they are ” doing God’s work” then they can do no wrong.

    As for Mon Tulfo, the journalist, he is known to shoot first, and think later. He has had so many goofs in the past, and has had too many scuffles due to his mouth.

    Sometimes he is no different from Tatad and Jojo Robles who invent ” unidentified sources” in their stories. I will bet you Tulfo’s “tweety bird” is fictional.

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, so you read the Tulfo article, too, that reported the President’s impending resignation. Which, I would note, went away rather like a puff of smoke that no one latched on to.

      It is interesting how mob emotions tend to influence behaviors. Or group emotions. Or frat emotions. Or, what Facebook discovered, people’s attitudes are very fickle and keyed to their surroundings. Which is exactly WHY all the negative carping is so dangerous. People are picking it up as the main mood of the nation rather than excitement about the nation’s emergence on the global scene as a respectable player.

  5. Joseph-Ivo says:

    Hope you saw Grace Poe with Karen in the morning show. There is a different Philippines too, intelligent, looking forwards, honest, caring. And stars need the night to sparkle.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, there certainly is an intense backdrop of negativity and angst and carping from which to emerge. Grace Poe would light up the Philippines if she would only step forward.

  6. brianitus says:

    We’re you referring to the Mon Tulfo column? I thouth the title was the meat of the piece.

    Anyway, when hell freezes over. That’ll be the time the president will resign. Come on. We’re in the Philippines. If he does resign, that’ll only affirm his weakness. I doubt he’ll want that.

    Honestly, people might want to temper their belief in social media. The country isnt just on Facebook. I mean, the poor and starving don’t Instagram their pagpag meals. Imho, it shouldn’t serve as a 100-percent barometer of social relevance or feeling. I mean, would a nation rely on the whims of a million bored people who think that “liking” is the same as a real opinion? Imho, probably use it with a bit of moderation and rationality in mind.

    As for the priest, social media was a tool for expressing and amplifying what an ordinary person couldn’t voice out. She certainly won’t take it to the streets like a lot of people when they see something is amiss. Wasnt it her mom or grandma who started sharing the video? That brings me to my next point and question:

    Would you have the complaints online or actively expressed by street protests?

    As for complaints or feedback, I have a couple of points:

    1. Take whatever consequence like a real pro. Isnt that what real leaders do? Sometimes they even take the fall. But in the current RP scenario, I hope it’s just adjustments.

    2. Ethical questions cannot be judged solely by “in good faith” statements. I mean, even the fertilizer scam had good intentions that started it rolling. There should be a CoA report for DAP. Right? Unless govt can’t really prove how the money was spent and “good faith” is all they have, then Abad stands to lose all his hair up there and down under.

    I do find it ironic that the supposed champions of transparency fumbled and “appear” to be trying to hide something. And DAP was really for? Were those “projects” even for life and limb of the economy? Or were funds used for nice-to-have projects to add to the list of projects to promote patronage politics?

    Personally, I just want the president to be more firm in how he answers the DAP issue. I sure as hell didnt vote for the man, but I do not want him to disappoint people who did, and those he convinced along the way that his way is the best.

    In battle, you cannot cry foul when enemies attack your weakest point. If the admin can really take constructive points, now is the time to make adjustments. They can’t just do a GV Bus Liner and say all the brakes are fine.

    • Joe America says:

      I appreciate your reasonable take on the matter. I note the following article in today’s Inquirer also stands as an example that perhaps JoeAm’s literary exaggeration is off a tick:

      Also, your point that the President did not handle the DAP situation well is good. He could have squelched the whole impeachment cry if he had, a few weeks ago (when JoeAm suggested it), put Abad on suspension until all the facts were known. But he is stubbornly loyal to those who are loyal to him, so he must be willing to take the heat when his decision goes against the grain of public will. I think he thinks people should trust him because he knows he is doing right, but people aren’t that aware of what goes on in the halls of the Palace, and they are easily shaded by public opinion, whether or not that opinion is objective (e.g., what the Facebook study showed.) He could also have been more forthright, listing the DAP projects as Senators are now doing. People are pretty uninformed, and in that setting, easily draw wrong conclusions.

      Same goes for the three plundering senators (tuck alleged into this paragraph). They could have cited their understanding of where the money went. The problem is, they probably KNOW where it went, and they can’t cite that.

      • Gerardo Vergara says:

        If Pnoy and Abad had been telling the truth about the DAP from the start, there should have been no criticisms and petitions in the Supreme Court. They find it hard to explain in full where the money went because there could gave been some hocus-pocus along the way of the matuwid na daan.
        Maybe that;s the reason why the FOI bIll won’t become a law until after Pnoy’s term or maybe it won’t get passed at all due to this secret deals that I did not expect to happen because of his promise of a clean and good governance.

  7. andrewlim8 says:

    Joe, this just in: Poe is amenable to a teamup in 2016 with Escudero. Just saw it in the crawler of ANC news.

  8. Micha says:

    Why must the executive give money to senators if the rationale for its release is to stimulate the economy?

    Surely – surely – there are much better ways for the stimulus to work than giving it to senators, right?

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, I suspect so. One of Senator Pia Cayetano’s wide variety of uses of the DAP given to her was to re-surface a university’s running track. What is the justification for making that allocation? Versus, say, a project to buy software that would automate a business function that would reduce red tape for businesses. I dunno.

      There is a lot of money flying about, and a lot of arbitrary allotments, and I wonder who establishes standards for highest and best use? The investment strategy seems to be that if we throw enough money out there maybe something will happen. I’d rather it be spent buying drones, myself. Let the university figure out how to resurface the track.

  9. Jo says:

    Oh Joe, how powerful and ominous this is:

    “And hardhearted Filipinos will get what they give.


    I personally have no opinion on the DAP issue as I have been too busy to follow the whole thing but, wrong or not, I still trust PNoy. Raissa’s take on it ( just cemented my trust on him.

    I still wish it’s been handled well but, well, wishful thinking does nothing.

    Keep up the awesomeness, Joe.

    • Joe America says:

      Thank you, Jo. Your encouragement means a lot to me, especially when I go out on a literary limb. 🙂

      I think if people stepped back, took a wide look at the Philippines and what President Aquino has accomplished, set aside any bitterness they have over an individual decision or two they don’t like . . . they would HAVE to appreciate what he has done, the stability the critics are now undermining being one of his accomplishments. His calm under pressure (the Sultan, Zamboanga, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China). The upgrades in debt ratings – stability is key.

      It seems to me that Filipinos don’t know how to win, because they can’t let go of their personal affronts. It’s like they almost WANT a crisis.

      My opinion? DAP is an executive prerogative to manage the nation. It is fundamentally good if the investments are right. Who wants a President with no discretionary power, a wimp, rubber stamp guy? Step back, wait, and watch, is my advice. Don’t contribute to instability. Let the checks and balances play out. And get on with building a modern Philippines.

      • Joe America says:

        And thanks for the link to Raissa’s detailed and fascinating bit of discovery. I wonder how it will sort out, if it is a legitimate new discovery, or the Supreme Court had a reason not to consider Section 49 of the Admin Code.

      • Jo says:

        Now that I think about it–it seems we really don’t know how to win. We also don’t know how to let each other win.

        This is too sad a discovery on a Friday morning.

        • Joe America says:

          That’s it EXACTLY. I just started on a blog this morning that deals with an economic theory that the Philippines would grow marvelously if people would just get out of the way. You have posed the social version of this: we are our own worst enemy.

  10. josephivo says:

    The softhearted Philippines:

    … and how to build on this strength?

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, well, youth is precious in that regard. They don’t harbor the hardness that comes with opinions about what other people do. We should try to find a little of that openness, spontaneity, warmth and discovery for ourselves, perhaps. I try to recollect when peer pressure starts to form allegiances that are not always kind, and I think it was about in 7th grade (about age 12).

      Thanks for the link and the warmer way . . .

  11. letlet says:

    The priest just expects the faithful to just obey whatever he says. He forgot about Mary Magdalene in the modern world. He lost his touch on how to deal with those situations. Christ is not with him and not in him.

    Filipinos, majority of them, don’t know the good egg from the bad egg. They all thought politicians are of the same breath and of the same calibre, that’s why they don’t know how to appreciate the worthiness of PNOY’ s presidency. Add to the equation that they have low regard and low self respect for themselves. Woe betide for these people in the future events. They don’t know what hit them, as such, they deserve it.


    • Joe America says:

      Right, the priest acted rather the opposite of Pope Francis, who is much more true to the New Testament, I think. Maybe he was an Old Testament priest.

      Poor ability to discern . . . interesting. That explains why popularity is important, boxers and even ex-dictators wives. Education is sooooooo soooo important. I wish schools here taught such discernment rather than how to follow instructions.

  12. macspeed says:

    Things happening are for 2016 and so fort, that is how bad the losers can be, so as the scene stealer to gain popularity, it is a NON STOP campaign for coming elections, guess what, for the money to be steal even the pork barrel is deleted.

    PNOY has adviser, the news about PNOY is resigning is a trick, where will he go if he did so? Later the hungry beast will set him to jail guilty of DAP corruptions even nothing is stolen.

    The priest were given alms in millions to wreck havoc by perhaps the senators or those that will be jailed per their corruptions and coupled with the Presidential aspirant sowing gossips to destroy the current PNOY achievement.

    I will take a civil war to destroy PNOY, people are happy at the present with the jailing of the plunderers. The media such as FB were thrived by happy go lucky guys who will never participate in bloodshed, do you think they will go to street? Nay, only those that will receive 100k pesos perhaps.

    The end is near for the corruptions of peoples money, this is very positive, I don’t see any group will be able to hurdle this and destroy the WALLS, just like how the Berlin walls were destroyed. There are no oppression in PNOY government, every one is free except those who steals.

    Be positive Joe Am, the priest are lost ever since, they got donations from poor people most of the time, scaring the hell out of them they will be burn in hell if they don’t. I was a catholic, I went to a priest for help for my personal problem and asked his advice, he responded like I am a sinner, saying “look what happened to you is the outcome of what you did”, see that reasons? If an activist was brutally killed by soldiers supporting Marcos regime, it is just alright because he did the same things so he must die?

    The movie and music industry is one rough estimates of dissatisfaction among the people of the Philippines. If these two (2) industry flourish, then PNOY can never be brought down, For religion? Catholic does not hold the majority now, there are INC who does not want corruptions in political leaders, there are Born again Christians, Ang dating daan, Muslims, the Buddhist and other religion. All i can say, the negativity is only partial, it will fade as they turned around the bend with PNOY in front, they will lose their strength.

    • Joe America says:

      I appreciate both the characterization of the darkness of the forces at work here, plus the optimism that comes from understanding that those forces may seem particularly loud now because they are getting desperate. Both the corrupt and the hardhearted of the Catholic Church who have evidently missed Pope Francis’ spiritual message are cornered and squealing.

      The observation that there is no oppression under President Aquino, except for those who steal is downright brilliant.

  13. Micha says:

    People may still be willing to give the President extra slack but not the purported creator of what is now deemed an unconstitutional money machine.

    In that light, Abad should, at the very least, submit his resignation and for the President to immediately accept it.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, it is unfortunate, but who would have thought, five years ago when we were looking at a passive, non-descript man of little accomplishment, who started his presidency meek but forthright, that we would be coming down hard on him for being too aggressive, too enthusiastic, too interested in getting the economy ramped up? I rather fear he has turned strong and we have turned weak for failing to recognize what he has accomplished, and is trying to accomplish, against incredible forces and odds. Hey, to me, he was perhaps over-eager, but I refuse to fault him for trying to find a way to do more and better things. He could have saved himself some grief by dumping Secretary Abad some weeks ago, and I admire his willingness to ride the criticisms out in belief that Abad has done, and is doing, more good than bad for the Philippines. Let the constitutional purists knock themselves out on the legal arguments, I appreciate that Mr. Abad is trying to get a budget together in the midst of the over-charged emotionalism. Here’s to the pragmatics of getting the Philippines upright.

      “Onward and upward, Mr. President.”

    • Micha says:

      Still, the question is why give the money to Senators? Legislators are there to legislate not as direct agents of indiscretionary spending in the hopes of stimulating the economy.

      If that was the aim (stimulus), the Executive has several agencies to channel that money directly into the economy. There are no shortage of roads that needs to be repaired or built, no shortage of public school teachers that need better pay, no shortage of public hospitals or clinic that need better facilities etc.

      Everytime I hear a gov’t spokesperson explain that those money were “savings” they were giving to the Senators, I couldn’t help belting out a good laugh.

      • Joe America says:

        I agree senators should be making laws not doing local projects. But Executive is very different and I would not say pull the plug on DAP, but rather set some rules that we agree on.

    • Micha says:

      Okay, we get it already.

      Those were not really “savings”. Nor were they meant as a stimulus. Those were actually “suhol” to the legislators for voting to untangle the network of Gloria Arroyo’s corruption.

      If Lacierda and the palace had been more forthright and honest in saying this, they may have gotten a more sympathetic reaction from the “bosses”, although that would embroil the whole saga of “daang matuwid” in a seeming paradox that in order to fight corruption you must play the game of the corrupt.

      • Joe America says:

        They were playing two games the way games are played hereabouts: (1) politics, and (2) power and favor. It is difficult to expect Filipinos to act as Americans, I think, even Mr. Aquino. They’ve spent their lives in a system that is built on the giving and receiving of favors, and the granting and calling of loans. We are witnessing the gnashing of gears that occurs when power and favor meet forthright. The underlying aims were true: get rid of a dangerous Chief Justice and get the economy cranked up. The method was traditional, not straight path.

        • Joe America says:

          I would add, if we expect “straightforward” to be the method, we need to get rid of the tools of power and favor, bank secrecy act and a justice system that does not have the same fundamental belief that speedy is an element of fair. The whole system needs to be straightforward, otherwise the crooks are benefitting from the old ways and the government is penalized because it has no tools, but is expected to operate under the new ways. The Chief Justice could have been thrown out with no “peso persuasion” if prosecutors could have delved into his bank accounts.

      • Micha says:

        In which case, Palace mouthpieces should modify their savings-as-stimulus talking point because nothing can be more infuriating than being lied to by a lousy liar.

        Sort of like Michael Defensor saying, “Umm…ahhh…yes, that’s Gloria’s voice on the tape alright, but that’s not really her.”

  14. manuel buencamino says:

    The people gave Aquino an overwhelming mandate. When he began to deliver on what they elected him to do, go after crooks, they turned on him and called him the biggest crook. I think theme of Aquino’s coming SONA ought to be, “My bosses, What the fuck do you really want?”

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, I arrived at that same conclusion. The meek guy we hired turned out to be a go-getter and so, crablike, we must bring him back into line. The nerve of the guy, wanting to get things done and build an economy . . .

  15. ikalwewe says:

    Haters gonna hate!

    Sometimes I think too much freedom of speech is bad. For every little move the president makes, criticisms rage like Yolanda. You cannot please 100 million people at the same time – that’s a fact! I respect leaders more who make sensible decisions – never mind that they are unpopular.As Steve Jobs once said, people don’t know what they want. (until you show it!)

    Lee Kuan yew once pointed out that the “freewheeling press in India, the Philippines, and Thailand have not stemmed raging corruption” while “Singapore, with its controlled press, has little corruption and meritocratic government.” Makes you think…

    • Joe America says:

      That’s true, haters gonna hate. The free-wheeling press in the Philippines actually promotes a shallow popularism over capability, and with popularism comes this sense of entitlement . . . over accountability. It’s all great fun and wholly counter productive. Social media have inflated the extremes rather than centered them on rational debate. I read some comment threads . . . well, most, actually . . . and there is no where to pop in for a decent dialogue. There are extremist trolls all over the place, plus a smattering of Chinese trolls. Very little sincere dialogue.

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