Have Filipinos sold their souls to family bloodlines? And Mr. Aquino?

Nancy-Binay filipinostarnewsdotnet

JoeAm projection: Philippine President 2022 [Photo source filipinostarnews.net]

“The world is in a constant conspiracy against the brave. It’s the age-old struggle: the roar of the crowd on the one side, and the voice of your conscience on the other.” [General Douglas MacArthur]

An Aquino family endorsement of Jejomar Binay for president, along with the Aquino sisters’ recent off hand remark that they could support Mr. Binay, raises a fascinating question for me, as an outsider looking in at the peculiarity of strong family ties in the Philippines.

The difference in perspective actually arose a few months ago when I inadvertently waded into a discussion on Riassa Robles’ fine blog about the parentage of Senator Poe. I wrote a blog about it, which gets a lot of reads still today: “The Poe files: a little matter of parentage“.

I could not understand how people were attributing Marcos deeds to Senator Poe by way of some rumored blood line. It was bad enough that the assignment was based on rumor. And even worse to penalize one person by the deeds of others. “Disparagement by association” is a vile procedure that denies an individual’s right to stand alone. It is like racism, a form of social bigotry.

To most Americans, that is.

But in the Philippines, family bloodlines flow strongly across time and space.

And now we have the Aquino family’s political pronouncements, and two related pieces of legislation perking along:

Both bills are aimed at breaking the political and economic dominance that certain families have over the Philippines. You know, “the oligarchs”, a term to be properly recited in a deep and threatening voice, as if the lead-in to a horror movie.

I would propose a third piece of legislation:

  • The Street Name bill

Anyone with a name that is the same as the name of any street in Manila is banned from any public office whatsoever. Maybe they can become an engineer instead, or a teacher. Or a philanthropist who helps the destitute in the Philippines.

Like most social trends, close family ties have both good and bad significance. The bad is reflected in the reasons for the two bills. The good is reflected in security for family members and an easier path to success. The security may be good education for a dynastic son or daughter, or the remittances an OFW sends back, relentlessly sacrificing a little bit of their personal well-being for the family.

That is so UNAMERICAN, ahahahaha. In the U.S., kids either run away when they are 15 or we parents throw them out when they are 18. Independence is a big deal

What would happen if President Aquino endorsed VP Binay for president, I wonder. Would the nation rise up in a grand national shriek of dismay, or roll over resigned to being Family Filipino, rather like all subsistence laborers do every morning when they drag themselves up to plod off to another fruitless work day to put a can of sardines on the family’s rice. Or would they start filling out immigration forms to gain entry to the US or Australia or Canada? You know, places where corruption does not erase opportunities for the working stiffs and trains, other equipment and processes work better. Where the masses are not just playthings for the entitled.

Would it be a “last dynastic straw” event?

You see, I think it is difficult for people in the Philippines to rise up in protest of family ties. Family is a part of the soul of the Filipino, and that is a huge blessing, a huge, magnificent quality.

Except when it comes to politics . . . and the running of businesses or government services.

Because in those arenas, competence is too often set aside in favor of family ties or friendships or debts granted and received. And we get the Philippines, a nation that just can’t get unstuck because its processes are bound to incompetence. Ask a couple of Japanese car manufacturers about that.

Let’s define soul properly so as to be on the same wave length when we answer the question posed in the headline.

  • soulnoun \ˈsōl\ (1) the spiritual part of a person that is believed to give life to the body and in many religions is believed to live forever. (2) a person’s deeply felt moral and emotional nature. (3) the ability of a person to feel kindness and sympathy for others, to appreciate beauty and art, etc.  [Merriam-Webster]

I would contend that family ties reside deeply within Filipinos, and all three definitions apply:

  1. Family bonds extend beyond the grave in the deeply religious respect Filipinos pay to those who have passed to another world. My wife visits the cemetery regularly to commune with those who still live within her.
  2. The obligation an OFW feels is moral. It is the way things are done in the Philippines. It is also written into Family Law that one family member will . . . by law . . . take care of another. There is no question, no doubt, that moral integrity means taking care of family. My wife’s family has little money. They often bring us bananas from the trees they climb a mountain to chop so that they can give what they can give, as family. It is emotional, without question.
  3. Kindness is the binding that political families extend to their members. The special caretaking. The desire for well-being. It is  also represented among the common folk by families opening their homes during the fiesta – or anytime, really. Welcome. Welcome everybody. “Welcome, Joe, here’s a plate, there’s the food.”

So I can answer the headline question here. Filipinos have not sold their souls to family bloodlines. They have given. Willingly. Generously.

Well, we Americans have a little of that, too. The Thanksgiving holiday represents a similar kind of family bonding. But the American soul is more defined by independence, by accountability to self, by the freedom and self-satisfaction of one-ness. It is not that family is not appreciated, or loved. It is that flying free is so precious.

So what happens when push comes to shove, in a big time way, in the Philippines? What is a President to do when his family goes against his principles? Or what WE believe to be against his principles because we generally associate the Binay family with dynastic wealth acquired by the trading of favors. Or outright (alleged) corruption.

Does Mr. Aquino also see Mr. Binay as a threat as many Filipinos do? As a man likely to lead a return to the days of favor and corruption? Or does he see a loyal friend bound to the Aquino family by dedicated service to President Cory Aquino?

President Aquino has said he will back “a friend” for the presidency. By Filipino family ways, Mr. Binay is a friend of the family.

So we wonder. Wait and wonder.

Has Mr. Aquino given his soul to the family Aquino, or to the family Filipino?

I am steeped in American values, which prize individual integrity and accountability. Perhaps I see things differently than Filipinos. To me, I would see the raising of family ties above national well-being to be “oh, so typical” power and favor politics. Trapos in the purist definition of the term. The kind of dealing that anti-trust and anty-dynasty bills are aimed at stopping.

It would be the ultimate betrayal of the family Filipino.

It would be an exclamation point to the legacy Mr. Aquino CHOOSES to leave behind.

It would lead to President Nancy Binay in 2022.


46 Responses to “Have Filipinos sold their souls to family bloodlines? And Mr. Aquino?”
  1. wenceslao ochoa says:

    You are right ,we might have president nancy because these family have no delicadeza.For pnoy to run again is better for democracy rather than binay who is king of dynasty.

    • Joe America says:

      That certainly is my readout, too, wenceslao. It is pretty clear that the Binay family feels entitled and looks down upturned noses at security guards, cabinet secretaries, civic servants and ordinary people. Lack of delicadeza it is.

  2. josephivo says:

    Sounds good, but sometimes I wonder if it shouldn’t be exactly the same in my birth country (or the US?) if you take away the political parties. Parties have their wings, with different opinions what has to be done and how to do it. All candidates have to go through a nomination process and often these different wings pull in different directions, but eventually they produce a list of candidates to go to the elections to fight the candidates of the opposing parties.

    A father pushing his son will have a difficult time, unless his sun has a track record in the youth or student movement of the party. Jumping straight to the national level will be difficult, learn the trade on a local level. You have to build your networks. Conventions do not only look at electability but also at guarantees that the party lines will be followed by the candidate. Take all this party work away and you will get a much smaller playing field of a few powerful players as in the Philippines.

    So is it family ties or the lack of (real) political parties?

    • Joe America says:

      Well, I think family ties here are bound more tightly and deeply than in the US. Here Family law requires adults to care for adult family members. Not so in the U.S. When you reach 18 or 21, depending on the circumstance or state, you are on your own. Care is voluntary.

      But in the arena of politics . . . yes, yes, I see your point. The lack of political platforms mean that people shift allegiances to gang up on other people. And the families remain so pronounced because the number of elite families is so small. I mean, the inter-marriage here among the privileged is just about like royal families wedding to join nations.

      But here we can get unqualified people because of the dynastic influence. Nancy Binay. And VP Binay welcomes Champ/Rep/Colonel/Coach Pacquiao to his fold as a prospective senator because Binay gains by the popularity blanket of Pacquiao and Pacquiao gains by moving up and sucking his family into politics at the local and probably House levels. Even though Pacquiao’s HOUSE record attests to complete neglect and incompetence. It is a scurrilous business, the personality based, family based, favor based way of gaining power and wealth.

      Now I feel ill . . . 🙂

  3. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Aquino-Binay political alliance!
    Aquino questions Supreme Court decisions like ever before …
    In light of that, Aquino wanted to extend his term …
    Since his hands are handcuffed by designer constitution …
    He allies himself and his family with presidential contender Binay …
    For what purpose ???
    For what end ???
    For the betterment of Filipino lives ???
    Or, for eventual declaration of Martial Law so we can have a government like Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, China and other Southeast Asian Countries …
    Philippines is the only “functioning” American democracy …
    But American-style democracy is not for Filipinos … and Asian people …
    Asians requires “dictatorial” government that made them progress …
    Lookit, democratic Philippines, it was sick from the time Magellan landed in 1521, it recuperated, and became sick again.
    Former U.S. President McKinley was right!

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, in fine spirits, I see, Mariano. Well, I personally think McKinley was an arrogant jerk and the whole of Philippine modern development could have been different had he started with a respectful view and worked to get rid of favor politics instead of add to it. But I do think the intrigues you mention are interesting. Given his father’s determination, would he pick a candidate to back who would agree not to jail him? Considering his mother’s fundamental good intents, would he back someone who might have bad intent? He IS his father and his mother, it seems to me.

  4. Dolly Gonzales says:

    Interesting observations on Filipinos’ family ties, haha 🙂 I take it for granted, and it’s funny to view it from another perspective. You’re absolutely right, of course.

    “Filipinos have not sold their souls to family bloodlines. They have given. Willingly. Generously.” How kind of you to come to that conclusion. 🙂

    As for the President endorsing VP Binay… Sorry, I’m posting a long reply 😦

    The efforts to publicize that Aquino’s sisters and uncles support the VP may suggest that Aquino himself does not.

    Consider how the president urges the public to vote for someone who will undoubtedly continue his reforms. Taken in context, his backing ‘a friend’ in 2016 refers to someone who is not a foe, someone who has not blocked his reforms but supported them. (The VP did not support the Ombudsman’s impeachment, RH Law, Sin Tax Law, DAP, PDAF-scam prosecutions, to name a few. And remember the sneaky ceasefire attempt during the Zamboanga siege?)

    Also, Pres. Aquino does not seem to give special treatment to family, just because they’re family. In fact, quite the opposite, as some of his relatives have lamented. While he endorsed a social-entrepreneur cousin for senator in 2013, he did not endorse an aunt (the wife of his mother’s dearest brother) for the same position. (She ran instead under VP Binay’s UNA, which was a weak ticket.)

    It’s unlikely that the choice of Pres. Aquino’s relatives will be a factor in his own choice of candidate.

    This independence of mind may have forced the VP and his family to repeatedly imply that the Aquinos owe them (for sticking by them during the coup attempts in Cory Aquino’s time, for arranging for her remains to be brought out of Makati Med). Binay even emphasized that he could not respect a person who has no ‘utang-na-loob.’ This statement is contrary to Filipino values. It’s not good form to make ‘sumbat.’ (Do you know what that means? haha) Doing so reveals the VP is having difficulty securing Aquino’s support.

    He seems to be calling in favors now, for endorsement. But why so early, two years too early at that? Prominent endorsers make a strong impact during the campaign period, especially nearing the elections, not two years before. He even bizarrely tried to force himself into the president’s party. He enjoys a comfortable lead in surveys, so why this apparent desperation?

    It may be because of the game-changer that nobody is talking about:
    If the Ombudsman finds probable cause in the plunder case, he will be detained. Not even his “friends” in media can save him then.

    It may explain the sudden urgency to mobilize prominent endorsers, to strengthen his image as ‘Champion of Democracy’ and counter the approaching one of ‘Plunderer.’

    • Joe America says:

      Wow, what a sharp analytical scalpel you wield, Dolly. That was worth a blog in its own right. Better than any sizing of the circumstance that I’ve read in local media, for sure. Indeed, I intend to post it in my right column as a “must read”.

      I understand Binay to be saying that he has no respect for people who don’t themselves play the power and favor game. He is piling guilt on anyone who tries to tread a straight path. 😉

      Yes, I do sense a bit of desperation building in the Binay clan, as represented by Senator Binay’s defensiveness.

      • How very generous of you, Joe 🙂 Thank you for creating a link in your right column.

        As a postscript:
        I believe exceptional individuals who are called to greatness must necessarily expand their definition of ‘family’ to include their countrymen.

        The concept of ‘Family first’ does not, then, create a conflict when making important leadership decisions.

        I see Aquino as having embraced this wholeheartedly, as his father and mother had done before him.

  5. Cornball says:

    In a country where everything can be arranged at the right price or with the right connections, anything is possible.

    COMELEC is also one of the culprits.

    • Joe America says:

      COMELEC. Very good point. They scare me with their own autocratic, bizarre thinking. They don’t give much assurance at all. Strange considering they are supposed to be the pros at giving us confidence. I need to study them. Thanks for the blogging idea.

  6. brianitus says:

    Well, family IS family. Sharing food and resources isn’t really a big issue for most Filipinos. But, we do draw a line sometimes. Like in politics, it isn’t abnormal for family members to fight against each other in the political arena.

    For PNoy endorsing the VP, it could be the factions at play again. Definitely, the older Cojuangcos / Aquinos will support the Binay ticket. My crystal ball doesn’t see his highness raising the hand of his VP. I wonder what the backroom CCTV will reveal.

    Imagine I’m in a dream-like trance when I say this one: what if President Aquino endorses someone you haven’t heard from in a long time. If people are looking for candidates other than the ones we know of, wouldn’t be the best form of disruption to develop someone “new”? Let an idea go “viral.”

    And…Sen. Nancy for President in 2022 sounds like it’s straight out of those old B/W episodes of The Twilight Zone. Kidding, Senator Nancy. Who knows? You might turn out to be a great senator of the Galactic Republic.

    • Joe America says:

      Senator Binay could surprise everyone: (1) IF she is found to have no illicit dealings, and (2) IF she separates herself from her father and stands alone and principled, and (3) IF she grows, gets educated about government, and stops projecting “entitled” in her dealings. I figure the odds of that happening are:

      (1) 98%
      (2) 2%
      (3) 30%

      I think she would only ever be president if her father before her put her into office.

      On Mr. Aquino, now you have spiked my interest. Leni Robredo, Secretary De Lima, Secretary Abad, Majority leader Drilon. Hmmmmmmmm . . . nice thinking outside the box . . .

      On family fights, I know families here fight bitterly over inheritances. Wills are not done because the voodoo doll says they mean bad luck (bring on death, even) for whoever makes one out, so property is always left up in the air, for the grabbing.

      • brianitus says:

        Glad to have given you something to think about. From where I sit, it shouldn’t be hard to get creative to find ways to make someone “winnable.”

        Oh, my. Rep. Leni will be like awesome clay to a political artist; someone who knows how to sell to the Philippines.

        To Sen. Nancy, I say this: good luck with that. 😀

  7. gerverg1885 says:

    To VP Binay’s mind, the ties that bind are inextricably linked and he and the Aquino clan have strong ties that goes back a long way since the Martial law days.

    The problem is, he formed his own political party with Joseph Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile as co-honchos so if he has delicadeza of any kind, he should not, must not and ought not wait for any endorsement from the President particularly now that Jinggoy Estrada had been charged with plunder.and his father and the whole party are claiming it was a plan of the admin to prevent his vice presidential victory

    VP Binay turned out to be more like a clone of the older Estrada who was so clever and wily to win the presidency by utilizing the help of the Marcoses, even to the point that he authorized full military honors to that well-known lapdog and crook in the person of Fabian Ver.

    That’s the problem among so many Filipinos – they will not hesitate to sell their soul to the highest bidder as long as there will be something worth waiting for in return.

  8. manuel buencamino says:

    You can endorse and campaign for anybody but at the end of the day voters will decide. That’s democracy. That’s the way it works except if you’re running for president and your brother is gpvernor of a swing state or your father was a former rum runner and used his ties with the mob to get you elected. That’s not democracy. That’s America. But all in all, there are those with built-in advantages and those with none at all. That’s life. But you can change it with your vote…if it gets counted.

  9. gerverg1885 says:

    Binay was a staunch supporter of the late senator and President Cory. That’s how he got close to that family. But he dreamed of bigger and grander things along the way and tried to emulate Joseph Estrada by building a mansion and acquiring properties which should not be the case if he remembered that he was once a bitter critic of Marcos about corruption in the government.
    If he had been scrupulous enough, people will not see an edifice that he unabashedly admits is his own and other such properties amassed only by public servants who treats the public coffer as their own private bank account. Nobody will ever believe except his loyal supporters that he had remained clean as a whistle with those acquisitions and his lust for power for his family
    Senator Nancy Binay will only be reduced to a lamenting and whining figure in the senate about the accusations thrown against her family because her father chose a complicated life of a politician who can’t stay clean due to the temptations of the office he does not want to share with other capable ctizens of Makati city.

    • Joe America says:

      The tables turn upon the once bitter critic of Marcos because . . . he . . . just . . . could . . . not . . . help . . . but aspire to that same shifty eminence. Poor Nancy . . .

  10. manuel buencamino says:

    “Except when it comes to politics . . . and the running of businesses or government services.
    Because in those arenas, competence is too often set aside in favor of family ties or friendships or debts granted and received.”

    George W. Bush, businessman and president.

  11. manuel buencamino says:

    I guess my objection to this sort of post is that you measure the Filipino character against your romantized ideas of what Americans are. Of course America is a huge success and one can’t argue with success. But one can argue about the reason for that success.

    I wouldn’t necessarily say Americans are better because they have better values etc. I would not delve into patholigical explanations for the difference between Americans and Filipinos.

    I would argue that the Philippines can become as rich as America if we had the benefit of three hundred years of millions of slaves laboring for us. I think slave labor, as practiced in America for centuries, is a pretty good launching pad for any nation. Now if we had that advantage and we still fail then I would start looking for character flaws. I would look into pathologies. Otherwise I wuld put away the couch and pull out my calculator.

    • Joe America says:

      I’ve noticed a bit of a biting trend in your comments. My natural perspective is bi-cultural, so I notice differences, as in the emphasis one places on family (legitimate and good) versus the emphasis one places on independence (legitimate and good). So I muse, how will a President who is of the culture of family deal with an important decision? He is intensely loyal to the people on his staff. Is he the same with family friends? And I notice how many of the families place family above nation. Well, for sure that is true in America, too. And if I were writing a blog about America, it would be downright hostile toward some elements of that society.

      But I’m in the Philippines, just representing myself, writing about the Philippines.

      As for slaves, I think about the income gap here, and the lack of any opportunity for self improvement here, and I think the poor are not much different. They just don’t have papers of ownership attached to them. For sure, the rich are getting rich by using the low-cost resource that is readily available to them. The manual labor in the fields, mixing and pouring cement, peddling trycicles for a lifetime, reminds me of the Chinese recruited to California to build the railroads. Used and abused. I do agree that in 200 years, the Philippines will be a very rich nation. The jewel of Asia.

      If Nancy Binay does not end up as president.

      Or Manny Pacquiao.

      • Joe America says:

        And I use both those examples as symbols, really, of a way of running government, where the emphasis is on power and favor versus accomplishment. Both America and the US have aspects of incompetence, yes, theft, yes, self-service, yes, power and favor, oh, a whole bunch. But I think the push in the Philippines needs to be toward more competence. That there IS a shortfall between here and the US regarding procedures and outputs. The Aquino government is moving in the right direction . . . and people at the anti-pork rally will be calling for his ouster. Bizarre, to me. Would VP Binay go down the competency path? Hmmmm. But who knows, Nancy Binay could surprise me. Or Manny Pacquiao could, too. They could mature, recognize who they have to bring in to run a capable government, and off we go. As a betting person, would I put my money on that? Nope.

        So I use them as symbols. As in America I’d use Nutcase “Bridge to Nowhere” Sarah Palin.

        • manuel buencamino says:

          Joe, my point is your framework is your romantic idea of America. That framework, that pie in the sky myth, is too far for even America’s arms to reach. And yet when you do your bi-cultural commentary you speak like America has its fork in that pie.

          I have no objection to commentary regarding the Philippines. I have a lot of negative comments about a lot of things around here. There is no lack of things to bitch about. But what I object to is when the objections are couched in …”But in America…” I hear that from a lot of Filipinos as well. How does that help us solve anything unless the idea being sold is the solution to a country’s problems is to ape America? Except that one wouldn’t even know where to start because what is it about America that one should ape, the realities or its myths? And has America already reconciled its reality to its myths?

          One can’t even say with any truthfulness that we place different emphasis on family and independence because I can show you enough exceptions in each case to shoot down that premise. That’s why I replied Dubya to your claim of independence. I’m sure he is not an isolated case. And family, well America was a plantation economy for centuries. How does a plantation economy survive if the plantation is not passed on from father to son? And why is it, now that America’s business and political leaders have fucked up the American economy, you hear a lot of jokes about kids going back to live with their parents? Doesn’t that speak about the luxury of independence during good economic times and the dependence on family when times are hard?

          “And I use both those examples as symbols, really, of a way of running government, where the emphasis is on power and favor versus accomplishment.” Well, here again this myth about America and accomplishment can be shot down by simply citing employment statistics on women and blacks vs. white males. Why are there so many bestsellers on networking? Do you think those books are for well-connected Americans or for the 99 percent? And if accomplishment is the measure rather than power and favor then explain why the financial system of America collapsed and why banks became too big to fail.

          “As for slaves, I think about the income gap here, and the lack of any opportunity for self improvement here, and I think the poor are not much different. They just don’t have papers of ownership attached to them.”

          Don’t be too dismissive about the reality of slavery. Remember there were indentured Irish during the colonial days but you still cannot say they were on the same level as slaves. You have to acknowledge that for centuries from plantations to the slave traders on the east coast America lived off the blood and sweat of African slaves. That slavery was the engine and the launching pad of America’s rise is undeniable.

          However, you could compare the condition of the laboring poor here to the illegal Mexican laborers who work in the fields from California to the rest of the southwest. They all work too hard for measly pay. But they get paid, unlike the slaves. And they can transfer from one farm to another but they do not get sold by one plantation owner to another. And raping, beatibg, murdering a Mexican illegal could land his employer in jail unlike doing the same to slaves. So there are slight differences between having a slave economy and cheap labor.

          • Joe America says:

            I’m not sure where in the blog I idealized America. I thought I merely recognized a difference, that is real. In one, family binding is strong and the other, independence reigns. The headline implied a “selling of soul” and the article corrected that and said it was not sold, but represented willing generosity.

            The “disparagement by association” remark, saying that is a vile procedure to most Americans? Okay, not well said. I should have personalized it to me, that I personally think it is bad, because there are a lot of people in America who do vile associations, too. Just ask President Obama about that. But I do believe a culture prizing the individual does work harder to be respectful of the individual than one that prizes “belonging”. No proof. Haven’t researched what studies have been done. Just an observation that there are more liberal laws and stronger emphasis on human rights in “individualized” cultures. But I’ll concede on that point. It was poorly said.

            That OFW’s sending back money is UNAMERICAN? I meant that as a joke, and actually a criticism of the selfishness that exists in an individualized society like America. Bad joke, perhaps. I could have elaborated that Americans really are self-consumed to make that point clearer . . . So you are up to two points now.

            The close where I said I am steeped in American values, and could be wrong? I’m admitting I am shaded by my culture, so I can’t give you a point on that one. But I can see how it, along with the other comparisons, could put me well up on the “overbearing” meter.

            There are difference between slaves and cheap labor. And way too many similarities that ought to be done away with. Point three.

            Okay, you win. I need an editor.

            • manuel buencamino says:

              Re your first paragraph. I was putting it in context “And why is it, now that America’s business and political leaders have fucked up the American economy, you hear a lot of jokes about kids going back to live with their parents? Doesn’t that speak about the luxury of independence during good economic times and the dependence on family when times are hard?”

              Second to fourth paragraph I don’t understand the relevance to my comments, specially the OFW which I did not mention.

              As to the fifth paragraph. There are surface similarities but there is none as far as the substance of the two are concerned. Nothing comes close to slavery in America not even those communist labor camps because those labor camps started with the premise that the prisoners were human beings. They were sentenced to those camps for breaking the law, however unjust or inhuman those laws were, but those laws applied to all the citizens of that state. In American slaves were not even considered humans. In short, slavery and other forms of human exploitation start off on different premises – the former denies that slaves are human.

              But at the end of the day, yours is a blog where people can engage intelligently and that’s why it has readership. I actually enjoy engaging with you when you do comparative cultural or sociological analysis because it helps me sharpen my critical thinking. Keep on truckin’.

      • Joe America says:

        By the way, MB, I take your reading on the article to be representative of how others take it as well. My indicator on an article is how many re-tweets it gets upon release. Normally, I get a fair number of re-tweets and favorites. Not on this one, though. So I am probably coming across as overbearing to others, as well. I appreciate that you explained why.

  12. macspeed says:

    . @Joe Am
    I decided to take a nap after a long day work before commenting on current blog. Perhaps sleepy is a sign of old age at 57years or perhaps some illnesses such as high blood sugar attacking my system, I have reduced sugar intake and carbohydrates, I looses fat from my abs.
    VP Binay has ridden free of the occasion August 21 death anniversary of Ninoy since he has served that revolution time some position. PNOY on the other hand has shown the Filipino way of “letting go” for a while in the celebration VP Binay and companies. PNOY will not do turncoat or change political party for VP Binay nor VP Binay will do the same. PNOY parties will not accept VP Binay since they are after PNOY to change constitution and run for 2nd term. My assumption is PNOY will retire from Politics and be happy to function as private citizen. He has shown the way for next President the good governance. The next President whoever that might be must follow through the good governance otherwise, more critical comments will arise.
    PNOY good governance narrowly escaped the paparazzi of Philippine media and eventually survived the Reds, extremist NPA, political opposition attacks and media negative comments which had not agitated the people power yet. These phenomena if one is in politics is a Living Hell, so why should continue to run for 2nd term if one had survived the 1st term and go medals on it? Let the other aspirant suffer the agony of being the President. The highest position of the country as President requires 6 years of physical, emotional and mental armory to finish it and back to private life. After the term, it is like graduation, why go back for another 6 years of torment? Otherwise, one needs to be a dictator to go back…
    When I finish paying my debts for building my house and purchase of car, I will retire working here in Saudi Arabia. I wish to take care of my grand children on actual basis which i did not able to do with their parents because of the distance but via FACEBOOK and Cell phone. Some OFW got 1 year contract and some has 2 years before they can make an actual sex-love with their wife or husband. Unfortunately some of the OFW married life either partner committed adultery. I got lucky to have reduced to 6 months contract. Ironically 6 years for Presidential contract is worst than ever. A President is married to a thousand “bad women”, whom a lot of them are adulterers, unhappy and wanted more of the good life…see what I mean? Only the greed will continue to work as OFW until the very last of their overall stamina, same as in political arena, once one have completed a term with flying colors, one has to retire, but if one will continue to be GREED, one may end up like Enrile; now not worthy of being called as Senator. Too bad the younger ones such as Jinggoy and Revilla now detained for their GREED.
    VP Binay may have taken some extra point in attending the celebration however, he should think twice of becoming GREED. Why does he wanted to become the President of our Country? Does he intend to develop the Countries the way PNOY is doing? A lot of politicians became rich, I don’t think VP Binay wanted more riches. If VP Binay intention is to stop corruption and pursue more development, then he is going to win. No one will be able to stop that. See the VP election during his time. He was a dark horse (darker than his skin), nobody thought he will be a contender, but he did made it in history.
    Regarding family ties, forget about it will not exists in Politics. If one politician is doing well on the service for the people, the next kin will also run perhaps start as councilor. There is money in Politics, if this sort of “extra income” is abolish in government service, there will be only few good men will run the show. The one who will serve without corruption, then automatically, family ties will diminish in Political Arena.

    • Joe America says:

      One of my absolute favorite comments here at the Society, ever, for the heart, the real-world, the insights and the sincerity. Napping is one of the great joys of adding years. I’ve become quite expert at them. And the body does go through some adjustments. Hey, what’s the alternative, eh?

      “A President is married to a thousand “bad women”, whom a lot of them are adulterers, unhappy and wanted more of the good life…see what I mean?” I do see what you mean, and I think the President will graduate from office to a quieter, less lunatic and betrayed place. But I think he will not withdraw completely from helping to care for the Philippines. I imagine him as an elder statesman, a counselor to other leaders, and I hope a grand womanizer, for he has earned the right to balance the books.

      I wonder what in the world DOES drive Jejomar Binay. That is an excellent question. I can only come up with feeding of an ego so huge that nothing is likely to ever satisfy it. He has money. He has family. He has power. That need to satisfy his empty space has led him to the riches, very likely through favors done and received, perhaps illegally. And yet he wants more. I don’t sense from him that he wants to take care of the rest of us. If he wants to rid the nation of corruption, he has to sell that point, and he has done a poor job, considering Estrada for VP, suggesting charges are political, advocating incompetents like his daughter and Pacquiao, that kind of thing. That is my EMPTY SPACE regarding him. I want a president who serves the nation, not himself. I actually think there are some of those people about. Or who at least recognize to serve themselves, they have to do a good job taking care of the nation. In fact there are a lot of them. They don’t have President’s Aquino’s legacy-born determination to right some historical wrongs. But they have good minds and good hearts.

      I was reading the news reports yesterday. My odds book on Binay becoming president dropped from 70% to 40%. Trillanes is back in his coup frame of mind, only this time he wants to rid the nation of someone he thinks is a scoundrel as his own best path to the presidency. Trillanes has a LOT of well-wishers, if I read the discussion threads correctly. The context of the parking garage is boiling down to very simple terms. A P2 billion case of plunder.

      For sure, the Philippines does drama better than other nations.

      I wish you the best as you get those debts paid off and head for your own graduation to . . . . to . . . the delights of napping! haha Take good care, Mac.

      • parengtony says:

        I get the same sense – the Makati Parking Building overpricing issue is turning into a major tipping point for Binay, Trillanes, and, perhaps, Alan Peter Cayetano.

        Surely, there is a drastic change in the political dynamics. And with all the suddenly emerging unpredictability, I await answers to the following questions:
        1. If Binays falls, will Roxas rise?
        2. If Roxas is not able to fill the void, who will?

        • Joe America says:

          Well, the horse race is off, even if some of the horses have not yet pulled to the gate. I see it that Binay remains in the lead, Trillanes has moved strongly forward as Binay seems to be tiring, Cayetano is moving up steadily, and Roxas is scratching his head. Poe is peeking, Escudero swearing, and the President is scratching his head, too. hahaha

  13. A counterargument could be found for every statement you write if a reader takes your pronouncement personally.

    One thing I admire about American speech and literature is its directness. In most cases, there is no need for “context reading” or deciphering of the hidden agenda behind what was said or written.

    Most American communication is not meant to slight but edify or provoke the mind, but someone has to live in the U.S. for a while to truly appreciate this great cultural virtue.

    Unfortunately, my fondness for direct communication is not shared by my Filipino relatives. You and I need some sensitivity training. 🙂

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, how wonderful to see the Queen of DirectSpeak again on these pages. I’m trying to develop greater sensitivity given that my outsider views on occasion curdle the sensitivities of some Filipino readers. I don’t really want to do that because then the main message gets lost in those side considerations. So I think somewhere there is a balance, and if I write maybe another 5 or 10 years I’ll find it. 🙂

      • Juana Pilipinas says:

        I can commiserate with you, Joe.
        I think it is a common writer’s dilemma. Can’t please everybody though, so just keep on keeping on…

    • sonny says:

      One of my earliest comments as a new immigrant to the US was precisely regarding the English I encountered and used by Americans at work, play, and study. American usage of English is direct and disarming. as Juana observes. I also observed that an immigrant’s survival and progress was directly proportional to the ease with which this directness of the native speakers was acquired by us aliens and in turn the willingness to set aside many of our Filipino manners of using the English of the “Islands”

      • You are right, sonny. It is one of those factors that an immigrant has to grasp in other to fully assimilate in the American culture.
        The Filipino speech and literature is prone to “pasaring” (innuendo), “paligoy-ligoy” (beating around the bush), “paramdam” (baiting, gaming) and other indirect forms of communication. Reading between the lines is prevalent and is often the root of a lot misunderstanding. What to do, what to do?

  14. gerverg1885 says:

    There will always be people who do not want to understand the word enough is enough. Enrile is a good example. He should have retired a long time ago, lived a quiet, private life and looked only after his businesses. So is VP Binay who had no qualms about flaunting his wealth. They all know that their grandchildren up to the nth degree would never need to work for other people since their future lives are already assured to be easy and comfortable.

    In this regard, I think that a law must be passed to set a compulsory retirement age for politicians, say, like the military who should go at 56 years old or the government employee at 65. There would be less unemployment and there is a hope for the country to find good and incorruptible leaders among those who better understands good governance.

    Exasperating is an understatement when I say that Binay’s (and Enrile’s) prolonged tenure in public office was and had been. Of what good would Binay then be to the nation if he becomes president but would be constantly hounded, like GMA, by allegations of graft and corruption and whose larger time in office spent in fending off those accusations.

    Enrile is bound to die with the stains of his sins to the nation deeply embedded into his persona and perhaps even into his soul. If he did know the meaning of the word stop, he should long ago been enjoying the fruits of his labor, so to speak, and maybe helping out the poor folks in his home province without thought of any reward and maybe preparing his grandchildren for their future in the grand arena of Philippine political life, but not in a dynastic manner that VP Binay and the Estrada’s had institutionalized it.

    Do they think that they are gifts to the nation, much like Joseph Estrada thinks of himself as a gift to womanhood?

    I believe that the President would just retire after his term because the presidency, as he experienced it, was and is an ordeal that ordinary mortals could not stand the pressure of. That is aside from the fact that he is made of a stuff (and of a DNA) that those two did not possess; they did not learn from home and at schools that to be truly a leader who will command respect and adulation from the nation, one must have an upbringing that values honesty and decency.

    Formal education is important but without those timeless values, anything learned is totally forgotten when temptations of the position rear their ugly heads. The leadership of this nation had been a succession of scoundrels and thieves because the aspirants to the position and the majority of the electorate are made of the same DNA and train of thinking that it is the easiest way to become rich and famous.

    • Joe America says:

      A sharp moral slap at those who have earned it. These are tragic leaders, in their own way, but like the Marcos clan, there seems not to be one iota of regret or realization. History will reveal Mr. Aquino as the great stabilizer, the man who turned the nation around. If we, the people (citizens and interested partners) do our work properly.

    • sonny says:

      A point well taken by gerverg1885. The word statesmanship is totally absent from leaders’ political and moral radars. This is one lesson Filipino public officeholders MUST even just try to learn and practice. (sorry, my soapbox got the better of me again!)

  15. gerverg1885 says:

    President Aquino’s leadership would not be exemplary as many of us expect it to be. It has its ups and downs but the way he steered the nation to progress and honest,good governance would sure be a template for aspirants to the position.

    Or it should be a deterrent to those who wants this nation to revert to that culture of greed and corruption. Hopefully so.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, he has had his bumps. His determination sometimes comes across as “dictatorial” or vindictive, and his stand on certain laws is perplexing (FOI, criminalized libel), but if you consider the forces he is going against – of wide, deep corruption, the bitterness of the Romualdez/Marcos clan and political opponents who have strange values (extreme leftists and crooks) – it is amazing that he remains “steady on”. Who would have done it better? I often wonder about DAP. Who would have done it differently, really. Who would have kept funding corrupt or waste projects, or returned the money? Who would have used a little initiative to put billions where they could do some good?

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