Jojo Binay: last man standing, the dying gasp of the Aguinaldo Era

Aguinaldo Band 1898

Aguinaldo’s men, 1898

We can look at the Philippines as moving along several different timelines. One is economic, another geo-political, a third is different phases of government, and a fourth considers the whims and ways of the ruling class. We are not looking for a rigorous academic method here. The writing is simply an aid to thinking through what the Binay corruption scandal means to the Philippines.

Economic Eras

  • Shipping: Manila was the center of Asia, a vibrant shipping hub that was a thoroughly modern place. The natives were happy living off the land. The Church was not pleased and came in to civilize them.
  • Fuedal: Land barons took control of the laborers and the land they worked. An elite landed class emerged. A few rich families rose to control the wealth of the Philippines and its government. There has never been an economic master plan for the nation. It became grab and then grab some more.
  • Global: International rules and expectations came into play bringing foreign players and ideas to the Philippines, mandating living up to global expectations (high aircraft maintenance standards, for example, or a preference for not shooting journalists), and dealing with economic competition from abroad. Manila never got back on its feet after destruction during WW II, some would say because of American neglect. Corruption and unrestrained birthing of kids into poverty sucked the economic energy from the nation. The rich families grew even richer and retained control.

The Philippines today is still adjusting to global standards, trying to compete from a non-competitive cultural, infrastructure and economic platform. A competitive cultural platform, for example, would emphasize innovation, problem solving and computers in the schools. Instead, our kids memorize and lug soggy textbooks. The forthcoming ASEAN economic partnership will push the nation forward. And so will the socially connected middle class which is embarked on a kind of slo-mo Edsa revolution aimed at remaking the nation’s ways and means in a modern style.

Geo-Political Eras

  • Pre-historic
  • Spanish
  • American
  • Pseudo-Independent
  • Japanese
  • Independent

Phases of Government

  • Subject of this occupier or that, now and then, as above
  • Republics I, II, III, IV and V
    • I: Aguinaldo
    • II: America loosens the leash pre-WW II
    • III: Post WW II
    • IV: Marcos
    • V: Modern, starting in 1987

Cultural: the Whims and Ways of Power

  • Tribal
  • Power and favor, Church-based (Catholic Era)
  • Power and favor, Government based (Emilio Aguinaldo Era)
  • International democratic norms (Noynoy Aquino Era)

The Spanish introduced the current cultural foundation that saw power and favor become a currency as valuable, or more valuable, than the peso. Ruthless deeds were excused – the execution of Dr. Rizal, for example. Mistakes were forgiven in the Catholic tradition. Or, not, for vengeance also rose to prominence. Vengeance remains a deeply ingrained cultural trait.

Aguinaldo_(ca._1898)

Young Aguinaldo, 1898

The landed class found favor in the Church and the Church found favor in the landed class.

Phenomena such as “delicadeza” entered the picture, a way to migrate between hostilities and keep one’s head on one’s shoulders. Fiestas and family were celebrated, for they remained a cherished tribal anchor in a fluid social environment where power moved like a river from one channel to another. Filipinos learned never to admit to failings, for power-mongers did not coddle the weak. The crab mentality arose as a means for the powerless to slap down those who were so arrogant as to get ahead. The Philippines became a happy, family-oriented place with lots of guns and critics and hostility. Friendships were often functional.

President Emilio Aguinaldo introduced power and favor mechanisms into governmental affairs and those mechanisms came to dominate democratic processes. Vote-buying, one way or another, became the rule, not the exception. Caesar and his LGU minions – anchored by money and brutality – became more powerful than the Pope. Government was not so very committed to providing services or developing plans for progress. It was more an official, sanitized framework to facilitate the waging of power and favor.

From the New York Times, June 28, 1902, we can read the following report on a Senate committee investigating the Philippine American War. U.S. Admiral Dewey, who defeated the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay and was instrumental in holding the American position in the Philippines, is being grilled by senators who were not convinced the war was waged properly.

. . . Senator Patterson took the witness, asking him if Aguinaldo had ever talked to him on the basis of selling out to the Americans. The Admiral replied in the negative, and Mr. Patterson then asked if the Philippine leader had ever asked him for money. The reply was that Aguinaldo had asked him to exchange gold for Mexican dollars.

“I was pretty sure as to where he had gotten the dollars, as he hadn’t brought them with him,” said the Admiral. “and I thought that the fact that he wanted gold was pretty good indication that he was getting ready to leave.That was one thing which made me think that the man was feathering his own nest, but it was only a suspicion.”

Here the Admiral again referred to Aguinaldo’s style at Malolos and Senator Patterson asked if that style had not served the purpose of inspiring the admiration of his followers and holding their allegiance. To this inquiry the witness replied that the style was “probably more inspiring to them than to those from whom the property had been taken.”

Jejomar Binay: last man standing, the dying gasp of the Aguinaldo Era

Today we bear witness to the ending of that era. It is the ending of a century-long period of power and favor and grabbing of wealth . . . much of it originating from the halls of democratic institutions. It is the ending of an era of widespread, popular ACCEPTANCE of power and favor and grabbing of wealth as normal practice.

Aguinaldo_and_Quezon_in_1935

Aguinaldo and Quezon, 1935

The ending is right now being written and shaped in the senate halls and headlines and back rooms where conniving takes place. Looked at through a prism of greater perspective, the picture is rather pathetic. It shows one man clinging desperately to a lifelong dream of ultimate power and favor, the presidency of the land. He cannot let go of that dream. Even the destruction of his accomplishments, and the destruction of his family name is not enough to cause him to let go.

He is the last man standing.

Jejomar Binay was molded by the era of power and favor. He grew up poor and Napoleonic, for he set out to prove a point, to make his mark, to get even. He thrived in a social setting that recognized and rewarded the wheelings and dealings of the sly and ruthless. He is Emilio’s offspring, after all, and Enrile’s brother. He flows with and shapes the currents of power . . . and favor . . . always angling for a better, stronger, more influential position.

In the method of power and favor, friendships are rewarded generously. And expectations are clear. Favors are granted, debts are created. Binay is the master. Without doubt, he is the best of the Aguinaldo politicians.

Do his many personal bonds represent deep loyalty and mutual respect or are they simply convenient? What does nationhood mean to this band of brothers?

Jojo Binay saw the future correctly and sided with Cory Aquino against President Marcos. That got him a precious spot in the Aquino family’s sense of obligation, of favors received and debts granted. President Cory Aquino fulfilled that debt by appointing Binay as Mayor of Makati, a rich gem of a city within the scrap-heap that is old Manila. He thrived.

But he did not anticipate the power of the straight path introduced by Cory’s son, Noynoy Aquino. Binay miscalculated. He kept playing crooked games as the nation’s voters demanded straight with a mighty roar. Never have tea leaves been read so wrong.

Noynoy Aquino had a different vision for his nation. A modern vision. A forthright, honorable one. One that was beyond personal gain. A vision that Jojo Binay could not comprehend.

jejomar-binay philnewsdotph

Vice President Binay

Binay could not foresee a future in which his compatriots would end up in jail. These are powerful compatriots, senators and socialites comfortable in the sneaky backrooms where deceits and thefts are born and carried out. It is not supposed to happen that way. There are supposed to be judges to buy and auditors and taxmen to bribe and administrative rat’s nests in which to bury illicit transactions. Friends are supposed to come to the rescue.

After all, he gave them so much, didn’t he? Counsel and understanding and even money and cakes.

Jejomar Binay is still trying to collect on debts. He is wringing his hands, calling in the chits, offering huge payoffs and positions in a cabinet that will never happen. Because he believed more favors are owed him by President Aquino, he sought the President’s help. “Call off the dogs!”, he asked, meaning the senate investigators and the ombudsman and the tax lady and DOJ and COA . . . all nipping and howling at his heels.

  • President Aquino: “I can’t do that.”

Outside the Palace, Binay blasted the President for favoritism and DAP and persecuting Gloria Arroyo.

  • President Aquino: “You are free to leave.”

Trapped.

Powerless.

Jojo Binay’s schemes are coming up broken, with fake documents and platoons of collaborators stripped naked in the Senate hearing. They hide behind attorney-client privilege and protections against self-incrimination or disappear like the Chongs and Gregorio. Evidence reveals a mountain of lies, green and world class with strong foundations, stacking up like so much rice chaff after the harvest. Binay’s wife lives the royal life of elegance and refinement, orchids and air conditioned pigs and a garden better than the Queen’s. His mayor son and senator daughter carry themselves with the haughty bearing of the entitled. Do not DARE to question . . .

And yet, some people deny that this is bad. They don’t see that this entitlement and privilege is wrong even if it is built on stolen taxpayer money. They believe that deceit and trickery is a skill. They are of the Aguinaldo era, where crooked is the way of things.

Jejomar Binay still has his strategies and his methods. His paid syncophants are out sniping at every decent person in the Philippines to try to find a platform to stand on. Good people like COA head Heidi Mendoza are subject to ruthless attack. Every critic is a villain. The mouthpieces, Bautista, Tiangco,  Salgado, and Remulla, do the dirty work, blaming and complaining and undermining civility and harmony across the land. The lapdog press hungers for their dirt. Mistruths, obfuscation, deceit, challenges, and bluster. These are the tools of their trade. The three hold that the villains are the other people, not them. Never mind that most of the nation mocks their every word and holds that they are much akin to a pack of stooges throwing cream pies. Lies.

Binay also retains a lot of loyal backers from the Aquinaldo Era: Mayor Estrada, Senator Enrile, and hundreds of loyal Sister City mayors and governors hanging on looking for an easy ride to riches. They are mostly old guys. The brotherhood. The mob.They only have their soul to sell, after all. Greedy Manny Pacquiao, seeking a quick and well-funded cruise into the Senate, is there with him, too. He’s willing to be Binay’s lackey for life, that is his style of manhood outside the ring.

Binay is able to power his way over others who are weak, too, the Grace Poes and Kris Aquinos and Harry Roques of the world, still bound in favor, even as Binay’s power evaporates. This is the band of influential people who can’t find the courage to speak up for honesty and candor and an idea that national honesty is something to cherish, that integrity involves hard work and sacrifice.

Jejomar Binay is a force, still. The Aguinaldo era drapes like a dark fog across a young and vibrant nation.

But fate is out of Binay’s hands. And his backers and the silent become marked men and women, for the stains of that dark fog won’t wash off easily. There are new powers in play now. Powers other than muscle and money and the soft forms of extortion that thrive under Aguinaldo rules. Valor is one of the new powers. Fair dealing is another. Honesty. Intelligence. Courage. Vision. Integrity. And a determination not to be used any more.

Oh, Jojo Binay is going down.

Three senators are driving this deal. Senators Koko Pimentel, Alan Cayetano and Sonny Trillanes.

Remember them, eh? For the rest of your life, hold them up as re-writing Philippine history, as putting up a determined wall between the past and the future.

They are unlikely to receive enough credit. After all, they are just doing their job.

But how can we ever repay them?

They are knights bravely and sometimes violently holding the bridge against 116 years of corrupt history. Against a crusty old fighter with an army of crooks behind him, propped up by the weak, and with only one goal. To rule.

In the castle behind the three knights, a young princess awakens. Honesty and fairness and hope fill her heart as she looks out across a gorgeous land of islands and seas and skies that reach all the way to God’s throne. She smiles at the rich human character of these islands, of wholesome families and laughing children and honorable people working the land. She is a wonderful sight to behold, this awakening princess. She is brown of skin and beautiful of soul and forthright in deed. She is modern Filipino, man and woman. She is the good among us, rising.

Jejomar Binay would have her shot.

He’s from that era.

 

Comments
85 Responses to “Jojo Binay: last man standing, the dying gasp of the Aguinaldo Era”
  1. Jenn Gener says:

    Thanks for a well-written and insightful commentary. Very revealing, thoughtful, prophetic. More power to you!

    • Joe America says:

      Thank you, Jenn. I’m glad you found it meaningful and appreciate your remarks.

    • Tess Alarcon says:

      Beautiful, very well presented. Powerful — hope and pray that our people wake up, act towards the right path — appreciate the good work, relentless strive to over power the corrupt, crooked path — thanks to you, for writing this. Thank you too, to Senators Koko Pimentel, Alan Cayetano. Trillanes — for persevering — I bow to you all and may your Tribe increase.

  2. Pinoyputi says:

    Hi Joe, your article inspired me to go back and read my history again. In Negros Island, is Cinco de Noviembre today, you may not know it but Negros was the first and only Independent Island from the Spanish since November 5, 1898. And I of course had my share of Rizal, Agoncillo, Ambeth Ocampo and Modesto Sa-Onoy. But this time I decided to read the Wikipedia article about Andres Bonifacio. Try reading it. When I read it, it felt as if nothing has changed since the end of the ninetieth century. Change some names, change the dates to 2014 and there you go, your up to date on the news in the Philippines in 2014. So will things change with Binay out of the way, I am afraid not. There are hundred of thousands “Binays” waiting to take his place.

    • Pinoyputi says:

      Maybe I am a bit pessimistic, after all wasn’t Andres Bonifacio known for his pseudonym May pag-asa (“There is Hope”).

    • Joe America says:

      There are a lot of little Binay’s across the Philippines. Mayors and governors, put into office by an adoring population of little discernment. I mean, Manny Pacquiao writing laws? Boxing has given him those skills? But I believe the force for good governance is broad and deep, and can be accelerated with a few good laws (FOI, Equal Opportunity in Employment, Anti-Dynasty, and pay increases for top officials (whilst going with computers to trim the bloat of government bureaucracy). Senator Trillanes said something very similar to this article today, noting that Binay is the last great crook. That’s why his case is so important. I see enlightened commentary in the Inquirer and across social media. It will grow, not shrink. I think the tables are righting. Maybe 10 years ago there were 8 crooks for every 2 good officials. Today I’d say it is more 6 to 4. It will be 4 to 6 if we elect the right person as president in 2016.

      • davide says:

        On Manny Pacquiao, you really have a good insight of this guy, so many talents boxer, singer, actor, pastor, politician, and now a basketball wannabe (greed on being on the limelight/pagiging sikat is seen and no satisfaction whatsoever) don’t get me wrong I like him so much as a boxer one of the best pinoy I have ever seen and proven it with 8 division titles. It is understood in the Philippines once you are well known, (artista, sikat na athlete, etc.) your viability to be a politico is multiplied 100 times. For a reason many or a lot of people who have the inclination to public service (ambitions in getting rich very fast) will lick the boots and suggest that he (MP) must run for a position in the government. So, once they convince him, they will be decision makers or the one running the office of Manny Pacquiao, as in our vernacular madaling utuin kaya maraming sumasakay (bandwagon).
        I don’t want to belittle (MP), but he does not have even the slightest idea on governance (and imagine he wants to become a president too). The way I look at it, it is very easy to find and hire assistants who will be running the show, same with his wife (Jinkee). Although they will learn little by little but I doubt if they can decide tricky situations that needs proper study and guidance. I do feel that their desire to help is there but, again being in politics the bad ways, wheeling and dealing will influence them instead of them influencing the bad ways to be good. What can I say ONLY IN THE PHILIPPINES

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, for sure, davide. I think Manny is actually a good guy and an amazing boxer, but he does not know his limitations. It is rather like all of us, sitting at home, can imagine ourselves dunking a basketball. But few can do it. Well, Manny may imagine he can be president, but I think he would be horrid. And for the Philippines, now, in its emerging state, we need high-skill lawmakers and diplomats, positive people, not crabby, mediocre legislators of no management skill.

          • davide says:

            Love reading your articles Joe, aside for Raissa’s I skim daily for updates etc. Yeah, your place is a very nice place I know it as I am also a Leyteno grew up in Baybay City, inside the enclaves of Visayas State University. Keep on writing, it gives more insight to the pinoys that are blockheads. It is daunting, considering the mental and cultural outlook of my kababayans, thru yours and others write ups these will wake them up (and some of them already woke up) to assess the right against the wrong, More power to you, have you learned the waray waray vernacular in Biliran?

            • Joe America says:

              No, but I listen to the One Man Band relentlessly . . . and know a little Visayan, enough to make jokes that the neighbors enjoy, like when a volleyball spike is hit hard, I shout “kaon bola!”

  3. I woke up this morning and found this. I read it and started crying. This is me, crying out for a better Philippines. But you are right. The Philippines is hounded by its past. There is not a night that I do not pray for the President. I hold on to the hope that was stirred during the Corona trial, and Enrile, Estrada and Revilla incarceration. But Binay is tougher. He is a different league. He is made of a tougher epidermis. There is no decency in him. His PR people are numerous and and well funded. With you and the countless, so called ‘silent middle class’ like us, I pray fervently that before Pres Noy leaves, he’ll leave us with someone whom we can continue to hope and rebuild a new generation. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for being very patient with us, Filipinos.

    • Joe America says:

      I thank you for being patient with me, and teaching me that we ought not let the critics – of which there are way too many – trick us into thinking the Philippines is anything but a rich place to live. I also thank you (by you I mean all readers) for putting up with my occasional blustering rants and innocent ignorance. Yes, Binay is tough. But I believe what I wrote. He’s going down.

    • Dolly Gonzales says:

      I share Annalissa’s sentiments completely, including the tearfulness part. 🙂 The closing lines are particularly moving, insightful. Thanks, Joe. Beauitful writing, as always.

      You mentioned the three senators, and how they may never really receive the thanks they deserve. So true. It’s even more inspiring that all the thanks they seem to need is a better future for our country, by preventing a crook from becoming president.

      You’ve made me realize something about Sen. Pimentel. The more I think about it, the larger he grows in my esteem.

      It was his father, I think, who recommended his good friend Binay to Pres. Cory, as OIC of Makati, in 1986. The friendship between Binay and Koko’s father, ex-Sen. Nene Pimentel, has deep roots. Until recently, Koko’s father headed a leadership/governance institute in the University of Makati, which Binay had set up in his (Nene Pimentel’s) name.

      In the 2013 elections, Binay didn’t prevent Zubiri from running under UNA. He disregarded the principles of Koko, despite the latter being president of their party. Koko found it impossible to campaign under an advocacy of electoral reform, while raising the hand of a person who had benefited from electoral fraud. It was this uncompromising integrity, I believe, which led to his being welcomed with open arms by PNoy into his party.

      That Koko now heads the subcommittee investigating corruption allegations against Binay is quite symbolic, in this “re-writing [of] Philippine history,” as you so aptly describe. Heroic, I think.

      • Joe America says:

        Yes, I like Pimentel, too. He handles his chairmanship well, treating Cayetano and Trillanes respectfully as responsible senators even though they may on occasion get overly exuberant, Trillanes with his threats and Cayetano with the intensity of his commentary. If he takes issue with them, he deals with it privately so the three are always on the same track, publicly, and so as not to undercut the authority of Trillanes and Cayetano during meetings. He remains strictly business and is the anchorpost that keeps the committee from being overly political. He is decisive and his comments always cut right to the heart of the matter. His speech rejecting the Binay challenge of Committee authority was masterful, delineating specifically what potential new laws had been surfaced during the hearings.

        I wonder if he harbors higher ambitions. I like his substance and his style.

        • Dolly Gonzales says:

          ps.
          I’ve just read the sidebar… You’ve a lovely home, Joe! Feeling envious, haha. Almeria must be like paradise… and your place “where the winds are clean, [and] the views are of heaven” … wow.

  4. Bing Garcia says:

    What a powerful article!

  5. Hermelo A. Cervantes says:

    very insightful piece, clearly written, enlightening. I read lots of comments and blogs, and enjoyed them. My first time to write a reaction, no, my second one, the first was on a column written by William Esposo years ago. You articulated what I thought about Binay, Pnoy, Grace Poe. I don’t like Grace Poe anymore. Indeed, there is God, and He looks upon us. He blesses us with Pnoy, He sends for us Trillanes, Cayetano, Pimentel. Thank you, Joe, please keep on writing.

    • Joe America says:

      Okay, Hermelo, I will. Thanks. I still give room for Grace Poe to redeem herself, but she now has to prove that she is not just another trapo. Before, I was giving her a free ride. Now I’m very, very wary.

  6. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. The new Philippines needs a leader not a politician. Somebody who can do and say what is right , somebody who craves for the country and not oneself. Somebody who can distinguish where loyalty to friends stop when loyalty to country calls for it. Somebody forward thinking and not bogged down with past favors. Somebody who is clear as day and not someone who is opaque and work behind the shadows.

    • Joe America says:

      Jojo, have you considered changing your first name? 🙂 I agree, and wonder about people in the business community. How to get executives into government. I like Secretary Jimenez of Tourism because he is a business guy. His plans and programs are professional and powerful as far as I can tell. His first point when new on the job was “we need better infrastructure”. So he was thinking long term from the getgo. But I’ve been wrong about people, too. Abaya seems the opposite of how I had him pegged when I figured he was resourceful and accomplished. DOTC is a mass of messes. Osmena is too old, and he is trapo. I don’t know who else is out there of stature and real accomplishment. I don’t know of any governor who could angle for the presidency, either. It seems to me that “succession planning” is weak hereabouts.

  7. edgar lores says:

    *******
    1. Very interesting.

    2. We can all have our classifications of Philippine history. I would divide mine into 3 major eras:

    A. Pre-colonial Era (Pre-Hispanic to 1565)
    B. Colonial Era (1565 – 1946)
    C. Post-colonial Era (1946 – Present)

    3. The Colonial Era would be subdivided into two main periods having three epochs:

    B.1. Spanish Colonial Period (1565 – 1898)
    B.1.1. Spanish Integration (1565 – 1896)
    B.1.2. Philippine Revolution (1896 – 1898)

    B.2. American Colonial Period (1898 – 1946)
    B.2.1. American Rule (1898 – 1946)
    (Note: This includes the Japanese Occupation between 1942 – 1945)

    4. The Post-colonial Era, I would subdivide into two main periods:

    C.1. Corruption Period (1946 – 2016)
    C.1.1. Pre New Society (1946 – 1972)
    C.1.2. New Society (1972 – 1978)
    C.1.3. Post New Society (1978 – Present)

    C.2. Post-corruption Period (2016? – Future)

    5. I think the dominant cultural paradigms of each era can be identified according to loyalty level, social organization and government structure. In each, the strain of corruption runs heavily through.

    5.1. Pre-colonial Era – Tribal; class system (closed); authoritarian religious domination

    5.2. Colonial Era
    5.2.1. Spanish Colonial Period – Tribal; class system (closed); authoritarian with religious domination
    5.2.2. American Colonial Period – Tribal-statal; class system (open); democratic with secular domination

    5.3. Post-colonial Era
    5.3.1. Corruption Period – Tribal-statal; class system (open); authoritarian-democratic with secular-religious domination

    6. The Post-corruption period should be statal, class system (fully open); democratic with full secular domination.

    7. The main takeaway to me is that the method of Power and Favor should be supplanted by something else. As suggested, it should be Power with Integrity, and favour dealing should be replaced with honest and fair dealing. No rigged biddings, no bribery, no kickbacks, no influence peddling, no nepotism, no favouritism, no cronyism. No Marcoses and no Binays.

    7.1. We should have a name for this anti-corruption ideal. I suggest CHAIM, which means life in Hebrew and which sounds like “shame” as pronounced by an Aussie.

    C-ourage
    H-onesty
    A-nti-Corruption
    I-ntegrity
    M-ethod

    7.2. We should all practice the CHAIM method. Only corrupt people have no CHAIM – no shame.
    *****

    • Joe America says:

      Very interesting yourself, and rigorous as I would expect. I think the big trick is the “M” or method. It needs to include specific deeds that change the method of operation: (1) Mandating computer-based records and accounting, (2) FOI, (3) stricter laws mandating ethical accountability short of criminal charges being filed (if it smells funny, get it out of office), (4) ending bank secrecy so that NBI can get bank records with a court order, and (5) huge pay increases for top government officials like (COA, BIR, PNP, etc.) so they can have a home life befitting their huge responsibilities. There are undoubtedly others.

      • sonny says:

        You did it again, Joe!!! This installment of yours is hitting many hot buttons (me included) in this society of honor in this land of happy fools. The would-be members are clustering near and wide. Your message is not neutral and sounds like a clarion call to all decent-minded Filipino-philes! I hope you as the Grand-Sorter have enough kickapoo joy juice spiked with vitamins A to Z to pass around without passing out! 🙂 🙂

        • Joe America says:

          Ahahahaha, I have cases of the stuff (KJJ) in the storage closet, along with an extra bag of rice. It is a part of the typhoon preparation drill, and it works for outsized social conditions as well . . .

      • sonny says:

        @ edgar

        #7.0 triple check!

        #6.0 check: I’ll waffle somewhat and go for “dynamic and healthily-informed” secular domination, viz. Filipinos are rational human beings.

        #5.1 Pre-colonial era: tribal, (closed) class system, authoritarian … check: animistic, thalassocratic/archipelagic nomads – conditioned by littoral sea, sky and tropical sylvan limits.

        #5.2.1, #5.2.2 check: The advent of the western incursions sealed our Malay soul but grew out grafting stubs that kept capillaries open to “western cultural paradigms.” We retain our animistic, religious integrity. Hence #5.2.3 is alive and kicking!

      • sonny says:

        @ Joe

        One of my favorite flow-charting elements was the decision diamond. Our current state of analysis (decision diamond) goes like this: if not A and not B, and not C … and not X, then Go To Y, where Y is another logic configuration.

        Of course states A, B, C … X are already well-determined states. State Y is where we configure a new state where we can mix and match the good elements, and exclude the bad elements of states A, B, C … X. So, so simple! Zonk, NOT! 😦

        And mixing metaphors further, state Y is the singularity where we’re at. Either we blink out into a black hole or teleport via a wormhole to a utopia or another dystopia.

        Real solution: Keep the stubs uncovered by PNOY and other vetted good guys and prototype our way to the future. There must be a way to bottle them, IMO. My generation could only get this far. Scour through our bureacracy and come up with names like Jazmin and Jimenez; vet them like crazy and work the system with men/women like them.

        • Joe America says:

          Ah, yes, reminds me of my programming days as I manufactured my own pong games and tank battles in “basic”. The frightening thing is the realization that the Philippines might be stuck in some giant do loop. That’s the point of pinoyputi and NPNFNS in their comments that Binay may NOT be the last man standing.

          Still, I’d like to think there is an exit point around here somewhere . . .

  8. eye naku. says:

    just because trillanes & cayetano are publicly stripping binay down to his bare crooked core, it would be a mistake to assume that they don’t share the same corrupt genetic makeup of binay. those two are doing precisely what they need to do to eliminate competition for higher office. if you must extoll these two young trapos to high heavens, at least examine how they got themselves into high public office.

    on one side there’s cayetano whose political ascendance was guaranteed by the political machinery assembled by his own father before him, who got himself elected by milking his mass appeal gained from years on AM radio as a legal expert for the masses. note that cayetano also has a sister with him in the senate, with a brother perched in high office in their family bailiwick of taguig. seeing their early dynastic promise, just how different are they from the binays of makati?

    on the other you have trillanes, who made himself famous & electable by acting out a bizarre coup attempt that was nothing more than a staged occupation of a pricey hotel in the heart of makati, supposedly made to protest corruption under a typically corrupt philippine president. the only thing new about that stunt was, nobody got shot or blown up despite his dramatic flair which he carried with him to the senate. seeing how ex-stuntman lito lapid got himself elected to the senate the same way, just how different is trillanes going to be from other dramatic clowns who came before him, like the estradas and the revillas?

    how much are you betting that these two shining examples of hypocrisy will not be doing the same crooked tricks that binay, enrile, revilla, estrada, arroyo, marcos and similar others have done in public office, while the masses continue to starve?

    the question here isn’t IF, but HOW SOON they too will be stripped down to show their crooked backbones. pass me the popcorn, please.

    • Joe America says:

      A very interesting point, eye naku. I rather think the profession of politics is one of power and favor, and all play the trade-offs of favors granted and debts owed. Getting funded requires selling a bit of one’s soul, and lobbyists ply their trade in the smokey back rooms. Getting laws passed also requires trade-offs. So, by some standards it is a slimy business, but one that is necessary. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being absolutely straight and 10 being VP Binay, I’d put Trillanes and Cayetano in the range of 3 or 4, just as a guess. Drama is the way of the Philippines, I was just reminded today, so how do you hold Trillanes as any different from those who get titillated reading Inquirer’s always-emoting headlines (see: http://whenthenailsticksout.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/oa-is-for-overacting/comment-page-1/#comment-398). Drama is the way of the land of fun in the sun and election murders.

      One problem in the Philippines is that there is a very weak sense of ethics, where it would motivate self-policing. The three plundering senators should have been force-placed on leave by their colleagues. And Binay should feel impelled to take leave of absence or resign by the weight of propriety and the need to protect the credibility of government. Weak ethics is a sign that EVERYONE is into the power and favor game.

      Still, all that said, I think things are a’changing. And the three senators are at the forefront, hypocrites or not.

      • No Powers No Favors No Shit says:

        Re: “One problem in the Philippines is that there is a very weak sense of ethics” –

        In pinoy forum groups online grappling with the country’s problems, a recurrent thread has been the centrality of our “damaged culture” that James Fallows long ago referred to (but failed to understand the ‘organizing principles’ behind it). Some have begun defining pinoy culture as one of “amoral interdependence” whereby what holds all together is the “national pursuit of convenient shortcuts.” If those generalizations are true then ethics, morals or values as the rest of the world knows them would certainly hold no power over our “damaged” society. Anyone who has observed pinoy politics and culture long enough would agree with those findings, and be able to cite innumerable instances whereby each and EVERYONE (as you yourself have seen fit to emphasize) in society is a participant of amoral interdependence, participating in the collective but dysfunctional pursuit of convenient shortcuts, no matter the cost to the entire nation.

        Viewed in this light, it can be argued that the collective action of Pimentel, Cayetano and Trillanes against Binay is merely a temporary “fix” in national politics, and that the next elections (or the next national controversy, whichever comes first) will once again present us with a different set of heroic reformers that the current trio may eventually face when their time falls due. Now we have yet to hear any hint of serious undesirability about them at this stage so all things considered, it would be premature to declare that Aguinaldo’s kind of politics is ending. The predictive power of the idea of a pinoy society hell-bent on “pursuing convenient shortcuts” tells us this trio only represents our collective hope to have today the kind of leaders we think we deserve but have been denied us for so long. At the same time, watching them rise to the challenge of leadership amidst systemic corruption blinds us all to the reality of amoral interdependence where, rising along with them are their respective clusters of political sycophants and lobbyists as well as their official and unofficial constituencies and beneficiaries, with all their needs, wants and whims reaching out for resources towards the desired fulfillment. All these things are practically beyond the force of ethics, morals and values that the rest of the world is ostensibly guided by. As some fellows on Facebook put it, “culture trumps everything.”

        • Joe America says:

          “Amoral interdependence” is a fascinating subject which I am inclined to see as a mental condition rather than a social condition, but it is also catching, or viral. That is not so unusual. If you have a room full of people and one panics, they are likely all to panic. Or if 16 people on a rough riding airplane start to barf, you are likely to be the 17th. My daughter has obsessive compulsive disorder (OC) and always counts the number of stairs before climbing them so she knows how to start to arrive at the top on her right foot. I suppose if we had a house full of OC residents, they would all be counting stairs.

          But then, the household would not be full of disorder, but order, for everyone has the condition, so it is normal.

          So the Philippines is only disordered by western or other standards.

          It is further fascinating because Filipinos can get rid of the condition at will, as they do when arriving at Immigration in the United States. Of 3.5 million Filipino residents, I’d hazard to guess that the percentage in jail is about what it is for . . . ummmm . . . ordinary Americans.

          I am also inclined to start fitting people and incidents to the condition. Let’s call it AI for short, not to be confused with artificial intelligence, although perhaps it is not far off. Does President Aquino have AI? Oh, of course, so he justifies discretionary spending in Abad’s wife’s community well above the norm as taking care of poor people there. Do Cayetano and Trillanes have it? Yes, of course, so they pursue presidential ambitions in a subcommittee hearing. Does Grace Poe have it? Yep. Pounds on Purisima and lets Binay off the hook. Who does NOT have the condition who can stand as a beacon of hope to those of us who don’t have the condition that we, too, will not go insane? Waldon Bello? Hmmmmm, he sounds sane in light of his recent blast at President Aquino for failing to fire about five people. The late Jesse Robredo? His wife? Mar Roxas?

          And if we grunt hard enough, can not all Philippine residents become just like Filipinos in America and WILL themselves to higher ethical values and moral independence?

          I’d like to believe that is what is going on now. A huge, slow motion grunt. All I’m doing in my blogs is pushing a little moral introspection. You are helping in that regard.

          Those who (sneak in to) see a shrink understand that the first step to recovery from any emotional imbalance is to look honestly at oneself. Social media are rather a chaotic method of doing that.

          So I’m glad to report we do not have to order up 100 million sets of straight jackets. We just have to keep talking.

          Thanks for inspiring this free-form ramble. I can see clearly now . . . 🙂

          • edgar lores says:

            *******
            1. Agree that amoral interdependence (AI) is a mental condition, a pathological condition.

            2. It is grievous that AI is accepted as the norm even by intelligent people.
            2.1. This cynicism and defeatism shows how deeply we have sunk into the abyss – and how far we have to be lifted.

            2.2. It is a denial of the high ethical standards that are possible and that are being maintained in other countries. A simple glance at the corruption perception index should lay to rest this erroneous cognition.
            2.2. It is a denial of the heavy lifting that has been done during Pnoy’s term – by the President, the media and the netizens. This heavy lifting has improved the country’s ranking in the corruption perception index.
            2.3. Sure the culture is damaged. So what? Don’t whine. Do something about it. Start by believing the impossible is possible. Progress to behaving against the norm of AI.
            2.4. Gadzooks!

            3. This is my bugbear against religions that promise salvation in the hereafter. These religions encourage the attitude of fatalism, that nothing can be done in the here and now in this life.
            3.1. The distant focus of religion as conceived and taught is all wrong. The focal point should be brought nearer to where we are in space and time – wherever that is between the Alpha Point and the Omega Point.
            *****

            • Joe America says:

              “Sure the culture is damaged. So what? Don’t whine. Do something about it.”

              I’m going to write a platform for the Liberal Party that makes modern sense. They have the principles right but are light on saying exactly WHAT it is they are going to do about it.

              They, like most Philippine political parties, sell the sizzle but have no idea whether they are cooking dog or prime beef.

              • If you’ve lived in the country long enough, you’d have learned long ago that the party system here is merely for electoral purposes. There are no principles to speak of, as politicians change parties whenever expedient to their careers. A dynastic political family in the south illustrates this best. The family patriarch ran under the opposition during the Marcos years, was then appointed by Cory to become provincial governor and afterwards ran for congress under Ramos. Then after serving the maximum terms, fielded his firstborn son to replace him but running under Erap’s ticket. That gave their growing political dynasty all the connections they needed throughout the political spectrum and after the patriarch died, the firstborn grandson ran under a party different from that of his own father and grandfather.

                All that is merely amoral interdependence in action, with the pursuit of convenient shortcuts serving as the only principle behind their actions. Emerging as multi-millionaires within 2 generations, that family’s political and economic hold over their provincial bailiwick can no longer be contested. You will see the same things at work when you get the chance to roam the countryside. PCIJ reports confirm that every province hosts at least 2 dominant political dynasties. And that’s why there are political parties in this country.

              • Joe America says:

                I’ve looked at both the UNA and LP platforms. UNA has none, and LP has a textual statement of principles that are actually pretty good and clear. What is missing is the next step, commitment to specific deeds. It is a natural step from the Aquino straight path, and measurement of performance by the numbers, for his party to state and SELL a tangible platform. I’ll be doing a blog on this in the next week or so, imagining myself as the guy who is responsible for selling LP as a party of achievement rather than gladhanding politicians.

          • jolly cruz says:

            Mr Joe, AI is a mental condition induced by religious teachings. This high tolerance for “the pursuit of conventional shortcuts” is hugely the result of the Chuch’s teachings regarding sin and forgiveness.

            The dichotomy between tolerance and forgiveness is something that the average Catholic can not seem to comprehend. To most, forgiveness means that we tolerate the wrongdoings of people. How often have we heard the exhortation “to those who have no sin, cast the first stone” uttered by those who have been found wanting.

            This has become the license of these unscruplous people to justify malfeasance. This is also their escape clause when investigated by peers.

            It is a source of wonder why the Church has never clarrified its stance regarding this issue. The CBCP has never condemned those politicians who constantly invoke this passage and yet continuously exhort the faithful to denounce graft and corruption.

            The CatholicChurch itself tolerates AI so who are the faithful to question the politicians. Known vice lords like the Pinedas, “alleged” corrupt govt officials like the arroyos, enriles, plunderers like the napoleses, etc are strong supporters of the Church. It looks like If an individual is a strong benefactor, that all his wrongdoings will be overlooked.

            This is what the Church is teaching its faithful. If you are going to benefit from the fruits of the wrongdoing. Tolerate and forgive.

            • No Powers No Favors No Shit says:

              If you remember how the Ampatuans apparently resolved their electoral challenge a few years back through bloody convenient shortcuts with their amorally-interdependent crew (which included a harmless backhoe operator), it would be a mistake to connect the pinoy culture of amoral interdependence and the “national pursuit” of convenient shortcuts to the Catholic Church. Culture is handed down across generations, and no amount of education, religious formation or peer pressure can change what is reinforced at home. Just like charity, corruption begins at home.

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                Read Andrew Lim’s previous analyses in this blog. He establishes a plausible correlation between the Church and AI. Remember Spain integrated the islands and formed Philippine culture for close to four centuries.
                *****

            • Joe America says:

              I agree it contributes. It is strange to have the moral custodians of the Philippines basically silent about Binay.

          • Re “…if we grunt hard enough, can not all Philippine residents become just like Filipinos in America and WILL themselves to higher ethical values and moral in(ter)dependence?”

            In my view, pinoys in the US and other well-off countries are freed from amoral interdependence and the addiction to convenient shortcuts by the meritocracy at work in those societies. Earning at levels that allow pinoy breadwinners to cover their families’ needs and wants (even whims), there is never any need abroad to grease relationships with those who hold power over their income. Here where labor is valued so low that daily necessities can hardly be met by regular salaries, people choose to take convenient shortcuts and count on amoral ties to get some relief from grinding poverty.

            It’s no surprise that ex-senator Ed Angara estimates the bite of corruption to take out 40-60% of the govt budget. I did some math and found the number to be around P800 BILLION ANNUALLY. Elective & bureaucratic players in that national game don’t just take it for themselves, they also sustain their corrupt enablers and constituents that way. The DOH, DSWD, PhilHealth, SSS, GSIS and other front-line social service units would be better-funded if it were not for the millions of those nameless beneficiaries who ensure that they are freed from want, while ensuring that corruption remains in place. By helping their benefactors in govt remain in place, they get first dibs on govt opportunities, projects, ghost-job paychecks, or other forms of govt assistance. Whatever life throws at them they’d always manage to have politicians and govt officials as wedding or baptismal sponsors, whom they could always count on whenever there are medical emergencies, natural calamities, tuition fees due, burial or other unexpected expenses to see to. We’re not even mentioning special car plates, govt contracts, gun licenses or bagman duties that insiders have extraordinary access to just by serving govt officials for life. Culture it is.

            • Joe America says:

              Meritocracy vs kleptocracy. You know, I’ve tried so hard to write to the point of OPPORTUNITY in the work place as the energy that fuels American success, and it gets no traction at all. It’s as if people can’t comprehend that energy.

              800 billion misdirected is a lot of money.

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                Come to think of it, amoral interdependence (AI) is nothing new.

                Andrew put the name of ‘amoral familism’ to the Filipino’s identification of self with family.

                AI is an extension of that amoral familism with self identification expanded to include anyone within one’s circle of the padrino system — at whatever level those persons can be found in the hierarchy of loyalties.

                Indeed, I would say AI is just a new name for the padrino system, which is a legacy of Spanish colonization.

                As noted in the essay, the padrino system of power and favor is rooted in Spanish colonialism. I would go further and say it is rooted in the world-view of Catholicism: in its dependence on authority (the power of the pope and the priests); in the intercession of the saints (the seeking and granting of favors through shortcuts); in giving loyalty to values and people beyond the highest good (idolatry and personal politics); in the coddling of sin; and in the rejection of self-reliance.

                Success is based on the web of connections rather than on personal merit.

                ***

                The mantra “culture trumps everything” is pure defeatism. It admits of no solution.

                To overcome this system of power and favors, what must be emphasized is: culture is malleable.

                If, as claimed, the Filipino can free himself from AI when he steps into other countries where social transactions are based on merit, then why not here?

                The rules are simple and have been here forever and a day. Do not make politics a family business. Do not sell your vote. Denounce nepotism and cronyism. Do not rely on any patron. Stand on your own two feet. Be fully conscious of the bad in your culture and act towards and for the common good.

                Yes, the rules are simple. It is the doing that’s hard. But it is possible.
                *****

              • Joe America says:

                Your CHAIM is a right proper path because it addresses defeatism with solution, or method. We are either willows in the breeze or we are sentient beings able to craft a good way forward. We can figure out where we want to go . . . and it is away from moral malaise and the path of manipulators and cheats . . . and we can figure out how to get there. With some laws, some good leaders, and some moral suasion or secular preaching. Onward.

              • The solution to amoral interdependence and the pursuit of convenient shortcuts is hidden in the problem itself. Culture may trump everything but according to a pinoy engineer-turned-mgmt consultant who intrinsically understood behavioral economics over a decade ago before the field got overrun with best-selling authors, “price modifies behavior.” The fellow wrote about it in a series of articles in Businessworld as guest columnist, eventually publishing it as an ebook for free download. It took me 3 readings to fully assess the soundness of his arguments while attempting to ignore his egotistic taunts to local economics PhDs whom he saw as “useless assets”, and his ideas can more than stand the scrutiny. What’s missing in his book is how his proposal should be implemented, suggesting only that a qualified group be formed within government to make it all work. But no matter how far-reaching his solution sounds, embedded dynastic and oligarchic powers in elective and bureaucratic posts will be sure to fight it to ensure it fails. After all, if you could dip into P800 billion year after year to help yourself and your enablers, would you give up so easily?

                In case you haven’t read it yet, here’s the free download link http://sites.google.com/site/hyperwage/

  9. bauwow says:

    Thank you Uncle Joe for this article! Wow! Marvelous! Majestic! Awesome! This article proves that if one follows your blog, he comes out a better person.
    I am still perplexed, why we Filipinos are still not taking it to the streets, to Edsa, or even in Luneta.
    Again, where is the outrage? Do you think it is just percolating and is just waiting to explode? I hope so.
    Finally, I hope you would not mind if I refer to you as Uncle Joe. Your words are an inspiration to read, and read some more. Thank you!

    • Joe America says:

      haha, yes, bauwow, Uncle Joe works for me. It was first applied by that young whippersnapper brianitus as a solution to our rather excessive generation gap. “Sir” was not quite right for him, because we have a natural camaraderie, more in the line of friends. And “Punk” didn’t quite cut it for me. “Uncle” to me represents a kind of familiar wisdom, although three out of four of mine in the US were certified crazy.

      I’m glad you liked the article. Most large-scale protests get inflamed by gross indignation. In the Philippines indignation is tempered by what I learned today is “amoral interdependence” (see other comments in this thread), or a willingness to forgive and forget deeds that are expedient but unlawful. I think if Binay got elected and pulled some stunt like banning the internet or declaring martial law, half the population would pour out in protest.

      He has made people angry, but it is a simmer, not a boil.

    • Gel says:

      “I am still perplexed, why we Filipinos are still not taking it to the streets, to Edsa, or even in Luneta”.
      *****
      Nobody is taking it to the streets because Filipinos who feel the urge to march on the streets in favor of Binay’s demise are not organized. Remember, the militant groups who are (in)famous for their conduct in the streets are political in nature, because these groups are well organized and are well funded.

      You can really see here the genius of Binay. He was able to shut the mouths of the militant groups (how he did it is anyone’s guess), not even former president Estrada was able to do this. The militant groups are even more concerned with the murder of Laude than the country as a whole. The bishops are even calling for Pnoy to resign, but they are not calling for the VP to resign – not even to quit the cabinet!

      In my observation, if Binay will be the next president, his presidency will not be mired by street protests by the militant groups – and this will be construed as a clean governance of his, hence his legacy.

      I bet, if an organized body will start a rally, people will pour in. This situation we are facing right now is a very good opportunity for the militants to further their political ambition if they choose to lead the rally. I’m reminded of Teddy Casino who ran for the Senate last 2013. If his group decides to organize a rally, he may be held as a hero and will win the next election, although I hate this idea.

      I want to emphasize to the public that militant groups are political in nature who have their own agenda. I don’t trust them at all!

      So, if ordinary citizens pressure the VP to resign and face justice, the have our own street to rally from… we have the internet.

      • Joe America says:

        Yes, the good guys need no organization, ordinarily, because they work through their representatives, a matter of conveying public trust. The bad guys organize because they can’t get things done through due process, namely because their ideas don’t sell well. So they take the arguments public where the sensationalist press is more than willing to act as megaphone for the mad.

        When public trust is broken, then the good will take to the streets. That is the point we are at, and underscores that the silence of certain legislators has its own meaning. Broken trust.

        • Gel says:

          Militant groups are like cults. Most of their members (or apparently members) who join them on the streets are like blind followers. Try this. In a rally, pick one that you think is the weakest in the pack and ask him/her “what are we really fighting for?”, (try to convince him/her that you are one of them).
          He/she will know the answer right away because they are chanting it, but when you ask “why”, you’ll get a very shallow or generic answer. Don’t ask me how I know this. Hehe.

          Based on my observation, nobody in his normal mind will just go to the streets and start a rally for Binay’s ouster and expect supporters to pour in simultaneously. My point here is, anti Binays should organize and assemble together before hitting the streets. But before that, a permit to rally should be requested from the city in jurisdiction of the place of gathering (don’t expect to be granted, though) so that nobody will face arrest or detention. It is also wise to advice the media in advance as opposed to catching media attention. Once everything is polished, it’s time to go and expect others to join in. This is actually easier said than done. Somebody who is experienced in leading a rally (preferably a famous personality) is badly needed to start the assembly. I believe that people are actually just waiting for the right group to start a rally. Social media and text messaging will facilitate the matter. Just my two cents.

          • Joe America says:

            How DO you know that? ahahaha, been out on Roxas lately? I think your assessment makes sense. Besides, if due process works, there should be no need for such extra-curricular activity.

            • Johnny Cruz says:

              The indignation shown by netizens against Binay is clearly evident and seething in most if not all the online fora and discussions that I’m observing, like everyone else, I am angry … very angry! … but he is a thick-faced animal of the street bereft of ethics and shame, he does not hear cyber-Plaza Miranda and he will not crumple and collapse (nor give way) under this virtual wave. There has to be a tipping point to all this that will remove him from the 2016 exercise, otherwise it will be bloody hell. Quite similarly, PNoy has to watch it that this dark one, who as you said is “going down,” doesn’t take him out first and become president before 2016. What do you think could be that tipping point, Joe? There is no time for “due process.”

              • Joe America says:

                There is time for due process if people like you, and the future presidential candidates, can figure out how to speak clearly to the broad masses who, after all, are entitled to a vote.

  10. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Pact of Broken Stone with Aguinaldo and Spanish conquistadores

    The principal conditions of the pact were:

    (1) “That I, and any of my associates who desired to go with me, would be free to live in any foreign country. Having fixed upon Hongkong as my place of residence, it was agreed that payment of the indemnity of $800,000 (Mexican) should be made in three installments, namely, $400,000 when all the arms in Biak-na-bató were delivered to the Spanish authorities; $200,000 when the arms surrendered amounted to eight hundred stands; the final payment to be made when one thousand stands of arms shall have been handed over to the authorities and Te Deum sung in the Cathedral in Manila as thanksgiving for the restoration of peace. The latter part of February was fixed as the limit of time wherein the surrender of arms should be completed.”

    Aguinaldo sold the Philippines for a measly sum. He returned a hero. Filipinos just do not know it.

    • Joe America says:

      The picture of the gang of Aguinaldo cohorts I believe was taken in Hong Kong. It is the band of voluntary and enriched exiles. I suppose that explains the funny formal wear. Did the Americans bring him back to be a hero? Seems to me I read about those kinds of shenanigans going on. Same with Rizal. Americans needed some willing Filipino icons of virtue to hold their occupation together. Aguinaldo was always willing for the right price, and Rizal was dead and so didn’t mind.

  11. macspeed says:

    Power and favor is losing its mount, arriving on the inside Real President…full of momentum…
    This is PNOY, the one and only but a lot is willing to follow his standard and some of them are here with Joe Am and some on Raissa CPMer’s…

    Whenever that un-corrupt Philippine stand to firm ground, this is the best favor a President has ever done. I called it best favor for without PNOY starting the removal of corruption, even our great grand children will suffer. In return for this best favor, we must do what is right and avoid corruptions….

    • Joe America says:

      I agree that Pnoy has broken the model of self-service being the primary driver for a public official. And more are likely to follow. It is a matter of wisdom and discipline. Filipinos have the first and the second is a matter of getting everyone to agree to shift from favors to production. It will take a few years . . .

  12. chit navarro says:

    “In the castle behind the three knights, a young princess awakens. Honesty and fairness and hope fill her heart as she looks out across a gorgeous land of islands and seas and skies that reach all the way to God’s throne. She smiles at the rich human character of these islands, of wholesome families and laughing children and honorable people working the land. She is a wonderful sight to behold, this awakening princess. She is brown of skin and beautiful of soul and forthright in deed.”

    What a beautiful analogy you have written. I can picture Mariang Makiling rising out to meet the sun and the skies, with the three knights at his back, and the spirit of Pres. Cory hovering over her…… God smiling finally at the brwon-skinned people He created.

    But even this, the last man standing tried to rape her and make her his own…. through his forever-presidency of the BSP (Boy Scout, hindi Bangko Sentral) and a little help from his ragtag team at the House of Representatives.

    Let us always be vigilant and let us look forward to that defining moment in our history when we will find out the LEADER destined to lead us out of this corruption and mess. I know it is no longer Grace Poe… 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, yes, chit. Maybe we can get Calros Celdran to play Remulla . . . and Bautista . . . and the rest of the stooges . . . he can do ’em all . . .

      It’s a horse race with Mar edging to the front . . . and Binay running the wrong way around the track . . .

  13. gerverg1885 says:

    Joe,

    I am aware that those who are posting their comments here and on other blogs are people who are wishing for meaningful and lasting changes to the prevailing political system. It shows that there are still many of us who understands the meaning of honesty and integrity, and that those virtues should not only be the common practice in government affairs but also in our daily lives.

    The present situation had become intolerable so a few friends and I felt that we could no longer go on just wishing because changes could not happen without action(s) to foil the attempts of the ‘Dark Evader’ (the title came from a Facebook post) and his forces to perpetuate that system that made them rich beyond their wildest imaginations. We came up with a plan to form a group with an idea of inviting people, groups and/ or associations to use the power of the social media to spread a message of uniting for an aim to peacefully institute reforms and eventually bring sanity to this chaotic rut that we are deeply in.

    This is the draft of the letter of invitation to join in and tell families, friends and relatives about what we, as a united force, can achieve as long as we remain steadfastly concentrated to win this battle of our lifetime.

    Please help me with a final edit because I know that I could always count on on your editing prowess. Well, everybody’s suggestions/ideas would also be welcome.

    Thanks a lot.

    Here is the draft:

    There are many groups coming out on social media expressing their indignation, anger and disdain over the scandals of public officials on almost every branch of the government. Those are natural reactions and right responses to the seemingly endless pattern of deceit and corruption that had long been part of our daily existence but the problem is, they remain splintered and somewhat preferring to go on in their own directions which would not produce the results we are all desiring to attain.

    We must not forget that old saying that “in unity, there is victory.” Expressing personal anger on Facebook or any other blogs is good but it is a waste of time and energy that should otherwise be spent on reaching out to others and discuss matters of utmost importance like good and honest governance.

    This letter is an invitation to everyone who is willing to join a coalition that would harness the power of the B, C, D and E classes of the population , the so-called majority that had given up their power to a minority who will not stop taking advantage of the positions entrusted to them which they instead abused and had no intentions whatsoever of stopping.

    Aristotle wrote about governance thousands of years ago and his enduring idea is that, “Democracy is when the indigent and not the men of property are the rulers.” He added that “In a democracy, the poor will have more power than the rich because there are more of them and the will of the majority is supreme.”

    I think it’s about time we realize the truth of his words.

    And I think it’s about time that we, the middle class, wake up to the reality that unless we unite for a common goal to change the political and economic systems for the benefit of the majority, we will be forever bound to this life of wishful thinking and posting our indignation, anger and disdain over a minority who do not understand the word ‘enough’ just because they keep on getting elected to positions they do not deserve to hold most of the time.

    Suggestions for plans of action would be more than welcome and appreciated because nobody should have a monopoly of ideas on how the strategy to win should work out. We shall exercise fairness and equality on every decisions that the group will agree on after thorough discussions.

    • Joe America says:

      yes, gerverg, I’ll respond directly to you by e-mail rather than here, and if you decide to set up an e-mail for the project that others can use, you might want to drop off that e-mail address here in a further comment. I commend you on your decision to do more than just write.

      • jolly cruz says:

        Mr Joe

        Is it possible for you to get gerverg and me to get in touch with each other. Also, I wish to express my profuse thanks to you for giving us a venue to express our sentiments regarding what’s happening to our country (is it presumptuous to assume that you consider the Phil your country also). Your insights are always spot on. But what I really like is that you are without a doubt nobody’s paid hack and you dont represent any vested interest. Just the interest of the Philippines. You are more patriotic than most of the politicians and media people i know.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, jolly, I’ll be in touch with you after I contact gerverg. I’ve been watching the hearing today and have not yet been able to address his request to review the draft letter.

  14. gerverg1885 says:

    Thank you very much!

  15. Micha says:

    Today’s Inquirer editorial cartoon sketch depicts Binay as asserting he’s a team player.

    I guess he’s right.

    He’s part of the BEAM Team.

    Binay, Estrada, Arroyo, Marcos Team of Kleptocrats.

  16. Why then is there no organized protest (or even an organized attempt at one) against Binay and his cohorts? Am I just really being impatient? This boggles my mind tremendously.

    • bauwow says:

      Good Day sir, take comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone, that the uprising will soon come. A growing number of people like you and me, are already impatient. Some are already shouting to take it to the streets! Some day, One day we will have our meaningful and lasting change.

  17. ikalwewe says:

    Hey joe thanks for linking. It seems like lately I can only catch up on your blog while on the train. I hope you are right. I hope binay is the last of his kind. I was talking to a Korean american friend this afternoon and we talked about politics in Korea. She said, there was so much corruption in Korea in the 70s that the damage is still being felt.(and that if things don’t change, they’re sure to go down) I think we can’t afford to have folks like binay Any longer, each day we let them stay in power is a day is a day robbed, a day that can never be returned,in terms of time and Money. Time is worse,because unborn Filipinos will eventually suffer the consequences, as the Koreans are now ‘suffering’ (her term). I hope my generation will be the last to suffer from the blows of the past. A country can take only so much beating. I get off now

    • Joe America says:

      Well, it was nice to ride with you on the train. I gather that you are on one that allows for a seat rather than one that squashes you like a sardine.

      I think Binay would be a disaster for the Philippines, and the fact that he retains any popularity at all speaks to the wide gap in information and values between the poor and the connected, and the widespread infestation of the nation by those willing to subscribe to cheating to get ahead.

      • 2BFair says:

        First of all, welcome back Joe! It sounds like vacation did well for you 🙂

        Nicely written piece. A little melodramatic in the end. But what’s a good read without a little drama, eh? 😉

        Good insight on Binay’s Aguinaldoesque rise to power and riches. Still puzzles me why Aguinaldo is still considered a national hero. I guess it’s true that “history is written by the victors” … and over Bonifacio’s dead body.

        Anyway, back to Binay. I too, believe that Binay would be a disaster for the Philippines. But I think we should wait and observe the sentiment of the people … From June to September, Pulse Asia’s electoral survey showed that across the board, Filipinos are seeing Binay’s true colors. His points dropped across the board (ABC, D, and E). Down 13 for ABC, 10 for D, and 7 for E. I think he believes that trying to reverse the trend for the ABC crowd is a lost cause. This is probably why he will continue to avoid the blue ribbon hearings. And this is why he is going around the country campaign-style, to try to bring his D and E numbers back up. If he drops another 10 points in the next survey, it would be extremely difficult/ next to impossible for him to reverse the free-fall. But he will still run for president. It’s all about survival now. He needs to become president to avoid prosecution.

        Your ending is intriguing, about the princess that will rise after all the battling is done. Are you warming up to Grace Poe again? I don’t agree with Chit that you’ve given up on Poe. I believe that you know that Poe is still the only real contender against Binay, at this point. Mar Roxas may have gone up a few points in this last survey, but this is only because he’s been advertising heavily on TV in the Visayas and Mindanao. He’s also always on the road with PNoy. But in 2010, he never got higher than 13 points on the Pulse survey for president. If he breaches 13 (and more than just the 3 points margin of error) this next survey I would be surprised (and his handlers should be elated). Poe has maintained her numbers (within the margin of error) while consistently saying she doesn’t want to run. Yes, there are some dark horses out there such as Duterte, but though he may have that endearing tough guy image, I think Filipinos at the end of the day will shy away from someone who condones summary executions. Robredo on the other hand, although her reputation rides on the good name of her beloved husband, she has yet to prove her mettle with anything substantive — a year and a half into her term in Congress and she has yet to make any news.

        On another note, I’m glad you’ll be taking up the Liberal Party in one of your upcoming pieces. It might be a little tougher to write about them, other than Abad’s DAP issues, Abaya’s mishandling of the DOTC, and Roxas’ inability to shine on the job, the shenanigans of Malacanan’s inner circle is less publicized.

        • Joe America says:

          The ending was basically looking at the Philippines as young and awakening to her full potential . . . if she is not shot. Yes, a little pushy on the mushy, but, hey, words are no fun if they are dry . . . The ending really had nothing to do with Poe, but you are right that I have not given up on her. Redemption is easy if she takes the right position on Binay, and it is as firm as was her stand on Purisima. And if her demonstrated commitment to the straight path is equally firm.

          I agree that Binay is in dire straits, and the blog I’ll publish this evening (guest writer crispinbasilio) will explain exactly what went wrong for him. I also share your view that Rep. Robredo has not yet demonstrated the power needed to be president. Of course, no one else has, either. Poe sits, and sits, and sits. Cayetano gets no traction no matter how crisp his cutting of Binay is, because only a wee small share of the population gets to see him in action. Trillanes has little charisma. Roxas keeps stepping in mud and has become rather a media buffoon. Esquire certainly did not help his cause. Teodoro is lost somewhere. Villar is building houses. Gordon is dead in the water. Duterte knows he isn’t made to be a national leader, even if the people don’t see that. Santiago is probably the lead, but her health should rule her out. If she couldn’t serve on the International Court, how in the world can she run this nation? Plus she is not a manager as far as I can tell.

          I tell you, there is lots of character around. But not too many Presidents. 🙂

          • 2BFair says:

            Some say the presidency is destiny. Someone may emerge at the 11th hour, as PNoy did.

            Good morning Joe! Looking forward to your guest writer’s blog 🙂

  18. “Jojo Binay saw the future correctly and sided with Cory Aquino against President Marcos. That got him a precious spot in the Aquino family’s sense of obligation, of favors received and debts granted. President Cory Aquino fulfilled that debt by appointing Binay as Mayor of Makati, a rich gem of a city within the scrap-heap that is old Manila. He thrived.”

    Before he was appointed mayor, Binay was a Mabini lawyer, I’m sure you know this. He just came from out of nowhere and I, being from Makati and who was fairly active and up to date with the anti-Marcos movement, I never heard of him from the ranks of Mabini. We hear of the Dioknos, the Tañadas, the (then) Joker Arroyos. To be specific, he was appointed by the first head of the DILG post Marcos, Aquilino Pimentel who was also his party mate in the the PDP-Laban, the official party of then presidential candidate Cory Aquino. How ironic that it is the son of Aquilino Pimentel who is one of the senators leading the senate investigation. I know of a story that the one who was supposed to be appointed as the first OIC of Makati post Marcos was an honest and proven former senator but was part of the block of then vice president Laurel, but Pimentel and the PDP-Laban’s choice was the one appointed. Why Binay? My theory was that he was a simple man with a record of fighting for human rights, he was less likely to become corrupt. oh well……

    With regards to the three senators just doing their job in the senate investigation, we all know of Cayetano’s personal ambition and of course his issue with Bonifacio Global City being moved from Taguig to Makati. I do not trust this man and he too has corruption issues, though I’m not complaining that they are investigating Binay. You may be interested to know that the Cayetano got their jump start in politics when the father wrongly accused a son of a senator in a rape and murder case. Rene Cayetano got a lot of media mileage in a case where emotions were very high. The supreme court eventually acquitted the son of a senator.

    • Joe America says:

      That is very interesting background on Binay, Pimentel and Cayetano, Adrian. There is no doubt that the impetus of the Makati garage inquiry is driven by political motives of Trillanes and Cayetano. But the crooked deeds of the Binays also gamed the political system. So I’m afraid I’m missing the logic of their complaint that it is political. Impeachment is also a political act, more so than legal, so it is a strange business, this politics. I accept that Cayetano is a calculating man (as is Trillanes). If he has corruption issues, as you say, I wish someone (even the Binay camp) would define them for us. Politics is itself a corrupt profession I think, the pretending of patriotic public service whilst ambitiously figuring out how to get a bigger job next election.

  19. Elias says:

    This is really a great insight on the political culture of the Philippines. I think we could have been a different nation if Bonifacio had his way and eventually became the leader of the country. Bonifacio’s death is a missed opportunity for the Philippines to be a better nation than what it is today. I am still optimistic about about the Philippines but this will really test the fortitude of the leaders who really wants a better Phillipines.

    • Joe America says:

      2016 is a huge test, not just for the leaders, but for the people. It is a time for legislators to decide which side of the wall they want to stand on. The can’t keep straddling it, because the wall is getting taller and wider.

  20. Elias says:

    Education of the masses is the key. And if only blogs likes yours could be relayed to the class C, D, E it will be a great boost for the people’s enlightenment.

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  1. […] The courts will have a chance to establish whether the judicial and legal professions have high moral standards or low moral standards for members. I like high values myself. I confess I don’t have much confidence that some judges know what this means. I am not optimistic. Associate Supreme Court Justice Leonen probably does, but other judges seem to subscribe to rules of amoral interdependency. […]



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