Vice President Binay and the rage of the Middle Class

binay and friends rappler

Which direction, Philippines?

The Philippines is a democracy in transition and it is moving faster than some people think. The transition is from economic poverty to economic wealth, and from a feudal democracy that favors the few to a forthright democracy that works for common good. The catalyst may be President Aquino, but the transition is out of his hands now. Control rests with the Middle Class.

And the Middle Class is angry. It is angry that it carries the burdens of train fare increases, traffic jams, lousy internet service and expensive electricity. And it is in a rage that Vice President Binay is allowed to game the system, fool the people, and use sneaky premature campaigning – at taxpayer expense – to try to establish a Binay rule. It is angry at the sense of entitlement that oozes from the Binay family.

After all, the Middle Class has to EARN its way forward.

We can see the transition taking place if we look at the Senate. A few years ago, it was ruled by “the good old boys” of Enrile and Sotto, Drillon, Osmena and Angara the Elder. They connived and colluded and operated in smokey back rooms deciding how to kill legislation that would put the entitled’s grasp of authority at risk, or pass legislation that would favor them.

They are out. We now have a younger crowd moving in to take over, funded by the old dynastic ways, yes, but with a different mindset. They operate under the ideals of youth, that this nation can do better.

So we have Freedom of Information and Anti-Dynasty Bills in the works, likely to pop out in 2015. We have aggressive attack dogs like senators Cayetano and Trillanes, and even Legarda and that old but vicious purebred Santiago, on the hunt for people and deeds that are offensive to their sense of what is right. We have progressive pragmatics like Bam Aquino, Sonny Angara, Koko Pimentel, Grace Poe and Cynthia Villar working diligently on legislation that will energize the economy, promote better health and well-being, and an honest government.

The “old dogs” have been pushed to the side, three of them all the way to jail. Senators Sotto, Drillon and Recto are largely irrelevant except as figurehead statesmen. Senators Marcos and Ejercito are marginalized. Senators Escudero and Pia Cayetano seem not yet able to get to the forefront of the new movement, but they could jump in any time. Senator Binay is an outcast.

This is not your father’s Philippines.

The last dying gasp of the feudal Philippines is to be found in the (alleged) crook who is running for President, Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Here’s my take on him.

The Vice President is fostering class warfare in the Philippines but the classes are a little different than the routine alphabet classes based on income. They break out as follows:

  • The oligarchs, generally law abiding but using the forces of unrestrained economic power to acquire huge commercial empires.
  • The feudal barons backing Binay, those who owe him favors, or are owed favors by him. And those seeking a ride on the gravy train, the sister city mayors, many of whom share his values: “I get a priority claim to taxpayer money”.
  • The middle class and honest local politicians, an educated, decent people . . . some funded by OFW’s or even family wealth. . . who desire a Philippines of honorable intent and good deeds, a nation that presents opportunities for citizens to be safe and healthy, and to prosper.
  • The poor and the subsistence workers who are not in touch with opportunities to prosper because they have so few. They are the fertile field of votes that Binay seeks to harvest in 2016.

Many of us think the fate of the 2016 election rests with the poor, the D/E class in terms of personal income. I have come to the conclusion it rests elsewhere.

It rests with the oligarchs and the feudal barons.

These two groups control Philippine politics. One operates in the backroom with money and whispers being its way to exercise power. The other operates in the public eye, controlling local votes through favors granted to friends, favors too often funded by taxpayers.

I suggest that it is very important for people in these two groups to read the Middle Class rage accurately. Their futures depend on it.

Here is what they need to factor into their calculus:

There is a possibility that if Jejomar Binay is elected President, the Philippines will tear itself apart. What are the odds that this will occur, what is the risk? Small? So-so? Big?

The danger scenario is that – if Binay is elected –  Middle Class rage will erupt in another people power moment that will shut Manila down in ways that Hong Kong protesters could not imagine. It will be huge, it will engage not just the youth but the ordinary man and woman, and it will be destructive, on the fringes. Now this may give Binay the incentive to declare martial law and “move like Marcos” to seal his control.

In that case, the eruption will  go national. It will go nuclear.

So the questions the Oligarchs and the Feudal Barons need to ask is . . .

  • What are the chances? Do I want to risk that? Will I prosper if that occurs?
  • Or do I want the stability that is assured under a transforming government that emphasizes honesty and productivity?

I’ve conducted no survey and I’ve read no tea leaves, but I have read commentary on social media and in discussion threads here and there. The rage is intense. It is widespread. It is like nothing I’ve seen during my nine years here. Maybe you have insights into it that you could share.

Well, I’m guessing the crooked sister city mayors will accept Binay because an honest government is threatening to them. It will eventually catch them. But the honest sister city mayors may reject Binay. He risks leading the Philippines nowhere or backward in time, and the city needs to move forward.

The Oligarchs, if faced starkly with those questions, may very well direct their money and whispers toward the mainstream opposition to Binay. For stability in their money-making empires.

The now-silent opinon makers, the Aquino sisters and uncles, the young senators, the priests, the oligarchs and business leaders, will be forced to speak as the elections approach. Their futures and reputations ride on the preferences of the Middle Class, not the poor, and they are also likely to shun destructive turmoil. Or even the social media storms they will witness as the election approaches. They will start to shade their opinions against a Binay presidency. Or for his mainstream opponent.

The point here is very simple. By offending the Middle Class, Vice President Binay has thrown a monster wrench into the Philippine machinery for growth and prosperity. The palpable dislike for Binay threatens the stability and progressive development of the Philippines. Stability and growth is the platform for riches and success across the nation.

I suggest the oligarchs and feudal barons calculate well.

There are many paths to continued success.

There is one clear path to trouble.


203 Responses to “Vice President Binay and the rage of the Middle Class”
  1. Bing Garcia says:

    I also suggest the oligarchs and feudal barons calculate well.

    • An interesting analysis. I am trying to get my head around all of this myself. I think Aquino has set up a platform. There is a huge dynamic in the whole Asia Pacific region. Investors watch what is going on very carefully. The Philippines has been edging forward steadily. many here see this. Some, you say Binay probably, want to stay in their old comfort zones.

      There is a middle class pull, also an increasingly educated and sophisticated body of younger people, reflected in your comments on the new Senators coming through. Plus this regional dimension.

      Any thoughts on the Pope Francis visit and where is the RH bill now? I sense that the RC church here would love to see that bill removed.

      Thanks for your blog

      • Joe America says:

        Thanks for visiting and commenting, Jonathan. I like your description of the middle class “pull” because it is more descriptive of what is going on than “push”. It is a force already. Candidates and elected officials need to catch up to their modern values in order to succeed.

        I see Pope Francis as a modern humanist, and think RH is more an issue for the CBCP bishops who are bitter about losing the battle than it is with Pope Francis, who understands the practicalities and pains of poor people. I’d wager we would see divorce in the Philippines before we would see removal of the RH legislation. I think Pope Francis also has a lot of “pulling power” and it will test the CBCP bishops to become more modest and humble and compassionate about their lifestyles and works.

        • Joe America says:

          Also, I like your description of the accumulation of Aquino works on the international stage as a “platform” that is substantial in raising the image of the Philippines, not just moving away from being the poor man of Asia, but becoming a leader.

          • vernon says:

            Hi Joe,

            President ‘Noy Aquino’s administration has actually done some good moves, both on the economic and regional security front. Some local issues such as poverty were also addressed. The country is getting noticed internationally. The operative word being “noticed’.

            The local media, however, is still ambivalent (to say the least) about all these. I figure it is because he belongs to a clan ranked among the oligarchs. Surely a very awkward spot for anybody as well-meaning as he is. This remains however as my personal perception.

            Binay, on the other hand can very easily pivot and make himself appear to have the interest of the poor and marginalized. I mean, look at the optics and listen to his sound bytes. He may be renting loyalty through his bribery and dole-outs; yet good or bad, the media’s treatment of his moves are clearer than President ‘Noy’s. The media’s treatment of President ‘Noy seems to indicate that he’s nothing but an “accidental president” and therefore worth an invisible question mark with regards to his actions or in-actions, news worthy or not.

            I hate saying this but the Executive seems to have a very huge communications problem to work out in so short a time. Makes one miss Billy Esposo so much.



            • Joe America says:

              A very perceptive look at things, Vernon. A part of the problem is that the President is met with criticism at every decision or every corruption jailing, whereas Binay has to make no decisions, and face no criticism. In a crab culture with a tabloid press, the President could be Abraham Lincoln and he’d be chopped to splinters. Binay gets a free ride. Actually, better than a free ride. He gets to use taxpayer money to fund his campaign. Sigh, indeed . . .

        • Danilo David says:

          you cannot made into law the devorse and rh bill at the same time. rh bill will slow down the breakdown of family values and separation between wife and husband. as for me devorse is not an option to the philippine family values

          • Joe America says:

            Yes, I think you represent the views of many, Danilo. The difficulty is that Filipino family values are out of step with international values that give individuals rights to manage their own affairs, rather than the State managing them. And there is a subset of the entire Philippine population that wants Filipinos to be more comprehensively aligned with international human rights rather than more strict Catholic values. So for them, Filipino laws become a kind of tyranny of the majority.

          • Steve says:

            Sooner or later there will be a divorce law. The idea that marriage never ends is fantasy: marriages end every day. The church is free to deal in fantasy, that’s what a church does. The law has to deal with reality, and given the number of dissolved marriages out there, there is no excuse to not have a legal framework for recognizing what is already real.

          • josephivo says:

            Correct divorce alone does not align with our values, but divorce combined with lying does. If you have a good lawyer he will apply for annulment, based on psychological incompatibility, same thing but including lies of everybody. If you don’t have the money you just separate and live with your new wife. Unlawful children with less rights? Bahalana, the true Christian response?

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, for me it would be an easy decision. Indeed, if I were a legislator, I would have already issued my statement. “I am not in a position to judge the guilt or innocence of Vice President Binay regarding the various accusations made against him, but I believe the weight of criticism is substantial. He is unlikely to move into office without bringing a lot of skepticism and mistrust with him. Therefore, I think his candidacy does not move us forward as a unified nation, but is likely to wrap us in bitter, divisive argument. I would therefore encourage him to set citizen minds at rest before pursuing his candidacy. He can do this be being forthright in answering questions posed by the Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee or other agencies that may seek information from him. Should he not do this, I could not support him. I would throw my backing to the candidate I believe would move the Philippines forward without question as to trust and good intent.”

      Something like that.

  2. josephivo says:

    Off topic.

    Je suis Charlie. (I am Charlie)

    Is it by luck? Is it on purpose? Twice Islamic terrorist hit the core of society. First with 9/11, the World Trade Center, free trade, the soul of America. Yesterday with Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine, “laughing with the powerful is allowed”, the soul of Europe.

    But as Charlie Hebdo, I believe too that we should not need less mosques, but more mental institutions. I to belief that we should be able to treat brainwashed, fearful, cowardly individuals, also called Muslim extremists in safe, medical correct, detoxification hospitals.

    • Joe America says:

      It used to be we would find the lunatic fringe down at the corner of Fourth and Main preaching to the lampposts. Now we have them recruited by those who ignore the peaceful lessons of Islam and focus on one or two versus that call for violence. The recruited malcontents are given guns and hate. Mostly they murder other Muslims, but when they go outside their own, they punish all Muslims, too, for those of other faiths expect the moderate, rational base to manage the insane. They are not doing it, and backlash is building quickly. A solution has to come from within, and it better start soon.

      • manuel buencamino says:

        “This will be framed by many as the latest salvo in an ongoing war between the West and Islam, when what this really amounts to is the slaughter of innocent people. These murderers don’t represent anyone but themselves, their own twisted view of reality. They don’t stand for an entire religion anymore than the Westboro Baptist Church stands for an entire religion or the Ku Klux Klan stands for an entire race.” – Joe Randazzo, former editor of satirical news site “The Onion”

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, that is true. But the scale is so massive, the crimes to heinous, that people don’t comprehend why they are so common or vicious, and why the moderates of the faith largely stand silent, or, as in the case of the 9/11 attack, express pleasure (a few, not a lot). The backlash in Europe is becoming quite pronounced and I am hesitant to tell the protesters to just go home and forget about it. What is the solution?

          • manuel buencamino says:

            But how do you account for the outrage over this attack in comparison to what Anders Breivik did to 77 kids at summer camp in Oslo. That too was a terrorist attack. Breivik himself said so in his diary. Breivik was a right-wing extremist, a racist, and a Christian. There’s a danger that the Hebdo tragedy will be used as propaganda by the usual suspects against their usual targets. There’s a need to put the tragedy in perspective even as we condemn the perpetrators.


            • Joe America says:

              The Breivik attack, like the recent attack on the school in Pakistan, are so fundamentally horrifying and saddening that they are expressed more in grief. The Hebdo killings raise rage because it was an attack on our right to protest the other killings. It is trying to intimidate us into subservience if we object. Well, I suppose all acts of terror are trying to do that . . . but the Hebro executions stand side by side with beheadings as vile representations of evil, and are a part of a trend by a fairly large community that needs to be stopped. The murder of kids are seen as horrific “one off” tragedies done by individual lunatics and not sanctioned by a broader population. That’s just a guess.

              I’d have to ponder what I think could rationally be done. But I think the anti-Muslim protests are going to build as long as the “evil” is reasonably broad-based and spreading.

            • Lil says:

              Seriously, how many times do people have to use tu quoque argument of “well what about the Christians”!? every time this comes up. When was the last time a Christian shouted something “Praise be to God” before the pulling the trigger or flying planes into buildings? When? Never-Rarely. The issue is about Islamic Fundamentalism causing Terrorism. Also Breivik didn’t do it in the name of Christ. He was also a paranoid schizophrenic . The Paris gunmen clearly said they did for Allah. Allah Akbar

              • Steve says:

                You don’t have to go very far back ih history to find Christians butchering in the name of God, and even today fundamentalist missionaries are actively pushing legislation in African countries that would impose medieval punishments on people of disapproved sexual identity.

                Islam is a relatively younger religion, and still carries a bit more of that homicidal vigor. Even the question of whether or not Christianity has really lost that vigor is open to debate: Christians stopped killing in the name of God mainly because secular movements came along and removed coercive force from the Christian repertoire. One could argue that Christianity behaves better because secular populations and secular governments force it to behave better. Certainly the Bible advocates violence as aggresively as does the Koran, likely more so.

              • Lil says:

                You just proved my point. The “And You ARe Lynching Negroes” argument comes up so far when discussing religious extremism in Islam. None of those countries you’ve mentioned have advocated for violence and conquest so far beyond their borders. I certainly don’t see advocating for attacks in the West and in Israel because they don’t share the ‘same values/beliefs’ anymore.

                Also, it wasn’t just secular government that forced the different sects/interpretations of Christianity to behave better. It was the missionaries preaching about the life of Christ.

              • josephivo says:

                It is not about religion, it is about mental sanity, brainwashing, predisposition for violence, immaturity, underdeveloped frontal cortexes. Houses and treatment of the insane are needed, screening of the population, brainwash detoxicating programs…. Breivik indeed is an other good example.

              • Steve says:

                I didn’t mention any countries… and who exactly are you referring to when you speak of “advocated for violence and conquest so far beyond their borders”

              • manuel buencamino says:

                Precisely the point of the article. When it is done by paranoid schizophrenics named Omar it becomes muslim terrorism, when done by paranoid schizophrenics named Anders it is just a one-off event by an individual. Anders belonged to a christian white supremacist group.

    • edgar lores says:

      From my view, it would be an error not to see the correlation between the belief of “no images” and the violence.

  3. andrewlim8 says:

    That photo should be captioned “Kung kaya niya maki-pagalyansa kay Enrile at Estrada, hindi ka ba magdududa sa inaasal ng UNA?” and go viral.

    • Joe America says:

      Ha, yes, indeed. By the way, it is getting harder to find the photos that show Binay in a compromising position. The two best, him rock-dancing and looking lasciviously at a large breasted young lady, and him face to face with Cardinal Tagle, are no longer accessible at the source. If I had to guess, Binay had one removed and Tagle the other. ahahahaha

  4. josephivo says:

    Recent growth figures and international appraisals might have made some believe that getting a fair share of a much larger pie might be easier than the traditional fight to get a larger share of a shrinking pie. Binay comes from a “real estate” reality, were land surface is a giving.

    Fear is shrinking, more than 10 million OFW’s, supporting as many families. There will be rice on the table tomorrow. I might survive not voting for the local (war)lord. Binay’s class arguments based on fear might miss target.

    A younger generation with lesser integration in the old ways due to cell phones, internet… is promising. (Increasing teen-pregnancies are threatening, creating more dependencies. Half a million abortions are threatening, creating inconsistencies between beliefs and practice.). Binay is in his 70’ies, old stock.

    Hope might be justified, complacency not.

    • Joe America says:

      You are right on target. I think the Middle Class has hope for a better, more rational and kind Philippines, and they are unlikely to be complacent about it. Their lives depend on decent services and treatment and opportunity.

  5. manuel buencamino says:

    Revolutions start with the middle class, when a serious disconnect happens between it and the upper class, when that disconnection takes shape and is filtered down to the masses. The middle class, by itself, does not have the numbers to elect a president or mount a revolution but its value rests on its influence on the perspective, values, and mood of the lower classes. But who does the middle class follow? I believe the middle class takes its cues from the upper classes – for as long as the exploitation and oppression is tolerable. So first you need the upper classes to unite against Binay.

    Looking back at martial law, the dictatorship rode high until the upper classes began to feel the pinch. Before the upper classes started to doubt and later on organize and fight the dictatorship, the opposition was going nowhere. I know it sounds elitist but I am enough of a realist to know that without resources you don’t get very far against a powerful enemy. I am just basing what I say on my ownline timeline that tracks the relationship between the dictatorship and the upper classes, when it supported the dictatorship and up to the time it turned against it and all of a sudden the dictatorship was in real trouble.

    Then again, we shouldn’t be lulled into analyzing demographics only from a national scale. Every community has their own upper, middle, and lower classes and, in many instances, the rich in one community would be categorized as poor by nationwide standards. So the question is how does one get to the influential members of communities? Binay does it with his sister cities program and his fraternity and Boy Scouts chapters. But he does not have a lock on them yet. A clear alternative to Binay will cut through the formidable the formidable political structure he has built.

    • Joe America says:

      As I read, I grow discouraged, then get picked up again toward the end. I can’t get a handle on the rich, frankly. But the middle is fuming, I’d say. Is it now substantial in a way that did not exist in 1986? Are the media of social movement more effective? Hmmmmmm. If I were rich and I saw the whole nation emerging as more successful, and I was reasonably assured of getting my malls or beer out there in a stable market, I would not want a yahoo in the driver’s seat muckin’ things up.

      Just sayin’. 🙂

      • manuel buencamino says:


        I went back to the Pulse Asia 4th quarter survey. Unfortunately the performance and trust ratings of Binay were not broken down by demographics so we can’t tell if Binay’s huge drop in ratings can be credited to the middle class. So I couldn’t tell from the survey whether the middle class is fuming and how fumed they are.

        Anyway, the five most urgent national concerns out of a list of 12 (respondents were allowed to name their top 3 choices) were identified as : 1. Controlling inflation 52% 2. improving/increasing the pay of workers 46% 3. reducing poverty 40% 4. fighting graft and corruption 36% 5. creating more jobs 30%. (FYI, before the 2010 election, fighting graft and corruption was never in the top 5 of the list of urgent national concerns)

        On news tracking : TV dominates with 61% of the survey base identifying it as their daily news source; radio – 16%; newspapers – 2%; internet* – 5%.
        * Note: from the survey base of registered voters, 37% never use the internet for news; and 42% do not have internet access. I can send you a screen shot of those numbers on national concerns and news consumption (detailed break down) if you tell me how to upload it to your comments section.

        If by “the media of social movement” you are referring to social media like fb, blogs etc. it is obviously not yet large enough to have a meaningful impact. Broadcast and print media still dominate, overwhelmingly. However, if you count text messaging as part of non-traditional media then there you will find the highest number of users. If one can tap into texting and use it effectively, because text blasts are expensive, then you would have a great tool for direct, unfiltered messaging.

        “If I were rich…” Well there you have it. Stay rich and grow richer holds true not only for the rich.

        • Bert says:

          In news blogs about Binay particularl in the Inquirer and abs-cbn, I noticed majority of the commenters certainly showed anger if not rage at Binay..

          • manuel buencamino says:

            Yes. But that comes from those with access to the internet. Although the huge drop in the performance and trust ratings of Binay do show that the anger is widespread.

        • Joe America says:

          🙂 Getting rich is a metaphor for the innate drive to make something better of ourselves. It is natural to the human condition. Greed is when we need to get rich at someone else’s expense. (Making this up as I go along . . . self rationalization is an art . . .)

          Very interesting information. I think the social media have a trickle-down influence of reaching decision makers, opinion makers and even popular media, so it is rather the idea-generation source. But the point is good, we are too some extent talking into the wind and would be more influential if Joe America could stand next to Korina and give his spin on things. And if y’all were in the audience raising signs like they do on “Showtime”.

          Also it is true, my observation of rage is anecdotal and not scientific.

          I’m sorry, I don’t know how to upload things into the comment section. I think your synopsis makes the point, or you can forward a link.

    • edgar lores says:

      1. There is a view that revolutions start from the upper fringes of society, either the intelligentsia or a disaffected section of the upper class. There is a nice insight from Crane Brinton’s “Anatomy of Revolution”: Revolutions are “born of hope” rather than misery.

      2. Certainly, as we noted before, while there were many mini-triggers to Marcos’ downfall, the immediate cause was EDSA… and this was primarily a break at, and a breakaway of military elements from, the top.

      2.1. The Philippine revolution was born of the intelligentsia, Rizal and his La Liga Filipina cohorts, and, like EDSA, may have been kicked off by the “uprising of soldiers at the Fort San Felipe arsenal in Cavite el Viejo,” which led to the Gomburza martyrdom.

      3. The D and E classes are too subjugated and too downtrodden to rise up in arms. They have arms but are not armed.

      4. The middle class, portions of B and C, are too busy with their gadgets and their aspirations to go abroad or join the A class. They make excellent cannon fodder. They will rise, as they did in EDSA, but mainly as human shields. It is the progeny of the middle class, the students in UP and other leading universities, who become radicalized and form the avant-garde of the revolutionary intelligentsia.

      4.1. They might spark the revolution but it is unlikely that they will succeed — unless…

      5. A section of the ruling A class is able to win over a segment of the military. This was the strategy behind the coup attempts of Enrile and Trillanes. (This is the “success story” behind the power grabs in other Asian countries, notably Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand.)

      5.1. We have Trillanes’ word that Binay was a stakeholder.

      5.2. Note the warnings from Malacanang for the military to shun becoming pawns of powerful men.

      5.3. A fly in the ointment of any military takeover would be getting the consent of the U.S.

      5.4. If the people are stupid enough to put Binay in office, and Binay openly aligns himself with China’s interests, there will be no fly in the ointment.

      6. Disclosure: I may have had a bottle or two of Pure Blonde while writing this.

      • manuel buencamino says:

        The assassination of Ninoy was the turning point. That’s when everybody, specially the rich, saw that nobody was safe anymore. That’s when the rich realized that the period of peaceful coexistence was over and even Cardinal Sin began to move away from his stance of “critical collaboration” to more open opposition.

        • edgar lores says:

          Agree to a certain degree. There were many turning points, and Ninoy’s assassination was a major one. But that was not the immediate cause of the downfall.

          • manuel buencamino says:

            That was the turning point. The number of people who attended the wake and funeral of Ninoy showed once and for all what Hindi ka nag iisa meant. It was not just Ninoy and company who wanted an end to the dictatorship. The sight of millions who yearned for democracy gave courage to the “silent majority” who were too afraid to speak and act out.

            • edgar lores says:

              Agree to a certain degree. But that was not the immediate cause of the downfall.

              • manuel buencamino says:

                Difficult to say what the immediate cause was. Was it the RAM mutiny, was it FVR who finally decided to join Enrile and RAM, was it Cardinal Sin who issued a call to the public to form a protective shield around Camp Crame, was it the people who responded to the Cardinal’s call, was it the general who remained loyal to Marcos but at the same time did not carry out the order to fire at the camp because he did not want civilians hurt, was it Ronald Reagan who withdrew his support and asked Marcos to cut clean? The Ninoy assassination was not the immediate cause, it was, as I have said, the turning point.

              • edgar lores says:

                Yes, and let’s not forget June Kiethly’s broadcast, the capture of Channel 4, the attack on Villamor air base and so many more.

                When EDSA proper is celebrated, it is the events that took place between February 22 and February 25, 1986 that are taken into account.

              • Steve says:

                I was there on the streets, and I think the Cardinal Sin influence is much overrated. I don’t think very many people in that crowed needed Cardinal Sin’s permission or request: they knew what they were there for.

                For me the breaking point of the actual EDSA event was the confrontation between civilians and Marines on Ortigas Ave, afternoon of the second day, when the civilians blocked the advance and the Marines backed down. If the civilians had backed off or the Marines had fired on them, it would have been over soon thereafter.

                The leadup had many significant events, a continuum of decline for Marcos. Certainly the Aquino assassination was key, but there were other moments as well.

              • karl garcia says:

                Then what is? Is it the cut it clean thing. If no phone call was made, would he have stayed put?

              • edgar lores says:


                I gave my answer in my final post in that thread. I just did not draw the dots and left it to the reader.

                The question was: What is the immediate cause of Marcos’ downfall? The operative word is “immediate”.

                And the pertinent answer and sentence reads: “When EDSA proper is celebrated, it is the events that took place between February 22 and February 25, 1986 that are taken into account.”

                Ninoy was assassinated in 1983. Certainly, millions attended his funeral but did the people at that time rise up in revolt and throw down Marcos? No.


                EDSA 1986 was a singular event. That is at the macro level. At the micro level, it was a plurality of events — both serial and simultaneous — that started at 6:30 pm on February 22nd with Enrile’s mutiny and that ended with the Marcoses fleeing Malacanang at midnight on February 25th.

                Seen in the light as a singular event, EDSA proper was the immediate cause of Marcos’ downfall. In particular, one might say, as I am contending, that Enrile’s mutiny started the whole ball rolling. And one might conclude that Senator Laxalt’s phone call was the final roll of the ball.


                If we go back to the start of the thread, MB’s thesis was that revolutions start with the middle class. My antithesis was that revolutions start from the upper fringes of society, either with the intelligentsia or a disaffected portion of the upper class. BTW, my antithesis is not original; it’s from the book I cited, Crane Brinton’s “The Anatomy of Revolution.” It just so happens that the Philippine Revolution and the EDSA Peoples’ Power Revolution fit and confirm the Brinton template.

                One additional observation I might make is that Brinton’s analysis includes a “Reign of Terror” phase before resolution. Our revolutions did not go through this horrendous blood-letting phase which, as a result, might partially explain why we continue to suffer from a prolonged reign of impunity.


                If you want an analogy, it would be like answering the question: What is the immediate cause of a car moving?

                One might say that turning the starter key is the cause. This is equivalent to the turning point of Ninoy’s assassination. But does this start the car moving? No.

                Is it moving the transmission to first gear or drive? No.

                Is it releasing the handbreak? No.

                Is it pressing on the accelerator pedal? Yes. This is the equivalent of Enrile’s mutiny.

                Note that each “macro” action in the sequence initiates one or many micro processes. I’m not an automotive mechanic, but turning the key pumps gas from the tank into the engine, the electrical system sparks the spark plugs that starts the engine, the car goes through a self-check routine, the lights on the dashboard light up to indicate faults or no faults, the air-conditioner starts, so forth and so on.

                Same thing when you move the transmission to drive and press the accelerator. The transmission is an engineering miracle that converts the horizontal power of the driveshaft into rotating the perpendicular axle unto which the wheels are attached. And were not even talking about automatic, manual, gear rations, torque, differentials, etcetera.

                The analogy is not precise because the time between turning the key and pressing the accelerator is a matter of seconds not years. But I think you get the general idea.


  6. edgar lores says:

    1. I wonder about the Filipino’s sense of honor, guilt and shame. It seems that, unlike our neighboring countries of Japan and South Korea, we have little concept of the virtue of honor and consequently little feelings of guilt and shame.

    2. As we know, a Japanese or South Korean official who has lost his honor because he has done wrong, intentionally or even unintentionally, will feel guilty and hang his head in shame. A Japanese politician whose honor has been impugned will resign. A South Korean vice-principal who was in charge of the many students that died in a recent ferry disaster committed suicide.

    2.1. Guilt is supposed to be our awareness of the pain we have inflicted on others for our wrongdoing. It is outer-directed.

    2.2. Shame is supposed to be our awareness of the pain we have inflicted on ourselves for our wrongdoing. It is inner-directed.

    3. Let us not mince words.

    4. Our record for honorable behavior is scant: two at most… but even at that one is uncertain. There’s the suicide of Chief of Staff Angelo Reyes and the belated resignation of Senator Miguel Zubiri,

    5. On the other hand, our record for dishonorable behavior is overflowing. Just within PNoy’s term, we have had ex-President Arroyo, Chief Justice Corona, General Garcia, Ombudsman Gutierrez, Senators Sotto, Enrile, Revilla and Estrada, and presidential candidate Binay. I am certain there are more… like the PMA scandal and Pacquiao’s absentee record.

    5.1. These people should hang their heads in shame. But, no, instead they parade themselves… in shirts and jackets of flagrant color. As the Filipino expression goes, they are kapal-muks.

    6. These people deserve our opprobrium. Binay in particular. Well, all of them but Binay in particular. Why? Because the man – and I used the word advisedly – has no honor, bears no guilt, feels no shame… and because he continues to aspire to the highest post in the land.

    This. This when he should be wishing and praying that the earth beneath him open up and swallow him whole.

    • andrewlim8 says:


      Your line of thought supports my prior theories on the impact of the dominant religion in the country on formation of character, conscience and values.

      Note that the two countries you mentioned that exhibit honor, feelings of guilt and shame are not Catholic dominated. I am hard pressed to find similar examples in countries that are Catholic dominated. Perhaps our Sonny here can cite some.

      Of course, this is not a simplistic affair of correlating two variables then coming out with a causality that the dominance of a religion determines these but look at the politics of the Latin American countries, which share a largely similar arc with us:

      Pablo Escobar became a Congressman. Berlusconi of Italy displayed his mistresses blatantly. So many Latin American countries spawned corrupt right wing dictatorships, left-wing insurgencies, widespread poverty and injustice, and weak economies.

      Not that the dominant religion teaches wrongdoing, but it creates a very tolerant culture that is opportunistically taken advantage of, which leads to impunity.

      • edgar lores says:


        We have analyzed this before. We have spoken about the sacrament of confession. There is no guilt or shame because confession erases our sins… even though we have not truly confessed our true sins. It reconciles us with God and makes us whole again. The burden of guilt has been lifted.

        What we have not touched on before is this: that good works, which in Catholicism is a prerequisite (along with faith) for entry into heaven, are also compensatory. There’s nothing wrong with stealing P55M if I donate a sum, no matter how measly in comparison, say P50K, to the Church’s coffer.

        This reminds me of Vice Mayor Mercado’s story of how Binay would visit different churches, scan for defects, and promise each priest he would fund the repair. In doing this, he magically transforms his sin of stealing into virtue. Just like the ancient quest of alchemy of transforming base metal into gold.

      • sonny says:

        “… Note that the two countries you mentioned that exhibit honor, feelings of guilt and shame are not Catholic dominated. I am hard pressed to find similar examples in countries that are Catholic dominated. Perhaps our Sonny here can cite some.”

        Good question to reflect on, Andrew. I cannot think of Catholic countries exhibiting Korean and Japanese reactions to shame and guilt. In these two countries suicide is an honorable and accepted act of contrition and expiation, suicide is the penitent’s judgment and sentence of punishment and forgiveness and honor all rolled into one. Catholic/Christian justice on the other hand has a different expression of redemption – confession, admission of guilt, swallow personal shame, perform restitution, seek absolution and seek retribution by living a reformed life, keeping in mind that ultimate judgment and punishment belongs to God alone. My take.

      • Lito Trias says:

        In short, the Philippines is a South American country situated in Asia.

        • Joe America says:

          That would make an interesting blog article. I tend to think there are similarities, of temperament and Catholicism, but vast differences, in terms of the American and Chinese influences, variety of languages and sub-cultures, and geography. South American nations were not occupied during WWII. Their hub of commercial activity (Manila), was not destroyed. I see the Philippines as more diverse and conflicted than most Latin American nations. But that is just a top-of-mind reaction. I could be taught otherwise.

    • Joe America says:

      2. South Korea arrested the daughter of an oligarch who caused a flight delay for fuming about the way nuts were served. We get Nancy.

      3. The Binay family does not know what shame is, nor do the influential appear to know it, either. Doing my best not to mince.

      5.1 Thank you for not mincing, either.

      6. I can’t pronounce opprobrium, much less spell it without copying you. But I agree entirely.

      You do rage well yourself.

    • Steve says:


      [i] Just within PNoy’s term, we have had ex-President Arroyo, Chief Justice Corona, General Garcia, Ombudsman Gutierrez, Senators Sotto, Enrile, Revilla and Estrada, and presidential candidate Binay. I am certain there are more… like the PMA scandal and Pacquiao’s absentee record.[/i]

      I am sure there are many more. I also suspect that all of these and many more represent activities that have been going on without scandal for a long long time. One of the refreshing things about the Aquino administration is that scandals have actually come to light, rather than being ignored or swept under the rug.

  7. Steve says:

    The middle class is growing and has some power, but also has real limitations. It is overwhelmingly Manila-focused, and all too often devotes much of its effort to talking to itself, often via social media, rather then building alliance with the more numerous poorer classes.

    In the Philippines, more than in most places, all politics are local. Changing the faces at the top or in the Senate will not produce lasting reform unless the people in Manila discover the will to challenge and confront the local dynasties. Most politicians, even the reform oriented, are very reluctant to do that, as the dynasties control votes and have a lot of influence in the legislative branch. The middle class needs to move beyond the Manila-centric attitude and start building effective communication with the D/E voters if it wants to produce change.

    In some ways this will be a fascinating campaign. Binay’s strategy is clear: he’s going to run an old fashioned 100% trapo campaign: patronage, Epal to the max, entertainment over substance, motherhood statements and pseudo-populist rhetoric blended with deal-cutting with every local dynasty he can reach. Not even the slightest lip service will be paid to any idea of change or new politics. Where that will get him remains to be seen. The results if nothing else will give some idea of whether or not the Philippine electorate has matured.

    • Joe America says:

      It will be a fascinating campaign, and it will stand as a test of maturity. It’s interesting. There is a middle class in outlying areas. In Tacloban, it is funded by a lot of OFW money plus business owners. The city tends to march to a Romualdez beat, which I expect to be a Binay beat. I’m thinking there will not be a lot of maturity displayed. Nothing in it for anybody. There is no connection between straight path governance and getting along in the city. That’s a guess.

      Indeed, fascinating.

      • Steve says:

        The provincial middle class is in many areas a generation behind the Manila middle class in terms of activism; often they seem more into sucking up to the ruling class than trying to dislodge them. That may or may not change with time. Provincial politics can also be much more personal than those of Manila, and confronting the rulers can be more dangerous.

        • edgar lores says:


          Your readings and guesses are terrifying.

          Binay loses, Filipinos are champs.
          Binay wins, Filipinos are chumps.

          Champs, chumps… chimps?

          Something to chomp on, hey?

          • Steve says:

            I wouldn’t say it’s about champs, chumps, chimps, or chomps… more a question of testing the validity of assumptions that have been made about the changes (or lack thereof) in the electorate. Who will be swayed by this retreat into pure, unadulterated trapo politics, and in what numbers? I don’t think anyone knows for sure. We’ll see.

  8. Bert says:

    I am on record an ardent supporter of Noynoy Aquino from the onset. Still am. Most disturbing to me, aside from the thought that Binay might make it to the presidency, is the attitude of the Aquino family in their inexorable support to Binay. Is it that they have no sense at all of patriotic fervor in their heart for the country, thinking perhaps of the benefits to be derived from a friend who is holding the highest position in the land? Is Ninoy Aquino’s vaunted patriotism and love of country rubbed on President Noynoy but did not stick to the other member of the Aquino clan? I’m sad, really sad…and angry.

  9. andrewlim8 says:

    Sent you an email, Joe.

  10. I’ve just posted and shared my own take on the main trigger on the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship in Facebook.

  11. kapayapaan_1900 says:

    Joe, the pic you posted speaks a thousand words: a direful warning of the path Filipinos will be threading under a Binay presidency! Look into their eyes and you can see it all – the arrogance, hypocrisy, and indifference to the truth of what they are.

    I do agree with Edgar Lores’ comments in Number 6 when he says:

    “These people deserve our opprobrium. Binay in particular. Well, all of them but Binay in particular. Why? Because the man – and I used the word advisedly – has no honor, bears no guilt, feels no shame… and because he continues to aspire to the highest post in the land.”

    The UNA triumvirate fit together like a giant picture puzzle!

  12. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    1. I wonder about the Filipino’s sense of honor, guilt and shame. It seems that, unlike our neighboring countries of Japan and South Korea, we have little concept of the virtue of honor and consequently little feelings of guilt and shame. – EDGAR LORES

    Filipinos have sense of guilt and shame. Yet, they stand fast because like ZTE 1-0 against government, Gloria Arroyo 3-0 against government, Michael Arroyo 2-0 against government, Drilon 1-0 against government and multitude of others, were found out to be innocent after name-and-shame game by the government because of absence of evidence.

    If case is strong before they make the charges public, there would have been sense of foreboding on the accused. But incompetence and ignorance make them have no guilt and shame nor honor.

    The Philippine Press is the master of this or they being used because they allowed themselves to be used or maybe the Philippine Press is just clueless that they are used.

    Just very recently, Alcala was named-and-shamed. deLima admitted they do not have evidence. The loser of all this is Janet Napoles, the only crook that did not graduate from U.P.

    So, people who are accused! Stand strong. They may not have strong case. The weaker the case if they are not graduates from U.P. because of absence of academic blood.

    Let us have a moment of silence to Charlie Hebedo. They may only have 30,000 circulation compared to Philippine Press but woke up the 1stWorld by its massacre.

    Philippine Press has million in circulation but the world slept soundly when 52 journalists were massacred.

  13. Ronald says:

    Nice read… I reflect on those days when we walk the streets and shout for sovereignty and independence from foreign powers and fight of local land lords who oppresses it’s own people, this was the struggle some decades ago, the street was the only venue of airing grievances, though sometimes it can be tragic as some of our farmers learned that faithful May, but when things seems to be hopeless the streets gave us hope, we where able to change the powers that had fooled the people by betraying its mandate, even this president was chosen because the people showed out on the street to honor it’s mother because the incumbent has bled us dry. Yes, the street was the only place where people can find justice and solidarity…to my amazement, the voice of the people can now be heard at walls of the senate. social reforms, justice and grievances can now be aired in its halls, it choose to lend its ear not to its political master but to its real bosses, the people. Yes I agree, this is no more our father’s Philippines.

  14. Fred Escobar says:

    Hi Joe,
    The picture posted in this post should have read “the three stooges”. ( I am being nice with that label, actually the label should read “The Bad, The Worst and the Worst Ugly crooks in the Philippines”. Joe, Binay and the whole clan should really be in jail as far as I am concerned. Why he has been side stepping and running away from all the invitations by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to defend himself only shows the people that is obviously guilty of what he is being charged with; all the charges for that matter. Look in this eyes and you can clearly see the deceit and the guilt and you don’t have to an Einstein to figure it out. Cayetano and Trillanes should keep tightening the noose around Binay’s neck to make him puke out the truth about his plundering activities that he is so used to now because he has been doing it for years. He even thought his wife, son and daughter how to plunder at a very young age. SHAME,SHAME.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, the evidence to me, as presented to the Sub-committee, is clear. It is impossible to explain why a building worth less than P900 million was sold to taxpayers for P2.3 billion. Testimony proved that the early explanations were not true. So the man runs and tries to crucify anyone who dares to demand an honest explanation. Toss in the missing witnesses and a hacienda that did not appear out of thin air and I have no problem saying, from all I know and see, he is a crook. We ought not elect crooks as president.

      • Fred Escobar says:

        Thanks Joe, we are in the same boat.

      • josephivo says:

        It’s a pity that the 2 senators do not stick to one or two major (billions) waterproof cases and repeat them again and again. “In aid of legislation” all processes have to be exposed into the greatest details, do not jump to similar cases. Why to add small cakes, small houses, “small” gardens… with less direct evidence. They are just offering Binay escapes. On top people might start thinking that the accusations are not that strong, that additional things have to be “invented”, exaggerated to keep the “good” man under fire. I don’t mind if he gets only one lifetime sentence instead of the 10 lifetime sentences he really deserves.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, I agree. It is becoming fishing rather than nailing, unless they have some big time evidence.

        • Steve says:

          The Senate cannot impose any sentence at all. It is a venue for public denunciation, which requires the constant introduction of new material to maintain attention.

          • josephivo says:

            Yap, but they can produce evidence for the Sandiganbayan or every other court. New material can come from new details in the 2 big cases, the cost of steel, cement, timber, tiles, paint…. quantities budgeted, produced and invoiced…. middle men, brokers, accountants, lawyers, auditors….project management, organization, timetables, meeting schedules, attendees… needs assessments, quality objectives, project risk management…bank accounts, cash transfers… related projects as the Batangas estate… intimidation efforts, influence peddling… just to name a few avenues that could be taken on the same project, all relevant for future legislation.

            • Steve says:

              I wonder how many “investigations in aid of legislation” ever produce any legislation? Most seem to be essentially investigation in aid of publicity, dropped as soon as all possible mileage has been extracted.

        • davide says:

          Tumpak, I myself is getting tired with Sen. Trillanes face off. What he’s doing is making people think that he is just posturing himself for more media ops. All his expose needs to be properly backed with hard evidence but, some are just innuendos that can easily be denied by the Binays. I would like very much that Binay will be erased as it is really irritating watching him and his spokers just rebut and deny at the expense of Sen Trillanes being somewhat a m!@$n, with a loose cannon.

          • Bert says:

            Ah, so we want to stop Trillanes and Cayetano’s senate probe of Binay because we want to “erase” Binay. Wonderful.

            • davide says:

              I don’t want it to stop but, he or they should properly address it with hard facts of evidence that could be used as evidence by the Sandigan courts, and the Binays spokers will look very stupid when they try to spin around it. Hindi yong alanganin na pagbubunyag para lang sa media coverage. We are on the same boat @Bert, presently what I see in Sen. Trillanes is prepping up himself to whatever ambitions he has. He is a good Senator, I don’t question that but somehow his style in going after the Binay’s is boomeranging.

  15. Manuel C. Diaz says:

    The middle class can rage up to heaven but come election time they cannot muster a majority. The middle class votes will be scattered and Binay’s 40% idiots voters will prevail. Look at five years ago the Filipinos elected BS Aquino not because he was the messiah but out of sympathy to his died mother and who got the second place yours truly ERAP sa mahirap, convicted felon and pardoned by another corrupt President Gloria Arroyo. This time history will repeat itself.Binay will be the next President of Islas de ladrones aka Philippines!

    • Joe America says:

      It seems to me that President Aquino has brought the Philippines a long way, so if we disagree on that point, I doubt our thinking has a lot in common. I’m not ready to concede the election, for sure. But feel free to believe what you believe.

  16. Jun Dee says:

    GOOD READ – that was the caption written by Thinking Class of the Philippines’ FB page which shared this blog post. Indeed, it’s a good read and not just that; it’s a MUST READ as it is enlightening and deeply anchored with its analysis and deductions.

    I can only hope Joe that bits of valuable information such as this reach not only the middle class but also those who were not endowed with the luxury of being able to travel the world and gather as much info from the comfort of their desks and/or rooms. The E and D classes of our social structure from whom Binay hopes to draw the votes that will catapult him to his obsession should be educated about the perils of electing an insatiable monster to the Presidency.

    But even this effort needs dedicated endeavors and massive funding. This is where the oligarchs and feudal barons should enter. We can’t expect them to leave their cozy places to speak at forums. But at the very least, they can provide the needed logistics to launch an all out campaign aimed at educating every Filipino about the evils of Binay et al. I said “every Filipino.” Not just the voters but everybody who is bound to suffer the reverberating ill-effects of an administration whose only motivation for public service is personal albeit immoral material gains.

    • Joe America says:

      Good points, all. Yes, the HOW of influencing the broad voter population is the flaw in this argument if the oligarchs and feudal barons stay quiet. I think the oligarchs might convince people like the Aquino uncles to fly straight, and shade some politicians to support a different candidate. They can also donate. The mayors can have local influence if they speak up. But if people of note start turning away from Binay, it will be picked up in popular media. And add to the tide against Binay in a big way. I wish someone with clout would whisper to the Vice President, “don’t pursue it; we have to oppose you”.

      • Bert says:

        Someone with clout? Hmmn, could that be the Makati Business Club? Oh, how I wish the MBC would do it to Binay like it did to Erap during Erap’s time.But I guess it won’t. Binay is of the elite while Erap of the ‘masa’. Birds of the same feathers protect each other.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, or the Boy Scouts. Or Ayala.

          • Jun Dee says:

            I’ve been contemplating about the P’noy factor. Binay may have a convincing edge when it comes to mass base, thanks to his “generosity and approachability.” But surely, P’noy’s endorsement may spell the difference. That is of course, if P’noy finally chooses to endorse a different candidate.

            However, the way I look at it, P’noy seems to be playing it shrewdly. He enjoys watching the protagonists prepare for the upcoming battle. He doesn’t want to place his bet this early lest he chooses a bet that might lose his steam as the uphill journey goes on. What aggravates the situation (as far as the anti-Binays are concerned) is the President’s indecision amid all the exposes of Binay and family’s anomalies and abuses being uncovered in these unfolding investigations. Anyway, he is what he is. That clout of protection which he gives to his friends shall always be there; for Purisima, Alcala, Abaya and Binay, as long as they remain his friends.

            I just hope that when the time for him to choose comes, he bears in mind that the public’s perception counts a lot in the stability of a leader’s term.

            • Joe America says:

              The president is indeed a shrewd man, and not too many see that, I think. And I like your sense of pragmatism in saying “he is what he is”. I’d add that he is entitled to be who he is, and not be another “us”. I’m confident in his good intentions, so I think he will do all he can to make sure the nation is in good hands when he retires.

  17. sonny says:

    A friend suggested: 6 yrs is not enough to do a fair job of president; why not repeat a scenario such as: Estrada bungles at midterm –> Gloria Arroyo comes to the rescue, unseats Estrada –> Gloria takes over to a virtual 9-yr presidential term. Likewise Binay bungles at midterm, with help/pressure of his “flaws,” goes the way of Estrada, that gives 3 yrs for the knight-errant to prepare on the wings –> then comes to the rescue and gets a 9-yr presidential term. So there is hope for PH inspite of Binay.

    • Bert says:

      Sonny, looks to me your friend is a Binay supporter, :).

      • sonny says:

        Actually, Bert, we’re trying to figure out how best to place and position Bam. 🙂 Malakas ang bias namin sa kanya. I want him (and PH) to succeed where Marcos failed.

        • sonny says:

          Sen Bam’s provenance is sterling, Aquino of Tarlac and Aguirre of Davao. So is his academic and social OJT. If Manila was ancient Rome, I would classify him as patrician and Binay as plebeian. The unknown factor is whether he can do Machiavelli and the Art of War. He can do drones as Binay can do gladiators. My broad strokes.

          • Joe America says:

            There must be someone in NSO receptive to . . . um . . . incentives . . . to muck around with Bam’s birth certificate to make him a few years older.

            I’m for making him king, and the next election is just holding space so he can grow up and do good deeds whilst he is a working stiff, and before he becomes monarch.

            • sonny says:

              My bad too, Joe. I’ll go to my room now. 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                In all seriousness, Bam Aquino seems to me to be one of the harder working, well-focused legislators, at least at the hearing stages. He has been working on broadband services and business competitiveness (including anti-trust). It will be interesting to see if he can get draft bills to the Act stage. I was disappointed to find that he is too young to have his hat in the ring for consideration for president. I was pleased to discover, however, that Pacquiao is also too young.

        • Bert says:

          But your friends suggestion would take too long for Bam to do a Machiavelli if ever he can while Binay will be playing gladiator already for the next six years, maybe more, maybe forever. Binay might even succeed where Marcos failed. I therefore finally conclude that your friend is a Binay supporter, :).

        • sonny says:

          You paint a reasonable scenario, Bert. My contention (not my friend’s) is that if the worst of Binay’s plays out without let up at the half-term mark and the Filipino people acquiesces, then we deserve Binay. 😦

    • Joe America says:

      Now that is the height of optimistic thinking. But I do agree, Filipinos would make it hard on Binay if he got elected.

  18. Lhot says:

    I just want to say that I love reading your work, I prefer to read here than on news papers. Very informative, I learned a lot from you.

  19. Dick S. O'Rosary says:

    The prospect of a Binay Presidency scares me. I’m quite sure that this middle class will not be voting him in. What worries me is the COMELEC. Somehow, thanks to these anomalies with the PCOS machine maintenance and allegations of dagdag bawas with these machines, How can we direct our anger to make sure that our elections will truly reflect our choice?

    • Joe America says:

      I totally share your unease about COMELEC. It is an agency that seems to operate with its own sense of impunity, walled off from dialogue about criticisms, making decisions behind closed doors, failing to explain flaws or provide assurances. The main message is “trust us” . . . which is what Binay says . . .

      • davide says:

        Is the COMELEC really the culprit???? Should we not also look thru and use a microscope on Mr. Lagman!!!! He was always against the PCOS from the very start WHY??? If I remember it right he was pushing other voting machine to used by COMELE. I can be corrected if I am wrong.

        • Joe America says:

          Sure, look at Lagman, too. I’m just sharing my admittedly superficial readout. It seems like there is a hailstorm of complaints and no explanation that answers the complaints. You know, that explains and gives assurance that the elections will not be compromised in a major way by the equipment. The answer seems to read “trust us”, there is no problem.

        • edgar lores says:


          Isn’t it incumbent upon you to find out what Gus Lagman’s proposal was before casting doubt upon it?

          As I recall, Gus found full automation of vote casting and counting was expensive and unnecessary. In his analysis, cheating was not done in the casting and in the counting but in the aggregation (or canvassing) of votes particularly at the local levels. His proposal was partial automation at the vote aggregation stage.

          Manual counting is followed in many countries. In Australia, manual casting and counting is done and aggregation is by machine. This hybrid system is so efficient that results at the national level are generally known before midnight on polling day. (Granted that Australia has a small population. But even with partial results, computer extrapolation of voting trends can be very sophisticated and accurate.)

          I believe the core of Gus’ proposal was for the results of manual counting to be transmitted to the national (and regional/provincial) computation centers — directly and without delay upon the close of manual counting on election day. There are 1,634 municipalities in the country. Assuming an average of 10 polling places for each, that would make 16,340 sets of numbers to be aggregated. (Each set would consists of the results for national, provincial and local levels.) This is not an immense number for computers to deal with.

          I believe Gus’ idea was for the results to be tabulated in a spreadsheet that would be transparent and open to inspection by anyone.

          Naturally, audit controls would still take place under, more or less, the current canvassing procedures. But with the spread of technology, anyone with a computer anywhere could review the spreadsheet as and when it was being updated. Certainly, each political party would have watchers that would be viewing and reviewing the spreadsheet as well. It is this transparency, combined with the the direct transmittal of the results on election day — without delay — that prevents cheating. (A prerequisite of Gus’ idea is that each polling station must have the ability to transmit the data immediately using whatever communication channel is available.)

          Apart from the expense, there are many other points about full automation that are questionable such as the non-transparent programming, the non-transparent attribution of votes to each candidate, and the non-transparent tabulation.

  20. Martin says:

    Fuming middle class! The people I work with are middle class, they are the hardest working I have ever worked with and the most change adaptable. Leave ideals behind, where is North Africa now after the revolutions! But what recourse is left in a country with so many barriers to growth and economic independence? A country that quashes job opportunities every day with a myriad of delays all created to channel funds to some vested interest at the expense of the country as a whole. A country that send 13m people overseas away from their families 25% of its workforce because it is so ineffective at creating jobs. A great country with enormous resources which just needs the right leadership but with a political system that makes great leadership very difficult.
    20 years of reform that needs to be perpetuated with each change of president each one making effective reforms
    Would a middle class revolution work? Maybe I don’t know but I would guess 80% of the wealth of the country is in Manila. If they don’t see progression more than getting a cake on your birthday what choice do they have!

    • Joe America says:

      Perfect expression of the “rage” and frustration I was trying to get at. I agree with you, Rizal’s “indolent” tag does not apply either to the middle class or the laboring class, when there is a reasonable pay-back for effort put in. And there is a breaking point to “entitled” people profiting from another man’s labor. I agree with that, too.

      Thanks for the comment.

  21. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Philippines is progressing.
    Garlic. Onions. Bigas. Smuggled.
    It is easier to smuggle than plant Garlic, onions and Bigas
    What they are goot at is planting evidences! Evidences grows on trees.

  22. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Brigadier General, two-time congressman, Doctor of Humanities, boxing sensation and living diety and hero, Manny Pacquiao will judge up and coming Miss Universe contest. Thank you, Donald! Thank you so much. With all the sham, drudgery and broken dreams and promises Filipinos are happy and proud again!

    But, still, we are not planting Garlic, Onions and Bigas. We smuggle it. Agriculture is below our league.

  23. taxj says:

    You are against Binay. Therefore, you must be for Roxas, the candidate of the huge crime syndicate that now controls the legislative and executive arm of the government. I don’t think the country can afford another stooge for a president.

    • Joe America says:

      I understand your point to be that LP is riddled with favoritism and criminal acts, and that Roxas would not change that. So let me take that as a starting point. a) Yes, I am opposed to Binay because he is dishonest and has made off with billions of taxes generated by earnest labor and intended to benefit other Filipinos than those favored by Binay. His family is the primary beneficiary of that theft. b) I have not endorsed Roxas. My favorite presidential prospect would likely be Bam Aquino, but he is too young to run. I’ll withhold judgment until all candidates are registered and I can pick among them. So you are wrong in your deduction. c) We need to define crime syndicate. If you mean the power structure that supports people who do criminal acts, yes, I agree. If you mean the power structure put in place to intentionally facilitate crime as a way of doing business, I would not agree.

      Who would you like to see as president in 2016?

      • Bert says:

        Excuse me, Joe, I want to have a guess. taxj is against Roxas, therefore he must be for Binay. But I know taxj to be a logical and a patriotic person since MLQ3 days pa so I could be wrong. I’ll just wait for him to answer your question.

      • taxj says:

        My choice for president? You’ve got to be kidding. Only Binay and Roxas are the viable options. By being a party to the demolition job against Binay, you unwittingly endorse Roxas. The BS regime supports criminal acts (PDAF and DAP). It also facilitates crime as a way of doing business. Look how freely it distributes check to LGUs in ARMM. Look how easily Drilon got away with the grant of his DAP and PDAF to Megaworld, instead of the numerous sector that needs it more. You’re right though. Roxas won’t change this. So? Binay is the lesser evil.

        • Joe America says:

          Okay. Thanks for the explanation of where you are coming from. We are too far apart in our observations and conclusions to find much hope for profitable discussion. I do appreciate that you stopped by to remind us that Binay does indeed have a following outside the D/E base.

          • taxj says:

            I see. Your idea of a profitable discussion is possible only if you see a chance that both sides would end up patting each other’s backs. Well, so much for my hope that you would welcome detractors as an opportunity to justify or fortify your fearless assertions.

            • Joe America says:

              What fearless assertions? You make presumptions that Roxas is the candidate I would pick and then ridicule the choice you have made for me. I explain that I will pick a favorite later when I know for sure who the choices are. The only fearless assertion I have made is that the Subcommittee hearings show that a P900 million peso building was sold to taxpayers for P2.3 billion, and the reasons given by the Binays were shown to be false from testimony of the builders and architect. Mr. Binay has refused to appear before the Subcommittee, or any other forum but with people who are not allowed to question him and so he has explained nothing. That says a lot to me about what he would stand for in terms of “transparency” if he were President. He has his spokespeople criticize anybody who suggests he has done any wrong.

              On the other hand, your style is to deal in pejoratives, to refer to the president of your nation as BS Aquino, a popular put-down at a personal level rather than an issues level. You put words in my mouth and then condemn me for them. What, really, is the profitability of trying to discuss anything in that setting. I take you for another 100 percenter. You are interested in demolishing the opposition to win, and you don’t mind casting aspersions to get there. I’m sorry, that is not my style.

              I put words in my mouth, not you. And if you are not prepared to listen, then we have nothing to talk about.

              I don’t look for back patting. I look for rational arguments. If you would care to explain why you would advocate for Binay, I’d be happy to listen. But I’m not interested in your put-down style, of the President, of me, or of Roxas. Just deal in facts and arguments, and let’s deal honorably.

              • taxj says:

                I didn’t presume you would pick Roxas. It’s just that, IMHO, anyone who helps demolish Binay without endorsing any candidate is, in effect, helping Roxas since only Binay appears, so far, to be the only serious threat to his presidency. Now, why would I advocate for Binay? What could possibly be worse than a perceived thief? Well, ironic though it may seem, an honest man could be such a person if he is like your idol, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III who, while maintaining his honest image has allowed the legislative and executive arm of government to turn out into a a huge crime syndicate that even seeks to challenge the supremacy of the Supreme Court. You yourself said that Roxas wouldn’t change any of it, didn’t you?

              • Joe America says:

                Well, you keep making assumptions on my behalf, then arguing from that platform. I am vehemently opposed to the election of Binay. There was a time when I could have been convinced of his benefit to the nation, but not now. What I have, that you evidently do not, is a measure of confidence that the Philippines has a good number of people who could serve well as President, and there will be a slate of candidates to choose from. Roxas is one of them. I am different than most. I don’t expect perfection in a president, only intelligence and earnestness. And honesty, as reflected in a measure of transparency. I think the job makes the man or woman to some extent, as the president is surrounded by capable people. Not perfect. But capable.

                President Aquino is not my idol. I have great respect for his accomplishments and way of going about them, steady and law-abiding. I made a conscious decision to advocate on his behalf because I think too many 100 percenters are undercutting the nation by undercutting their president, and making the Philippines a wholly negative place. Usually the complaints are from those who would have picked a different president, so they grind against him for six years to justify themselves – and ignore his good results – or they are from crooks who fear his programs.

                I disagree that the President has created a crime syndicate. Indeed, tax money is now going generously to places that, in the past, did not receive it for all the diversions. The hunt for the crooks is slow but steady, slow for the laws that protect crooks, poor investigative tools and people, and courts that are a nightmare of process. The culture is one of impunity, I agree, and Mr. Aquino errs on the side of loyalty, I agree, but to characterize his administration as a crime syndicate is ridiculous. I note you have DAP as one of his corruptions. The purpose of DAP was to do a fast turn from Arroyo’s poor and corrupt investments to more purposeful investments. The Supreme Court held that parts were illegal, and as a result, some investments were withdrawn and the economy has slowed accordingly. The president’s response to the Supreme Court was wholly legitimate and he was legally bound to respond that way. Because he is operating in the best interest of the nation, as is his charter.

                So here is the question, if you were the new president coming into office in 2010 and you saw the list of investments going to poor and corrupt projects, what would you do? (1) Continue with the investments? (2) Stop the suspect investments and return the money to treasury, and allowing the economy to sag? (3) Move the investments as quickly as possible to good uses that would benefit the nation?

                Yes, Roxas alone will not change the culture of impunity. He can continue the work being done to dismantle it. If he is elected.

              • taxj says:

                Dear Joe,

                Please stop playing naive. You know very well that Binay is the only threat to a Roxas presidency. And he is not even a serious threat. The cards are in stack to favor a continued reign of an administration that has no respect for our laws. (Can’t you see how the outlawed PDAF and DAP are revived with such daring in the 2015 budget?) I would rather have Binay than a continued hold on the government by a bunch of criminals who has flaunted our laws with such impunity, but I am realistic enough to know that he doesn’t stand a chance against a group that is determined enough to win at all costs to avoid culpability for their misdeeds.

                No. President BS Aquino III didn’t create a crime syndicate. It just developed because of his incompetence and ineptitude. He was made to believe by Abad man that he could do no wrong as long as he doesn’t pocket government funds himself that is why he went on with the DAP that is obviously flawed from the very start. The hunt for crooks is only in your imagination. His only role in the fight against graft and corruption is the protection of his allies. Why is it that the promised 2nd and 3rd batch against those who misused their PDAF didn’t materialize? This is the kind of set-up that Roxas promised to continue. These are the issues I raised, which you choose to ignore.

              • Joe America says:

                You continue the personal slurs, suggesting I am playing naive, and am therefore manipulative, and that you know better than I do what my means and method are. And you continue to refer to the President of the Philippines derogatorily.

                And you continue to put words in my mouth. I do not know that Roxas is a certainty for the Presidency. I think if Poe got backers and ran, she would win. If Roxas did not split HER chance for a victory over Binay.

                It appears to me that you are posturing yourself behind Binay so that you can avoid responsibility for whoever gets elected, and can set yourself up for another six years of undermining argument. You seem to me to fail to have confidence or respect for democratic processes, and if it is not YOUR way, it is wrong and offensive.

                We have different mindsets regarding discretionary powers, which is essentially what PDAF and DAP are all about. I hold they are required for executives to accomplish their Constitutionally assigned charters. This comes from my own corporate background. You hold that all expenses should pass through some laborious method of certification and approval that would make the Philippines a huge sludge pit of administrative red tape and bickering. I’m inclined to think that you trust no one but yourself.

                If the President is incompetent and inept, we need to discuss the standards by which this determination is made. I go by economic growth and stability, Philippine presence and deeds on the international stage, and standings in various global rating agency findings. You seem to go by variance from perfection, which any president is assured of failing.

                I will ignore those issues you raise that I consider so ridiculous as to be a waste of time discussing them. If the hunt for crooks is only in my imagination, why are three senators in jail? Why is Purisima suspended? Why is Acala bearing heat? Again, you would run things differently as President. Mr. Aquino concedes to the proper roles of evidence (rather than bending to any wayward public declaration of guilt), the Ombudsman and courts. You would have your way. I’m on that basis highly gratified that Mr. Aquino is our president.

                This discussion does not have much further to go, I fear. As I suspected, you are in it to win it, by means that I have great dislike for, personal slurs and wild accusations. This is not dialogue, or instructive, but contentious and divisive. It is not necessary.

            • taxj says:

              1. You continue to espouse DAP and PDAF, schemes which the SC ruled as unconstitutional. You forget that ours is a government of laws and not of men. Rules and regulations are guides to proper implementation, not deterrents. If an executive has to skirt them towards any end, he has no business being in that position. The administration is making sure that the ill-effects of its shortcuts are not exposed. The truth is never pejorative. So, there’s nothing wrong in Drilon’s use of DAP and PDAF to help the rich instead of the poor?

              2. Yes, I lost faith in the electoral process. Absence of any widespread protest does not erase the fact that Smartmatic did not use the safeguards provided for by law in the conduct the computerized system, therefore, the results can only be, at best, dubious. How can we rely on elections returns where we have no way of checking its veracity?

              3. The administration’s claimed economic growth can only be described as exclusive, exclusive for allies and oligarchs. At worst, it has no sound basis. Take away the contributions of the OFWs and the and the BPO sector, then tell me if we have any economic growth to boast of. Our FDI is lowest in the region because of PNoy’s unpredictable behavior.

              4. The detained senators were the fruit of the tsunami of public outrage against PDAF. The rage subsided only when De Lima promised to file charges against 2nd and 3rd batch of PDAF abusers. The promise never materialize. That Purisima and Alcala are still in service is proof of his lack of determination against graft and corruption.

              • Joe America says:

                Thanks, I appreciate the focus on issues, and the enumeration which makes response easier.

                1. We need to separate PDAF from DAP. I agree that PDAF was grossly abused and I question why legislators have to have any discretionary funds at all, other than small amounts for the running of their offices. Their job is not executive but legislative. Local provinces and cities, and national agencies, should deal with development locally. Unfortunately, the House is the keeper of all budgets, so they may be keeping discretionary funds. I don’t know, actually, as I have not followed the matter. In any event, that is the doing of the House, not Drilon, and for sure not the President. DMB only collects and disburses funds as approved by the House.

                DAP is a different matter. It was a short-term program used for transitioning from Arroyo investments, riddled with corruption and bad use, to better use. Only portions of that program were declared unconstitutional because the court recognized that Executive DOES have executive responsibilities and the need to reallocate funds for certain programs, at certain times. The matter of what constitutes “savings” was more clearly defined by the House, and now all is according to law.

                I note you did not answer the question, if you were the new president in 2010 and saw money going to corrupt and poor uses, would you: (1) continue to invest in those projects, (2) cancel them and return the money to treasury, allowing the economy to sag, or (3) seek to redeploy them to better uses and give the economy a boost?

                2. I share your apprehension about the electoral process. COMELEC seems to me an agency that operates with impunity and does not even grasp the public’s need for complete assurance of good order to elections. But that has nothing to do with the Aquino Executive branch. COMELEC, like the Ombudsman, is independent of the other branches of government. I believe, however, that Aquino was actually the winning presidential candidate. I am not convinced that Binay was the true winning Vice Presidential candidate.

                3. Actually, it is because of greater stability in Philippine government, and confidence in the Aquino administration’s good governance initiatives, that debt rating agencies such as S&P and Moodys have given the Philippines better ratings, and why the Philippines continues to climb on various global indicators. I agree that there are terrible weaknesses in economic strength and processes, and undue concentrations of wealth and wealth-generating opportunities in a few oligarchs. The real question is, in very practical terms, how much can one administration do, and in what timeframe, when these flaws are sealed in the cultural and economic mechanisms? It has taken the US seven years to get its economy cooking again after the crash of 2008, and it has GOOD cultural and economic underpinnings. Could Aquino have done more? Yes, he could have passed FOI in year 1. Has he done well? Yes, absolutely. He has turned the mighty ship about half-way to where it needs to go, and it will take another administration or two to get it right.

                I would add that the legislature has a lot to do with the direction of the ship, and it has been absolutely complicit in keeping the ship poorly steered by not addressing matters such as anti-dynasty, anti-trust, and bank secrecy laws. Those matters are now coming to the forefront, and it is interesting that another Aquino (Bam) is driving anti-trust.

                4. Actually, if I am not mistaken, DOJ DID move forward with the second batch, sending it to the Ombudsman, and the Ombudsman will, within the week, send the cases to court. Again, we see things a bit differently. I think De Lima is a pit bull in a yard full of dobermans, and is doing her best with an amazing number of major cases, from PDAF to Ampatuan to Pemberton to Bilibad. I can’t imagine anyone doing a better job in such strenuous circumstances. Again, I think the difference is between “ideal” and what is practically possible, and you are an idealist. That is a compliment, as idealists are important drivers of change, but it makes life difficult for you because processes in the Philippines are so poor.

        • Bert says:

          That’s quite a weird conclusion I rather would think. One side claiming one viable candidate for president is not the proactive type, the other side claiming the other candidate is a thief, without mentioning a rebuttal and the conclusion being that the thief is the lesser evil is quite not the norm. Just an observation.

          • edgar lores says:

            🙂 😦 🙂

          • Joe America says:

            I think taxj’s advocacy for Binay speaks for itself and requires no rebuttal. The conclusion that the thief is the lesser evil is his choice alone, for whatever reasons he has. I don’t buy any of the reasons he has cited, but it is futile to engage in dialogue with someone who has his mind made up so certainly, and really disparagingly toward Mar Roxas. I have better things to do than engage in the kind of argument that invariably gets into nasty personal aspersions and goes absolutely no where. I’ve been playing with my kid in the meantime, a much more rewarding venture.

          • taxj says:

            Nice observation. How can one claim that a candidate is unfit for the presidency when he has no one to compare him to? What if the other contenders turns out to be worse? Okay, so Roxas is not a thief. Nor is PNoy. But did his personal honesty prevent the wholesale looting of government funds through DAP and PDAF? Did that prevent the huge scale anomalies in practically all branches of government? This is the main reason I would rather gamble on a known thief than one who has no plans of stopping widespread corruption by allies.

            • Bert says:

              Then by all means gamble on a thief, then prepare your pockets to be ripped. You deserved what you get. I’d rather my hard-earned bucks went to good use, for my country and the Filipino people. You would rather gamble on a thief because Roxas has no plans you say?. Why that’s even more weird than your first assertion. Because this time around you’re in effect saying that the thief is the lesser evil compared to the person who has no plan.

              • taxj says:

                I said he has no plan to stop his plundering allies. Okay? Please don’t distort my statement. Well, at least I don’t doubt your concern for the country. It just so happens that we view things differently. If it’s any consolation though, I think only a miracle can stop a Roxas presidency. The 2015 budget has a huge campaign fund for him and his allies. Who are his allies? The officials who had misused their DAP and PDAF. An example of which is Drilon who used his PDAF and DAP to help a private firm instead of the poor sectors of Iloilo. They will do everything to get back into power and avoid culpability. The most important factor though are the PCOS mahines. Have you ever stopped to think how Smartmatic was allowed to conduct the 2010 and 2013 elections without using the safeguards provided for by law?

              • Bert says:

                First, I’m not a Roxas fan. I think that in a two-corner fight for the presidency he’ll lose, much more in a three-corner fight.

                Second, contrary to your assertions, and basing from our conversations here in this thread, between Roxas and Binay, Roxas is the lesser evil.

                Third, your tirade against Roxas are speculations, pure and simple.

                Fourth, without any mention of a rebuttal, it is agreed here in this thread (you included) that Binay is a thief.

                As to the 2016 presidential election, I’m still waiting for a third viable presidential candidate, not necessarily the least evil, hopefully not an evil at all, who can convince me with a clear platform and truly sincere promises of what he or she’ll do for the country if elected president. The candidate must be winnable, and I hope I’d be wise enough to see through the ruse when the candidate starts laying down his or her plans for the country.

            • jolly cruz says:

              So you are saying that the known thief will stop widespread corruption by his allies?

  24. jakelopez says:

    In the Philippines, critical mass is the middle class. The more numerous poor masa don’t really care who leads the country as long as they could find something to eat in the next few days. The masa is not politicized enough, doesn’t read enough sensible topics, more concerned with fantasy and sudden luck like winning the lotto or finding a business that is tubong lugao. In addition, the masa simply couldn’t get their acts together. The author’s prophecy that the middle class will revolt in case the likes of Binay wins the presidency is true. It is the middle class who pays taxes and they care where their hard earned money goes. The two successful people power movements were by the middle class and I will place my bet that a third one is also winnable by all means, peaceful or violent.

    • Joe America says:

      I think the poor are not political because they have learned that it doesn’t matter much whom they vote for because their pains remain. But I do agree that, if the oligarchs don’t listen to the middle class, and if the local barons don’t, it for sure raises the likelihood of civil disruption. Why even THINK about going in that direction.

  25. Lou says:

    This is a very interesting take on current politics, and I agree with the author — there is an undercurrent of anger among the middle class, aimed at the old patronage-based political system. However, unless a strong, able and credible contender steps up to challenge Binay, I’m afraid 2016 will just be his year. Right now (and I believe most voters feel the way I do), I feel like the old philosopher Diogenes, walking around with a lantern, looking for an honest man. Time is getting short, and the search has so far revealed none.

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, what a perfect and visual portrait of what is going on, Diogenes walking around the lantern looking for an honest man. Time growing short. I’d add that there is a huge wolf lurking right outside the ring of light, its shadow now and then creeping past.

  26. macspeed says:

    The netizens maybe one of the obstacle to VP Binay success in Presidential race, the NET seems somewhat has virtual organization of its own, who does understand one devil should not dominate. The VP Binay NET is not powered by this virtual organization. The Virtual organization is worldwide he he he, it is always positive for truth and humane reasons…good luck VP Binay….

  27. Beatriz Carvajal says:

    It is true that an over priced of a building into billions of pesos might be used by VP Binay’s for his presidential campaign, hope the Filipinos will be intelligent enough not to be bribed, its plain and simple mathematics that if they can do it in one municipality the more they can do it in the whole country if Binay will win the Presidency, true that will end up like the Marcos Regime where the Marcoses became in power for 20 years.Now that Binay’s children are already in the position, one mayor, one congressman and one senator, i see here Dynasty. Please Filipinos Lets Think of our Children’s Future to have a part of our beautiful Philippines and not by a few greedy politicians.Pray for our country to have good honest leaders now.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, the broad population needs to understand what exactly their vote means. If they can understand heaven and hell, they ought to get it.

    • Jun Dee says:

      You mentioned about a possible dynasty, Madam Beatriz Carvajal. Here’s a scenario should Binay ascends to the Presidency (may God forbids).

      Binay is the President, another Binay in the Senate, one in the House of Reps probably a Deputy Speaker or Chair of a powerful committee, a Binay sitting as mayor of the City of Makati, a Binay venturing into showbiz or some popular upscale escapade and a Binay as Secretary of Health.

      Well, if my wish could be granted, I wont mind seeing a luxurious Binay palace (kubol) inside the New Bilibid Prisons. As long as their kind is confined in the penitentiary, it’s okay with me.

  28. molongi says:

    That being said then the prospect of Binay is rather bleak but i would also not vote for Roxas. If there is a darkhorse in the running it would be Grace Poe careful not to surround herself with self serving technocrats to man her cabinet.

    • Joe America says:

      Interesting take on “self-serving technocrats”. I tend to think of them as more objective than political heads of technical units. The definition of a technocrat in my mind is an official focused on his business, and not self-serving or political.

      How would you vote if Poe were Roxas’ VP ticket-mate, against Binay, Santiago and Escudero?

      • karl garcia says:

        I think technocrat is what Grace Poe needs if technical knowledge is what is needed. But I know what the commenter was trying to say that Grace should be very careful in her choices.

        • Joe America says:

          The cabinet positions are extraordinarily important. My experience in corporate life says such appointments are always filled with risk, that people who seem good face a rats nest of new problems and may do poorly. I don’t know how many people there are who are capable of doing the DBM job well, for instance. Guiding billions to their rightful places and keeping tabs on every peso. Constructing a budget that will make hard choices between so many demands. How many people are willing to do it for the pay offered? Me, I’d go down the list of established cabinet people and try to keep most of them. I’d want to keep Abad. They know the ropes and where the bodies are buried. There are maybe four or five I’d seek replacements for and I’d spend time identifying top-flight prospects for those five positions, rather than re-staffing all 20+. Then, over the course of the years, other changes would be made without jerking the nation around or interrupting progress on important projects.

          • karl garcia says:

            I also think that a total revamp in every administration is really the cause of undending momentum interruptions. What is the greek word for that? coitus interruptus?

  29. karl garcia says:

    I was waiting for taxj to convince me that Binay is worth vtoing for.

    Taxj, you are complaining that even if the president is honest and yet he looks the other way and allows dishonesty to continue.

    Before saying I am putting words in your mouth or distorting your statements,, if there is any other way to interpret your comments then enlighten me.

    My question is if that is your issue based on Bna’ys “perceived” track record what made yoiu say that he won’t look the other way or even lead the way.

  30. karl garcia says:

    Some issues I noticed in the thread. (Some by taxj)

    The honest but looks the other way leader..

    Persistent news reports of Abad, (pdaf,dap, other budget issues.
    Purisima (hidden wealth, receiving favors from car dealers, etc.
    Abaya. Said to be a pawn of a presidential sibling and raising so called funds, so called mrt/lrt increase was also rumored to be campaign funds.
    Oh and oher members of the so called KKK.

    So if you worry about so called demolition jobs(if you call subcommittee hearings demolition jobs), it cuts both ways

    The so called leader of a crime syndicate.

    Crime syndicate maybe the military industrial complex, the land owners
    the drug and crime syndicate and what not.
    If the ruling party is the present problem, then what makes the next ruling party not be labeled as a syndicate

    I submit this is a problem and will be a problem, because no law against political turncoatism, dynasties etc.

    • Joe America says:

      Honest but looks the other way, counter: would prefer to operate with due process rather than by Inquirer headline. Does not want an administration that is a shambles for tossing people left and right based on criticism.

      Abad: I don’t know how one manages hundreds of billions of pesos without the latitude to make decisions. The broad population does not grasp the concept of discretion being a fundamental part of “executive”. Yet they complain if things don’t get done.

      Abaya: The American moon landing was staged by Hollywood and the CIA flew the jets into the Trade Center towers. Rates were raised because they were ridiculously low and the province taxpayers were subsidizing them. Abaya is probably incompetent, but that is a separate issue that needs exploration. Maybe it just seems that way.

      KKK: I’m not familiar with the term, but for sure, the Philippines is wrapped up in family loyalties, called a culture of impunity, and it is not just Aquino who is coddling people. It is the entire nation, to permit a guy like Binay to stay in office.

      Demolition jobs: They do cut both ways, and the Inquirer loves it.

      The Philippines is more like Sicily than we ever imagined. The whole nation is a giant octopus of a crime syndicate.

      The next ruling party will still operate in a culture of impunity, but if it is the right person, will keep edging toward honorable government based on accountability and transparency and results.

      Senator/Inquisitor Pimentel will be pushing an anti-dynasty bill in 2015. FOI will pop out. Bam Aquino is working on a “Competitiveness” bill, which is a positive way to say anti-trust.

      One does not rebuild cultures in six years. Heads up. Keep the faith (in democracy, if not government). Help push.

  31. karl garcia says:

    you got the idea of kkk right kabarkada kabarilan kaibigan ((buddies/shooting range buddies and friends). Keeping the faith is what we all have to do.

  32. karl garcia says:

    I don’t know if this disclosure is necessary but here it goes.

    I really had high hopes with Jun Abaya and really wanted him to succeed . One reason because he is a family friend his dad and my dad are mistahs from class 59 of the PMA. Right now they are very close . Everytime there is news about DOTC, I just Shake my head and stuff like that.

    Since we are into disclosures I hope the names i drop won’t sound like breaking glass.
    Another friend of the family is Senator Trillanes, whose late father was also a mistah of my dad.
    i am proud of the Binay sub committee hearings to be honest.

    On Binay, I was told to shut up about him because Kit Tatad is also a friend of my dad. Kit Tatad is one of the close Binay advisers.

    I just decided not to take things on a personal level. maybe that is the best way to deal with these issues.

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, absolutely fascinating, these revelations that say more about the way things work here than 100 blogs. Tough tight rope to dance on when both Binay and Trillanes are on ends of the rope twanging away.

      • karl garcia says:

        yeah a tough tight rope

        • karl garcia says:

          waitaminit,you can’t even walk on a tight rope . dancing on a tight rope would take precision focus and practice to the nth power.

          • Joe America says:

            Exactly!!! You are perhaps being trained up for the circus. (Or politics.)

            • karl garcia says:

              i would have loved to see a real life trapeze act and tight rope walkers.
              i was told i watched a real circus act when i was a kid, i just can’t find any pictures and i have no recollection of it.

              so what’s left is the political circus or the circus of politics.

  33. karl garcia says:

    To Edgar,
    Thanks for the explanation.(immediate cause)

  34. kagbalete says:

    The Phil. has a middle class?????

    • Joe America says:

      Good question. I define it in terms other than economic. In those terms, it would be perhaps lower middle, but certainly above subsistence. I factor in that there is a measure of aspiration for personal growth, commuting, consumer acquisition of goods, and a desire for a straight, fair path. Call center workers, construction professionals, small business owners and managers, technology people, tourism, families supported by OFW’s. Yes, there is a growing class of people who have discretionary choices, who live modestly perhaps, but have to deal with government agencies, transportation, cell phone providers, and want good, fair treatment. It is that force for fair dealing that defines the class.

  35. Jovel says:

    Philippines is set to bring forth it’s true and righteous character, our mind and heart are starting to come into a willful agreement that all these injustices, corruption, and violence that ultimately lead to a widening gap between rich and poor must come to an end. The silent but steady build up of desire to do what is right in all areas of the society can’t be denied. People start to see how simple act of abusive behavior done repeatedly for several years have kept generations of workers move out to seek better opportunity for their chances to live a decent life in their own country rapidly diminishes despite all their strive. Philippines is in a mode of transformation to a country driven not only by its ingenuity, talent and beauty but by its moral values and strong character. This country wants its true people to be in the lead, one that exemplifies the meaning of courage, honor, compassion, integrity and humility, it wants it now.

    • Joe America says:

      “Take back the Philippines!” Maybe that should be the battle cry. Wrest the nation back from the corrupt scoundrels. Thanks for casting it in those terms. That is a very strong image.

  36. ricky says:

    Liked everything that was said aside from “the middle class carries the burden of train fare increases…” Seriously? I

  37. Andrew Craig-Bennett says:

    Excellent and thoughtful piece.

    The Philippines has always had a humane and decent middle class; it is just a question of the numbers. I keep an eye on Rappler’s circulation figures!

    I certainly agree that the younger people are much more inclined to question authority, to mistrust the “received wisdom” and to seek information for themselves.

    There may be some similarities with Thailand, where the middle classes have erupted onto the political scene.

    Economically, one has to keep in mind that the good financial figures are achieved thanks to two factors which militate against growth – the reliance on remittances from OFWs and the fact that 80% of all Bank lending is to the Government!

    I am obviously in favour of some well thought through technocratic reform in the area of promoting inward investment and domestic business start ups.
    Many large Filipino corporations are extremely well run; the ability is there if the opportunity is present.

    • Joe America says:

      I enjoyed your perspective, Andrew. It is interesting that government flails a lot at execution, but the large Filipino corporations are capable and successful. Well, they are pretty free to control their economics, and that helps. Government is a pauper’s institution. Low pay, big responsibilities. “You get what you pay for”, I keep telling my wife, as she shops endlessly for the cheapest price.

      That is also an interesting point, that bank lending is mainly to government. I’m a former banker, and the absence of any credit cross-reference data bases here is certainly a block to lending. That’s probably worth a blog.

      I also define the middle class to include those people with internet access and a willingness to engage. They may not be so rich, but they surely have a voice these days.

  38. mitch says:

    interesting analysis indeed.. however, masa has no interest in this kind of writings..

    • Joe America says:

      That’s true, mitch. The key target audience for this piece is the people who fund politicians, to emphasize the point that if they back Binay, they risk instability and business downturn or failure. Elected officials in the provinces and cities will also face problems if there is instability. So they are a target audience as well.

  39. ya says:

    What I’m getting from this article is you’re asking to oligarchs to side with the middle class based on who the middle class want for president? If I’m getting this right, this is what’s so wrong about what’s happening in our motherland. The middle class should fight with the lower class to topple the oligarchs. Oligarchs will only put in power people who will protect their status. To keep their status, there has to be more lower class and less middle class. Have a revolution to break the oligarchs and there will be a better Philippines. I don’t mean social media revolution. Go out and get your selves out in the streets and prepare to die. Feudal you say, yes! Most countries who moved from feudalism to modern times had a lot of bloodshed to get there. Sorry, it’s the truth. You can talk all you want in the internet but unless you go out there and do your campaigning to the lowerclass and have them see what you see, you’ll never get anywhere. Unless you penalize any corrupt person properly, you will never get anywhere. It doesn’t matter how intellectual your discussion is here. Get yourselves out there!

    On another note, I agree with the person who said there is no sense of shame in our culture. Don’t bring home the office supplies! Don’t do favors for all your friends in any service may it be a hotel, social security, anywhere. Be fair and give the same service everyone deserves. Remove corruption on ALL LEVELS of society. Maybe, there will be a better Philippines.

    • Joe America says:

      Your urge to get involved is important. My own particular highest and best use is here, writing, I think. As for the oligarchs, I don’t see them as having two sides. One, the wealth-generation side at which they are highly skilled and valuable. That just needs to be shaped with Bam Aquino’s pro-competition initiatives to allow more people to get an opportunity to compete. The other side of the oligarchs is the silent role they play in backing or influencing politicians. That can be good or bad. It is bad if it holds the Philippines back in any way, for their private gain.

  40. i think you forgot to separate the INC group.

  41. anonymous says:

    Very well said. But I think you should also write it in “TAGALOG” so that the general public would understand. This can be a way to open the minds of those who still support the corrupt people.

    • Joe America says:

      I don’t have the skill to do that, but would welcome any initiative to translate any of the blogs. This particular one is not aimed for mass consumption, but toward business owners and LGU heads.

  42. Lemuel says:

    Civil War. At least a personal civil war against those Filipinos pulling this country down. The’ve been putting incompetent leaders to run this country in their favor while we work and carry the burden of sustaining this hellhole.

    If Binay wins, I will declare a ‘personal’ civil war against those who voted for him. I’d slit their throats. Okay, not really, but I consider myself an intelligent man and I will use this intelligence to carry out destruction to everyone who has been raping and plundering and butt-fucking my motherland. Enough is enough. I didn’t know a person exists whose addiction for money can’t be satisfied even with billions and billions of pesos in his bank accounts.

    And all of that I’ll write in stone.

    • Joe America says:

      Remind me to stay on your good side, Lemuel. But I understand your passion. It’s a tipping point, a nation for all or continued rule by the privileged, the connected, the self-reinforcing manipulators who make up the class of impunity.

  43. Janine says:

    The middle class who suffers almost as great as the marginalized who continue to vote for these mongrels are so fed up…No revolution could suffice the ignorance of the masses who continue to vote for crooks. I will definitely walk the streets if this asshole gets elected but I DOUBT the middle class can muster up a majority come election time. It has always been a history repeats itself kind of story. But I’m with you Joe. I just hope the oligarchs and feudal barons read this and you know…change their minds.

  44. grace says:

    Not as simple as that. Not all middle class think alike. Anyone who abuses his power to quell all his political enemies while in power will continue to do so when he rules the land. Be wary of allies of the current administration who use the law and government to curtail rights to privacy and business, for their personal gain and agenda in the guise of true reform. This kind of thinking will pull the country down and create an atmosphere of distrust and ultimately people will leave for greener pastures.

    • Joe America says:

      “Not as simple as that.” I agree.

      “Not all middle class think alike.” Agree.

      “Be wary of allies of the current administration who use the law and government to curtail rights to privacy and business, for their personal gain and agenda in the guise of true reform.” You’d have to be more specific to get me to agree to that. I don’t really know what you are talking about.

  45. Sam Rayala says:

    I didn’t read all the comments above Joe … just a few of them … anyway, my take here is this … the middle class will stage another people power (Philippine history is replete with revolts instigated by or initiated by the middle thinking class … from the time of Rizal to Estrada’s ouster) … binay has inflamed much negative sentiments among the middle class and if he makes the mistake of declaring martial law or a threat of martial rule, he will meet his match … not just the middle class but fully backed by the oligarchs with their huge business interests; the foreign investors (particularly the Americans) and the military … I’d venture the guess that Trillanes and the Magdalo soldiers will not just stand by and watch a corrupt politician with an axe to grind to be at the country’s helm … I also venture the guess that this time, it will be a bloody mess …

    • Joe America says:

      Dire warning, Sam. Well within possibility. We will see if the spirit of the straight path can makes its way broadly across the Philippines during the next 10 months.

  46. Ann says:

    its good that we are very concerned about the possibility of Binay getting elected. But if we trusted the people and the system that elected Pnoy, then I think we can count on them again this 2016

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  1. […] Vice President Binay and the rage of the Middle Class The Vice President is embarked on a class-warfare campaign, pitting the poor against the middle class. His attack method has made a lot of enemies. […]

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