Silence, the dark shadow of impunity in the Philippines

Pope_Francis_Malacanang w Binay interaksyon

Vice President Binay greets Pope Francis [Source: interaksyon]

I so very much appreciate the comments people make in the discussion threads to the articles posted here. They inspire my thinking. The points made in different comments at different times often come together to spark an idea. It is a form of mental combustion. Alas, I can’t always recall where the ideas came from and can’t always give proper credit.

So I give credit to all of you who offer up ideas and facts and perspectives.

Considerable discussion has been given to the Philippine culture of impunity these past weeks. A few ideas connected as I watched Vice President Binay bowing low and smiling big when greeting the Pope. The Pope was restrained and proper.

The elegant way Filipinos fit themselves into a system of authority

As you can see from the photograph, the Pope is the “A Dog”, Binay the “B dog” in the hierarchy of authority.

The culture of impunity is built on similar elegant weavings of authority. It is a real-time rendering of power and favor. It involves a great deal of interpersonal . . . well . . . concession to others.

I’ve complained mightily about the great silence emanating from the influential regarding the Binay corruption cases. And I’ve remarked that there is little ethical foundation in many professional arenas. The Senate, lawyers, judges, the press . . . they are not driven by what is right or wrong or good for the people or even their profession . . . they are driven by personal advantage. Often, that means not making waves, not upsetting others.

Words like respecto and delecadeza are used. Wonderful words, thoughtful concepts

Well, it seems these words are not telling the whole story. The hidden part is not so positive. The silence, the respecting, seems like submission or servitude to me – or even fear – where candor is suppressed as a favor  to others and, thus, a nation bows and concedes to the powerful.

Not to right over wrong.

Frankly, I think the Senate should just kill its Ethics Committee. As far as I can determine, it is a farce. Senate ethics don’t exist. The senators simply dance around power and favor. A privilege speech is an attempt by each senator to impose a personal ethic on the body and gain a personal edge.

Anywhere we go, we can see servitude at work, a bowing to others, deferring to those in charge, to elders or senior members, to friends of the family, to those who hold a position of esteem, whether or not they do respectful deeds, and to those of authority, even if they have none. That is true both in the nation’s institutions and in general society. For common people, servitude is imposed by an LTO official or a pompous retail clerk or a Customs goon doubling up on the fees. Power games are always taking place, sorting out the “A dog” from the “B dog”. Too often it is done to extract bribes or other hard favors. This sorting carries all the way from the Pope when he visits on down to the income-deficient D/E classes, the mongrels of Philippine society. The powerless.

We blunt westerners tend to blast ignorantly past the refined ways Filipinos go about sorting out the empowered from the servile and, in doing so, become a kind of transactional “A dog”. Hated for our history yet given too much consideration in banks and government offices . . . well, not too much consideration, actually. We get proper consideration and ordinary Filipinos, unfortunately, too often get  assigned a status of lesser dog.

So the culture of impunity operates on a framework of servitude. Of conceding of right and might to those “above” us.

It is a stark difference from the American standard that says “all men are created equal”. In the Philippines, “all men are created to stand in their proper place” so that those on top can thrive. The underlings are forever going around grooming the powerful, as Binay was forced to do with the Pope. So that he could come back and claim some higher standing than the rest of us. For having touched the Pope.

And it would appear that most of the power structure of the Philippines bows to Binay. It is strange to me that a man of such poor character, of such obvious bad behavior, is able to acquire such an intimidating presence among so many prominent and powerful people, both in Manila and across the provinces.

Where, really, is the candor from those with influence? The simple statement, “no, this is not the direction we want for the Philippines”? Indeed, where is the shame that this is our nation’s second highest official?

This attitude of servitude to me is not respect, not positive. It is the dark shadow of the culture of impunity. It is the ugly underbelly. The naked king we don’t want to talk about. It is rather like racism was a natural part of American values for so long, only the servitude here is more subtle, harder to see because it is actually respect gone haywire. But it is everywhere.

Empowering the general population

I think servility is what has to get broken down to get a different energy into the nation’s socio-economic wealth- and health-generating machine. The culture of impunity is driven by what is best for the entitled. We need to get to what is best for the Philippines.

To get there, we have to empower the general population without disruptive revolt. Indeed, a new force of empowerment seems to be emerging today from the middle class, driven largely by social media. I hope it continues to grow and spread. Perhaps then the entitled will recognize that a new day is breaking. Perhaps soon they will understand that they can intimidate no more and will have to EARN their respect.

Ask Cebu Pacific’s CEO Lance Gokongwei what the force of condemnation feels like (Inquirer article about Gokongwei’s apology for the airline’s Christmas failures).

INSIDERS are silent

At this point, let me thank Senator Cayetano for crystallizing a conclusion for me. During today’s Blue Ribbon Subcommittee meeting which detailed Vice President Binay’s alleged use of his position as President for Life of the Boy Scouts to cheat the scouts and enrich himself, Senator Cayetano made the point that people INSIDE an organization behave differently than those OUTSIDE. Those inside tend to cut corners or otherwise be loyal to the boss. They are quiet. Vice Mayor Mercado, today, OUTSIDE the bubble of loyalty to Vice President Binay, is willing to talk when, INSIDE, he was a willing partner to the various shenanigans. And quiet.

The middle class needs to use its new-found power to do two things:

  1. Break down the INSIDER soft collusion that hides and protects criminals. The insiders include senators, the press, businessmen, and other people of authority and reputation who look away, who look down, who operate quietly because to speak up would destroy the system of silent collusion, of impunity, of you pat my back, I’ll pat yours. Because if that gets broken down, they have to EARN their way forward. And many of them could not do it.
  2. Extend their empowerment to the D/E class so that the poor will no longer be abused by self-appointed feudal barons in their areas. Or by master game-players such as Vice President Binay.

Breaking the INSIDERS

This is happening now because there are a few younger senators who see their path forward as being straight and earned by good work. Senator Bam Aquino is the best of these. Senator Cayetano is another. There are a lot of other good people, but they are silent, perhaps because they do not even recognize that they are actually INSIDE an institution. And the institution is corrupt.

They need to get out.

The job of the middle class is to continue to name and shame, to “out” the privileged who are operating for their own interest, and not the nation’s. And they need to BACK the high government officials or opinion leaders who are willing to speak up. Who have the courage to act on the nation’s behalf.

One incident at a time, one crook at a time, one silent insider at a time . . . reveal them.

Empowering the C/D class

Empowerment needs to reach the D/E class. We see some efforts such as the Conditional Cash Transfer program (CCT). But that’s not enough. It’s virtually a gift, a handout. It does not inspire. In an ideal world, there would be jobs that pay above dirt poor available to those willing to qualify for them. There would be community-built homes for the poor to get them out of river beds and off of dirt floors. There would be activities to make the poor a part of the community, a contributing part, not a receiving or begging part.

The Binay method . . .  hand outs to the poor and flowery, compassionate words . . . works because it brings the poor into an “institution”, the Binay circle of favor, that benefits them. It is very much like the Church. Join, feel appreciated and be saved. Local governments typically do not provide this kind of uplift, this kind of belonging. They tend to make people servile. Mayors and even barangay captains are “A dogs” in the local communities. Citizens are “Z dogs”.

Binay is like a prophet, like a little Pope. “Like one of us” but with great power. The power is granted to him by the concessions, the servitude, of the influential in Manila. He has not earned it.

It seems to me that we need to figure out how to give people in the D/E class a place to belong. Not a place to obey. A place to express, not a place to stand silent. A place to find opportunity, not a place to be told to go fend for yourself without our help.

Right now, I don’t yet have the solutions. But I have defined the problem. And that makes a solution more likely.

Servitude. The fearful side of respect.

Break it down.

Change the interpersonal dynamic to one of equality and mutual respect. All men and women are created equal. And equality is best expressed in terms of opportunity to grow.

I would welcome your ideas as to how the C/D class might be welcomed into the realm of the empowered.


140 Responses to “Silence, the dark shadow of impunity in the Philippines”
  1. Bert says:

    In the Senate hearing today, Senator Cayetano was so correct in drawing a parallel of the Binays to termites, devouring silently the inside of institutions they were part of in the past and present, examples, the Makati government, the supplies of medical equipments to a Makati hospital, the Haciendas, the Pag-ibig housing, the Boy Scout of the Philippines, etc., using the term for termite as ANAY, which is the right word in Tagalog. And what a coincidence. I supposed the Vice-president is living up to his family name. After all, anay rhymes with Binay.

  2. karl garcia says:

    I noticed that I have tendency to rant and ramble and add more problems to suggested solutions so I will stick to well said.

    • Joe America says:

      I’d prefer something more whenever it crosses your mind. I particularly find enlightening your real-world engagements with the people we can only guess about from a distance. Your comments were important to the concoction of thoughts that came together and produced this article.

  3. bauwow says:

    There are 3 things we need to address, the culture of impunity, the culture of corruption and the politics of patronage. I felt like the carton character that continually whines,….. We’ll never make it….,Corruption in all forms are already ingrained in our society and has become the norm, rather than the exception. I feel hopeless.
    I hope tomorrow’s a better day, Sorry Uncle Joe, I just felt so bad watching the senate hearing today.
    Pope Francis was right. A corrupt man should have his neck tied with a rope attached to a big stone and be thrown into the deep sea.

  4. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Impunity in the Philippines is rampant, flourishing and prevalent. Take the accusation old accusation on Binay. The 1st incredible accusation that Filipinos totally believe is his eminent purchase of Mt. Makiling. Binay is accused of buying the whole scenic mountain located in the Philippines by virtue of his corrupt daughter, Abigail, his daughter a product of where else, University of the Philippines which is also the alma mater of the capo de tuti de capi Jejo, Elenita, Nancy and Junjun JUST TO NAME ONE FAMILY. Of course, Jenggoy, too !!! Lucky for U.P. I only have ten fingers to count.

    Binay has the impunity to buy Mt. Makiling without the nod of Boy Scout of the Philippines Executive Committee and the recently deleted information on Chief Scout Benigno Aquino. Yes, after I made noise directing my audience to check out Wikipedia, some operative in Malacanang deleted Chief Scout Benigno Aquino from the roster of BSP. When if anyone is interested they can Google “Chief Scout Benigno Aquino” for all to see in its glory. Also, Google the function of Chief Scout, do not forget.

    So this is how the U.P.-shooters are implying. Abigail lobbied before congress to transfer Mt. Makiling to BSP. Then after BSP transfers it to Chief Crook Binay. Therefore, the Philippine Press insinuates that BSP Exec Comm and Chief Scout signs off in the transaction. Therefore, ALL OF THEM ARE CROOKS: Exec Comm and Chief Scout

    After they read my scenario they fell silent. So, they kept on looking. They found Php200.00M transaction. Then again, Binay cannot transact business without the Exec Comm and Chief Scout approval.

    The impunity here is they only investigated my client Super-Crook Binay.

    Look, I AM NOT PRO-BINAY. I just want Binay not be lonely in Bilibid when he goes down. I want the Exec Comm and Chief Scout sharing the same toilet with him with Tiu and his family thrown in.

    Impunity caused spontaneous corruption.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      My Nanay inherited a huge spread as anyone eyes can see after my Tatay’s death. To maintain my lavish lifestyle my mother has to sell a mountain. Nanay cannot sell the mountain because I was still a minor. Since it involves multi-million peso transaction, the court got involve to protect my interest and the buyer required the documentation.

      Everyone in the family has to agree. They affixed their John Hancock. The court approved. Presented to the buyer. Money exchanged.

      That is required for our Crime Family.

      In a Corporation works the same. So does BSP presumably. But this is the Philippines. Anything goes. Even Inquirer took the bait of Mercado without further nosing around. And they are U.P. graduates.

      Just imagine those Filipinos who never set food in U.P. I just wonder what they think. Easy. Just read the comments in Inquirer. I see their homegrown brilliance. THEY BELIEVE ANYTHING.

      One thing I cannot believe is Pope Francis consorting with Binay by allowing him to kiss his holy ring. IN ANY NEWSPAPERS, THERE NEVER WAS A PICTURE OF BINAY WITH POPE FRANCIS except in INTERAKSYON. WHY?

      • Joe America says:

        My guess is they found the subject of the photo too revolting to publish.

      • chit navarro says:

        Pope Francis consorting with Binay….????
        What would you have said if Pope Francis did not allow Binay to kiss the papal ring? – Rude and no decency, mal-edukado?

        But check the video and see how the Pope reacted.

        • Joe America says:

          In the context of this article, if there had been the least public outcry from within the circle of impunity, critical of Binay, then the Bishops would have reason to ask the he not be among the greeters, to avoid puttin the Pope in such a compromising situation. But there is no basis for doing that because of the great silence (of acceptance) toward Binay.

    • Joe America says:

      I admit I don’t wholly understand that mountain resort deal. It probably needs to be added as the fifth case of major corruption we can identify.

      Your claim that President Aquino was complicit in the deal-making is interesting, and maybe the cracker-jack investigative press will ask him about that at his next press conference.

      I like your last line.

  5. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    The hated Roberto Ongpin is now loved by Filipinos because he sang a song against The Binays. The anti-Marcos Filipinos have reconciled with Roberto Ongpin like the Filipinos have reconciled with Imelda Marcos as long as they sing what the Filipinos wanted to hear.

    See? Impunity in the Philippines cannot be cured. FILIPINOS ARE PRACTICING IT. Roberto Ongpin is now The Forgiven. Roberto Ongpin saw the chance and he sang.

    Let us wait who Binay will sing against. And let us watch the Filipinos reaction. It is no wonder there is spontaneous corruption in the Philippines.

  6. chit navarro says:

    Impunity and a “crooked” justice system are two basic reasons why the societal structure is this way in the Philippines. Those in power do what they do because they believe they can get away with it – they have the freedom to steal from the poo because they are in power and the more they steal, the more money they have to bribe those in the justice system and get away with the crime. Whereas the poor government worker who does not declare she has a sari-sari store to augment her meager income and give her family a decent life gets kicked out from the service so fast and punishment is meted out to her fast and furious. A robber on the street gets to jail almost immediately when caught but those in power and moneyed takes years and years and layers of cases before we can see them in jail. See, we have 3 senators who are in “JAIL” but is that jail?

    Unless our justice system is overhauled and the mindsets of those meting out punishments are on the scales of justice and not on the weight of gold, it will be very hard for the D/E class to feel they belong to society and speak out against the powers-that-be. It is easier for them to keep their mouths shut, live in peace and silence and get a pat-in-the back once in their lifetime when they get to meet those in power.

    • Joe America says:

      That’s true. The coddling of high-level crooks sets an example. Two sets of justice, so I might as well do what I have to do to get along, including selling a vote . . . Rather a way of getting even.

    • ..just wish to share this comment…though without consent from the commenter
      yvonne says:
      January 23, 2015 at 1:10 pm
      THE PLOT THICKENS and you read it first in Raissa’s blog:

      The Boy Scout of the Philippines (BSP), under Binay’s watch, entered into a controversial business relation with Alphaland that is now the subject of Senate inquiry. Earlier, Alphaland was delisted from the PSE because of its questionable business practices and some of its key officers were banned from holding executive positions in public companies.

      It seems that companies which are associated with Binay become highly controversial, if not running afoul with the law. Think about JCB Farms, Agrifortuna, etc.( And we are not even thinking about the cake supplier in Makati.)

      Among the members of the Board of Directors of Alphaland Corporation banned by the PSE from becoming directors or executive officers of public companies listed with the PSE is its corporate secretary Rodolfo Ma. A Ponferrada, whose father is Sandiganbayan Justice Rodolfo Ponferrada Sr.

      Justice Ponferrada, on the other hand, handled some of the more controversial graft cases in the Sandiganbayan.

      • Joe America says:

        Makati is infested with termites, it would appear. When one sees these family connections, one is inclined to want to review all the cases and decisions by Mr. Ponferrada, Sr. When there is one termite, there is usually a mound of them nearby.

  7. Karl garcia says:

    I was called plastik and a hypocrite some say showbiz when ever i talk to people i had issues with. Gosh what happened to civility and not wanting anything to escalate. Now turning your back silently. Sure that is easy then you here the words snub, suplado or bastos o pinahiya mo ako kanina. Now teanslate that to meeting someone hated by many and he shakes your hand with a vice grip do you say ouch, no you say hello po.

    • Joe America says:

      Everyone in the circle of impunity ought to be issued a mask.

    • Joe America says:

      Your experiences make me realize how difficult it is to speak to someone’s face when there are family ties. I gather that Senator Santiago has no ties with Binay and therefore has no trouble counseling him that if he does not show up at the senate hearings, people are right not to trust him. Senator Poe cannot do that. I suspect Senator Guingona must hold his tongue as a judge must, because it is his subcommittee at work doing discovery on Binay. I wish a reporter would ask Senator Aquino what his take is on the Binay hearings. I’d like to see where he comes down, as his work on anti-trust and other matters is straightforward, but I presume he also has the family connections to the Binay family.

      In a way, Binay is a litmus test of people’s independence or ties to family.

  8. karl garcia says:

    when I hear arrogance I remember the Gen. Angie Reyes, Trillanes issue. Trillanes was called arrogant by many in the military academy. Now he confronts Enrile, Binay, he is now brave. i know it is a case to case basis thing but the mention of respect and fear reminds me of the scenario i just mentioned.

    • Joe America says:

      Fluid, like party associations, people go where it suits their needs. I personally find Trillanes to be too distant and cold (arrogant?) to warm up to, and cannot imagine him as president. Cayetano, I can imagine as president. But it appears that few others can.

      • karl garcia says:

        I think Cayetano treats the surveys very seriously. Maybe he has valid reasons,but I think he will base his decision based on the surveys.Juana is right about pollsters it is like the cock derby of llamado and talunan. The perception management game really abounds.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, I think so, too. He is a realist, as was evident in his response to the first poll taken after the hearings had started. It got him no traction whatsoever. HOWEVER his party needs to pick a candidate, and Trillanes is not it. Villar (Mr.)? Santiago? I’d go with Cayetano myself. Grab some of his quotes from the hearings. Put him face to face with Binay as a knight working for a modern, clean Philippines.

  9. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    The gall and impunity of Philippine Press. The Philippine Press is not a newspaper. It is hardcopy forum where Inquirer pose a question and allegation, Protagonists defend and answers. Just like on-line forum but this one the Filipino people has to pay to read the tit for tat brick-a-brat and dribs and drabs.

    This is a new found media forum. On-line forum is now supplanted by hardcopy forums masquerading as newspapers.

    • macspeed says:

      he he he hi Mariano…

      Currently, this media is better and flexible than in previous forums BALITA or PEOPLES JOURNAL or any newspaper media like Manila Bulletin which only accessible to a few people such as reporters and whom they interviewed. Here, even a cigarette vendor who can pay for an hour of piso net can provide his anger or happiness or whatever….

      News or tsismis, is it true? There’s money in news, especially with the Chismoso and Chismosa society like Philippine, people buy the paper. See, I’m here, looking for news and good people like you….

      Well, I’m off today, reading news here is uplifting and helps me pass my days away from my wife for 6 months, especially when one blogger excites my he he he he happiness…

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        Inquirer indulge in tsismis journalism. They do not vet their news nor get response from the protagonists. They prefer to publish allegation today … and response tomorrow just like Filipino comics Walang-wakasan. Newspaper reporting in the Philippines is more ITUTULOY.

        • Karl garcia says:

          Even wakasan comics had this long novel called ng sumanib ang langis sa tubig. At least they had more short stories. Yeah inquirer does not see a necessity for the right of reply because they change their minds one day after their headline.they call it balanced news fearless views.

  10. gerverg1885 says:

    I will send my comment on this topic in your email because of the sensitivity of what I am going to write. Not too many people will agree with what I have to say so I’ll have to say it would be sort of a consultation.

  11. macspeed says:

    The Class D/E is now being empowered such as removing tax for those who earned less than 80k pesos per month, it is better if there will be total price control for small store, no more e-vat totally such as purchasing a kilo of rice, a can of sardine and any small quantity food items, total tax free. This can be done by imposing to retailers that when a class D/E is buying, the price control item shall be implemented. There is no need for government issued ID as class E or D citizen, people in class D in around the areas of the class E will recognize those who cant afford to make ends meet.

    Government should think how to increase work for class E to be able for them to escape from servitude and poverty. If they are earning good, they can decide who to vote not by favor. These corruptions by government officials could have been used for this purpose.

    Why do these professional with a degree, studied abroad or 1st class universities steal on peoples money? Who would not steal if the LAW has no teeth? I recommend death by HANGING for those who steal while in the service for the people and the nation. Even death by lethal injection or firing squad is good enough or whatever to stop stealing. IF there is no power to stop these corruptions, Philippine politics will never ever be free of robbers.

    Inch by inch, one goes far yet PNOY has been so successful for halting corruptions with the help of those who exposed, the media, the good senate, the good lawyers, the netizens and others who contributed to the arrest of these bad dogs. However a leader is a good one, bad dogs are still there if they can play with the LAW.

    • Joe America says:

      Very good. I agree with your first two paragraphs but have not thought that much about the death penalty. I’ll have to give it some thought, I think, because your call for it is not unique. I also agree that President Aquino has given the nation a huge push in the right direction, but it is like a tidal wave, strongest near home in Manila and weakening rapidly as it pushes out toward the provinces. The provinces remain the realm of the feudal lords, scalawags, scumbags and sister city mayors who have sold their city’s allegiance to a crook. The waves will eventually get there, I think, with a drive toward transparency at the local level, and some of the laws the Subcomittee is working on (rotating of Audit staff and bid committee membership).

  12. Hi Joe, my internet went down for two days. Someone was cutting trees in the neighborhood and forget all about the lines. When I started to pickup on my reading I couldn’t believe my eyes. You’ve been so productive the last week, it is hard to keep up. By the way, your reference to the family planning of the Pope gives a 404. But more then on quantity I am impressed by the quality of your articles. I can’t help but feel sorry that you don’t write your columns for a National, if not more then one, Newspaper. Even have it translated in Tagalog so its easier to reach the C/D groups. After all, we do want to change for the better, clean up the Philippines. Writing and commenting here feels a bit as preaching for your own parish while we need to get out on a mission and influence the majorities. I know, it sounds idealistic. I lack the writing skills you have so I have to fall back on other methods. I settle for small influences in my neighborhood. The majority of columnist in the four major Nationals lack your integrity, insight, guts and writing skills. My wife always tells me, “you try to change the whole world”, and I always tell her why not, what else are we here for. Go, be a missionary and (help) change the Philippines for the better.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks, PPP, I’m glad you appreciate the articles. I really don’t do much marketing of the pieces, but the natural readership is expanding, and we reach into government, so I know the ideas have some clout. The target audience is really opinion makers, not C/D, but I obviously don’t mind readers pushing them out broadly. Speaking of local work, I may migrate to working locally with schools here, either with sports programs or funding computer learning centers. That little figment of an idea in my brain is getting bigger. I think the nation is so much going in the right directions that my style of writing will soon become unnecessary, if the 2016 election works out right.

  13. edgar lores says:

    1. I would have to agree that servility is a huge problem. We have spoken before about the master/slave mentality and the mendicancy of the Filipino.

    2. Like most Asian cultures, Filipino society is very hierarchical in its structure. We have honorifics not only for parents and grandparents but also for older siblings (Ate/Kuya) and non-siblings (Aling/Mang; Manang/Manong). Professionals demand to be addressed by their educational accomplishments (Engineer/Architect/etc). And every elected politician is the honorable this and the honorable that.

    3. The cringe factor is a cultural trait deeply embedded in the Filipino psyche.

    4. I know Joseph would advise not to efface the trait but to use it as a springboard to effect the change that we want to see in ALL the social classes. Not only in the D/E class but ALL. You see the cringe in Binay’s subservience to the pope. You see the cringe in the refusal of top politicians to condemn Binay publicly. You see the cringe in the Supreme Court’s decision to water down the RH Law.

    5. Disruptive revolution is not an acceptable solution? Hmm, that makes it difficult.

    6. How about cultural reconditioning by positive reinforcement of the low and negative reinforcement of the high? What do I mean? Here are some suggestions:

    o All siblings and non-siblings should be called by their first names. Alternatively it is the younger siblings or non-siblings that should be given honorifics. I would suggest Mia/Mio for younger girl and boy siblings respectively. And Minang/Minong for younger girl and boy non-siblings.

    o In person, all elected officials below President and Vice-President will be addressed as plain Mr/Mrs/Ms. In print, they may be addressed by their office.

    o All elected officials will address members of their constituencies as Sir/Madam or Mr/Mrs/Ms. All non-elected government employees will address their customers in a similar fashion.

    o In electoral contests, candidates with the lowest votes should be declared winners. (This has the advantage of cutting election spending and, consequently, corruption.)

    o Justices will continue to be addressed as “Your Honor” but only inside courtrooms. Outside they will be addressed as plain Mr/Mrs/Ms.

    o Priests will not be called Father/Bishop/Archbishop but Son or Sonny.

    o In beauty pageants, competitors with the darkest brown complexion should be given higher weights.

    o Janitors and tradespeople should be more highly paid than professionals.

    o Street children will be removed to a hacienda in Batangas that has a fabulous garden and be educated to ask unanswerable questions.

    • Joe America says:

      5. I see that Duterte is warming up his campaign. That could be disruptive. Federalist inclinations. Inclusive. Combative. Collaborative with NPA. Not Manila centric. Oligarchs are choking on their pâté. Human rights people are choking on their salads. My typewriter has hit a huge pause . . .

      6. Priests = sonny. ahahahahaha, you are a mischievous man perhaps. The rest of your upside-down, inside out culture makes the right-side up one look equally ridiculous.

    • Bert says:


      I have to agree with your no. 6. And that is that priest should not be called Father because it connotes a violation of the law of clerical celibacy though some priests are really actual fathers. Only then can they be called Father.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      “In beauty pageants, competitors with the darkest brown complexion should be given higher weights.” – ED LORES

      Thank you, Ed. I’ve been advocating for this. This brings pride and dignity to our skin color. But not to the point we discriminate Joe for his white skin 🙂

      “Street children will be removed to a hacienda in Batangas that has a fabulous garden and be educated to ask unanswerable questions” – ED LORES

      Since nobody has come out in the open to claim Hacienda Binay including Tagaytay property, U.P.-trained Soliman should use this as a refuge AKA HIDDEN” for poor children to be “exercising” when the next Pope comes and other important dignitaries.

      In every crookery, U.P.-training always comes in. The Filipinos already knew timelines of Pope visit. Benigno Aquino declared week-long holiday during Papal visit because Philippines is THEOCRACY not DEMOCRACY so the devotees can see, touch and cry before the Pope. Yet, U.P.-trained Soliman conveniently timed the “exercise” of poor children during the visit of Pope denying them to be blessed.

      Who order Soliman?
      Was it her sole decision?
      Was it Benigno Aquino?
      Will she be investigated by Cayetano and Trillanes?
      I need this Poor Children blessed by the Pope So there would be “Pinoy Effect” as what Inquirer trumpeted the other day accusing Vatican to top off the 6Million Filipinos that attended Popes massed benediction in Luneta.

      • chit navarro says:

        What is wrong with all these street children being taken off the streets for a week and brought to a resort so they can have a taste of an ordinary life of child, not begging or scavenging or stealing or selling drugs or be prostituted? We should in fact praise Sec. Soliman for giving these children a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Who knows how many of these children will reform their life and take the route to the Tuloy ng Kabataan safehouse instead of the streets? This is a better way to spend the people’s s money than ending it in some politician’s pockets.

        i can not really fathom the mounting criticisms against the DSWD secretary for this. Would it have been better if these children were left in the streets and ended up committing crimes among the throngs of devotees lining up the streets to see the Holy Father? Then, we would be getting headlines now of children doing drugs or picking pockets/bags/stealing, etc. Sala sa init, sala sa lamig….

        Media always tend to see the glass half-empty or even empty; always highlight the negative side – never the positive.

        Media should REFORM…BE REFORMED!

        • Buddy Gomez says:

          Right on, Chit!

        • edgar lores says:

          There are many ways of judging the morality of an act: (a) by motive; (b) by outcomes (intended or unintended); (c) by the nature (rightness/wrongness) of the act itself; (d) by the sentiment it produces; and (e) by virtue of the doer.

          Using the last 4 criteria (b – d), there may be no question as to the virtue of the act taken by the DSWD Secretary. It is the first criterion (a) that bothers.

          It is hard to use (a) sometimes because we cannot ascribe motive correctly. Usually, there is not just one but several purposes. We would have to ask and determine what was (or is) the primary purpose.

          We usually use (b) and (c) in most of our judgments.

          It may be that the combination of the last 4 criteria, or just (b) itself, outweighs the first.

          Absent a universally accepted model for judging, morality, just like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

        • Joe America says:

          It is so refreshing to have a contrary position to the indignant moralists who are on DSWD’s case, amplified through the megaphone of a tabloid press that just LOVES such indignant topics. Hey, it was a decision someone made in an earnest attempt to solve a problem. Let’s focus our indignant moralism toward a sleazy press that does indeed make the Philippines a pit of grousing and complaint, rather than satisfaction and pride.

        • Bert says:

          Totally agree with you on this, Chit.

        • Bert says:

          “Absent a universally accepted model for judging, morality, just like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.”—Edgar

          True. But should not it be that the beholder at least be partial to what is right and good and proper in such circumstances? An important visitor is coming and there are two options: 1. to do something, 2. to do nothing. The better choice is clear.

          It’s like when you are about to have a date with your beloved girlfriend, anticipating a good hug in the process, and you have two choices: 1. to take a bath, 2. to not take a bath.

          And the beholder chastised you for taking a bath.

          • edgar lores says:


            What was the motive? Was the act mainly for the benefit of the children? Or was it to make a good impression on the pope? To make the country look good?

            In other words, was the act sincere? With no ulterior motives behind it? Where are the children now?

            • Bert says:

              You are right, Edgar, it’s clear there was a motive, always there is. And the motives I think are good: to make a good impression on the pope, and to make the country look good. In my eyes as a beholder, those are not bad motives.

              As to the sincerity of the government to what has been done I cannot tell, and to say that there was an intention to deceive…deceive who? The Pope?, The public? Surely the government knows that the pope knows the real conditions prevailing here in the Philippines. It’s just that I think there was the intention to impress.

              I don’t know where the children are now. Maybe they’re back to their old habitat who knows. In my view, taking a bath for good reason is better than not taking a bath because the body is dirty after all. And my girlfriend will surely not be impressed hugging a dirty me, :).

              • edgar lores says:

                Perhaps, yes, to deceive the pope, perhaps to deceive the media, perhaps to deceive the children or to deceive ourselves.

                Do you take a bath for your girlfriend’s sake? Or for your sake? (Some girls, and men too, like dirty. 🙂 )

                Does one do things for purely appearance sake? Or to eliminate the core issue?

                Would the children have been given that chance if the visitor had been the Australian Prime Minister? Would they have been given that chance if there had been no prestigious visitor?

                Motive is revealed by my last question: Where are the children now? If they have been “thrown back” into the concrete jungle, then there you have it.

                My judgment may hinge not on the initial act itself but on the answer to that last question.

                (One of the afflictions that Francis criticized was “leading a double life” or existential schizophrenia.)

              • Joe America says:

                I come down in the middle. If the kids had been left on the streets maybe they would have gotten rich begging from the masses, or maybe the condemnation of them from a lot of people would have been so intense as to scar them for life. Or maybe one would have gotten trampled in unbridled enthusiasm, and we would not be having this conversation.

                It is not worth 10 seconds of debate as it is one of those “delegated” decisions that we can entrust to DSWD, and live with it, right or wrong. To me, it is the incessant second guessing, incited by a tabloid press, that is the much bigger wrong. Or as josephivo would ask, why are we having this conversation when Jejomar Binay is still a candidate for President?

              • edgar lores says:

                Ahh, there is the big question. The counter to the big question, of course, is “if you take care of the little things, the big things take care of themselves”. Or the “broken window theory.”

                A case can be made that our capacity to tolerate Binay’s Big Deceit is the natural consequence of our tolerance of small deceits. We have become inured.

                The other important aspect of this issue is how we frame the questions. We can frame it from the view of the papal visit or from the view of solving the problem of street families. Or from the view of Binay’s continued domination of the surveys.

                We all have different answers… and the middle path is usually the wise one.

              • karl garcia says:

                See, even Edgar says that you (Joe) are wise.

              • Joe America says:

                Tell it to my wife. 🙂

              • Hopefulcitizen says:

                Totally aggree with you Bert. Even the Pope said he didnt know the answer to the question of an emotional street kid “why nobody was helping them”, so why cant we appreciate what the government did to them for once even if it was temporary. I am sure the experience at the resort would be one of their bests

              • Bert says:

                Thank you, Hopefulcitizen. We here in Joe’s blog we pit our heads together or against each other trying to explore good ideas and we are enjoying it immensely. In the process we learned from each other. I learned so much here, from Edgar and from Joe, and from the other guys, too. I have so much good to say in my mind but unable to express them due to my limitations in the English language. I am happy to have you around in Joe’s blog and if I know Joe, he’s happy too in welcoming you.

              • karl garcia says:

                Bert you are very articulate, ako nga hindi madaldal lang
                . I saw in rappler people or a person called commenters here as intellectuals (di ako kasali dun) anong masama dun?

        • Thanks for this chit navarro. I was getting depressed from all my facebook contacts heaping it on secretary soliman.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      I would like to add, STOP ENGLISH-SNOBBERY. Anyone laughing at misspelled, syntax errors, diction, pronunciation and simply wrong English should be lashed.

      Housemaids should not wear Identification and uniforms when they go out from their masters house.

      Each Filipino household should be given OSHA certification before housemaids begins their servitude.

      • karl garcia says:

        Yes still prevalent is that having nannies wear uniforms when the family goes shopping Cringeworthy for me too. Wrong ispeling wrong pronunciation i applaud that you always notice .from anothr comnent:Miss curacao was not white i guess thst wss the tine ee eon runner up.hope ee get more of them next time.But that is miss universe. A miss manila would be a contest of best whitening lotions. Why dont we use interpreters. One wrong englitsze contestant is bashed the living daylights out of her.

        • karl garcia says:

          sorry even if we were talking about syntax errors. kahit ako di ko nasintindihan yung tinayp ko. i mean miss curacao won and philiipiines wasrunnerup( damn wikipedia could not confirm that a miss curacao won a miss universe, must be another pageant then or maybe another non white country who won )

        • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

          Seeing nannies, houseslaves tag along with minor-league masters is revolting …

          • karl garcia says:

            yes really revolting.

            • karl garcia says:

              i would have stopped with revolting, but if people have no choice they might as well ask them not to wear uniforms and ask them to eat what they are eating if they want to and so on.but that is just me.

              • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

                I TELL YOU, KARL … The masters’ dogs eat better food than the house slaves !!!!

  14. Juana Pilipinas says:

    “The man of power is ruined by power, the man of money by money, the submissive man by subservience, the pleasure seeker by pleasure.”

    ― Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf

    Servility is a very mild word for the fawning or obsequious servility displayed by a lot of Filipinos. Subservience most aptly describe the behavior, but it is not mindless subservience; far from it, it is usually purposeful and premeditated. It is often done to curry favor and patronage which can result in power and money for the subservient. It is social climbing 101 or networking on steroids, Filipino style.

    What it will take for subservient Filipinos to finally realize that they are the master of their destinies and there are better ways to fulfill dreams? How can the Philippines as a nation deal with subservience? How do we start manifesting equality and respect in a country where the privileged and powerful do not want to come down from their ivory towers?

    • Joe America says:

      “How do we start . . .?” Asking the questions is step one. Then I’d think a two pronged approach to answers: (1) Department of Education needs to figure it out, and (2) Executive branch needs to figure it out. Education has to consider not just the subject matter, but how it is taught. Teachers ruling the roost without understanding how to build esteem is one area to explore. Getting kids onto computers and away from rigid texts is another. For Executive, it is to stand up for the people . . . really . . . and stop granting impunity.

    • We are largely a product of our environments and the people leave our country to find places where they have more control over his or her destiny. We realize it and in someways the people who are subservient are simply playing the game. People who leave want to play another game. The people who clamor for change sometimes want the rules changed sometimes want to play a different game (Communist).

  15. Bans Godoy says:

    Disruptive revolution is not an acceptable solution? Hmm, that makes it difficult. – Edgar.Lores said.

    Truly, disruptive revolution is difficult, but nature or nation change is historically inevitable, philippines corruption seems percolating fast noticed by the increasing enlighten middle class intellectuals, both inside and outside Filipino educated Kababayan. Silent middle class in the social media are watching and percolating.

    Natural illustration: oil percolates before it boils, when boiling point reaches its kindling point, then bang, sudden fire starts, from outside to inside!

    Historically, this happened in very weak China in recent past during the 19th century during the Qing dynasty era. Very weak nation, rampant corruption, percolating awareness outside and inside the nation, then 1911 china revolution kindling point reached, sparked lead to communist revolution, until unified, then progressive reform follows.

    One thing to note: Revolutionary Leaders were educated from outside the countries then started it as catalyst, in Europe Countries, similarly AMERICA is no exception, and then taxation to American Revolution,

    Second thing to note: started as authoritarian then gradually change to some form of socialist/ democratic government. Southeast Asian countries like HongKong, Taiwan, Singapore, same with America and China. America is from authoritarian federalist into democracy, China is authoritarian communist to socialist capitalist.

    Natural change proven by historical nation changes? Will it happen in the Philippines?
    Is corruption stories of Napoles/Enrile/Jinggoy/Rivilla and Binay be the kindling point for change?
    Percolation is reached and increasing. …….

    Is there alternatives?

  16. karl garcia says:

    i guess we cant blame that singaporean or was it from hong kong who practically labeled all filipinos as maids.

    When jarvis was not yet a computer he was a butler, so was alfred,and jeeves . All they remember is Maya.(she was not a butler though) blame TFC

    • karl garcia says:

      I don’tknow who Jeeves was so better ask Jeeves

    • Joe America says:

      I can’t help but smile at the stereotypes that happen all over the world. In Los Angeles Iranians run all the gas stations, Cambodians the donut shops, Filipinos are nurses, Russians run the crime syndicates, Mexicans repair the cars and the Chinese excel at school and get rich in business. I always was pleased when a Filipino (usually a Filipina, but not always) nurse did my blood tests. The needle always slipped painlessly into the vein. Clumsy white Americans can’t see straight and have the grace of a three legged elephant. They also can’t jump.

      • Karl garcia says:

        Yes the stereotypes fron hing kong forgot that before maya there was sharon and now pokwang as caregivers. Yeah i watched the equalizer the turf war amongthe irish,the italians and the russians would really want us to call or email the equalizer.woody harelson really could not jump in that movie. Wesley snipes ran rings around him.

  17. josephivo says:

    Impunity, of course. 70 years after independence and still nobody took the time to change in Cebu, at the Magellan cross or in the Basilica, the text “Magellan… who discovered (?) the Philippines, united it, named it and brought us civilization (???)”. Shouldn’t it read “Magellan who introduced the systematic plundering of our wealth by Spaniards, Americans and dynasties.” Also in 450 years Filipinos could not decide who was the real hero, the slain Magellan or the victorious Lapu-Lapu, so both are sculpted peaceful together. (…and yes, I enjoyed my trip to Cebu and Sinulog. The Filipino togetherness, the anarchy and structure, the perfect fusion of religion, fiesta and commerce and the million smiles…)

    But the combination is lethal, the Asiatic tendency to revere ancestors and people in power and the 450 years of Spanish and American brainwashing, called (Cristian) civilization. It resulted in a culture where everybody has to understand the words and grammar of Rizal’s books, but nobody dares to read the powerful anti-Catholic and anti- autocratic messages. A culture where we compete on accuracy and reciting the centavos without grasping the difference between a million and a billion. Wisely accepting all we can’t change, but we are little so we can’t change anything. An industrious population too, working in long hours, working hard, creative, but not willing to see the leeches that suck away the wealth they produce because “leeches are sacred, God given”, “we need leeches to reduce blood pressure”, “leeches will always exist” and “who cares, they are just leeches, let’s continue preparing the next fiesta”.

    • Joe America says:

      Leeches and termites, the ecology of Filipino corruption. You are writing poetry again. It must have been a nice trip.

    • There’s a thought! Why not have someone empowered and patriotic rewrite all history textbooks in a proud and rational Filipino voice? Someone who is grounded, in-touch with global reality, and full of pride about being a free Filipino in a beautiful, bountiful, and happy Philippines.

      • sonny says:

        JP, I second the thought. I would suggest a phenomenological approach to ‘rewriting’ our history textbook. What I mean by this is that we agree on the historical data that we bring and then also realize that interpreting the data to construct a historical narrative will depend on the angle (bias) we personally bring and understand it as such. We must vet the data thoroughly and then appreciate the personal insight of any narrative so displayed.

        • karl garcia says:

          An example would be Bonifacio was he a hero or a goat? Same with Aguinaldo.Now the choice between Lapu Lapu and Magellan should be a no brainer. Lapu lapu all the way,but they thank Magellan for christianity.I see christianity had a dark past, persecution until 19th century maybe it was another charismatic pope who changed that for a while.

          • josephivo says:

            Magellan/Lapu-lapu? Not at all a no-brainer. Select Lapu-lapu the terrorist(?) or the ally of the King/Sultan(?) of Cebu with his beautiful queen who accepted a miraculous statue as a bribe? Isn’t collaborating and bowing for the more powerful, as the king did, a Filipino trait more than fighting for independence with unequal arms? Do we select as heroes people aligning with our current “ethos” or people opposite to our character?

            • karl garcia says:

              For people with no brains l mean.I am now an instant advocate of rewriting all our history books thanks to you.

              • karl garcia says:

                If bowing down to the more powerful is the filipino thing to do,then there is nothing wrong with aguinaldo escaping and nothing wong about his failure to have a voice in the treaty of paris. So what bonifacio did was unfilipino? Then we dont need another hero. Tina turner was right.

              • karl garcia says:

                Lapu Lapu= basic terrorist/savior argument like zorro,lone ranger,and batman.

              • Joe America says:

                Zing . . .

                In context, American revolutionaries were terrorists, hiding behind trees and shooting the Brits all lined up in proper rank.

              • josephivo says:

                Isn’t a large part of history A aligning with B to knock C on the head? If they win they are heroes if they lose they are terrorists until they realign and then history has to be rewritten. Filipinos are wiser, they correctly call A, B and C heroes. The Muslim ruler, the invader and the local chief. The collaborator with the Spanish, trying to get voting power in the Cortes, the collaborator with the Americans trying to become an American state and the independence fighter. The Filipino guerrilla fighter, the Americans and the Japanese. Being on the Liberal coalition and being part of UNA. Betting on more than one horse the wise way to survive. Principles are just harmful for survival.

              • edgar lores says:

                I really must take a trip too. 🙂

            • karl garcia says:

              I think if we allow china to build structures and reclaim as in make south china sea into south china sub continent, then all of south east asia north east asia what ever will have filipino like traits bowing down to the master.

          • sonny says:

            How do we draw the historical trajectories we would like to be enlightened by? what national pathology would we like to trace and understand? our economics? our politics? our “damaged culture”? our “pathetic” religiosity? our colonial mentality? Questions, questions and more questions. Journalism 101 suggests we find the answers as to the Who, where, what, when, why, how of things. Our textbooks through the decades have fed us partial answers to these questions. Or is it just me who wonder about these things in this manner? 🙂

            For example this geo-political trajectory, Magellan stumbled upon our part of the Malay archipelago because of what? The standard answer is to seek the best route to the islands of Ternate & Tidore. The known route then was to hug the African coastline by going as far south as one can and then hang a left at the Straits of Malacca and go eastwards to the two islands. Because the world is round (this was already known at the time), Magellan reasoned, how about going westward instead of south and get to the same spot to get Spanish hands on the same fabled islands without using Portuguese or Dutch charts to arrive there. I will bring my trusted Malay servant, Enrique, to take care of the language problem. Where does Lapu-lapu figure in the scheme of things of the Spice trade?

            Before the search for the Spice islands, Cebu and Mactan belonged to the back door of the largest archipelago of the world. This was not to be after Magellan’s arrival and discovery of the San Lazaro archipelago. The rest, as they say, is history.

            • edgar lores says:

              MAGELLAN (Lyrics)

              On March 16, 1521
              When Philippines was discovered by Magellan
              They were sailing day and night across the big ocean
              Until they saw a small Limasawa island

              Magellan landed in Limasawa at noon
              The people met him very welcome on the shore
              They did not understand the speaking they have done
              Because Kastila gid at Waray-Waray man

              When Magellan landed in Cebu City
              Rajah Humabon met him, they were very happy
              All people were baptized and built the church of Christ
              And that’s the beginning of our Catholic life

              When Magellan visited in Mactan
              To christianize them everyone
              But Lapu-Lapu met him on the shore
              And drive Magellan to go back home

              Then Magellan got so mad
              Ordered his men to camouflage
              ‘Mactan island we could not grab
              ‘Cause Lapu Lapu is very hard’

              Then the battle began at dawn
              Bolos and spears versus guns and cannons
              When Magellan was hit on his neck
              He stumble down and cried and cried

              Oh, mother mother I am sick
              Call the doctor very quick
              Doctor, doctor shall I die?
              Tell my mama do not cry
              Tell my mama do not cry
              Tell my mama do not cry

              That’s the end of Magellan
              In the island of Mactan long time ago
              Ladies and gentlemen


              With credits to Yoyoy Villame.



            • karl garcia says:

              If Magellan picked up Enrique fro Malacca in 1511 or a little bit later, then accompanied Magellan back to Europe then travel from 1519 to 1521 until it reached or went past Mallaca and it was made to appear that it was his first time to travel in that area. Sonny help.

              • karl garcia says:

                I got a theory, since no one believed pythagoras and copernicus only insisted that the world is round before his death in 1543 magellan had a shortcut in the flat world he the dutch and the portguese were using the flat world route.. but henrique and the rest of the crew were successful in circumnavigating the world without magellan but no one believed them that the world is round because Magellan died.

              • karl garcia says:

                Someone in the crew maybe enrique told copernicus about their round the world journey. That confirms his studies of pythagoras .Copernicus now has testimonial evidence to be submitted to the vatican and the queen of england,king of spain,king of Germany ,king of portugal,netherlands and so on. copernicus also gave the stamp of approval to all magellan’s exploits. i mean discoveries.

              • sonny says:

                Karl, i came across the data points (timeline) of Magellan’s circumnavigation in 1998 during the fever of the our country’s centennial. I’ll try to recollate that timeline and report back either in this installment of Joe’s or email back to Joe whatever I shall have had constructed. (Because of the demise of Britannica, Americana, Book of Knowledge I will rely heavily on Wiki and other honest entries in the Internet). Ciao for now.

              • karl garcia says:

                Thanks Sonny, I miss Britannica too. Seriously without trolling this time. Wikipedia stated that Pigafetta and the pilot said that Enrique died in Mactan . Pigafetta aslo said that Enrique wasf rom Sumatra not from Moluccas also according to wikipedia. I want to see the brittanica 1999 edition or earlier.

              • karl garcia says:

                sonny before the weird thoughts about copernicus i just got confused with history a bit. marco polo met kublai khan .maybe that lead to the south africa indian ocean route so many have been going back andforth from asia to europe even before columbus.And the portuguese came to malaca 10 years before carlos de sinco ordered magellan . that is why i got confused with the enrique angle. They’ve been to Malaysia why haven’t they bumped in our parts.

              • karl garcia says:

                were they looking for the spice girls. carlos de cinco must have wanted a carlos de sais.

              • karl garcia says:

                instead he had felipe and Felipe is so makulit he kept on saying Felipe no, thus we are called Filipinos.
                He also hated de sinco so he decided to become emperor so he could be carlos primero.

              • sonny says:

                Karl, at this point of my search my head is spinning because there is a myriad of factoids coming at me in a torrent: on the sphericity of the earth, the concept was already becoming a given just by the logic of the philosophers of Greek & Roman antiquities, from Thales of Miletus (ca. 300 BC) thru Pythagoras’ group on to pre-Socratic, Socratic to Peripatetics and to Alexander the Great’s dispersal of this knowledge to India. Erathosthenes in 240 BC calculated the meridional circumference accurate within 2% to 20% of the current measurement. Compare that to the Indian, Aryabhatta (ca. 500 AD), equatorial circumference of 24,835 mi. – short by only 66 mi.! Yikes! Sidenote: a heliocentric solar system was already proposed by Seleucus of Seleucia, Mesopotamia in 190 B.C.

              • karl garcia says:

                you are not alone. i am doing a parallel run to yours. It’s a headache!

              • sonny says:

                Karl, my theory: much of sea travel, i suspect, then as now, depended on friendly winds (trade winds) and friendly currents and friendly combinations thereof; plus the Malay islands are so notoriously thickly forested with all kinds of exotic wild fauna and flora, not always friendly to passage nor friendly to foraging. And oh, there were pesky typhoons and the tropical heat. Apparently too, the Iberians operating so far from home depended on the friendliness of the natives and their sultans. Magellan and Francisco Serrano barely held their own with the sultans of Ternate n Tidore. I suspect too that the Celebes Sea must not have been that welcoming. The language barrier must have been very difficult. The encounter between Enrique and Magellan must be looked at as happy chance because it turns out Enrique was a polyglot. So the crafty Magellan bit his lip and opted to go for Enrique over the Spice girls hiding behind the sultan’s curtain. 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                If my history books in school had been half as entertaining as you and Karl, I might actually have learned something.

              • sonny says:

                Joe, I’m like a little boy in a candy store, traipsing through the topics in your blog – the internet and google at your fingertips. Thank you. Now, if only Rick Steves would advertise for an assistant. 🙂

              • karl garcia says:


      • Joe America says:

        That is a superb idea. I’m currently working on a blog about education and will reference this suggestion.

  18. Hopefulcitizen says:

    Very intelligent exchanges, I am intimidated, but hats off to all of you, your views may differ from each other and from mine, but i sense the intolerance against impunity and the common love for our country. May the middle class and the D/E or the general population be empowered soon, it is an uphill climb, but all things are possible to those who believe and act. We are getting there I hope.

    • Joe America says:

      Welcome to the blog, Hopeful. Indeed, views occasionally differ but as you note, there are some commonalities, respect for one another, direct speech and the best for the Philippines. You’d fit in fine.

  19. marky says:

    Hi Joe, let me put emphasis on 2 things coming from ur post.

    1st, how in the world our elected officials stand silent and look the other way when all these corruption allegations are out in the open against the Binays? I cant stomach why our congressmen, no less than speaker belmonte saying that there are more important things to do aside from impeaching binay, heck, if we dont do something to this ‘anay’, god forbid what happens to our country.

    2nd, I agree with u that there are but only a few coming out right now to address this corruption issue and for that i’ll give credit to cayetano- that doesnt mean I’m voting for him as I perceived him to be shrewd and might be doing all this because he is either eyeing a higher office or keeping taguig out of the binays. But this is my bigger concern, im wondering why sen. grace poe has been so silent about the binay issue, she is young and supposed to be the revolutionary type but from what im seeing lately, she also knows how to ride to popular issues and can be silent on pressing ones, I dont see in her the type that can bring the D and E a place for themselves to grow and find opportunity, in fact as i observed her, im finding it easy that she has this ‘opportunist’ moves which are surefire way to get to the hearts of filipino voters but in no way can get them out of their situation.

    • Joe America says:

      I agree entirely, marky. I once did a blog about Senator Poe, defending her from accusations of being a “Marcos child”, basically making the point that an individual should be judged on his or her merits and achievements, not on someone else’s, by association. Well, based on Senator Poe’s “achievement” of complete silence about Binay, it is fair to judge her harshly.

      Impeachment as I understand it is a risky move because it is political, and if it were somehow to fail, Binay would be excused from further prosecution, and could run and be elected unimpeded by his legal woes. It is better if DOJ and the Ombudsman do their findings.

      • RHiro says:

        It is very sad that many missed what the Pope said in his speech at the Palace.

        “Essential to the attainment of these national goals is the moral imperative of ensuring social justice and respect for human dignity. The great biblical tradition enjoins on all peoples the duty to hear the voice of the poor. It bids us break the bonds of injustice and oppression which give rise to glaring, and indeed scandalous, social inequalities.”

        “Reforming the social structures which perpetuate poverty and the exclusion of the poor first requires a conversion of mind and heart. The Bishops of the Philippines have asked that this year be set aside as the “Year of the Poor”. I hope that this prophetic summons will challenge everyone, at all levels of society, to reject every form of corruption which diverts resources from the poor, and to make concerted efforts to ensure the inclusion of every man ad woman and child in the life of the community.”

        Martin Luther started the protestant reformation. His nemesis was Charles V who organized the Council of Trent or the Counter – Reformation. Charles V was also ruler of Spain who sent Magellan on his way. His son was Phillip II of Spain for whom the Philippines was named. Phillip II was also once married to Queen Mary I of England who loved to barbecue Protestants.

        It took Western Europe more than 300 years till the French Revolution to throw the idea of ecclesiastical rule and the divine right of kings into the dust bin of history. Rational thought and science thus brought Western Europe into the industrial revolution and ultimately liberal democracy.

        Unfortunately for the Philippines Spain held sway here till the end of the 19th century.

        The social structures from Spain were strengthened by the U.S. It was the Ilustrados v. the Indios then and it still is pretty much the same today. The class system brought about by the first wave of Imperialism or globalization still permeates today as the world is going through the second wave of globalization.

        There is still no real middle class in the Philippines. It remains Illustrado v. the Indio…

        Hence we have seen the rise of the electoral autocracy…Pinoy is a well born while Binay is up by his bootstraps Illustrado. Being an Indio who made good, he caters to them as he knows who punches his political ticket. A lot of the Illustrados were bastard children of Spanish friars.

        Pope Francis was speaking in broad brushes as he spoke of all forms of corruption. The Vatican is releasing a report titled “This Economy Kills” on the evils of free market trickle down economic ideology. The very same ideology being pursued by the Aquino government.

        “In the exhortation there is nothing that can’t be found in the social doctrine of the Church. I didn’t speak from a technical point of view, I sought to present a snapshot [una fotografia] of what is going on. The only specific passage was on “trickle-down” theories, [le teorie della “ricaduta favorevole”] according to which every economic growth, favored by the free market, results in producing on its own [di per sé] a greater equity and social inclusion in the world. There was the promise that when the glass was full, it would be transferred over and the poor would benefit from it. Instead what happens when it is full to the brim, the glass magically grows, and thus nothing comes forth for the poor. ”
        Pope Francis

        Binay is the tree but the government of Aquino together will all past governments since Marcos are the forest. Who should one vote for??? The Ghostbusters.

        • Joe America says:

          The conundrum is that the wealth that provides for the better weapons, health care, and lifestyles is brought to us by the same people who empower the politicians, and the politicians protect their benefactors. Without the benefactors, we don’t have the machines or the technology or the health breakthroughs or the cars or the pollution. There is not one culprit, and it is equally fair to blame the Church as the oligarchs or the conquerors. The trick is breaking into the cycle, or circle, at all points and get the whole thing spinning in the right direction.

          I would add, that your comment is very interesting reading.

          • R. Hiro says:

            No conundrum. Marx and Engels died before European States started moving to protect the rights of labor. Hence Marx’s prophesies did not turn out.

            No capitalist has ever created wealth on his own. Some of Marx’s observation’s about the fatal flaws of capitalism has been proven correct. But he failed to see the solutions employed by nation states and advances in the ideas of monetary economics that threw out mercantilism which was based on a finite amount of gold and silver.

            William Jennings Bryan in his cross of gold speech and FDR’s confiscation of privately owned gold bullion are two examples of State power.

            QE policy by the independent Federal Reserve…All sovereign powers to deliberately debase money in times of emergency.

            Edison was eventually fired from G.E. by J.P. Morgan. At one time he acted as the sole monetary authority of the U.S. in the time when capitalism blew itself up.

            His actions later saw the need for the nation State to establish a monetary authority.

            Capitalists keep blowing up the system and it always the State that is forced to repair the damage.

      • marky says:

        Thanks for the reply Joe. Re Impeachment, I see it more as the ‘drawing of the line’ in this Administration filled with two faced pals. But come to think of it, maybe the Aquino endorsement will also be drawing the lines on who’s on the side of ‘daang matuwid’ and whos on the dark side.
        Secondly, is Sen Poe missing out the fact that 8 out of 10 filipinos wants binay to attend the senate hearing? That should be enough to make her mad- if she’s really for the poor and not for her own political agenda. Just my 2 cents. Have a nice day.

        • Joe America says:

          Ah, very good. Impeachment would indeed draw the lines sharply, at some risk though. Tommorrow we will see lines drawn, too, in the Blue Ribbon Committee, when they vote on whether or not to arrest Mayor Binay and his lieutenants. Senator Poe is on that Committee. I agree with your harsh view on her silence. Have a good day yourself.

  20. RHiro says:

    Joe, kindly e-mail contact details for your case of beer…

    • Joe America says:

      Hahaha, I forgot what we were betting on . . . so I don’t know exactly why I’d do that. 😉

      • R. Hiro says:

        We had bet on whether Pinoy would seek re-election

        • Joe America says:

          Ah, you are an honorable bettor. I don’t know that there are too many around. I won’t hold you to it, as I drink very little beer these days. Like, one bottle every six months. But if it is a manner of personal commitment, kindly make a donation to a charity of your choice, in my name, for the equivalent amount.

  21. Steve says:

    I noted long ago the tendency of the Philippine elite to confuse respect with deference: when they speak of “respect”, they generally mean they expect people to defer to them and their position, or (often more accurately) to grovel. Their impunity is one example of this “respect” – actually deference – that the elite grant each other.

    That’s part of what could be called a kiss/kick society, where one is expected to kiss the ass above and kick the ass below. Fun if you’re on top of the pile, but not a recipe for progress or stability.

  22. Jake says:

    “All men are equally created” is only a theory in the US, hardly practiced…especially if they belong to the Republican Party.

    Example: politicians are actively against contraception being required to be covered by insurance but the same people have no qualms having viagra covered.

    Moneyed Americans are above the working class. It comes to the point that artificial persons called corporation are given more rights than real persons.

    Also, many US state universities admit to having quota for Asian American students. What could not be a more classic inequality than “affirmative action” (which puts hardworking Asian students at a disadvantage).

    Hierarchy isn’t exclusive to the Philippines. In fact, that is very Confucianist – find yourself in the society. It is common in many Asian countries including the prosperous ones.

    The concept isn’t bad at all per se. In the Philippines elected leaders are often incompetent which is the core problem.

    That being said, the culture of impunity is more of a lowland culture problem. In the province of Benguet, politicians there often go around without bodyguards. Political Violence in other Cordillera provinces are often NPA related but are more rare compared to the lowlands.

    There is something rotten about the lowland culture.

    • Joe America says:

      Oh, I disagree entirely on “All men are created equal”. It is more than a theory, it is a principle of American living that underpins all the work done to eradicate racism, gender bias, give the handicapped new rights, and so forth. It is what the current battle about gay marriage is all about. Do people abuse the principle? You bet, and the red necks lead the pack. It is also the principle that causes government service to be about service, rather than lording it over the powerless.

      Moneyed Americans indeed have more abilities, and in some instances, more power, than others.

      “Affirmative action” is complex, an action aimed at correcting the underlying bias of discrimination, but which is itself discriminating. It did its job though, opening American universities up to traditionally discriminated groups and creating deep ethnic diversity in American universities. If one expects an IDEAL in a complex social set of issues, one is always likely to be disappointed, and critical. American diversity and progress toward equal treatment is actually quite amazing to behold.

      I appreciate the point that the culture of impunity does not exist in certain locales. Steve has made this point in the past. I suppose my blog is mainly concerned at lowlanders.about the lowlanders who run things.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] ask this as follow-up to questions that Society member Juana Pilipinas fired up about how to end submission as a way of life that feeds into the culture of impunity here in the […]

  2. […] the Philippines was discovered by Magellan” and the late Edgar Lores can be seen practically singing along in an old comment. That a wise man like Edgar likes a comedian’s song is not surprising to me, as […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: