The raging of the righteous: Senator Alan Cayetano

right·eous ˈrīCHəs, adjective, (of a person or conduct) morally right or justifiable; virtuous. “He is a good, righteous man, I am sure”, synonyms: good, virtuous, upright, upstanding, decent.

cayetano mamasapano inquirer

Senator Cayetano at Mamasapano hearing [Photo credit: Inquirer]

We have a condition, a rather unnerving one, that seems to be arising more frequently within democratic institutions lately. Let’s call it “the raging of the righteous”.

Reader mcgll wrote:

“. . . it would be interesting for someone to draw an analogy between negotiations of Phil Govt with MILF and negotiations of US admin with Iran, in light of Alan Cayetano’s withdrawal of his endorsement of the BBL and Tom Cottons’ letter to Iran. Both actions are flying above my head.”

Let’s profile the two situations, then address the value system, or breakdown in the value system, that we need to understand.

The US and Iran

The United States, under the direction of its Executive Branch, has been engaged for years in an effort to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb. Sanctions have been deployed, and negotiations between the two parties have gone in fits and starts. Trust between the two nations does not exist. Iran says it is processing uranium for peaceful purposes, but will not allow inspections. The US does not want a nuclear-armed destabilizer in the Middle East. Representatives of the two sides recently sat down to negotiate a way forward, rather a “last chance” solution before Israel, under threat of being wiped out by Iranian nukes, takes matters into her own hands.

These negotiations are almost done. The Obama Administration has not engaged the Legislative Branch in the negotiations, perhaps not surprising considering the animosity toward the Obama Administration demonstrated by the Republican congressional majority. Establishing foreign policy is a recognized power assigned to Executive Branch. Legislative Branch has the power to oversee Executive Branch activities.

American Republican congressmen are concerned that the negotiations are giving too much to Iran. Too many concessions. Not enough demands. A few days ago, Freshman Senator Tom Cotton, elected to the House in 2013 and the Senate in 2015, took it upon himself to write an “open letter” to Iran that advised Iran:

“We will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei. The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”

The letter was signed by 47 Republican senators.

  • Democrats are irate that Obama’s foreign initiatives have been undermined.
  • Republicans are irate that they have not been consulted on the agreement, and suspect the Obama Administration is not being tough enough in negotiations.
  • Foreign policy experts are generally critical of the letter for interfering with Executive matters and weakening the Office of the President, now and going forward.
  • [See: “Republicans Blame Obama For Tom Cotton Letter“, Huffington Post]

Thus, Senator Cotton’s letter is an example of the “raging of the righteous”. In essence:

  • “Established norms and powers mean nothing. My view is right and I am going to do something about it.”

The Philippines and the MILF

The Philippines, under the direction of the Executive Branch, has been engaged in negotiations with the revolutionary group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), for about three years now. The goal is to end years of conflict on Mindanao by establishing a region within the Philippine state that would give indigenous Moros, and other native groups, significant powers of self-governance. The agreement is considered by many to be a concession to “Muslim Mindanao”, and they don’t like that the region has special rights and funding not available to other areas.

The agreement had just reached the Legislative Branch for review and passage of the Basic Bangsamoro Law (BBL) when the “Mamasapano incident” occurred. This battle killed 67 people, including 44 police troopers, and involved MILF fighters as the “enemy” of a legitimate Philippine policing action tracking down a notorious terrorist bomb maker. The incident brought the peace negotiations to a halt.

Immediately after the engagement, Senator Alan Cayetano withdrew his sponsorship of the BBL. During Senate hearings on Mamasapano, and in a privilege speech shortly afterward, Senator Cayetano directly challenged the allegiance of the Philippine peace negotiators. He accused them of working for an untrustworthy negotiating party, the MILF, rather than the Philippine government. He went on to detail various abridgments of trust by the MILF, including what he claimed was the hiding of the terrorist bomber by one of the commanders of the MILF “enemy” force. He claimed peace negotiators knew of this.

The public reaction can be characterized as a national raising of the eyebrows. Those opposed to a separate “Muslim state” cheered Cayetano for being blunt and on target. Those supporting the peace agreement criticized him for failing to comprehend the work that went on during negotiations, the relative peace that has existed for three years, and the importance of peace to the well-being of Filipino residents in Mindanao. The sharpest criticism of Cayetano was levied by the peace negotiators themselves when they asked where he had been during prior legislative briefings, and why he did not raise his concerns then.

Some raised speculations that Senator Cayetano was grandstanding to try to gain momentum for his possible candidacy for President.

Without question, Senator Cayetano’s sharp, blunt criticism of peace negotiators is another example of the “raging of the righteous”:

  • “I don’t care how much work went into negotiations, or if peace crumbles. My view is right and I am going to do something about it.”

How the two incidents are different and alike

Iran is a separate state, whereas the MILF is a revolutionary group of Filipino citizens. Both entities are well-defined and opposed to the position of the US or Philippines, respectively. Both are warrior entities. Both support or engage in terrorism, by some definition.

Executive Branches of both the US and Philippines are authorized to conduct negotiations to resolve long-standing conflicts and future threats.

  • The US Executive Branch can negotiate an agreement with Iran without Legislative approval. It might be smart to consult with Congress or ask for an endorsement vote, but it is not necessary.
  • The Philippines Executive Branch can negotiate terms of an agreement with the MILF, but must get Legislative approval to enact it as law. It is a domestic case.

Senator Cotton’s “rage of righteousness” was most certainly a violation of established norms and possibly a violation of law for interfering with the constitutionally endowed powers of Executive Branch. The letter risked upsetting negotiations at a delicate time, and has potentially undermined the Office of the President’s power to negotiate with foreign governments in other instances. It certainly added to the poisoned political atmosphere in the US, that atmosphere being the most significant threat to America’s well-being today.

Senator Cayetano’s “rage of righteousness” was conducted within established parameters of debate. He broke no protocols. He is entitled to change his mind or vote if new information is put on the table, and Mamasapano provided rather shocking new information. Cayetano was blunt to the point of disparagement, but that is not unusual in Philippine politics. He did not undermine the Office of the President’s power in any way. He did not poison any debate between political parties.

The main questions regarding Cayetano’s acts are:

  • Is he right or wrong?
  • Is he sacrificing the nation’s well-being as a stepping stone for personal advancement, that is, to gain traction for a presidential run?

Senator Cotton’s rage seems to have little to do with personal ambitions, but is consistent with the Republican party’s rabid attacks on various Obama initiatives. It is clearly a huge problem in the US when politicians assign higher loyalty to their political party than to the well-being of the United States. This has become the norm, and it has eroded the Legislature’s ability to negotiate and work toward middle-ground solutions. It is a very caustic congress.

In the Philippines, legislators seem often to put personal ambitions above the well-being of the Philippines. Senator Santiago issues forth “rages of righteous” just about every time she speaks. She is fully willing to undermine a lot of Executive initiatives or even aggressively condemn her own colleagues. Generating harmony is not her style.

Why does she do this? For vanity perhaps. Or on some principle that forthright means blunt.

But the Philippine legislature functions well. Better than the American legislature. It gets bills passed. It negotiates and shapes consensus laws. It conducts powerful investigations. It would seem that politics based on personalities rather than parties has an advantage when it comes to finding the flexibility required to compromise.

Being right or being dignified?

Both Senator Cotton and Senator Cayetano are 100% sure of their positions. They are right, and they know it. (We don’t, but they do.) That righteousness grants them the authority to violate protocol (Cotton) or violate civility (Cayetano).

They believe they have a MORAL mandate to act. To not allow wrong-headed decisions by others. To shape events as THEY think they ought to be shaped.

So where is the dignity in all this? Is it found in exercising one’s personal moral position, being true to one’s self? Or is it found in recognizing there are other moral positions, standards or ethics to which one ought to concede? Like harmony and getting things done.

If every legislator behaved as Cotton and Cayetano did, both congresses would operate much as the House did in trying to conduct a Mamasapano hearing. EVERY member was exercising the “rage of the righteous” and it was a huge indignity, a disgrace, a spectacle of complete collapse of discipline and civility.

  • Who will sanction Cotton? No one, except critics.
  • Who will sanction Cayetano? No one, except critics.

Only when each legislature decides to stand up for ethical principles that control violations of decency and fair play will the righteous be compelled to contain their rages. That is unlikely to happen in the US due to poisoned political partisanship. It is unlikely to happen in the Philippines due to legislator resistance to imposing any ethical penalties on anyone for any reason at any time. Because of the web of personal allegiances.

The only check and balance is with the public. Through free speech, peaceful protest and . . . the final diviner . . . the vote.

May we speak well, and vote well . . .


138 Responses to “The raging of the righteous: Senator Alan Cayetano”
  1. PinoyInEurope says:

    Cayetano is a rich kid trying to rouse the rabble. He uses the visceral fear many Catholic Filipinos have of the unknown – namely the Muslims – to gain political capital. He is trying to be like his patriotic father – who was MY patriotic father’s fraternity brother – but failing.

    Instead of helping the country, he is doing what is called Volksverhetzung in German, which has been defined as a crime since after the Second World War and means rabble-rousing.

    It is pretty obvious who was the reason for that law in postwar Germany. I too, was emotionally aroused by Cayetano’s performance in the Senate hearings. My instinctive patriotism and my Catholic background got the better of my objectivity and reason.

    He uses fear, which is bad. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering. It is the beginning of the path to the Dark Side of the Force, said Master Yoda. Dragon-fighters can become dragons, said Nietzsche, whom Hitler obviously did not get.

    And the righteous can often be hypocrites or blinded fools. Being a lawyer, Cayetano missed or ignored an important aspect of BBL, which should have been addresssed regardless of Mamasapano. He was one of those who drafted it, nasaan ang pinag-aralan mo Alan?

    ——————————————————————————————————– This part is very interesting:
    “Consider, for example, the following provisions of the Bill on mining. Article XIII provides:

    Sec. 13.

    Mines and Mineral Resources

    . – The Bangsamoro Government shall have authority and jurisdiction over the exploration, development, and utilization of mines and minerals in its territory. Permits and licenses and the granting of contracts for this purpose shall be within the powers of the Bangsamoro Government.

    Sec. 14.

    Financial and Technical Assistance Agreements

    . – The applications for financial and technical assistance agreements (FTAAs) covering mineral resources within the Bangsamoro shall be commenced at and recommended by the Bangsamoro Government to the President. The manner by which the Bangsamoro Government shall make the recommendation shall be in accordance with the mining policy that shall be adopted by the Bangsamoro Parliament. * * * Sec. 17. –

    Bangsamoro Mining Policy

    . – Policies on mining and other extractive industries shall be drawn up by the Bangsamoro Parliament in accordance with its Comprehensive Sustainable Development Plan, as well as its over-all medium-term and long-term Bangsamoro Development Plan.

    Section 13 of the Bill, as quoted above, is contrary to Article XII, Section 2 of the Constitution, which provides that the exploration, development, and utilization of the natural resources shall be under the “full control and supervision” of the National Government which may either undertake these activities itself or enter into co-production, joint venture, or production-sharing agreements with Filipino citizens or corporations 60 percent of the capital of which is owned by Filipino citizens. Further, in violation of the constitutional provision that the grant of legislative powers to regional governments “shall be subject to the provisions of […] national laws,”

    the Bill gives the Bangsamoro Government the power to amend the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 (Rep. Act No. 7942), among other national laws.

    Nor can Congress give the Bangsamoro Government the power to “adopt” or “draw up” a policy regarding mining. The mining policy is set forth in the Constitution and, as such, cannot be changed except by constitutional amendment. The Constitution provides that the natural resources belong to the State; that with the exception of agricultural lands, natural resources cannot be alienated; that the exploration, development, and utilization of the natural resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the State; that although the State may make agreements for others to undertake these activities, the party it contracts with must be Filipino citizens or corporations or associations 60 percent of the capital of which is owned by Filipino citizens; that even though the President of the Philippines may make agreements with foreign-owned corporations for technical or financial assistance for the large-scale exploration and utilization of minerals, petroleum, and other mineral oils, the agreement he makes must be “based on real contributions to the economic growth and general welfare of the country […] [since] the State shall promote the development and use of local scientific and technical resources.” This constitutional policy applies to mining in the entire country.

    The Bangsamoro Government cannot be given the power to determine the mining policy in the region without allowing it the power to amend the Constitution. Obviously, this cannot be done.”

    A report from 2012 mentions that Noynoy suspended oil drilling in ARMM on request of MILF. Other reports mention Malaysian plans to drain the Ligwasan Marsh near Mamasapano, which may even have huge natural gas reserves. This section of a US confidential diplomatic cable on Wikileaks is VERY interesting:

    “5. (SBU) The Department of Energy and Natural Resources (DENR) has already identified natural gas and oil deposits in three areas of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago: the Cotabato Basin; the Davao-Agusan Basin; and, an area straddling Tawi-Tawi and Sulu. The Cotabato Basin, notably, includes the 288,000 hectare Liguasan Marsh, straddling the provinces of Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudurat. This swamp/marsh — which is an officially declared bird sanctuary and game refuge — remains an important MILF stronghold, home to an estimated 280,000 Muslims, and an area where members of the terrorist Jemaah Islamiya (JI) have historically conducted training and sought refuge.

    6. (SBU) The Philippines National Oil Company (PNOC) began exploring for oil and natural gas in the Liguasan Marsh area in 1994 under Geophysical Survey and Exploration Contract (GSEC) 73, which covered all of Maguindanao, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudurat, Sarangani, Davao, and Bukidnon provinces of Mindanao. Malaysia’s national oil company, Petronas, partnered with the PNOC. By the late 1990’s, they had located natural gas and/or oil in five sites, including Datu Piang (Dulawan) and Sultan Sa Barongis in Maguindanao and Lambayong in Sultan Kudurat. According to the PNOC, the estimated natural gas deposits in Sultan Sa Barongis alone would be enough to fuel a 60MW combined cycle power plant for 20 years. The PNOC had hoped to use this gas to support the power requirements of Mindanao as well as for industrial applications. However, the PNOC and Petronas MANILA 00000740 002 OF 004 suspended operations in the Liguasan Marsh area due to threats from the MILF and extortion by local mayors and political warlords. 7. (SBU) Additionally, competing land ownership claims will make exploitation of these resources difficult.

    8. (SBU) The 1987 Constitution specifies that “all lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna, and other natural resources are owned by the State” and that all “exploitation, development, and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the State.” According to the Expanded Organic Act for the ARMM (RA 9054), the GRP — rather than the Bangsamoro people — explicitly controls all of the natural resources in the Liguasan Marsh. However, the Indigenous Peoples Right Act (IPRA) provided that indigenous peoples within and along the Liguasan Marsh could claim the land and natural resources in the marsh as part of their ancestral domain.”


    NOW Retired Justice Mendoza’s analysis regarding BBL especially mining,

    PLUS the possible natural resources in the Bangsamoro area,

    POINT to the risk of corrupt local magnates making sweet deals with whoever.

    Protecting national interests also means protecting our national BUSINESS interests.

    It is normal that other nations have theirs, like in all business you have to watch out.


    Dear Alan, I am very disappointed by you – you who are calling yourself a Nacionalista.

    Hindi mo napansin iyang mahalagang bahagi ng BBL, kahit Dr. ka ng Abogasya at Atenista.

    Mawalang-galang Alan, pero unang una, mas bata ka sa akin, pangalawa bastos ka rin.


    P.S. Joe, I am not jumping to any conclusions, I am just putting the facts on the table for discussion. I actually think that the Wikileaks cable is a typical, objective diplomatic dispatch.

    Since I know people in NGOs and diplomacy, I know this kind of passing information is NORMAL.

    I do not think that the USA wants to harm the Philippines or make a little Saudi Arabia in Bangsamoro, but I do see the risk of oil sheikhs down there buying arms to conquer Mindanao. They will deal with anyone they have to deal with, I am much more suspicious of Malaysia here.

    • Joe America says:

      Suspicion is a healthy view if it is not the basis for acting, but for studying things carefully. The parsing of the legal details in the Bill by Justice Mendoza is also healthy. I wonder what kind of “due diligence” the peace negotiators did on this. They could have run it by a panel of constitutional experts to ferret out these issues. Now it falls to the Legislature to do this. Or the Supreme Court will, for sure.

      I agree that Senator Cayetano is a spoiled rabble-rouser and is willing to upset the peace process for his personal ambitions. Certainly, he is about as far from diplomatic as it is possible to get. The senate, I believe, is generally thought of as the upper, more senior, more diplomatic house.

      Yeah. Right.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        “Suspicion is a healthy view if it is not the basis for acting, but for studying things carefully.” Correct. As a banker you know all about that I guess. Risk management. Wrote some posts about that some blogs before. Any business and any nation should have that.

        Senate comes from Latin senex, which means old man – root word of the English word senile which you Joe are definitely not. The requirement to join the Roman Senate was to be at least 30 years of age, which was old by the standards of that day. Only Julius Caesar got an exemption to that rule because of his military victories. Well at least old Gaius Julius had solid military experience and victories to back his strong speeches.

        Now in the blog just before we had an interesting exchange about maturity in the Philippines. Maybe psychological tests of mental and emotional age should be a requirement for public office in the Philippines. Santiago would fail them even now.

      • mindanaoan says:

        You call him names because you don’t like what he is saying. But I thank him for giving voice albeit obliquely to the unrepresented party to this debate, the christian mindanaoans.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          I don’t think that Cayetano really cares about you guys. Duterte actually does.

          And he is very careful about stoking the fires of war while at the same time critical of BBL.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            I read that Duterte actually looked at the entire BBL. He is a lawyer by training and as a Mindanaoan who managed to unite Christian, Muslims and Lumads peacefully and constructively in Davao, he has the practical experience to judge things. Very important.

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              OK, he IS a harsh Christian raja of Davao, but I guess there you have to be.

              Davao is progressing, airport and harbor are up to speed, pirates are gone.

          • mindanaoan says:

            Davao is so outside the conflict areas. Try Lobregat,

        • Joe America says:

          Okay, mindanaoan, I’m glad you at least recognize you come at it from a viewpoint that others may not share. I thought I was kind to Senator Cayegano, actually. I concluded that he was fully within his rights to speak out, whereas US Senator Cotton was not. Still, I think Senator Cayetano’s approach was better suited to the lower house, where everyone was seeking recognition and to hell with dignity.

          • mindanaoan says:

            My viewpoint is of someone that can be affected by this BBL. I was a ‘bakwiter’ when I was 5. I lived in region 9, once an autonomous region of the muslims. I know first hand how it is to live with the muslims. I have muslim friends. I have some confrontations with muslims. I have dealt with how unreasonable they can become. What’s your viewpoint?

            • Joe America says:

              I lived for a time in northern Mindanao, and the view of Catholics was anywhere from wary to hostile toward Muslims who dominated some of the communities along the coast. Fishing villages, for instance. I formed an initial negative impression because Muslim fishermen would scoop up all the fish fingerlings from the river passing through my land so they could sell them to fish farms. As a result, Gingoog Bay was essentially barren of fish, and I thought that was a stupid thing to do.

              That is the extent of my real knowledge, and it is so flimsy that I set it aside in favor of the belief that Muslims, like most of us, are good people with different traditions. We ought to respect their traditions and work for understandings and PRACTICES that promote harmony.

              • mindanaoan says:

                Gingoog is so very far from muslim areas you can’t really taste their ways from there. If you had a negative impression there, think if you are in their area. Ask the people from Iligan, or Zamboanga. One of the problems is that they have been brainwashed to think they somehow ‘owned’ Mindanao. And we are not talking yet of Islamists.

                I hope the national government people try to understand the experience of people living cheek by jowl with this problem. Maybe they will begin to see the shadow of this problem.

              • Joe America says:

                How would you solve the problem?

              • mindanaoan says:

                I already replied to that in another thread. I don’t know if there is a solution. But giving resources to people who fanatically believe you owe them your land cannot be a good idea.

              • Joe America says:

                Okay, so you don’t have a solution but don’t like the one proposed. No matter how many earnest, intelligent people have worked on it for three years. I can just throw my hands up, because I know continuing the status quo won’t work, and it is essential to listen to the disenfranchised and try to tend to their needs. With proper controls. Certainly the US has learned that loyalty cannot be imposed at the end of a gun.

              • mindanaoan says:

                Do you know what happened when Misuari declared he wanted full independence again? He was not lacking in arms. Although the agreement he signed called for disarmament and all that. Not unexpected since he had billions at his disposal. Do you know what they found in Ampatuan’s compound? An armory full of high-powered weapons including a V-150. And those aren’t even Islamists. What weapons will they have the next time around, given that there will be a significant increase in funding?

                What do they say about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?

              • Joe America says:

                Well, I hear the complaints, but what’s the point if they don’t lead to solutions? You ask questions as if I am supposed to join the rant, or propose a solution that grater minds than mine have been unable to find. I’ll calmly await the Legislature’s deliberations, and I thank you for your inside view of things.

              • mindanaoan says:

                And don’t buy this crap that they are disenfranchised, marginalized or otherwise downtrodden people. In fact, they have been treated as special people.They have been babied by the national government for a long time already. They have their own government for a long time receiving funding not given to other regions. Do they appreciate it? I haven’t heard even one who expressed gratitude. All that’s been repeated is the claim that the muslims owned mindanao. Unless this idea is finally debunked, we have to live in this atmosphere.

              • Joe America says:

                See my other comment. Without solutions, your complaints are like rain, there but nothing to be done about it.

              • mindanaoan says:

                Thanks for listening, Mr. Joe.

              • Joe America says:

                I am sympathetic to your observations. I actually think there are other ways than BBL, but it is too late to consider them. I would suggest a “core-out” plan that centers investments in several good sized communities that agree to certain rules, for the promise of economic stability and growth, then push out from there. Security in those communities would be very heavy. It would be a 50 year plan with expansion based on achievement rather than promise.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                “I actually think there are other ways than BBL, but it is too late to consider them.” Why?

              • Joe America says:

                Because the BBL is resident in the Senate waiting to be fine tuned and implemented.

              • Joe America says:

                And if I think too far outside the box, I am accused of being naive.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                And I am accused of being a warmonger which I am definitely not, only a realist.

                BBL without a realistic peace implementation plan and proper management of very real risks on the ground is just a piece of paper IMHO.

                Discounting risks instead of putting plans in place to manage them is shortsighted in my opinion, not listening to people on the ground also is.

              • mindanaoan says:

                Additional input: the muslim insurgency waned before Cory. So the local population did not give it critical mass. After Cory, it was likely the peace talks, and perhaps lately Malaysia that was sustaining it.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      IT and investigation are my two skills, like you said Dear Joe. Writing is too, I have now learned to be comprehensive, and to the point as well, polished my rough edges a bit.

      I do not suspect anyone of being pro big US oil in supporting BBL – in fact I could be just the competition, since from my IT business I have contacts to BOTH major Romanian oil firms drilling in the Black Sea. One is owned by a local oligarch with American backing – I know because I spent a whole wild night out in Bucharest with a Romanian-American corporate lawyer who was close to Senator Paul Laxalt, THE guy who told Marcos to cut, and cut cleanly during the February revolution. The other is owned by Austrian OMV – meaning EU and US interests are evenly represented in the new EU and NATO country Romania, but the Romanians are fully aware of this and have made sure that they also get their share in return for development.

      THAT is smart nationalism folks, not Santiago, not Alan Cayetano.

      AND I have NO vested interest, even if not everyone may believe me, just like many do not believe Joe. I believe him, because my street smarts tell me he is an honest guy.

      Joe, let us continue to work on the same goal – the good of the Philippines. Cheers.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Chief of Wildlife will smoke cigarette for Honorable Paleface Dances With Wolves.

          Then go work, must earn money. Even if one cannot eat money, must buy food.

          • Joe America says:

            Keep smiling, throws others off balance.

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              Hehe, that is the American way. Kill them with friendliness. 🙂

              OK gotta go, thanks for the good tip, will apply it.

            • sonny says:

              If one must blame/praise America 🙂 for taking the Philippines pick your choice: Teddy Roosevelt (my first choice). (to be cont’d).

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Identify America, I would say. No value judgement, what happened happened. History is history. From a political/economic perspective, after the West was won the US continued to expand, first to Hawaii then across the Pacific. The American (and the Russian) economic model was never built on a sustainable basis since they came to a sparsely populated continent with wide open spaces. The modern globalized economy is built on the same model and is going to collapse eventually because resources are limited – or will have to change its basic assumptions. The European and East Asian models are based on limited space and resources and are therefore more sustainable. Simple mathematics.

                The Philippines should not think too US-centric, it is a very limiting perspective IMHO.

              • Joe America says:

                Good lord, where were you when I needed you all these years. That paragraph will go to cut and paste central for whenever needed . . .

              • Joe America says:

                Please continue soon. Teddy is a character . . .

              • sonny says:

                Teddy was the Asst Sec of Navy when US was at war with Spain. He was an avid fan of Capt Alfred T Mahan who was the proponent of making the Pacific ocean an American lake. Together with Sec of State John Hay (as in Camp John Hay) and Henry Cabot Lodge, Teddy envisioned newly acquired possessions like The Marianas and the Philippines as forward bases for the US Navy westward: not just Subic or Clark, the whole Philippines would just be one big US Base. (My extrapolations). With William Randolph Hearst providing press releases, war with Spain was a done deal.

              • Joe America says:

                In hindsight, maybe the US should have adhered to Teddy’s vision. I think the Philippines would make three excellent new US states, but damn if I will say so. The Philippines may have no death penalty, but my neighbors do . . .

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Joe, the opportunity for the Philippines to be part of the US has definitely passed. History is history. And besides – not even Guam is a US state.

              • Joe America says:

                Sal phoned in to comment on the blog. He says the odds are running 92% that the Philippines will remain independent, 7% that China will find a pretext to make up a war and take over, and a 1% chance that the Philippines will beg to become a part of the US when China lands on Palawan and the coast of central Luzon to protect their nearby franchises from the upstart Filipinos. There is also a very small, small percentage likelihood that Russia or Iran will take over on the back of nuclear threats. He says the time horizon is 20 years and he was slurring his words.

              • sonny says:

                Joe, I like the hindsight you are thinking. Cuba would not turn out to be as nettlesome as it has but then America would not have the spinoffs of the Cold War; Puerto Rico woulda been one of two suppliers (the Philippines, the other) for American rum, Guam woulda been either another western American guardian of her ideals and the Philippines woulda not have to suffer the problems of greedy unruly oligarchs and an unproductive Moro constituency and woulda leveraged to the full the productivity of a pliant Malay citizenry.

              • Joe America says:

                Yep, and China would not be camped on Philippine rocks stealing resources that ought to go to Filipinos.

              • sonny says:

                continuation …

                and then this part of your blog woulda been only existing in Plato’s world of ideas. 🙂

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                “Yep, and China would not be camped on Philippine rocks stealing resources that ought to go to Filipinos.” The Philippines has its last chance to get its own act together now.

                Dewey’s fleet in Manila Bay BTW was smaller than the German fleet ALSO there in 1898. But then the US and English fleets decided to get together and throw the Germans out.

                If we are talking about might have beens, Filipinos might have learned some discipline.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                “and then this part of your blog woulda been only existing in Plato’s world of ideas.” Joe might have been the governor of the State of Visayas.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                “There is also a very small, small percentage likelihood that Russia or Iran will take over on the back of nuclear threats. He says the time horizon is 20 years and he was slurring his words.” How about the likelihood of Mindanao being a Malaysian federal state?

              • Joe America says:

                I called him. He has a headache and slammed the phone down. That possibly means he has not done the calculus or doesn’t yet have enough of a betting pool to make any money.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Then don’t tell him about my negative scenario in the Tipping Point blog article yet.

                I know some of my ideas are a long shot and far out. Was that way even back then.

              • sonny says:

                ‘Ya bet your bippy’ (imitating Rowan & Martin) to Commodore Dewey setting back China’s navy fifty years. Ditto for the Mindanao problem. Teddy would have set up an Ataturk-style Islamic province on ARMM territories and probably Sabah territory too, where the US Navy would include a heavy presence on the Sulu sea to protect a budding Philippine fishing and maritime industry free of slaving marauders and endemic piracy along the the Sulu archipelago. While I’m shopping 🙂 : energy self-sufficiency from off-shore drilling at the West Philippine sea and Liguasan Marshes; wind turbine farms on the windward side of Luzon and Bicol; Procter & Gamble will have an interminable supply of coconut oil for American cosmetics, not to mention Ilang-ilang plantations for Estee Lauder perfumes; untold varieties of anti-biotics from Philippine forests; year-round supplies of bananas for American tables to give Guatemala plantations well-deserved environmental rest; tropical vacations for the winter-weary Asian neighbors in Palawan and the Coriones. Etc., etc…

          • Just keep in mind the advice of your Palestinian doctor..hehe

  2. Steve says:

    I don’t know if Cayetano’s position is driven by righteousness or pragmatism. He’s on the big stage, with an opportunity to raise his political profile and gain attention, the pragmatic choice is seize that opportunity. Jumping on a nationalist soapbox and tapping into the institutionalized distrust of Muslims is a close to risk-free method of doing that. Whether or not this position is “right” in any abstract sense is not likely to have much impact on that calculation, I suspect.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      His method is risk-free and foolish. Cayetano rushes in where Duterte fears to tread.

      And Duterte is critical of BBL, being a lawyer and a Mindanaoan, but he is very careful.

    • Joe America says:

      It is only right or wrong to moralists such as me. 🙂

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Joe, I respect your moral stances. Anyone with principles has my respect. 🙂

        I have mine too, even if they are alien to moralists – each of us has his own way.

        • Joe America says:

          Ahahaha, and sometimes my principles are not to do what other moralists insist on. To each his own, I agree.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            I think the main difference, and in that respect I a more like a Pinoy masa than a Pinoy burgis now, having spent years abroad with masa, is that I see the fine difference between “good” gangstas like Duterte who do what they do because they have to for a good goal (and I think Duterte would act differently if he had a choice, I feel that) and “very bad” gangstas like Binay who do what they do because they are just scumbags.

            In the Wild West you also had to have guys like Wyatt Earp and the guy from “True Grit” to handle things. And I don’t mean guys who think they are their movie roles like Erap. In that respect I am different from many masa, I know where movies end and reality begins.

            • BFD says:

              What I want to know is, is Sen. Cayetano only s”toking the fires” or is this is legitimate concern of most of us? As we have said during the Makati Parking Building investigations, he’s thorough and he gets his facts straight.

              Is he just bubbling nonsense, or he has a point that most of his colleagues wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole?

              Is it not the truth that the MILF is engaged in training and accumulation of more high powered weapons when they were supposed to be on a status quo, not building training camps, helping the government to pursue terrorists as they are signatories to an agreement with the GRP?

              I like to have peace in Mindanao also, but not in an awkward position where the MILF is flouting it in front of our eyes and yet we see nothing.

              • Joe America says:

                I go by one of the generals at the senate hearings said. Orense?? He has served a lifetime in Mindanao and he spoke up FOR the peace agreement, saying it is already having good effects on the economy and people’s lives. Cayetano is taking the “scare scenario” and painting that as the most likely outcome, placing no stock whotsoever in the faith of the Bangsamoro or PNP and AFP forces (which report to national, not Bangsamoro) to do their job. He is taking incidents from before the peace process and characterizing them as what is happening now, and ignoring the three years of peace.

                So he is manipulating facts and risks to present a scare scenario as what will definitely happen, rather than reading the document, making sure it is tight, and making sure the checks are in place to prevent the scare scenario.

                That’s my reading at least.

              • BFD says:

                And what about the weapons making facility that the MILF owns. Isn’t that a violation of the ceasefire agreement? I think the peace panel should really iron these things out and not sweep them under the rug….

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Three people are not enough to talk peace AND monitor a ceasefire in all its details.

                IMHO they are hopelessly overextended, five people more would have been needed.

  3. Bert says:

    The American people…the final diviner…have spoken. They voted in a Republican majority in both Congress and Senate. That is a clear message. If President Obama cannot get the message from the final diviner, then maybe he has some problem, either of hearing, or sight, or perception. Or perhaps he is not a believer in the final diviner?

    In the Philippines, the President is listening to the people, the final diviner, by not reacting too much or exerting pressure on on both Congress and the Senate. There is no

    Animoisity between the executive branch and the legislative is not present in the Philippines.

    • Joe America says:

      Right, Bert. There are clear advantages to the “personality” party way of doing politics, never mind that we never get platforms that allow us to understand what people represent. I do think the erosion of both Aquino and Obama popularity illustrates how hard it is to remain popular when you try to get things done. When rabid opponents dig and spin and undermine for a few years, it adds up. I tell you, being President is not easy.

  4. andrewlim8 says:

    Sent you an email, Joe.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Don’t worry I am not posting for the remainder of the day. I have business to attend to.

      I am aware that I have severely annoyed a number of people in this blog, but it is up to them to refute my arguments – or confront me if they think I am wrong, like Joe did, I listen.

      In fact the place I am going to now is the company that is delivering military transporters to the AFP that are presently on test run in Sevilla. Again, I am stating potential “conflict of interest” clearly – those who wish to suspect may, I can only say there is no reason to. Suspicious minds could now think I am financially interested in an all-out war, but I am not. My business is IT and I get into contact with a lot of big players, having good experience.

    • Joe America says:

      Okay, Andrew, thanks. I just got in. I’ll look at it asap.

  5. edgar lores says:

    1. I find the actions of Senator Cotton and his Republican colleagues far more reprehensible than the actions of Senator Cayetano.

    1.1. The setting of the direction of American foreign policy is traditionally a function and a prerogative of the Executive branch. The Republican Party, both in the House and the Senate, is not only meddling with this tradition but is actively arrogating for itself a portion of the function.

    1.2. In recent times, this meddling has surfaced in one other foreign policy event: this month’s Netanyahu visit to address Congress. The visit was arranged by John Boehner, the majority House speaker, without consultation with the White House. Obama refused to meet with the Israeli head of state (for the purported reason of the proximity of the Israeli elections).

    1.3. Netanyahu’s visit and the Iran issue are intertwined. Israel is a friend and ally of the US; Iran is not. Israel wants to resolve the nuclear threat from Iran by bombing its facilities. Obama wants to do it by negotiation. For the Republican’s to attempt to steer foreign policy in support of Netanyahu’s militaristic strategy is not only a matter of political expediency, but a serious matter bordering on the traitorous.


    2. There are two issues with Senator Cayetano’s actions; (a) his withdrawal of sponsorship for the BBL; and (b) his inquisition and criticism of the government negotiators. But this is purely an internal matter for the nation and, as such, is different from the American situation: it does not raise the spectre of traitorship… just that of political expediency.

    2.1. If Cayetano was a sponsor of the BBL — meaning in the first place that he supported the peace initiative with the Bangsamoro people, and meaning in the second place that he was familiar with the intricacies of the proposed law — how can he turn around and question the objective of the proposed law much less the loyalty and good faith of the government negotiators?

    2.2. Does Cayetano have a moral center? Are his performances in the Binay hearings and the Mamasapano hearings all for show and self-aggrandizement?

    2.3. Based on the former hearings, I would say Cayetano does have a moral center. He is a principled man. Based on the latter hearings, I would say certain areas of the center are hollow. He is a political animal.

  6. karl garcia says:

    Cayetano withdrew his support upon hearing that the MILF say that this would not have happened if you asked our permission. I don’t know if that is valid enough, but methinks that the MILF did not want this to escalate, they had everything to lose and nothing to gain because they wanted BBL to succeed.

    • Joe America says:

      You are absolutely right. I had this incredible vision the other day. The “all out war” advocates essentially want to charge in and start shooting up a large community of mainly innocent Filipinos who have been substantially peaceful for three years, demonstrating good will.

      Really kind approach to one’s country-mates.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Trust issues. Understandable. How do you know they will not use BBL to rearm secretly? That worry or suspicion is understandable. But Cayetano got lost in emotion/pasikat.

      Duterte is mature, he addressed his concerns regarding BBL quietly but firmly.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Like Edgar Lores wrote, Cayetano has a moral center, but certain parts of it are hollow. That is what I meant by emotion and pasikat – he cares a BIT but then again not.

  7. josephivo says:

    It seems that some people don’t understand that you make peace with an (hated) enemy, not with an (admired) best friend. Peace is about maximizing the common grounds, minimizing the differences. Peace is a process: step – check – adjust – step – check – adjust… reconciliation. Peace is about taking calculated risks. Peace is the work of diplomats, not warriors.

    Can both Cotton and Caetano explain how their actions align with peace making? For me they both sound like warming up for war.

    The core of the discussion is war or peace, what will bring us more? And who is us, us in a Manila subdivision or us in a mixed Mindanao neighborhood? Or is it me?

    • Joe America says:

      No, you have that pegged exactly right. Both would send others off to the slaughter if everything were not exactly as they wanted. I’m thinking I like Roxas’ term the other day, applied to Junjun Binay’s antics. Adolescent. Seems to fit both Cotton and Cayetano, for the reasons you cite.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Cayetano had the right concerns, but aired them in the wrong tone. Of course he was looking for publicity – or was simply being unprofessional. Public trial is not the right way.

      Had he told Deles and Ferrer to please let Iqbal speak for MILF, in a firm but normal way, then it would have been good. Had he demanded to talk to them in an office and had he addressed his concern about who they are talking for off-camera, even better.

      Professional negotiators mediate, but always know which side they are on and behave accordingly, especially in front of media. Deles and Ferrer were not disloyal IMHO, but simply unprofessional. In public, it is not their role to talk FOR the other side, only to it. What I think is that they were being a bit foolish and also a bit arrogant or defensive, having seen real negotiation pros in action, that is not the way to do it. You talk to the other side, you are nice to them but maintain your distance. Every diplomat knows that game.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      “Peace is about taking calculated risks.” Risk management again.

      BBL relies to much on paper. There is no real peace management plan. In phases.

      Total distrust and dropping everything like Alan is BS, instead of being more constructive. Arousing people’s fear is bad. Letting go of his own fear and letting other people get infected by it is even worse. Leadership is about keeping a cool head. About self-control.

  8. i7sharp says:

    “Established norms and powers mean nothing. My view is right and I am going to do something about it.”

    Joe. you did not quote anybody, right?
    Those are actually your own words, the words you want to imply the “righteous” Republicans are basically saying?
    btw, I am an Independent.
    And a conservative (whereas you are a liberal, if we have to choose from two labels)..

    You provided a link to the Huffington Post.

    What do you think of this?:
    Anyway, I was talking to Dr. Sowell, previous issue of the Limbaugh Letter, and he told me — I still can’t believe this — he said, “Imagine we wake up one day and New York or Chicago has been devastated by an Iran nuclear weapon.” He said, “Obama would surrender.” What do you mean, surrender? Obama’s not gonna fight?

    That’s what he said was his number one concern. So when I saw Bolton essentially characterize the deal Obama wants to do with Iran, securing them a nuclear weapon, giving them permission, giving them time to do it, Bolton said (paraphrasing), “Obama’s surrendering. The letter is fine and dandy for what it is, but that’s not the story. The reason for the letter is precisely that Obama’s surrendering.”


    • Joe America says:

      Those are my words, yes. I don’t listen to or read Rush Limbaugh. He distorts truths so badly that I can’t believe anything he says, so why bother to read? The excessive hyperbole about New York is an example. Take the worst case scenario and attach it to Obama as what Obama is TRYING to make happen. No, Obama is not trying to nuke New York.

      It is a tough deal to negotiate. Probably harder than Mindanao, with more at stake because of nukes. Obama is trying the diplomatic route, and like the BBL, it may fail. Maybe MILF will use the BBL to rearm in a major way, eh? If you listen to the critics, they say Aquino has that intent in mind.

      No. He doesn’t. Obama is not surrendering any more than Aquino is surrendering to Muslims. What the terms of the deal are, I don’t know. When they are finalized and published, I’ll read what academicians have to say about it, and the respective political sides. Not Limbaugh. I’ll read it directly myself, too, if it is available.

      Obama is the duly elected president. Other duly elected presidents have taken the Republican line and gotten the US into impossible wars. There are laws and checks and balances. Republicans have so poisoned the political dialogue that Obama does not want to risk using Republicans as a sounding board on the negotiation. That is the fault of Republicans. There are no guarantees with a president, you take the good with the bad, and wait until the next election.

      • i7sharp says:

        Whoa! Joe, hold your horses.

        You wrote:
        Those are my words, yes. I don’t listen to or read Rush Limbaugh. He distorts truths so badly that I can’t believe anything he says, so why bother to read? The excessive hyperbole about New York is an example. Take the worst case scenario and attach it to Obama as what Obama is TRYING to make happen. No, Obama is not trying to nuke New York.

        Joe, you say you don’t listen to or read Rush and yet you are sure he distorts truths!

        Did Rush even come close to saying Obama is trying to nuke New York?
        Pray tell what he said.


        • Joe America says:

          I don’t read Rush Limbaugh. I don’t know what he said. I’ve listened to him on the radio and read his pieces and he has a sufficient consistency in his diatribe that I no longer pay attention. I have better things to read. If you wish to give summary of any cogent arguments he may have presented, I will read your summary.

  9. Bert says:

    Let me play the Devil’s Advocate here.

    Everybody has said something about this BBL and the peace process and yet when it’s Cayetano’s turn, he was singled out and labelled as grandstanding. Fair is fair. Cayetano is not against the peace process, he said it many times in his privilege speech, not even against the BBL. He withdrew his support of it in it’s present form because he wanted farther study of it’s contents. What’s wrong with that? Was Cayetano advocating for an all out war against the Muslims? I don’t think so.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      I think it is more the way he did things than the content of what he said. Had he done it in a calmer way like Duterte did, he would not have been seen as grandstanding. Rousing emotions in a delicate peace process is not necessarily the best way to continue it.

      But then again, Cayetano is right in voicing concerns over covert rearmament and training of MILF separatists. And making sure that BBL is properly reviewed due to trust issues. What is definitely wrong is Noynoy’s wanting to pass it in June without any further changes. But what I am happy about is that Trillanes wants to take a close look at it – that guy is more mature than Cayetano and will not just let it pass without a good review, I trust him.

    • Joe America says:

      A good question. I hope Cayetano tells us what the better solution might be. Right now, he is like Santiago on the VFA, all rant with no mention of China. If he has a better solution he should have mentioned it a year ago or whenever the legislature was briefed on the negotiations.

  10. PinoyInEurope says:

    We are pretty clear now about Alan Cayetano exaggerating when it comes to MILF/BBL.
    But how about Noynoy, who wants BBL to be passed without changes and is very stubborn?


    Following the money, I would like to ask the question of a potential conflict of interest:

    “The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Free Trade Agreement that takes effect in 2015 looms as a threat to the Philippine sugar industry as the milling season for crop year 2014-2015 opens in Negros Occidental province, the heartland of the industry.

    Industry stakeholders, mainly the legendary planters of the once politically powerful sugar bloc, are nervous about the future of the industry, and are in a pessimistic mode. Their concerns were expressed at a gathering of sugar producers in Bais City, Negros Oriental province, last month.

    The question has been raised: Why would consumers buy Philippine sugar at double the cost of foreign sugar?”

    Now that is not good for the commercial interests of Noynoy Aquino – and Mar Roxas.


    But looking at the opportunities presented in Bangsamoro, there is a potential conflict of interest because a sugar baron losing business might want to find other income sources:

    Oil, natural gas, palm oil. No problem for anyone to do business there. But then Noynoy should keep a bit of respectful distance from pushing BBL too hard. Or be upfront like Joe has been about Roxas people contacting him and I have been about my IT contacts to certain oil and arms industries – to be forthright is the best way to deal with things. In fact it is better if more people have a look at BBL so that this possible trust issue is defused.

    • Joe America says:

      You are right about transparency. And I agree that too much push looks bad. I don’t like the idea of a June deadline to get a bill from the Legislature. The matter is so complex, it needs time and attention. Not a cram job.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Actually I think Noynoy is just being stubborn as usual.

        But the potential PR damage to him could be immense if he actually crams it through.

        • Joe America says:

          This quality of “stubborn” is fascinating. It is found in Europe and the Philippines, but there seems to be an absolute dogmatism in the Philippines, whereas in Europe, it may fire debate for a while, then it turns to knowledge. Poe is also stubborn, and I think, in that style, is exactly like President Aquino. The off side of stubborn in the Philippines is vindictive.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            The ability to question and review one’s assumptions is seen as a strength in Europe – which it is, the scientific mode of thinking that new facts may make it necessary to review one’s model of how things are supposed to work. But it takes time to remodel of course.

            Poe is done. Cayetano also. Binay was very streetsmart and kept out of the whole debate around Mamasapano, hiding his head in the water like the amphibian that he is.

            • karl garcia says:

              the amphibian frog prince actually vowed justice to the widows and the parents of the fallen.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Even smarter – he did not debate with other politicians because he knew it would damage him. Instead he addressed the people, meaning that the masa will think hey, the other guys are just talking and he CARES about us.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                If Binay had been President coordinating Oplan Exodus, he would have ordered an attack with amphibious vehicles. Might have been better in Ligwasan marshes.

  11. macspeed says:

    Cayetanos act will cause bloodshed in the future. Closing doors to peace process is not a good start if he aims to be President.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, no one has done to Cayetano what he is doing to the peace negotiators. Taking his solution (whatever it is) and making a worst case outcome. Bloodhshed is likely that outcome.

  12. jameboy says:

    Sen. Tom Cotton’s letter to Iran is a stupid one. Impliedly, it was saying the Legislature, whenever it wants to, has the power to sabotage and frustrate any agreement the US gov’t. enters into. And with 47 Republicans signing the letter it is proof of conspiracy to undermine the leadership of Pres. Obama. The president they professed to make a one-term president from day one.

    That is where those people who are questioning the US-Iran talks are coming from. It is bereft of righteousness really. It’s all personal politics, a vile and wretched one.

    Sen. Alan Cayetano, to me, undermined no one but merely expressed the national indignation of what happened in Mamasapano. He was outraged, mad, for a lack of a better word and so are the people. The national fury was not just because of the murder but because of an obvious deliberate confusion on the part of those who are responsible in the operation.

    He was testy, I’ll have to admit that, with those on the peace panel on both sides for appearing to be on the business-as-usual manner when a lot of questions need answers regarding the details and the components of the peace talks and the goings on in the area supposed to be under the influence of the MILF. It’s all about the issue on the table and the people tasked with responsibility who are required to face the grilling of the Committee. It’s business as usual for Sen. Cayetano and rightly so because it’s part of their mandate in aid of legislation.

    I support any peace agreement or talks that will benefit the country in the long run. But having said that I also would like to be guided by past experience that we have on groups claiming to represent the Muslims in the country. Genuine peace can only come from genuine intention and trust. Just because there is already a waiting document (BBL) does not mean we’ll just glance over on things and issues that could affect the approval of the agreement. No. I say, we have to be very careful as the days close in prior to approval of the agreement and be demanding that the other party continue to impress upon us that they will be the FIRST to defend and protect such agreement and to be transparent in dealing with us in all things related to the pursuance of the objective of the peace process.

    I did not celebrate nor felt happy that Sen. Cayetano unleashed his outburst on the Senate floor. I felt I was well served by the senator for voicing out what I and most people want to say ourselves about the massacre of our law enforcement people and how those in power ran around in circles impressing to the Senate committee members that the planning and execution of the operation was managed by incompetent officers and irresponsible civilian leaders.

    One can hallucinate everything against the good senator but no one will doubt that he was doing his job the best way he can. Up to now, the finger-pointing about the Mamasapano is still continuing. That is proof that Sen. Cayetano is just right in putting everybody on the spot and pick their brains to get to the bottom of things.

    I did’t see the raging of the righteous there. What I saw was the acrimony of the dutiful.

    • Joe America says:

      Superb analysis, great defense of Senator Cayetano, and zinger of a closing line. Thank you for speaking for a LOT of people.

    • karl garcia says:

      Awesome! You would make a good defense lawyer. No joke. I was turned off and disappointed, but sometimes all you need is a good explanation, an acceptable and reasonable explanation

      • karl garcia says:

        Since some of us think that a June deadline is a bad idea I say even if this is rushed a TRO is already drafted just waiting to be submitted. I hate TROs

      • BFD says:

        acrimony of the dutiful.

        Great choice of words!

        Solution for the BBL to pass, make the MILF show more of their astuteness and sincerity in wanting to attain peace by not coddling terrorists in their midst.

        One thing that the Mamasapano Incident showed is their coddling of the HVTs, continuous training and rearmament and building of camps on places they don’t control anymore….

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      It is good that he addressed the issues, but in a hot situation it is better not to rouse even more emotions. A leader should bring things in a more balanced way, but of course it is hard. And in the Philippines, it may even be seen as weak or wavering – unfortunately.

  13. mcgll says:

    Dear Joe,
    Thank you for answering my wish for someone to draw an analogy between Cayetano and Cotton. I didn’t get to read The Raging of the Righteous and the comments until this morning. It was riveting.

    It was like reading the script of an Aaron Sorkin TV show. Here’s another wish – I wish someone (if not Aaron Sorkin himself – I am dreaming !) would translate your blog into a TV series that can be as gripping as watching episodes of The West Wing or The Newsroom . During the rabid screaming of the “outraged” for truth (in the Mamasapano investigation) a scene from A Few Good Men came to mind. I recall Jack Nicholson spitting out – “You can’t handle the truth etc. etc.”.

    The truth, really? Many of us cannot see it beyond the sphere of our own prejudices. The prospect of our future is so unsettling if the fate of our country falls in the hands of those who would choose war over peace.

    All the best,


    • Joe America says:

      Thank you, mcgll. I learned a lot in doing the write-up. It was an excellent case study, and I appreciate that you posed the scenario. The main conclusion I draw is that we need to elect people with the discipline and composure to control themselves for the benefit of the nation. There aren’t too many who can do that. There are really no other checks against bad behavior.

      Best to you, too.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        The voting public sets the standards for public office, just like the reading public sets the standards for newspapers and consumers set the standards for expected quality.

        • Joe America says:

          I think the oligarchs set the media standards and they dumb it down to reach the weakly educated, superstitious fan base. The aggregate of all local civic officials set the standards for public office, that being mainly to vote for people who can do the most for said officials.

          Your premise that there is critical thinking across the land is wrong. There are, by my calculation, 3,954 people in the Philippines capable of critical thinking that is not based on self interest, and there are none in the senate. They can’t dominate any elections or buy enough newspapers to influence content.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            “Your premise that there is critical thinking across the land is wrong. There are, by my calculation, 3,954 people in the Philippines capable of critical thinking that is not based on self interest” most people are self-interested, enlightened self-interest is the next step.

            That is why I made a posting about the system I live in now – it is good for everybody and it is very good for ME wow. For many in the Philippines it sounds like science fiction though.

            There are two things that most people in the Philippines need to learn – even most leaders – how to think further than the palm of their hand (Zimbardo’s future orientation that is prevalent in Nordic, Anglo-Saxon and Northern East Asian cultures) and “common weal” – an ancient Germanic concept that is a strength of all Anglo-Saxon cultures as well. The moment that is learned things will progress – in fact people DO have that locally and regionally in some places in the Philippines (Davao, Albay etc.) but NOT nationally.

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              Actually Duterte is one guy who thinks in terms of common weal and future orientation. Proven by his results in Davao. OK he does it in a “wild man” way, very pragmatic and based on what he sees on the ground, not on theory – I guess that is why I get him.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            “Your premise that there is critical thinking across the land is wrong.” they do see some things, the masa. They see the daily gap between theory and practice. They see a lot of things coming from higher up as bullshit, sometimes they are right sometimes wrongly.

            They see that democracy is a show the elite is running for themselves and to benefit mainly their own businesses, and therefore prefer leaders who break the system and give THEM a bit of the money. Not really right, but underdog/victims are often like that.

            They see that religion and morals, the way they are practiced by the elite, are often hypocrisy. That is why the love people like Erap who are just human, not holier-than-though like some. Again the wrong reaction to a right impulse, by underdogs.

            They see that police and justice often do not work. Which is why they love people like Duterte, who bypasses the system but gets results for common folks. Also wrong, but understandable because common folk have immediate concerns to attend to.

            Anyway Joe, you are providing me more and more impulses for my underdog article. Because the underdogs HAVE potential if the lose their sense of victimhood. Add logic to their mainly intuitive mode of thinking and learn to think before acting emotionally.

  14. JM says:

    I like the comments especially from mindanaoan, who gave us an inside look as to what Christians in Mindanao really experience, and jameboy. My position will always be against the BBL especially on the provisions of funding and expansion (I’d probably be more willing to accept BBL without these two). These are too risky.
    1. Why will we give our money to people who wants to separate from us?
    2. What if they use the money and buy weapons? Then they use the weapons to threaten neighboring lands to vote to be included in their region? Remember, they want the whole Mindanao and Palawan.
    3. I seriously doubt they can “manage themselves”. Look at ARMM, the only ones who benefited are the ones on top.
    4. They keep on dividing. MNLF->MILF->BIFF, etc. So when the guys from the BIFF hides in MILF territory and our soldiers go in after them what will the MILF do? I doubt they would just do nothing. these are their relatives.
    5. It’s like giving in to terrorism. “We will stop killing you in exchange for land and money”
    6. There is simply no trust anymore. Why do they report to Malaysia and not the Philippine government? Who in their right mind would go to any muslim controlled area?

    Joe, I understand your position. Peace is nice and all but there is too much risk for the Christians in Mindanao. You mentioned Indians and white americans achieved peace in one of your comments. While I still think it is different (e.g., race, religion, history, difference in military power), it does have some similarities. Maybe you can make a post on how Americans made peace with the Indians. (I watched Hell on Wheels, while fictional, it gave me a few ideas on your history).

    • Joe America says:

      White America and Indians achieved peace when Indians were driven into rockpile reservations where they could not prosper. It is the enduring shame of America, how it treated its native races. I doubt that the blog would be instructional.

      The only hope for a better, peaceful Mindanao is economic. That takes money. If the BBL does not provide that success formula, there will have to be another one that does, because you can’t build an economy without it.

      • mindanaoan says:

        “The only hope for a better, peaceful Mindanao is economic.” — you still don’t get it.

        Here are the objectives of the MILF according to it’s founder:
        -To make supreme the Word of Allah
        -To gain the pleasure of Allah
        -To strengthen the relationship of man with his Creator
        -To strengthen the relationship of man and man
        -To regain the illegally and immorally usurped legitimate and inalienable rights of the Bangsamoro people to freedom and self-determination
        -To establish an independent state and government and implement Shari’ah (Islamic Law).

        Notice that all the flimflam to justify the BBL is almost irrelevant to what the MILF really wants: a Islamic state. Or maybe, a sub-state, for now. Solve that with economics.

        • Joe America says:

          I’m still looking for a solution that works better, and have not identified one. I listened to the testimony at the Senate hearing that said the peace now in place is working because people are seeing hope. What would you replace their hope with?

          • mindanaoan says:

            There are so many things here you can easily get confused with one for another. Ordinary muslims, muslim politicians, MILF, MNLF, BIFF, muslim terrorists, Abu Sayyaf, other groups, and then just plain old bandits. Maybe the hope you want to give to is to the ordinary muslims? Try to sort out the tangle first, or you’ll end up giving hope to the terrorists who don’t want hope, they want money to put up their islamic state.

  15. mcgll says:

    Read Mindanaoan’s list of MILF’s objectives and realize that these are objectives that are laudable if framed from the point of any group of people seeking redemption from oppression. If Catholic die because of their faith they are sainted. If the Jews apply force against anyone seeking to deny their current supremacy in Israel, they get elected to the parliament. If the Palestnians are seeking to regain their land, they get support from the United Nation. When Kuwait was threatened to be conquered. by Sadam Hussein, the United States came to defend them and their oil. Etc. etc. etc. American Indians seem not to have any apparent allies to help them regain their historical territory. So why can’t the Muslims in the South follow their own aspirations. ?

    • mindanaoan says:

      1. What has redemption and oppression to do with a islamic state?
      2. Can’t you really distinguish ‘MILF’ from ‘muslims’, or are you playing thimblerig with these words?

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, very keen observation, mcgll. I guess it depends on who owns the ox, and who is gored, as to who is the victim or who is the righteous.

    • mindanaoan says:

      Maybe a little explanation. The shades of muslim aspirations vary from a desire for equal treatment to the desire to establish a Islamic state. Nothing wrong with aspirations, but various groups work for their aspirations differently. The trouble is with the insurgents and terrorists.

      But there is a fundamental and intractable problem here. The muslims in general are sold to the idea that the whole of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan is their homeland. That is where they elicit the emotion of oppression. From our point of view, that’s not true. We know a muslim area from a rock. This is also our homeland.

      In some conflicts, the question is ‘which side are you?’ but you can switch sides. In this conflict the question is ‘what are you?’ and we cannot switch sides.

      Mindanaoans have thrived in this environment. Our numerical superiority is our security. As long as the outcome of a full-blown war is predictable, we are safe. Most of them are not stupid. What we resent is Manila working for the other side.

      • Joe America says:

        @Mindanaoan, I caught the following article in the Inquirer this morning. It rambles a bit, but is interesting from the standpoint of a mayor who is putting into effect what I think the BBL is aimed at doing within the Bangsamoro region:

        1) Self accountability
        2) Disarm
        3) Build an economy
        4) Relieve people who are tired of fighting

        • mindanaoan says:

          Mr. Joe, TLDR, but if you noticed, the mayor drives around in a hummer and built a mosque out of his own pocket. If you think filipino politicians are corrupt, moro politicians are 10x more corrupt. Worse, the moros themselves do not see the corruption because of their ‘datu’ culture.

          Well, but at least, he is colorful.

          • Joe America says:

            As I read the article, he is a self-made business man who started with a sari-sari store and built an empire. He was a nobody who became somebody. Is any Muslim who has money to be considered corrupt? Ought you not document your accusation lest you be hauled off on a libel charge?

            • mindanaoan says:

              The corruption I was talking about is a general observation. I didn’t read the whole article, it’s too long. Maybe he is different. But since the article mentioned he drives around in a hummer, maybe he’s not that different. I’m not impressed. If you want to be impressed, try Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo.

              There’s one thing I think you need to give some attention to. I was talking about ‘moro politicians’, but you thought I said Muslim. I take it the switch was a mistake, but I was reminded of a friend who would shout ‘attention to detail!’ when he noticed a shift in meaning like this. Just sharing.

              And please don’t make me document anything. It’s already an effort making comments in your blog. Documenting corruption is an arduous task even COA cannot seem to do it. I promise not to say anything bad anymore. 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                Well, you have to also understand where I am coming from, as a matter of principle. And the principle is that the Philippines is a place of way too much negativity, complaint and blame, and not enough of compassion and consideration. So when I read complaints that are undocumented, I react. Everybody deserves the benefit of the doubt, not to be painted badly because what someone else did. We ought not judge Filipinos or Moros or Muslims or blacks or women or old people or Chinese or anybody on anything but what they, as individuals, have done and stand for. The article shows the solution the Bangsamoro agreement strives for, and you reject it out of hand because it does not fit with your prejudice. Your preconceived idea is that any Moro with a hummer must be corrupt. Well, some white men can jump, and some blacks can swim. Or even be president.

              • mindanaoan says:

                Mr. Joe, if you noticed, I wasn’t categorical about that particular mayor, I said it was a general observation. I don’t know him. Instead, I offered you to look up Khalid Dimaporo, if you wanted to be impressed.

                I didn’t reject the article out of prejudice. I didn’t read it through because, like you said, it rambled a bit.

                Anyway, I’m just posting comments based on my observation and experience. I don’t hope to argue a case in a blog.

                Thanks for providing this venue, by the way.

              • Joe America says:

                Thanks for visiting, mindanaoan. I hope you return often. I expect we would find ourselves agreeing a lot.

  16. i respectfully disagree to call alan righteous. first, he is a binay ally prior to senate hearing on allege binay corruption. he is a godfather of one of his grandchildren and binay’s allege corruption started way way back when binay was still mayor and everybody in the political scene knows that. was the falling out between the two caused more by the land dispute between makati and taguig than ferreting out the truth on binat allege corruption? he challenged the vice president that they both open their bank account yet i am pretty sure he knows binay would never accept such challenge. if he is really that righteous he could open his bank account on his own anyway it is in submitted saln isn’t it?, is he hiding something also. is he a man pretending to be righteous yet he is not?

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks for the defense of Senator Cayetano. I don’t consider his work on the Makati parking garage to be an expression of righteousness, but more a very focused and thorough exercise of discovery. However, his speeches during the Mamasapano incident were very harsh on the peace process and the people who put it together, expressed in accusatory style that was “over the top”. In that expression, it was apparent that he viewed his interpretation as the only right one. And there was no room for any other.

      That said, he is within the rules and norms of the Senate to express himself that way. Senator Cotton in the US went outside the norms.

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