The ethics of impunity

Pacquaio CBS

[Photo credit: CBS]

Often I overlay my observations about the Philippines with personal history, that being American, corporate, and socially liberal, touched with military, sports, travels and family. Often, I am met with the pointed point that “we do it differently here, Joe”, or its obverse, “the US is the same way.”

Well, if I am here to learn and not just spout opinions, I have to reflect on that. I have to consider that my context is naive, inexperienced . . . even wrong.

I had a light bulb moment the other day whilst debating Philippine journalism with Alan Robles, the witty half of the Raissa Robles family, and take care to recognize that I did NOT say half-wit, but witty half. Well, it is not unusual for Alan and I to get into word wars when I lay my American interpretation on his rich nationalistic experiences and journalistic depth.

He argues well and I lose about 90% of the time, especially when he goes to wit. But I win the other half of the time.

So I credit him with the vision that leaped from my brain as I ranted about the tabloid Daily Inquirer and he pointed out that I didn’t know what I was talking about.

“The ethics of impunity”

That’s what leaped into my mind as I saw a Filipino dissing my idea for a State-owned newspaper and who seemed – to me – to be defending unethical journalism. Well, his comparative was the journalism that existed under Marcos, so with that as background, the sloppy, ethically challenged tabloid press we have today seems cool.

I don’t doubt that those Marcos mouthpieces were a piece of work, pretty much what we get now from the Manila Standard, but on steroids. Binay’s spokesliars also give a good representation of grown-up, so-called adults re-interpreting reality for a pernicious political purpose. The striking thing is that they seem to have an audience of saps who buy it. . .

. . . like the editors of the Tabloids who for sure have no nationalistic conscience as they work hard to undermine stable institutions with conflict and emotional half-truths.

It seems we have a subtle sampling of Marcos here today, don’t we?

A press captured by the need for dirt, under the control of the powerful, the money-makers. Those so crass and manipulative that they would pay for slanted articles, or editors who chuckle at putting yet another demeaning photo of the President of the nation on the front page.

Here is how I have been wrong. I admit it.

I have argued that the Philippines lacks ethical bearing. When I see the Senate do nothing about Senator Marcos’ embellished resume, packed with highfalutin’ degrees he never earned, I complain about the lack of ethics. I’m wrong. Or if Poe is quiet about Binay but rip’s Purisima’s head off then I complain that she lacks ethical, or patriotic, courage. All hat, no cowgirl. I’m wrong.

As an aside, and I’m not saying she is anyone’s love child, but Senator Poe does seem rather different from her father.

The Philippines does have ethics. That is how I have been as wrong as wrong can be. The Philippines has a set of rules for sure. The problem is that these rules are founded, not on the well-being of the nation, but on the well-being of the entitled.

So Senator Poe is behaving ethically by not criticizing Binay, and the Senate is behaving ethically by not chairing an Ethics Committee. Strange as that may seem.

It is also perfectly okay for a Senate fact finding committee to be transformed into a political witch hunt that undermines the sitting President, because national well-being drives nothing hereabouts. Words occasionally wrap around the concept of national honor, but you have to be dead to enjoy it. That is another ethical quirk that surprises me. There are no live heroes in the Philippines other than Manny Pacquio or any other boxer, movie star, singer or beauty contestant who rubs some foreigner’s face in the muck. And nationalistic fervor rises to the roof if some poor hapless American basketball player, caught up in the heat of the game, would judge accurately that Pacquiao’s basketball skills are a joke.

Boy howdy, talk about an ethics committee working quickly, poor Daniel Orton was tried and convicted in one day by his coach, who threw him off the team and out of the Philippines. The number of Filipinos who came to the defense of a young man who only played hard and spoke honestly was about zero.

  • “Everyone is angry at him,” Rene Pardo, an administrator for Orton’s former club, told local media outlets. “. . . it is like he went to the United States and insulted the name of Martin Luther King,”

Hoookayyyyyyyyy . . . that Pardo is one ignorant Filipino.

For one thing, people in the US did and do insult King all the time, and call him worse than a joke. Some call him nigger, and they are not thrown out of the US. Second, King died fighting for equality, a real value. Not the glory and financial rewards of personal championships. Third, the US has a holiday named after King and not because he ran around in his shorts making millions.

Pacquiao beats peoples’ heads in and struts his girlie stuff on the basketball court. But he is ethically correct, because he has the power to make Filipinos feel good, is rich, and is every man’s dream, and a lot of womens’ too.

All those people who challenge me for working behind an alias OBVIOUSLY are themselves unschooled in Filipino ethics. I’da been Ortonized several years ago if I had an identity.

Orton now plays in the NBA’s D league, where he is committed to working hard so that he never has to leave the US again.

Way to go, Philippines.

Ethics here protect the powerful, not the powerless. They don’t even protect the nation. I don’t think people here even know what patriotism means. It does not mean standing still at the mall as the anthem blares through tinny speakers and the mall shops fling their tin doors open.

That is not patriotism.

That is obedience.

Patriotism involves sacrifice.

Like granting someone the right to have an offensive view because free speech is so CHERISHED.

I don’t see the entitled here in the Philippines sacrificing much. They may talk the game, but they don’t give much. And people far and wide put up with that. They respect that. Values like honesty, fairness and free speech are only applied if it is convenient.

Mayor Duterte employs a very concise set of ethics, usually attached to the word “kill”, and ohmygolly, he is a legitimate Presidential candidate.

Without a doubt, the Philippines is an occupied land. It is occupied by powerful people who take care of one another. The rules require it. A whole culture is built on it. Judges follow the rules of favor and forget the laws or honor. Legislators take care of one another no matter how horridly they behave. Oligarchs get favored rules so they can get beyond really really rich and who cares about skinny kids eating from the garbage dumps. Stars are cherished as long as they win. Mayors and governors who dip into the cash flow for kickbacks are looked upon with envy. Generals who skim or sell arms to the enemy?

No problem.

And the people accept it. Promote it. Engage in it themselves.

Glory over honor.

Cheating the nation is allowed.

Cheating others is allowed.

It is ethically correct.

I get it now.

I was wrong, and I have to be a man. Step up. Admit it.

The Philippines DOES have an ethical foundation.



273 Responses to “The ethics of impunity”
  1. canadadry says:

    sobering and nice!

    • Joe America says:

      Thank you, canadadry. I appreciate the reading.

      • you nailed everything truly right so in this article…wish the majority of our people can read this, It’ll be an eye opener. One of the contributing factors as to why we struggle to make a change and cleanse the political structure that has been embedded with corruption and incompetence, we tend to have a short memory but more forgiving. The grassroots seems to elect and glorify the same type of politicians who show no mercy to the rule of law and just…BTW, I enjoy reading your article…keep it rolling.

        • Joe America says:

          Well, thank you, Diking. I’m glad you found the article meaningful. If things don’t change, they stay the same, eh? Awareness of the problem is step 1.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            It’s actually very simple: just tell our countrymen one thing:

            Bakit mukhang halos lahat ibinababoy natin?

  2. karl garcia says:

    naked emperor is overused, but I will still pull the template from the filing cabinet.

    • karl garcia says:

      If some of my words will be used against me including above, just made a deal never to talk about him ever.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Manny is not naked. He is wearing shorts.

      • karl garcia says:

        You should know whom I’m not supposed to talk about,because we agreed to disagree, you read it.This sounds like Harry Potter.
        Manny should opt out of the senate race,win or lose against Mayweather.
        Manny must not run again,except during training for boxing not basktball, he should stop basketball.

  3. xmuga2pre says:

    very true! what structural reform will aptly correct this? and what time frame is required?

    • Joe America says:

      That is the key question, isn’t it? The best path is for the middle class and connected class to get larger, organize to be more influential among all voters, and start complaining when there is an offense. Also voting out people who don’t belong in government (Pacquiao). I’d guess that is a 20 to 50 year project to become more civic minded. This class -“the class of influence”- needs to organize.

      That may be worth a follow-up blog. Thanks for sparking the idea.

      • xmuga2pre says:

        I also think this is a good for a follow up blog – but when u do, free up ur mind and think of best scenarios to dwell on. Key thing to note is time and who will be the key players by then…

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Where the word civic comes from:

        In the history of Rome, the Latin term civitas (plural civitates), according to Cicero in the time of the late Roman Republic, was the social body of the cives, or citizens, united by law (concilium coetusque hominum jure sociati). It is the law that binds them together, giving them responsibilities (munera) on the one hand and rights of citizenship on the other. The agreement (concilium) has a life of its own, creating a res publica or “public entity” (synonymous with civitas), into which individuals are born or accepted, and from which they die or are ejected. The civitas is not just the collective body of all the citizens, it is the contract binding them all together, because of which each is a civis.[1].. – in English:

        Civic virtue is the cultivation of habits of personal living that are claimed to be important for the success of the community. Civic virtue is also the dedication of citizens to the common welfare of their community even at the cost of their individual interests. The identification of the character traits that constitute civic virtue has been a major concern of political philosophy…

        Comparable ideas in non-Western societies

        Confucianism, which specifies cultural virtues and traditions which all members of society are to observe, in particular the heads of households and those who govern, was the basis of Chinese society for more than 2000 years and is still influential in modern China. Its related concepts can be compared to the Western idea of civic virtue.

        Readers, I hope I am not being highfalutin again… 🙂

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Important aspects of civic virtue were:

          – civic conversation
          — listening to others,
          — trying to reach an agreement,
          — keeping yourself informed so you can have a relevant contribution,

          – civilized behavior
          — decent clothing
          — accent
          — containing feelings and needs,

          – work (people had to make a useful contribution to the society).

          Religion changed. It became more focused on individual behavior instead of a communion of people.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            Civic virtues were especially important during the 19th and 20th century.[according to whom?] Class and profession greatly affected the virtues of the individual, and there was a general division about what the best civic virtues were. Additionally several major ideologies came into being, each with their own ideas about civic virtues.

            – Conservatism emphasized family values and obedience to the father and the state. Nationalism carried by masses of people made patriotism an important civic virtue.

            – Liberalism combined republicanism with a belief in progress and liberalization based on capitalism. Civic virtues focused on individual behavior and responsibility were very important. Many liberals turned into socialists or conservatives in the end of the 19th century and early 20th century.[according to whom?]

            – Others became social liberals, valuing capitalism with a strong government to protect the poor. A focus on agriculture and landed nobility was supplanted by a focus on industry and civil society.

            – An important civic virtue for socialists was that people be conscious of oppression within society and the forces which uphold the status quo. This consciousness should result in action to change the world for the good, so that everybody can become respectful citizens in a modern society.

            – National Socialism, a nationalist variant on socialism, advocated the creation of a classless society, in which all members of society “pull together” to improve the society. National Socialism thus claimed to support class cooperation rather than class struggle. However, National Socialism also embraced the idea that certain segments of society (such as Jews, Gypsies, and Communists, as well as most foreigners) were incapable of civic virtue and needed to be systematically oppressed or destroyed.

            • Joe America says:

              Oppression is an interesting concept, rather like speech. It requires an sender and a receiver, and sometimes the receiver is creating his own message, totally apart from what the sender meant. It was used by Iqbal during the Senate testimony, as in “The MILF were not shooting at SAF, they were shooting at oppression.” QED

        • Joe America says:

          🙂 You may be highfalutin’ but you are also civic, a quality not found by lowfalutin’ folk, some of whom work in the Senate.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            In fact they are so lowfalutin that they have even forgotten native values. One can express civility in Filipino this way:

            Bayan natin ‘to, pananagutan nating lahat iyan. Lalo na kung pinuno ka.

            Reminds me of a Bavarian saying: what a Prussian says in three sentences, a Bavarian just needs a few words for. Also a tribal and clannish people. I get along with them well.

    • Steve says:

      I don’t think changes in political structure can effectively address a problem rooted in political culture. Impunity can corrupt any structure.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        My awakening to civic values, the opposite of impunity, is when a security lady caught me spitting on the platform of the Munich S-Bahn = MRT. She told me “do you also spit on your floor at home?” – I looked at the floor and she passed me with an angry stare.

        The idea that the community is a kind of common home that you do not just defile is a concept alien to many Filipinos – it was the same for me until that one moment.

  4. MiguelLorenzo says:

    so true, this is what I really feel about us. we pounce on anyone who “blasphemes” pacquiao in pacland. Our heroes are kath-niel, vice-ganda, kris aquino, erap-isko. We are so indebted to marcos, romualdez, binay, abalos that’s why we keep on voting for them. Our media, the senate and congress were so emotional about mamasapano that it became a 2 two-month topic in their discussions. nevermind the king of makati who is so pleased about it and now is silently creeping towards the presidency. We forget that this king will kill more than the 44 or 67 people who died on Jan 25 by plundering the nation and denying the filipinos basic services due them. What is happening to our country?

    • Joe America says:

      It does seem like common sense is traded off for emotion or superstition, doesn’t it? Wins and stars shine. I consider the motto that the poor use – “all politicians are corrupt” – when they vote for a known crook is like superstition. It is not factually true, and when they do that, they invariably get punished. Doing something about it is very much a challenge.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        I have written a post about “interest groups” below. It explains why in my point of view certain people prefer certain politicians. In the end it is about one’s own “binipits”…

  5. sonny says:

    Filipino culture, thus also its politics, is a high-context one and primarily so, its language. Whereas counterpart and opposite is American culture and the English language. American is a low-context culture and language. Mapping one to the other is quite involved. (I need to put this statement out and try to parse it later).

    It is uncanny that I came across this piece as commentary to American society simultaneous to Joe’s current installment. American society is supposed to be a more advanced configuration of the society Filipinos should be striving for (my opinion, of course).


    “… we witness CEOs getting large bonuses even when their companies don’t perform well and their employees’ pay stagnates.
    … We see public employees with benefit packages that outstrip the private sector dig in their heels and oppose even efforts to make them contribute toward their health insurance premiums. Their union spokesmen don’t blink an eye about the fact that taxpayers, many of whom are much less financially advantaged, have to foot the bill for them because they won’t make modest sacrifices for the public good.
    … Congress routinely passes long pieces of legislation, which its members don’t read. … Should that be surprising, since who is likely to read a 2,700-page bill? Still, they think nothing of imposing such a law on us, complete with penalties. … A sense of responsibility about the stewardship of the taxpayers’ money seems absent.
    … consider the “horror stories” we hear about the TSA and their screening of airline passengers, which at times defy common sense and even affront human dignity—while the agency just brushes aside criticism. ”

  6. Rae_E says:

    “I don’t think people here even know what patriotism means.”

    I fully agree w/ what you’ve written especially w/ above statement – Filipinos lacks patriotism indeed. Otherwise people here will not be too quick to discredit the office of the presidency and destabilize the country. In the Philippines “ethics” is twisted and crab mentality rules.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, Rae_E, there is a perverse need to punish those doing well, as if doing well is an insult to us, rather than praise. The Philippine performance would satisfy so so so many peoples in other nations around the world. But it is not good enough for Filipinos, if their president makes a mistake. Suddenly he is a condemned man and the good works mean nothing.

      The arithmetic seems odd to me.

  7. NHerrera says:

    JoeAm, don’t you ever say anything negative to our dear Pacman except in adoring terms. I am very onion-skinned when it comes to our possible future President. I adore him as much as I adore Binay.

    Seriously, a nice article. The literary device effectively brings home your points on “ethics” — where it matters, Philippine style. Thanks for the good read.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, I am prose to look for good literary devices, and Pacquiao fits well into this idea of privilege for the entitled, and no privilege for the powerless. When he fights, I am like any other Filipino, cheering and groaning. I run my own scorecard and it is pretty accurate. He’s something special in the ring, as was Ali. But he does not belong in Congress if we want lawmaking skill and initiative, and he diminishes pro basketball every time he takes the court. I think his being a coach is also a joke.

      I’m glad you found the article to be a good read. Means a lot . . .

      • josephivo says:

        The Pacman does not belong in congress, but his Gensan puppeteer lawyers certainly think they do via him.

        Sportsmen, actors are used to coaches and directors. not content, applause motivates them. Another Philippine challenge is to recognize the people behind the scenes.

  8. This hit home and It saddens me that it is so very true.

    Ours is a country of rules for the powerful to exercise their power and the weak to be subservient.

    • Joe America says:

      Seems that way to me. I get more angry than sad, though, because the idea of a red carpet to the Presidency for Binay is just not right, yet that is what the ways of the entitled allow. There is very little objection from his peer group, or from the moneyed. How is it possible to reconcile right and wrong, and that possible outcome?

  9. andrewlim8 says:

    A prevailing culture of Impunity and the distortions on what constitutes ethical behavior is related to the culture which was significantly impacted by Roman Catholicism, which is nearing its quincentennial anniversary in 2021.

    In previous articles we have explored this angle extensively – when easy forgiveness without justice is hammered in our heads for centuries, we create a soft culture of docility, where justice and accountabilty take a backseat. Lawbreakers are confident they will be forgiven eventually, all it takes is patience, thick skin and a thick wallet. Just show the human side of the corrupt for instance, by telling stories of how they will miss their kid’s graduation while in jail, or invent some medical malady and you have emotion swinging to their side.

    Everyone is forgiven, and anything and everything can be forgiven, so why not break the law since it is masarap?

    Other factors are at work, of course, but this is a major one.

  10. ray james says:

    Useful adjuncts to high-low context

    Lewis model of cultures

    And Geert Hofstede

    In essence society is a mix of different groups and sub-cultures, and the philippines struggles with identity more than most. Confucious, or confused.

    “Men’s natures are alike, it is their habits that carry them far apart”

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Power distance index (PDI): “Power distance is the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally.” Individuals in a society that exhibit a high degree of power distance accept hierarchies in which everyone has a place without the need for justification. Societies with low power distance seek to have equal distribution of power. [6]Cultures that endorse low power distance expect and accept power relations that are more consultative or democratic.

      Individualism (IDV) vs. collectivism: “The degree to which individuals are integrated into groups”. In individualistic societies, the stress is put on personal achievements and individual rights. People are expected to stand up for themselves and their immediate family, and to choose their own affiliations. In contrast, in collectivist societies, individuals act predominantly as members of a lifelong and cohesive group or organization (note: “The word collectivism in this sense has no political meaning: it refers to the group, not to the state”). People have large extended families, which are used as a protection in exchange for unquestioning loyalty.

      Uncertainty avoidance index (UAI): “a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity”. It reflects the extent to which members of a society attempt to cope with anxiety by minimizing uncertainty. People in cultures with high uncertainty avoidance tend to be more emotional. They try to minimize the occurrence of unknown and unusual circumstances and to proceed with careful changes step by step planning and by implementing rules, laws and regulations. In contrast, low uncertainty avoidance cultures accept and feel comfortable in unstructured situations or changeable environments and try to have as few rules as possible. People in these cultures tend to be more pragmatic, they are more tolerant of change.

      Masculinity (MAS), vs. femininity: “The distribution of emotional roles between the genders”. Masculine cultures’ values are competitiveness, assertiveness, materialism, ambition and power, whereas feminine cultures place more value on relationships and quality of life. In masculine cultures, the differences between gender roles are more dramatic and less fluid than in feminine cultures where men and women have the same values emphasizing modesty and caring. As a result of the taboo on sexuality in many cultures, particularly masculine ones, and because of the obvious gender generalizations implied by Hofstede’s terminology, this dimension is often renamed by users of Hofstede’s work, e.g. to Quantity of Life vs. Quality of Life.

      Long-term orientation (LTO), vs. short term orientation: First called “Confucian dynamism”, it describes societies’ time horizon. Long-term oriented societies attach more importance to the future. They foster pragmatic values oriented towards rewards, including persistence, saving and capacity for adaptation. In short term oriented societies, values promoted are related to the past and the present, including steadiness, respect for tradition, preservation of one’s face, reciprocation and fulfilling social obligations.

      Indulgence versus restraint (IVR): The extent to which members of a society try to control their desires and impulses. Whereas indulgent societies have a tendency to allow relatively free gratification of basic and natural human desires related to enjoying life and having fun, restrained societies have a conviction that such gratification needs to be curbed and regulated by strict norms.


      Philippines / USA / Germany/ Russia / China

      Power distance: 94 / 40 / 35 / 93 / 80
      Individualism: 32 / 91 / 67 / 39 / 20
      Masculinity: 64 / 62 / 66 / 36 / 66
      Uncertainty avoidance: 44 / 46 / 65 / 95 / 30
      Long Term orientation: 27 / 26 / 83 / 81 / 87
      Indulgence: 42 / 68 / 40 / 20 / 24


      1. So the Philippines has more power distance than CHINA and is more like RUSSIA. Both countries have oligarchs, so it figures.

      2. USA and Philippines have similarly low long term orientations. That also fits with similarly medium uncertainty avoidance scores.

      3. Philippines, Russia and China are all similarly low on individualism.

      4. USA and Germany have low power distance, not surprising either.

      5. Russia and China are very low on indulgence – used to Spartanity.

      • Niteowl says:

        Oh shut up we don’t need your lecture ! You are a perfect example of people who struts their hyfalutin egotistical academia who just sit comfortably and do nothing but talk, big talk- who cares huh,…
        PinoyInEurope ????
        We need abled bodies to come head on to these corrupt people and spit on their faces when they lie to their teeth !! Will you do the honor ?

        It is a waste of time and so unproductive to be comparing the Philippines with other nations – the Philippines is in dire need of a complete revamp in their ethics, governance, beliefs and patriotism ! The people have been wallowing too long in their self gratification and their own quagmire of greed.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Cultural comparisons are useful to understand certain things.

          You have to see where you are, and where you want to go.

          You have to see what factors you have to adjust and how.


          Sure you want me to come home and help Duterte if elected?

          With German thoroughness in both planning and execution?

        • Joe America says:

          Welcome to the blog, Niteowl. Do you always arrive at a new place with such a rage in your words? If you have an idea, express it in ideas rather than personal attack. That is THE fundamental rule of this blog.

          PiE is an idea man, a builder, a sponge who synthesizes and offers analysis, and he types fast. I don’t see any solutions in your words, frankly. Just spite and division.

  11. henry david says:

    ” Without a doubt, the Philippines is an occupied land. It is occupied by powerful people who take care of one another. …”

    how sad that we are a ” country colonized by its own government” …. and political/economic elites.

    • Joe America says:

      That’s interesting. I almost objected to your including government among the colonizers, because their job is to wield power, and the Philippine democracy is reasonably functional. But then I think about it, and on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being operating on “the ethics of impunity”, and 10 operating for the nation, I’d score the branches of government as follows:

      Executive: 9
      Legislative: 7
      Judiciary: 4

      I have almost lost total confidence in the Judiciary. The rulings are twisted by minute readings of legal fine points, and in the reading, huge, over-riding concepts – like public well-being – are ignored. There are too many forces of influence other than honor and integrity in play. Political allegiance is a big one, especially on the Supreme Court.

      • Crews says:

        Great piece Joeam, but here you left out the main influence…….money!

      • NHerrera says:

        JoeAm, I agree with your relative scoring of the three branches with JUDICIARY the LOWEST. I say the Judiciary the lowest simply from this viewpoint — the Supreme Court Justices are, among others:

        – financially comfortable and stable
        – in theory, intellectually capable
        – have time to do their honest decision making
        – not subject to the usual political pressure of periodic re-election
        – as far as I know, the salaries and allowances of the Justices are not subject to regulation except by the SC itself

        And yet the Supreme Court is not able to effectively restrain the corruption of the lower courts. Worse, the SC itself is not viewed as corruption-free. As I said in a note in Raissa’s Blog I can accept corruption at the lower courts if the SC itself is immune. Sadly, my gut feeling from my readings is that this is not the case.

        (In Raissa’s Blog the ultimate decision of the SC on the Binay’s suspension order is discussed with great interest because of how the Justices will decide with the Constitution, the Ombudsman Act, and Jurisprudence as background, and the apparent tainted ruling of the Court of Appeals.)

        • Joe America says:

          It is interesting that Philippine political parties are personality based. The Supreme Court justices appointed by Gloria Arroyo seem loyal to the principle that it is their job to get even with the Aquino administration. I share your concern, to the point of dismay. The Court of Appeals decision on Mayor Binay can also be viewed as personality based. For sure, it disrespected the Ombudsman. How horrible that judicial reasoning.

          It is not just the SC that engages in “overreaching” it seems to me.

  12. Bing Garcia says:

    Philippine society is evolving.

  13. As requested.

    That is why we need the role models to be more front and center the tony meloto, the dado banatao and like. (I’d add Villar here but he undid a lot of his role model potential as a questionable morals senator)

    Everyone wants to be the next Sarah Geronimo, the next John Lloyd Cruz.

    We need the successful OFW’s/Businessmen to show our countrymen that there is another way to succeed, not only through corruption or being a singer or showbiz personality.

    We are like the African American young men that grow up without a father.

    What do African Americans think their future careers are? Sports Stars, Rappers, Drug Dealers.

    Why? Because in their communities these are the people that other people lookup to and view that they have a possibility of emulating.

    I’ll go a little off tangent but there is research on achievement that people who believe that talent is developed achieve more than people who believe talent is natural/God given. It is the same in this case. When our role model’s lives are governed not mostly by hard work but mostly by luck of being the right singer/contestant for the right talent show then you know that it is not simply through hard work but mostly through luck.

    If people see that highly valued people become so because they lie/cheat/steal to get and keep their positions then it becomes okay for them to lie cheat and steal. Because saying something is less powerful than us observing something as the general rule. The general rule in our country is simple. The rules are written by the powerful.

    Drive through EDSA around Makati and you’ll see luxury cars with no license plate never accosted by Makati traffic enforcers. Go through the immigration and pretend to not speak Filipino and speak with either a heavy american/british accent and whiz through immigration while other Filipinos in the queue are practically interrogated by the immigration officer as an undocumented worker.

    The majority of Filipino people do not have proper role models. If we had them would we improbably use FPJ and Erap as such?

    We have to start changing the undercurrents of our culture.

    • edgar lores says:

      “Highly valued people” strikes me as the description that was used for Marwan – “high-value target.”

      Perhaps “to start changing the undercurrents of our culture,” we should use the latter to describe the former. (I am not talking assassination, only character assassination.)

      Another term with a high potential of misuse is “world class” when applied to parking buildings and people who instigate their construction.

      In the spirit of this satirical post, I can affirm that Binay is a high-value politician with world-class executive skills.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, indeed. I wonder if Leni Robredo can sing . . . Meet them in their territory . . . 🙂

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      “I’ll go a little off tangent but there is research on achievement that people who believe that talent is developed achieve more than people who believe talent is natural/God given. It is the same in this case. When our role model’s lives are governed not mostly by hard work but mostly by luck of being the right singer/contestant for the right talent show then you know that it is not simply through hard work but mostly through luck.”

      In fact, getting somewhere by achievement is in my observation not just something not expected in the Philippines. It is something often frowned upon.

      As long as success stories are still seen as “kayabangan” by most, striving to have good money is seen as being “greedy”, and being critical of people who are just lucky is seen as “inggit” and you are told that that is their “suwerte”, then no real achievement culture.

      • Wanted to write about what you said but was too busy to find the links to the research.

        There are two similar trends.

        The first one is what you said.

        The second one is the research that finds people who believe that people are innately good/bad tend to act less morally than people who believe that good or bad is non innate.

        This I believe to a large extent explains how corrupt politicians can live with themselves/their acts. Because they believe that they are innately good.

        • Joe America says:

          “All politicians are corrupt, which is no big deal, because I am a good person, even if I cheat now and then to survive.” The essential reason why Binay can hold to popularity among those on the edge of poverty.

          Plus his message: “See, these guys haven’t helped you at all. I will.” That sells very very well.

      • karl garcia says:

        Giancarlo, this article says that we are born with a moral core

        This one is about the innate talents

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Leroy Brown, from the (black) South Side of Chicago:

      (one of my favorite songs in karaoke situations)

    • PinoyInEurope says: – because many do not know him:

      Diosdado P. Banatao (born May 23, 1946), is a Filipino entrepreneur and engineer working in the high-tech industry. He was born in a small barrio of Malabbac in the town of Iguig, Cagayan, Philippines.[2] A three-time start-up veteran, he co-founded Mostron, Chips and Technologies, and S3 Graphics.[3]

      Banatao was born on May 23, 1946 in Malabbac, Iguig, Cagayan, Philippines. His father, Salvador Banatao, was a farmer and later worked as an overseas Filipino worker in Guam while Dado was only nine years-old. His mother, Rosita Banatao, was a simple housekeeper.[2]

      Banatao is known for his rags to riches story. During his childhood, he walked barefoot on a dirt road just to reach Malabbac Elementary School. He pursued his secondary education at the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Tuguegarao. After high school, he pursued his Bachelor of Science in Electric Engineering from the Mapúa Institute of Technology and graduated cum laude.[4][5]

      Unfortunately, these people are rarely mentioned in Philippine media. No offense meant to Manny Pacquiao and many others, but not only you should be the ones mentioned.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Or this man from my generation who is doing truly excellent work:

        Dr. Lagmay, who is also faculty at the National Institute of Geological Sciences at the University of the Philippines, Diliman heads Project NOAH, the country’s leading disaster prevention and mitigation program. Created under the auspices of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in 2012, it has been working to improve the government’s capacity to prepare against the impacts of extreme weather disturbances on lives of the Filipino people. Since its existence it has undertaken advanced disaster science research, comprehensive and multidisciplinary assessment of hazards while also developing accessible tools that enable local government units, community leaders, policy makers, planners, families, and individuals to prevent and mitigate disasters.

        Dr. Lagmay shared the award with the steadfast team composing the rest of DOST–Project NOAH, who have labored to bring the best science in the forefront of battle against disasters. He said that being chosen as WikiPinoy of the Year inspires him and his team to do better.

        In a speech he delivered upon accepting the award he said, “WikiPinoy helps foster a culture of knowledge sharing, for the benefit of many. This matters most to disaster-prone countries like ours, where access to critical information empowers people to prepare against hazards. It matters most to our nation where information can be used in infinite ways to help fellow Filipinos.”

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          SHOW the kids these kinds of people, talk about them!

          After that, who will still want to be like this guy, except stupid people?

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      So we HAVE the role models, we just do not publicize them enough to the public and especially to the kids in school who should see what the Filipino is capable of doing.

      (please ignore the lowest of the three pictures please, that is NOT a role model)

      • karl garcia says:

        I heard horror stories that instead of killing anyone, one just took over a radio station by buyng out the owner. If this happens in the provinces,how widespread could this be?
        internet is powerful,but many have just computer shops to rely on.I suggest support for more computer shops.AM radio stations can be bought.

        • karl garcia says:

          Or the nation wide wi fi project, or a legal version of nbn zte

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            Kailangan iyong mga barangay captain ang bigyan ng inpormasyon dahil sila ang mga iginagalang sa kanila at ipinaniniwalaan. Parang mga datu ang mga iyan.

            Tapos gawa ng murang komiks – huwag libre baka gawing pamunas – tungkol sa mga makabagong bayani natin – si Dado Banatao, si Mahar Lagmay at marami pa para malaman ng taong-bayan na hindi tayo mga tanga, para mas bumilib sila sa sarili nila.

  14. ray james says:

    John Hobson is not so well known, and consequently much under-rated.
    An economist, and political observer from the 1900’s he inspired the phrase ” Hobsons choice” – meaning, ‘An apparently free choice that offers no real alternative’.

    When the only choice is dynasty A or dynasty B. (‘Same old, same old’, – old being the operative word), then impunity becomes a progressive malaise as, over time, the system is designed/applied to both protect and promulgate the status quo. Impunity is one of the negative consequences.

    “The tendency of all strong governments
    has always been to suppress liberty,
    partly in order to ease the processes of rule, partly from sheer disbelief in innovation, and partly to perpetuate privilege”
    John hobson 1901

    One study estimates that political dynasties in the philippines comprises up to 70% of the Philippine Congress (compared to 6% of the U.S. Congress ), and controls 73 ex 80 provinces.- and, even worse, the figure has actually increased over the past 2 elections. The country has gone beyond the tipping point. Impunity rules, OK.

    Dynasties have built a dam which holds back the waters of innovation, progress, social mobility, and equal opportunity.

    Each president sticks his finger in the dyke if any cracks appear, when the country needs a dambuster, and thereby puts his finger up at the electorate by serving a minority elite, and avoiding the strategic issues necessary for wholesale reform. The circle and cycle remains intact.

    It is the root cause which needs to change, not token gestures, and if people are not solving the problem, then it is because they are the problem.

    • Joe America says:

      Crisp assessment ray. The extent of the problem is so enormous as to be overwhelming. The hundreds of Makati sister cities have very likely swapped civic well-being for advantage of the few. Those few bring in the votes for the Binay clan. I think the middle class needs to learn to wield a hammer rather than just complain. That can be accomplished by organizing better.

      • I’ve thought about this before.

        What if the a party focuses on winning with the proper candidates at the most influential places.

        Imagine an inspired/focused campaign in the local level for strategic places like metro cebu/metro manila/pampanga/cavite/laguna.

        What if the Political Party concentrates on winning Makati/QC/Taguig/Pasig/Mandaluyong and Pasay.

        With the combined financial capabilities of these cities build synergies that should have already been envisioned by previous administration. My dream pet project an intercity integrated railway/MRT between Makati QC Taguig Pasig Mandaluyong nad Pasay.

        Concentrate on getting bailwicks of good governance. Make these places new like a Naga City. I’m thinking a new political party that builds itself up by slowly interjecting its candidates in the influential or visible places in the Philippines.

        Build a political brand that means something. Be the party of the Thinking and Doing Class.

        • Joe America says:

          I think that is an excellent approach. It would be great to see a political party emerge with those values, essentially the fair dealing ways of the middle class. I like the city by city “conquest” strategy, too.

        • I have a simple thought about the Premier City whose success the Binays claim to be their sole handiwork. What if you gerrymander Makati into two– one, Ayala City comprising of the Ayala-related areas, the remaining, which can be honorifically named, Binay City? Then we can see how great the Dynasty’s management skills are.

          • Joe America says:

            Ha, yes. How about we just move him over to Pasay City and he can show us his stuff. Or one of the poorer metro area cities. He inherited a goose that laid golden eggs.

          • I’ve also though about this for some time.

            The problem with this is that this is “hackable”. The township model perfected by the likes of Megaworld and Ayala Land featuring Multi Use Land with basically a mall, lease-able office spaces, decent security and the like promotes growth in the surrounding areas to such an extent as to make it feasible just giving/leasing a suitable size peace of land to both groups just to spur growth.

            What I mean is if I was Binay and Makati was split in two my first move would be to offer a large piece of land to the Ayala and Andrew Tan. Thereby creating a new Makati. (I maybe undermining the Filinvest group and their share of developing Alabang as a BPO hub)

            This is a rule of thumb I came up with while thinking of who to elect in 2016. If a local officials record could have been equaled or even surpassed by simply giving large pieces of government lands to Ayala/Megaworld then maybe that local chief executive is not nearly as good as we imagine him to be. (Duterte and a host of celebrated local chiefs achievements suddenly shrink in my admittedly naive rule of thumb)

    • Crews says:

      If Binay becomes president, you will see an entrenched dynasty in the palace that will make all others pale in comparison. First president Jojo, then president Junjun, then president Nancy, then president Abigail, and their slogan will be: “Our place in Malacanang”.

  15. jameboy says:

    First off, Joe, unlike your sarcasm-filled and between-the-lines jarring of an article I’m going straight with all honesty to avoid misinterpretation for I mean no disrespect in attempting to present a view not entirely opposite to yours but different in some aspects. Here goes. 🙂

    The Daily Inquirer is not a tabloid and you knew it but the guy you’re having discussion with just didn’t get it. Not to defend it, but however one hate and despise their output I think the Inquirer is still a paper that we can rely on in terms of news and opinions. My opinion.

    In a society like ours, the powerful gets to control and run media or press. They have the capability and resources and, overall, they do perform what’s expected of them. We have a sampling of Marcos media today? I don’t think so because, unlike today, there was practically no media/press during the time of the dictatorship. Of you ask me, I still prefer the exaggeration and slant and all those moles on media than not having anything at all.

    I agree with you on Sen. Marcos’ embellished resume and he has been embarrassed, scandalized and was put on the spot like a deer on a headlight. But I don’t go along in expecting the Senate to do something about it because I think the expose was enough to put the people on notice that like his father’s war medals, Bongbong’s closet is not really wanting in skeletons.

    With regard to Grace Poe, she’s a friend to everyone, Noynoy and Jojo included. It just so happened that she was the head of a Committee that conducted a hearing on Mamasapano, hence, she has to take the brunt in coming out a report putting the President in a bad light. It doesn’t mean she’s taking sides but surely the emotional and political fallout has muddled the picture and as expected the partisan crowd gave the guilty verdict in her.

    She may not be attacking Binay but she’s not defending him either and that’s what matter. I passed.

    On live heroes, I think we have enough supply of it starting from the President down to the ordinary individuals (farmers, laborers, call center employees, private business enterprise, etc.) who keeps on eking out a living in spite of economic challenges, to the OFWs who continue to provide the necessary remittances that helps the country to plod along. They are sort of modern day heroes. Thumbs up. 🙂

    In the Pacquiao drama, I understand the punishment of removal/disappearance against the American basketball player is quite harsh. No one should be deprived of property (job) by exercising free expression. But the professional league have their own constitution that carries no such provision. A private commercial entity castigating its member who violate its laws has the right to exercise such authority.

    On the other hand, I also understand that in this little corner of the world, we have a tradition of treating guests as royalties which we call hospitality. It is not really about Pacquaio that made it worse for the American but how he treated his hosts (the company & the public) who welcomed him with open arms. I believe had he just coated his statement with a little touch of diplomacy or even with a friendly humor this issue would have only merited a two or three days discussion in barber shops. In fact, a lot of people, including yours truly, agrees with the comment against Pacquiao because he simply was not a good basketball player. But like I said a visitor is a visitor. You don’t enjoy and share the same privilege your hosts have. Tough luck.

    With regard to the powerful and the powerless, I submit, there are really instances where inequality is very pronounced and influential. I have no concrete proof that the haves do not help the have-nots. Neither I’m in a position to declare that the rich don’t bother with the poor. All I can say is that the rich helps the poor but it is not enough for there are so many of them. If everyone have the power to erase inequality in society or remove the alleged ethics of impunity all countries in the world would have been in political and economic parity by now. But that would be wishful thinking.

    With regard to corruption, we all know that a former president, a chief justice, a big time civilian who conspired with some lawmakers to launder or hide public funds for private consumption, and three senators are now languishing in their respective corners for corruption conviction and indictment. Those are not small fishes in small ponds but it doesn’t end the problem. We still have a long way to go and the way things are going, I think we’re on the right track.

    • Joe America says:

      The writing style is meant to be provocative, and I’m glad it provoked you to write to a number of important points. I’ll deal with them in short form, as any one could be a blog on its own.

      1. Inquirer tabloid or not. I define tabloid to be a newspaper that uses emotion (generally conflict) rather than information to generate circulation. I think the Inquirer provides very superficial news, often hit and run, rather than expository or objective parsing of issues. It relies on one-sided stories, he said, she said mainly, to generate friction. Also, sensationalist, often editorialized headlines. I consider it a tabloid but don’t mind if you consider it a newspaper.

      2. You echo Alan Robles’ point on today’s media, versus Marcos. I’d like to see a globally recognized newspaper produced in the Philippines, but the way it is going, it won’t be in my lifetime. There indeed are a variety of news sources, and many opinion columnists are very good. The glass is better than half full, I agree.

      3. It is a matter of standards for politicians. Or judges. Many SC justices had no problem with Justice Ong lying about his association with Napoles. Fortunately, the majority did, and he was relieved of his job, not just suspended. I like high values myself, especially for those in positions to write our laws. What do I tell my kid? “Oh, he made up some degrees to look well educated. They do that kind of thing in the Senate. And courts.” I’m ashamed for what Sotto and Marcos ethics mean to the nation, as viewed through the eyes of its most innocent.

      4. Right, Poe played to the crowd, not what is good for the nation. Horrible standard. Worse than Marcos’ diplomas.

      5. I’m waiting for her to act on principle. I no longer trust her motives. As Aquino needed to do more to deal with Mamasapano, Poe (for me) needs to do something significant to regain my trust. I think she bends to pressures from others. I want HER to be someone.

      6. If you give out too many medals, they don’t mean as much. I think the president, laborers and OFW’s should not be celebrated as heroes, but as a very cherished part of the nation’s fabric. They ought to make up some of the REAL patriotism people feel.

      7. Yes, the league had the right to do what it wanted. Authoritarian, in the mode of schools and government and much that goes on when the empowered lord it over the powerless. They did not exhibit compassion for the heat of the moment, and gave no warning. They dragged Orton out and shot him. 20-something year old kid.

      8. Agree. A guest should be respectful. And a human can make a mistake.

      9.Yes, I am sure there are oligarchs who do help the less fortunate. I wish the tabloid Inquirer would report on that, rather than who is richest. It might inspire others to do the same.

      10. Agree entirely.

    • Bert says:

      All that I agree with you, jameboy. And I just found out today after long years of my association with our dear host Joe that when his heart is really up to it he can really do a very nice piece of satire that can bite you with such intense heat, As a Filipino who is constantly aware of my political and cultural environment I’m still reeling from the impact..

  16. PinoyInEurope says:

    The Philippines is basically hierarchic and tribal in nature. There is no Western wrong or right.

    “Right” is what is good for your own “tribe” and what higher-ups determine to be right.

    “Wrong” is what is bad for your “tribe” and what is bad for the modern sultans and rajas.

    Under the entire colonial overlay played to please new masters, the old culture has survived.

    The only way to develop is to stop pretending one is anything else than that – and go from there.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      And Joe, this I tell you now: the tribe that runs the Philippines is just better and pretending to be all for American style values. Consider what they do a good simulation program run on top of the native software. I prefer true natives like Duterte to them. You know who…

      They manage to stay clean on paper, but do everything to favor their businesses. Yankees and foreign investors applaud but don’t know. They play the same tribal game against the Binays that Poe plays against Noynoy. Destroy other tribe. Everything for our own tribe.

      Joe, your very American weakness of not being able to picture that other cultures can REALLY be different is showing. Filipinos have always been perfect at masquerading towards new masters and sponsors. It is an art perfected in centuries of subjugation.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        The ruling “tribe” will IMHO continue with their non-inclusive growth only for them and their clients in the Philippines while a large part of the country remains poor and therefore susceptible to Binay and other populists that may come. That is my personal view.

        Duterte at least will spread the wealth, even if he becomes a strong, slightly democratic king of the Philippines like he is now raja of Davao. In the long run, the country will benefit much more like Davao does, will develop more. And there will be more buy-in by people who understand better what their ruler is saying because rings a lot truer to them. From there, they will very quickly learn modern ways the way they were really intended to be.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        On the other hand, I may be making the wrong assumption re Binay.

        Either there is enough evidence or hints of it and it should be secured immediately, or there is not enough and there is a reason for blocking the whole procedure. But then again, I am learning each day that the Philippine system often is unreal and absurd.

        I would expect things to match more with SOME common sense and simple reasoning.

        • i7sharp says:

          “I would expect things to match more with SOME common sense and simple reasoning.”

          JoeAm later wrote,
          “We Visayans have common sense, a capacity that that largely skipped both Luzon and Mindanao, the former in favor of greed, the latter in favor of obstinate rebellion.”

          Imprudent of Joe to say that? Am sure there are some who would say he is right on.

          Anyways, perhaps because they (two nouns) rhyme with “common sense” and they have been on my mind for weeks or months, this is probably as good a time as any for me to bring them up – with a MUCH better Philippines in view:
          1. indolence
          2. insolence

          Dr. Rizal, as many may know. wrote of the former:
          “The Indolence of the Filipino”

          As for latter, may I posit that we use common sense (or something else) to
          write collectively of
          “The Insolence of the Pinoys”?

          Perhaps, by so doing we will come to our senses … and realize and perform what is most urgent in this beleaguered world … and that PNoy will lead the Pinoys in setting the example.


          • karl garcia says:


            Another connect the dots type mystery. For the life of me, I could not figure out how indolence and insolence rhymes. Maybe I need common sense.

            kidding aside,insolence is indeed apropos for impunity.

            • Joe America says:

              That’s an interesting point. I wonder if there are any humble people who participate in the ethics of impunity. I can’t think of any . . . so your point is good so far . . . Perhaps it is self defining because a humble person would not knowingly hurt someone else, and yet the whole ethical framework of the ethics of impunity is built to shift benefits from the powerless to the powered class. That is, hurting the powerless.

              Okay. I agree with you.

            • i7sharp says:


              Methinks, connecting dots can be fun … and serendipitous.

              Look what I came upon in trying to connect Rizal, indolence (not insolence, btw; its time will come), and impunity

              In annotating Sucesos, Rizal singled out observations by Morga that tended to refute certain canards by later Spanish writers and colonists. These reports had become accepted as “fact” regarding the “Indio,” i.e. that the pre-hispanic natives were so primitive that they did not have any means to protect themselves. According to Rizal, Morga showed that these natives had a sophisticated defense industry because it had “army and navy with artillery and other implements of warfare” and that the natives had “coats of mail and helmets, of which there are specimens in various European museums…”3 As a matter of fact, the natives were able to defend themselves from the frequent pirate raids that occurred before the Spanish came but after they had been disarmed, “the pirates pillaged them with impunity, coming at times when they were unprotected by the government, which was the reason for the many insurrections.”4

              The above can be another “dot” that can help lead us to conclude that the Philippines was indeed the biblical “Ophir”:

              Two-letter codes for the Philippines at one time and now:
              PH (now)

              Can’t make “OPHIR” out of them.
              We need a letter O.

              RP = Republic Of the Phillppines..
              Now we have the O we needed.


              • karl garcia says:

                You forgot Phl, i think that is the way one newspaper calls Philipines.
                Damn those pirates from Somalia, Captain Philips amost never
                That is what the present day Military industry needs,pre hispanic implements of warfare
                Apir ! 🙂

              • karl garcia says:

                Is Ophir suposed to be a port near Israel,or King Solomon’s mines. We need Indiana Jones, or crocodile jones, either of the two.

              • Joe America says:

                Hey, I’m going to change my moniker to “Crocodile America”.

              • karl garcia says:

                Because of this post by Micha, it is imperative to recreate the pre hispanic military industry asap.


              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Send the MILF there to fight China as a condition for BBL.

                Hit two birds with one stone. It can be very simple.

              • karl garcia says:

                They need the speed boats of the Abu Sayyaf, faster than the entire coast guard and navy.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                They have more money than the Philippines. We should imitate the Abu Sayyafs financing methods by kidnapping a few foreigners for ransom. Let us start with Joe.

              • karl garcia says:

                No further comment.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Iba ang itulak natin para hindi halata, tapos tayo kuno ang negotiators.

                10% porme, 10% puryo, 20% por di kidnappers, 60% por di gobernment.

      • Joe America says:

        I don’t view it as a weakness, but a perspective.

    • jameboy says:

      National political domination by way of tribal affiliation is a view that we no longer subscribe to for lack of credibility. It became archaic after the fall of the greatest Ilocano who ever lived, Ferdinand Marcos. The electorate of today rely mostly in name-recall or popularity than on mere tribal loyalty. That is why we see celebrities and sports personalities, former police and military entities with hero complex dotting our political landscape.

      Surely, Fidel Ramos did not get to the Palace just for being the pride of Ilocos. In fact, for not being Catholic all the odds were against him when he run for president. What he did instead to compensate the baggage was to cozy up not with the ‘tribe’ but with all religious institutions which back then fairly dictate where elections should go and tried to scale back his opponents advantage and secure the anointment from Cory. The popular Erap who is beloved by everybody simply drunk his way to Malacanang. The only thing tribal with Erap is his mentality. And we all know that Gloria Arroyo’s only link with aboriginal tribes was her height. Same thing with Noynoy. The President, in his ways with friends, would rather look for guns in you than be a Pampangueno.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Replace tribes with cliques of any kind – kabarilan or whatever. There are still like tribes.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Or let us say in-groups. But then at the stage things are now, better break this in-group thinking and replace it with something more inclusive. Back to tribes is genuinely impossible and outdated – actually a very good thing.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            But then again, don’t you still have significant differences between Manila and the different regions? Used to be the Visayans saw themselves as very different. Mindanawons definitely do from what I have gathered.

            • jameboy says:

              You know that ‘differences’ between Manila (or Imperial Manila as what our brothers and sisters in the provinces love to say) and other regions is just a reflection of the country’s geographical makeup. The center (of attraction, politics, commerce, etc.) usually gets reaction ranging from derision to smirks or to being scoffed at just for being there. But really the numerous dialects, the countless practices and regional skirmishes we have is the reason why Manila gets to be the country’s punching bag for venting purposes.

              However, that’s also my thing against those regions. Nobody is preventing them to overran or out develop Manila if they really want to. They may not do that politically but surely it is possible economically. Look at Cebu and some areas of the country.

              That’s also a classic example of ‘crab mentality’ that we accuse ourselves of perfecting the exercise of. 😎

            • Joe America says:

              We Visayans have common sense, a capacity that that largely skipped both Luzon and Mindanao, the former in favor of greed, the latter in favor of obstinate rebellion.

      • karl garcia says:

        FVR-Pangasinan pero Ilokano
        minor corrections only, but I like how you analyze.

  17. manuelbuencamino says:

    “Ethics here protect the powerful, not the powerless. They don’t even protect the nation. I don’t think people here even know what patriotism means. It does not mean standing still at the mall as the anthem blares through tinny speakers and the mall shops fling their tin doors open.” and of course my reaction is “the US is the same way.”

    But upon further reflection, I realized that it is not only in the Philippines and the US where this condition exists, it is the same everywhere, in any country under any system. This was pointed out a thousand years ago in the Melian Dialogue – The powerful do as they can and the powerless suffer what they must. It is a sad state of affairs and we do what we can to change it. But a word of caution on this as well, another cliché – Today’s revolutionaries become tomorrow’s dictators.”

    We are all evolving. In the Philippines, we are passing laws that aim to take power from persons. Resistance is strong here as it is in the US as you have seen with the recent SCOTUS decisions there.

    It seems to me that institutions and mechanisms protecting for example, the right to vote, equal access to the nation’s budget process, strict accountability not only of elected officials but regulatory agencies and scrutiny of the rules regulatory agencies make, etc. etc are the best means available at this time to take the place of personal power and the way to break the cycle of revolutionaries becoming tomorrow’s dictators.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Culture has an enormous tenacity over the decades. Even in old Germanic cultures which are the root of the Anglo-Saxon culture that the US has, ordinary people had more freedom and more of a right to speak their mind. Think about Lord of the Rings.

      If you want to see what Filipino culture truly is – without value judgement, because values are indeed different across cultures – it is enough to watch the Teleserye Amaya and imagine all the characters in moern dress. Datus as politicians, timawa+uripon as masa.

      If the Philippines is to successfully modernize, it must drop all pretences of being something else, the masks are very heavy. Duterte is archaic in many ways, but he represents the true Filipino culture in a more positive way than Binay does. Sorry.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Duterte is democratizing the Philippines from the bottom up of its tribal culture. He gets the buy-in of his communities, Lumad, Muslim and Christian by having the participate – and at the same time is the ruthless enforcer. An ancient Malay raja with democratic touches.

        Philippine democracy in Manila is merely a ritual of entrenched tribes = power groups. Continuing the sham played for the benefit of Yankee colonialists when they were there.

        Better honest development from where one really is than a show that makes no sense.

      • jameboy says:

        Duterte is archaic in many ways, but he represents the true Filipino culture in a more positive way than Binay does.
        I don’t think so. What they have in Davao is a provincial version of Binay. What they have in Makati is a derivative of Duterte.

        To make it simple, Binay and Duterte are cast in the same mold. Binay, being in the city, is under microscope and lighted well. Duterte, out there in the boondocks get to be stealthily savvy. Both have the same racket, same ambition, greed, etc.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Is that your intuition, or just a gut feeling?

          I have the impression Duterte is clean.

          • jameboy says:

            In politics, a clean politician is a dead politician. 👷

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              So why is Noynoy still alive?

              I thought he is so clean..

              • jameboy says:

                Good question and actually, all things being equal, you are right. 👍

                I have to admit, there are honest politicians who are unfortunately gets to be overlooked because of media’s focus on dirty politics. But let me expound the conversation not to prove you are wrong but just to weight things over and see where our sandboxes are located.

                Duterte and Binay for that matter are politicians in the truest sense of the word. Compare them with Noynoy, they’re the behemoths, the godfathers of local politics. The hustlers of hustlers. They wouldn’t be around for so long if they are just like Noynoy. Their kind have the cunning and greed drive match by no other.

                Side by side with Duterte and Binay, Noynoy is a boy scout, wet behind the ears. After his term is over, he will fade into the sunset for he has done his job and assured of himself of what he is with friends and families. However, the two will never disappear before our faces. Just like the Marcoses and the Estradas, and the ordinary trapos who made their living scheming and skimming nothing will make them stop to feed on their greed and ambition to lord it over among us as long as they can. 😢

              • Joe America says:

                He has lots of guards.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                “The hustlers of hustlers.” Yes. Binay is a greedy hustler. Duterte a brutal hustler. Between a thief and a killer, I will always prefer the killer, he is the more honest of the two.

                Now if Mar Roxas were a bit stronger and assigns the right person to continue building his “Leviathan” – the DILG apparatus and PNP – then he would be the perfect president:

       – explanation of terms:

                Leviathan ranks as a classic western work on statecraft comparable to Machiavelli’s The Prince. Written during the English Civil War (1642–1651), Leviathan argues for a social contract and rule by an absolute sovereign. Hobbes wrote that civil war and the brute situation of a state of nature (“the war of all against all”) could only be avoided by strong undivided government.

                Since people are basically animals according to Hobbes, you need a strong state to control them. After a while street dogs turn into house dogs. The problem being, as soon as street dogs from somewhere else come – like many Eastern Europeans who now come into Western Europe – the house dogs can have a problem. Much of the fear of the masa coming from the educated crowd is that of domesticated people towards the wilder ones.

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              Besides, Duterte is allegedly the one who kills.

              So he obviously is not the one who is dead.

          • Percival says:

            Duterte is not clean. His present wife is a close relative of my best friend, who is witness to Duterte family lifestyle.

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              Could be that he gets preferential treatment for his businesses whatever they are because of his reputation and power, and therefore his SALN is clean and no record.

              BUT in contrast to Binay, he allows businesses in Davao to thrive, people make a living there instead of being beggars on the dole like Binay’s hakot followers.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Noynoy and the LP are just making conditions for their businesses – and those that earn there living from them – ideal. Similar to the way American politicians do. Nothing wrong with that either, except that it “binipits” only a relatively small segment of the population.

                Duterte would give more opportunities to ordinary Filipinos than Mar is my opinion, unless Mar shows other aspects or more Bam Aquinos come up in the LP. In the end it is about money in the sense of being able to make a decent living for as many people as possible.

                A lot of the people who are for Aquino, Mar, LP are the Makati office worker types who know where their bread is buttered. But they would not really lose either with a Duterte. Just have to share the wealth with upstarts from provinces and the masses – a threat?

              • Joe America says:

                Could be that elephants fly. 🙂

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Whatever – the point is the interest group that he gives room for, the up-and-coming.

                Better than the beggars and bums that Binay promotes – see my interest group posting.

      • manuelbuencamino says:

        You can also watch House of Cards, both the US and British, versions if you want to see the sort of political culture they have. But you are right PinoyInEurope, what Thucydides observed a thousand years ago still plagues the world today.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Or for the more archaic version, Game of Thrones.The best remedy I guess is to make the system such that different interest groups watch out what the others are doing – checks and balances. Dahil ang magnanakaw, galit sa kapwa magnanakaw.

          Anthropologist Jared Diamond postulated that every ruling class is a kind of kleptocracy. As long as there is enough opportunity for everyone plus checks and balances, the kleptocracy can be kept humane. That should be the goal and not an impossible ideal.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            Binay is a Russian-style leader who keeps the poor poor and uses them for his purposes.

            Duterte is a Mafioso who lets business thrive and creates job opportunities for very many. Whether he will really promote Philippine industrial and technological development? Hmm.

            Noynoy/Mar/LP politicians are American style, letting businesses thrive that provide cheap labor for multinationals – providing business for their own kind and jobs for a few people.

            Bam Aquino is the only LP politician who is thinking of SMEs and thereby job opportunities for many people. No one yet who has a clear industrial/technological development policy.

            DOST has its own initiatives, but with clear and decisive political backing they may fizzle.

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              Interest groups that I have identified until now, since that is what really counts:

              THE PRESENT WINNERS: “Makati” businessmen and workers plus the multinational firms that are their employers or partners. Represented mainly by the LP.

              THE UP AND COMING: commoners/promdi with the will and perseverance to make their own living and/or their own business. Usually snubbed by the “Makati” crowd, left out. Duterte represents them, Bam Aquino as well.

              THE DARK HORSES: OFWs with technical and/or management background that do not necessarily fit in with the “Makati” crowd or would have difficulties fitting in, either they are too far ahead and/or their ideas are different from having been abroad. They want the country to have its own technological and industrial base, they will not just be only call center workers or lackeys of the present taipans. I belong to that group, I clearly admit. DOST partly addresses their interests, but no politican I can see so far, possibly Mar/Poe.

              THE BEGGARS AND BUMS: Binay addresses their interests, Erap used to do the same.

              GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES. Trillanes addresses their needs, especially police/soldiers.

              Eventually there will be politicians that represent the dark horse side, as more and more OFWs with top level background – much more than I have admittedly – come back home.

              The up and coming are the natural allies of the dark horses because they want a piece of the cake that is being held by the present winners, who are aware that they are not all that competitive too keep it for long. And in the long run, the country will only be truly wealthy if its wealth comes from a) strong technological and industrial base and b) SMEs and not just being a source of cheap labor at home (BPO) and abroad (OFWs). Common sense.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Actually I am not an OFW, I am a migrant Pinoy who may want to have a retirement funded by international business between the Philippines and Europe at some point. With six months in Europe (spring and summer) and the rest in the Philippines (Oktober to March).

                So my natural allies are high-level OFWs who are not part of the classic Makati crowd, modern members of the Makati crowd and Filipino high-level SME businessmen.

                Of course I would prefer a Philippines with less mass poverty – it would be much safer…

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                The cake in the Philippines is still small and needs to be grown, so being the atsoys and atsays of the world is the first step, then the technicians and managers of the world.

                Then build your own real economy so that the cake can grow even more – OK the rent-seekers and their alalays will have to step up and will not have so much anymore but they will still have enough. Smart rent-seekers will step up and even promote change.

                “We have to change to everything can stay the way it is” – for us. A Sicilian saying.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, I’d hope the Philippines would aspire to be better than the US or other nations, the former of which seems to be self-destructing on the force of one dimensional political minds. And I agree that a LOT is going on in the Philippines, in the right direction for the well-being of the many citizens. But as long as there is an ethical red carpet rolled out for Binay, it is worth pounding out the message that this complacency, this acceptance, is just not right.

  18. stpaul says:

    14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

    This 2 Chron 7 is so apropos to what this nation is going through; healing of this land would happen if everyone turn from our wicked ways. EVERYONE… none is exempted.

  19. No Powers No Favors No Shit says:

    stay longer in PH, and you’ll eventually pierce the veil under which PH society flounders : amoral interdependence & the pursuit of convenient shortcuts.

    culture trumps everything, no matter what

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Hits the nail on the head. It is simply a holdover from the systems of colonial days, a system of survival on a day to day basis against a system that was never truly understood.

      Which explains the empty, ritualistic and rigid adherence to the letter of the law up to the point of absurdity. Whatever government is there survives due to plain and simple inertia.

      At the local and regional level, a sense of common interests seems to be already arising. Start from there to build up a system understandable to the people, not just abstraction.

  20. JOBLACK says:


  21. PinoyInEurope says:

    Joe, you are a basketball player. The Pacquiao picture reminded me of the way Filipinos play basketball at the street level, no offense to Manny intended, I wonder if it is still that way:

    1) If friends or in-groups play with one another things are pretty fair.

    2) if different groups play, it is an altogether different ballgame. Lots of “gulang”.

    3) If you have barrio-type tournaments, if you don’ t have a referee all groups respect – patay.

    4) Discussions can abound about how the rules are to be interpreted. One example: travelling.

    5) Among groups that dislike one another, discussions about small matter can cause fistfights.

    Comes from my experience with some OFW games and tournaments and some stuff back home.

    Now apply that experience to the Senate and other situations and you have a clear picture of how Philippine society works. Imports or returnees have to do what the ruling group wants and shut up.

    • Joe America says:

      It’s never been explained more clearly. The Philippines runs a “street democracy”. If I do it, it is not a foul. If you do, it is. And the nattering arguments over details that go on in the courts, leading to fistfights.

  22. Nicky Wijangco says:

    You PACQuing hit the ethical nail on the head Joe. Love your piece!

  23. Very well said and written.!
    I quote and I comment…

    “A press captured by the need for dirt, under the control of the powerful, the money-makers. Those so crass and manipulative that they would pay for slanted articles, or editors who chuckle at putting yet another demeaning photo of the President of the nation on the front page.”

    It is the same in the US…the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, the 1% and the Republican Congress…agree?,

    “The Philippines does have ethics. That is how I have been as wrong as wrong can be. The Philippines has a set of rules for sure. The problem is that these rules are founded, not on the well-being of the nation, but on the well-being of the entitled.

    Right! Just like the U.S. Same rules, same foundation…the well-being of the 1%…agree?

    “Without a doubt, the Philippines is an occupied land. It is occupied by powerful people who take care of one another. The rules require it. A whole culture is built on it. Judges follow the rules of favor and forget the laws or honor. Legislators take care of one another no matter how horridly they behave. Oligarchs get favored rules so they can get beyond really really rich and who cares about skinny kids eating from the garbage dumps. Stars are cherished as long as they win. Mayors and governors who dip into the cash flow for kickbacks are looked upon with envy. Generals who skim or sell arms to the enemy?”

    Right again…The US Supreme Court of Roberts and their extreme right wing agenda…The Republican Congress…Wall Street and big corporations paying little or no tax at all and Joe Blow paying to kingdomcome…the mobile home communities in the US south and Pacific NW…point by every single point…you are very right…talking about the Philippines and the US alike!

    Joe America, you are so darn right! The Philippines has been corrupted and transformed into the exact duplicate of the US by the Americans since the 1930s.

    The only difference is that the student has surpassed the teacher and the teacher is now slowly coming out with its true and real image…BUT does everyone accept these for both countries? With people like you in the Philippines and people like us in the U.S., I highly doubt that!

    • Joe America says:

      Direction. Weight. Intensity. Both the Philippines and the US have politicians and people who live by the same standards. You can find similarities in individual cases. But the US is by far a more ethically bound place than the Philippines. The weight and intensity of the idea of “fairness” is much deeper there. Both nations are moving, the Philippines ethically upward due to economic need, the US ethically downward due to political poison. It will be some time before they pass . . . if ever . . . and the Philippines becomes more ethically pure. The values here are rooted in emotional needs of the people. It is not like change is an easy decision.

  24. JuanPH says:

    I think it’s also clear your ethics is based on your own biases. Why set the bar of ethics very high for Sen Poe but set it much lower for Pres. Aquino in how they conducted themselves in the Mamasapano incident?

    • Joe America says:

      President Aquino did not try to kill Senator Poe’s professional career.

      • JuanPH says:

        Are you talking about Purisima’s professional career? Then that’s proof your ethics is indeed twisted too. I supported the candidacy and presidency of Aquino from 2009 to Jan 25, 2015. I don’t support any personality. I support integrity and transparency. And I hold the President to the highest standards. He failed and failed miserably and it showed in his trust rating, except for those who keep their loyalty to the person.

        • Joe America says:

          It’s a shame that you let one incident destroy your view of the character and accomplishments of one man, your duly elected president, who is not obligated to obey the ways or whims of the emotional public unless he agrees with their point. If they are so unreliable as to not grant him that right, then no president will be anything but a failure or a wimpy guy who blows with the popular wind.

          If you have read 30 or 40 of my blogs, maybe you would come to the conclusion that my ethics are not twisted, they just are in disagreement with yours on this point or that, and we can always discuss the difference rather than suggest ill intent by either of us.

          If you read a prior blog I did regarding Poe and Purisima, you will find that I say I think he is not the most competent guy. I also think Poe over-reacted because he stood her up on first summons to the committee, and thereafter behaved like a spoiled child with vengeance on her mind. I think Purisima’s “corrupt” deeds pale in significance to those of Binay.

          And Poe remains silent.

          She is either ethical or unethical, patriotic or unpatriotic, depending on how you define and apply those terms.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            I am reminded of – these guys were all over the IT business in the 90’s but faded because of their own stupidity:

            In plain English, the purpose of Scientology ethics is to eliminate opponents

          • JuanPH says:

            The point is, Aquino could have done what he did if he thinks it’s the best for the country and the people he serves, but he should be man enough to accept his mistakes wholeheartedly without quibbling, finger-pointing and covering up his faults. Poe’s bullying of Purisima is the same as Aquino’s bullying of Napenas. Adversity is the best test of character and he simply failed as a leader in that regard. Defending such is also applying an ethics to protect the powerful.

            As for Purisima and Binay, corruption isn’t measured in the amount stolen, it’s the same character flaw that must be judged in equal intensity. The opportunities to steal is the difference between them.

            • Joe America says:

              Sounds like you have yourself convinced, so I suppose there is not much sense it belaboring the point. If the president felt he did no wrong (which the evidence suggests is true), why should he say he was wrong rather than point to the real problem? Two generals who misled and disobeyed him (Purisima, Napenas). The situation does not get corrected by not identifying the problem. Poe was pissed before she even heard testimony from Purisima and pursued the “investigation” like a woman possessed.

              To equate Purisima and Binay on character is grossly ridiculous. Purisima accepted favors. Binay ripped taxpayers off for billions. I think you are straining the argument on that point.

              • JuanPH says:

                JoeAm, I don’t think you’re naive to believe the President did nothing wrong. He was talking to a suspended Police Chief on a very critical police operation he himself felt he needed to monitor closely. He didn’t even talked to his SILG or the PNP OIC. He kept silent when Napenas told him of the plan for time-on-target. The first time Mar was informed about it and relayed it to Aquino, the response was simply, “Okay.” He sensed Mar knew nothing and yet still kept him in the dark—because that was the plan all along between Purisima and Aquino. Why blame everything on Napenas?

                Poe was silent on Binay. Aquino is silent on Purisima. Purisima merely accepted favors and Poe unethically pursued Purisima like a woman possessed.

                Ethics gone wild!

              • Joe America says:

                I think the conclusion we draw is based on speculations drawn from hindsight judgment. We know 44 died and therefore presume it was a major mission. But if the President had been assured by Napenas and Purisima that everything was in order, and he simply (even casually) said, yes, do the op plan but coordinate with AFP and Espina, then the operation assumes a less significant place in the President’s mind during the day he was at Zamboanga. All the text messages and responses he made have to be put in context of what he was doing, and what he did or did not know.

                He used Purisima because he knew everything, all the players, all the secret details (which Espina did not), and the President trusted him (wrong in HINDSIGHT, but not foresight).

                No, I won’t go there. I’ll give the President the benefit of the doubt.

                I was skeptical of him at first, but he proved to me his good intent and good management style through deeds, and I came to believe he is good for the Philippines. Very good. He basically proved to me his good faith and earnest effort.

                Now on Poe, I started the other way. Believing in her and promoting her (you can search the blog for articles I have written speaking highly of her), but her deeds have not lived up to my expectations. She has proved herself to be a political player, not a principled player.

                I retain full faith and confidence in President Aquino. If that is naive, so be it.

              • Joe America says:

                Do you know what President Aquino was doing the morning of the 25th? Getting briefed on the Zamboanga car bombing. Do you know what he was doing during the afternoon? Visiting with victims of the bombing. The President does not have a linear job. It is multi-dimensional and demanding. And, contrary to wild public speculation fed by a tabloid media, he is a compassionate person.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Actually Joe, I think you have become more Filipino than you ever hoped for.

                Slightly blind to the (minor) impunities of the side you have chosen to belong to.

                Your apparent rationalizations are still Western and sound a bit more sophisticated.

              • Joe America says:

                I choose not to deviate from principle for little incidents in the bigger picture of things, so I don’t think I am fully Filipino. I’m just regular Joe, trying to figure it out and do what is right for the Philippines. I’ve watched the hearings. I’ve worked to write them up and welcomed debate. I CHOOSE not to undermine the President on the basis of speculation, rumor, or tabloidian misrepresentations or because it makes me a popular guy because most other people are ragging on him. They are not rationalizations. They are conclusions and stands based on principle.

                I’d be doing rationalizations if I started arguing that President Aquino is a manipulative con man of no redeeming value because he went out and shot 44 people.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                “Why blame everything on Napenas?..

                Aquino is silent on Purisima.”

                Exactly that is the problem I see. And the blog by Andrew Lim that placed all the blame on Napenas alone was a typical example of going exactly by the line Aquino is following.

                “Poe was silent on Binay.”

                And she indirectly attacked Aquino in the Poe report. Not fair, but why do some of those here have to go after her so harshly just because it went against Noynoy. Who is in my view still a very good President, but one should not protect him against everything.

              • Joe America says:

                The President was not silent on Purisima (see other note). Maybe the President is Sotto copying Andrew. Re. Poe, one should not allow those who join the circle of impunity to operate with impunity.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                “He used Purisima because he knew everything” Joe, it ain’t about that. Its about covering up for Purisima and blaming Napenas for everything while covering himself up as well.

                Purisima and Aquino did not give all their text messages to the Senate – Napenas did.

              • Joe America says:

                Hey, I’m working here, Dude, don’t go ganging up on me. I’ve already fought all these arguments and I’m granting a new reader the courtesy of a re-play. You don’t know why President Aquino did anything any more than I do. He has nothing to cover up, so what is he covering up?

                Also, your information is wrong. President Aquino did blame Purisima for lying to him, and he did reveal his texts.


              • Joe America says:

                Purisima is in heavy denial of liability mode right now, being advised by counsel. He won’t release his texts because they contain “security” information. Which fits with what I’ve been saying, as to why the President used Purisima. Another interesting point, De Lima again confirmed that President Aquino is above any chain of command and can legally do whatever the hell he wants in consulting with people. (My words, not de Lima’s)

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Joe, while it is good to protect Noynoy from destabilizers, doing it by denying the obvious is more than just counterproductive to the cause. This is what one rude person in another blog tried to tell you, rudely so you closed your shutters which I understand. But correctly.

              • Joe America says:

                Perhaps it is you who is denying the obvious to confirm a prior presumption.

              • Joe America says:

                I don’t do anything based on what Parekoy thinks. PLEASE grant me some integrity . . .

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                AND: smearing an otherwise good politician like Poe – Noynoy is just as much a politician, they all are – is bad for the Philippines, the cause that we all have beyond all politicians.

                This ain’t black and white, this is real life man, with lighter and darker shades of grey.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                “Dude, don’t go ganging up on me. I’ve already fought all these arguments and I’m granting a new reader the courtesy of a re-play.” Probably I didn’t quite see them. This thread is a good opportunity to summarize things and put them into a good perspective.

                “Perhaps it is you who is denying the obvious to confirm a prior presumption.” Well, I stated my impression (or you can call it presumption) and I challenged you in a polite way, you responded to it well and I am satisfied with the answer because it fills in many blanks.

                Thank you as well for the information on the text messages to counter the disinformation that I myself fell prey to. And the thing about Purisima acting very strangely as of now. Thing is, many things are NOT obvious to all, the stories going around are like Rashomon.

                I have kept silent on the Binay thing myself, because the whole thing is too confusing to deal with, understanding Mamasapano fully took up all my attention. So am I like Poe? No.

                As for Noynoy, I fully understand the difficulties of multitasking. Usually I have only maximum three projects going on at a time because more can make you go really crazy and even partly incompetent at times. Now I have nine ongoing small projects – professional and private – and have had to upgrade my techniques of dealing with them. One reason why I am not writing articles for a while, because that would be a project too. Don’t think Noynoy is guilty now – only a bit overwhelmed at times. Which I understand.

              • Joe America says:

                What I react to is conclusions you make, and have held to persistently, that clash with what I know to be the truth. Even the notion that Purisima is acting “strangely”. No, he is acting intelligently because he is in a world of hurt and is likely to emerge from this deal with no pension, no money, no job and a stained reputation. A guy who has done nothing but work a lifetime for the Philippines at a top salary of a stinkin’ P107,000 per month.

                Well, maybe President Aquino will take care of him if Binay does not throw him (the President) in jail.

                You don’t have an ethical obligation to speak for the nation. It is in Poe’s job description to uphold the peoples’ trust.

                I also think President Aquino is one of the most stable, most underwhelmed of people in a crisis. “Steady Eddie.” His MO is to gather information before making a decision. He does not knee jerk things, and does not go with popular whim. If he says one thing and the press report another, that is not being overwhelmed.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                “I don’t do anything based on what Parekoy thinks. PLEASE grant me some integrity . . .”

                I do grant you integrity Joe. He sees your being for Noynoy in a malicious way which is wrong. I have seen it as partial blindness so far, but you have enlightened me just now.

                There are the facts and phenomena that people see or partially see and how they interpret them. The interpretations based on seeing or partially seeing can differ greatly.

                Partially seeing can be remedied – if the person you are talking to has an open mind. People who judge character maliciously or prejudicedly all the time cannot be helped.

                I for my part do not see anyone as more good or more bad – I take a lot of time to judge. Cause it ain’t necessarily so. One has to observe the entire pattern for a really long time.

              • Joe America says:

                If the presumption granted the President is one of faith, and one grants the kind of trust one grants a subordinate in a corporate structure, I think the outtake is different than the presumption of bad faith, and just another Trapo. President Aquino has a mild version of trapo-itis, and is hard headed, which is not unexpected because he is from “a family” and a culture of impunity and by my calculation 93.9% of the Philippine population is made up of hardheads. But if you look at accomplishment, what in the world are we all up in arms about? The Philippines is becoming an amazing place. (Did you read the WSJ article in the Must Read section, right column?)

                By the way, hard-headedness is a gift that allows for perseverance in trying times.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                “I choose not to deviate from principle for little incidents in the bigger picture of things” Good thing, because by and large we Filipinos still have to learn what PRINCIPLES are.

                That is good. Because we Filipinos tend to throw out the baby with the bathwater when we get frustrated about minor matters emotionally. I have lost good jobs, good projects, even good girlfriends because of that attitude. And we often have too much malice in thinking.

                I have been on the receiving end and on the hitting end of that stick so often, know it well.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                About principles and trifling matters – that aspect is related to your blog on Filipino lack of thinking strategically instead of just transactionally. Have had and still have my learning curve in that aspect both professionally and privately so I get what you are saying.

                Now imagine me, a half-white dude but raised in the Philippines taking time to get things. But maybe my learning process, shown here, can help the true Filipinos understand.

                You are on top of the mountain, they are in the valley, I am climbing up and can wave to them while a lot of stuff you write is truly far-out for many, they just hear the white man on the mountaintop shouting and singing at the top of his voice but don’t know where he is.

              • Joe America says:

                Hahahaha, I want to convert that image to a painting. Oil. Put it on the wall above my computer.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                I am slowly reading through your blog articles in an associative manner, discovering a lot of stuff along the way. Very interesting stuff. Much to learn and understand, which is also one reason I am not posting that much anymore, it will become even less soon.

                Kudos to those who have understood like Edgar Lores and many others. Some I believe may not have understood yet, some may just be nodding because White Sahib says so.

                Anyway the picture gets clearer with time, and I am happy that it is. Thanks for this blog!

              • Joe America says:

                Thank you for participating, in the past and at whatever level is comfortable for you in the future. The blog is greater for your contributions, which are insightful if occasionally . . . haha, provocative . . .

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                “What I react to is conclusions you make, and have held to persistently,” Filipinos are like carabaos and not all are as open about it as I am, being half-Western.

                “I also think President Aquino is one of the most stable, most underwhelmed of people in a crisis” and that stability is seen as being unfeeling by people who attack him in an emotional manner, expecting him to cater to their emotional needs. I get that now.

                “It is in Poe’s job description to uphold the peoples’ trust.” Get that too right now. But what many Filipinos have not internalized either is the concept of DUTY. Something higher than personal/group interests. I have not only chosen to be a consultant and to live abroad, because I know that my sense of duty is sometimes lacking, but also because I do not know if I would have kept my hands off the till if I had become a politician in the Philippines. I admit that! Possibly I would have become a great liar to boot. Self-protection!

              • Joe America says:

                Now THAT is a rationalization. 🙂 🙂

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                “If the presumption granted the President is one of faith, and one grants the kind of trust one grants a subordinate in a corporate structure” FAITH AND TRUST – two more closely related things sorely lacking in the Philippines. Now let me put together what is lacking:

                – Faith and Trust, on the other side Sense of Duty, Sacrifice and Discipline

                – Sense of Principles and Strategic Thinking instead of Transactionalism/Emotionalism

                – Sense of a Greater Whole, of Common Weal instead of just personal/group egoism

                Then you have the inverse of the Culture of Impunity, the Culture of Honor you strive for. Now that is not highfalutin like some people think, that is fundamental.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                “Now THAT is a rationalization.” Your are right! Another two points for my list:

                PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE instead of the path of least resistance

                TAKING THE BULL BY THE HORNS instead of making excuses (eat the frog like Karl!)

                “Thank you for participating, in the past and at whatever level is comfortable for you in the future.” Welcome. At times it is my own excuse for not getting my backlog out. And I make excuses to customers, telling them the other projects are holding me up – just partly true.

                “The blog is greater for your contributions, which are insightful if occasionally . . . haha, provocative . . .” Thanks. Sometimes I am like a vaccine, which seems to be like the virus but isn’t. Helps form antibodies in case the real virus comes. Sometimes I am like an internal auditor, who questions the tax filing on vital points before internal revenue comes. Sometimes I am like a software tester who checks if all vital functions are really working. 🙂

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                I may write in this blog on the technological/industrial initiative by DOST and other scholars plus innovators and enterpreneus I am finally joining next week, after months of ignoring invitations by its head. Or on the big topic of Philippine industrial development.

                Combining theory with practice, real initiatives with writing/opinions. You need to have both for a balance and for real results to come up, and to inspire people to think and do more.

              • Joe America says:

                That would be most interesting. I hope it is a fruitful engagement.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                It will be. The boss is a Filipino Ph.D. and former really top manager at Microsoft Europe which is based in Munich as well as at a software company once owned by BMW. A couple I know from before, both Ph.Ds, have their own biotech outfit on the outskirts of Munich.

                DOST scholars doing PhDs, postdocs, as well as some who just come for short training. Really a very strong network with some of the Philippines top brainpower participating.

                Well I am back in shape in every way after some very bad years – and ready to contribute.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                The couple with PhDs and a biotech firm are FILIPINOS by the way.

                Which goes to show that the Philippines has the talent, only the conditions are often not good enough to really make something out of it back home.

                Compared to these people, I am a small fish in a big pond. Not because of lack of talent, but because of my many vices and weaknesses that lead me astray. Now I am back in stride and ready to join, not ashamed anymore, I was practically a BUM years ago.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                @Parekoy: it is now I who write to you from the other side, like you wrote to me.

                We have had our differences regarding Joe. You may see him as an apologist, I see him as defending what he believes in: respect for the President as an institution and for the good man that sits there: Noynoy, inspite of his failings one of the best we ever have had.

                I also see your bitterness that causes you to be rude and mean. After all, how can an American be so popular in the blogging world? Well, I will tell you why: because he knows how to market, he knows how to sell, he knows how to defend his convictions camly.

                Without insulting people like you do. And I have done occasionally. I will not enter your territory without coordination for the moment, but give you time to think about what I am writing to you here. You are an intelligent person who has had many accomplishments.

                Why do you have to resort to putting down people, ascribing all sorts of motives to them? Each of us is different, no reason to call names. Differences can be respected, other ideas can be discussed in a constructive way. The theoretical need not be highfalutin, the practical need not be dismissed as stupid. We need both to succeed and you know that. Your challenge not just to write, I have taken up now. We will read each other very soon.

              • Bert says:


                With all honesty and sincerity, I am wishing you all the success in your new endeavor. Looking forward to hearing everything good happening to you from here on to the coming days and years.

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              @Bert: many thanks. I will be around anyway. My “Easter resolution” so to speak was to be less active in talking about the bad news and contribute more to spreading good news and making the good news on the Philippine front happen. This is what I can really do from here aside from writing, sonny’s ideas we jammed about and the Pinoywiki Karl, pinoyputi and me jammed about are good but not yet realizable by me at this point in time. BTW there is a Wikipinoy mentioned in the post on Mahar Lagmay, I will look at that also. Used to be in Filipino associations, but the politics of envy and group rivalry made me leave – I was Poe at times, sometimes I was the Noynoy, sometimes I was just advising like when I was active in a Bikolano association digdi. But this stuff looks serious + promising.

              I will also write more about Filipinos who are good examples for our kababayan like I did above in response to giancarloangulos inspiration, and less about the scalawags. We need more of the right kind of constructive Filipino pride of good examples and real work.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                P.S. Dr. Lagmay is a friend of mine in Facebook, just like the members of the Bikol association from before who were our friends when he often went to Germany. Even though Mahar is not a Bikolano but one of my kababata from U.P. Campus noong araw.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Fond memories of the Bikolano association come to mind. I was in an unofficial role, practically the consigliere of the association President, I did not want any position due to the troubles I had had before in a President role – after I played a Poe-like role in leaving the one who started everything and did a lot to get things running, I became the Noynoy, shot down by the Binays, Eraps and others whom I had helped in making the coup. Karma.

                I also remember when I played a crucial role in having a Federation of Filipino Associations founded in Germany, again in a consigliere role to a Kapampangan who was the Vice President of another association. Filipino associations like to split up into smaller groups whenever there is a conflict, echoing the old Pacific tradition of the group that lost leaving the village in their barangay boat – that way the entire Pacific was settled. But the Federation or whatever it was called split up into two different federations within few years.

                And our small Bikolano association split up when the Sorsogonons left because one of them got into a quarrel with the President who was an Albayanon. Typically Filipino stuff…

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                I was the President’s friend and consigliere, many decisions were made by us two together at his place, because he was my uncle’s barkada back in Legazpi City. In fact I did not even pay any membership fee like the others, I simply was there. Filipino ways…

              • sonny says:

                PiE, I mentioned the helix, you drew it. You, the man! And always – ad astra per aspera!!

                PAX TECUM! 🙂

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Thanks sonny. 🙂

  25. Aila says:

    Joam…. Every word … Every description is true. Very sad, but true.

    • Joe America says:

      Welcome to the blog, Aila. We will get to problem-solving soon, which will take it from sad to practical, and what might be done if we agree change is needed.

  26. charles10 says:

    You are a keen observer and have a wicked wit. Well done, Joe Am. However, upon examination of the examples you post in the article, I believe you are referring more to Filipino values rather than universal [read: American] ethics. Let me explain: for each scenario you paint about life on our islands or at least in the capital, I can find a virtual equivalent in the US or any advanced western country. Like you, I am an ‘expat’ [read: OFW] here in the US, observing the goings on in your country. So, for this comment, I’ll limit the examples to the US:

    “Bobotantes”=redneck, ultra-conservative right wing religious who lap up everything Faux News spouts from tv screens; Pacquiao as hero/cultural icon=Duck Dynasty, Kardashians, Justin Bieber, sports player worship; Philippine Oligarchs=real owners of America [the 1%]; unethical journalists bought and paid for by the wealthy=CNN, Koch brothers and their ilk; a do-nothing Phil. Senate=a war-like US congress that sends other people’s kids to war; Duterte and the word “kill” in every other sentence=Bush, Cheney & Co. + military industrial complex + NRA; Fil patriotism is standing at attention as the anthem is played=cult-like planting of the US flag in almost every home and “I lurv Amurika” tattooed on skin heads and backsides; Filipino children eating from garbage cans=homeless people who are virtually invisible and where, in one state, it was illegal at one point to feed for free. Your example of Filipino “obedience”? There’s this thing called HOA fees and rules where your suburban homes are subject to keeping a certain “sameness” in an area. You cannot be creative with your home, or you pay a hefty fine. There are more examples, of course, but my point is you can’t say Filipinos are singularly unethical. Just, uh, different. Bizarre, but still different.

    The one glaring difference in value that the US, er, values is the right to speak one’s mind, to comment, to opine, to oppose. It is expected culturally, professionally and politically. In the good ol’ R of the P, everybody is “pikon”. Every. Body. You talk shit about Pacquiao, true or not, and you are dead. He is the default messiah, and Filipinos are his loyal fans ready to die for him. We do not lack ethics, we just love Pacquiao, warts and all.

    • Joe America says:

      I suppose that too much love is a bad thing, when it is blind. We punish ourselves by putting Pacquiao in the Legislature where he does not work to represent us, or when he plays and coaches basketball, thus making the sport less than it can be. For every person gifted into a position they have not earned, a talented person, who has earned his way, is cheated out of opportunity. Enough of that and people give up. And relegate themselves to excuses and complaint.

      As I replied elsewhere, ethical behavior is a matter of direction, weight and intensity. It is always possible to find examples of bad behavior. But you won’t find a Binay in American politics, and you won’t find as many mayors on the take. When they get caught, it is for minor matters, not sucking off taxpayer money directly to their accounts. That’s the difference in weight, and intensity.

      As for American flags in the yards or tattoos, that is not obedience. That is a voluntary expression of love for one’s country. Which reminds me, I ought to get a Philippine flag to post at our gate on holidays like tomorrow, the Philippine Day of Valor.

  27. jtdelapaz says:

    Hi Joe, just to put some perspective on the issue between Orton and Pacquiao, the article below offers insight from Purefood’s coach Tim Cone ( also an American ):

    PBA imports get paid a lot of money. Hence management expectations for them to deliver wins are very high. Apparently, Orton failed to meet those expectations. So I would say that his disrespecting Pacquiao AND the referees was just the final nail in the coffin. Just my opinion.

    But I totally agree with Orton’s comment about Pacquiao’s basketball skills.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks for the more detailed view on the Orton affair. I’d say he wan’t given much of a chance and perhaps he wasn’t the dominant guy they wanted. The “kid” was 24. Tough lessons taught, I’d say. How do you view referees? Do they give Pacquiao breaks? How about other favoritisms? Do they pamper stars? Do they favor or disfavor imports? Any distinctive trends?

      • davide says:

        Balat sibuyas and mga Pinoy thats the bottom line. It is well known and everybody knows that too. Our people (Senatongs, Tongressmans etc.) reacts and blows out of proportion upon innuendos that are sometimes insignificant due to the pride of being a Pinoy they over react.

        Exchange of views and rebuttals are very very educational, Tho’ I am still for PNOY, IMHO he really fucked up himself on his non appearance when the SAF 44 were offloaded from the Plane, no empathy at all. Had he been there, IMO thinks it could have been a more a subtle scenario. Grace Poe, is a typical trapo, playing her card well or listening to her advisers closely, more perusal needed on her.

        • Joe America says:

          Do you know his explanation as to why he skipped the arrival? If so, do you grasp why he might look at things differently than you or me?

          Do you believe the President should work at getting more manufacturing into the Philippines? Do you know what honor means to the Japanese?

          (I need to swap my gravatar for Socrates.)

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            Be careful, Socrates was gay, and you are definitely not. Some might get the wrong impression though, knowing how personalistic some people are in thinking.

            I think the President should have sent Mar, the Japanese would have understood, knowing that it involves the honor of the Philippines own “samurai”. Especially the Japanese understand when nations set their own priorities and do not just bend over for them.

            And I also still believe that blaming Napenas in any way was wrong. But like I wrote in my Rising from Victimhood blog article, Aquino caught up and compensated for his errors.That also counts. Learning from mistakes. It shows intelligence and flexibility.

            • sonny says:

              Watch for the hemlock, too. We need you at the helm.

              PS. Just spoke to a classmate, arrived from Manila. Our class celebrated Bam’s dad’s b-day. I heard that other classmates flooded Bam with solutions to the country’s ills. Again. 🙂

            • Joe America says:

              Socrates is an interesting fellow, a stone cutter, a military man, an atheist philosopher who did not subscribe to a belief in gods, and so was dispatched with a kindly kind of poison. He welcomed death over living in a world dominated by irrational power mongers. He never wrote anything down himself, so all we know about him is from his followers and various scribes of the day. I suppose if they had written better, we might have another Jesus Christ on our hands, for the plot line is not dissimilar. I did not read that he was gay, but that is as irrelevant to ideas as being old or handicapped or having brown skin.

              Yes, I agree that the President could have handled things better by doing it differently, and compounded his problem with some rather cold speeches thereafter. I also agree that he should have just relied upon the findings of the PNP report, had de Lima defend against the “chain of command” issue, and not gotten involved directly in assigning blame. That does not make him an ogre or the Philippines a shitty place, however. It is not a shitty place because he has worked earnestly on our behalf.

              • sonny says:

                I’m very much tempted to apply the word juggernaut to PNoy’s behavior over the setbacks and wins that covers his term – eyes on the prize always, muster resources, plan and execute as best one can and no apologies for anything. Pike’s peak or bust!!

              • Joe America says:

                I’d accept it, but I think a lot of people are in the mood to throw bricks at you should you try to define him that way. The mood here is decidedly crabby.

            • karl garcia says:

              Why, did he have a Platonic relationship with his students?

      • karl garcia says:

        Paquiao plays at an average of less than ten minutes. Referees,as anywhere are the best friend of coaces, every call they make is another chance to say come on ref, what game are you watching? I don’t know what diapers players use, maybe it is pampers.

  28. jameboy says:

    Another interesting point, De Lima again confirmed that President Aquino is above any chain of command and can legally do whatever the hell he wants in consulting with people.
    De Lima was just confirming a fact. PNoy is above the chain of command and for that all criticisms and all the bashings flow along that chain directly towards him.

    However, consulting is different from commanding and ordering people (especially those who are not supposed to render work) to do certain tasks.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      That is a very important point. Purisima was effectively running the operation with Napenas under him and Noynoy above him. So Noynoy made someone work who was SUSPENDED.

      OK, one can buy the version that Purisima was just helping and Napenas was directly ordered by Noynoy to do the job, but everything we have read so far shows that it was in fact not like that. Especially ordering Purisima to coordinate with the AFP and Roxas(?) while he was still suspended is not really the way a President should normally work. The AFP has another chain of command that goes straight to the President, so they should have gotten the info from at least Espina or from Gazmin via Roxas, that is the normal way.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        It was a mistake in leadership, most probably not even illegal but not really good. Just like not being at the airport. Reason to criticize, but not enough reason to demand impeachment, resignation or even an apology. Noynoy has asked for understanding and that is enough for me. He has even put up the group that will review the BBL, even more important from my point of view. So he has corrected his mistakes. That is important.

        • jameboy says:

          I think the criticism is understandable. The demand for impeachment or resignation is unreasonable but they can try why not and they did. Those are options that people can avail of, now if they’ll be able to come up with something on that, good luck.

          On the apology, PNoy should have done it but he didn’t so be it. He added fuel to the fire that practically burned his survey ratings and put a dent on his popularity. He’s not there for it, fine. However, he implicitly added ammunition and thereby help those who have been itching and looking for opportunity to have a feast in attacking him which they so missed since the Luneta hostage shooting. They got what they wanted. He just made the sound of the call to resign and the threat of impeachment credible that even his ardent supporters have a hard time countering.

          All in all, I think, the President’s recalcitrance really made the impression of disarray and chaos more credible and real. In terms of leadership quality, PNoy missed the bus on that.

      • Joe America says:

        “Ordering” is a strong word. The operation had already been placed in Napenas’ hands, the plan having been done before Purisima was suspended. The President’s role might better be described as coaching than bossing. He had been briefed, he nodded, he checked off to make sure that AFP and Espina would be brought into the picture. The plan belonged to Napenas. Go for it.

        I read an article that framed as well the power/knowledge vacuum that occurred when Purisima was suspended. Aquino needed his knowledge and had the right not to have that knowledge suspended, or put off limits, by the suspension (e.g., working with the US). It was not possible or desireable to transfer that knowledge to Espina, who was only acting Director.

        What happened in hindsight was that the operation exploded to be a big deal, when, as it was coming down, it was just another of many operations, the plan in place, that the President checked off on using his “knowledge man”. All would have good good and proper if the operation had succeeded without high cost.

        Or if Purisima and Napenas had not been so headstrong and followed the coach’s . . . um . . instructions.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, I suppose. It is interesting in a country as loose as the Philippines, where right and wrong are defined largely by what one can get away with, once one is caught, moralists suddenly abound.

  29. PinoyInEurope says:

    In the end, it all boils down to a lack of maturity in Philippine culture.. this definition names some aspects:

    1. Empathy
    2. Accountability
    3. Self-awareness
    4. Flexibility
    5. A Healthy Amount of Confidence

    On self-awareness, it say this:

    Self-awareness is one of the foundations of emotional maturity. When you’re self-aware, it means being able to identify your emotional states, see your thoughts and actions from all angles, and judge yourself based on the same standards that you judge others. People who are self-aware tend to be better at taking criticism, which is another supporting trait of emotional maturity. This is because they are often more critical of themselves to begin with, being more perceptive of their own actions and emotions.

    – Lack of empathy we have seen so very much in the past few months,

    – Lack of Accountability, it’s exact opposite impunity in fact, we have seen as well,

    – Lack of Flexibility very often, and an unhealthy amount of confidence in many areas…

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Maturity also means knowing what you can do and accepting what you cannot do.

      Manny, you are a good boxer, why don’t you stick to what you do well dammit?

      Extreme vindictiveness is also immature, blatantly denying reality as well…

  30. Annalissa says:

    So painful to read…..and yet so true

  31. ella says:

    Great article, straight to the point …. and all very very true. Filipinos all over the globe see the occupation of their beloved Philippines by the privileged, corrupt, monnied few … and realize something is wrong and something must be done drastically …

  32. David Masangkay says:

    Great work @Joe. Pacman should read this. His fans should read this. Every Filipino should be made aware of this very valid observation. Because the first step to correct this “ethical foundation” is to accept that there is a problem. I strongly believe that there is hope. It will take a lot of time, and collective effort to correct it, but there is hope.
    As an individual Filipino and as a dad, the least I can do is educate my family to embrace the right values and be reminded of these values as “non negotiables” in every decision that they make.

    • Joe America says:

      “The first step to correct this ‘ethical foundation’ is to accept that there is a problem.” The second step is to get agreement to change, which is likely a huge sticking point among the empowered. But we can perhaps start lining up legislators who commit to change. Like, get a charter or oath and have them agree to it. I think Bam Aquino would sign but Grace Poe would not.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Make the oath in Filipino, but really clear and simple. English to many Filipinos is like Latin to peasants or even rulers in the Middle Ages – an empty shell, with words that have no meaning in reality. Just look at the way courts go by the literal meaning of the words.

        Sinusumpa kong gawin ang lahat para sa bansa, higit pa sa sarili ko o sinuman. Make it simple and clear so no discussions about technicalities.

  33. Micha says:

    While congress folks are still at it wasting time and energy in Mamasapano probe, blogger-contributor Yvonne proved to be spot on in her March 24 post as this just came in :

    “China is creating a great wall of sand with dredges and bulldozers,”

    • Joe America says:

      The military hawks in the US Congress are getting worked up about this. Moreso than the Philippines, actually. Is that weird or what?

      • sonny says:

        Joe, the premier Jesuit historian, the late Fr Horacio de la Costa, S.J. named the American colonial period as the time of tutelage and called the Philippines, THE American ward evidenced physically beyond the granting of independence by the Clark & Subic bases. From your sense of “getting worked up about this,” I also would say America has a strong hegemonic relation with the Philippines and her people beyond the coincidence of mere geo-politics. As you said, “is that weird or what?” Consider the utilities of Diego Garcia and U-Tapao in Thailand. Or is it just sentimental me?

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, I believe that to be true, the hegemonic relationship. But it seems to be more in the form of historical capital rather than direct influence (interference) or monetary aid. Or economic ties, which are modest. That historical capital is reflected in the close military relationship where politics is rare to venture. It is amazing how destructive politics, with its greed and envy and ideological conflicts, can be. Yet it is necessary to the form of open expression that we aspire toward. I am actually impressed with how many ordinary Filipinos are practical about the US relationship, whereas the Santiagos and leftists get weird about it.

          • sonny says:

            “… historical capital is reflected in the close military relationship where politics is rare to venture … how destructive politics … can be”

            Well stated as always, Joe. I can vividly remember when reading about Teddy Roosevelt and his close communications with Sec John Hay and Henry Cabot Lodge and the New England Industrialists and the agriculture moguls of California and Randolph Hearst taking notes as to what to do with the PH and its million+ inhabitants. It was like deja vu from 1565 with Spain and Philip II.

        • i7sharp says:

          ” I also would say America has a strong hegemonic relation with the Philippines and her people beyond the coincidence of mere geo-politics.”

          I tried to read of hegemony in Wikipedia

          and then thought of looking into where the late Richard Wurmbrand may have mentioned of it.
          Here is the first one I found:
          At the end of the Second World War, the
          Communists were granted dominion over all of
          Eastern Europe, without firing a shot. Roosevelt and
          Churchill ceded them this hegemony at the Yalta
          conference because they promised free elections,
          which of course never occurred. They had won
          through deceit.

          The bloody dictator Stalin, whom the Soviet press
          now accuses of having killed fifty million innocents,
          had made a tremendous impression on western
          rulers. After meeting him, an American diplomat
          commented, “His brown eyes are exceedingly wise
          and gentle. A child would like to sit on his lap and a
          dog would sidle up to him.” Nothing has changed.
          After meeting Gorbachev, even a world-renowned
          evangelist praised his charm and his “warm eyes.”
          But Gromyko, former president of the USSR, had
          recommended Gorbachev as successor with the
          words, “He can smile beautifully, but he also has
          steel teeth tor biting.”

          Marx said, “Religion is the opiate of the people,”
          which means it must be countered as resolutely as
          drugs. Lenin wrote, “Thousands of epidemics and
          natural catastrophes are to be preferred to the
          slightest notion of a god.” Marx wrote in his poem …
          Excerpted from
          From Suffering To Triumph!
          (The Dramatic and Extraordinary Sequel to ~Tortured for Christ~)
          Richard Wurmbrand
          Copyright 1991


  34. ray james says:

    A Binay presidency may be just what the country needs, and clearly what it is going to get.

    “May we live in interesting times”

  35. jameboy says:

    While I agree that Manny Pacquiao is not a good basketball player, I don’t take it against him playing and coaching because no law was violated by him doing that. It would be different if he create his own team, finance it just so he’ll be able to play in the pro. He was hired to coach and play, a usual business deal, an entertainment endeavor and he accepted. Fine.

    However, one good thing that will come out of it is Pacquiao will realize his limitation inside the basketball court. He will see for himself that the boxing ring is more up to his skills and athleticism than the court.

  36. PinoyInEurope says:

    @Joe off-topic re Editors Comment: “Iqbal has said they will accept changes to the BBL if the thrust of material self-governance remains. Let’s flip the table. You don’t trust the MILF. What if trust is a two-way street? What if the MILF and indigenous groups have huge mistrust of the Philippine government for a litany of past neglect and abuses? Then the document is not about the MILF trying to dominate the Philippine government. It is about assuring that those abuses stop. The only people they trust is themselves.

    Really, they are just the flip side of your mistrust.

    Maybe we should call this a ‘trust document”’rather than a peace document.”

    One one side, you are right. On the other side, the powerful clans and the armed groups are very often local opressors. The ones who always lose are the common people.

    And it is also an old con man trick to make people sign stuff based on “we don’t trust you so we need you to sign this and that”. Weak people – and weak governments – fall for that. A deceased friend of mine during my difficult days was a former con man and taught me what to watch out for.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks for the insight. Still, to get out of conflict, one must take a step forward.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Yes. Deal with them because there is no other choice, but be streetsmart while doing so.

        Think of it like a Mafia sitdown after some bloody gang wars everyone wants to stop.

  37. jameboy says:

    Maybe we should call this a ‘trust document”’rather than a peace document.
    It is a peace document actually but crafted by people who have trust issues. 👮

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