Mary Jane Veloso, neediness, and the Sevilla resignation

mary jane veloso yahoo news

[Photo credit: Yahoo News]

A “three-fer”, or three subjects for today:

Mary Jane Veloso

A Filipina who was evidently taken advantage of by relatives to smuggle drugs into Indonesia, and was caught, is on death row and scheduled to be executed by firing squad in about a week. The case is obviously tragic, at an individual level, and the individual is being made a part of the close, emotional Filipino family by headline news coverage and a great deal of despair that someone who did not plan the drug transport, but was only used in it, represents a clear victim.

The matter is also being politicized with President Aquino again the target of attacks that the Philippine government did not do enough.

Well, like Mamasapano, it is not the President’s job to care for every person in trouble in the Philippines. The DFA was on the case in January, and it is natural that he would delegate to them the role of caring for a person who . . . well, assuming any complicity on her part . . . was engaged in criminal activity in a foreign country. That puts her under foreign laws, and Indonesia is inhumanely punitive of drug smugglers.

So let’s be clear about this. The President has nothing at all to do with this. He is correct not to be putting the credibility of the Philippines at stake by making it a nation to nation confrontation, as his engagement would make it. I’m not sure if VP Binay’s visit is sanctioned or not. He is in Indonesia trying to get the case pulled for review, dealing with his counterpart, the Indonesian VP. That is about as high as the Philippines ought to go in making an appeal.

We should be wary of the groups that will try to make the President complicit in this whole sordid affair. The case is tragic. The bigger tragedy would be to undermine the Philippines because of a criminal act, gone bad.

And, as a footnote, Filipino drug mules have been executed in China in 2011 and 2013.


Let’s start by a couple of definitions from the Humpty Dumpty New World Dictionary:

  • need, n, the emotional drive that defines our response to stimuli.
  • neediness, n, the emotional drive that defines how we see ourselves based on how others respond, or how we think they ought to respond, to stimuli that affect us.

Hunger is a need. Expecting others to feed us is neediness.

Neediness is complicated because our self-esteem gets linked to others. If they take care of us, we feel good. If they don’t, we blame them.

In that kind of blame, all sorts of dysfunctional behaviors develop because our premises are haywire. We presume that others have our interests first. They don’t. We presume others OUGHT to put our interests first. They ought not. We presume we are whole only if others make us so. No, no, no, no.

It is our job to make us whole.

Neediness drove the public’s reaction to Mamasapano. Filipinos far and wide needed the President to take care of their grief, and to take care of their lack of ability to comprehend how 44 of 67 deaths could have occurred. They needed resolution NOW, today, when the caskets were being unloaded. They couldn’t stand that hurting feeling and they wanted the President to make it go away.

Now there is risk that neediness will again drive the public reaction to Mary Jane Veloso:

“President Aquino needs to take care of this. It shouldn’t be like this. I’m hurting here; stop the hurting. He should not have allowed this to happen. He should have flown Immediately to Indonesia. He should send in a SWAT team to rescue her.”


Enough of that. Neediness is childish, immature, unfair, irrational.

Dignity is found in taking care of ourselves. Not making that someone else’s job.

Customs Chief John Sevilla

Customs Chief John Sevilla resigned evidently because there were pressures from elsewhere within the Administration to replace one or more of his deputies to accommodate the Iglesia ni Cristo church which is a powerful voting block of some 8 million souls. The rather tricky details are outlined here in a comment by atty Rene-Ipil at Raissa Robles’ blog: “Sevilla must go“.

One of the amusing aspects of the current political climate is that it causes us to run into ourselves. Intellectual collisions. Most of us are for “the straight path”, and non-corrupt deeds. We are also against the culture of impunity that sees power and favor being used to get certain deeds accomplished. It is the collective that makes the oligarchs and trapos such a dominant force.

The trouble is, politics is itself a battle for power and favor. Democracy is energized by the competing ideas and forces.

In the Sevilla case, if we oppose President Aquino, politically, we argue that he is a hypocrite who is just another trapo taking advantage of the government system for personal political gain. If we are for President Aquino, we are likely to argue, wow, what a brilliant political play.

But wait a minute!

There is a third group, and it is a very, very important group. We are hearing criticism from people who are straight path supporters, but, not because President Aquino is on it. Because the straight path is a PRINCIPLE they support.

Read Solita-Collas Monsod’s very striking criticism of President Aquino on his personnel decisions, and particularly the Sevilla case: “A cry for help directed at P-Noy”

She so very clearly captures my first “Huh? What’s this all about? Sevilla is very good” reaction, followed by the recognition that the quick replacement means this was all orchestrated.

Nevertheless, as political as this all is, I think the Senate’s consideration of an investigation into the matter would be a case of Legislative overreach into the Executive branch, as the Mamasapano hearings proved to be. The Mamasapano hearings did not look for lessons and healing, they looked for “Executive culprits”. With Executive branch under attack by the Judiciary (e.g. DAP) and the Legislature, we will soon end up with a timid, ineffectual Executive branch.

No, what we need is a near dictatorial Executive branch with good values and the power to push those values past the culture of corruption, criticism and disdain for ethical behavior THAT IS DEEPLY ROOTED IN LEGISLATIVE AND JUDICIAL BRANCHES. And in the mainstream tabloid media. And across the land in LGU’s.

Unfortunately, the Sevilla case suggests the Aquino Administration is not quite where we want to put all our marbles. The use of favors, not accomplishment, as the basis for personnel moves is plain bad management. It may be good politics. It is poor management.

This is another big loss for the President unless he gives the very capable John Sevilla a very important job elsewhere. The nation needs more people with his kind of courage and good thinking. They ought not be treated like political bargaining chips.


141 Responses to “Mary Jane Veloso, neediness, and the Sevilla resignation”
  1. josephivo says:

    I always wonder “who steers the agenda”. Seeing 3 in 1, I’m happy to see you try to escape. But there are so many more interesting discussion points:

    1.1 The recruiting of drug mules, conscious and unconscious.
    1.2 The dead penalty.
    1.3 OFW’s not following the official track.

    2.1 Culture of mendicants, material needs and immaterial needs.
    2.2 The powers and responsibilities of the president and of the president’s men.
    2.3 Open and secret negotiations, via tabloid front-pages or via diplomatic channels.

    3.1 Improvements or stagnation in custom’s culture, transparency, procedures, effectiveness, efficiency…. Current status and future needs.
    3.2 Resignation to open position for a heavy weight. Resignation for strategic disagreements. Resignation for lack of support. Resignation for fear of physical or other threats.
    3.3 Accepting resignation for one of the reasons above.
    3.4 Financing of election campaigns, legal and illegal.
    3.5 Appointments on merit, political affiliation, family, religious, fraternity or other relationships.

    4.1 Politics in a pre-election year.
    4.2 The VP as an independent politician or as a president’s puppet.

    Just a few possible subject for a hot national debate. Who guides us to reduce the debate to: last minute interventions in Indonesia; INC meddling with appointments; customs as source of campaign finance; the president as the last one responsible for everything, even your headache when you bumped the wall.

    • josephivo says:

      Who and why. ? Mood analysts with party spin doctors? Newspaper owners? Just by coincidence or to set the election agenda, to damage individuals, to detract from other issues, to educate the public…???

      • Joe, joseph…

        Neediness, that about sums it up perfectly. And the need to tele-novelize everything, including Int’l Affairs because that’s the context that gets more traction with Filipino people. The propensity for drama is mind-boggling.

        As for drug mules and drugs in general, has anyone made China complicit in all this. There was a lot shabu (meth) showing up from Mexico that American DEA followed all the way to China, and no one seems to be getting that part of China’s all out policy is to flood illicit drugs to other nations.

        The most productive way for the Veloso case to transpire is to follow the supply chain of which she was at the end.

        As for Iglesia ni Cristo, supposedly here the Church has bought a couple of towns in the Mid West, in the middle of nowhere. They remind me of a hybrid Church of Latter Day Saints and Scientology. But hey, Filipinos love their cults and secret knowledge (and amulets), coupled all that for the need of drama, it’s a recipe for disaster.

        And then you have China looming. I don’t envy you, Joe.

        • Joe America says:

          “I don’t envy you Joe.” That is like a warning shot across the bow, that makes me believe you hold to the traditional negative view that most outsiders seem to relish putting on display, an infallible ability to point out the flaws of Filipino society from their perspective, without considering that their perspective is an intellectual construct that is meaningless unless people see it or accept it. When people fail to see it or accept it, it is called “talking into the wind for distance”, or talking to yourself, or talking to like minded negative people. A person can visit Get Real Philippines go do that and have a real good time, but here, I would encourage foreign contributors . . . especially Americans, whose views too easily get attached to me, when I don’t want them on me . . . to consider that they are talking to – writing to – earnest people of good heart and mind who love their nation and are here for positive ideas, for solutions, for appreciation, and for understanding.

          hahahaha, I have to laugh. There are priests and preachers enough here already.

          My main criticism of Filipinos is that they criticize other Filipinos so robustly themselves, rather than seeing the positive, joining a team, sacrificing a little, and raising their nation up. If they did that, then the outside experts would be shrugged off as irrelevant. After all, the positive is mainly found in the building, or growing, not in being instantly perfect the way everyone thinks we should be. In that sense, the Philippines is the most exciting place on the planet, because it is moving. Dramatically so.

          You don’t need to worry about my well being, as I enjoy the Philippines BECAUSE the richness of traditions has not been ironed out by perfectionists who want everything lined the way they are used to seeing it. They are like the sunbather on the beach, watching the ocean and the waves. I’m the surfer.

          China is also in the face of the US, so what we have is what we have, a mutual interest that may soon have a lot of Americans stationed here. I hope not too many of them are imperialists of the mind.

          • Joe, the no envy part was China looming, you are there. The fact that the Philippines, like any other Third World (or Developing, half-empty/half-full), is an acquired taste is totally understood (trust me, Joe, no misunderstanding there), 2 SNCOs I worked with ended up going back there for good, but they aren’t there for the culture–if you know what I mean.

            As for a lot of Americans stationed there in the future, that is exactly what I hope to avoid. Hence my commentaries re “short leash” in the past. And the only way many Americans can keep from getting stationed there, is by way of force multiplier–make your allies as strong as you, so you won’t have to piggy back them. That’s the spirit of the ACLU article, not to preach, maybe a little judgmental (but that’s a personal flaw I’ll readily own, I’ve been dinged on it too many times to count).

            If the Philippines truly “rise” then all they’ll ideally need from us is funding to start stuff up that will sustain there, not to be returned here by way of homes, condos, shopping sprees and extravagant parties in Beverly Hills–that’s no force multiplier.

            Everything’s about China.

            • Joe America says:

              Very good, that is of considerable relief. No, I don’t envy me either. 🙂 I often look out to sea (the Straits of Biliran) and wonder when a Chinese warship will be anchored, cruising, or firing from there.

    • Joe America says:

      A fine, fine list of topics. Save it for my Monday blog which will be the tubular rooster. Just paste it there. This one is the penultimate prior to getaway, a word I always wanted to use, even though it seems rather clumsy and snobbish.

  2. karl garcia says:

    It is unfortunate that perceived inaction by alter egos and subordinates reflects on the president.The worst blaming has past (what could be worse than saf44?). Not to say that the President should just grin and bear it,he could also be blamed for doing that…

    Sevilla perceived pressures from Iglesia ni Kristo, perceived powerlessness against the so called 3 kings, daily billion dollar transactions going haywire,etc. Could Bert Lina change things?

    • Joe America says:

      The President indeed bears heat for subordinates, here and everywhere. Which is why popularity ratings usually do a slow slide to hell, reaching the handbasket at election time, for the next person to come in riding a wave of impossible perfection. It’s lunacy, but it is our democratic lunacy.

  3. karl garcia says:

    If there is death penalty here,will the drug trade be gone? drug trade inside prison is alive and kicking,raid after raid won’t stop it. Drugs has destroyed many lives.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, I don’t think it stops the drug trade when low-in-the-organization mules get murdered by the State. If someone is to be executed, it should be the user, who causes it all.

      • Steve says:

        One of the great fallacies of drug law and the primary reason why wars on drugs always fail is the bizarre assumption that supply creates demand, rather than the other way around. In America, of course, that fallacy emerges from the reality that demand is white and supply is black and Latino, and thus supply is easier to blame. I suppose in some countries it’s easier to blame (and execute) the foreign mule than deal with the reality that if there is no demand, there will be no need to deal with supply.

        • Joe America says:

          Yep. I agree. It’s like putting a bandage on cancer to execute the drug mules.

        • josephivo says:

          31 million people in the US have been arrested on drug related charges, approximately 1 in 10 Americans.[Wiki] Compare with 800 on 12 million OFW’s. If we blame the president, what should the Americans do? Flay and then slowly pickle their president?

          • Joe America says:

            According to the Inquirer this morning, Ms. Veloso issued four handwritten letters. She holds ill will only toward the people who set her up. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

            In a statement issued Saturday night, the DFA said that during the visit to Nusakambangan, Veloso gave to DFA personnel four handwritten letters addressed to President Aquino, Binay, the Filipino youth and women, and those who wronged her.

            In her letter to Mr. Aquino and Binay, Veloso reiterated her innocence and stressed that only they could save her.

            She wrote that she knows Mr. Aquino, as the father of the nation, has not stopped in the efforts to save her from the death penalty.

            She expressed her hope of achieving justice for what had happened to her.

            In her letter to them, Veloso advised the youth not to involve themselves in drugs and other illegal activities as this could ruin their lives and education.

            For her fellow women who want to work abroad, Veloso said they should follow the legal procedures and use legitimate employment agencies.

            Veloso said she hoped those responsible for what happened to her will be bothered by their conscience.


            • NHerrera says:

              This statement of one close to death, practically a deathbed statement carries weight and belies the sensationalized news on President Aquino being neglectful of her welfare. Her advises to the youth not to be involved in drugs; and fellow women who want to work abroad show intelligence and great concern beyond herself.

              • Joe America says:

                Yes, I think the lady is of very high character, which makes this unfortunate, harsh punishment very very tragic.

                Humanity is a very limited species.

  4. Joe America says:

    An interesting tabluation from the Inquirer today. 41 Filipinos are on death row in various nations around the world. I wonder how many are victims of racial profiling in the sentencing, or even innocent. They are mainly in countries where the OFW population is high.

  5. henry david says:

    i was a 110% supporter of Pnoy at the beginning. after the miscues, after his velvet glove treatment of Binay, and now this…. i am down to maybe 40%. keep kowtowing to the INC, and i will slide inexorably to maybe 10%.

    • Joe America says:

      Somebody is going to get INC. I wonder what has been given to them in the past, and if is just something similar. I went from 50% at the beginning, up to 100% and have slipped to 90%.

  6. jameboy says:

    “Well, like Mamasapano, it is not the President’s job to care for every person in trouble in the Philippines.”

    “So let’s be clear about this. The President has nothing at all to do with this.”
    Unfortunately, the President has to do with everything about us, including that woman on death row for drug trafficking. Everything about the country and its people is the job of the president.

    We don’t have to belabor that simple point. 🔆

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, but he can’t attend to all 41 Filipinos on death row around the world, nor should he. He is responsible for everything, as a CEO is, and CEO’s delegate.

    • hackguhaseo says:

      Whoa! You don’t think it is the media’s responsibility to keep to high journalistic standards and yet you think the president should be held responsible for every single mistake of every single Filipino?

      • you beat me to it. People have a tendency to require black and white non changeable evidence against people they like while will be incensed by the simplest worthless eye witness evidence. It is just the way a lot of people are, including me.

  7. NHerrera says:

    As we approach the May 2016 Election, only 13 months away, I am led to uncomfortable thoughts. To be specific, if we know that a win of a corrupt Presidential Candidate X — who has set no limits to using criminal means to win his goal — will lead to a sure disaster for the country, will the use of some methods by the other side, methods that deviate from pure academic principles be allowable, if thereby the greater good results?

    How do we define or constrain the nature of this allowable method? It is really a philosophical question, and has been framed in different equivalent ways by philosophers with no common agreement.

    (The analogy may not be appropriate but in military battles, decisions made, if viewed from the prism of academic principles, may not pass, but may be decided on the concept of the greater good.)

    I framed the question above as I ponder the worst variation of the speculations on the Sevilla conundrum, something happening a year before the election.

    • i7sharp says:

      “How do we define or constrain the nature of this allowable method? It is really a philosophical question, and has been framed in different equivalent ways by philosophers with no common agreement.”

      In a place said to be the only “Christian” nation in Asia, God seems to be an afterthought at best:
      Wisdom from knowledge of crabs and how to escape their mentality?

      btw, from the news, …

      Does anyone here think that God can be of help in preventing disasters … earthquakes, plagues, a Binay presidency, …?

      • bauwow says:

        Filipinos have been wandering too long and is trapped in a desert of corruption. Aside from the fact that we need to fill our bellies to end our hunger, we need a leader who will lead us to the promised land. For so long, politicians have been promising a better life for every poor constituents that they have, but in the end, they are the only ones who are “enriched” by the process, and again the poor are left to fend for themselves.
        My 2 cents is that the poor and the needy need to be taught that their future is not the responsibility of the government. They have to learn that, to paraphrase Uncle Joe’s look alike, they are the “masters of their ship and the captain of their fate”.

    • Joe America says:

      A legitimate question. If we covered absolutely every option, the one that is interesting to me is, say the President agreed that a Binay win would be both disastrous for the nation and wrong for the constitutional principle that he is obligated to take care of the nation. Would he declare martial law, refuse to step down, jail Binay, and schedule new elections? Then, given the slide in his ratings and the question of whether or not the military are on his side, would the people and the power support him?

      Sal refused to cite odds. “Hey, Joe, don’t get me involved in your wild speculations.”

      • Bert says:

        I think that Pres. Noynoy has a loose hold on the military compared to Pres. Marcos’ during his time. Having absolutely covered every option and the public properly informed convincingly that Binay is a grave threat to the people and the nation, the success or failure of a Noynoy declaration of Martial Law will depend on a number of things. 1. If the political opposition with Binay can amass sufficient number of crowd at EDSA, say a million or more, the military, in its present stand, will make a move in favor of the crowd against the President. 2. The Iglisia Ni Cristo can easily muster an instant crowd of a few millions so it is imperative that Pres. Noynoy has the support of the Church to be able to sustain the momentum of a Martial Law declaration. 3. Without a credible number of protesters on the streets, the military would hesitate to make a move on their own against the President but better for the President to consolidate his hold first on the military and the police before making such move of declaring Martial Law.

        One reason why the Iglisia Ni Cristo has that strong clout in any administration is its power to summon a large “People Power” on the street if it so desires. Sevilla has not seen it coming.

    • NHerrera says:

      I suppose those of us who have the luxury of reasonable financial means, domestic comfort and time to ponder some problems will just have to accept that some matters are philosophical with no clear answer. In short, each one of us who believe we have the power of discernment and intelligence will just have to act on our best lights when placed as leader of the country.

    • edgar lores says:

      Sevilla conundrum indeed.

      1. I cannot make up my mind about this matter. There is too much speculation and not enough verifiable data. The fingers, including Ms. Monsod’s, point to the President. None point to a source of the problem which Sevilla generally characterized as excessive “politicking” and the specific lobbying of INC of jobs for the boys.

      2. As I see it, among the major problems we have with our electoral systems, three stand out:

      o Political dynasties
      o Vote buying and selling
      o Church meddling, in particular bloc voting as practiced by INC

      3. We have no law against the first. We have a law against the second although no candidate has even been disqualified for engaging in it. We also have some law against church politicking but none specifically for bloc voting.

      4. There would no need to consider philosophically questionable methods to stop Presidential Candidate X from running if a sufficiently comprehensive anti-political dynasty law were in place. Such a law, for instance, could include the principle of non-concurrent service, such that a candidate would be disqualified from running if he had any relative serving as an incumbent official in any elected office.

      4.1. The utilitarian approach to ethical issues is thorny. Does the end justify the means? I am not a purist, but I would say no.

      5. As to bloc voting, the possible solutions are (a) bloc disenfranchisement or (b) deregistration of the offending establishment, whether it be a social, economic or religious institution.

      6. The scourge of drugs is a great problem and deserves deeper analyses than a few paragraphs. Steve mentions it is mainly a problem of demand, and I would have to agree. Why do we seek mind-altering drugs and the consequent altered states of consciousness? The mind, consciousness, and not outer space may be the last frontier.

      • NHerrera says:

        edgar lores,

        I share your views in general.

        If we are fortunate and have a good start after the new President is installed in July 2016, I agree that working actively towards implementing Item 2 will be effective in avoiding the temptation to (or reducing markedly) the exercise of the utilitarian approach to things when such approach breaches established principles and laws.

        About Item 4.1, I am bothered and agree that it is a “thorny” issue; but if pressed, I will say no, too. Although military war or battle situation is another kettle of fish altogether to my mind.

        Perhaps JoeAm may say something on this when he comes back from vacation and has the time.

        (The decision on the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima still bothers me. The utilitarian approach seems to have been used there. There is also the theory — since belied by some analysts/historians? — that Winston Churchill’s decision to “allow” German bombing of Coventry to protect the secret of the UK’s ability to decipher the German’s Enigma machine, to better exploit the use of the secret to advantage, is also bothersome to me.)

        On second thought, Joe, don’t bother. Let us leave this matter to the military — whether or not the utilitarian view is something considered in their bag of tricks.

        • Joe America says:

          I’ve not been able to figure out those two bombs, actually. We were taught one thing, but then you read about some of the decisions made during that time, they were political as much as military. It was the same way when I investigated the Philippine American War by tracking Admiral Dewey’s engagement and testimony to congress, and I came to believe that it was started intentionally by America. But you won’t find that in any American history books.

          On 4.1, I’d say yes, it does. If the end is to keep Binay out of office, and the means are legal, go for it. Maybe Sevilla was not bad management as I wrote in the article, but superior politics.

          • NHerrera says:

            One thing I appreciate from what you wrote, and this is my own paraphrase — when politics and military minds mix in a big decision, there is a potent brew that may lead to some unintended consequence or disaster.

            • Joe America says:

              Yes indeed. That’s precisely the point. And, indeed, sometimes the politics comes from the generals, too. Each with ego angling for a bigger ship or share of the authority. It is not just battlefield pragmatism.

              • NHerrera says:

                Yes, utilitarian approach for the “greater good” of the politician-generals. Battlefield pragmatism that we can agree: “see that machine gun at that hill, take that out of commission; bring Juan, Pedro and Rey with you” — the Lieutenant knowing in his gut that if they are lucky, the machine gun nest is rendered useless with one survivor. (Love some of those war movies.)

              • Joe America says:

                Ah, yes, my all time favorite is “Sargent York”.

  8. bauwow says:

    and that is why I agree that what we need is a near dictatorial Executive, who can send the left leaning groups to jail.

  9. bauwow says:

    sorry, I got Whitman and Henley mixed up, it should be “masters of their fate and captains of their soul.” Dang, why can’t I write like Uncle Joe!

  10. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Mary Jane Veloso is a victim from the day even before she was conceived and borned. Mary Jane is a product of poverty-in-perpetuity. She is forced to become a housemaid, an accidental mule and ignored by Philippine Media because they are busy covering, analyzing and predicting Manny Pacquiao win over Floyd.

    Philippine Media even dropped BinayLand, Tiu, Mt. Makiling, Boy Scout of the Philippines etcetera to dedicate their entire daily edition of newspaper on Manny Pacquiao.

    To this day Philippine Center of Investigative Journalism focus on corruption not the inutility of the Philippine Media. To this day, the Veloso’s recruiter is still home free, kissed his children goodnight morning after watch Manny Pacquao. The only last wish of Veloso was to watch Manny Pacquiao fight: DENIED. Arrest her recruiter: DENIED. Investigate her recruiter: DENIED

    Tough luck! Poor from the beginning, Dead in the End. It is unfortunate for her death is timed during the week of Manny Pacquiao fight which the moral Philippine Media is forging and faking their documents to get a Visa to my country.


    May Mary Jane Veloso brings wrath to Filipinos who never heard of her name. Those who believe in her name will live on forever. Those who don’t, I WISH THEM SUFFERING.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      People, listen! There are 41 OFWs languishing in jail. 60% of the economy is owned by 10 Families. College graduates has gone back to farming beacause according to survey and polls, THEY ARE ENERGIZED (not my word, that is Inquirers’) Not becaue they love to farm, not because they are ENERGIZED because they cannot find jobs. So, parents, do not send your children to school. It is a losing proposition. Let them plant rice, though it is not fun, it put rice on the table. Let them be boxers, you will never know. Or, employment of last resort, Philippine Armed Forces.

      • Joe America says:

        Here’s the Inquirer article:

        What is interesting is that the college grads are able to generate more income from farming than high school educated farmers. The nation has a problem that many farmers are getting old and young people are not that excited about farming. The natural drift seems to be toward professionalizing the business of raising rice, and I can’t help but think that is a good thing. I walked away from the article with a small measure of optimism that rice productivity will increase as family farms give way to agribusiness farms run by college educated owners.

        • I have cousins (I know, I know… I have cousins galore..hahaha…My grandparents have 10 children, each had 12 of their own except my mom who had just 3) who have this large tracts of land. Their father farmed it and raised coconuts, fruit trees like lanzones and mangoes, planted rice and corn and raised cows, chickens and hogs…boy were they rich and living it up. Now, after the death of their parents, these land lay barren, with shrubs and cogon grass winning the battle of survival, and my cousins who squandered their college money are among those who want loans from me. They are just not interested in tilling the land. I had bought a portion of it so I can retire there someday and escape the pollution and dirt in the city. Who knows, I can farm it the way Juana Pilipinas is doing…dreams, dreams…

          • Joe America says:

            My poor wife bears the brunt of the hostility when she says “no” to loan requests, as even close family members run around calling her selfish. We have basically set up a graduated scale of help, loans or grants conditional upon certain accomplishments. First loan is a small amount. If not paid back, no further loans. If paid back, bigger loan next time. Always zero interest. About 80% learn to deal with it responsibly.

            On the scholarships I gave, the students had to show the receipts and their report card. Two of three used that to energize their own discipline. One failed and there was no argument when I stopped providing. Somehow, accountability or some form of payback has to be attached to money or favors gifted, agreed to at the beginning.

            • Which reminds me of one of Pastor Ed Lapiz’s teaching – why is it that those who ask for loans are so insistent, so humble, promising everything, but when the loan was granted, it’s the lender who is so embarrassed to require or follow up payment, and the borrower is the one who is arrogant and overbearing. I have no money yet to pay you, and that’s that, no excuses, no time frame expected. thank you na lang?

              My aunt is so kindhearted, she lends the budget we provide her because she cannot stand the pleadings of those whose children cannot take exams due to non payment of tuition fees. Now, she has learned her lesson when she can no longer buy diapers and ensure gold (formula) for the nonagenarian we are taking care of mainly because of the substantial amount she needed for her own medical needs. I keep reminding her, auntie, try to replenish the emergency fund that we have set up for you, remind them you need your money as it’s not that easy to send money by telegraphic transfer specially on weekends.

              • Joe America says:

                Yes, it is amazing how neediness gets turned into arrogance and hostility once the asked and the asker change positions.

              • karl garcia says:

                Loans to relatives = charge to experience.

                any attempt of collection = violent reaction.

              • @ karl… LOL…almost dropped my coffee cup for laughing… that’s hilarious…2 phrases with a wealth of meaning, woot!. ikaw na, karl… wagas!

              • JM says:

                I’ve lost “friends” because I asked for my money back or denied them loans. I used to get bothered by it but I realized that they are not worth it. I only grant loans to trustworthy individuals who have history of paying me on time.

              • Joe America says:

                One of the main criteria banks use in granting loans is “character” of the lender. Also ability to repay, usually from three sources: (1) business profits/income, (2) personal/other assets (collateral), (3) liquidation. When you don’t have any of those, it’s a little dicey.

        • Joe, what I saw in Mindanao when I was there, was Palm oil crap. Farmers, especially, those tied to education were up rooting all their fruit trees, destroying pristine landscape, to accommodate this perceived demand for palm oil.

          I noticed there were plenty of these kinda fads, especially in the Mindanao agri-business world–this is gonna be the next boom, this plant is the key, blah blah, and then you have farmers left and right tearing up there farms or other peoples farms to get into the current bubble.

          There was no concept of strategy I noticed. Talking to farmers there was like talking to miners, ‘I can feel it, this is it!’–at least miners knew how to party.

      • Juana Pilipinas says:

        A lot of college graduates are getting into farming for a lot of reasons and economics is often not one of them. Farming lets a college graduate put a lot of theories learned in academia and unrealized creativity at work in practice. It is very ENERGIZING to be free from working at an assigned project by a professor or a boss and finally calling your own shots. It is ENERGIZING to see the miracle of a seed turning into nutritious sustenance. It is ENERGIZING to know that you are a part of the fight against world hunger. It is ENERGIZING to know that you are putting forth efforts in arresting global warming. It is ENERGIZING to learn not only about agronomy but also about biology, chemistry, engineering, architecture, business, marketing, electronics, mathematics, meteorology, arts and a whole slew of other disciplines needed to be a proactive farmer. There are are a lot more ENERGIZING aspects to farming but they are too numerous to list.

        • would like very much to try that…

          • My mother had this technique…. she did not want to use pesticides in her vegetable orchard, so what we did was to locate a species of black ants which are the natural enemy of a particular nasty pest that is preventing our crops to bear quality fruits. With the use of strings as bridge, we direct them to our crops and voila! we harvested quality vegies in substantial amounts three times a week, more than enough to buy food for our table and hog mash for the mother pig and piglets! that was my mom… the intelligent farmer… long before organic vegies become the norm for healthy enthusiasts.

            • Juana Pilipinas says:

              Your mother is an organic gardening pioneer and a genius to boot. It is wonderful she did what most organic/permaculture farmers do now. That is, to study a bit of entomology so one can get a profile of the harmful insect and its known predators. Providing food and other needs of the beneficial predator will attract it to one’s garden and the pesky pest will be gone.

              • edgar lores says:

                Can we apply similar entomological techniques to, er, blog sites? Can trolls be considered a type of insect?

                (I believe this is a droll, if not a troll, comment.)

              • Juana Pilipinas says:


                🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      10% of GDP is owed to OFWs (understated)
      12% of Filipinos are OFWs (understated)
      48% of the population is dependent on OFWs

      COA has determined DAR squandered Php1,000,000,000.00. 1 Billions in words
      COA did not want to determine Philippine Armed Forces of the Philippines squandered multi-billions of taxpayer money on non-deployment of certified pre-owned Hamilton-class frigates, instead they sent marines in flotilla of heavily armed pumpboats to Panganiban shoal and used Google Earth to monitor Chinese activity. Another squanderously famous acquisition are helicopters. Never deployed in Mamasapano.

      COA director should know better. Her job security or Audit for audit sake. She also happens to be graduate from University of the Philippines. WHERE ELSE?

      • Joe America says:

        In the Philippines, auditors are issued flak vests and given combat pay. It is dangerous work. Some are crooked, but most seem dedicated to doing important work. The problem is that billions of pesos fly through thousands of government units every year. Attached to them is the idea that the money will be deployed for good purposes and accounted for diligently. Well, unfortunately, the human resources management of government agencies leaves a lot to be desired, with mediocrity and who you know dominating over skill . . . so money is loosely accounted for. I don’t blame the auditors. I blame the poor human resources management practices within most government agencies.

        • Juana Pilipinas says:

          Seems like good HR practitioners are not appreciated in the Philippines. It is disheartening that Sevilla spent months implementing and strengthening meritocracy at BOC only to be tampered with by personalities favoring the old patronage system.

      • I find, to my surprise, that I agree with most of what you say in this blog article, MRP.

        Just a thought, what have your got against UP? A person, principled he may be at the beginning, may be corrupted by circumstances or weakness in the face of monetary temptations, but is UP to blame for how this politicians and lawyers turn out in their mid lives?

        • Tried to enroll in UP Los Baños Agricultural College right after high school graduation. I was given automatic scholarship but I found out that I had to commute between so many of its buildings to attend my classes and with practically no money, I had to look elsewhere. Is UP that bad?

          • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

            I got a beef and ax to grind against U.P.
            1st, They produced the most journalists. They are preferred and favorites of Philippine Media to hire. And … their news reporting totally sucks. Just imagine, U.P. graduates are known to be “intelligent”. Only the “very selected few” get to be accepted. Yet, they report, analyze, publish news like low-intel. Since U.P. graduates are low-intel, just imagine the MAJORITY OF THE FILIPINOS who were never accepted to U.P. JUST IMAGINE THE INTELLIGENCE of the MAJORITY OF THE FILIPINOS. They must not have intelligence.
            2ndly, U.P.-graduates monopolize crookery in the government. Imagine U.P. graduates are crooks. Just imagine those Filipinos who never were accepted in U.P. They must be the crookedest.

            The condensed idea is, If U.P. produced what they thought the most “intelligent” “honest” graduates, which they are not, therefore, those who were not accepted must be uber-not-intelligent and ultra-dishonest.

            Therefore, U.P. should be investigated why they monopolize crookery and idiocy when there are plenty out there waiting in line to steal from the people.

            • Joe America says:

              Or why they hire professors like Harry Roque . . . now that you mention it . . .

            • pussyfooter says:

              As someone who graduated from UP and been among the (self-titled) “creme de la creme” of UP, I agree with this comment. 🙂

              UP loves to rub in everyone’s faces that they’re the “real world” (because ahem ahem their most loathed/envied (again, them-titled) “rivals” along Katipunan are presumably not). In that, they are quite correct. And if UP–a government-run school to the core–has anything to say about it, it will stay the “real world” for generations more to come.

    • Joe America says:

      May I suggest a slow walk in the park? Flowers should be gorgeous about this time of year, the early bloomers. Daffodils, tulips . . .

    • i7sharp says:


      I don’t know about “500 YEARS” but …
      Are Filipinos, by and large, earnestly “seeking God’s face”?

      Do those who claim to be Christian even heed Christ’s words?:
      “Search the scriptures … they are they which testify of me.”

      Does even the Vatican or the Pope know where the scriptures are?

      Let me go farther, but let me say this first:
      I am not a card-carrying member (much less, a head) of any religious organization.
      And I had nothing to do (peksman, sumpa man, …) with the making of any bible.

      If the King James bible is not the “scriptures,” which or where are they?

      Not rhetorical questions, btw.

      Just trying to keep things as simple as possible.
      Don’t you think it’s high time?

    • Couldn’t agree with you more, MRP. But not the “I WISH THEM SUFFERING” part, since I only heard of her after having read this blog article just now. I may not be in tuned with the smaller current events there, but I know that at the root of all this is what you’ve written above.

      I’m wondering now, for the article I’m writing, if the ACLU has int’l reach or have litigated, or advocated for similar arrests. Usually it’s the State of Dept. for us that handles these type of cases, or if military then the JAG Corps with Justice Dept. But usually in these cases,

      you have to give to get. What is the Philippines willing to give to Indonesia? I suspect nothing, since Mary Janes are a dime a dozen in the Philippines. It truly is tragic.

  11. i7sharp says:

    The latest news listed first:

    (It works for me; I hope it works for others, too.)

  12. Lilit Trinidad says:

    One time, I saw this woman on the news, crying hysterically. Her house, among others, had just burned down. I don’t remember where it was, I think somewhere in Caloocan. And she was bawling, in the vernacular, “Dear President, please help us! Please help us, dear President!” And I thought, “Really? You’re going straight to the President? You don’t want to try your barangay chairman, mayor, or the DSWD first?”

    It was an ideal set-up for the President to get blamed for “inaction” and for PNoy to start singing “Ako ang nasisisi…”. Only this happened during GMA’s time.

    Sadly, that neediness has been with Filipinos for a very long time. Even sadder, politicians take advantage of it to stay in power, thereby perpetuating it. I had hoped that PNoy could chip away at that neediness with his detached style. I was glad when he stayed away from the media during storms, on the premise that in a business setting, when there’s trouble, the top guy only steps in when his underlings can’t put out the fire. (He may have taken it too far with the car-plant-for-Villamor gig, though.) It would probably take a few more Presidents of similar bent to disabuse us of it. As it would to give “Daang Matuwid” a footing strong enough so that the-end-justifies-the-means machinations such as what could be happening at the BOC become unnecessary.

    • Very well said, Lilit Trinidad…. I concur, 100%

    • Joe America says:

      Well said, Lilit. The neediness as far as I can tell is broad, deep and subtle. Even intelligent people demonstrate it, a need to prove superiority, or it appears in daily conversations in the form of ridicule or sly questions aimed at demeaning. It is a major barrier to problem-solving, I think, as competitions and envies get in the way of objectivity. I confess that I am not very good at reading the cues, but the most needy seem to tread the edge of hatred much of the time.

      • pussyfooter says:

        If I may “singit”–I daresay it’s the feudalist mindset. “O Lord, have pity on us Lord, we who have no power, we who are so oppressed” *perpetuates oppression through determined inaction* “we who are so measly and insignificant!” You can see how Catholicism caught on so well here. 🙂

        With that “you almighty, me kawawa” role-play, you can also see how easily they can turn to rage. After all, you should be playing the (their) game, and if you don’t, they simply haven’t the intellectual and psychological flexibility to play differently–and so they “lose”/are “oppressed”/”victimized”. In many cases (due to the fault of people generations before PNoy ever lost a hair on his head) it’s the only game they’ve ever known in these benighted islands. And you’ll find this pathetic mental and psychic inflexibility across all classes–though no doubt predominant among the most historically and socio-economically “kawawa” of all.

  13. A very lengthy response, but please bear with me. If I may, I want to offer some thoughts and practical examples and background as to where my thoughts came from:

    On Veloso:

    We could only pity the poor Velosos of this poverty stricken country. Poor financially, poor in educational attainment, poor in powers of discernment and how NOT to be a victim by this unscrupulous recruiters.

    We have cousins who toured some Asian cities. Other friends requested that they be allowed to send gifts of food and other items to sisters and friends already there, so they agreed to meet near the airport at a certain time….. Hours of waiting impatiently but still nothing, finally, a half hour before boarding time, they finally came with the gifts already packed, my cousins refused to carry them without fully examining each and every package, they ended up with hurt feelings and anger as the gifts lay before them with no chance to reach the intended recipients. Sometimes being careful and alert should not be sacrificed by kindness and graciousness. Don’t accept unexamined bags and packages from your recruiters, friends or relatives, or ther’s a chance you’ll end up being drug mules.

    On neediness –

    True, we need to help the unfortunate ones who were victims of abuse, the poor with less options available to them. Sometimes, though, people seems to depend on handouts on regular basis, I know of some who make it a point who to fall in line when news of goods available from politicians, or from generous balikbayans instead of finding ways to be financially independent.

    I ask my seventy year old aunt, why were we able to make our tiny piece of land in the province productive in our time… harvests from vegetables were sold and used to purchased foods for the family and the poultry/hogs being raised and these poor cousins could not? Not interested in farming? I gave out a small capital to start a small carinderia; when I went back to check… I was just disappointed – not one piece of cooking utencils can be found, they used the money to buy their immediate needs – food.

    I offered to give scholarship to one of her sons on condition that he will stay with the family of our pastor friend who live a few steps away from the school, mindful of the kid being a little discipline- challenged, not focused, not so determined although intelligent enough. Alas, the kid could not take the well disciplined routine, he escaped and my cousin did not bother to persuade her child to come back.

    They expected me to continue the scholarship, but reports of the kid frequenting the computer game shops and his gangs instead of studying his lessons made me give up on him. Now, they are acting like martyrs and victims, forever helpless and needy.

    These are the type of citizens who blame God, the President and the rich for their extreme poverty…. “Life is what we make it” comes to my mind. I have to continue helping out my 70 year old aunt and the 95 year old grandmother who have no one to care for them; I have condominium investments to pay for; they are still able bodied and strong, I say.. but still…, I worry about them.

    On Sevilla:

    I find it hard to believe that the President would be this masochist… his approval ratings have sunk to the lowest level and yet he made this type of decision without sufficient explanation to his bosses who are just confused. What are his advisers thinking, or does the President know something about Sevilla that we, Monsod and Purisima don’t, or is this some part of an overall plan that we simply do not know yet?

    Please, Mr. President, talk to us. Your political opponents must have been in ecstasy and joyously patting each others back…another blunder, let’s take this heaven sent opportunity to further sink his ratings and send his anointed one into oblivion. We need to have your economic programs continued and the fight against corruption be completed even beyond your presidency.

    • edgar lores says:

      As usual, Mary, straight from the heart — and into the heart.

    • Juana Pilipinas says:

      I agree on your take on all issues, Mary.

      My question is: Mary Jane’s case started in 2010. As the Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFW) Concerns, how did this escape Binay’s attention? Why are people blaming the president? Why Binay acts like people need to thank him profusely for going to Indonesia last week? Isn’t that his job? Boy, did he drop the ball on this one or what?

      • Come to think of it, yes, it’s part of his job, the part of his job that he seemingly neglected as his preoccupation is how to be elected President in 2016, to hop from one province to another establishing sister cities in the guise of doing another function – housing czar; and having himself photographed in boy scout attire, or in fatigue shorts and with bare hands, participate in boodle feasts with boy scouts and soldiers (Erap style)

        His PR manager is excellent, making him a knight in shining armor flying to this country or that, practically on the eve of the death sentence being implemented when, as you pointed out, he could have attended to it way back in 2010.

        And the nation of suckers believed, just look at his ratings, albeit sinking, but still on top way above Roxas, Cayetano or Trillanes.

        I need to go to the park and smell the flowers, as Joe has recommended.

  14. Err. people seem instead of seems…. there’s in lieu of ther’s… my trigger happy fingers again…

  15. karl garcia says:

    on the needy, i was told never to give alms, yet I still keep on giving. out of pity? out of fear that they will remember you for being cruel? or both?

    • edgar lores says:

      Out of compassion?

      • karl garcia says:

        Oh yes,out of compassion got to give myself credit sometimes.
        Thanks for reminding me of compassion.

    • Joe America says:

      The needy basically are skilled at playing the guilt card. The problem is, they play it so nastily.

      • bauwow says:

        Informal settlers sometimes claim that they own the land in which their house stands. The reason they argue is because they were born there and they will die there, irregardless of who truly owns the land. Sometimes generosity is abused by the needy.

        • karl garcia says:

          Correct bauwow plus the Lina law requires relocation before demolition.
          The relocation sites can be fulted too,like those from Makati where you end up blaming the officials that sent you to hell,with no jobs,no water,no electricity,etmc.

  16. Is it only me or what? Anything that this Toby Tiangco, UNA interim president and Navotas City representativesays is unbelievable, lacking in credibility.

    He is being quoted in other blogs, too (raissa’s and here even) and I can’t seem to bring myself to believe.

    “On its part, opposition United Nationalist Alliance said that the Liberal Party has a hand in pressuring Sevilla to resign, saying that it is part of LP’s move to generate a P3-billion campaign kitty for the 2016 polls.

    “[The] LP’s pressure on Sevilla was too strong to contribute P3 billion. He and others have felt the political atmosphere in the bureau. It looks like Commissioner Sevilla could not stomach what these pressure groups wanted him to do,” UNA interim president and Navotas City representative Toby Tiangco said on Friday.”

    Read more:

  17. karl garcia says:

    Rep. Tianco really is something, Corona days pa lang he already irritated me.It is true Billions peso daily transactions happen at BOC. kasi tapos na sila sa fund raising innuendo sa DOTC,nobody belived them so BOC has a problem and it is very convenient to speculate fund raising to the toop revenue generating body.Kim Henares better watch it , she might be next alleged fundraiser.

  18. karl garcia says:

    Ruffy Biazon and Danny Lim was forced to quit.One SONA speech really hit Ruffy hard.

    Enrile before is the rumored smuggling king, name it cars,rice he has the dummy. Miriam had a privilege speech that went pfffft.Binay guys can talk all they want , butwho says Enrile has stopped operations.

    As to the INC, if Tianco attacks them, INC won’t bloc vote Binay.

    • I hold Ruffy Biazon’s dad in very high regard. His contribution to the defense of the legitimate government against coup plotters should be recorded in history books so that Filipinos wont forget.

      • Enrile as smuggling king, legal logger(?) who contributed to thousands of deaths in violent floods in Leyte and elsewhere are common knowledge. The untouchable king, arrogantly challenging anyone who dares to sue him, so why can’t somebody do exactly just that? They successfully laundered their ill-gotten wealth that now they are claiming legitimacy in their business kingdom. He is old now, can we still go after his children, or is it charge everything to experience for fear of violent reactions as you jokingly commented above?

        • karl garcia says:

          Sayang walang lawyer dito. Parang Marcos sana na kahit patay na tuloy recovery ill gotten wealth. PCGG is built for Marcos and cronies,so charge to experience siguro.culture of impunity is so strong,bank secrecy law must go,start from there,and we might go somewhere.

          • Juana Pilipinas says:

            I think that is the idea that LCPL_X is brewing. A powerful non-profit organization composed of honest and well meaning lawyers that will fight for the masses to stop the culture of impunity in its tracks and to strike fear in hearts of the corrupt.

            • EXACTLY, Juana. Thanks for the links on the other thread. Will hopefully get a draft written for Joe once he returns from vacation. In the mean time, if you (or others) have links or stories or takes you wanna share, pls. do. Especially any personal takes of the culture of lawyers there. Steve already gave a great summation. Joe’s RFI for me on another blog, confirmed more of that culture, in trying to explain why things don’t get done when it comes to lawyers in the Philippines.

              • Joe America says:

                The mean girls letter was written by a lawyer, I note with some amusement. Go figure.

              • karl garcia says:

                Lance Corporal,

                Here are the sites. I removed http because three links woll send my message to spam

                I hope these would help.

              • karl garcia says:

                One more LCpl_X,
                The public attorney’s office


    • Enrile has filed a libel case againstl a favorite Inquirer columnist of mine. She left the newspaper after that and is on rappler, but I rarely read her now.

  19. jameboy says:

    On Mary Jane Veloso. The gov’t. must exert all avenues to save her from the gallows. Irrespective of what political leanings one have, this is not the time for that.

    On Custom Comm. John Sevilla. Th President is again put on the spot regarding the controversy surrounding Sevilla’s resignation. I hope the President will not put up the ‘I-was-given-the-wrong-information’ defense again on this one. ☝

  20. Bing Garcia says:

    Thank you Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

  21. i7sharp says:

    my very first posting at Irineo’s FilipinoGermanBlog:

    my way of bridging his site with Joe’s. 🙂

    (Sorry. nagkalat nang konti doon. I wrote “will guess” where I meant “wild guess.”
    Also a misplaced “i7sharp”.)

  22. The Philippines made it to the list of “68 Best Countries to Live In.”

    It is #64 out of 133 countries on 2015 Social Progress Index.

  23. jernasha says:

    Good Morning Joe, my name is Jerome. May i joined your blog? this is my first time, but I have been following you since last month only. I enjoyed reading your blogs and that of the others who intellectually discusses issues with you.

    I am a bit concern with the Mary Jane Veloso issue. I sound negative with a criticism to my own fellow Filipino here, but I have been thinking since last night after I have heard or seen the news on TV here in Papua New Guinea where I am working. Why sound negative? Because … why do we blame or criticizes the government of the day of our own making? I mean Mary Jane Veloso was used by her own relatives to perform an activity that is against the law? Now that she is caught, they asked help from the government of the day and they want it solve overnight? and if the answer to their request does not come on their own specific time, they grumble, they get angry and utter so many negative punches to the government and blame the government for their own big big mistake! I am not only referring to this issue or case at hand but also all the other cases and issues done by OFWs and other Filipino syndicates before. Worst is that these issues and cases are being used by politicians to upgrade their status for their political ambitions.

    Why don’t we just follow the law? I know that this is easier said than done, but the law says it is prohibited for anyone to smuggle coccaine or prohibited drugs or simple as it is prohibited for anyone to have a prohibited drugs into his/her possession. then do not do it ! hahahaha sounds crazy isn’t it. anyway what i am trying to say here is. . . please don’t blame the government of the day if your request does not come on time especially when you are requesting for something that you deliberately did in bad faith. Thank you.

    • Joe America says:

      Welcome to the blog, jernasha. Thanks for reading, and, now, for putting a view on the table.

      “Why don’t we follow the law?”

      That ought to be one of the lessons learned from this case. I think the problem is whether or not Ms. Veloso actually knew she had the drugs in her suitcase. If she did not, then she is the victim of the crime, not the lawbreaker. The case was tried in Indonesia and they held her guilty of breaking the law. I don’t know what evidence was used to convict her. I do think that death for a lower “runner” is extreme, and if Ms. Veloso was used, it’s too bad we can’t simply swap the person who put the drugs in the suitcase for her. It was a relative, I believe.

      I agree with your point as to accountability, under the law. The rule here basically seems to be that one is only guilty of violating the law if one is caught. So for sure, that is not SELF-accountability. It is state-imposed accountability, and the people are driving the state nuts by failing to abide by rules that are in place for the well being of the nation and its citizens.

      That is worth a blog when I return from vacation. Thanks for putting your ideas into the Society’s thought-machine.

      • edgar lores says:

        What a wonderful solution!

        Why don’t we follow the law? So simple and yet so effective.

        I can think of four caveats:

        1. There are unjust laws… like condonation.

        2. There are laws not yet written for all unjust actions… like political dynasties and divorces.

        3. There are laws that, while just, can be broken under certain circumstances… like revolt against the state under a cruel regime.

        4. There are laws that never should be written, laws that would entrench human biases… like discrimination laws based on age, sex, gender or creed.

        • Joe America says:

          I’ve just copied your comment into the blog draft I’ll work on upon returning. Indeed, the laws themselves can be problematic, as well as the enforcement agencies, investigators and courts.

          • Joe America says:

            Also poverty. When a motorbike is the family sedan, putting five on a bike is often times the only way to get somewhere . . . and buying helmets is prohibitively expensive.

        • What’s the definition of crime?

          Ms. Veloso is a criminal because she broke the law.

          But who gets to define crime?

          That’s the tricky part, because if you want things to be fair. Then nations (China, now, America, during the Cold War and England in the 1800s, Opium Wars), int’l corporations/pharmaceuticals, as well as powerful people (in the Philippines and Indonesia, and so on) are more than complicit. No different (most times worst) from what Ms. Veloso was convicted for.

          So from the git go the system was set up against her and people like her.

          Then there’s the issue of punishment fitting the crime. I’ve been to Indonesia as well, and what you guys have in ARMM, MILF, corruption of MNLF, is nothing compared to what’s going on in Aceh. All this leads to the last point,

          Mercy, “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” – Mahatma Ghandi

          Both Indonesia and Malaysia (hell even Brunei) thanks to American petro-dollars since the 1930s have become more Wahhabi, so mercy sadly is out of the picture– I hope I’m wrong.

      • inquirercet says:

        it kind of makes me wonder why duterte’s type of vigilante justice is so popular locally and this type of black and white justice by the indonesians is not? isn’t the indonesian variety better than duterte’s?

        • Yes, at least MJV got years (2010-2015) in court hearings, before the sentencing, unlike Duterte’s alleged method of vigilantism or instant justice, extra-judicial even.

          Supporters of Duterte are like those who advocate an all out war against our Muslim brother rebels instead of the way of peace through a properly amended BBL, currently being discussed at the Senate and HOR.

          Due process and following the constitution and the law are still the ways to go, no short cuts, no detour. (although an outdated law like that nasty condonation doctrine need to be declared repealed, even the American doctrine where it was copied have been repealed, I think, but then even before that, exceptions were observed before applying said law to erring government officials.

        • Joe America says:

          Wow. Bingo. It depends on whether the black or white is for you or against you, for sure. Excellent point.

  24. josephivo says:

    Neediness and entitlement 1. When I deliver 2 million votes I’m entitled to some appointments in the most lucrative department of the government???

    Neediness and entitlement 2. If I have been a good actor, served opposite mayors, belonged to several parties then I’m entitled to be a LP senator???

    It seems to me that somebody is losing his control over the trapos.

    • mercedes santos says:

      Addendum : If I am a champion pugilist I can be a senator or even the presidente !!!

      • edgar lores says:


        We have used the term “mendicancy” before in past blogs to refer to our neediness. But I like the new term. JoeAm and contributors here have expanded the term not just to signify our beggarly attitude but to the term’s shadows and more: arrogance, hostility, superiority, importuning the President directly, dramatic posturing, ingratitude and now the link to entitlement.

        • Jovita C. Villanueva says:

          Thanks JoeAm for giving us a new and simpler perspective of neediness. Everybody needs recognition and when somebody(the president most especially) in the upper echelon of society stops,looks and listens to the what nots of the so-called “poor”(which is the masa -they say), then they become satisfied and their longing for recognition is addressed. They are not actually concerned about the victims: they are just seeing themselves to be the victims too, that’s why they make noise.They need to satisfy their need for attention.

          • Joe America says:

            Thanks for the perspective on that, Jovita. Indeed, neediness creates a whole lot of victims, and it is wise to ask, is that the kind of Philippines we really want? By the way, there are a LOT of Filipinos who do accept accountability, and I think there will be more as the middle class seeks a fair environment in which to work and socially connected thinkers read . . . well, blogs like this.

  25. Bing Garcia says:

    The simple assertion that politics is involved in the impending appointment of a new chief enforcement official in Customs is a challenge to the Aquino administration. Does it still believe in its “daang matuwid” (straight path) policy of governance? The straight path does not only mean not taking bribes; it also means serving the public interest, not the much narrower interest of a specific group. Inquirer Editorial

    Mr President, how do you want history to judge you?

    • Bing Garcia says:

      Lee famously said that there is nothing like “a good dose of incompetent government” to jolt people into reflecting over good government, and this was a head of state who actively, consciously, sought out the best and brightest of his people for government service. We seem to be a country that makes it impossible for our best and brightest to serve, and one can only wonder how long we have been overdosing on Lee’s prescribed medicine without result. Oscar Franklin Tan

    • PNOY is the president, naming someone in a department at the BOC is one of his functions not the head of the BOC’s, if I am not mistaken.

      In my simple understanding of this matter, a cabinet secretary is an alter ego of the sitting president, if the Chief Executive sees that he can strengthen a department by naming a department head, it is his prerogative to do so. If by law or protocol, that appointing power is in the hands of the said executive, the cabinet secretary, if he objects, is making noises and undermining the authority of the appointing power, he has to go, and I mean go quietly. “It’s my way or the highway?” Well it turned out that the highway it is.

      Purisima is the head of the Department of Finance, under him are the BIR and the BOC and other revenue raising departments, they have cluster cabinet meetings with the President, I believe, where I suppose, detailed discussions are taking place.

      I am in a quandary about this events, I wish the palace could shed light to this to avoid this continuing accusations of pressures made making way for rumors, innuendos and accusations of political machinations…

      Why couldn’t he just try out this particular appointee instead of creating friction inside your own department? What’s going on?

      • There are so many “little presidents” around our country muddling the issues of governance, and I am not amused. This is democracy in action (in a negative way). I wish they would make themselves candidate and try to be elected in 2016.

        For myself, I need clarifications from reliable sources, not from UNA people. Even Madam Solita Monsod or any one, myself included can be wrong. I’m willing to be convinced.

  26. jameboy says:

    Expecting others to feed us is neediness.
    Frankly, I don’t think there is a ‘neediness” issue on events that were usually talked about every time ‘neediness’ is described and justified.

    I didn’t see neediness in Mamasapano. What I saw was dependence of the people on the government. Dependence in a way that they relied, trusted and showed confidence at the outset of the event for they believed that the government was acting on its own authority in pursuance of people wanted by the law. And they were right. It was only until when those who participated in the Oplan were asked for an explanation for the debacle that such trust and confidence began to wane. We all know that. There was no neediness there, there was indignation and feelings of betrayal. Most people were angry at the MILF for the treacherous act they did. Worse, the subsequent blunder and stubborness by the President and the questionable details discovered in the operation did not help on the matter subsiding nor the emotions leveling. The national dismay and frustration even led to some legislators expressing doubt if not outright opposition to the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

    The same thing with the current Mary Jane Veloso case, no such thing as neediness.
    To raise the issue of neediness in this case would be sounding too defensive. It would be taken as shielding the government from any fallout in case she is executed. Veloso needs OUR help, period. Anyone who wants to talk about accountability or play the blame game should do so after her execution or if there is a reversal of her punishment to life.

    Right now, let us use Mary Jane’s case as a reason to unite than divide us. ®

  27. josephivo says:

    In Belgium, when desperate people pray to God and write to the King. But the king is just a post office box with a nice name, the king has no powers, all he (= his office) does is forward the mails to the prime minister, sometimes with his advice. He receives dozens of letters a week, the Prime Minister’s office replies with a yes or mostly with a polite no and the reply letter has the king’s logo. (Belgium is the size of Manila). The press seldom interferes in this “emotional” process, writing to the King is an ultimate cry for help, one cannot ridicule or misuse it for political reasons.

    Isn’t asking the president exactly the same? Shouldn’t the press stay out or just explain the “ritual”?

  28. jameboy says:

    Like it or not, PNoy’s silence on the Sevilla resignation might lead to him painting himself in the corner again. Tongues are wagging and malice raging. If the President is already home he should take steps to arrest the situation by speaking and explaining what the real score is on Comm. Sevilla.

    Everyone is waiting with bated breath if the ‘Daang Matuwid’ is still on the table or if it has been replaced already by the Dating Bulok na Daan. 😦

  29. How sad that the same people who wanted Mary Jane saved are the very same people who want capital punishment reinstated in the Philippines. Capital punishment is not okay in this case but okay in others? These people (read: Inquirer readers/Dutertards) are a bunch of hypocrites.

Leave a Reply

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

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

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

%d bloggers like this: