A Filipino ACLU and lawyering in the Philippines

trial court rappler

Philippine trial court [Photo credit: Rappler]


by Lance Corporal X

Part I: The forces against justice

Around the time I was in the Philippines, the Mamasapano fiasco was then Dinagat. Or more precisely Cebu, since the murders, shoot-outs had already happened, PNP and AFP working together captured their man. I’ll let you dig into the Ecleo story if you wish (“22 Surigao cultists killed . . .“) . The only thing that needs to be mentioned here is that he bailed out for 1 million pesos, which was chump change for the likes of this man.

Unlike the Mamasapano fiasco, not too many PNP/AFP died. It was a better executed attack against former PNP/AFP trained cult security guards. I knew PNP and AFP folks who kept a close eye on the Ecleo case because they were either directly involved or knew friends who were. I won’t rehash all the deaths directly or indirectly connected while Ecleo was awaiting trial in Cebu.

During the trial, if you can call it that, private prosecutors, judges, and clerks recused themselves left and right. Everyone had an excuse, but the sad truth was that Ecleo’s men were either buying or threatening them, or worse. At the end of the day, the government of the Philippines let Ecleo go, and from the looks of it, did not want to have anything to do with the man, ever again.

There were plenty of other murders and examples of corruption while I was there, but the Ecleo case was interesting because it involved corrupt politicians, former military men against current military men, and – my personal curiosity – the Filipinos’ predisposition to cults and the supernatural. It was an absolute breakdown of the very institutions and people tasked with defending the rule of law.

In America around the early 1900s, similar events transpired, up to maybe the 1970s when the RICO Act was enacted. But the only recent example I can think of that would come close to the Ecleo case is the Church of Scientology against the IRS. Demanding tax exempt religious status, and denied repeatedly by the IRS,  the Church of Scientology undertook an orchestrated campaign against IRS personnel by way of bribery, intimidation and harassment.

The Church of Scientology bested the IRS. Under pressure, the IRS kowtowed and gave Scientologists their tax exempt status. This was similar to the Ecleo case which was also about a cult against the government. The difference is in the government apparatus involved. Scientology engaged the US Internal Revenue Service while Ecleo went up against the Philippine criminal justice system, in which lawyers, judges and clerks were all undermined.

If the criminal justice system in the Philippines can be easily undermined by a single cult, what of international corporations, national groups and powerful individuals who wield power with a lot more subtlety, ensuring no front page coverage?

Part II: The weak legal system in the Philippines

In an attempt to explain why the legal profession in the Philippines is largely ineffective, we have to dig deeper than your standard criticisms. Yes, the country suffers from ubiquitous corruption, there are no real leaders worth their salt, the gap between rich and poor is staggering, there’s a culture of mediocrity, everybody strives to be agreeable at the expense of what needs to be done, and the list goes on and on and on.

Every year, around 5,000 law students take the bar exam and about 2,000 (give or take) become lawyers. It is arguably the most prestigious professional exam in the nation. You can’t buy yourself a passing grade. It takes years of diligent study to be able to pass the bar exam. And the act of reading and applying these legal principles and ethics, very lofty ones at that, do bring out the idealism amongst these aspiring law students, there is no doubt about that.

aclu logo

Not every lawyer will ever face an Ecleo case, where they have to choose between life and death, and falter in front of all. But every lawyer, upon passing that bar exam, will have to chose between those lofty principles of the law and the sad reality that is the Philippine system of crony governance. And this is where most Filipino lawyers, if not all, fall short.

Legal principles are great in theory. Mastery requires an uncompromising character, but when faced with real fear like the Ecleo case, most take the very understandable pragmatic approach and opt to fight another day. Sadly, this is how the legal profession becomes impotent. Little by little, the Filipino lawyer will choose self-interest over the ideal he or she was exposed to in law school.

These compromises will come in the form of P100,000 pesos strategically given to your wife. Or in the form of beautiful women. Even if you are as good at maneuvering through this maze as you are in dealing with legal concepts, in time you’ll either be the recipient of intimidation or the one giving it. And if you’ve managed to stay afloat in this sewer, you’ll realize that before cases get to the level of litigation, victims, witnesses and judges get quietly bought out one by one until there’s nothing to fight for. There’s no case.

In the Philippines, there’s no concept of cases serving bigger purposes. Once you are practicing, you are just managing to get by. Most cases are handled for the sake of individuals or groups of individuals. And this case-by-case approach was how the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) and later the Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity & Nationalism (MABINI) prosecuted their cases, one by one, for each individual’s human rights.

There’s nothing wrong with this model of advocating for human rights. It’s just not efficient. These examples were then followed by GABRIELA, then LADLAD (Ang Ladlad; gay rights), National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL; representing Mary Jane Veloso), and later by the government’s new Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), whose vision is: “A government agency that is God-centered and dynamic bureaucracy that is responsive to the ever-growing legal needs of the indigents and oppressed”.  Just in their mission statement alone I see two oxymorons.

So having assessed what makes the Filipino lawyer ineffective, we can consider three potential solutions: 1. Education, 2. ACLU-type organization, and 3. Class-action lawsuits.

Part III: Three ways to revive the legal system

Let’s consider three ways we can revive the legal profession in the Philippines.

A. Educating prospective attorneys 

How do we make lawyers immune from the gamut of problems that lessen the profession and by extension the nation as a whole? The idealism of law aside, lawyers have to make money; they have to earn a living. As in any profession some will be content with little. For others, no amount of money will ever be enough. This should be accepted, we shouldn’t unduly idealize lawyers.

The problem is that conditions in the Philippines don’t make room for idealistic lawyers, those who have a passion for justice and a desire to serve others. I’m reminded of a motivational poster that hung outside a corridor, “What would you do if you were not afraid?”. Moral courage isn’t easy. It requires a strong sense of person and it requires others of the same mind.

Of the 2,000 or so new lawyers that pass the bar exams every year in the Philippines, many are either children of lawyers or come from very sheltered households. Law for them is an academic pursuit. Real implications aren’t fully comprehended. Although the idealized version of the pursuit of law is there, real life context is lacking, making the new attorneys more susceptible to malfeasance. Moral courage tends to favor those with deep roots. Deep roots are formed by way of personal hardships or close mentor-ship of character.

The bulk of the work Filipino lawyers perform is transactional law. Seldom do lawyers engage in litigation. But it is in litigation where precedence is made and improvements are carried out. Litigation rarely happens in the Philippines because powerful individuals or corporations can easily buy off victims or witnesses or judges, nullifying a case altogether. So the need for depth of character and moral courage is immediate if a lawyer wants to do more than just transactional law.

Both lawyers and journalists play a crucial role in democracies. They speak truth to power. But the powers that be will always attempt to minimize and control these two very related professions. One way to inoculate the future lawyers and journalists is infuse them with moral courage, by example or by inspiration, in school. Movies, books and stories of lawyers fighting the good fight. I know none from the Philippines but there are tons of narratives espousing the virtues of lawyers, as well as journalists, from the US.

One solution could be a pre-law track in the new 11th and 12th grades in senior high school, along with the other tracks available, or on top of an existing track, whether STEM or ABM or HUMSS or general. Carve out a niche for incoming Senior High students who are interested in law.

Not every student will go on to be lawyers, and that’s fine. The Philippines will have more citizens conversant in the law and critical thinking whether they choose to continue or not, which is always a good thing. But for those who do continue to pursue the study of law, they will have the necessary anchor from which to steady their ships above the ocean of sewage that is Philippine crony-governance. Teach them moral courage and teach them creativity of thought.

The ancient Greeks listed four cardinal virtues (Wisdom, Moderation, Courage and Justice). Socrates concluded that all four were essentially knowledge, hence they can be taught. The important question now is, “How?”.

B: A Philippine Civil Liberties Union

Lawyers know how to navigate through institutions, the human mind, as well as the streets. They know who to pay off and who to buy — some are better at certain activities than others. But when it comes to advocacy organizations in the Philippines, it’s the same old Filipino story of personalities and differing opinions getting the best of them. Too many Chiefs, not enough Indians. Hence, all the fractured, ineffective attempts to fight for justice, evidenced by the myriad of NGOs in the Philippines.

Before the Americans left after WWII, the U.S. had given the Philippines a public school system, with the University of the Philippines as its most prestigious, the PMA, modeled after West Point, and the NBI, modeled after the FBI. The justice system is modeled after that of the US. But what the U.S. forgot to give the Philippines was their very own ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), with no government connection, funded only by private money to ensure independence, and whose sole purpose was “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.”

If you notice in that simple mission statement, there’s no God-centered charter, no LGBT, no women’s rights, no poor or oppressed, just one all-encompassing purpose: to defend and preserve everyone’s rights and liberties, founded on principle. The ACLU may have been too young to have its ideas imported to the Philippines when America left. From 1920s to 1940s, the ACLU was still laying the groundwork by way of connections to academia, the press and the judiciary. They were engaged in what many in the legal profession call “building precept by precept”, setting legal precedent, that would bear fruit through landmark decisions in its favor.

Today the ACLU is the organization that causes a good deal of consternation for local, state and federation governments, as well as international and local corporations. Since its inception, the ACLU has stood on principle. They’ve defended cops as well as criminals and defended the freedom of speech of Nazis as well as blacks. They’ve also defended businesses and unions. Since WWI, the ACLU has continuously fought government abuses, and “has become so ingrained in American society that it is hard to imagine an America without it”.

There are also a variety of lobby groups and NGOs formed in the U.S. to fight and defend specific causes, but the ACLU remains the flagship for Constitutional rights. At present, the Philippines doesn’t have a flagship organization that stands on principle. Various NGO’s purport to defend this and that, for this group and that. The question is whether or not an ACLU in the Philippines can be replicated? If so, How?

The ACLU in the U.S. is national in scope but organized federally, with autonomous state affiliates (three in California), including Puerto Rico. So a first step to forming an ACLU might be to reach out to the ACLU to form an affiliate NGO in the Philippines. If that is not feasible, then request advisory aid to form a similar organization in the Philippines. Most institutions that America has bequeathed the Philippines, tend to deteriorate, so care should be given to the talent recruited for this organization if it is to succeed.

One way of ensuring that the ACLU in the Philippines stays faithful to the ACLU principle outlined for the past almost 100 years, is to recruit Filipino-American lawyers and academics. This talent will possess the heritage of being Filipino but the mindset of American defense of liberties. Ideally, Filipino-Americans who are already involved with ACLU or constitutional rights groups could form the core group. To ensure the Philippine ACLU will not be undermined by the Philippine government and/or corrupt individuals, the bulk of its funds should come from the U.S.

Legal training will be crucial, which in essence will simply return the Filipino lawyers to the fundamentals of law they learned in law school, before being exposed to crony governance. There’s very little difference in practicing law in the Philippines and in the US. The biggest culture shock for Filipino lawyers either visiting or moving permanently to the U.S. is the fact that American lawyers can advertise, and advertise they do, to the point of nuisance. But the point is not only the availability of legal counsel, but a market that fosters competition.

C. Class action lawsuitsclass action

Aside from competition in the legal field, as perfected by the ACLU, one method stands out as highly effective: the class action lawsuit.

“The most important thing a lawyer can do is to become an advocate of powerless citizens. I am in favor of lawyers without clients. Lawyers should represent systems of justice. I want to create a new dimension to the legal profession. What we have now is a democracy without citizens. No one is on the public’s side. All the lawyers are on the corporation’s side.” Ralph Nader, Newsweek, October 3, 1969.

The question is, how do we set the conditions that will encourage these lawyers who represent systems of justice, without clients — acting on principle?

The underlying purpose of the class action lawsuit is punitive. In a country where corruption is normal, where cases are handled individually on a case-by-case basis, then before any case progresses to litigation, the lawyers, victims and witnesses are simply bought-off. The class action lawsuit may be the only way to bring the government, companies and corrupt individuals to their knees. By stringing together a large number of clients in one case, it will be very costly for vested interests to simply buy individuals out. Anything costly will bring an adjustment in behaviors.

In theory, the modern class action lawsuit was developed in the 1940s, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that it gained traction. Since then, class action lawsuits have put an end to unjust practices by focusing on the bottom line. The first order of business for a Philippine ACLU would be how to develop the justifications and then the traditions of group litigation in the Philippines.

So far, one example of a successful class action lawsuit can be found in the landmark case Oposa v. Factora, where the Philippine Supreme Court held that a group of minors had the right to sue on behalf of succeeding generations because every generation has a responsibility to the next to preserve nature. From that came the Oposa Doctrine. Nothing in the form of enforcement ever transpired, but it’s the closest thing to a successful class action lawsuit I’ve been able to identify.

The class action lawsuit is probably the most difficult of the three solutions presented, with education the easiest to do. The class action lawsuit has been so successful in curbing government and corporate malfeasance in the U.S. that in the late 1990s, corporations began making arbitration clauses mandatory for customers. Arbitration basically coaxes customers to forfeit their right to a day in court if they want to do business with said corporate entity (ie. hospitals, telecoms, etc.). Arbitration is described as two equal parties coming together, usually breaking bread, to find an amicable solution — basically returning the power to buy off individuals to the institution, thus mitigating costs incurred in lawsuits.

So in attempting to actualize the precedence of class action lawsuits in the Philippines, it is best to keep in mind that these arbitrations are now common in the U.S.


Of the three solutions, the schools can easily develop a curriculum designed to engender Justice, Courage, Wisdom and Temperance, all virtues necessary for a nation to prosper, and very needed for those who choose to pursue Justice as their profession. A Philippine ACLU is doable but will require more work. It requires leadership and committed people working their connections in the U.S. (and other Western nations). The powerful tool of class action lawsuits would follow from that initiative.


304 Responses to “A Filipino ACLU and lawyering in the Philippines”
  1. IBRSalazar says:

    Lance Corporal, this is truly a great article. Some talking points that occur to me as a reaction:

    1) The Philippines and Filipinos lack a true sense of national community, of common identity – and as a result both civil society and identification with the state are weak but still developing. I have a set of articles in my own blog about this, readers please just click the link on my name above.

    2) Lawyers from privileged families may often not have the depth of character like you wrote. But depth of character is difficult to find in the Philippines as well. Those from less privileged families may have depth of character if they belong to the rare group that manages to overcome both financial issues and class barriers, these few individuals are very strong. But some may have gone through compromises to get to where they are. My grandfather Atty. Irineo Salazar may have been an amateur boxer in his youth from the indications I have gotten. And yes, he was a womanizer and a gambler, a rustical man from a rich peasant family who made it. Now think of what kind of circles boxers often move in, I have indications these circles may have “owned” him. There is a story about my activist aunt confronting him and him answering “you are unkind to me” – and that “life is a mystery sometimes”, possibly his way of saying girl you don’t know how what I had to do to give all of you a better life – the first priority for nearly everyone not born really rich.

    3) I have indications Rody Duterte is a dedicated man who believes in justice, he IS a true lawyer. But his path seems more like the dark path that District Attorney Harvey Dent went in the movie “The Dark Knight”. Allegedly Duterte once answered, when asked about extrajudicial killings that he has too much respect for a court of law to kill anyone inside a courtroom – an indication that he may have gone his alleged vigilante way because he is frustrated by the inefficient judicial system.

    4) The Philippine legal system is a confused maze of old tribal laws even the Spanish respected – old family land papers I have from the 19th century show that before the Spanish civil code was enacted in the Philippines in 1889 and prior to land records, an affidavit of two neighbours certifying you and your ancestors had tilled the land for 30 years was enough for the beginning – Spanish civil and penal codes which are valid until today (they aren’t bad, they are Napoleonic, meaning similar to what most of Latin America has, as well as France, Spain, Italy, even Romania) plus American business laws and two American-inspired constitutions (1935 and 1973), plus an overlay of laws from Commonwealth, pre-Marcos republic, Marcos period and post-Marcos period laws including the 1987 Constitution which has its own truly Filipino accent. A mixture of Latin codified law (its roots are in Justinians Roman laws!) and Anglo-Saxon precedent law (which has its roots in Germanic laws that were passed by the Witan, the wise men of the tribe) plus Filipino add-ons of all sorts and a Malay mentality that for example brought forth the Family Code as well as the notion that without clear parenthood, you can never be a natural-born Filipino citizen – a very Pacific cum Austronesian notion, anywhere you go from Samoa to Tahiti you have not truly introduced yourself if you have not named your ancestors from both sides, mother and father.

    5) Philippine institutions are a jumble of substrates and overlays as well. A fiscal is a district attorney – the term is SPANISH in origin and shows that the foundations of legal practice were laid in the 19th century when Spain started to rule the Philippines directly. The Supreme Court is an American colonial institution in its origins, very obviously. The Sandiganbayan anti-corruption court was instituted in the Marcos period, surprisingly. The Ombudsman came afterwards. Meaning it is not just hard to practice law with so many conflicting traditions that make jurisprudence – deciding how the letter of the law is to be interpreted as to intent – very difficult. The system is also dogged by problems of conflicting jurisdiction, as evidenced by the recent CA, Supreme Court and Ombudsman conflict in the Junjun Binay case. Filipinos not just have a culture that is a confused legacy of many colonial regimes and their own governments, they also have a jumble of laws and institutions. To play safe, many just stick to the letter of the law and do not dare try to find out its spirit as this is very dangerous ground. This inhibits the development of jurisprudence and an own legal tradition, although recent debates have shown that Filipinos are able to debate and decide what laws MEAN for them – see decisions on the Condonation doctrine.

    So it is a whole complex of topics. Fil-Am lawyers may be helpful, but they will have to have enough understanding of their own home culture and how it is developing especially in terms of notions of what is right and what is wrong – discussions in Raissa’s blog show that development.

    FLAG – forget it. FLAG is part of the communist-controlled NDF – National Democratic Front. They are partial to a certain political cause, not to civil liberties as a whole. Locally, conflicts are handled by the barangays, just like ancient datus used to solve problems in their tribes. The idea of what is wrong and right does exist at the village level, but it is radically different from the foreign and then elite laws the Philippines has. This cultural schizophrenia is there not only at legal level. Indications are that these two worlds are converging though, which is good. Because a legal system that does not truly match cultural ideas about what is wrong and right is not workable. Well the legal system is changing, and so are cultural perceptions – at least I hope it is like that from what I see in Raissa’s blog. Figuring that out is a process Filipinos have to go through, with help from outside but within their own framework. Until the common Filipino sees that state and its laws as HIS state and HIS laws – and not THEIR laws and THEIR state, meaning that of the ruling class, will take time but only then will something like a Philippine ACLU take off. Lawyers and judges who are often elite will have to see themselves as true public servants and not have the postcolonial attitude of serving a state that just lords over common people like the Spanish colonial state did.

    Lots of basics have to be changed while forming such an organization, and it needs truly dedicated and patient people to push it forward. Filipino expats on one side, but also local people who know how to navigate the Filipino “jungle” and convince people. But who said it’s easy?

    • Ireneo, thanks. It’s an ‘outside, looking-in’ type article, so I’m missing plenty of nuance here. The ones you’ve listed are great examples of nuance missed. But I’m also coming from a ‘things broken can be fixed’ perspective, so what’s easiest to fix here?

      Points 1) and 4) are related Filipino identity vis-a-vis the state, the Filipino family vis-a-vis the justice system there. There’s two approach, either we take this reality into consideration and work around it; OR we do away with tribal mentality altogether and start from scratch.

      I read up on CANA yesterday, and their online strategy seem to be going the dismantle the tribal mentality route by way of forming new communities, virtual then meeting up to get things done. So it’s wisdom of the Filipino family (oxymoron at its best) or wisdom of the Crowd. The de-centralized approach if it can hit critical mass, as in the Arab Spring, or Napster-type sharing or Uber, will change things for sure.

      But this reliance on the internet is on shaky ground if the Internet backbone there is prone to black outs, DOS (DDOS), is super slow, etc. My next article will be on internet service in the Philippines (although as a non-techie, cursory RFIs and Googling is proving difficult).

      All the theorizing online will have to be actualized in the physical world, where real physical threats exist. Although I’m skeptical with the doing away of the Filipino family approach transposed by online community and action, I also understand that this is the only viable option that will realistically fruit the intended worldview.

      That internet worldview of a de-centralized, robust, full of vitality and vigor, optimism is out there, and in a way the Philippines (ie, CANA, etc.) have tapped into this. It just needs to be implemented. So far, this vision is only found in Joe’s readership–I think it’s also in Raissa’s readership but since Tagalog and English are used interchangeably I can’t really capture the essence of their comments.

      Again it’s about the big picture and thinking bigger, the idea shouldn’t be for the Philippines to become like America, because I can list a bunch of things wrong with us as well, but the point should be to become a great country on their own, like Singapore but fun.

      Points 2) and 3) privileged families vs. struggling families vis-a-vis the cardinal Virtues. I’m generalizing when I say Filipino lawyers from privileged family lack depth of character. The flip side is also true, that Filipino lawyers from a struggled background cam lack depth of character–but I would categorize this as more a Machiavellian choice, than lack of exposure to the real world.

      Because the bulk of the lawyers there come from privileged backgrounds, as compared to a democratic sampling of lawyers in the US, focus should be with this variety of Filipino lawyer. A way of fixing this one-sided reality of Filipino lawyers is to expand the population, make it more representative.

      In California alone, of about 12,000 lawyers that take the bar, about 8,000 (give or take) every year pass–that’s just California. So every interest, identity, issue is represented. Then add the fact that lawyers here can advertise, and you have sufficient representation in disability and injuries cases. Of course there’s a negative component to too-much law suits, that’s another issue, my point is just the expansion of the practice of law.

      I try to address this democratizing process of law, making more lawyers from a variety of backgrounds, through education by starting them off in high school (the new 11th and 12th grades). Not just in law but also journalism and in training leaders.

      The SoH (CANA, etc.) can adopt a high school, or create an independent private high school that will focus on training new lawyers, leaders, journalists and entrepreneurs. Prepare them for law school early on. Whether privileged or poor, the cardinal Virtues can be taught.

      In California, and few other states, you don’t have to attend law school to take the bar. You can apprentice under practicing lawyers, take the bar, and practice law. I’m not sure if there’s an exception like that there, for an apprenticeship route, but basically that’s what the high school program will be doing early on.

      Once you cultivate, these Ralph Nader-type lawyers, crusaders, one way of inoculating them from the things that your own Atty. Salazar and Mayor Duterte had to do is to set-up the ACLU-type organization. There’s power in numbers, ideally one doesn’t have to go the Dark Knight route to get things done. But realistically, and this is true here also, the cleanest of lawyers need fixers. The point here is to limit the use of fixers, and focus on strengthening institutions and traditions that make the state strong, thus galvanizing the Filipino identity.

      Point 5)To play safe, many just stick to the letter of the law and do not dare try to find out its spirit as this is very dangerous ground. This inhibits the development of jurisprudence and an own legal tradition This is where the ACLU starting in the 1920s made its mark. But whether or not it the ACLU trajectory can be replicated there remains to be seen, but for the purposes of discussion, let’s assume it can be, so lay out all the reasons it can’t be, then focus on how to do it. Attack from all angles.

      Ireneo, I’m no lawyer, I’m coming at this from a Mil-Civil Affairs perspective, basically that institutions work and that it betters the human condition. I’m missing a lot of important details here, but can you expand more on these sentiments you’ve brought up, and how from a legal perspective it can be fixed: “The system is also dogged by problems of conflicting jurisdiction”; “The Philippine legal system is a confused maze of old tribal laws, Spanish civil/penal codes, American business laws/constitutions, Latin codified laws, Anglo-Saxon precedent laws…”

      • The sentiment I brought up is that it is very hard to be a lawyer in the Philippines because the law is very complex and the system sometimes deadlocks itself. Don’t have much more than what I mentioned plus what some lawyers have told me. But the good news is:

        http://www.doj.gov.ph/files/2014/Strategic_Initiatives_2014-2016.pdf – DOJ is at least on paper doing something about it – points 2a-8, 3c-1&2, also 3e-1 to 3. Revamping the entire system is next to impossible, but making sure it works consistently is a start.

        https://www.doj.gov.ph/criminal-code-committee.html – and they are working on a new, more consistent criminal code – with the help of Munich-based Hanns-Seidel Foundation. There are some details on why the current code is hard to work with and a draft proposal.

        • Yes, that is good news. Thanks for the links.

          This Hanns-Seidel Foundation looks interesting, have they other works in the Philippines?

          Irineo, what’s your take on German-Filipinos (either ones born there by Filipino parents or ones from a German parent and Filipino one) returning to the Philippines to either open businesses or for the more idealistic notion of helping out in the Philippines?

          I met a couple of half German/half Filipino girls in Manila but they were basically air-heads and wanted to be movie stars there. But I met other European/Filipinos who had some really cool plans in the Philippines, I think there’s more of them than the movie star wanna-bees.

          • http://www.hss.de/english/international-relations/international-cooperation.html

            “Philippines: empowering the micro finance sector; strengthening human rights and communal administration” is what I see here. They also finance scholars to Germany.

            HSS is closely connected to the ruling party in the Bavaria, the Christian Social Union (CSU). Political foundations in Germany were an important factor in educating people for the new democracy after the war. After that they went abroad to spread the good word.

            I really don’t know too much about the younger German-Filipinos, OK Melody Gersbach but that is the typical showbiz stuff many returning mestizas get into. My indications are that the attitude to them also has changed, like what you wrote about returning Fil-Ams.

            The younger generation of German-Filipinos here is pretty well-established and successful, I mean those up to age 35, those around 20 are now studying and so. Those successful here will rarely go back because they know the old social discrimination their parents experienced, usually the migrants here are from poorer backgrounds than those who went to the USA. Things have gotten better now, but here in Europe the past is not forgotten as quickly as in the Philippines or in the USA. Usually Austrian-Filipinos will go back more easily than German-Filipinos, Vienna = UN many Pinoys there so another social class, even if just in perception. Social discrimination in the Philippines takes many forms, the worst being ignoring people, misleading them, ridiculing them in various ways.

        • Joe America says:

          Now I LOVE those links. MRP will be shocked, I am sure:

          Sub-Strategy 2.a. Increase the capacity and effectiveness of criminal investigation and prosecution:

          1) Establishment of additional modern crime laboratories. Reduce dependence on testimonial evidence as well as the time/logistics for forensic evidence examination

  2. karl garcia says:

    There must be a reason that class suits don’t work here.


    Some random thoughts:

    -Before I commented that we have too many lawyers,so many that you see notary publics in every corner.

    -Martial Law had many human rights cases,the recovered ill gotten assets of Marcos is meant for the victims.

    -Irineo’s comment that FLAG is controlled by the Communist party,is maybe due to the fact that the suspected communists or even leftists are defended by human rights lawyers.

    -The justice on wheels program is quite a success.The backlogs reduced, and some cases just went to mediation.

    • Joe America says:

      The last two paragraphs of the article get to the point, that the problem is economics. An attorney can’t earn enough, or has to do an incredible amount of work to prove a case that may be hard to prove. I suspect the damage would have to be so gross, and the class so large . . . no can do.

      Interesting that death has such a low value. The more I learn about Philippine law, the less I understand.

      Here are the last two paragraphs jammed together:

      First, the damage given by the Supreme Court for a death is 50,000.00 pesos. Hello? To get more damages, you must prove how much you were earning before the injury, how long you could have continued to work without the injury, and how long you could have lived a fruitful life without the injury. Even then, as you have read in the reports about the damages paid by Claudio Teehankee, Jr. to the families of his victims, the courts do not give more than ten million pesos. Trust me, most of this amount will be used to pay your lawyers, your experts, court fees such as transcript of stenographic notes, sheriff’s costs, filing fees, and your stress.

    • karl,

      Notarizing here are done by people who print t-shirts for Little League baseball teams, or UPS/Fedex store employees. I know realtors who notarize. This is an example of legal work that can be easily outsourced, or filled by http://www.legalzoom.com/

      Although I see your concern for ‘too many lawyers’, I would argue that compared to your 2,000 that pass the bar to the 8,000 that pass the bar just in California alone, the Philippines is actually suffering from a shortage.

      Add in the fact that lawyers there are just doing transactional law, doing wills and notarizing, you have an under-employment problem.

      -The justice on wheels program is quite a success.The backlogs reduced, and some cases just went to mediation.

      Can you go further on this program and cases they’ve won?

      “Our country is not a place to file class suits. We do not have the money to hire experts who can conduct the necessary private investigation into hazardous or toxic drugs. We do not have the money to pay for the filing fees which will be enormous since damages will be sought.

      In fact, our courts are not too familiar with class suits, and that was made painfully obvious by the length of time it took for the Pepsi case to proceed through the judicial minefield.

      Thanks for that article.

      Unfamiliarity with class actions is an easy fix. As for experts and investigators, the Philippine ACLU can collaborate with its American counterparts. Eventually, these corporate abuses will land in American shores so it behooves American consumer protection agencies to fight these abuses where ever they surface.

      I agree with Joe, it does look like the problem is economics. Usually int’l corporations and powerful individuals there simply buy off and/or threaten victims, with American collaboration in these cases,

      there’s a chance the economic side can be alleviated, to focus on establishing precedent for the class actions–again consumer protection agencies know all too well that these abuses eventually will affect Americans.

      • It bewilders me that the 4 cardinal virtues you mentioned are part of the Catholic teachings, Justice is one of them, and Philippines as a Catholic nation should have this virtue down pat. Yet, it seems that most Filipinos have not internalized the real meaning of this virtue. It also appears that commutative justice is widely known and utilized but had been interpreted in a Filipino version. The quid pro quo idea was parlayed in the buying of lawyers and justices. The other types of justice: distributive and social justice are often ignored because they were taken as a cause by the leftists.

        I can see why class actions suits will not flourish in the Philippines. Corporations with deep pockets will exploit Filipino style commutative justice and the case will be dead on arrival.

        • There’s been attempts at class action lawsuits in the Philippines, and that ‘in and of itself’ is good. But yeah, these powerful individuals and company’s ability to buy-off people and/or threaten them is the priority.

          The ACLU is widely touted as Communist and socialist, and the folks who stood up this organization were in fact so. But over almost 100 yrs, it’s morphed into something viable. So things can be leftist yet still have the capacity to improve lives, the ACLU provides this example.

        • karl garcia says:

          I say it is a success because our jam-packed jails are emptied,my only problem with that are repeat offenders,but if the not guilty are finally exonerated after being in jail without his or her case moving,that is good.
          The problem in jails are instead of providing rehabilitation, we get repeat offenders, we get movies of hitmen who are prisoners let out by prison officials, we get drug lords and other crime lords going in and out without a fuss except a video.We get jails turning into concert halls.
          Lance Corporal please give your inputs on capital punishment.

          • My take on extrajudicial killings and capital punishment, is that both are inherently same. We’re crazy about capital punishment here, while in Europe they’ve pretty much done away with that notion. Western Europe’s on the right path, follow them.

            I believe there’s a Men’s colony in Palawan that’s been regaled as a model prison.

            What I saw at the barangay level were people exhibiting a lot empathy, ex. brothers were caught stealing, barangay watchdogs held them (after beating them), barangay leaders investigated, story: they were from a poor family, barangay leaders took ’em back to their town, talked to family and leaders there, and a stern warning was given, backed by a threat.

            There was human interaction in trying to solve that criminal matter. Police never had to arrest, it was handled by civilians, no local or national gov’t involvement. So there’s value in that, and care should be taken not to follow us in arrests and prisons, especially in the privatization of prisons.

            Like I’ve stated before, I’ve felt more fear walking around in Manila than in Mindanao, mostly because of the drug addicts and crimes associated with drugs. You can attempt to arrest individual drug addicts, but unless you go straight for the jugular the head of the supply chain, you’ll get nowhere. You can’t arrest your way out of this problem, we’ve tried it doesn’t work.

            Better investigative resources and better lawyers and judges that will not be bought or tuck tail and hide is what’s needed, once a case is handed to them they should be relentless. Go straight for the jugular and focus all efforts at the top of the supply chain, which will be rich families, in politics, no doubt.

            So that’s where this article would be relevant, but drug addiction and crimes resulting from poverty are outside the scope of this article. Prosecuting the big shots, giving ’em hard time (that means no live bands and karaoke and girls and drugs), the Justice system should be adjusted for this endeavor.

            The lesser crimes attempt to handle it at the barangay level, with families and peers, community. That’s where we messed up, we treated all crime the same. Lack of empathy. The black community suffered the most.

            • karl garcia says:

              Some must not leave the barangay hall,,there must be more para-legals, those who flunked bar exams must have something to do before reviewing for the next exams and they may start at their barangay.
              Mediation instead of court cases.

              For legislation, even if I complain of so many pending legislation, and so many laws, like the thing you notice about lawyers,there are plenty but not plenty enough,we still need a a lot of laws.
              The staff of the lawmakers consists most of lawyers and law grads

            • Steve says:

              I actually believe that the focus on supply is the single most defective and irrational aspect of the “war on drugs”. Supply does not create demand, demand creates supply. Always been that way, will always be that way. Targeting suppliers has done nothing to reduce demand and has constrained supply only enough to keep the price of drugs stupendously high. As long as that’s the case, there will always be somebody willing to take the risk to earn the payday.

              In the US, of course, the misplaced focus on supply is perhaps because demand is often white and middle class, while supply is typically black or Hispanic.

              To me the whole “save the user, jail the pusher” mantra is backwards. Any anti-drug program that wants a half chance at success has to focus on demand, not supply.

              • NHerrera says:

                I agree.

              • You two have a point. And a good strategy has to include both. The best example of demand side attack is the smoking ads here, 1). shaming the smokers and 2). scaring the smokers. Aside from the ‘This is your brain on drugs’ ad campaign, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk9XY8Nrs0A , nothing really matched the anti-smoking campaign in scope, backed by legislation.

                Also, Steve, when I talk about supply side, I’m not talking about drug pushers, but the source. Because if you don’t stop them, their new found wealth will become a national security issue, ie. money laundering, cut-out business that end up undermining legit businesses, etc.

                So any strategy has to include both demand and supply.

  3. Steve says:

    Dinagat, and the Ecleos… man, that brings back some memories. I spent a couple of weeks on Dinagat in 83, writing about the Ecleos on behalf of a potential investor in the nickel mine on Nonoc, which depended on Dinagat for its water supply. That place registered an 11 on the weird-o-meter, and that was after several years of knocking around Mindanao looking for the strange.I could tell a story or two about that place

    But I digress. One critical difference between the Philippine and US legal systems is that in the Philippines there are no juries. Cases are decided by judges alone. In theory they decide on the basis of law, in practice the decisions are often made according to political and economic interest, particularly outside the cities, where the judges and the political/economic elite belong to the same ingrown circle. Getting a positive result for your clients, as a lawyer, often has more to do with connections and inner circle access. This often does not foster idealism among the practitioners.

    • IBRSalazar says:

      Yes, it is judge-based like most of continental Europe, even if there are juries on important matter in Germany, for example. It is mainly code-based from Spanish times with some common law elements from US times: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_legal_codes

    • Steve,

      You have to tell us these stories of Dinagat. Was it just Church of Scientology or FLDS Church weird or was it “The Serpent and the Rainbow” weird? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eFMD-WFNXQ

      That’s a good point about the lack of juries, but then again jurors would probably be more easily co-opted by the powerful. Maybe the answer is not so much in the concept of a jury of peers there, but in a grand jury-type institution composed of respected individuals, and then just rotate, re-new every so often.

      Have these grand jurors write op-eds on every single case, explaining their decisions, to get the public educated on the process.

      • Steve says:

        Dinagat was closer to Serpent and Rainbow territory, without the special effects… I didn’t see any evidence of actual supernatural powers, though the ability to convince huge numbers of people that you have supernatural powers might be considered a supernatural power in itself. i did spend some time with both Ruben Sr and the ill-fated Ruben Jr,, who in those days fancied himself a rock star, played a lot of guitar, and showed no interest whatsoever in becoming Divine Master. He actually seemed fairly amiable at that point, before he got onto the shabu and inherited the Divine Master gig.

        It would be a long long story to tell the whole thing. Apparently there are still those who believe, even online:


        In dealing with both Philippine justice and Philippine politics, I’ve long believed that the problems and deficiencies stem from the political culture, specifically from widespread acceptance of the idea that those with influence are above the rules, and that there are natural prerogatives that go with power. I do not believe that cultural problems can be addressed by structural changes: they have to be addressed at their roots.

  4. Joe America says:

    @LCX, I like the “solutions based approach” to the subject. I am skeptical whether the ACLU would consider the Philippines within their bailiwick, although there may be international human rights advocacy organizations that might. I also think Philippine lawyers and even people would not want America so engaged in solving Filipino problems. It may not be logical, that they would prefer the status quo to initiatives from a former occupier, but that’s the nature of Filipino sovereignty/pride, I think.

    As a John Grisham trained tort lawer, without papers, I’d look for a first case. A humdinger, where a lot of people are being materially damaged, and I’d identify them, recruit them, agree on a split of proceeds, and go for it.

    Mamasapano shows the problem though. If it were negligent death, 44 times P50,000 is only P2.2 million. Throw in 44 times 20 years (career) times an annual salary of P240,000 and we start to get into some numbers: P211.1 million. Lots of work. Iffy case. No relevance to other public issues. Hard to justify.

    A medical case might be better, to factor in hospital and doctor costs. Say a drug that is advertised widely, sold widely, but does nothing. I suspect there are a lot of them around, but putting together the damages would be a horrendous task.

    I suppose there is a reality to this . . . one that is quite discouraging . . .

  5. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    In the Philippines, nobody takes justice seriously. Gloria did not. So does The Binays. So does Trillanes. Ampatuan is laughing hard. The Philippine Media does not have analyst in the likes when O.J. was on trial. The Philippine Media parrots what the name-and-shame in the Senate. I think I am the only analyzing, I thank John Grisham for that and those talking heads at O.J. trial. To Filipinos laws and justice are just a novelty part and parcel of the Republic of the Philippines to be legitimately called a democratic country.

    In Ecleo’s case, it is FEAR !!! If clerks of court and judges recuse themselves it is because they are AFRAID. If they run to the police that they are threatened, the police do not investigate. Instead, they wait for walk-in witnesses. And those courageous witnesses mysteriously disappears and cannot be located despite they are sipping Chardonnay at Peninsula Hotels with the detectives looking for them. Just like Binay Pals.

    Unlike The Binays, The Binay Pals’ accounts are not frozen. Their phones are not tapped. Credit cards activities not monitored. Relatives and next of kins not shadowed. They are not checking Register of Deeds of their properties they may be hanging out and giving the Filipinos the finger and laughing very hard over single malt Bourbon.

    • I agree, MRP. Curing fear will be priority if we are to replicate Ralph Nader or Erin Brockovich-type crusaders. But the Greeks have mapped all this out for us: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/05/19/10-overlooked-truths-about-taking-action/

      So there is a cure for fear, it’s just a matter of re-creating it in the Philippines, specifically for the lawyers, journalists & future leaders there. If you have any thoughts, from your vantage, on how this can be done in the Philippines, please share.

      • Steve says:

        It’s a tough row for crusading lawyers, journalists, and would-be leaders who would challenge entrenched power in much of the Philippines. It’s easy top talk about conquering fear, but in many cases the carrot (freedom from poverty) and the stick (a visit from two men on a motorcycle) are pretty compelling reasons not to rock the boat. When riding the boat gets you a liveable income and rocking the boat gets you a bullet in the head… well, you can understand why people make the choices they do.

        • I totally understand the practically of those decisions, Steve, of not rocking the boat and as the guy on the arm chair now comfortably sitting and writing these lofty solutions, trust me, I don’t take this lightly, and please don’t misconstrue all this as over-simplifications.

          But having also been at the receiving end of these threats, all these Virtues that I’m espousing were the reasons I’m still alive today. edgar, mentioned having heroes in our talk on another thread.

          Without these Virtues (taught by some really good officers) and heroes (exemplified in the field by awesome senior enlisteds), I would’ve just been flapping in the wind out there. So the idea of praxis, implementing these Virtues, is center here.

          I do understand that death is a very real outcome in attempting to actualize all this, mitigating that should be another point of discussion. I saw a bunch of security guards everywhere there, that had absolutely no concept of muzzle awareness (point their shotguns at you) and finger discipline (finger on the trigger, while point their shotgun at you).

          So with our lawyers and this ACLU-type organization, we’ll have to brainstorm a better way to safeguard our people. Better trained security who don’t do static guard, but who go out there generate leads, collate intel and interdict.

  6. Every law school in the Philippines should include “To Kill A Mockingbird” and all the Grisham’s novels on their recommended reading list. The Philippines needs a lot of Atticus Finches and a gamut of principled and morally upright lawyers to stop its culture of impunity.

    I am surprised that there are no nationalists shrieking here yet. They will surely shoot down your idea of Fil-Ams manning an ACLU type organization that is funded (even partly) by Uncle Sam in the native terra. They will shout “SOVEREIGNTY” until we all turn deaf.

    A lot of Native Filipinos are highly suspicious of Fil-Ams, too. I think that is one aspect that MRP is trying to put on table when he gives his reader the exaggerated picture of a condescending Fil-Am. I think it is comical because I have yet to meet a Filipino like him here in the US albeit refrains or negative remarks about the snail pace of everything in PI are uttered occasionally.

    Excellent article. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on how we can have a better Philippines.

    • This was a morally upright lawyer: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2479&dat=20001007&id=uFg1AAAAIBAJ&sjid=gSUMAAAAIBAJ&pg=1638,33392104&hl=de

      Prof. Jose Espinosa, Raissa Robles’s father. Helped many people in Marcos times.

    • Thanks, Juana, movies and books of lawyers (and journalists) fighting the good fight are very popular in the US.

      But I’m somewhat incredulous on how these movies will be reinterpreted there, especially with your http://www.mtrcb.gov.ph/ , I remember watching a movie and it was one of those films where it was bad guys vs. thief who was the good guy, and in the end credits roll your movie censorship board couldn’t help but tack on their own version of an ending, by adding a few words mentioning the thief being caught by authorities. I get that it’s one of their missions: “Encourage value-based media and entertainment culture”, but you’re not suppose to change stuff. That’s just not cool. I’ve always wondered what other stunts they’ve pulled to twist stories their way.

      There’s always DVDs and streamed movies, so the MTRCB is actually a non-issue.

      These cardinal Virtues aren’t about black and white, there’s plenty of grey areas to account.

      To quote Mike Ehrmantraut (from “Better Call Saul”): “I’ve known good criminals and bad cops, bad priests, honorable thieves. You can be on one side of the law or the other, but if you make a deal with somebody, you keep your word. You can go home today with your money and never do this again, but you took something that wasn’t yours and you sold it for a profit. You are now a criminal. Good one, bad one, that’s up to you.

      Playwrights and Screen writers (and authors) are always playing around with the grey areas of these Virtues.

      Also on cardinal Virtues amongst Catholics, the early Christians took heavily from Plato and the classical Greeks, but it wasn’t applied the way Greeks lived these Virtues, especially the Spartans. Later on, St. Thomas Aquinas would favor Aristotle’s take on things, and there was less looking to the heavens (or forms according to Plato) and more categorizing things. So the virtues took a back seat, relegated to theory. Even in the US, it’s mostly an academic issue, the only place I know where these Virtues are lived day-in and day-out is in the military.

      So it’s also not as popular here, but since our institutions are imbued with these cardinal Virtues–Justice in the courts, Wisdom in academia, Courage in the military, Temperance is the one that’s not represented in institutions, since the pollution and corporate abuses of the 70s (hell, even before in 1870s) and on, there’s been Urban homesteading, vegetarianism, the Tiny House movement, volunteerism, DIY culture, less consumerism, etc.

      Temperance is an American institution lived day-in and day-out before consumerism became the norm, but homeostasis being what it is, there’s now a self-correcting process underway.

      “A lot of Native Filipinos are highly suspicious of Fil-Ams.”

      My experience was actually the opposite, Juana. Young, hip Fil-Ams (also Fil-Brits, Fil-Aussies, Fil-Germans, and kids who were half- [Japanese, Canadian, etc.] and half-Filipino) who opened up restaurants, bars, other businesses were looked-up to by young local Filipinos either in Cebu or Manila. Maybe you’re speaking more of the older generation, but within the younger generation there seems more acceptance and emulation of Fil-Ams, and others returning from the Diaspora. Hence my optimism here.

      So I think American-Filipino lawyers or NGO/consumer advocates will be welcomed, the balancing act here is that local Filipino lawyers/advocates have to carry their weight, the American-Filipino lawyers will have with them traditions rooted in decades of lessons-learned, strategy, tactics mapped out by the ACLU and other consumer-, civil-rights organizations. The local Filipinos’ responsibility is to ensure these ideals are shepherd and maneuvered through what Ireneo calls “the confused maze” that is Philippines and their justice system.

      • Juana Pilipinas says:

        I have not been to the Philippines for at least a decade. Most of my contemporaries are in the diaspora so we get in touch through social medias and modern technologies. I might arrange a visit to test your perception of the natives soon. I do hope you are right. Nothing will make me happier than finding out that my people has changed their views about Fil-Ams since my last visit.

        • Steve says:

          There is a caricature here of the Fil-Am who struts back lording it over the locals and grabbing every opportunity to point out how much better everything is in America, and thus (by implication) that the Fil-Am is somehow superior. The caricature does have some basis (I’ve met a few of them), but it is also sometimes applied to those who don’t deserve it.

          • I am sure the labeling of Fil-Ams has a lot to do with the attitude I observed when I was there. Many Fil-Ams often communicate, even dream in English and are multilingual/bilingual. Most Fil-Ams cannot help but to code switch when trying to speak with the natives or we will look like idiots if we have to translate what we are going to say in “pure” native language all the time. The conversation will be very awkward with long silences in between. I learned that code switching is often attributed to the elites of the Philippines so when one speak in “konyo” or Taglish, one is either putting on airs or exhibiting a superiority complex.

            To Filipino readers of this blog: Please understand that for most Fil-Ams, code switching is a way of trying to honestly communicate with other Filipinos. One’s character and personality is not affected by mixing two or three languages in able to express herself/himself. Understand that most of us are fluent in English and provincial dialects but have poor handle of the national language. A lot of us learned Tagalog through Pilipino language courses, movies and television shows. Truth be told, conversing with the natives is a memory often relished and cherished by Fil-Ams visiting the Philippines, so please try to understand us.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Juana, 2nd Generation Fil-Ams should run Philippine-style ACLU not those 1st Genration Fil-Ams because they also carried with them heavy cultural baggage. 2nd Gen Fil-Ams are ALREADY AMERICANS that are attuned to what is right.

      Juana, nobody would scream against 2nd Gen Fil-Ams running ACLU, because:

      1) WE EVEN IMPORT half-bred half-white, AMERICAN and GERMAN BEAUTIES to represent Philippines in international beauty contest why not 2nd Gen?
      2) WE EVEN have Americans (2nd Gen Fil-Am) from New Jersey and Bronx to sing the Philippine National Anthem in Marquez-Pacquiao and Mayweather-Pacquiao fights. No right thinking FiL-Filipino would ever sing Philippine National Anthem because the last time the singer sang HE WAS CRITICIZED !

      I agree 100% with Juana. Let us import Americans to run ACLU which is subtly like outsourcing ACLU to Americans.

      My DREAMS are now becoming a reality !!!!! Please do not WAKE ME UP from my slumber. I want to DREAM on!

      • Joe America says:

        Martin Nievera sang the national anthem with soul and was reprimanded because the laws demand that it be sung as a march. Therein lies the secret to the Philippine priority of nit over capability. It was sung beautifully. Stirring. Had me near tears. Nievera had to apologize when he returned.

  7. i7sharp says:

    I know next to nothing about law (or about many other things, for that matter).
    I try to make up for that by taking notes – by way of YGs (YahooGroup sites).
    That is one of the reasons I have set up so many of them – so many that I have lost track on many of them.
    When I tried to set up a site on “Law,” I realized I had already done so – just over a year ago at that.


    If I recall right I had spent only a total of not more than two hours for what you can find there (links, postings, …)

    IIMSSM, you can find more info about law in it than in most other sites – in the same amount of time you spend trying the links in it.

    • Thanks, i7sharp! Will check it out.

      You mentioned on another thread about mapping. I’m sure there’s application of that here, maybe in attempting to collate patterns of legal cases, ie. what type of cases win in say Mindanao compared to Luzon, which types of crimes are springing up in Bohol, or Cebu, then compare that to Mindanao.

      Here, police agencies have websites that track types of crimes from property to crimes against persons and you get a pretty good idea of patterns in your area.

      So maybe something similar for the Philippines, with Google maps we can see all these mining ventures, etc. Basically get as much information available to the public and dotted out on Google maps. Transparency at its finest.

      • Steve says:

        I expect you’d find that most court time is spent not on resolving crimes, but resolving disputes: over property, business, personal matters. Part of the court congestion problem comes from the common practice of whatever party holds the advantage in the status quo simply delaying the case until the issue becomes moot (a custody case decided by the minor reaching legal age) or the other party gives up. If you can’t get a positive resolution, going for no resolution at all is seen as a viable alternative. It’s an entrenched habit and the system puts up with it, probably more than they should.

  8. edgar lores says:

    I am still struggling to define the problem.

    1. As I have gathered, there are two legal systems:

    o Common Law
    o Civil Law

    2. The characteristics of Common Law are:

    2.1. Common law is generally uncodified.
    2.2. It is based on precedent.
    2.3. Judges determine the precedents to be applied
    2.4. It functions as an adversarial system, with two opposing parties before a judge who moderates.
    2.5. A jury decides the facts of the case.
    2.6. The judge determines the appropriate penalty.

    3. The characteristics of Civil Law are:

    3.1. Civil law is codified in comprehensive laws.
    3.2. It consists of three branches:
    3.2.1. Substantive law establishes which acts are subject to criminal or civil prosecution
    3.2.2. Procedural law establishes how to determine whether a particular action constitutes a criminal act.
    3.2.3. Penal law establishes the appropriate penalty
    3.3. Judges establish the facts of the case
    3.4. Decisions of legislators and legal scholars are more crucial in shaping civil law then judges.

    4. The Philippines has a hybrid legal system.

    4.1. We have Civil law from Spain.
    4.2. We have Common law from America. This is buttressed by statutory construction.
    4.3. The legal system is supported by Republic Acts (such as the Omnibus Election Code and the Cybercrime Law)
    o We have Sharia, which is codified religious law.

    5. The problems in the judiciary as I see it are.

    5.1. Lack of codification.
    5.1.1. Civil law attempts to be comprehensive but naturally it cannot be. The law requires refinement as the notion of justice changes and as new conditions arise, such as advances in technology.
    5.1.2. It is due to this lack that Republic Acts — which encompasses congressional laws, presidential decrees, and executive orders — are used to fill the gaps.

    5.2. Lack of precedents.
    5.2.1. We use precedents from America, and America use precedents from the United Kingdom.
    5.2.2. Precedents are based on principles of justice which may be just or unjust. The condonation doctrine (Aguinaldo) is an example of the latter.

    5.3. The lack in Civil Law and Common Law – in scope, in procedures and in precision – is, in my estimate, the root of judicial weakness. The symptoms of this weakness can be seen in the following:

    5.3.1. The excessive use of TROs.
    5.3.2. The excessive use of that catchall prayer: “Grave abuse of discretion”.
    5.3.3. The excessive “waste of time” in interpreting law, in particular, constitutional law.
    5.3.4. The unnecessary escalation of cases to the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.
    5.3.5. The reliance on church law as in marriage annulment case.
    5.3.6. The non-finality of justice as in the endless appeals, and in the FASAP and pork barrel cases.

    5.3.6. The lack has great impact on our political processes as well, such as in the absence of FOI and an anti-dynasty law.

    5.4. The glacial pace of justice as in the Ampatuan Massacre case.

    5.5. The sale of justice to the highest bidder.
    5.5.1. The corruption and subornation of justices, lawyers and witnesses

    5.6. The blurred lines of jurisdiction. This may be subsumed under 5.3, but it is such a huge problem.

    5.6.1. This is best illustrated by the ongoing Junjun Binay case.
    5.6.2. Perhaps special courts could be set up to address special areas like the Court of Agrarian Reforms. There could be one for Family Law and for Drug cases.

    5.7. Lastly, because of the weakness of the judiciary, we have the consequent problems of people resorting to other venues:

    5.7.1. Vigilante justice as practiced by Duterte.
    5.7.2. The prevalence of cohabitation due to the absence of divorce law.

    6. In view of the above, framing the question is important before offering solutions. Is the issue the education of the lawyers or the justice system itself? If it is the latter, what exactly are the main issues?

    6.1. It may be that we have the best of judicial systems considering that it is a hybrid, the best of two worlds.
    6.2. My sense is that education is a part of the problem but that the system itself is in need of great renovation and repair.
    6.3. Where does 80% of the judicial problem lie? If it is in the glacial pace, then the review of procedures has priority. I understand there are steps being taken in this direction, such as the submission of witness affidavits and increasing the number of judges sitting on the bench. But reviewing the guidelines for the issuance of TROs, the creation of special courts, and unburdening the chief justice of administrative duties should be looked into.

    I may – or may not considering the Brobdingnagian dimensions of the problem in our culture of impunity – try a second bite of the chilli and offer my take on the suggested solutions of a civil liberties union and class action lawsuits.

    P.S. I have not mentioned the correctional system (or penal system) which is properly under the Executive branch, but is contributory to the culture of impunity.

    • “6. In view of the above, framing the question is important before offering solutions. Is the issue the education of the lawyers or the justice system itself? If it is the latter, what exactly are the main issues?”

      edgar, great summation of the problem. The underlying assumption here is that lawyers, not only become judges, but also become powerful in the legal field and in politics and in business (after representing probate cases they invariably accumulate estate and assets).

      So the main issues are what you, Irineo, Steve, Juana, karl, Joe, etc. have outlined above. There is a systemic problem. But at the end of the day people make up these systems and institutions, every lawyer begins somewhere, their sense of Justice/Courage is honed or kindled either in some defining event or gradually.

      The point is that these Virtues are cobbled together, that’s where this idea of educating lawyers early on comes in. Identify the problem, then give them solutions, or have them come up with solutions, then when they pass the bar exam, there won’t be a culture shock, they’ll know the problems they’ll face–basically they’re gonna hit the beach running and you’ve have equip them with every conceivable weapon & intel available.

      “6.2. My sense is that education is a part of the problem but that the system itself is in need of great renovation and repair.”

      So once a new crop of lawyers are on the beach, establishing a beach-head, there will be chaos. The underlying purpose of the ACLU-type organization in the Philippines is to rally these new crop of lawyers–again, power in numbers, with funding playing a crucial role, this is what’s going to inoculate these new lawyers from getting bought-off or threats (ie. Ecleo’s men come a knockin’ our lawyers would have harder hitters hired, all to inoculate them from threats).

      With said threats neutralized, then the actual work of renovating or re-building systems are undertaken in earnest. It seems you’re differentiating the education component from the system component (this part I’ll defer to you guys to offer details), but in the wider scheme of things, education I’m describing here is part of the strategy to fix the system.

      P.S. I have not mentioned the correctional system (or penal system) which is properly under the Executive branch, but is contributory to the culture of impunity.

      Although related, the correctional system should be kept separate, and care should be taken not to follow the US example.

      That goes also for the bail system (both need fixing). Only two countries use the bail system. In the Philippines most people don’t bail out for lack of funds. In the US, there’s a big bail/bounty hunter (skip tracers) industry built around the bail system.

      You can’t arrest your way out of problems, and it’s only recently that people here have realized this. But it’s too late the damage has been done. Learn from us, don’t unduly create an expanded correctional system, most of all don’t privatize, you’ll just create a market.

      With all that said though, I would still prefer to go to prison here than there.

      I may – or may not considering the Brobdingnagian dimensions of the problem in our culture of impunity – try a second bite of the chilli and offer my take on the suggested solutions of a civil liberties union and class action lawsuits.

      edgar, I hope you do go for seconds and give us your take on solutions (education especially as per our discussion on the last thread, I’ve adjusted it, but I just couldn’t leave it an open ended issue, so I went with Socrates’ conclusion that Virtues can be taught) and class actions. I had to Google Brobdingnagian, but yes it is a complicated problem with all sorts of issues I’m sure we’ve not yet touched on, so your take is very important here. Thanks, man.

    • o We have Sharia, which is codified religious law.

      Unless it’s changed, when you say Sharia it’s just basically Islamic probate, marriage and other religious stuff, right? They haven’t gone the Aceh, Indonesia route and go full retard, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Y3FzVQi-R8

    • josephivo says:


      In the US the “result” is most important, in Europe the “intention” is more important. “What damage was done” by throwing a stone that caused an avalanche or “why did you throw that stone?”.

      Results are more objective, easier to compare, intention is more subjective, needs strict classifications.

  9. Bing Garcia says:

    Miriam Santiago is on the wrong side of history again.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes. It’s like she has a tin ear for solutions that are meaningful, and is high-skill at throwing wrenches into the machinery. Her protest of VFA without an opinion on what to do about China is as nonsensical as dissing the BBL for Constitutional issues without finding a way forward toward peace. Or vice versa.

  10. Steve says:

    There was actually a point in the mid 90s where the edifice seemed to be breaking… there were a string of cases in which high profile individuals were convicted and imprisoned for heinous crimes… a Congressman (rape of an 11 year old), a mayor/gambling lord (rape and multiple murder), a son of a Chief Justice (multiple murder), All were individuals who at one time would have been effectively immune to prosecution.

    Unfortunately that momentum was lost, and we’re back at the point where the justice system can’t even reach a verdict in the Ampatuan case.

    I’ve wondered if one course of action might be to adopt a “worst of the worst” strategy, where media, civil society, and right-thinking folk in government could be mobilized and focused on a single case of impunity where strong evidence exists. The idea would be to isolate and focus on really incorrigible individuals, revoke their immunity, and knock them down… then move on to another, building momentum for the idea of immunity revoked along the way.

    It will need the Government to act, especially against the absolute feudal lordship that some provincial dynasties enjoy. An analogous case might be the struggle against racial segregation and persecution in the American south. The Freedom Riders played a key role, and some died for it, but what ultimately broke the edifice (to the extent that it was broken) was the Federal courts and the FBI standing up for the law and taking matters out of the hands of the closed circle of local law enforcement, justice, and economic/political dominance.

    • “focused on a single case of impunity where strong evidence exists.”

      I agree. Scarface was caught via taxes, so there’s a level of creativity that’s necessary for the investigators and prosecutors then judges to be all on the same page on.

      “The Freedom Riders played a key role, and some died for it, but what ultimately broke the edifice (to the extent that it was broken) was the Federal courts and the FBI standing up for the law and taking matters out of the hands of the closed circle of local law enforcement, justice, and economic/political dominance.”

      That’s an excellent example. Also the ACLU advising the NAACP, those two organizations got the ball rolling… actually the people on ground, in the south, got things moving, but the lawyers (crusaders) played their part beautifully.

  11. josephivo says:

    In a few projects we did in DAR’s Court of Agrarian Reforms, we found that all time is spent on waiting. On cases with on an average throughput time of 3 years, only two weeks are adding value, the rest (more than 150 weeks!!!) is waiting. Most of the waiting was waiting for a “rubber” stamp of a superior, only a small percentage had a significant comment by this superior (Who took minutes or hours to make it). All follow-up systems were medieval and manual. By computerizing, introducing level related checklists and making one person solely responsible for throughput time, we managed to reduce the number of required signatures by 2/3 and the throughput times from 3 years to 10 weeks (but not all were happy with the result, to mobilize your networks and set up profitable “deals” one need more than a few weeks).

    Justice is more than justice alone, it is also management.

    • Joe America says:

      It struck me today that there is a logic warp in Filipino processes, and it is built mainly on the attitude of everyday, in everyway, everyone is seeking power, and a measure of impunity in that power. Retail clerks generally believe they have it, as there is no connection between good customer service and getting a raise. Customers are low on the power scale here. So customer service routines never get built into the processes. In a court, the accused is at the bottom of the pile, with attorneys and judges and even witnesses having the power to play with his life.

      I think the first class action lawsuit should be against the Supreme Court for denial of rights to every criminal now in jail. Add up how much they could be making if they were free, triple it for punitive damages, and sock it to the Court. Courts should be providing customer service for the accused and harmed. They are not. Take the difference between 150 weeks and 10 weeks, apply a cost or harm factor, and seek reimbursement.

      • joseph, Joe, this all reminds me of the DMV here (Dept of Motor Vehicles), which coincidentally (or not) is manned by Filipinos. I agree on managing bureaucratic hierarchies. There was this weird thing I noticed in banks, stores, etc. there, where they had one cash register in a cage no less and all the clerks had to line up to ring things up. More cash registers, maybe just have lots of cameras, for efficiency sake.

        As for customer service, the only place I found this there was in girlie bars (brothels were hit and miss, some were well run others seemed a meth den). They got commission for sipping on watered down drinks, also by going out, then tips (to insure proper service). The sex industry there practices customer service–the establishments owned by Americans or Europeans tend to practice better customer service.

        So it’s there, just not a place “respectable” people would look. The variety of customers also vary the type or tempo of customer service–ie Americans show up and it’s a party, Arabs show up and the girls mood dampers (Arabs are known to damage the goods), rich Filipinos show up and its either genuine fear or general avoidance.

        I guess even where there’s customer service there is still that hierarchy of service–ie, all customers are right, some are just more correct than others.

        Customer service in the criminal justice system here, although mechanical (no empathy), is in the form of time constrains–ie, their arraignment has to be within such and such time (I think 24 hours), then prelim has to happen within so many days, or the case gets thrown-out. Trial itself can drag on, but there’s always a keen sense of time in which the DA has to make its case. Even while being detained in the field by police–it has to be w/in a reasonable amount of time.

        It’s like the old Middle East adage that proved true: “Americans, you have expensive watches, but we Arabs have all the time in world.” Filipinos too judging from what Steve and joseph described of the courts.

        But I’m confident that these cultural traits can be taught, if some fat drunk Scandinavian girlie bar owner can teach his girls customer service, get them to sell bottles of beer and tequila, then I’m sure customer service can be taught. The whole time thing though, would probably be a lot trickier, but if instituted, ie. a cop can’t detain for too long; a court has to arraign otherwise the criminal has to be released, time constrains can work.

        I think the first class action lawsuit should be against the Supreme Court for denial of rights to every criminal now in jail.”

        Exactly, force the courts to implement customer service and these instituted time constrains in criminal procedures. Do away with the bail system there too as it contributes as justification for delay–ie. you don’t bail out, you stay in prison in definitely. Bail system here is way too ingrained, since there’s an industry built around it, not so there.

        • Joe America says:

          I like that Middle East adage, which for sure fits here, and the vision of “some fat drunk Scandanavian girlie bar owner” . . . You have been around, hahahaha

  12. josephivo says:

    Judges constantly deal with problems, with fighting parties. They are on a very negative diet. To survive people need appreciation, for judges it will never come from society, the victim see the penalty as not enough, for the culprit the penalty is too much. To survive they need a strong “esprit du corps” to get recognition from inside, therefor they should live in strict reclusion. In Belgium you only hear the head of the Supreme Court ones a year in a “State of the Judiciary” type of lecture with figures and facts and an overview of the hot judicial issues. All other judges are not allowed to communicate on judicial matters with anybody, talking to a lawyer outside the court a criminal offense. They live (blindfolded) above the common people.

    Justice is more than justice alone, it is also about psychology.

    • I disagree here, joseph, SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the US) publishes majority and minority reports for each case to explain their decisions. In light of what’s going on in Baltimore, Ferguson, NYC, with deaths resulting from police, I think there should be more Op-Ed type articles written by judges or grand jurors to explain their decisions to the public. Transparency not reclusion is more practical, it brings people in the fold, instead of making the court process arcane.

      • Joe America says:

        Justice Carpio has been doing that here regarding the ITLOS case and Chinese incursions into Philippine territory. It not only informs us of the legal issues, in terms that are actually comprehensible, but increases our “trust and confidence” rating of Justice Carpio. Definitely a great idea to promote transparency of reasoning.

        I would add, that the Supreme Court does publish on its web site all decisions and opinions of the justices, for or against. But it is not a well-read resource, I think. Justice Carpio’s views are in the popular press.

      • josephivo says:

        In the court house they can allowed to talk, communicate all they want, but only there, not on TV, not in interviews, not in meetings.

  13. josephivo says:

    Justice is about legislation. Good laws, fair justice. Bad laws, lousy or whimsical justice.

    Justice is more than justice alone, it is about able legislators. It is not served by suns of a dynasty, actors or sports heroes.

  14. josephivo says:

    Justice is also about respect, respectful court houses, respectful salaries, respectful delays/capacity and thus a respectful budgets and transparency.

    Summarizing all of the above, justice is about politics.

  15. hackguhaseo says:

    Ah the Philippines. The Gotham city of countries. We need a Batman.

    • LOL! Gotham City is the best analogy.

      Harvey Dent: When their enemies were at the gates, the Romans would suspend democracy and appoint one man to protect the city. It wasn’t considered an honor; it was considered a public service.

      Rachel Dawes: Harvey, the last man who they appointed to protect the Republic was named Caesar, and he never gave up his power.

      Harvey: Okay, fine. You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.


      My fear is that the regular folk feel this way and end up voting a “savior” next year.

      Joe, I hope you can do a two for one on that planned Duterte article (Duterte and Lacson) exploring the above sentiment.

  16. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    I am not Pro-Binay. I am pro-Justice.

    Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas Anti Money Laundering Act Section 3 to wit: (how I hate cut and paste)

    “(5) … at the time of the transaction was a properly identified client and the AMOUNT IS COMMENSURATE WITH THE BUSINESS OR FINANCIAL CAPACITY OF THE CLIENT; or those with an underlying legal or trade obligation, purpose, origin or economic justification.

    (all CAPS are yours truly)

    THESE BANKS SHOULD BE SUED AS WELL. But Philippine Justice is SELECTIVE like Sereneo’s “OUTDATING” only applies to THE BINAYS.

    Why is there no noise against the banks? WHY?

    (I thank John Grisham, O.J. trial talking heads and American Media for educating me about laws)

    • chempoo says:

      I’m not sure of the responsibilities of banks under the anti-money laundering laws here. Generally I think, banks are to reject transactions if they suspect it’s money laundering. But if you are a banker to persons who you know at the time were respectable business personalities, and for that matter a VP, it’s unlikely you will suspect anything. It’s not a banker’s job to be a policeman. Culpability arises only when it is apparent that money laundering was taking place. This is when you have customers who are known shadowy characters — as in the HSBC case.
      More serious question here is the Bangko Sentral. They receive reports from banks of large volume transactions daily. They have info realtime. One must ask what is the point of such reports?

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        It is like SALN. It is filled out. Submitted. Never looked into…unless … if someone has an axe to grind … SALN like AMLC is a legal BLACKMAIL TOOL in the Philippines just like COA Reports.


  17. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Justice Philippine Style versus American Justice:

    Little Lady in Red stole and photocopied Corona’s Dollar Account and handed it over to pro-Aquino’s henchmen. Little Lady in Red Riding Hood was never charged of thievery and violation of Central Bank’s privacy act.

    Fast Backward to Linda Rose Carotenuto circa 1998 “Shortly before Ms. Carotenuto was scheduled to appear before the grand jury in the Lewinsky investigation, in March 1998, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, Kenneth Bacon, and his deputy, Clifford Bernath, leaked to reporter Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, Carotenuto’s answer to the arrest question on her security clearance form. Following the Bacon–Bernath leak to Mayer, the Department of Defense leaked to the news media other confidential information from Carotenuto’s personnel and security files. The Department of Defense Inspector General INVESTIGATED THE LEAK of Carotenuto’s security clearance form information and found that Bacon and Bernath violated the Privacy Act, and the DoD IG concluded that Bacon and Bernath should have known that the release of information from Carotenuto’s security file was improper, therefore, inadmissible in court.

    Bernath was charged in violation of Carotenuto’s privacy.


    This goes to show that Justice is CULTURAL not ABSOLUTE. Therefore TRUTH CAN BE BENT. If truth can be bent, what is the use of debating about laws in the first place?

    “Linda Carotenuto was able to avoid a wiretap charge in exchange for handing in the tapes”. TO THIS DAY, no investigation and charges thrown at Tulfo for espionage on Binay-Aquino’s conversation in the inner sanctum of Malacanang Benigno telling Binay NOT TO RUN FOR PRESIDENCY in exchange for exoneration, forgive-and-forget, of the money The Binays stole. When Binay said he wouldn’t, the attack dogs in the face of Trillanes became vicious and incredible violating all the laws of the land and The Filipino people do not know about it because nobody can analyze whether Trillanes is doing it right in HUSTISYA MATUWID-way.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      “Both lawyers and journalists play a crucial role in democracies.” – LANCE

      “Both lawyers and journalists can play a destructive role in democracies” – MRP

      • Joe America says:

        Lance has obligations for the Labor Day weekend. He’d probably agree, but add that it is our job to urge or point the way for these institutions to play a constructive role.

      • MRP,

        I agree with your sentiments. In the 1900s journalists played a destructive role in the run up to the Spanish-American war, and then Philippine colonization. Mark Twain’s writings on this period provide a good perspective on this.

        Lawyers in the US both for the corporations and for the welfare recipients have abused the lack or loopholes in the laws, creating a hemorrhage in public funds or lack in the collection of taxes.

        They play a crucial role in the big picture, but left to individual motivations and shortcomings they have the potential to destroy. So there is a balancing act here, that can’t really be codified.

        The balancing act is in more people playing their role in society. Democratization of the press (ie. like Joe’s blog) and of the law (underemployment, just doing will and notaries).

        So my “lawyers and journalists” is big picture, your “lawyers and journalists” is the micro view. Balance positive or balance negative, “lawyers and journalists” are (take the macro view here, MRP) positive.

    • Joe America says:

      I think the Lady in Red was given informal “State’s witness” protections and considerations, and did the nation a great service. Justice requires a certain amount of power granted to police and investigators and they sometimes infringe on the rights of innocents. YOUR country’s NSA is a perfect example. Justice is not a neat little box wrapped in a bow. It has humans doing it. Gets a little sloppy sometimes.

  18. chempoo says:

    I’m a newbie here Joe. I’m from Singapore and been here about 8 years now. There are many things here that I like — the ordinary folks and the land. There are equally many things here I dislike, top of which is the justice system.

    Great article of yours Joe. I’m educated by it.

    There was some mention of notary here. You send your office boy with your papers to a joker in a street corner who rubber stamps it. Mostly undated. The signatories were never present and identified. Notarisation in Philippines is a great joke. Back in Spore we have Commissioner of Oaths which are appointments by statute. We go to them to get docs notarised. We show proof of ID, we take an oath of idendity, we need to be properly attired, the commissioner is in full-suit (as you know, in Spore we don’t suit up, just ties – due to hot climate), It’s a very solemn affair and intentionally made so to drive home the point that it’s very serious business although it’s a simple exercise. To me, the notarisation in Philippines is symtomatic of the country’s legal system, just like wang-wang was to officialdom.

    There is something that is very wrong with the Philippines people. Every facet of life here is problematic. The justice system is just the tip of the iceberg. I’m not a racial bigot, don’t get me wrong but I’ll have to point the blame on a racial cause. It’s the Malay mentality and the Eurasian morality. The Malay gene’s have what we call “tidak-apa” attitude. It means could’nt care less. It’s the attitude of a people of simple folks who live simple lives under cocunut trees and gentle waves. As for the Eurasians, cross-fertilisation produces good strands — they are stronger and more beautiful, but with lower moralities. I apologise if my Filipino friends find it objectionable. I say it without the intent to denigrade.

    • Bing Garcia says:

      Only in the Philippines? Absolutely not. The authors rightly point out that the description of the problems of the Philippines (including the many anti-common-good behaviors of private citizens) can perfectly apply to any “run-of-the-mill” Latin American, African, or South Asian country. In the final analysis, it is not culture but institutions that are created by enlightened and self-sacrificing leaders that enable countries like Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan to break away from the vicious cycle of poverty that characterizes feudalistic and elitist societies.

      As historian Francis Fukuyama wrote, in commenting on “Why Nations Fail,” Acemoglu and Robinson have two related insights: that institutions matter for growth, and that institutions are what they are because the political actors in any given society have an interest in keeping them that way.

      We should be grateful that both the spouse and the son of Benigno Aquino Jr. did much to build more inclusive political and good-governance institutions. Bernardo Villegas

      • chempoo says:

        The irony of Philippines is that you have good institutions and good laws in place. It’s the people that’s the problem. More specifically, a lack of discipline is the underlying problem. What does Singapore, South Korean, Taiwan and Japan have in common? They are disciplined societies.

        • jameboy says:

          I agree with the discipline part. Filipinos really have to be scared or be frightened first to be able to feel the urgency of being disciplined or to submit to it. That’s what Marcos did. The slogan “Sa Ikauunlad ng bayan, disciplina and kailangan” (For the progress of the nation, what is needed is discipline) really made an impact in the early stages of martial law in terms of social order and discipline. People realize how nice it is to have order, discipline and unity and how it affects the country in a positive way. Until Marcos violated his own ethics.

          You see Filipinos, as a nation, “don’t really feel nor see” any threat around them because there’s nobody that threatens them. That is the impression, the mentality we have and where, I think, the source of lack of discipline mostly emanates from, unfortunately.

          Those countries mentioned have neighbors from next door that could be a source of insecurity or threat of violence. Trouble could start at any time hence it is understandable that people tend to gravitate with government and submit to any disciplinary measures the objective of which is to have a uniform sense of necessity as a people or country. They have to cooperate with one another for survival and that is so because there’s somebody watching at the door step. We don’t have such, for lack of a better term, situation.

          What we have is a miniscule version of it. We have regions or provinces composed of ethnic groupings or tribal affiliations that divides us. Those divisions are our next door neighbors. That is where ‘threats’ come from and that is where you see the best and the worst of us. We don’t rely with each other, we rely with others of our kind. We don’t do things the same around the country, we do things the same around our own people, in our own province or region. We all don’t speak the same language; we only speak in unison, in Tagalog, if we’re in Manila or if we feel like doing it. We have our respective mother tongue in our respective area of descent.

          One thing going for us, though is, we can be a disciplined people/county if we want to or if there is a need for it or if its extracted from us. Spotty, yes, but not hopeless. 🌻

          • chempo says:

            I can understand your country background is obviously different from mine. Perhaps you are mixing nationalism and discipline. External threats promotes nationalism, Discipline is very personal, you either have it or you don’t. To a certain extend, discipline can be instilled, especially at young and tender ages. It can also be coerced, with fines and punishment and rewards.

            At government level, if you want to promote discipline, the authorities has to walk the talk. When I first arrived Philippines, I felt very guilty conscious of littering. But then, I had to hang on to my food wrappings for kilometres before I can find a dustbin. My local friends say do as the Romans in do, so forgive me for contributing to clogging your drains.

            • jameboy says:

              The line separating nationalism and discipline tends to get blurred in certain cases like the Philippines. The absence of immediate threat makes people to feel loose and irresponsible, for lack of better terms, that equate lack of discipline with Absence of nationalism.

              Of course like people in other countries Filipinos love their country too. It’s just that we don’t share the same make up or geography, tradition, history, etc. to really have an accurate comparison and weigh things on the same standard. Observations/experience like yours have relevant basis and cannot be denied. True, we have issues on a lot of things be it social, political, cultural, etc. and I’m of the opinion, and hope, that eventually we’ll be able to address and correct those things.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      They send their children 5 years bachelor courses another 4 years in law school and for what? To notarize affidavits for measly Php500.00. In the Philippines notarization of affidavits is a cottage industry that would never pay back parents costs sending them to law schools.

      Also be very wary of “turo-turo you’re it” justice. People here are just notarized affidavits from jail. Even Honorable Lieutenant Senator PMA-graduate Trillanes went to BinayLand to prove that this property belongs to Binay. Honorable Trillanes must have thought that all properties in the Philippines have this notice: “Binay Property. KEEP OUT”. This is what Honorable Trillanes was looking for so he can take pictures and wave it in the Media for fame in the next 2016 election.

    • Joe America says:

      Welcome to the blog, chempoo. First, let me give due credit to the author of the blog, Lance Corporal X, another American with a history and interest in the Philippines. Newcomers to the Philippines who are schooled in order and ambition indeed have an adjustment to make lest they become chronic complainers and find the complaints overwhelm appreciation of the good qualities of the Philippines, and the character, which is a unique concoction of many influences. It is also amusing in that I have just returned from vacation in Singapore and have a blog noodling in my head that talks about the Philippine weakness in “processes”. Singapore is so orderly and planned that, at the airport, there are signs announcing how long it will take you to get to the gate, or the next bathroom. Here, every man for himself. There are no signs and maybe even no bathrooms, and the gates are a congested mess as the airlines deal with late and cancelled flights and people who are late for their plane because they are hung up paying taxes that somehow did not get added to their ticket price.

      Arrive in Singapore and taxi drivers can all be trusted because violators get punished. They arrive in bays 8 at a time to pick up guests concurrently. Here, the airport restricts competition, and a few cabs come straggling in now and then to take away another ride from a line 50 to 100 people long, hot and sweaty, waiting outdoors in the humid tropical air. If you leave the line to get a “fixer’s” cab, you are likely to be ripped off, and nothing will be done about it. It’s the Wild West in some respects, and the cowboys look just like the Indians.

      There are a lot of reasons for this, and that’s the purpose of this blog. To identify the problems and reflect on the solutions. With enough noise, maybe we can upgrade the processes but keep the character that is good. The charisma and warmth, the good humor and intelligence, the ability to have fun in the face of huge problems. I suspect we orderly people can learn a lot about life if we listen as well as speak, because life here is done richly, whether the wallet or processes are full or empty.

      • chempoo says:

        Thank you Joe, there is much wisdom in your comments. Indeed you are right regarding the chronic complainer. I was going in that direction for a while and then realised it was so unhealthy.

        • Joe America says:

          Yep. When my family and I returned from our vacation from the very well ordered societies of Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, we were so, so happy to return to our lively, chaotic, warm, vibrant, disorderly, spirited Philippine homeland.

      • Steve says:

        I’ve sometimes wondered how much of the focus and discipline we see in countries like Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan can be attributed to the presence of imminent external threat. Singapore through its early years faced imminent invasion from Malaysia and Singapore, and to this day maintains one of the world’s highest oer capita military spending levels. Korea faced an immediate threat from the north, Taiwan from China.

        Of course it’s not the only factor and the extent to which it mattered is difficult to quantify… but people under threat do have a way of getting focused and pulling together.

        • Joe America says:

          Very good point. Indeed, threat is a unifier, as we may be starting to see in the Philippines, with even leftists speaking out about the Chinese island occupations. I would also note that both societies, in commerce and government, are dominated by Chinese/(and in Singapore, Western) pragmatism. And there is no Catholic Church putting the damper on family planning, for instance, or other rules that promote a disciplined society.

        • edgar lores says:

          We are under threat, constant threat… but the enemy is us.

      • The best public service sign I saw in Singapore was the no-farting sign.

        There’s so few true simple pleasures in life, ie. sex, laughing, fishing… banning farting just seems inhuman. On ship, we spent our time reading, working-out and farting into people’s racks–open the curtain, fart, close curtain, the best is when they’re sleeping. I’m a serial farter, who believes farts are to be shared.

        Maybe we could extend the ideas of this article to Singapore, to fight for citizen’s rights to fart in public.

  19. jameboy says:

    The idea of an ACLU version in the Philippines is an idea that may look good on paper but maybe disastrous and waste in actuality. But before I delve into that I notice that the description of justice, law and law profession in the Philippines was presented in a very dark, very negative manner giving impression that it needs salvation or some kind of deliverance from destruction or oblivion because it’s decaying to death. It is so hopeless that only a benevolent source coming from the US, represented by Filipino-Americans, will save the day for the natives. Uncle Sam to the rescue of little brown brothers. Again. 😦

    Intellectual racism at its finest. If that would be the basis for having an ACLU version here, I’m out.

    Anyway, just like any other democratic countries, we have problems with the legal system and profession. Of course, let us not forget, we are not within the vicinity where the US is, political, economic and military-wise. We are poor, hence, there are a lot of problems with us. Efforts to wrestle and look into the problems and search for solutions is a continuing process for that is the nature of having a country governed and ran by a system of laws. And that’s also the reason why we have a lot of organizations, groups and associations that deal with pushing, supporting and defending social issues, civil and personal rights, specific causes, etc. affecting the citizenry and the country as a whole. All have legal representations, advisories, and assistance either from private and government entities. For me, having that kind of set-up makes the introduction of a local version of ACLU unnecessary. There is nothing an ACLU can offer that the locals have not done already. Even the issues of honesty and idealism.

    The class action lawsuit, what, for example, case or cases do we think needs to be prioritize and address that will have a profound effect in the national health of the country that has not yet been touch by any group or organization? Gay rights, AIDS, women, violence and corruption, religious concerns, etc.? And what about the funding? Where and from whom in the US will the funds come from? Are there really people and entities showing interest on the idea? What safeguards are there that will protect and prevent the Union from political and influence peddling? Is the Union immune from contamination of corruption and machination?

    With regard to the issue of ‘no God- centered charter’, as I understand it, one of founders of the ACLU by the name of Roger Baldwin have been widely known as a socialist who initially held the view that, “Communism, of course, is the goal.” That could be the main reason for the omission of ‘God’ in the ACLU charter.

    In summary, the smorgasbord of the practice of legal profession combined with the groups and organizations supporting and pushing for various ideas, causes, issues, etc. need not require an additional recipe to further complicate and exhaust matters more. All the solutions are available within the country. No need to import an idea we already possessed and practice. 🌜

    • Steve says:

      I completely agree that there cannot be an imported solution and that institutions or systems from other countries can at best serve as inspiration or model for local participation.

      I would not, however, minimize or gloss over the extent to which the Philippine justice system requires reform. This is not simply a consequence of poverty, in fact it has become a significant contributor to poverty. The justice system is almost completely dysfunctional, and the first step to fixing it is to recognize that it desperately needs fixing. Anything that contributes to that realization is, I believe, helpful.

    • Joe America says:

      LCX and I discussed that in the background, and agree it has to be Philippine driven. These are just ideas, requested from LCX by Filipino members of the Society of Honor, which he was kind enough to research and respond to. I think the American model is very instructional for all the changes brought about by the ACLU. If there are other ways to get change, fine. If the status quo is okay, that’s a legitimate choice, too. If there is nothing to learn from America, don’t.

      I’ll otherwise leave your comment for LCX to address when he returns from holiday early next week.

      • It is interesting to see though that DOJ is working for a number of years on a revised penal code with the help of the Bavarian Hanns-Seidel Foundation and is also looking for best practices from other countries, which is something my links above clearly show.

        My attitude is that countries always can learn from one another, the applicability of course has to be evaluated in every case, no slavish adaptation or excessive admiration for the recipes of others, whether American, German, Singaporean, Belgian or Newfoundlander.

        But if somebody already has a successful approach, better than mine and I can adapt it to my way of doing things and fit it into my framework, I am pragmatic enough to imitate it – the Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese and Chinese all have succeeded by doing it that way.

        Stronger codification which the DOJ is doing is a good approach for the Philippines IMHO. Common law approaches only work in Anglo-Saxon cultures – to argue precedents and stuff you need a strongly felt common sense of morality which IMHO Philippines lacks.

        Northern Asian countries all imitated the German system of justice in the late 19th century – judge-based and heavily codified with strong powers for public prosecutors who cannot be stopped from investigating by any TRO. What is very heavily codified in Germany for example is the penal code: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strafgesetzbuch – in fact it is so clear including minimum and maximum penalties and definitions of crimes that trials are more about whether guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt than about interpretation – have a look: http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_stgb/index.html – and the DOJ proposal for a new penal code is very close in spirit to the German penal code, do exactly this and you get something between x and y years, do that and you get more… or less…

        • One addition: even criminal procedure is written down in Germany, to a precision similar to a computer algorithm: jurisdiction and how issues are solved, time limits to certain things, arrest, securing evidence, placing charges, hearings, complaints appeals, rights:

          http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_stpo/ – so there is hardly any potential for endless, useless debate on what is allowed and not like so often seen in the Philippines.

          And like I wrote, no TROs possible versus prosecution and securing evidence!

          • karl garcia says:

            Happy birthday Irineo.

            I do not think that to say something is nothing new,or something won’t work here is the way to go in discussing ideas. To say that we do not have import ideas or cry intellectual racism is like to cry ouch without being touched. I may call it like MRP it is reverse discrimination.But Jameboy already said that he is here to disagree,well i disagree with the points he raised.

          • edgar lores says:


            This is item 5.3 of my original post.

            This brings up a metaquestion about “due process”: Has due process swung too much in favor of the offender?

            o In the US, we have the Miranda warning and the inadmissibility of evidence from illegal or accidental searches (the fruit of the poisonous tree concept).

            o in the Philippines, we have Jinggoy (a) questioning the admissibility of AMLC reports; and (b) much earlier, the gross abuse of discretion of the Ombudsman in not providing him a copy of the charges against him in a timely manner. And what about the postponement, the delay, the attempt to stop proceedings in the arraignment and trial of Elenita Binay?

            • In the US, they at least discuss based on a common moral consensus – even if that is breaking apart recently. And based on common, culturally intuitive understanding of terms.

              In the Philippines, they discuss based on the technical meaning of half-understood terms and no true moral consensus. Everything is just palusot if you ask me. Like the joke – a police catches a suspect with a rifle: “illegal possesion of firearms”. The suspect throws the barrel into the Pasig river, leaving only the wooden part, saying “o ano ngayon ang ikakaso mo sa akin?”. The policeman answers “illegal possesion of firewood!”. 🙂

              Due process you can have at the trial, based on reasonable doubt, but NOT before IMHO.

            • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

              I agree with Jinggoy and The Binays. If the kindergartner-prosecutors had not outed “evidences” they had, inadmissibility would not have worked. BUT the kindergartner-prosecutors in cahoots with pseudo-journalists would rather want to mind-condition the Filipino minds.

              Filipinos are smart. They accuse me of Pro-Binay because of my pro-justice stance for they know the laws and how it should be done. Instead, they want it done the Flip-side of it. No wonder “FLIP” is an apt derogatory word for Filipinos. They always do it the other way around.

              • edgar lores says:


                So it is alright with you that crimes are committed against the people? And it is alright with you that the offenders can get away with it by attempting to take advantage of the procedural loopholes in the law?

                You can do the crime and not do the time if you have the dime?

                You are not pro-justice at all. You are pro-palusot.

              • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:


                Coincidentally “LAWSUIT” is pronounced “LOSOT”. That could be the etymology of the word “LOSOT” and the act of LAWSUIT is “PA-LOSOT”.

                I believe that is how they perceive LAWSUIT is.

              • edgar lores says:


                But you are still in the wrong. 🙂

        • “My attitude is that countries always can learn from one another, the applicability of course has to be evaluated in every case, no slavish adaptation or excessive admiration for the recipes of others, whether American, German, Singaporean, Belgian or Newfoundlander.”

          Well, said, Irineo.

      • josephivo says:

        There are 2 basic approaches in looking at other organizations/countries. The western one, the approach of the missionary: “What can I teach” and the Japanese one: “What can I learn/copy”. This I got long time ago got from an old Belgian Jesuit who spent his whole life in Japan. When an American visits a Japanese factory he will be proud to see that things can be improved and he will tell at length his Japanese friends. When a Japanese visits an American plant he will see even more things that can be improved so he will wonder how these Americans with all these lousy solutions still can make a profit, so he tells himself not to leave before he finds out what they do better.

        It is up the Filipinos to choose to study other solutions in other countries and decide if they want to behave as there American friends “look how special we are, what we can teach the others” or their Japanese friends “is there anything others do better that we cold copy” (where is Soto when you need him? :-).

        • Joe America says:

          I worked for a bank owned by the Japanese in the 70’s. They sent their top people to the US to learn, and to teach. One of the things they taught was simple, systematic planning that they got from American MBO pros in the ’50’s. Only the Japanese had perfected it, rather like they did cars. And they took our American jalopy of a bank and turned it into a profitable sports machine, which they had to sell when banks in Japan got stressed by a collapsing real estate bubble. Go figure. I think refusing to study how others do it because of sovereignty (or racial) issues is rather self-limiting.

          • It is the either-or, black and white thinking many Filipinos have. NO TO BBL! YES TO BBL! are examples but I am sure 99.81% of them haven’t read the whole 122 pages or even the digests and analyses now existing all over the Internet. My impression on THAT topic. Same thing with adopting foreign stuff. I mean so much unthinking adaptation of US stuff, or the opposite which is saying no to everything foreign. Instead of looking hey what do we lack what would fit for us or make our stuff work better, if parts of it don’t fit change what?

            Learn and teach, teach and learn is the best approach: Hanns-Seidel foundation for example also helps PNP with human rights training. I find this interesting because Bavarian police had to learn exactly that after the war – overcoming strong Nazi traditions. Now people who have learned certain lessons may be the best to teach them to others, they know the learning curve and do not just preach from above, it is like some of the best people to help junkies overcome bad habits are ex-junkies turned into social workers…

            • Joe America says:

              Ah, yes. Excellent. It always amazes me how hard the views are once they are formed. Listening shuts down. Conversation is one way. I think limiting oneself is a funny way to get ahead, and agree with your learn and teach model. One thing for sure, indecision is not a problem in the Philippines. Now whether or not the decisions are good . . . . 🙂

          • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

            It is the Japanese that turned 7-Eleven around that became the Global Sari-Sari Store in every street corner.

          • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

            I have repeat to re-emphasize:

            “The western one, the approach of the missionary: “What can I teach” and the Japanese one: “What can I learn/copy”.” – JOSEPHIVO

            Filipino approach: “WHAT IS IN IT FOR ME?”

        • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

          Filipino approach: “WHAT IS IN IT FOR ME?”

  20. edgar lores says:


    1. There are two prongs of legal aid that should be considered:

    o Legal aid in defense of civil liberties
    o Legal aid for those who cannot afford access to the law — the poor, the youth, the middle class

    2. If we look at the Bill of Rights in the Constitution, there are many areas that civil liberty lawyers can render service. The cases that come to mind are:

    o the killing of alleged criminals, in particular drug pushers, without due process
    o the apprehension (Morong 43) and disappearance (under Palparan) of leftists
    o journalist killings
    o police use of torture to obtain confessions

    2.1. A civil liberties organization could also take on the task of reviewing and appealing cases settled at the barangay level. We do not know whether all neighborly disputes are acted upon and, if so, whether nepotism, favoritism or duress are factors in the decisions… and in the enforcement of decisions.

    3. Legal aid for the poor would address Section 11 of the Bill of Rights.

    3.1. In Australia, there are Legal Aid offices that offer legal counselling and services not only for the poor but for all disadvantaged people. Some of the important services cover such matters as:

    o family and domestic violence
    o separation, divorce and child support
    o consumer and debt matters
    o anyone charged with an offence, in particular the youth
    o employment law
    o farm and rural legal advice
    o motor vehicle and property damage

    3.2. The Public Attorney’s Office mentioned would seem to cater to Section 11. But I am a bit worried that it is primarily God-centered.

    • Joe America says:

      It is always shocking to me to run across God-centered mission statements in government agencies. I’ll be doing a blog next week that addresses this as a flaw, not for the crossing of faith and secular business, but a form of denial of the agency’s accountability for its results. I came across a survey a while back that cited what factors Filipinos believe accounts for their improved condition, when they judge it has improved over the past year. They generally attribute improvement to their own efforts or their family’s efforts. That is about the 80% level. God is the reason about 55% to 60% of the time. Only about 10% give the government any credit for improvements. It seems to me that people are working in a reality not of this earth.

      Therein lies the problem. You can cite the ideal, but between that and implementation is a huge morass of really strange thinking. So implementation is really most unlikely.

      • edgar lores says:

        The invocation of God derives from the preamble of the Constitution: “We…imploring the aid of Almighty God…”

        The 1935 Constitution was more circumspect and more poetic in “imploring the aid of Divine Providence.”

        The preamble of the US Constitution does not implore. There is no mention of God. It is all up to the People to do and accomplish the objectives enumerated in the preamble for the purpose of a “more perfect Union.”

        And — oh yessss! — our Constitution also mentions the ideal of “love”. How romantic… and morantic.

        • Joe America says:

          Ahhh! Don’t go much further, as my forthcoming blog uses the preamble as a launching point. 🙂 Indeed, the Constitution starts the nation off on the wrong foot.

      • I’m glad you guys shared my WTF? moment on reading “God-centered” in the PAO site.

        I sat with an Anthropology professor (I believe from UP) on flight who described fiestas in the Visayan region that can actually be traced to pre-Islamic and pre-Catholic, Hindu rituals.

        So I guess the point is that before the Abrahamic concept of God, was the Vedic concept, and before that were indigenous concept of gods and Nature, so “God-centered” is a better example of “intellectual racism”, to borrow jameboy’s phrase.

        • Joe America says:

          Hmmm . . . I would be inclined to say it is a natural development, to look for ways to explain that which cannot be explained. But I think one’s failure or success CAN be explained. So no need to call on God for help. Thank Him for his spiritual healing, great. Ask him for help running the agency? No no no no.

  21. NHerrera says:

    Whew, great read so far. Thanks guys, especially to Lance Corporal X’s piece which started the ball rolling.

    • Joe America says:

      Good of you to say so, NHerrera. I’m also enjoying the debate about Poe on Raissa’s site. It’s got some passions going . . .

      • NHerrera says:


        I find your Blog and Raissa’s complementary. Different flavors. Both enjoyable.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, I agree. It amazes me how Riassa’s is rather a perpetual motion machine, picking up on current events as they happen and putting them into the context of other discussions. I use it and twitter as my news-reader keys. On twitter, I follow opposing factions, like Binay and Aquino, to see what each is pulling up as “must read”. It keeps one from becoming too sealed off with one point of view. Plus, “know thine enemy”.

    • Thanks,NHerrera. I’m enjoying the comments as well.

      Sorry I took off on everyone, just got back last night. It was Memorial Day weekend, and my buddies and I usually take this time to visit friends and family of fellow Marines who’ve now died.

  22. sonny says:

    Inspired by MRP’s style, allow me how far I can go with this. I can’t go divine so I’ll try myth. 🙂 And provide some comic relief, trying hard I may be.

    On Philippine justice as a myth so worthy to be a Greek drama, tragedy or comedy (take your pick)

    *PH justice is a mess, agreed? This blog and comments seem to reflect this

    *PH justice is stuff of legend, e.g. convicted Joseph Estrada is mayor of Manila, Marcos loot is still unreturned, just like other “loots” of recent vintage and recent memory

    *PH justice is worthy of Greek drama and myth: PH justice is our version of the fifth labor of Hercules, to rid the Augean Stables of Filipino sh-t, Filipino dung is immortal just like the dung of the 1000 Augean cattle; it took Hercules rerouting two rivers to wash 30 years of sh-t production at the stables; I don’t know if the 20-some typhoons that visit the PH annually counts as cleansing relief, i.e. the good as well as the bad are doused

    *PH justice needs a Filipino Hercules, Manny Pacquiao, maybe (tragedy or comedy)

    *PH justice is under the whims of the Fates, provenance (our tribal orgins) and destiny (what, how and when)

    *PH archipelago may as well be Greece’s Mediterranean Peloponnesus where Greek legends and myths were forged, Vulcan-like

    *PH problems, just like the Labors of Hercules seem to be the result of Filipinos making the gods so unhappy, once too many

    But as we often say, Bathala na! (tongue-in-cheek)

    • Joe America says:

      Ha, yes, very good smiles. Pacquiao is both tragedy and comedy. I think bloggers work the fifth labor of Hercules, myself.

      The myths fit well with the superstitions here, of white ladies and amulets and Binay gifts.

      • sonny says:

        This was the original theme/metaphor I wanted to submit the first time we talked about me writing for the SofH, Joe. There are 2 other irons in the fire I wanted to talk to you about. But you know my glacial rate of movement. 🙂

        • Joe America says:

          Glaciers are very powerful. I once camped in front of one in the wilds of Alaska. It was growling and gnashing all night long, and across a ridge another one was calving ice bergs into the bay, erupting now and then in dynamite-size booms.

          Then there was the bear that wandered through the camp about three in the morning . . .

          I look forward to your ideas.

          • sonny says:

            Calving (100-foot) glaciers, they are awesome, Joe! (Mendenhall glacier, just outside of Juneau.)

            You’re very kind, Joe. 🙂

            • Joe America says:

              Ah, we flew over Mendenhall in our little six-seater, on the way to Haines (cool little town). There was a circular rainbow beneath the plane. From Haines we drove to the raft “put in” over in Canada, and spent 10 days winding down the Tatshenshini and Alsek Rivers to Dry Bay for the “take out”. Glaciers all the way. I fear for their existence these days. You do stoke fine, fine memories.

              • sonny says:

                Full circular rainbows!! Totally awesome!

              • Joe America says:

                Yep, rare. I also saw one from the 50th floor of our bank headquarters once, curling around the building below at about floor 30. Clearly, God is an artist.

              • sonny says:

                I’ve yet to see one. Am so aware of the conditions of seeing rainbows (zillions of water droplets as refracting prisms) in general. 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                Hint. You have to go to high places on a misty day. ahahaha

              • sonny says:

                Yes. Yes. The science book that described the full-circle rainbow was seen from an elevated vantage point and formed by the mist from a falls cascading down Lake Victoria. Really divine!

    • So many Filipinos hoped for Fernando Poe as the Philippine Hercules.

      Of course they were thinking more of his famous film role in “Ang Panday”.

      I also like “Bahala na si Batman”, and the cartoon of Batman hitting Robin for saying that.

      • sonny says:

        The Philippine heroes of my youth: Bernardo Carpio, Kapitan Bagwis, Kulafu, Darna and Kapitan Kidlat and Prinsipe Amante, of course.

      • Joe America says:

        My son, who is young, has a hard time, as well, disassociating television cartoons from real life. On some days he thinks there are really dragons and super-heroes.

        Well, I suppose the Binays are a form of dragon . . .

        I doubt that Poe the elder was a super-hero, nor is Poe the younger . . .

        • Yes, one has to know how to dream, but also how to distinguish between dreams and reality. Jojo Binay is an amphibian dragon, since he does look like a bullfrog.

          Reliance on heroes brought forth Marcos. He and Imelda were touted as the Philippine JFK and Jackie back in 1965, unbelievable but true. He smiling and dynamic-looking, Imelda beautiful and singing, but after a while the dream became a nightmare.

        • sonny says:

          I was in my early twenties when I noticed the regularity of meetings by FMarcos and the Ilocos buddies (Ablan, Enrile, Balao, et al) from WWII. At the time, I easily provided them with “hero-aura” which I described as the Filipino version of “Band of Brothers” much like the TV series. From there it was easy to view FM through a lens that gave him and his cordon sanitaire free reign as premiere leaders who only had the supreme good of the country at heart. And I couldn’t be convinced otherwise. 😦

          • Joe America says:

            Idealism is a form of blindness, I think.

            • sonny says:

              Disillusionment is also undesirable. No wonder the ancients conjured all those myths to express our frustrations.

              • Joe America says:

                Ah, very good, sonny. Disillusionment is undesirable. I word-associated with illusion, and believe most of us in many instances live according to the illusions, or fictions, in our minds. We are all crazy from time to time, the uneducated more-so than most.

          • I have a new hunch.. that many of the conflicts in the formation of the Philippine state and nation simply had to do with different ethnic groups jockeying for their share of power:

            1. Bonifacio and his group were purely Manila, I think some Bulacan representation
            2. Enter Aguinaldo and his boys from Cavite, mainly
            3. Enter Quezon, from, well what was to become Quezon
            4. With Osmeña from Cebu, the Visayans got into the game
            5. Roxas from Samar had to go by way of the new party: LP
            6. First Ilocano to gain power was Quirino
            7. Magsaysay from Zambales gave Central Luzon a voice – important to go against Huks!
            8. One more Visayan: Carlos P. Garcia (Abra)
            9. Macapagal was the first Kapampangan to become President…
            10. Marcos made Ilocano representation in the halls of power permanent, but…
            11. he coopted the Maranaos first (Mamintal Tamano) and the Tausugs later
            12. Cory of course Kapampangan again, but coopted more Tausugs (Santanina Rasul)

            So finally the only groups left without a part in the national power game are those from Davao (Duterte) and the Maguindanao (MILF). Like some people have said about Filipinos, parang mga bata iyan, you have to give candy to all so nobody cries…

            This is just a hunch to be investigated further before I write about the Republic – I would consult with you once more before I do this, as you are an eyewitness who grew up in the years of the Early Republic. Glacier and volcano will have to get together like in Siberia. And also my present picture of the integration of the sambayanan into a coherent whole is something I would like to put for discussion, as I see things may be as follows today:

            a. Luzon is for the most part a whole, Ilocanos still themselves and they will always be – even their language which is not a Central Philippine Language, and their attitude of frugal discipline separates them from the rest. Bikolano sabit sa Tagalog for the most part.

            b. Visayas is an entity of its own, with its own awareness from what I have understood so far, inspite of the different languages which do according to linguists form a dialect continuum. Strangely enough, Tausug is also considered a Visayan language.

            c. Mindanao also has a certain awareness, even if the individual awareness of ethnic groups is stronger there. Mindanews has the motto “This is OUR Mindanao” and all kinds of groups are discussing there. They may be more united in the end than all the rest!

            I will propose something in a soon to come article about “Imperial versus Federal” – a Philippines with three “capitals” – crazy as it sounds but I am “crazy”. Move Congress to Cebu, the Senate to Davao including Cayetano(!), keep the Supreme Court in Manila. Make all three Metro areas into “Federal Districts” like Mexico is Distrito Federal! Regional capitals outside, divide provinces into cantons the size of 10-12 LGUS to remain handy.

            Keep in mind the caveat of josephivo that federalization takes time, but why not consider? OK Helmut Schmidt once said anyone who has visions should go see a doctor, but visions are good guideposts if compared to reality and checked for what parts are feasible NOW. Like my vision of three national languages as one possibility to at least unite parts of the nation and get more buy-in where only Tagalog has failed. Like my using street Tagalog to translate Sun Tzu in such a way that even an enlisted man, even the simplest PNP man can get what he is saying? Not Divisoria Tagalog, but Quiapo Tagalog cum Cubao/Balara…

            • Hey, Irineo,

              This would be an interesting article! Can you go further on the Santanina Rasul/Aquino relationship. And also Tausug as a Visayan language, because I did notice not all Muslim Filipinos saw themselves as one group, the Tausugs had more Visayan connection, ie. inter-marriage, economic, etc.

              I like the 3 capitals idea. But separating government into 3 would probably be more counter-productive. How about, like Washington DC, carving out a piece in southern Palawan, placing the seat of government there.

              Also there you can place an American base to be run similarly like Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, pre-Obama entente. A self-contained and isolated base purely to keep an eye on China.

              • The article is out since yesterday… Joe has commented on it already..

                But sending all the politicians to Palawan might be great… kind of exile.. country might be better of with them far away and letting the big cities run themselves…

              • Tausug is linguistically classified as a Visayan language and the Visayan connection you talk about does not surprise me. What is also interesting is the speculation I have heard about a Maranao-Bikol link. So it might be that the old tribal stuff is more important.

                Rasul and Cory I will have to look into more closely. There is also the story that moro-moro really comes from Christians saying “moro! moro!”, causing the Spanish troops to come and then dealing with them together with the Muslim invaders. Might be an urban legend…

                As for expertise on Muslim Filipinos, there are the works of UP Prof. Cesar Adib Majul, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cesar_Adib_Majul – his major work: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1493011.Muslims_In_The_Philippines

  23. “The idea of an ACLU version in the Philippines is an idea that may look good on paper but maybe disastrous and waste in actuality. But before I delve into that I notice that the description of justice, law and law profession in the Philippines was presented in a very dark, very negative manner giving impression that it needs salvation or some kind of deliverance from destruction or oblivion because it’s decaying to death. It is so hopeless that only a benevolent source coming from the US, represented by Filipino-Americans, will save the day for the natives. Uncle Sam to the rescue of little brown brothers.”


    “All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it’s impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.”― Niccolò Machiavelli

    I’m very well aware of the baggage the Philippines has on US involvement–with Central Luzon carrying the bulk of this chip, and the Muslim/indigenous (especially the Aetas who trained US military before the bases closed) preferring the return of the US, Visayans seem to be in the middle. I’m also aware that most Filipinos don’t share your views vis-a-vis American involvement–with many actually calling for American statehood. Realizing all this, the ACLU in Philippines actually represents the middle path–not espousing an overly optimistic take of current trends (as you seem to be doing here), at the same time encouraging a type of involvement that ensures no American gov’t role.

    Filipino-Americans have been involved in the Philippines, so this isn’t anything new, it’s simply a repurposing of intent. I’m not espousing a one-sided approach, those from the US (who have lived and understood the Western system) and those from the Philippines (who are entrenched in the Filipino system) will work together in partnership. Many of the roads and other infrastructure projects there, are already undertaken mostly by outside aid, ie. with Japan, Korea, European countries, etc. So if Filipinos can partner with other nations (albeit with other nations carrying the bulk of the weight), what then is the actual issue with Filipinos, working with other Filipinos from the West?

    Why is it “intellectual racism” when the help is coming from the US, but it’s not when coming from East Asia or Europe or Australia?

    “Intellectual racism at its finest. If that would be the basis for having an ACLU version here, I’m out.”

    Intellectual racism is if the article called for favoring only certain types solution, but I’ve stated that defining the problem is just one part, coming up with solutions is the most important part–of which the ACLU idea is just one of many possibilities. So I would argue, your comment is closer to intellectual racism, a form of nationalism that hides behind blinders that the Philippines can do this alone, without outside help.

    Joe stated that preference of the status quo is a legit choice, I would argue that it’s suicide. Like a cancer patient deciding to defer modern medicine, instead opting to drink tanglad (lemongrass) tea to cure his cancer (true story, he’s dead). So whether the solutions come from within or without, this should be the least of worries. Solutions should be weighed according to effectiveness and practicality. Intellectual racism is when people are more concerned with what race (or culture) the ideas originate–

    the fact that so much of Philippine culture can be traced to either Spain or America (with exception of Muslim & indigenous groups), renders the whole intellectual racism argument moot, the Philippines as a whole is a borrowed concept. So the point here is to judge ideas, not from where it comes, but on their own merit, jameboy. Irineo, MRP, edgar, Steve, karl, sonny, Joe, etc. etc. have all done that here, don’t fall for that academic crap–examine the ideas, not the people behind them.

    “Anyway, just like any other democratic countries, we have problems with the legal system and profession. Of course, let us not forget, we are not within the vicinity where the US is, political, economic and military-wise. We are poor, hence, there are a lot of problems with us. Efforts to wrestle and look into the problems and search for solutions is a continuing process for that is the nature of having a country governed and ran by a system of laws. And that’s also the reason why we have a lot of organizations, groups and associations that deal with pushing, supporting and defending social issues, civil and personal rights, specific causes, etc. affecting the citizenry and the country as a whole. All have legal representations, advisories, and assistance either from private and government entities. For me, having that kind of set-up makes the introduction of a local version of ACLU unnecessary. There is nothing an ACLU can offer that the locals have not done already. Even the issues of honesty and idealism.”

    I’m not saying these civil, workers, consumer, etc. rights groups aren’t in the Philippines, jameboy. I’m simply saying they are as whole largely ineffective, because of their case-by-case approach. If you can argue that they are, in fact, effective, then let’s hear it.

    “The class action lawsuit, what, for example, case or cases do we think needs to be prioritize and address that will have a profound effect in the national health of the country that has not yet been touch by any group or organization? Gay rights, AIDS, women, violence and corruption, religious concerns, etc.? And what about the funding? Where and from whom in the US will the funds come from? Are there really people and entities showing interest on the idea? What safeguards are there that will protect and prevent the Union from political and influence peddling? Is the Union immune from contamination of corruption and machination?”

    The focus for an ACLU Philippine should be environment. The Oposa Doctrine was a good start but nothing, in scope, extended that beachhead. Personally, if you remember my comment on how Filipinos tend to be more accepting of a dirty environment–people there throw trash anywhere, etc. that trait, that cultural characteristic, acceptance of trash and people who willy-nilly throw their garbage anywhere should be the focus. Unless you can find a more successful case than the Oposa ruling, I would say environmental cases have been lacking and that should be the focus.

    As for funding, US AID gave away trillions in Iraq and Af-Pak, so money’s there for development and institutions building. But care should be taken to ensure independence, so either from Filipino-American groups (not just America) and/or consumer rights groups (not just America), who realize what happens in the 3rd world will eventually affect the 1st world. So the funds will largely come from the outside, with ACLU’s idea for stewardship of funds in the form of foundations, etc. No organization is immune to corruption, hence check and balances have to be institutionalized. All of which have already been mapped out by the ACLU.

    As for showing interest, the bulk of Philippine economy is largely from OFWs, immigrant diaspora and foreign help, so the money’s already there. The issue here is just repurposing the funds, and creating buzz for the ACLU Philippine idea, to encourage membership and donation from OFWs, immigrant diaspora and foreign aid. I worked with medical missions organized in the US by Filipino-Americans that were widely successful there. The interest is there and the funding is there. The issue is simply failure in imagination and crab mentality disguised as intellectual, jameboy.

    Organization and groups there, rely on personalities. Personalities are fleeting, individuals or groups die and the organization goes with it. The ACLU example is that of a small group becoming an institution of its own. Creating an institution that surpasses the individual personalities, is the point of the ACLU example.

    “With regard to the issue of ‘no God- centered charter’, as I understand it, one of founders of the ACLU by the name of Roger Baldwin have been widely known as a socialist who initially held the view that, “Communism, of course, is the goal.” That could be the main reason for the omission of ‘God’ in the ACLU charter.”

    I understand ‘communism’ has its own connotation in the Philippines. But these worker rights issues, in the form of riots, originated in the US before Marx & Engels wrote their ideas. The first descriptions of communal system and systems based on the individual were laid out in Plato’s Republic, since then ideas of governance have fluctuated from one end to the other. So the ACLU’s founders being communists is truly not important here–again judge on the ideas, not where they originate.

    The ACLU has evolved into an institution on its own. It’s federated, which means the ACLU in California will have different priorities than ACLU in Mississippi. The ACLU has protected freedom of speech of church groups. So again focus on the idea. My personal take on ‘God-centered’ as part of a mission or value statement is that inherently that means God in an Abrahamic sense–fire and brimstone type God, and 7th century B.C. (B.C. !!!) type justice: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy[a] all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’ (1 Samuel)

    So regardless of the ACLU founders’ philosophies, the phrase ‘God-centered’ should be omitted in any mission statement that purports to represent the population. It’s just confusing, what do you mean ‘God-centered’, the wrathful God or the peaceful God? It’s just schizophrenic.

    “In summary, the smorgasbord of the practice of legal profession combined with the groups and organizations supporting and pushing for various ideas, causes, issues, etc. need not require an additional recipe to further complicate and exhaust matters more. All the solutions are available within the country. No need to import an idea we already possessed and practice.”

    jameboy, I agree the solutions are available within the country. The bulk of the lawyers there are underemployed, most are just getting by. There are groups already fighting for civil, workers, consumer rights, but as described above have been largely ineffective, the case-by-case approach is counter-productive. I can understand being optimistic with these current developments as they stand now, but at this point, any idea that proffers solutions should be examined. There’s no risk of complicating and exhausting matters, it’s simply an add on, in this case a model of an institution–albeit from the US–as opposed to groups largely dependent on personalities.

    The class action lawsuit is being attempted there, but because of the justice system, culture, reality on the ground, etc. the implementation is slow (the Oposa case so far is the most successful), so here it’s just a matter of hammering through, with the example again of the ACLU mapped out for us in their near 100 year history.

    • jameboy says:

      What then is the actual issue with Filipinos, working with other Filipinos from the West?
      There is no issue in that concept. The point is, there is no need to take such route when we can do it by ourselves if we want to or if it makes sense. Also, the idea you are espousing and how you presented it was the Philippines, particularly the legal profession, is in dire need of help and salvation because its rotting to the core and it is in a hopeless situation. You exaggerated your narration to justify the necessity and make your novel idea more attractive. I don’t mind exaggeration but you could have done it without putting down the very people you want to help. It’s like saying Filipino lawyers are weak and corrupt and it’s part of who they are so we’re (Americans, Filipinos or not, America is the lead role) going to save then from themselves. Why do it at the expense of those whom you want to “help”. The idea is not bad per se but your sales talk is rooted from the negative.

      After bad-mouthing everybody you will tell them, we Americans will help and save you. America will support you but no worry because those who will come to your aid maybe Americans but they are your kind of Americans, your version of us: Fil-Ams. So much for condescension. 😎

      Don’t look beyond those words I wrote. There is nothing nationalistic in what I’ve said. The ‘intellectual racism’ I mentioned was a reaction/impression on the narrative you started. Are you guilty of it? I don’t know. You tell me. In your response to my post, you talked about modern medicine and tanglad (lemongrass), that the Philippines as a whole is a borrowed concept, etc.. So, you tell me.

      Do I refuse help especially a benevolent one? No. Never. I’m open to any kind of help from anybody from anywhere especially those being offered voluntarily. I’m all in for the good of our people just don’t make us feel that we’re nothing without you. That you are the good guys. That’s the only thing I want cleared.

      Sometimes good ideas tend to suffer because of poor presentation. Or sometimes the presentation takes away the goodness out of the idea. 👀

      • jameboy,

        I’m still having a difficult time with this whole ‘delicadeza’ concept. In short, I just don’t have this trait, and background. So if the tone, style, or presentation was somehow offensive, I’m truly sorry for that. But again, look past my writing style and bias, and judge the idea on its own merits. You’ve stated that the idea itself is good, how can it be better? how can we improve on the idea? what am I (are we) missing here?

        As for the legal profession in the Philippines, it is very dire. It’s not exaggeration, and it does need all the help it can get, whether from within or from without. But if your stance is that it is not so dire, or that it is in fact in tip-top shape as we speak, then I’d like to hear your take on this, as this will add to the discussion. Your personal feelings on the idea, not so much–it’s great to clear the air and I have offered my apologies,

        although it’s a half-hearted one, because in the end I can’t help how you “feel” about what I write, that’s a personal issue so far as I’m concerned. And reading the comments, you’re the minority.

        So focus on why you think, feel the legal profession is not so dire, or Why you feel that my description of the legal profession there has been exaggerated.

        • jameboy says:

          But if your stance is that it is not so dire, or that it is in fact in tip-top shape as we speak, then I’d like to hear your take on this, as this will add to the discussion.
          I simply disagree with how you push the option or solution you are offering. Why? Because we are starting on a premise that we are in a lost cause so you’re going to do the work for us to make it right. I feel queasy about it, to tell you frankly. I’m not a lawyer and if I’m one I’ll feel being shoved aside for the Defenders of the Universe is coming to save me, my profession and my country. My profession is rotten because of what it is and who I am hence only an outside reinforcement can correct it. I have to swallow that.

          Don’t get me wrong the legal profession in the country has some work to do in terms of administration or dispensation of justice and how equality is to be distributed and all that jazz. Lots, no, tons of problems and I admit to that. But what country don’t have such difficulties? Even the greatest country in the world, the US, have the same problems and challenges. It may differ in proportion or gravity but everybody have the same predicament.

          Your idea is not unacceptable but, given the resources, meager as they are, and warm bodies we have, it is one that may have to take a back seat for a while until everything is exhausted in addressing the problem. I’m not even sure of the necessity in tackling major legal profession issues in priority over other social issues we have.

          It all boils down to you are selling and I’m not buying. 👲

          • Disagreements are fine, jameboy, it means people are thinking. But you’re not disagreeing with the idea I’m proposing, instead you’re disagreeing with how it’s being presented. Which is asinine.

            If the legal profession was so rotten there, I would not have proposed the ACLU idea. I’m no lawyer either, not even a college graduate. I could’ve written about re-vamping the military and police there since that’s my sphere of experience, so

            my take on the legal profession there is actually one of hope. I think that it’s the only institution and profession worth focusing on. So again, when you focus on the presentation, you’ll miss out on the idea, which is kinda the point here.

            “My profession is rotten because of what it is and who I am hence only an outside reinforcement can correct it. I have to swallow that.”

            Again, I’ve stated this was to be partnership. Filipino-Americans will come with their sphere of experience and Filipinos will come with theirs and get this whole thing going, never did I say that this was a one-sided affair, jameboy, that’s your own inferiority complex getting the best of you.

            You’re stuck on how the article’s making you feel, when you’re supposed to get pass that and focus on the idea.

            “I’m not even sure of the necessity in tackling major legal profession issues in priority over other social issues we have.”

            This represents your actual contribution here, so can you expound on this thought? What priorities do you think we should focus on then? Are resources, warm bodies, really that meager that only so many solutions can be entertained? These are assumptions that need to explained. Instead you’ve focused on how you “feel”–delicadeza.

            • jameboy says:

              Disagreements are fine, jameboy, it means people are thinking. But you’re not disagreeing with the idea I’m proposing, instead you’re disagreeing with how it’s being presented. Which is asinine.
              You are getting confuse with the verbosity you are doing on the board. My disagreement with your idea is a combination of several factors prominent of which is the way you sell/present it. Of course I also talked about the talents we have and our capability to address the problem ourselves if it is really of utmost importance.

              Forcing your way through is not the way to go. Your idea is not attractive and proof of that is after several posts I have yet to hear from the others here that it makes sense to outsource the solution on the legal profession problem as you suggest. And even if somebody will agree with it it will still a shot-in-moon proposition because there are more important and urgent problems that requires priority.

              My advice, let go of it. Let’s go to another topic where we can collide with opposite ideas and not be on the selling and not buying mode we’re doing on this issue. 👳

  24. jameboy says:

    “As for customer service, the only place I found this there was in girlie bars.

    The sex industry there practices customer service–the establishments owned by Americans or Europeans tend to practice better customer service.

    So it’s there, just not a place “respectable” people would look.

    Exactly, force the courts to implement customer service and these instituted time constrains in criminal procedures. Do away with the bail system there too as it contributes as justification for delay–ie. you don’t bail out, you stay in prison in definitely. Bail system here is way too ingrained, since there’s an industry built around it, not so there.” – LCpl_X
    Ummmm, if I’m advocating for judicial reform and campaigning to have a legal profession that is comparable with the West in terms of idealism, professionalism and integrity, I wouldn’t use my brothel experience as an introductory example to avoid confusion and to prevent some readers in raising the issue of irrelevancy. While it may attract attention and titillate the minds of some for the boldness and nakedness of the analogy it is also highly possible that the main message might end up in the sidelines and remove from the central focus because of the libidinal context in comparison .

    Maybe the world is engaged in a game where everybody has to screw everybody to get ahead or that people see things in a matter-of-fact situation and practicality but to start push an advocacy meant to promote genuine justice and equality through narration of brothel/sex escapades will not really help in the progress of the narrative of change.

    I don’t mind looking at the problem with eyes-wide-open but to start the conversation in a perspective of legs-spread-apart approach as an example is, for me, just not the right way to proceed in the discussion. Just saying. 💬

    • The ‘intellectual racism’ I mentioned was a reaction/impression on the narrative you started. Are you guilty of it? I don’t know. You tell me. In your response to my post, you talked about modern medicine and tanglad (lemongrass), that the Philippines as a whole is a borrowed concept, etc.. So, you tell me.

      The Philippines is a borrowed concept! Its named after a king of Spain, before Spain there was no “Filipinos”, its institutions from the US. The majority of your higher class are in the US, have property in the US, whose children school in the US. Unless you can explain to me why it isn’t, jameboy.

      As for modern medicine and tanglad that is a fair analogy. I understand that poor people there have no option but herbal medicine and/or magic, but that example was of a guy who did have options, but chose to defer modern medicine, because he “felt” it was bad. So he died, from what would’ve been an easily cured type of cancer.

      I don’t mind looking at the problem with eyes-wide-open but to start the conversation in a perspective of legs-spread-apart approach as an example is, for me, just not the right way to proceed in the discussion.

      Joe’s written about satire before. I for one believe that truth is best said in jest. It is a very apt analogy, because the people you guys have voted or appointed or have trusted in some gov’t capacity are in these brothels! If they’ve experience excellent customer service before, what’s preventing them from implementing it? That’s the satire taken full circle–but the point about satires and jokes is you’re not supposed to have to explain them, it takes the fun out. Just saying.

      • jameboy says:

        America is a word derived from the name of Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci (Latin: Americus Vespucius). Before that there are no Americans! So what’s the difference, LCpl_X (@LCpl_X)? 👀

        Actually, your ancestors stole America from the aborigines. So is the case in other countries. Spain occupied us and the US “stole” us for a steal price from Spain. Please, I’m not here for history and hypocrisy, I’m here for accuracy and honesty.

        Okay, you feel fine and good presenting our existence as a borrowed concept, I’ll go with that. You want to be politically correct and you want to strictly technically interpret what we are, fine. You are what you are, regardless of ideas you present. Let’s move on.

        I’ve nothing against satire, which personally have become a cure-all in this blog whenever one is put on the spot to justify a statement. What I abhor is to mix an analogy with wrong or negative context just to emphasize how good and positive the product being offered is or how one’s ‘style’ is so unique you cannot catch him with his pants down. Satire is serious that one cannot just take it like a rabbit from a hat every time your statement is questioned. Satire that completely criticizes with irony or sarcasm or ridicule even is fine. But to satire and at the same time be sincere in offering something to help the subject of satire is doing something other than satire. Satire is not supposed to help and offer options or assistance. It’s supposed to jar and shake its target by exposing its mistakes, follies and misdeeds through criticisms.

        When I resort to satire I make sure the readers know it’s satire by not playing both ways, a friend or a foe. The good in your intention should be shown in your criticisms and not separate from it. People here knows where I stand on issues, with or without satire. And satire should be clear and categorical. So clear and categorical it will not only enlightened for understanding but it will also kill for being misunderstood like the Charlie Hebdo satire.

        It’s satire to relate your brothel analogy to PNoy or Mar Roxas or even Grace Poe? I don’t want to kill the fun you’re having but you are what you are, hence, I’m moving on. ✌

        • “America is a word derived from the name of Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci (Latin: Americus Vespucius). Before that there are no Americans! So what’s the difference, LCpl_X (@LCpl_X)? 👀

          Actually, your ancestors stole America from the aborigines. So is the case in other countries. Spain occupied us and the US “stole” us for a steal price from Spain. Please, I’m not here for history and hypocrisy, I’m here for accuracy and honesty.”

          We’re not talking etymology here, jameboy, we’re talking systems and institutions. The Portuguese and Spanish claimed the New World, and gave props to the folks that opened up the East, Florence and Venice, they were the reason the Portuguese and Spanish stumbled unto the New World.

          But the America, in the United States of America, is original, never before replicated in history, maybe classic Greece comes close–hence not “borrowed”, it’s original, albeit from a variety of sources meld into one.

          No one stole anything, jameboy, as many places here were actually not inhabited by Native Americans. To steal something there has to be a concept of ownership, of which the natives had none (to their detriment). Shameful things did happen, I’m not saying they didn’t.

          History is a tricky business and over simplification does it no justice. The word “stole” again is a misnomer in the Philippines, as much as your Filipino upper class sold you out. But to the victor goes the spoil, and sadly, that’s the right of conquest at its purest form.

          But I digress, “borrowed concept” simply means your systems and institutions are mostly from either Spain and the US. That’s not meant to be an offensive description but you seem to have a penchant or some sort of fetish to be offended, so again I can’t help you there.

          It’s satire to relate your brothel analogy to PNoy or Mar Roxas or even Grace Poe? I don’t want to kill the fun you’re having but you are what you are, hence, I’m moving on.

          When did I relate my brothel analogy to PNoy or Roxas or Poe? It was a macro- view of the base reality of the Philippines, jameboy. If you notice, I don’t really care too much for the politics there, I’m more concerned about creating institutions that surpass individual personalities there. I’ve met enough of your leaders there.

          Our Assyrian translator got his asylum visa and first thing he did was contact the guys he worked with. We all got together and took him on a road trip, from the East Coast to the West where he intended to stay with relatives. I met him over the long weekend.

          In that two weeks of just hanging out, we never took him to a brothel or strip joint, and we’re Marines. In the Philippines, the first order of business when the sun goes down is the bars/brothels. The folks you’ve chosen or placed in positions of power, when “showing off” their country, go straight to brothels.

          When our old Capt. upon hearing our translator’s asylum approval, got all of us together and our way of introduction to the US came in the form of a road trip to National Parks, fishing, hiking, camping, etc.

          That’s not satire, this is me comparing our way of introducing someone who’s only heard and read of America and the Philippine military/police way of introducing us to the Philippines. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the Philippine way. But I didn’t come out of it thinking, Man! the Philippines is a great country!


          jameboy, I get that youre our in-house naysayer / optimist here. And your operating from a premise that the Philippines can do it themselves, but you’ve not really made your case that the Philippines can and have done this. All the questioned I’ve posited, you’ve strategically left un-answered, focus on my quality of satire instead.

          After so many “There’s no need for that, the Philippines can do that here…” eventually you’re gonna have to explain or back your thoughts on this, because saying something when the reality on the ground is the opposite, serves your country less and is actually more detrimental.

          So you’re hiding behind these criticisms, not offering any solutions, since according to you everything’s already fine and dandy there, what’s the point of your comments on Joe’s blog? That’s an honest question, jameboy.

          I’ll leave you with this quote, take it to heart:

          “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ~ Pres. Theodore Roosevelt

          • jameboy says:

            You know what, you are making it hard on yourself writing those kilometric opinions and punishing me in the process for reading it. There’s only one thing you should do to settle the issue and make me keep my peace. And that is to tell me or give an example why your theory or solution makes perfect sense not because you’re saying it but because it’s been proven.

            In what country you exported that UCLA idea and succeeded in your objective? 😯

            • jameboy says:

              I mean ‘ACLU’. Whew, I’m getting dizzy with those mile long posts. Lol! 😎

            • jameboy,

              The ACLU is not part of the American gov’t, it is an independent organization, apart from gov’t whose objective is to keep an eye on the gov’t. Since WWI, the ACLU has molded American society and institutions, not on its own, but its played a big role.

              The design here isn’t for the ACLU to be exported, but to have an ACLU in the Philippines associated with the ACLU here. Think globally. You’re still thinking in colonist/colonized/colonizer mode, which will do you no good in the long term.

              The medical field is the closest to the ACLU idea, the flagship for medical missions is Doctors Without Borders (European entity, but global in scope), then several smaller missions in the form of religious and gov’t sanctioned like Peace Corps volunteers (the CDC usually piggie backs on them).

              There was a recent lawsuit against medical missions there by Philippine doctors, which I can only imagine were of the same mind as you, seeing Filipino-American doctors providing much needed medical care which your Filipino doctors weren’t providing, delicadeza trumped reason, and you get a lawsuit attempting to ban foreign medical missions.

              There’s no ACLU partnership with other nations, this is still a very American organization, but its tactics and strategies have been exported, how do you think your FLAG and MABINI organizations got their ideas in the 70s? The concept of civil rights, workers rights, and consumer rights came from ACLU.

              The class action lawsuit, a very American, legal concept, perfected by the ACLU, is now making headway across Europe. The idea is already there, jameboy, Oposa doctrine represents a successful class action bid, only incomplete.

              Philippine lawyers have been unsuccessful, not for lack of these very American ideas, but in their inability to create lasting institutions, apart from personalities, which can go toe-to-toe with the powerful. Unless you can offer examples of groups or organizations there that have lasted, without dependence on personalities, which have evolved into institutions, you’ll have to borrow a model organization, that’s the ACLU.

              Unless you have a better way to do this? But you’ve already stated priority and lack of resources, so what solutions would you prioritize here, jameboy?

              • “There was a recent lawsuit against medical missions there by Philippine doctors, which I can only imagine were of the same mind as you, seeing Filipino-American doctors providing much needed medical care which your Filipino doctors weren’t providing, delicadeza trumped reason, and you get a lawsuit attempting to ban foreign medical missions.”

                I remember dealing with some DSWD people who were all against SOS Kinderdorf and Terre des Hommes doing things for orphans in the Philippines – ridiculous. The DSWD people wanted total control and used legalistic stuff to hamper their good work.

                Now that is a far cry from what the Russians under Putin have done – first forcing all NGO representatives to register as foreign agents, then banning NGOs completely recently, because they really believe they are out to destabilize Mother Russia…

              • Irineo,

                Yup, ridiculous. A perfect example of lawyers doing petty things. Why? Because foreign aid is viewed as something detrimental to the Philippines? Detrimental for whom? the Philippines needs all the help it can get, why exercise delicadeza and pride at the expense of others, who’d surely benefit? That’s why jameboy‘s stance here is asinine.

                I may be picking on him but I’m doing so for good reason.

              • If you look at the power-tripping and control aspect Joe wrote about below – it is NEVER really about the Philippines, it is about the control and power-tripping of the ruling groups.

                Ruling groups can mean a certain political party. It can mean Manila versus provinces. It can mean poor versus rich. It can mean educated versus uneducated. It can mean dirty white or light brown against brown or very dark brown like MRP so often mentions.

                Entrenched groups have protected their power in the Philippines since time immemorial, like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_Manuel_de_Bustillo_Bustamante_y_Rueda – if you look at things today the patterns are very much the same, it is all about “turf”.

            • Forcing your way through is not the way to go. Your idea is not attractive and proof of that is after several posts I have yet to hear from the others here that it makes sense to outsource the solution on the legal profession problem as you suggest.

              I’m not forcing my way, jameboy, I’m simply placing you in the hot seat, to get you out of your critic mode (which is very easy, by the way) and get you to offer solid contributions here. The readership will be wiser for it. Don’t sweat it.

              As for others comments, you’ve missed their point, they’re not saying it’s a bad idea, they’re saying it’s not gonna happen because the circumstances are more dire than I have postulated. You’re saying the opposite, you’re saying everything’s fine and dandy and the Philippines can do it alone. There’s a difference in what you’re saying and what they’re saying.

              I’m actually the one whose been hopeful for the legal profession there, jameboy, only I’m not going to sugar coat reality there.

              • edgar lores says:

                Just to clarify, I am in favor in the creation of a civil liberties union in the Philippines. Refer to items 2 and 2.1 of my comment: https://joeam.com/2015/05/21/a-filipino-aclu-and-lawyering-in-the-philippines/#comment-121953.

                The struggle for the freedoms we enjoy has been long and hard, and the freedoms are under constant abuse and threat of being taken away. In the World Audit of civil liberties, the Philippines has a civil liberties score of 3 out of 7, where 1 is represents the most free and 7 the least free. So we have some way to go.

                Civil liberty unions are at the forefront of paying the price of our freedom for us. For us. “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”

              • jameboy says:

                You’re saying the opposite, you’re saying everything’s fine and dandy and the Philippines can do it alone.
                Really, did I say that? Or you’re imagining I said that? LCpl, your nose is growing each time you post up.

                Like I said, I get you. You have a nice idea but have a poor way of selling it. It’s still nice but the problem is the consumer don’t seem to have a use for it at the moment. The door is not shut, it’s the clock that stopped running, so to speak.

                Like we always say every time a salesman rang the door: Can you please come back some other day? Lol!

                Nice talking to you, sir. 👮

              • Really, did I say that? Or you’re imagining I said that?

                You can play coy or cute all you want, jameboy, but this time your empty little criticism didn’t go unchallenged. The ball’s in your court, please “embarrass” me.

          • sonny says:

            @ LCpl_X & jameboy

            One important takeaway I got from the book (The Moro War) was how clearly the US Military leaders (Pershing, Wood, Bliss, et al.) learned, carried out and concluded their role as instruments of American civilian policy in facing an initially foreign and strange Moro culture and human geography. The mutual exposure of Moro to American soldier albeit mostly violent is a revealing look into what questions and resolutions and compromises mutual strangers must quickly bring to a head. The push back that I sense from jameboy and the “consultantship” being proffered by LCpl_X are so reminiscent of the face-off negotiations and confrontations in Moroland: the Moro wanted to be left alone to his system of justice and economy while the American soldier was telling him yes with certain conditions protecting life, limb (literally) and other social conventions entirely foreign to the Moro way of life. Biggest objectionable sticking point, the Moro must disarm himself! Today’s analog to this, IMO, the Filipino must disarm himself of his “stinky” civic morality! (Entirely my verbiage, FWIW 🙂 )

            • sonny says:


              Even then, in answer to hearing American policies will bring about so much good to everyone, the Moros asked: Are you staying to see these good things through? (Pershing thought these will take root in at least three generations if properly administered).

            • sonny, thanks for that Moro War insight (look forward to an article on that). The St. Louis world’s fair in 1904, had a bunch of Philippine indigenous natives on display. Fateful to Darwin’s survival of the fittest model at that time, they had Visayans/Tagalogs as Hispanized Filipinos, the Moros as the Mohammedan Filipinos and the Igorots, representing the crudest form of Filipinos the US had just acquired.

              Unbeknownst to their American hosts, the Moros, after their show for the fair goers, kept visiting the Winchester and Remington exhibits to buy arms to take home with them. LOL!
              My respect for Muslim Filipinos is off the charts, man. I love that story, and ever since my LT made me read that bit, I’ve shared it to everyone in Mindanao.

              Those Army generals were pushing American institutions of that period, prior to ACLU, and institutions of that period, if you’re a fan of Mark Twain, were perfect for satire. I’m still in the process of getting Moro War, but you might be interested in reading the Marine Corps’ ‘Small Wars Doctrine’, as their take on a similar campaign in Central America was much more nuanced–just google Small Wars Doctrine and there should be plenty of pdf publications available.

              As for jameboy, we’re not even negotiating. We’re basically talking about how this article made him feel small, which is actually a waste of my time, but I’m hoping by putting him in the hot seat, he’ll come up with original ideas of his own, instead of just being a side line critic here. He’s a smart guy, but seems perfectly content playing the dunced cap naysayer.

              • karl garcia says:

                If there are people who would be interested in you talking about the military if would Sonny and myself, two brats (not spoiled brats) Sonny an Army brat and me a Navy brat.

          • “But the America, in the United States of America, is original, never before replicated in history” closest to ancient Rome maybe. A republic that became an empire.

            Similar in cultural and military influence towards the respective known world.

            • Irineo,

              I see your Rome comparison, because Rome was as much enamored of their institutions. But Rome had very little to give to the rest of the world as far as original ideas goes. They copied most of what they knew from the Greeks. You can count their best thinkers in one hand (two hands if you’re a Rome fanatic).

              When the Dark Ages came, most Latin writings that were worth saving and copying were Christian. The Greeks left so much more. So I’m accounting for military influence as the least here, and focusing on cultural, intellectual contributions, hence the Greek comparison, although at times we’ve been more like Romans.

              • Roman thinkers are few: Seneca and Marcus Aurelius. Writers: Cicero mainly. Not much. Well there is the comparison Greece = Europe and Rome = USA, but in relation the US has more original stuff of its own, even if the roots of the USA were British and European.

                Without the Glorious Revolution of Puritan Cromwell in England, no Pilgrim Fathers and no American Revolution the way it happened. Without Magna Carta and then John Locke no Thomas Jefferson if you ask me. The US took over as an Empire where the UK left off.

                Euro-chauvinists will say that America has NO culture at all and copied everything from the hamburger (German) to spaghetti (Italian) but that is of course nonsense, just looking at the great writers the USA has like Mark Twain, Hemingway – and Norman Mailer.

              • Joe America says:

                Mark Twain was loudly outspoken for Philippine independence in the early years of the 20th century. You probably knew that but many Filipinos do not. His “Huck Finn” and “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” are pure genius, his ability to address racial and even gender stereotypes long before they became the social mantra. The “street dialogue, or black dialogue, or river raft dialogue” used in the novels is a beauty to behold. He writes in the introduction that it was a concoction of several different dialects, as I recall, and he just went with what seemed right. John Steinbeck is another American writer who cut to the human core of the great American migration westward. Emotionally brutal writing.

              • Yes, Mark Twain was even against the Philippine-American war and wrote about it in a way that might even fit later US wars or any bogged-down war of conquest for that matter.

                So one could say that Mark Twain was a sort of Bob Dylan of his age.

              • Joe America says:

                That he was. I wonder if he could sing.

              • karl garcia says:

                Shania Twain could sing. But Mark Twain?

      • “If they’ve experience excellent customer service before, what’s preventing them from implementing it?” The Philippines is a feudal society to the core, inspite of surface modernity if you ask me. Giving service is seen as something unworthy of those who are worth their salt. Which Filipinos give the best service, work the best? The example you just gave us, then maids working abroad, 200 thousand seamen on ships worldwide, nurses being recruited all over the world. I remember very well a comment of a high DFA official after a meeting with members of the Philippine community – I was an Embassy insider then – “what do I care what these maids and brides of foreigners think of our politics?”…

        Do you see any rich kids working in McDonalds in the Philippines? Many rich kids do that in the United States to gain real life experience. Marcos tried to force people to do at least two weeks of rural service per year, even he had to stop that program, too many resisted.

        • Irineo,

          I’ve never thought of it this way. So the bank tellers, gov’t offices, etc. don’t extend customer service because it’s beneath them? Customer service here is tantamount because customers will bite your head off if you disrespect them, so it’s more a survival issue.

          I’m reading about Edward Deming, the American responsible for the Japanese post-war economic miracle, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Edwards_Deming , this guy represents an exported idea (to Japan) which American companies didn’t care for (to their detriment).

          This was about quality control and product design, but I can see similarities to customer service. I think it’s just a matter of teaching this, regardless of how entrench a cultural trait is (in this case the rich feeling customer service is beneath their status).

          • It starts with having maids. Many Filipinos have huge problems abroad if they have gotten used to having maids around them all the time. I have a good example of that.

            My German mother once got into a real argument with members of my father’s family because her younger sister-in-law woke the maid at 2 a.m. to make Nescafe for her and my mother told her not to do that. The Western humane attitude towards househelp.

            Finally that aunt of mine was grateful when she went abroad that my mother taught her how to do stuff at home by herself. There is also a story of a leftist professor who during water shortages at U.P. made his maids get water from the hydrant – and drove alongside while they pushed a cart with heavy barrels of water back home instead of helping them. Or a son of a Muslim politician who backed up his SUV while the rest of us were drinking and nearly ran over a man with a cart. NONE of those around me noticed, maybe I would not have noticed either but I had been in Germany for a while and was totally shocked.

            Or me buying a cigarette from a vendor at a crossing along EDSA/Ortigas when there was no flyover yet – he gave me the cigarette, he started lighting it with his Zippo, the light turned green and my friend started the car, the poor vendor had to run after us. Looked at my friend and he had neither noticed nor did he care. Or some attaches and consuls who would ask me or the phone operator – that was in Germany back in the 1980s – to make their calls for them and then connect them inspite of having direct dial phones. Or sending some of us to make single photocopies or fetch stuff or whatever else necessary. OK I was cool with that because I programmed stuff for them and learned a lot doing it.

            Well I do have the impression from afar that things have changed a bit, some modernity, but old attitudes die hard. Some of the laughter about Mar Roxas falling from his motorbike may have stemmed from that attitude – he not only pretended to work but actually did some work. It is also seen in the attitude that walking is bad, sweat is bad. Don’t know how much that has changed in the past years. Now teaching is a good thing, but remember how good Filipinos can be at acting the part required of them when the teacher is there – and revert to old habits when the teacher is gone. Which is what I think happened after the Americans left, gradually things went back to where they were before.

            • edgar lores says:

              The first two paragraphs underscores the essence of what JoeAm wrote in the “Eureka! I Have Found It! Why the Philippines is This Way!”

              That essence is the lack of the virtue of self-reliance.

              o We rely on maids — to do the work for us.
              o We rely on rich neighbors — to lend us money.
              o We rely on politicians — to build the nation.
              o We rely on priests and the pope — to establish the meaning of our lives.
              o We rely on foreign countries — to give us work and to protect our borders.
              o We rely on God — to keep us healthy and to make us rich.

              The reliance is in every direction — downwards, sidewards, and upwards — except inwards.

              We rely on everybody… except ourselves.

              • Joe America says:

                See my comment to LCX about customer service and this being a culture driven by “power”, which always has another person to subjugate. It is not energized by self development. There is a monster blog in this idea if I can capture it.

              • reminds me of something good Sotto was part of – not his role in the Senate:

            • It starts with having maids. Many Filipinos have huge problems abroad if they have gotten used to having maids around them all the time.

              I did notice that there, Irineo. The rich had servants, and the lines were distinct–ie. servants eat separately, some had to wear uniforms, etc. The middle-class (if you can call them that) also had servants (usually distant relatives from the rural areas), but at the time I was there it seemed more like house-holding–getting together to help each other out. But come to think of it, they were servants as well, maybe they ate together, didn’t have to wear uniforms, but the hierarchy was there.

              As for power-tripping, we do something similar in the Marines, when people pull rank, but that’s seen as the lowest type of leadership. The highest being charisma and the ability to inspire. The Marine Corps is so communistic, that when I first boarded a Navy ship and realized the Captain was attended to by his own cook/butler, it was complete culture shock.

              But yes, having servants does create a very different sense of morality–I can only imagine.

          • Joe America says:

            The customer service attitude here is often that we, the customer, should be thankful that the business is willing to sell us stuff. Now please wait in line while we write your order up on paper so we can check if the computer is doing it right and have a document the bagger can use to verify the paper and the cash register print-out. Oh, and before doing that, we will take 20 minutes to test the product so that you agree it works fine and we can invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty and you can’t bring it back if it is a lemon.

            Some companies get it: Jollibees. But even major chain department stores do not.

            The “power” positioning is an essential energy of human interactions here. It always has another party to subjugate. It is different than the American “competitive” energy, where individuals aspire to prove themselves, and improve themselves. Aspire here is a dirty word. It just doesn’t have four letters.

            • “Now please wait in line while we write your order up on paper so we can check if the computer is doing it right and have a document the bagger can use to verify the paper and the cash register print-out. Oh, and before doing that, we will take 20 minutes to test the product so that you agree it works fine and we can invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty and you can’t bring it back if it is a lemon.”

              That has to do with another aspect: honesty and trust. Everything has to have a 100% paper trail and everything double-checked. Bosses assume employees are dishonest, business assume that the customer is going to steal or cheat using the warranty.

              From my NYC visit I remember how my NJ relatives told me how many Filipinos misused American “return if you are not satisfied” guarantees by buying clothes for one-time use in parties and then returning them a few days later. With electronics I don’t want to know how many people “kalas” the products for parts. Well the variant of buying a new inflatable mattress and then giving back an old kaput mattress same model is something I have heard of done here in Germany by German cheats so it is not just exclusively Filipino.

              But I can imagine how it works in companies: the top bosses tell their subordinates make sure that there is as little inventory loss as possible, as little error in cash collection as possible and as little customer reclamation as possible. The middle level bosses say yes sir and are afraid of consequences if they do not meet their goals – the upper bosses do not WANT to hear any explanations or suggestions, for them these are “EXCUSES”. The assumption is that the lower levels are lying or lazy is part of the authoritarian culture.

              And the whole thing is a vicious cycle – the lower levels often are lazy or lying if left to themselves, since they are used to being told what to do and do it in a totally rote way. Give room for creativity and it can become pilferage to earn money on the side – this stuff I have heard of happen even in the American PX where Filipinos work. Or a man working in an American Cafe using his pivot position at a major meeting point to become a major betting station for hueteng – until word was out that MPs had the gang under observation. Ambition is a bad word because it usually means wanting to be higher than your people, meaning lord it over them, use your poor cousins as maids, cooks and drivers. American self-improvement for its own sake is alien to the original Filipino mentality if you ask me.

              • Joe America says:

                Ah, trust. That old bugaboo that hassles us at the cash register and BBL debate.

                I’m doing a blog about some aspects of this. Sunday evening, probably.

              • The way I learned from German businessmen is not to overcheck but to spot check.
                Checking everything teaches people to be “disempowered” if they ever were empowered.

                Check broadly and if the big picture fits, fine. If stuff seems strange, check a little more.
                Especially in large firms, there will ALWAYS be some discrepancies and inventory losses.

                With everything computerized, it’s easy to check for patterns nowadays -> catch skimmers.

              • Not always, I must correct. But very often, more often than one imagines. Stuff for internal auditors to handle, and to be reported to the Finanzamt (Tax Office). The German way of handling that is if you report an error yourself and pay the difference, no charges. Of course if you wait for the feared tax auditors to come and you report the error only when the investigations against you have already started, no more amnesty. Clever system.

              • karl garcia says:

                “Aspire is a dirty word” I remember Irineo blogging about ambition. Ambisyoso here is negative, it is like reaching for the stars, you are wasting your time stuff, as if it is impossible.(He deleted the whole article,he said it was too negative)

              • It sounded too much like a copy of GRP and that is not what I want to sound like. The positive version of it is my entry page now.

              • Joe America says:

                I visited GRP the other day to see what is going on there. How can they do that stuff year after year? Is that the calling of their lives? What have they built, or shaped? The choir is a very bitter, angry bunch, I fear.

              • There are two traps a Filipino migrant blogger can fall into – becoming like GRP or becoming like MRP. Both have their valid points but that does not move anything forward.

                I prefer to acknowledge the bad things but point out rays of hope. The “arrogance and ignorance – Philippine Siamese twins” was the only blog article I ever deleted. Decided this is the kind of article I never want to write again, that road leads to anger and bitterness…

              • Joe America says:

                I admire your choice to take the high road.

        • karl garcia says:

          “Do you see any rich kids working in McDonalds in the Philippines? ”

          Before Starbucks rich kids did work in some McDonalds branches i saw guys working In a branch in Makati,Alabang,etc. I myself worked there for a couple of months(late 80s). I just tried it.

          Now in the call center era, Rich kids also do call center work.

          I am not shooting down your entire idea,because I agree with it (over-all)

          • Good to know that there are some trying it… and of course call center work is where you are forced to be service-oriented… in retail there is no one to break the big monopolies.

            Having household help is a way of spreading the wealth so it is not to be condemned – what my mother did was to sent my yaya to evening school, secretarial courses but she followed us abroad – in the Philippines it is hard to move up, you have your class label…

            Her daughter who was born here (a true Ilokana from both sides, father former PNP and later tricycle driver from Nueva Ecija’s Ilokano part) is studying now, speaks German, English, Spanish, Ilokano, Tagalog and will have opportunities her parents never had.

            This is the stuff MRP is writing about all the time regarding color but he means class/caste.

            • karl garcia says:

              Thanks again Irineo.
              I have been round reading MRP about the same time as I have been reading Joe at around 2009 when we were all commenters at Filipinovoices.I am still learning to understand him.

  25. jameboy says:

    “There’s no ACLU partnership with other nations…..”
    That’s what I suspect all along that is why the proposition felt like a lump on my throat. So we’re going to be guinea pigs after all. 😦

    Nothing’s wrong with that for underdeveloped countries like us are so used to that setting. If opportunities and time warrants it, fine. But in the meantime, there’s more issues out there that requires more attention and urgency like poverty, population, health, peace and order, etc. Issues that directly impact the great majority of the population.

    There was a recent lawsuit against medical missions there by Philippine doctors, which I can only imagine WERE OF THE SAME MIND AS YOU, seeing Filipino-American doctors providing much needed medical care which your Filipino doctors weren’t providing, delicadeza trumped reason, and you get a lawsuit attempting to ban foreign medical missions.
    Whatever “mind” you mean on top I really don’t care. I don’t talk about your mind, I talk about the idea you are selling that becomes more and more unattractive each time you put up a post with swipes and digs just because someone is not buying what you are selling.

    Look, doctors without borders is a benevolent idea that everybody should welcome for it not only save lives but it’s also serves as a mode of transferring technology, knowledge, and expertise through people interaction. And when it comes to health and science countries like the Philippines will stand to benefit from the rich, advanced and developed countries like US and Europe. I have no problem with that.

    HOWEVER, things on the ground is not that simple as you present (again!) it to be. The lawsuit you talked about is not just a lawsuit with “delicadeza” attached to it. Nope. There is more to it than that and you know it and I don’t want to expound on it here and in the process embarrass you. I suggest you write about the issue and relate that on this ACLU thing and let’s discuss.

    Right now, let’s move on. You presented your idea and I’m not buying, let’s move to other issues. If somebody here will agree and buy your stuff I’ll be happy just to read what they’re going to say and be done with it. I cannot say anything more without recycling what I’ve said already and you know what that means. 😎

    • “there’s more issues out there that requires more attention and urgency like poverty, population, health, peace and order, etc. Issues that directly impact the great majority of the population.

      There is more to it than that and you know it and I don’t want to expound on it here and in the process embarrass you.”jameboy

      PLEASE, EMBARRASS ME, jameboy!!! That’s what I’ve been trying all along here, to goad you into expounding your point of view–which you seem to be keeping secret from us, as if you know some secret recipe. So far you’re just been hiding behind empty criticisms about your feelings, about how the Philippines doesn’t need outside help, and my personal favourite, “intellectual racism”.

      Can you expound on your above thoughts? What priorities do you think we should focus on then? Are resources, warm bodies, really that meager that only so many solutions can be entertained at any given time? These are assumptions that need to be explained. So far it’s crickets chirping from your end.

      Please, please, embarrass, me, jameboy, I don’t suffer from this delicadeza malady, I can take it. I actually want to hear your views, not just criticisms. Maybe once we move on from your feelings, we can finally have a fruitful discussion here, jameboy. Waiting patiently…

      • I think I know what jameboy MIGHT be getting at. For an ACLU-like thing you need to have an underlying CIVIC SOCIETY first. A sense of COMMON WEAL. Philippines does NOT have that. America has it. Philippines is an anarchy of families like Prof. McCoy wrote!

        American institutions did not take root in the Philippines inspite of well-meaning effort because they were like trees planted in the wrong kind of cultural soil. Almost everything in the Philippines looks like an absurd farce of Spanish cum American institutions.

        Now mediators who know how it can work abroad and also understand the Filipino way could be the right approach. But don’t underestimate the tenacity of Filipino power groups.

        A mix of Filipino-Westerners, modern Filipinos with some expat background and modern “natives” with a strong understanding of local processes might be the dream team. Foreign advisers in the background. Start with specific, very immediate concerns.

        For example: legal advice for poor people who are often victims of a system the do not understand at all. Then: legal advice for small and medium-sized businesses that might be disadvantaged by complex administrative and legal procedures. Get ideas from the ACLU but do not totally copy it, get ideas from other similar initiatives elsewhere as well, adapt the approach to “native” circumstances. Instead of “barefoot doctors”, “barefoot lawyers” or abogadong nakatsinelas – lawyers in slippers. Part of the resistance you have encountered from jameboy you will encounter elsewhere as well – but if you give the whole thing a “native” touch like CANA – but do not go blackface that will backfire – it will work.

        • jameboy says:

          Basically, your five-paragraphs capture the essence of the native or local approach of my idea. The only part where I don’t share the same view was the second paragraph.

          I think it (institutions) did take roots and have worked here as they were meant to be. And that’s how it’s supposed to be. An American way transported and exported in the Philippines will become the Filipino way. We cannot expect the Pinoys to copy exactly everything and become what they copied. That’s possible only if we’re robots but we’re not. We think based in accord with the environment we have. The pull of our culture and tradition is nowhere near with that of the Americans. The hold and dictates of the spiritual advisers of the Church is incomparable with the secularist US. And so on and so forth with regard to our differences as a people and nation.

          I say, the soil is right where the tree was planted. However, the fruits may not taste the same because of the weather and humidity. 👳

          • Everything that comes to the Philippines is Filipinized. Jeeps become jeepneys. Jolibee is preferred to McDonalds because it is spicier. Filipino malls are not like American malls.

            Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil called this process cultural ingestion or digestion: http://www.google.de/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&ved=0CEoQFjAF&url=http%3A%2F%2Fjournals.ateneo.edu%2Fps%2Fps%2Farticle%2Fdownload%2F1060%2F1042&ei=mHdoVfL8OMGsygPj_IKwCw&usg=AFQjCNE0PSkw3S7z3ePsXtculuyMmGycgQ&bvm=bv.93990622,d.bGQ&cad=rja

            Now the Mexican influences on Filipino culture are so deeply digested that they are no longer foreign – whether it is what Filipinos made out of adobo or out of Catholicism. 19th-century Spanish influences are almost fully digested now, the more recent American influences are still in the process of being digested and assimilated into the local culture. Just my impression… The legal discussions on Raissa’s blog reflect how Filipino jurisprudence, meaning the consensus on how to interpret the law, is developing now.

            Many discussions that appear strange to outsiders but they are necessary because the interpretation of law, especially its practice, must be compatible with the cultural values. Easier for Americans whose law developed from ancient Germanic and Anglo-Saxon times through Magna Carta from their own culture, or Malays whose law has strong elements of traditional tribal law that is called “adat” – also still used by the Tausugs by the way.

            Barangay mediation is one adaptation of law to Philippine circumstances – in olden days Filipinos went to their datu if they had quarrels, today the datu is the barangay captain.

            Foreigners, or Filipino migrants abroad, can only give ideas. How to sort it out, what to use and what not to use is a local Filipino decision. Ok no one will go back to the Code of Kalantiaw, which has been proven to be fake anyway.

            • The PDF is by Doreen Fernandez, but they go by a similar line of thinking…

              everything the Filipinos adopt is eventually Filipinized.

            • Now we’re getting somewhere.

              Thanks for that Irineo, no thanks to jameboy who seems to just be grabbing on your coattails for the ride. He still hasn’t answered my last questions to him.

              Now we’ve come full circle, this was basically your first comment here and my first response, ie. nuance missed.

              I’ve accepted early on from your initial response that an ACLU can’t be plopped down there like some black monolith from Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Space Odyssey’. And I agree civic society, maybe not be ready, especially with Prof. McCoy’s description of the societal lay-out there, which is reminiscent of Scorsese’s ‘Gangs of New York’–but even the gangs of New York gave way to institutions.

              But the legal field, compared to all other institutions and professions, over there seem the most promising institution to improve. And the ACLU idea isn’t really one bulky idea, it’s designed to be cut up into modules. There’s the model of an institution, based on principle. There’s the class action lawsuit which has been attempted. There’s the Filipino-American lawyers/advocates (if this portion is so troubling, it doesn’t have to happen, but Filipino-Americans have been there to do good work, so I don’t see how it’s an issue).

              No one’s touched on education. The Philippines is adding an 11th and 12th grade, this is unmapped territory, primed for experimentation. A bunch of stuff is coming out of Silicon Valley attempting to re-design education.

              I don’t think there’s any need to re-design law school there, law school there is the same as here. A lot of reading, a lot of critical thinking, a lot of creativity. The problem is when they pass the bar exam and begin lawyering, that’s when they get their dose of Prof. McCoy’s Philippine reality.

              The question is how to inoculate them from getting threatened, getting bought out, from being stuck in a moral quandary. And I think the Greeks have already laid that out for us, the question is how to transpose that to Philippine culture (the Catholic church have tried, essentially they stole the virtues from the Greeks, only the priests didn’t practice it, hard to preach what you don’t practice).

              “Then: legal advice for small and medium-sized businesses that might be disadvantaged by complex administrative and legal procedures.”

              The law for the poor, although the poor need legal representation, is chump change vis-a-vis the ACLU model. Unless a case that represents a larger legal precedent can be coaxed out of it, but legal aid for the poor is transactional law, and transactional law represents underemployment for lawyers who’ve just went through some pretty rigorous thinking in law school.

              I added Ralph Nader’s quote in the article, to capture the type of lawyering necessary there. They can keep on doing case-by-case lawyering, will and notaries, or they can do something the ACLU has mastered over the years and pick cases that will generate change for everyone there both poor and middle class.

              So aside from environmental cases, which will be argued on philosophic grounds, I think your idea above also represents a ripe field for some sort of legal precedent.

              “I think it (institutions) did take roots and have worked here as they were meant to be. And that’s how it’s supposed to be.”

              jameboy, you might want to read Irineo’s and edgar’s description of the legal system above to understand what they mean by didn’t take root.

              I for one, prefer a different analogy. The Americans attempted to plant great institutions, not only did they not germinate, the Filipinos ended up playing sungka with them. All seeds are dead, or re-purposed for the game of sungka, but only the Legal system seed can still be planted.

              The Education seed, the Governance seed, the Military seed, the Police seed, hell even the Church seed (which has been imbued with magic) all have been re-purposed to play sungka. Shadows of what they were meant to be. The underlying assumption here is that the Legal seed can still be planted.

              jameboy doing analogies and metaphors is easy. Great for rhetoric, but no substance, unless you can back up your analogies as Irineo has done.

              • jameboy says:

                Thanks for that Irineo, no thanks to jameboy who seems to just be grabbing on your coattails for the ride.
                Lol! Ireneo was just being Ireneo. He knows what I’m talking about because he too is a Filipino (who became a German now). You didn’t get it because your thought process is detached from the subject matter of the issue.

                An outsider just looking in will never be on the same level with the insider feeling everything. You failed to take the gist of what I’m saying because you are not only an outsider but you also have no idea where the entrance is! It was only until Ireneo elaborated in an in-your-face manner why the conflict in our views.

                I suggest you rely more on Ireneo when it comes to issues that you are not familiar with. The guy has the knack in clarifying things through his treasure chest filled with knowledge. 👍

              • So much for originality, huh, jameboy? You still haven’t answered my questions to you. Here they are again,

                Can you expound on your above thoughts? What priorities do you think we should focus on then? Are resources, warm bodies, really that meager that only so many solutions can be entertained at any given time? These are assumptions that need to be explained. So far it’s crickets chirping from your end.

              • The Mexican stuff became digested into Philippine culture because it is after all part-tribal.

                The Spanish and American stuff, only partly, the American not at all because institutional.

                So how do you go from there? Let us try to look at how certain things evolved:

                1) justice: evolved out of a need to satisfy the need to punish wrongdoing but prevent vengeance which is destructive to society as a whole. Simple tribal justice in the Philippine is the datu/barangay mediation system. A more evolved form of that is Malay/Tausug adat.

                a) American laws evolved out of ancient Germanic tribal laws. The Witan or tribal elders decided, but usually involved some other respected members of the tribe = jury system. Precedent law comes from that tradition as well = guys remember the case of Thorsten son of Dietmar against Gunnar son of Hermann, the Witan then decided that killing your neighbors oxen is something to be fined by remunerating the loss in agricultural produce.

                b) Spanish laws evolved out of Roman laws. In ancient Rome you had magistrates and stone tablets or papyrus with the laws engraved into them. Roman laws evolved out of Roman religion – the religion they had before the Greek gods they copied and magistrates were the successors of priests. Thus you have had codified laws there since very long, the predecessor of Napoleonic Law which is more or less the Philippine Civil Code is the Codex of Justinian which survived way into the Middle Ages as so-called “Roman Law”.

                c) now if the law does not fit the host culture – Filipino host culture is Malay with some elements of Hindu, Muslim and Mexican thinking – the law will always be a foreign body. Like I wrote, the adaptation of the interpretation of law to the culture – and the culture to the rule of law – is something ongoing. Sufficient codification – cleaning up the codified parts – and a clear jurisprudence, meaning a consensus on how to interpret precedents properly – are jobs that still need to be done IMHO. Major cases may push this process.

                2) institutions – in simple tribal cultures like in New Guinea, everything was decided by a so-called “big man”. In the Philippines and older Malay tribal cultures, this was the datu. Malay cultures evolved their legal procedures based on Hindu and Muslim additions, this process also took place in the Philippines but then the Spanish/Mexicans came around. So the Philippines lost its forming institutions and regressed in its internal development. The institutions New Spain formed were for extracting forced labor and for repression.

                a) Spanish (after 1821 when New Spain became independent Mexico) and Americans tried to make their institutions work in the Philippines, but the habits of the native elite were formed by nearly 250 years of being agents of those oppressing the country. The Spanish first introduced public schooling, made surnames mandatory – all in my blog – and even held the first local elections in 1895 – Aguinaldo was one of the first elected there. Spanish Civil Code in 1889, before that semi-tribal semi-colonial laws, I have old land papers from my family that prove that, written on Spanish legal paper with stamps with the beautiful handwriting of municipal scribes. In the time of troubles before the USA got the Philippines under control, the same paper without stamp, but the scribes continued work! Up to the 1920s all legal stationery in the Philippines was in both Spanish and English!

                b) The Philippine elite has the habit of seeing its system as its hostage to continue what is has been doing since datus were coopted by the Spanish in the late 1500s in exchange for being exempted from forced labor – exploiting it for its benefit. The masses think in a tribal way, do not accept the system and cheat it where they can. It is a foreign apparatus, similar to the administration of New Spain, with some modern trappings but not much more.

                c) How to make the whole thing work? Start with the laws I say, and have a group of strong lawyers to set precedents for everyone – against arbitrary administrative practices that go against small and medium sized businesses for example, or administrative chicanery against the common man – for example all this nonsense about names and misspelling – precedents could be set or codified laws and administrative procedures challenged as to their Constitutionality. This is like drilling holes in a cement wall, but it might be worth it.

              • jameboy says:


                Forgive me, I cannot go back on the issue that for me is closed already. While I do not buy your idea I respect it because I believe it was rooted on sincerity and intent to help which is what Americans are noted for. There’s nothing personal in what I’ve said even though it was a response to what I thought was a personal treatment of an issue.

                You cannot engage me on a term of who’s the best to explain things or prove his idea is tops. I don’t circulate with that objective. I receive and throw punches and that’s that. I take nothing from the arguments that I had because there’s no point doing that.

                Like I said we only exists here as words or sentences and periods or commas, etc. We don’t know each other and we have no idea what kind of person each us are personally. Though I’m 99.9% think that we’re all good and nice people ’round here.

                Just treat your exchanges with me as an encounter with a very stingy person. 👦

              • jameboy,

                You took up a position at the beginning, which you could’ve easily supported by expounding on the above questions I’ve asked. But instead, you’ve just tucked tail and have chosen to abandon your position.

                You may think that imperialism or Westernization is the enemy, but you’ve just demonstrated what it means to not stand for something. You had a position, it’s not the same as the rest of the Filipinos here because, to you “the soil is right where the tree was planted. However, the fruits may not taste the same because of the weather and humidity.

                You’re nationalistic, you’re proud of your culture, and I can respect that, but I cannot respect someone who engages, then simply drops out abandoning his position. If there is any take away from all this, it is standing and defending a position. You could’ve bowed out too (I’ve bowed out plenty of times), but you’re leaving our discussion thinking your secret recipe is in good hands, not divulged to outsiders–“an encounter with a very stingy person”.

                Either you have something to offer or you don’t. Remember this defeat, jameboy. It wasn’t I who defeated you, because my intention was to gather as much information here, you defeated yourself, by abandoning your position. Out.

              • There are two kinds of nationalism:

                1) that of the Venetians who cursed the Austrians when they left for teaching them how to eat three meals a day…

                2) that which is aware of traditions and specific reasons for doing things in a certain way based on experience passed on through generations – also called culture – but is open to adapting these ways to new circumstances and adapting good stuff from other people.

            • jameboy says:

              Everything that comes to the Philippines is Filipinized. Jeeps become jeepneys. Jolibee is preferred to McDonalds because it is spicier. Filipino malls are not like American malls.
              Exactly! Is it good or bad? It’s both. Oftentimes, I have to admit, it’s bad. But we continue to struggle to equate with the original idea and give a semblance of similarity. We have to “own” something because like our friend here said, we are a borrowed concept. Lol! 🙊

              • America started of that way to – like I wrote, founded by the Pilgrim Fathers, Puritans who had been instrumental in the Glorious Revolution of Oliver Cromwell some years before and were not really welcome in England anymore. They then borrowed a lot from the English, but also from others. Their hamburgers are German the name alone says it, their beer is also from German immigrants, the third stage of the Saturn V was a modified V2.

                Germany became what it is because the Germanic tribesmen were first influenced by Romans, changing their language from barbaric Gothic to Old German which was almost the same as old English, then the French influenced them heavily. NO country is “original”.

                Without Greek alphabet, no Roman alphabet, without Phoenician alphabet, no Greek alphabet. Without the Phoenician traders simplifiying hieroglyphs to an alphabet which they need, being pragmatic traders, no alphabet at all in Europe just ideograms like China!

        • Irineo I’m still trying to get a feel for what CANA is doing, can you do an article on them?

          • I have on in my blog, but it is on a general level and links to their website. There is also a posting by me on a recent chapter in Sorsogon. Their goal is to be a watchdog for local government transparency. They have online resources to teach citizens how to read and interpret government financial stuff properly. They enable new chapters based on the experiences of the original chapters. Their funding sponsor is the European Union.

            Their press partner is Mindanews – CANA started down in Mindanao! Mindanews is a cooperative of independent journalists with the Motto “this is OUR Mindanao” – one of the best papers that the Philippines has, maybe because no vested publisher interests…

          • c) How to make the whole thing work? Start with the laws I say, and have a group of strong lawyers to set precedents for everyone – against arbitrary administrative practices that go against small and medium sized businesses for example, or administrative chicanery against the common man – for example all this nonsense about names and misspelling – precedents could be set or codified laws and administrative procedures challenged as to their Constitutionality. This is like drilling holes in a cement wall, but it might be worth it.

            Irineo, this is not unlike what the ACLU did at its inception up to the 1940s, where they slowly gained a following in academia, the courts, lawyers, and then expanded after having laid out the foundation by way of legal precedents.

            The legal system back in the 1920s in the US, was similar to how it is there now, so we’re about a century apart. But with the internet and social media, hence the important of a solid uncompromisable tel/com lines, it will be a lot easier to actualize.

            That’s also why I’m very interested with this CANA model, but more on the ground implementation. Can you link your blog article on CANA? Thanks, man.

              • http://citizenaction.net/index.php/silag – everything is unfortunately very general. I get your point that the stuff on the ground is barely described.

                I even posted my article on their Facebook page, enjoined them to participate in discussing my article but no response. I would expect clearer reports on what they do, where they actually accomplished something in what case but nothing clear there. Hoping they are not just symbolic to suck money out of EU funding – something that happens with foreign NGO projects at at times. I would expect a website for every chapter with downloadable PDFs and Excel sheets with the budgets of the LGUS they are responsible for, with some stuff about what they challenged at what was changed. But I might at some point ask them on their Facebook page. If no answer, as an EU citizen I might ask the EU where my money is going and if they can provide some more detailed reports on CANA.

  26. sonny says:

    From current events, stateside:

    Ex-Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert (R, ILL) indicted for paying $3.5 million in hush money …
    Prior to this during his active tenure, his public persona was as one of the upright public servants one could meet. This indictment puts him in the line of political malfeasance among Illinois public servants: Sen Rostenkowski, Rep Jesse Jackson Jr, ex-Governors Blagojevich & Dan Walker. Reminds me of the saying, “Who guards the guardians?” 😦

    • “Who guards the guardians?”

      That’s the FBI’s role but since they’ve been chasing terrorists, they’ve slacked off. The next level of watchers is the press.

      • sonny says:

        @ LCpl_X

        By accident or design, however way this specific configuraton of democracy is now being played out, I do marvel at the dynamic of checks and balances that more often than not keeps the American ship of state upright for the most part. I keep hoping that there exists that group of Filipino statesmen who will launch a similar ship and equally a Filipino body politic that will perpetuate our version of “annuit coeptis.”

        • sonny,

          I’ve wondered that myself. I know the Constitution lays out the checks and balances part, but how its implemented on the ground is a very interesting story. For example, before the FBI became the forefront of Federal law enforcement, the US had the Secret Service and Marshals (them being the oldest).

          So the FBI had to eke out a niche for itself. Chief Volmer who once headed UC Berkeley’s School of Criminology, had the idea of professionalizing the police force–police officers should be college graduates was his big idea, back then if you were big and tough you can be a cop. His idea didn’t catch on, until Dir. Hoover ran with it.

          Hoover’s college educated professional investigators became the top cops, purely based on quality of personnel. But having quality folks wasn’t enough, the head had to be a personality to be reckoned with, that was Hoover himself.

          Supposedly, the only Filipino in the FBI’s ranks was a man by the name of Flaviano Guerrero, who along with a Capt. Duggan (NYPD Captain) were sent to the Philippines in 1936 to found an FBI in the Philippines, which later became the NBI.

          I don’t know if there was ever a Hoover equivalent at the NBI. Is the NBI there seen similarly as the FBI, behind the scenes with state/local police taking credit, yet also seen as a benevolent force who know their boundaries (as oppose to say the NSA currently)?

          I never really got the public’s opinion on the NBI, aside from hearing them talk about getting their clearances to go work outside of the country.

          I keep hoping that there exists that group of Filipino statesmen who will launch a similar ship and equally a Filipino body politic that will perpetuate our version of “annuit coeptis.”

          I think this will come in the form of single individuals (like Hoover, or Donovan, or Gen. Grey, USMC) who are a mixture of egomaniacs with a keen sense of Justice and the big picture.

          Now you and karl were military brats, did you guys come across officers or enlisted that had these personalities, but thought bigger in terms of the nation? I know about the PMA and PNPA, but are there high school, pre-school military schools there, that teach leadership early on before they get to PMA/PNPA?

          There’s plenty of prep-schools here geared on producing future leaders, not just military schools, but schools like Exeter, etc. I truly believe all these leadership traits, cardinal virtues, can be taught. With the right setting, and right teachers, those ‘Filipino statesmen’ you’re hoping for can be created.

          I’m not a fan of military schools, but they produce leaders, although I’m thinking it’s more a matter of getting quality people together, than the military curriculum per se.

          Hope the way you’re using it here, is like edgar’s rely it’s a passive verb, let’s talk about how we can do this there. You two are military brats, what’s your take on leadership schools there?

          • sonny says:

            Edgar Hoover FBI = Gen Jose Lukban, Dir, NBI; Gen Dwight Eisenhower (not quite close), Gen Vicente Lim, problem, he was executed by the Japanese; Gen Rafael Ileto, Gen Alfonso Arellano (no successors of similar caliber); Economist Cesar Virata, problem – forever vitiated by loyalty to FMarcos; Pres Ramon Magsaysay, populist citizen-soldier, statesman; Sen Eulogio Rodriguez, political maven; Sen Jovito Salonga, Sen Jose Diokno, Sen Claro Recto, upright nationalists-intellectuals, politicians, et al.

            These and more can be enumerated form the core of who could be named fathers of the Philippine state. Just my opinion, no one has come close hence. To be fair, these men were tried in crucibles of different times. The challenges of today in economics and diplomacy and citizen-nurture and nation-building are ripe for the mettle of our current crop of leaders.

            When you ask if the Philippines has leadership-formator institutions, alas the answer must be in the negative.

            • LCPL_X, sonny, good I did not bring out my Commonwealth history article just yet.

              I had the feeling there is much more to that period than one learns from Agoncillo.

              The apparatus of the Philippine state was completed by VERY purposeful men.

              Quezon of course was the symbolic figure of that time, but he did NOT do it alone.

              Virata is BTW descended from Aguinaldo if I am not mistaken, no fault of his though…

          • karl garcia says:

            Sonny’s dad fought in WW2, as for my dad , he entered pma in 59 and he retired in the early 90s..

            The National Defense College produced graduates such as FVR(former president), Binay(VP),Loren Legarda(senator),Ting Ting Cojuanco(congress woman),Epimaco Velasco( former NBI head).

            PMA produced senators Biazon,Honasan,Lacson,Trillanes and many congressmen

            • sonny says:

              Definitely no disrespect to our current generation of would-be successors to the Filipino nation-builders, we look up to them (Karl’s dad’s generation, i.e. MY generation) to open up new paths and strengthen old ones for the security and opportunity and health of coming generations.

            • FVR also went to West Point… and from PMA one should never forget NICA head Almonte who also was with FVR in Vietnam – the PHILCAG group.

              My late uncle General Carbonnel was one of the few generals who was NOT from PMA, but he was one of FVRs men in Vietnam, Generals Filler and Villareal were his officers during that time if I remember correctly from what I was told.

              • sonny says:

                @ IBRS, Karl and many many more

                In a country of so much diversity and talent I can only surmise the myriad of permutations and combinations of goodness that can be proffered to serve the national cause. The songs about the deeds of our heroes on the ground that our younger generations must hear must first be composed. This is one of the reasons why I find myself gravitating to the ideas and personalities who come to Joe’s blog.

          • “When you ask if the Philippines has leadership-formator institutions, alas the answer must be in the negative.”

            sonny, karl, Irineo, et al.

            I did some digging and came upon the Far Eastern Military Academy (and St. Catherine Military Academy for Girls), it’s since been converted into a technical college. Have you guys heard of these two prep-/military-schools, if so did this particular school produce any leaders?

            The PHILCAG I know nothing about (is there a good book on them?), but 100 yrs before when the French were still gaining a foothold in Vietnam, they ask for reinforcements from the Spanish in the Philippines who in turn sent Macabebe warriors in Vietnam c. 1850s. They kicked ass there as well. Also I read somewhere that the Macabebes were actually Aztecs warriors from Mexico, any truth to this?

            The only person in that list of names you guys posted was one Rafael Ileto, http://www.alamoscouts.org/special_forces/teams.htm And I realized he was one of the Team leaders for the Alamo Scouts (today’s equivalent of the Activity). Those guys were bad ass. There’s a lot of American-Filipinos in the Special Ops field today. So I know full well that deep within Filipino culture is its own warrior ethos.

            Are you familiar with this warrior ethos, I’m speaking of? If so, how were you guys introduced to this culture? I’m not talking about talismans and prayers, I’m talking about inner-courage, that expands outward to affect other facets of life, ie. post military, in business, in politics, in academia, etc.–not the magical stuff.

            My question to you guys, and this is related to the education component of the article above, can this be combined in a curriculum and taught there? There’s plenty of books on Spartans, the Samurais, the Apaches, the Comanches, etc. is there a book on Filipino warriors?

            edgar lores and I had a long discussion on education in the Open Discussion thread, we kinda went the abstract route. So making U-turn here, if we were to stand-up a leadership school tomorrow, what curriculum would we have. Although I think, there should be some semblance of military culture as part of the curriculum, the model should be more like, Exeter Academy in New England or the Harrow School in England.

            But the question is, to appease folks like jameboy, how to make it Filipino. What do you guys think?

            • karl garcia says:

              Sonny, Irineo I tried to research on the said academy and it was he one bought by AMA computer College, Does it ring any bell?I read the Timawa forum and only one famous there was an action star John Regala


            • karl garcia says:

              I am sure our history buffs (sonny and Irineo) can give a satisfactory reply.
              Ileto was the father of the Scout Rangers, Irineo’s uncle was a scout ranger.
              Sonny’s father was one of those took care of the Huks (info from past conversations) so you will get lots of second hand info(lack of better words)from him.

            • “So I know full well that deep within Filipino culture is its own warrior ethos.” Yes.

              “Are you familiar with this warrior ethos, I’m speaking of?” Partly and implicitly.

              ” If so, how were you guys introduced to this culture?” Through two people – a friend and compadre of mine, former Manila policeman and martial arts sparring partner. And through the husband of my former nanny, an Ilokano and former PNP man.

              I doubt that there are books on the Filipino warrior ethos. Much of it is taught by example, but it does have its own strong code of honor and comradeship, but also a code of extreme secrecy. I suspect you will find it in its purest form in arnis/escrima schools.

              “The PHILCAG I know nothing about (is there a good book on them?)” no book as far as I know, but look for postings in Philippine military forums, they write a bit about them, that that group stuck together and moved up the ranks together, bonded by comradeship. Almonte wrote a book recently, he might mention PHILCAG. Karl’s father is writing a book about Biazon where my late uncle and his daring role in stopping the “God Save the Queen” coup attempt in 1989 is described in detail – placing trucks with explosives around Camp Aguinaldo to prevent military rebels from leaving and braving bullets to negotiate. Bikol warrior culture and tradition is also passed in family folklore – I am far from my folks, grew up in Manila and then went to Germany, but I guess the kind of people that live near active volcanos are quite fearless. There is also the story of the warrior Handiong, the mythical founder of Ibalon = Bikol. And the story of Simeon Ola, former colonial policeman turned revolutionary who held out against the Americans the longest of all Katipuneros.


              “who in turn sent Macabebe warriors in Vietnam c. 1850s. ” the Spanish relied a lot on Macabebes, the thing about Aztecs I have heard too, but there are also confirmed stories about the Macabebes fighting the Spanish = Legazpi in the early 1570s.

              One of the first rebels against the Spanish was Martin Dula y Goiti – scion of Tondo’s Lakandula ruling family and the Spanish-Aztec daughter of conquistador Goiti – together with a son of the old conquistador Legazpi by his last wife, a woman from Manila. The Spanish often cemented their conquests by marrying native ruling class women, this is documented very well in Mexican history. That creoles and mestizos were the first to rebel against the Spanish is something that was not uncommon in Latin American history also.

              So the later Macabebes may have been a mixture. The conquistadores had Aztecs with them when they came, and a lot of Filipino words like palengke are from the Aztec language Nahuatl so there is a trace. Even the British invasion left traces – Sepoys stayed in Tanay, Rizal from what I remember and married local women. It is hard to put together all this stuff, what you find on the internet is a mixture of true history and “fakelore”, it would be a mammoth job to put together the true story of Filipino warrior culture.


              About arnis/escrima: many schools of arnis were secret from what I have read, because the Spanish did not want dangerous rivals. Other sources say that especially escrima developed from a mixture of native martial arts plus Spanish swordsmanship and was used by Filipino soldiers and mercenaries fighting for the Spanish. Guess a bit of both is true. Try looking for Ernie Presas on google, or for arnis, escrima, kombatan and more.

              A lot of Filipino traditions may have gone underground during the colonial period – which IMHO explains the reticence of more traditional Filipinos to EXPLAIN things to foreigners. Have seen this with jameboy, but also with Parekoy and friends in Raissa’s forum. Might be cultural memory of having been fucked over by having told conquerors/oppressors too much, and remember LCPL_X that you are still a former soldier of the Empire, talking to the equivalent of formerly conquered Celts. Some may trust you, some may trust you less. Moros and Lumads have obviously preserved more of the old warrior culture – there is a reason why 1/3 of the SAF 44 were Igorots. Among Christian Filipinos, the old culture is still there but often not at a conscious level, especially among the more educated ones. Thus the difficulty and reluctance of many Filipinos to express what they want to express.

              A lot of the symbolism – but not the true ethics of Filipino warrior culture – was revived and misused during the Marcos dictatorship, so it was tarnished a bit – much like the Germanic warrior culture was tainted in reputation by Hitler misusing it. But I do remember from CAT training in high school that it was during Marcos time that the language of command became Filipino – which is of course more nationalistic window-dressing than anything else. But Marcos did tap into the warrior culture of his Ilokano compatriots, Ilocanizing the army and PC. Ilokanos according to some anthropologists may be ethnolinguistically related to the Indonesian Batak, a warrior tribe that forms the majority of the Indonesian army, but this is something I only heard in conversations as a kid, I doubt anyone followed up this link which inlcudes the hunch that the Batak may have named Batac, Ilocos Norte after their tribe when they came in. And of course Marcos had a big fight against the Igorots who rebelled against him – the rivalry between Ilokanos and Igorots is very old, even the Ilokano epic Lam-Ang mentions it. I suggest not looking into prayers, but into epics – this ancient form of verbal history contains many truths, albeit distorted, but a lot of Filipino history exaggerates the heroic deeds of ancestors and own groups and puts the perceived enemies in a bad light if you look at it properly, you have to filter for that aspect. It was Igorots who poured pig blood on the Marcos Mount-Rushmore-style monument, and I was with a lot of Igorots in Germany, I remember them saying don’t trust those guys they are not true Igorots, they are Ilocano-Igorot mixtures from Baguio, or don’t trust that person she is an Itneg from Abra. or laughed at Kiangans, being Kankanais and others. So extracting the true warrior tradition means going to those who still have it the most, winning their trust and listening to them. Even better living close to them for a while. Because they will often tell even anthropologists from Manila what they want to hear and cover up their true traditions out of distrust, similar to the way Filipinos answer surveys.. Well this was my some rambling, but it is because I am also still searching for answers…

  27. karl garcia says:

    I thank the internet gods for smart people like all of you.

  28. sonny says:

    @ LCpl_X, Karl, IRBS

    on a Filipino warrior class/tradition

    Is there one? Where to begin?
    Yes, absolutely there is a warrior class; but not quite, on the tradition because to have a tradition is to have a solid history. By history I have in mind along the lines of USMC, US 101 Airborne, or US 82 Airborne or any US State National Guard units, complete with a list of campaigns and veterans and these histories are subhistories to the US ship of State. Obviously the Philippine ship of State is an inchoate one and to compare a Filipino warrior tradition is to speak of an acorn vs the full oak tree. One needs only to read up on the history of the Philippine government and its military. (One recommendation, THE PHILIPPINE ARMY, 1935 – 1942, by Ricardo Trota Jose)

    On Philippine military academies:
    Again I have in mind examples such as VMI (US) and The Citadel, Philippines does not have an analog to these institutions. Instead, there is a strong military syllabus for the various ROTC (4-year) detachments in Philippine universities. Immediately prior to WWII, the ROTCs of the University of the Philippines (Manila & Baguio & Los Banos), Mapua Institute of Technology, University of Manila, Philippine School of Arts and Trades, among other schools were consistent “suppliers” of worthy officer candidates to the reserved armed branches. The Philippine Military Academy remained the premier dedicated officer candidate school then as now.

    (Note: Far East Military Academy (FEMA) was a reformatory school for the rich and intransigent youth, enough said)

    On building a Philippine Army:
    The drawing board for doing this (the acorn) was under the design of Gen Douglas MacArthur (USMA 1903), Col Dwight Eisenhower (USMA 1915), Col James Ord (USMA 1915))

    to be cont’d… (the Philippine Navy, Ileto, PEFTOK, PHILCAG)

    • The NATIONAL warrior tradition is young, that is true. Tribal warrior traditions are older, but probably they were only implicitly integrated into the national warrior tradition.

      The beginning of the national warrior tradition could have been the Philippine republic. The grandfather of one of our family friends was an Andalusian soldier, married to a woman from Bulacan, who joined the Katipunan. Her father was a colonel in the Philippine army.

      But go even further back – the first rebels who called themselves Filipino were Spanish creoles like Andres Novales or the Bayot brothers in the 1820s. Also heard stories that some of the first Philippine Constabulary men were Filipinos who had been Guardia Civil.

      The tradition of Tagalogs and Pampangos fighting for the Spanish is also very important – the battle of La Naval de Manila against the Dutch was won by joint Spanish-Filipino forces.

      I wonder how much of these thing are taught in PMA and other places to foster awareness.

      • “About arnis/escrima: many schools of arnis were secret from what I have read, because the Spanish did not want dangerous rivals. Other sources say that especially escrima developed from a mixture of native martial arts plus Spanish swordsmanship and was used by Filipino soldiers and mercenaries fighting for the Spanish. Guess a bit of both is true. Try looking for Ernie Presas on google, or for arnis, escrima, kombatan and more.”

        Irineo, I’ve been involved in Martial Arts since elementary. The stuff we’re looking for would be found in tribal histories, in Spanish histories (ie, the Ilongos/Cebuanos that the Spanish recruited and trained to fight Moros in the south, the Macabebes, etc.) and recent 20th century battles, the groups who fought them (ie. the Pulahanes, Juramentados-what was their process, did they smoke out before running amok, did they pray, etc.)

        But commercialized martial arts tend to water down techniques and concepts, then fluff up histories and magical stuff, very unreliable. Though I see your point, investigative-wise it can be found there, ie. the farmworkers of Hawaii and California when those guys went on strike it wasn’t like strike today, strikes usually meant rumbles and battles.

        I think what needs to happen because there’s such a lack of resource here, is to infuse these tribal histories, Spanish histories, and 20th century narratives, collect them and merge them with other warrior class ethos, ie. the Spartans, the Comanches/Apaches, Samurais people who delved more into these ethos than any in history, and lived their lives accordingly.

        Then Filipinize all that, and package it all up in a curriculum.

        • Filipinizing is very important. While translating Sun Tzu into Filipino for my blog, it jolted me. It sounded like a very rude, ruthless Chinatown type talking. English for many Filipinos is a language which is emotionally distant – Filipino or other languages closer to the soul.

          Now Sun Tzu is relatively short, finished two chapters out of 13 and will finish the rest – in a modern Filipino which is partly intellectual Filipino, partly street Tagalog, part activist. My father correctly noted to me in Facebook that it should be translated from Chinese, but that is something to be left to others who have taken on learning that language. Translating the Hagakure or the Book of Five Rings from Japanese is also a big job.

          As for the Greek stuff, this saying went viral among my Facebook friends after the SAF44:

    • sonny says:

      Thanks for the links, Karl. The information in the two links on PHILCAG is way more than I have. The details provided were not available to the general public (me) at the time of the Philippine involvement. The news coverages provided the Manila dailies (Manila Times, Manila Daily Bulletin) were pretty much it. (I forgot about Gen Ernesto Mata. He was a much respected face of the AFP of those times). My interest in both military history and History itself is a late development on my part. It began during the preparations and celebrations for the Philippine Centennial of 1998 in Chicago. This interest brought me in contact with the books and authors about the Philippines and took any spare change I could gather to buy the same. It gave me a running tally of the Filipiniana owners in the US (e.g. Field Museum of Natural History, the Ayers collection, the published output of the Filipinists of the U of Wisconsin, the 2nd and 3rd hand bookstores of Chicago (my prized possession from such bookstores are 1907 & 1915 books issued by the Philippine Commission on the US Philippine colony). I wish my heightened awareness and acquired, albeit LATE, love of Philippine history will be visited on our Filipino youth for today and beyond.

    • sonny, karl, Irineo,

      Thanks for the links on PHILCAG and the input on these historical figures. Do you guys think the WWII to Vietnam era compared to the present, today’s AFP/PNP the quality of leadership just went down, what do you guys think happened?

      I’m really interested in Gen. Rafael Ileto, did you know him personally, sonny? the Alamo Scouts were a 100 man strong, they were very picky. Of 100 of those men, 10-15 were Filipinos, mainly from Hawaii and California. Gen. Ileto during WWII was attending West Point, and was automatically sent to the US Army for service.

      What was also interesting about the Alamo Scouts was its diversity, the US Army was still then segregated so there were no blacks among its ranks, but there were plenty of Mexicans and American-Indians.

      There’s plenty of histories written on SEALs, Rangers, Special Forces, Marine Raiders, but Special Ops the way its understood today was actually undertaken by these Alamo Scouts in WWII–hence they’re closer to the Activity than any other units.

      But I digress, my point is that anyone that was a graduate of the Alamo Scouts was an all out bad-ass, Rafael Ileto led his own team. Did he end up cultivating a group around him that ended up rising in the Philippine arena– whether in military, private-sector or politics?

      Ileto being the guy most recognizable to me, vis-a-vis the Alamo Scouts, and all the other personalities you guys have mentioned, either historically or personally related to, my question is what did these guys teach you. Can you describe or codify this warrior ethos, and relate it to your education in the Philippines. How can these individuals’ leadership essence be captured in a curriculum and taught to future generations?

      We identified FEAR as the most prevalent issue in the Justice system there, can these guys’ traits be recalled from history and put to use today? How? edgar lores already described having heroes as being crucial to transferring these lofty traits we’ve listed. How would a successful leadership school or curriculum look like in the Philippines?

        • edgar lores says:


          Thank you. I read both attachments. I like your dad. He’s got a sensayuma.

        • sonny says:

          Karl, I wish your dad well. Reading his writing seems to qualify him as one of the warrior-statesmen to build Philippine Navy doctrines. I lived getting glimpses of the life of my godfather, # 7 FOIC, from WWII stories to his short stint as head of the PN. You have more stories to hand down if you document your dad’s mind in toto that have impact to our present day AFP.

          • karl garcia says:

            Many thanks Sonny.
            I enjoyed all the stories that you share and our exchanges.
            I lost many articles when I overused my dad’s laptop(it died on me) and failed to back it up.
            But he is still writing like blogging offline just for fun,and emails some to friends if he think it is worth sharing.

            As for the meantime He is one of the advisers of Senator Trillanes and Congressman Biazon, his mind is put to good use.

            ps Is Admiral Antonio Sibayan (PMA 63) your relative?I think you mentioned an uncle with a last name of Sibayan,(might be wrong,though)

            • Sibayan he mentioned, the one who was very important for the Filipino language.

            • karl garcia says:

              Thanks,Irineo but I was correct it was a Sibayan,and if he was related to the Sibayan I mentioned, he could have told me earlier

              • sonny says:

                Karl, Irineo,
                I spoke of Dr. Bonifacio Sibayan, former president of Philippine Normal University, pioneer educator and national linguistics maven. He married my grandaunt. Dr Sibayan (deceased) belonged to Sibayan family of Bangar, La Union.

                My google search on Admiral Antonio Sibayan is super skimpy. I need to bone up on the history of the Armed Services after 1969. (Ang daming batches ng AFP, PMA, USMA, USNA sa mga taong nagdaan).

                Footnote: Over these years, there’s a whole generation of Fil-Ams who opted for the US Armed Services. We as a Filipino nation can either ignore them or leverage their ethnic roots for the advantage of building up naval/maritime/land strength with solidarity and know-how until our economic muscle can afford the security materiel needed to do justice to such potentially formidable security resources for our country. (play dreamy Sousa March or Lupang Hinirang :-)) Even just at the level of a think-tank, benevolent Filipinophiles (Filipinos & non-Filipinos) can bankroll such a group. 🙂

      • There is one warrior-statesman who embodies fearlessness and character today: Senator Trillanes. His coup attempt was a thing he did in his youth, but even there his principled character shows – in contrast to Honasan who seems like a publicity-seeking opportunist.

        As for a curriculum, you are probably looking for something that builds depth of character. If you ask me I would outline it this way:

        1st year: military history, major battles, major theorists: Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, Musashi, the one who wrote Hagakure I forgot his name, I wonder if Antonio Luna wrote anything (he was recognized by US officers as the only true general the Filipino revolution had)… But also basic military training, I am not too good on that, but it should include the best aspects of martial arts including mental concentration and chivalry in fighting…

        2nd year: applied leadership with real missions, not military but in barrios helping people, reaching out to far-flung places. Evaluation based on team performance, also how truth is spoken to power and how the team reacts to unplanned situations, how leaders shine by not pulling rank. Review sessions and check how the theory learned in the first year applies to practical situations encountered, deepen review theory and practice.

        Made the curriculum two years to it can fit into the last two years of K-12 as an elective, instead of technical or scientific or whatnot, you have applied leadership training.

        • sonny says:

          Irineo, I don’t know if you are old enough to remember PMT (Pre-Military Training) to supplement PE (Phys Ed) classes in the high school curriculum. This was the brainchild of Gen Douglas MacArthur that was implemented countrywide across all Public and Private schools, no exceptions. Our class of 1959 high school was still part of this implentation. I don’t really know when of if this was totally scratched by the DEPED.

          • In Marcos days it was called CAT (Citizen’s Army Training) and became a regime thing. Especially the School for Cadet Officers (SCO) in third year high school, which was to train the future fourth year cadet officers. Inspite of that it had a lot of good principles.

            From what I know, CAT has now been scratched completely. It is a pity that many good things have gotten a bad reputation due to the regime. CAT was part of YDT = youth development training which included Sports, CAT and Health Education, it was under our Discipline Officer whom everybody knew was from NISA = the regime name for NICA. Its teachers were known to be government spies mostly. To answer LCPL_Xs question about the degeneration of military leadership, I think that the regime had a lot to do with it… Military discipline became equated to repressing people’s freedom instead of defending it. Probably that turned off many people of character from joining the ranks, which is a pity.

            • sonny says:

              “Military discipline became equated to repressing people’s freedom instead of defending it.”

              Irineo, thank you. that is indeed an eye-opener. And yes, the difference a regime makes, between fascism and citizenship, a chasm of separation. Our PMT days generated directions to where service was to be freely directed as citizens should.

            • karl garcia says:

              Found This, it is now Citizenship Advancement Training


              CAT – Citizenship Advancement Training – is a restructuring of the Citizenship Army Training – I, and is a component of the MAPEH in the Fourth Year.

              Objectives of CAT

              1. To enhance students social responsibility and commitment to the development of their communities.
              2. To develop students ability to uphold law and order as they assume active participation in community activities.
              3. To develop students readiness in assisting the members of the community, especially in times of emergency.

              2 Components

              A. Military Orientation – deals with the introduction and exposure of the learner to the basic knowledge, unfamiliar situations and experience as well as activities related to military and citizenship training.
              B. Community Service – refers to any activity that helps achieve the general welfare and the betterment of life of the members of the community, or enhancement of its facilities especially those devoted to improving health, education, safety, recreation and morale of the citizenry.
              The program is a requirement for graduation for all fourth year high school students in both public and private secondary school.


              a. Sec. 4 art. 11 of the 1987 Constitution
              b. National Defense Act (Commonwealth Act No. 1, as amended)
              c. National Service Law (Presidential Decree No. 1706)
              d. AFP Reservist Law (Republic Act No. 7077)

              The following rules and regulations are hereby promulgated to implement the obligatory national service requirements for all Filipino citizens for the guidance and compliance of all concerned:
              Rule 1 – DEFINITION OF TERMS
              Section 1. Definitions – the use of the following terms in these Implementing Rules and Regulations shall be understood and taken as defined in this section:
              a. “National Service” (NS) shall refer to any activity that contributes to national security, development and/or welfare. As provided for in Presidential Decree No. 1706 or the National Service Law (NSL) there shall be a National Service Program (NSP) that shall consist of three (3) main program components namely: Civic Welfare Service (CWS): Law Enforcement Service (LES); and Military Service (MS).
              b. Civic Welfare Service (CWS) refers to service that contributes to the general welfare and betterment of life for the members of the community, or enhancement of its facilities especially those devoted to improving health, education, safety, recreation and morale of the citizenry, and the protection of the environment.
              c. Law Enforcement Service (LES) refers to service that contributes to the maintenance of peace and order, enhance public safety, and encourages observance of and compliance with law.
              d. Military Service (MS) refers to service that enhance military preparedness for national defense and security.
              e. Trainee – shall refer to individual undergoing instruction, education and/or practice in any of the national service programs and mentioned above.
              f. Optional – shall refer to the choice among the three (3) program components of the National Service Program (NSP), the student/trainees select to undergo.

              Rule 11 – GENERAL PROVISION
              Section 2. Applicability – these rules and regulations shall apply to all citizens of the Philippines who are obligated by law to render “National Service” in one or any combination of the three main programs as stated in Rule 1 hereof, which the citizen may choose provided that such service shall be credited in his/her favor for the purpose of fulfilling educational and other requirements established by law.
              Section 3. Constitutional Precepts – it is the prime duty of the government to serve and protect the people. The Government may call upon the people to defend the State and in the fulfillment thereof, all citizens may required to render personal military or civil service. Such as military or civil service shall also contribute to the country’s ability, development and welfare.
              Section 4. Program Integration – the National Service Program is aimed to ensuring defense preparedness by enhancing respect for the law and developing civic consciousness especially among youth while undergoing training in any of the three (3) components. As part of the program, all citizens particularly the youth, will be motivated, trained, organized, developed empowered and utilized in regard to their responsibilities as citizens. In this connection, the National Service Program shall be incorporated into the national defense and security program. Organizational linkages for the integration of the law enforcement program and the civic welfare programs of the NSP into the national defense program as well as the civil defense preparedness program of the country shall be established at the Department of National Defense>
              Section 5. Responsibilities – the Department of National Defense (DND) shall have the responsibility for overall direction, planning and integration of the National Service Program (NSP). It shall also have the responsibility for the direction, planning and coordination of the Military Service Program (MSP). Similarly, the Department of Education (DepED), the commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) shall have responsibility for the direction, planning and coordination for the Civic Welfare Service Program (CWSP) in their respective areas of concern in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare Development (DSWD), And the Department Interior and Local Government (DILG)/National Police Commission (NAPALCOM), together with the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Local Government Units (LGUs), and the Manila Metropolitan Development Authority (MMDA) and other agencies concerned, for the Law Enforcement Service Program (LESP) in the respective areas of concern. These agencies shall harness their respective programs to maximally contribute to realization of the national development goals and objectives. The DND, in coordination with all concerned agencies shall be responsible for the integration of all graduates of the NSP into the National Service Force (NSF).
              Section 6. Citizenship Training – citizenship training shall receive emphasis in all three (3) national service programs. The DepEd, CHED, and TESDA shall incorporate into the curricula, concepts relating to the constitutional duty of every citizen to contribute to the country’s development in order that this may serves the orientation to national service.
              Section 7. Citizenship Advancement Training (CAT) – all able-bodied senior secondary students, male or female shall undergo the current Citizens Army Training (CAT) which shall henceforth be called the Citizenship Advancement Training (CAT) the DepEd shall provide the guidelines for the said training.
              Section 8. Minimum Service Period Requirements – all citizens shall render national service for a minimum period as prescribed by the program. This shall include the orientation and citizenship training module, and the requisite CAT for senior secondary students.
              Section 9. Incentives – government agencies may devise appropriate incentives in accordance with law for those who have rendered obligatory national service.
              Rule 111 – PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION
              Section 10. Orientation of In-School Youth – the orientation of in-school students/trainees shall be conducted by the respective agencies concerned. The DepEd shall continue to include in their basic curriculum, concepts relating to the constitutional duty of every citizen to contribute to the country’s development and security.
              Section 11. Orientation of Out-School Youth – the DILG and Social Welfare Development Office of the Local Government Units or any other government department/agency desiring to avail of out-of-school youth national service trainees for any of its nation-building and development programs shall jointly or independently conduct orientation seminar on national service program for all its prospective trainees/volunteers.
              Section 12. Program Support – all training and seminars for program trainors/coordinators conducted by a particular department or agency in connection with the implementation of the NSP shall be supported out of the regular appropriations of the said department/agency, and from the fees collected for such training in accordance with law.
              Section 13. Preference Survey – all trainees at the start of their national service involvement shall be required to indicate their chosen National Service Program component in the order of their preference for purposes of training.
              Section 14. Common Basic Training Module – there shall be a basic training module initially common to all the National Service Program components. The DND shall be responsible for the design of this module. The implementation/conduct of this basic module shall be primary responsibility of the program implementers with the AFP providing assistance as appropriate. CHED, and TESDA shall be responsible for the supervision of the implementation of the said module in tertiary and technical/vocational level institutions respectively.
              The Secretary of National Defense upon the recommendation of the implementing agencies shall implement changes in this common module to respond to perceived public needs and in the interest of public welfare.
              Section 5. Organization – there shall hereby be organized a National Service Force (NSF) administered by the Department of National Defense. It shall consist of all graduates/trainees of the national service program components in accordance with their projected employment/utilization pursuant of the national defense and security program.
              a. MS graduates/trainees will be absorbed into the AFP Reserve Force. They will serve as the base of expansion of the regular AFP in times of war invasion or rebellion.
              b. The graduates/trainees of LES become police reservist who may be tapped by the PNP for line and/or auxiliary services and barangay brigades. In times of war or disorder, their main function is to perform normal police functions secure interior lines and maintain order in the area or non combat areas’
              c. Graduates/trainees of CWS may be employed in various civic welfare organizations such as fire brigades, disaster brigades/Disaster Coordinating Council operating units at various levels environment brigades, literacy brigades, etc. in times of war, conflict or disaster/calamities (man made or natural), they will function as service support and auxiliaries to assist in total effort and in mitigating the loss of civilian lives and properties.
              Section 16. Accreditation Mechanism – the government agency responsible for the conduct of a particular national service training program shall issue appropriate certification to trainees who have complied with the obligatory national service requirements of their respective programs. A report of these certifications shall be provided/submitted to the DND. Appropriate legal sanctions shall be taken against any person or _______ who issue s a false certification in connection with the implementation of the program.
              Section 17. Linkages – existing inter-agency linkages shall be utilized for the purpose of these implementing rules and regulations. Other administrative and operational arrangements between and among agencies deemed necessary may be prescribed by appropriate memorandum of agreement among concerned agencies.
              Section 18. Plan Preparation – the DND, DepEd, DILG, DSWD, CHEd, TESDA and other concerned agencies, shall draft plans to implement the NSP and prepare own department/agency implementing plan relative to their assigned program components and related responsibilities.
              Section 19. Repealing Clause – any and all policies rules or regulations which are contrary to or inconsistent herewith are deemed revoked or modified accordingly.
              Section 20. Effectivity – these rules and regulations shall take upon President’s approval thereof, its requisite publication in the Official Gazette or two newspapers of general circulation and deposit in the UP Law Center.


              • sonny says:

                Karl, the letter of the law seems pretty clear from the provisions you have included. If these have been implemented nationwide, compliance by the named trainors and trainees should have a citizenry and country that are grounded in law & order at least from a classroom-educated point of view. Yet the reality seems to reflect either non-compliance or ignorance of the Constitutional mandates of citizenship. Your thoughts?

              • karl garcia says:

                I agree on all points but still positive that things can improve.

      • karl,

        Thanks for sharing those 2 articles! On the salute, we had a similar issue here recently, the Obama ‘Latte’ vs. Bush ‘Barnie’ salutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-18_2XA8BmI . MSNBC should’ve gotten a hold of your dad, or used the above article. Civilians shouldn’t be saluting period, this is a military thing. When Bush put on a pilot’s flight suit, I almost puked. Pandering to the military at its best.

        But more on the Generals rank is there a site that lists all generals active right now? Is the problem with the over bloated general corps worst or better under Aquino? Is this simply the bureaucratization of the military, ie. layers upon layers, OR is this the product of cronyism/nepotism in the military–bureaucracies can be trimmed, cronyism/nepotism in the military seems more concerning.

        Can you share more of his writings? Better yet can you send this thread to your Dad and get his input on here?

        “I wish my heightened awareness and acquired, albeit LATE, love of Philippine history will be visited on our Filipino youth for today and beyond.”

        I’m curious, as a military brat, surrounded by what seem like the best of AFP at that time, why this all came “LATE” to you? Vis-a-vis our leadership curriculum was there a parting ways from your Dad’s path, to you forging your own? I noticed most military brats especially of senior officer ranks, tend to move away from the military. But they’ve also internalized a lot of military concepts, so when talking to someone from the military current or post, they can hold their own. I’m curious how this process was for you.

        And two unrelated questions:

        1). Is there a JAG corps in the AFP, if so what usually happens to them after leaving the military? Here they tend to go the US Attorney, or local DA route or they join the FBI or as counsels for law enforcement and nat’l security agencies.

        2). Is there a GI BILL equivalent in the AFP, what happens to the enlisted after? Are they taken care of, ie. college, jobs, housing, etc. Is there a VA system in place?


        Great curriculum, man. This especially,

        “also how truth is spoken to power and how the team reacts to unplanned situations, how leaders shine by not pulling rank.”

        This is all outside the classroom stuff, how to do this is the key–on the ground implementation. For me, it was bootcamp, but bootcamp although physically demanding and everything already pre-planned, ‘reacting to unplanned situations’ was covered in the Crucible (2 days portion of bootcamp). And then once you hit the Fleet, you get more by way of exercises and deployments.

        Speaking truth to power, we watched the Mi-Lai-type situation in “Platoon”, a JAG officer presented this at bootcamp, with his brand of Socratic method lobbed at a bunch of sleepy, tired 18 yr olds. So that’s the official version, the unofficial version was our DIs stories at the latter part of bootcamp, war stories, which also included times when they had to punch a young LT for being stupid to diplomatically disagreeing with a non-infantry Maj. for proposing something stupid.

        Leaders shining by not pulling rank, you have to have the actual leaders present, I think, for this lesson to be ingrained. Leadership was the trickiest to understand and apply, there’s the model, books, and stories, but in the end this is so tied to your personality, temperament, that you have to, by trial and error, cultivate it yourself ideally with someone guiding you throughout–as adviser. A lot of it is inspiring people to shine on their own, so charisma.

        As for the Greeks and your attempts to Filipinize the Samurai books, Art of War, etc. Anabasis was the best story, second to the Odyssey, if you can distill and Filipinize those two stories (one fiction and one memoir) on cunning, intelligence, moderation, strategy, etc. then you’re golden. I think cunning is already a very Filipino trait, how to infuse that with humility and piety, sense of justice, and we’ll have our leaders yet.

        edgar lores had a great reading list in the Open Discussion thread, I was hoping we can add, but more Filipino books I think is what’s necessary. Thanks to jameboy, I’m thinking everything now has to be seen through the eyes of other Filipinos or interpreted as Filipino to be able to work there.

        Here’s edgar lores’ booklist:

        Here is a smattering of a baker’s dozen of nonfiction books that molded me, in no particular order:

        o Fromm. Erich: “Escape from Freedom”
        o Hoffer, Erich: “The True Believer”
        o Frankl, Victor: “Man’s Search for Meaning”
        o Krishnamurti, Jiddu: “The Awakening of Intelligence” (and all his other books)
        o Pirzig, Robert: “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”
        o Isaacson, Walter: “Einstein: His Life and Universe”
        o Nouy, Pierre Lecomte du: “Human Destiny”
        o Pearce, Joseph Chilton: “The Crack in the Cosmic Egg”
        o Capra, Fritjof: “The Tao of Physics”
        o Lightman, Alan: “The Accidental Universe”
        o Palmo, Jetsunma Tenzin: “Into the Heart of Life”
        o Roberts, Jane: “Seth Speaks”
        o Jung, C.G.: “The Undiscovered Self”

        • karl garcia says:

          Thanks for the library,links and the knowledge you impart including your questions .We have a JAG we called it JAGO, I know a couple who both retired at 60 , I get to talk to one of them and retired a general and I call him attorney general, these former JAGO officer is now working for the house defense committee under congressman Biazon his name is Gen Ibanez. (spelling)

          My dad was not JAGO for he is not a lawyer, but he always sounded like one he became a president of the court martial that dealed with the coup plotters during the late 80s.
          He was tagged by then Presidential Chief guard now DND secretary Volt Gazmin as pro coup plotter or pro RAM because he reduced the punishment for illegal possession of firearms from 20 years to 7 years which was later applied to all citizens like the actor Robin Padilla because it became the law eventually.

          Our enlisted men usually retire at 60 those who retire early, at least those that I met face to face became security guards, I know one who became a teacher.
          I was told by Joe that it is a big deal to be an enlisted man in the states ,here maybe pre and post world war, but now some of our enlisted men become drivers,and helpers while on the active duty(I am generalizing )

          Now as to brats turning away from the service,some do like me but Some sons of enlisted men become generals.

          As for VA.
          I know of a group who wants to have a seat or two in congress by forming a party list for veteran affairs.
          The pension system (AFP)here went bust, congress has to appropriate funds yearly.
          That’s all for now.

          • Thanks guys.

            On this thought:

            Footnote: Over these years, there’s a whole generation of Fil-Ams who opted for the US Armed Services. We as a Filipino nation can either ignore them or leverage their ethnic roots for the advantage of building up naval/maritime/land strength with solidarity and know-how until our economic muscle can afford the security materiel needed to do justice to such potentially formidable security resources for our country. (play dreamy Sousa March or Lupang Hinirang :-)) Even just at the level of a think-tank, benevolent Filipinophiles (Filipinos & non-Filipinos) can bankroll such a group.

            I asked Joe about think-tank in the Philippines, do you guys know of actual think-tanks there? The ACLU is one form, but for what you’ve described, I think RAND would be the best model, with CNAS being the next evolution of RAND: http://www.cnas.org/

            Imagine, karl’s dad, with Fil-Ams in the US military, all coming together to think and offer security solutions, from environmental to China.

              • karl garcia says:


                One think tank my dad used to be part of.


              • karl,

                What were your dad’s take on think tanks there, in general and specifically in NDCP? Were they able to actually do anything? Was it more lobbying? With the exception of Incite, the other two seem part of the gov’t, so what’s the difference between private and gov’t think tanks there?

                The military here usually gets the best minds in the military and collates lessons learned and best practices for the next cycle, but they tend to be ad hoc and after they are done, go on to their next assignments.

                Private think-tanks though like RAND, CNAS, etc. are constantly churning studies after studies in between contracts, once they get contracted they go dark, focus on the client, but usually whatever they learned they’ll offer publication (w/out the proprietary components) to the public. So it’s very dynamic, solutions/ideas are constantly oozing out.

              • karl garcia says:

                My dad visited RAND a few years ago and he was impressed.

                My dad was involved in the NDCP because of Commodore Carlos Agustin even if he is an Annapolis graduate he considers a classmate in the PMA because they started at the PMA at the same time. Commodore Agustin sets up various forums,now he is concentrating on Maritime affairs by coordinating with the Maritime league.
                NDCP is a graduate school, for MNSA even foreigners go there.
                The think tank I mentioned was the SSG (Strategic Studies Group) ,when Commodore Agustin left I think it went dormant or was dissolved.
                My dad’s limited involvement with NDCP is to become a Thesis adviser of some of the future graduates.

                Incitegov is also almost a government thinktank because most of the founders are Cabinet secretaries up to now.

                The PIDS is supposed to be a government think tank,but recently they question some government policies.

                As to lobbying. I had a short exchange in the other post about movements,I think they are all short lived and I guess the reason is their reason for existence is to lobby something and once they get what they want or it is impossible to get what they want ,they disband dissolve or gets zero media attention.

                And if they find another cause almost the same people band together again,with different names this time.

                I know there are other think tanks out there, with the thousands of pending bills I am sure most are the products of think tanks and lobbyists.

              • Thanks, karl. I’ll dig more on think tanks there, but I think you’re right most of these are gov’t. Which means there’s no money for these idea generators, but why? “Solutions” firms here are plentiful and seem successful, given the quality of personnel of course. Maybe that’s the next article, from ACLU in the Philippines to RAND in the Philippines.

                RAND in the Philippines will probably be doable, since I’m hitting dead ends for the Internet in the Philippines article.

              • karl garcia says:

                Here is what wikipedia has on Think Tanks here.

                The Institute for Strategic and Development Studies (ISDS Philippines) is an independent non-profit, policy research and advocacy institution that is also involved in training activities in cooperation with other training institutions at home and abroad. It was founded by a group of academics from the University of the Philippines Diliman in April 1991. It was established in response to the need for an ongoing evaluation and interpretation of the changes in national and international affairs by serious international, regional, and national analysts. It was also aimed at responding to the need to provide academics a venue for research to enrich teaching and to provide inputs to policy-making.[46]

                The PIPVTR is an independent, non-stock, non-profit, non-governmental research organization officially registered at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on 29 November 2007 as Philippine Institute for Political Violence and Terrorism Research. It was first conceptualized in September 2005 by a group of experts, academics and practitioners who see the need to establish a center in the Philippines dedicated to the study of political violence and terrorism and their implications for peace and security.[47]

                Think tanks in the Philippines could be generally categorized in terms of their linkages with the national government. Several were set up by the Philippine government for the specific purpose of providing research input into the policy-making process.[48]”


              • Joe America says:

                Most interesting. I wonder how they get their “research” information. PIPVTR. 2007. Wonder what their position on the BBL is.

                You are a superb librarian I might note.

              • karl garcia says:

                What happened to the Internet article? What are your thoughts on the National Broadband network was it even good on paper?

              • karl garcia says:

                Many thanks Joe :), I hope I helped The Lance Corporal with his new article.

              • Hey,

                karl, re Internet in the Philippines article, I’ll have to put that on ice, I have not found a resource that knows the ins and outs of internet there. Here the biggest problem to internet security vis-a-vis China, Russia, etc. is theft.

                There the biggest problem would be sabotage. Aside from all the readings already available online, I wanted to get a hold of someone close to computer science, telephony and cyber security—not too many of that around (old Filipino lawyers who retired in the US, plenty of those).

                As for the wiki Think Tank article, I honestly think your contributions (and your dad’s) on here are more timely and relevant.

                It appears the ISDS Philippines is an organization in declined only sporting a meager facebook presence and from the looks of it they’re just organization symposiums.

                PIPVTR looks like it’s a one man operation, but seems connected with NDCP, at least they have an online presence, with publications, seems dated 2007 since update. So I’m sure someone inputted all that stuff (ISDS & PIPVTR) to wiki, when they had someone to input stuff on wiki, probably 2005.

                I’m wondering how these organizations there contract or disappear, as opposed to expanding similarly like RAND.

                It seems the Philippines is in need of think tanks, places that gather great minds and tackle wicked problems, is it simply because they’ve just focused on gov’t issues and not expanded their scope to private enterprise (pimping their skills for money)–usually PhDs/Generals don’t know how to run the money making side of a business.

                OR is it the same old Filipino problem of organizations disbanding or losing focus because personal infighting, drama. I hope its the former, then it can easily be remedied, just add a business guy, to get said think tank to generate cash flow or find foreign money specifically for these things.

                I’m sure also it has to do with the extent of your military-industrial complex, if the extent of the Philippine military-industrial complex was Napoles, then that would be problematic.

                This is related to the ACLU article, ie. lawyers underemployment, since this represents underemployment of PhDs, Generals, outside-the-box thinkers, instead of gathering to tackle big issues, these types will end up retiring with nowhere to go, best case scenario is as an advisor for an up and coming talent there, worst case scenario is hanging out in a local McDonald’s in Daly City w/ other old Filipinos, when their minds should be mined for answers/solutions.

                karl, can you get your Dad to write this RAND article for us?

              • Joe America says:

                Now there is a superb suggestion. It would be an honor to publish, and the discussion would be most engaging, I’m sure.

              • karl garcia says:

                I am sorry but I just asked him now after a long talk(sermon) he turned me down.

              • Joe America says:

                Dads, I tell you . . .

                But thank him for considering the offer. The resource stands open and available to him.

              • karl garcia says:

                I will Joe, thank you and the Lance Corporal for the offer.
                Joe I just experimented on a blog, I just emailed it,but I am not expecting it to be published,it is very amateurish.

              • Joe America says:

                I got it. It will be published, no problem, no worries. We’ll then see if Micha slaps his forehead or tears out his hair.

              • karl garcia says:

                Oh no I thought Micha is a she. Sorry Micha ! I’ll apologize later for the other forehead slapping and hair tearing stuff.

              • Joe America says:

                Maybe she is. I have no idea. 🙂

              • karl, thanks for asking your Dad. I’ll see if I can write this RAND Philippines article. Let me look around.

        • sonny says:

          @ LCpl_X
          Where to begin …

          On ‘brats’ like Karl & me
          Karl belongs to the elite-brat track, I belong to the non-elite-brat track although related to PH Armed Forces (2 uncles, Navy, 1 uncle & father, Army, 1 priest); US Armed Forces is very different from PH Armed Forces in age/tradition, military-industrial complex & infrastructure. I grew up during the pre-adolescent period of the PH Armed Forces. Camp Frank Murphy (Camp Aguinaldo) and Fort Wm McKinley were my milieu (1949-1962). We lived off-camp and didn’t follow the assignments of my father. He was a father, fortnightly. My two youngest sibs were born in V.Luna Hospital (the PH Armed Forces Hospital). The Philippines has a nurturing Veterans system, no less than the US Veterans system. The difference lies in the magnitude of their respective economies and the civilian reciprocal capability. I can attest to this from my brother’s experience. He enlisted in the USAF as an Airman (6 yrs, Avionics) during the Vietnam era. He tested for pilot training, got #2 position. There was only one opening available. By using the other educational tracks in the US Air Force, he earned his college diploma and went to medical school with his USAF educational benefit, re-entered as Flight Surgeon and exited w/ Lt. Col rank. This is the difference in the economies of scale. I hope the succeeding generations of Filipinos will also have these options open to them.

          On the beginnings of the PH Armed Services
          My family vignette is not unique. Irineo and Karl can cull many more from their family archives. My uncles & father were already inclined by temperament to the Armed Forces, even though my dad was leaning to an equivalent JAG-track. He was completing pre-Law when WWII came. The 3 brothers were all conscripted: 1 PMA, 2 ROTC, 1 post-war PH Navy; Dec, 1941, the PH Navy was delivered by “caesarian” and consisted of all of 5 PT-Boats, captained by Lt. Nuval (PMA ‘38, Lt. Alcaraz, Major Jurado, Lt. Abe Campo, and Lt C. Albert PMA ’39. The complete roster includes Nestor Reinoso, PMA ’34, Simeon Castro, PMA ’35, A. Navarette, PMA ’35, J. Magluyan PMA ’37, A. Palencia PMA ’38, R. Alcaraz, H. Alano, F. Apolinario, A. Campo, Q. Evangelista, C. Montemayor, L. Picar, all PMA ’40. I mention these names from the past as tribute to them, the pioneer core of the PH Navy. Among these ‘warriors’ they were trained and rotated as Navigator, Gunnery, Engineering, Mess & Fin, ExOs and COs. Most if not all should be fittingly recognized by Navy posterity and the Filipino nation.

          (Comment) Would-be Filipino warrior-statesmen such as the Navy men listed above and Army men such as Ileto, Salientes, Picar, Albert, Ramos were also trained in US Armed Forces institutions such as the War Colleges, West Point, and Annapolis and learned the same classroom principles of war and peace. In the Filipinos’ case they go home to build and operate virtually from the ground, up. Contrast this to the tracks their peers continue on to. The challenges, opportunities, and means that will shape them are obviously different.

        • sonny says:

          @ LCpl_X

          On straying from a military path
          I grew up pretty much surrounded by things military, viz. military uncles and the camp stories. But I was not 100% healthwise to follow a military track even though I found nothing objectionable in things martial. So scholastically, I followed more extra-military pursuits. My brother was the one who ended up with a military career.

          On the creation of PH generals
          Up to 1961, I saw (my godfather getting his Commodore’s rank) that the creation of generals was not an automatic event. The vacancies were few and the vetting was a wringer. Hence, those who made the rank were noticeable in public. During the FMarcos years, the rank was entirely at the will of the strongman. Beyond FMarcos, I knew next to nothing about process.

          • sonny says:


            LCpl_X, I recommend THE HISTORY OF WARFARE by John Keegan. Very interesting narrative on the warrior mind and the evolution of the ‘regiment’.

            • thanks, sonny! will check it out.

            • sonny says:

              @ LCpl_X

              Just to tie a slip knot in discussing warriors and statesmen, I am gratified that such categories of Filipinos were and are indeed present in the country.

              I did mention the late Gen Rafael Ileto and my counting him in this category of warrior-statesman among Filipinos. He was for me already a larger than life figure even in my youthful trading-card idea of a hero. Reading about his career trajectory now confirms that image more. I place him in Plato’s world of heroes and virtues in the company of Eisenhower, Marshall and Cincinnatus. My special tribute to him is the fact that he was derailed by FMarcos who I suspect could not countenance his (Ileto’s) presence in the face of his dismantling of the Philippines we knew. If by destiny’s grace the country raises one like him again, then we as a people will be truly blessed.


              • sonny,

                I agree with Gen. Ileto, there should be some sort of push to get this guy popular there again. The Alamo Scouts alone were tip of spear, literally creating the current trends in Spec. Ops. Filipinos should research what he did in WWII, training, missions, the men in his Alamo Scouts team, etc.

                institutions such as the War Colleges…

                I was wondering if aside from the PMA, the Philippines had continuing education at the masters, PhD levels and on. Or do they largely have to come here for that? Does the PMA/PNPA have a masters/PhD program?

              • sonny says:

                LCpl_X, yes, Karl pointed to the closest the PH can come to a War College. This is the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP). NDCP offers a Masters Program. As far as I know the PMA & PNPA only go as far as the tertiary level in military academics. I would be surprised if these two institutions do not offer certifications beyond tertiary level for professionals already in the national field operations. And proactively to encourage the national youth to seek and complement existing collegiate syllabi in law and criminology as fully viable career tracks for national security.


              • sonny says:

                FWIW, one uncle wrote a monograph on the liberation of the Philippines in WWII. It was written from the point of view of the movements of one division-strong guerilla unit under the command of Russell Volckmann, USMA ’34. The highlight and days of glory for this unit was when they were assigned to secure the Ilocos and Cagayan flanks of the US Sixth Army under Gen Krueger in1945 and engaged the Japanese Imperial Army at Bessang Pass.

                I mention this to point to one Filipino group among many that must be included in the national lore for our youth and succeeding generations to look back at for when the national soul was summoned front and center and not found wanting.

              • FWIW, one uncle wrote a monograph on the liberation of the Philippines in WWII. It was written from the point of view of the movements of one division-strong guerilla unit under the command of Russell Volckmann, USMA ’34. The highlight and days of glory for this unit was when they were assigned to secure the Ilocos and Cagayan flanks of the US Sixth Army under Gen Krueger in1945 and engaged the Japanese Imperial Army at Bessang Pass.”

                Thanks, sonny, what was this book? Is it online or the story online? These are great lists of heroes and heroic stories, I’m still googling them putting bits and pieces together. But realized all this should be an article, both you and karl can write. I’m wondering if these people and stories are even covered at the PMA or PNPA, I’m sure they’re not covered in regular college curriculum.

                I’ve read a lot of the SE Asian theatre, from Spanish to Jesuits to Magellan’s seemingly Visayan translator he picked up from Malaccas to Macabebes, but these WWII-Vietnam personalities I know a very little of, if I know so little I’m assuming Filipinos will know less. So I hope you guys can make this into an article–Irineo too.

              • sonny says:

                @ LCpl_X

                The monograph written by an uncle is titled NE’ER SHALL INVADERS by Lt. Cmdr Leonardo Nuval, PN (Phil Navy). This is now out of print. The memoirs of Col Russell Volckmann, USMA ’34 is titled WE REMAINED is also out of print. This book tells of his escape from Bataan & Corregidor all through his gathering of his guerilla unit and final battles with the Japanese from Jan through Sep, 1945. This latter date marks the surrender of Gen Yamashita, Tiger of Malaya, to Gen MacArthur and units of the US 6th Army in Baguio. TIME-LIFE Books covered by photo-text in RETURN TO THE PHILIPPINES volume. The rescue of 500+ American & Filipino POWs by Lt Col Henry Mucci & Alamo Scouts of US 6th Army at Cabanatuan was the subject of 2005 movie THE GREAT RAID. Then Lt Rafael Ileto was a member of this rescue group.


                Volckmann, Lapham, Fertig, Ramsey were the names I remember. I read the books by all except Fertig. The narratives filled my wartime imagination because they complemented the first-hand accounts of my father and uncles from the outbreak of WWII to liberation of Phiilippines, 1945.

                The heroics of our greatest generation are now being laid to rest, some in memorials and many in oblivion or near oblivion without benefit of tradition. Even in the hometowns of these heroes, their survivors may or may not remember them in favor of other pressing concerns. This was driven home very sadly when the US Congress authorized some compensation and recognition to those Filipino veterans who could certify their participation. Many who came to claim were very much in the twilight of their lives and could barely stand for themselves.

            • sonny says:

              My favorite story is about how two American submarines, USS Stingray and USS Gar supplied food, medicine and arms to the guerillas of Col Volckmann under whom my uncles served. Our hometown’s claim to fame is one of the coves that the Ilocos coast is known for. On two separate missions, the subs had to unload more than 30 tons of supplies near the breakers of the cove (safe surface depth for the subs). These necessitated a small flotilla of fisherman’s outriggers to meet, unload from the subs and transport to shore these 30 tons of supplies under the nose of the Japanese garrison in town under cover of night and moonlight. My dad and other guerillas were the lookouts to secure the operation. My dad was quite a raconteur, too. (listening was like watching a war movie). 🙂

              • “My favorite story is about how two American submarines, USS Stingray and USS Gar supplied food, medicine and arms to the guerillas of Col Volckmann under whom my uncles served.”

                People like jameboy or BFD ( https://joeam.com/2015/06/02/the-big-bang-theory-of-philippine-social-dynamics/#comment-123308 ), how much do they represent the current trend in revisionist history there?

                Are they just products of Zinni/Chomsky in the US (I have a feeling they’re both based in the US) or are they truly from the Communist Party/NPA era? Either way, a realist approach is good, but over-vilifying, which means skipping WWII/Korean War to go further in time to find body counts, to justify said vilification all seems counterproductive.

                WWII I think was when the Philippines/USA saw each other on common grounds as equals. So, I think all that you’ve written here, this subject matter should all be revived, not only to counter folks like BFD, but in preparation for bigger hurdles ahead where the US and the Philippines will have to see each other as equals again.

                I hope you write this article, sonny.

              • sonny says:

                I understand the sentiments of jameboy and BFD, LCpl_X. I remember feeling similarly when I first read James Fallows’ A DAMAGED CULTURE in the Atlantic monthly. I thought then ‘how dare he.’ My brain froze like the ‘deer and the headlights.’ Yet I thank him for the article because my Pollyanna naivete took an awakening; am still a Pollyanna at heart but less sanguine.

                I was a child of post-WWII Filipino consumerism which was decidedly American. Coming of age at the end of Marcos’ legitimate politics, I was not exposed to the same nationalism as jameboy and BFD and of course I already had the lens of a war baby. This may account for our difference in empathy to non-Filipino observation and outreach. I do find a resonant strain in our outlook in military experence (though I didn’t serve), history and humanities.

              • sonny,

                That was a great read, http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/1987/11/a-damaged-culture-a-new-philippines/7414/ To think that that article was almost 30 yrs ago, S. Korea’s pretty much replaced Japan, China’s testing hypersonics and satellite control, ie robots in space (all stolen from the US), Vietnam’s sporting resorts & a hefty manufacturing industry for the US military, but for the most part everything Fallows wrote about the Philippines is still very applicable–

                not much has changed.

                I was too young to have read this article, but the closest to this in pop-culture for me was the Claire Danes Philippine fiasco (I was a big fan of “My So-Called Life” back in high school): http://www.cbsnews.com/news/manila-is-mad-at-claire-danes/ — this quote sums up the whole affair, “we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.”

                I had to google Pollyana, but that’s a great descriptor. There’s two types of Filipinos I noticed when it comes to the US, either everything the US does is wrong OR everything the US does is right–more are needed who traverse the grey areas of the US/Philippine relationship, unfortunately most of these live outside the Philippines.

                How to expand this population is of importance, because when the US deals more with the Asian region, Filipinos have to be able to negotiate for their interests, if you get optimists on the table they’ll just keep doing googly eyes with hearts at their American counterparts; pessimists, will be stuck in Philippine-American War books, forever blaming Americans for this and that, the current and future interests of a nation will be relegated to the backseat, because they prefer to lecture America than expand their nation forward.

              • Joe America says:

                Ouch. It does sometimes see that way. I remain positive by observing that there are a lot of people about who DO look at problems as problems, rather than as reflections in the mirror.

  29. Filipinizing is very important. While translating Sun Tzu into Filipino for my blog, it jolted me. It sounded like a very rude, ruthless Chinatown type talking. English for many Filipinos is a language which is emotionally distant – Filipino or other languages closer to the soul.”

    Fellas, I accepted this thought at face value, but upon further examination, I think this whole Filipinizing motif is retrogressive. Wasn’t this Marcos’ plan to Filipinize, to use Tagalog as first, but expand the language to something similar to Bahasa Indonesia? But in the process, the quality of English went down, I would argue with that, ideas also went down. And Filipino remained Tagalog.

    On my drive home yesterday I was listening to this program on the Icelandic language and the ways Icelanders attempt to keep their language pure: http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-06-01/future-icelandic-language-may-lie-its-past

    I realized jameboy and Irineo’s Filipinizing is problematic, because as Marcos attempted to do, and all the problems that came with it. There has to be an attempt to define what Filipinize means to the Tausugs, or Warays, to Macabebes and others. Doesn’t rendering something Filipino simply means rendering it Tagalog, and by so doing marginalizing other ethno-linguistic groups?

    I’ve asked in the past what happened to English in the Philippines, and I think like the quality of the military, the descent of English can also be found in Marcos’ policies.

    English being the lingua franca of the internet, internet being an American invention, English should be the focus again–not because the Philippines is under the stewardship of the US, or language of the American “empire”, but because it’s the language of trade.

    Because at the end of the day, this is about talent and surpassing of economic milestones, vis-a-vis China. English should be at the center of any leadership course, it being a force multiplier. If Filipinos are to lead in Asia (per Joe’s blog) they have to have mastery of English again, which means to code switch from their native dialects, to their 2nd or 3rd dialects (actually they’re languages not dialects), and the power language being English.

    Sure aspire to read the original great works in Chinese, or Japanese or Latin or Greek, but as we stand vis-a-vis China looming, English should be revived in the Philippines, don’t back track to Marcos years and follow the Icelanders in their quest for “purity”. Protect what you have culturally, but expand to master other languages and cultures and thoughts.

    • Joe America says:

      You use that “fellas” remark again, and I’m sure Juana or another of the feminine participants hereabouts is going to cold clock your cranium. 🙂 You Americans are always so downright pragmatic. It takes the fun out of it. You sound like me on the language argument. It becomes one of the features of local thinking, that sovereignty and pride are found in being Filipino, even if it means being poor and unemployed. Therein we have a demonstration of the big bang at work. Pushing English away and settling for skill at a language that is spoken mainly in Manila.

      • LOL! Will keep that in mind, Joe.

      • http://filipinogerman.blogsport.eu/identification-communication-learning/ – my point of view on that can be found in a blog article… Joe you have made your comments there also.

        Language is something close to the soul of a person, and to the culture of people. Translating stuff into a language – after all, many classics were translated into English – enriches the memes that a culture has, thereby raising the level of the culture all in all. Unless the Filipinos want to become like the Irish, Scots, and Welsh, who have lost their old languages. And having an own language does not preclude learning other languages, the Dutch are masters of that, Dutch to control local access, English to welcome the world.

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