Starring Grace Poe as Truman Burbank, and the Philippines as Seahaven

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Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey)

The Truman Show” was produced in 1998. It stands as a classic mockery of our peculiar enjoyment of reality shows. Reality shows are popular because they put excitement into our own troubled, mundane little lives.

Truman Burbank, played brilliantly by Jim Carrey, is the star of the show. He’s been on live television since his birth. He does not know he is an actor performing in a staged show. All the other players around him, including his wife and friends, are actors. They are “in on it”. They all know that Truman has no idea that his whole life is a staged television show. A massive global audience has come to love and follow Truman obsessively.

The stage is an entire town built inside a domed arena. The name of the town is Seahaven.

At the age of 30, Truman starts to pick up clues that his life is not what it seems. A stage light falls and almost hits him. “It fell from an airplane” he is told. Then his car radio accidentally picks up the transmissions between director and crew. He falls in love with one of the actresses who is whisked away so that he can marry a woman he does not love. He notices that the same people are always in the same place every day, and his wife is incessantly raving about this product or that (the TV show’s commercials).

The audience develops a “free Truman” movement, rooting for Truman to discover that he is being contained and stage-managed. They want him to find his freedom.

This blog is the “free Truman” movement in the context of the comparisons this article will make. We root for self-awareness of Grace Poe about the staging that has her trapped in a show she did not make. We see the Philippines as Seahaven, a shallow place of surreal manipulations and game-playing where life follows the director’s cues.

Maybe you have to see the movie to grasp how real life entwines with fake life both in the movie and the Philippines. But we shall do out best to portray it here.

Back to Truman. He has as a great enlightenment at a particular moment during the show. His father is killed off but returns to the cast as a bum. Truman recognizes him. From that moment of enlightenment, Truman has a goal. Discover the truth. Break free.

Will he break free?

Will Grace Poe?

Grace Poe as Truman

Grace Poe is a media darling, like Truman. She is a natural star. She looks petite and charming, speaks coolly and articulately, and seems to say all the right things.

But often says almost nothing at all.

She is mother and apple pie rolled into bland generalities with every sharp point having a counterpoint that negates it. She is disappointed that FOI is not a priority for the President, but she recognizes that friends (she and the president) sometimes see things differently.


Is she passionate about FOI or not? And another thing, what do friendships have to do with work decisions?

Truman 03

Mrs. Burbank peddling product (Laura Linney)

Grace Poe has not yet provided a clear read-out about her US citizenship. In that regard, she is like Jejomar Binay, not resolving the matter with the facts. She lets others deal with the burden of proof that she is not illegitimate, as a Filipino presidential candidate. She just stays on the front pages.

Her Mamasapano hearing was a masterwork of “feeling” the public pulse and catering to it. She went to the drama as a moth to the candle. Rather than looking for solutions and laws to write, she led a vicious hunt for culprits that had generals at each others throats and in tears, the hard-working peace negotiators attacked by rabid senators staging for their own election, national secrets dumped on the public stage, and the Chinese spy in the back of the room laughing about how funny these Filipinos are. Wonderful theater! The public wanted to put the guilt trip on the President, and Senator Poe complied. Even though the President did nothing more than routinely authorize another police action.

Grace-Poe vera files

Senator Grace Poe [Photo credit: verafiles]

Like Truman falling in love, the Poe Show generated its own unplanned reality. Cayetano and Marcos raged at the BBL peace process, bringing years of peace work to a screeching halt. The President’s satisfaction ratings went into free fall, weakening the leadership of the Philippines. The military and police upper echelons were revealed as weak and unprofessional. The exercise produced no uplift, no unity, no healing.

Her simplistic draft report on Mamasapano was written up, signed off on by a bunch of lazy, compliant senators, and set aside for no further use. All we had, in the end, was the memory of that destructive set of consequences.

So Senator Poe is like Truman. She follows the clues and cues set before her. Her motives are staged and perfectly attuned to the public’s need for a reality show. They generate the drama everyone hereabouts calls real life.

The audience, outside the domed theater, cheers.

The Directors

Christof is the creator and director of “The Truman Show”, superbly played by Ed Harris. Christof gets caught up in the drama of his show. It becomes his real life, as much as it is Truman’s. He guides Truman for 30 years, through birth and schooling and adult-hood. He makes the hard decisions, to end Truman’s real love, to marry him to an actress who is good at peddling product, and to kill off Truman’s father. He guides all the manipulations. He is the master of the charade. In the end, he would kill Truman rather than have him discover the truth.

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The creater and director, Christof (Ed Harris)

The directors in the Poe Show are her handlers, her advisers, the hidden people behind the scenes giving her counsel. We know Senators Osmena and Escudero are there. Perhaps Senator Santiago is there whispering about the dangers of tying in with Americans. Is Bobby Ongpin there, the oligarch in the wings, the money man also connected to Binay? We don’t know. Poe is not THAT transparent, herself. The Press is there, of course. They are there representing the aspect of the director that is both in the show and out of it. We don’t know if the the Press is leading the show or if the show is leading the Press.

And Grace Poe performs. She exudes confidence and intellect and reason. She is a natural, translating all her cues into charm and self-assured emptiness.

One thing seems sure, Grace Poe is not her own woman. She is being handled. Directed.

She is the filter of events, digesting them and translating them into statements. An elegant, eloquent talking head. But she does not, herself, make decisions on the basis of knowledge and experience.

She can’t.

Because . . . like Truman . . . she has no real reality about leading a nation.

So we see the Mamasapano report, a high school student’s term paper, reflecting no knowledge of the responsibilities and acts of the President, or the peace process, or the military, or the importance of keeping dissent and military secrets out of a salacious public hearing room. Finding no new laws to write. Finding no new lessons to learn. Finding no nuanced shared accountability. But merely following lines up to the President and settling there.

escudero rappler

Senator Chiz Escudero [Photo credit: Rappler]

Who was she representing in that report? Escudero? Marcos? Binay?

It seems pretty clear that she needs her directors to guide her through the election process because she does not have the depth of knowledge to do it herself.

So who are we electing? Senator Poe or her handlers? It almost seems that she is an empty vessel with no idea of what the presidency is about, except with the naive idealism of a school student that says her knowledge, today, is full and sufficient.

Because her handlers will fill in the missing pieces.

Well, frankly, I hope she can break free of the handlers and find her own principles, her own patriotism, her own knowledge, her own character.

Given six years as Vice President, she might do that.

In a year? With no executive experience? She will abide by her handlers.

We would not be electing Grace Poe.

We would be electing her handlers.

The Philippines as Seahaven

Seahaven is a town with real streets and a milk man and store clerks and neighbors. But it is a reality that is not founded on . . . well . . . reality. It is surreal.

What do we see in the Philippines?

  • We see a nation that will elect crooks and movie stars and boxers to important jobs, where personality is more important than substance. Where candidates have no platforms, they just have slogans and promises and colors.
  • We have poor people who will sell their futures for a bag of rice to a charlatan with a promise, and mayors who will cheer them on because they get a free trip to Europe out of the deal. They’ll sell the Philippines to a crook and liar to go visit Paris.
  • We have students who have no passion or ideals, or both, who just do what they are told. We have a Department of Education that can’t teach or do creative problem solving. They just follow the dots and do what they did last year.
  • We have Legislators who file a thousand bills at the outset of the session and pass ten by the end of the session. But they can tell jokes, investigate Executive’s every step, rail at peacekeepers and go to jail for plunder.
  • We have an entire population that has its nationalism founded on insecurity and a need to win, but no patriotism founded on accountability and sacrifice.
  • We have a Press that plays politics rather than journalism, and slaps out confrontational, emotional headlines for an emotional, shallow readership. Information is irrelevant. Both to the publisher, and the reader.

The Press, after all, only presents the reality that people want. And it is one of drama and angst and heart-wrenching tragedy, teleserye and karaoake, and anger and dissatisfaction all across the land.

There must be a real world around here somewhere

There must be a Poe who speaks for herself, who knows what she is talking about, who does not have to rely on handlers who were not elected. A person of integrity who values the well-being of citizens over personal allegiances.

There must be a Philippines that promotes sense over nonsense. A reality with compassion and accountability and sacrifice.

There must be politicians who do not see getting elected as a game to play, but a public to serve.

I’m actually thinking that Grace Poe can find the way. She has the brains and the decency. But she must find her own enlightenment . . . of how skilled and competent the President must be for the Philippines to thrive, and how knowledgeable she must be to generate her own thinking. She cannot . . . ought not . . . rely on handlers.

She is not likely to have the needed knowledge, skills and self-sufficiency by 2016.

But by 2022, she most certainly will be able to find a way that is best for her, and for us, in this surreal drama that we cannot influence. But can cheer for.

“Free Grace Poe!”

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122 Responses to “Starring Grace Poe as Truman Burbank, and the Philippines as Seahaven”
  1. Like Mar Roxas, Grace Poe is a bit out of place in the strange world of Philippine politics. Mar Roxas often looks bewildered, his eyes saying what the hell am I doing here, his hair standing.

    You have put your finger on what Grace Poe really is – a woman extremely devious in small things but naive when it comes to the big picture. If you ask me, a Daddy’s girl who after her father died fell into the hands of master manipulators like Chiz Escudero. Hope she wakes up to reality.

    Her first step was to wake up and stand up to her “uncle” Binay – a hard thing to do because he is part of the extended “la famiglia” around her deceased father and Erap, and in the Philippines it is hard to go against “one’s own” even if they are using you. Now the question is – can she cut herself loose from Chiz Escudero, or does he have the goods on her already to release them if she dares to? Wonder if her deceased father prepared her for this, I think not. Now in the crazy warped world of Philippine politics, it is easy to lose one’s sense of reality, not know up and down.

    • Joe America says:

      Very sharp portrait you draw, Irineo. I agree standing up to Binay was a big-girl step. She needs a lot of those kinds of challenges, I think, to develop a richer sense of the big picture insight needed by a top executive. VP and DILG head is where I would like to see her. I recall that Binay asked for DILG but got National Housing instead.

      • Another similarity between Mar and Poe: both were abroad and had their life already there. Family situations forced them to go back home. They are deeply rooted in Philippine culture – the real reason for the “natural-born” citizenship requirement.

        Both know how things can work abroad, but have had to adjust back. Now Mar is out of his palengke period and has found his balance to some extent. Poe is still finding hers I think.

    • Vicara says:

      Please stop referring to her as a “girl” who needs to grow up. She’s a woman who is making political choices which we may disagree with, but she’s making them as a thinking adult who must take responsibility for those choices. Further along the line, people might be saying, “Oh, but she didn’t know what she was doing, she was just an innocent, gulled by those dirty trapos.” Certainly not. She damn well knows what her associates are and where she’s investing herself. And Mar Roxas, not the worst candidate by far, has to decide: Does he really want this job? Growing up, he was his family’s second choice to carry its political ambitions to attain the presidency. (His late brother was first choice.). He has the experience, he works hard, he has developed a range of skills suitable for the executive branch. But we can want him to win only if HE wants to win.

  2. J says:

    I’m afraid I would have to absolutely disagree with you assessment, Joe. I don’t think Senator Poe is that stupid.

    • Joe America says:

      I didn’t intend to portray her as stupid, for I agree she is not. But she is green.

      I do appreciate the input.

      • Joe America says:

        Interestingly enough, in the movie, we see Truman Burbank as a bit of an airhead in his behaviors at first, as he goes through his silly routines, yet we learn through his journey of self discovery that he is bright and earnest and we grow very attached to the guy. We join the “Free Truman” movement ourselves, rooting for him to join us in the real world. I think that is not unlike Grace Poe’s journey. I have no idea about her stage of enlightenment, which I would consider the self-containment, knowledge and depth of a nation’s Chief Executive, and the considerable demands of the job. I did think the Mamasapano hearings were off base and harmful and I don’t personally have the greatest confidence in Escudero. The views in the blog are not wholly mine, but pick up what others who have reservations are saying and are presented in a story line meant to engage readers.

  3. Bert says:

    Me, I think that between Grace Poe’s ‘directors’ and Mar Roxas ‘directors’, Mar Roxas ‘directors’ are shams. Mar Roxas as Truman Burbank is a total flop in the box office.

    • Joe America says:

      Who are Mar Roxas’ “handlers”? I have no idea. I get the impression he has none, and is just mainly working.

      • Joe America says:

        I would add that I think the Roxas Show has not even opened. Binay is out campaigning. Poe was put into the spotlight by Binay and the citizenship issue, and she is a media darling whereas Mar Roxas is not such a charismatic presence. And Roxas is doing his work, possibly waiting until President Aquino nods his head in Roxas’ direction. If the President does not so nod, I’d agree with your assessment.

      • Bert says:

        If that is true that he has no ‘director’ then he’s directing himself. If that’s the case then that’s a double whammy to him. He both flopped as a director and as the actor. Not a good business proposition.

        • Joe America says:

          When betting on the Kentucky Derby, one can put money down several months ahead of the race, but most people rush to the betting windows a few minutes before the horses go to the gates.

  4. manuelbuencamino says:

    Is this post a reaction to Poe’s “Philippines First” remarks as it relates to Philippine-American relations?

    BTW, that part about What do wee in the Philippines, I hope you are not in any way implying that those are unique traits that distinguishes the Philippines from every other nation in the world, and especially America where I see all those things as well, the only difference being the Philippines is not racist.

    • Joe America says:

      No, this post was drafted a week ago. It is written to the concerns I often read about her associations, her “coy” manner, her lack of experience, and also the Mamasapano hearings, which I’ve written about previously.

      Other nations have their character, too. The US is one of the most surreal places I know, politically speaking. As for racist, that’s a huge topic. The US is one of the most ethnically diverse nations on the planet, but is for sure having its black/white ethnic tensions right now. There are pockets of racism. The Philippines is a lot more homogeneous, but I do know that the children of black American servicemen were unkindly treated. Abandoned by mothers and fathers. So I suspect there are pockets of bigotry here, too. Certainly the on-line language toward Chinese has gotten down and dirty of late. It’s a huge topic, I think.

      • Joe America says:

        Oh, and VP Binay is often disparaged for his dark coloration.

      • manuelbuencamino says:

        Joe, you and I know that racism in America is real. You and I are familiar with federal and state policies and institutions that keep blacks as second-class citizens. We need not itemize them here. Suffice it to say that Philippine “racism” has nothing in common with white racism that is best summed up by the founding fathers of the confederacy, “its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth…”

        • all the racist and bigoted comments against chinese and moslems recently though? Even chinese-Filipinos have to put up with racist remarks. Try being black or even Indian in the poorer parts of the country. conversely, if you are white you are treated like a celebrity :). All those skin whitening products and commercials!

          • David Murphy says:

            My teenage grandson visited us earlier this year. He has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is associated with, among other things, difficulty in reading other people’s emotions and motivations. Of all the things that he witnessed in the Philippines during his stay the one that distressed him most was the emphasis on skin color. This included the vast array of skin whiteners being huckstered on TV and in print and by what he observed in how people were treated. I come from the southern US and I grew up surrounded by prejudice against blacks. I assumed that I would always be aware of skin color but when I arrived in the Philippines some 20 years ago I discovered that I had lost that awareness. Until I experienced it among Filipinos, who seem to give more attention to skin color than most present-day Southerners do. I had gradually lost that awareness again until my grandson was distressed by it. But if he can perceive it, with all his limitations, it must be pretty blatant. BTW, that quote from manuelbuencamino about the Confederacy is about 150 years old now. Progress has been slow but the south has come a long way since then.

            • manuelbuencamino says:

              You confuse individual bigotry with bigotry perpetuated through laws and public policy, David Murphy

          • manuelbuencamino says:

            You confuse individual bigotry with bigotry perpetuated through laws and public policy, charlesenglund

        • Joe America says:

          Bigotry is a human condition. The effort to over-come it requires self-awareness, acceptance of the problem, and efforts to change. I watched my father change right before my eyes, from a racist to a broad-minded thinker, and generous soul to all he met. America leads the world in freedoms and opportunities granted to subordinate populations, so paint the picture completely, and I’m happy to agree with you.

          • manuelbuencamino says:

            You confuse individual bigotry with bigotry perpetuated through laws and public policy, Joe. And what do you mean by “subordinate populations” I thought everyone was equal and treated as equals in America? Maybe you meant minorities and not subordinate populations. But I can understand why you think they are synonyms, in America minorities are subordinate populations. specially the blacks, and they are kept that way through laws and policies. That is the difference between individual bigotry and racism. Subordinate populations have no difficulty telling the difference.

        • josephivo says:

          Copying the leading class in language, clothing, hairstyle… is from all times and all regions. Copying the whiter skin of Spaniards an Americans is nothing more than that and has nothing to do with racism. Racism looks in the other direction, not who is up, but who is down and how miserable they are down there.

          • Joe America says:

            It was explained to me once that white is a cosmetic choice, and I reflected back on my days of my youth at the beach as I sought to get brown so that the babes would know I was outdoorsy. Still . . . and still . . . I can’t help but think if ever the Philippines goes on a “brown is beautiful” social kick, it will be a very good day, indeed. Not for the cosmetic companies, but for people just happy with who they are.

        • hackguhaseo says:

          Ha! I have never encountered people more racist than Filipinos and I’m Filipino! We just do it behind the backs of foreigners where we are safe from retaliation. You can say this much about Americans, at least they have the balls to actually out and out say it to your face.

          BTW, great job derailing the conversation. This is about Grace Poe, not racism.

  5. manuelbuencamino says:

    As to the common misconception that handlers carry as much weight as ascribed to them…everyone fights for the powerful president’s ear… but even Erap confounded his so-called handlers…why? Because once a politician becomes president it only takes a very short period of time before he learns that he is numero uno and those around him have to listen or else…in other words, handlers are great for the campaign but after the seat is won, handlers become footmen. Name one so-called handler that had a president’s ear to himself at any time in Philippine history – from Aguinaldo all the way to PNoy. They all become footmen or they hit the streets.

    • Joe America says:

      Excellent point. Thanks.

    • even fictional one like leo magary of the west wing.

    • jameboy says:

      Not exactly true.

      Handlers are there for a reason. Their reason. They are no fools to allow themselves to be used and not get anything in return for it. Ever heard of words such as ‘special interests’ or ‘cronies’ or ‘insiders’ or ‘advisers’? Those are the terms the word ‘handlers’ evolved into when a candidate gets to win the office.

      Marcos has the Rolex group when he was planning to declare martial law. And then, had Fabian Ver, to the chagrin of Ramos & Enrile, two of the Rolex guys, as his eyes and ears during his military rule. In fact, the word ‘crony’ started to become a regular and familiar term during the Marcos years.

      Cory Aquino was all eyes and ears with Joker Arroyo and Saguisag. Randy David was also with the Yellow group back then. And who can forget the loyal defender of Ma’m Cory against those coup attempts that goes by the name ‘Rambotito’? Then there’s Cardinal Sin and the Catholic Church who not only got Cory’s eyes and ears but her conscience, too! Anyone here remember the Kamag-anak Incorporated?

      Fidel Ramos has his Rasputin in Joe Almonte. Let’s not forget Joe De Venecia on the political side. And cronies? He was once one with the dictator and he inherited some from him.

      Erap Estrada. Do we even have to talk about it? The saying that those around the president must ‘have to listen or else’ is a classic proof that there is no such thing. Hello Chavit? Hello Atong Ang?

      Gloria Arroyo. Do we really have to talk about her and her handlers? Really?

      Noynoy Aquino. There’s the “Kaibigan” and the ” Kabarilan”. ‘nough said. 😎

  6. henry david says:

    cory came on board too with her “handlers” did she not? joker, saguisag, factoran, teddy locsin, laurel ( initially), salonga, …ongpin ( not the greedy one with a criminal mind)…

    who doesnt?

    it’s not handlers per se, it’s the quality….

    so if that opportunistic escudero and that scheming osmena are her handlers…. that is a real bad sign…..

    • Joe America says:

      Right. What are the values of the handlers and what are they trying to achieve? Are the citizens there to be used or served?

    • juan lee says:

      handlers, cronies, advisers, insiders, etc. i feel they all belong to the same banana. we think the way we are programmed, conditioned, educated, nurtured, etc. but what is the politcally correct term? in my lingo, i call them selfie and frens…just thinking for themselves and their vested interest.
      the “pa-awa” effect. when a mayaman or politico magnanakaw goes to jail….mother mother i am sick, wheelchair wheelchair is what i need, hospital arrest hospital arrest is where i need to sleep. when a mahirap magnanakaw goes to jail…nagawa ko po lang ito dahil sa kahirapan…wala po ako sa sarili dahil sa problemang walang kakanin ang familya ko, may sakit ang anak ko, ang nanay ko, etc.
      the criminals have human rights…the victims have legal rights….in my book, the naked truth is nothing is wrong until somebody tells it is wrong. ah, but your budhi bothers you when when you did something wrong…thus the term walang budhi.
      my observation is most finoys (the massa) are conditioned to believe that the good leader is one who ‘shares’ what he ‘takes’, a robin in the hood (a politico who robs the money of the neighborhood and gives back 20% of the loot to the hood and 80% for selfie and frens). God…thank you for your blessings…we praise You. pls enlighten us ALL (not selectively) on what is Tuwid na Daan so that we can become the actors and actresses Thou will us to be. gude.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, carry lots of grains of salt when reading polls. Plus, they are a point in time. Things change tomorrow. Thanks for the link. I can say that with authority as I used to be a market researcher who would build organizations and products and advertising based on what the polls indicated. We were wrong on occasion. 🙂

  7. sonny says:

    Hollywood footnote: I believe the Truman Show was a take-off from one of the original Star Trek series episodes. The Enterprise crew comes upon a race of superior aliens governing a lesser race. The superior aliens are themselves the organic robots of another ultra-race who themselves evolved to exist only as brains without limbs. deja vu again?

  8. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    “With no executive experience?” – JOEAM

    What does that mean, I have to ask. I read Atienza yesterday. He said, “Grace Poe will be an OJT President”!!! I got married. I have no previous experience of marriage. IT WORKED !!! Of course, there are squabbles here and there. I learned! I gave my wife all my pay. She gets mad when I ask her where the money went. I learned! My money is hers. Her money is hers. Never cross her parents. I learned. From inexperienced OJT husband to seasoned experienced husband.

    Now we talk civilly where the money went what was spent. We talk about her parents meddling. No screaming. No shouting. No more parental handlers. We are kind of free. We can do what we want to do where we want to go. Despite advise and opposition, we follow our hearts.

    WE ARE FREE. From abused inexperienced OJT husband to experienced and FREE !!!

    It will take time to wean Grace. I do not care if she’s a foundling. If she’s American Citizen. If she failed residency test. I do not care at all. I am for outsouring of the Philippine Government anyways. I’ve been lobbying for it. This time is a good 2nd start and the beginning of the outsourcing. To heck with Philippine Constitution. To heck with local senators…

    … The Philippines have already outsourced their beauty queens … imported from America, Germany and Canada to represent Philippines in international beauty contests. They also outsourced their language from Tagalog to English.

    Thank gootness! The Filipinos are listening ! We will soon have American President !!! NEW THINK !

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      “Grace Poe will be the first inexperienced OJT President of the Philippines” – ATIENZA.

      Previous Presidents must have been Presidents of the Republic prior to become Philippine Presidents. This is from Atienza. Not from me. Atienza was elected by Filipinos. NICE !!! BRILLIANT !!!

      If Atienza were in my country, The U.S.A., he’d be forced to resign. Thankfully, English is Second Language to Filipinos. So, it gets lost in translation. So are the Filipinos.

    • Joe America says:

      To be an executive you have to pick good people (Escudero?), organize work (called planning), delegate to subordinates with trust, monitor and coach and guide, and be able to subjugate emotions in favor of rational conversation. It is not good to scream “you stupid sh*t” at a subordinate, rather as Poe lectured Purisima. Americans are just like Filipinos, I find. They put forth their best effort in a circumstance not of their making, are fundamentally good, and know how to play. Americans have more money.

  9. David Murphy says:

    This is a bit off topic but I’ve been catching up on unread blogs and this is the closest to my subject. You have emphasized Roxas’ qualities of honesty and his capacity for hard work. I know nothing about Filipino politics and I accepted your opinion. Recently I had a conversation with someone whom I have always regarded as having insight into what is really going on in national politics. He said, unequivocably, that although Roxas does not seem to be corrupt himself, his appointees are. Moreover they are funneling their bribes, payoffs, etc., back to their boss to finance his election expenses. I think he mentioned the LTO, the MRT and the DSWD as some of the agencies that were serving as cash cows for his benefit. I don’t even know if these are in any way under Roxas’ authority and I certainly don’t know if there is any basis, other than universal Filipino distrust, for these accusations. Is there anyone in the group who has heard these or similar charges and is there anyone who can confirm or refute them?

    • Joe America says:

      LTO and MRT are under Abaya at DOTC. DSWD is a stand-alone department. I’m highly, highly skeptical. Highly.

      • Joy Tempz says:

        Roxas is corrupt also, rumor mills down south says that the reason why the National Steel Corporation now Global Steel was a failure due to Roxas interest. NSC will just be rotted and die as long as what Roxas wants won’t be sufficed.

    • Joe America says:

      I saw this article today in Rappler that recognizes Sec Singson for his achievement at cleaning up DPWH. I think this is more the norm these days. I’d imagine Singson would remain on in a Roxas administration, but leave in a Binay administration. I don’t know about a Poe administration. I’m guessing leave.

    • juan lee says:

      kathang isip. spin-spread the lies and rumors to the max until it becomes the gospel truth…no thief will admit to his wrong doing until the evidence proves it…hence the accused or suspect always cries where is your evidence…the crook’s supporters and even the lawyers will say hearsay…the crook’s foes will say he is guilty. it is good to have informants so we can process the information. for me, i give 10% credence to the informant and thanks for the info, then i use my inborn computer to process it…i gather more information for my brain to process… i look at the suspect totally, his actuations, what he says, who he says it to, etc. then my gut feeling will tell me if he is guilty or not guilty. if i believe he is guilty, then he is guilty until proven otherwise, similarly if i feel he is innocent.
      forgive me Lord for i have sinned, in thoughts, in words and in deeds. what shall i do to gain back Thy Grace..and the Lord sayeth to me….your inaction has to stop, give more and expect nothing in return.
      I salute the few politicos who entered public service as juans ((i can count them with my fingers only) and leave public service as juans and did not succomb to become as john, giovanni , gucci, jones etc. (pardonne just a figure of speech…juan makapinoy at buhay tiis vs john makadayuhan at buhay rangya).
      i firmly believe that one of the biggest problems in the philippine society is in the justice system..,slow…selective…corrupt. so the thieves, the rich, famous, powerful thieves get unpunished and fear no law while the poor, the weak and the unknown thieves are placed in slammers, guilty your DISHONOR because they can not buy justice…all they have is justiis.

  10. Steve says:

    If I were Grace Poe’s political adviser, I’d tell her to run as VP to Roxas. She would win, unquestionably… Roxas might not, but she would. If Roxas wins, she’d be VP to a reasonably competent President and primed to be his successor. If Binay wins, she could keep a reasonable distance and set herself up to declare opposition when the mess inevitably blows up. Either way, she’d be the overwhelming favorite in 2022 and would get the experience monkey off her back.

  11. karl garcia says:

    I agree that her realization moment was when he started to talk about Binay and thanking Toby Tianco for it.About handlers even Marcos had speech writers,advisers, MB said all compete for the ear of the president. What is the Balay and Samar Faction? Part of it is a result of competition for the ears of the president. As to Poe, I agree she is not stupid.I am still wondering why she is already classified as a trapo when she is still green.She would make a good vice president to Mar,but if Mar slides down to VP I will vote for her.

    • Joe America says:

      I like your assessment. It is real. To me the trapo distinction has to do with power and favor over citizen well-being. To some extent all politicians are traditional because they have to trade favors. When people in the background are Escudero, Osmena and Ongpin (perhaps), then one is inclined to feel a clash with the halo Senator Poe is popularly granted. So also when her vengeful streak pops up (Purisima) and the Mamasapano hearing which was . . . to me . . . quite ugly and not at all “halo”-ish.

      • manuelbuencamino says:

        Just a historical footnote on handlers. During Cory Aquino’s term, her brother Peping Cojuangco was generally percieved as one of her “handlers”. But the perception was proven wrong by those who worked closely and on a daily basis with Cory. They said that everytime Peping would come in and talk to his sister about some sketchy scheme, Cory would simply turn her chair and look out the window while Peping rambled on. Peping thought he could handle his nephew Noynoy. But Noynoy kept him at arms length so much so that Peping is in the opposition and one of the leaders of the movement to oust Noynoy.

        • Joe America says:

          Peping seems to me to be a nut case. A needy leader needs handlers (GW Bush), a capable one gets the most out of advisers. So that defines the question, is Grace Poe sufficiently smart or skilled to move into the Palace and rely on advisers and keep handlers out of the picture? The voters’ job is to try to figure that out.

  12. Bert says:

    “If I were Grace Poe’s political adviser, I’d tell her to run as VP to Roxas.”—Steve


    Then pave the way to a Binay presidency.

    Steve, be careful with what you wished for.

  13. edgar lores says:

    1. We all live in illusion.

    1.1. If the illusion is far from reality and unattainable, we call it fantasy. But if the illusion is far from reality and attainable, we call it vision.

    2. The extended metaphor, the allegory, of Grace’s life with the movies, The Truman Show in particular, resonates at many levels.

    2.1. One, the Senator’s adoptive parents were in the business of make-believe.

    2.2. Two, the Senator is a foundling. Like the biblical legend who sought to lead the chosen people to the Promised Land, the Senator seeks to lead a nation of wayfarers who seemingly re-enact, on a daily basis, the biblical events of the exodus and diaspora.

    2.3. And three, the Senator plays an increasing prominent role in the theatre of national politics. Where before there were only darkening clouds of a storm on the horizon, we see an ascending star. In the brief span of two years, the Senator has risen to a heady height, eclipsing many who have shone far longer and steadier.

    3. The question arises: Is Grace her own person or a marionette?

    3.1. This blog, which is a fine and dramatic reading of the Senator, convinces us she is the latter. Certainly, her actuations and pronouncements thus far are without a defining and consistent purpose in support of the national good… except perhaps in advance her own (and the string pullers?) interests.

    3.2. What is clear is that she has made a break with the erstwhile frontrunner who now is eating her dust… and is beginning to show signs of biting the dust. (Who says prayers are not answered?)

    3.3. I have characterized the Senator as secretive. The handling and timing of her actuations and pronouncements either shows the fineness (and finesse) of puppeteer strings or a proficient skill derived from show business.

    4. As with Truman, I posit that all may not be what it seems.

    4.1. I have always been keen on uncovering the base motivation for human behaviour. And there are two main factors in Grace’s history that we have not accounted for. These are her father and mother.

    4.1.1. Her father died in mysterious circumstances brought about perhaps by losing an unlosable election. What was the impact of her father’s death? Has Grace come to wreck vengeance on her father’s enemies? Her answer to Raissa’s (Robles) third question should be revealing. (Viz: “What is her stand on the criminal cases of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada and former President Gloria Arroyo? Will the justice department under her watch continue to backstop the pursuit of these cases?”

    4.1.2. Her mother, a formidable woman in her own right, cut GMA to the ground – as if the lady president were not already too close to it — with a few chosen words: “Ang taong sinungaling ay kapatid ng magnanakaw.” And Grace has similarly cut the feet of Binay. Note that her mother resisted the needy calls of the people to become their saviour. But she has permitted her daughter, perhaps even encouraged her, to enter the political arena. Are these two avenging angels?

    5. There is an enigma to Grace. She may indeed be a marionette… or she may be a marionette who is pulling the string of her handlers.

    6. I watch in fascination as the curtains draw aside to unfold the 2016 elections.

    6.1. It should be a blockbuster. Don’t forget to bring the popcorn.

    • Bert says:


      I totally agree that it’s going to be a blockbuster.

      The questions now remain:

      1. Who will be the final hero at the end of the story?

      2. Will it be the leading lady, in which case the heroine?

      3. Will it be the leading man (Roxas)?

      4. Or, will the hero be the villain (Binay)?

      I hate popcorn.

    • Joe America says:

      Terrific reading of the allusions in the blog. Where I get three levels deep, you get six. The foundling comparison is magnificent, as is the death of her father (note death of Truman’s father) a breaking point for her life, bringing her to the Philippines and all that has rolled out since. At level five of the blog, people are likely to find that JoeAm is really rooting for Grace Poe to grow into independence and add some depth of understandings and skill and become the star she appeared to be when elected senator, and to become president. Most read this blog as critical. It ends with Poe on the steps, rather than Truman, free of the influences that hold her back.

  14. The Philippines:

    “Ooh! Shiny! Let’s put it in office!”

  15. hackguhaseo says:

    Seriously though, is anyone else bothered by her statement, or rather the we she blatantly said while the US ambassador was sitting near her that we shouldn’t rely on the US for support when things turn messy? I can understand the need to lower our expectations and prepare for the worst case scenario, but that was a bit rude IMO…

  16. Bing Garcia says:

    With the Supreme Court, COA, DOJ, Ombudsman, AMLC , the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and concerned citizens joining forces, Binay is going to jail.

  17. josephivo says:

    1- Life is simple, life is complex, privately and professionally. I understand a few of the simple things, but luckily I have my wife and close friends to correct me in others. I understand a few of the complex things, but just copied and pasted most of my beliefs from other people. Are these other people my puppeteers? Maybe some advertisers or preachers are that good. Are they my handlers? Yes in a way. Do I know the exact point where I turned from follower into becoming my own man? No, and when I think I know I’m often wrong, influence is often very subtle, in some areas I’m overconfident, in other I feel immature. Same for everybody, even Grace Poe I guess.

    2- What is more important, the motivation and independence of a president or the results she/he achieves? If a remarkable reduction in poverty is achieved, the Chinese send back to their own coastal waters, does it matter than if she just was a puppet on a string?

    But yes it would be nice if what you see is what you get. And Grace Poe is not that transparent, so I’m not 100% sure what I see, so I cannot be 100% sure of what we will get.

    • Joe America says:

      I got dizzy reading the circles were so intense. Indeed, we are all on strings, and the most significant is probably our own neediness, for recognition, praise, support, compassion and neck massages. Philippine political history is filled with people who say one thing, cite their oath, and then acquire taxpayer money intended for the poor or to build things or pay people doing honest work. The culture tends to reinforce and reward that, as evidenced by the fact that Binay has not been tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail. And there are a massive 625 sister city mayors and governors whose allegiance to their LGU’s citizens is suspect. When Grace Poe is postured as an angel but consorts with imps, we need to demand a higher level of transparency from her. And we need firm, precise answers to hard questions. Well, not now, maybe. But if she declares she is a candidate.

      • Joe America says:

        When Ted Kennedy died, the United States low one of the last, best patriots who saw a line between politics for self and politics for the people. He played politics for the people, arguing the principles, compromising to get work done. He had set ambition aside and only had his family’s substantial reputation to work for. Now, the US is run by a bunch of prostitutes who sell themselves to gun lobbies and rich people who fund their elections and say stupid stuff and cannot be trusted to do what is right. They are out for themselves and would take the nation over an economic cliff for ego.

        If I am hard on the Philippines, and legislators, and candidates here, it is because I think the Philippines is on the way up and out of a horrid period of self-dealing. It is important for candidates to know that different standards are in play these days. Getting elected is a contract with the people to lead, defend, and be honest and straight.

        • manuelbuencamino says:

          Ted Kennedy is a prime argument against those who will condemn someone for simply being an offspring of sketchy parents. The worst argument to make against Bongbong Marcos or Sonny Angara or a whole host of children of politicians we call trapos is to punish them for their parents’ sins. Judge them on what they do not what their parents did.

          The history of Joe Kennedy is well known and yet his children turned out to be good people. Let us not prejudge people negatively because of their genes or their upbringing because there are exceptions to those mental shortcuts, exceptions that made and will continue to make great contributions to humanity.

          • Joe America says:

            Agree, and have even done two blogs defending Grace Poe from those who would use parentage as a basis for judging her. However, the peculiarities of Philippine politics is that families do obtain a lock on entire regions at multiple levels, and that leads to the peculiar Ampatuan sense of entitlement and power. And impunity. Given a choice, I’d opt for anti-dynasty provisions to break up the family ruled regions. One way may penalize political aspirants. The other penalizes citizens.

          • chempo says:

            But what, if like Bongbong, the offsprings do not see the evils their forebears did, tries to revise history, and hugs on to the ill-gotten wealth bequeathed them?

  18. jameboy says:

    After reading this article, I paused and contemplated whether, as my usual way, to agree or oppose the idea espoused in the article. I decided to go a different route this time. I’m going to focus my comment on Sen. Grace Poe’s dominating presence in the national political situation in relation to Mar Roxas.

    Yup, you read it right. I said that because Mar Roxas is the only person that will stand to benefit or suffer from any decision Sen. Poe will take with regard to her political future. That is, more or less, what the article was really implying in the analysis given.

    I see Sen. Poe’s political existence as somewhat a blessing on the part of Mar Roxas. While he represent experience, talent and skills honed through years in government, Sen. Poe or let me just call her Grace, personifies a newbie. A tyro. Nothing really wrong there for we’re not really inexperience in having one in the past. It’s just that people, at least, have a point of comparison to gauge not only who will they go for but also how they will vote. Do they go for the most popular and vote like a lamb being led by a bandwagon to something unknown? Or will they opt to pick someone who will run the government as they should starting on day one?

    Will they stick to the time honored election rule that popularity is all one needs to get elected or will they look back in our history and attempt to choose candidates the way electorates did it in the past: based on education, experience and character?

    In all things in life, there is always a turning point. A point where a man gets to decide what should be done in a situation he has been at a million times and expect a different result this time. A crossroads where one has to turn the way one have been turning for decades and getting the same disappointments and failures or to turn in another way where hope and positive expectations beckons.

    Like comedy, politics is all about timing. However, unlike comedy, where the delivery of punchlines is dependent on the timing to be able to sell a joke, in politics, most of the time, regardless of timing, the jokes are on us.

    Grace might strike while the iron is hot irrespective of the challenges ahead. And that’s the concern I have mainly on the people around her. If the call by her supporters to run based on the ‘it’s now or never’ mentality, chances are we might be headed on a reverse course in the offing. All the investments and the advances made by this administration may end up being sidelined by reason of new philosophy and different strategy a Poe administration may introduce.

    On the other hand, politics is also a mathematical activity. You either add or subtract defending on your needs and interest. Grace might opt to think the right step by adding herself on the side of Mar in ensuring that the interest she shared with the current administration in terms of good governance be continued by the next president while she learns the ropes in the process.

    I would say, Grace is really on a tight spot right now. She knows her capability or the lack of it at the moment. She knows she has the potential and the desire to serve. But most importantly, she knows she doesn’t have the complete equipment (experience) right now to be able to perform the task demanded by the office.

    No matter, she will have to face reality sooner than later. Will she run because she was convinced that she’s the only one who can do the job or will she take the second banana position because she knew she needed more time to grasp the enormity of the task? Is she ready to take the first test of leadership by dissuading those who are pressuring her to run and convince them that she’s her own woman?

    It’s either the hard way or the proper way for her. Methinks, given the maturity and propriety she demonstrates, she will do it the proper way. 😎

    • Joe America says:

      She also has to factor in that Mar Roxas is a senior government official who has worked, and earned, his opportunity for promotion to the Presidency. She is a junior who has accomplished little. Mar Roxas is committed to running. Will she slash at his votes as Lacson slashed at her father’s? Would she be willing to do that to Mar Roxas? That is rather a self-defining decision it seems to me.

      Yes she is in a tight spot.

      And I enjoyed reading your contemplations.

    • Bert says:

      You are right, jameboy. I agree with what you are saying. The question remains, thus: Can Mar Roxas win the election for president in 2016? I don’t think so. The surveys don’t say so either. So, what is it you are saying again? That Grace Poe withdraw in favor of Mar Roxas because she’s way up in front in the surveys? Sorry, jameboy, nahihilo na yata ako, hindi ko makuha ang ibig mong sabihin, :).

      • jameboy says:

        Can Roxas win in 2016? Apparently, with the surveys showing a Poe & Binay show, people will assume that Mar is a goner. But 2016 is not today or tomorrow. There’s still time to make adjustments in order to gain some traction on the part of Mar. Definitely the game is NOT yet over.

        Should Grace Poe withdraw in favor of Mar because she’s topping the surveys? Your twisted question is yours not mine. Anyway, I’m for the idea that she gives way to Mar as what he did with Noynoy. Why did I say that? You see sliding down is a class act for me. I was for Mar Roxas in 2008. I agree with the criticisms, and we all know that, hurled against Noynoy on why he should not be president. But when Mar decided to give way and slid down to VP it made me realize to see what really is at stake. It’s not about personal concern but about everyone’s. I decided then to focus not on the people but the intention of the people on why they do what they do.

        For me, I want Grace to succeed in her career as a public servant. And to realize that she has to go through the process to better equip her when the time comes. To take advantage of the situation right now and run because she’s popular, I think, is a wrong move. One, it smacks of selfishness. Two, one’s popularity should serve as a caution than a signal for one to salivate on a position. Lastly, I am more convinced of a competent and an experienced Grace running for president after serving six years as VP than running in 2016 with nothing to show but popularity. 😎

        • Bert says:

          jameboy, I tend to agree with you once again, except that the Pulse Asia survey results this morning showed Binay as more popular than ever, his approval rating higher, and Roxas is nowhere to be seen. yet you want Grace Poe to withdraw in favor of Mar Roxas? What’s this, an advocacy to eliminate the one person who has the most chances to beat the evil one? What is it you are seeing in this whole political exercise I cannot see that make us having a very different perspective of things happening around?

          • jameboy says:

            Bert, you are completely correct about the surveys and no one argues with that. You are correct in your assumption that if election is held today and with what the surveys are telling us, the trend of the result is predictable. It’s either Jojo or Grace.

            I’m only looking beyond surveys. I’m looking at other possibilities. I’m doing that because almost everyone is already trapped and had given up that the race has been reduced between Jojo and Grace. Everyone has been conditioned by the ratings game.

            You see, we have a scenario at present that was exactly like several instances that happened in the not so distant past where popular figures opted to take the lesser office instead of grabbing the one the surveys are dictating for them to go for. Let me mentioned two prominent examples relating to it. Remember when Erap was a shoo-in for the presidency based on the screaming surveys that he will bag the office if only he runs? He did not and instead settled for the VP. Even when he ran for senator, the surveys were saying all he has to do to get the presidency is to declare his candidacy. The same thing happened to Noli De Castro. When he ran for senator in 2001, just like Erap, he was considered by many to be a presidential material as borne by the surveys and subsequent result of the election. As the VP, like Binay now, he consistently topped the surveys in 2010 to replace Gloria Arroyo as president. But it was not meant to be as he announced his retirement from politics.

            Another relevant example was how surveys have consistently put Dolphy on top of the ratings back in the day and be assured of winning if only he would run. And he did not because of fear of not knowing what to do once elected. Whew, bless him!

            I’m not in a position to “want” Grace to withdraw for Mar. I’m merely stating that like those people before her, she can opt to take her time and be more prepared and experienced and effective when the proper time comes for her to take the driver seat. And I’m saying that because I can see her potential. I can see that a little more time will make her more wiser and skillful and better.

            A little more challenges will test her mettle and put her at par with Jojo and Mar, if things go her way. A little more controversy and controversial issues will show to everyone who the real Grace is in terms of philosophy and character. A little more time will completely erase the image of FPJ hanging on top of her head and be replaced by the concrete results of her achievements and accomplishments. A little more time will convince us if she’s really the one we’re waiting for.

            I don’t think that’s too much to ask from someone whose popularity was not really hers in the first place. 👀

            • I do remember Raul Roco topping all the surveys in the months leading to the elections in 1998. So was Miriam Defensor Santiago in 1992. The early survey results did not lead to a win during the actual elections. Even Oscar Orbos got good numbers in the early surveys for possible presidentiables. But his early exposure enabled the adversaries to launch negative propaganda against him. Roxas has a chance. The support of President Aquino and the machinery of the party in power may turn the tide at the homestretch. I too believe that Grace should agree to run as his VP.

        • Vicara says:

          There are alternatives to her “stepping aside,” “deferring,” “sliding down.” She could say: I don’t have what it takes–yet. But I want to learn, so that I can better serve the people in 2022. I fully endorse and support Roxas, I want you to vote for him, I guarantee that he is the best candidate for 2016, and these are the reasons, etc. I believe in the reforms brought about during the current administration. I plan to work hard under Roxas’ leadership to ensure, that these reforms continue, and that mistakes made under this administration will be rectified in the next. If you want me to be the best leader I can be for you one day, vote for Roxas now.

          She’s in a position to shift the paradigm–and this would be major. Don’t know if she has it in her. Haven’t seen it yet.

  19. Let me just say, the agenda of slotting Poe as vice president in the hopes of giving Mar Roxas a clear shot at the Presidency is ripe for a rethink. What will happen is Poe will be VP and Binay will win and be President. Just look at the last polls: Roxas has 10%, at 4th place after Duterte! Roxas is out of the race, no matter what money or machinery or endorsement gets thrown behind him. That soundbite from the Yolanda relief efforts, the palengke ads, the wife — cannot be erased. If General Espina got into the race, he would probably even get more votes than Roxas.

    • Except for Erap most elections in our country came down to the last month. By that standard Binay would never have ran for VP because around this month and this week during the 2009 Dec campaign Binay was nowhere near the top spot (exaggerated for effect he was in the 3rd spot with 16% compared to Mar’s 32% ) in the VP race. The Philippines has a more fluid electorate than even the US where a lot of people vote republican or democrat almost automatically for the Philippines what this means is that polls act as a guidepost to help one in messaging.

  20. jameboy says:

    Grace Poe is not transparent. Compared with whom? I think she is transparent as a Cayetano or Escudero or Trillanes or the other senators are transparent. Asleep or awake, we know who Bongbong Marcos is. We know Cayetano and Trillanes more than Grace because of the combative style we’re used to seeing the two in the Senate floor. The same goes with Miriam and the other senators. We knew them simply because they were around.

    Maybe the thinking that she was not transparent was because we really ‘don’t know’ her like we know all the senators or politicians for that matter. She practically grew up abroad and behind the curtain, so to speak. For someone having parents as celebrities, she’s different from the Bong Revillas or the Jinggoys or even the Noynoys because she did not hang around and be seen and heard.

    She was not even around when Susan Roces took the cudgel against the Arroyo administration for cheating against her husband. She was nowhere near Susan when the Filipinos was already starting to embrace and egg her to continue the fight in order to dislodge Greedy Arroyo. Fortunately for her, Susan was apolitical and was just exercising her right as the bereaved widow of the man who could have been the president had Greedy Gloria and his generals not stole the election.

    She is the Cory Aquino of FPJ as designed by Susan. The role Susan could have conveniently and convincingly embraced and done was given in a silver platter to Grace. Susan, like Cory, was the woman at the right time and at the right place however, she chose to have a proxy for it.

    Transparent or not is immaterial to those who put her on top of the ratings game. Cory deserved to get what should have been given to Ninoy. Cory must fight the evil that is Marcos and save the country from oblivion. So is Grace. She deserved what could have been given to Susan as the widow of the beloved man. She must prevent the threat of evil coming from the ambition of Jojo Binay to become the next president of this country.

    The only difference between Cory and Grace was Cory had to do it because nobody can dislodge Marcos, nobody. In Grace’s case, with Binay as the formidable opponent, she has other better options to spoil Binay’s ambition than run by herself as president as what people close to her wants her to do.

    Oh yes, on the issue of running for president, I agree, she has yet to be transparent about it. 😄

    • Joe America says:

      I think the ratings have to be built on illusion or else Filipinos are great risk-takers. No one knows if Senator Poe, as President, would continue the ITLOS filing, pursue the BBL, negotiate with China, support EDCA, invest in schools, invest in defense, promote land use legislation to prevent the mass rape of Philippine lands, continue to build alliances with Japan and Viet Nam, continue CCT, continue aggressive infrastructure build-up, restructure the horrid electricity rat’s nest and improve service, assure reliable and speedy broadband services . . . nothing. We have no idea who would be in her cabinet (we know some of Duterte’s picks). We don’t know who would endorse her.

      We don’t know that about anybody else, either.

      The polls force a choice when people are not yet ready to choose, I think.

      • Is it possible to create a covenant between candidate and voter?
        Is it even legal?
        We get the top candidates to adhere to certain policy prescriptions.
        As in if you get elected you professionalize the BIR and BoC or you will be forced to resign.
        Or there is a resignation letter already signed that takes to effect if certain conditions are met?

        • Joe America says:

          I doubt it, but I wish that were possible. Some parties can’t even get to a platform, much less tangible commitments. Good applied creative thinking though. A formal contract with the people.

          Maybe I’ll blog that if I can get it framed right.

          • I am thinking that this could be a campaign premise/gimmick.

            This is my covenant with you. This is where I’d like us to go as a nation. I will die trying to get us there.

            It could act like a grassroots platform. In line with my previous spiel revived by @karl’s reposting.

            A candidate can make this one of his campaigns focal points. He personalizes the campaign but does not dumb it down with motherhood statements.

            But you can only do this effectively if he has the brain trust that can do the hard work of what is good policy and what is good policy that sells.

            Sorry for the half baked thoughts just waiting for some code to compile and wanted to write this down before I forget it.

            The crux is SMART Goals coupled with a grass roots dialogue that will synthesize the hopes, dreams, and ideals of the Filipino nation.

        • chempo says:

          What’s the point?
          – None of them has any stated platforms.
          – TRO’s are one a penny.
          – Resignation letters will be argued off as past consideration thus void.

      • jameboy says:

        I agree and given what you enumerated, for me it’s not about who Grace really is, it’s about who does she know in the bureaucracy that will genuinely help her in case she runs and wins. It’s a two-way traffic, people don’t know her exactly and she also don’t know the right people in government. Example: Jojo Binay. 🙂

      • Filipinos are risk-takers, they keep falling for the same stuff. Marcos also was seen as promising back in the days. They expect too much from leaders and then are frustrated, the ratings always drop after initial euphoria for new Presidents – like you have shown.

        Reading my new article closely about the Marcos period – – one will see that the lessons that needed to be learned from then have still not been learned, and those who do not learn from experience will repeat similar experiences until they finally hopefully do learn – which is one reason I am writing the history so that the cycles of futility become apparent.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, that’s the little nagging in the back of my head that occurs when she makes bold statements that confuse more than clarify. That appear to change the nation’s direction without input from Foreign Affairs or Defense.

          • Joy Tempz says:

            Ito ang masasabi kung maling premise. Mar was never investigated in any anomalous transaction at DTI, DOTC and DILG because he is a master tactician sa lipatan nang bakod bago pumutok ang pigsa nang ahensiya.

            Some specifics: The mothballed National Steel Corporation privatization was overseen by then DTI Secretary Mar Roxas at tuluyan nang bumagsak ang company. MRT/LRT deterioration started under his watch at DOTC and pass the ball to Abaya who did nothing to improved the railway transit. The Corona conviction was facilitated by Mar and Abad by picking up and talking to the senator judges with promises of 50M to 100M for their pet projects. As DILG head Mar performance sa Tacloban on government operation for Yolanda victims ay pasang awa or bagsak.

            Galing lumipat ni Mar from one president to another, from FVR, to Erap, to GMA, to PNoy and he made sure na malinis ang pagka gawa niya sa mga transaksiyon by living the agency to another after his mission. Despite the MRT/LRT fiasco di masasangkot si Mar at Abaya dahil sa BFF din sila ni PNoy at tikom ang whistle blowers dahil wala silang matatakbuhan.

            As far as Grace Poe is concerned. She is far better than Nog and Mar because wala siyang bahid nang corruption. Her dad maybe closed to Erap but Grace is her own self and hindi dependent sa mga kaibigan nang ama. Remember that she is one of those who lead in signing the resolution in filing plunder charges kina Tanda, Jinggoy and Bong. She nailed Purisima to the cross for being corrupt. Whose better? Its Grace…

  21. DAgimas says:

    maybe Sen Poe is green but her views on US-Phil relations is correct:

    • Joe America says:

      I can’t tell if it is correct or not. If it means she will kill EDCA and negotiate for shared use of the islands like Binay would, I’d say she is not correct. If she means she would do what President Aquino has been working diligently to do, establish defense agreements with Japan, Viet Nam and Australia, then she is correct. What is especially troubling is that she would seem to lay out a change in course, as a candidate, without any input from Foreign Affairs or Defense. I wonder if she considers that she does not have all the information to be had.

      • DAgimas says:

        yes but at the end of the day, Phils will still be the one that has “conflict” with China and we may end up holding the empty bag

        • Joe America says:

          So you would concede the islands in the Philippine EEZ to China? Where would you draw the line on China?

          Your view seems to be that the Philippines is in the US bag. I view that the US is in the Philippine bag. And if that is what Senator Poe means, I would agree with her. US resources should be deployed by the Philippines on terms that are to the benefit of the Philippines.

          Here is the condition that the US military presence corrects:

          • DAgimas says:

            I wont concede but the best terms for the Philippines is to ask for more access to US/Japanese markets as in duty free entry in exchange for basing rights or whatever.

            so that even if China will close its market (to show its displeasure at these “alliances”) at least the Philippines is assured of a more lucrative market. the US/Japan get what they want and the Philippines get what it really needs which is to provide jobs , more jobs, more taxes know the effect if everybody is employed

            • Joe America says:

              I absolutely agree. Indeed, that was the point of the recent blog about “Managing America”, that the Philippines should seek from the US non-military concessions . . . that is, economic . . . as Japan received after WWII. Totally, totally agree.

              • sonny says:

                The PH Commonwealth could not afford the helmets and rifles of the Philippine Army and the Japanese were already well underway in 1939. Now, we still can’t defend our territory. Everybody except our politicians knows this.

    • sonny says:

      Leo Arcilla is all wet! Sen Poe sounded like Cory and how she planned to handle the national debt at the time ($56 billion). I hope the Senator’s words were just light-hearted banter with Amb Goldberg.

  22. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    “The Inquirer’s “Fed Up” headline about the Binay resignation is a masterful job of portraying the crook as the victim and the good guys (the Aquino Admin.) as the oppressors.” – JOEAM

    1. Inquirer is actually pitting Filipinos against each other for their bottom lines.
    2. Or, they cannot know subtle nuances of English language because English is their second Language.
    3. How can Inquirer know Binay is “fed up”? Can they read minds? Can they read feelings?

    Why can’t Inquirer just state the fact: “BINAY RESIGNED FROM CABINET”. No feeling. No emotion. Just facts.

    • Joe America says:

      Yep. Sell 1,000 more rags. Undermine the nation. Sleep like a baby at night.

      The publisher was on the short list for Supreme Court Chief Justice to replace Corona.

    • The VP wasn’t man honorable enough to resign personally.

      • edgar lores says:

        “Sa ngalan ng aking dangal
        ay gagawín ko ang buóng makakaya…”

        He forgot his Boy Scout’s oath of honor.

      • Joe America says:

        Evidently, Binay was afraid of embarrassment, that the President would not agree to see him. So he sent the note via Abigail. The President got the note and called Binay. I bet that was an interesting call.

        Binay aide: “The president is on the line”.

        Binay: “Jojo.”

        President: “Yes, hello. I just got your resignation note.”

        Binay: “Yes. I wasn’t sure you were in.”

        President: “I just want to confirm that you have resigned your cabinet positions.”

        Binay: “Yes. It is time.”

        President: “Okie dokie. See you around.”


  23. NHerrera says:


    I just want to say that I read your notes with pleasure. I share your view on the BIG FIGHT for the country. The result post May 2016 is critical for the country, to say the least.

  24. Joy Tempz says:

    AS USUAL, MAR ROXAS IS A DIRTY PLAYER. Per Politiko post below:

    Rumors are swirling at GMA Network Inc.’s headquarters in Quezon City that presumptive presidential candidate Mar Roxas is responsible for stopping San Miguel Corp. President Ramon S. Ang’s deal to buy 30 percent of the country’s number two media entity.
    A Politiko source said pointed to Roxas as the one who convinced GMA CEO Felipe Gozon and the other majority owners to terminate at the last minute Ang’s planned buy-in into the network which has been in the works for the last 12 months.
    The source said Roxas got plenty of help from his chief of staff, lawyer Blas James Viterbo, who is married to Gozon’sdaughter, Maritess Gozon.

    Who is Viterbo? He worked as legal counsel of the Senate committee on trade and commerce during Roxas’ term from 2004 to 2010. When Aquino took over in 2010, he was rewarded with juicy posts – first as director of state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines and later as Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
    Gozon and his majority partners, Gilberto Duavit and Menardo Jimenez, announced 23 June 2015 that they have abandoned their deal with Ang who paid P1 billion earnest money a year ago. Gozon and his partners did not cite a reason for the termination.
    The source said it was an open secret among GMA staffers that Gozon is a supporter of Roxas whose wife, news anchor Korina Sanchez, works at rival ABS-CBN.
    The source said Roxas had reportedly convinced Gozon to terminate the deal and pursue the sale of a minority stake in the company till after the May 2016 elections.
    Roxas is apparently against the entry of Ang in GMA especially with only a year before the 2016 elections which is expected to be one of the tightest presidential contests since 1992.
    The source said the unfolding events at GMA were reminiscent of plots undertaken by the devious Frank Underwood (played by Kevin Spacey) in the political intrigue drama “House of Cards.”
    Ang is identified with the Nationalist People’s Coalition whose chairman emeritus and founder is San Miguel chairman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr.
    NPC has not yet decided on who to support in 2016 but its members are reportedly torn between Vice President JejomarBinay and Senator Grace Poe. Roxas trails behind Binay and Poe in the surveys.

    • Joe America says:

      I’m always suspicious of analyses that use the terms “dirty” and “devious” to describe commercial transactions that are power plays, as if Roxas should engage in Philippine affairs with American values while all the rest of the Philippines plays these power and favor games. If Roxas was involved, he will reap whatever he sows. I’m amused to note that, if this is all true, he is doing what others say he cannot do, for being a goodie two-shoes. He is being decisive and influential.

  25. Ryan Ray says:

    ‘Handlers’ will stay as handlers only if she allows them to. But those handlers will turn into obedient subordinates once she gets the gist. And what is this ‘needed knowledge’ you speak of? Haven’t we learned from the past that even the most honed and experienced politicians can’t be the best leaders? There’s a fine line between being a good politician and being a good leader.

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