“Hey, you don’t care, Philippines, I don’t care!”

aquino-akihito inquirer

President Aquino and Emporer Akihito. A lot of history in that firm handshake. [Photo credit: Inquirer]

The “I” is not a personal “I”, but a collective “I” representing any outsider who has a decision to make, do I want to have anything to do with the Philippines or not? Do I want to travel there? Invest there? Live there? Send my sons and daughters to fight there?

Let me walk a ways out onto a plank with a generality to start the probe into specifics.

Filipinos are self-contained, and that can be either good or  bad.

Self-contained can mean self-sufficient and self-confident . . . which is good . . . or it can mean the opposite, self-absorbed and insecure, imposing a kind of defensive isolation. It is defensive because outsiders are seen as a threat, and unreliable.

Given Philippine history, it is easy to comprehend why outsiders are seen as a threat and unreliable. They have used, and they have abused.

The outcome from this convoluted history, and a few too many occupancies, is an ever-present Filipino passion for “sovereignty”. I’ve written about this repeatedly. But it gets a little confusing sometimes. Senator Santiago uses “sovereignty” to rail in opposition of the VFA and EDCA, but offers no complaint about China occupying Philippine seas, and offers no position or solution to the China problem.

I think Senator Santiago’s sovereignty is the insecure kind. Defensive against the history of the past. She has no idea how to deal with the threat of the future.

I think President Aquino’s is the self-sufficient and self-confident kind. The Philippines needs military backing from the US as a chip in the China play, and he is confident the Philippines can manage that relationship well . . . a point proven by how the US gave the Philippines about everything the Philippines wanted in the EDCA negotiations. Meanwhile, the Philippines is also building alliances with other nations.

The maturity of the Philippine sense of sovereignty globally is represented in the law-based arbitration case before the UN Tribunal responsible for interpreting international law regarding sea conflicts. It does not matter what other nations think. It would be nice to have a few join the case, but the Philippines is confident, and self-contained, in proving what is right.

The Philippines is unquestionably mature, firm and sovereign.

But let’s turn the argument inward, and look at the Philippine domestic scene.

Business in the Philippines is conducted in a culture of impunity, where power and favor are as important as money in backing transactions and securing dominance and wealth. Going around the laws is a way of life because power can be used to get the laws to lie down, like a friendly dog. The judicial complex, where punishment OUGHT to be found, is indeed just like that friendly dog, well-trained, and no teeth. There are so many loopholes and conflicting decisions that anything can be proved at any time, depending on how much money is being handed off in the back room. Crime and punishment are rarely connected with timely, behavior-changing clarity.

So outsiders know that they cannot rely on the Philippine system of justice should they run up against a problem. They have to play by this power and favor game, and it has huge risks. They’d rather not deal with those risks. There are enough risks in ordinary affairs without that huge albatross of whimsical justice hanging about the neck.

When the Philippines, through whatever mechanics are employed by government and social institutions, accepts a person with Jejomar Binay’s credentials and history as a legitimate candidate for the presidency, then this sends a STARK message to foreigners.

Beware the Philippines.

Mr. Binay does not even have to be elected.

As long as he is acceptable, by social norms, then the Philippines is a nation that has not defined its sense of “right” very well domestically.

And that makes the nation untrustworthy.

So, on one hand, we have a nation that projects sovereignty and maturity to the global community in its dealings on China, and on trade and commerce. But that same projection does not occur in the Philippines’ own house. It does not occur in the domestic arena where Philippine political leaders seem quite comfortable with a gross lack of ethical discipline throughout the nation. Where the institutions and business mechanisms are fraught with favor and values other than fair dealing.

Self-dealing, and power, rule.

Without that ethical discipline domestically, the Philippines can not be fully trustworthy to people in the outer world. Without that discipline, the Philippines cannot be truly accountable or reliable as a partner to other nations. Without that discipline, the Philippines cannot be a sovereign state, operating with integrity . . . with honor . . . in dealing with other nations.

You can’t pretend to be a diplomat of high regard when behind you stand a thousands crooks.


93 Responses to ““Hey, you don’t care, Philippines, I don’t care!””
  1. neo canjeca says:

    “See You Later Alligator” feeling like I am Bill Haley of the Comets rock and roller, I have to post it here also with apologies (he can delete this) to Joe America while I go malling here in Woodbridge or East Brunswick.

    I think I am here like other bloggers and some other bloggers too are like me feeling that blogging is habit forming allowing one to be captive to a form of mental jerking to keep coming back like a song after reading and contributing to Joe Am’s two previous topics micro examined raked over the coals by Ph’s hottest minds still I made up my mind to take a vacation and probably just stay put there vacationing because despite some thoughts thrown here I know I have not made myself clear like the few who cleared the land mines of word smithing to come out loud and clear they will vote for Mar Roxas come hell or high water .

    I am a qualified voter and I will vote for Mar Roxas even if Cardinal Tagle or the improbable Pope Francis will run against him. During the last presidential election I would have voted for Mar even if Noynoy was a rival candidate. I know that to a few intellectual winnowers here I am like that’s acting like blind as a bat and mute like a metamorphic rock. All because I am not a stakeholder not even for a cent of self-interest. I like it distant clear like I am like Patikul to Mar Roxas Basco, Batanes.

    I am one with those for decades were watching at a distance the crucible of dirty despicable Philippine politics father and son Gerry and Mar and no other Roxas never repeat NEVER were they tainted with opportunism and incompetence. Both born with unsoiled surname plus genetic abilities and almost natural personal social and economic resources, both has no need for opportunism and for work that requires proof of competence. They were born into silver and did not crave nor insanely salivate for gold.

    For a future first gentleman or future first lady I will vote for Mar because his spouse doesn’t give a damn for the political correctness of rascals that prostitutes the public interest.

    I was not very clear in the blogs immediate to this one and as for the other front runners in the 2016 elections of a few thousand opportunities to do good or loot the country’s wealth. There is a need for DNA testing for one candidate even before leadership attributes and potential competence are debated on. As for the other one, I hinted Con Ass as the last card (huling baraha) to buy time and put agony in suspension; haven’t thought though that filling libel and slander cases against tormentors could be the last nail to a political coffin. See you guys after my vacation, if ever.

    • Joe America says:

      It is habit forming, and good for you to step away to retain your beyond-Poe independence. Edgar has been known to do that as well, to return when it suits him. Others, too, take a needed break. Many step away, never to return. Whither, DocB? It is all good, as we must all do what we must do, for better and not worse. I always welcome your thoughts, for they are mysterious, often prose poetry, and do what the blog is mainly for, encourage us to think. You remain a member of the Society, no matter where you go or what you do, for you have made your mark here. Be well, and happy malling . . .

  2. “A month ago a University of the Philippines professor, Clarita Carlos came out with a truly asinine statement that because the U.S. and China are now at loggerheads over the Spratlys, the Philippines had best get out of the way.University of the Philippines professor Clarita Carlos According to Carlos “we’re just ants. We might get trampled, so let’s get out of the way.” ”



    my take:

    This attitude seems to be echoed by other Filipinos, ignoring the fact that the military structure being currently built by China is within our 200 nautical miles EEZ, practically just across our shores.

    Senator Santiago and the senators who voted to not extend the military bases’ stay in the Philippines are the reasons why China treats us as if we are ants, to be trampled as they wish because we are militarily weak and from the past actions of GMA with them, they have concluded that we can be easily be bribed; China would like Binay to be the next president after PNOY who is proving to be the opposite of Arroyo and Estrada.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, if the professor can’t discern a difference between the US and China, she is one dense educator. The US wants the Philippines to be free and independent. China wants Philippine resources and would just take the Philippines if the US were not about. I agree, asinine.

    • karl garcia says:

      Professor Carlos wants to stick to internal security and she was once in charge of the National Defense College during Erap’s time.
      Now if she repeats the same lines on National television, I will change the channel.and that is a threat.

      • karl garcia says:

        I dare say this internal security only mantra of prof Carlos is the main reason The AFP modernization failed to launch.

    • DAgimas says:

      I could not even believe they quote that professor

    • jolly cruz says:

      Clarita Carlos is a paid hack of the administration’s enemies.. She has not said a complementary word about anything Pnoy has done, even if international agencies have been giving praisesa to his achievements. In contrast to the “light at the end of a tunnel”, Carlos is the black hole at the center of a bright galaxy.

      All she does is criticize and spouts motherhood statements without being specific on what must be done.

  3. karl garcia says:

    I was so affected by that exchange with Abe and it is getting to my head,but I can’t leave just to escape those types of exchanges got to man up .Politics had been part of my life for a few years now. I must realize that. I already gave up fb before,I won’t do that here. Break ok leave hope not.

    • Joe America says:

      It is very difficult when one wants someone else to see the light, but they are walking in some other forest entirely. One has to sigh and let them walk. I can’t total the number of nights I’ve had interrupted by ponderings over some conflict or other. But they are never lasting. What is lasting is the reasonableness and kindness of those walking in our forest. The best we can do is welcome those who are near, and let those who are far go.

    • Bert says:

      Same here, karl. Abe was a good, extremely intelligent, and a kind person, not very different from our dear Joe here, and so we loved him, just like we love Joe. I think that he is still the same person, except for his political views about Binay. I think we should give him that leeway as his personal choice and rights. Like you I was also deeply affected by that exchanges, and it’s getting to my head, too. Let’s just don’t let it go to our hearts, karl.

      • karl garcia says:

        Yes, Bert dami ko na gamot,at madaming salamat Bert, ang dami na nating napag samahan. At importante sa akin yun.

  4. may abriol says:

    To all my countrymen, please talk seriously to ur families, friends to think wisrly whom to vote. One who have good reputation, integrity and who wlill continue pres noynoy “tuwid na daan” and the person who can run this country is nono ohter than manuel araneta roxas111. Mabuhay pilipinas.

    • juanlee says:

      hear, hear. vote for the man. a hard working dedicated public servant, who puts country first before self…he has experience, integrity, and love of country. go mar go..YES to Mar Roxas for President…subok na makabayan…makapilipino…mabuhay tayong mga pinoy. at pagpalain tayo ni Bathala.

  5. chit navarro says:

    This is a better place to read and relax… and get excellent reasons why we should have Mar Roxas as he next President of the Philippines. First & foremost, he is a Filipino through and through, born with a silver spoon, educated in the best schools overseas but came back to serve the country, never gave up his citizenship; unquestioned loyalty to his job but immediately abandoned ship when those he is serving the country with takes a path highly different from his straight path.., does not engage in politicking = just work and service.

    And to go back to my opening statement, no personal insults are written and read here ….

    Let’s work hard to have the government we more than deserve!

    • Joe America says:

      You know, when I wrote this blog, the presidential campaign was not even on my mind. But as I think about it, the candidate who would do the most for Philippine domestic sovereignty . . . removing government from capture by the entitled . . . is Secretary Roxas.

  6. josephivo says:

    Last year our home owner association voted for a yearly mandatory car sticker at a price of 500 Peso, or less than 10 Peso a week. Since July we have new security guards, selected in a vote by us, the home owners. You should hear how they are insulted day after day for trying to implement our own decision on car stickers.

    I still struggle to understand. I have seen it in so many different situations. It runs so deep this form of natural entitlement, a feeling that only a superior can tell me what to do and not a simple security guard, this feeling that the law is for all but for me. Roman law, Common law, Napoleonic law… all with the same purpose to make life simpler, fairer and especially more independent of the one ruler, the concept did not trickle down yet.

    “I don’t care” of the tittle should read “I don’t care as long as my boss doesn’t care”. Hence the importance of the sincerity of the next boss. Roxas! Poe? And Binay no, no, no.

    • Joe America says:

      I just ripped off a tweet that said “Domestic sovereignty is when the nation is run by integrity instead of trapos.” Now I have to figure out how to get that concept down to those who would not respect a security guard. So many aspiring Junjun Binays around . . .

    • juanlee says:

      many laws are man-made to suit the maker’s own interest. Divine law and natural law are different they are dictated by higher forces, we can’t do anything on them and just take them as they are…if we contradict…big headache. red red wine makes me feel so fine, feel so fine. dont worry…be happy…take a deep breath…believe …and God Will Do the rest ( if it is part of
      of the GRAND PLAN).
      common sense law follows logic…but sometimes the common is right in front but yet so difficult to see, appears to be rare. sometimes the very common good is very hard to see, yet the miniscule bad is easily seen, amplified and made to seem big.
      when it comes to electing public servants, politicos and many common tao tend to think of popularity as a prerequisite for good governnance, i do believe that one has to be in the seat first before he can chair. but i am also a believer that the seat user has to be qualified to have the chair so he can chair what his seat handlers had agreed to do to improve the country and the seats of the majority of the pinoys. that is my seat opinion as a chairleader for mar roxas…i ask men and women of goodwill, to think of country and filipinos first, and consider the qualities of mar roxas…experienced, dedicated hardworking public servant, has integrity, a truly enabler and effector of what is good for the country and countrymen. gude

    • edgar lores says:

      That’s very Filipino, isn’t it? (And perhaps some other nationalities too.)

      Make the rule, then bend or break the rule. Or worst as you say, the rule is meant for others — not me. You understand? You got that straight?

      I would understand — though not accept — if the people with a sense of entitlement have attained a high status… like being mayor of the city or vice-president of the country.

      Power lends that sense of entitlement… not that it should. The do-you-know-who-I-am syndrome. We should all be Francis and reject all the accoutrements of one’s station.

      But these are ordinary citizens. So the entitlement must be nature or nurture.

      Could be nature. After a while, girlfriends and wives seem to show it naturally. (Whoo, boy, am I in big trouble.)

      As to nurture, bad models abound — priests and politicians and, yes, boyfriends and hubbies, dads and older siblings. It could be the roles we play. But if I were a home owner in a gated community, definitely I would get that sticker. Saves the hassle. You show courtesy… and you get courtesy. And, more importantly, you follow the rule.

  7. NHerrera says:


    Consider these voter profiles, based on two categories:


    – No gainful employment, unskilled laborers, farmers, fishermen — 69%
    – Others — 31% of which

    ———- Professionals, technical workers, government officials and workers, corporate officials and workers — 10%
    ———- Machine operators, trade workers — 11%
    ———- Service and sales workers, clerks — 8%
    ———- Others — 2%


    – Unschooled, elementary, HS — 67%
    – College Undergrad — 18%
    – Academic Degree Holder, others — 15%

    We can see from these that the voters who may care to vote wisely, knowing the implication of their votes, may be less than 30%. I would say closer to 20%.

    The 80% are a combination of the majority poor, struggling (usually easy to buy) voters — without using that pejorative word for them — and those who are better off, but act like the poor voters, using popularity as the main driver for their votes. I can bet these latter ones spend more time analyzing the price-features of their mobile devices.

    You may consider me as one of the 20% of Philippine voters who care, along with 90% (?) of your Blog commentators/ readers.

    • NHerrera says:

      My note is left hanging. To complete the picture — the government officials especially the top ones, and businessmen who know better, either don’t care enough or perpetuate the voters penchant because the politicians among them gain from the status quo.

    • josephivo says:

      Yes, but. Of the other 80% many recognize the arrogance in Janet Napoles’ smile and can associate her with a certain political class. Others will vote wisely as they appreciate the PPP Program or the improved roads or more the professional LGUs or better the help at disasters or any of the other administration achievements. Do not underestimate political gut feelings.

      • josephivo says:

        .. the more professional…. and … the better help….

      • josephivo says:

        Read PPP Program as Pantawid-Pamilyang-Pilipino-Program and not as Public-Private-Partnership Program.

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        Janet Napoles bagman Ruby Tuason was very arrogant when questioned before ignorant Senators by saying “Don’t you dare! You do not have respect! You do not know who I am!!”

        Ruby Tuason has the right to be arrogant. The Philippine Government beg her to turn State Witness in the ruse of returning 40,000,000.00 in commission. The Philippine Government protects her. No Ruby, Napoles go free. They do not have evidences. They rely on witnesses and piles and piles of affidavits.

        40M is only a commission. Say if Ruby’s commission is 5% just imagine how much money she made deliveries of go figure.

    • End result, the Philippines is damned, due to the voters profile. So, whatever push or convincing we have to do to the Bobotantes, it will be Binay that will bag the Presidency come 2016, imagine the 69% against the 31% that is a very steep mountain to climb, if the winnability of Mar Roxas is a no go, should we sacrifice our ideals to vote for him maski di siya winnable, so we are giving Binay the walk in the park and end up in Malacanang with a very big hurrah, yon if a 3 way competition will crop up with Binay, Grace and Mar contesting the Presidency. I hope something positive will happen for the sake of us Pinoys.

      • chit navarro says:

        The 60% or more maybe unemployed or unschooled BUT abou 80% of these have an OFW in their family – may not be directly a child or a sibling but part of the extended family. And if we, who understands the dynamics of the dilemma we are facing to elect our next President, work on the OFW connection and convince the OFW’s to ensure that we have to STOP BINAY rom becoming President, then it will work.

        Besides, if we factor in China in the equation and the aggressiveness of America showing now how they do not want China to have a say in the West Philippine Seas, do you believe we will have a Binay President?

        Finally, what are we in power for if we can not have a President from our own party? – me putting words into the mouth of the ruling party, LP…

        Let’s do our work, individually, and this will cascade into a great wave and coupled with prayers, our next President is Mar A. Roxas.

        • NHerrera says:

          chit navarro,

          JoeAm, in his note below, has thoughts aligned with yours. Translated to numbers, if each of the nominal 20% — those who have views for the country, more than just the immediate needs of their family — can talk to even a fourth of the other 80%, meaning 20%, and convince them (and perhaps through them convince their relatives and friends), it can make a big difference. That is, putting the multiplier effect of those who care on those who do not care or do not know the implication of their votes.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      “- Academic Degree Holder, others – 15%” – NHerrera

      These 15% are working in the government, Elected Officials, appointed cabinet members. Majority of them are graduates from University of the Philippines. Most are incompetent, absconders, plagiarists and crooks.

      Just imagine what we have left.

    • Joe America says:

      Excellent profile. I’d guess there are a few degree holders who have no gainful employment. I think they become bloggers and trolls. I’m glad josephivo chipped in with a perspective on the numbers. I think he is right, and the trick for the candidates will be how to speak genuinely to the day laborers and poor.

    • edgar lores says:

      It would be nice if the two tables were cross-tabulated.

      It might confirm that the 69% in the first table corresponds with the 67% in the second… and also confirm that the matalino-tantes are the college-educated ~30%. (I very much doubt it.)

      It would be nicer still if the two foregoing tables were cross-tabulated with a third by region.

      It would be nicer still if the three foregoing tables were cross-tabulated with a fourth that showed the standings of the presidentiables.

      Then the candidates would know what geographical areas they should concentrate on, and tailor their platforms by socioeconomic class.

      Ahaha! I’m dreaming.

      Binay seems to be concentrating on the very young, the old, and the very old CDEs in all regions with his DVD program (diaper, viagra and dentures (or false teeth)).

  8. jameboy says:

    Of course, we all care here. The only difference is the shade or interest we have that affects and differs the kind of care we have with those of the others.

    Some care they prefer winnability to capability. Even though the winnability factor manifested itself only recently, to them, it’s enough because it’s the easy way out. They simply want the short, clear and safe side when presented with a choice. To others, it’s the opposite. Those who monitor performance, in real time and long sequence, and like to weigh things over before making a decision the caring comes later. They are the kind that constantly gauge, estimate and take a second look before jumping to conclusion.

    Some care they want the agreement or compromise done six years ago, borne out of the desire for good governance and reform, be upheld and continued whatever the situation is at present. To others, any understanding or promise made in the past should stay in the past. The present is what’s important and the opportunity that goes along with it.

    Some care defending as to what is in store for them if they do so. Will they get something in return for the care they will share? Will they feel the immediate impact of the result of the care they provide in terms of benefits? For them, caring comes with certain privilege or right that they think they deserved. To others, caring is much wider in scope. Mostly people in this category really doesn’t want things for themselves or their group. They’re more interested in seeing the care redound for the benefit of the greater majority.

    Finally, I care that is why you are reading this post now. 😇

  9. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Philippines comprises of kingdom, fiefdoms, crime families, friends, alma maters, etcetera surrounded by moat and drawbridge. Bureau of Customs is a separate country unto itself so is the Philippine Postal System. To this day, my Extra-Judicial Settlement of Heirs in USPS 3-day Priority envelope has not reached its intended recipient along with Christmas Cards, Valentine Cards and love letters.

    Retired Secretary most-wanted Baloloy is still getting her paycheck, not unclaimed !!! IT IS CLAIMED 15/30 on the dot and the PMAyers are still tracking down Baloloy for the past five years. All the PMAyers have to do is hang-out at Makati City Hall every payday to serve Baloloy a warrant. Ever since Limlingan was on the lam, his children and grand children are fattened bristling with iPhone 6s and wads of credit cards.

    Isn’t Trillanes a product of PMA? A Trillanes who has had several failed coup-de-t’at under his arm?

    Hey, Filipinos, you may not care BUT I DO !!!

    • manuelbuencamino says:

      Your problem is with USPS

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        No, Sireee !!! Tracking shows it cleared your Philippine Customs … maybe those spooks at Philippine Post opened the envelope hoping to find money tucked in and cannot put the envelope together back in for delivery along with christmass cards that I sent.

        • manuelbuencamino says:

          Phil Customs can open envelops any time, as a matter of fact it is their job to open envelopes and packages to ensure that no contraband enters the country…so opening an envelop, a package, a balikbayan box is not something that customs will hide… they do not have put those things “together back in for delivery “because Phil Customs does not deliver envelops or packages or balikbayan boxes…the recipient is supposed to pick up envelopes and packages etc…did USPS give you a receipt from Phil Customs showing that USPS delivered your envelope to them? There must be a signature there, a date and probably even time of receipt by Phil Customs so if you want to pursue the issue you can start with the person whose signature is on the receipt

  10. Angelo Falcon says:

    The Competition Act and the Cabotage Act will change the game. Glad to have it passed today. Kudos to Congress and the President.

  11. Bing Garcia says:

    Why take the risk of Binay winning. Grace Poe for President!

    • jolly cruz says:

      As I see it, this bickering amongst the anti-Binay must be the mannah from heaven that his (Binay’s) camp is praying for. Looking at the demographics of the electorate, it looks like even if the anti-Binays get their acts together and deliver a 100% vote for Roxas, the overwhelming majority of Binay’s masa supporters will still crush our vote.

      Those of us who are looking at winnability instead of Roxas’ character and experience are waiting for the pro-Roxas group to show that it can divide the masa vote with their praises for Roxas.

      Unfortunately, the pro Roxas bloggers have not shown that their arguments can split the masa votes. I say, do not convince us, rather provide doable suggestions, or better yet, do some tangible actions that would reassure us that somehow you are eating, even very slowly because we still have more or less a year before elections, into the masa vote.

      I do not need to be convinced.that Roxas may be a better president because I believe that he could be. There are a lot of us who think this way. BUt as I said in the first paragraph, even if the anti-Binay goes 100% for Roxas, Roxas will still lose. It is a known fact that a major part of POe’s supporters were cannibalized from Binay, and expectedly, will go back to Binay in a two way fight between Roxas and Binay.. When this happens, we can expect Binay’s lead over Roxas to even magnify.

      That is in starch contrast to Poe. Without doing anything radical, like go after Noynoy’s administration with hammer and tongs, she was able to eat into Binay’s constituency.

      If Roxas’ supporters cant do it, I will have to agree with Bing Garcia who says “…why take the risk of Binay winning the Presidency ?”

      • jameboy says:

        BUt as I said in the first paragraph, even if the anti-Binay goes 100% for Roxas, Roxas will still lose. It is a known fact that a major part of POe’s supporters were cannibalized from Binay, and expectedly, will go back to Binay in a two way fight between Roxas and Binay. – jolly Cruz
        And why will they go back to Binay? In a two-way fight between Roxas and Binay, isn’t it possible that those ‘cannibalized’ supporters will go for Roxas in a Mar-Grace ticket?

        Why can’t people entertain the idea of the possibility of a Roxas-Binay fight with Grace on the side of Mar? Why don’t we think out of the box?

        Bing Garcia said, why take the risk of Binay winning? We should be going for Grace Poe for president. But s/he failed to mentioned that there is also an equal, if not greater than, risk going Grace Poe’s way. For one, Grace is a phantom bet. We don’t exactly know what we’re getting. In Binay, we have an idea regarding delivery of public service. Let’s face it, Jojo has been a chief executive for the most part of his political life. He knows the job well. We know he can and will deliver on that basis. What we don’t know is if he’s done raiding the gov’t.’s coffer. He understands his function. But we suspect and fear more his power of suction. He loves people but he loves his family more. True, there is risk in Binay one that we know of.

        But there’s risk with Grace Poe, too. One we have no idea of. Can she deliver? Will she steal? What’s her strength, weakness, blind spot, etc.? I mean, being electable is not the same as being qualified. Being winnable does not mean risks-free.

        And that to me is the danger. 👳

        • manuelbuencamino says:

          Well in a two-way fight between Roxas and Binay, Roxas can win if he is endorsed by the INC, Erap campaigns for him and trashes Binay at the same time, and the adminsitration coalition – NP, NPC etal – holds. It will be Binay against the world, he will have a vice president with nothing to bring to the ticket in terms of a ready-made organization, and he will have a senatorial ticket made up of candidates who lost in the last and preceding elections.

          • Bert says:

            Hehehe, if that’s the case, MB, then Roxas cannot win, for the ff. reasons:

            1. Ochoa is INC and Ochoa is for Binay.

            2. Erap is for Binay and will not thrash him.

            3. The LP, NP, NPC, etal coalition will not hold.

            My 2-centavos.

          • jameboy says:


            That’s possible but that is also going the long bend. The confluence of people to support David (Mar) in order to defeat Goliath (Jojo) is one for the weekend opening. Everybody hates a bully and we want the underdog to win. I’m all for that. But we can only beat popularity by popularity if that is the only purpose of the exercise. Having those factors you mentioned really means being “the world” against Binay. But let’s admit it, it’ would tax us to the limit.

            For me, there is one essential element we’re missing or ignoring which I think is more helpful if we are to defeat the other side: Grace Poe.I have not been reading the polls lately but I would assume that she’s still up there among the top three. I can do away without the NPC or other political parties but I would certainly not pass on Poe. On the INC, their numbers, while important, can always be subordinated to the strength of the Catholic votes. And Erap, him staying neutral is enough to tip the balance in favor of Mar. And of course let’s not forget PNoy who still pack a punch among the yellow crowd. Lastly, I’m of the opinion when official campaign starts a large part in Binay’s poll numbers would have been staved off by then.

            In short, we don’t have to go that far and wide to counter Binay when we can avail of factors that are clear and reliable in terms of impact results. 👲

  12. Jean says:

    I seldom read mmm anything … where I don’t feel the need to inject my opinion, view, feedback ect. This is one of those articles. I find myself agreeing, point for point. ( wait I just contradicted myself haven’t I?) Anyhow, Job well done.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, thank you, Jean. It is always good to hear the nods to balance out the rattles of heads shaking. 🙂

      • jolly cruz says:

        Mr Joe, I would like to posit a rhetorical question. Why is it that Filipinos identify themselves as Filipinos only when they are in the midst of foreigners? When amongst themselves they identiy themselves as Ilocano, Kapampangan, Bisaya, Tagalog, Caviteno, Batangueno, etc.

        In this context, all ethical issues are thrown outside the window. It’s always like this : Hindo na bale (supply the region or ethnicity: Ilocano, Tagalog, etc.)___________ yan, hindi tayo pababayaan nyan, kahit corrupt yan”. No sense of nationhood. No self sacrifice for the benefit of the nation.

        Have we always been a selfish people looking only for our own self interest?

        • Joe America says:

          I would not call it selfish as much as inward looking and self-contained. There is nothing to relate to, nationally, because of the history of corruption and instability. It is hard to trust and give oneself to that wobbly foundation. I think there are subordinate unifying themes, Pacquiao and Chinese incursions and lately the battle against storms. But not national government.

        • manuelbuencamino says:

          In the same way that Americans identify with each other as Texans, New Yorkers etc etc. Nothing more than that

  13. chempo says:

    I also care. I just sent the following to the Chinese ambassador in Phils, email of course…

    Deng Xiaoping’S speech at the United Nations, April 10, 1974
    “If one day China should change her color and turn into a superpower, if she too should play the tyrant in the world, and everywhere subject others to her bullying, aggression and exploitation, the people of the world should identify her as social-imperialism, expose it, oppose it and work together with the Chinese people to overthrow it.”

  14. Bert says:

    Off topic:

    Publicus Asia survey results: Poe, Mirriam, Binay, Chiz, Duterte, Roxas, in that order.

    I don’t know how to put a link. Source: Inquirer.net.

    • manuelbuencamino says:

      Who is Publicus Asia?

      • Bert says:

        MB, it was not stated in the news report. Anyone interested, read the details in the Inquirer.net headline today: Palace Dream Still Alive for Miriam Santiago.

        • Bert says:

          One commenter under that article stated that the results of said Publicus Asia survey was carried by CNN News. I was not able to verify.

          • manuelbuencamino says:

            Could be CNN Philippines on Ch. 14 and not CNN Intl on Ch 28. Googled Publicus Asia…it is the campaign consultancy and lobby business headed by Malou Tiquia. And the survey result as reported in Rappler was announced by Miriam not by Publicus Asia…

      • This I’d like to know ? Anyone can vouch for these guys’ credibility?

    • edgar lores says:


      Sorry for the late response on how to put a link.

      1. Right click on the URL — the address of the page you are viewing — in the address bar. This will cause (a) the address to be highlighted and (b) a pop-up window to open.

      2. The pop-up window presents a menu of several commands like Undo, Cut, Copy, Paste, Delete and some others.

      3. Select “Copy” with a left-click. (Alternatively, do a Ctrl+C.)

      4. Go to where you are writing your comment: this is either (a) the comment window in JoeAm’s blog or (b) a text editor (like Microsoft’s Word).

      5. Right-click within the comment window (or the text editor). This will cause a pop-up window to open. The pop-up should more or less display the same menu as in step 2.

      6. Set the cursor where you want the link to appear.

      7. Select “Paste” with a left-click. (Alternatively, do a Ctrl+V.)

      Basically, it’s a Copy-and-Paste operation.

      Incidentally, right-clicking on any object within a browser window will invoke a pop-window. The menus will vary depending on which commands are applicable.

      A left-click on a command will execute it… if it is applicable. Only commands that appear in full are applicable. Shaded off commands are not applicable.

      Try to put a link when you reply to this message.

  15. manuelbuencamino says:


    Going by your criteria “Business in the Philippines is conducted in a culture of impunity, where power and favor are as important as money in backing transactions and securing dominance and wealth….etc” there is really no safe place in this planet. We can argue over degrees that the phenomenon exists in all countries but in every country democratic or totalitarian, republican or monarchial, money is the root of power, money begets power, power begets money, and favors and punishments are dispensed by those with money and power…

    As to Binay and his ilk…the sad truth is people vote with their hearts…those who succeed in striking fear or putting hope or earning sympathy win…polticians who appeal only to the intellect never win against those who capture the hearts of voters…that’s why demagogues win… the only way to defeat them is by making the people hate them or see them as an object of ridicule..

    So as far as 2016 is concerned…the exposés on Binay’s shenanigans are affecting his popularity but not enough to knock him out…he counters those exposés by gift-giving…by getting everyone to accept that all politicians are crooks so the only way to differentiate between crooks is through their personal generosity…

    it also does not help disabuse the mentality that “they are all crooks” when even the so-called thinking class concedes statements like “Business in the Philippines is conducted in a culture of impunity…” like it was “onli in the Pilipins” where that is true…that mentality actually helps the Binays of the world…

    the larger message of “kung walang korap walang mahirap” is justice…remember the saying about being poor is not the same as not having cash?…because being poor means being powerless…being poor means getting the short end of the stick justice-wise all the time…being poor means being bereft of justice…that’s why PNoy’s no wang-wang was such a great symbol of equality, nobody lords over anybody, nobody has to get out of the way for anybody…that was a message that everyone understood from the heart, that was a message about justice…

    now how do we get that message through and make people feel from the heart that Binay is the epitome of wang-wang or injustice? Intellectually we already know what’s wrong with him. intellectually we already know that corruption is evil…but how to bring it to the heart so that every individual would feel in his heart that the Binays of this world are bad for him not only from the macro-philosophical view but from his immediate everyday day to day existence? That’s the challenge that faces the communicators of the thinking class…

    • Joe America says:

      Para 1: The Philippines has been in the ranks of corrupt nations on global surveys for a long time. There is greed attached to lawful exercise of acquisition, and there is greed attached to unlawful exercise of acquisition. To deny that the Philippines has a peculiar problem is to justify continuing “to do it the way we do it, Joe”. That accepting attitude is EXACTLY the weak ethical foundation I believe has to be cured.

      Para 2: Democracy assumes people will have good information and vote with their brains. If that is not what happens, a different form of government would probably do a better job of creating wealth and good behavior.

      Para 3: It’s a long way to the election.

      Para 4: I clarified my view that I think the base of people who don’t care consists of perhaps 1,000 to 2,000 people.

      Para 5: I agree, the Aquino message is a leveling message. Good way to put it. I’d not thought of that before.

      Para 6: That indeed is the challenge.

      • manuelbuencamino says:


        Thanks for your reply. And I hope you can put up with this rather lengthy reply but I have a few clarifications and some examples to make my point clearer.

        Para One: Precisely why I said we can argue over degrees. You mentioned the Koch Brothers in a previous post…we can go through a list of the most “uncorrupt” countries in the world and we will find examples of money and power winning in a way that would not meet your standards…or mine.

        I am not arguing that because the Philippines is not unique it is reason enough to justify that we can just go on doing as we do. No, definitely not. All I’m saying is no country can ride on a high horse when it comes to corruption.

        As an example, look at the oil contracts won by European and American oil companies all over Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East, and even Southeast Asia. The Dutch have never made it to the top of the corruption list but you tell me if Royal Dutch Shell never used money and power to get its hands on oilfields in Indonesia and Brunei, tell me that BP never did the same in the Middle East and Africa, tell me that Exxon and BP did not have anything to do with the overthrow of Mossadegh and the return of their boy Reza Palavi to the throne, tell me that the failed coup against Venezuela’s Chavez was not connected to his nationalization of Venezuela’s oil industry… and that’s just corruption from the oil business. What about the no-bid contracts won by Halliburton and Blackwater in Iraq? How about the Lockheed scandal that became the basis for enacting the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act? What about the fat British princess who was video-taped selling her influence to some businessmen? Or one of the heirs of the British crown partying with the corrupt leader of an Eastern European country interested in some deal with Britain? Was not the father of the elder Bush almost jailed for tradin with the enemy during one of the two world wars? Hundreds if not thousands of books and articles have been written on the subject of corruption in the cleanest countries…

        Corruption exists everywhere, it is a problem for everyone, and we have to cure it. That’s my point. I just resent it when you or anyone speaks of corruption in my country as peculiar, as though corruption was not widespread and as massive as it is in western countries.

        In fact, in terms of scale how large is corruption in the Philippines compared to the US? Would US banks have been able to do what they did, lend like crazy until the financial structure of the world almost collapsed if the banks did not finance politicians who carried their torch of deregulation? And the funny thing is none of the top executives, the decision-makers of those banks too big to fail has gone to prison. Is not jailing crooked bankers peculiar to America?

        So we can argue over the degrees and scale of corruption but not over its pervasive presence throughout the world.

        And so a statement like “Business in the Philippines etc” does not help us understand how it happens in the Philippines as different from how it happens elsewhere, specially if we attribute corruption simply to money and power.

        To address corruption in the Philippines we have to analyze how money and power works in the Philippines as different from how it works elsewhere. Money and power are always in play everywhere – sometimes more obvious, sometimes more subtle – so the secret to addressing corruption is to find out how money and power play in your home field. There could be similarities in how the game is played in open democratic societies and their could be similarities in how the game is played in closed totalitarian societies. But from that general starting point we have to address specifics – how do they do it in a particular country? Country-specific analysis with an eye for nuances and not sweeping generalizations is what is called for in the fight against corruption. How does money and power play in one’s homefield.

        Para Two: Yes democracy assumes that…but reality does not support it.

        Let me cite you some exampes of people voting with their hearts instead of their minds. I’ll use the US because it is generally accepted that the US is a democracy and its people have good information.

        Americans elected Ronald Reagan twice. By what intellectual standard would Reagan be qualified to become president of the most powerful country in the world? How about Dubya? And twice! For the elder Bush, Willie Horton was more effective than his resumé as a former ambassador to China and former CIA chief…Nixon was the more experienced and qualified candidate in 1960 and he campaigned on that but he lost to JFK’s charisma and well…the Chicago mafia (hehe)…but in 1968 Nixon ran again and this time he campaigned on a law and order platform – racial code words – and he won…like I said hope, fear, sympathy are the make or break factors in electoral politics, even in America. “It’s morning in America”, “Hope”; are those campaign slogans aimed at the mind or the heart? Law and order, tough on crime, immigration do those messages appeal to fear and bigotry or to the mind?

        Para three: Yes indeed and I hope time works in our favor…

        Para Four: I don’t think I touched on that. Nevertheless it’s enough that you care and I care…fuck those who don’t.

        Para Five: Thanks. I believe that injustice is a greater motivation for discontent and revolution than hungry stomachs because when you have a level playing field and justice is available to you then if you are living miserably you don’t have cause to blame anyone other than God, fortune, or yourself.

        Para Six: Indeed…and I wish we can find another a silver bullet like Villarroyo

        • Joe America says:

          Part One: My views aren’t from up on a horse, I think. I don’t really care about problems the US may have. I’m trying to figure out why the Philippines has a candidate of the character of Jejomar Binay on the ballot, why the mechanisms to filter him out don’t exist. There is no party to enforce self discipline, because the whole UNA party has loose values, and parties sell personalities, not platforms and the values they represent. The “people” have no way to enforce good values except at the ballot box, where they vote their hearts. COMELEC has no character qualification. We can have libel laws that protect an individual’s honor, but no laws that protect the nation’s honor. There is a permissive atitude across the power structure, an acceptance. That’s what i’m arguing needs to change. How money plays in the homefield, Philippines, is for sure a part of that.

          Part Two: Reagan was a governor of California and prior to that, president of the Screen Actor’s guild. Bush was governor. Neither was corrupt. Both were selected through competitive primaries and debates. Nixon couldn’t figure out Viet Nam and turned to private NSA skullduggery that got him in trouble. He is known for having brought China into the modern world of international partnerships. But I’m not sure what your point is? That democracy is imperfect? I agree. US governance is heavily influenced by lobbyists, and thus we have decisions that you or I might not like. I think Philippine democracy is superb. Messy, like it is supposed to be. But it gets way too many showmen and corrupt people elected. It’s a two class society and the lack of . . . something . . . risks putting Binay into office. I care enough to want to solve the problem. I think a lot of it is the money/power/gameplaying of the entitled with no forces to corral that.

          This blog was different than most because I generally point to solutions. There are none here because I don’t know how get the entitled to have a conscience.

          • manuelbuencamino says:

            Thanks Joe,

            (1) My point in that whole chapter about Reagan etal was a response to your Para Two about democracy’s assumption which I took as a rebuttal to my statement that people vote with their hearts not their minds. I should have stopped with “It’s morning in America” and “Hope” to make my case.

            (But one can question your assertion that Dubya was not corrupt – corruption being money and power can get you things – when you put his life in the context of how he avoided, some would say evaded, the draft, how time and again he was saved from bankruptcy by friends of his father. Money and power were at play all throughout his comfortable life, money and power played a role in his not being held accountable as ordinary Americans would be.)

            (2) I’m not making a point that democracy is imperfect. I know that democracy’s imperfections is obvious to both of us so there’s no need for us to dwell on it.

            On a related matter, primaries are laudable in that they changed the selection process from backrooms presided over by party bigwigs to one where selection was more transparent and accessible to party members. Unfortunately, but as expected, money and power have figured out a way to undermine the noble purpose of primaries. Well that’s the push and pull of politics in a democracy, there are always opposing interests struggling for superiority. And that’s okay.

            As to Comelec having no character qualification, well thank God there is no such thing. It would be a slippery slope to imposing literacy and property requirements to disqualify millions of voters. An idea that nutcase Miriam proposed in the guise of “only taxpayers should be allowed to vote.”

            (3) You and I have no quarrel over the issue of permissive attitude. It is a global phenomenon because the root of it is money and power. My point is we need to analyze first how money and power plays in one’s homefield if a way to corral it is to be found.We need to know what to fence and how high to build the fence. I offer no solution, I only offer a way to getting there.

            (4) But my larger point and biggest concern is to find the language to communicate to the C&D voters that Binay and his ilk are not right for the presidency or any public office. How can we emotionalize our intellectual arguments? How can we speak to their hearst? That is my main concern. Recall that PNoy won more because he touched the hearts of voters than because he presented himself as the intelligent choice.

            • jameboy says:

              “But my larger point and biggest concern is to find the language to communicate to the C&D voters that Binay and his ilk are not right for the presidency or any public office. How can we emotionalize our intellectual arguments? How can we speak to their hearst? That is my main concern. Recall that PNoy won more because he touched the hearts of voters than because he presented himself as the intelligent choice.” – manuelbuencamino
              I’m not sure about that (touching the hearts of the voters). I think before touching their hearts they were already aware of who he is. If he’s just Noynoy, without the legacy and memory of his parents, Ninoy and Cory, no amount of touching or even mashing of their hearts will make them go for him.

              Noynoy ran on the strength of his parents’ memories and lingering influence. We should not disregard that fact. And in fairness, through his decent performance, he eventually was able to step out of his parents’ shadow which have hovered around him for years that have been used as a jumping point of every criticisms against him. 👀

        • chempo says:

          The difference of corruption in the Philippines —
          From the perspective of a foreign businessman, I can tell you the big difference in corruption in Philippines —
          (1) It is absolutely systemic
          (2) Grease money offers no guarantee (in most other countries, you pay some under table money, the job gets done (there is some honour amongst thieves) In Phils, you part with your money and very often nothing gets done)
          (3) The greed here knows no bounds — in other Asean countries where I’ve been, you pay reasonable sums of money to get what you want, over here, they demand the heavens from you. (How do you think the present governor of Palawan is the 2nd richest politician after Pacman?)
          (4) Extortionism vs corruption — In corruption you basically grease palms to get what you are not supposed to get. In extortionism (ok I coined the word) you grease palms to get what you are supposed to get in the first place. Phils scores extremely high on both count.

          I write all these without scorn or malaise nor from a high horse. It’s simply my personal observation and experience.

    • jolly cruz says:

      MB you took the words right out of my mouth. That was a beautiful way of showing exactly what the Roxas group should do to move the masa.

  16. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    There is something strange, here are the chronological events based on tabloid Inquirer run by U.P. graduates a school considered as Harvard to never-left-Philippines never-read-foreign-news Filipinos:
    1. Grace was giddy in running for higher office
    2. Grace was told by Benigno to tour the country with Mar
    3. Grace said she’s not running with Mar
    4. There was breakfast invitation
    5. Grace said, NO, she’s uncomfortable running with Mar
    6. Another Lunch invitation by Benigno
    7. Grace said she’ll run with Escodero
    8. Dinner invitation
    9. Today, she’s not sure if she’s running at all
    10. Today, Aquino said obliquely against Grace saying “leaders who lie and are selfish”

    Is Benigno lost his cool on the arranged marriage of Grace and Mar?

    • Joe America says:

      Nope. He is giving her every chance to be Vice President and give of herself to the straight path and the presidency in 2022. He could have been speaking of VP Binay, but it is not coincidental that, if Senator Poe selects Escudero (and a contested election with split “good” ticket) over a stable path for the nation, she rather defines herself. Selfish is not a bad description.

  17. Bing Garcia says:

    Osmeña said that based on a survey he commissioned, Poe would win even in a crowded race contrary to an analysis of House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II that Vice President Jejomar Binay would only lose if the administration fielded a single candidate.

    In his survey, Osmeña said Poe had a 37-percent share ahead of Binay’s 30 percent, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s 17 percent and Roxas’ 11 percent.

    • manuelbuencamino says:

      Historically (1992-2010), presidential races have been crowded. Most analysts look at the top two leaders and then look at permutations brought about by the presence of other candidates. For example, absent Grace, Mar could win if both Erap and Binay run because the assumption is they will divide the same constituency. Binay would be a hands-down winner in a three-way race with Grace and Mar because they appeal to the same voters. Etc etc…It would be a toss-up if Grace, Mar, Erap, and Binay were to run…and so forth and so on. Head to head Mar can still defeat Binay if Erap campaigns for him and the INC and the administration coalition works because it would be Binay against the world….

  18. An officemate casually mentioned how he thinks the Biometrics will cause people to lose their right to vote.

    I think this could be useful.

    Maybe start a rumor about the biometrics/comelec thing will be used against poor people. This may act as a deterrent for the CDE from updating their biometrics.

    Maybe start a false campaign that biometrics are just a waste of time.

    Maybe create a focused media campaign that would target certain groups.

    Find the people who would vote for you. Create a media campaign that would push those voters to update their biometrics information.

    Just thinking out loud.

  19. DAgimas says:

    the Filipino has not progressed beyond his self, family. once he cast his vote, its the end for him. his duty is finished. that is at least for the middle class

    they don’t think like the businessman who has interest to protect so he invest in his candidates by giving millions or reimbursing them when they win.

    the labor sector should be the one proxying for the middle class but it seems they are only interested in wage increase. didn’t they know that they accomplish more if they have representatives in power?

    my wife is a member of a labor union here in the US and she contributes at least $100/month. that is more than day of minimum wage. she and the members “don’t care” about the amount coz they get compensated very well. little do they know that part of this monthly dues is to bankroll the candidacy of democrats.

    this is the one lacking in the Philippines. that to have legislation favorable to your cause, you must have skin in the game. you must spend money. your vote is not enough

    • Joe America says:

      The problem is, lecturing people about their bad votes doesn’t work, and they actually can’t relate to ever getting anything from government . . . unless they are on the CCT program. They vote with their hearts, with their friends, and not for any kind of intellectual parsing of issues. So as manualbuencamino pointed out, conversation with the masa has to come on their terms.

  20. Percival says:

    While the PDI has gone down to a low level, and now considered a tabloid press, I am thankful that there are still some people there who CARE. The reason why, while the newspaper seem favoring him most of the time, Binay singled it out and included in his Php200M libel suit. Those few whom he cannot buy, he harasses.
    Here’s a recent history of the plight of Philippine press by Juan Mercado, one of those who cares.

    • Joe America says:

      Wow. Like, just, “wow.” That goes directly to the must read column. The culture of impunity and entitlement at work. Jejomar Binay at work. Thanks for bringing that in.

      • I echo the “wow”.

        Juan Mercado is one of my favorite, too along with Monsod (sometimes), Randy David (most of the time) and Montelibano (always). A quick reading of the news and some comments from the social media and then I go direct to their columns. I care for this country and I sense that they do, too.

  21. arkads says:

    Sir Joe, Congrats. Indeed, the president is reading your blogs.I too shared some of your articles in my fb account but it seems like no one cared to read but still im hoping someone did. This is my way also of spreading relevant issues and educate my friends.

    Thanks again sir Joe.

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