Postscript to the 2015 SONA

2015 sona philstar

President Aquino at 2015 SONA [Photo credit: Philstar]

by Primer Pagunuran

As a jump off point, PNoy criticized the earlier bureaucracy as a total wasteland and mired in corruption, as if it were. It then gave him license to refer to it as the case of the ‘Sick Man in Asia’. His convenient default position of the “Daang Matuwid” builds upon his fight against corruption over which he seems most convinced and believing that it was all gone. At the end point of his speech, he drums up hope of the country getting to the ‘First World’ status. It is this view that, to my belief, challenges reflection.

This is no longer the time to even seriously regard as true every highlight of his speech most statistics of which sound first time to senators foremost of whom is Bongbong Marcos who wants the data revisited by the Senate. It can be said that, in the whole, the well dramatized oratory really departed from the usual exhaustive report of accomplishments – department per department, bureau per bureau. In its stead, a given number of individuals and their testimonies of the PNoy’s programs of government working to their betterment or quality of life.

This 2015 SONA was festive – a “thanksgiving day.” The endorsement of Mar at Club Filipino, however yet a separate but parallel political event where PNoy spoke before the country’s officialdom and his party-mates certainly raised subscription to that whom he endorsed as next president to higher crescendo. .

Almost everyone PNoy had in mind in the SONA must have been mentioned – not one missed. What proves this guess is that he even mentioned the person of his domestic help, caregiver if you will. Thus, all the members of his official family were publicly commended to the tempo of a grand applause – a clapping schedule that follows a pattern. And it left many not even recognized for their contribution, not the least, Ping Lacson whose gargantuan task in rehabilitation all deleted from memory.

The scene is certainly inspiring. At this consuming mood which gave the shape of such a speech, it is clear that there is nothing left to be done. All that PNoy says is needed is to nurture that which he has sowed so the whole next generation will reap what was sown. In short, his forecast had been also his nowcast – a field that is worthy of contrary claim. And PNoy’s utopian view would certainly be debunked by more empirical data. The question remains – is the ‘Daang Matuwid’ really a straight path?

PNoy’s dream of the country soon entering the league or ‘First World’ must shake in the wind. In fact, it must embarrass. No less than the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, other international financing institutions (IFIs) have a different prognosis of the political economy. To conveniently bank on SWS surveys, much-vaunted credit rating and the like may not be as close as it can get us to the true state of the nation. The fact alone of underspending as if the government does not know what to do with a P400 billion is an economic nightmare. The impounded money could even be suspect come election 2016. Meanwhile, it is axiomatic that underspending stunted growth, deprived the distribution of social and economic benefits and rolled in than rolled out the safety nets – an economic model that is hardly developmental. Such a show money was made an end in itself.

aquino roxas 2015 lp gathering inquirer

Pres. Aquino names Sec. Roxas as LP presidential candidate [Photo credit: Inquirer]

Scholars, scientists, researchers in many disciplines can easily demystify whatever myths have been today rolled out but it is of no compelling moment to even do so now. This is PNoy’s last speech and the mark of a classic traditional politician is all in his words when he praised to high heavens the case of Mar as the man of the hour. It does not cease to baffle us why he stammers when he talks, goes out of timing when to pause, to deliver the emphasis and the like and yet he is supposed to have someone trained him how to speak whose name and face has been flashed on the big screen, but not a Lacson. Model-wise, PNoy never succeeded to speak a la Reagan. His humor is negligible like this thing on asking DOST to clone Leila de Lima. What about Leila de Lima who is a pushover from GMA who heads the bureaucracy of corruption he is supposed to have referred to? He should have spoken of cloning by referring to Mar and laughter is sure to explode in the gallery.

In effect, the question PNoy seems to have thrown across is on whether we should choose “ang baluktot” and not the “matuwid na daan” precisely to give way for the economic transformation that Pnoy quite reveringly espoused as if it were the reality that engulfs our universe. Are we really better off? Is the economy on its way to the First World status? Had we not done any better in approaching the issue in the West Philippine Sea to even brag about a collective national sentiment of un-ripened nationalism and whatever new acquisition in military armaments? And yes, even call elections 2016 a referendum on whether the people would choose the right path? Is this one of his Nobel Prize challenge imposing upon us the now fatalistic false belief of the ‘matuwid na daan’ that in fact is strongly built around ‘KKK’?

The speech is a stealth in its failure to actually address corruption. It failed to show the ‘matuwid na daan’ and more so, it was mere lip service, even condescending to keep repeating of a “kayo ang boss ko” when in truth, there is only him and his tiny core of what was referred to as ‘student council’ advisers. His brand of selective justice is not an understatement but the emerging norm. PDAF and the DAP were viewed as attempts to divert public funds for possibly pure political ends except that they were adjudged by the High Court as in conflict with the certain constitutional principles.

UP in one of its surveys gave PNoy only a grade of 4 which means that PNoy should take a removal if he wants to pass. At that rate, First World thinking is a long way to go. If PNoy were indeed given a three-year more term as he claims some quarters had urged him to, nothing will add nor subtract for the kind of leadership and performance record that he has already shown. Any president can always bluff with statistics. Let us ask Huff. And to me, PNoy has bluffed his way out of the presidency on an entirely make-believe world of prosperity. A 6.3 GDP is not even an absolute measure of economic growth, is it? The government has not even spent in infrastructure which is central to economic development in a measure that will create a dent? What about a single expressway? It will just be another 25-year period of reportedly ‘extortionist’ racketeering activity by crony capitalists who do not even pay their yearly concession fees and who always demand sovereign guarantees.

At the end of the day, corruption at the Bureau of Customs, the DOTC, the LTO, the DENR, the DND, the DSWD based on reports some of which are validated by COA and the bureaucracy as a whole remains and we like to think that the presidency of PNoy has been wicked, even weak. Thus, the earlier administrations that he seems to have criticized for corruption are the same that we have now under his belt. Call that transformation at all? So much is left to be desired for a government that again, failed to live up to its much- avowed demagoguery. Popular sympathy, sadly, seems to get the better of us. Strangely, Mar in his acceptance speech was forced to commit himself to serve as not to blemish the names of Cory, Ninoy, and now Noynoy. This is the cult of personality that is consciously and quite constantly drummed up on us.

However, to my mind, this ‘yellow ribbon’ carries a symbolism embedded in pure sophistry. The business of daily life for the poor may have seemed to see a president at the other end of the river. Suspiciously enough, reports fed him by his so-called ‘student council advisers’ are those he probably wanted to hear each and every time. But the order of business that now overrides whatever scorecard of accomplishments is presented is to take a more critical view of the future. This country must move on from a ‘political statecraft’ indicatively run by mere fraternal or familial bonds to nation that can really attain a better status, not necessarily First World. When was the last time our state of affairs is run like a hacienda? It all happened in PNoy’s self-congratulatory term of office.


334 Responses to “Postscript to the 2015 SONA”
  1. quijano de pampanga says:

    We Filipinos are so used in our good country being a third world backwater, we suspect anything that indicates it improves. The President did not said we are already a first world nation, he did not said it all the problems are over. He is like a father telling his son that sure yes, we’re still poor, yes, we now eat twice a day instead of one, but there is still hope that one day, our lives will improved if we continue dreaming and working. Admit it, though not everything improved, there are improvements (he is just a man, not a god). This is the first time I listened to a SONA and it’s the first time it a speech gave me hope for this country,

  2. andrew lim says:

    First, kudos to Joe for featuring here a piece that is contrapuntal to the music here. It may surprise some, but there is value in getting something that challenges our deeply held notions, as long as it is done in this manner.

    Second, I want to put this right out, so no one will attack Mr Pagunuran personally and understand where he is coming from. He is a former chief of staff of Congressmen Prospero Pichay, Alvarado (first name escapes me) , Augusto Syjuco (no snickers, please) among others. He comes squarely from the Arroyo camp.

    Gary Olivar has commented here a few times before though he has not engaged in conversation. We hope Mr Pagunuran does.

    I am in the middle of composing my own piece for this blog, so I will defer refuting Pagunuran in detail. I am confident there are enough readers who can do that well, at the same high level of discourse we have maintained all these years. Pagunuran offers plenty of arguments within one sentence, but they are all easily refutable with evidence.

    The first commenter @ quijano got some points out right away: the piece is full of cherry-picked suppositions and assertions which he assumes to be factual. Nobody said corruption has been wiped out, nobody said that nothing more needs to be done. Pagunuran assumes that it is so.

    • michaelplim says:

      Thank you, Mr. Andrew Lim, now we know.

    • Johnny Lin says:

      Primer exercised his freedom courtesy of Joeam. What’s lacking is his vision. He whined, complained and accused but did not reveal who he thinks should be the next leader who could perform better than PNoy to his expectations. By his writings, he despises corruption.

      Primer Pagunuran, are you endorsing Binay for president or no?

      I have said many times in this blog that those people who keep maligning or placing faults on the small accomplishments of PNoy are those whose livelihoods have suffered extensively this past 5 years. Their usual business of graft, earning large sum of easy money from in a corrupt government like GMA have been the most vocal against PNoy. They wish their old ways to come back.

      I am not accusing Mr Pagunuran if he did work in Congress during the term of GMA. I would be inclined to believe him if he will reveal his SALNs while in government during GMA and his tax returns for the past 4 years. If his income increased from before, I would admit he has no axe to grind against PNoy in this blog.

      He owes it to readers of Joeam that he is a man of integrity to be credible and be believed that his opinion was unbiased, unaffected by the fallout of his bosses from Congress.

      If you are not willing to answer these questions, you piece is a miserable piece of trash written in retaliation of your current misery.

      An honest person will reveal everything in his soul to prove his point.

      Before you ask me, here is my disclosure. I am not a government employee, a contractor or a paid blogger or poster. I’m a freelancer so do not ask for my SALN or tax return and yes I despise Binay since he and family members are corrupt and I will vote for Mar.

      • nielsky says:

        It was premature to state who the next best leader would be until the chips are in, so to speak. Neither is it easy enough to choose from just the 4 where at least 1 is, I would say, a troll of a political type.

        We all seem to speak from the heart here, matter-of-factly. For one, it is our greatest tragedy that it is the people doing the actual proxy vote for all of us.

        We, call it the middle class or intelligentsia if you want [but that is too unethical to say], become the victims.

      • nielksy says:

        “When it comes to public language, we live in the era of the false comparison” so says Roy Peter Clark.

        This dark art, never achieves as an end, the finer points of discourse on even the simplest theme.

        Thus, it spawns unchallenged beliefs. An argument is not pursued by even the heavy weight of ‘swear words’ thought to be the main ingredient to strengthen what might be an entirely weak message directed to the messenger than the message.

        It seems hard to undo.

    • nielsky says:

      No debate, as PNoy himself says, “the best is yet to come”. But isn’t it just valid to ask, when”

      I take Mar as a wrong answer to the question, pardon me.

    • nielsky says:

      It requires much tact to take a specimen, if used to bolster a claim, tends to discount from the rigor and quality of the discourse, minimum fluency notwithstanding. How can that command respect, tell me – having to compare a comment so trivial in context and content with yet another one just to sell?

      Quite unflattering it should be. Am sorry to have to take out an example [you yourself has offered anyway] but lest it becomes a precedent makes of us a laughing stock.

      Nonetheless, I take it that we are agreed that corruption has not been wiped out under PNoy. And in our individual capacity trying to do something about it.

  3. Johnny Lin says:

    No great leader in the world can absolutely eliminate corruption. What s important is to control, lessen it, punish and shame the corrupt. Tight Measures undertaken are better than conscious tolerance. PNoy has accomplished corrected measures, charged some big fish. Next phase is incarcerate them permanently. When Mar’s time come, Make examples of big fish in different government offices like customs, LTO, DOTC, BIR etc, much better if death penalty will be imposed for plunderers and drug pushers.

    On a separate note post SONA, Grace claims she did not receive any formal invitation from LP to run with Mar. Is she sounding off?

    On the other hand there were published report apparently from Grace that she would never accept an invitation to be VP of Mar. Which is which Grace? Or the media reported a hoax?

    What the hell are you waiting for PNoy? Grace is one phone call or text away. Tell Mar to invite Grace in a neutral place, not Palace without Chiz and offer the position formally. She deserves some respect and more friendly persuasion or explanation. Add some form of apology if necessary. Just do it. Not tomorrow, Yesterday! Kapish!

    • Joe America says:

      Seems simple enough to me. I don’t get all the shadow dancing either. By the way, today a video was making the rounds showing Grace Poe as saying she had no problem with both she and Senator Escudero running as Vice President.

      • Johnny Lin says:

        That video is probably an answer to a question posed to her. Certainly, if she finally decides to run she does not have self conscious problem because the problem is the perception of the people on her. Is she for real or just a traditional greedy politician with the usual thinking that she is the better person who could save the nation.

        As I said, she missed her best opportunity to put PNoy and Mar in the corner when she dilly dallied her decision to run for president.

        PNoy sang to her “Hit me with your best shot” and she sang back “Sound of Silence”
        He he he!

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, thanks. I must say that Senator Poe conveys a special “light” to a lot of people. I was watching the CNN news report today, first a bit on Roxas, then one on Poe. The news talking head positively lit up when talking about Poe. I’ve also noticed that Poe herself lights up when she talks about herself. I hope that helps when the entire Aquino cabinet walks out on her.

          • red rod says:

            I don’t know what that means, Joe. If you mean if Grace Poe is president, some sort of Hyatt 10 defection happens, she can withstand it. If that’s what you were getting at, I don’t think that happens. For starters, she doesn’t retain Pnoy’s crew. That would be dumb. She’s going to bring in people who are loyal to her and not to her predecessor. Grace Poe is going to bring in different (Escudero’s, Danding’s and Bobby Ongpin’s) people.

            Probably not, but in case that’s what you meant.

            • Joe America says:

              I think the Philippines needs steadiness. Stability. Not going back and forth, spending two years of a six year administration unwinding and training and learning, then four working, only to have it upset for two more years. Who knows, in the great scheme of things. Grace Poe may be a better president, but working only 4 years, that is still only 2/3 of what a steady Roxas can produce, with continuity and building.

              • red rod says:

                Hence 2016 is a referendum on “Daang Matuwid,” and/or a referendum on Pnoy himself. A Mar Roxas win is a validation that the people truly appreciates and feels the successes he so often boasts of.

                However, a Mar Roxas loss is a devastating indictment of a president, who wasn’t ready for primetime, who did nothing but grabbed credit AND complain about his predecessor at the same time, and who would not have been elected for president had his mother not die two months before the filing of COCs.

              • nielsky says:

                Indeed, Grace seems to have thrown herself into a situation of her own making.

                The mismatch of the decision-making environment and the choices of the decision-maker, in this case, Grace Poe – seems to point to the fact that she will be a grand failure.

                There seems to be gross lacking a desired human cognitive and emotional architecture in the person of the good senator.

                Situations repeated few times over, how will a people await her rational or critical choice on how to decide? And she yet, she seems to have enjoyed the ‘almost fictitious’ attention she is getting.

              • Joe America says:

                That is a superb description of the Senator’s condition, I think. The problem is, it is like a condition she seems unaware of and is thriving as a character in the fiction. Her deeds seem mainly contrived for publicity. All hat, no cowgirl, as they say in Texas.

              • “a president, who wasn’t ready for primetime, who did nothing but grabbed credit AND complain about his predecessor at the same time, and who would not have been elected for president had his mother not die two months before the filing of COCs.”

                very loud and clear assessment of the current president..but bitterness seeps in there somehow…I often see this kind in GRP and those whose candidates did not win…It seems the improvements that the foreign economists and officials are so impressed on do not figure in that assessment. The Filipinos preferred PNOY over Estrada, Villar, Gibo and Gordon and they are proven right. I support him even though my candidate, Bro. Eddie did not win.

                Admittedly, the economic programs of GMA were sound, and PNOY recognized that, she was her economic professor after all, (if my recollection is accurate), and he continued it. GMA’s sound economic programs and their positive results were negated by allegations of corrupt and backdoor deals, her destruction of government institutions, the courts, the church, the military, the senate and the house of representative in order for her to stay in power she illegitimately snatched in 2004, remember the hello Garci scandal? Don’t forget her midnight appointments in almost all these government agencies, these appointments and the remaining elected official loyal to her had made it difficult almost impossible for PNOY to introduce reforms due to their resistance. Don’t forget also her numerous re-enacted budgets which made possible her total control over the said government institutions, her selected releases of those budgets so much so that those opposing her have suffered during her 10 year governance. That was no longer true, as PNOY had said, it’s no longer loyalty but need that is the factor in budget releases. His fight for corruption was initiated and should be sustained. No, your eyes and ears do not see and hear these, as your mind is apparently closed.

                Sure there are imperfections, but hey, show me a politician who is perfect, show me one who has a 20/20 hindsight. The important thing for us his supporters is he is sincere and he did not dip his fingers in the government coffers and involve himself in rent seeking activities like GMA, Binay, Estrada and Marcos did.

        • red rod says:

          Grace Poe totally misread Pnoy’s overtures. She was convinced, and may be to this day, still believes that she was actually being considered for the top spot. I do not believe for a second that Pnoy was agonizing over the decision of whom to endorse. The play all along, as confirmed by the LP spokesman at Club Filipino, was to hopeuflly field a Mar-Grace tandem.

          On Grace Poe saying that she has no problem if she and Chiz both run for VP, she might be warming up to the idea of teaming up with Mar, or she’s trying to throw people off-track. Both her and Chiz got a lack of flak for their “package deal” posturing. For a while there, they were seemingly inseparable and that didn’t play well. So their play now may be to show that their respective decisions are independent of what the other one plans to do.

          Regardless, I agree. Grace Poe held on to her aces too long.

          • nielsky says:

            Simply put now red, if Grace Poe even up to this time cannot even get to decide her own fate, it pesters me to say, how much more uneven that would be for me or for us all when the country [assuming she becomes president] faces clear and present danger?

            She might even have to consult dear Susan or whoever else.

            • red rod says:

              Exactly. As I wrote yesterday, and I keep saying to my friends who are inclined to support Senator Poe, how in the world can she make the kind of decisions that stump every person in the country if she has no hubris. If she’s uncomfortable and seemingly even intimidated with the powers that come with office, how can she make decisions that effect certain segment of society positively, but may have adverse effects on another segment? How does she make tough decisions when there’s doubt?

              I honestly don’t think Grace Poe has it in her.

              • nielsky says:

                Like-mindedness notwithstanding [although it should be what they call convergence of ideas] I most terribly think so, too.

                The least this country ever needs, and I speak from the heart is [terribly] one who will just be a ‘titular’ head of state especially if one ‘propped up’ by the likes of Chiz. It pains me to think of such a scenario.

            • red rod says:

              LOL @ “effect.” Joe Am, are you at some point planning on having an “edit” button? LMAO

              • nielsky says:

                Maybe, it should not be good to have an ‘edit’ button which most likely becomes a ‘panic’ button. In many times, I realize we need to edit inadvertent typo errors but maybe let it remain that way. We just try to be patient enough to read it again before posting.

                But of course, I defer to the better wisdom of Joe America.

              • Joe America says:

                No, the system does not permit one. Readers and commenters generally are understanding about grammar or syntax mistakes, as we all make them when typing free-form. Most have a great dislike for “grammar police” who can’t let lapses pass, and obsess over meaningless details whilst not attending to the issue at hand. It is akin to personal insult, actually, the unforgiving, holier than thou stance of a grammar policeman.

              • ah, as for yours truly, the typo queen, I usually point out my mistakes and oftentimes make fun of myself…even blaming my trigger happy finger who’s always in a hurry to press that Post Comment button, and my realization that I failed to edit it twice (my eyeglass is for reading only, it’s making the screen blurred) was already too late as ….whoosh out it goes in the….ahhh..mental block again..haha..sir edgar, what is your term for internet realm?

              • edgar lores says:

                Blogosphere? Cyberspace?

              • yes, sir edgar…those are the words I was searching for…thanks.

          • Mike H. Ismael says:

            I absolutely agreed to you red rod that “Grace Poe held on to her aces too long”. But the obvious disadvantage of this kind of attitude in making decision is that she might encounter the same problem as her late father FPJ. Because he delayed his decision to run for President then, he lost the support of most of his major friends particularly those from the movie industry since most of them had already committed to the rivals of FPJ when the latter finally decided. It will be very unfortunate if this will happen to Grace Poe, isn’t it.

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        … but Grace Poe said, in this Inquirer, today, she was never invited by LP to run as VP for Mar.

        What the …. what is going on? Is LP separate from Benigno? The left hand does not know the right hand is doing ?

        This is bad. They cannot seem to put their marbles together in one basket.

        • Joe America says:

          I believe the President spoke in generalities so as not to put Grace Poe on the spot or make her feel forced. He wanted her to want the job. That she does not want it in those terms is fairly clear. It is up to her to read the President’s position well, which I think she did not, reporting afterward that he was “struggling” with his decision. No. He was not. I think Ms Poe may have a diplomatic tin ear. This was shown as well with her inappropriate comments to the American Ambassador and Ombudsman (re Abaya not being charged). If she WANTS the VP position, she can have it. If she WANTS President Aquino or Roxas to become indebted to her, by asking (begging), I think that is not going to happen.

          • red rod says:

            Here’s the problem with letting Grace have control of what she wants to do. If Grace does run of president, Mar has absolutely no chance against Poe AND Binay. He’s going to lose to one of those. That’s just too much firepower to overcome. But with their vast if seemingly bottomless resources, I suppose the LP (Mar) can continue peppering the VP with corruption allegations through separate channels (senate and Ombudsman) and maybe pursue a disqualification bid against Poe based on her giving up her American Citizenship only in mid-2012, after serving (illegally, if true) as MTRCB chair and barely a year before running for a senate seat. So Machiavellian, but that’s the only scenario Mar can possibly squeak by.

            But quite frankly, they should just let Grace pursue whatever it is she is dilly-dallying about. Mar does NOT benefit from a Roxas-Poe ticket anyway. For one thing, Roxas is Mr. Vanilla. And that much firepower (the kind that Poe brings) at the bottom of the ticket will for certain overshadow Mar Roxas, especially out there on the stump. People are going to wish that the roles are, or the ticket is reversed.

            And for those thinking that Grace Poe’s popularity would somehow rub off on Roxas, that kind of tactic, historically has ZERO success rate. It didn’t work in 2010 when Edu Manzano ran as Gibo’s runningmate, it didn’t work in 1998 when GMA was asked to run with Manong Joe DV, and it certainly didn’t work in 1992 when Erap ran as Danding’s VP.

            • nielsky says:

              No one seems to even want to be bothered at all if the good lady senator should have been allowed [by law or by the Constitution] to serve as senator given the controversial issue on her citizenship status.

              It’s unfair to say, who cares?

              It bears watching, how by some stroke of genius, official authorities [i.e. COMELEC or their Supreme Court or other cognizant agency] it will be decided in her favor, legal infirmities despite.

              But I would argue as important to really follow the rules and show the people that we so do indeed, no matter the outcome. If Grace is prohibited by law to even run for president, it will not harm us – so yet. There is nothing in the basket.

              • red rod says:

                Comelec rules state that only the 13th placer can file a petition for disqualification.

            • jameboy says:

              And for those thinking that Grace Poe’s popularity would somehow rub off on Roxas, that kind of tactic, historically has ZERO success rate. It didn’t work in 2010 when Edu Manzano ran as Gibo’s runningmate, it didn’t work in 1998 when GMA was asked to run with Manong Joe DV, and it certainly didn’t work in 1992 when Erap ran as Danding’s VP. – red rod
              Not exactly. The personalities involved in the past were not the same as the present. Grace Poe is no Gloria Arroyo clone nor Erap a Mar duplicate. I don’t think Edu’s popularity even came close to the level of what Grace is enjoying now. Danding and Mar? C’mon.

              I say Poe running with Roxas as vice-p is a big boost on the latter’s chance to covet the presidency. The Roxas-Poe combination is the personification of a team that has experience and popularity, maturity and youth, readiness and promise, not to forget the continuity factor.

              Where the team-up of Noy-Bi is one considered as Cory’s ticket, his son and a trapo, the Roxas-Poe is FPJ’s ticket with her daughter running with somebody who is not a trapo. 💩

              • nielksy says:

                “The Roxas-Poe combination is the personification of a team that has experience and popularity, maturity and youth, readiness and promise, not to forget the continuity factor.”


                Am interested to hear if the same [as quoted above] has any historical basis of a 100% success in contradistinction with your given example [i.e. Gibo and Edu]? I thought maybe it is going to be a first time since we don’t know of any such historical predecent. Just asking.

    • Johnny Lin says:


      PNoy and Mar read your blog again, invited Grace on national TV to be his VP.

      Magic word : Formally

      He he he

    • Johnny Lin says:


      PNoy and Mar read your blog again.
      MAr just invited Grace to be his VP

      Magic word: Formally!

      He he he

      • Joe America says:

        It’s common sense, really. Pres. Aquino performs role as LP’s senior diplomat to seek enthusiasm from Ms. Poe to go wherever he says. Not receiving that, he proceeds to select Sec. Roxas, who will select his own running mate. Sec. Roxas resigns, has big pow wow with backers. Time to move, for Roxas. Give Poe first right of refusal. Rep Robredo is next up should Sen Poe get a case of brain cramp.

        • Monching says:

          I have serious doubts if Poe’s running for President will affect Roxas’ chances as much as a lot of us would like to believe. If we all subscribe to the idea that Binay and Poe’s supporters are from CDE, then Poe’s running will actually help Roxas.

  4. hiddendragon says:

    Watda…?!? Seriously, I had to read and re-read this PPP (Mr. PP’s Postscript) twice to try to get a good grasp of the gist of his article. And I didn’t see much except as a prelude to what we hard yesterday from Binay. While JoeAm’s site is not an advisory blog on how to write well, his articles and most of all the comments are as well-argued as they are well-thought through. Mr. PP could have been much more succinct and less academic. His points are not new, they are just the same old complaints and whining rephrased into the kind of language that turns off students to post-graduate studies on public governance. Which makes me speculate on why exactly JoeAm decided to post it. 😉

    • I agree, it is really hard to read and I think all he is saying is that the current President sucks and that the Philippines is still corrupt but can go up to Second World status if it really tried.

      All that aside, are there Presidential debates in the Philippines? We love ’em here as much as we love American Ninja Warrior, there’s a Republican one coming up this Thurs.

      • Joe America says:

        No, they don’t have debates here. That is too bold. I soooooo miss those and don’t think the US Republican debate is televised here. My bandwidth capping does not permit internet viewing. Pity. This one ought to be fantastic.

        • They most definitely should.

          I think the first Republican debate was specifically scheduled by FOX to coincide with Jon Stewart’s last show. Aug 6. after the debate, Stewart will be handing off the Daily Show to Trevor Noah (S. African comedian).

          I have a feeling Donald Trump will leave everyone behind this Thurs. And if it’s between him and Hillary, I am voting Trump. There is a very Teddy Roosevelt feel to Trump. And since I don’t think the country will slide back to chaos, I can afford to vote for entertainment, with the possibility of real policies implemented, but mostly for entertainment.

          I think you guys there are playing with real democracy and real consequences, here the country will still run regardless of whose president.

          “My bandwidth capping does not permit internet viewing.”

          That sounds like your Presidential slogan right there. “Your bandwidth capping doesn’t permit internet viewing? Vote for Mar Roxas, he’ll increase your bandwidth–and he won’t do it with Chinese, PLA front-companies!!!”

          • Juana Pilipinas says:

            I definitely agree that there should be face to face policy debates and platform dissections in the Philippines. One positive result from it may be the withdrawal of Binay from the Presidential candidacy. 🙂

            • I had to youtube this, I can’t imagine Presidential races anywhere without debates, and found a couple, here’s a VP debate, looks to be like a good face to face, mano y mano debate:

            • nielsky says:

              The idea of a uniform questionnaire sheet that all aspirants will have to fill in prior to the policy debate is in order.

              This way, the panel can formulate a cluster of issues they can seek the aspirants’ opinion or worldview on. Then, the interactive process by a sought-to-be non-partisan panel is certain to enlighten many critical issues that voters might be interested in.

              If Binay otherwise withdraws before such a policy debate which in all likelihood is not going to happen, then he lost by mere default. Voters who have a different political bent are effectively deprived of knowledge of let’s just say here, the tsona.

          • Joe America says:

            I don’t like Ms. Clinton, either, but The Donald is too much for me. I’d never get any sleep.

      • nielsky says:

        Or maybe when it is already hard to read, it becomes even harder to understand? But where I can see it, the article reads fluid enough.

        Hard sell because it is diametrically opposed to dominant worldview? The curse of path dependence?

        But you seem to have actually ‘digested’ it well.

    • Joe America says:

      I posted it because all fairly stated views deserve a place in the discussion, it keeps the blog from being totally like-minded and uni-dimensional, and it is good to reflect now and then on what those who are not me are thinking. For myself, I learned to sleep in the 8:00 am history class auditorium whilst keeping my eyes on the instructor, and also learned that the freedom not to read is quite a fine democratic right.

      • You didnt edit this Joe?

        Lots of contributors swear by your copy editing.

        • Joe America says:

          I touched not one comma or period.

          • bauwow says:

            Uncle Joe, sorry can’t help it. How do you sleep while keeping your eyes on the instructor? Have to learn how it is done😄
            Agree with the freedom of not to read! Problem is, I almost had to repeat my Comparative Anatomy course, because I did not read the required textbook. Hehehehe.

            • Joe America says:

              Its rather like walking through walls (google Lewis Jenkins). It takes practice.

              ahahahaha, well you were SUPPOSED to read that one. You had the freedom to flunk out. ahahahahahaha (rolling laughing)

    • nielsky says:

      Say it hidden dragon, WTF is found now in the vocabulary. That aside, Joe Am already stated that it is well within your democratic right not to read which you didn’t want to hear in the first place especially when you din’t even actually bother to ask the questions.

      When people who critique the administration, does it follow that they are whining? It seems that it might be helpful to check on a contrary review because it is everyone’s desire precisely to be educated. Please don’t get me wrong again..

    • nielsky says:

      It’s just as may as simple as saying, “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander”. Or, to be a little bit passionate about it [if I may], it has been moot and academic.

  5. Kudos to Joe for coming up with something different from the usual programming. However, I echo the feeling that this was a bit of a hard read. All anybody needs to do is read the Binay SONA (gasp) and you get a pretty good balance. And no, I am not endorsing Binay. Just because I think the Aquino administration’s single biggest achievement was to get the Philippines away from Arroyo’s culture of corruption, and that much much more could have been done in the last six years, doesn’t mean I am a Binay troll. People should get out of this notion that “oh you are not pro-Aquino /Mar therefore you are for Binay. It is about demanding more.

    • Johnny Lin says:

      Agree widely with your expectations that more should have been done. Yet we have to consider the time restraint, the discovery, the rebuilding phase of his administration aside from delaying tactics employed by unknown saboteurs in government offices. How many times same PPP projects have been rebid? PNoy could not control each project.

      “So little a righteous man could do in so short time, yet his accomplishment could be lasting by inspiring the next generation”

      That is why we have a choice now after he laid the foundation and built the house, he is endorsing a fine architectural decorator with his similar taste to finish a lovely family home.

      Or shall we choose a soliciting architect in a fancy office with tainted dubious character?

      “In all undertakings, time is the essence”

      • Six years is a long time. Look how much Obama is getting done just in his last few months in office, with a hostile congress. Filipinos are indeed too forgiving. I am not buying your choice of “decorator” to succeed Pnoy, either. Seriously, the man may have his heart in the right place,but his competence is questionable at best and his chances of winning against Binay are slim. The masses hate him.

        • Obama had 8 years, man….

          • And Pinoy had 5 years so far….sigh….

          • Oh hello Mary Grace, how is the high blood? 🙂 Actually, if you read carefully I was referring to all the things he has been achieving just in the last few months of his presidency. Is Pnoy even going to change the income taxes for the low income bracket before he leaves? That would sure give Mar a boost. Otherwise, the Philippines will have it’s first black president too! 🙂

            • Thanks for asking…. elevated due to PP….had to take an aspirin, a blood thinning agent…hahaha

            • andrewlim8 says:


              I totally get what you’re trying to do. And nothing really wrong with it, except that it will wear out the welcome mat fast and might even affect your objective negatively. I know you’re trying to drum up interest in your own blog and that’s alright. But you have to fill it with content, like what Joe has done and tend to it the way Brits tend to their marvelous gardens. Nitpicking will only work for a short time, and will not build much.

              By the way, Charles is Brit, formerly MI5, likes banger and mash, and is an MBE. (Must Blog Everyday) 🙂 What he’s doing is shaking and stirring, like Bond. 🙂

              • @andrew. oh, joe is definitely an inspiration as I mentioned in my last blogpost. Actually the reason I started my own blog was to precisely not be over here disagreeing with people about the great achievements of the Aquino administration all the time. I realize many people find comfort in that, but I write as much for myself as for whoever wants to read me. At it’s worst, joeam can be like a band just playing the tunes the followers want to hear. I dont think that is what Joe wants himself, ergo this unusual piece from Mr. Pagunuran.

              • nielsky says:

                Indeed, I do most agree that Joe America plays the master repertoire in this whole affair we call ‘The Blog’. Hats off to Joe Am!

        • Johnny Lin says:

          You’re not buying Mar.
          Are you buying Binay since so far they are the only declared candidates?

          • Joe America says:

            Charles can answer, of course. He and I have had our discussions, and Charles’ basic starting premise is that the Philippines is really screwed up (the classic anti starting point), so arguments flow forth to support that premise. Asking your question normally would not generate a clear answer because a clear answer requires accountability, and taking accountability means the premise that the Philippines is screwed up in part would flow to Charles, and that is a place for an anti to avoid at all costs. That’s where my thinking went on this matter.

          • As mentioned above, I am not buying Binay either. It does not mean if you are not for Mar, you are for Binay. In 2010, there were 10 candidates for president. What you should have asked is who do I think will win.

            • Johnny Lin says:


              Fact is As of now there are committed two and your opinion is current that’s why I asked your choice between the two.

              When there are ten and you write another opinion I would ask you differently.
              Your opinion who is going to win has the same statistical chance of winning by a scavenging person or a sitting executive.
              Asking you that question is no brainer.

              Thanks anyway for your safe stance

              • @Johnny, thank you for being so concerned about “who I am for”. And thank you for all your ivery lluminating observations all over this commentary section.

        • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

          Tie a yellow ribbon ’round the old oak tree
          It’s been six long years
          Do you still want me?
          If I don’t see a ribbon round the old oak tree …

        • From personal experience the executive departments are largely personality driven.

          The first two years were disentangling the booby traps left by the previous admin.

          When compared with Best Possible yes they could have done more. But compared to every other administration they have done the most.

          I can only hope that the next administration would benefit from the house cleaning that happened during this administration.

          • Johnny Lin says:

            Exactly similar to moving to an old house, check the Damages, repair, renovate and add to personal taste and needs. And that takes time depending on financial capacity.

            Others think otherwise by saying “just pay the contractors to move fast” but it’s not their house, decision and money.

            Sala sa lamig, sala sa init- sakit ng Pilipino

            • Agree.

              I just cant help it if whenever I read something similar my reaction is eyeroll and hay this was made without any knowledge of how monolithic and unmovable these departments are.


              3 big institutions that were practically held hostage by companies using contracts that were probably drafted by the lawyers of these same companies made during previous administrations.

              In some ways its government vs the oligarchy and you just cant take them all at once.

              • nielsky says:

                This is the kind of fatalism that clearly left little regard for the integrity, professionalism, and commitment even of the men and women that comprise the above-mentioned institutions.

                If regulatory capture were the problem, it is axiomatic that everything is decided from ‘above’ in which case, it might perilously result in being wicked. Not few presidential appointees, it can be said now as in the cases of these same institutions must be the cause of why we see agencies/bureaus go dysfunctional. Of course, the president always sings another tune.

                There will always be a convenient scapegoat, always. That made governance also wicked.

            • I like your old house analogy, Johnny.

              Philippines can be seen as an old house that had been ravaged by time, neglect and looting. Its owners (Filipinos) are hungry, cold and apathetic. Pnoy and his administration started cleaning, refurbishing, lighting the fire in the fireplace and planting some seeds for nourishment, but their time is up and there’s still a lot to be done. The owners are still hungry but looking forward to a bountiful harvest. They are warm and optimistic. They learned a lot. They like their “new” house and are ready to make better decisions to achieve a better future.

              I can almost hear the writer of the article sneer at the common people’s newfound optimism and their final goal of joining the First World rank. He has to realize that the bottom line is common good and common weal. The fight to elevate the Philippines is not really about Pnoy and his administration, it is about the betterment of all Filipinos.

              Let our people dream.

          • nielsky says:

            It might be interesting for you then to share in what capacity your personal experience of the executive being personality-driven could have been based.

            Likewise, you may get down to a single best example where the present dispensation has done more than any other administration [since housecleaning takes all of one day in the real world not 6 years].

          • nielsky says:

            In what official capacity, if any, is your personal experience about a personality-driven Executive is based, if I may humbly ask? To begin with, must it take two yet years to take off the booby traps left by GMA, you say?

            Given the incubation period of most big-ticket infrastructure projects, it is safe to say that all these were sown by GMA and the harvest went to you know who.

            Maybe, the next time we say something, let us try to substantiate a little bit just so we get to be enlightened also.

    • hohum…. more, more, more says the impatient, demanding children from the single parent who had to struggle against difficulties left by an unkind and abusive spouse…..with most of the children fighting among themselves and trying to destroy the house they live in that the poor head of the family is trying to rebuild and at the same time solve and improve their living condition.

      I remember a member of the Aquino family who, during the fight against the Marcos dictatorship and his 20-year rule, uttered this comment – “I pity the next president who will inherit all these problems”, not knowing then, that it would be Cory who will be that president.” Resistance from the remnants of the previous admin was so great; how many coups were done that negated whatever reconstruction Cory attempted to do, how many corrupt people were there to make it hell for the poor widow/president…

      A similar comment was made about whoever will come after the 10-year admin of GMA, how to start rebuilding the damaged institutions, how to start eliminating corruption, how to turn around the economy, how to remedy the deals done and promises given in connection with our EEZ in the West Philippine Seas. The first act, was ominous, the creation of the Truth Commission, immediately ruled out by the GMA controlled SC. That gave pause to the newly elected executive, how to proceed with the OMB who sees and hear nothing bad against GMA’s governance, the midnight appointees in all government institutions chief of which in the courts, most notably the SC Chief himself, how to stop corruption under this environment when evil scheming and manipulation is the norm and not an exception? How to do that with all the powerful people entrenched who offer so much resistance to his house cleaning? But he suceeded to a certain degree, and what do the oppositions and their cohorts say? It’s not enough, more ! more ! Palpak, mandhid!


      • Johnny Lin says:

        Impression is always in the eye of the beholder.
        You’re right. Impatience is the root of misery. You gave a good example of a struggling single mother. The other example are impatient children forcing their parents to provide them more than they earn and the father falls into hard times or financial troubles due to hasty decisions just to please the children.

        Sala sa lamig, sala sa init- masamang ugali ng Pilipino

        • Joe America says:

          I’m reminded of the little story spun here by (I wish I could recall who) a reader who worked in the Silicon Valley in the US who noted that one of the wisdoms there was that some things that just take time. You can’t get nine women together to make a baby in one month.

          History will record that President Aquino turned the Philippines to the right path, and pushed a fair ways down it. The next administration can push further along now that the friction of the turn is lessened and the direction is clear.

        • Mary Grace P. gonzales says:

          In addition to the impatience of the citizen and strong resistance from the remnants of the previous admin that are still in power (Lagman, Pitchay, and so many others) the current president has to have a VP who after his oath taking has declared his intention to run as president and proceeded to campaign, hopping from one place to another in the guise of working, instead of contributing to solutions during cabinet meetings (could it be true that he was sitiing there so silent all through out?) and now uttering anti admin accusations which are strangely echoed by the left leaning groups, word for word.

    • Joe America says:

      I was in the planning business quite a while. The Japanese method is PDCA, plan, do, check, act. There no shame attached to falling behind on targets as long is one is candid about the process, about the measurement, and the corrective “act”. Most people are blind to the knowledge that the Aquino Administration has taken huge steps forward in candor and transparency by setting goals that everyone can read; the Administration is forthright to acknowledge where more work is needed (this was actually recognized late last year), and take steps to adjust. So the variance is just a variance, there for the knowing, because the Administration believes in measuring to objectives.

      • Sal E. says:

        JoeAm, you brought to mind the Japanese concept of “kaizen” or continuous improvement, where they focus on the process and not the outcome. The thinking being that if the process is correct then the outcome will necessarily be correct. Sounds similar to what the “daan tuwid” campaign has undertaken, let’s fix and fix and fix the process so we get it to the point where we get the desired result. It seldom is a one-time fix… at times it appears to be more like trial and error. But what is important is that we stay on course and keep fixing it until we get the desired result. Changing the tire of a moving bus is never easy and it will require a lot of patience, discipline and determination — but the good news is, IT CAN BE DONE!

        Primer Pagunuran points out some perceived failures and trivialities which I will not spend time debunking… nor will I attempt to forecast who will win the next election since, unlike my tokayo Sal the bookie, my crystal ball broke a long time ago (remember, I’m the one who survived the Silicon Valley roller coaster ride). What Primer succeeded in doing for me though was bringing to light (albeit indirectly) a BIG gap in the “daan tuwid” movement. While we all heard the achievements cited during the SONA and the end-goal of being a first-world country, we really do not have a clear picture of how we’re going to get there or how all these achievements move us closer to the promised land. We need to zoom out and look at the thirty-thousand foot view. Like a GPS, showing us where we are today is only half of the picture… we also need to see a high-level view of the route to our destination.

        Part of the confusion or point of contention that prevails today is that not everyone is seeing the SAME route… much less those who are at the back of the long gravy train and maybe have not even started to move. This administration needs to do a better job educating us all and showing us this route. After that is disseminated and explained to all the stakeholders (the “bosses”) the administration can then tie that to what Mar Roxas will do once the baton is passed on to him, and then to Mar’s successor, and so on. This way it does not appear like we are just winging it and that there is a MASTER PLAN we are working out off. We do have one, right? Maybe it was handed out the day I played hookie? I hope it is in multi-dialect format and in simple, layman terms so it makes sense to us non-economists? That would certainly merit a resounding “Eh di wow!”

        Yes, after mulling over the comments in this and other blogs, I am more and more convinced all this noise can be turned into music if all of us virtuosos start playing from the same sheet music. JoeAm, perhaps your take of what this master plan could possibly look like would be a good topic for another blog. 😉

  6. RHiro says:

    I have frequently stated here in this blog that using GDP growth rates to express the benefits for the general good and welfare of the country is simply wrong…

    Case in point:

    GDP growth rates in Current peso rates was higher during the Arroyo years than the Aquino years…

    Inflation is not the purview of the executive department and is solely the responsibility of the BSP…

    First the definitions : GDP is the estimated aggregate total of economic activity measured either from the supply side or demand side and expressed in monetary terms…

    Hence we have measurements with inflation imputed, current, and constant with inflation discounted…
    Growth rate under Arroyo in current terms…
    2001-02 02-03 03-04 04-05 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09 09-10 10-11
    9.0 8.6 12.6 11.6 10.9 10.2 11.7 3.6 5.6 12.3

    Growth rate under Aquino in current terms

    2011-12 2012-13 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017
    9.0 9.3 9.5

    Figures for 2014 – 2017 obviously are yet to be seen…The global financial crisis happened in 2008.

    Governments assumptions for the economy are all based on current growth rates..

    BSP handles monetary issues- forex rates and inflation…

    So why with all the talk about corruption leading to confidence leading to economic growth rates that outdid Arroyo are not reflected in the data?

    Why is that Joeam???

    Government never clarifies that it is talking about growth rates in constant terms and not current terms…Yet it announces per capita income in current terms…

    Per capita income in constant terms as of end 2014 is Php 71,726.. Base year 2000 prices….

    • We are not economists here, those figures don’t mean a thing to us, and we are wondering, are all those who gave us those upgraded credit ratings wrong? Are all foreign economists who are impressed by the Aquino performance lying? Why are those foreign think tanks are impressed while the Filipinos are depressed? What is wrong with us? Self destructive or what?

      • R.Hiro says:

        Sorry of my late reply….As you said figures do not mean a thing to you…

        When former president GMA entered office. Our total forex reserves were worth $15 B in dollar terms. When she left office in 2010 it was over $60B in dollar terms…Aquino is the present captain at the wheel. Our dollar reserves are now at $80B… I will grant credit to GMA for the remarkable rise but the numbers speak for themselves..In spite of her serious leadership flaws we registered a plus $45B in cash reserves…So it was under her government that set the stage for our improved ratings…

        Since you do not have to worry about figures I am assuming you belong to the idle rich or are a trust fund baby…You do not have to economize on your mani/pedi/brazilian and when you visit Boracay you stay at the Shang. Not with the riff raff..

        “However economists say that, despite genuine efforts from Aquino’s team to create inclusive growth, little progress has been made in changing a structure that for decades has allowed one of Asia’s worst rich-poor divides to develop.”

        “I think it’s obvious to everyone that something is structurally wrong. The oligarchy has too much control of the country’s resources,” Cielito Habito, a respected former economic planning minister, told AFP.”

        “He presented data to the same economic forum at which Konishi spoke, showing that in 2011 the 40 richest families on the Forbes wealth list accounted for 76 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth.”

        “This was the highest in Asia, compared with Thailand where the top 40 accounted for 33.7 percent of wealth growth, 5.6 percent for Malaysia and just 2.8 percent for Japan, according to Habito.”

        These figure are recipe for future social instability and it is no wonder the Makabayan bloc are making headway…

        “In essence, beneath its democratic shell, the Philippines is actually an oligarchy, where roughly 178 dynasties are ruling 73 out of a total of 80 provinces. No wonder then, why the country’s economy is similarly oligopolistic, where 40 richest families swallowed almost 76 percent of recently-created economic expansion — the most concentrated growth pattern in Asia.”

        All of us would love to be in your shoes where counting money is a bother you dispense with…

        • edgar lores says:

          Thanks for that statistic on political dynasties.

        • “Since you do not have to worry about figures I am assuming you belong to the idle rich or are a trust fund baby…You do not have to economize on your mani/pedi/brazilian and when you visit Boracay you stay at the Shang. Not with the riff raff…..All of us would love to be in your shoes where counting money is a bother you dispense with…”

          I just had to laugh at that one….fyi, I once belonged to the poorest of the poor, clawed literally to where I am now (the lowest middle class who is supporting my bedridden nonagenarian grandma) by sheer persistence and family coordinated efforts as what are being offered now to deserving students are not offered then.

          What I meant was that we, from the poor sector would not know what to make of those figures that economists are talking about. What we know is that we can withdraw what is in our banks and not be limited to a certain amount like the Greeks had to face before their prime minister had to bow down after all to the austerity measures and other prescriptions from IMF and EC even after they have indicated in the referendum that they don’t want to, what we read from foreign economic think tanks that say we are doing good second only to China, and we try to confirm that by what we are observing on the ground, how one can easily find a well paying job provided you have prepared yourself to qualify, how our still poor relatives are assisted in a regular manner by way of the 4Ps (the conditional cash transfer) and how the prices of prime commodities are within the reach of most of the poor who strive to improve themselves and not just rely on being mendicants. I regularly visit our sitio and we know how it is to be poor, how meaningless are those figures compared to the hunger pangs that need to be assuaged by being productive.

          And we see and are glad of the four lane farm to market roads (from the former 2-lane concrete ones) that are near completion in our humble sitio in Batangas, much like the ones that we saw with our own eyes the already completed wide concrete highways in adjoining provinces when we motored to Sorsogon last Holy Week for a family vacation.

          Yes, we see the improvements but we cannot fathom the comparative economic figures.

          • RHiro says:

            My dear M.G.P. Gonzales….. Firstly as I mentioned earlier we are all members of the commentariat in this blog…The figures are factual and Aquino’s pronouncements border on the delusional and bares his incoherence bordering on incompetence on matters that affect a broad majority of Filipinos. The economic policies of exclusion being practiced here which was described as devil’s dung by the Pope will create massive social and political problems in the future.


            “Within Asia, the corresponding average poverty reduction was actually faster, at 2.0 percent. Strangely, the Philippines has a perverse experience, especially in the past decade: Poverty incidence actually went up, even in years when the economy’s growth speeded up. As such, we will not achieve key poverty reduction targets under the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were set for this year.”

            You keep harping on the international financial media’s mention of the Philippines after China’s growth rate…

            We have got excess dollars to spend and they are pointing to it in a world beset by depression like conditions.

            Politics was invented by man to manage our disputes and conflicts and to redistribute resources among the people. When the system is seen as unfair the system will fail and fall.

            The poor know more about basic economics than most… They have to divide the tuyo into two and save the head for dinner. They know best how to efficiently manage with meager resources. They know reading, riting and rithmetic…Economics itself comes from the word household.

    • Joe America says:

      I’m sorry, are you discussion Primer’s blog or some prior comment that I made? This is not my article. We’ve gone around on GDP before, as you don’t like it, but it is what global economists use. Propose your solution, and we can cut to the chase and extract me from the middle of your complaint.

      • RHiro says:

        Sorry for late post… My post was about the postscript to the SONA..

        My simple contentions is that economic performance as measured by GDP in current terms clearly shows that GMA during her watch had a faster rising economy than Aquino so far…

        The narrative propagated since the start of the Aquino regime is that he outdid GMA based on the performance of the economy while on his watch.. That is a Big Lie…Keep on reminding the people about the Big Lie and it turns into fact for most people.

        Now as far as corruption is concerned the piece above refers to the earlier bureaucracy as totally corrupt and a wasteland… But government come and go but the bureaucracy remains behind…

        That opening statement is wrong…When Aquino leaves office in July 2017 the bureaucracy that he mostly inherited will be mostly intact…The appointees will also leave their respective offices..

        Please note the direct agencies that have jurisdiction over the economy— Finance, Trade, Labor, Budget Dept. and NEDA all work on the ever continuing Medium Term Development Plan which remain mostly the same Plan that all previous governments had.

        By the time the new president comes in the bureaucracy also prepares the new governments first budget 2017 for Congress. They will mostly follow the previous MTDP. Please note that the BSP is completely autonomous.

        Now as far as the popularity of the Philippines amongst financial publications is the fact that the country has a low sovereign debt to GDP in current terms. Hence we have space for foreign borrowings.. Now with interest rates at a record all time low signifying a massive supply of cash lenders are looking for clients with credentials to borrow…

        That is not due to the present dispensation but the fact that the BSP has accumulated $80 billion and had gone on a massive printing of pesos to buy the dollars to prevent the dollar from collapsing here in the country.. That has also brought in a period of disinflation….

        Again external conditions have been favorable in the monetary arena as the worlds highly industrial economies continue to fight deflation with the continuous printing of new money…

        Credit rating agencies are paid by our government and it is due to our present capacity of pay off our foreign loans and imports that we have achieved the lower band of investment grade…

        We should remind ourselves that Greece once had a A- rating hardly ten years ago…

        Now for comments as to economics being complicated and hard to understand…That is an excuse for lazy people.

        Economic is about life:

        “Despite whatever bad memories may haunt you from ECON 101. Economics is just the study of our lives — our jobs, our homes and our future plans, as well as the dozens of small decisions we face every day. How do families divide their workload? Why was that medical bill so expensive? Is it worth it to join a gym?” Economix blog…

        Corruption as a policy platform is a law and order issue…If the sanctity of contracts and the rule of law is tough to implement then the State is weak…

        The peaks of political sovereignty are monetary sovereignty, protecting the sanctity of contracts and the rule of law….

        They are interrelated and cannot exist on their own…

    • Johnny Lin says:

      I look at the GDP and well being of Filipinos by observing commercial centers in the province and Metromanila. At the end of the year if more store and restaurants are built or opened, economy is good. If many establishments have closed, economy is bad.

      Every province have these indicators. Go to the barrios claiming to be poor. If there is Jueteng everyday in the town, they are surviving fairly. Has anybody seen a food bank in every Barangay in the province? I haven’t, Why?

      I also tend to believe that the statistics on poor people is overstated. There is no hard count but estimate based on reporting by local government. Many barangay officials inflate their needy constituents to help their low income families and friends. And that is a fact. Surveys are not helpful either because the questionnaires are confusing to the subjects. Besides if the number of poor people is lower and lower, many companies making a living out of disguise in serving the needy will fold. And that is a fact.

      What is direly needed is low income housing. They can afford to live in shanties, they can afford to live in govt housing and many of those living in squatter areas are not necessary poor. And that is a fact.

      • “What is direly needed is low income housing. They can afford to live in shanties, they can afford to live in govt housing and many of those living in squatter areas are not necessary poor. And that is a fact.”

        Hey, Johnny, on the above, what do you think of the Japanese capsule configurations in the Philippines? It’ll probably be more popular among the students or yuppie type folks there, because it’s Japanese, but can something like the capsules be implemented for low-income housing?

        There was this dorm-type compound I visited in Mindanao run by missionaries, it started out as free-housing and they realized those who lived in free-housing tend to squander and abuse the opportunity, so the next iteration of the project required the occupants to put in some some skin in the game–thru work, earn their keep.

        They had a nice compound, open space, and they catered mostly to poor families. With stern enforcement (they started out cuddling them at first) they eventually got a community going. But I always thought the Japanese capsules would make better use of the space they had.

        Also, a good way to round-up poor, no skills having bachelors there (who seem to always have money for San Miguel and shabu), and offer a place–a cheap small place– to stay while gaining skills. Just saw “Toe Tag Parole” on HBO last night, and though their cells looked a lot like these Japanese capsules:

          • Johnny Lin says:


            Cargo container will. It’s newest trend in Ny and other congested cities. Lots of them in our ports containing smuggled cargoes.

            Cheapest option too, prop them between banks on esteros and they float during flooding, place catch basins in the mouths of Manila Bay for easy recovery. This is Binay option according to their agenda so the money for housing project will end in his families and allies pockets. Similar to his program in Makati with a twist.

  7. andrew lim says:

    Pls check your email, Joe.

  8. andrewlim8 says:

    I’ll reserve my detailed rebuttal later, after Mr Pagunuran responds to the posts here. That’s where we can determine if he can really back up his piece or was it just typing-with-a-stiff drink-in-one-hand.

    Going through his piece again, I find very little evidence-based arguments, but rather a consistent re-framing of the issues, away from integrity first (which is a pre-requisite for governance) to all the warts that could be found or invented.

  9. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Impact of Benigno’s Presidency can only be felt six years down the road. Benigno’s success today because of past corrupt presidents decisions. One of the future impact of Benigno’s Presidency is HUSTISYA BALUKTOT and UNREGULATED PHILIPPINE MEDIA like all past presidents.

    • Mary Grace P. gonzales says:

      What HUSTISYA BALUKTOT are you talking about?

    • Juana Pilipinas says:

      Hey, MRP! Be informed that Binay had given the BRC an affidavit in lieu of his presence. Is he then a proponent of crooked justice?

      I would also appreciate your view about this:

      “UP in one of its surveys gave PNoy only a grade of 4 which means that PNoy should take a removal if he wants to pass.”

  10. edgar lores says:

    1. So this is how the glass looks from the half-empty side.

    2. Any rebuttals, without evidence, can be easily dismissed as subjective. So I include here the latest view from the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom:

    “The Philippines’ economic freedom score is 62.2, making its economy the 76th freest in the 2015 Index. Its score has increased by 2.1 points since last year, with notable improvements in financial freedom, freedom from corruption, and labor freedom outweighing declines in business freedom and the management of public spending. The Philippines ranks 13th out of 42 countries in the Asia–Pacific region, and its overall score is above the world and regional averages.

    Registering one of the 10 best score improvements in the 2015 Index, the Philippines has charted an upward trajectory of economic freedom for the past five years, further advancing into the “moderately free” category. Wide-ranging reforms to address structural weaknesses and improve overall economic competitiveness have put greater emphasis on improving regulatory efficiency, enhancing regional competitiveness, and liberalizing the banking sector. Demonstrating a high level of resilience and overcoming the devastating impact of the massive typhoon that ripped through the central part of the country, the Philippine economy has recorded an average growth rate exceeding 5 percent over the past half-decade.

    Despite notable progress since 2011, however, lingering institutional challenges will require a deeper commitment to reform. Corruption continues to be a serious cause for concern, jeopardizing prospects for long-term economic development. The inefficient judiciary, which remains susceptible to political interference, does not provide effective protection for property rights or strong and transparent enforcement of the law.”

    (Bolding mine.)

    3. From the above, wouldn’t one say that things are looking up? The mention of the corruption issue in the last paragraph underscores the importance of the Daang Matuwid.

    3.1. From the post: “The speech is a stealth in its failure to actually address corruption.

    3.2. From the SONA: “We have made a huge leap forward: jumping 33 places in the rankings set by the world Economic Forum; and according to them, this is a result of this administration’s anti-corruption agenda-all because of the changes that this government has enacted.”

    3.3. From the post: “His convenient default position of the “Daang Matuwid” builds upon his fight against corruption over which he seems most convinced and believing that it was all gone.”

    3.4. From the SONA: “Yes: This is only the beginning. This is only the beginning of a country that will not be cowed, and instead will stand as a beacon of justice and resolve in the global community. This is only the beginning of prosperity brought about by freedom from corruption.”

    3.4.1. There is no claim that corruption has been totally eradicated. The claim is that “this is only the beginning.” And the phrase “freedom from corruption” echoes what is said in the first paragraph of the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom.

    • Sir edgar / Joe,

      May I re-post this comment in raissa’s blog in response to a Marcos die hard loyalist who is calling all anti-Marcos all kinds of derisive names.

      With proper attribution, of course from you and Joe’s blog.

    • nielsky says:

      Notice how #3 is a dead giveaway. It literally accounts for the failure of the Daang Matuwid so it has to be rehashed, it has to be recast to what we call “semantic satiation” [euphemism for over and over].

      Edgar Lores here, in some desperate attempt to prove a claim uses authority. Incidentally, in philosophy, the argument from authority is the weakest argument. Am I the only who cannot understand that part he calls ‘bolding mine’ as if to show or pretend these were his own points/ideas and yet part of the quoted texts? Educate us, please.

      Then of course, shifting from the rather weak argument from authority, he pitted texts in the post and the SONA as if they cancel each other out but the lines are just indicatively blurred. He failed to show the fine lines out of his laziness to integrate than in mere sweeping generalities.

      Hard to digest, you mean?

  11. nielsky says:


    This comes as a sigh of relief although it has taken far too long to decide. The worrisome game is that more of the same might soon come into the surface on the corrupt part.

    • Johnny Lin says:

      She was replaced because her tenure ended. She was not suspended at all

      • nielsky says:

        Perhaps, look where the needle points to. The headline is ’embattled erc head’. Other reports likewise point that the Ombudsman has found probable cause against her. My drift is on the accountability part if we even care to see it that way but I do think that we should.

      • She was a GMA appointee, I think. Is that a constitutional tenure, one that can’t be replaced before the end of such tenure unless impeached? I remember she served first the remaining years of her predecessor before serving her own… I wish I could make a research on that. She allegedly made decisions in favor of an alleged dummy (of the former FG )in the power supply, now the newest addition to the list of Philippine billionaires, if my scant info serves me right. A full research is needed.

        • nielsky says:

          The pattern of resignations, intended or otherwise, seems to be unfolding in the bureaucracy now. We can just take a mental note for now.

  12. nielsky says:


    It might interest us to see the borrowing side of the ledger which still perhaps lack a desired level of ‘punctuality’.

  13. nielsky says:


    Some evidence-based readings also help shape our worldviews but truth has its own discourse.

  14. josephivo says:

    This article is a missed chance. Indeed this administration was not perfect. Indeed Filipino political culture didn’t make a U-turn. Indeed dreaming of being a first world country is still utopian. But of the language and the trapo smell of the arguments rather confirms Joeam’s readers in their believes than to make them think of improvement opportunities.

    Some areas where this president failed and the next has to improve:

    • The Ampatuan trial, the slowness and procedural attitudes of the judiciary sustained the culture of impunity.
    • Inclusive growth and the enforcement of minimum wages, stop the impunity for all paying less than required by law.
    • Proactive thinking in infrastructure, all traffic breakdown are predictable. Double the budget and all associated provider: engineers, surveyors, auditors…. What tourist (and myself) experience in traffic jams in front of NAIA terminal 3 is unacceptable.
    • Style of teaching, teach assertiveness, a critical mind, not blind obedience.
    • Dismantle imperial Manila, more federalism, more power for local languages.
    • FOI as a matter of principle. NOW as it is, 90% OK is sufficient. Adjust, improve later.
    • Institute talent scouts in the best universities, make sure all top talents get the best education possible. Knowledge as competitive advantage. Talent scouts detecting upto the most remote corners, coaching until employed in the Philippines.
    • More money for “culture”, literature, music, film, architecture, landscaping….

    Just to name a few of the shortcoming of the current administration and my hopes for the next one.

    • Mami Kawada Lover says:

      I agree with empowering the rest of the Philippines, but I’m worried that politicians would use this to their advantage. It reminds me of The Philippine Star’s Bobit Avila who always accuses the country’s ills on “Imperial Manila” and implicitly believes that Cebu (his home province) should be given special treatment, while saying nothing about other regions such as Mindanao, Leyte, Mindoro, Palawan, Panay, Bohol, etc.

      One problem is that the Philippines is very regionalistic. Ilocanos are proud to be Ilocanos, Warays are proud to be Warays, etc. It sometimes gets to the point that people will only work for the benefit of their region, rather than for the benefit of the country as a whole. No wonder some people (including my former history professor) claim that Filipinos have no sense of national identity.

      • Jean says:

        I agree. It’s a question of geography I think. As an archipelago, we tend to do our own thing on each of the islands. Just look at the number of dialects around. There isn’t a universally accepted dialect for all, Tagalog may come close but it really isn’t there yet.

        The only time I can think of where we “all” on the same boat, is when we are backing a sportsman who is doing well on the global arena.

        Maybe this thing with China is a blessing in (a very good) disguise. There’s nothing like a common enemy to pull people together, could be a our stepping stone to national unity. We can only hope.

  15. i7sharp says:

    A google for “analysis of SONA sixth aquino”
    produced this as the first of the results:

    “President Aquino SONA 2015 highlights, review for reaction paper”

    Sharing it, fwiw.


  16. Mami Kawada Lover says:

    Interesting Joe, a guest article by someone who isn’t a fan of P-Noy. Well, the blog is now known around the web to be (at least in practice) pro-administration, but it’s nice to see you keep an open mind. We all may have different viewpoints but we can always learn from each other. The comments here are also very interesting: most commentors here do not agree with the article, but their responses, rather than resorting to ad hominems like what is common on the (sadly very pro-Marcos) blog Get Real Philippines, are actual critiques. This is what I like about the Society of Honor: flowing of thoughts and speaking out your opinions, whether or not they will be popular with other readers.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, an article that goes against the grain is a good test of our community civility, eh? It is good to be tested and stretched, like a good exercise routine.

  17. Johnny Lin says:

    Joe is a nice guy allowing somebody in his territory to launder his opposite views ranting in public
    Though I think he has to set certain conditions like rebuttal of his piece because Joe could just be taken advantage of his kindness, which is not unusual for people with the habit of abusing or taking advantage of other people. To these kind, having their way is the sole motive. Exactly the same way Binay scrounged Noynoy.

    So far, it seems Primer Pagunuran fits the image perfectly not stiff drunk as @Andrew Lim imagined.

    • nielsky says:

      Am no Canadian, am a Filipino [with no malice to them Canadians, of course]. The point is, I feel that at this point, x number of points have already been offered by the article’s writer/author as they run across the thread.

  18. Johnny Lin says:

    Binay recently said on interview “that his friendship with Aquino family transcends politics”

    What he means is that he could attack the character, the image, the performance of Noynoy; what has he done so badly to the people or has not done that ruined the people and the nation, truthful or not.

    And the Aquinos should not be disgruntled against him because their friendship is chastity shield.

    Binay suffers pareidolia on his public ranting of Aquino, worst yet he described the entire family members as docile animals on his psychotic behavior because it’s only politics.

    So much for a friend! True character of Binay

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Binay can separate Benigno the President and Benigno the friend.
      Binay fiercely attacked Benigno for meddling in Corona !!! I KNEW IT! I KNEW IT !!!
      I knew Benigno has animosity towards Corona. It was personal impeachment.
      Binay say so.

      By the way, President Benigno “surprised” Mar Roxas. And do you know who is absent ??? Obviously Absent? From the picture and video?

      If she was there, the photographer and videographer must have been instructed now to show her.

  19. NHerrera says:

    I was looking for some coherent message in the guest blog’s last paragraph. I must confess I am still reeling from the punches of the sentences. Like Einstein, I am rather slow in the uptake. Please help, someone. Here are the pieces of the puzzle:

    – However, to my mind, this ‘yellow ribbon’ carries a symbolism embedded in pure sophistry.

    – The business of daily life for the poor may have seemed to see a president at the other end of the river.

    – Suspiciously enough, reports fed him by his so-called ‘student council advisers’ are those he probably wanted to hear each and every time

    – But the order of business that now overrides whatever scorecard of accomplishments is presented is to take a more critical view of the future.

    – This country must move on from a ‘political statecraft’ indicatively run by mere fraternal or familial bonds to nation that can really attain a better status, not necessarily First World.

    – When was the last time our state of affairs is run like a hacienda?

    • nielsky says:

      Very quickly, metaphors are common in any literature. Indeed, some minds cannot read through them as easily as others do. But fairly stating, I think that within the context of the paragraph where each is found, misunderstanding them any further is precisely adding ‘another piece to the puzzle’.

      • NHerrera says:

        Thanks for the note.

        I can reasonably understand each sentence with its literary flourish if that is what it is. But coherence in the paragraph of which those are the sentences?

        • nielsky says:

          Take careful notice. Each of the 12 paragraphs carries a point or two. Within the boundaries of each sentence, it is fairly stated in language quite simple to the average mind. I am want to say what scholar calls the ‘intelligence trap’?

    • edgar lores says:

      If I look at the first two quoted sentence, there is no puzzle. It’s gobbledygook.

      1. First sentence. Sophistry is “the use of clever but false arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving.”

      1.1. What is the false argument symbolized by the yellow ribbon? It is not stated. The following sentences, in particular the next sentence, should reveal it, but they do not give a hint. In that it is not stated, the sentence is a piece of pure sophistry itself. As noted, there is no coherence.

      1.2. In the first place the yellow ribbon symbol may signify different things. In the context of the Marcos dictatorship, the symbol represented the welcoming of the return of Ninoy to the Philippines. If one extends the meaning of the symbol in that context and in the context that Cory subsequently used it, it was emblematic of the hope to return to normalcy, of a return to good government. In the second place, as used by PNoy, the yellow ribbon is a symbol of the continuity of the concept of good government.

      1.2.1. If the above is accepted, where is the falsity in the symbol? It is internationally acknowledged that the anti-corruption drive of the Aquino administration has redounded to the benefit of the country.

      2. Second sentence. The phrase “at the other end of the river” can also signify different things. I am not familiar with the metaphor, and I can find no common usage.

      2.1. The river is rich in symbolism. It can stand for fertility, for the flow of time or for the torturous long and winding flow of life itself. The other end of the river may stand for death.

      2.2. Does the author mean that at the end of their lives, the poor “may have seemed to see the president”? Jeepers creepers!

      2.3. Within the context of the sentence, I take it to mean that at the end of the day the hope of the poor is to see that the gains of good government trickle down to them.

      2.4. If that is so, the sentence perfectly delineates our lack of self reliance, our pathetic dependence and neediness of a strong president. This is in stark contrast to the observation of Lcpl_X that America will “run regardless of whose president.”

      3. I would love to analyze the rest of the puzzle, but I am out of puff.

      • 2.4. If that is so, the sentence perfectly delineates our lack of self reliance, our pathetic dependence and neediness of a strong president. This is in stark contrast to the observation of Lcpl_X that America will “run regardless of whose president.”

        Ooops! That should be who’s (who is).

        As for neediness, I’d say 99% (percentage as qualitative here) of America will continue on, with some parts (mostly in the black ghettos) dependent on gov’t hand-outs, so too subsidized corporations (ironically the same ones selling or releasing carbon from underground).

        the Federal gov’t may have the bulk of our taxpayer money, but the state and local level can also generate revenue… but, the biggest difference I think is in individuals and small businesses which are vibrant enough to sustain their own lifestyles separate from what goes on in DC.

      • 2. May I buy a vowel and take a jab at the phrase? May I buy an A? Pasig River? One end is Malacanang and the other is Pasig River shanty towns? 🙂

        • edgar lores says:

          Juana, thanks. That is another valid interpretation.

          Literally, it would localize the national poor to the banks of the Pasig. And is the palace at one end or by a bend?

          Figuratively, it paints an acceptable trope.

          I am rather enamored of the “jeepers creepers” interpretation. The president as the Haunter. Ha ha ha.

          • I think Mr. PP is a creative writer. He is merely creating new Filipino idioms.

            I’d say myself that your 2.2 is morbid but hilarious.

          • sonny says:

            I’m stuck at: headwater, tributaries, confluences and finally, deltas & silt. 😦

            • sonny says:

              Also: meander.

              • I find it unbelievable, the sonny of the perfect English and idioms who made the Lance corporal turn to Google for some words he used, stuck at PP’s words…hahaha

              • sonny says:

                Ay naku, Mary Grace. Sa totoo lang para akong pipi pagdating sa pagpapanday ng mga palaisipang tulad ng mga nababasa dito sa blog ng Society. Atomic words come easy, it’s the ideas that are demanding. Mas babad ako dito kaysa sa ‘yo. Pero ‘pag dating mo, sampa agad, tapos takbo na. 🙂

              • haha…I’ll take that as a compliment, sonny..thanks… Joe sees you as a compassionate and reflective commenter and I do, too.

              • sonny says:

                Maraming salamat, Mary Grace. And yes it is a compliment. You have indeed the mind of a sharp political aficionada with a Christian heart. Additionally, sana ikaw ang nagturo ng how to make a trial balance and T-accounts sa amin. 🙂

      • NHerrera says:

        edgar, thanks for throwing the lifeline; I can now stand from the punch I got earlier.

      • nielsky says:

        Another dead giveaway, astonishing!

        From 1 to 3, subs inclusive, teach or train me on where will I draw ‘coherence, please? This betrays call for coherence by one who indicatively cannot show the best specimen of it, not to mention a rather terribly flawed grammar in nearly all sentences, bulletized [what for?]. It surely will make for an equally lousy powerpoint presentation.

        For love to discuss on trivial points I raised, he could have begun with my first paragraph and with much respect I could have seen the strength of his position. Maybe, just come in paragraphs so you can be understood.

  20. ella says:

    Wow! so nice of you Mr. Joe to allow this guest article on your blog. It is definitely not pro PNOy but you allowed it.

    It is a long and winding article and simply sings the same tune as Binays SONA and not well argued and not factual, though. the comment thread is another thread of opinions of open minded people.

  21. nielsky says:

    Most precisely so

    As one scholar says, “A system of ‘gated communities’ is as unhealthy for cyberspace as it is
    for the real world..

    In my world, many understand all too quickly that the reforms by its claimant hardly truly made a dent in their daily lives. Not even as we would want to see them in the best of light.

    It makes me wonder why at least, in a specific newspaper, they seem to find little difficulty seeing through the maze of the rhetoric just pulled before us. Just name a single reform that best affects you and everybody else in the same particular way..

  22. red rod says:

    All those mentioned by the piece above was expected. I knew what I was going to get and the hilarity it would bring me. But there was one more thing the president said that I swear, made the tea I just sipped come out of my nose. No it didn’t. But it would have been extra funny if it actually happened.

    I’m talking about the president’s mention of his sudden support for an anti-dynasty law, which was obviously aimed to capitalize and score short-term cheap political points for Binay’s “one to sawa” gaffe and nothing more. I swear, if the president wasn’t insulting our intelligence, it would have been funny. How to take that seriously? it came from someone whose father was a career politician, whose mother was also too president, whose father’s father (Speaker Igno) was also a career politician, whose uncle (Butz) a senator, aunt (Tessie) a senator, uncle (Peping) was Vice-Mayor, Mayor, and Congressman, aunt (Ting-Ting) a governor, cousin’s husband (Dudut) congressman, another cousin (Gibo), a congressman who ran against him in 2010, another cousin (Charlie) a congressman, an uncle (Danding) chair of the NPC, and a cousin (Bam) who ran as early as two years ago whose sole achievement was being chair on the youth commission but an even bigger factor being a dead ringer (thanks to those specs) of the president’s late father/hero. Let’s face it, if his name was Bam Velasquez, he would not have won.

    And with such a comical degree of self-exculpatory rhetoric, all of a sudden, the president seemed to have been saddled with a complete inability for self-examination and his cheerleaders suffering from a complete immunity to irony.

    • edgar lores says:

      Arguably, the Aquino family as it is right NOW may or may not be a political dynasty.

      To be able to apply the label, one must first define what a dynasty is. One cannot be candid about an indefinite thing. The mere fact that various members of the clan have served in various positions at various times in the past does not point to the existence of a dynasty now.

      My personal definition of a political dynasty is (a) the concurrent service of two or more family members and/or (b) the sequential service of two or more family members for the same position. Family would consist of (a) blood relationship to the second degree of consanguinity or (b) marital or de facto affinity.

      By my definition, the service of President PNoy and Senator Bam — his nephew and not cousin — does constitute a dynasty. Correct me if I am wrong but I take it these are the only two members of the Aquino family in concurrent service. Most of the other members that have been enumerated are not currently serving — Butz, Tessie, Peping, Tingting, Gibo, and Danding. I do not know about Dudut and Charlie. (It may be that Enrique Cojuangco Jr., vice governor of Tarlac, is within the stated degree of consanguinity.)

      However, by the proposed definition of the Anti-Dynasty bill in the House, which permits the concurrent service of two members, the Aquino family is NOT a dynasty (providing that Enrque Cojuangco is not within the stated degree of consanguinity). I am also not sure that the current bills in Congress distinguish between levels of government — that is, local versus national.

      On the other hand, by my definition and the congressional ones, the Binay family is a political dynasty with three members concurrently serving — Jejomar, Nancy and Junjun. Junjun is suspended… but still.

      The Estrada family is also a political dynasty with at least four members — Erap, Jinggoy, JV and Guia.

      • sonny says:

        NB: Sen Bam is Paul’s son, PNoy is late Sen Ninoy’s son. Paul & late Sen Ninoy are brothers.

      • red rod says:

        That’s exactly what’s laughable about the pseudo-push for an anti-dynasty measure by the president. You, me and Tom, Dick and Harry are then allowed to have our own definition of what “dynasty” constitutes.

        And what with the way the palace walked the whole thing back a few days after earning a some cheap praise because it wasn’t serious to begin with because they realized that pushing for such a bill to become law would have an adverse effect on the ruling party.

        Really? You don’t say! LMAO

        • edgar lores says:

          There are two points worthy of consideration.

          1. The definition of what constitutes a political dynasty must be properly made. The indiscriminate naming of all members in a clan serving in the past and in the present does not help in the making of that definition. I want to make that clear.

          2. The probability of a proper anti-dynasty being passed by this Congress has as much chance as a snowball in hell.

          • red rod says:

            1. I was saying like you, I have my own definition of “political dynasty.”

            (a). Pnoy’s definition is likely in tune with what of the bill’s. That said, it’s more laughable that he’s even pushing for it given how the LP coalition dominated congress voted it down not even two months ago.

            2. My point all along. Pnoy knows it, that’s why he couldn’t be serious.

          • sonny says:

            Strictly my thoughts:

            Because dynasty connotes power, longevity, territory, endogamy, I submit that PH is too young, not large enough, not endogamous enough, not rich enough to lay claim to the term. I suggest instead the term “House of – – -” Additionally an appositive of specialty, e.g. House of Aquino (real estate), House of Ayala (finance), House of Roxas (gov’t service), House of Araneta (industry), House of Delgado (industry & shipping), etc.

            In consonance with the democracy of the country, Houses will not have corporate standing. The concept of House will have only socio-cultural standing.

            • edgar lores says:

              From the perspective of, say, Chinese dynasties, Filipino dynasties are dwarfed in comparison by the elements cited — longevity, endogamy, etc. This is not to say that they are not a great danger to country. They are unfair incursions into the body politic and they erect undemocratic structures of entitlement and privilege. They embody the “tragedy of the commons” as I once wrote.

              The use of House of X has a royal ring to it, and bespeaks of European nobility. Somehow to me the House of Ampatuan clashes harshly with the House of Hapsburg. What about a cottage, cabin or shanty? Or, more likely, the Aquino Hacienda? The Binay Hacienda?

              • sonny says:

                Edgar, the use of “House of X” that I suggest consists, at its core, the iconization of the qualities of noblesse oblige and consistency in accomplishment and always post facto in its appropriation. It most certainly renders the ‘House of Ampatuan’ as an oxymoron and excludes the triviality or scale of a cottage, cabin or shanty. The same honorific does not necessarily connote the servility of a hacienda (I refer to avuncular benevolence of the Yulo Canlubang estate of old as example). To my mind the English rendering of ‘House’ belies the Spanish connotation of home in ‘Casa.’ I also defer to the social & historical provenance of the term to the Filipino barangay and principalia and less to its European historical baggage.

                I do realize its timing is not right, either it is past or way still to come.

              • edgar lores says:

                Got you. I like the observation that a hacienda has connotations of servility. Never thought of that.

        • hiddendragon says:

          As Joeam may have learned by now, nothing excites a readership more than posting a contrarian view. Never mind that comments go off-tangent half the time, almost each of which is baiting for a reply, or a rebuttal itching to be rebutted.
          I have always been ambivalent about this dynasty thing. It is not a big issue as far as I’m concerned (The FOI, RH bills are, for me), if capable members of a family want to serve, and serve well, why shouldn’t they be allowed to do so? If we disapprove of them or of the fact that there are too many Aquinos (or Binays) in the government, well, heck, don’t vote for them! Must we have a law saying we can’t do something for it to be prevented? Does it speak rather unkindly of our democratic system of governance to be whining about something that we end up doing anyway, election after election? Because at the end of the day, we really, really don’t trust our electorate, don’t we?
          Furthermore, why rake PNoy on coals if he so much as hint at an anti-dynasty law? Damned he didn’t, damned if he did. That he would do so in the face of accusations against his own family speaks well of him as an individual leader don’t you think? While I’m personally indifferent to it, if the President, whom I voted for anyway, decides to legislate against it, fine.
          I hire a driver, I let him drive and find the best route (and thank you, Waze), and I just read the paper in the car.

          • sonny says:

            I agree. Vetting facts & figures and critical listening are the minimum requirements for intelligent and fruitful communications. Speeches such as PNoy’s SONA must show the rallying points around which a citizenry can wrap their civic resolve. Without these takeaways frustration and futlity are the inevtable consequences.

          • red rod says:

            “That he would do so in the face of accusations against his own family speaks well of him as an individual leader don’t you think?”

            Absolutely. Only I knew from the get that Pnoy wasn’t serious at the time the said it. He couldn’t have been knowing that the LP coalition is teeming with dynasties that the measure died on the floor just last June. Two days after the SONA, the palace said Pnoy doesn’t certify the measure as “urgent.” The president refuses to put his money where his mouth is, plain and simple.

      • nielsky says:

        With all candor, we can only care less what your personal definition of the concept is.

        When a term or concept is clear enough, there ought to be no room to theorize in a way only intended to even obfuscate it from its original meaning. It’s simple linguistic.

        No one will ever have to say that the case just cited with all diligence in fact sits well with the concept of a political dynasty. Make life simple.

        • edgar lores says:

          To have a meaningful discussion, terms must be defined if they are unclear.

          The term “political dynasty” is not at all clear. The Constitution does not define it, and through the years there have been several bills attempting to define it. The House and Senate versions differ.

          I offer my definition for the purpose of clarity, to define the limits of what I say… and for others to understand what I am saying.

          There is no point to discussions if there is no degree of common understanding at all.

          If one does not care to share a common degree of understanding in a discussion, what is the point? We would be talking at cross-purposes, wouldn’t we?

          The purpose of discussion in this forum, as JoeAm as repeatedly pointed out, is simply not to oppose each other. It is not only to talk but to listen.

          When you say you don’t care less, are you listening?

          • nielsky says:

            I do believe in the importance of arriving at a common ground if that be the case involving interdisciplinary lenses.

            But only after all possible relevant concepts, terms, theories, even systems would have already been mapped out – you sure know all these from school

            It is most unfortunate that if out of the blues, one just invents his own, not even one that must come from the disciplinarians, in this case, the experts, then that is where the problem really lies.

            In fact, the most ordinary understanding of political dynasty ought to have been already a product of a common ground.

            But you seem to want to break another ground and one entirely yours – but something that otherwise the experts cannot relate with. In fact, you have to ask here not me but red rod who I believe first outline it so well. If you disagree with, there is no compelling need to advance a new concept altogether.

            Size up the points is all you can do in that regard.

            • edgar lores says:

              What is the “most ordinary understanding of political dynasty”?

              • I’m quite an ordinary citizen, and my understanding of it is 2 or more blood related people occupying government positions simultaneously…example – Mother and Son Estradas in the Same Senate, now Brothers Ejercito and Jinggoy, in the same Senate, too (even if one got detained) while Daddy Estrada is Manila mayor and Mommy Guia of Ejercito is San Juan Mayor; brother and sister Senators Alan & Peter Cayetano with wife Leni and Congressman brother Lino; VP Jojo Binay, Senator Nancy Binay, Congressman Abigail Binay, Mayor Junjun Binay (one to sawa) I also consider mayors, governors senators, congressmen down to baranggay heads and tanods who bequeath their positions to wives sons, daughters and other relatives after their term limits – political dynasties. Villafuertes in Camarines, Duterte father and daughter tandem in Davao, Ecleo family somewhere, etc, etc. Sorry for stating the obvious, common knowledge – It’s like addressing the masa…, it’s just me, makulet, paulit ulit. Ordinary nga eh.

                So from the above, I guess sir edgar and me share the same understanding.

                Mar does not belong to a dynasty as both his father and brother were both dead when he entered politics. Very obvious.

                We cannot avoid a multiple “understanding of dynasties” for as sir edgar has pointed out, the constitution did not define it clearly and the legislative body, out of protection for their own political interest, refuses to pass a law that will implement the said constitutional provision decades after it was approved by the citizen in a referendum, so a legal and not “ordinary definition” can be clearly stated in terms of “whereas, therefore” and first, second, third degree of blood relationship or what exemptions are to accepted. Again, stating the obvious.

                My 2 cents (one peso worth).

              • nielsky says:

                Okay, for a start, this will help you so read on:


              • edgar lores says:



                1. I react to red rod’s enumeration of the Aquino clan that have been in public office, and say that the mere enumeration may not be constitutive of a political dynasty. I give my definition of the term.

                2. You chime in and say — disrespectfully — that you could not care less about my definition. You claim the term is clear enough.

                3. I respond to your claim and — patiently and respectfully — state the reasons for my definition. I maintain the term is not clear. I state that for a discussion to be meaningful there must be at least a certain degree of common understanding.

                4. You come back and agree with the last, but you insist that there is a most ordinary understanding of political dynasty.

                5. I ask what that understanding might be.

                6. And now… now you answer with a reference to a Rappler article.

                7. Listen closely:

                7.1. I expected you to come up with that ordinary understanding in your own words. Rather than doing that, you point me to a lengthy article.

                7.2. This is intellectual dishonesty on your part. If you make a claim — intellectually — you should support that claim — intellectually.

                7.3. You may cite secondary resources to support your claim, but you must primarily explain your claim in your own words… especially if you assert it is “simple linguistic” (sic).

                8. Now as to the referenced article:

                8.1. The article was published in February 2013, more than 2 years ago, by Ronald U. Mendoza.

                8.2. The article is more than 1,200 words long. This belies your claim that dynasties are conceptually simple.

                8.3. If you had read the article, you would have found out that it does not give a definition of the term. The closes approximation to a definition is the use of the term “clan politics”. The article is, in fact, an examination of the issue that clan politics poses to the country. It states that dynasties come in all shapes and sizes. There are “fat” and “thin” dynasties.

                8.4. If you had read further and opened the comments section of the article, you would have discovered that of the 13 comments, one was made by Joe America… and one other by me.

                9. Elsewhere in this post, you whine that I act like the blog’s police and question under what ascendancy.

                9.1. I am neither police nor bouncer.

                9.2. My ascendancy, if any, is moral and rational.

                9.3. It is very simple really. If you wish to be accorded respect, then do likewise. Be thankful for corrections. Avoid subterfuge. Eschew digs. Lose the attitude.

                10. I could “surgically analyze” our other exchanges and tell you where you err. I will leave it to you to reflect on the matter. You are intelligent… if a bit unmannered.

                11. Oh, one other thing. You question my use of the word “illogicality”. May I suggest you use the common technique known as cognitive prosthesis, which apparently — contrary to your assertion — cannot be done away with just yet.

              • edgar lores says:

                Correction: “closes approximation” should be “closest approximation”.

              • nielsky says:

                Red rod’s first presentation has no room to confuse whatsoever and that is why I referred you to a read piece which you are lazy to consider as a helpful reading.

              • edgar lores says:


                This proves you are not fully reading responses and understanding them. If you had, you would have noted my comment that I had read the article when it was first published — more than two years ago. Refer to item 8.4.

              • nielksy says:

                In answer, it’s like asking me to go back to what red rod has originally said to which I take full subscription but let me quote it now:

                “I’m talking about the president’s mention of his sudden support for an anti-dynasty law, which was obviously aimed to capitalize and score short-term cheap political points for Binay’s “one to sawa” gaffe and nothing more. I swear, if the president wasn’t insulting our intelligence, it would have been funny. How to take that seriously? it came from someone whose father was a career politician, whose mother was also too president, whose father’s father (Speaker Igno) was also a career politician, whose uncle (Butz) a senator, aunt (Tessie) a senator, uncle (Peping) was Vice-Mayor, Mayor, and Congressman, aunt (Ting-Ting) a governor, cousin’s husband (Dudut) congressman, another cousin (Gibo), a congressman who ran against him in 2010, another cousin (Charlie) a congressman, an uncle (Danding) chair of the NPC, and a cousin (Bam) who ran as early as two years ago whose sole achievement was being chair on the youth commission but an even bigger factor being a dead ringer (thanks to those specs) of the president’s late father/hero. Let’s face it, if his name was Bam Velasquez, he would not have won.”

                Am I asked to paraphrase? Or can I just give my most ordinary understanding of the term political dynasty? In the context articulated by red rod, i will just add by borrowing an excerpt from a song which chimes this way: “oh it’s me, shame and scandal in the family …”

                In other words, it is a bit of that. Put another way, political dynasty comes to me as that ‘vicious phenomenon inimical to democracy’ or ‘that which precisely, runs in the family’ (i.e. the Aquinos, the Cojuangcos). I hope that made me clear.

              • edgar lores says:


                1. It’s supposed to be in your own words and not someone else’s.
                2. I already critiqued red rod’s idea of a dynasty for indiscriminate enumeration. One of the main features in any definition of a political dynasty is a consideration of the timing element.

    • Bam had a very excellent qualification:

      At the age of 25, Aquino was appointed as chairman of the National Youth Commission, the youngest person in Philippine history to head a government agency.

      Afterwards, he stepped out of the government and plunged into social entrepreneurship. His desire was to make a difference in people’s lives by enabling them to earn for themselves.

      He founded The Hapinoy Program, a way to give micro-entrepreneurs

      Bam Aquino was a consistent honor student in Ateneo De Manila, Quezon City from grade school to college. During his grade school graduation, Bam delivered the valedictory speech and graduated with first honors. He also graduated as the class valedictorian in High School in 1995. He continued to serve when he joined the Ateneo Catechetical Instructional League, where he spent three years teaching catechism at nearby public schools.

      In 1999, Bam Aquino graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Engineering. He took an Executive Education Program on Leadership and Public Policy, at the Kennedy School of Government in the Harvard University in 2008.

      At the age of 25, Aquino was appointed as chairman of the National Youth Commission, the youngest person in Philippine history to head a government agency. His team has managed two projects which are implemented yearly: the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations and the Presidential Youth Fellowship Program (PYFP).

      In 2007, Bam Aquino established Micro Ventures Incorporated, a social enterprise that engages in poverty alleviation through business development for the poor.

      • red rod says:

        The bigger point being if Bam wore a different set of spectacles, you know, one from this decade and not one that seemed to have been from Ninoy’s closet and if he wasn’t the president’s cousin that did not bear the “Aquino” name, does he win a senate seat?

        The answer is no.

        People may find the spectacles part silly (this is politics, it’s only silly if the gimmick doesn’t work), but do a Google image search of “Bam Aquino Youth Commission” and Voila! the first picture returned from the search is a picture of youth leader Bam Aquino with a different set of specs that did not look like he raided The Ninoy Museum in Tarlac.

        • Please credit some voters with some sense and discerning ability…. speaking for myself, If I had not Googled Bam, I would not have voted for him, Aquino name or not. In another way, if Tessie Aquino had the nerve to seek another Senate term after her disastrous show of exuberance (by dancing in jubilation) right after the no vote prevailed in the Estrada impeachment court hearing, I would have campaigned to as many people as I could to NOT VOTE for her.

        • nielsky says:

          Very well said, no further comment.

        • hiddendragon says:

          If Bam Aquino was named Rosa Rosal, I would have still voted for him.
          Evidently, some people base their voting decisions on the kind of eyeglasses some people wear. I see Bam as a defense against the anti-dynasty bill (note my earlier posting that I am indifferent to it). He may have had a priveleged upbringing, but the guy is smart, capable, attempts to do good and do well and I actually think his statistically surname works against him.
          To be rich, smart, capable and well-meaning. What greater curse is there in Philippine political society?!?

          • red rod says:

            “Evidently, some people base their voting decisions on the kind of eyeglasses some people wear.”

            You know you that before you did? Bam Aquino.

            Gimmicks are nothing new in politics. GMA was made to look like Nora Aunor, Chiz Escudero was compared the famous singer Bamboo. I’ve known Bam for almost 20 years and spent some time with him in 2010. He wore a different kind of specs then. It wasn’t until 2012 as he was gearing for the senate run that he started sporting those thicker frames to make himself look like the man in the 500 peso bill.

            • Johnny Lin says:

              If one wants to feel the heat, stay in the kitchen.
              Politics is an incinerator, First step is recognition for impression
              Improving the image is the initial move.

              like changing hairdo, which I would bet 100% you have done since you were a young boy to impress a lady
              or dressing to kill!

            • nielsky says:

              Hilarious, comical – can’t help but laugh but the altruism seems quite important to ignore.How did you know all these?

              What about Mar? [Who does he look like or want to be pass off for?]

  23. nielsky says:

    The ‘anti-political dynasty movement’ and its authors have the copy of the book, to speak a little bit metaphorically.

    In such a case, can we not candidly punch a line like “look who is talking”? I calculate that we can.

    • red rod says:

      Except maybe lawmakers (Colmenares, Castro, Erice) who have authored bills have said bills to speak of. Do you know how the president followed-through on his supposed “support” of the measure? A few days after the SONA, the palace got on record saying Pnoy may not even certify any Anti-dynasty Bill as “urgent.”

      Are you not entertained?! LMAO

      • nielsky says:

        Precisely in that it will boomerang, backfire if you will. In which case, what you have just rolled out will be a classic sample specimen. Clearly, PNoy cannot practice what he preaches, be that the case.

        • red rod says:

          Five years in and the Pnoy administration is still suffering from a lack of pragmatism. They seemed to have forgotten that Mar Roxas still has a VP choice to make. Now he’s almost going to have to choose someone without relatives in politics (Robredo, Grace, Abaya). That just makes that list shorter. Pnoy could have omitted that anti-dynasty quibble. Now Mar is boxed into a corner.

          Of course, given the hypocrisy, picking someone coming from a “dynasty” would not surprise me at all.

  24. “This is not about me nor [Aquino]. This is about all of us being a part of something bigger than each and every one of us. This is about 100 million people counting on us to give them good leadership and a good future,” said Roxas.

    • nielsky says:

      The type of political homilies that no longer create sound and yet kept drumming up our ears.

      There is something terribly wrong with motherhood statements since they are intended to serve as soundbites just like how gian here again, commits the same.

      • edgar lores says:

        The Roxas statement is specific. He is saying that PNoy’s endorsement and his acceptance of it is not about ego.

        It is also a call to unity… and duty.

        In the context of our lack of patriotism, a deficiency in our sense of nationhood, and of the poor record of service of public servants, the Roxas statement is significant. It conveys that significance in so few a words.

        How would one rephrase the sentiment in so many words?

        And indeed if it were a soundbite, what is wrong with that? In the age of television, the soundbite is an accepted and widely used political tool. If crafted well, a soundbite attracts attention. It encapsulates and delivers meaning in brevity. Soundbites only become empty if there is nothing of substance behind them.

        Finally, homilies are almost the exact opposite of soundbites.

        • nielsky says:

          Sometimes when we paraphrase is when we get the whole idea wrong.

          Be that [as you may], even within the same ‘sentence boundary’, it was not at all hard to understand what the statement was, not at all.

          It is when [as soon as you put yours on it], the linguistic terms have been revised. I call such statement homilies in the context that they too serve as good soundbites.

          In particular, there is nothing in that Mar statement. You see that he condescends referring back to be that good leader to give us a good future. Of course we need a good leader, it doesn’t have to be him, however.

          That is where I may be wrong.

          • edgar lores says:


            1. a religious discourse which is intended primarily for spiritual edification rather than doctrinal instruction.

            2. a tedious moralizing lecture.

            • nielsky says:

              Once in a while if only to respond to simple statement having made, perhaps you can do away with what we commonly know now as ‘cognitive prosthesis’.

              As a matter of fact, having done so even helps but not necessary. I say that because it seems to have only crystallize on the point just put forth. .

        • I agree, sir edgar. And I think that comment of Mar is truly reassuring, that he is undertaking to serve the nation to the exclusion of other consideration.

          I don’t understand why nielsky find anything disagreeable in the words. Soundbites, slogan, call it any way, the important thing is that I believe his sincerity.

          We, giancarlo included, are trying to find ways how to help Mar in this campaign, We feel that it’s not enough that we say we are for Mar and then do nothing afterwards. We are committed to do what we can even in our little way to make the continuity of good governance (Straight Path) a reality. We realize 6 years of good governance is not enough, we need continuity and sustained efforts to achieve our aspirations for a better Philippines. Call even that motherhood statements, ridicule that even, ok lang. It’s a free country.

  25. Caliphman says:

    I was starting to pinch myself as I was reading this latest blog to make sure this was not just a dream or nightmare depending on one’s political views. I should have known it was by a guest author and not by Mr. Am himself. But that Mr. Pagurunan can express his views in a main blog article as edited or unedited as they may have been and as unpopular as they may be to most readers here is a testament to the worth of being a visitor or poster here. I am really quite bothered at the mention of his role as a cosiglieri to former congressman Pichay who was charged and possibly convicted of graft or other criminal charges but I will respect the practice here of not attacking the messenger nor the horse he rode into this blogsite on. Let me just say there are some things he mentioned I am in full agreement with including the huge corruption mess at the Bureau of Customs that this administration seems content to leave with whomever inherits the burden of continuing on with the Daang Matuwid. My main criticism of his essay is his measuring Pinoy’s accomplishments against a strawman, an ideal of a corruption-free government, first world economy, and other fantasized benchmarks which is completely unrealistic and unfair as I am sure other commenters will point out. A pity as the truth is as most informed and impartial observers are likely to say, Pinoy’s accomplishments are less than what he originally promised but much more than what his predecessors, who were in cases much brighter, more capable, more popular at least initially, and certainly less honest than this spoiled scion of an oligarch family, were ever able to deliver to this country.

    • nielsky says:

      Thank you but please don’t be bothered at all – nothing of any sort that you might imagine would ever happen.

  26. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Folks, listen !!! This Philippine politics is realllly getting confusing. I DO NOT KNOW WHO’S TELLING THE TRUTH OR WHO IS TELLING A LIE …..

    After several breakfasts, lunches and dinners …. After several high-profile tour with Poe and Mar … After all is said and done ….


    Who is telling the truth now? BENIGNO? GRACE? OR, INQUIRER ???? OR SOME GOSSIP COOK IN MALACANANG ?

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      If I take Grace words for it it makes BENIGNO A LIAR …
      If I take Benigno’s word for it, I TAKE GRACE A LIAR …..
      If I take Both words, I TAKE INQUIRER IS A LIAR ……

      That is why Binay became the VP and Jojo Jr became the Mayor and Nancy a Senator …


    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Well, just sayin ….

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      No wonder Barack is not taking Marwan’s death seriously.

  27. OFF TOPIC:

    For now, it does not look like Philippines is in great danger. Hopefully, Philippines is ready because a slight change in course could mean facing another super typhoon of Yolanda’s caliber.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Thank goodness !!!! I do not want Mar riding his tricycle again …

      • Another one who remembered the spill and not the task done, the herculean effort attempted and succeeded to go to victims trapped by the violent acts of nature to bring succor…. yeah… you bought the media spin of the Binay and the opposition spin doctors, aided by the unthinking media aimed at ridiculing and how many others out there?

  28. nielsky says:

    If there be questionnaire sheet designed for all aspirants prior to the policy debate, similar or dissimilar to the one asked by Binay from the BRC [maybe Juana should explain more about this], then if anyone should have an advanced copy, it must be true for the rest, meaning they all be given their own advance copy.

    I do not think we can have a more sensible policy debate if in the first place, the policy issues are not mapped out even if that would mean ahead of the debate schedule. The purpose is of course, to simply put direction on the best policy outcomes sought to be articulated.

  29. nielsky says:

    Isn’t it quite important to have a diversity of policy views as broad as possible? The next time I would hear a similar view, I have reason not to ‘patronize’ whom PNoy anointed but that is just my view.

    This probably clearly explains that all in PNoy’s term there had just been a couple of meetings by the LEDAC [Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council] unlike FVR who, most purposively to gather the best consensus, almost had weekly.

    We had a president all of 6 years, who ‘listens to no one’? The danger perhaps of one who can talk fast as if he were in a great hurry? Just a thought. I wish I am wrong in this regard.

    • This sounds like you put a lot of credibility in the source of the message. Do you personally know the source that you can vouch for his honesty? Enlighten me. Why would I take your word for it?

    • Johnny Lin says:

      For the past 5 years Binay never maligned the character of PNoy. He never spoke about giving advice to him about Corona during impeachment.

      Ow, he is throwing all these poison darts of Noynoy’s character. after PNoy did not endorse his candidacy and Aquino sisters publicly declared they would not support Binay.

      An ingrate sour graping man to satanic level. Whoever believes him has also deep problems with sour graping and lack of sense of gratitude in reality.

      • hear, hear….listen and learn…

        but then, sometimes people with preconceived ideas will never waver even if the truth is staring them in their face. The Binay supporters and enablers will stick to their position no matter how many times you attempt to reason with them. One can only wonder why.

        They will repeat their arguments in another forum, in another blog article. Haiisst..

        • nielsky says:

          Belabor us on the truth, Philippine experience, if you must please.

          The concept nay term ‘enabling’ or ‘enabler’ in public administration or public policy is not the way you have negatively used it. So I guess it may be a little bit of an inappropriate word. As often times as we change or revise the normal connotation of terms, there can be certain problems that result in terms of either knowledge or ignorance. Just a point.

          Lastly, there is a manifest serious effort to be clear in what we articulate here that does not as much as require crossing into another forum or another blog, for what more can it add?

          Certain convergences as well as divergences in terms of ideas depend on how keen or close we get at the experience that we either subjectively or objectively experience and understand. That said, there can be no right or wrong provided however that one undertakes to explain – communicate the thoughts.

          So what is the truth that you are trying to articulate. Perhaps a couple of good examples will help you Mary?

          • Aha, I have just lately encountered you in this blog, are you new here? I ask because we have been at it for quite a while and encountered some people (not you) whom we have engaged in deep discussions that seem unending, only for the same points to be introduced again in another blog article of JoeAm or in another site (raissa robles). It’s somewhat exhausting and it usually comes to a point when I just had to go back to a previous discussion or thread in another article and copy paste the same opinion or rebuttal if you will for the benefit of new visitors of the site. The Yolanda and Mamasapano even that motorcycle stumble, are examples that the Binay group (see I have dropped the word enabler) are using to paint Mar as ineffective and such other words to ridicule him in some other way, all of which we have thoroughly or partially discussed in details before. The Comembo property acquisition is another one, as well as the BSP / Alphaland controversy not to mention the other subjects of the BR sub-committee hearings, all of which the VP refused to shed light on.

            I was responding to Johnny Lin’s 11:00 am post today, specifically his last sentence.

            • nielsky says:

              Am sorry if you have that problem with new visitors of the site [it’s just beyond me]. In fact, it was the least to ask since I never intended to challenge any of your comments however contrary to my view. It is okay, Funny, it makes me think of the need for an incubation period. Sorry, it is really funny. But I have always loved to proceed with caution, insight, and an even greater amount of logic.

              • I already explained in a lengthy way why I asked….and no, of course there’s is truly no need for an incubation period, if it is, I would not go into that long para so you will not take offense. I also made clear that it was not you I was referring to in my response to Johnny. It’s because from time to time, when internet connection and urgent work prevents me from participating, I take a break so I might have missed you here.

              • I truly don’t have a problem with new visitors of the site, that would be presumptuous of me, I’m not its owner, in fact, I’m glad of new visitors here as I have mentioned in response to you.

                Just curious, why did you never intend to challenge any of my comments however contrary to your view, not worth your time ba?

              • nielsky says:

                No in fairness, at first time, it seems tempting to respond to. Maybe because you are a lady, I don’t know. So when Juana even thank me, assuming it was a compliment, I can’t help but say thank you to her and just when I did, why should another took a rub and say now the guest becomes the host. Of course, I already responded to that.

                Yet, when another one says thank you to yet another commenter, I have yet to read the same rather ‘different’ comment being thrown at him. Why the double standard or split level Christianity if you will?

                We love to exchange views but there is no reason to be – what term must I used?

      • nielsky says:

        Even in law, many of applied legal principles have already been found outdated, obsolete even.

        Even in the hard sciences for that matter.

        This is even neither law nor science. Simply put, what is not ‘used’ doesn’t mean it was never there in the beginning. We cannot be more naive – politics is always a dirty game if that be the case.

        • Johnny Lin says:

          In psychology, sentiments expressed reflect on the inner self of the individual. That has not change. Similar to tears expressed as sadness or joy depending on the sentiment while laughter usually denotes happiness from different sentiments.

          Denial is deadly or destructive more often. Like a person refusing to take medicines because of denial of serious illness by believing the problem is not really grave. Denial is expressed on certain beliefs.

    • He achieved much in his own way…he is the President and with that position, he has a lot of discretion. Some people would like to do it their way, in their own timetable, well, we are 100 million individuals, how many of that adults am not sure, but it’s hard to listen to 80 million (more or less) voices all at the same time. He has his cabinet and coalition members and for all we know, they are discussing several matters which are not televised 8 hours a day.

      • sonny says:

        Mary G pls comment on this piece, at your discretion & convenience of course. I ask you because your language I do understand. I hope it is on-topic even if only tangentially.

        Following the comments in this installment of Joe’s blog, I presume we are putting the decisions, capabilities for productive action of the president and those who are interested in the presidency when he steps down. I appreciate that we as interlocutors to the topic are genuinely interested out of concern for our 100 million countrymen as a whole and as individual citizens. We assume this should be the case universally. The article I’m linking to implies this is not necessarily so. My takeaway question is: which way or regime has got it right for its citizens. Can the PH adopt the same plan in part or in toto and come out true to our countrymen’s benefit? (This is a view of China I rarely hear about)

        Thank you.

        • oops, sonny, am sorry, I saw your comment just now, when the office is about to close, and waaahhhhh…we have no internet service at home for almost a week now. May I answer this tomorrow?

        • @ sonny

          First I will quote from the linked article:

          “When the state controls every aspect of your life, from contraception to death, moving a few million reluctant farmers into cities at breakneck speed is merely par for the course I would think.”

          In a country which can stifle dissent in a very effective way, and with a government run by a committee which has no problem with continuity (as compared with democratic ones where sustained programs are hampered by changes of officials thru regular election) a long term or a visionary programs can be attained with not much difficulty.

          Take Singapore, a small country just the size of Metro Manila controlled by a benevolent dictator who controlled media and its citizens much the same as China is doing in their large continent. Singapore became prosperous even if she has no natural resources, Hong Kong too when the city was still under British rule as her colony. Making Hong Kong and Singapore as examples, China is trying to urbanize a large portion of China into ten or more mega cities each with 10 million residents interlinked with modern infrastructures. Their aim is not to depend on exports for economic growth but growth from within.

          For a country awash with cash (US owed China some trillions of dollars in loans) and with billions of citizens (The population of China is estimated at 1,393,783,836 as of July 1 2014. China’s population is equivalent to 19.24% of the total world population. China ranks number 1 in the list of countries by population. The population density in China is 145 people per Km2.) at her disposal and total control its citizens, she can do anything, look at the hectares of reclaimed seas done in less than a year.

          This then explains fully the phenomenon that has made world financiers wondering why China is liquidating US securities, converting their reserves to gold, plus they need funds to finance these projects, local and foreign (the silk road networks, the reclaimed islands that will presumably be military establishments to secure their planned oil drilling there as they will be requiring huge amount of oil to fuel their urbanization and modern infrastructure plans.

          We in the Philippines are aiming for the same continuity so that a semblance of what the 1st world economies can be attained here. The British in Hongkong, Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore and the Politburo in China has the advantage of having a clean slate to start from, a specific area where urban planning and infrastructure will be drawn first before construction of anything can be allowed. Imagine the sheer number of buildings to be demolished just to make way for interconnecting Metro cities, first a flood control program had to be drawn kinda like the one done by the Dutch whose country is located below sea level, underground tunnels for modern trains designed to withstand high intensity tremors, and such other infrastructures designed to transport masses of people to and from their work places.

          What we are observing now is the reverse of what China is doing. She is contemplating to herd her people (100 million of them) to highly urbanized cities that they are planning to build. We are trying to relocate people from the crowded cities to outlying provinces, never mind that here is where work and livelihood can be found.

          The Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike (LED)


          project is a very good concept of this administration due for awarding within this year, It aims to bring more jobs and business away from Metro Manila to the South, their plan to connect the north and south expressways is excellent too. Maybe we can establish more mega cities somewhere in the north and south, in the Visayas and Mindanao. I believe, those are in the drawing board, to be completed before the end of the next elected President’s term.

          Democracy has its own limitation, we have to work within those limitation and eventually reach our goal, corruption prevents economic growth from reaching the poorest of the poor, from having inclusive growth, not just for the 5% ultra rich people who get richer because of their connections and cunning lobbying and rent seeking manipulations.

          A very long answer, sonny… circuitous, too yes? Am not that good at organizing my ideas in such a very limited time.

          • sonny says:

            Totally loving your reply, Mary Grace! I didn’t solicit and await your reply in vain. In connection with the discussion on the selling of PH resources by our own LGUs under extra-legal means, I am so wary that we will end up with a Balkanized Philippines. This is not as impossible as it seems given the cyber nature of information and brokered allegiances.

            • Aside from being betrayed by you know who, wary too of the Philippines being annexed (thru military means) to China in addition to our our very own Exclusive Economic Zone…nah… please don’t worry. if God is with us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

              With GOD, the UN and our allied friends we need not worry.

          • edgar lores says:

            A gem.

          • sonny & Mary, thanks for this interchange.

            “Maybe we can establish more mega cities somewhere in the north and south, in the Visayas and Mindanao.”

            What exactly is the vision for these mega-cities? And who gets to envision them? Over here cities tend to coalesce or consolidate into big, sprawling cities. I guess this is natural. But people generally have a say (ie. more parks, bike paths, more this, more that…) and local gov’ts for the most part enforce zones and urban plans according to laws (ie. sidewalks, curbs, basic infrastructures…).

            Like I have said in the past, you’ll never see a homeless child in the US, social (gov’t) and faith based entities prioritize their aid, same goes for women and the elderly. If they are in the streets, more times than not, they’ve chosen it–and if they chose for their kids a destitute life, its child abuse, so you’ll never find kids living on the streets here.

            The dynamics is different there, so what are the safety features in the building of these mega cities to ensure from further destitution of the poor. Is the process of urban planning truly democratic there? I’m guessing not, so are there now movements (ie. via social media, civic groups, etc…) to either counter-act and/or balance these mega-cities plans to ensure it doesn’t just benefit the few and focus stays in qualify of life for all (or as much as can be)?

            • In the absence of proper Land Use Act, I find the creation of mega cities to be a pipe dream.

              Developers are at it buying large tracts of land from exhausted landowners who want immediate bucks for their property (the Villars and their allegedly rent seeking manipulations to convert agricultural properties to either commercial or residential areas) – we now see former ricefields now subdivisions or golf courses. In another situation, look at the Binay Hacienda in Rosario Batangas, supposedly a land reform area but through allegedly back dealings and manipulations, have ended up being allegedly owned by a Binay dummy Tiu but who can’t provide title to the property as of now due to land reform restriction which necessitates a certain number of years from the date of awarding of the properties by the government. Shades of what they did to the McKinley lot in Fort Bonifacio which was supposed to be for the military enlisted men but ended up with the Chongs, another alleged Binay dummy. The alleged connivance of corrupt government agencies with another corrupt government officials allegedly bent on doing business with his Chinese friends to raise more funds for his presidential campaign is so disheartening and frustrating.

              I fear that we will no longer have enough agricultural land for rice and vegetable production if we continue this developer initiated housing construction. I’m more in favor of building vertically, rather than horizontally so we can retain as much agricultural land as possible.

              Build around a carefully planned infrastructure, that’s how it should be done.

              • “I’m more in favor of building vertically, rather than horizontally so we can retain as much agricultural land as possible.”

                I’ve become a big fan of JRR Tolkien of late, and have recently realized the value of the Shire–land not so much to be cultivated, but simply appreciated.

              • LCpl_X (@LCpl_X) ,

                Thanks for the videos, I truly appreciate them. Hi, chempo, I know you came from Singapore, this vertical gardening is now being done there, right. I wish we could encourage our businessmen here to consider this.

                Vertical farming in lieu of traditional methods , vertical residential homes instead of so many subdivisions for the poor and the middle class, those are worth a second look by the government and the private sectors.

          • I went drinking with colleagues there awhile back, a few bars somewhere around Ermita, and decided to peel off the group and return to my hotel room by myself, but decided to walk. Being drunk, I got lost, and encountered the darker side of the city. Dark alley like streets, couldn’t differentiate one from the other, I finally asked for directions from a guy who I took to be some regular guy. Turned out he was a pimp of sorts and insisted I check out some girls. Feeling somewhat guilty for bothering the guy, I obliged him. We saw a collection of prostitutes in an open room, the room actually looked nice and so did the girls gathered and seated in front of me, not poor at all more like students in stature –from the street and the small dark pathway we came in from, you’d never imagine that there was such an elegant abode located therein. I said hi to the girls and talked to the host, who was a gay man in his forties. After a couple of minutes, I decided to go–I had no intention of partaking. I guess it was a slow day (you can tell because there were still a significant number of beauties in the line-up) because the “madam” (the gay guy) was offering discounts. Then when it was clear that I was leaving, the madam turned to the pimp-like character that accompanied me and chastised him for what I thought was his failure to properly vet me (I mentioned I was just passing by to go back to my hotel). The madam and I parted amicably, and I said good-bye to the girls. Somewhat perturbed the small pimp walked me back to the street, once out I noticed he wasn’t just a little bit mad, he was seething–apparently I wasted his time was my interpretation. So he called to his colleagues, who began to surround me and when I noticed one with what looked to be a machete, I ran back to the major street. It was obvious from their movements that they were pumped up with meth. I heard them laugh, as I left them behind. Since I peeled off my group, calculating that the likelihood of getting in trouble may increase as the night wore on, I too laughed with them–but now from a safe distance. And I hailed a taxi. I had the better story of the night come morning.

            It’s always these gritty corners in big third world cities that give me pause when there’s talk of further urbanizing. I used to think well of these urbanization campaigns, these visions of urban sprawls, since seeing Coruscant in Episode I: here

            But having seen much of the world now, I’m more dubious when it comes to concepts of mega-cities, especially in the Philippines. Please ameliorate my concerns, Mary.

            • Raids on such establishments are regular features on night time TV, what I find disappointing is why those young girls are the ones being shamed and not the pimps and the owner of the establishments, the big boss. Those girls could be victims of circumstances, or for some out there to support their addiction much like the stories I hear from US ghettos. They need to be helped and be provided with better source of livelihood. More budgets need to be earmarked for the DSWD so this can happen, and I know that this is being done as we speak. The church, the universities and schools even the homes and families need to coordinate closely to end this problems of drugs and prostitution business. I remember our discussions when Joe was away, I learned there from you that the worst drugs are those manufactured by the Chinese in rented residential houses here in the country. I wish the next president would appoint Duterte or Lacson as drug czar. The DILG under Mar has introduced innovations in our police departments to effectively curtail crimes.

  30. Bing Garcia says:

    Only 235 readers or 6.23 percent of the total votes sided with Binay as they agreed with his counter-Sona. Inquirer Poll

  31. chempo says:

    When I saw the author PP name I knew what to expect. Nevertheless I want to read with an open mind. I find the style so difficult and painful to read. Am I stupid or what? And the substance….there is no substance. As Edgar has done, every generalisation PP made can be refuted with stats and details from the SONA. But PP is smart, he pre-empted any challenge to his generalisations by the tainted line that stats are generally lie, lie & more lies.

    A few days ago I read a commentary on page 2 of a local daily that was the usual generalised critique of Aquino Admin (come to think of it, it was more or less similar to PP’s although in simple English) and then on page 3 was a different article that was more appreciative of the govt but this one laying out all the stats, details, reports that supported it’s view. I was thinking gee if I were the first author I would have been terribly ashamed at how shallow I was when compared to the article opposite mine. Now look at PP’s article and the SONA, I wonder how PP feels.

    Thanks to Andrew now I understand where PP is coming from. The other PP he was associated with (Prospero Pichay) has a lot to answer in court soon. Pichay and the other vocal anti-Aquino lawman Sherwin Gatchalian are facing raps from the Ombudsman regarding the Express Savings Bank Inc scam.

    • nielsky says:

      For as long as Joe Am allows use of certain labels or stigmas [in any specifiable instance], I would defer to him in this vibrantly ongoing discourse for ours is a deliberative democracy than a representative democracy [the two differ].

      Style is pretty permissible in this forum but ‘surgical analysis’ is even much more a healthy currency provided however that one [if I kept saying it though] substantiates his/her view. And as much as it can be avoided, the background of the person doesn’t have to rub into the discussion by anyone since that is prone to a tendency to label, pigeon hole minds contrary to yours which should be embarassing especially if it is rendered callously.

      Be that [as you may], we all keep an open mind because we are interested in a resultant discourse moved a notch higher. Nor has it been permissible to compare commenters against those new entrants and those who seem to act – if this were a club, as bouncers, pardon my analogy [it is bad but a point has to be proved].

      It is beyond me how it came to be that PP’s article has to be even compared with the SONA and ask how one feels? What are you smoking chempo? Better still, ‘I come from the mountains’, please educate me.

      It is no shame that one has worked with the likes of Prospero Pichay, the accused [or why is he not jailed up to this time when his burst in the national consciousness ahead of the others]? It must have been an honor [trabaho lang]. More so with Augusto Syjuco [trabaho lang]. Wilhelmino Syjuco [oh well the same].

      Wouldn’t it be more helpful to roll out your dice too? I would be interested to count the number of dots each time you toss, honest.

      Been waiting for the contra blog of a very avid commenter against this one of the writer. Of course, it is different for it is.

      • edgar lores says:

        It is beyond me how it came to be that PP’s article has to be even compared with the SONA and ask how one feels?

        The illogicality of the statement astounds.

        Sorry, on second thought, it doesn’t. The intro says it all: “It is beyond me…”


        What are you smoking chempo?

        Another dig… which sounds very familiar, an echo of:

        • So nielsky is the writer of this article?

          • He thanked Juana for praising the article, and Edgar can’t help but comment “the guest is now the host?” in another thread. It is common here that the author answers the comments on the article contributed unless he/she is at work or something.

            If that is so, why would he use that handle nielsky when he had used PP when he commented in an earlier blog right before karl took a break in apparent disappointment. karl, where are you?

            • nielsky says:

              It is just the usual courtesy when you are being praised, assuming indeed praised to say the customary thank you [words were creative writer]. I remember having also sort of say sorry or in effect, apologized so unless you need to exact more ‘punishment’? Funny.

              As to the handle, I think every one enjoys the privilege to use the handle he chooses and that is not even borne out of anonymity so what seems to be wrong about that at all? Making a mountain of a mole hill?

              Oh by the way, nielsky is just a favorite handle back in some blogging days. It is just being consistent nonetheless, there is nothing to hide. Makes me wonder now if at all you are reading the texts of nielsky which is clear and transparent about his message that indeed, PP and nielsky is – the name and the handle.

              Am sorry to defeat satisfactory answer to all your mind-troubling puzzles so far only as you are the one concerned. It is never an intention provided that messages were effectively communicated [Dunn].

              • At the time that I commented on your thanking Juana, I didn’t know yet that you and PP, the author of this article is one and the same. I was thinking aloud, trying to find out if you are the author, not fixating on your act of thanking Juana. As simple as that.

            • edgar lores says:

              Re Karl. I remember he was very much affected by the comments of Abe (/). I believe he and Bert used to look up to this guy, who Karl considered to be some sort of mentor… and the guy has turned out to be a supporter of Binay. Karl was so disappointed in him.

              • But he’s coming back right? sonny and Karl are my guides here, so please tell him that I am back and want to see him back here.

              • Bert says:

                I have this nagging feeling that karl is not well. I hope I’m wrong. His last message after that incident with Abe stated, “…ang dami ko na ngang nainom na gamot..” which could indicate he’s on some kind of medication.

                We wish you well, karl.

          • edgar lores says:

            I don’t think so. The language, style and conceptual approaches are different.

            Trust Mary Grace’s intuition.

        • nielsky says:

          Simply point to the illogicality if there is such a word, please.

          • edgar lores says:

            From chempo: “The comparision to SONA is pretty obvious. Form vs substance. I like to see more substance from PP.”

      • chempo says:

        hi nielsky
        I agree with u we should keep an open mind. Such as one did I read the article, hoping he can convince me from his perspective. But you can’t sell me new ideas with generalisations.

        My commentary on his style was not a criticism. Just a remark that I had difficulty with it. I’m fully aware there are people who adore this type of flowery prose.

        The comparision to SONA is pretty obvious. Form vs substance. I like to see more substance from PP.

        The PP/PP association was brought up because in the various threads of discussion in Joeam’s blogs there is a consistent playback to the idea that you sense the measure of a person by the company he keeps. They all live together in the crooked little house.

        • nielsky says:

          Talk is cheap if you just dismiss ideas/views based on some incapacity or difficulty more so if you just associate a person with yet another one and unjustly perhaps make the supposition they they ‘together live in the crooked little house’.

          That certainly has not basis except a figment of imagination meant to whatever motive moves you which is beyond me.

          Still, everyone is entitled to their own opinion perhaps which by and large is the reason this forum still exists.

          • hey, nielsky, I’m not familiar with all these Filipino styles of subtleties and innuendos, can you just give me a YES or NO answer, are you the writer of this article? Thanks.

            • Bert says:

              Hehehehe, LCpl_X…nielsky/Primer Pagunuran will not answer YES or NO…. he loves innuendos so I will answer you instead.

              And the answer is: YES. 🙂

            • nielsky says:

              Sounds like you are not a Filipino or if you were, there seems to run underneath currents of undisguised dissociation? Please disabuse our minds.

          • chempo says:


            I don’t dismiss those ideas/views. And it’s not because of my incapacity to understand the prose. I only have problems with lack of substance and “intent”.

            As to substance, ‘ll make it very clear : Here I am, ready to listend and re-evaluate. Please give me justifications, not generalisations”.

            As to “intent”, that relates to my reference to “the crooked little house”. You see Nielsky, I have a problem. I see lots of ant-admin articles — tv, local press, online — most times they are pure generalisations. I’m very careful of “intent”, ie. whether there are agendas behind the articles. So at times I take the pain of background checking the authour. Most of these anti-admin authors turn out to be personalities with a lot to lose in a govt pushing the right path. I do see some commentators who seem ordinary guys with no political baggages. I’m more inclined to listen to their views as there are no hidden motives.

            • nielsky says:


              That is too revealing of you, bother a check on one who never hid under the cloak of anonymity like you do?

              Also, I don’t know where you are coming from when you are so fixated with your concept of ‘intent’ as that of trying to know whether there are agenda behind the articles. Never mind if I lack that intent in the way your suspicion goes. But as to substance, there is most debatable but since you just say it as easily as you can write without bothering to point which paragraph for example has not a point or idea, then that talk is one they call cheap.

              Speaking of substance, how can you explain to 6-year old how a ‘crooked little house’ look like? Funny. Not by any figment of imagination. Not by a metaphor, either.

              We can raise the level of discourse by certainly doing away first with sort of sizing up the messenger and assign things we can hardly sit on and debate upon. I would have wanted to engage you but am afraid so much time might be wasted, pardon my saying.

    • I would like to discuss more on issues – in this case the Express Savings Bank Inc scam to distinguish it from another bank scam wherein an associate justice was given substantial loan out of a rescue package for the bank, knowing that the rescue is bound to fail. I got this link which is taking 45 years to open…hehe

      • chempo says:

        What drew me to this ESBI case was the Aquino bashing from Gotchalian. Intent is very important. Anyone can criticise Aquino administration if one has no agenda other than demanding service, accountability and wishing well for the country. When we look into the anti-Aquino voices we find that almost all come from the same crooked little house. I did’nt know anything about Gotchalian and I did’nt google to know that there must be skeletons in his cubboard. I asked my fellow foreigner friends (these are businessmen who do not have time like us for online google and social media) what’s wrong with the fella making all the noise and they pointed me to ESBI.

  32. All,

    The first of a long list of debates will begin this Thursday, pitting a bunch of Republican US presidential candidates with one another. For the old and new here, I showed up to this blog around April and May of this year, then Joe insisted I take a month long hiatus in early June, coming back only a few days ago. I mostly commented on regional stuff, not so much on local politics in the Philippines. But since the games have begun here, I figured why not get fired up with two Presidential runs–here and over there.

    Americans love contests, anything we can score, tally-up, poll and create statistics out of, we’ll do it. That’s why we love sports, wars and market forecasts. Lately, though with the popularity of American Ninja Warrior, I’ve come to realized it’s not just about scores and numbers, but about performance–looking good while in a middle of a fight, we love that too.

    And this is the reason we love these Presidential debates. It’s entertainment and contest all rolled up into one exciting event, with bar graphs, pie charts and percentages to get us all excited. Sure we judge these performers on the vitality of their ideas, but also on presentation & cool, Nixon was sweating profusely on his upper lip and forehead, so we went with Kennedy (actually I wasn’t even born then, but that’s the key lesson learned at the outset of these TV debates, don’t let the cameras see you sweat).

    There’s a few debates of Philippine Presidential and VP candidates I found on youtube, just bits and pieces though. But debates don’t seem to be an institution there as they are over here. Since Joe now has the ear of the President and his staff, and many blog reading Filipinos, I say we the readership here push for a new Philippine tradition of debates, for voter education as well as entertainment–if you’re gonna embezzle taxpayer money with no remorse when in office, at least give the people a good show first.

    That last sentiment was a joke, please don’t “Claire Danes” me–the bureaucrats, not the people of course.

    I’m sure we can agree on this idea, maybe disagree on the finer details on how these debates will proceed and how many there should be (I think last go-round the American people realized there were waaaay too many, so now they’ve cut back–too much of a good thing). So my only contribution is to push for these Philippine debates to be in English, before you all give me the finger, let me explain.

    It’s been my experience that the Philippines is pretty screwed up (me and Joe have agreed to tone down my sentiments here, and to focus instead on what can be better) and feel that if your country is to rise, you have to find a way to entice the diaspora Filipinos living outside of the Philippines, not just the ones who left the Philippines, but their kids to return–they I think are your salvation… the Filipina born in Tehran, Iran now a doctor in the US, that German-Filipina born in Munich, that 19 year old Filipino born in Tel Aviv now serving in the IDF, Filipinos are all over the world–I met one in the northern most part of Sweden forchrisakes!

    The Chinese are enticing Chinese around the world with all sorts of stuff, they’re promising top Chinese scientists to go back to China to work on whatever scientific projects they want, Chinese-Americans are going to Hong-Kong, Shanghai and Beijing. It’s a talent war, the name of the game is to hold and build. The Philippines is still playing push all professionals out and rely on them sending money back, no country ever became great with that strategy.

    Since the Philippines has no money to fund Filipino scientists to work on cutting-edge projects in the Philippines, and it’s still hard pressed to invite foreign entrepreneurs like the Chinese-Americans in Hong-Kong, the most it can do is to enliven Filipinos out there, especially their kids. And their kids speak the lingua franca of the world, that’s English. So these debates should be in English, and there should be a push to reach-out to the Filipino diaspora for 2016–get the DFA in-line with this idea,

    For 2016 focus on Mindanao and focus on your Diaspora coming back.

    • sonny says:

      @ LCplX
      The two foci you suggest SHOULD resonate with all Filipinos, IMO. The Mindanao part is more obvious and tractable than the repatriation of the diaspora.

      • sonny,

        Did you catch Vicara‘s comment on Joe’s LGU article:

        “I’ve heard from good authority, an engineer working down south, that China also sourced sand for its runway-building from as far away as Tawi-tawi. So these reports are with regard to the West Philipppine Sea construction… And they know that the end-user of all this sand and minerals is China.”

        As for the Diaspora, how do you convince bureaucrats (and regular folks) that it’s more sensible to bring the ideas than rely on the money being sent from afar?

        If you’re a bureaucrat, that money represents something taxable, and skimmable, however

        idea and vibrancy in thought coming from the West, seems more a threat than something that will benefit a nation.

        Here’s a video on what China’s doing with its “multifaceted plan aiming to boost the numbers of highly skilled overseas Chinese returnees and cultivate home-grown world class talent in a range of fields”:

        • sonny says:

          @ LCplX

          Even before the PH-China conflict, I have already been for a strict control and management of the mineral resources of the PH. The simple reason is that these minerals are extremely limited in quantities and absolutely the non-renewable resources of the country and should be directed for the sole purpose of domestic consumption! This control belongs to the purview of the government. (I go to paroxysms as I state this, knowing the legendary wisdom of the PH government and citizenry); pls get me my tranquilizer meds)

          Just like our present OFWs, immigrant professionals have repatriate dreams acute at first, then become chronic until these fade away altogether and finally settle for their bicultural lot.

          Related factoid: The US Library of Congress keeps records on Masters & PhD degrees conferred from various US universities. The entries are sorted by country of origin of graduates. One volume I scanned out curiosity – the Philippine directory was in pamphlet thickness; the Chinese directory was the thickness of a regular book. One can make his/her own speculations regarding targetted talents of the two countries.

          • sonny,

            I agree with keeping it in house, or

            even better don’t dig it up at all and focus on restoring and protecting what’s on top. My biggest problem with Obama is the increased oil and fracking here, sure it’s good that we’re not so reliant in the Mid-East and other regions for fossil fuel, but at what cost domestically? How to convince people how to live simply is the problem.

            When I was there the cities had a very consumer feel to them, similar to here, but the imbalance isn’t blatant here–over there, there were tons of kids begging for money. And when you go to the country side, things were simpler and slower, but there’s a sad assumption that it’s somehow better in the cities.

            How do you convince them to appreciate and protect this simplicity.

            Are you familiar with ? Eco-tourism has made Costa Rica thrive, why not push for this in the Philippines, and convince people that protecting and keeping nature untouched pays off.

            (as for more Filipinos, compared to Chinese, with Phds and Masters from American colleges, I don’t doubt it, that should be considered a national resource right there, more valuable than any metal or fossil. Is that ‘records on Masters & PhD degrees conferred from various US universities’ available online, can you send a link? thanks, sonny.)

            • sonny says:

              LCplX, the exodus of country folk to MetroManila was bound to happen. The back-breaking work required to keep body & soul together under agrarian tropical conditions is the big push-out factor while the promise of economic amelioration is the seductive pull-in to the Manila life. This is not specific to the Philippines. Would-be cities that can replicate this paradigm, to my mind, are already around: e.g. Laoag-Baguio to the north, Davao-Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao, Naga City in Bicol, Cebu-Bacolod in the Visayas. There are other municipalities on the move in other parts of the islands.

              I came across the hardcopy book-bound records of the Library of Congress purely by accident browsing in one of the many nooks & corners of this humongous library. (I was looking for a reference to the actual counting of the 7,100 islands of the PH 🙂 I know where to look for the navigational charts for the islands. I am not aware if they put the records of the Masters & PhDs on-line.

              Chinese students are quite ubiquitous in the universities of Chicago & Illinois: the campuses of U of Illinois, U of Chicago, Northwestern U, Loyola U, De Paul U. I understand that the competition for admission to premier Chinese universities (mainland) are quite super stiff. Hence admission to US universities nationwide are mutually attractive, viz. real income to the US schools

            • sonny says:

              Just to be sure. The PH list is the pamphlet, The China list is the book.

              • sorry, sonny, I did flip that. so china has more phd and masters. makes sense since they have more people in the planet–gives more merit to dr. wang’s program above.

  33. Jerry says:


    senator grace should ask former MMDA chairman Bayani to run with her as President. Their tandem will be unbeatable. 🙂

  34. Sumida says:

    “But now under the aegis of a reforming government, the policy shift is toward greater accountability and it is hoped that all the constraints, executive privileges invoked, confidentiality, and all that would be relaxed to pave the way for a more maturing political understanding of the public-private partnerships that should be desired not just at the policy, legal, or institutional level but right at where the investors operate the business or economic platform.”

    “The current administration in the Philippines, headed by President Aquino gave preferential priority to infrastructure investment, with a focus on the use of PPPs in the country. The administration is creating a market through its pipeline of PPP projects, allowing the PINAI fund
    to focus uniquely and exclusively on the Philippines. The current administration has prioritized infrastructure as a key driver for the country‘s sustainable growth, and is implementing regulation providing clear rules for private investment, which is necessary for providing additional private investment in infrastructure.”

    excerpts from:

    “Current Discourse in Infrastructure Policy in the
    Philippines:Interrogating Collaborative Issues in the Context of
    Regional Futures”

    Primer C. Pagunuran

    • hiddendragon says:

      I haven’t really digested ALL the responses here, but this got me. I found myself agreeing to the quoted rebuttal, but as I read on, I thought to myself these policy writers need a really good massage. In the head. And then I saw the name of the writer. WHAM! BAM! Thank you, Pagunaran! 😉

    • hiddendragon says:

      Sumida (Mr? Ms?), thank you.
      How did you manage to catch this?!?

      • Sumida says:

        I wanted to find other published work from this author to help remove the bias coming from his association with another PP…

        just stumbled into this from reading the first Google search hit…

        Mr Pagunuran has an impressive educational / work background. He potentially has a lot to offer,.. if he can part with his dick moves (sorry couldn’t help it) , I hope that it wont take too long for him to see that people here have the PH at heart …

        Wish he could share his take on pressing issues from a public admin. point of view (where he is a doctoral student)

        Mr..Ms..even “it” would be fine, I’m not important

  35. nielsky says:

    I deem it the proper subject of moderation when comment is not focused on issue but rather on insult like this comment/act of hiddendragon on a text/knowledge product posted without my permission as the same must be approached with caution.

    With much humility, I take it as a challenge to share thoughts on pressing issues but may I appeal that we do so with focus on the message not the messenger. How can one roll out a theme/topic if apparently most are on the attack mode?

    Am just a simple human being and has little claim for anything. This is just a forum where we want a fruitful exchange of worldviews which seems to be the mark of Joe America’s blog. Am one for keeping it that way.

    • hiddendragon says:

      Did not mean to personally offend, but in this case of doublespeak, it serves the discussion well to make the revelation. But I have to say, from whichever side he speaks, they are very hard to read.

  36. nielsky says:

    Note in article’s paragraph 10, argument is advanced and if I may quote, that “A 6.3 GDP is not even an absolute measure of economic growth, is it?” Surprisingly, no one rebutted this more important point by the author.

    Because it is not rebutted, I take it to mean as true so let it stand as such.

    I will then take liberty to push the argument further as to state that in the traditional view of economic activity, GDP is similar to an ‘electric meter measuring energy use in a building’ {Costanza, Hart, Posner, and Talbert 2009).

    This is so gleaned from the circular flow of income and expenditures within a market economy: individuals, businesses, and governments use capital to create goods and services. In essence, GDP measures the annual volume of this flow (or throughput) in an economy, similar to an
    electric meter measuring energy use in a building.

    By no means is GDP the only measure of progress much less a measure of national well-being (Constanza et al 2009 p 1). In other words, there are other alternatives and complements to GDP.

    Note that because GDP is based on estimates and survey data and on this alone, we are aware that there is always a resultant debate as to its accuracy. The more important point to be raised is that, as Constanza et say is that ‘many important economic activities are entirely excluded from GDP measurements such volunteer work, social capital formation within healthy family units, the costs of crime and an increasing prison population, and the depletion of natural resources (p. 2).

    I mention this because of the skeptics and critics that seem not too keen to engage an exchange of views on the real issues which is the proper subject of discourse. Instead, they took more time ‘shooting the messenger’ with a basket of too many labels, stereotypes, stigmas that have no basis in fact or in reality.

    Tell me, is that something hard to digest?

  37. nielsky says:

    At this point, I rest my case and thank the good Joe America of the ‘good old blogging days’ for welcoming my piece, the worldview of which is opposite to those in what i wrongly perceive as the ‘big echo chamber”. Only if there are anymore attacks not on the message but on the messenger that I may be prompted to just give my own response in the highest manner that civility may afford.

    Again, by your leave.

  38. sonny says:

    Mary Grace I wrote something above, attached to your post of Aug 5, 2:41pm.

  39. nielsky says:

    @edgar lores: First no question, no deception at all. Second, the records of the proceeding will bear me out but on the other hand, as soon as we turn the table around, it is you, edgar lores who with manifest malice who is involved in deception.

    In the record, it has been long clarified and you edgar lores is one of 1st two commenters to learn about it and not a single time, except now, did you ever raise a question nor an accusation. So that effectively makes your now accusation so luminously foolish.

    Don’t we have a protocol here which can effectively govern our conduct?

    At the proper time, I can show you, something I am under no obligation to do, that in truth and in fact, your refrain is baseless. I suggest that you try not to appear as another wrecking crew so we can add to the level of discourse of this Joe America’s that is about to acquire a higher level of respectability as an intellectual pub.

    Am a subscriber of the saying that “the pub is the parliament”. Why don’t we just enjoy the exchange of ideas on more pressing issues as a certain sumada has articulated?

    • edgar lores says:

      If one pretends to be someone else… that is deception.

      One definition of deception is: “to mislead by a false appearance or statement.”

      • edgar lores says:

        Oh, and the protocol of the Society of Honor is to be honorable. Among other things, this means:

        o Not to deceive
        o Not to be dishonest
        o To have respect
        o To have integrity
        o To be fair
        o To be morally upstanding

  40. nielsky says:

    With all due respect, let us go over them very honesty and very carefully:

    “andrewlim8 says:
    August 4, 2015 at 6:56 pm
    I’ll reserve my detailed rebuttal later, after Mr Pagunuran responds to the posts here. That’s where we can determine if he can really back up his piece or was it just typing-with-a-stiff drink-in-one-hand.

    Going through his piece again, I find very little evidence-based arguments, but rather a consistent re-framing of the issues, away from integrity first (which is a pre-requisite for governance) to all the warts that could be found or invented.

    nielsky says:
    August 5, 2015 at 11:59 am
    Be my guest.

    edgar lores says:
    August 5, 2015 at 1:31 pm
    The guest is now the host?

    nielsky says:
    August 5, 2015 at 3:32 pm
    No, will never be one. It’s when a simple unadulterated word is spliced up in thin wires of mischief. You know that is not what I ever will mean. Excuse me.

    edgar lores says:
    August 5, 2015 at 4:47 pm
    Mischief is “playful misbehavior.” I am neither being playful nor misbehaving. I am serious and calling out what seems to be misbehavior on the part of a guest. This guest who attempted to remind me of good manners. Funny that.

    So, if it is clear enough, no need explaining. If it is clear enough, no need refuting. It is clear that which is clear enough. Hope this puts the matter to rest.

    In his very own words: “The guest is now the host?” It’s Sunday and I have to go to mass.

    • edgar lores says:

      What is clear is this:

      1. Nielsky is a commenter. He is a guest.

      2. When Nielsky said, “Be my guest” to Andrew, he (Nielsky) assumed the role of host.

      3. This occasioned my remark of, “The guest is now host?”

      3.1. Note my remark was made before Nielsky, the commenter, revealed that he was indeed the author of this piece.

      3.1.1. Nielsky made the “Be my guest” comment on August 5, 2015 at 11:59 am. My remark is of the same date.

      3.1.2. He only revealed himself — indirectly, I might add — two days after on August 7, 2015 at 7:45 pm.

      3.1.3. Note that he declined to answer YES or NO to LCpl_X pointed question on August 6, 2015 at 2:02 am.

      4. The above is my explanation of my remark on what seemed to be an unmannered assumption of the role of host.


      5. What is Nielsky’s explanation? He says, “…it is clear enough, no need explaining.”

      6. Can someone enlighten me?

      • nielsky says:

        What I have just cited [to which edgar responded] has legs.

        I find no need to add more pieces to the puzzle than what is already understood.

        We can push the record [of proceeding] forward which will in effect even further illuminated what was cited, but since it is already clear, why belabor? I rest my case.

        On a more relevant point, I advanced the view that “This country must move on from a ‘political statecraft’ indicatively run by mere fraternal or familial bonds to nation that can really attain a better status, not necessarily First World.” and to which I beg for a rebuttal.

  41. nielsky says:

    Don’t go one liner, each and every time. More so, don’t number every line you state, there might be no need as there might be not much thought/idea lodged into it any. As many as you have lines numbered in sporadic order, the more you cannot communicate your main thought. They come like MM, know that, with so many colors, each one the same chocolate. But we love them as a kid.

    You really have to pardon me but am rich in idioms and love metaphors. But of course, sparingly.

    Try paragraphing to express a coherent thought or point. It helps. For the last time, don’t just drop words without context, without content. It’s clear why you have some difficulty reading a simple article said in simple words.

    Unless political statecraft are two bothering words. Even sophistry, you tried to define. It would have impressed me if you got it from Plato, my field.

    • edgar lores says:

      1. Although this post stands alone, I presume it is directed to me.

      2. Wittgenstein, who employed enumeration, said:

      Lying to oneself about oneself, deceiving yourself about the pretence in your own state of will, must have a harmful influence on [one’s] style; for the result will be that you cannot tell what is genuine in style and what is false . . . If I perform to myself, then it’s this that the style expresses. And then the style cannot be my own. If you are unwilling to know what you are, your writing is a form of deceit.

  42. edgar lores says:

    I also fail to see how my style is related to the main post and to the SONA, and why it has become the focal point of Nielsky’s obsession.

    • nielsky says:

      Obfuscating, interloping, subterfuge, deception, lying, dishonesty.

      What did you say ’bout obsession or it’s the other way around? This is crazy. Have you nothing more sensible to say edgar lores?

      We owe it to the larger audience to speak with sense.

      On a brighter note, can you please share your thoughts on government’s underspending, if you may?

      • edgar lores says:


        If you dare — and I dare you — to venture to answer my questions, and answer it to my satisfaction without any obfuscation… then I might answer yours.

        To wit:

        1. Why the deception?

        2. What is the explanation from your point of view of the “guest” issue.

        3. Why the intellectual dishonesty on the “dynasty” question.

        4. Why the obsession with my style, which is neither here nor there insofar as this post is concerned?

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