2016: Desperately seeking Ninoy


How to honor a patriot.

Kindly allow me to sneak in one final political commentary before I retreat to the seats way high up in the bleachers, back row, from which the foreigners can be seen, but their voices not heard. This one is rich with generalizations and speculations, all in the interest of provoking discussion, something the loquacious members of the Society of Honor are particularly adept at providing.

It struck me that most tributes to those of remarkable character who have passed are expressed in terms of deeds done, of legacies left, of fond remembrances, of thanks for the lessons and the sacrifices.

None left more behind than Ninoy Aquino as he was shot to death by President Marcos’ security forces while exiting his plane upon return to the Philippines. He was returning to oppose Marcos. I could write pages extolling what a remarkable character Ninoy Aquino was, and how he gave us so much.

Well, his brave but final end gave us two presidents, after all, one his wife, the other his son. Both lived up to the ideal that there was something about the Philippines that demands we give of ourselves to the nation, above personal gain.

I’ll leave the real tributes to those whose lives were touched by him. They can do it better, more tenderly. I can only say:

“Thank you, Sir Ninoy, for bringing conscience to the Philippines, a state of mind foreign to some, but one that will lift the Philippines to its proper place among honorable nations.”

As I was reflecting, mind wandering everywhere, it struck me that, after we praise those lost, we typically return to our mundane lives, our struggles and maybe cheating and self-dealing, our personal arrogance, and our apathy toward the great nation, Philippines.

It’s like kissing the Pope’s ring, then going back to the office to steal taxpayer money.

It’s like celebrating Dr. Jose Rizal for his worldly wisdom and gifts of vision and words, then fighting like snarling tom cats over a condo near his grave, as if that honored him.

It’s like kissing babies on the campaign trail and going home to kick the dog over the survey numbers.

Maybe we could best honor Ninoy Aquino by understanding what he gave – everything – and by giving a little of ourselves to the Philippines on August 31, on September 1, and every day thereafter. That is, convert our honor of him to deeds that we do, because we think that is better than placing a rose on his coffin. Or do both, that’s fine, too.

But let’s really honor him, you know?

What makes a first class patriot like Ninoy Aquino?

Does it require death? No, I don’t think so. But it requires sacrifice and dedication.

Does it require authoritarian might? The ability to boss people around? No. No. Not that. Been there, done that.

Does it require a big picture view of the Philippines, an awareness of where the nation stands on its timeline, and what its social, cultural and political strengths and weaknesses are? Yes. Oh, yes. We must have that. Introspection is so critically important to a wise and well-directed leadership.

Mulling this over, I couldn’t help but go back to the discussion of a few blogs ago about “Level 5” leadership, brought to us by Society of Honor contributor LCpl_X. It is a simple concept, and you can refer to that discussion here: Link to Level 5 discussion. The best leaders, the Level 5 leaders, are both modest and determined. Modesty leads to introspection and the ability to motivate others. Determination promotes intense problem solving, organization, and follow-through. It is the will to succeed. Failure is not an option.

Ninoy Aquino had both, and he instilled both qualities in his wife and son.

I would add to this formula a third element, which is basically a crossing of the two, where modesty (introspection) and determination (analysis) generate knowledge and vision. Let’s call this trait perception, because I think it is vitally important to define a leader’s motives, means and deeds.

  • Modesty
  • Perception
  • Determination

Well, it seems to me that if we truly want to honor Ninoy Aquino, we will look for these traits in the people we choose to lead the Philippines.

So who are the Level 5 leaders among the various names mentioned as candidates for president and vice president? Are there any? Who is closest? Who is for sure not likely to be of the mold of Ninoy Aquino or leaders of great humility, wisdom and achievement? What do we simply not know yet?

Let me give you my take on matters, elaborating where I think it is important, being dismissive when there is little to discuss because most of us do, after all, have a measure of perception.

Jejomar Binay: Zero modesty. All is faked. A modest man, introspective, of wisdom, does not steal and lie, and there is a pile of evidence that suggests Mr. Binay is dishonest. He is totally self-consumed and ambitious. If you are not for him, he is against you, so he is totalitarian and vindictive, as reflected in his efforts to bring down earnest people just doing their job. If you will note, neither of those qualities is on the leadership check-list. He is only on the candidate list because he is a skilled propagandist and power broker. He fits in the old culture of power, entitlement and corruption like glove on hand.

Mar Roxas: Mr. Roxas is without question modest, and a man of both sacrifice and vision. He understands the importance of continuity of stable, clean governance, and he is diplomatic in his speaking. He does not attack others, and grants them honor. The big question mark for him is in the arena of determination. Can he make the tough decisions that go against the will of Mr. Aquino, or his cabinet, or the oligarchs, or the press? Or does he so need to be liked that determination becomes puppetry? It is an open question for me.

Grace Poe: It seems to me that Ms. Poe has plenty of determination, in the form of ambition, but lacks modesty and perspective. A person of perspective would understand that one of the great failings of the Philippines is the voting base’s penchant to elect popular people who do not have skills. How many movie stars are in the Congress? Yet, she cannot connect the dots to say “I am not ready, popularity is not a qualification, it is a flaw in our system, I should sacrifice my ambition for the nation and develop real experience and skills.” She didn’t do it and is not Level 5 in my book, or anywhere close. She attacks in the press but gets angry if attacked. These are qualities we see in Mr. Binay. She has become more of a complainer than a gracious diplomat of the campaign trails.

Leni Robredo: Missing perception. Not Level 5. Ms. Robredo has modesty and determination. But she seems unwilling or unable to see the nation in its timeline of crucial need, and step outside of herself. Rather, she is focused on family (worthwhile, but rather the trees and not the forest) and local politics and seems to lack the simple understanding that her, and her husband’s, sacrifice can be multiplied to benefit EVERY community in the Philippines. She is playing small ball, protecting her own plate, when the nation needs a home run hitter going for the team win.

Bongbong Marcos: Totally self-absorbed and unwilling to raise others up (the BBL peace negotiators) to achieve consensus. Perspective is missing (anger that President Aquino did not fire artillery at Mamasapano; ignores brutality and theft under his father to focus on his accomplishments; absolutely no remorse). Not a healer at all. Totally driven by ambition, or more correctly, his mother’s ambition and bitterness.

Alan Cayetano:  Strong determination – perhaps among the strongest on scene – but it is negated by a lack of modesty. I actually think he DOES have excellent perception. For example, he knew the leverage value of the Binay hearings and the BBL (Mamasapano hearing) to recast his image as anti-corruption and pro-Philippines. Yet he was willing to sacrifice two vital institutions (the peace negotiation panel and the BBL) to do that. All in all, he seems to be a calculating politician interested in personal ambition. National well-being is a tool, not the end game.

Rodrigo Duterte: Lacks modesty and perception. If he had them, he would use them to elevate others, not bring them down. Vindictive (feud with Secretary de Lima). Unreliable and maybe even unstable. Who is he going to kill next?

Sonny Trillanes: The most complex of all the candidates. Definitely determined, definitely willing to sacrifice for the nation, seems to have good perception of national need (anti-corruption) and is willing to single-handedly wage the battle as others fade to safety (Poe). But what is missing? What is missing? An element of modesty, perhaps. An element of tact. I can’t put my thoughts around it.

I think these profiles will be sufficient to start the discussion, and I will leave it to readers to put other shades on the listed candidates, or add new candidates to the list.

I did have one additional test I put all the candidates . It is called the “Ninoy test”, a combination of modesty, perception and determination.

Would they – for the nation – go to the tarmac? Sacrifice all?

  • Binay. No
  • Roxas: Yes, for the nation
  • Poe: No
  • Robredo: No
  • Marcos: No
  • Cayetano: No
  • Duterte: Yes, to prove a point
  • Trillanes: Yes, for honor

I know that is a hard judgment. But the key indicator is how much “self” is in the formula for each candidate, and what anchors their essential being.

I’ve tried to be candid here. No puff piece for anybody. No accolades for President Aquino, with a shift of the glory to his chosen candidates.

Just modesty, perception and determination.

Desperately seeking Ninoy.


204 Responses to “2016: Desperately seeking Ninoy”
  1. Just be wary of this also:

  2. What does Trillanes’ support of Poe translate to? His ambition above the well being of the nation?

    • Joe America says:

      Excellent point. I was not aware he had endorsed her, and that would change things. I also don’t understand his opposition to K-12, this late in the game. Might have to give him a couple of dings on the “perception” quality.

      • stpaul says:

        This quote comes to mind Sir Joeam, ” There is a sublime thieving in all giving. A man gives us all he has and we are his (forever).” Eric Hoffer

        We are forever grateful Sen. Ninoy and may our leaders follow your example.

        • Joe America says:

          Very well said, stpaul. Thank you.

          • stpaul says:

            And thank you Sir for giving us the voice in these trying times when corrupt and malicious people of this country try the hardest with their revisionist agenda. Please be well 🙂 !

            • Joe America says:

              Thank you stpaul. What is optimistic, you know, is that it is apparent from the success of this blog that there are a lot of people who are tired of the entitled ruling the roost while they themselves struggle. Maybe their voice will become a roar.

      • David Masangkay says:

        I don’t think he is totally against K-12. He is for the suspension of it. I am for K-12, but I also think a lot of things need to be done prior to its full implementation (infrastructure and programs to improve the quality of our teachers). The figures in this link are not true: http://www.gov.ph/k-12/ (see achievements tab), specifically on the 1:1 ratio of student to textbook and 1:1 student to school seat as of 2012. In 2013, I have been to various public schools in Mindanao but a lot of students still share seats and books. They are implementing a longer curriculum without an established system to improve the quality of teachers. This will create a bigger problem.

        • Joe America says:

          Thanks for the clarification. I rather feel that the speed of the train this far down the hill is sufficient that putting on the brakes will result in a massive pile-up. The existing educational system has been jammed and barely able to perform for years, and the Aquino Administration has been pouring billions into new classrooms, teachers, chairs and books. How Trillanes et. al can expect a smooth functioning system on a wish and prayer is beyond me, so I still remain disappointed with their stand that to me seems idealistic and opposed to progress.

      • parengtony says:

        The position of those who are opposed to K-12 is simple enough: Why exacerbate the acute lack of resources by adding more years. Why not solve this fundamental issue and then add more years?

        This late in the game Bro. Luistro has not made any honest to goodness effort to provide a direct response to these simple questions. He simply ignores Trillanes and all others who oppose K-12.

        • Joe America says:

          Because the birth rate is high, swarms of kids enter school each year, catching up is impossible, and meanwhile Philippine schools do not compete with international norms. There is no easy road to progress. If you are going to focus on the root of the problem, mandate small family size.

    • chempo says:

      Reading the Trillanes’ pronoucement I don’t see him saying anywhere that he personally supports Poe. He merely said the Magdalo party supports Poe. It may well be that he and a few others do not. Who is to know. It was a party decision, not his personal voice.

      Neither did he offer himself as Poe’s tandem. He said that if Poe were to take him on as her VP, his party would support Poe-Trillanes tandem. That’s a different thing altogether. I think in the shifting sand of the run up to the confirmation of tandems, Trillanes has been true to himself from the very beginning — that he will do a solo VP run, subject to the decisions of his NPC party.

  3. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    Thanks, JoeAm! As usual, erudite as erudite goes. Back in a while, Seven-Minute Workout calls. But wait, about Leni. She’s sweet, crush ng bayan, a mother first, yes, but a lawyer and economist, UP to boot, temperate, low profile maybe like Magsaysay, a PR man’s dream campaign. But most importantly, contrapelo to Grace and the rest of the trapos. I think classes ABC will register their outrage at Grace’s sheer chutzpah, and will vote Leni as VP to stress a point.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, it is like people self-qualify themselves. Grace Poe disqualified herself by rejecting the President’s request that she give of herself to the cause of continuity of straight path. She’d rather split the ticket and go for the personal win, now. Leni Robredo disqualifies herself by putting family above nation, it seems to me. She’s not ready for the demands of national service.

      • chit navarro says:

        I believe Cong. Leni Robredo said that if she will be the only choice, she will accept it. She has not said a final word on the issue – especially after the death anniversary celebration of her husband. Her greatest dilemma is who will replace her as Congressman of her district – one strong enough to beat the Villafuerte’s machinery.

        • Joe America says:

          Who replaces her ought to be absolutely a non-issue. Even if the district goes to hell, the rest of the nation shines forever.

          • lermadejesus says:

            So true Joeam! I’m surprised the intelligent Congressman couldn’t see it this way. In a similar vein, serving her country as a second top official and doing her best at it will be indirectly serving her family too.

  4. andrewlim8 says:

    I just want to put this in before the revisionists come and put in their two cents worth.

    The big distinction of the Aquinos from the Marcoses, the Enriles, the Estradas and the Arroyos is this: the absence of malice. All of them, including the Aquinos have their share of mistakes, big and small. Indiscretions. Flawed policies. Deficiencies.

    BUT the Marcoses, Enriles, Estradas and Arroyos of this world INTENDED to do harm to the Fiilipino people and did so.

    “With malice toward none…” – Abraham Lincoln

  5. Johnny Lin says:

    Binay possesses all 3 qualities for all the WRONG REASONS.

    Tries very hard to be MODEST by eating with bare hands, just to show off identifying with lower class. It’s all for show as noted

    His PERCEPTION is aimed to deceive the same lower class he is identifying. Dangles money to dole out, cakes to give, casket to provide shelter in the wrong time. Advises people to be dishonest by telling them to sell their votes but renege their promises to the buying politician. Typical Binay’s character, double crosser, backstabber, ingrate and manipulator.

    DETERMINED to be rich powerful and greedy at all cost. Taught his children how to steal, live on fraud using other people. Using different spokesmen to tell lies solidifies his determination to become president.

  6. sonny says:

    I do know a person with ‘level 5’ qualities. Not business-person nor politician, though. Thanks for the article, LCplX. 🙂

    • sonny says:

      persons, really.

      • I’ve always thought Level 5 was more a military concept than business, self-lessness and indomitability are two traits you learn on day one. Humility and Will are both encouraged and developed more in the military than in the business world–the closest in comparison to the military would probably be in monastic settings, where the will is focused inward.

        • sonny says:

          Spot on, LCplX! The “persons, really” that came to mind while reading the level-5 article were nurses, teachers, religious persons (monks, priests, nuns), military.

  7. Vicara says:

    Great summary of each candidate’s qualities (and virtues–or or lack thereof). Just a couple of points on the notion of ambition vs modesty. These are not incompatible. The presidency is without a doubt the hardest job in the country, carrying with it responsibility for millions of people. Boundless ambition is a necessary requirement, because it would all too overwhelming otherwise; the incumbent would not be able to stay the course, make difficult and unpopular decisions that are necessary, or to sustain the dream of a great nation. Ambition is a function of ego, and definitely a strong and larger-than-average ego is needed to weather the slings and arrows of true public service. But there is such as a thing as a healthy ego, not incompatible with common sense and modesty, and with an intuitive understanding of the greater good.

    On your list, Robredo is likely the only one who has an everyday, just-doing-my-best-for-the-rest ego. Which is refreshing and valuable in a high official, but which is precisely what is holding her back from going for the vice presidency. Among the others, you have the ambitious ones who will stop at nothing and, deep down, respect no boundaries or objectives other than their own; what accommodations they make are entirely political and have nothing to do with a shared vision, or sense of honor. There you have Binay, Marcos, Duterte and, sadly, Poe. Cayetano and Trillanes have had smaller scope for their ambition than those, having less of a popular mandate and less funding, but there are there disturbing signs, including an unseemly love of their own proclamations and a condescension towards others expressed through brow-beating in discourse. (There IS a difference between conviction and megalomania).

    Roxas is no paragon, but then who has ever been? But he works hard, stays the course (so unusual in our ningas cogon culture), does things even when they are very difficult, and has made political sacrifices when these were demanded of him (which unhealthy egos interpret or present as a weakness, when actually such sacrifices demand real strength and maturity.) He has of course skills and experience, as well as traits that make him human–there are those flashes of temper, moments of awkwardness, and spells in which he withdraws into himself, appearing uncertain; but these are marginal and ephemeral. As egos go, Roxas seems to have the best balance of ambition and modesty.

    • Joe America says:

      How you define ambition, I think, is how I would define determination + confidence + goal, and that goal can be many things, such as self enrichment or protecting and building a nation. Nice clarification on Rep. Robredo. Yes as well to your characterization of what is missing from the others. I was reflecting on that during today’s brownout (quite regular here for some reason), and will have a blog on that in about a week. Also agree on Roxas.

  8. edgar lores says:

    Sorry in advance for the length of this post.

    1. The Level 5 Leadership model consists of two character traits for successful CEOs– Modesty and Determination.

    2. In the original thread, I briefly looked at “successful” spiritual leaders and added two more traits – Judgement and Spirituality.

    2.1. I considered Judgement to be Discernment. In this blog, the quality has been renamed to Perception.

    3. Since we are talking of politicians and of the candidates for the two highest position of the land, I would rename Spirituality to Morality (or Integrity). And I would add a fifth must-have quality – Charisma.

    4. So from the original two traits, I would consider 5 essential traits of would be presidents and vice-presidents: Modesty, Determination, Perception, Morality, and Charisma.

    4.1. Modesty, Determination, and Morality (or Integrity) require no explanation.

    4.1. However, I will observe again that Modesty is NOT a primary trait of a politician. Perhaps this can be interpreted as a politician giving credit where credit is due.

    4.2. And also that Determination is, more or less, a given for politicians. Perhaps, Determination should be differentiated into (a) the determination to win office and (b) the determination to serve selflessly. These two are not congruent and, indeed, may be opposite aims. Correction: are often opposite aims in the arena of Philippine politics.

    4.2. Perception is compounded of (a) the ability to understand; and (b) the ability to arrive at good judgements. The first is a prerequisite to the second. To be able to arrive at a good judgement, one must not only be able to understand the situation at hand but also to understand specific solutions; in a word, as JoeAm has noted, perspective. But perspective is not only seeing things in the here and now, it is also seeing how things will and should fare in the future. It is also the vision thing.

    4.3. Charisma is the likeability of a person. For a politician, likeability is compounded of attractiveness and gravitas. People must not only be able to love the politician; people must also be able to respect him. Charisma is essential because a president must be able to lead and persuade people to move in the direction of his perception.

    5. For politicians, I will subjectively prioritize the 5 traits as follows by rank of importance. The numbers in parenthesis are suggested weights.

    o Morality (25%)
    o Judgement (20%)
    o Modesty (20%)
    o Determination (20%)
    o Charisma (15%)

    6. Translating the traits numerically, I would score the named politicians accordingly, using a scale of 0 – 5 and without applying the weights:

    o Grace – 4-3-0-5-5 (Total of 17)
    o Binay – 0-2-0-4-2 (Total of 8)
    o Mar – 4-4-4-5-1 (Total of 18)
    o Duterte – 0-3-0-4-4 (Total of 11)

    o Cayetano – 3-4-0-4-3 (Total of 14)
    o Trillanes – 4-3-0-5-4 (Total of 16)
    o Bongbong – 0-1-0-3-1 (Total of 5)
    o Leni – 5-4-4-2-5 (Total of 20)

    6.1. Note that my scoring of Determination takes into consideration the determination to serve selflessly. All candidates have zero modesty except Mar and Leni.

    As NHerrera would say, my bias is showing.

    7. As to the Ninoy test, this may be the ultimate test, the ultimate sacrifice. As Rizal did demonstrate. As Jesus did.

    7.1. Here, in this test, the traits of Modesty and Determination assume heroic proportions: Modesty is the opposite of egotism, and here any notion of Self, in a final act of Determination, is laid on the altar of the cause.

    7.1. However, it should not be necessary to “pass” this test. Sometimes, more often than not, it is harder to live for a cause than to die for it.

    • “… it is harder to live for a cause than to die for it.”

      Clap! Clap! Clap!

      Well said, edgar!

      Though I’ll personally give Grace a lower rating on Judgement based on the company she had been keeping lately. I’ll also give Mar a little bump on Charisma. I reserve the right to show my bias.

    • Joe America says:

      I had to double-check your e-mail to see if you were NHerrera in disguise. Maybe you are the magician friend he is always talking about.

      That is a most intriguing analysis. I would score Sen. Poe lower on judgment, and charisma is a funny thing, it is there until you start pushing the off switch with it. On Duterte, I think he has his own morality which is concocted from an understanding of how the real world operates, rather than hovering above it. So I would score him higher on morality. Maybe 3.

      • edgar lores says:

        I agree, charisma is a funny thing. It is not necessary for a CEO. For a politician in a republican form of government, it is… because firstly he has to win office.

        Most of the elected people from the movies, tv and the media have charisma as their sole qualification or their prime qualification. Strangely, some celebrities — like Nora (Aunor) and Edu (Manzano) — have not been able to win office (or a major office in Edu’s case). Perhaps people sense these celebrities lack the gravitas side of charisma.

        Much as I hate to say it, Binay has gravitas-charisma… and money-charisma.

        Charisma may not necessarily attach to the candidate; he may use a proxy. Marcos who exuded gravitas in his speaking voice used the charisma of Imelda in her singing. I wonder, can Korina sing?

        • Charisma and Grace do come from the same root–

          In Greek mythology, a Charis (Greek: χάρις) is one of the Charites (Greek: Χάριτες) or “Graces”, goddesses of charm, beauty, nature, human creativity and fertility; and in Homer’s Iliad, Charis is the wife of Hephaestus (Vulcan, god of metalwork and weapons)

          from the Greek χάρισμα (khárisma), which means “favor freely given” or “gift of grace”.

  9. bauwow says:

    Be sure to drink plenty of fluids Uncle Joe! Not the alcoholic type.

    • Joe America says:

      I have been, Doc. bauwow, thanks. Water and juice and tea. The secondary effects are bizarre. For some, I guess it is bleeding. For me it was hives.

      • Bert says:

        Joe, in some dengue cases, hives are actually bleeding under the skin’s smallest capillaries. Just watch out for the platelets, count should not go down so much.

        I am Doc. bauwow’s medical assistant.

        • sonny says:

          Platelet count, that’s what I trying to recall about dengue. I pray that your count will go back to normal very soon, Joe.

        • Joe America says:

          Thanks, Doc. They actually went away quite quickly. It is a strange disease, I think. It’s like the mosquitoes are alien creatures that elected to seed havoc in my body but did not stick around to see their progeny. Most of them ended up in the septic tank, I hope.

          • Joe, glad you’re doing well now.

            I don’t wanna sound morbid or too alarmist, but if you are out of commission for real, either just gone off-line, or proceeded to the happy hunting grounds, are there plans in place to ensure continuity of this site? I’m just thinking 5th Level-type contingencies here.

          • Please have your creatinin levels checked. Normal levels of creatinine in the blood are approximately 0.6 to 1.2 milligrams (mg) per deciliter (dL) in adult males.

            My aunt had hives last November and thought nothing of it, until I forced her to undergo an executive check up for persistent abdominal pains. Her abdomen was ok, but her kidneys were not, creatinin levels were 4 times above normal and she had severe anemia to boot. The doctors traced the problem to that seemingly innocuous rash which damaged her kidneys; good thing we caught it earlier, otherwise, dialysis is a horrendous aftermath, the doctors said, truly scaring us out of our wits.

  10. I knew Ninoy, and was among the last to see him before he left the U.S. to meet his tragic end. He had, no doubt, many sterling virtues — many more than the vast majority of those who lead or aspire to lead possess, or think they possess — but modesty wasn’t among them.

    • Juana Pilipinas says:

      It is my experience that some Filipinos sometimes take self confidence as lack of humility. Ninoy had achieved a lot of things at a young age fueling his self esteem. Confidence in one’s powers and abilities can at times come across as arrogance.

      Could you please elaborate on why you said modesty is not one of Ninoy’s finer virtues?

      • sonny says:

        Ditto to Juana’s take on Ninoy, David. I too had a chance to interact with the Aquino family. I would add that a good amount of self-confidence, I would daresay, runs in the whole clan. And Dona Aurora was one of the most gracious persons you’d meet.

    • Joe America says:

      Very good, David. Thank you for that real-world correction. Is that the same as the obstinacy we sometimes see from President Aquino? Was it more confidence and incredible self-assurance, or braggadocio?

      • “1. The Level 5 Leadership model consists of two character traits for successful CEOs– Modesty and Determination.”

        There’s a big difference between humility and modesty. Modesty is outward-looking, while humility goes inward.

        I’ve always thought of modesty as a feminine virtue (something I’m not a big fan of), ie. covering up for the sake of titillating–that’s why some of the most salacious lingerie items are found in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and surrounding nations.

        Humility is masculine. It’s seeing your buddies blow-up right in front of you, and forever realizing that life is just dumb luck. It’s knowing you’re wrong more than you are right, hence the need to seek your buddies’ constant advice.

        Feminine, masculine attributions aside, women can be humble just as much as men can be modest.

        You can be humble and still enjoy loose women and free booze–and no one would think less. With modesty you have to look around the room, because the word judge goes hand in hand.

        Modesty is no synonym to humility, they are two different concepts.

        • edgar lores says:

          Perhaps you are right. I would have to analyze it. I was using the blog’s terminology.

          However just from definition, humility is “the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance.”

          • edgar lores says:

            And modesty is a synonym of humility… according to the dictionary.

            • The connotation (at least over here) is different, ie. modesty is more a religious word, where humility is not. Modesty (real or not) is easier to recognize, ie. “He’s being modest, doesn’t wanna brag”. But humility, you can be a braggart yet still be humble, because it’s inside and can only really be recognized in private moments. For example, I know many Marines who exhibit humility, but I would never call them modest. Maybe this is what David’s driving at here.

              • edgar lores says:

                I do prefer the term humility over modesty. As you note, the latter has sexual connotations. And humility, not modesty, is used to describe the spiritual trait of searching.

              • sonny says:

                FWIW, St Benedict teaches humility is truth.

          • Bert says:

            Ah, Edgar, my being the least adept here in the English language I have to beg your pardon for intruding on matter outside of my competence but “low view of one’s importance” sounds to me like ‘inferiority’. Is humility and inferiority the same? Just curious.

            • I think the difference is in the output, ie. humility you are expanding; inferiority you are contracting. By knowing you are not important, you realize you are part of something bigger. Inferiority is also knowing (feeling) unimportant, but it’s the opposite of the big bang, it’s the black hole, you’re sinking.

              I don’t think I’m explaining these words perfectly. Let me sleep on it and give it another go tomorrow. But I’m sure modesty is not the same as humility just as humility is not the same as inferiority.

              • Bert says:

                “There’s a big difference between humility and modesty. Modesty is outward-looking, while humility goes inward.”—LCpl_X

                “I think the difference is in the output, ie. humility you are expanding; inferiority you are contracting.”—LCpl_X


                Now I’m more confused as ever.

              • Bert says:

                Correction: Now I’m more confused than ever.

                Actually I’m not sure the correction is correct so please excuse me, guys. That’s the product of not attending my classes in school when I was supposed to, :(.

              • Fellas, I passed the baton to my subconscious in the hopes that it may conjure something meaningful to our discussion on definition, and I came up blank (I did have a dream of Primer giving me a tour of Congress over here, which was kinda weird).

                So I consulted Google and found these two quotes (though there’s plenty out there). I’m not a big fan of C.S. Lewis but I know he was good buds with J.R.R. Tolkien, but I like his quote because it gives a nod to the hierarchical difference of these two words,

                C.S. Lewis: “Perfect humility dispenses with modesty.”

                My favourite take is Maya Angelou’s (strippers and G-strings notwithstanding, though the imagery is much appreciated, she used to be a prostitute/madam: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gather_Together_in_My_Name),

                Maya Angelou: “I don’t know what arrogance means,” she said. “You see, I have no patience with modesty. Modesty is a learned adaptation. It’s stuck on like decals. As soon as life slams a modest person against the wall, that modesty will fall off faster than a G-string will fall off a stripper.”

                “Whenever I’m around some one who is modest, I think, ‘run like hell and all of fire,’” she said. “You don’t want modesty, you want humility. Humility comes from inside out. It says someone was here before me and I’m here because I’ve been paid for. I have something to do and I will do that because I’m paying for someone else who has yet to come.”


            • edgar lores says:

              I have the sense that the dictionaries are wrong in some of the words we are using.

              We are using these terms in a philosophical context. While humility and modesty are synonyms, the connotations make them different… which is your point, and I agree. And the definition of humility that connotes inferiority in the phrase “low view of one’s importance” is, as you sense, wrong.

              No, i do not think humility involves a sense of inferiority. It involves though a sense of the limits of one’s abilities. That is not necessarily inferiority. It simply is an acknowledgement and acceptance that one is not perfect.

              The other side of the coin of humility is openness and a lack of ego. This indicates a willingness to be in inquiry mode, to search for the best answers, and to consider other people’s ideas and suggestions.

              • Joe America says:

                “I have the sense that the dictionaries are wrong in some of the words we are using.” That’s why the Humpty Dumpty New World Dictionary is popularly used here, and perhaps I was remiss not to start with Humpty’s definition of modesty. On the other hand, the discussion of meanings itself is most interesting, so there you go . . .

              • sonny says:

                Among Christian spiritual writers, when speaking of virtue, they invariably speak of modesty of the eyes, modesty in speech, modesty in dress, etc.

  11. Why is “modesty” even an issue? And it seems to be more so for the women than the men? Is the worst sin in the Philippines to be “mayabang”? What great world leaders were considered to be modest?

    • chit navarro says:

      MODESTY – noun: modesty; plural noun: modesties

      1. the quality or state of being unassuming in the estimation of one’s abilities.
      “with typical modesty he insisted on sharing the credit with others”
      synonyms: self-effacement, humility, lack of vanity, lack of pretension, unpretentiousness; shyness, bashfulness, self-consciousness, reserve, reticence, timidity, meekness
      “Hannah’s innate modesty cloaks many talents”
      antonyms: boastfulness

      2. the quality of being relatively moderate, limited, or small in amount, rate, or level.
      “the modesty of his political aspirations”
      synonyms: limited scope, moderation, fairness, acceptability, smallness
      “Gandhi’s political tactics obscured the modesty of his political aspirations”
      antonyms: grandeur

      3. behaviour, manner, or appearance intended to avoid impropriety or indecency. “modesty forbade her to undress in front of so many people”

      synonyms: unpretentiousness, simplicity, plainness, lack of pretension, inexpensiveness, lack of extravagance.

      GP does not have an iota of modesty; look at the way she replies to question on Mar Roxas’s invite for her to be his VP; or on her citizenship; or on the Mamasapano hearings.

      Hinoy Aquino may not have “modesty” as you said but he has never been known to be boastful of his achievements. In fact, he was always the opposite although he has grand ambitions for the country.

      • edgar lores says:

        Robredo with his tsinelas leadership may be the model of Modesty.

        • Vicara says:

          And yet Robredo also had self-confidence and ambition–but in a positive way. He didn’t put others down to make himself look good. And his actions spoke louder than his words.

      • Oh, who was that who apologized recently for looking like he was aloof and a snob? Wasn’t that Mar Roxas? Have you seen GP deal with poor people?

  12. Juana Pilipinas says:

    The last PH voters’ demographics I am aware of is the SWS 2011 report. It placed ABs at 1%, Cs at 9%, Ds at 60% and Es at 30%.

    Am I amiss to deduce that political strategists are probably putting all their efforts in enticing the Ds and Es to vote for their candidate?

    Are Ds and Es looking for a Ninoy? For a Level 5 leader? I do not think so.

    Are the masa looking for a hero? Yes. They like Grace because she is the “anak ng Panday.”
    They like Binay because he is the Filipino Robin Hood (“he shares”). No wonder, Mar was popular when he was “Mr. Palengke.”

    Do you see the pattern? It looks like the next President of the Philippines needs a “gimmick” to win.

    Here is an interesting article about PH voters’ psychographics:


    • Caliphman says:

      Juana, everyone is entitled to their opinion about the candidates and to vote according to it or not. The statistics you just cited explain the reality of how Philippine elections actually work. The outcomes are determined by 70-90% of the voters who vote quite differently from the way almost all of us in this and other blogs do. Modesty and humility has been held up as admirable virtues in these discussions. Is there any reason why it should not be applicable to us when we compare the way and the reasons most of these poorer and less sophisticated voters decide who to vote against what most here seem to claim as the enlightened if not thepreference ay of choosing or not choosing this country’s next highest leader based on attributes lifted from a business management bestselling book more than a decade ago which ideas have been significantly updated 5 times since. Which is not to say this process is any less valid than the supposedly more superficial and maybe more selfish priorities of our less fortunate countrymen. But if any of these candidates and their campaign managers pay heed to the latters’ preference, that is how representative democracy works and a leader rightfully emerges after being picked by a plurality if not the majority of voters.

      Are the masa looking for a Level 5 leader or hero in the sense discussed here? I very much doubt it. Does anyone need a gimmick to become president here? If you mean by choosing the word gimmick are you asking that a candidate has to do something inauthentic or manipulative to whip up votes from the masa? Binay does it and continues to do it, but to answer your question, not necessarily. Ramon Magsaysay and Pinoy did not, to name but a couple. But if a candidate does not appeal to the masa, reality has dealt him a very weak hand regardless of his appeal to others, so he must do what he must or can do to improve his chances, hopefully while keeping his vaunted integrity intact.

      Either that or drop out of the race of support someone else who has much better chances of winning. A sacrifice is not a sacrifice if you give up something you probably would not have gotten anyway.

  13. Bert says:

    “Would they – for the nation – go to the tarmac? Sacrifice all?”

    ” *Roxas: Yes, for the nation”

    ” *Poe: No”—Joe

    No bias there, I suppose.

    • caliphman says:

      I am not even entirely clear what that question means and why it should even matter. I would venture to say if we got a Level 3 president, the Philippines would be extremely fortunate since the best we ever had was probably no more than a Level 2 leader

    • Joe America says:

      No need to question me. Just state your readout and why. I’m willing to learn.

    • edgar lores says:

      For what it is worth, I would have to say that I have the same readout as JoeAm on these two.

      And for what it is worth, I would rank, say, Cayetano higher in living for the country than for Trillanes dying for it.

    • Bert says:

      I have that feeling, an inkling if you will, that Roxas giving way to Noynoy in the 2010 presidential election could be the basis for Joe’s “Roxas: Yes, for the nation”. Of course, as in most inkling, I could be wrong. If it’s not, I would like to see any other indication that Roxas will die for the nation and Grace Poe will not.

      • Joe America says:

        That Roxas sucked it up and took the bullets over Mamasapano, and Poe, upon not getting her Parent’s endorsement of her lifestyle, fled to the US. These are gentle hints and I agree the conclusions drawn are huge grinding leaps. I’m not selling anything, really. Just thinking out loud. You are more than welcome to draw your own conclusions. Perception is an individual thing, and cannot always be imposed on another because the clues read are subtle.

  14. Donna says:

    Wow! That gave me a very good perspective! I agree with you about Trillanes. What are we missing then?Is his motivation only becoz he hated BINAY who left him to hung for their mischief and thus move back our economic gains again during that time?

  15. anislagange says:

    Duterte is modest. He did not claim he is responsible for the large buildings in Davao attributing them to private sector. He has perspective. He’s the only one who knows under the present structure of government you cannot make huge inroads to progress.

    His fight with Delima was something to do with the former’s lust for the humanist worldview trying to attack someone who is so successful while lacking herself any iota of being effective.

    • Joe America says:

      Interesting readout, anislagange. I guess I’ll have to go back to look at Sec. De Lima’s achievements when heading the Human Rights Commission. I always thought she was amazingly courageous to press the causes she pressed, against corruption essentially, while working under the Arroyo Administration. Maybe she is too much like Mr. Duterte, and her framing was different . . . her reason for being were to get a nation totally out of touch with international human rights norms to actually start thinking about what they mean.

  16. Calataguena says:

    Excellent thoughts and framework, Joe! I suspected you missed out on cheez wiz because he was simply not worth the inclusion! I share your critical insights on the candidates. Binay has a tarnished name, already a lost cause. The rich Mar might be the best last resort, just need more work on his “fingerspitzensgefühl” (finger tips feeling). Perhaps, Leni is wary that if she joins in, she might end up as well as one of the “trapos”, give her some more push and pull period, hopefully she succumbs to the call. The “black swan” Trillanes’s moves must be watched, he might pull off some surprises. VSR likely to end as the joker card with Mar, let’see. I still hope that integrity rules over popularity. Enough is enough of the last 5 decades of BS.

    • Joe America says:

      🙂 Someone on Facebook asked my why no comment on Escudero, and I had to explain he completely slipped my mind, and that was about where he deserved to be based on his other qualities, using perception for self advantage, mainly.

      Nice quick summaries on the others.

  17. i7sharp says:

    … There is no guarantee that doing so will turn executives into full-fledged Level 5 leaders, but it gives them a tangible place to begin, especially if they have the seed within.

    We cannot say for sure what percentage of people have the seed within, nor how many of those can nurture it enough to become Level 5.

    “the seed within”

    Surely there are individuals, young and old, in the 42,029 barangays that have …
    “the seed within.”

    i7 or 7 i’s
    i i i i i i i
    inspired individual initiatives for incessant innovative and integrated improvements?
    (Under construction. )


    Middle English enspire, from Old French inspirer, from Latin inspirare ‘breathe or blow into,’ from in- ‘into’ + spirare ‘breathe.’ The word was originally used of a divine or supernatural being, in the sense ‘impart a truth or idea to someone.’


    • 7 i’s. I get it. That’s pretty cool.

      • i7sharp says:

        Maraming salamat, LCpl_X,

        “i” is for an “individual” with humility or smali ego and has a point or idea.

        “I” – upper case – would be for an INDIVIDUAL with a BIG ego, is full of himself, thus no point to share with others.

        We can also look at the point in “i” as the seed. “i” would be an individual with a seed within.

        I was thinking of Six Sigma when the idea of “i7” came to me – can’t remember when.
        “i7” is better than Six Sigma … .i.e., easier to spell and write. That is, for now, the only good thing going for it vis-a-vis Six Sigma.
        Ooops, I almost forgot: 7 is better than 6 (Six).

        I hope, soon, and very soon, things will fall into place and i7 will be up and running – or soaring (inspired by the Philippine Eagle).
        Not so much for my own benefit (old already, “retarded”) but for those potential Rizals or Level 5s out there.

        btw, regarding the person we are desperately seeking, many years ago I happened to have been in the same enclosed area (of about 12 feet square) that Ninoy was in – for some 30 minutes.
        Can you guess where or what that would be?

        I feel like I have talked too much of myself already. I apologize, really.

        So let me close with my favorite abbreviation in “the KJV project”
        I am working on:
        “kny” – know nothing yet
        The Bible says I know nothing yet as I ought to know. 1 Corinthians 8:2

        I hope to be able to reply to you in the other thread (regarding “the faith of Christ”) later today – or tomorrow.

  18. Bing Garcia says:

    Impeach Bersamin!

    • Joe America says:

      I agree with your sentiment, but given the warm welcome granted Enrile’s bail by senators, I don’t think it will fly. You have a low-ethics court (the senate) trying another low-ethics court’s justice.

  19. Lawrence says:

    I totally agree with your judgment joeam, we share the same sentiments for those who aspire as our future leaders. Binay no doubt is like a monkey clinging on his power with endless ambition on his back. Mar I would say a decent and honest person if I may say but a prisoner of his own party something that he needs to prove that he is Mar on his own. Poe on the other hand having difficulty to accept that she’s a newbie on the field. Cayetano,as I look at it shares the same character as Escudero they go with the flow and love to ride in issues that might help to recall their names. Robredo is the exact opposite of Poe
    She recognized that she really was a neophyte and needed some time to prove herself. Duterte makes me think, is he real? Is he a bluffer or something like that??? Trillanes on his part is very distinctive among the others. He never plays politics even as a party member he will do what his principle is telling him. He displays big heart in fighting corruption. He will oppose even his allies for the benefit of many not for the few.

    • Joe America says:

      Wonderful set of top-line descriptions. Nails them better than mine, in some respects, especially the Trillanes snapshot. The only shading I would put to your view is that I think the Vice Presidency is a very flexible position and ideal for a junior person because he or she can indicate how much up-front load he/she can take. If it is a light load to begin with, it can be increased, say, in year 3. It’s the way a corporation often prepares its next CEO, and I think Mar Roxas grasps that. I would also add that, with Bam Aquino and Sonny Angara coming down the pike, it is a very rare shot for Ms. Robredo to leap to the front of some tough competition for 2022. If that kind of ambition is not in her wheelhouse, then, yes, no one ought to criticize her decision to focus on personal priorities.

  20. NHerrera says:


    Note on chart: candidates scaled ONLY on the basis of motivation; other measures/ criteria discussed in blog not considered (HORIZONTAL placement relevant, vertical placement irrelevant). Sotto, Revilla, Lapid thrown in for contrast, flavor.




    Sotto/Lapid/Revilla—Motivation? What’s that? Why am I here?

    Poe——————-Country/ objective: in progress, FPJ/Chiz flavored
    Binay—————–Preserve loot/ ensure family out of jail
    Mar——————-Country/ Roxas service legacy
    Duterte————–Realize an idea/ Big brother governance
    Cayetano————Country/ ego/ dynast motive
    Trillanes————–Country/ ego/ military view of things
    Bong-bong———–Preserve Marcos loot/ Redeem Marcos name
    Robredo————–Country/ affected by regional interest

  21. Bing Garcia says:

    Insisting that Enrile should remain detained, Leonen cited how other detainees old and ill but with less in life languished in the country’s cramped jails. “For them, there are no special privileges. The application of the law to them is often brute, banal and canonical,” Leonen said.

  22. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Ninoy is accidental hero. He returned to the Philippines knowing he wouldn’t be harmed because Ferdie Marcos and Ninoy are friends forever.

    As usual in Philippine histories, they always twist the stories. HEre are incredible heroes in the Philippines:

    GENERAL EMILIO AGUINALDO. Sold the Philippines and Filipinos in exchange of Mexican gold. Went to vacation in Hong-Kong. Fetched by Admiral Dewey to face the Filipinos, instead, he declared Independence 42 days later. The DepED-approved history books said GENERAL AGUINALDO use the money to buy arms to make June 12 Indepence GENIUNE and LEGITIMATE.

    EDSA REVOLUTION. It was not a revolution. There was no revolution. It was the squabble between Ramos-Honsan-Enrile versus Marcos. Those people we see? They are tsismosos, tsismosas, usyosos. To support the hungry tsismosos tsismosas, the Bar-B-Q vendors joined in. Of course, they gotta drink something, The ice-water vendor sold their product. In the evening of the so-called Revolution, Balut Vendors rolled in and the congregation of tissmosos, tsismosas, unemployables, tienderas are now called REVOLUTION !!! Who actually they are revolting against? Nobody knows. Because they are just having fun! It was a huge picnic. Tailgating.

    Even EDSA REVOLUTION was STOLEN !!! The real heroes were tsismosos, tsismosas, bar-b-q vendors, Balut Vendors, fish vendors, unemployables. They were stolen the honor. Cory Aquino stole it from them. We see the GROTTO OF CORY AND THE REAL HEROES WERE NOWHERE TO BE FOUND.

    FILIPINOS WILL DO ANYTHING TO MAKE THEIR LIVES RELEVANT TO THE WORLD. They even steal Americans as their own because they look like Filipinos for ejemplo: Jessica Sanchez. She’s an American. Those half-bred half-white imported beauty queens to represent the Philippines in beauty contests were stolen from America.


    • Joe America says:

      I fear nielsky is becoming influential and now the blog is becoming home to the most eloquent trolls in the history of blogdom. If Ninoy was a farce, in your opinion, it is still within the realm of dignity to let him rest in peace, and those who are inspired by him, to have their uplift. There is precious little going around some days.

    • chempo says:

      MRP __ “Ninoy is accidental hero. He returned to the Philippines knowing he wouldn’t be harmed because Ferdie Marcos and Ninoy are friends forever.”

      Ninoy chose to return to Philippines at that time because the country was on the brink of total collapse. A bloody revolution appeared a likely possibility. Ninoy had given up on political ambitions by then and he returned with the hope of influencing Marcos towards nation reconciliation. He returned with full knowledge that he may face an assassin’s bullet. In the video in the CAL plane on that faithful flight, Ninoy was jovial with the reporters. But when the plane landed and soldiers asked for him to move forward, the video footage closed up on him, fear was very obvious in his face. He sensed something amiss as he was pushed to the front.

      What manner of man wants to pluck himself out of a comfortable life in the US to face possible death. He returned not for personal glory, but for his countrymen. In my eyes, he was a great Filipino hero.

      MRP you could’nt have choosen a better day to demean Ninoy than August 21. Your opening liner must have made all past Filipino heroes turn in their graves. You make trivial the courage of a man who looked at danger in the face. I don’t think you remember those days — when Marcos and Fabian Ver can make your pants wet simply by just starring at you.

      • edgar lores says:

        Thanks, Chempo.

        • sonny says:

          Reminds me what you said and others elsewhere (paraphrasing): the final choice is to take one of two forms – live according to one’s belief or die because of one’s belief. This is the line drawn for heroes, martyrs, warriors, kings as well as despots, murderers, traitors and scums. (Ruminations 101)

      • stpaul says:

        thank you Chempo for defending our hero. I think he has never been to a rally where love of country is inculcated in each Filipino who had been there and the feeling can never be explained, it just stays with you for life. Usyosero and usyusera pala . These people who risked their lives to support Enrile and Ramos. EDSA REVOLUTION is the culmination of the struggle which started in the dark years of martial law. And nothing happens by accident, it was part and parcel of a great awakening.

      • I come from the Northern Philippines where a lot of people share the views of MRP and nielsky. So I hold no rancor towards them. Heck when I was younger I used to think Marcos was the hero and Ninoy was the kontrabida. But knowing what we now know about the abuses during Martial law and the hidden wealth of the Marcoses, I have to take Ninoy’s side. They probably do not realize that the ” accidental hero ” is the reason they have the freedom to disagree in a disagreeable manner. This was not possible during Marcos’ time.

        • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

          When I heard Benigno Sr demise I thought it was the end of the Philippines. It was eerily quiet in our neighborhood. My parents were glued to the radio. Who was this Benigno Sr?

          Pablo Martinez who assassinated Ninoy Aquino Jr. CONFESSED it was Ninoy Aquino Jr.’s relative, Danding Cojuangco, cousin of his wife Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, who ordered the assassination of Ninoy Aquino Jr. while Marcos was recuperating from his kidney transplant.

          In the Philippines they do not rely on forensics and evidences. Suspects and escaped goats CONFESSED like in the past and to this day.

          Imelda Marcos told Ninoy Aquino Sr to not come to the Philippines because “THERE ARE PEOPLE WE CANNOT CONTROL” (not my word, it is Imelda’s word and this is a FACT)

          Unbeknownst to the Accidental Hero Benigno Aquino Sr IT WAS HIS COUSIN WHO DID IT thru CONFESSION.

          It is no wonder Benigno Aquino Sr was not afraid to come to the Philippines. HE WAS NOT AFRAID! There fore “BRAVERY” should be dropped from Philippine HIstory books because Benigno was not afraid because nobody is going to kill him.

          But good came out of this assasination. It was the beginning of the downfall of Marcos. Like EDSA “revolution” which Inquirer columnists have recently admitted it was not a revolution, good came out of it. Not DIRECTLY but INDIRECTLY. Just another BYPRODUCT. Good byproduct.

          If Benigno Aquino Sr, a friend of Marcos family, were not assasinated, Ferdie who has a love of despotism join forces with communist Aquino we’d not be blogging, some 14-year-old in AK-47 would have tied my parents hands in their back with plastic bag over their head gagging and gasping for air.

          • nielsky says:

            The irony of ‘falsely-held beliefs’.

          • chempo says:

            I get it. Only good friends will incacerate you to solitary confinement for 8 years in a cell that is 1/10th the size of the cells the 3 good senators are now put in.

            The assasination of Ninoy is one heck of a conspiracy. Who pulled the trigger, who planned it, who ordered it. All involved will carry their secrets to their graves. They say there is honour among thieves. At least in Philippines there is one great honour.

            Danding Cojuanco was one suspicious dude. I believe he played a role, most probably the financier. That’s why Pnoy never undertook to re-exam this part of history when he became President. But there is no question that nobody, even Cojuanco, would have dared to undertake this devious tasks without the blessings of Marcos. Elementary school kids probably understood the military involvement and that if they trace the command structure up they knew it end at which office. Don’t comprehend why much higher educated people do not understand this.

            • It truly boggles my mind and I agree with your saying that “You don’t comprehend why much higher educated people do not understand this.”

              I will add my heartfelt thanks to you, chempo, for taking up the cudgels for us in defense of our hero and martyr, Ninoy, against the trollish remarks of MRP on the anniversary of his martyrdom, of all days, insensitive as he is.

              Mind boggling too, that foreigners like you can appreciate Ninoy’s ultimate sacrifice for the country and a few noisy Filipinos and former Filipinos (like MRP) don’t.

              Thank you again from the bottom of our grateful hearts, truly appreciate this.

  23. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Here are whys I will not vote:

    GRACE POE. She got angry when she was asked of her residency qualification. The people have the right to ask this question.

    MAR ROXAS. Told GRACE POE, “Go, Girl! Go!” This is an indication that GRACE should fight the people who ask her residency qualification and Mar Roxas blatantly show of his ignorance that the people have the right to ask such question and obvious show of ignorance of the law. And of course, the people can never know what happened to the beat-up maid of Korina. Mar&Korina are powerful well-connected people versus ignorant uneducated penniless hopeless helpless houseslave. Get the drift?

    DUTERTE. Violate every suspects rights. Not my guy. But I love his style.

    ROBREDO. Just because she’s the wife of a dead husband. They are desperately seeking Pnoy crying over dead bodies?

    MARCOS, CAYETANO & TRILLANES. These trio are funny. They are lawmakers that cannot know the laws.

    SO, ALL OF THEM ARE CROOKS. Selective ignoramuses. Master cover-ups.

    So, who am I going to vote if they put a gun on my head? Here they are in the order of least corrupt.


    I like Poe because I like her face. She’s a teacher. Nothing fancy.
    I like Roxas, too! I like his palengke face if it were not for his monster egotistical maid-beater wife.
    ROBREDO. I do not know much about her. What amuses me is her face surfaced just because her husband was a GOOD MAN. Huh? What of Leni dies. Can her dogs and cats run for president?

  24. sonny says:

    off off, topic @ LCplX, @ anybody

    because you mentioned that you are a fan of Sacred Scriptures (correct me if wrong), maybe this link is of interest:


    Your thoughts? (I’m a chronic fan. 🙂 )

    • Thanks, man. That’s exactly what me and i7 are talking about. Give me a day, I’ll post when i7 posts something on the other thread (don’t wanna clutter this one).

      • i7sharp says:

        Sonny wrote:
        “off off, topic @ LCplX, @ anybody”

        Let us try to relate it to the topic, “Ninoy.”

        “An Excerpt from the Letter of Ninoy Aquino from Prison”
        … Then it dawned on me how puny were my sufferings compared to Him whose only purpose was to save mankind from eternal damnation.

        Does Ninoy’s son, PNoy, know Christ the way his father seems to have known the Saviour?

        In any case, which bible should Ninoy suggest to his son?

        The ESV (English Standard Version) is what the Reverend Dr. Mark D. Roberts would recommend.
        Reverend Dr. Roberts is the author of the article that Sonny provided us a link to; he used to use the NKJV (New KJV, so-called) and then moved to the ESV.

        If I were Ninoy (as if I would even come close to his stature), I would ask PNoy to use the KJV (King James Version) only. btw, I know, too well, I am not versed on manuscripts, etc.
        I would not deserve a title like “Reverend Dr.”
        “PLSK,” puwede pa.

        “Pinabili Lang ng Suka sa Kanto”

        There is a site (not an evangelical one per se) that, ahem, like me, seems to have a higher regard of Rizal – than of Paine.
        And a higher regard, like the PLSK me, of the KJV than of the ESV.
        It seems not to mention the ESV even once.

        Why not try this search on the Schiller Institute site:

        Browse at least on the first three results to get a taste of it. 🙂

        Then try a search on
        Rizal (831 results),
        and then on
        Paine (25 results) .

        831 to 25?


        • i7sharp says:

          Ninoy and Dr. Rizal


          • “Pinabili Lang ng Suka sa Kanto”

            I don’t get this.


            “Does Ninoy’s son, PNoy, know Christ the way his father seems to have known the Saviour?”

            If Rizal and Aquino were brought up in Muslim, Buddhist, Jain, Hindu, or animist settings, they’d probably use those worldviews narratives and metaphors in times of stress. I’m more concerned with their writings when they weren’t in trouble, ie. essays, letters to loved ones, novels, diaries, etc. in times of comfort. That’d be a better glimpse into their minds.

            “In any case, which bible should Ninoy suggest to his son?”

            The best would be the original Gospels and letters in Greek, but the closest are what remained from them a couple hundred years after the fact (copies of copies, no originals remain) in Greek, so study Koine Greek is the best suggestion. The next best thing is Joel Osteen’s books.


            “There is a site (not an evangelical one per se) that, ahem, like me, seems to have a higher regard of Rizal – than of Paine.”

            Can you link the site specifically comparing Rizal and Paine? Or are you just simply talking about this Schiller site? Because they don’t have a Rizal and Paine comparison.

            “Why not try this search on the Schiller Institute site.”

            Just a quick Google search under news for Schiller Institute reveals allegations of political cult activities not unlike Scientology, to include questionable psycho-sessions of its members in the UK, US and Germany. Are you a member of this “institute”?

            “831 to 25?”

            Paine’s last book, “the Age of Reason”, attacks religious tyranny directly (and religious beliefs wholesale) so that might be a good reason for the disparity.

            But a cursory look through the Schiller Institute site revealed a resident Rizal expert whose handful of articles on Rizal and the Philippines seem to bounce back and forth in the search, also adding to the disparity–I haven’t read his articles, none seem to compare Rizal and Paine.


            Give me one more day to respond to our discussion on the other thread, re Biblical pseudo-epigraphy.

            But to connect all this to Joe’s “modesty, perception and determination”, what type of religious lens (if any) do these candidates see those three concepts? ie. modesty, do any of them hang out and spend an inordinate amount of time in convents? how much of it is real, or for show? ; perception, how do they frame their world views vis-a-vis their faith? how does it affect policy?; determination, how much of their will is framed around the Jesus concept of sacrifice? (for example Rizal’s and Aquino’s deaths get re-told as Jesus-like martyrdoms) are they more or less inclined to be martyrs?

            How much magical-thinking affects each candidates’ views (as well as the readership’s) of modesty, perception & determination? These last questions, I’d especially like to hear Primer‘s (that’s nielsky‘s) take, how do gov’t types, politicians & bureaucrats, mix their religious views into their public work (and private activities, specifically the rationalizing process, vis-a-vis religion, on small takes and large racket-type corruption undertakings that’s consistent with public service over there). Thanks.

  25. NHerrera says:

    I posted this at Raissa’s Blog. I am posting it here, too, although it’s placement is more appropriate at the previous blog.

    In the Inquirer Editorial Cartoon of 08-21-2015, we have an old representative of a Specie with foot prints of cloven hooves like those of PIGS. The Specie representative with the label JPE printed on his shirt announces, “I’M BACK!” after he sat down at a table with a label that says “SENATE.” The old Specie’s announcement was meet with applause of cloven hooves — obviously from comrade PIGS.


    Bookmark it. It is a keepsake.

      • NHerrera says:

        Actually, it is the right of any one charged in court such as JPE to seek relief from the court(s) through the creative legal argument of his counsel.

        In my opinion, if the Philippine Daily Inquirer is true to its Motto — Balanced News. Fearless Views — its Editorial Cartoon should rather portray Justice Bersamin at the table marked “PONENTE” with foot prints of his cloven hooves on the floor behind the table. And the clapping hooves are those of his kind — the other SEVEN. That will be more appropriate to the criticisms on the Justice rendered by this abominable EIGHT.

        • Bert says:

          Agree on Bersamin, NHerrera. But “PONYETA” instead of “PONENTE”.

        • edgar lores says:

          And the balloon should read, “We suck!”

          • nielsky says:

            Wiki’s tentative facts of the man show that one Ninoy gave us – 1) NAIA, 2) an annual public holiday, 3) two bronze memorials in EDSA and Tarlac [and more statues perhaps]..

            Others that Wiki’s failed to mention is that Ninoy gave us a senator that looks like him and a P500 bill.

            That his death remains a mystery to this day is astonishing. That his ‘audacity’ to return to the Philippines makes him a hero is even more astonishing.

            But ‘we’ leave it to the man on whose assassination brought the rule of the perceived despot or dictator or constitutional authoritarian to its knees.


            • chempo says:

              Your comment is totally abhorrent and you and MRP are in the same mirserable boat. I think it proper that I re-post my comments on MRP above.

              MRP __ “Ninoy is accidental hero. He returned to the Philippines knowing he wouldn’t be harmed because Ferdie Marcos and Ninoy are friends forever.”

              Ninoy chose to return to Philippines at that time because the country was on the brink of total collapse. A bloody revolution appeared a likely possibility. Ninoy had given up on political ambitions by then and he returned with the hope of influencing Marcos towards nation reconciliation. He returned with full knowledge that he may face an assassin’s bullet. In the video in the CAL plane on that faithful flight, Ninoy was jovial with the reporters. But when the plane landed and soldiers asked for him to move forward, the video footage closed up on him, fear was very obvious in his face. He sensed something amiss as he was pushed to the front.

              What manner of man wants to pluck himself out of a comfortable life in the US to face possible death. He returned not for personal glory, but for his countrymen. In my eyes, he was a great Filipino hero.

              MRP you could’nt have choosen a better day to demean Ninoy than August 21. Your opening liner must have made all past Filipino heroes turn in their graves. You make trivial the courage of a man who looked at danger in the face. I don’t think you remember those days — when Marcos and Fabian Ver can make your pants wet simply by just starring at you.

              • WBAR says:

                I liken the person giving those comments (@evilsky) to a criminal in a death chamber showing no remorse for his crime..

              • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

                Benigno Aquino Sr is like Jesus Christ. If Judas did not tell on JC, JC wouldn’t have died. And the sins of the world wouldn’t have redeemed. Therefore Judas is THE HERO. Makes sense. Abhorrently logical.

              • nielsky says:

                Had the people known earlier on that it was not Marcos who had Ninoy killed, the behavioral course of history would have been different. There are always lessons to be drawn.

                Had the people known earlier on that it was not Marcos who had the Plaza Miranda bombed, the behavioral course of history would have been different.

                One of the lessons of history is to rewrite it. I trust if nobody does, somebody else will.

              • Joe America says:

                You are doing fine. Keep up the good work.

              • “If Judas did not tell on JC, JC wouldn’t have died. And the sins of the world wouldn’t have redeemed. Therefore Judas is THE HERO. Makes sense. Abhorrently logical.”

                LOL! Sounds familiar.

  26. Bing Garcia says:

    For bending court rules and even bail provisions under the Constitution, the Supreme Court decision to release Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile while on trial for the no-bail offense of plunder has set the state of the Philippine justice system back to that of a “banana republic,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said on Friday.

  27. Bing Garcia says:

    Reader, go to the Supreme Court’s website (www.sc.judiciary.gov.ph), read the majority decision (16 pages), and then read the dissenting opinion of Associate Justice Marvic Leonen (29 pages). I think you will agree with me that Leonen’s dissent had much more substance in it, and was certainly better argued, than the majority opinion. That his dissent was supported by Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio seems to validate my opinion. Those three have competence and integrity in spades. In fact, I got the feeling, when reading the majority opinion, that they first wanted to make sure that Enrile got bail, and then they mustered all the arguments they could, to support that decision. Solita Monsod

    • nielsky says:


      Kindly check that the dissenting opinion from whosoever the dominant dissenting opinion (s) came was not ‘plagiarized’ [joke].

      Better still, construct a matrix [if you can] that highlight’s their idea, argument, and sentiment, something like that so we become better educated.

      • Joe America says:

        I’d say you would be better advised to practice that principle yourself, rather than instruct others as to how to participate. Instructing others is my job, when it is required, and it rarely is. Most here are adults and well-intentioned ones, and the forum gives them the latitude to contribute in the form and content of their choice, as long as it does not confuse issue with person. As your comment does.

        • nielsky says:

          My apologies. May I be allowed a quick retort.

          @bing garcia’s “Burn Bersamin!” lights red nits in my keyboard and gave me such discomfort.

          Sure I realize I might have been instructing, one that is never intended. Thanks Joe Am!

          • Joe America says:

            Yes, I agree, they are repetitive, tend to be trollish and reflect his anger. Bing and I have a bit of history together, and he has defended me when others would not. I allow him, MRP and others certain latitudes because they work at dealing straight here. The best choice is to ignore him, as I suspect people are inclined to do with some of your remarks. Or mine, even.

  28. Bing Garcia says:

    What is interesting about the Supreme Court decision is how it came about. This is related by Leonen in his dissent. In case you can’t spare the time to read, let me give you a condensed version:

    1. A draft decision was submitted by the member in charge early this year. This draft mainly adopted Enrile’s legal arguments. Leonen and Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe submitted their reflections on this issue, and refutations and arguments were exchanged in writing. Their point was that the Sandiganbayan committed no grave abuse of discretion, and Enrile’s petition should be dismissed.

    2. “When this case was called again for deliberation during the En Banc session on Aug. 11, 2015, the member in charge (now the ponente) proposed the idea of dropping all discussion on the legal points pertaining to whether bail was a matter of right and focusing the grant of bail on ‘humanitarian’ grounds. The member in charge committed to circulate a draft for the consideration of all justices.” And Leonen averred that he was open to listen to all arguments.

    3. A revised draft was circulated on Aug. 14, based on granting bail to Enrile based on his medical condition. Leonen responded with a letter to the justices, stating that this new proposal gave rise to certain new issues which had to be threshed out thoroughly.

    4. During the Aug. 18 en banc, the ponente would not agree to wait for more extensive written reflections on the points raised by Leonen. “Insisting on a vote, he thus declared that he was abandoning the Aug. 14, 2015 circulated draft centering on release on bail on humanitarian grounds for his earlier version premised on the idea that bail was a matter of right based on judicial notice and the judicial declaration of the existence of two mitigating circumstances.” (The vote was 8-4.)

    5. On the afternoon of Aug. 18, at about 3 p.m., “the ponente passed around a final copy of the majority opinion which was not the version voted upon during the morning’s deliberation. Rather, the copy offered for signature was substantially the Aug. 14, 2015 circulated version granting bail on humanitarian grounds.”

    6. This ponencia does away with Enrile’s entire argument thusly: “Yet, we do not now determine the question of whether or not Enrile’s averment on the presence of the two mitigating circumstances could entitle him to bail despite the crime alleged against him being punishable with reclusion perpetua, simply because the determination, being primarily factual in context, is ideally to be made by the trial court.”

    I do not doubt Leonen’s version. And the way this whole issue was handled reminds me of how the Supreme Court under Renato Corona handled the GMA travel issue. Forcing through. What kind of decision-making is this?

    Solita Monsod

  29. Bisdak says:

    Sir Joem, I agree with you, except (with all due respect) with your view of Trillanes. I’m not sure if he will go to the tarmac for honor. My gut feel is he (Trillanes) is there for himself and I can’t seem to shake that feeling off. I’m also wondering how come Chiz Escudero is not in your equation? Or is he (Escudero) a non-issue?

    • Joe America says:

      I forgot about Escudero, which is a pretty strong statement as to his impact with me. The has perception but seems to use it to bad ends. You can read some of my recent blogs. I think he did the nation a disservice in 2010 and is repeating his exercise this year. (Read “It’s all about Escudero”
      I’ll accept your reservations on Trillanes. I can’t really peg him, and have some doubts myself.

      Thanks for the points of view.

      • Bisdak says:

        Appreciate the quick reply, despite your current health condition. Hope you are recovering well.

        • Joe America says:

          Sure. I have a whole new appreciation for my body, and how many ways it can ache. Thanks to a wee little bug.

          • NHerrera says:

            The littlest they are the more potent. Hitler, etc. We have of course, our local version. Take care, Joe.

            • NHerrera says:

              I don’t want to alarm, but my wife tells me that the brother of the industrialist Concepcion of Concepcion Industries, an elderly fellow, died from dengue some years back. My wife said this because unlike the poor, he and his family have the resources to take care of him against any ailment. My wife and I wish your speedy recovery. On my part I add (rather selfishly) — we need our stalwart for the great fight ahead.

  30. ofw from abi dhabi says:

    if i may add..
    poe- ungrateful, dishonest,showbiz mind, double-cara,a fast learner now a true trapo.
    duterte-warlord like attitude
    binay- no words for it (dont want to curse)
    trillanes- true makabayan
    mar roxas- i hope he wins in 2016

  31. andrewlim8 says:


    He will be forced to study it posthaste when Gloria Arroyo’s lawyer files an application. 🙂

    My personal theory is that the 8 really created the new doctrine for her.

    • Joe America says:

      Who sets the SC’s calendar, do you know/ Do bail hearings receive special “front of the line” treatment, I wonder. (These are rhetorical questions; no answer is expected.) So instead of addressing EDCA and preparing for the nation’s defense, we will be consuming the high court’s time with personal issues. Political decision means justice was tossed to the wind. The Senate is also on display. Warm welcome?

      Scourges of the nation, rather like dengue carrying mosquitoes, if so. Infesting the national body with impunity and entitlement.

      • edgar lores says:

        That’s a very appropriate and accurate metaphor. Sorry it had to be learned at great cost.

      • NHerrera says:

        I would like to use words that Chief Justice Sereno, and Associate Justices Carpio, Perlas-Bernabe and Leonon cannot use publicly.



        – repugnantly hateful; detestable; loathsome:
        – very unpleasant; disagreeable:

        – disgusting; repulsive

        – marked by immorality; deviating from what is considered right or proper or good

      • sonny says:

        I choose to use trichonosis since there are pigs to spread the disease around. Excision is the only known cure.

  32. jameboy says:

    “So who are the Level 5 leaders among the various names mentioned as candidates for president and vice president? Are there any? Who is closest? Who is for sure not likely to be of the mold of Ninoy Aquino or leaders of great humility, wisdom and achievement? What do we simply not know yet?” – Joe
    I acknowledge the importance of the crucial role of Ninoy Aquino in our history and respect his determination and desire to fight the dictatorship and free the country from its clutches. He was the central figure, the main reason that turned the fate of the country in causing the ouster of Marcos and brought back the freedom and the rights that has been denied us for years.

    In terms of leadership, I look at him as one who fights for what is right and proper. He speak and express the thinking of the majority against tyranny and oppression and never stop doing so even though his voice have already been damped and censured by restriction and control of the powers that be. He met force and brute with courage, firmness and resolve. However, unlike his wife, Cory and subsequently his son, who both became presidents, Ninoy’s struggle is not really about how to run a country but more on how to run the oppressors out of the country. His fight was not about leadership through power and control to govern a nation but about fighting a powerful and controlling leader that dictates on the nation. I see Ninoy as our version of a Mahatma Gandhi or a Martin Luther King in leading the fight against abuses and corruption through civil disobedience and non-violent means. On that aspect alone, Ninoy is in a class of his own.

    Yes, we can look in others the character and traits that made Ninoy a great leader and a fighter that he is but it is unlikely that we’ll be able to find one we can equate or put side by side with Ninoy simply because the bunch of leaders aspiring to be president have never been in the same situation and circumstance that Ninoy had. The closest ones were his wife and son, but still, it was clear that we’ll never be able to quantify or even compare simply because Ninoy never become a president.

    As aptly put by Sen. Jovito Salonga, “Ninoy Aquino is the greatest president we never had.” 👀

  33. Bing Garcia says:

    De Lima had pointed out that the Constitution does not provide for the argument of humanitarian considerations and that Section 7, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Court says that those charged with capital offenses will not be allowed to post bail when evidence of guilt is strong. The Supreme Court cannot determine evidence of guilt because it is not a trier of facts, De Lima explained.

  34. Dick S. O'Rosary says:

    Who killed Ninoy? Will we ever know?

    • nielsky says:

      Someone somewhere must still be carrying the moral cross to have failed [apparently] to seek justice of Ninoy’s death. As they always say, ‘crime cannot be committed without a witness’. It is a choice forever – to disclose or not disclose.

      • chempo says:

        Whoever believes in crime cannot be committed without a witness does not live outside the Philippines. In other non-corrupt countries, death penalties have been dished out to persons who were found guilty under circumstantial evidence , ie, there were no witnesses. Almost all pre-mediated murders are committed without witness. You plan the hows and the whens to a dot. You’re not going to commit murder in full view of anbody. Whoever does’nt understand this must be living in a nipa hut in the jungles all his life.

        Whoever carries the moral cross does not matter. It’s the people who warms the seats such as those in the Supreme Courts.


  35. Bing Garcia says:

    Burn Bersamin and his gang!

  36. caliphman says:

    In yesterday’s GMA OpEd page, Fr. Ranhillo Aquino defended the SC decision to grant Enrile bail, chastising those who protested the ruling as being biased against the rich and powerful while accomodative of someone really old and poor. This dean of San Beda’s law school is a cleric and according to media reports is purportedly not a lawyer which may explain why some of his legal positions are very questionable. His comments below talks about many legal scholars who supposedly agree with the SC bail decision without naming any but he almost surely and fatuously lumps himself in that category. At the same time, he dismisses the leading justices of that very same court, Chief Justice Sereno, Justice Carpio, and the other two justices who assailed the ruling for its lack of legal grounding and unconstitutional partiality as ‘wags’. He lambasts those who would criticize the majority whilst praising the solidly argued opinion of the dissenting judges, labeling the criticism slurs without examining the validity of the points and arguments submitted by the justices in both opinions. This he declares taxes credulity abusively but it seems to me the only credibility that is being stretched rather thinly is the figure not in in a magistrates’ black robe but the one clothed in a brown Benedictine robe!

    He goes on to assert his ignorance of the circumstances surrounding the issuance of the ruling by claiming that Enrile’s bail can only be denied after it is determined that the evidence against the accused is strong. This goes to the very guts of why the SC decision is a legal travesty of the constitution and the SC’s own Rules of Court. The Court decided without and before consideration of evidence of guilt to grant Enrile bail due primarily to humanitarian grounds, since as any legal expert should know, the SC is not a trier of facts but is instead the ultimate interpreter of the law. The only problem is nowhere in the constitution or enacted law does it say humanitarian reasons are sufficient grounds by itself to grant bail in plunder cases regardless of the strength ofcevidence against the accused. Who is the wag now? I have also included my unedited commentwhich I penned hurriedly and posted unedited with errors in response to his GMA column. In retrospect, I regret focusing on his being a cleric and whether he would resort to also using personal excuses when confronted with his wrongs on Judgement Day.


    ‘Neither illegal nor unfair’
    August 21, 2015 5:46pm
    Tags: juanponceenrile, supremecourt
    Eight members of the Supreme Court decided to grant former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile bail. While many legal scholars have lauded the decision, wags, with contemptible alacrity, have grumbled about “selective justice” and “favors for the rich”.

    I wonder: Had bail been granted a 91-year old farmer charged with a crime punishable by reclusion perpetua, would there have been strenuous objections? So, it seems that the protest is directed not really at the justness of the decision, but because it is Enrile involved.

    Now, really, discrimination against the rich is no less discrimination. If it were alright to shrug off the just claims of the wealthy, should would anyone be desirous of prosperity at all?

    It does our institutions, particularly our courts, no good to suggest that those who voted for Enrile’s temporary liberty were being deferential to his wealth. The argument Senator Enrile had advanced was sound: Where bail is not available as a matter of right, it can be denied only after it has been determined that evidence of guilt is strong.

    In the case filed against Senator Enrile, there has as yet been no determination that the evidence against him is strong—this, being possible only after the prosecution presents its evidence, which it has not yet finished doing so.

    What legal basis then is there for denial of bail? Liberty is as precious a commodity to a wealthy many like Enrile, as it is to any of us.

    And, was it not ‘selective justice’ to prosecute him and Revilla and Estrada first (and with such expeditiousness!) and later on march to a funeral cadence in respect to the prosecution of administration allies?

    Even assuming that the prime consideration for the favorable decision was Enrile’s advanced age, that, too, is a legal consideration. It taxes credulity abusively to slur the conviction of eight justices as perverse and hail the dissent alone as righteous!
    – See more at: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/533874/opinion/neither-illegal-nor-unfair#sthash.8v27ySuk.dpuf

    13 hours ago
    The bedrock principle of any or all law is equal Justice for all. And here you are, a cleric beholden to God’s law and wrapt in whatever legal gravitas a deanship of a major law school confers, protesting the public shredding of this bedrock principle. The legal issue is is not whether this bail accommodation should be extended to Enrile or the oldest of the old or the the poorest of the poor, it is neither our laws or even the SC’s own rules of court prescribe it! To claim now that your or the SC8’s sense of virtue trumps the fair and equal application of our laws is to use the very same mockery and fiction behind the legal blasphemy called the condonation principle. If God during the day of judgement were to call you before his presence and list your wrongs, would you plead for special accommodations as well based on higher virtue or humanitarian grounds? Shame on the Court and perhaps, shame on you as well.

    • sonny says:

      just me, caliphman. (off track again) 🙂

      I belong to the Dean Jover Ledesma era of San Beda. (trivium: Fr Aquino is not a Benedictine). I admire Sen Saguisag for other things. I hope these topics will be touched on albeit gingerly come reunion time w/class ’59/’63, San Beda. Am not a lawyer, just have a handful of classmates who are; three of them topped the Bar for that year. It will be interesting, but I’ll be only a fly on the wall.

        • caliphman says:

          Sonny, thank you for posting Fr. Aquino’s bio and credentials as a student and teacher of law and perhaps confirming he was a non-practitioner. A Fr. Bernas, one of the Philippines’ most prominent experts in constitutional law and also not a practitioner, he is not. Please do not get me wrong, San Beda has an excellent law school and its graduates stand shoulder to shoulder with the best and the brightest alumni of the other perhaps well known law schools, bar none. Dean Aquino on occasion just seems to adopt some rather legally questionable and controversial if not unpopular positions in my modest opinion. The latest being one of them for reasons I and maybe the dissenting opinion have already elaborated on.

          • sonny says:

            caliphman, absolutely no negatives taken or given. In a small socio-political pond such as ours where good and bad and all things in between, are closely strung together, we will hear and examine and react palpably to each other. From the few pieces I read from Fr Aquino, his opinions do come across with an edge and speed different from Dean Ledesma of yester-era. Plus of course the built-in “arcaneness” of legalese helps only a little to mitigate outright polarity. Thus from my POV (age mostly) I operate from a hope that more discerning minds than mine such as you and our members will make up the difference.

  37. nielsky says:


    You probably refer to Rhannie’s column, ‘Nothing higher than liberty’?

    I do agree – in toto – with everything he had said, hardly any loophole to it.

    Thus, it is of no moment who the ‘messenger’ was any more than the message itself he sets to articulate across and which can only be the same basis for forming our own opinions on the matter discussed.

    I think it is a common discomfort that Rhannie is not a lawyer by profession. His being Dean of the San Beda Graduate School of Law, it appears, did not also help allay the fears of caliphman, apparently of a cleric offering an argument reserved for lawyers.

    So I don’t think that Rhannie’s not being a lawyer explains why ‘some of his legal positions are very questionable’. At best, we may only disagree and that is one thing. To prove that any or all of the argument is questionable is certainly another.

    That seems to be a task reserved for lawyers and legal scholars alike.

    • caliphman says:

      Now if that post was not a copout of a comment, then I do not know what is. Yes, do leave sifting any and all legal issues you have difficulty understanding to lawyers and legal experts and say you totally agree on the legal points made by Dean Aquino even if you have little idea what they are and why they might be right or wrong! Nielsky, you have a right to weigh in here even if it seems many here have little inkling of what you are saying and I rather suspect that’s because you may not have a clue either. But this is an open blog and I for one will defend your right to state your view or nonview here. I only wish once in a while WordPress offered a Like and a Mute button for its blog readers!

      • Joe America says:

        The mute has to be done voluntarily. He teaches what he teaches, and I have learned that it is highly unlikely that there will be any useful takeaway at all. I get dizzy winding in and out of opposing generalist concepts attached to no factual anchor at all. Within that, he seems to favor those aligned with corruption. So I figure he must have a different audience than me.

        • nielsky says:

          It is simply a reaction to what @calip says and let me quote: “He goes on to assert his ignorance of the circumstances surrounding the issuance of the ruling by claiming that Enrile’s bail can only be denied after it is determined that the evidence against the accused is strong.”
          He is the one challenged so why don’t you ask him of ‘factual anchor’ – if you can play fair in a robust discussion?
          It is not true that I am aligned in anyway with corruption. It is what you and your cohorts keep beating on – and that with not any factual chain. How do you anchor your idea then?
          You reduce this forum as a wild guessing game?

      • nielsky says:

        Precisely so, I, too will defend your right to state your view. Just one thing, how good can you show what you say was Rannie’s “ignorance” other than just so stating? Clearly you will be hard put to offer an argument. Why do you always focus on something else if I were the one commenting? Am not the topic, it’s your mention of Rannie and you discounting his being conversant with anything about the law. You don’t even know if he were a lawyer or not. You don’t even know if he is dean of what law school. You don’t even know that he teaches judges even may be justices. Et cetera et cetera.

        I know Rannie and I thought it unfair for you to attack him here. Why don’t you comment straight where his column appears? Have you done that? You might get a fair reply, who knows?

        • caliphman says:

          Just a couple of constructive and hopefully you take as helpful comments, nielsky. Has anyone ever told you that you seem to be suffering from attention deficit or memory lapse problems? First of all, did you not notice my post began by saying I was including Fr. Ranhillo’s oped in GMA and my direct response to it in the comments section. Did you not also not notice that I named the law school where he taught early in my post contrary to your claim that I did not know this piece of info. Also before you wrote your reply to me, did you notice sonny posted a link to Fr. Ranhillo’s detailed curriculum vitae and have you even bothered reading that? And by the way since you misquoted the title of his oped piece, it is as written in the link, I.e. neither unfair nor illegal. Maybe you either missed all this or maybe you actually did note all of it but suffered memory lapses in the interval it took to compose your response. But good news, there might be help for you in the form of a miracle drug called Ritalin if as I am told others have mentioned the attention deficit issues in your post. The best news is Ritalin not contraindicated with Thorazine or Lithium in case you might also be taking those medications. Hopefully with the help of Ritalin your future posts will be clear, coherent, and sharp as a tack. After all what kind of spokesman is a person who cannot communicate clearly and coherently and almost always gets his facts wrong?

          • hello joe hope you are better. delete this if inappropriate.

            Well GMA and Binay spokesman fit the bill.

          • nielsky says:

            @calip,caliphman says:

            Let us put the record straight. My comment is confined to your “August 23,2015 at 2:30 pm” comment only. I hope you can follow.

            But first refrain from being callous with people whom you hardly know. I hope you can be cautioned as a matter of simple propriety and decency in communicating.

            Now, let us get this straight. It is not true that you named the law school. Why do I say that? It is this in your exact words and let me quote:

            “This dean of San Beda’s law school is a cleric and according to media reports is purportedly not a lawyer which may explain why some of his legal positions are very questionable.”

            Assure me you can follow. Am doing it damn carefully for you like I am talking to a 6-year old but it’s okay. We are in this forum to teach and learn and learn and teach. I have heard a lot of bad things about this Joe America’s already as much as I should not tell you. I also saw a few minds go out of here – they happen to have very bright ideas but such is life in the blogosphere. One who counters anyone of you here is being brought out of the gate. Funny your gatekeepers. Let me proceed.

            Thus, it is clear that you don’t know the difference between one, “San Beda College of Law” and “San Beda Graduate School of Law”. It is in the latter that good Rannie Aquino is Dean. Or to be damn too authoritative about it, Rannie is my classmate – but that is beside the point.

            As I have said, I am only reacting to the aforementioned comment of yours, and to no one else. So stick to the knitting, okay? Read chempo because your opening statement betrays simple knowledge of simple facts as to the person you tried quite frustratingly to critique. It is expected. And of course, there is no need for me to read what I already know. Chempo was kind enough to help you.

            I sure expect you to make an issue of the op-ed you are actually referring to. Oh but in my practice, that is entirely cheap shot. It was intended to look at the subsequent piece written by the same author.

            After all did I not ask, “You probably refer to Rhannie’s column, ‘Nothing higher than liberty’? [I do agree – in toto – with everything he had said, hardly any loophole to it.]”? It is not a misquote as you might conveniently put it. The question stands. I hope you are still in your normal mind, just your normal mind? I terribly doubt your deficit on a flow of ideas that is all too clear.

            So you talk of memory lapses? What are you smoking? Educate me, “I come from the mountains”. Modestly aside, but your cheap mind is too insulting. Let me just tell that I come from a family of doctors.

            I certainly doubt if you even know what you are talking about.

            In short, am sorry to say, nakakahiya ka pare! Sana naman respeto rin sa mga commenters dito. Para bang sumikat lang ito ng konti, eh kayo lang ang magagaling samantalang puro naman ‘strange’ to ‘weird’ ng mga palitan ninyo dito.

            Why don’t you make a survey? Why don’t you ask your friends to read this blog site and hear what their comments are? Be real and be happy.

            I hope this puts the case to rest. I have no intention of replaying anymore to your counter comment.

            The issue at bar is complex. Do not imagine the ideas of Rannie to be what you think of them. You will not fare well with his level of comprehension. With all humility, I was offended and I have every right to explain things in the clearest way possible.

            Thank you.

            You may now take your lithium and if you lack some, I got myself plenty of batteries.

            • nielsky says:

              Sorry, i refer to sonny instead of chempo in my comment. I stand corrected on that.

            • Joe America says:

              Assure me you can follow. Am doing it damn carefully for you like I am talking to a 6-year old but it’s okay. We are in this forum to teach and learn and learn and teach. I have heard a lot of bad things about this Joe America’s already as much as I should not tell you. I also saw a few minds go out of here – they happen to have very bright ideas but such is life in the blogosphere. One who counters anyone of you here is being brought out of the gate. Funny your gatekeepers. Let me proceed.

              @Nielsky/Primer, contained in this paragraph are the reasons for my decision to suspend you from commenting on this blog. The technical or legalistic reason is that you make persistent challenges to the character of others, myself included. Beyond that, it is apparent that you have a different set of values and agenda than what drives most readers to the blog. The agenda of the blog is the well-being of the Philippines, and the method is the “teaching and learning” you cite, along with respect for those with opposing points of view. I’m not clear what your agenda might be, but it appears disruption is a part of it, or else your values are so divergent from the mainstream of this community that the dialogue persistently turns negative.

              That is actually encouraging, in an ironic way, because it suggests that corruption or disruptions cannot co-exist with values focused on fair dealing and opportunity for all, for the Philippines.

              Whatever the case, this relentless personal bickering is not the style of the blog. Been there, done that. No.

              Readers can appeal for your reinstatement, but they will have to convince me it will bring a positive, constructive result. I would warn readers to use the name “Primer” when referring to you rather than nielsky so that their own comments don’t get sent to moderation.

              I do thank you for the thought and energy you have put into your comments, and would imagine they can be applied elsewhere for whatever purpose you gain from commenting.

              • jameboy says:

                I have no beef against Primer and I can join the call for his reinstatement if there would be one as long as, among others, he apologize on the statement he made below, and I quote:

                “Para bang sumikat lang ito ng konti, eh kayo lang ang magagaling samantalang puro naman ‘strange’ to ‘weird’ ng mga palitan ninyo dito.”

                It’s uncalled for and should not have been made. I, too,have made mistakes in the past but I never for once lost it to make a line insulting the owner of this blog or make a sweeping statement to spite others in the heat of the moment. It’s very basic, you are a guest, try to be and act one.

                Personally, I like his writing style and ease with communication and the passion that goes with it. But just like the rest, we have to abide with the rules of the game. I’ll go with Joe on this one. 🙊

              • Joe America says:

                Thanks for the observation. I agree that his writing is worth reading, although, for me, it is an effort to grasp the real meanings. Much is said between the lines and I think I am unskilled at getting there. My problem is that I hate being like the stern schoolmaster, or strict father, trying to enforce a style of exchange and argument that dispenses with the personal aspersions. If I give counsel, hey, why can’t he – or red rod – or others respect that I have a job to do, to maintain the integrity of the site. We are adults, are we not?

                I frankly don’t think Primer know how to argue without injecting diminution of the opponent into the conversation, and he feels entitled to advance his own views without objection. It is a form of impunity in action within the discussion thread. He disparages or taunts the best of the best here, the good of heart and mind.

                At some point, I have to be unlike the silent in the Philippines who abet bad behavior, and just get it out of the discussion thread. Just as corruption needs to be cut from Philippine social norms. I can’t sit and watch the blog deteriorate into venom and animosity, in the guise of grand intellectual argument. It has nothing to do with the issue or the argument itself, as discussions here are often opposed and sincere. It has to do with respect for the product that we all shape. It ought to be forthright and it ought to be kind. Those ideals can co-exist.

  38. ofw from abu dhabi says:

    there is another storm coming in the horizon..
    the OFW balikbayan box story…
    if mar roxas will not say anything about this..
    surely LP will take a hit here..
    for your info only mr.joeam.

    • Joe America says:

      I’m afraid I don’t understand the passion. My luggage is subject to custom’s inspection. Why not balikbayan boxes? If this issue is the basis for selecting a president, I’m afraid there is little hope for the nation. Roxas has nothing to do with it.

      • ofw from abu dhabi says:

        OFW’s are sensitive regarding their “pasalubong’s” to their relatives.. but we understand the situation and we could easily adopt.. but sec roxas should say something about it, not the other politicos (binay etc) whose only riding on OFW’s sentiments.

      • Bert says:

        It’s not so much the inspection, Joe, it’s the additional taxations, to be imposed by the BOC on incoming balikbayan boxes as proposed by Comm. Lina. The inspection is bad enough already considering the bad reputations of BOC’s personnel for lose of items sent by Balikbayans to their relatives.

        What about the pronouncement by Pres. Noynoy last week that there will be no new taxes until the end of his term? It seems to me that Comm Lina and the Dept. of Finance under Purisima, a department under the office of the President, are not listening to the president.

        Roxas, as you said, has nothing to do with it, agree, but, Joe, this is a presidential election year, and this issue will greatly affect the credibility and popularity of this administration. Anything that will affect the credibility of the administration will backfire on the candidates annointed by the administration, including the other candidates under the Liberal Party.

        This issue is a very bad timing for Mar Roxas and I believe that Purisima and Lina are not doing Roxas a favor.

        • Joe America says:

          If Roxas is capable as a future president, I’m sure he will speak maturely to the point. I also don’t like international airport terminal fees. Am I supposed to vote for Binay then?

          • Bert says:

            No, Joe, you’re not supposed to vote for Binay, for Binay, although leading in voter’s preferences, is not the only other choices.

            But…but..if you are an OFW or one of their dependents who will bear the brunt of these BOC’s taxation and inspection measures, you will not take it sitting down and shout, “it’s good for me”, and surely will take it against anyone implementing it.

            On the other hand, if you are Mar Roxas, running for president and lagging behind in voter’s preference, you will not like it that your allies in the administration that annointed you as it’s standard bearer are undermining your chances of winning the election. Would not you be thinking that maybe this Purisima or Lina or Ochoa are not for me but for another candidate of their choice? :).

            • Joe America says:

              If I were Mar Roxas, I would make a simple statement that “I believe it is wrong to impose additional tax burdens on those who contribute so much to the Philippines. If the aim of the new policy is to stop smuggling, then randomly inspect boxes, or boxes which are suspect, but punish only gross violations of law: firearms, drugs, and other illegal contraband. Furthermore, the root problem is a lack of credibility in Customs due to past abuses, and a top priority should be – and will be in my administration – to end corruption and to re-establish the Agency’s integrity.”

              • Bert says:

                I fully agree with you, Joe. Mar Roxas ought to be making that simple statement, the faster he do that the better, for the OFWs worldwide right now are seething with anger.

                I’m holding my breath.

                After all, Mar is rich and does not need the fund and resources coming from the government to finance his campaign.

      • caliphman says:

        Perhaps this early 2015 Inquirer excerpt may explain why the OFW should be outraged at the LP, the BOC, the administration and by association, Mar Roxas.

        During that meeting, Raval allegedly asked the traders and representatives of other groups doing business with the BOC to cough up an “additional ‘tara’ of P6,000 per container” supposedly to raise funds for administration candidates in the 2016 elections. “Tara” is the smugglers and port fixers’ term for grease money to facilitate the release of their mainly misdeclared and undervalued imported goods.
        Raval allegedly claimed he arranged the meeting on behalf of two other customs deputy commissioners and had the blessings of Ochoa.

        Read more: http://business.inquirer.net/190693/customs-chief-sevilla-resigns#ixzz3jepsoBSv
        Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

        This excerpt is buried in the article above and this entire story has been buried by the media and the blogs except for dribs and drabs coming out. Of course, Lina and Raval want to put the squeeze on the balikbayan business and justify the 6k peso per container hike on the Tara. It’s Christmas peak season and the LP wants its campaign funds now. BOC collections are down for the year and the campaign money has to come from the Tara hikes and what better way to prod it than to threaten opening boxes unless the Tara is paid. Who would not be outraged at BOC, the LP, and the Office of the President (Ochoa)?

        • Joe America says:

          If the issues is corruption, Roxas should be the guy to vote for, not against. He is most likely to do something about it. I appreciate the background and will likely concoct a blog about the subject because I find it fascinating, the application of personal passion in a way that actually works harmfully.

          • caliphman says:

            You know what, Joe? I do not care if its Roxas, Poe, or Duterte who implements Daang Matuwid 2 but whoever it is, it sure as hell cannot be this half assed version where the administration party has its hands dirty and also embroiled in the corruption.

        • chempo says:

          What Raval said is hearsy. Is’nt Raval INC’s man in BOC? Everbody needs money for 2016, but INC too is out of cash. Line the dots.

          • caliphman says:

            It is hearsay, chempo, no one is taking issue with that. Which is the reason why further investigation or journalistic research was the topic of discussion. The initial formal detailed investigation was conducted and summarized in a NICA report shared in an earlier blog. And yes Raval is reported to be an INC member and is just one of BOC key executives belonging to the church. But it would be downplaying the role of the sect and the administration in suggesting that the INC alone runs and benefits from the Tara and smuggling rings at BOC. According to exINC minister and whistleblower Antonio Evangelista, the political influence and leverage with the administration is so strong, top church leaders receive huge donations to use that influence to arrange for key appointments to be approved at the BOC. In this particular case, Sevilla was blocking Ravals appointment to become head of the BOC police and security force responsible for securing all goods under custody pending clearance and duties assessment and inspection. A crucial element needed to enforce a customs protection scheme which the Tara system is. Sevilla claims and probably he would be willing to testify before a Senate hearing that Ochoa and even his exboss Purisima along with the INC were pressuring him to promote Raval which he refused because the later was unqualified and had a record of corruption. In the end, Sevilla was forced to resign and apparently his successor Joey Lina, who had already been planned to replace him and known as someone willing to play ball, quickly approved Raval’s appointment. A Cabinet appointment such as Lina’s who has a shady past and is an exBOC head appointed by GMA, had to be personally approved by Pinoy himself and is quite a reversal from Pinoy’sdecision to appoint Sevilla, a squeaky clean, no-nonesense, Goldman Sachs executive, renowned for his competence and honesty. Something happened that made administration and party priorities change from Daang Matuwid at BOC. I have a strong guess as to what these priorities are but as zi told you at the very beginning, conclusive proof will have to come from a much needed official or journalistic investigation.

            • chempo says:

              Very interesting, Calipman. I don’t have the rich background of local knowledge that you have. But based on the little that I know, Lina’s appointment seemed very strange to me so your detailes simply confirm my thoughts. Damn all these people. The public need to know from Sevilla and Danilo Lim what the heck is going on. Indeed it does seem Pnoy has made some bad decision, perhaps there was some coercion.
              Why does the INC need someone in BOC. What is your take. Is it to customise their tithe collection?

  39. ofw from abu dhabi says:

    and you could see sir joeam the comments on FB from OFW’s all around the world..
    they are not just hitting BoC but also the LP and PNoy.
    and this is not just mamasapano issue that could die down easily,
    OFW send balikbayan boxes approx 5M a month..so it will not just die down..
    and if you could also see.. OFW’s dont care much about the issue on enrile et al,
    but on “their pasalubong’s” its personal for them.
    again for your info..

    • Joe America says:

      I’m sure it is personal, but to me it falls into the category of “mistake” (if Roxas/LP does not speak to their personal needs), then they will vote for someone else. In other words “if the President does not take care of my personal needs on this matter, I won’t vote for him”. That is not quite sacrificial patriotism, or the kind that grasps that there is a reason . . . legitimate . . . that Customs is worried about the boxes. So my attitude is, if that is the basis for selecting a president, “lots of luck” because he cannot attend to the needs of all . . .

      I’m confident that Roxas will talk about OFW’s during the campaign.

      I just think this is horridly petulant by OFW’s. Demanding. Vindictive.

      • edgar lores says:

        As an ex-OFW, I know the sacrifices made by our fellow countrymen. They not only send money back to loved ones but also goods that may be cheaper, of better quality and only available abroad.

        Leaving family to work abroad is sacrificial in a personal sense. It is also sacrificial in a patriotic sense in that the country benefits.

        Certainly, balikbayan boxes may be used to ferry contraband items and should be randomly — stress randomly — inspected for any such violations. But for the government to impose additional taxes on these boxes — on top of the hefty OFW remittances that is keeping the economy afloat in a major way — is adding insult to injury.

        Some OFWs send balikbayan boxes at irregular intervals. I would say all OFWs will send boxes of pasalubongs ahead of them when they return to the country on their vacations. This is to surmount the limits and costs of excess baggage on airlines.

        It may be that not to vote for Mar on the basis of this sole issue would be petulant and vindictive. However, I do think OFWs are right in raising their concerns about this issue. And the timing of the “tax” raise, as Bert points out, is suspicious.

        • Joe America says:

          I concede the point, but find interesting the passion attached to the matter, versus the relative ambivalence to Binay or the Arroyo 8. I actually think the running of Customs as a taxing agency is absolutely wrong, and I wrote to that point three or four years ago. It works against economic growth. Customs ought to charge fees for services. To offset the loss, I’d say taxes should be raised and collected on real estate properties, but try selling that to the landowners.

          Or the stupid Legislature.

          • caliphman says:

            It is run as a service, the crime syndicate charges 60K pesos tara plus 6k special assessment fee to fund LP campaign expenses. Pinoy and Roxas are the acting heads of the party and the LP treasurer is none order Gov. Umali, none other than the same public official charged and convicted by the Sandiganbayan of graft and corruption. He makes for an apropos bagman to collect some 15 billion pesos for LP treasury coffers. Where did this estimate come from? There are 2.5 million container shipments inbound to the Philippines every year. Do the math and multiply that by the 6k per container tara hike and the LP has enough funds to more than match the 6-9 billion pesos Binay has salted away to run his campaign. Still not convinced? Check the PDI article I linked in my above post where the resigned exBOC commissioner Sevilla is pointing to Ochoa and the LP party as pressuring him to insert their man Raval to raise dirty money for the campaign. The warnings of impending scrutiny and possible delays on balikbayan containers, how diificult is it to connect these dots?

            • Joe America says:

              Which is the appropriate agency to investigate the shenanigans surrounding the personnel switch and resignation of the head of Customs? I thought the purpose was to give an INC representative an authoritative position in an effort to secure political backing from INC during the campaign. Not dirty money, but church money. I agree this stinks worse than the fish in Denmark.

              • caliphman says:

                Joe, the NICA secret report concluded their investigation should be continued by the NBI or the Justice Department which means De Lima, and that was over a year ago and no news of any investigation. What has happened was Sevilla was hired to clean up BOC and he was trying to but he was not allowed to, pressured to resign and replaced by Lina. The rot goes very high up the admin and LP ranks and involves party funding. A criminal investigation or just getting rid of corruption and crime at the BOC without prosecutions would require the solid unequivocal support of President Aquino. Kim Henares had his support and she worked a miracle at the BIR. Henares also reported to Purisima just like Sevilla but the support has to come from the very top because of the stakes and the piwers involved. I have approached our friends across the street and Rappler who was investigating the INC exposes with the NICA info but I am no Deep Throat and they are not exactly Woodward and Bernstein either so its ending up Nada!….oh to have the Filipino equivalent of the Drudge Report or even the Huffington Post to pursue and expose the truth wherever and to whomever it leads. Joe, I almost wrote stink instead of truth because this odor is so foul, I bet it reeks all the way to Denmark…hehehe.

              • Joe America says:

                Thanks for the background. I need to see if I can concoct a blog that raises the matter to higher visibility. It will require some artful word dancing, I think, as I am not investigative, but can be provocative.

                Thank you for providing the basics of the case.

              • caliphman says:

                Joe,let me know if there is anything at all I can do to help you with any of that. Ridding BOC of corruption is like staking Count Dracula through the heart…hehehe.

              • Joe America says:

                Thanks. I’ll e-mail a draft to you for your observations and inputs. Probably this weekend or thereabouts, depending on how long it takes to put the pieces together, and my ability to concentrate, which wavers.

  40. chempo says:

    This balikbayan box fuss tells me something — Philippines is condemned to the mess it has created for itself.

    1. There is no tax on personal items. If the OFW send back a new watch purchased for a mom’s birthday, it’s for personal consumption — no tax. If he/she sends back 1,000 watches — it’s for business, thus taxable. What’s so wrong with that? It’s the same for all foreigners coming into Phils to work. All personal effects are tax-free, other items are taxable.

    2. OFWs are not supposed to ship back taxable items in the boxes in the first place. This is the standing regulation when balikbayan boxes were first arranged. Without hesitation, it is pretty obvious there are excessive abuse.

    3. Illegal items like drugs and weapons flow easily through this channel. Purveyors of such items would be stupid not to exploit this channel to its fullest. If there are drug mules, it would be utterly naive not to believe that there are drug boxes.

    4. Smuggles are exploiting this channel for years. The ingenuity of these smugglers will surprise you. There are those who say how does one smuggle items like a car in a balikbayan box? Go ask smuggling suspect Allan Bigcas how he used the balikbayan system to import vehicles.

    The problem with balikbayan boxes is the same as those with any other subsidies that many poorer states establish in their countries — such as petrol, kerosene, sugar etc. In the first place, there is often a lack of foresight, such as what we have here — tax evasion, smuggling, importation of illegal items. In the second place, when the time comes for withdrawing, reducing, or some changes to the scheme, all hell will break loose. Governments have been brought to their knees and we have seen some change of regimes. The lessen to learn for all govt is — BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN YOU DISH OUT GOODIES.

    So is the tax on balikbayan boxes a right move? I stand corrected but I think the imposition of tax is only on the importation of taxable items in view of large scale abuses and smuggling activities. From good governance point of view, of course there is nothing wrong. That all previous admin have never done anything about this tells me they do not have political courage. This is a hot political potatoe.

    Assuming there is no other ulterior motives other than to tighten tax/smuggling loopholes, this admin has the guts to address the problem. A nation that cannot stomach unpopular but necessary steps cannot move forward. Just look at the Greeks.

    What I am disappointed is the way the admin handles the matter. The OFWs should have been better informed (ie govt objectives better explained to them), their views respected, their apprehensions allayed. Everybody knows that when boxes are opened at BOC, things go missing efficiently.

    All being said, Philippines should understand other countries are not stupid. All outward shipments including balikbayan boxes are subject to inspection before leaving their ports. It’s only in Philippines that they do not get checked. And thank goodness for that.

    • edgar lores says:

      I cannot imagine a real car being passed thru customs in balikbayan boxes, but if it has been done then kudos to the master criminal.

      There are ways of monitoring individual balikbayan boxes:

      o X-ray scanning for contraband
      o Use of sniffer dogs for drugs
      o Drug detection machines

      At a higher level of control, computerization of data:

      o To identify senders and recipients
      o To detect frequency of sending
      o For data matching against POEA records

    • Joe America says:

      Nicely stated. I agree it was poorly handled. Customs has been so rotten for so long that it is impossible to clean up because no one can stand the stench, and the Aquino Administration played favor games with the leadership. Horrid. Customs and DOTC seem to me to be the two main failed agencies that have been allowed to fester and bleed and bend the straight path crooked.

    • chempo says:

      Howard Huges : Once you consent to some concession, you can never cancel it and put things back the way they are.

      It’s not about tackling taxes/smuggling, it’s about rolling back incentives/concessions. Pay the political price when you approach with economics in mind and forget the social side. The BOC created too big a mountain. The only solution is to drop the matter or loose 10 million votes.

  41. Bert says:

    Inquirer headline today: Aquino stops random physical inspection of balikbayan boxes

    See? That’s my President…my idol.

  42. jameboy says:

    On the candidates

    Jojo Binay – Along with Duterte, he has years of executive experience that even Ninoy never had. All being equal, he delivered and made impact in Makati. His performance there and connections made It possible for him to venture out and serve the executive department in other capacities. Right or wrong those ratings has some backings to it. However, the issue of corruption has weaken his credibility and soften whatever impact those ratings have. I expect, if he remains elusive and adamant in facing the issues against him and his family, he will further go down slowly and lose momentum as we approach the start of the campaign. If not, we can all migrate. 🙂

    Mar Roxas – Credential-wise, next to Binay, he’s the ideal president for the country. Held various positions in the executive department aside from having legislative experience. Has been having trouble in terms of acceptance perception though ironic because the Filipino electorate are not really well known for sophistication and intelligence when it comes to voting the right person. They said he is not masa; he doesn’t have their pulse; short tempered and trying hard to be accepted. Guess what, the last super pro-masa president we had was convicted of plunder. He had their pulse for sure as well as their purse. Enough of such nonsense. If he don’t make it, I’ll repeat Sen. Salonga’s comment about Ninoy, with Mar as my subject, as being the greatest president we never had.

    Grace Poe – Well-mannered and has potentials. The simple minded voters as well as the opportunists tend to gravitate to her. Human nature, new is always welcome compared to old. The new kid on the block always invite curiosity. Most often, though, the frenzy over novelty tends to overlook or sidestep the real capability of the person. Impression takes control over substance. Deep inside, I think, she’s salivating for the highest position in the land. She’s just being coy and very careful not to show her intention and at the same time wants to be convince that the bandwagon is for real. The heavyweights have yet to appear and declare their all out support for her. So, you see, she’s the ‘segurista’ type. I don’t feel comfortable on her playing hard to get with PNoy. I expected honesty on her part however brutal it is with the guy who have shown honesty and confidence on her in inviting her to try public service. She may be new in politics but the savviness and craftiness is very visible at this early stage in her career. I suspect she’ll have a lasting career in politics.

    Leni Robredo – Every time I hear or read her name the word ‘Jesse’ comes to mind. Like Sen. Poe, her being in the game was largely due in part to her link with her most popular and beloved husband. I cannot talk much about her because there’s not enough material to talk about. Let’s talk about her, say, after five more years.

    Bongbong Marcos – Definitely has the appeal of his mother but don’t have the intelligence of his dad. His rise to prominence is very simple. He’s a Marcos. The only boy of Macoy. I say, if things go well for him, especially after the mother is gone, let’s talk about him on 2022.

    Alan Cayetano – Honestly, my favorite firebrand in the Senate. It used to be Miriam but her physical condition, which worsened by her obsession with Enrile, and before him Ramos, has slowed down the lady senator considerably. Alan is a better version of Miriam because while she would come out smoking in the nose and will not give the other side any time to react or even defend itself, he has the penchant for laying down the premise or lay out the trap before clobbering you. He will allow you to say your piece and boom, you’re down! I mean, the guy is precision-savvy. He’s the Manny Pacquiao of the Senate Committe Hearing. He’s a good presidential material but I love him to stay in the Senate up to 2022 or anytime when he’s ready.

    Rodrigo Duterte – Ah, the Davao Berdugo! Had Davao became the new Cebu, I would have taken a second look at his application paper for the presidency. Right now, unlike Davao City, the country don’t have a need for reinforcement or crime czar. Had PNoy included him in the Mamasapano strategy, ‘wiped out’ would have been a popular term by now. I say, the next president should take a hard look at Rudy and see how he can fit in and be of service to the county. Criminals take note.

    Antonio Trillanes – For me, he’s the dark horse. I’m sure there is a voice inside him that tells him to not be another Honasan or Lacson. Right now, his name remains afloat mainly because of his ala-Mayweather-Pacquiao running cat fights with VP Binay and his family. A few more years in the Senate or even an executive position, like vp or governor, will greatly make a difference for him to step out from the shadows of former militarymen turned politicians who end up without having to take the biggest challenge of their political career and winning (presidency) it. I’ll be watching with keen interest in the coming years ahead.

    Overall, I think Mar Roxas has the edge right now. I know the ‘negatives’ about him and they’re nonsense to me. Nonsense in the sense that they don’t have substance. 😎

    • Joe America says:

      Excellent assessment. Enjoyable read. I like your description of Cayetano. I suppose if the office makes the man, he’d be dynamite. If the man makes the office, he would wield political power and influence like none before. His would be an interesting presidency, for sure. Can you imagine the Supreme Court “overreaching” with him. Man, his eyeballs would blaze.

  43. panget says:

    hi sir joe am,

    found this article and thought of sharing this, just in case you haven’t come across this one. i think this is very much related to this article. can’t hide the admiration. hoping, in time, that doing what is right becomes the norm.


    • Joe America says:

      Thank you, panget. When Leni Robredo is the norm in government, the Philippines will positively soar. I’m surprised the oligarchs do not grasp this and start supporting business people and other achievers to public office.

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