For the Sake of Ten

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by Wilfredo G. Villanueva

Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?” “If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”

Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?” He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”

Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?” He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?” He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”

Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?” He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.” — Genesis 18:20-32 

Without making judgments that the beloved country is the new Sodom, let me refresh our collective memory:

One, a good number of us are not above committing crime to solve crime, such as when we are starry-eyed by the prospect of a Rudy Duterte presidency a.k.a. A Swift Hand at the Trigger Without Due Process;

Two, some of us are not above disrespecting the dead to prove parentage of another popular presidential aspirant, a ghoulish behavior in any age, epoch, or period in history (except as part of science to detect crime—forensics);

Three, a good 30 per cent of our voting population is staunchly supporting a candidate who has serious plunder charges which he chooses to ignore and instead focuses on gaining an elective position to ostensibly absolve him of his alleged crimes;

Four, still a good number of us, young and old, will for some reason or the other allow the return of a dictatorship whose expulsion from the country was met with widespread awe and admiration around the world for the people power that made it possible;

Five, slander and intrigue is what we eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner in traditional and social media, never mind the compelling reason to stick to the truth or the consequence of telling a lie, just to advance political agenda or destroy reputations;

Six, the most heinous behavior of all: heretofore religious people with crucifixes on their chests and who declare faithful ardor morning, noon and night are not above supporting a person who has overwhelming evidence filed or imputed against him for major crime, just because he is a fraternity brother or a neighbor or someone from the same city, province or region—just because.

What happened to the 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit—charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity—when the baddies come strutting into town with promises of political salvation?

Where is charity, kindness, generosity, modesty in the heart of a thief?

Where is patience, peace, self-control in the heart of someone who is apprehending officer, judge, and executioner in one?

Where is charity and kindness in the heart of someone who openly supports a self-confessed summary executioner, or an alleged thief of public funds with glaring evidence against him, or someone who twists notarized declarations to circumvent law?

Chaste but overlooks adulterous behavior? Generous but accepts theft? Faithful but can live with honest mistakes?

So now we turn to Abraham’s story. What if God is The Punisher? What if he has had enough? We fill our churches to spilling point on Sundays and holy days but can separate faith from behavior, belief from attitude, God from political choice as a matter of convenience and expediency.

The priest at Holy Mass has a favorite story about a woman so devout that she has a full panoply of devotions, has a copy of every Bible version, misalettes, novena prayers. One day the priest was walking past the woman’s store and overheard the following conversation:

Woman to household maid: O, Amalia, it’s six o’clock. Are you done with your duties?

Amalia: Yes, ma’am.

W: Have you mixed water with the cooking oil?

A: Yes, ma’am.

W: Have you poured sand into the sack of rice?

A: Yes, ma’am.

W: Have you poured water into the can of kerosene?

A: Yes, ma’am.

W: O, come now, it’s time to pray the Rosary.

How consummate artists we are, that we can juggle faith and sin in one continuous stream of thought and behavior, treating both as consequences of our deep faith in the Almighty, as if the ability to memorize prayers and follow Church rules and tradition exempts us from basic good manners and right conduct.

Allow me to take us on a tour of the Philippines and other places where there are Filipinos as Abraham might have taken a tour of Sodom to find ten good men and women. I have found my ten but I will mask their identities. These are actual people—they will know who they are:


His mother needed a kidney. He volunteered, and his mother lives. He has gained weight for some reason I do not know. He lives in the U.S.A. but he remains a Filipino, taking care of his family, showing his love for his wife and children in Facebook, giving his son a hoverboard for Christmas on a modest salary, a true family man. He calls my daughter his kinakapatid (godsister) because she is the goddaughter of his mother, even if we scarcely see each other since they migrated. He keeps his being Filipino close to his heart. He doesn’t have to live in the beloved country to prove his love for it because he carries it with him.


Susan and most of her siblings reside in California, but when their mother was stricken with Alzheimer’s, they concentrated on providing a good home for their mother to stay in in the Philippines to ride the disease to its conclusion, painful as it was. A brother chose to sacrifice his comfortable life in the States to be with their mother in the Philippines. Susan and her siblings regularly visited their mother when she was alive. And they do not only take care of their mother. Susan’s year-round activity with sisters close to her residence is to set a balikbayan box in their living room and through the days of the year fill it with goodies for siblings who have stayed behind in the mother country. They send several boxes by the time they are finished. She never sulks, forgetting her own pain as she addresses the needs of her loved ones. Susan is legally blind.


Jenny comes from a wealthy family. She married a man who was below her family’s socio-economic class for love, exchanging a comfortable life for the struggle of marriage. She witnessed the steady decline of her husband’s fortunes as their children grew up, sacrificing all they had in the altar of education. There was not a single word of regret or recrimination from her, no blame-throwing, no druthers, as she toiled in the family kitchen herself, stretching the family budget to address all essential bills and expenses. She quietly watches her children grow in their careers, never a nag, has no barkada (close friends), no vices, the quintessential wife and mother. She is the center of her family and her husband feels a lump in his throat when he watches her enjoy her motherhood to the fullest extent in spite of outrageous fortune.


Robert and most of the brothers and sisters reside abroad, for they are part of the force of so-called Overseas Filipino Workers or the modern-day heroes of the Philippines. Trumpets do not blare and cymbals do not clash when they appear on the scene to honor their parents, making them as comfortable as possible in their twilight years, but they might as well appear with chariots on fire because their parents look to them as heroes. Without Robert and his brothers, the parents are sure that their lifestyle will not be as cushy as it is now.


He wasn’t born and raised in these parts, but when he retired in the United States with substantial savings and started a family here, he is making sure that his daughter by his marriage with his Filipino wife is not only well-provided for but will inherit a good country by his blogging on Philippine affairs which has caught the attention of Filipino society here and abroad. He is not a Filipino by birth but he is as Filipino as calamay and kutsinta.


Girlie is not well. She has had a bout with cancer, and lately her blood pressure was like 100/60 and she had to be hospitalized. She is yellow army, writes with a passion, using Facebook, Twitter, blog sites to support the present dispensation and show her support for Roxas-Robredo. To people close to her in virtual community, she is like a hunter at day’s end, regaling everyone with her adventures in battling Marcos trolls, Duterte die-hards, Poe-nuts and such denizens in the Philippine political firmament. When you read her posts, you wouldn’t guess that she’s battling disease.


Aida is nearing retirement age. She is unmarried. All her life, she has supported her siblings, adopting one of her nephews, putting him in school until he finished with a college degree, and treats him like her own son. Recently, she renovated her modest one-floor bungalow in a southern city of Metro Manila so that her siblings and their families can have a comfortable stay when they come visiting. She took out a life-insurance policy for her nephew and her nephew’s family and her house will form part of his inheritance.


She has health issues, walks with a limp, monitors her heart, takes maintenance meds for several conditions including arthritis, hypertension and a heart condition. Everyday of her life, she and her sister check on their eighty-five year-old mother who has diverticulitis and fainting spells, finding a nursing home for her, stretching her budget to place her in a single room. She can be moody because she also takes care of her grandchildren, a nanny being a luxury in Canada where she, her sister and mother live, but she has never said an unkind word to her mother, keeping her physical and emotional pain to herself. She has lived in Canada for a long time but she hasn’t forgotten filial piety and acceptance of long-suffering.

Dr. David Chan

He’s a renowned pulmonologist. He doesn’t charge his friends and is sensitive to the financial limitations of indigent patients. He not only answers requests for medical prescription for common cold or cough by text, he also remembers to follow up. “How are you doing?” he texts, “I hope the meds are working. Text me if cough is not relieved.” When a daughter of one of his friends had a lump in the chest area, he referred his friend to a thoracic surgeon, followed up on developments. This, despite the long line in his clinics in three hospitals throughout the day. When the friend was alarmed because something was detected in the child’s chest x-ray a year after operation, he himself brought his friend and his friend’s child to the x-ray room, explained the condition to the family to everyone’s relief and satisfaction. He also dispenses Christian sayings, having memorized portions of the Bible.


Matthew and his family live in Australia. They have a house there and are quite comfortable, but every Christmas, they would visit their grandmother and grandfather in Nueva Ecija just to sit with their grandfather, their grandmother having passed away two years ago. They do not do anything spectacular, just being the way they were in their hometown before they moved abroad, as if saying that they haven’t changed and will always be there for their grandparents. He placed his grandmother’s and grandfather’s photo in his Facebook cover. Matthew will always be the Filipino apo, come what may, he will be an apo to his lola and lolo.

God will not sweep away the Philippines from the face of the earth because Filipinos anywhere they are will always be Filipinos. They carry their country with them. We are flawed in making political choices, but when it comes to loving parents and grandparents, loving friends, loving children, loving spouses, that’s our strength. That’s where the world finds us. That’s our address. May God bless the Filipino nation this new year in home country and adopted domiciles, for they are as simple as little children in the way they love. Our love not only defines us, it can actually save us and lead us to the country of our aspirations.

My challenge to you, dear reader is to find your own ten good men and women. Mask their identities as I did, but make them real persons. Write down their heroic deeds in the comments section of this article if you want. Tell them why they’re on your list. Make it a love fest. Let’s storm heaven with petition to spare the beloved country of natural or man-made calamities such as earthquakes, storms, volcanic eruptions, electoral results in May that could eschew economic and moral progress, for the sake of our own ten.


156 Responses to “For the Sake of Ten”
  1. Liza says:

    great article, sir! can you share Girlie’s blog or any link so I can follow her? thank you in advance!

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Are you in Facebook, Liza? Please tell me your FB name and I’ll tell the real Girlie to friend you. Is that okay with you?

  2. An East German friend whom I told a lot about the Philippines called it Sodom and Gomorra.

    My father told me after I left, don’t look back, you might be turned to stone. I am not yet a statue.

    • i like Andrew, I enjoy lurking (when I’m busy) in his blog, and an opinionated commenter when I’m not. He really deserves to be in our list of 10, for whose sake, God will not turn his wrath via Yolanda-like super typhoons, drought, financial crisis or China’s territorial grabbing., another dictatorial regime or sham democracies which are really the Marcos regime in disguise.

      I’ll be back with my list of 10, but can Andrew be in them as well?

    • You lived to fight another day and that’s good. Ninoy sacrificed his life so millions could be awakened from their apathetic slumber, including me.

  3. anislagan says:

    “The lack of exegetical control always encourages unfettered fantasy” – F.F. Bruce

  4. Micha says:

    “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” – Richard Dawkins

    • DelPi says:

      That is why I dont read fictitious books, non finction book is a better read and I agree with Richard Dawkins. When I was younger I love the old testament and as I grow older I realized that Sodom and Gomorrah is a good fiction and the script cant fool me no more.

      • Micha says:

        Congratulations. Any reference to this mythical narrative is an attempt to re-institute irrational belief in this fictitious bully.

        • I have postulated that moral laws developed just after God-Kings and prophets: – the Pharaoh and Duterte are God-Kings, Moses was a prophet, St. Paul was a moral lawmaker, Justinian secular…

          To convince the simpler people, a god similar to the God-Kings of before – sociopaths – was necessary to scare them, until they assimilated what was considered good. Good I define as what is good for the community, bad is behavior that goes against the community, Sodom and Gomorrha was a community that did only bad things, indulged in Dionysian revelries and destroyed itself – it is an allegory to convince simpler people, remember the level of education and the short lifespans during these ancient times.

          • Micha says:

            1. Deviant sexual behavior – rape, incest, sodomy, bestiality, etc. – is not uncommon even among the most religious.

            2. If you want to instill order, all you need are laws not lies.

            3. The institution of God-belief only lead to theocracy which, up until now, mankind as a whole has yet to fully recover from its damaging effects.

            • Joe America says:

              I’m wondering if you have any friends who are Catholic or Muslim or some other faith, or do you only circulate among non-believers. On the chance that you have friends of faith, do you challenge their beliefs?

              I rather see that we are all living fictions and ought to allow others to choose the one that works best for them. Intolerance is a rather ugly beast.

              • Micha says:

                There are lies that go beyond the capacity to be tolerated. Or, you tolerate them and suffer the consequences.

                Can you, for example tolerate the lies of an Imelda Marcos or a Jejomar Binay? Can you tolerate the lies of your cheating wife?

              • Joe America says:

                Well, you didn’t answer the questions and I’m wondering why. Do you challenge here when you do not face to face, because it is easy here and you don’t have to face the pains or anger you cause?

                If Binay is elected President, I suspect that I and about 104 million people will tolerate him in some way. The cheating of a wife is a rational exercise that many free love advocates did and do tolerate.

              • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

                I was wondering, Joe, how to answer exegetically but you did it for me. Thanks, foxhole buddy.

              • Micha says:

                1. Jesus, I came from a Catholic family uncle Joe. I grew up in a Catholic community. My classmates and friends were mass-going, bible-quoting maniacs. I did managed to convince some of them on the ridiculousness of their belief. Some just hunkered down in the comforts of religious fantasy. Some put up superficial display of piety but doubt the homilies of their priests.

                2. Can you tolerate the lies of people like Imelda or Binay?

                3. Free love advocates are not cheating or, for that matter, lying to their spouses.

              • Joe America says:

                1. Then you must have developed some level of tolerance yourself, or you would be a pariah and outcast. I am aware that social media are somewhat brutal because people say what they would not say to someone’s face. It makes for a lot of the venom that is spewing in the US and here and I’d rather not see it in my blog. I prefer a measure of consideration.

                2. Yes, I can ridicule, criticize and object here in the blog, but can’t go out in the street and march because I am not a citizen. They are. So I must tolerate it, as must you and everyone else who detests what they stand for. The legal and ethical process of the Philippines are often bizarre to me, but they are the legal and ethical processes. I’m not interested in leaving, so I tolerate them.

                3. Yes, that’s true. That is a more personal matter and can be dealt with through laws, outside the Philippines, but not within. I would not be able to tolerate it. It amazes me how much cheating goes on here, with mistresses and Duterte values.

              • Micha says:

                1. You are guessing uncle Joe. My family had since been debugged from Catholicism. I still keep in touch with friends and former classmates but we do not talk about their faiths or engage in religious rituals. I do not care if they worship Zeus or Satan or Buddha or Jesus as long as they keep it to themselves; otherwise I can also be brutally honest.

                2. That’s the gist of my point. We should not tolerate religious lies in the same way that we should not tolerate the abhorrent lies of people that damage our political culture. That’s the ideal but, as they would say, reality is a bitch.

                3. Might as well legalize polygamy or, why not, free love.

              • Joe America says:

                I am not guessing that social media inspire a kind of dialogue that loses track of people’s general humanity and kindness of bearing, in favor of honesty so brutal that it diminishes and divides.

              • It maybe religious lies to you, micha, but it could be something sacred to others. Joe is correct, a little tolerance is a must…being brutally honest is not being tolerant. There are wonderful lessons and moral guidelines that can be found in the bible.

                There are certain traditions in the catholic practices that are no longer being practiced by born again Christians like us, but we never force our beliefs to our earnest brothers and sister of different persuasions. They must realize this and change must come from and not forced upon them. In this instance, am talking about us, not you, micha.

              • Religious beliefs call for tolerance, I believe, a gentle reminder, perhaps but there is always a perfect time for such things or another blog topic. Debates on religious topics are always unending and sometimes confusing.

                Lies in the area of politics and governance, of course, should not be tolerated, we must speak against them or be victims once again as a result of apathy and unconcern, and I believe, it’s part of loving your fellow men if you speak against blatant abuses and attempts to bring us back to the dark days of dictatorship.

              • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

                Micha, someone asked me to give one good reason why God exists. I answered, I present myself, as Exhibit One. If it weren’t for him, I’d be tangling with you, for you have insulted my faith. But no. That is not God’s way. I will quietly walk my way after hearing you, after accepting everything you say in the hope that you will see the peace in me, the equanimity and the grace in me. Do you have any quarrel with peace?

              • Micha says:

                @Mary Grace

                Pointing out the ridiculousness of religious faith is not intolerance. God is an idea and like any other idea, it must be open for debate. One should not claim special pleading on religious matters.

              • Micha, in this case – Will’s article – God and the Bible are for me metaphors used to drive home a point. A discussion of God or not is irrelevant to the TENOR of this discussion. Please make an article so we can discuss this stuff in place, it’s too much now even for me.

              • Micha says:


                As I have said, I have no problem with your personal private faith as long as you keep it to yourself. It’s a different matter when you wear it on your sleeves in a public forum such as this. When you start doing that, then you should also welcome the challenge from those who do not share your beliefs. Okey din ba sa’yo yung ganyan?

              • Micha says:

                @ Ireneo

                Wilfredo’s article is making a claim; namely, that if there are a certain minimum number of what he perceive as righteous people in our midst, God will spare the country of his wrath, and by wrath he meant natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, and typhoons or super-massive meteorite hitting the Quezon memorial circle.

                What is his evidence or certainty of that claim?

                You yourself have listed numerous people who made it to the righteous category in your estimation. Does that mean we won’t be expecting any calamities in our midst from here on out?

              • Let’s figure God out of this and get to the point:

                if each of us can name 10 Good Filipinos…

                then the Philippines is worth saving.

              • Micha says:

                I don’t know about you Irineo but even if none of us can name 10 good Filipinos, the Philippines is still worth saving.

                Then again, your postulation begs the question : saved from what and to be saved by whom exactly? Because it seems to me yours is a departure from Wilfredo’s idea of salvation from natural calamities.

              • The calamity that may come is a political one. Sodom and Gomorrha the divisiveness and hypocrisy that Will has mentioned in his article, “God’s wrath” the consequence of all of it.

                Now what dawns upon me is that counting who is good may give hope and motivation, but that this motivation is not enough, because there were many good people in the times of Marcos. This did not really help, and the 1986 revolution was only partly a success…. 😦

                Because being good alone is not enough to be able to fight evil. There is an important allegory in the Bible, bear with me:

                I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

                If not enough people get what that means and act upon it before May 2016, then they will have to suffer the calamity, and at some point learn what it means or perish. Reality is in fact more brutal than the God of the Old Testament. Discussion finished – at least for me.

              • Joe America says:

                Well, you leave with a fine exclamation point to the notion that people get what they deserve, or make the bed into which they must crawl. If I were to think in terms of Bible lessons, then God should certainly be expected to smite those who pray one thing and do quite another.

              • Micha says:

                Will a Poe or a Binay or a Duterte presidency be calamitous for the country? Maybe. Maybe not. But if any one of them win by legitimate democratic means, who are we to judge the will of the people?

                I say, bring it on. And let our national catharsis unfold.

              • josephivo says:

                @ Ireneo about the myths of a flood.

                The flooding of the Black Sea is just one of the (unlikely) hypothesis. Much more likely is that oneday someone who saw a lot of (fossil) shells high on the slope of a mountain and he took the only logic conclusion that the see had been there. Looking down at the low lands he realized that all that had thus been flooded too, poor people. Why would God have let that happen? Not out of love, but because mankind had done something stupid. All simple, irrevocable logic.

            • DelPi says:

              Keep going Micha; I am with you. However, we all do believe into something and I dont intend to be intolerant. I believe that there is no evidence with the existence of Sodom and Gomorrah.

              • sonny says:

                Nephew, it seems this is just the beginning of a more powerful tool in archeology to shed better light to humanity’s ancient past – archeology from space.


              • It’s just like Troy was assumed to be a legend until Heinrich Schliemann discovered it.

                Every legend has a grain of truth in it – even Handyong, or Datu Puti and his men. People have alway told their history, only folklore has more dagdag-bawas than formal history.

                As for my prediction that enough people will have to learn the lessons of history sooner than later, I stand by it, because the past has proven it. I definitely pray for the good to happen, but I don’t see the critical mass of good AND shrewd people reached as of now.

                Now this can change very quickly – the nation was in arrested development and usually those in that state grow up fast when shocked into maturity. I have not given up hope yet.

                In fact the reactions I see here and elsewhere show the national soul-searching/catharsis.

              • sonny says:

                @ PiE

                Red, blue, yellow your profile works just fine.

              • karl garcia says:

                now I dont know If Penguins travelled all the way from Antartica, and Polar Bears from the North pole,but Noah’s ark ended up in Turkey.


              • – this could be the real story:

                In 1997, William Ryan and Walter Pitman published evidence that a massive flooding of the Black Sea occurred about 5600 BC through the Bosphorus. Before that date, glacial meltwater had turned the Black and Caspian Seas into vast freshwater lakes draining into the Aegean Sea. As glaciers retreated, some of the rivers emptying into the Black Sea declined in volume and changed course to drain into the North Sea.[4] The levels of the lakes dropped through evaporation, while changes in worldwide hydrology caused overall sea level to rise. The rising Mediterranean finally spilled over a rocky sill at the Bosphorus. The event flooded 155,000 km2 (60,000 sq mi) of land and significantly expanded the Black Sea shoreline to the north and west. According to the researchers, “40 km3 (10 cu mi) of water poured through each day, two hundred times the flow of the Niagara Falls… The Bosphorus flume roared and surged at full spate for at least three hundred days.”

                There is also evidence of this:

                Doggerland was an area of land, now lying beneath the southern North Sea, that connected Great Britain to mainland Europe during and after the last Ice Age. It was then gradually flooded by rising sea levels around 6,500–6,200 BCE. Geological surveys have suggested that it stretched from Britain’s east coast to the Netherlands and the western coasts of Germany and the peninsula of Jutland.[1] It was probably a rich habitat with human habitation in the Mesolithic period,[2] although rising sea levels gradually reduced it to low-lying islands before its final destruction, perhaps following a tsunami caused by the Storegga Slide.

                So the end of the Ice Age forced a lot of people to move upcountry. Probably the sea level rise due to global warming is pretty harmless compared to what happened then. I could imagine that people liked to live in the lower, warmer areas that were deluged. There are folkloric stories of lost islands in the sea in Northern Germany. What is interesting is that the first civilizations more or less coincide with the end of the ice age, could it be that the refugees of these floods had to organize larger-scale agriculture due to crowding??

              • With the reality of rising sea levels and storms getting stronger. I have observed that even here in Germany where there were no strong storms in the 1980s at all – the Philippines has two possible futures, and I fear there is not much time left to prepare, 15+/- years:

                1) like Holland: a national community that is able to defend against the water.

                2) like Bangladesh: a national disunity that loses people every year to disasters.

                This is also the context of my floodgate proposal between Bataan and Cavite – a shield and a bridge at the same time. I am not an expert in this but just using common sense.

                By now it should be VERY clear that the country cannot afford to backtrack anymore…

              • sonny says:

                Luv’d reading about the Nat’l Geographic article on the flooding of the Bosphorus, Black Sea. I’m hoping for more exact dating of the event to connect to Noah’s Ark.

              • sonny says:

                And I’m pretty sure the writer(s) of Genesis could only see a flat earth, hence the universal quality of Noah’s Flood and the number and type of fauna he needed to put into the Ark.

              • Probably the writer of Genesis got his story from an older oral (not sodomistic!) narrative.

                From my times in Bonn hanging out with Igorots, I remember how they constantly retold stories about certain things that happened, even if it was just the last party. But that sort of got less when they bought their first VHS recorders and everybody just watched the videos instead of recounting things – and of course exaggerating the wilder stuff. That must have been the way epics were told and retold, whether Lam-Ang, Perseus or Troy…

                Another cautionary tale: is how Easter Island was destroyed. Constant fights between (Austronesian) chieftains and devastation of the environment by logging, until the ecosystem was no longer able to sustain the old population – and they had nowhere to go anymore because there was no more wood for boats. The Philippines with its runaway population growth and the real environmental threats it faces must be careful from now on. Project NOAH, Oplan Listo, sea defense…

              • sonny says:

                PiE, I can’t wait for the windfall from space satellite archeology. The historic places this archeologic tool will point to will cut times of discovery and increase probity and acuity.

                Good point you raised hanging out with our Igorot countrymen t (viz their move from story-telling to VHS watching). Before the invention of writing, the practical protocols followed in oral tradition must have employed heightened acuity of observation and phenomenology toward survival and the unknown. Contrast this to the vulnerability to manipulation of our current recording and broadcasting technologies.

                Again, the presence of S & G narratives (your suggestion) in Genesis seems to confirm multi-authorship in this book (my own exegesis). The dual authorship in the creation and paradise narratives is now pretty much accepted.

              • sonny says:

                ha ha I saw that punistic aside!

      • Sodom and Gomorrha

        can lead to Syphilis and Gonorrhea

        • Bill in Oz says:

          Hi Irineo, You said ” if each of us can name 10 Good Filipinos…then the Philippines is worth saving.”
          I fear this is too cut & dried…In my experience in this life, there is always each day so much simple goodness from ordinary folk who are nameless to me. Multitudes of random acts of care kindness & courtesy. And no matter where I have traveled this has been so. Phlippinos are no exception.

          And so I find it hard to name just 10.. – knowing it leaves un-named, un-honoured all the rest.

        • chempo says:

          He who sodomises shall be rewarded with gonorrhea.

    • Chivas says:

      Excerpt from God’s Debris by Scott Adams


      “I see where you’re going with this,” I said. “You’re an atheist. You think science has the answers and you think religious people are all delusional.”

      “Let’s talk about science for a moment,” he replied.

      I was relieved. I liked science. It was my favorite subject in school. Religion made me uncomfortable. It’s better not to think too much about religion, but science was made for thinking. It was based on facts.

      “Do you know a lot about science?” I asked.

      “Almost nothing,” he said.

      I figured this would be a short conversation and it was just as well because my lunch hour was running out.

      “Consider magnets,” the old man said. “If you hold two magnets near each other, they are attracted. Yet there is nothing material connecting them.”

      “Yes there is,” I corrected. “There’s a magnetic field. You can see it when you do that experiment with the metal shavings on a piece of paper. You hold a magnet under the paper and the shavings all organize along the magnetic lines. That’s the magnetic field.”

      “So you have a word for it. It’s a ‘field’ you say. But you can’t get a handful of this thing for which you have a name. You can’t fill a container with a magnetic field and take it with you. You can’t cut it in pieces. You can’t block its power.”

      “You can’t block it? I didn’t know that.”

      “No matter what object you insert between two magnets, their attraction to each other remains exactly the same. This ‘field’ of yours is strange stuff. We can see its effect, and we can invent a name for it, but it doesn’t exist in any physical form. How can something that doesn’t exist in physical form have influence over the things that do?”

      “Maybe it has physical form but it’s small and we can’t see it. That’s possible. Maybe there are tiny magnetrons or something,” I said, making up a word.

      “Consider gravity,” the old man continued, oblivious to my creative answer. “Gravity is also an unseen force that cannot be blocked by any object. It reaches across the entire universe and connects all things instantly, yet it has no physical form.”

      “I think Einstein said it was the warping of space-time by massive objects,” I said, dredging up a memory of a magazine article I read years ago.

      “Indeed, Einstein did say that. And what does that mean?”

      “It means that space is bent, so when objects seem to be attracted to each other, it’s just that they’re travelling in the shortest direction through bent space.”

      “Can you imagine bent space?” he asked.

      “No, but just because I can’t imagine it doesn’t mean it’s not true. You can’t argue with Einstein.”

      He looked away. I figured he was either annoyed at my answer or just resting. It turned out he was pausing to gather energy. He drew a breath into his tiny lungs and began.

      “Scientists often invent words to fill the holes in their understanding. These words are meant as conveniences until real understanding can be found. Sometimes understanding comes and the temporary words can be replaced with words that have more meaning. More often, however, the patch words will take on a life of their own and no one will remember that they were only intended to be placeholders.

      For example, some physicists describe gravity in terms of ten dimensions all curled up. But those aren’t real words — just placeholders, used to refer to parts of abstract equations. Even if the equations someday prove useful, it would say nothing about the existence of other dimensions. Words such as ‘dimension’ and ‘field’ and ‘infinity’ are nothing more than conveniences for mathematicians and scientists. They are not descriptions of reality, yet we accept them as such because everyone is sure someone else knows what the words mean.”

      I listened. Rocking, mildly stunned.

      “Have you heard of string theory?” he asked.

      “Sort of.”

      “String theory says that all of physical reality — from gravity to magnetism to light — can be explained in one grand theory that involves tiny string-shaped vibrating objects. String theory has produced no useful results. It has never been proven by experiment, yet thousands of physicists are dedicating their careers to it on the faith that it smells right.”

      “Maybe it IS right.” It seemed like my turn to say something.

      “Every generation of humans believed it had all the answers it needed, except for a few mysteries they assumed would be solved at any moment. And they all believed their ancestors were simplistic and deluded. What are the odds that you are the first generation of humans who will understand reality?”

      “I don’t think the odds are bad. Everything has to happen for a first time. You were around to see computers invented and to see space travel. Maybe we’ll be the first for this string theory.”

      “Computers and rocket ships are examples of inventions, not of understanding,” he said. “All that is needed to build machines is the knowledge that when one thing happens, another thing happens as a result. It’s an accumulation of simple patterns. A dog can learn patterns. There is no ‘why’ in those examples. We don’t understand why electricity travels. We don’t know why light travels at a constant speed forever. All we can do is observe and record patterns.”

      • Joe America says:

        We should take care as to what we worship, I think. Or what we dismiss on the basis of “knowledge”. We should also never, never diss the conceptual grasp of cartoonists.

        Thanks for the lessons. Excellent.

        • Joe America says:

          That idea of words as placeholders knocked my socks off. Terrific.

        • Bill in Oz says:

          I have never, ever understood gravity..It is energy or can be used to make energy..But where does it come from ? Never had an answer to that one…

          • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

            We don’t have to see it to believe it, Bill in Oz. But we can observe what it does to people. People walking on firmament and not floating around in space. That’s all we need to know about gravity. Does God exist? Is such a punishment as S&G’s possible? Why does one man find joy and another find misery and bitterness in the same thing or event? Where does love and wisdom come from? Will we ever know the answers? But we can observe what God does to people. That’s as far as my puny mind can take me. I guess that’s why there are no rodeos for elephants. Man can only do so much.

            • Bill in Oz says:

              That is true Wil..We observe it all the time..And our lives are based around it..But consider this Physics says that energy is never lost only transformed..Usually to a lower state of entrophy which is less useful….OK..

              But gravity is never lost ..It is always there….That’s a mystery..

              Einstein’s theory about gravity is a description not an explanation…There is a profound difference..

              As for the Bible,Sodom & Ghomorrea, etc. sorry the old testament is tale of murder rape & pillage…With a ‘god’ sometimes directing these evil actions..Such a god has not my respect or love..

      • karl garcia says:

        We should all read Dilbert.

  5. I would prefer to mention those who have been doing good for the nation or their communities:

    Governor Joey Salceda who runs his province of Albay excellently in good and in bad times.

    Dean Tony La Viña who was a major player in the climate change team of the Philippines in Paris.

    Dr. Mahar Lagmay who is doing a lot through Project NOAH to shield the country from disasters.

    Prof. Michael Chua who is raising public awareness of history and documented Marcos abuses.

    Secretary Mario Montejo of DOST which among others is soon to launch a Filipino satellite

    A commenter in blogs who is highly logical and precise, symbolizing new Filipino thinking.

    A commenter in blogs who is often confused, but is very intent on finding new knowledge.

    A PNP policewoman who foiled a bus robbery in Navotas, reported on last year in papers.

    A PNP policeman who helped a penniless old woman in Mindanao get home recently.

    A Visayan Taxi driver who gave back a large sum of money left in his taxi recently.

    There is a new national spirit rising in the Philippines, and these local people represent it.

    • edgar lores says:

      Excellent list.

      • Aside from owning a Swiss keyboard, Irineo is blessed with a mind that is running like a concord plane.

        Gov. Salceda is also in my list, still to be completed, my Chinese keyboard is matched by my sluggish mind, recovering from another bout of hypotension. Am back with the Ipad as the just re-assembled desk top pc (gathering dust somewher in the attic) was hi jacked by the family to view again the year old Fast and Furious 7, downloaded from the internet. I wish the admin had that high tech gadget, God’s Eye, to keep track of all criminals, drug pushers and plunderers.

        I remember a song with this lyrics in part: “Daddy don’t you walk so fast, Daddy don’t you wald so fast, Daddy slow down some, cause you’re making me run, Daddy don’t you walk so fast!” I dedicate that song to Irineo whom we could not keep up with.

    • Governor Salceda makes sure his people are in shelters before the storms come.

      Dr. Lagmay makes sure the possible effects of storms are known beforehand.

      Dean La Vina played his part in COP Paris to make sure storms don’t get more.

      Prof. Michael Chua is playing his part in making sure historical storms are avoided.

      Secretary Montejo through the Diwata satellite makes sure the Philippines sees the storms.

      The confused commenter might be the one to keep his finger in the dyke all night.

      God helps those who help themselves. Salceda prays: after all measures are taken.

  6. Chivas says:

    “I hated going to Sunday school as a kid, but I can’t deny that there were a few stories that stuck with me beyond my bar mitzvah, one of which was the story of Lot and his hard-headed wife. Quick recap: Lot was the lucky bastard God spared before carpet-bombing Sodom and Gomorrah, the formerly beautiful cities that, like Los Angeles, had been overrun by vanity, laziness, and impenitent sin. When God slipped Lot and his family their get-out-of-jail-free cards, he had only had one rule—don’t look back. Don’t waste a second thinking about how the members of your bridge club are being charred like churros. Just move on to bigger and better things (and a ton of creepy incest). Lot got the message but, unfortunately, his wife didn’t like being told what to do. On the way out of town, she looked back over her shoulder and was promptly turned into a pillar of Morton’s.

    Two takeaways from this story:

    1. If you ever tell your wife that she absolutely cannot do something, she will go out of her way to defy you, regardless of the consequences.

    2. Those who look back shall turn to salt.

    Always move forward. Every problem you encounter is an opportunity for you to prove that you are Batman in a business suit. When shit goes down and the sheep freeze up, you need to answer the call and start throwing haymakers. Batman doesn’t do damage control. Batman does damage. If you drop me down a well, I won’t waste energy crying “Why?” like Nancy Kerrigan after taking a nightstick to the knee. I will tunnel out of there like my grandparents did when they were escaping the Nazis. Eventually there will be a time for reflection, accountability, and divine retribution, but not until you get out of that goddamn hole.”

    -Gold Standard, Ari Gold

    • Micha says:

      Hahaha…God carpet bombing S&G.

      Now picture Trump carpet bombing ISIS territory. Does that make the Donald God?
      Whose wife do you think he will turn to asbestos?

  7. edgar lores says:

    1. Soothing.

    2. After reading the daily dose of negativity of “slander and intrigue”, one is soothed by Will’s positivity and his faith in love.

    3. There is evidence of good love all around. Love of kin. Love for virtue. Love of truth.

    4. However, there is also evidence of bad love. Forbidden love. Love for vices. Love for falsehood for the sake of self-interest.

    5. Therefore, love is not enough. It must be informed by reason. The reasons of the heart alone can lead one astray as surely as would the reasons of the mind alone.

    6. Heart and mind in balance, with an open questing attitude is a good recipe. If one combines these three ingredients in correct proportion through the flame of experience, one might journey gently… kindly… wisely.

    7. I might add passion and commitment if one is to sway others. But it is an irony of life that for most people all five ingredients are almost never present in correct proportion at the same time, in particular at the apex of one’s life.

    • My former consulting coaches model of personality has three main colors:

      Red: passion and commitment
      Yellow: reason and continuity
      Blue: love and compassion

      Now he is from Hamburg, but the colors happen to be those of the Filipino flag.

      Love and passion – red in war, blue in peace – are strong in the Filipino nation.

      Now is it a coincidence that yellow stands for reason and continuity? He profiled me:

      – Red is dominant in my profile. Enormous passion but also dominance.
      – Blue is second in my profile. Compassion is there in loads as well.
      – Yellow needed improvement. Reason he told me I did not use enough.

      My profile was typical for sports team coaches – or populist politicians.

      Probably I have more yellow now, red could be a little bit less than before.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      I scraped the bottom of the palayok, Edgar, and found a little knowledge, a little skill, some passion and commitment, but mostly the palayok is filled with only love. The key, as I had seen with my mind’s eye in The Social Significance of AlDub, is how to harness kilig into something that will boost the country into modern times where the economy hums regardless of political clutter, divided in political loyalties but shoulders to the wheel when it comes to national economic development. We must continue to believe in love as our greatest natural resource.

  8. Joe America says:

    I admire Irineo’s ability to put together a list that correctly reflects the tenor of your article. Several aspects of your assignment are difficult for me. One is the recognition that my belief of righteousness is not and cannot be shared by others. Case in point:

    The president of a nation who bears his burdens quietly and intellectually and works earnestly for a better quality of life for tens upon tens of millions of his citizens whilst being condemned or ridiculed by thousands and maybe even millions of those citizens.

    Another is that several I would list have passed to dust and wherever else they have been approved to go. For example:

    A former boss who taught that one should develop principles and stick with them. Easy to say, hard to do, amazingly stabilizing when the knack is acquired.

    It is also hard to express this appreciation or affection or love to some, because the distance or circumstances don’t permit it. For example:

    A woman who taught me to express myself by playing the guitar and writing, and who convinced me in the face of considerable evidence to the contrary that I was both physically attractive and intellectually capable.

    Some of the designees are a part of a group, such as contributors to this blog who give of themselves earnestly and generously here at the Society of Honor with nothing asked and for no payment but what they derive for themselves.

    There are too many to mention.

    I would cite:

    A former banking colleague who shared the same war with me, dived on a grenade because he was closest to it, saved the lives of his mates, and lived to tell the tale.

    Authors of fiction that shapes real lives. There are way too many to mention, but my personal list would include Dickens, Twain, Swift, Kafka, Dostoevsky, Cervantes, Casteneda, Rand, Steinbeck, Maugham, Green, and Conrad.

    • Thanks Joe… I can sing the tenor (and the bass if I have to) but am a baritone by definition.

      Now that was arguing like a Filipino lawyer but this song also has the same tenor in alto…

    • sonny says:

      “Everything is the same for everybody: the same lot for the just and the wicked, for the good, for the clean and the unclean, for the one who offers sacrifice and the one who does not. As it is for the good, so it is for the sinner; as it is for the one who takes an oath, so it is for the one who fears an oath… ” — Book of Ecclesiastes

      • sonny says:

        A wise rabbi once said: God does not care if you believe in him as long as you keep his commandments.

        Can I dig my foxhole near the two of “youse”? 🙂

        • Joe America says:

          Any time, any where.

        • sonny says:

          Thanks, Joe.

          I just discovered Ecclesiastes because of this thread. ‘Tis a gold mine, as probably everybody knows but me. An intro to the Book points the reader to chaps 9 thru 12, as reflections about the future. Good stuff, Maynard!

          • Joe America says:

            hahaha, “Good stuff, Maynard” is said to have had its origins pertaining Maynard G. Krebs, the geeky beatnik side kick of Dobie Gillis on American TV from 1959-1963. Maynard rather did his own thing. The saying was also used in Malt-O-Meal commercials in the 1980’s. Here it is, on the Society of Honor, in a blog about good people, in 2016. Boy howdy! Knowledge and folk lore, being passed along. ahahaha

    • Rank says:

      Rand, as in Ayn Rand? I have her small books on objectivism. And of course Atlas Shrugged. My take on her ideas is partly summed up by Kung Fu Monkey (see

      “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

      • Joe America says:

        Yes, Ayn Rand. She taught a strict discipline and values, a kind of intellectual determination, that had a second layer of meaning for me, not to believe everything I read. A good workout, like doing a long jog, not too taxing. She was a complex lady. Not conventional. There were lessons in that, too.

        • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

          Yes, loved The Fountainhead when I was young. Realized only later in life that detachment cuts both ways: it can make one excel, and it can also isolate genius from humanity, severely limiting its reach and impact. We are social animals after all.

  9. Chivas says:

    My list:

    PH soldiers on disputed islands.

    Sir Dado Banatao for mentoring hundreds of aspiring young filipino programmers.

    Efren Penaflorida who recreates school settings in unconventional locations such as cemeteries and trash dumps.

    Founders of SALT(alternative lamp) Aissa and Raphael Mijeno.

    Tribe K-an organization who raise awareness on indigenous communities and their contributions on PH.

    Brokers/Businessmen/Agents who actively promote products,business models and investments in PH. Actively educating foreigners why the strength of Philippine Peso is steady going up and why Filipino workers are world-class to work with.

    Lawyers on PAO who can defend an abused daughter of a poor family from a rich oppressor risking themselves in the process.

    Filipinos who actively fight for consumer rights and prices especially people attacking the incompetence of Telco and Transpo sectors.

    All Filipino/Teachers/Social Workers/Med Professionals who, despite of high education and opportunities abroad, chose to stay in PH, spending their pocket money and allowances to sustain their extra mile of service in remote villages.

    Writers/Journalists/Directors/Artists/Producers who insists that Filipino authenticity and work of art is showcased and assured before anything else.

  10. Jenny’s husband is a very lucky one. She keeps her house so well and fill it with so much love that love overflows from their nest to her husbands articles. Well done, Jenny!

  11. karl garcia says:

    I would cite Mr. Too many too mention and Ms. You know who you are.

  12. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    A note to Micha:

    I won’t go into your comments line by line because this may even draw out more knives from you. Allow me to just say that I also used to be like you until my Nanay Aurora asked me the question that changed my life: Boy (that’s my household name), anong nangyari sa ‘yo? Dati mukha kang anghel? (What happened to you? You used to look like an angel.) Forthright, I proceeded to deconstruct all the bad things accumulated in my system. It’s true that God was in the center of my changing to a better person. I have peace. I have love. Removing my coat of arms to qualify to take part in public fora such as this is therefore disarming myself, turning off my equipment. I can sense so much bitterness in your lines. Go on and express yourself as you are doing, perhaps it is a way of expunging the hate and resentment in your system. Don’t swim away. I didn’t intend to make this blog a discussion on religion. The metaphor of S&G is simply too much to resist now that the country is on the brink of something good or something bad. I had wanted the Society to look inwards, such as what Joe, Irineo and Mary Grace did, and mine the depths of our souls for goodness in others, in so doing, we are better armed and equipped for what lies ahead: the determination of the country’s future. It’s not about individuals, Micha, not you, not me. It’s all about country, unless we want to tread water in the West Philippine Sea wondering where our land went. Again, that’s a metaphor. Consider me your friend.

    • Micha says:

      Nothing personal between you and me Wilfredo.

      Bitterness in my lines? Nah, it’s more like anger. Angry at the lies of religion in general and Catholic bullshit in particular.

  13. karl garcia says:

    This country is worth living for.

  14. cjmendoza says:

    As one of the silent majority, I checked the list of Wilfredo Villanueva. Out of 10 personalities described covertly, 6 live and worked outside of the Philippines either in US, Australia, etc.
    And out of these personalities, I tried to identify a Grace Poe and she does not seem to belong to the chosen Philippine saver? Inspite of her aspirations and declarations as being supposedly as a qualified one? No politics or pun intended.

  15. Bert says:

    I agree and I’m with Wilfredo’s advocacy for all of us to look and appreciate what are good in people.

    But I think the choice of what happened in Sodom and Gomorrah is not the best example for the advocacy in this thread. I think that that incident in Sodom and Gomorrah is the best best example of God’s ruthlessness, God killing the innocents, the babies, including the unborn, in His rage to punish the sinners. No God’s love in that, excuse me.

    I’m not going to be argumentative about this topic of religion in this thread so please be informed that any response to this comment shall be treated by me with silence.

  16. andrewlim8 says:

    Here’s a smart essay on why candidates (Binay and Duterte) claiming what they did for their city can be done for a country are not telling the truth:

  17. chempo says:

    It is indeed a soothing piece as Edgar said. Wil, I love the humanity in your writings.

    Like most people, I can certainly come up with more than 10 worthy names. Unfortunately, I have weighed Filipinos in general, and they have come up wanting. I say this not because I want to throw stones, but as Wil mentioned, to inspire soul searching and come out better.

    1. Flor Contemplacion (1995) – a domestic helper, was hanged in Singapore for the pre-meditated murder of another Filipina. This ignited great outcry and protests in Philippines, Duterte watched a Singapore flag burning orgy in Davao, FVR declared Flor a national heroine. Threats were made to Singapore.

    2. Jane Veloso (still pending execution) — Indonesian immigration found drugs in her bags. Practically the whole of Philippines prayed for her, everyone believed in her innocence. Binay worked hard and went to Indonesia to plead for her. Pacquaio visited her in Indonesia.The whole media played out sympathetic shows for months.

    3. Joselito Zapanta (2015) — Beheaded in Saudi Arabia for the crime of killing his landlord. He killed the landlord during a quarel over unpaid rents. It was a case of man-slaughter which in most other countries, do not justify a death sentence. Binay did his part, pleading on his behalf.

    In the case of Singapore, Filipinos showed their contempt and anger, despite the fact that it was pre-meditated murder and the victim was fellow Filipina. There was no such show of anger towards Indonesia or Saudi Arabia, despite the crimes being much much less serious then Flor’s. The fact is, when it comes to Singapore, it is a tiny country, easily threatened and bullied. Same way China bullies Philippines.

    Now about Jose Zapanta — does anyone here even remember the name?. Whilst Filipinos celebrated Christmas and the New Year, Saudi Arabia beheaded Zapanta on 29 Dec 2015. His death was avoidable. He had a stay of execution as the victim’s family agreed to accept blood debt of US$1mm. Zapanta’s family could only raise Php23mm. They desparately needed Php21mm and failed the Dec 27 deadline to hand over the blood money.

    I find Filipinos wanting for deserting Zapanta’s family. Media never drum up support. Where was Pacqiaio? Zapanta’s life was worth saving as his was a crime of man-slaughter. His life was easy to save. No need for protests, no lead to plead for leniency. No need for Binay to visit all those excellencies in Saudia.

    I find the campaign teams of the presidential and VP candidates dumbies. How much money has already been spent so far even before official election time? . So much stupidity in all these camps. A last minute donation of Php21 mm would have earned for them millions of votes that their Php millions of promotion cannot buy. What a great PR opportunity for such a comparatively paltry sum and no one seize it. And it’s all in the name of saving a life!

    • Joe America says:

      One of the hardest positions for governments to take, I think, is a decision not to pay ransoms, or even “blood money”, as is the case for Zapanta. The official position of the Philippines is not to pay, as payment is like extortion, there is no ending and the amounts just increase and the violence just gets worse. That drove the position in the siege of Zamboanga, where hundreds were held hostage. The US has the same position. Sometimes private entities can put the money together, and even then, sometimes the governments scowl . . . for the precedent.

      Now Duterte recommends that people pay the protection money asked for by the NPA. At least, that is his guidance for candidates who are running in NPA territory. So we have a clear point of distinction.

      I don’t think Aquino and Roxas are dummies. I think they are incredibly disciplined and courageous. I think Binay is a scurrilous rat for politicizing the matter. As you will recall, he is the guy who wanted to cut a deal with the Zamboangan terrorist leader. I wish I knew I could summon up a similar steeling of nerves in a crisis situation when all it would take is a little money to make THIS PARTICULAR case go away, and let the next guy deal with all the future extortions . . .

      • chempo says:

        I’m a sticker to no payment of ransom money too, however cruel it may seem at times. In the Zapanta case, it’s a different matter altogether. Islamic law allows victim’s family to pardon perpetrators of a crime in exchange for blood money. This avenue is post judicial hearings, where death sentence has already been passed. There is no coercion, it’s a case of like willing buyer-willing seller.

        The Philippines has 2 funds, I think, specifically for the purpose of assisting OFWs. These funds have never been, and never intended for, use in blood money situation. That as a matter of govt policy, I fully agreed. Blood money is not a govt, but entirely private matter.

        I mentioned Binay, in all fairness. But that was within his function as a Veep.

        Now if I were a candidate, I would donate the Php21mm and soak up all the publicity that would surely entail, and be coy about it ala Duterte on his candidacy. I would say something like well I don’t have that much money, but it’s a worthwhile sacrifice. If it means I have less budget for my campaigns and disadvantage me, so be it.

        • karl garcia says:

          It would have looked inappropriate coming from a candidate.
          So it would not look like epal let it go through an ngo,as long as it is not Napoles.

        • the movie “Lola” (2009) by Brillante Mendoza (Cannes winner for “Kinatay”, a movie about criminal cops in Manila) it seems that murder charges are dropped against an (unofficial) blood money payment.

          The final scene shows wang-wang and the families of both the killer and the victim having to wait to cross the street outside the courthouse. Now Mendoza will probably not be just inventing totally far-fetched stuff, just like the flooded streets of Malabon are often reality. This kind of reality – rule of law not really implemented and useless for the very poor – makes all the discussions about Duterte a farce. What were the protests of the SAF 44 families about anyway? About money for themselves, blood money. The dirty kitchen…

          • chempo says:

            Irineo — your example is blood money circumventing the law. Islamic blood money is after sentenced has been passed.

            I can see difficult issues of moraltiy and epalising the situation. In Zapanta’s case, I highlighted the fact that it’s man-slaughter for which death sentence is inappropriate. Had it been pre-meditated murder, my stand would be different. In fact, in Jane Veloso’s case, I’m not very sympathetic because her claims of no knowledge of the drugs in the bags is simply not convincing to a reasonable man.

            There are many ways to skin a cat. I could facilitate the donation and request anonymity, knowing full well that request will not be obliged over time. It will be leaked, or “leaked” eventually, thus the coy donor.

            • Veloso is a case of the “one of us” mentality – the way she looks and acts.

              One only has to look at Malaysia’s bumiputra policies for an official version of that.

              In the Philippines stuff like that is under the surface, but explains much present politics.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, it would be a way to get front page publicity. I don’t know if it would be a good way or not. Even Binay did not do it, and he is a hound for such sympathies. I suspect Roxas does not want to touch the issue of blood money, as it may be seen as compromising his principled governance agenda, for a convicted killer. Would you see Leni Robredo offering such money? I can’t imagine it.

          • Caliphman says:

            If its just to gain front page publicity regardless of the consequences, why not do it the Duterte way and just curse the pope? I have to disagree with chempo saying that Filipinos are somehow lacking in compassion for not pitching in the blood money to free this convicted killer. It should be under the prism of our values and our system justice system and not the host country’s that should determine how our not paying blood money in Zapanta’s case should be weighed. We do not usually pay the the fines or penalties of convicted felons so they can be freed from jail regardless if the levels seem not commensurate with their crimes. Why should the Zapanta case be any different?

            • Joe America says:

              Yes, good point that there are many ways to get publicity and one should stick with one’s laws and principles. That Binay would condemn the Administration for not offering up the blood money illustrates that he either does not grasp the principles, or is greedy and houndish enough to abuse them for personal gain.

    • Anyone wondering about these things – or about Philippine politics, should read this:

    • NHerrera says:

      I was in the process of writing something but Joe beat me to it in the essentials. Which is the precedent that putting up the difference of P21m — either by the government itself or urging private donors to do so — will cause in future such cases. It is not a simple black or white to my mind. “Bahala na the Philippines will somehow put up the blood money even if my relatives cannot.”

      But I do agree in the observation in the earlier part of the note that Filipinos are wanting as amply written here time and again — such as the repeated observation of Joe as to how explain the notion of electing a thief, a self-confessed killer, an opportunist as against one with better qualification with less of the baggage. And to think this is thought about not only by the struggling poor with practically not time for such contemplation but by those who have gone to college, excluding the politicians and the financiers who we know have their agenda.

      But if I think about Will’s series of articles, I am relieved by the phenomenon of “love” and caring demonstrated by the “ten” or more in this part of the world.

      • mercedes santos says:

        I posit that the more appropriate term to use is caring as opposed to love. LOVE in today’s idiom is meaningless. I am inclined to think that the use of the word diminishes the conversation. NATURE always takes care of itself, with or without love, but with CARE. who knows she may abide with US. ☀

        • edgar lores says:

          Ah, Mercedes, a conceptual gem from a… a cosmopolitan Southerner! 🙂

          • mercedes santos says:

            You flatter me sir, but i am just a drongo from Ned Kelly’s outhouse ☺ Simple says as simple does is my motto, no links, no citations, no allegories, not even footnotes here. My Latin begins and ends with Dominus vobiscum ♣

            • Bill in Oz says:

              “i am just a drongo from Ned Kelly’s outhouse”
              I have looked for this location on Google Maps and Google world..But no luck at all..You are indeed hiding out.. And that is ok too…:-))

            • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

              Verses like Mercedes’s make The Society of Honor an oasis with fresh running water and dates for travelers in a desert of trolls with bad grammar. English is still spoken in these parts, especially when you read JoeAm’s favorite authors, Irineo’s encyclopedic streams of consciousness, Lance’s raw depiction of desert life, Mary Grace’s relentless firing at anything that moves outside RoRo lines, Gian’s quiet genius, chempo’s love for the Philippines, Edgar’s professorial mien, NHerrera’s fatherly blessings, and so many others who declare that blogging and wit and wisdom are synonymous. My favorite authors are Cervantes, Steinbeck, Michener, Richard Adams, among others. Adams wrote my favorite book Watership Down. Bury me with a copy of the book.

        • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

          Hmm, I’ll still stick with love, no matter how raggedy it looks in modern times, Mercedes. Care is only a part of love, which includes amazement, dreaminess, longing, sacrifice, hard work, removal of self from priorities, persistence, joy beyond measure.

    • Madlanglupa says:

      > Duterte watched a Singapore flag burning orgy in Davao

      I find him rather hypocritical in doing so, especially now that he sees that whoever disagrees with him and Lame Peter is called a “criminal” and should be shot on sight.

  18. chempo says:

    My list for Wil would include the following:

    1. Mar Roxas — someone who can make personal sacrifice in the interest of the nation as he did in 2010 by stepping aside for Pnoy to run as presidential candidate for the Liberal Party. As a social entity, there is no higher interest than national. As a politician there is no higher glory than to achieve the office of the land. For a politician to set aside his personal dreams, particularly at a time when success is achievable, it is an ultimate sacrifice. On the other hand, Poe, whilst in words did not salivate the presidency, could not make the ultimate sacrifice to step back to a VP role, because she felt her moment is now and she will seize it. My Conficianist values place sacrifice for country as the highest moral.

    2. The OFWs, but not all of them — Many left the shores of the Philippines for better jobs. There are those who take up overseas jobs because they are well qualified and desired international experience. Many are those who go simply for high pay opportunities. But those I salute are the ones who leave behind children and parents because of desperate financial situations, a matter of life and death struggles and they simply have no other options. I have witnessed many of these Filipinas, how they suffered loneliness and separation from loved ones, how they secretly cried on their children’s birthday, how they stressed out and cried with each news of family mishap, of natural disasters. I have sen how they saved and put aside the many little gifts now and then that kind employers give them so that they can send some things back home, especially during Chinese New Year where it’s customary that we hand out “ang-pows” (cash in red packets — for luck) and some domestic helpers are lucky to end up with a good collection. I have seen how some take advantage of opportunities to make the best use of their free times, such as taking up courses (some sponsored by employers) or they learn cooking skills from their employers etc so that they can put to good use when they return home. These are the hundreds of thousands of unsung heroines.

    3. The charity workers — there are many un-named workers. Some are philantrophists, others are not rich but they organise sponsors and do their work silently. The Filipino that comes to mind is Efren Penaflorida. Thomas Wee is another name — he is Singaporean, but is almost Filipino for his work in Laklakan, Bulacan ( )

    4. People who have made it big time and are now paying back — There are many who are trapped in the Gordon Gekko life, which is a tragedy. There are also those who, having achieved immense wealth, realised that they need to pay back to society. These group of people are very important to their society for they have the means and the capability to do really good work. Many do their social responsibility work out of the public view and through their foundations and charities. May God bless them all. I know Henry Sy does a lot of this, as I am sure many other taipans and other businessmen here too.

    5. One act of random kindness at a time — ( a quote from Evan Almighty movie). Blessed are all those who practice this. I would encourage everyone to do this, it’s very theraupetic. Just the other day at a mall, I saw an elderly lady suddenly sliiped and fell. Family members struggled to help her up, and from a shop a little distance away, out rushed a security guard with a chair in his hand. His random act, and his quick thinking that a chair was what the old lady needed, was a pleasant sight. It’s these small little acts that makes life a bit more beautiful.

    6. People whose job it is to save lives (PNP, AFP, Firefighters, doctors, nurses etc etc) — To those who goes about their ordinary daily work with a sense of duty because it is their choosen path, people who practices duty before self.

    The above is by no means exclusive. Just ran outta time hehe.

    • A Confucian list… excellent because the idea of service and sacrifice is as yet weak in the Philippines… Mar Roxas’ serving under three administrations is seen as being a lapdog by many Fiipinos – “tuta”. Because the typical Filipino mentality of old is “huwag magpaunder” – not letting yourself be under anyone. It destroyed the first Filipino republic – even the great Heneral Luna left the front to quarrel with Heneral Mascardo, and the US moved in.

      Another term for the old dysfunctional Filipino mentality is “pataasan ng ihi” – piss higher. Escudero versus the Comelec and Comelec versus Comelec until omelet is all that is left.

      In fact I can imagine that many Filipinos see Escudero’s lying as STRENGTH – because lying to advance yourself is seen as strong by many, truthfulness and service as bakla, literally means gay but in this context it means limp-wristed. Now Cayetano as Will has observed is the truly limp-wristed one. Poe is maybe also seen as “hindi nagpapaunder” – running for herself and “for the real ordinary Filipinos” instead of the “rich” of Mar and LP.

      You mentioned Henry Sy, I think most ordinary bumiputra Filipinos would not mention him. is the mentality that leads to Filipinos wanting Binay as President. Mar – too “Spanish”. Poe – too “Chinese” for them.

      I have seen FB comments that evidence the old mentality. Mocking PNP Chief Marquez for smilingly receiving a medal from Roxas as a weakling for serving the present government. Service is Un-Filipino. Making others serve you is truly Filipino. It is seen as true strength.

      • chempo says:

        “Service is Un-Filipino. Making others serve you is truly Filipino. It is seen as true strength.”
        How sad if this is universal. Everybody serves somebody in some ways. It’s a circle of life. That’s what Pnoy meant that he serves the people. Service is a priviledge and one needs to take pride in performing it. If Filipinos can get this, then it’s a real problem.

        As to the Malaysian “Bumiputera” mentality, I’m sure you understand what happened to their economic policies grounded on entitlements.

        • Exactly… my posting had a slightly sarcastic tone which must have activated spam filters…

          Binay would be the Bumiputera No. 1 if he wins and the effects would be the same.

          • Joe America says:

            My guess is the spam system has picked up the links to your blog as repetitive dropping off of one “product”. I don’t mind, but there is no way for me to communicate that to the computer, unless it memorizes that I checked you as “not spam”. Quite an honor, eh? “Irineo is NOT SPAM!!!” Visions of Charlton Heston, “Soylent Green is PEOPLE!!!!!”, and assuming his traditional Christ on the cross pose as he is being dragged off by the authorities.

      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        All I can say, Irineo, is oo nga (that’s right).

        • Service is Un-Filipino – and that is very sad. It is the true reason for all the misery. Even if there are many who have a new mindset – like one Filipino student who is proud of working as a janitor in Australia to support his studies. Like some of those on my FB FGLC page who liked a posting about Japanese students being forced to clean their own schools because there are no janitors in most. Now how can we spread that good attitude?

    • Joe, my comment to chempo disappeared inspite of just one link.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Beautiful thoughts and beautifully written, chempo. Especially the story of crying unsung heroines. Only learned recently from Mary Grace that you are a foreigner. How touching of you to regard Filipinos this way. You are also in the same club as my Andrew, almost a Filipino, no, a Filipino. Thank you.

  19. josephivo says:

    The doctor that woke up in the middle of the night, drove to the hospital and tried to safe me. Not because he saved me, but because he must have saved many.

    The nurse that genuinely smiled at me when I woke up out a coma, not for the beautiful smile she gave me, but for the many comforting smiles she gives patients again and again.

    The Filipina that taught me to control my anger, with a smile, untouchable. What is the value of negative energy?

    The Filipino garbage collecting boy from Tondo, against all odds, dancing for the first time with the Ballet de Manila in Manila Hotel.

    The Filipino centuries ago making gold jewelry, exposed in the Ayala Museum today. How refined, how artistic.

    The President that changed a culture in just one sentence with “wala wang-wang”, walking the talk.

    My lawyer, advising to pay the few 100 peso to a corrupt crocodile and see it as the price for “it is more fun in the Philippines”. Always riding the high horse can be expensive and exhausting.

    Gandhi, Mandela, but also the anonymous soldier of the Big War and all other wars, Bach and Elvis…

    Just shooting from the hip.

  20. NHerrera says:

    Off topic


    The complete report by GMA NEWS:

    The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the Philippines and the United States.

    In its first en banc session for the year, the high tribunal affirmed the validity of the pact that provided for the increased rotational presence of US troops in the country. The
    EDCA was upheld by a vote of 10 in favor, four against and one taking no part.

    Under EDCA, the US will be allowed to build structures, store as well as preposition weapons, defense supplies and materiel, station troops, civilian personnel and defense contractors, transit and station vehicles, vessels, and aircraft for a period of 10 years.

    The constitutionality of the pact was upheld amid an ongoing dispute between the Philippines and China due to overlapping claims in the South China Sea. The US has also expressed its opposition to China’s claims in the disputed waters, citing the need for freedom of navigation in the area.

    China’s claims, based on a unilateral nine-dash-line map, is now the subject of a Philippine case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

    ‘EDCA not a treaty’

    According to SC spokesman Theodore Te, the high court upheld the agreement’s constitutionality “on the ground of Article 18, Section 25 of the Constitution, which allows the President to enter in an executive agreement on foreign military bases if it is not an instrument that allows foreign military bases or it aims to implement existing law or treaty holding that EDCA is one such agreement.”

    The SC ruled that the President had the power to enter into executive agreements, which the tribunal said are “different from treaties. This is well-recognized and long upheld by the court.”

    The high court stressed that the defense pact is “is not the instrument that allows troops to enter, as the Visiting Forces Agreement has already done that.”

    The SC denied the petitions filed separately by former senators Rene Saguisag and Wigberto Tañada, and by another group composed of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and incumbent and former members of the House of Representatives.

    In their petition, Saguisag and Tañada both claimed EDCA’s terms and provisions were “lopsided in favor of the Americans.”

    The second batch of petitioners, meanwhile, said the EDCA went against the Philippines’ national interest, is disadvantageous to Filipinos, and is mainly motivated by the US strategic re-balancing towards Asia and is therefore in the service of US security and economic interests.

    De facto US bases?

    The petitioners warned that the EDCA would grant the US “carte blanche power to establish and operate de facto military bases anywhere on Philippine soil, minus the cost of paying for one.”

    They also said the agreement would be a mere implementation of policies enshrined in the PHL-US Mutual Defense Treaty — a treaty whose constitutionality is being challenged for the first time before the high court with Saguisag and Tañada’s petition.

    President Benigno Aquino III earlier expressed confidence that the EDCA, signed in April 2014 in time for Obama’s first visit to Manila, can stand legal scrutiny even if it is challenged before the Supreme Court.

    US welcomes SC ruling

    Shortly after the high tribunal’s announcement, the US Embassy in Manila released a statement lauding the development. “The US welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which will further strengthen the U.S.-Philippine bilateral relationship,” the statement read.

    “EDCA is a mutually beneficial agreement that will enhance our ability to provide rapid humanitarian assistance and help build capacity for the Armed Forces of the Philippines. We look forward to working closely with our Philippine partners on the implementation of this agreement,” it added. —NB, GMA News

  21. In the original Star Wars, you have the robot C3PO.

    In today’s Star Wars, BB-8 is the new robot.

    Pinoys would add the robot O2-10.

  22. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    Allow me to share a text message from my fraternity brother Beppo Alampay. He is social-media averse but he does read

    “Read your piece again, Cobat (that means batchmate—Will). Thank you for reminding everyone that there are more good people in this world than those who take advantage of peaceful men. Your item answers the Pope’s plea to announce the good deeds that are everywhere. God bless you, Cobat. Thx.”

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