Joe America: “Did Peter Wallace just call me a coward?”

Peter-Wallace iacademy dot edu dot ph II“There was specific rebuttal by an entity called Joe America, but I won’t respond to someone so gutless as to hide behind a pseudonym. Publicly identify who he/she/it is, and I will. But I’ll say one thing to him/her/it: Yes, I am probusiness . . .” Peter Wallace, Philippine Daily Inquirer, January 21, 2016

That was what Peter Wallace had to say about the blog published here (“Rebuttal to Peter Wallace column on government contracts“) that responded to his criticisms of the National Government’s handling of a number of government contracts. Upon reading Wallace’s rebuttal to my rebuttal, I’m inclined to think:

“Peter Wallace can dish it out, but he can’t take it”

Clearly, the audacity of some entity questioning Peter Wallace’s motives and conclusions pissed off the tabloid Inquirer’s literary giant and keeper of all Filipino/Australian business acumen. He lost it, and in the doing, missed the point entirely.

Well, he missed several points, actually.

Let’s set my anonymity aside for now and come back to it at the end of this article. For now, let’s deal with the issues. Here are three important points:

  • The Government has a responsibility to the people of the Philippines. Businesses do not. They have a responsibility to their shareholders.
  • Peter Wallace is representing one side of the issue, but arguing both sides. He reacts angrily if opposed. Intimidation mode, just as when he subtly threatened President Aquino in one of his articles.
  • Wallace likely has vested interests influenced by the article, but has not told us what they are.

Government responsibility

Peter Wallace is asking government agencies to be more responsive to the needs of businesses. His criticisms of several contractual arrangements led readers to a simple, stark conclusion that:

The Aquino Government can’t be trusted to deal honorably with businesses

He sets out his case in five front page articles like the prosecutor before the court of public opinion with no defense attorney present. He exaggerates, he embellishes, he struts his stuff. He leaves important information out.

What is the information he leaves out in each and every case?

How the government is fulfilling its mandate to serve Philippine citizens.

Why was an airport guidance system put on hold? Because every Arroyo project was scrutinized for corruption and bad dealings. That’s the government’s job when moving from an era of bad governance (during which Peter Wallace enriched himself) to an era of good governance. Of course it conflicts with Wallace’s interest if he represents the company granted the contract to install that air-guidance system. It is the government’s JOB to certify that projects do what they are supposed to do. It is NOT government’s job to make sure the company and Peter Wallace are paid well and soon.

Why was the court-mandated PIATCO payout delayed? Because the government was appealing the case to the Supreme Court. In a nation of laws.

Why does Peter Wallace believe that is negligent? That the people of the Philippines, as represented by their duly elected government, are not entitled to all legal remedies available to them?

Peter Wallace is representing one side of the issue

While pretending he is also the judge . . .

Peter Wallace wrote his articles as the prosecutor and denied the government it’s rights to defense.

The entity Joe America offered up a defense.

Peter Wallace was offended and did the royal rant, descending to the kind of character slurs one would expect to see in wild and woolly reader comment threads, but not the articles of a respected columnist.

Perhaps Mr. Wallace has circled in the fields of entitlement, favor and impunity for too long and does not recognize there is a new player in town, and he is called “the social media writer who calls it straight” rather than for personal gain. I’m only one. There are others. I hope there will soon be legions.

Well, his is an opinion column . . . or series of columns . . .  so Wallace is entitled to blow it out any way he chooses.

The editors of the Inquirer, however, chose to feature the series on the front page where opinion columns can be mistaken as “news” and where they are given a credibility which, in this case, was simply not deserved. The Inquirer editors did a disservice to the National Government as they continue to perform the style of journalism they and other media do in order to sell papers . . . undermine the reputation of the Philippines, Filipinos and the National Government rather than portray them as reasonable, earnest, and productive institutions and people.

Wallace was doing what he is entitled to do. Blow smoke in favor of an idea that favors him and his business pals. However, the Inquirer was treading the edges of journalism ethics by putting such stuff on the front page five days running. By rights, they should have picked up the JoeAm column and put it on the front page to balance things out. Or a rebuttal by someone from the Aquino Administration.

The Philippine media have such awesome power, and they use it so poorly to represent the Philippines and Filipinos.

Wallace likely has vested interests

Peter Wallace touts his 47 years in business. He must surely be aware that an investment banker or columnist is generally required by regulation to disclose his stock ownership if writing about a stock pick. Why? So that the public is not misled into making buying decisions that have no purpose other than to benefit the investment banker.

In my rebuttal to Wallace, I suggested he disclose his connections with companies involved in the cases he reviewed. Does he represent firms resident at Camp John Hay? Does he work for or with any of the water companies? Did he represent PIATCO in their relationship with the Philippines? What about the other cases? MRT maintenance company? Airport system?

Why is this important? Because citizens of the Philippines are shareholders in their government, and ought to know if there are ulterior motives for a columnist to criticize their President and his government.

A columnist ought not have free rein to undermine the reputation of a government for personal gain. Ethically, it is bad business.

JoeAm’s Anonymity

What’s in a name, eh? Why did that ardent advocate for Philippine independence, the famous American author Mark Twain, choose a pseudonym? Do we care who Samuel Clemens is? Or do we care about the amazing works of writing done by Mark Twain?

Well, I’m no Mark Twain, but I have over 900 blogs to my credit dealing with the Philippine condition, and, friends, THAT is all that you need to know about Joe America. Do the writings make sense? Are they entertaining? Do they do the job of provoking healthy discussion? Are they responsible to Philippine well-being?

I use a pseudonym for two reasons:

  1. I have on two occasions been threatened by live fire from guns for the simple reason that the shooters wanted to make a point about power. I don’t live in a gated community. I live in the field. I want my family to remain anonymous so my kid is not harassed at school and so my wife and I can have a quiet, ordinary life. I don’t think Peter Wallace has any accountability for the security of my family, and I’d ask him to just worry about his own life, and not mine.
  2. Joe America sells better than Ron Hegenberger, the name is a clear statement of the biases I may bring to a blog, and it is a subtle wave back to all the young people who greet me with “Hey Joe”, a smile and a wave. Also, there is some mystique to the name. It’s become an institution (ha, boosted by President Aquino). It’s cool

So as for that, Peter Wallace ought to simply mind his own business. Read if he wants, not if he doesn’t. The discussion thread to the blog is always open, and is among the most robust, intelligent and earnest in the Philippines.

He can stop by any time.


99 Responses to “Joe America: “Did Peter Wallace just call me a coward?””
  1. “Yes, I am probusiness, very decidedly so, because it is business and only business that creates the jobs and grows the wealth of the economy that we all need. The government is only an enabler, or should be.” — Peter Wallace

    I assume this Peter Wallace is one of the very few Filipinos flying around in private helicopters or jets in the Philippines? Though I agree with Peter on the sanctity of contracts, business or otherwise, I ‘ve learned awhile back not to trust business, and businessmen,

    so come clean Peter Wallace, list your interests and come clean.

    Good series on Peter Wallace, Joe, I hope you ‘ll dig more shit on this guy. 😉

    ( sorry, I’ve been gone awhile, first part of the year is usually busy for me. but I did just watch “13 Hours”, awesome movie! this Peter Wallace reminds me of the station chief of that movie, short-sighted— not to mention, gutless and arrogant. )

    • karl garcia says:

      Hey Lance! Where have you been? A very busy First quarter .
      Peter Wallace is pro Business, unfortunately here in the Philippines it is controlled only by 20 (wild guess)families and maybe even less.

    • Joe America says:

      Hey, welcome home, LCX. I figured you to be on some stealth assignment somewhere, top secret, so it is good to know you are still in the game.

      I suppose in some ways government is an enabler of business, but a higher priority is to citizens, and their security and prosperity. Too many businesses operate without the well-being of the nation in mind, and that is irresponsible, and government ought not enable them to undermine citizen well-being. The mining industry comes to mind.

    • Peter Wallace seems to forget the robust antitrust laws in the U.S. That it can’t be business at all costs. True, business is the biggest factor which will promote employment and reduce poverty. But it cannot be business at all costs. The government is enabler, yes, but by God, the government must be an enabler of legitimate and just contracts. You cannot separate the duty of the government to represent the interest of the people. It’s a bigger mandate than the businesses, as Joe puts it. In fact, the government has a balancing act with the people and business.

    • Jonet Morales says:

      Where’s the “like” button?

    • Thanks, for the warm welcome, guys— but it’s only been a couple of weeks 😉 .

      Here’s the speech by Pres. Obama,

      “There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)

      If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

      The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

      So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That’s how we funded the GI Bill. That’s how we created the middle class. That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That’s how we invented the Internet. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for President — because I still believe in that idea. You’re not on your own, we’re in this together.”

      When I read that (and I disagree with the current Pres. on a lot of issues) I’m reminded by this video,

      (the theory and philosophy of Invictus Alliance Group. Invictus was founded by the Spooner brothers, former Delta Force operators with over 20 years experience with high risk operations.)

      To me, that’s business, not Wal-Mart opening up two mega-stores in town, driving away small businesses, only to close down the second mega-store once competition is decimated— same with oil and gas decimating the environment.

  2. Bert says:

    You hanged him there, Joe, upside down and that’s the proper place for an irresponsible ranter such as Wallace to be. Let him stay there for a few days more and the Society denizens can splatter his face with not a few rotten eggs and tomatoes, :).

  3. bauwow says:

    Welcome Back Lance Corporal!
    Now where is MRP when you need him?

  4. two naturalized filipinos…. gloves off inside the octagon……. pedro “walangjo” walastik (team negosyo)…… versus……. jose “amboy” pan de americano (independent fighter- fighting to convince a nation to be sane and rational)….. who will win? soon on pay-per-view….


    i’ll be going home to leyte in feb. for a few days. i hope to bump in to you in gaisano or robinsons. although I wont know who’s who, i’ll be staring at every white man (assuming you are caucasian) and whishfully thinking its you.

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, have a good trip, coco. Our haunts are Robinson’s in Tacloban and Gaisano in Ormoc. Tall white guy, short, pretty wife with a knock-out smile, handsome young kid. I won’t be staring at many Filipinos though, as there’s a whole bunch of them. 🙂

    • edgar lores says:

      I can see it: two bearded fighters of the cruiserweight division , equal in weight, height and reach — one wearing a mask though. Cruiserweight because both cruise cyberspace.

      The choice of weapons are keyboards.

      Each sits in his corner — and types! Sparks fly from the keyboards and arrow towards the opposite corner. Sparks collide head-on, in the center of the ring, and erupt in flashes of pyrotechnic flares — red, white, blue, orange and yellow!

  5. Bert says:

    LCpl_X, you’re back, just in time after the release from Iran’s detention of those ten US guys and I thought maybe just a coincidence, :), just the same glad you’re back, man.

  6. Peter Wallace, the brand new Filipino citizen is pro-business and I might add ANTI FILIPINO. True, businesses provide employment, but then the Filipino workers provide the services, the manpower required so their businesses’ wheels could turn. It does not mean that business can be left alone to do their thing at the expense of the welfare of his fellow Filipinos. Because that was what happened in the contracts that were eventually questioned in local and international courts. What, he wants those contracts that were found to be blatantly disadvantageous to the interest of his fellow Filipinos to be left alone, business briber and the bribed government crooks go their merry ways while the poor citizens are gnashing their teeth?

    PDI is anti Filipinos too for running his columns in the front pages for almost a week. It’s as if it is purposely leading, encouraging and abetting all other attack dogs to ruin this administration and help usher in the dark era of the Marcos regime where the partner of that conjugal dictatorship (if my memory serves me right) is a relative of the publisher.

    • Joe America says:

      The Inquirer’s President, yes, is a Romualdez.

      Isn’t also amazing how he went to name-calling. I was a bit floored by that. I wonder if it means what it usually means, that his arguments on reason are lacking merit. Based on your commentary and my observations, I’d say there is probably a skunk in the closet and his name is Guilded Contract.

    • edgar lores says:

      Peter Walace is pro-corruption.

      Here he echoes Binay’s palusot:

      “…let’s stop uncovering dirt. I think we’ve heard enough, had enough of all the mischief of the candidates. Let’s concentrate on evaluating the potential for performance of each of them. This is where the media can play a positive role—just refuse to publish dirt. Unless it’s a fully proven fact, just ignore it, particularly if it comes from a political source. Restriction of the right to free speech? I don’t think so, just wise discernment of what matters.”


      We should not only look at a candidate’s “potential for performance” but also look into his integrity as established by his past.

      • Jonathan says:

        Peter Wallace would approve of an autocratic regime if it would boost the economy. He has a very single-minded way of looking at things.

    • Madlanglupa says:

      Yes, it is ironic that the paper that brought down Marcos ought to approve of another. It is also ironic that PDP-Laban that won over KBL has turned to the dark side.

  7. Jonathan says:

    That whole Peter Wallace column was an appeal to authority.

  8. karl garcia says:

    Very off topic.
    Bill said he is done with his SSS article, will it show up in the upcoming blogs any time soon?

    • Joe America says:

      I’ve not yet received the final draft (it may be in my inbox now, I dunno). If all is in order, it will run on Tuesday the 26th in place of the blog now plugged in for that date.

    • Bill in Oz says:

      hi Joe
      I can send it to you today..Just did some touch ups..

    • Philstar headline today – SSS has P325-billion uncollected revenue.

      “xxxThis is shown in a letter SSS President Emilio Quiros, Jr. presented to the House during the hearings on the pension increase bill” Colmenares told reporters.

      So override the veto and pressure the SSS executives to collect the P325-billion or else no performance bonus for them for the year 2015!

      That is, if the headline is accurate, and if Colmenares is telling the truth.

      • Joe America says:

        I wonder as to the ability of the government to collect those payments due. People move often, there is no common identification method or tracking, businesses scam some of the payments for themselves . . . I’d put it into the category of pipe dream. If Colmenares thinks it is easy, he can volunteer a few days showing the SSS people how to do it, and it will be one of the most constructive things he has ever done.

        • People move often, there is no common identification method or tracking,

          There used to be the “residence certificate” or “sedula”, dating back to Spanish colonial times and still used during the Marcos period. The standard identification then was sedula plus birth certificate plus some kind of photo ID. Now for the Pantawid Pamilya, biometrics are taken, for election registration, biometrics are taken. Why not centralize it into a national ID and modern residence certificate system like all of Continental Europe has? One might say the USA does not have that, but there you have the lifetime Social Security Number without which you can’t get many things. Pantawid Pamilya gives people ATM cards to get their money, how about a unique Postal Checking Account for each person – something the Swiss and Swedes have?

      • chempo says:

        Whatever the uncollected contributions, if they are ever collected, it’s meant for those who are paying in due course when they retire.

        Unless Colmenares is saying those are the contributions that those who have already retired failed to pay up. In which case he is surely speaking so un-intelligently that it makes sense only to himself.

  9. karl garcia says:

    Sunday 24: “May Diyos Naman” by Wilfredo G. Villanueva

    I just hope this does not invite fire works with Micha.

    • Bill in Oz says:

      Micha may be surprised..

      • karl garcia says:

        The fire works might be with Wilfredo of Will’s article because “May Dyos naman” translates to “There is a God”.
        Though the financial aspects of the SSS article might run against some of Micha’s economic and monetary theories,he or she has been espousing.
        I do not know yet. Let us see.

  10. Jean says:

    I’ll have to start by saying you MAY choose to classify me as being biased. If having personal experience dealing with Mr. W constitutes to that. I have been one of his employees for nearly 7 years and I have known of him for just over a decade. I’ll also have to say that I probably fly below his radar because I am just one amongst the many that work for him and just to clarify, I don’t belong to the upper echelons either. Let me share with you the sentiments of the common rank who work for him. We consider Peter as a stand up guy and I say this not because he hands out our pay checks, its because he always extols the need for us to strive for excellence and to help lift this country to the powerhouse it should be.

    I think unlike most of you who are passing judgement over the man based on what you know of him as a column in the Inquirer, I have more to go on and based on that I would say you are selling him short.

    This guy is like good old Joe, he is a foreigner with a care of what happens to the Philippines. He just has a different take on how that is going to happen. He is pro-business because he is an adamant believer that, it is through business that the standard of living for every Filipino will be raised.

    I really don’t think his motives in his recent articles have a sinister self serving element to them. He isn’t trapo and he is not a bad guy.

    His choice of words and how he executes them may lack diplomatic flair or isn’t P.C. all the time but we can all be accused of that every now and then.

    Just like Joe, who asks every seemingly troll on his blog to identify themselves and their intent, Mr. W is likewise exercise the same prerogative to call Joe out for the same reason Joe calls out anyone.

    Honestly speaking, I think Joe and Peter would get along very nicely and agree on many things given the chance. I think this entire scenario is similar to when Joe and Pie started talking, it wasn’t the greatest of starts but it seems great now.

    Oh and yes Joe, Peter took a clear swipe at you but can you blame him? Your initial rebuttal was scathing and I was not the only one to notice that the article you wrote then spent a great deal of time questioning Peter’ character as it did addressing the contracts.

    In closing, I just want to reiterate for everyone who seems to be jumping on the band wagon to “vilify” Peter, I pray that you give him a second look, hell I’d say give him as many looks as needed till you see that he is just like every other frequent contributer to this blog, someone genuinely moving towards a better, stronger and more stable nation for its people.

    • Jean, his column on the SC decision re Erap pardon is well appreciated by yours truly.

      But when he is discussing business, I don’t see the qualities that you have just described.

      Too one-sided.

      • caliphman says:

        The issue is not whether Wallace is s nice person when one gets to know him aside from one’s experience of him as a columnist. I am sure he is as affable and considerate as you perceived him as an employer.

        The fact is he made assertions in his article which were inaccurate and from our point of view unfairly vilified the Philippine government including
        that of the Aquino administration. On closer examination, the research supporting his assertions was found to be shoddy. He cited facts and cases which we determined were either erroneous or incomplete, the specifics of which are detailed in Joe’s rebuttal article and our related comments which in my mind erode his credibility more than any biases or personal aspersions that have been cast.

        Jean, it is unfortunate that your exboss limited his response to direct insults directed at Joe and not the errors and distortions we pointed out in his presentations.

    • Joe America says:

      I had thought the same thing, actually, that he and I had a lot in common. But what set me off was that he took all of the problem contracts he is aware of (or has dealings with), laid them on President Aquino, and challenged HIS character and the character of the Philippines. Hey, that’s piling it on a little heavy in the heart of a campaign season. So I am to President Aquino as you are to Peter Wallace, defending and objecting to character assassination. And face it, some of the data presented by Wallace in his articles were either incomplete or intentionally misleading (PIATCO, most notably). And throwing in the LTO as a popular complaint to fuel the fires of reader indignity.

      I’m glad to hear you say that he is an upstanding guy. I remain wary, but will consider what you have said.

    • karl garcia says:

      I have listen to him talk during Grad School and after that lecture, I even chased him until the elevator and I did my small talk and He is soft spoken. Is soft spoken the word for not having a loud voice?
      Our comments here may seem like going by the band wagon. One called us an echo chamber in FB. A choir or what ever. We may sound like we are taking things personally,but we are just blowing steam sometimes. Nothing personal in most comments.

    • NHerrera says:


      … he always extols the need for us to strive for excellence and to help lift this country to the powerhouse it should be.

      I admit, I cherry-picked that one:

      – On he always extols the need for us to strive for excellence I believe you being an employee and have a chance to observe him for sometime;

      – On the part he always extols the need to help lift this country to the powerhouse it should be methinks he has a funny if not twisted way of practicing his preaching, in his more recent columns particularly.

      The laugh (first line of my post) is meant for the second one.

    • Vicara says:

      Jean, I’ll take your word for it that he is a pleasant person, and I respect your loyalty. But in the Joe Am community, the serious commentary that takes place (jokes and ribbing aside) centers on digging up facts and figures, and presenting rational argument and rebuttal. From all this back and forth, a fuller picture of the truth emerges.

      Wallace says in the PDI today: “There were 2.8 million unemployed and 7.37 million underemployed in 2010. The numbers in 2015 were some 2.4 million and 7.05 million—no real improvement.” But he neglects to mention the approximately half-million new college graduates that have entered our labor force since 2010, not including vocational school graduates. Total seems to be about a million new workers per annum, looking for jobs.

      Those new grads haven’t all been shipped out to sea on some raft to work as DHs. Enough jobs were created in the last six years to absorb a lot of those grads–regarding which job creation figures Mr. Wallace remains disingenuously silent. Of course still more new jobs have to be created. But while my undergrad grades in economics were mediocre at best, I can still detect selective reasoning here on the part of a professional analyst.

      Wallace prides himself on being pro-business, and describes himself as a CEO 40 times over. (Although he’s still coy about the identity of his business and political associates; the dance of the seven veils continues.)

      But seeing as he chooses to describe himself as a pragmatic, successful CEO type, and not some resentful economic writer-hack stuck in a cubbyhole, if everything is so terrible and anti-FDI here, then why is he still in the Philippines? I would have thought he’d have voted with his feet by now.

      • Jean says:

        He may have made his mark in the business sector, but he leaves a lot wanting as an author.

        As an author, he has license to write in such a fashion as to sway the readers perception. That is their privileged but this privileged is lost when one writes for the paper. Yes, I hate using the word but even I would admit he manipulates how he writes to effect the result he aims for. But then again isn’t that something most authors do?

        Oh, please understand I am not loyal to him, I’m loyal to the company I work for where he happens to be a board member of. I shared my experience of him to give this discussion a little more to go on as he is being judged.

    • Jean says:

      He is far from perfect though and I too did not appreciate the way he wrote. I would just like to add I emailed him saying as much. I don’t want to jump to the conclusion that he was intentionally misleading, perhaps his sources were more limited or less reliable. I totally agree with Joe that it shouldn’t have run on the front page and should have stayed under the opinions column. My anger thus is focused more on the editors rather than the author. Anyhow, I started this out not to defend him, my intention was to try to steer away people’s attention from focusing too much on Mr. W and back on what was more important, the question of contracts. Mr. W’s sentiments might not just be his own, it may reflect what is perceived by many due to the lack of access to privileged information.

      Lastly, I far from being googly-eyed with Mr. W, I don’t like his hard stance in business which lacks more empathy for my taste. I extend to him the benefit of the doubt though because he has always made me feel like he was doing what he thought best for everyone involved.

      anyway, I enough about him!

      I’m on Joe’s blog for Joe.

      • Vicara says:

        Jean. He has all the access he needs to the information required. Nah, it’s not about Wallace’s “sentiments,” but about facts and how he chooses to skew them or leave them out. And this particular Joe Am post is precisely about Wallace. He’s the topic, take it or leave it.

        I’m pretty sure that Joe would prefer that you be on this blog for the sake of accuracy, rather than “for Joe,” whatever that means. (Joe, sorry if I mis-speak for you here.)

    • edgar lores says:


      I’ll chime in and say I used to read Peter’s column off and on, and was impressed by some of his suggestions, in particular his calls for the passage of FOI, the computerization of Customs and the creation of an IT department (DICT). I have been put off my his tinted lenses that sees Binay as a viable candidate and by his too pro-business stance to the exclusion of almost everything else.

      I have given him a second look, re-reading some of his columns. I find myself agreeing with most of his viewpoints, on the traffic, on divorce, on SC decisions and even on his pro-labor initiatives. I disagree with his “political” views.

      But he is always doing a hard sell, a very hard sell. And he has this habit of relentless stalking the President, asking — or really telling — him to do this and that.

      I think it is these last two points that puts me off. He is pro-Binay, pro-Duterte, pro-Poe but never pro-Aquino. Could it be a personal thing with him?

      • Jean says:

        Yes, he pushes hard, doesn’t he! I’ve likewise noticed he has a hard-on, attacking the government (specifically the Aquinos) Does he have a grudge of some sort? Alas, that isn’t something I have the inside track to. But it does seem likely to me.

        My experience of him is that he fancies himself as objective but it often doesn’t play out that way. He wears his heart on his sleeve. As much as people say he is manipulative, I will add that he is also easily manipulated. That man has a LOT of buttons which are easily pressed.

        Joe, touched on quite a few of those in his previous article. I wasn’t surprised Wallace reacted the way he did. Jonathan was accurate when he said it could be likened to an appeal to authority. The act of being challenged unfortunately put him in his “pout” mode. If he stays true to how he presents himself at the office, once he cools down, he will attempt to rectify.

        I am hoping he does it through his column so it can lend credence to everything I’ve said thus far but alas, I am not holding my breath.

    • Peter Penduke says:

      I am not looking at Wallace. I am looking at his artlcle (and assertions). It reeks of pro-corruption (binay) and vested interest. I don’t mind having vested interest, but using his column to lawyer for his interest and cast the other side in a negative light?

  11. josephivo says:

    So many issues could be raised:

    1. Mr. Wallace can you be more specific:
    1.0 Pro-Business…. Pro-Shareholders? Pro-Management? Pro-Workers? Pro-Customers?
    1.1 Business…. Philippine business? Australian business? Your customers/business partners?
    1.2 Pro-Shareholders… Owner-majority shareholder? Institutional investors? Juan and Juanita investors?
    1.3 Pro-Management… Pro-CEO? Senior management? First line supervisors?

    2. “There were 2.8 million unemployed and 7.37 million underemployed in 2010. The numbers in 2015 were some 2.4 million and 7.05 million—no real improvement” 400,000 reduction in unemployed looks little, but what about the 10 million that entered the workforce in this period?

    3. If shareholders put a new CEO in place because of bad contracts signed by the previous one, don’t they expect the new CEO try to renegotiate these contracts?

    4. A bigger reason for slow FDI could be the snail pace of justice, more then seeking justice itself.

    5. Or too many misjudgments and too slow reaction by this administration, not creating the same goodwill as it created on the financial side. Too weak secretaries? (MRT station at Mall 1, then at Mall 2, then between Mall 1 and 2 and let the people walk. The harbor functioning toppled by a single push of one mayor. Deterioration of the MRT. Late traffic rule enforcement on EDSA. Delays on implementing the Japanese infrastructure plan for Mega-Manila, LRT extensions PPP implementations….)

    6. The world keeps changing, that means inequality keeps rising. The total wealth of the 62 top richest is the same as the sum of the 3,700,000,000 poorest (5 years ago it was 194 versus the bottom half), the ratio in the Philippines must be very similar or worse and rising too. Without government intervention wealth will flow faster and faster to the happy few. The cake is already too large for our Blue Marble, better distribution is the main issue.

    • Micha says:

      Australia is a signatory of the proposed TPP trade agreement which, along with TTIP on the other side of the pond, is a global corporate power grab. It seeks to limit/undermine the role of governments in the arbitration and regulation of business practices, e.g. wage standards and environmental pollution.

      When Peter Wallace says he is pro-business, I don’t think he has necessarily in mind the neighborhood bakery or corner sari-sari store. Instead, he is most probably referring to mega corporations that struts around the globe in a neo-liberal free market fundamentalist agenda that seeks to subjugate/enslave the rest of humanity.

      On this note, it would be interesting to also scrutinize the business model of our very own rising Chinoy plutocrat, Manuel Pangilinan, and his penchant to privatize/collect toll fees on public infrastructures. I heard that his company has recently grabbed the contract to collect toll fees on the proposed Cebu-Mactan bridge.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        There are many in Australia who are not happy with any treaty which undermines Australia’s capacity to set our own envirenment standards, wage & labor arbitration and business regulation. In fact there is not the political will here to have that happen.Watch what happens in our Senate.

        However any national law that singles out foreign businesses and treats them to different law to local national businesses will always meet opposition…

        As for the Philippino Wallace I doubt that he seeks to enslave anyone….

        And your comment “Neo-liberal free market fundamentalist agenda ” is just old 1970’s leftist claptrap. Surely it time to do the hard work of thinking for yourself instead of just regurgitating.

        • Neo-liberal plus Chinoy plutocrat is where right and left-wing thinking sometimes converge…

          Neo-rightists in Germany will sometimes use the word neoliberal and international plutocracy in one sentence – they can’t really say Jewish plutocracy anymore for fear of being sued…

          BTW the first plans for Autobahns in Germany did not come from Hitler… they came from a Jewish-German consortium planning to operate toll roads. Centrist Mayor Konrad Adenauer of Cologne – first German postwar Chancellor – built the first German Autobahn, the present 555 between Cologne and Bonn. It is straight as an arrow, because it had to just go through fields at that time. I loved it when I was 19 and had just made my driver’s license – no speed limit…

        • Micha says:

          @Bill in Oz

          Filipino, not Philippino.

          The TPP and TTIP is a neo-liberal free market fundamentalist agenda. It’s with us now, 2016. Surely, it’s time to do some thinking for yourself?

  12. Interesting that Jean mentions Joe and me initially as the state of Peter Wallace and Joe now… that is another topic entirely. I have already written about that, so I will leave it at that for now. Welcome back LCPL_X by the way.

    As for contracts… it is a very difficult topic. I think that what Joe wrote is that one should not jump to conclusions which Wallace may be doing. My hunch is that the Aquino government is trying to clean up a big mess, and anyone who tries to clean up in a junkyard does get a bit dirty doing so.

    Now for MRT… it is very hard to get a clear picture of the contractual situation.. and of course there are many conflicting accounts… but the core problem seems to be an originally very sloppy division of work and responsibilities between the following three parties.. further feedback please:

    – owner (government)

    – operator (MRTC)

    – maintenance (many…)

    Now I have seen maintenance situations in the software industry. It CAN happen that as a maintenance contractor, you are left with the short end of the stick if the operator does abnormal things, or even the owner. Short end even if you have padded your fixed price to cover risks…

    Which could be why Busan who are now taking over MRT maintenance from what I have read have sent experts to check the entire system. I am not privy to the details but if I were in their place I would check every nut and bolt, every rail to make sure it was not cannibalized already.

    In general, Wallace is right about one thing – the Philippines as a whole should become a more predictable partner to deal with. But putting it on Aquino alone smells like a political game to me. With PIATCO/NAIA3 the true contrabida was Arroyo, Aquino was just left holding the firecracker.

    P.S. usually operation and maintenance are done by one contractor. So the one earning the money by operating stuff (and maintaining it) also shoulders the risks of maintenance. This is what I have seen in “Fleet Management”. Volkswagen (and others) sometimes enter into fleet management contracts with the police of German Federal States – to provide cars for a period, and to maintain them of course, easy because they build the cars themselves so things work. – this is pro stuff. Now I wonder how MRT would have gone if Busan had been given full responsibility from the beginning, PPP-style, to build, maintain and run the MRT? Because I think corners were cut at the wrong end with MRT from the beginning… my impression.

    I still haven’t been able to get a full picture of the MRT story. Too much missing information and my time is getting limited. To make an evaluation I would have to put together:

    A. contractual history (who was responsible for what during what period)

    B. money flow (who got what for what during what period of time)

    C. conflicts (who did not deliver or was perceived as not doing so)

    Anyone who has the time is welcome to put it together – as a guest article in my blog maybe?

    • Anyone who wants to contribute as a guest author to my blog may do so, even under as pseudonym – under the condition that the real name and address is known to me.

      I fully understand Joe’s situation though. The still highly irregular situation in the Philippines – which includes a former Philippine Science High School batchmate of mine who was a reporter getting shot in front of his daughter at a sari-sari store – makes full anonymity a must for him.

      My situation is different. Our immediate family left the land of impunity during Marcos times. This allows me the luxury of being able to follow German press laws, which apply to bloggers as well. As the publisher of my blog, I am legally fully responsible, but legal certainty is fullfilled here… is a principle in national and international law which holds that the law must provide those subject to it with the ability to regulate their conduct. – the opposite being the often Kafkaesque Philippines, its absurd theatre.

    • Joe America says:

      The polarities on the MRT service contract brought forward from President Ramos could not be more stark with Peter Wallace saying it was a “good contract” and Mar Roxas saying it was a “bad contract”. Wallace says the Philippines cancelled the contract. The history seems to be that the Philippines let the contract expire but was unable (failed?) to get a replacement bid out. Now the facts are the facts. Why are we getting them shaded in two different directions?

      President Aquino spoke to the matter a few weeks ago and said it was a bad contract and could not be extended because the service firm refused to provide a warranty on work done. The firm also wanted an increase in the monthly service fee.

      • It probably was a bad contract. Now Busan is doing something a bit different from what I suggested in my “Task Force MRT-3” article – they are sending pros to assess the condition of the entire system, but without shutting it down after building a parallel BRT like I suggested.

        Even better in fact than my suggestion. Abaya finally found pros who are competent enough – and brave enough to touch the MRT system. My feeling tells me things will get going with them.

        Getting the MRTC out and the government in charge was also something they wanted to do. One of my suggestions was to put DOTC fully in charge of things. Seems that they have some issues getting the MRTC out from what I gather. Full picture is still missing. But slowly forming.

  13. manuelbuencamino says:


    Oh well I guess Peter Wallace will also have a thing or two to say about anonymous donors who give millions to charity.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, but I don’t think the anonymous is the problem, really. Had I done an article praising his wisdom and great value to Philippine well-being, he’d have no problem with it. The problem is the impudence of some yahoo disagreeing with a member of the entitled class.

  14. Ferdinand Lim says:

    Well done Joe you nail it I always pray for your safety and your family look out the community thanks.

  15. Marilet Meris says:

    Here, here, JoeAm! Nicely put.

  16. felix zamar jr says:

    toink right on the head. the anonymity provide the spice of a well crafted reply that is level headed, focused on the issues at hand and no personal name calling. bravo. i didn’t realize that Wallace is an Australian making money in the Philippines. i use to admire his supposedly erudite economic analysis of my country which is unfortunately mostly dismal even during the time of GMA. Joe America you got the goat of a self-serving foreigner on our soil that brought him down to name calling. congratulations for irking the smug Wallace.

  17. Melissa Bjorkenstam says:

    AWESOME ! Articulate and to the point Joe! 👍 Keep it up!

    Sent from my iPhone


  18. Just wrote an article inspired by this debate, among other things.

    This time the title is in German:

    • Dean Tony La Vina’s latest comment on SSS in an example of the objectivity I write about: The SSS during the Marcos years was well-managed. Thanks to Gilberto Teodoro Sr, father of Gibo and a man of sterling character, strict and proper in an old school but universally right way, SSS was protected from the vultures during that era. In retrospect, Marcos certainly did better than successors in this matter of private social security (the public sector GSIS did not do as well), on energy, Metro Manila planning and governance, and on public transportation. In this sense, Bongbong Marcos is on morally high ground when he criticizes the current government in these areas. true, there also were brownouts during Marcos days, but a lot of electrification in the provinces seems to have taken place then I do remember.

      I have written about witch-hunting in my article, this disclaimer fits: For the record, I am not saying that martial law was good or that it’s alright to have a dictatorship (arguably the ability to legislate by the President made it easier to effect policy reforms).

      The last sentence I must emphasize, it is very right: It’s just important to recognize good things done in former administrations so we build on each other’s successes and learn from mistakes committed in the past rather than start from scratch every time.

      • I’m not convinced.

        Never again!

      • I know how much allowances given to SSS executives during the time of Marcos. It’s not that different from what the present ones are receiving.

        The present executives have managed to turn around the finances of the SSS from Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo regimes’ abuses. Cleanig up, correcting ill advised practices and putting up sound investments have improved it; rash and rushed populist decisions will negate what was done to turn it around.

        If BBM is not aware of the real status in there, he cannot be in a position to be judgemental. Is La Vinia aware of all that had happened to this institution before this administration took over?

        The Philstar headline yesterday was clarified by PCEO Quiros. Let all issues and actual records and figures be opened to scrutiny before passing judgement.

        Until then, let’s wait for further clarifications from the SSS as well as the COA’s latest audit report.

        Just the same, the idea of a GSIS and SSS MERGER is for me, a truly fantastic one, something to look forward to.

        • La Vina is one person who knows a lot about government. It could be true that Teodoro Sr. was one of the few good people during Marcos times. Another that comes to mind is Blas Ople, Metro Manila Commissioner Mel Mathay as well – he was a very capable technocrat.

          Now I think what La Vina is referring to when he says “start from scratch” are things like how they scrapped the MMC, made it into MMDA and gave too much power back to the cities, just because the MMC was created by Marcos. Who invented something should not be a criteria.

          After all, the Sandiganbayan was also something Marcos created, while the Ombudsman was Cory’s creation. The two working in conjunction are extremely important for Daang Matuwid. Now to see La Vina’s posting as promotion for Bongbong is a bit of a stretch in my opinion.

          • BBM has below zero credibility for me and anyone who campaigns for him will have zero as well.

            Sorry, that is my own personal opinion.

            • I don’t see La Vina campaigning for Bongbong. And even if Bongbong is stating some things that are right does not necessarily mean he is making the right conclusions. They all say some things that are right – Poe, Duterte, even Binay – but that does not necessarily impress me.

              • Vicara says:

                “Marcos” and “morally high ground” connected in one sentence is a real stretch. This is not a promotion of Bongbong so much as subtle way of bringing Aquino down and lumping him and Marcos together and assigning them some kind of moral parity. “That’s how politics is.” No. It is not. Actions and words should be considered within the context of history, personal and national. Bongbong’s childhood all the way up to his comfortable life and political career has as its foundation his family’s ill-gotten wealth, political oppression and extrajudicial killings, which he has never acknowledged. For him to be described as occupying the “moral high ground” on a particular issue is laughable, even if he is an elected senator. Votes don[‘t make wrongs suddenly turn right. They just get one into office. With the help of wealth amassed by a dictator father.

                But to return to the matter of moral high ground: Call me cynical, but it is election season, and Aquino’s public approval ratings are still fairly high. At any other time, his veto of the two-thousand peso SSS payout increase (which under scrutiny, makes fiscal sense) would have generated a furor, but not the relentless pounding by pundits and grandstanding lawmakers who stubbornly ignore the math and put all blame for what is really legislative carelessness and failure on the president’s shoulders. Bring the president down, bring the LP down, bring the administration candidate down, whether subtly or crudely, just do it. The opposition parties are united in this. (La Vina, one should note, has been identified by Poe as one of her senior advisers. Just saying.)

                “It’s just important to recognize good things done in former administrations so we build on each other’s successes and learn from mistakes committed in the past rather than start from scratch every time.” Exactly, therefore LP candidate Mar Roxas, who has by far the most hands-experience in national government administration, who has a mind of his own, and who has learned from the mistakes–and successes–of the President as well as his own mistakes and successes, should be the next president.

              • edgar lores says:

                I agree… and disagree. I would go further. Vicara is being tactful.

                La Vina’s concatenation of “Marcos” and “morally high ground” is not only “a real stretch” but witless, vile and monstrous.

                “A real stretch” is a “mild exaggeration beyond the truth or what is likely the case.” Mild?

                And it is not “subtle way” at all but a “gross way.”

              • Am clapping my hands, here, Vicara. Very well said. Can’t say it any better. Thanks for confirming that TLV is one of Poe’s advisers. No wonder he is all praises for her, she can do no wrong in his eyes while subtly taking pot shots at Mar and this government.

                But I do appreciate all his efforts in Paris, he and his team. Well done.

              • Vicara, thanks for filling in some blanks. The picture is getting clearer.

                Your last sentence is the best argument for Mar Roxas BTW – he knows best the Philippine “maze”, as Karl has already called it.

                It also shows that what some people see as an argument against Aquino – that some of his best programs were continuations and enhancements of policies started during late Arroyo times like 4Ps and economic policies – is actually an argument for him. For his objectivity.

              • Vicara says:

                Thank you, guys. You are right about Aquino’s objectivity, Irineo, being used to criticize him. But if he had instead signed off on the SSS hike, I suspect the level of negative reactions whipped up would have been exactly the same–only then he would have been criticized for his non-objectivity. Damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. Especially during campaign season

              • – 2013 SONA already mentions SSS – I am presently researching in small steps on Aquino’s full track record to be able to evaluate his administration properly…

                Consider that, since 1980, across-the-board pension increases occurred 21 times, but actual pension contribution increases only occurred twice. As a result, the SSS has accumulated an estimated 1.1 trillion pesos in unfunded liability. According to a study done in 2011, this shortfall will increase by 8 percent per annum, eventually resulting in the complete consumption of the fund 28 years from now. If this happens, the next generation is certain to suffer.

                We believe that it is time to amend the SSS Pension Scheme. We must establish measures that remedy the outflow of funds. If we add 0.6 percent to the contribution rate, it will immediately deduct 141 billion pesos from the unfunded liability of the SSS. If we begin to invest in our future today, no further problems will be handed down to the next generation of Filipinos.

              • This is another example of how long term makes you invisible to a lot of voters. Institution building takes time and time is something all administrations do not have. This is why if we are to get our of this short term view rut we have to elect parties and not personalities.

                We have a party of thieves, a group of independents, and a party of gimiks (The whole I am not running, I am runnning because someone is not respecting the constitution BS.) and a real political party. As joe says this is too fucking obvious.

              • Joe America says:

                Yes, it is infinitely perplexing, but the flaw to me is not the invisibility of long term presence, but the predominance of self-interest. That is the only way I can figure that a man as bright as Cayetano would tie in with a dirtbag like Duterte, or an intelligent woman like Santiago would tie in with a guy who is the spitting image of his father in gesture and values, or an intelligent woman of no experience like Poe would choose tie-in with connivers over service to the nation (as vice president), or one third of the nation would vote for someone they know is a thief and liar. It makes no sense because there is, I think, an absence of sense. Followers are of the same drive as their candidate. It seems to me that people are thinking with negative emotions (neediness rather than the rewards of giving), not their reasoning power. Or they are just plain ignorant and closed to any new information, for the emotional risks such admissions represent (“I am less than perfect”).

              • karl garcia says:

                They had a cabinet cluster meeting before that SONA and therse are the programs for dswd

                “DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan presented the proposed priority legislative measures of the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster (HDPR), i.e., Magna Carta of the Poor and National Land Use Act, respectively. Secretary Soliman also proposed to include the following HDPRC priorities: (1) Marine and Coastal Resources Protection Act; (2) Amendment of the Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991 or RA 7160 re effective implementation of the Universal Health Care Coverage in the grassroots; (3) Coconut Levy Act; (4) Magna Carta of Workers in the Informal Economy Bill; (5) Amendment to Public Employment Service Act of 1999 or RA 8759; (6) An Act to Strengthen the Apprenticeship System.”

                I was looking for any proposals on SSS,so I zoomed in on DSWD.Nothing on SSS,but

                The president eventually vetoed the Magna Carta for the Poor.


          • I worked for quite a long time (during weekends only), in the library of the former Assemblywoman Teodoro (Gibo’s mom), together with her 3 Batasan staff members. I prepared their SALN. Like karl, I need to stop here.

  19. Bing Garcia says:

    I love you Joe.

  20. joe says:

    Sock it to him Joe. Has Wallace had the courage to answer your rebuttal to his ill conceived rebuttal ?

    • Joe America says:

      I don’t think so. I’m sure he is stomping about thinking what an arrogant SOB I am. The idea of explaining his associations is probably too much for him to deal with, as it would reveal him as biased. He’d rather shout about what name I use, like the trolls do. He’ll probably type his rebuttal in all caps.

  21. Caliphman says:

    Wallace makes a huge deal about how corporations and businesses including the ones he consults for generate employment opportunities which is why he is so biased towards them. It should be pointed out that the government is the biggest employer in the country and the continuing growth in its budget reflecting the robust economy means more job opportunities for the pubilic. On this basis alone, a one sided bias for the interests of the business sector cannot be justifed. The government has as its stakeholders these employees and the entire population at large in delivering public services and goods and it has a fiduciary responsibiity over the taxes sourced from the people and business. Contrast this to corporations and businesses whose stakeholders are limited to their owners and employees and delivery of whatever goods and services to customers provides the best returns to shareholders. So should it be surprising to Wallace that there are those that take the cudgels for the government when it is falsely accused of incompetence or bad faith in the specific cases he cites in his articles?

    • Joe America says:

      More excellent points. I’m developing this theme of self-inerest over national interest, the former driven by emotional neediness, and Wallace is proof that this is a global trend, accelerated perhaps by how easy it is for people to get pats on the back, even for bad ideas, in the internet era. The fields of the Philippines are fertile because it is an emotional nation and not a lot of information gets outside a small circle of readers/thinkers and objective people. Indeed, Wallace is screwing with people . . . with Filipinos . . . and it is HE who is the anonymous one, the one who is in hiding, for the deceits he deploys.

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  1. […] Source: Joe America: “Did Peter Wallace just call me a coward?” […]

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