EDCA is a process, not a promise

Joint US-Philippine beach landing at San Antonio VOA News

US and Filipino troops in training exercise at San Antonio, Zambales [Photo credit: VOA News]

What do you call an acquaintance on Twitter? A Twerp? A Tweep? Not twirp, I think, unless they are trolling. I engaged in a brief discussion there shortly after the Supreme Court declared by a 10 to 4 vote (1 abstention) that the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) is constitutional and is an agreement rather than a treaty. By its decision, the Court dismissed challenges that said otherwise.

There were the dissenting justices, mostly arguing legalistically, and there were the assenting justices, arguing Executive authority and pragmatics, that China and storms are real threats and Executive must have the wherewithal to deal with them. If you enjoy legal debate and want to know EDCA inside out, the judicial opinions are well worth reading. They can be pulled up on the Supreme Court’s web site under “Recent Decisions”. They are also in Jurisprudence where they will rest, ammunition for law professors and students and future lawyers to use to bludgeon one another with words, both old and new. Here’s a pdf file on the case write-up proper.

I would now like to go past that and consider, “okay, what does this mean?”

The discussion on Twitter rolled out this way:

  • JR Castillo: EDCA won’t do PHL any good in the long run. It’s too one sided in my opinion.
  • JoeAm: I agree. The US is getting screwed. Building buildings which PH keeps. Putting lives on line. Giving away intel for free.
  • JR: Will US go to war with China for PHL over the disputed islands? Will they be as decisive with PHL as they are in JPNvsCHN?
  • Joe: I’ll blog you an answer. Hard to tweet on such a complex set of questions. Give me a week to write and schedule it.
  • JR: I always read your blog. Very well written and engaging. Makes people think.
  • Joe: Short answers for now are “No” and “Yes, when US is fully staged here”
  • Adrian Cuenca: There’s something called the mutual defense treaty. To add to “No” and “yes”, there’s “they should”
  • Joe: For Palawan, yes. For Reed Bank, no. For attack on PH ship, yes.
  • JR: PHL is just claiming anything that is within the 200 nautical miles of its territory, EEZ.
  • Joe: That is PH position. It does not bind US on position on dispute.
  • JR: True. So if China occupies what PHL believes is ours, we can’t ask US to back us up on our claim.
  • Joe: An excellent question
  • Joe: An unknown. If arbitration says those places belong to the PH EEZ, are they territory as contemplated under the MDT? I dunno

So let’s elaborate on some of the issues this discussion surfaces.

Who got the best deal in the agreement, the US or Philippines?

Both parties got what they need, if not what they wanted. The US wanted a 20 year agreement and got 10. The US wanted ownership of buildings but ownership goes to the Philippines upon completion of construction; the US get’s rent-free occupancy. The US can rotate people through: it can’t base people here long term. The US wanted full control of facilities; the Philippines got the right for the base commander to go anywhere at any time; they are Philippine bases.

People can argue the agreement terms, and will. Such arguments really define the person doing the argument more than anything. It is a cooperative agreement by two allies with a shared mutual interest. The discussions were forthright and earnest. Both parties “won” the negotiation.

Is the US providing hard support to Japan and soft support to the Philippines?

One can understand Filipino wariness about the US commitment given the difference in dedication and investment the US provided to Japan versus the Philippines after WWII. Japan got a lot, the Philippines very little.

However, the legal basis for Japan’s claim to the Senkaku Islands is very different than the nebulous and conflicting historical claims in the West Philippine Sea. Japan has controlled the Senkakus since 1895 after Japan won the first Sino-Japanese War. These are not shoals and reefs. They are islands. Land. They came into conflict only as late as in the 1970s as China began her expansion and acquisition of resources.

Second, the US defense treaty with Japan is much more involved and evolved than the agreement with the Philippines because the partnership has been a working engagement, not confounded by the US being asked by the Japanese government to leave Japan. The US and Japan are partners, signed, sealed and delivered. Furthermore:

Although the United States does not have an official position on the merits of the competing sovereignty claims, the islands are included within the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, meaning that a defense of the islands by Japan would require the United States to come to Japan’s aid. [Wiki]

The Philippine-American defense treaty, signed in 1951, does not include specific mention of the disputed islands, shoals and reefs in the West Philippine Sea. The document is not as robustly developed and speaks in general terms. It has been updated by verbal clarification from US military authorities that the term “Pacific” as used in the agreement encompasses the South China and West Philippine Seas, but this clarification is not yet written into the Mutual Defense Treaty itself.

So, in answer to the question posed, yes, the US is providing a firmer commitment to Japan than the Philippines, by virtue of a deeper, longer lasting partnership. EDCA can be seen as a means to deepen the trust and quality of mutual partnership between the Philippines and US.

Will the US fight, and under what circumstances?

This question seeks certainty when there is none. Warmaking is a political process and it is civilian bosses who must make the decisions to shoot or not to shoot. Many Filipinos say “the US won’t shoot” or “the US won’t get China off our islands”. They are seeking certainty and argue the EDCA relationship is flawed because no one will give them that certainly. That is what fuels JR’s basic skepticism about EDCA.

Well, even the Philippine civilian leadership will not give any commitment as to if or when or under what circumstances Philippine troops will shoot. So getting that assurance from the US is not something that can or should be expected, either.

The MDT says the US will defend against attacks on Philippine land or ships. We can reasonably expect that the US will abide by the treaty . . . within reason. How quickly or forcefully this might take place would be determined by the specific tactics of any engagement, where US naval forces are situated, and civilian authorization of an act that can have grave international consequences.

EDCA is the means for getting resources in place both as a deterrent to any rash act by China, and to have good information, coordination and weaponry readily available should conflict occur.

Those who want certainty are asking the impossible. Can they tell us who will be the Philippine President later this year? And will that President place high value on EDCA? Maybe the new Administration will throw the US out. Can those who ask the questions tell us who will be the American President later this year? We know that, on the scale of hawkish military engagement, the Republicans are inclined to make war, and Hillary Clinton is considered more hawkish than President Obama. Certainty requires reading the future.

We are not so blessed.

The islands, shoals and reefs in the West Philippine Sea are disputed territory. I would guess that most are not occupied “land” as contemplated in the MDT. Even if the UN arbitration panel confirms that such islands, shoals and reefs are properly within the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), that does not necessarily make them defensible “land”.

It seems to me that it would take the relationship to a level beyond that currently stated in the MDT for the US to engage to push China out of the EEZ. In other words, I doubt that will happen unless the Philippines decides to act on her own initiative and without US assistance. Pushing China off islands she has artificially built and occupied would likely not be defense as contemplated in the MDT. But I’m a layman, and can’t read the future either. Certainly, a lot of robust discussions will occur between Filipino and American military people and civilian leaders as EDCA becomes an operating agreement.

EDCA is a process, not a promise.

How will the US presence affect the Philippines?

We are not issued tea leaves or tarot cards or crystal balls, so we must speculate. Let’s bullet-point some ideas and assign probabilities that the statements are true (in parentheses). I’ll state them all as positives, and a low percentage means it is not likely to happen. You can tell me if they seem right or wrong:

  • China will attack Filipino civilian-occupied Pagasa Island (10%), the rusty ship outpost lodged at Second Thomas Shoal (25%), or Palawan (3%).
  • Local communities near bases rotating US troops through will see their economy rising, morals declining as bars spring up, and people looking the other way. Like merchants in Olongapo, local businesses and working women will be happy and more prosperous with Americans spending their dollars in town. (100%)
  • Leftists will become more strident and demand an end to US “occupation”. Their marches will be angrier and their effigies more brightly burning. Any wayward incident or problem will ignite a protest on Roxas Boulevard in front of the American Embassy (95%). These leftists will continue to provide zero pragmatic ideas about how to improve Philippine security or well-being (75%).
  • The US will agree to joint patrol with Philippine military or Coast Guard ships in disputed areas of the West Philippine Sea when and if a favorable arbitration result is received from the UN panel now considering the case (65%).
  • When and if a favorable arbitration hearing is received, the Philippines will try to extricate Chinese forces from Philippine territory (3%). The US will join with and stand ready to protect any Philippine ships trying to extricate the Chinese from the Philippine EEZ (15%).
  • If China brings oil drilling rigs into the UN-certified Philippine EEZ, the Philippines and US will jointly blockade access to the rigs (68%).
  • The US will establish a small presence on Pagasa (50%) and a significant presence on Palawan (100%) and the west coast of Luzon (100%).
  • We will hear an endless string of complaints about Philippine and/or American acts from Chinese officials and media (100%). Explicit proposals for bilateral negotiations will be forthcoming from China (2%) and Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping will visit Manila for direct talks about the dispute (12%).
  • The US will engage actively to support the Philippines to keep ISIS out of the Philippines (100%). The US will engage in opposing the NPA (3%) or in dealing with Moro issues (60%).
  • The US presence will improve preparation for storms (pre-positioning of relief goods) and both the speed and magnitude of immediate relief (100%).
  • The US will actively engage in Philippine political processes (3%). The US will, through its embassy or authorized State Department spokespeople, offer opinions on issues which affect US interests, such as the BBL, human rights, or terrorism (85%). Defense of the Philippines will be a US election issue (100%).
  • The US will do good-will outreach in Philippine communities (90%). The American presence will have a profound effect on Philippine domestic affairs or cultural development (5%). Filipino acts and deeds will have a profound effect on Philippine domestic affairs or cultural development (100%).
  • The Philippines will join the growing American/Asian partnership as a major player, and will some day fly her own planes in formation at the Cope exercise in Guam (95%):
Cope North Stars and Stripes US Japan Autralia

Cope North exercise in Guam, 2015, with planes from US, Japan and Australia in formation. Joint military and disaster response exercise will be joined in 2016 by the Philippines for the first time. [Photo credit: US Air Force, via Stars and Stripes]

We will live in interesting times 100%.

Life is a process, not a promise.



476 Responses to “EDCA is a process, not a promise”
  1. Jean says:

    I have always been pro-bases. I was wickedly vexed when they thought that kicking out the military in Clark and Subic was a good idea. Since then up till now, I cringed at what I consider the absurdity of the tirade of the anti-bases/american movements. Most of the grudges they hold can not be even be linked to military operations/practices or country security.

    Many fears are based on hearsay,folk tales, misdirected anger and media sensationalism.

    I’m happy with the news about EDCA. Strengthening bonds with another 1st world country is a boon and should be seen as such.

    We have always professed how proud we are about Bayanihan. Let’s put that to work and be good neighbors with other countries.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, I agree with that sentiment, Jean. A Philippines trapped forever in bamboo huts and a provincial notion of sovereignty that freezes in place the Philippines of Edsa and holds others off as if they were infested with vermin is not a very exciting or worldly place. Best to be out mixing it up, thinking well, and taking command of one’s destiny. The only thing holding the Philippines back is lack of confidence.

  2. Another eye opener article, Joe. Much appreciated. Thank you very much.

    I find these comments from a former Philippine President, a general of the AFP at that, truly disturbing….I am for peace, I don’t want war and I wouldn’t wish that in any country, more so in mine. But to preserve peace we have to be sure that there is enough deterrence to war coming from the outside. Military build-up is not looking for war, it’s just a means that we might use so other countries would think twice before attacking us. EDCA is another way to do that. Certainly we are not in any position to provoke war, with the state defense capability is in.


    And I agree with this comment posted in the Philstar.com

    vic suplido • 2 days ago

    wow interesting comments on former Pres. Ramos. I think removing the signs in those islands was not enough but when we remove the bases from Clark and Subic then it all started and what we see now is one of the result.
    Anyhow, would China became this aggressive had we maintain the American bases up to this time? Your comment is welcome.

    • Joe America says:

      I’ve lately put former President Ramos into the same “whacko” bucket that has Enrile, Santiago and maybe even Bello in it. He owns no moral or military platform from which to speak, as far as I can tell. He is just another individual we are free to listen to, or not.

      • I just hope the media and opposition candidates would not pick up this one as another weapon to attack Pnoy and Mar. The billions that we are spending for military upgrade is one that the left leaning groups is eyeing to be given to the masa. I remember Ramos as among the first to utter anti-Pnoy rants re Mamasapano tragedy on the day the coffins arrived. That was picked up by the media – press, TV radio, celebrities and started the year-long attack on the presidency which cost the BBL passage. His word was given weight by the rabble rousers.

        • Joe America says:

          Well, I’ve been upset with Ramos for some time because he interferes with the prerogatives of a sitting , and it is something that is so grossly unfair (and generally not done the US), because it pretends the nation has two presidents, and one is wiser than the other. It is divisive and undermines the OFFICE of the presidency. Ramos ought to have the dignity of offering respect to the office, and the person who holds it. It is exactly why he should not be listened to. He undermines the well-being of the nation. As do leftists.

          My reading of various discussion threads is that the vast majority of the reading public supports EDCA, and is realistic about it.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        Old age does things to the brain and the capacity to analize what is actually happening.

        • Joe America says:

          That’s interesting. I think it goes either direction. One is dulled by physical deterioration. One grows wiser and sharper by virtue of the experience and insights. I can attest that blogging has allowed me to continue to learn and remain reasonably un-dulled. I think that for former President Ramos, it is more a psychological need to be considered important. Rather the same as Senator Enrile. They fail to grasp that power and fame are fleeting. Word association generates the term “desperation” for some reason, and it is unbecoming a statesman.

          • Rank says:

            Thanks, Joe, for defending us senior citizens. 🙂

            • Joe America says:

              hahaha, my pleasure, old timer!

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Ummmm.. As a 68 year old I think I qualify as a senior citizen. And have no wish to put down the wise elders among us.
                But certainly my comment here earlier was too general in nature….I just intended to refer to Ramos..And then I wandered of to look up other things for Irineo.
                But Joe was on the ball and put things right… Another old timer on the ball 🙂

    • Jean says:

      ” But to preserve peace we have to be sure that there is enough deterrence to war”

      Exactly. Its better to have a gun and have no reason to use it rather than to have none when one could have saved your life.

      • Ric says:

        Based on EDCA, the guns will never be ours and will never be under our control. Stop your fantasies.

        • Joe America says:

          What guns? The Philippines can have as many guns as she wants and can afford?

          May I ask your nationality, location and interest in the Philippines? Blogs like this tend to attract people who are not really into discussion, but are more into flaming people. This is a discussion forum. I have to do this kind of check now and then.

          • INQ_reader says:

            “…But to preserve peace we have to be sure that there is enough deterrence to war coming from the outside. Military build-up is not looking for war, it’s just a means that we might use so other countries would think twice before attacking us. EDCA is another way to do that…”

            The above is the complete quote that I’m commenting on. What I mean by “guns” are the “war materiel” that US will bring in that will still be owned and controlled by US, never the AFP. What good is preposition if you don’t own nor control any?

            By the way, if I answer: “Filipino, PH, citizen”, will I get off your interrogation?

            • Joe America says:

              You are now in moderation pending a forthright answer to a forthright question.

              Of course the US will own the guns the Philippines wants to have resting on ships and land here and there across the Philippines. They’ll work out the coordination of things as they will, and the proof will be in the pudding.

            • Late response to INQ reader…as I have just seen this a few minutes ago.

              President Aquino had began military build up, buying fighter jets, helicopter gunships, navy ships and guns, yes, guns for military, navy and police as for years, our defense system is the laughing stock of the rest of the world, we could not even defend our fishermen in the West Philippine Sea. That is what ex-President Ramos is objecting to, which I find disturbing. Did you read the link I provided or just my reactions to the link. That’s where my statement “military build up is not looking for war”. Military build up that the government is doing, plus this EDCA are two ways of war deterrence, strengthening our defense.

              Joe’s asking you of your nationality is to determine if you are a troll, which is part of his moderation task as blog site owner which he takes seriously, thank God. This site, like the Inquirer, is being visited by so many Chinese trolls.

      • Jonet Morales says:

        Exactly the mindset of pro gunners… Slightly out of topic, I know. Just a thought that came in when I read Jean’s comment.

        • Guns… tough topic. The Second Amendment made sense in the early United States. If you had a farm somewhere out there, you couldn’t wait for the police – especially if Indians came who were not always friendly. But then again some were not too nice to the Indians.

          And one must remember that in Europe, weapons and the right to defend one’s own property and honor was a prerogative of the aristocracy. Simple people were at their mercy and servitude. Some rural areas of Southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland had their civilian militia to defend themselves – the small farmers even made use of their rifles during troubled times when there were famines and they had to keep hungry looters out. In Switzerland every grown man has a military rifle – the older men have older style rifles, the young have assault weapons – but only after having learned to handle a weapon by having been in military service. Every man in Switzerland knows where he has to go in case of having to defend his homeland. The tradition of the Swiss state, which was founded on the legend of sniper Wilhelm Tell who killed an oppressive landowner, and the initial pact between three cantons – basically mountain tribes – to defend each other in case of invasion by nobility. The first Swiss constitution was a mutual defense treaty… its legendary base the Rütli Oath of freedom and “to never fear human power”, the spirit of whatever oath these European Igorots took back then went into their first Constitution and still is in the way they live their very old democracy. Some towns still have the rule that issues that concern the community may be voted upon in the town square – but without weapons. In the Middle Ages, the Swiss were feared as warriors, the reason why the Pope has Swiss guards. The only one who ever attacked them and succeeded was Napoleon.

          • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Charter_of_1291 The Federal Charter or Letter of Alliance (German: Bundesbrief) documents the Eternal Alliance or League of the Three Forest Cantons (German: Ewiger Bund der Drei Waldstätten), the union of three cantons in what is now central Switzerland. It is dated in early August, 1291 and initiates the current August 1 national Swiss holiday.

            This inaugural confederation grew through a long series of accessions to modern Switzerland. The Alliance was concluded between the people of the alpine areas of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden (homines vallis Uranie universitasque vallis de Switz ac communitas hominum Intramontanorum Vallis Inferioris). The participants are referred to as conspirati and (synonymously) coniurati, traditionally translated in German as “Eidgenossen” (and in English as “Confederates”).

            The charter was set up as a canon for judicature and defence purposes (only two of seven paragraphs address foreign dangers), probably prompted by the death of Rudolf I of Habsburg on 15 July 1291 to ensure legal certainty.

            Habsburgs, the oldest and most pernicious of all European political dynasties… King Philipp II of Spain was a Habsburg as well… and the Swiss made sure they had LEGAL CERTAINTY to never be under their rule, ever again – smart people.

            http://www.lexilogos.com/declaration/suisse_federal_charter.htm – now my lawyer told me the best contracts are the short and clear ones… I think this also applies to treaties and constitutions… basic principles that form a commitment based on integrity…

            IN THE NAME OF GOD – AMEN. Honor and the public weal are promoted when leagues are concluded for the proper establishment of quiet and peace.

            Therefore, know all men, that the people of the valley of Uri, the democracy of the valley of Schwyz, and the community of the Lower Valley of Unterwalden, seeing the malice of the age, in order that they may better deffend themselves, and their own, and better preserve them in proper condition, have promised in good faith to assist each other with aid, with every counsel and every favor, with person and goods, within the valley and without, with might and main, against one and all, who may inflict upon any one of them any violence, molestation or injury, or may plot any evil against their persons or goods. And in every case each community has promised to succour the other when necessary, at its own expense, as far as needed in order to withstand the attacks of evil-doers, and to avenge injuries; to this end they have sworn a solemn oath to keep this without guile, and to renew by these presents the ancient form of the league, also confirmed by an oath.

            Yet in such a manner that every man, according to his rank, shall obey and serve his overlord as ist behooves him.

            We have also vowed, decreed and ordained in common council and by unanimous consent, that we will accept or receive no judge in the aforesaid valleys, who shall have obtained his office for any price, or for money in any way whatever, or one who shall not be a native or a resident with us. But if dissension shall arise between any of the Eidgenossen (confederates; Eid = oath, Genosse = fellow, comrade), the most prudent amongst the confederates shall come forth to settle the difficulty between the parties, as shall seem right to them; and whichever party rejects their verdict shall be held an adversary by the other confederates.

            Furthermore it has been established between them that he who deliberately kills another without provocation, shall, if caught, lose his life, as his wicked guilt requires, unless he be able to prove his innocence of said crime; and if perchance he escape, let him never return. Those who conceal and protect said criminal shall be banished from the valley, until they be expressly recalled by the confederates.

            But if any one of the confederates, by day, or in the silence of the night, shall maliciously injure another by fire, he shall never again be considered a fellow-countryman. If any man protect and defend the said evil-doer, he shall render satisfaction to the one who has suffered damage.

            Furthermore, if any one of the confederates shall spoil another of his goods, or injure him in any way, the goods of the guilty one, if recovered within the valleys, shall be seized in order to pay damages to the injured person, according to justice.

            Furthermore, no man shall seize another’s goods for debt, unless he be evidently his debtor or surety, and this shall only be done with the special permission of his judge.

            Moreover, every man shall obey his judge, and if necessary, must himself indicate the judge in the valley, before whom he ought properly to appear. And if any one rebels against a verdict, and, in consequence of his obstinacy, any one of the confederates is injured, all the confederates are bound to compel the culprit to give satisfaction.

            But if war or discord arise amongst any of the confederates and one party of the disputants refuse to accept the verdict of the judge or to give satisfaction, the confederates are bound to defend the other party.

            The above-written statutes, decreed for the common welfare and benefit, shall endure forever, God willing. In testimony of which, at the request of the aforesaid parties, the present charter has been drawn up and confirmed with the seals of the aforesaid three communities and valleys.

            So done in the year of the Lord 1291 at the beginning of the month of August.

            Obligations, judges, even “who shall never again be considered a fellow-countryman” and when the death penalty is to be applied – in a very short constitution. The implementation was based on common sense, honor and integrity. Now compare that with the endless discussions of the Philippine Supreme Court and the Senate, sophistry to conceal lack of true justice in the sense of being just, bullshit to cover up impunity, with a long constitution.

    • karl garcia says:

      Why was it disturbing? I would not want world war Three,and I am sure you would not want that either.
      What I do not understand is,he initiated the Military Modernization program,and with or with out the China bullying,we are supposed to have a sort of minimum credible defense,even just to match Singapore or even Taiwan,which is already reaching for the stars.
      With or without war, we should proceed with the “capacity “building and include all those he mentioned.
      If he wants world peace he should reach out to Pia.

      • Karl, I did not quote Ramos there, I just furnish the link. The rest of my post was my reaction to what he said in the link. For some reason I did not want to repeat his words. Usually I copy paste what was contained in the link, this time I didn’t.

        • What I mean is that the following are my reactions to the link I provided. Sorry if I was not clear enough in that post.

          “I find these comments from a former Philippine President, a general of the AFP at that, truly disturbing….I am for peace, I don’t want war and I wouldn’t wish that in any country, more so in mine. But to preserve peace we have to be sure that there is enough deterrence to war coming from the outside. Military build-up is not looking for war, it’s just a means that we might use so other countries would think twice before attacking us. EDCA is another way to do that. Certainly we are not in any position to provoke war, with the state defense capability is in.”

        • Ramos says the government must stop the military build up. And I said I find that disturbing, coming from a general. Maybe I should have said “strange” instead of “disturbing.” hahaha

          • karl garcia says:

            OK to quote Bill,”All’s well that ends well”.

            • Bill in Oz says:

              No Karl..I did not say that. A far better man said it. Will said a long time ago ” All’s well that ends well”

              • karl garcia says:

                I know that. I should have said …Like Bill said in our recent exchange or something like that.Ok it is Bill Shakespeare who said it.

              • karl garcia says:

                Ok Bill, When it comes to the bard,it will always be Will.

          • Joe America says:

            I find it disturbing that he still thinks he is president. Seems a tad hallucinatory. I think old presidents should speak only when spoken to by the sitting president.

            • An even older historical deja vu: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajah_Matanda was a 16th-century king of the Kingdom of Maynila, a Tagalog kingdom on the region of the Pasig River in the Philippines.

              When the Spanish explorer Martín de Goiti arrived in 1570, he had already ceded his authority to his nephew and heir, Rajah Sulaiman III, but still had considerable influence, as did his brother Lakan Dula, who was king of the neighboring Kingdom of Tondo across the river. – now we all know that unlike with Cebu and Mactan 50 years before, the Spanish played the Filipinos that time instead of being played by them…

            • karl garcia says:

              His actions(and words) post Mamasapano was so unbecoming.

          • Madlanglupa says:

            He had his time in the sun. The problem is that his intelligence is much different from what was then, a man who could’ve done something concrete to deal with the defense problem like nipping the Spratlys problem in the bud.

      • For someone who initiated the Military Modernization program, it is strange indeed that he is issuing such press releases. Is it because someone else is succeeding in what he failed to accomplish during his time? He should be glad Pnoy is doing what other presidents before him should have done, the billions that are lost in corruption should be divided between social services and defense upgrade or what he called Military Modernization program. Duh!

  3. Bert says:

    Here in this case I’ll have to use my most reliable Crystal Ball. Hmmn, hmmn, hmmn, the smoke is clearing now, hmmn, and I am seeing a clear scenario, hmmn, Uncle Sam brandishing the most lethal legendary sword of King Arthur, the EDCAlibur, warding off an obnoxious invader from the Land of the Yellow race trying to assert it’s fake sovereign claim to an ocean so vital to the reign and interests of the Kingdom of the Greatest King that ever exist on Earth.

    • Joe America says:

      Yep, that looks like a good crystal ball to me. Don’t drop it.

    • Right. China has observed the state of our defense and began bullying us, escorting their fishermen by paramilitary ships equipped with heavy arms who are preventing us to avail of our own natural resources in our EEZ.

      While other countries are engaged in shooting match with water cannons, we were driven away. Doesn’t Ramos realize this? How can we expand our Malampaya oil field with this kind of scenario in the West Philippine Sea?

  4. NHerrera says:


    1. On attracting readership and commentaries, including possible trolls, 90%

    2. On writing style to my liking, 95%

    3. On big picture view, 90%

    4. On fairness, 85%

    6. On general probability assessment, 70%

    7. On probability assessment of Colmenares et al reactions and moves, 90%

    8. On US Embassy taking a look and passing a generally ok grade on the blog topic, 60%

    (I was a teacher who NEVER gave a 100% and whose students would feel very good to get an 80%. Hahaha.).

  5. To give perspective – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Atlantic_Treaty NATO Treaty:

    The treaty includes Article 4, which triggers not military intervention but merely consultation over military matters when “the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened”.[3]

    It has been invoked three times by Turkey: once in 2003 over the Second Persian Gulf War (Iraq War), once in June 2012 after the shooting down of a Turkish military jet, and once again in October 2012 after Syrian attacks on Turkey and their counterattacks.[4]

    An Article 4 meeting was also convoked by Latvia,[5] Lithuania,[6] and Poland[7] in March 2014 as a response to the extraterritorial 2014 Crimean crisis.

    The key section of the treaty is Article 5. Its commitment clause defines the casus foederis. It commits each member state to consider an armed attack against one member state, in Europe or North America, to be an armed attack against them all.

    This article has been invoked only once in NATO history: by the United States after the September 11 attacks in 2001.[10] The invocation was confirmed on 4 October 2001 when NATO determined that the attacks were indeed eligible under the terms of the North Atlantic Treaty.[11] The eight official actions taken by NATO in response to the 9/11 attacks included Operation Eagle Assist and Operation Active Endeavour, a naval operation in the Mediterranean Sea which was designed to prevent the movement of terrorists or weapons of mass destruction, as well as enhancing the security of shipping in general. Active Endeavour began on 4 October 2001.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southeast_Asia_Treaty_Organization – SEATO was a Magsaysay thing:

    an international organization for collective defense in Southeast Asia created by the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, or Manila Pact, signed in September 1954 in Manila, Philippines. The formal institution of SEATO was established on 19 February 1955 at a meeting of treaty partners in Bangkok, Thailand [1] The organization’s headquarters were also in Bangkok. Eight members joined the organization.

    Primarily created to block further communist gains in Southeast Asia, SEATO is generally considered a failure because internal conflict and dispute hindered general use of the SEATO military; however, SEATO-funded cultural and educational programs left long-standing effects in Southeast Asia. SEATO was dissolved on 30 June 1977 after many members lost interest and withdrew.

    • Now this is an interesting NATO installation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Analysis_and_Lessons_Learned_Centre in Portugal.

      Does the Philippine State have anything like that for AFP/PNP/PDEA?

      I doubt it – because if there was such a thing, it would have been the first institution to investigate Mamasapano I am sure.

      • It is part of this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allied_Command_Transformation

        and this might interest Karl and of course is strategically key for the Philippines also: A suite of “Baseline for Rapid Iterative Transformational Experimentation” (BRITE) software was designed in response to the Maritime Situational Awareness request. This request, a product of a U.S. international and inter agency initiative termed “Maritime Domain Awareness,” serves to counter threats to the maritime commons including terrorism, human/drug smuggling, piracy, and espionage.

      • karl garcia says:

        We have a too stubborn to learn or never learn strategic center.

        • karl garcia says:

          We have this.

          “security threats to the Philippines are non-military in nature. Pressing security concerns like terrorism, poverty, and environmental degradation, need to be addressed in an informed and intelligent manner.

          The Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) administers the research program of the NDCP. It embodies the College’s effort to be the center of excellence in strategic thinking on national security matters in the Philippines and in the Asia-Pacific region.

          The INSS undertakes research activities in accordance with the Research Agenda of the College. Its research work is supported by a comprehensive computerized databank on national, regional, and global security. The INSS also participates actively and plays an increasingly major role in national security policy research and advocacy in the Philippines and in the Asia Pacific region.

          The Strategic Studies Group (SSG) is composed of eminent academics and retired military officers who are multi-disciplinary specialists and whose expertise is valuable in informing our country’s defense and security policies.”

          but,as Joe said time and again,inter-agency/service rivalries still persist.
          our not learning from history,and so on and so forth.

          • Thanks Karl… then Grace Poe should have asked DOJ, PNP and others to finish their own internal investigations, forward them to SSG to make a confidential analysis and summary, convened a closed-door Senate Committee meeting to discuss the results and measures.

            What it became instead was a witch-hunt by Grace Poe as a witch, with numerous reports leaked to the public prematurely and immaturely. Now I can easily deduce what the Chinese probably know already from their probably excellent intelligence network that is in Manila and elsewhere: they could grab Metro Manila in just 12 hours, but they don’t do it they don’t want those problems. Instead they encircle the country, like playing Go.

            • karl garcia says:

              On hearings some of them treat resource persons like underlings.They already have DND sec there and DILG and they already have the boi report and the various investigations of doj,milf,and their very own committee report.What more are they trying to find out?

              • What they need to put dirt on somebody… now you know, or you see you see you see OR kitam like my former yaya from Cagayan might say… why I am reluctant to go back to help.

                The moment I get treated like an underling, I might react like I reacted to Atty. Rene-Ipil – and that would get me into trouble. Instead of an underling I might become a foundling… meaning legal and illegal harrassment of all sorts – but if that changes I might reconsider.

              • Why do you think laglag-bala meant so much for OFWs and even more for balikbayans? Because it reminded them of the culture of impunity where they came from and which they had gotten used to no longer living under. The culture of naked baboon power and face.

                What do you think they did to Cristosomo Ibarra in the Noli? They screwed him for being “arrogant” and “knowing everything better”. Elias sacrificed himself to let Ibarra escape…

                Or what they did to Luna? Waiting for him with a bolo. And Aguinaldo totally “hands-off”… pardon me if I don’t fully believe his great-grandson Abaya yet when he says the focus is not on sabotage re SBI and Buenafe not Janolino this time… I still need to be convinced.

              • karl garcia says:

                I question the credibility of your unreliable source.huwag mo nga akong paandaran dyan.It was not Roxas who kicked the grenade.
                Biro lang.

              • I am incredible (as in unbelievable and unreliable) and fantastic – literal translation of Pilipino pantastiko, meaning imagining things… 🙂 But at least I am not Mr. Bombastic Mr. Fantastic alias PIE anymore. 🙂

              • karl garcia says:

                Mr. Fantastic can stretch his whole body.

      • Joe America says:

        I’m sure nothing like that exists here. If the AFP had attacked with artillery at Mamasapano with the same enthusiasm they attacked Napenas in the hearing, the battle would have ended differently. I’ve never seen two professional military agencies go so public with their complaints, personal and bitter. I found it all very distasteful, and think the generals on both sides ought to be highly shamed by it.

        But they aren’t. The generals hate each other.

        • Luna and Mascardo quarreled and the USA won a battle… it took a messenger coming from the President himself, Aguinaldo, to finish the feud between the two – which started on the social media of the day, via telegram and personal messenger. Same old story.

    • Joe America says:

      Most interesting background info on treaties.

  6. karl garcia says:

    Even if this is a matter of no permanent allies and only permanent interests, I am still in favor of EDCA.

    • There were and are two major guarantors for prosperity/safety in Europe: NATO and EU.

      For Southeast Asia there is ASEAN – and maybe a future Asia-Pacific Treaty Organization? With Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, USA in addition to ASEAN countries?

      • NATO:


        what many people don’t realize is that the USA is NOT interested in dominating countries. They ARE interested in securing good business for everybody and themselves, clearly. But they want their partners to take care of themselves. The gave the Philippines their very own Philippine Assembly in 1908, the Jones Law and the Senate in 1916 (Wilson I wonder if he might regret the Senate), the Commonwealth in 1935, Independence 1946. They didn’t even touch the Penal Code of 1884 – only De Lima dared do a rewrite…

    • Joe America says:

      I think a lot of resistance to EDCA reflects a lack of confidence in Philippine leadership’s ability to manage the best interest of the nation, in a face off with the US. So far, it seems to me the Philippines has been a forthright and strong negotiator. It may be that the biggest threat to sovereignty is the lack of confidence in leadership. I suppose it requires a kind of mental discipline, and emotional discipline, not unlike refraining from criticizing Roxas, if he is your preferred candidate. Active trust, active confidence. To build strength where before there was weakness.

      • Build strengths and compensate for weaknesses – as a team. Teamwork is something Filipinos sorely lack. Just look at the ball hogs (buwakaw) in Filipino street basketball.

        Everybody starting in the 1880s tried to build up the Philippines. Liberal Spanish governors Rizal warned to be more thorough – but what he predicted happened. The 1890s was an economic boom and the revolutionaries thought they could go alone… Quezon wanted independence really fast… America said OK and the government run like hell by Filipinos was there, Quezons institutions still exist today but are a mockery of what he had envisioned. Adenauers Germany was mature – resisted Russian offers of neutrality against reunification and decided to stay under the US umbrella, while NOT giving up the claim to other territories. Brandt was mature – he managed to find a way to live with the German Democratic Republic, but without recognizing it as a real state. That is needed.

        • Joe America says:

          Ah, buwakaw. That will go into my son’s basketball vocabulary, along with the idea that the team is stronger if he helps his team-mates succeed.

        • karl garcia says:

          add “dupang” to the vocabulary. they are synonyms.

          • Isn’t dupang more like gulang, as in cheating without getting caught? Like “charging”…

            I have looked into the theory of trust… because exactly the bonds of trust are lacking in the Philippines – well they have been abused so often and people have gotten used to abusing them also… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trust_%28social_sciences%29

            Society needs trust because it increasingly finds itself operating at the edge between confidence in what is known from everyday experience, and contingency of new possibilities. Without trust, all contingent possibilities should be always considered, leading to a paralysis of inaction. Trust can be seen as a bet on one of contingent futures, the one that may deliver benefits. – paralysis of inaction = Filipino micromanagement, don’t trust LGUs to name their streets, give it only to Congress…

            Once the bet is decided (i.e. trust is granted), the trustor suspends his or her disbelief, and the possibility of a negative course of action is not considered at all. This is how Cory trusted her subordinates from what I have been told… but my unreliable Embassy sources told me they just reported back what “Goody Twoshoes” wanted to hear… convent school woman who studied in the US, trusted Filipinos too much.

            Because of it, trust acts as a reductor of social complexity, allowing for actions that are otherwise too complex to be considered (or even impossible to consider at all); specifically for cooperation. the Filipino way of securing “trustworthiness” is by making sure power is established. Face and Power. 1 or 0. Joe’s old article. Because the old culture is: if you don’t establish power you’re a weak-ass nigger, and you deserve to be screwed because you’re weak. True cooperation among equals isn’t common yet…

            Sociology acknowledges that the contingency of the future creates dependency between social actors, and specifically that the trustor becomes dependent on the trustee. Trust is seen as one of the possible methods to resolve such a dependency, being an attractive alternative to control.[18] Trust is specifically valuable if the trustee is much more powerful than the trustor, yet the trustor is under social obligation to support the trustee. – now isn’t that what we do when we elect a politician to office?

            being and acting trustworthy should be considered the only sure way to maintain a trust level. – now we have a nation that is damaged in terms of trust, should we be surprised if people can’t believe politicians of any sort are trustworthy yet… and prefer patron-client relationships… master-slave relationships were one serves and the other give dole-outs for services rendered? This is within the nation, and towards the outside.

            Aquino has boldly made the first step towards trust within the nation. Of course people will still ask for proof and more proof, especially because they were conditioned by total lies. For these people there IS no god in Will’s sense… just an idol to serve and who gives.

      • INQ_reader says:

        Wrong. Let’s not go beyond what’s written, and not written, on EDCA. After all, that’s what agreements are for, to define the expectations on both sides.

        Since there is no commitment on the side of US to defend the Philippines, then we can only expect none.

        Since the war materiel will continue to be owned and controlled by US, then we can only expect none.

        • Joe America says:

          So you came in as “Ric” in a separate posting? Care to answer the questions? Location, nationality, interest in the Philippines?

          The commitment to defend is in the Mutual Defense Treaty, which EDCA helps implement.

        • Steve says:

          The Philippines will control arms bought and owned by the Philippines. The US will control its own armaments. Surely nobody would expect the US to place its armaments under Philippine command; that would be irrational.

          One thing the AFP would gain is deterrence from attack: if Philippine air and naval installations are shared by US forces, and potential aggressor would have to think long and hard against a pre-emptive strike that would be an attack on a power with the capacity to strike back.

  7. Steve says:

    Just as a point of fact, it is not true that “The MDT says the US will defend against attacks on Philippine land or ships”. The MDT says:

    “Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific area on either of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes.”

    That means that if the US, through its constitutional processes, decided that the appropriate response to an action was an economic sanctions package, or a protest, or an official clutching of the pearls, the terms of the treaty would be fulfilled. The same, of course, applies to the Philippines.

    Regarding Japan, it must be recognized that alliances are matters not of charity or “help”, but matters of mutual interest. What you get from an alliance is generally proportional to the assets you bring to the table. The Japanese bring a lot to the table: critically located, well developed infrastructure, and a very significant defense capacity of their own. The Philippines has nothing to offer but facility access, and gets correspondingly little in return.

    I still fail to understand why the US cannot keep its troops here subject to a strict curfew and a no-alcohol policy, at least off the base. There would be a lot less trouble and many fewer incidents.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks for the clarification and specific wording.

      I’m not sure I agree that “The Philippines has nothing to offer but facility access, and gets correspondingly little in return” I think access to those facilities is huge, and the presence of the US is huge in the calculations of the Chinese, in favor of the Philippines. It does not take a lot of money or equipment to make a big change in the balance of power.

      Restrictions on troops, we’ve discussed. I do agree any problems would also be huge.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        One aspect that has not been mentioned here yet is that after the handing back of the US bases in the 1990’s, effectively the area of the Philippines became a “power vacuum’. With no major power ‘in residence’.

        I think when the PRC archives are opened ( about 100 years from now maybe ) we will read how the Chinese saw this power vacuum as an opportunity to expand power & influence and gain access to resources.

        In some ways it is better to have the devil you know (USA) hanging around than the devil you don’t ( China ).

        But reading some of the published materials from the late 1980’s & early 1990’s, it is clear that various leftist elements of Philippino society wanted the yanks out. And that looks like a carbon copy of what leftists were doing in Australia from the 1960’s..

        But when the USSR collapsed in 1989 the communist party in Australia quickly ran out of funds to stay in business. And then we found out that it had been substantially subsidised by the Russians since the 1920’s to do their bidding.

        I wonder if something similar was happening in the Philippines but with Chinese money instead of Russian.

        • Madlanglupa says:

          > I wonder if something similar was happening in the Philippines but with Chinese money instead of Russian.

          And maybe some funding from other left-wingers in Europe, too, who were literally sold on the belief that we’re like Cuba during the Batista regime.

          • Bill in Oz says:

            Perhaps Madlanglupa…Money from East Germany or elsewhere..But those funding sources for left leaning activism stopped ages ago…China on the other hand has been going strong till very recently with lots of surplus cash to spread around to win friends & influence people

    • “I still fail to understand why the US cannot keep its troops here subject to a strict curfew and a no-alcohol policy, at least off the base. There would be a lot less trouble and many fewer incidents.”


      Long time, man. We had a science vs. engineering discussion awhile back, and I was trying to remember your son’s science program, where you opined only so few in the Philippines were interested in (I can’t find the thread, but it was a good discussion).

      Although, knowing the military, my first reaction would be to go authoritarian on the junior and mid- level enlisted guys also.

      You’ll need some sort of “force protection” justification, and since they are in SE Asia and not the Mid-East, that will only be convincing for a couple of weeks, then unless you come up with a better reason, you’ll get a mutiny.

      It’s just un-American, but more importantly, you want these youngsters out and about, to learn more about the rest of the world, they’ll be better for it in and out of the military when they return home stateside.

      Military leadership will have to use the stick (whip ’em if they act a fool off base) and the carrot (get them to do volunteer work with missions or foreign NGOs). They’ll have to set up fun things that will engender not only camaraderie with their Filipino counter-parts, but keep idle hands busy.

      The flipside is the Filipino gov’t will have to pay close attention to the vice trade, and protect their visitors from it. The Americans can’t do that for the Philippines.

      • Joe America says:

        Your comment woke me up to the realization that the general impression is that the American troops are out rampaging and victimizing poor Filipinas when the opposite may be more accurately the truth. Or it is a mutual victimization society, in which case we should not judge either party but do as you suggest, work to control the outliers (extremists) on both sides of the commerce divide who turn camaraderie and a good time into unseemly.

        • I’ve been to bases in the South, Hawaii, Alaska, Mid-West and California. Which ever branch in the military you’re in, your experience in the military is defined by what’s in the other side of the gate— if you step out your base and it’s basically a bunch of strip joints and massage parlor, then that tends to define you later on, but if what’s outside are pristine environment and tourist destinations, then you tend to be a wholesome person for it.

          Camp Pendleton and Naval bases around San Diego use to be shitty, but thanks to gentrification, these bases have all sat on prime real estate and outside the gate are great drinking spots, live music, art scene, mingling with yuppies, etc. And military personnel have benefitted greatly from this interaction. Army bases in the South are still filled with road houses, etc. but Marine bases as a whole have improved, ie. Oceanside/Carlsbad is now prime real estate, same with Miramar.

          So that’s how we are stateside, there’s still some shady stuff that happens, but trips to TJ and questionable strip-joints have largely been replaced with surfing, excursions to the desert or mountains, hanging out with college students, etc.

          In Western EU and Australia, we meet women there like we meet them over here, basically on equal footing. Australian women in particular love blacks, they love ’em. Then it’s the Hispanics. In Europe on the other hand it’s the opposite. It’s weird.

          That whole guy/girl dynamics changes in the Philippines (and the rest of SE Asia, East Asia, Middle-East, not sure about South America).

          The first thing that hits you is the number of Girlie bars, KTVs are around, some serving Koreans-only, others locals only (but go crazy when ‘foreigners’ go in) and then those that cater to only foreigners (or prefer foreigners, locals get bad service). When we go to SE Asia, that’s not the norm for us, that’s utter culture shock. And remember most Marines because of GWOT the past 15 yrs, have not visited SE Asia.

          Then you find that there’s sleazier establishments, like casas or in-house massage with fish bowls for chosing your masseuse, then the short time hotels, with their own garage, and mirrors all over the room. Just weird stuff.

          Then we find out that for 20 or so dollars we can live like kings, and for 50 bucks like Donald Trump, of course we’re gonna experiment. So it’s economic and ease (ie. because your local counter-parts are the ones taking you there).

          Joe, I wouldn’t call it mutual-victimization because in the end we get to go home stateside, while the poor girls stay in their miserable conditions, not all mind you, some of the those doing call-girl work are many times students or working professionals, they’re hot— the sex aspect of this will be harder to control, IMHO the call-girl action is the vice to promote, less visible.


          1. Ensure the stuff out the gate in these military bases are controlled, ie. if it’s in Palawan, make sure an EDSA type complex doesn’t sprout, in Luzon, bus them to big cities. Preserve the rural communities, with zoning and policing.

          2. Get Marines (and soldiers, sailors and airfolk) to do meaningful things with their Philippine military counter-parts instead of going to short time motels or KTV together, get the American embassy to foot the bill for some worth while excursions, diving, etc.

          3. If we can engage and interact with women in Australia and EU on equal footing, why not get young Filipina professionals, ie. nurses, engineers, artists etc. or college, med, students to set-up dances, or professional engagements… that’s another carrot to have 18-22 yr olds from partaking in the vice industry over there.

          The point here is that 18-22 yr olds will do what’s fun. If people don’t want a repeat of Subic or Angeles in the 80s, best to nip this in the bud now before the troops arrive, by coming up with all sorts of ideas. Take care of the environment around these guys, and they’ll surprise you.

          • Joe America says:

            Excellent points, all.

          • 3. If we can engage and interact with women in Australia and EU on equal footing, why not get young Filipina professionals, ie. nurses, engineers, artists etc. or college, med, students to set-up dances, or professional engagements… that’s another carrot to have 18-22 yr olds from partaking in the vice industry over there.

            If that is going to work depends on how open and modern Philippine society has become by now. Used to be very rigid in my times – 30 years ago. A self-respecting Filipino woman would NOT want to be seen with an American soldier for fear of being seen as cheap.. but those were the days when it was still common for some Filipinas to lie about being virgins, those days are really over. But the expectation then was to be with someone of the same social class background and Filipino, now how much that has changed I still don’t know… Joe wrote that the Philippines of just five years ago is gone, and that would be very good.

            Joe himself wrote years ago – I am profiling him incessantly, NBI freeze! – that some neighbors said his wife was a prostitute. Now when the first Filipinas came to Germany to marry Germans around the 1980s, there were a few mail-order brides in the beginning. That business quickly declined because the private ways of hooking up superseded it. Women brought their cousins and townmates to live with them for a while on a tourist visa, maybe help out a bit, maybe earn some money on the side cleaning houses, and of course they inevitably met friends of their husbands at parties. Late 80s marriages surged – I know because I did the Embassy software for that including stats, until early 1990s when Eastern Europe opened. Racism and poor white women available changed things.

            Filipino associations reflected the split in the population. Mostly purely Filipino migrant organizations rejected the new Filipinas, stereotyping them as “mail order brides”. Most of the new Filipinas were Visayans and the Filipina nurses and their families were mostly Tagalogs and Ilokanos who looked down on Visayans. Bikolanos mingled with everybody. Mindanawons were however looked down upon the most, many hardly spoke Tagalog at that time, or hardly comprehensible. I remember a UP graduate – then they were very few – saying that German men were scraping the bottom, referring to Mindanao women… 😦

            But now the daughter of a Mindanao women and a Southwestern German is Miss Universe. Possibly many of those who would not have given her mother the time of day when she was a baby look up to her now. A far cry from the days when one of the boys in Balara, half-black, was called “Clark” by all and sundry on the basketball court. Apl de Ap is a star and is half-Filipino. The male half of AlDub has an American surname…

            In fact Americans could be a further catalyst for the up and coming middle class – not the established middle class. A gateway to opportunities for them via their young women and not only the economic possibilities of Americans, but also their being a window to the world. This isn’t the middle class Will belongs to, it is the upstart middle class many Duterte supporters belong to. More of them linked personally to Americans means any candidate who is pro-Chinese like Duterte will lose appeal. Loyalties in the Philippines are personal and tribal. Real liasons as opposed to just honky-tonk can make a difference. The more you have normal women married to Americans, the less there will be the prejudices there used to be. And like I already said, relatives count for Filipinos.

            • or professional engagements…

              I get you, man.

              Probably not a dance or cocktail hour, but some sort of professional interaction. For all college majors or professions over there, there will be military equivalent, so get medics/corpsman together with nurses or nursing students, law school students with legal/JAG, combat engineers, avionics, etc. with engineers, the list goes on.

              Invite blocks of students, male/female if the female-only plan sounds too creepy— but like any club bouncer knows, the ratio has to be women heavy to keep things interesting, it’s all about morale.

              But the point is this,

              “In fact Americans could be a further catalyst for the up and coming middle class – not the established middle class.”

              leverage this opportunity, but also with a keen eye on ensuring this doesn’t devolve into Clark & Subic. This can be win-win for everyone.

            • The first Filipina nurses to come to Germany tended to prefer to marry Filipino seamen – or get their husbands if they already were married back home. Those that married German men were somewhat outsiders in the Filipino cliques back then and were rare…

              The children of these first-generation migrants, if they married a GI, would marry a “Genuine Ilocano” – most Filipino GIs are Ilokanos. Those that married white GIs or Latinos were somewhat outside of the usual Filipino social circles – or more adventurous for the standards of those days. Even they would be seen as prudish in the Philippines of today. The few students or UP grads married German doctors or similar categories, even though we know one Spanish mestiza who married a German officer, eventually her family accepted him. Guess each “unusual” liason was one drop that changed not only the Filipino mix but also the Filipino mindset, which was not only conservative but reactionary…

              Now there is a lot of foreign investment coming in – and foreign managers. If GIs are not acceptable to the established middle class, foreign managers are. More drops coming. Filipino class-consciousness is still strong. But it isn’t as “Deep South” as it used to be.

          • Steve says:

            It is of course true that the US cannot control the environment outside a facility, which is exactly why the US needs to focus on controlling what it can control: its own people.

            The US military is not a pimp or a dating service. It has no obligation to get its men laid or to introduce them to local women. It has no obligation to provide customers for local business. It does have an obligation to assure that senior officers anbd diplomats responsible for maintaining good relations with the host country do not have the rug yanked out from under them by idiotic incidents of the Smith/Pemberton variety. We know that there are organized political forces waiting to exploit such incidents, why play into their hands? If the only way to prevent those incidents is a curfew and a no-alcohol policy, so be it. The troops survive without booze and whoring in Afghanistan, they can do it in the Philippines.

            I see no reason why the US military should have to explain or justify its policies to the rank and file. They’re in the military, not an encounter group.

            Of course there’s no reason not to do aid missions, civic action projects, and other exchanges, under controlled conditions that do not involve the combination of testosterone and alcohol. That combination is an invitation to trouble, and when you invite trouble, you get it.

            Of course when I was young I got drunk and did dumb stuff… but I was not an official representative of the US Government when I did it, and any trouble I got into was on me, not on the US Government. Makes a difference.

        • Jean says:

          I didn’t want to touch on this in my earlier comments but since it here now…

          I believe one of the prevailing reasons why the “masses” are opposed to the military presence of the Americans on Subic and Clark is that they steadfastly believe that the white folk are dead set on taking advantage and raping their wives and daughters. While, I do not think it is far fetched to think that some of these claims are legit, I believe it is far fewer than what is commonly believed.

          I hang around foreigners all the time, my favorite dive is one their favorite watering holes here in Makati. I’ve seen our women folk unabashedly throw themselves at foreigners in hopes of a quick buck/easy money or hopefully a husband who will raise them out of poverty. I’ve seen first hand how some of these women revert from carrot to stick when things don’t go as planned. One even tried to collude with me awhile back to essentially extort money from a poor impressionable and very drunk bloke…


          Yes Joe, I too believe it is mutual victimization, a very sad and vicious cycle it is. Americans (Or any foreigners for that matter) must be more conscientious of their actions and their corresponding consequences while socializing with the local folk. Local folk should also stop initially seeing foreigners as predators and/or cash cows.

        • chempo says:

          We don’t have US bases in Singapore, but we have naval facilities that service US vessels for years. US personnel R&R downtown all the while, and we don’t have any problems. Of course there are advisories from the captain that says something like ‘this is Spore, laws matter here, so don’t screw arround’

          • LOL! When we over heard the harbor pilot on the PA yelling at the folks in the bridge, the Captain had to be there, that set the tone for us— I was like ‘man, these guys are not messing around’.

            It was Filipinas that hovered around us in Singapore, same in UAE, Oman and Bahrain.

          • Joe America says:

            I think at some point, the US will have to start turning over any accused in the Philippines directly to the Philippines for jailing and trial, with a waiver to VFA that says “under the presumption of fair dealing”. That would assure a fairer trial, I suspect, than the trial by media that occurs if the US pulls rank. Depends on who is President, perhaps . . .

            Just thinking out loud.

          • Enrico Audencial says:

            Not necessarily true, the rules of going on liberty are the same whether you are in Pusan, Subic, Hong Kong, Phuket, or Singapore. There are problems in Singapore too but was dealt with differently, not sensationalized. I have been stationed in Japan, Philippines, Singapore, and Guam. I have also served on USS vessels that visited these ports in the Pacific. Servicemen/Sailors on deploymeant that pulls in to port act different when on liberty or what you call as R/R than those on shore duty. Sailors on deployment save their paycheck and get crazy when they hit port. The ship’s Captain always educate the crew on proper behavior but that is not what always happen. which is unfortunate but I agree, it is mutual victimization which is a very sad and vicious cycle.
            Thanks for the article Joe!

      • karl garcia says:

        This is what you are looking for.Re: comment of Steve about son’s Science Program.


    • http://bworldonline.com/content.php?section=TopStory&title=corruption-worsens-says-watchdog&id=122228 – it depends on what timeframe of course… from Interaksyon.

      MANILA — The Philippines ranks 95th among 168 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2015 released by Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) on Wednesday.

      The Philippines scored 35 out of 100 in the global corruption survey.

      The country’s ranking in 2015 improved by 39 notches from its spot in 2010 at 134th place.

      However, the nation’s ranking in CPI 2015 declined by 10 notches from rank 85 in the 2014 index.

      In the Southeast Asian region, the Philippines now ranks fifth — from rank three in the previous report — being surpassed by Thailand and Indonesia which ranked 76th and 88th, respectively, in the global survey.

      According to BusinessWorld: the Senate investigation on the involvement of Vice President Jejomar C. Binay in the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall and the court hearings on the constitutionality of Mr. Aquino’s stimulus package or the Disbursement Acceleration Program (are) among the events that could have dented the Philippine score.

      just to give an idea of the updates on my FB page (facebook.com/filipinogermanlearning)

  8. Caliphman says:

    I had not read those were the reasons cited for downgrading the ranking of the Philippines in the TI corruption index.It lowers my credibility and confidence in the quality of the research and analysis that goes into establishing those rankings. Why should increased reports of the frequency and scale of corruption due to more intensive scrutiny and prosecution of corruption represent evidence that corruption is worsening in a country? I don’t know if this is an indication of how shallow a basis is in the rankings for the other countries but I would think the committment and efforts of the Aquino government to reducing corruption leading to the the increased news suggests raising rather than lowering its ranking.

    • Careful… Business World said these COULD have been the factors…

      I would not jump to the conclusion that they were but seek further details.

      • caliphman says:

        I am posting in a blog that does not pretend to be a source of fact-checked news whereas BW does and using the word ‘could’ does not cover its ass for its readers assuming they researched TI’s reasons for its rating changes. BW is subject to libel or damage suits for publishing unsupported and rumors or opinions in their news sections and I am not. Just saying, because we are not the Financial Times even if on many occasions our journalistic standards are better than PDI’s.

      • Joe America says:

        It appears that the score is a statistical assessment of a country’s ranking on various other global ranking readouts (World Bank, etc). Different countries are rated by different organizations, so it seems there is no direct measurement or comparison of effort. The Philippines is ranked the same as Mexico. I’d classify the evaluation as “very loose”. (You can get to this by rummaging through to find the “data” table.)

  9. My concern has always been the individuals here. EDCA is something gov’ts and higher ups agree on, but it gets implemented on the ground by individuals. My bias here is the Philippines’ ability to corrupt 18-22 yr old Americans— most of whom come from small towns in the US, and those from the cities and suburbs will think they are worldly (but they’ve not seen nothin’ yet, until they visit SE Asia).

    The buying power a lowly LCpl can bring is just too great when compared to his Filipino counter-part and especially the Filipino towns and cities near-by.

    The rotating personnel can hunker down like in the Mid-East, effectively closing interactions with local populations, even going so far as banning porn items. OR they can open it up, like Okinawa, and just have seminars on respecting locals, etc. OR ease up on the personal vice activities (drinking, internet/magazine porn, gambling, etc.), but geographically limit troops movements, like Guantanamo, Cuba (pre-9/11)— fun activities on base.

    But I think the whole point to EDCA is to get Americans and Filipinos interacting, so the focus should be in how to keep the vice trade under control. I’ve not read anything on that. If Americans can be kept on lock down in the Middle East, I’m sure we can control our folks in the Philippines,

    it’s the Philippines that has to control its illicit economy— I’m sure there’s plenty of politicians over there, planning EDSA entertainment complexes as we speak in light of the green-light, and short-time motels just right outside these bases where Americans will be stationed.

  10. D Agimas says:

    the Philippine leaders just don’t know how to exploit a situation to their advantage. instead of taking advantage of the “close” relationship after independence, they were advocating for the exclusion of America/Americans or any foreigner to the Philippine market. instead, they should have fought for the free entry of Philippine products in return for that “hated” parity right agreement or no quota for immigrants from the Philippines heheheh no im serious, im sure not all Filipinos would pack up and go to the US of A especially if a free trade was in place and working by creating jobs

    • The politicians and business folk over there need to read Trump’s “Art of the Deal”.

      D Agimas, I agree with you 100%. If Pakistan and Iran can fleece us for billions (trillions for Pakistan). And Afghanistan and Iraq can not only fleece us but also get all our military equipment, why not the Philippines? Maybe a Philippine nuke program or war is too far a reach, but yeah, what you’re suggesting, trade deals, academic/brain exchange programs, new tech hook-ups, etc. the sky’s the limit.

      Maybe Joe can expand this article into other programs to get the best out of this re-newed, re-vamped US/Philippine relations. There’s a failure of imagination here, and you’ve hit it square on the head, D!!! 😉

      C’mon, guys, you’re sitting on Santa Claus’ lap (or Uncle Sam, the same thing for all intents & purposes, ask the Arabs and Pakistanis). Start asking for stuff, unlike the Arabs who’ve been naughty and still got great deals from us, you guys have actually been nice.

      • Lcpl

        We had asked for some stuff, but all they can spare is an old decommissioned ship and planes, if I remembered it right. haha.

        • Madlanglupa says:

          Meanwhile the better warships are being torn down for scrap, with more ships being decommissioned on the way… yet could’ve added more backbone to our waters.

          • Some might say, serves us right for kicking them out of our country. Which is true, those “magnificent 11” (or was if 12?) can pat their backs for the problems we are now facing in the WPS. THE DIRTY DOZEN!

            Some are even blaming ex-Pres. Cory, but I seem to remember that she actively lobbied for the bases retention here and led rallies to put pressure to the Senate, to no avail. The ultra nationalist wing had their way.

            • Total illusionists. The Turks are among the most ultranationalistic people on earth, almost crazily so at times, and their Atatürk was right-wing in a similar way to Quezon… but they have NATO bases. The Middle East and the Russians are just around the corner, and mind you the Turks have a warrior tradition from their old empire, plus their own military industry that even produces drones. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incirlik_Air_Base

              The United States Air Force and the Turkish Air Force are the primary users of the air base, although it is also used by the Royal Air Force… he primary unit stationed at Incirlik Air Base is the 39th Air Base Wing (39 ABW) of the U.S. Air Force. Incirlik Air Base has one 3,048 m (10,000 ft)-long runway,[3][4] located among about 57 Hardened aircraft shelters. The base is one of six NATO sites in Europe which hold tactical nuclear weapons.[5]

              The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction of the Incirlik Air Base in the spring of 1951. The U.S. Air Force initially planned to use the base as an emergency staging and recovery site for medium and heavy bombers. The Turkish General Staff and the U.S. Air Force signed a joint-use agreement for the new Air Base in December 1954.

              • Joe America says:

                Yes, once one gets over the hurdles of understanding that the US is NOT imperialistic, and can be trusted, then the US presence BUILDS and secures sovereignty. The idea that sovereignty is undermined is hobgoblins in the brain.

              • sonny says:

                Joe, is your blog on Teddy Roosevelt on your horizon yet? I hope it is still queued. I’m expecting to clear some cobwebs with that piece from you.

              • Joe America says:

                Ach, sonny, it slipped into the fog bank of cognitive abandonment. In other words, I forgot. Please remind me of the context so that I may deal with it correctly.

                Thanks for the memory nudge.

              • sonny says:

                Joe, mine is beyond thank you, it is at uber-thank you. Just to have access to a blog such as yours is bonus already. You don’t require much – just civility and a reasonable mind to bring into discussions of choice. What more can one ask for? 🙂 (With the fecundity in the current blog, Teddy Roosevelt can wait)

              • Joe America says:

                Nicely said. Civility and a reasonable mind.

                Teddy is on the tote board. I remember doing some research on him and another fellow, and will get back to it in due course.

        • D Agimas says:

          did you forget the saying, if theres a will, theres a way. of course from our end, you do your homework too. how will they know you are serious about your defense when you just allocate a paltry 1% of your gdp to defense? most of that goes to salaries? and then you have billions allocated to pork barrel and then you ask for help? are you kidding me?

          we have a false sense of nationalism. why japan, south korea, turkey, Germany, Italy, UK host US bases? so that they could allocate their resources more to welfare

  11. David Murphy says:

    I’m a little self-conscious about harping on the subject of integrity but it seems to me to be the most important quality lacking in the Philippines, so I continue anyway. Integrity subsumes a host of other qualities such as honesty, trustworthiness, even a sense of fairness. Time and again I see examples of lack of integrity that directly destroy the reputation and degrade the future profitability of a company. And I see the other side, companies and individuals who act with integrity and are universally successful.
    A very recent example involves a young friend of ours who buys products at wholesale in Manila and sells them at a good markup in Tagaytay. His business was successful and growing and then his supplier, without telling him, substituted an inferior, watered-down version of a dishwashing liquid that he had been distributing with considerable success to restaurants and such. His customers complained and demanded refunds. He lost his business, his supplier lost the profit from future orders, all for a single, immediate, short-term profit. Does this remind anyone of the fairy tale about killing the goose that laid golden eggs? Apparently this was done without remorse for the damage it caused his customer nor regret for the long-term consequences to his own business. And this is only the most recent example of this kind of thinking that I have experienced in my years here in the Philippines.
    This lack of integrity pervades all aspects of Filipino society, commercial, governmental and even personal relationships. It is the reason behind the ponderous regulations and paperwork that make even simple transactions inefficient and cumbersome, It is the reason we pay a courier to deliver a check for us, rather than using the Philippine postal service. It is the reason I will not intentionally leave my car overnight with anyone except my trusted mechanic, who has consistently demonstrated his integrity. I have no proof but I suspect that it is a factor in limiting the success of the Philippines in international trade. (In part because I am reluctant to buy Chinese products of any kind. I can not comprehend how anyone could put harmful ingredients into baby formula but that goes beyond lack of integrity and constitutes murder.)
    I write about this just because lack of integrity is such a pervasive element here that it seems invisible to many Filipinos who have never experienced anything else. And I feel like going to the top of a tower and shouting out a message: Integrity, honesty, fairness are not only personally gratifying but they are the key to success in business and in all aspects of life. Wake up, folks!

    • edgar lores says:

      Thanks for the reminder, David.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, it is frustrating, and when one looks at the roster of candidates for high office, one can see that there are for sure qualities other than integrity in the selection process. The main one is “what’s in it for me”, which suggests that there is a quality to integrity that is not solely “what’s in it for me”. It is that interest in the well-being of others that seems missing, and there are reasons for it. When one has nothing, or the powerful tend to squeeze you under their thumb, then you do what is expedient for yourself. Do enough of that, broadly across a nation, for 600 or 700 years, and it tends to get incorporated into the ways of life. When one can get ahead by sticking with integrity – that is, taking care of the community – then it will become more predominant.

      • That is why I am uncomfortable with Grace Poe, that’s why I am doing the best I can to help Mar even if if he is lagging behind in the surveys, even if others are ridiculing us when they say that attacking the candidate who has the best chance to prevent a Binay or a Duterte presidency is foolhardy. Integrity, honesty – traits that were thrown over the window when to circumvent the requirement in RA 9225, she misrepresented in an application form at the Bureau of Immigration that she is the biological daughter of the Poes, an action that cannot be deemed an honest mistake for she and almost majority of the Filipinos knew that it was not the truth, that she is a foundling. Another honest mistake was the way she filled up her CoC in the 2013 Senatorial election.

        Expediency, that is. Which is defined as the quality of being convenient and practical despite possibly being improper or immoral. Adherence to self-serving means: a politician, guided by expediency rather than principle. – Wikipedia.

        What more dishonesty, which she will later claim as honest mistakes when exposed, will such a candidate do when she wins the Presidency, aside from listening to Escudero and the rest of the mafia members of the Marcos regime?

    • Madlanglupa says:

      > This lack of integrity pervades all aspects of Filipino society, commercial, governmental and even personal relationships.

      Which is why some people are excited with disturbing ideas, such as using dictatorship as an excuse to “discipline” Filipinos.

      • Joe America says:

        Right, but discipline the “others”, not me. I don’t need it.

      • Discipline should come first from each and everyone of us. No need for a Duterte or a Marcos to tell us that we need to behave. Are we children?

        • This is the point of Parekoy’s recent gem of a posting which I reblogged as an article:


        • Madlanglupa says:

          This is why it irks me that such people want to exchange freedom for, duh, Marcosian “discipline”. I mean, IMHO we cannot achieve in six years what the Swiss, Japanese and Koreans have to achieve genuine discipline after thousands of years without resorting to martial law and/or corporal punishment. Such genuine discipline takes lots of time, universal education, and squarely insisting that adults should be responsible role-models at all times — to get ourselves to their level.

          Now going back to topic, based on my observations, integrity is disposed of in favor of attaining greater material wealth in shorter time. I may be the one of the only few in my profession — I am a technician by trade — who charges only a reasonable repair fee in three figures, while others charge by the thousands for flimsy computer repairs. Integrity is when you give the customer a solid repair job that should last longer and make it worth their money, instead of a shoddy repair that borders on fraud by requiring the customer to return again and again.

    • I write about this just because lack of integrity is such a pervasive element here that it seems invisible to many Filipinos who have never experienced anything else. And I feel like going to the top of a tower and shouting out a message: Integrity, honesty, fairness are not only personally gratifying but they are the key to success in business and in all aspects of life. Wake up, folks!

      When I look at Romanians, one reason why the country is changing so rapidly in the past years is the sheer number of people who have been abroad and have experienced that there is a different way to live than what they grew up with – impunity and deceit.

      And possibly also the spirit embodied by what a Romanian returning home after years in Germany told me: “we’re tired of being seen as garbage by everybody else. Enough. Things have gotten moving with our new President, and people will see how things change.”

    • josephivo says:

      Is the integrity less or just different? Values have different meanings and different priorities in different cultures. If you ask me what I rather do, walk naked through town or not pay back a loan, the answer is easy, not paying back is so much more shameful. Here in the Philippines integrity seems more related to honor, support the family, dare to use violence when cornered. In Belgium integrity is more honoring commitments, being consistent, having strong principles. And it is always treacherous to translate fuzzy feelings into precise words, especially in a foreign language.

      Again and again I fell in the same trap, lending good friends money, resulting in the end of a friendship. Now I know that utang can have different forms here, an advice, a friendly gesture, being admitted in a family or alliance, for getting those things one doesn’t expect exact and immediate return, same for money. Saying no is ok when the total utang construction stays in balance. In Belgium we compartmentalize all these things much more. And not every culture has the same solution for the same problem.

      Talking with someone who earns or owns 10x or 100x more money than you do is difficult. In Belgium this is clear, I recognize the difference unconscious and can act appropriately. Here one easily calls this differences “cultural”. Abroad it is much more difficult to recognize “class”, regional or professional differences, to recognize the number of “po’s” one has to use in one sentence. And vice versa, for many Filipinos a Kano is a Kano, whatever country he comes from, whatever his background.

      But deep inside, the inner layers of the onion are very similar, basic nonverbal language is similar, it is only in the outer layers, the more superficial that differ. And this takes time to understand.

      • This reminds me of a wondering question posed by Pastor Ed Lapiz – why is it that a borrower is all insistent, as if it’s your duty to lend him some money, or very tame as a lamb during the asking period, and when it’s payback time, why is it that the lender is the one who is most hesitant to bring up the topic and the borrower the arrogant one? That happens in real life – the standard answer of an unprincipled borrower is: “where will I get the money to pay you when all I’m thinking is who can lend me some more, I don’t have any money to pay you” when it is obvious that his standard of living is way higher than the lender? End of a friendship or the beginning of a war among relatives. One balasubas aunt remarked, with the hurting words that her sister uttered, she has more than paid for her loan. Awss, first you make your lender angry, then it will goad him/her to say hurtful things, then presto, loan is settled. It’s no joke, it actually happened with my aunt who had just sold one of her horses, the other aunt learned of the sale and asked for a loan which remained unpaid for almost 3 years. They did not talk for almost 10 years.

        The consequence – what usually happens is that the friend’s debt is written off with no hope of him/her being able to ask for further loans. The worst is a long term friendship down the drain.

        • chempo says:

          Mary, tell that to the collectors working in low end real estate companies. Our guys get rebuked, threatened, scorned, doors slammed in their faces when they knocked on doors to present statement of accounts to house buyers. One occupier once showed his guns, an ex-policeman showed his muscles. In one estate the association barred our guys from entering.
          The higher end condo market is OK, they are a more civil lot.

          • Joe America says:

            Then there is the Frenchman and his wife and 4 year old kid who were shot and killed on Palawan two days ago. He was there to collect some money.

            • I read a pretty angry response by a DSWD employee towards a critic of 4Ps on FB, who was saying many people cheated.

              She wrote we risk a lot every day out there in the slums, trying to check our people.

              • But then again, could be the Frenchman was rude. My father knew Frenchmen who got in trouble because of their French…

                1) one was beaten up by a jeepney driver with a metal rod for his French about the jeepney driver’s recklessness

                2) another asked a politician to take off his hat in a movie house because he was blocking the view – the politician had his goons drag the Frenchman out.

              • Joe America says:

                Yeah. One is advised to be very self-contained here, and let the wild ones have their territory. I’ll some time detail my two incidents with gunslingers here. People go quickly to final solutions.

              • This is why the Swiss fascinate me, and my latest article is about their first Constitution.

                They went through a process of taming their own wildness that took seven centuries…

                From a ragtag band of mountain tribes, think Igorots with the spirit of Moros.

                To people who nobody dared attack for fear of maximum loss and pain.

                But so reliable that Europe’s oligarchy hid their money with them.

              • sonny says:

                “… One is advised to be very self-contained here, and let the wild ones have their territory.”

                It is quite a daunting task to apply this layer of attitude no matter where one settles, Joe. You in Biliran and my family in Luna, La Union and anybody deciding to settle in the Philippines.

                “… (the Philippine islander) … likes to be free as a bird, but he is of a pliant nature, and easily managed with just treatment… he promises everything and performs little; his word is not worth a straw, and he does not see lying is a sin… but as a subject he can be easily molded into any fashion which a just, honest, and merciful government would wish.”
                — by a British expatriate, 13-yr resident of turn-of the-century (20th) resident of Manila; an opinion reputedly adopted by Pres McKinley in his decision to take Manila & the Filipinos. This is one of the reasons I am interested in your blog on Pres Roosevelt, Joe. I hope it is not an idle exercise to compare the mosaic pieces from those early years, the termination of the US-RP bases agreement in 1991 (post-Vietnam & the Cold War), and now, the EDCA executive accord, done with Pres Obama, a president I have less than respect for. (I do realize he is holding an office entrusted by the American people to him).

                A third tile if I may, Joe.

                “The singularities that America has ascribed to itself throughout its history have produced two contradictory attitudes toward foreign policy. The first is that America serves its values best by perfecting democracy at home, thereby acting as a beacon for the rest of mankind; the second, that America’s values impose on it an obligation to crusade for them around the world. Both schools of thought were products of the American experience.”
                — Henry Kissinger (the statesman I am trying very hard to compare Mrs Clinton to in the current campaign)

                Peace! 🙂 (and UIOGD to me)

              • Manong Sonny, these deja vus have given me an idea for an article in my blog…

                Filipino Deja Vus. MRP once said it seems Filipinos have learning disability.

                I still hope some will learn. I can see the learning process in this blog.

                My hope is still that a critical mass will one day be reached and will rule.

                Aquino has partially learned some things. Mar Roxas I think even more.

                Aquino still sometimes has had allures of a King-cum-Dalai Lama figure.

                Roxas is modern. More foreign exposure makes a lot of difference I think.

                Enough allies back home, and many of us may seriously think of returning to help.

                Because we know too well the lessons of Cristosomo Ibarra (fictional) and Heneral Luna.

              • sonny says:

                @ Irineo

                I like both images of a critical mass and your idea of strands as applied to our Philippine society.

                Critical mass means the minimum state at which spontaneous chain reaction can be achieved. Filipinos are fissionable material: we are educated and highly educable, we have Ayn Rand’s self-interest and also a soft heart for our “kapuwa-tao” and “Bathala-na” faith. I will also remind that a critical product of a chain-reaction are slow-moving neutrons that will hit and propagate the chain-reaction that will free up the bottled energy of the Filipinos so wanting to the right thing!

                Strands do apply to us Filipinos too, whether they be cogon or abaca even just to symbolize the Philippine fasces of unity and strength (SPQP)!

              • Manong Sonny… masarap na talaga ang mga usapan natin, at maraming resulta:

                1) critical mass.

                1a) I admit to having pushed both Duterte and Poe inspite of their faults over here because what you called the “Plebeian Rush” was not yet there. Now this rush has surprised even me if I knew that it would eventually come. Rizal also forsaw a similar Plebeian Rush in “The Philippines, A Century Hence”… in case the liberal Spanish governors were too half-hearted in reforms, and Sancho Panza or the Philippines would feel the hunger from enforced fasting. Which is why I have turned to showing the advantages of Mar Roxas – also after discovering them myself, step by step. Because too much of a chain reaction can cause an atomic explosion. The chain reaction is already happening, but now must be controlled to produce a nuclear power plant of a country. But not stopped by too much lead, only harnessed properly. It includes slowly educating those who have not had a chance to understand more, in order that they be able to contribute constructively to national progress and not just agitate or troll or even go revolutionary.

                1b) The Philippines need not go through the pain experienced by the Romans with all the Patrician/Plebeian conflict (Gracchus brothers, plebeian tribunes and their execution) or the city/countryside conflict (Gaius Marius, looked down upon by the Romans for his countryside manners and speech, became a dictator, literally, as dictator in Roman simply means one who commands or dictates, but he also made the Roman army into an efficient fighting force instead of the voluntary fighting force where every man carried his own stuff with his own donkey – also by mobilizing the proletarii, the proletarians, but proles means children in Latin, proletarians were the urban poor of Rome) if a patrician like Mar is one manages to listen to the people with the help of Leni, who comes from Bikol experience.

                1c) the Bikol experience was a painful learning process. The gap between patricians, plebeians and wild ones was enormous. Joey Salceda is a bank manager, an MBA if I am not mistaken, who manages to talk to the simple people. Of course the common ethnic origin helps build trust – and his very simple style of explaining things. Leni may help bring that lesson learned in Bikol – the history is long and I only know parts of it – to the nation. Now is it a wonder that Will is one of our greatest homegrown communicators? I think not.

                2) strands

                2a) cogon or abaca. We also have alloys of different sorts. Joe’s son is an alloy. Wurtzbach is. I am too. The present Miss Cebu is a Croatian-Filipino alloy. There are also many “nativos” or “pure Filipinos” who are bamboo – highly resilient and versatile. Some are sensitive and valuable like the pina fiber used in our barongs. Some are hard and unbreakable as narra. There is enormous variety in the materials of the nation.

                2b) composite materials. Modern planes and cars use them. Daimler-Benz incorporates abaca into new composite materials for the bottom of cars. The strength of the Philippines are its different people or materials. The art and craft will be to combine them properly.

                In fact we are all learning from one another – here, at Raissa’s, and at my blog. The synergy is very important. Two recent blogs stand out: MRT and SSS. Kudos to both.

              • sonny says:

                “Genetic alloying” is such a fact of life (prime example: the American) even if we are just experiencing it in recent times. From my experience and observation here, “stateside,” the Filipino DNA has a calming effect on the cultural edge of many non-Filipinos. This is purely a majority opinion of ONE, me only.

            • sonny says:

              Irineo, yes and total amen to the strands:

              2. alloys and composites

              Iron is strong and versatile but it rusts until a sprinkling of Carbon changes it to stainless steel. (footnote aside: Many Philippine beaches are iron-rich. Just maybe we should nationalize mining of such select beaches and manage its input-output as patrimony-projects)

              Cogon is kindling and abaca is strong and no ship could be tethered to a pier nor New England ship’s mast withstand the winds of the ocean without an abaca rope holding the riggings (the beauty of it is the sun rays are the only cost and the hardy Filipino farmer!). The world is fighting to reduce its carbon print but unwilling to let go of its plastic containers. How better to go than to reduce the volume of plastics and substituting the lowly cogon, so prolific and ubiquitous, to replace some of the plastic volume. I am sure the DOST could take the research and prototype volume of such undertaking.

              • DOST has http://www.mirdc.dost.gov.ph/ for metals research. Special metals like those needed for the DOST AGT and Roadtrain were pioneered here. Wholesale steel production is no longer the way to go because that area is already occupied by Mittal.

                To be successful one must be either a very cheap mass producer like Mittal for simple steel, or a specialist who is among the best in a new area. According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Schumpeter#Business_cycles the entrepreneur disturbs the equilibrium (of established markets) and is the prime cause of economic development, which proceeds in cyclic fashion along several time scales. – so don’t open the next kebab store, like so many Filipinos did in the mid-90s.

          • When the company I work for put up their towers in BGC, the SOP is for the investors to submit post dated checks that should cover the entire contract price. We have bouncing check laws to take care of delinquent investors.

            • Mary one question: how much is bank transfer already used in the Philippines? It is SOP (with IBAN/BIC) in Europe, I know the USA uses checks a lot but also bank transfer.

              I send my tax payment via bank transfer… and the tax office sends me a late payment fine if I am only 2-3 days late in paying… it was 60 Euro on my first VAT payments… for local business tax I once paid 1% for late payment… but only because I told them in advance, if I had just delayed my payment, they would have hit me with a much higher fee and fine… just trying to get to the bottom of why BIR had difficulties getting payment from officially registered firms and SSS still has that difficulty… there must be a fundamental flaw.

              • Sorry for this late reply. Had difficulty focusing at the weekend due to uhmmm….as posted earlier.

                It could be your transferred amount was still floating then a late credit hence the penalties, it happens a lot to our US and Europe based clients. The money is routed in an international clearing bank before being credited to the beneficiary bank. In our case we need to identify the purpose (AMLC regulations) before it is allowed to be credited. Am not that informed on how it is actually being done but there’s one instance when a client used PNB as beneficiary bank for further credit to our Trustee Bank, it took a while for the transfer to be finalized with the trust officer having to visit PNB a number of times because we are following up the remittance. You could transfer in advance to allow for such delays so as not to be assessed penalties.

                This is how it is done on our side. In your case, the problem could arise when the Philippine beneficiary bank has to further credit it to a BIR accredited bank.

                (a) remit through CITIBANK, NY (Swift Code:CITIUS33) (Note: If required, Citibank NY’s ABA/Routing No. is 021000089)
                (b) credit to account of _____________ Universal Bank Manila, Philippines (Swift Code: BNORPHMM)
                (c) In favor of:
                Please instruct remitting bank to send funds using instruction code: SWIFT MT103.

                The code is being changed periodically, so I’m confident that this is not a confidential info.

              • Mary thanks for the info… the clearing bank thing I am aware of… not an issue anymore within Europe every since we have the Single European Payment Area (SEPA)

                The trust officer stuff is interesting… puts another layer of personal control which I think is again slowing down things… but that is just a first impression not more… international transfers above a certain amount in Germany automatically get reported by the bank to the Federal Bank which sends a form in which one has to state what the purpose of the payment (incoming or outgoing) was. For statistical and for other purposes of course.

                http://filipinogerman.blogsport.eu/money-and-numbers/ – put some more questions here…

      • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laguna_Copperplate_Inscription

        Utang – or hutang as in the Laguna copperplate of 900 A.D. – could be the oldest word the Filipino language has. Language is to DNA as culture is to living protein… the blueprint.

        Di krama dang Hwan Namwaran dengan dang kayastha shuddha nu di parlappas hutang da walenda Kati 1 Suwarna 8 di hadapan dang Huwan Nayaka tuhan Puliran Kasumuran dang Hwan Nayaka tuhan Pailah barjadi ganashakti.

        This means that, through the Honourable Scribe, the Honourable Namwaran is totally cleared of his salary-related debts of 1 Katî and 8 Suwarna, before the Honorable Lord Minister of Puliran, Kasumuran; by the authority of the Lord Minister of Pailah, represented by Ganasakti.

        salary-related debts? Isn’t that what Filipinos still like to do until now? And all the Honorables, does that not sound suspiciously like Philippine Government. The document starts with Swasti which means long live… Mabuhay?

        And, with his whole family, upon ordered of the Lord Minister of Dewata, represented by the Chief of Mdang, because of his loyalty as a subject of the Commander-in-Chief.

        Family is cleared… because of loyalty as a subject… sounds like patron-client. Sounds like: I the Honorable Jejomar Binay hereby clear Mang Tomas of Makati of all his debts with me, because he helped me win the election for President in 900 A.D., no 2016.

        Much of Filipino hardheadedness is simply the old Filipino mentality that I think went underground during colonization… what was shown to the masters was a flexible mask. The true values of many Filipinos are 900 A.D., or the copperplate is a huge hoax…

        • Madlanglupa says:

          Mentioning our pre-colonial times, I recalled comparing most politicians today with tribal chieftains — given their intense need for power, territory and money, they have little difference in terms of mentality save for what they wear at the office: barong vs bahag. Heck, they must be sharing the same DNA strand.

          • I read somewhere that Senator Salonga, Leah Salonga and the Macapagals all are descended from a certain Makapagal who was descended from Lakandula of Tondo.

            At that time, the northern bank (pampang) of the Pasig was populated by Kapampangans, those who lived on the southern bank of the river where called Taga-Ilogs – river people. But I would like to have a good laugh and see Jejomar Binay in a bahag at some point.

            • My personal take on Philippine history is that President Ramos was the last President of the Philippines shaped by the colonial period, and starting with Estrada the true Filipino nature started to surface after being submerged by the colonial masquerade for so long…

              Estrada and Arroyo, Binay and Duterte are the old Filipino culture without the masks that were shown for so long. Binay and Duterte are chieftains with some modern knowledge.

              Noynoy and Mar are modern Filipinos. Noynoy still was a bit of a “Dalai Lama” type in the beginning, a semi-religious idol, son of the Sainted Cory. People still needed that then. The Filipino mind needed to catch up with centuries it never truly had understood, in fact had defended itself against in a mixture of inner hardheadedness and outward flexibility which included masquerades – I can imagine Humabon being as “friendly” toward Magellan as Binay when he kissed the Pope’s ring. And Lapulapu saying putang ina to Magellan…

    • chempo says:

      You are absolutely on the spot David. Just as fish cannot see the water that they swim in, most Filipinos cannot see that integrity, or lack of it, is a big factor in their problems. Most foreigners sees that within a year of living here. In my dealings with Filipinos who are close to me, I always make it a point to make them understand integrity is a big deal and they should try to live by it.

      • Probably the old way was to honor transactions with those who had the possibility to get even in some way, or had the backing of such a person who took his cut for helping…

        Reminds me of a bank manager from Europe who fled to Brazil and could not be found. Allegedly the bank hired through channels some Brazilian Mafia enforcers to find him, what I heard is that they take 20% of the money they collect – he went home by himself…

      • David Murphy says:

        Chempo: Me too. And I am repeatedly surprised that the concept is new to them. But some, who have been raised in an environment where lack of integrity is ubiquitous simply can not believe that living with integrity and conducting business with integrity will work. And given their experience, it’s easy to understand why.

        • There are honest citizens hereabouts, David, Irineo and chempo. They are not published that much or you might not have the chance to meet them. The few who made it to our tabloid media like taxi drivers and housekeeping staffs who returned substantial money they found prove that. My grandfather who tilled the land and treated their agricultural helpers, friends and co-workers with kindness and fairness. Many time he was called upon to mediate on local quarrels because people respected his fair assessments of situations. I got my being extremely politicized from him which started when I was just 7 years old. As a consistent practice, he deducted first the 10% of his gross income for the church before anything else.

          Even in his extreme poverty, my uncle never fails to give his tithes to the church. When he receives even a hundred as a gift from generous brothers and sisters in the church, he only spends P90.00 and shares what little he has to needy ones. Of course he is exempted from paying tax, as he receives less than what is taxable.

        • There are honest citizens herabouts, David, Irineo and chempo. They have not been published that much or you didn’t have the chance to meet them. The few instances that our tabloid media has featured honest taxi drivers and housekeeping staffs returning substantial amounts to their rightful owners prove that.

          In the far flung barrios of our provinces, there are many of them. My late grandfather for example, where I inherited my being extremely politicized which started when I was barely 7 years old. The times when we both listen over the radio about the corruptions exposed at that time were still clearly etched in my mind as he patiently explained to me the meaning of ehekutibo, lehislatibo, hudikatura, etc, etc.. He hated corruption and shared what he learned to his folks in the farm. He walked his talk, treated his farm assistants with respect and kindness, providing them with adequate food, respectable lodgings and fair compensation. His barrio mates respected his fair assessment of various situations that he was always called upon to mediate in various quarrels and misunderstandings. He was a skilled carpenter on top of being a productive farmer and fabricates tables, kitchen utencils and farm implements like plows without the need for screws or nails, patiently measuring each parts.

          He consistently paid 10% of his produce to the church before disbursing anything else.

          His son, even in his extreme poverty nowadays, never fails to pay his tithes to our church. Case in point, when he was given a hundred by generous brothers and sisters in the church, he only spends 90.00 and share a part of it to his more needy friends who are not at the receiving end of such generosity from church members. Of course, he is not paying income tax as what he receives per month (social pension as indigent senior citizen) is less than what is taxable but he shares 50.00 of that to the church.

          Like all countries, we do have honest citizens with integrity as well as dishonest, cheats and corrupt ones.

          • Anyare..what happened, I thought I lost my first post so I tried to reconstruct it from memory. Double posting is the result, slightly different from each other…wahahaha,

          • “He walked his talk, treated his farm assistants with respect and kindness, providing them with adequate food, respectable lodgings and fair compensation. His barrio mates respected his fair assessment of various situations that he was always called upon to mediate in various quarrels and misunderstandings. He was a skilled carpenter on top of being a productive farmer and fabricates tables, kitchen utencils and farm implements like plows without the need for screws or nails, patiently measuring each parts.”

            https://judebautista.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/passion-and-judgment-in-anna-karenina/ – reminds me of a character in Anna Karenina: Although he is a landowner Domhnall Gleeson (Kostya Levin) was mocked by Russian nobility in Moscow for being too rural. He has found his peace in a simpler life. – there is a scene were Kostya is working with his tenants, taking in the harvest. One of the simple farmers beside him tells him “you are a just man”… he asks “how do you know”… farmer says: “I can feel that”…


            • I know it was never easy for small landowners in the Philippines… much tales of landgrabbing by the powerful who misused the legal system – and added intimidation or real impunity if one did not bow to them… land sold below value under threat, and more.

              A few years ago the children of migrants to Germany from Batangas asked me if I could find them a lawyer… I did via my Pisay network… some people were making it hard for them to claim their inherited property, they had grown up in Germany didn’t know things…

              • My grea, great t grandfather lost big tracts of land to somebody who made him drunk and tricked him to sign a piece of document which turned out to be a Deed of Sale. We were never able to recover that. The story was hazy, unconfirmed, the subject was quite taboo, as it was so long ago, another relative made that deceptive sale. It’s why we became the poor relations of the rich Laurel clan. Moral lesson, dont drink and sign documents, a variation of don’t drink and drive.

                We tried land reform in Laguna but was unsuccessful. Though my other uncle from my father side was quite successful, he was able to lead other farmers and are now beneficiaries of land reform with a number of hectares to his name. A picture you provided one time of farmers rallying in Manila has features of that uncle. He was a great speaker, almost an orator and quite passionate in his beliefs though tinged with left leaning ideals. He has mellowed a lot in his old age.

                It’s a good thing my grandpa on my motherside was able to purchase a few hectares of land in Batangas.

                My father’s family were big landowners also in Batangas, said to be equal to the Lirio clan, but his father, my other grandpa, sold all of them upon the proddings of my very beautiful grandma, they built a grand house with beauriful furnishings and spent most of the proceeds leaving their children with no inheritance at all. The grandchildren, my cousins and I had to literally crawl out from poverty by sheer grit and determination. That is the source of my salvation by austerity principle, not to squander everything, not living for the moment but to save for the future so as not to suffer the fate of my grandparents who died penniless, without proper health care or to buy even morphine to dull the pain from the cancer that ravaged their bodies.

                Awss, look what you’ve done, Irineo…I completely digressed from the topic. Sorry, Joe, please don’t put me in moderation…joke..hahaha.

              • Don’t worry Mary… I was much worse in my PiE period.

                Besides, the pageantry of Philippine history, its rich tapestry, is woven out of the strands of regional and family history – to chart the road ahead one must know where one started.

                Philippine history in a short form is one project I hope to soon finish… the Erap/Arroyo period I now shall title “Disappointment” and the Noynoy period “Recovery”… my picture of Arroyo is getting clearer and it is very ugly. Both will be finished long before May 8…

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Mary Grace, Irineo et all..The subject of land reform is an interesting issue I have been thinking about recently…In 1944-45 US General Dougie MacArthur had the opportunity to make major changes in land ownership in the Philippines as part of the process of weeding out those who collaborated wholesale with the Japanese..But he did not.On behalf of the US government he forgave them with very interesting consequences for the Philipines as a state.

                But in September 1945 after the Japanese surrender he moved on to take over there as effective ‘dictator’.. And in the course of the next 4 years forced through a total change in land ownership with land being forcibly acquired for fairly low amounts and then being granted to the peasant actually farming the land..He destroyed the power of the old landowner elite which had lead Japan into war. And out of the ashes of the war, the huge destruction and land reform arose a new peaceful prosperous Japan.

            • Bill, what happened to my maternal great great grandparents was what you termed as “power of the old landowner elite”. Their ancestors were born, and had been farming the land long before the Japanese occupation, only to discover that two or three barrios (including they lived) were owned by a rich and powerful political clan. Am not clear exactly what happened, but the long and short of it, was we were uprooted from the place where we and our ancestors were born, my grandparents began a new life in Batangas where he was able to buy a few hectares of land.

              One paternal uncle refused to budge, unlike my rightist grandpa, he was tinged with leftist ideals and led other farmers to various rallies to Manila and was rewarded a number of hectares by land reform. Decades later a son of his became an officer of PNP, now also retired. This uncle has mellowed a lot in old age and has renounced his radical leftist ideas.

    • karl garcia says:

      The tagalog for integrity is “buo ang loob”,often mistaken for “malakas ang loob” or having guts. Having guts is just part of being whole, so bravery is just part of integrity.

  12. Backgrounder from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (am in the habit of reviewing Joe’s articles after half year or so, so I would like to put this in, saves me from going back and forth some various tabs.

    The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) is a 2014 agreement between the United States and the Philippines that seeks to bolster the U.S.–Philippine alliance. The agreement allows the United States to rotate troops into the Philippines for extended stays and allows the U.S. to build and operate facilities on Philippine bases, for both American and Philippine forces. The U.S. is not allowed to establish any permanent military bases.It also gives Philippine personnel access to American ships and planes.The EDCA is a supplemental agreement to the previous Visiting Forces Agreement.

    Evan Medeiros, the U.S. National Security Council’s senior director for Asian affairs was quoted in the Washington Post as saying, “This is the most significant defense agreement that we have concluded with the Philippines in decades.”

    According to Ambassador Goldberg, the goal of the EDCA is to “promote peace and security in the region.” While outlining new defense-cooperation measures, the agreement also allows for the United States to respond more quickly to environmental and humanitarian disasters in the region.

    Designed to supplement the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty and the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement, the EDCA reaffirms mutual cooperation between the United States and the Philippines to develop their individual and collective capacities to resist armed attack by: improving interoperability of the two country’s armed forces, promoting long-term modernization, helping maintain and develop maritime security, and expanding humanitarian assistance in response to natural disasters.


    “I register more than my disagreement. I mourn that this court has allowed this government to acquiesce into collective subservience to the Executive power, contrary to the spirit of our basic law,” SC AJ Leonen lamented.

    De Castro opined that EDCA “is entirely a new treaty” that needs Senate concurrence as required under Section 25, Article XVIII of the Constitution.

    She believes the agreement that allows the construction of permanent buildings for US troops, bunkering of vessels, maintenance of vehicles and the storage and prepositioning of defense materiel proves the permanent nature of stay of the American forces in the country.

    “While it is true that the Philippines cannot stand alone and will need friends within and beyond this region of the world, still we cannot offend our Constitution and bargain away our sovereignty,” De Castro reasoned in her 28-page dissent.

    Brion said in his 65-page separate dissenting opinion that EDCA widened the scope of VFA and the Treaty of 1951. He suggested to have it suspended and to give the executive branch 90 days to get a concurrence. If the President fails to do so, then the majority ruling would be affirmed.

    “To accord a lesser respect for our own Constitution is to invite America’s disrespect for the Philippines as a co-equal, sovereign and independent nation,” Brion stressed.

    Although critical of the decision, Santiago said the Senate has to abide by the decision as she urged her colleagues to reiterate their position that the government must renegotiate or abrogate EDCA


    Note from MG:

    I’ll go back to my earlier post. I am for peace, I don’t want war and I wouldn’t wish that in any country, more so in mine. But to preserve peace we have to be sure that there is enough deterrence to war coming from the outside. Military build-up is not looking for war, it’s just a means that we might use so other countries would think twice before attacking us. EDCA is another way to do that. Certainly we are not in any position to provoke war, with the state our defense capability is in. With the SC 10-4 vote upholding the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the US, it means the Philippines gets to strengthen its defenses.

    • Joe America says:

      Justice Leonen lost his bearings on this one, I think. ” . . . collective subservience to the Executive power?” How does he think a nation actually DEFENDS itself, through the legislators and courts? Incredible. Now he appears to be favoring Poe on an emotional basis, feeling it for foundlings. A star crashes. ‘Twas but a passing meteor, perhaps.

      • I keep shifting in my chair during his long, winding, almost monologue exchange with Atty. Poblador who could only agree with him on most points. Aaaargh!

        Poe says her hopes rose higher after the turns of SC CJ Sereno and AJ Leonen. Why would adoption laws be a factor, I asked myself. Does a child need to be a NBFC to qualify for adoption? What is sure is that a candidate needs to be NBFC to qualify as a candidate for a government position.

        I thought this will just be a simple matter of adhering to the provisions of the Constitution and jurisprudence. I thought wrong, this is turning to be more complicated. I hope the deferral of the printing of official ballots to February 8 is enough. How much longer will the weekly oral arguments take? February 2 will be Comelec’s turn after Atty. Poblador. And how long will it take for the SC to come up with the decision? Years, like their ruling on EDCA? Or why can’t the Comelec just purchase additional printers? So many whys.

        The SC doesn’t realize the urgency of the situation. A lot of stray votes or an Escudero presidency and confusion will result in their not prioritizing this case.


      • caliphman says:

        Tis the quality of the reasoning and not one’s desired conclusion that should matter..sigh.

        • caliphman says:

          That was meant for Joe

        • Joe America says:

          Ouch. You are right, of course. I tried to read Leonen’s EDCA reasoning, though, and my brain got twisted inside out. There are advantages to simplicity of expression, for us, the laypeople’s benefit. I don’t know who he was writing to, but it was not us. So he gets an “F” on transparency; transparency means the people can know what is going on.

          • caliphman says:

            Joe, you are getting close to a lawyer’s trade secret. Write in a manner so officious and yet so obscure that only other lawyers can read it, thereby allowing one to command atrociously high legal fees…hehehe.

      • edgar lores says:

        1. At the risk of sounding like an echo chamber, I repeat my disagreement with the majority decision on EDCA.

        2. The reason is simple: checks and balances. Agreements with foreign countries of a certain complexity should undergo Senate scrutiny. It is irrelevant whether the agreement is an extension of an old one or a new one.

        2.1. This is in the same manner that any change to the Constitution, no matter how simple, must be ratified by the people.

        2.2. Each branch of government must exercise due diligence: the Executive in crafting foreign agreements, and the Legislature by ratifying them.

        2.3. I will observe that the US permits EDCA to be a mere executive agreement. This is by virtue of US laws; our laws are different.

        3. I find Leonen’s argument of “collective subservience to the Executive power” a bit rich… because the Judiciary is guilty of imposing collective subservience to the Judicial power with respect to the RH Law, the Ombudsman case against Junjun Binay and perhaps more.

        3.1. In the latter case, they neglected the principle of checks and balances when they clipped the powers of the Ombudsman and declared parts of the Ombudsman law unconstitutional without so much as a by-your-leave.

        3.2. They saw the mote in the Executive’s eyes with EDCA but forgot the beam in their own eyes with the RH Law and Binay.

        • If you ask me, everything in the past few years looks like a constant tug of war between the three powers of government in the Philippines. It is as if the definitions are not clear in the 1987 Constitution, or the consensus on definitions and their meaning was lacking and now is being painfully created by conflict – or not, could be each Filipino has a unique interpretation of meanings. Confucius: when meanings are unclear, disorder follows.

          My newest article goes in that direction: that it isn’t really clear to all, there is no real consensus, in terms of what kind of state the Philippines really is, the result patchwork. Wonder how many of the 1987 Constitution drafters knew what they wanted – just Bernas?


        • Joe America says:

          What are the issues? Executive wants the power to defend the nation and chooses not to risk sending the document through the Senate where politics rule the day. Can you imagine Executive being told, “no on EDCA”, and having the Chinese move in and take Pagasa or Second Thomas Shoal? Who will people scream at? Not the Senate. Not the Court. The President. I’d say accountability and responsibility ought to reside at the point receiving the loudest screaming by the bosses, the people. That is, we hold the President responsible for our security, and ought to give him the authority to act on that responsibility. You can’t manage war by committee.

          If the Senate were a lawmaking body stocked with statesmen rather than actors and thieves, it might be worth the “check and balance”, under the presumption of approval. But considering what happened to BBL, can you blame President Aquino for being pragmatic and keeping matters in his own hands?

          hahaha Capische? (sorry for the bluntness; reader “Tom” got me riled up this morning)

          • Bill in Oz says:

            I agree with you Joe. The Senate has power but no responsibility for the the stuff ups created..So Aquino did the best thing for the Philippines by not sending EDCA to the senate as a treaty…

            Edgar you mentioned checks & balances..Fair enough..But the existing senate is an unrepresentative ‘lead weight’ on the Philippino body politic…

            • edgar lores says:


              The entire Senate may be entirely composed of liars, drunkards, layabouts, and wastrels. This is no justification to bypass the procedures laid down in the Constitution.

              • Joe America says:

                But Edgar, you say obey the Constitution, and the Supreme Court has ruled that EDCA is a treaty an agreement and is not in violation of the Constitution. But you are disagreeing with this due process ruling and therefore want a different due process? The matter did go through due process, and that process need not be changed because you disagree with the outcome. More correctly, if you ask us to respect the Senate, you should respect the Supreme Court.

          • edgar lores says:

            I cannot say with 100% certainty but I think that EDCA would have sailed through the Senate. This matter is not as divisive as the BBL, and there is a general recognition that the country needs EDCA.

            There is the formality of the treaty process and there is the substance.

            In terms of formality, I take the point that the Senate, as presently constituted with “actors and thieves,” may not apply due diligence in the scrutiny of the agreement.

            In terms of substance, however, it might be worth considering Miriam’s views on the agreement. I confess I do not know the specifics of her misgivings, if any, only that she insists on Senate ratification… and I agree with her that the forms must be observed.

            My worry is that once the formal bars of checks and balances are lowered, it becomes hard to raise the bars again. There may be nothing in EDCA that the country should worry about, and I would go so far as to favor the presence of American naval and air bases here, but what about the next treaty?

            • Joe America says:

              It isn’t a treaty. It implements one. A treaty binds two nations. An agreement binds a nation to certain terms, and this one allows American forces to rotate through, pre-position armaments and vehicles for readiness for storms, training and defense, allows the US to build buildings which the Philippines then keeps, allows the Philippine base commander access anywhere at any time, and has a short term of 10 years. If the PH wanted the US out, I suspect they would simply leave, in respect of Philippine sovereignty.

              I’d have no trouble with Senator Santiago’s position, perhaps, if she expressed it fully so that I could understand exactly how she would deal with China. We know how she would deal with the US, but that is not really the point. Sovereignty does not mean independence or isolation. It means security and the right to your own property and destination. China has already stolen a big piece of Philippine sovereignty. Real time. Would the good Senator kindly address this?

              • edgar lores says:

                Philippine Constitution, Article VII, Section 21. No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate.

              • Joe America says:

                But that is not the point. The learned SC justices can read, and decided EDCA is properly within Executive’s purview. The point is respect for due process and the institutions of government. Even when they disagree with us. You hold that we are not allowed to be wary of the Senate because it is stocked with drunks and thieves, how can you argue with an SC ruling, even if it is stocked with political players? You are not allowed to be wary of the SC. Consistency of argument, my good man, consistency of argument.

              • Joe America says:

                The rest of the argument goes this way. If you are allowed to believe the SC acted politically rather than for the good of the nation as set forth in the language of the Constitution, then we are permitted to anticipate that the Senate would act politically rather than for the good of the nation, and bypass them if we can. So there is no need to judge Executive in any way but doing what they believe is in the best interest of the nation.

                The real question is, will the American troops and equipment, staged in the Philippines, make the nation more secure? Executive is responsible for that decision. That’s what the SC said.

              • Joe America says:

                The rest of the argument goes this way. If you are allowed to believe the SC acted politically rather than for the good of the nation as set forth in the language of the Constitution, then we are permitted to anticipate that the Senate would act politically rather than for the good of the nation, and bypass them if we can. So there is no need to judge Executive in any way but doing what they believe is in the best interest of the nation.

                The real question is, will the American troops and equipment, staged in the Philippines, make the nation more secure? Executive is responsible for that decision. That’s what the SC said.

              • edgar lores says:

                1. I have no issues about EDCA itself. My issue is with the Supreme Court with its decision that the Executive is solely responsible for the decision.

                2. All branches of government can act “politically”. Let’s watch out if Binay or Duterte wins the election with respect to our dispute with China. We should not shortcut due process for fear of any branch acting politically.

              • Joe America says:

                The SC gave the matter exhaustive attention in its ruling, and the ruling is done. Signed, sealed and delivered. It seems to me that it was the most unpolitical and thorough of readings, and we ought to grant that the Philippine democratic process is healthy and vibrant.

              • edgar lores says:

                The point, I agree, is respect for the law, due process and government institutions.

                There are many definitions of the word “respect”, and I will take this one: “due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others.”

                My contention is that the Supreme Court did not respect — that is, did not give due regard for the provisions (read wishes) and rights of — the Constitution and the Legislature.

                Specifically, the Supreme Court did not respect Article VII, Section 21 and Article XVIII, Section 25.

                They have interpreted EDCA as not being in violation of these constitutional sections. I disagree… respectfully. As Leonen did.

                Respect for an institution does not equate to respect for ALL the actuations of that institution. And certainly it does not equate to not having disagreements with it.

              • Joe America says:

                My contention is that the Supreme Court did not respect — that is, did not give due regard for the provisions (read wishes) and rights of — the Constitution and the Legislature.

                The SC gave page after page of respect to the Constitution, citing page after page of jurisprudence, dealing with Santiago’s rationale, the Senate paper, the dissents of the other justices, and the meanings of Sections 21 and 25. They even got into the debate of prepositions and word usage.

                Ten of its members agreed, and thus we have entered into history the determination that EDCA is a proper Executive document, duly executable.

                Your dissent is duly recorded here for the record.

              • Joe America says:

                it [is] safer to construe the Constitution from what appears upon its face. The proper interpretation therefore depends more on how it was understood by the people adopting it than in the framers’ understanding thereof. (Emphases supplied)

                The effect of this statement is surprisingly profound, for, if taken literally, the phrase “shall not be allowed in the Philippines” plainly refers to the entry of bases, troops, or facilities in the country. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word “allow” as a transitive verb that means “to permit, enable”; “to give consent to the occurrence of or relax restraint on (an action, event, or activity)”; “to consent to the presence or attendance of (a person)”; and, when with an adverbial of place, “to permit (a person or animal) to go, come, or be in, out, near, etc.”181 Black’s Law Dictionary defines the term as one that means “[t]o grant, approve, or permit.”

                The verb “allow” is followed by the word “in,” which is a preposition used to indicate “place or position in space or anything having material extension: Within the limits or bounds of, within (any place or thing).” That something is the Philippines, which is the noun that follows. (p36)

                Hahaha. Now THAT is respect.

              • edgar lores says:

                I think Sereno’s semantic analysis of the text of Section 25 was wasted. It led to this surprising conclusion on page 37:

                “It is evident that the constitutional restriction refers solely to the initial entry of the foreign military bases, troops, or facilities. Once entry is authorized, the subsequent acts are thereafter subject only to the limitations provided by the rest of the Constitution and Philippine law, and not to the Section 25 requirement of validity through a treaty.” [Bolding mine.]

                My take: The conclusion of “initial entry” cannot be logically drawn.

                Section 25 simply states:

                “After the expiration in 1991 of the Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America concerning military bases, foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.’ [Bolding mine.]

                The opinion in the decision makes a conclusion as to instantiation: only to an “initial entry.”

                But Section 25 refers to “a treaty”… meaning “any” treaty that concerns “military bases, foreign military bases, troops, or facilities.”

                IMHO whether a treaty is the first, second, third, etc. does not exempt it from Senate ratification.

              • Joe America says:

                You don’t go down easy, I’ll give you that. You should see if they allow “Guest Dissents”.

              • edgar lores says:

                Ahaha! I might be detracting from the thrust of this post on EDCA which I entirely agree with.

                It’s just that the “little” things — which are really “big” things — do not seem to get proper attention.

                I was just speculating: what if Binay wins, negotiates and imposes disadvantageous bilateral agreements with China without seeking Senate approval?

                Well, we would be up the creek with a Binay win, but we have to keep a paddle or two.

              • edgar lores says:

                Thank you.

              • karl garcia says:

                Because someone questioned the constitutionality of EDCA, that means the SC can decide on it,without having to throw it back to the Senate.

                “(2) All cases involving the constitutionality of a treaty, international or executive agreement, or law, which shall be heard by the Supreme Court en banc, and all other cases which under the Rules of Court are required to be heard en banc, including those involving the constitutionality, application, or operation of presidential decrees, proclamations, orders, instructions, ordinances, and other regulations, shall be decided with the concurrence of a majority of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the case and voted thereon.”

                They may all decide to let the Senate decide,but that was not what they decided upon.

                What about the next treaty? Since all constitutional issues can go to the Supreme Court,the only way to avoid it is not having any question its constitutionality.

              • edgar lores says:

                Karl, thanks. I am not questioning that part of the process.

                Or perhaps I should. The provision you cite simply says certain matters should be taken up by the en banc. It should not mean that the Judiciary can usurp the Legislative function of treaty ratification.

                I think you have found another constitutional infirmity.

              • karl garcia says:

                With all due respect,but If I may.

                article 8

                Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to define, prescribe, and apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts but may not deprive the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction over cases enumerated in Section 5 hereof.

                Section 5…..

                (2) Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and orders of lower courts in:
                (a) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question.

              • Joe America says:

                We can all be lawyers, but we indeed must grant the SC respect and read what they wrote on the case. They considered all that down to the prepositions and verbs.

              • My humble musings.

                Both the Senate and the SC have been turning out decisions that are less visionary, usually based on the mood of the moment, or caprices of the powers that be.

                The dilemma is to find a balance which will be more beneficial in the long run to a greater number of citizens.

                Due process has been followed, the Senate has ruled that EDCA is unconstitutional, the government appealed to the SC which is the final arbiter on the constitutionality of legislative and executive actions. The SC by a majority vote ruled it as a mere amendment to VFA and not a new treaty. The SC may have erred but like their ruling on the midnight appointments, the country has no choice but to respect it. In the case of the midnight appointment, another due process was done to correct the SC error, and the SC CJ Corona was removed by impeachment and finally convicted, was removed from office and is now facing a court battlle.

                We do have a Mutual Defense Treaty, ratified decades ago. Japan, who was the enemy in WW II, and was defeated, became an ally and welcomed the US in their country’s bases so they were able to concentrate on economic development and let US take care of their country’s defense. They did that, when we know that Japanese are the most nationalistic citizens in the world. In contrast, our proud, ultra nationalist Senate kicked out the US bases but forgot to provide credible defense system, nor enact legal measures to make prosperity possible, and worse, was a party to budget mismanagement via PDAF abuses that enriched themselves but made the country lag behind her Asian neighbors. The rest of Asia upgraded their military, their economies soared, while our politicians became billionaires with mansions everwhere and paramours left and right.

                Here comes PNOY, he began reforms, began the military upgrade, but we are so poor and so time constrained, and China, seeing our helplessness, stole most of our water resources and has installed military facilities right at our backdoor. We have to find ways to implement MDT, but how to do that when we have kicked out the US from our territory. VFA needed to be amended to conform with the needs of the times, hence the EDCA.

                While I am for strict adherence to our constitution, we have to accept the authority of the SC. I don’t know if our honorable senators will see the big picture eventually, but we cannot afford to wait for that eventuality. The VFA was ratified before, this is just an amendment, done with the Chinese bullying in mind. It will take a year (or less) for Palawan and other sites to be ready to accommodate US ships so we can strengten further our defense system out there.

                The SC has taken so long to decide on the EDCA’s constitutionality, and time is something that is so scarce if we think about how China is quickly establishing her military installations in the reclaimed islands which occupy partly our territory in the WPS.

                My BP did not cooperate again during my Zumba exercises, 80/50. Am still feeling woozy as of now, but this topic really interests me. Hope am making sense.

              • Joe America says:

                The SC ruling is incredibly detailed, taking the constitution and various laws apart, considering the arguments of those who object, and of the Senate. One has to read the 100+ pages to grasp why the ruling took so long. They did an autopsy on the whole of the legal foundations of the land. They came away with a very simple conclusion. Executive is responsible for foreign affairs and for defending the nation. That is a huge responsibility requiring powers that allow them to do the job, of which EDCA, by the ways the document is written – e.g., no permanent basing – is one. The mainline emotion in the Philippines is one of mistrust about Executive, but the laws of the land (according to the SC), makes it clear. The job is big, it is important, it can’t be delegated to the Senate. The Executive is empowered to protect the Philippines. If one disagrees with the approach, one can always elect a President with a different approach. But the job remains with Executive.

              • edgar lores says:

                Mary, the Senate did not reject EDCA as unconstitutional. It simply protested that EDCA required concurrence by the Senate. It was not given the chance to ratify.

              • karl garcia says:

                Like they all say Mary,straight from the heart!
                Before doing the Zumba,have a portable Digital BP checker,And check BP first.

              • “IMHO whether a treaty is the first, second, third, etc. does not exempt it from Senate ratification.” – I think that EDCA is simply a kind of IRR (implementation details) for MDT.

                The Supreme Court sees it that way too, although I have not read their reasoning yet.

                The Philippine system already has too much awful micromanagement – the entire building code as a law including permitted nails – haha I am sure all the slums adhere to it – Congress naming streets, maybe even dogs, the strays they had no more time to name. Reasonable latitude should be given for details to be taken care of by the Executive, otherwise the system becomes deadlocked. Abuse of discretion should still be stopped, but discretion must be given. Trust is another word for it. Or delegation of responsibility.

              • edgar lores says:

                There is something to that… that EDCA is a mere extension of MDT/VFA. I believe one of Leonen’s (or dissenting justice’s) arguments is that the modifications in EDCA are of such a magnitude as to require separate Senate scrutiny.

              • karl garcia says:

                The building code tells me how to cut my nails?
                That is unconstitutional!

              • “Well, we would be up the creek with a Binay win, but we have to keep a paddle or two.”

                To hit Binay? What fraternity is he in? Do they have paddles in their initiations or not?

                Binay probably didn’t get enough spankings as a kid. Or paddles in his college life.

              • “I believe one of Leonen’s (or dissenting justice’s) arguments is that the modifications in EDCA are of such a magnitude as to require separate Senate scrutiny.”

                Haven’t looked at the details… but they are in their effects quite large, so it could be that they are pretty much stretching VFA/MDT to its limits.

                Somewhat like the first Afghanistan missions of Germany, which were heavily debated as to whether they were against the constitutional prohibition of waging an offensive war.

                There were even some who went to court, charging the government with violating the German Penal Code, which expressly prohibits preparing for an offensive war.

                It boiled down to allowing such operations as part of the NATO defense or with a mandate of the United Nations… I don’t remember if they amended the Constitution or crafted the operative mandates in such a way that they just fit into the rules… have to look.

              • Mary,straight from the heart! Before doing the Zumba,have a portable Digital BP checker,And check BP first! – karl

                Yep, thanks karl.

                My BP monitor goes where I go. I checked my BP before I left, a liitle on the low side, 100/60. After 30 minutes of Zumba, things got blurred, I couldn’t see the instructor anymore and I had breathing difficulty, when I felt a little better, I got my monitor and it was 80/50…could be lower during the worst moments.

                Got a failing grade of 50% for effort as I keep stopping…didn’t want to fall down…better luck next time! Obviously, am still not that fit but, man, how I envy the rest of the class. I vowed to myself, I’ll get there somehow.

                What I wanted is a pulse monitor, someting like an arm band…my cardiologist computed the maximum pulse that I could go, beyond that, I’ll be risking another MI. A search at the malls, (Toby’s, Watson) proved negative. The Fitness instructor promised to provide one next Saturday.

              • Drugs? Si Karl kriminal na pala.

                Isusumbong kita kay Duterte. 🙂

              • And also Karl worked in Customs.

                It is impossible he is innocent.

                Spanish Inquisition “logic”. 🙂

              • karl garcia says:

                @Mary,No Mercury Drug in SM,where you do your fitness program.
                Maybe Watsons,then.

                Hehehe !Sa Asian Terminals ako nagtrabaho,port operator sya.Si Benign0,nagwork din dun.
                Pero ok lang basta abswelto ako.

            • Bill in Oz says:

              It was the absence of the USA after the bases were closed ( and the power vacuum ) that lead to the Chinese expanding into the West Philippines sea..And now the Chinese are firmly established on their artificial islands within cooee of Palawan and northern Luzon..

              If the USA ever gave up on the Philippines & the SEA region and left it to it’s fate.. China would not wait for the Philippines senate to ratify a new treaty before moving more of it’s own forces into the area and expanding it’s area of dominance.. Bullies don’t wait for the p’s & q’s.

              • China could occupy Metro Manila within 12 hours if the USA was not there. This is for me the grim lesson from the Mamasapano hearings and the Mamasapano operation. Police, military and political leadership are not solution-oriented, not oriented on lessons learned but on false pride, known as pride chicken in the Philippines. And petty zero-sum power games that can turn to negative when the entire Philippines loses in the bigger game.

                China isn’t going to do that. They are fortifying their island bases to have access to the entire adjoining region. To have a choke point, be able to halt maritime trade and Japan’s and America’s access to oil. And then have full control of “Nanyang”. The ASEAN region.

                At some point they would occupy the Philippines, but not move forward until their bases are secured both militarily and politically. Make sure they have a collaborator regime in place before occupying. Chinese are extremely strategic, so one must anticipate them.

        • karl garcia says:

          In fact, you are making sure that this blog does not sound like an echo chamber.

        • It’s quite simple, but I also took time to boil it down to that. Distillation makes whisky:

          1) The American Constitution was built to fit the unique temperament of the American people at that time, their way of doing things, coming from long English history.

          2) Quezon adapted American institutions to the unique temperament of the Filipino elite at that time. The 1935 Constitution had enormous powers for the Executive, tailored to fit Manuel Luis Quezon – and the person-centric, authoritarian culture of the Philippines.

          3) I postulate that he assumed the Filipino elite would stay the way it was, and educate the rest below. Something happened. The war must have played a role. Successors were relatively well-behaved, until Marcos came and misused the powers he had as President…

          4) The 1973 Constitution was Parliamentary. It was made for Marcos and his KBL, in order to get the will of a one-party state through quickly. It was implemented, starting in 1981.

          5) To prevent one group from misusing its power, the 1987 Constitution was established with very many checks and balances. More than in the USA I think, based on the abuse of both 1935 and 1973 Constitutions by Marcos. The result was often Filipino deadlock.

          The initiative to have a Philippine Competition Act was started 29 (!) years ago. The Konrad-Adenauer Foundation noted it as THE major achievement of this administration in its analysis of Aquinos 2015 SONA. The anti-dynasty bill required by the Constitution is still not there after nearly 30 years. The 1987 Constitution is very detailed because obviously Filipinos are irresponsible. Barriers on EDSA to prevent lane-switching. But where one gave trust like with the anti-Dynasty law, the ruling class abused that trust.

          BBL is another example. It is the organic act for the Bangsamoro area, required by the Constitution. Instead of fixing its weaknesses, lawmakers got caught in game-playing. Not to mention that a similar organic act is I think required for the Cordillera, from what I gather they have not even started to draft such a law. Because it seems that those who shout the loudest and threaten get what they want first. Like spoiled children. Few mature people.

          • Bill in Oz says:

            You are leading towards a federal Philippines Irineo.

          • edgar lores says:

            Generally agree. The Constitution is a worthy framework but its split sides are showing. Congress has been slow in filling up the spaces.

            No 3) is interesting. The politicians of that time had very high hopes and expectations. This was our fathers’ generation, and knowing how principled and bright my father was, I believe you are right.

            There was honor and integrity then. It all came crashing down with Marcos, with Avelino’s quote of “What are we in power for?” foreshadowing the fall.

            Not Avelino really, but the The Manila Chronicle reporter who misquoted him. The newspaper was owned by the Lopez family, headed by Senator Fernando Lopez, who served as the Veep of Quirino and Marcos. So the mischief of oligarchs and journalists are to be reckoned with… even up to these days.

            • Mareng Winnie (Solita Monsod) mentioned that in her column.

              “The mischief of oligarchs and journalists are to be reckoned with.” So true. Most journalists, then and now, can be recruited to one side for a price. So few has retained the integrity and idealism of the profession.

              Mareng Winnie’s column is featured in the headline today, in fairness to PDI.

    • NHerrera says:

      We spoke earlier in the Enrile blog topic about Artificial Intelligence. This is where AI can be a big help. Taking all the Legal Documents in the AI library, including discussions in the oral arguments, the Justices opinions/ discussions in close sessions, R2D2 can then say: I understand it’s your ultimate decision dear SC Justices, but this is my take on this EDCA thing and the associated probabilities.

      It will be interesting how Justices Leonen, De Castro, Brion and the dissenters opinions stand relative to the concurring opinions — considering that AI will be generally programmed to look at the big picture. I do not say the dissenters did not look at the big picture. MAY BE their big picture is not BIG ENOUGH?

      • Maybe a picture of the entire West Philippine Sea including the reclaimed islands with military installations there, and with pictures of our fishermen who cannot venture into the sea to fish, just looking from afar, or of our Malampaya oil field being in danger of not being expanded because of the bully that is China, will be big enough.

        • NHerrera says:

          Along with your thoughts, Mary, I have this:

          We are used to viewing the SC Justices as being more equipped, with better judgment and wisdom, than us ordinary mortals with feet of clay. That’s probably a wrong view. They too have feet of clay.

          They have a matter on hand. Being human, they have their own pre-dispositions and develop their opinions based on these pre-dispositions. If the BIG PICTURE is consistent with that, well and good. If not sorry na lang, I have my pet idea.

          A harsh comment on the SC Justices, but I am reminded of their monumental decision on Enrile — using the idea of being sick and frail as the key to the decision when this was not even asked by Enrile and his counsel. And look at this sickly, frail concededly old Senator appearing not too sick and frail before our eyes in Mamasapano Investigation II.

        • karl garcia says:

          Mary that is a big picture.WPS.

      • Or maybe pictures of the ravages of Yolanda, Bohol earthquake, or an enlarged picture of various earthquake faults in the Metro cities and provinces with the prophets of doom forecasting an almost total wipe out of Metro Manila due to an intensity 7 earthquake that is according to them, long overdue.

        Where are these dissenters in the aftermath of these disasters? While the first responders – Gazmin, Roxas, and Soliman are busily working in makeshift tents, they are probably in their air conditioned rooms and offices tuned in TVs broadcasting the inefficiency of the 3.

  13. karl garcia says:

    THE RECENT steep slides on global stock markets have been a long time in the making. As early as two years ago, it was becoming obvious that in addition to the contraction of global demand, as well as the general increase in the relative competitiveness of other Asian countries, China’s rapid rise was coming to a screeching halt and leaving excessive debt in its wake.
    In recent weeks, the Chinese market experienced its biggest weekly fall in 20 years, tumbling more than 15%. This volatility serves as a further warning: China is still an emerging market, and it has an immature financial system.

    Excessive debt is infecting every sector of China’s economy, from real estate and local governments to state-run or partially government-controlled companies.

    Most large companies in China were on a roll for a number of years, in large part thanks to subsidies from the government. But, at the same time, they were not accruing capital because their activities were so dependent on subsidies. Chinese banks, which are mainly controlled by the Communist party, compounded matters by giving credit at artificially low interest rates fueling excessive debt in all of the country’s sectors.

    Many of China’s big-ticket development projects are perfect examples of how excessive debt has piled up. Infrastructure projects, funded by subsidized loans with low interest rates, yield low profitability and weak capital productivity. Much of this credit is given through a system called “shadow banking,” meaning it does not go through normal bank loans; credit products are sold directly to individuals.

    Public sector debt, particularly at the local and regional levels, has been enormous. They have gotten in their current predicament by over-relying on infrastructure projects. This cannot last forever as there are only so many roads one can build.

    China also has a number of other problems on top of its high level of debt and low capital productivity. Due to the one child policy being in place for so long, its massive elderly population will have to be sustained by a much smaller working population. Social spending by the state will only increase exponentially, especially on education and health. The Chinese government also has a very high budget deficit. It is officially estimated to be at 3% or more in 2016, but how high it will really climb is anyone’s guess.

    Last but not least, the country’s environmental problems are a well-known major burden to China and the rest of the world. Anyone who’s ever been to or seen pictures from Beijing is familiar with the city’s residents making their way around the city in anti-pollution masks.

    Chinese authorities face some very tough choices ahead. China is currently exhibiting many “rich country” problems while it has the budget of a “poor country.”

    A structural reform of its tax system is now clearly needed; its current system is archaic and biased. No country can have its cake and eat it too.

    If China wants a market economy, then it must understand that intervening in markets is bound to fail, and it must learn to accept the volatility that comes with any open market economy. The volatility we are currently experiencing in the markets only confirms what many already know: Beijing doesn’t have that much control over the economy anyways.

    In the coming years, China will most likely go through a very similar scenario as Europe has in the years after financial crisis. Serious restructuring in Chinese business models and banks’ balance sheets. This does not mean that the Chinese economy will collapse. Far from it. We will see much lower growth rates, but there will still be growth.

    China’s sheer size and role on the global stage means that its problems will create risk for the global economy. However, don’t expect a crisis of 2008-2009 proportions. Any damage China will cause will be relatively contained. Some countries that might have to worry are those that export raw materials or luxury goods, and on a smaller scale, the Euro zone.

    • chempo says:

      China’s economic rise helped pull the world up. Now its demise will create problems for us. Perhaps this was what Napoleon meant when he said let the dragon sleep.

      China’s woes now has a fair resemblance to Japan’s in that the central banks are not politically independent. Whilst the Chinese central bankers kow-tow to the communist party machinery, Bank of Japan had for years been submissive to Ministry of Finance who made many policy errors that caused it to be stuck with liquidity but no growth.

      Latest news : Bank of Japan imposes negative interest rates! You pay the bank a fee to deposit your money with them. The idea is to flush the money out of banks and into businesses.

      • They have deflation, I hear. Not inflation concerns.

      • karl garcia says:

        Thank you Chempo for the additional knowledge.

      • chempo says:

        Watch the Nikei head south tonight

        • caliphman says:

          Sorry but I am not sure I would agree with you, old chap. Lowering nominal interest rates generally lead to higher stock prices, everything else being equal. Many investors will switch from from fixed income to equity investments driving the latter up. Incidentally, those who stay are not masochists but believe that the real rate of interest is positive after adjusting gor negative inflation rates, ie. deflation. Their expectation is their prinvipal remains fixed while while prices of real goods and services will be falling. I believe Switzerland is in a similar situation but instead of delation it is the prospect of Swiss franc appreciation that explains negative interest rates. Hope this helps explain what is going on.

          • chempo says:

            Thank you Calipman. U are right of course. That’s why I got burnt 20 years ago. So the liquidity goes into equities instead of business. From ground and real world observations (not economists)…after equities go up, car sales follows and then real estates. This is the way lucky money flows. And of course, bars and restaurants boom. For a while at least.

    • NHerrera says:

      I took a look at the Shanghai stock index:

      YTD return———————– -22.65%
      6-monthe return—————- -25.26%
      1-year return——————— -19.67%
      return from May-June Peak– -47.14%

      The sad part is that many retail investors — mass of citizens enticed by the surging stock price increases in latter part of 2014 and early part of 2015 — plunged their savings and even borrowings in the stock market. And we know that the Chinese has a gambling streak. Poor guys.

  14. I need a new eyeglass, my eyes are playing tricks on me. I seem to have seen a number of posts by a certain Marc (a suspected troll?). Irineo, Lcpl and me responded, I with a 1-liner saying “the problem is, it’s not their waters.” I cannot see any of them now or were they in another article?

    • I responded, not me…not only my eyes, my grammar needs a police, as well.

    • I think Joe removed them… I have that functionality in my blog as well, like a scissors. For a blog editor/publisher it makes sense to do that, if the postings don’t contribute to the discussion or sidetrack it too much. China isn’t the topic here, so I understand it.

    • karl garcia says:

      Editor’s prerogative.
      my post above is the remaining evidence.
      Nah, you were dreaming Mary,nothing you described happened

      • I saw the posts as well.

        But that is just a witness account, not evidence. (c) MRP

        • According to some attorneys, my witness accounts are not credible.

          The one I never will forget is Pasay City Fiscal Bernabe in 1981.

          My affidavit, prepared with Raissa’s father, was “not to be believed”…

          On what basis? Because he just thought so? Every word was true.

          Of course I did not say everything. Just the relevant incident.

          Damn I should have lied, I guess lies sell better in the Philippines.

          • butod says:

            Irineo, that fiscal Bernabe that you mentioned is the father of Cochise Bernabe, the UP law student and (and Will’s fellow Upsilonian) who sometime around ’86 or ’87 was snatched and later killed with his girlfriend Beebom Castanos in what turned out to be a clan dispute gone south.

            Fiscal Bernabe was already chief city fiscal when his son was slain. So powerful and yet so powerless where it should have mattered. Konting trivia lang so you wouldn’t feel so upset at your experience looking back. Darnit, your story does read like Forrest Gump’s sometimes, haha.

            • Thanks… I heard about that story… and that he and his wife did not live to long after that happens, probably crushed by their grief, but the really evil like Enrile stay for so long.

              Bernabe obviously did NOT like me, I always had what Joe has called boldness and Parekoy has termed as insolence. OK I was quiet but probably not as subservient as I was supposed to be towards an Honorable, and was thrown out of the fiscal’s office for making a simple comment while he was interrogating my classmate. Guess it is something a mestizo should not do in order not to be taken for arrogant. Funny that in Pasay City Jail, the fellow inmates were curious but nice. Lucky I wasn’t there too long for my ass’ sake.

              The extreme “importance” with which some Filipino public officials carry themselves still does irk me. I do admit to some glee at seeing Enrile’s epic fail. Yes, Forrest Gump. Got mad when my father compared me to him, but I guess he meant that. My reaction was “Ano ako, abnormal?”. But I did go through most of it with a smile. The strange smile you have to have in order to stay somewhat sane with insanity all around you. In that sense, I can feel some compassion for President Aquino. One has to be truly “abnormal” to dare to lead a country like that. Even with a name to back you somewhat. And even more abnormal to actually change just a few things in a country which has century-old deja vus.

              • karl garcia says:

                Buti ako nung tinawag kitang Walter Mitty,you never heard of the character.

              • butod says:

                The audacity of speaking truth to power, haha. The emperor has no clothes!

                I’m of two minds about the pardon of the Avsecom people in the Ninoy assasination that you mention below though. True, it may have been GMA’s way of getting back at Cory, and I also remember Noy ruing the lack of remorse of the convicts. But if I remember correctly, they had also served way past their minimum service of sentence and were already very sickly by the time they were pardoned. One of them I think died shortly of kidney complications shortly after his release.

                My take is, regardless whether a convict admits or regrets his liability or even professes innocence until his dying days, as long as he has long suffered for the crime for which he was convicted, he should be eligible for a pardon. The only other colatilla I have is that these pardons should apply more to the sickly, elderly and the poor and who have served long past their minimums. Napakadami nyan. By that measure, Jalosjos should still be himas rehas till now. Buti na lang si Mayor Sanchez nanjan pa, who’s also been convicted of the murders of a student couple in los banos.

                I also look forward to the release of the convicts of the Rolando Abadilla (yes, the notorious sadistic PC official during Martial Law) assasination — my recollection is that they have long met the minimums and are now very sickly, and yet remain in the penitentiary even long after the Board of Pardons included them in their list. Especially because I find the basis for their conviction rather shady — I suspect they were rounded up as easy picks just because the communist partisans who openly admitted to the killing couldn’t be brought to justice.

            • karl garcia says:

              Out of curiosity,I read about the tragic case.


              • butod says:

                And just to round out the story with some public interest and showbiz angles, the murder was resolved partly through Sharon Cuneta, haha. She was a childhood friend of Cochise (the Pasay connection, remember — his father having been mayor there for ages and apparently a family friend of the Bernabes), so she took to the airwaves to ask for information for her missing friend, promising a reward in return. The security guard in the case came forward after learning about the reward and matching the photo with what the caretaker told him about a couple getting buried in the compound, leading to the arrests of all involved including the mastermind.

                Here’s the trump card — the mastermind, the uncle of the girlfriend Beebom, was pardoned by GMA after serving only 15 years or so in the penitentiary, while his poor, older and sickly alalays remain in Muntinlupa to serve out their full sentences. O ha, nauwi pa din sa tema ng impunity and entitlement! The whole story is still quite fresh in my memory, having only recently watched its re-run in a free tv crime show while channel surfing.

                OT na tayo ah, haha.

              • GMA pardoned some strange people, including child rapist Congressman Jalosjos… aka Jalosjos-Musmos… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidency_of_Gloria_Macapagal-Arroyo#Pardons and murderer Claudio Teehankee, the judge’s crazy son..

                but the smoking gun I think are these fellows:

                Pablo Martínez (2007) – convicted for being involved in the Assassination of Benigno Aquino, Jr.
                Rogelio Moreno (2009) – convicted for being involved in the Assassination of Benigno Aquino, Jr.
                Rubén Aquino (2009) – convicted for being involved in the Assassination of Benigno Aquino, Jr.
                Arnulfo Artates (2009) – convicted for being involved in the Assassination of Benigno Aquino, Jr.
                Romeo Bautista (2009) – convicted for being involved in the Assassination of Benigno Aquino, Jr.
                Jesús Castro (2009) – convicted for being involved in the Assassination of Benigno Aquino, Jr.
                Arnulfo De Mesa (2009) – convicted for being involved in the Assassination of Benigno Aquino, Jr.
                Rodolfo Desolong (2009) – convicted for being involved in the Assassination of Benigno Aquino, Jr.
                Claro Lat (2009) – convicted for being involved in the Assassination of Benigno Aquino, Jr.
                Ernesto Mateo (2009) – convicted for being involved in the Assassination of Benigno Aquino, Jr.
                Filomeno Miranda (2009) – convicted for being involved in the Assassination of Benigno Aquino, Jr.

                I would not even be surprised or particularly mad if that was the main, personal motivation of President Aquino for Arroyo being detained.

                Where Mary comes from – Batangas, they say lintik lang ang walang ganti, only lightning cannot be revenged. And that dwarfish Mafia boss Arroyo does deserve it anyway. Her pardons nearly all smell of personal patronage and favors given for whatever reason.

              • karl garcia says:

                Thanks,it was interesting.

              • Joe, there is an even scarier person… and his son I have read somewhere is now Mayor instead of him, and better not say anything bad about him in his town I heard, so don’t be too surprised at the preferences of some voters… Mayor Sanchez.

              • Joe America says:

                That town is not on my list of tourist destinations, for sure.

              • karl garcia says:

                lintik lang ang walang ganti- lightning only strikes once.

              • karl garcia says:

                Then avoid Calauan,Laguna.
                But those that he was convicted of killing were abducted in Los Banos (not the almond capital)

    • Joe America says:

      They were sent to spam. Marc is one of the old trolls advocating Chinese positions, sneaking in on a different computer. He was dumping copy/paste messages here and has no intent to engage in discussion. Plus he was into name calling. He violated the terms of the blog in several ways.

  15. chempo says:

    Joe, have you ever spend time in some foreign affairs type course — your analytics are great.

    Americans are learning that they should not be doing international policing jobs and be suckered by the hosts, ala Iraq, Afghan, Pakistan etc. They would want stakeholders to roll up their sleeves and be more pro-active and participative. In the case of the Chinese intrusion in Philippines waters, the Americans would be wise to bring Asean countries and the Aussies and Kiwis on board.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks. No foreign affairs course, no work for the CIA. I did serve in the army and have visited some 20 countries around the world. I read a lot and play basketball to keep anchored as to what is important. I’ve also been training under the watchful eye of my bookie Sal. He helps with the numbers when I get confused.

    • Bill in Oz says:

      The Aussies are already ‘on board’..Shortly after APEC an Aussie military transport plane flew from Singapore by one the artificial islands in November and was challenged by the the Chinese military..The pilot replied that they were on a routine flight in international waters..Reading between the lines Australia does not recognise any claim by China in the area…

      It got lot’s of coverage here but passed unnoticed in the Philippines media…

      • Bill in Oz says:

        I wonder what the Chinese would make of a joint military air flight exercise ( As happened at Guam in the Photo ) around and above the Spratleys with planes from Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Viet Nam, Philippines,Indonesia, the USA, Singapore, Australia and the UK…

        It’s true that some of these regional neighbors have competing “Exclusive Economic Zone ” claims over these waters..But all of them are committed to settling this dispute by peaceful means via negotiation and an international tribunal. So they stand together in this vis a vis China.

      • I read it and cheered for the Aussies, Bill. Your country is awesome, like the other allies.

        • chempo says:

          Ya I second that. Lots of Aussies died in Singapore in WW2. I remember my father told me he witnessed from a distance a firefight between Japs and Aussies. Aussies were brave but badly outnumbered and had to retreat. I salute the Anzuk Forces

          • Bill in Oz says:

            Hey Chempo..There have never been any ANZUK forces…( UK at the end means UK= Britain )
            But there was an ANZAC. force in World War 1..The Australian & New Zealand Army Corp. April 25th the day that ANZAC troops first fought & died in that war is a national public holiday. A time for remembrance & reflection here, lest we forget the sacrifices that so many Australia & New Zealand soldiers made.

            • karl garcia says:

              Again, out of curiosity:

              “Before ANZUK Force was the 3 power 28 ANZUK Brigade which started in 1969 thereby preceding ANZUK Force. It grew out of the remains of the old 5 power 28th (Independent) Commonwealth Infantry Brigade Group. 1 RAR was the first Australian Battalion to serve with ANZUK.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                I stand corrected Karl..But the word ANZUK has no significance to the Australians..Just another military jargon acronym
                These were the days when the UK Labor party decided it did not want an empire or even a real Commonwealth of Nations beyond the seas….Labor was dominated by very shortsighted left wing pacifist & communist inspired thinking then.

              • Joe America says:

                I think I’ll rename this blog “Through the looking glass” because I learn more about American institutions when I study Philippine institutions, because the lessons always reflect back. I sense you are doing similarly . . .

              • karl garcia says:

                That comes after Alice in Wonderland.looking Through the looking glass is better than tumbling down the rabbit hole to get to Wonderland.
                We are learning about institutions and how strong they must remain.

              • karl garcia says:

                Yes,Bill is learning about Philippine institutions and it shows in his blog,SSS in the Philippines and he wants to learn more,that is why he is also looking through the looking glass.

            • Bill in Oz says:

              And Changi is remembered not as an airport but as a brutal, Japanese prisoner of war camp where many died because of deliberate starvation & sheer brutal bastardry.

            • chempo says:

              Bill, Anzuk was formed after the Brits East of Suez policy. It was short-lived with mission to protect the Asia Pacific parts of commonwealth. I respect the Aussie & Kiwis who stepped up to fill the vacuum with the Brits withdrawal. Fortunately, now wars were fought during the time of the Anzuks.

        • Bill in Oz says:

          The Philippines too is awesome in some ways Mary Grace..And can become awesome in other ways…Refusing to accept being bullied by another foreign power is the way that the Philippines can be awesome at this time.. …

          • Yes, we refuse to accept being bullied by a giant…a truly tiny country which is but a small China province in size…who was taunted that if billions of Chinese will choose to sneeze at the same time towards the Philippines, we will all drown. We agree with our President to go for arbitration after years and years of failed bilateral talks, as explained by Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio. Also his decision to enlist support from all other Asean countries who have similar claims, plus the US, Japan, and all the other Allies, like the Aussies in defense of mutual interests.

  16. Bert says:

    “-The US will agree to joint patrol with Philippine military or Coast Guard ships in disputed areas of the West Philippine Sea when and if a favorable arbitration result is received from the UN panel now considering the case (65%).”

    90%, with EDCA, even without a favorable result at the UN arbitration hearing.
    “-When and if a favorable arbitration hearing is received, the Philippines will try to extricate Chinese forces from Philippine territory (3%).”

    Agree on 3%. After completion of President Aquino’s military modernization and upgrades—50%

    “-The US will join with and stand ready to protect any Philippine ships trying to extricate the Chinese from the Philippine EEZ (15%).”

    80%….Chinese reclaimed military islands are a threat to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea so it is of paramount important to America and Western allies for those reclaimed military islands to be extricated as soon as initiated by Philippine boats or ships.

    “-If China brings oil drilling rigs into the UN-certified Philippine EEZ, the Philippines and US will jointly blockade access to the rigs (68%).”


    “-The US will establish a small presence on Pagasa (50%) and a significant presence on Palawan (100%) and the west coast of Luzon (100%).”


    • karl garcia says:

      I thought it was NHerrera doing his numbers,Bert.

      • Karl, we two don’t even know how to dibay-dibay well, and Bert is already doing percent.

        If we are to deal properly with the Chinese, we must learn to do the numbers like them – fortunately we have some Chinoys like NHerrera who do, and Bikolanos who learn fast. This is all just business math and not even algebra. Maybe that is what Duterte meant in his simple way of expressing things. We should learn at least business math properly, meaning apply our knowledge in problem-solving like Joe has said, not just in theory.

      • Bert says:

        karl, NHerrera is the Pro…me, I’m just a trying hard, heheh.

        I hope NHerrera won’t mind us trying hard math wizard kuno encroaching into his domain.

        • Caliphman says:

          Bert, keep using percentages and dibaydbay, rumor has it our Chinese trolls cannot figure that out on thieir electronic abacuses.

        • NHerrera says:

          It’s like the air we breathe. Math or numbers are everyone’s domain to play with. We are all having fun here — subject to Joe’s bookie Sal checking from time to time and whispering to Joe who is overdoing the numbers game. So I constrain myself much like Strangelove trying mightily to control his black-gloved hand.


    • Joe America says:

      Thanks for taking the percentages for the way intended, as conversation starters. I’d follow the edgardian tradition of numbering your comments 1 through 5.

      1. The US is adamant that it takes no sides in the territorial dispute. Therefore, it is difficult to be an “advocate” by accompanying PH ships UNTIL the seas are shown to be PH responsibility. That’s my reasoning.

      2. I don’t think the military will be sufficiently upgraded during the Aquino term to do this. It might take 15 years. China will be drilling by then. I think the PH will never be in a position to kick China out, and their best approach is to make it expensive for China to be there (blockades of oil rigs, eg.). Or a conflict will erupt and China will be blasted off the islands (by the US) and the sand and (dead) coral can be returned to the seabed.

      3. See 1 and 2.

      4. and 5. Good. 🙂

      • Bert says:

        “Or a conflict will erupt and China will be blasted off the islands (by the US) and the sand and (dead) coral can be returned to the seabed.”—Joe

        80% a conflict will erupt within three years….if the following conditions are met:

        1. The Philippines elect a new president with enough patriotic fervor, and more importantly…with enough balls.

        2. China’s continuing development and occupation of the artificial islands are not abated.

        3. The US elect a president who wants to maintain the American status of being the leader of the world and maintains its military supremacy for the interest of the free world and not only for its own.

        4. Australia, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea stay solidly behind America in the fight against what is a very serious threat to their own political, ideological, financial and economic interests.

        • Joe America says:

          1. Well, it’s all speculations, of course. If the Philippines elects Duterte, Poe, Binay or Santiago, the Philippines will toss the ITLOS arbitration case and start talking with China, and will negotiate a way for China to stay in place and start drilling, for some kind of concession to the PH. Duterte seems to have the balls, but he is a peddler, a back room dealer, and he won’t enter into conflict he can’t win. He may kick the US out, as would Santiago and perhaps the other two as well. So I’d say your 80% is way high. I’d guess China would prefer any candidate but Roxas, and isn’t it interesting that the noise in the mainstream is just that, anyone but Roxas. How much of that noise is purchased by China?

          2. China can develop the islands militarily and it won’t mean much to the PH, but a lot to the US. China can start putting wells up, and that will mean a lot to the PH and not much to the US. This is entirely up to China, how that goes.

          3. Odds are good that the US will elect a more hawkish president than Obama, but commercial interests will also be more influential than they are with Obama, and that means the US will not be anxious to create conflict with China. It’s kind of a win/lose to get Clinton or a Republican.

          4. Add Viet Nam to that collection. Viet Nam is arming up and I know for a fact, Viet Nam knows how to fight. Malaysia and Indonesia are also moving squarely to the side of this alliance. Maybe India as well. China, through her boorish approach, is making herself the arch-enemy of Asia.

          • Now says:

            U.S. should do this…. U.S. should do that…… The old man is almost broke and tired. Moreover,troublesome Russia and Iran are in the horizon too.

            • Bert says:


              Iran is on-board now, and Russia is still mired in neck-deep shit of its own, so expect Russia to be just a passive onlooker in the event of a conflict in Southeast Asia. China, your China, will be kicked out of the West Philippine Sea sure as the sun will rise tomorrow.

              Unless China uses its head instead of its muscle in this nonsense aggression in the Atlantic Ocean..

              One wrong move in this conflict here in this part of the world and you will see your own people cutting the head of your own abusive government. Be warned.

              • Joe America says:

                You read that one right, Bert. Now has left the building. I think he must tend to the pigs floating down the river in Shanghai.

              • Joe, you have just seen a sample of the Bikolano spirit at work. Not the sometimes flawed and occasionally insecure version Parekoy and me offered at times – or my father in youth.

                Will is even more dangerous if attacked, in my estimation of him so far. And Leni Robredo – behind the gentleness and friendliness, there is fierce resolve. One can see it in her eyes and eyes never lie, she is the true game-changer for the country right now.

              • Joe America says:

                Roger that. Leave sleeping Bikolanos lie.

              • P.S. fully concur with Bert’s analysis of the geopolitical situation.

                Iran fully back on the Western side in about 10 years – 76.5% probable.

              • karl garcia says:

                mabilis pa sa alas kwatro ang Iran.Natanggalan lang ng sanctions,nag shopping na!


                So make that 85% probable.

              • I ran… to go shopping – ang sinabi siguro ni Rouhani.

              • Additional points about the Russians:

                1) They have a huge problem with the Ukrainians. They are like Russians – but a lot more devious. Good that EU and NATO are not too close to them – they use people. Betrayal a la Aguinaldo is kid stuff for them, the people of the borderlands – old meaning for Ukraine.

                2) They are pissed of at the Chinese
                2a) The Chinese copied a lot of Russian military equipment. The planes on the Chinese aircraft carrier are Chinese copies of Russian jets for example.
                2b) Since oil has become cheaper due to fracking, the Chinese haggled the Russians down on the price for there oil, knowing the Russians need money. The Russians are not amused about this from what I have heard, but can’t do much.

                So behind all the bluster these giants have feet of clay.

                But the danger is that they will go to war because of that. Nazi Germany was practically broke when it went to war to divert from that, modern historians have already shown.

              • karl garcia says:

                i ran fast,but the bad guy caught up so i threw i raq at him.

              • karl garcia says:

                iran now has lots of unfrozen assets,lots of money,Will they continue to fund Isis,Syrians or what have you or be allies of the West have been looking for.

              • karl garcia says:

                We have good relations with Russia,according to this.

                “Russia also enjoys a good relationship with the Philippines. For example, two years ago, three Russian navy vessels (including the anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Panteleyev) arrived in Manila for a three-day port visit. According to Russia, this visit helped improve Russia-Philippine ties.”


              • karl garcia says:


                Who’s next? now,marc,ric. Who is next.I used to think that China can be reasonable,but having trolls like you made me think,that there are millions of you who think the same way,what if your leaders,think like you do?

              • Joe America says:

                They are functionaries, I think, doing labor like the Chinese laborers were used by the US tycoons to build the railroads, or as landowners today employ tree-climbers to harvest the coconuts. If one is busy, they just throw another at it. The seat in front of the computer is always warm when the next guy moves in, and they have a file with all the pre-fabricated nutty arguments they are assigned to plaster across the internet. They’d be sweat laborers, but the rooms are probably air conditioned, in compassion for the computers, not the laborers. I’m sorry I did not start recording the names of the labor crew, from Obed to Now. They are rather like old friends, popping in relentlessly to fool no one.

              • karl garcia says:

                Did i say Who is Next with a period.One with the handle “who” will bypass the spam filter.
                Continuing the Sino (tagalog for who) trolling.

              • Karl it’s very simple. Ask “sino ka”? – who are you? when the next comes. They’ll say yes.

              • Madlanglupa says:


                > Will they continue to fund Isis

                Nope, the Iranians are Shia and will not dole out cash because DAESH is Sunni and so is Saudi Arabia, and right now the two countries are at hair triggers because the latter country executed a Shia cleric.

  17. An Open Letter to the Bashers of the Better Government – copied from an FB posting not mine…

    To whom this letter may stab,

    I came to realize that some of you are supporters of two extraordinary politicians, the rest and the majority are supporters of plunderers…

    Having said that, you should know better than going irrational and resort to propaganda and dirty campaign strategies.

    To blame every single mess that this country is experiencing to President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy), who has only served for almost 6 years and the only President who has done a tangible drive against cancerous corruption is just unintelligible.

    Before you criticize the President, have you even thanked him for the significant things he has done for our country?

    Let me name some:
    The high GDP numbers per quarter which can only be achieved by effective economic reforms
    The increased ranking of the country in the Global competitive Index from 85th place to 65th place
    The record-breaking growth of Foreign Direct Investments to 2.8 billion dollars, outpacing Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore
    The record-high performances of Philippines Stock Exchange
    The lowest recorded inflation rate in five years and lower than the average inflation rates in Indonesia, Singapore, India, and Vietnam
    The Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s conferred investment grade status (BBB-) to the country and the Japan Credit Rating Agency upgraded the country one notch above investment grade (BBB)

    You may say that all of these achievements in numbers are nothing if the economic growth can’t be felt by ordinary Filipinos, yes that’s true but the task is not easy as you make it seem. You can’t expect the government to give out mansions and jobs directly to anyone who hasn’t even gone to school.

    Lifting the poor people of our country needs more than just saying the “Erap Para Sa Mahirap” or “Gaganda ang Buhay kay Binay” slogan. It starts with concrete economic plans and doing the right things to implement them.

    As the experts have said, it needs at least 10-15 years of sustained GDP at 6% – 7% of the Philippines to make the masses feel the economic growth.

    But first, to get to that point we need to support the efforts of the government which are good. When something good is done, we need to support it and drop the political agendas we have. It is the only way to go up.

    Stop the crab mentality. Just because you don’t like Pnoy, you bash everything he does and you discredit him of the good things he has done?

    I supported him and his anti-corruption drive because I think it’s the best way to express my sense of nationalism – to support leaders and people doing good for the country.

    My support comes in different ways and one of them is this posting. Now for the things you are bashing him about, it’s really funny ‘coz it turns out you have nothing really substantial to throw against the President, let me go over them one by one.

    The “Tanim Bala” has been going on for several years before Pnoy’s term. Why blame this issue to the President despite his mandate for thorough investigation? He is doing his job and that’s it.

    The issue of the balikbayan boxes being stolen from by people from BOC has also been going on for so many years before Pnoy’s term. Why blame the President for this? It is only now that it has been taken into consideration and we should be thankful that action has been taken.

    Mamasapano – Many incidents of soldiers dying from an operation against MILF have happened before but why blame only Pnoy for this? If that’s the case, all who died in clashes with the rebels should have been blamed to all the previous Presidents as well.

    DAP was not pocketed by Pnoy, that’s the fact as of this time. If you do your thorough research you would know that DAP is a mechanism to boost-up government spending on priority projects and everything is accounted for and I can say this since no corruption case has surfaced out of it. If there is anyone who misused it, they are subject to charges, same with those who abused PDAF.

    Apparently, the Pnoy administration is transparent, thus DAP is reflected on a government site where one can see the list of projects and even how DAP works. (http://www.dbm.gov.ph/?page_id=9796)

    No matter how you blur out the issue by relentlessly stating the sum amount of DAP, educated people know that the whole sum of money was not stolen.

    Yes it was declared unconstitutional but no corruption charges came out of it. Until charges are filed, DAP remains not an issue for it has benefited the people and the country.

    For the record, Pnoy followed the Supreme Court ruling and stopped DAP despite its good effects to the economy, a plausible act of not being above

    sorry the letter stops here… but it is a damn good summary of arguments…

    Now if trolls of any kind have kits… every salesman in a company has kits of flyers created by the marketing department… why should we not have such material ready?

    My devil’s advocacy – which I have toned down from the PiE period, has brought about gems like Mary’s posting that this is about a choice between good and evil and why it is.

    Be wise as snakes and innocent as doves.

    Pray to God for strength and protection. And then read Sun Tzu to help prepare and continue.

  18. caliphman says:


    For all of you Roxas supporters, read Monsod’s latest piece which offers Mar a glimmer of hope. But his campaign including one based on attacking opponents has got to change. Binay is aleady an indicted felon and if there is no dramatic change in strategy, its a redux of the Binay/Roxas 2010 disaster part deux. Wake the fuck up, people..excuse my french!

    • Joe America says:

      I think that is a common misconception, that it is French. It is believed to have originated in Germanic languages in the 1400’s and was popularized in Great Britain. Wikipedia recites an early usage of a man nick-named “Roger Fuckebythenavele”, which set me on the floor laughing. The Urban Dictionary calls it “perhaps one of the most interesting words in the English language today.”

      This is known as the Irineoan approach in leaping to new knowledge from old.

      • Joe America says:

        ps Thanks for the link to Monsod.

      • 🙂 scanning everything, thinking aloud, going back almost to Adam and Eve, clarifying basic terms (justice and just), unintentionally confusing people… could be Leonine… wonder why people think of me when they read him… or maybe I shouldn’t…

        Pardon my French, if one is to believe Gore Vidal’s novel “Burr” about the traitor Aaron Burr, comes from the times when the French revolutionaries came over to New York to meet their revolutionary brothers, the Americans. According to him New Yorkers liked them.

        The French revolutionaries were rumored to be very rude, having done away with courtesy, which after all comes from court. Not much left of the French court after they guillotined most. They even secularized, curbing Church power… did they cuss the Pope?

      • karl garcia says:


        Here is what Wiki says.

        In 2015, Dr. Paul Booth claimed to have found “(possibly) the earliest known use of the word ‘fuck’ that clearly has a sexual connotation”: in English court papers from 8 December 1310, a man local to Chester is referred to as “Roger Fuckebythenavele”, probably a nickname. “Either this refers to an inexperienced copulator, referring to someone trying to have sex with the navel, or it’s a rather extravagant explanation for a dimwit, someone so stupid they think this that is the way to have sex,” says Booth.[8]

      • caliphman says:

        There is a reason why Frenchmen say merde when they cuss. Its because couche does not carry enough expletive force as Fuck. One must be wary of Wikipedia as a reference as I think it still lets anyone and his uncle enter made up stories and definitions.

        • karl garcia says:

          I first heard pardon my French in the movie”Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”.
          Here is a non wikipedia link for the effing f bomb.


          Bill,has introduced me to the Aussie way of saying, Ang yabang nya: “He is up himself”.

          If I were Bill, I will them them “Up Yours!”

          • The French made insulting people into an art.

            Talleyrand was foreign minister under the King, the revolutionaries – and Napoleon. Somewhat like the very astute political media player in Hunger Games, forgot his name. Anyway there are people who smell the winds of change, and move with them quickly.

            Napoleon called Talleyrand a pile of shit in stockings. Men at that time, as we know, wore powdered wigs, high-heeled shoes and stockings. Napoleon always wore his uniform.

          • caliphman says:

            Karl, thank you for confirming in this case Wikipedia was correct. I read the Huffington link you furnished including that leading to the researcher of the word’s origins. Apparently Fuckebythenavel was considered a synonym for flens flys. Next time I go to McDonalds in San Francisco’s Chinatown and hear an accented order of French fries, I might just end up with a private chuckle.

          • sonny says:

            Onomatopeia accounts for many word origins. I wonder if …

            • karl garcia says:

              In charades,they do sounds like,then you do the motion for four letters then some one will guess it.

              sounds like hmm is the sound of hen pecking ….oh never mind.

  19. Bing Garcia says:

    But that’s just it. The administration’s achievements don’t seem to get reported in the media. Could that be the reason for the disconnect? And why should that be? I asked Vergel Santos, a panelist in the forum, who has 50 years of journalism under his belt (I take my hat off to him—he has integrity written all over him) to shed light on this.

    His answer, as far as I recall, is that we have a growing problem: media ownership and control by business and political leaders who may have conflicts of interest (and guess who is going to win). We also have the problem of corruption in the media. We will all have to be watchful.

    Solita Monsod

    Thus, the importance of Joe and Raissa and others to speak the truth.

    • Joe America says:

      Be on the lookout for the blog scheduled February 7. Indeed, I should cite Ms. Solita Monsod’s column, for it cites a clear need for a different way to distribute news, information and analysis.

  20. andrewlim8 says:

    Just a short on the passing away of a former professor, Cayetano Paderanga Jr, NEDA chief under Cory and Pnoy. I was able to work for him briefly when they were doing consultancy work in the Senate.

    Wry humor, sharp wit, humble. Rest in peace, sir.

    • When I post Malacan’s memes on Filipino national scientists, artists etc. – then read this, there is a thought I have: bakit yata lahat ng matino sa Pilipinas patay o namamatay? If this goes on, the Filipino TV show Battle of the Brainless will be real… in the Senate is already.

      • Yep, Letty. J. Magsanoc, now him. RIP, sir.

      • Madlanglupa says:

        If they’re not dying, they’re leaving for greener pastures because they feel underappreciated, when in reality technocrats are terribly needed in a place where politicians are merely appointed to posts but not known for technical savvy.

        • Stupid politicians want smart people to implement their stupid ideas smartly… forget it. My personal theory for why DOST is so efficient and savvy is that technocrats were among the only intelligent people spared by Marcos era anti-intellectualism (“anti-communism”).

          We knew as High School kids during those days that it was dangerous to look too smart, better go for consumerism and entertainment. In the 1950s – Manong sonny is like a preserved “exhibit” from that time – knowledge was something people were proud of. Well at least Aquino did give DOST real support and there is a Filipino satellite on its way among other things, but I wonder what will happen if someone who rejects algebra becomes President – when even Thai King Mongkok (The King and I) decreed algebra.

    • karl garcia says:


    • caliphman says:

      Very humble. We met and talked when he was getting his economics Phd at Stanford. Dondon never mentioned it but I learned from a friend he was so bright Stanford gave him his doctorate without having to earn a masters degree in economics first. Aquino’s economic programs were successful because of unassuming but brilliant experts like him.

    • karl garcia says:

      The letter did not appear instantaneously,but the link works.
      Due to chronic fatigue syndrome, MDS can not answer right away with the division of labor,because it is very fatiguing to divide labor.

    • Joe America says:

      It would be nice if Senator Santiago cited the areas of legislation that such investigation would be designed to shed light on. Otherwise, she is just intruding into Executive’s domain whilst good laws go wanting and Senator Legarda sneaks around defunding RH.

      Or perhaps the Senator needs publicity right now.

      • The letter is from 9 May 2014. Or does it take that long to get a public hearing started? That does not jibe with the quick witch hunt Mamasapano hearing started so fast.

        And she seems to still use a typewriter. The indication – the typically Filipino syndrome of being too sloppy to put paper in properly, leading to diagonal writing.

        The more I look at things, the crazier they get. OK we are talking about Santiago…

        • Joe America says:

          Ah, I didn’t even check the date. That’s probably what led to the Senate’s demand for review of EDCA. Old news. So never mind.

          • Joe America says:

            Additional note on SC ruling on EDCA. As I was forced to go over the document to rebut that very stubborn persistent Edgar Lores fellow, I discovered that the Supreme Court could have dismissed the case for lack of any jurisdiction to file objection. Evidently, the only party that could file would have been the Senate, and they were not a party to the action. The people who filed had no standing to do so, as they were not a direct party affected by EDCA. However, the SC determined there were “transcendental issues” that they needed to address. And so they did.

            • “transcendental issues”

              no wonder Edgar Lores is so interested.

              • karl garcia says:

                By way of summary, the following rules may be culled from the cases decided by this Court. Taxpayers, voters, concerned citizens, and legislators may be accorded standing to sue, provided that the following requirements are met:

                (1) the cases involve constitutional issues;

                (2) for taxpayers, there must be a claim of illegal disbursement of public funds or that the tax measure is unconstitutional;

                (3) for voters, there must be a showing of obvious interest in the validity of the election law in question;

                (4) for concerned citizens, there must be a showing that the issues raised are of transcendental importance which must be settled early;

                (5) for legislators, there must be a claim that the official action complained of infringes upon their prerogatives as legislators.

                I got this from the Moa-Ad ruling.
                I was reading it a while ago and the word ‘transcendental ‘rung a bell.

                So the concerned citizen may not necessarily pay taxes,vote or be a legislator as long as he has some transcendental issue,he want to raise to the SC.

              • karl garcia says:

                looking at GR 212426 or this EDCA ruling.

                It is a tax payer and concerned citizen’s petition.So Transcendental importance was recognized.was there any illegal disbursement of funds,for this to be a taxpayer’s suit?

                “5. Considering the transcendental implications of the assailed actions and proceedings of respondents to the Filipino people and the nation, petitioners implore the Honorable Supreme Court to judiciously exercise its expansive power of judicial review as mandated in Article VIII, Section 1 of the Constitution, to wit:
                Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.”

              • Transcendental… as in matters of principle I would say. That is exactly what a Supreme Court is for. And of course a philosopher like Edgar likes transcendental matters.

                But now I think Edgar’s worries about Binay and China are unfounded. Why?

                1) EDCA is like an IRR to the VFA/MDT.
                1a) VFA/MDT defines: THAT we work with the USA in military matters (simplified)
                1b) EDCA defines: HOW we work with the USA in military matters (simplified)

                2) There is not VFA/MDT with China. So Binay can’t:
                2a) invite Chinese forces in. He would be overstepping what he is allowed to do.
                2b) create an EDCA with them. There is not basis for that, because no VFA/MDT.

                So without knowing all details, I think that the Supreme Court is basically right, unless there is some detail that makes my simplification invalid.

              • edgar lores says:

                Irineo, that makes sense. However I was thinking more along the lines of economic, rather than military, treaties.

                In his first year, Binay could negotiate an MDT (Mutual Development Treaty).

                In the next year, a VFA (Valuable Free Trade Agreement.)

                Then in the next year, an EDCA (Economic Development Comprehensive Agreement).

                I recall Gloria tried to do something underhanded like that with respect to the joint exploration of West Philippine Sea resources.

              • karl garcia says:

                All he needs is a subservient senate.

              • Which is why voting the right senators is also very important.

                That would be for example one reason to keep Alunan on the list.

              • karl garcia says:

                He was or is FVR’s man,but his stance on AFP modernization is very different now from the recent pronouncements of FVR.(mary’s linked article)

            • Bert says:

              You guys please go slow on Edgar Lores, he’s one of my idols in this Society. Kapag inapi ninyo siya lagot kayo sa akin.

              • karl garcia says:

                Hindi naman Bert.Idol din namin si guru.
                Transendence is like Nirvana to our guru.

              • edgar lores says:

                There should be no idols of any kind.

                We should follow our reasoning — heart and mind — and transcend it if we discover a higher path.

              • Bert, sir edgar is my idol, too. This is a forum where we learn together. I am just as stubborn and persistent as anybody here with regard to the adherence to the constitution.

                Sir edgar said that the Senate was not given the chance to ratify EDCA or to determine its constitutionality. May, 2014. That was a long time ago. And because of her chronic fatigue syndrome, it was not discussed, or to put in motion the procedures to ratify it if it was determined that it is a new treaty, an amendment to the VFA or what.

                When concerned citizen elevated the EDCA issue to the SC, who knows, MDS could have gotten info that a decision is about to be released after a long (almost two years) study and discussion, she filed a resolution had it approved by the majority with the exception of Drilon, Enrile and Trillanes.

                If Santiago is that sick, why didn’t anybody else in the Senate pursued this EDCA issue? They sat on it for a long time, and took action only when the SC is about to rule on it. Is our defense capability so low in the Senate’s priority?

                So many of our legislative members are drawing big compensations and discretionary allowances and bonuses while at home recovering from fatigue syndrome, in detention, or training for boxing matches. Meantime, our fishermen could not venture in our EEZ to fish.

                How many of them have filed their respective CoCs for the May, 2016 election?

                I need more research on the time line, requisites and procedures of ratification of this agreement, if really required by the constitution.

              • edgar lores says:

                Bert, thanks for being in the foxhole beside me. 🙂

              • josephivo says:

                A typical method to derail a discussion is to jump from one definition of a word to the second, often first as a joke, then more serious.

                a : exceeding usual limits : surpassing
                b : extending or lying beyond the limits of ordinary experience
                c in Kantian philosophy : being beyond the limits of all possible experience and knowledge

                Edgar is very alert for Kantian transcendence, arguments based on things beyond possible experience, he is not so much interested in in transcendent numbers as e or pi or other things surpassing the “human normal”.

                The discussion here is about EDCA. Is it so unusual big that it justifies the SC attention and is it so small that it does not need the Senate attention?

              • edgar lores says:

                I was not aware of the second definition. Thanks.

              • Joe America says:

                The matter did not even have the “ordinary experience” basis for review by the SC, as the complainants had no ground to stand on (not directly affected by EDCA), and the Senate was not a party to the suit. The only basis was the transcendental issues of trying to figure out what the framers of the constitution meant (see previous note to Edgar about verbs and prepositions). The Court could have simply dismissed the case, pending a formal complaint by the Senate, but chose to go ahead and review it as if the Senate had been a party to the complaint. EDCA was structured by DFA and Defense specifically NOT to be a basing agreement, and simply be a training/storage agreement with troops allowed to rotate through. So it was BUILT to be so small that it did not need Senate attention and it only got SC attention because a few citizens thought they should be running the nation’s security instead of President Aquino.

              • Bert says:

                Okay, Mary. You have your points, and Edgar cited Leonen’s dissenting opinion which also can be considered for whatever its worth relative to any repercussions it may have to future jurisprudence concerning treaty ratification. But its all water under the bridge now because the Supreme Court has decided on it already.

              • Bert

                Actually, I understand sir edgar’s point. Jurisprudence has been established, so what if a future president with evil in mind will make use of this by passing of the Legislative function?

                Hopefully, the SC will continue to exercise sufficient wisdom as to differentiate treaty/ executive agreements and amendments to an existing and previously ratified executive agreements which aims to implement a suddenly ineffective and unimplementable mutual defense treaty. With the Chinese military installations right at our backdoor and US military ships taking months to sail to reach the WPS from the nearest naval base outside our country, what use is that MDT?

                Sometimes it’s a truly difficult dance to balance long term benefits, even the concept of “the end justifies the means” type of decisions.

                Who says being president is just “a walk in the park” type of job?

              • Joe America says:

                My reaction to this is that laws are really subservient to a political process, or, in the case of Marcos, dominated by that political process. It is of little value to work for diligent laws and then elect a president who is not really a good national steward, or keeper of democratic principles and institutions. The Philippines is held back by cumbersome laws, ridiculous bureaucratic processes built mainly so people can hold onto their little power platforms, and a mindset that accepts an individual is allowed to do whatever he or she can get away with. The nation is under attack from within and from outside and needs a competent defense. That is the purview of the Executive, and I’d argue that we, as citizens, if we expect the nation to defend itself and change its processes, institutions and culture to something more inclusive and inclined to wealth-for-all, need to elect well. The nation needs a strong Executive, one step south of dictator perhaps, and the Courts and Senate are too much engaged in undermining Executive authority than building their OWN institutional strengths. In that way, it is rather a crab democracy.

              • In Switzerland the Executive is composed of 7 people.

                One of them gets to be President for a year, but just a sort of speaker for everybody. They somehow manage to jointly decide, the 7, on what to do for the country.

                Now we have 6 Presidential Candidates, and 6 years term. I know it is just a crazy thought experiment, but imagine all 6 having to work together the Swiss way. No blame games, all 6 have to find a solution and one speaks for all – inside the country, and to the outside.

  21. New U.S.-Philippine military deal, already on ice, could face further delays

    World | Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:54pm EDT

    A U.S.-Philippine defense agreement that would help counter China’s growing naval power in the disputed South China Sea has yet to be implemented more than a year after it was signed, and could now face a fresh political hurdle in Manila.

    The deal gives U.S. troops wide access to local military bases and approval to build facilities to store fuel and equipment for maritime security, but it was effectively frozen after left-wing politicians and other opponents challenged its constitutionality in the Philippine Supreme Court last year.

    The court is expected to issue a ruling before U.S. President Barack Obama visits Manila for an Asia-Pacific summit in November. The deal, called an Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), was signed just days before Obama last traveled to Manila in April 2014.

    In another complication, 13 senators in the 24-member Philippine Senate have signed a draft resolution insisting the upper house scrutinize the deal before it takes effect.

    “In this resolution, we are saying we will not allow the power of the Senate to be eroded,” Senator Miriam Santiago, the principal author of the measure, said in a statement last week. The proposed resolution will be lodged in late July, when the Senate reconvenes after a recess.

    While a Senate resolution would not be binding on President Benigno Aquino, it would put pressure on him to allow senators to debate the agreement, which would delay it further, Philippine political experts told Reuters.

    With national elections due in May 2016, politicians are already focusing on who will contest the presidency when Aquino steps down, possibly putting some congressional business on the back-burner. The Philippine constitution allows presidents to only serve a single six-year term.

    “Aquino is increasingly losing his power to influence Congress,” said political expert Ramon Casiple.

    Further delays might raise eyebrows in Washington, experts said, given Manila has been the most vocal critic of Beijing among the claimants to the South China Sea and has urged the United States to be more assertive in pushing back against China’s rapid land reclamation in the waterway.

    Senators have said they also want to review an agreement to be negotiated with Tokyo that would allow Japanese military aircraft and naval vessels to use bases in the Philippines for refueling and picking up supplies.

    The Senate has ratified previous Philippine defense agreements, including a decades-old security treaty with the United States.

    Aquino has said the EDCA only needs executive approval because it’s an addition to existing security arrangements.


    To be sure, U.S.-Philippine military ties are already robust.

    Philippine military officials say there has been an increase in U.S. exercises, training and ship and aircraft visits in the past year under Obama’s “rebalance” to Asia.

    But the EDCA would take the relationship a step further, partly by giving U.S. forces broad access to the Philippines.

    Washington for example wants to use Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft and ships, the Philippine military chief said in April.

    One of those is a base on Palawan island, about 160 km (100 miles) from the Spratly islands, where China’s creation of seven artificial outposts will allow Beijing to project power into the maritime heart of Southeast Asia.

    The agreement would also allow the U.S. military to build infrastructure such as barracks, logistic warehouses and fuel depots for its visiting forces.

    U.S. Marine Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Pool, a Pentagon spokesman, acknowledged that the court process had delayed implementation.

    “There have been informal, working-level discussions of potential locations and next steps, but no final decisions have been made nor are there any plans to begin implementing the EDCA until the Supreme Court completes its review,” said Pool.


    A Senate resolution on the EDCA would not go unnoticed at the court, the Philippine political experts added.

    While the court is independent, it would be taking note of the political winds while also paying attention to concerns over China’s muscle flexing in the South China Sea, they said.

    Even if the court ruled the agreement was constitutional, it might say it needed Senate approval, they said.

    Theodore Te, the Supreme Court spokesman, said the resolution would not influence the court’s decision, although he noted that the issue of a Senate review of the defense deal had been raised during oral arguments in court.

    Any delays in the court decision could send a signal to Beijing that Manila was uncertain about its alliance with the United States, said Ernest Bower, a Southeast Asia expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

    “If the Supreme Court does not move expeditiously on the EDCA and the agreement is not in place before Obama’s visit, the White House will have to ask whether the Philippines is serious about implementing its treaty alliance with the United States,” Bower wrote recently.

    (Additional reporting by David Alexander in Washington; Editing by Dean Yates)


    • karl garcia says:

      I knew the muckracker is up to some muckraking.

      • ahaha… I rested for a while today. I was woozy still from that bout of hypotension.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        Hey karl
        I have been away dancing the night away with tango..A good night !! 🙂

        And now I have just discovered your comment elsewhere “Up himself is self absorbed,right?”

        Ummmmmm not exactly Karl..

        Think more bluntly, graphically, & anally and in with the head..And you’ll get the picture.

        • karl garcia says:

          ok,🤔😳 if I am a girl, I would say eeew.
          But I insist,if anyone of them does not like you to be called William,hey it is not your fault that your parents named you William,go tell them: Up Yours!

          Dancing was good for you,Mary got a hypotension attack.

    • edgar lores says:

      The three branches are supposed to be co-equal. What we have are: a softly focused Executive, a too compliant Legislature, and a rampant Judiciary.

      • Sir edgar, in the bases retention and in this EDCA issue, I wish we had a compliant Legislature. In those instances, the Senate is adamantly contrary, ultra nationalists and non visionaries. The rendered our Mutual Defense Treaty as teethless as a newborn baby.

        • Joe America says:

          The Mamasapano hearings became a kind of litmus test of senatorial stand with those critical of close ties with the US demanding that information be put on the public table, and those supporting a working relationship with the US trying to change the subject or suggest that such matters be dealt with in private session. Senator Santiago was not there, but we know where she stands . . . right beside the leftists chanting “USA out!” Senator Legarda, who has military rank and chairs the Defense committee, was surprisingly demanding that details of the operation be set forth in public view, causing me to wonder if the lady doth have a couple of cogs missing from her concept machine; then we had her stripping RH funding for contraceptives and I decided she is a bit of a nut case (literary opinion, not psychological determination). Poe and Escudero have a kind of hostility about the engagement of the US, so I don’t trust Poe a whit on the matter of China. Then you have Honasan and Recto who seem unattached to any principle or party, no matter what the nametag says.

          I tell you, if I were President, I’d certainly shape the agreement to keep powers in my arena, rather than have it pass by that bunch of egos and unreliables, where it would take 2/3 of them to sign off on the agreement. The President will not get commendation for getting EDCA negotiated and approved, but I think tens of millions of people appreciate the outcome and will sleep a little more securely. Chalk this one up to masterful playing by the Political Pool Player in Chief.

          At some point, the Senate just MIGHT figure it should come to work to do laws rather than political investigations, and make the nation more secure, rather than insecure.

          • Thank God we have an excellent pool/chess player Commander-in-chief Pnoy in this trying times of China’s attempt of hegemony over Asia and maybe, the world.

            Recognizing the futility of asking the Senate to see it his way, he may have made sure that EDCA is but an amendment to the already ratified VFA. A blessing in disguise that the left leaning group elevated the issue to the SC, it may had delayed implementation, but preferable to “ice it or shelve it to infinity” the way Santiago did.

            Thankfully the SC majority had seen the bigger picture.

            • karl garcia says:

              More of a supplement than an amendment.An amendendmend changes something or in the case of ourconstitutional amendments,it replaces it.

              • Right, supplement it is…I stand corrected. your working as one of the staffs in the Legislative body shows.


              • karl garcia says:

                Saling pusa lang ako.Dito ko na nga lang binubuhos ang researching skills ko.Pero bilib pa din ako sa mga katulad mo when it comes to investigative stuff.Sina Baycas nakakabilib din.
                Si mr. unreliable sources,nakakabilib din,but you do not want to talk about him.

                I have seen one hearing on EDCa done or presided by Trillanes at Senate and a bigger one At the House of representatives,were I saw Rep Neri Colmenares tear out a copy of the EDCA,for photo op effect.this was 2014.

                One thing lead to the other, after a few days I just read that it is already in the Supreme Court.

                Edgar is very correct that it should have been ratified by the senate.Cong Biazon was adamant at first that it should have Senate ratification the senate concensus was not to do anything anymore,pabayaan na lang.
                Were they a compliant Senate? you be the judge.

              • sometimes I read Mr, unreliable source, sometimes, I can’t even go beyond the first

                Pabayaan na lang…wow, that’s very revealing. It seemed they abrogated their duty, in other words, they evaded the responsibility. In this instance, to let the executive exercise his duty to defend the nation, which he did. I find it surprising, though, that all of them, (no, correct that, except Enrile, Trillanes and Drilon) supported Santiago’s resolution.

                Col me Nery – I wonder what he and his group will do when and if the Chinese come at our front door, with his tearing up the EDCA for show at a time when the their military installation are almost ready at our backdoor.

                My “copy paste investigative stuff” is nothing compared with the members of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. Feeling lang..hehe

              • The Senate, compliant? hard to say, they do support this admin’s economic programs, enact GAA on time as the admin budget preparation is on time as well, no re-enacted budget for PNOY, unlike in Arroyo’s time. Kudos to the both of them,

                Lately, I have come to this impression that the Senate is somewhat passing the buck, letting the President take the blame for budget deficits due to passage of laws that have no corresponding funding for ease of implementation, case in point, the SSS pension hike law and who knows, other laws as well. This VFA supplementing agreement, EDCA, is another. Thankfully, it’s one of those things where we can apply “All’s well that ends well”.

                That is, unless col me Nery will still continue with his EDCA document tearing shows and submit an MR at the SC.

              • or, Heaven forbid, an SC TRO while the MR is being readied, to stop the government from implementing the EDCA. Hopefully, this will not come about.

              • Joe America says:

                Can you imagine the SC putting a stop to the defense of the Philippines? Seems like over-reach to me. Just sayin’.

              • karl garcia says:

                How is your BP?
                Have you checked Mercury Drug for the pulse monitor, or you will just buy the one that your fitness instructor or trainer will bring?

              • @karl
                “How is your BP?” – Time for my maintainance meds, Just took the last one it’s 140/70. No more hypotension, Hypertension si knocking…thanks for asking.

                “Have you checked Mercury Drug for the pulse monitor, or you will just buy the one that your fitness instructor or trainer will bring?” – since meron na akong 2-year old Samsung Galaxy S5, yun na lang ang gagamitin ko because I found this at CNet:


                There may be a problem with your fitness tracker: it could be misreporting your pulse. Mine did, though it took a cardiologist to tell me so. (Says the author)

                Gadget First figure – Error at 80-90 BPM 2nd Figure – Error at 160-170 BPM

                Garmin VivoFit
                10.7 0

                Withings Pulse O2
                5.3 57.1

                Basis Carbon Steel
                10.2 57.9

                Samsung Gear Fit
                4.2 Unable to read

                Samsung Galaxy S5
                3.1 0.2

                Devices with optical sensors that read the wrist (instead of the fingertip) had the most trouble tracking heart rate. These include the Basis Carbon Steel and the Gear Fit. Both either errored out in multiple tests or were significantly inaccurate compared to the EKG post-exertion, supporting the idea that optical monitors are challenged by quick pulsations.

                In contrast, the Samsung Galaxy S5, a phone with a built-in monitor that measures heart rate from your fingertip using an optical sensor, tested almost exactly in sync with the EKG.

                Thanks for asking, karl. Really appreciate it.

  22. Joe, I’ve noticed since last night, something that has not happened in this site before. There is a delay in the post appearing in here. I thought a lost a post last night, so I reconstructed it from memory and posted it again. After a while, I noticed the 2 posts, slightly different from each other as i couldn’t recollect completely what I typed before, .actually went through.


    • karl garcia says:

      just refresh twice.experiment.

      • karl garcia says:

        sometimes Joe has two posts too,I notice it,but he edits it soon enough.

      • When using my desk top pc, I refresh every now and then, I need to ask the resident techie to figure out how to refresh an ipad…we shifted from PLDT DSL to Globe, so latelt connection improved vastly…this has never happened before so I commented on it to know if others have experienced the same, too. thanks, karl

        • Madlanglupa says:

          I have doubts with those telcos in this day and time, and as much as I don’t like Tiglao, he of late talked about what the part-owners of Globe and PLDT (Singaporean and Indonesian, respectively) are doing while their own telco properties have better internet. And then Telstra entering the market, but to install 4G modems and cellsites with SMC.

    • Joe America says:

      The Word Press system is used by millions around the world and is generally stable and bug free. I use an off-the-shelf version. My double postings are a function of my mouse doing doubleclicks so fast (when I want to do a single click) that the system accepts both of them. I’m guessing that the problem would be with your hardware or local connectivity rather than Word Press. Whatever it is, I have no power to change anything in the system.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        Joe is there a limit on how many replies can be made to a comment..And can this be altered ? I notice that often there is no reply box for some comments..And going to the reply box at the bottom breaks the thread of the conversation..

        • Joe America says:

          Comments nest one within another up to seven levels deep, then they stack in the order received. When you get to a dialogue that is so long that it is stacked, you have two choices. (1) scroll up to the last “reply” button and you will end up commenting at the bottom of the stack, or (2) break off and start a new discussion by using the comment box at the bottom of the thread. I don’t want to go any deeper than 7 nestings because the nested strings already get thin and long on mobile phones.

  23. http://filipinogerman.blogsport.eu/kabuhayan-kaligtasan-karunungan-kakayahan-kaunlaran/

    Thanks to Grace Poe – of all people – for giving me the first three aspects of this article.

    But it does debunk her simplistic ideas, although I like the bullet points so I used them.

  24. karl garcia says:

    On fears of bilateral ties with China.
    Here is an example of a bilateral tie unthinkable one year ago.
    India and Iran.


  25. Madlanglupa says:

    Offtopic: The usual “action star” claims he has 600k supporters overseas, ready to go to the polls. I wonder how much they read what’s actually happening here and how they try to judge the veracity of reportage.

    I believe that in most cases they seem to read local news *first* on Facebook (because it’s the first thing they’ll open every morning on their smartphones rather than TFC or PinoyTV), and believe it to be true, as if we’re already being overrun by armed thugs on motorcycles and Mainlander drug lords. This is why we have a picture of a trio of workers cursing the President.

  26. josephivo says:

    “Joe America says:
    January 30, 2016 at 6:35 am
    Yes, once one gets over the hurdles of understanding that the US is NOT imperialistic, and can be trusted, then the US presence BUILDS and secures sovereignty. The idea that sovereignty is undermined is hobgoblins in the brain.”

    1- What is “imperialistic”? Building an imperium as the Brits did or try to control international relations, to stay on top?
    1.1- The US has far out the biggest nuclear arsenal, just for decoration or with a purpose? The US is the strongest in industrial warfare, the anonymous killing of multiple people from a distance. (The US can be beaten in one to one fights, see Vietnam, Afghanistan, partly ISIS.) Their military power creates leverage.
    1.2- The US uses it economic muscle to attract the brightest, the most innovative, the most industrious. The US is leader in the casino style of banking. The US is most gifted in raw materials. Their economic power creates leverage.
    1.3- But above all, the US controls information. “Information is money”. Knowing everything about everybody is the best guarantee to stay on top (ask Enrile). Their information supremacy creates leverage.

    2- Should one worry about American influence?
    2.1- Yes, the US will get more and more dangerous as it is losing ground to the Chinese in all fields. (e.g. listen to Trump and look how easy it is to play the nationalistic trump card)
    2.2- Yes, Silicon Valley is falling in the trap of absolute power corrupting absolutely. The effectiveness of controlling information reaches dangerous levels. (See the privacy debate and court cases in Europe.)

    If you call the sum of all these leverages imperialistic is irrelevant. For all non-Americans how to reduce them is relevant.

    3- American bases in the Philippines?
    3.1- Unimportant shadow-boxing for both parties.
    3.3- Also in relation with China, the arm-wrestling will be won or lost in other areas. Information, advance-information, political and economic spying, information about individuals and individual trends… And economically, Germany lost the war because of economics, not because of the lack of foreign bases, an idiot leader or a failing military.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks, josephivo, a mix of pithy observations, nicely enumerated for response.

      1.0 Imperialism. I was thinking in terms of geography, the acquisition of land and nations as is being done by China and Russia. But yes, there are other forms of Imperialism, such as the dominance of commercial markets or resources, to the disadvantage of others. I don’t believe the US wants to dominate the Philippines in either form. The US wants to “stay on top” of democratic values and the idea of freedom, and commercial markets under the name of (or guise of) “fair play”. I’m surprised I have to explain this.

      1.1 The US maintains nuclear weapons as an outcome from the cold war as deterrence that would prevent Russia from doing anything stupid. The US goal has always been to step back from the brink, but that is hard when nations like Iran and North Korea, as well as recidivist Russia and China, are aggressive and acquisitive. I’m also surprised that I have to explain this.

      1.1(a) The US has technological war-making powers and uses them in the fight against terrorism, and as well as a deterrence to nations such as China who would otherwise just move into the Philippines. The US does not intentionally bomb civilians and your statement reflects a certain bitterness that I fail to comprehend. Russia is today indiscriminately bombing civilians in Syria and you seem to be suggesting the US should, in response, lay down her weapons.

      1.1(b) Wars are political as well as military, and the US lost in Viet Nam because it was a war waged politically. Afghanistan and ISIS are separate conflicts and need proper context and discussion. That’s too big for here, and dropping them like bombs into this elaborate discussion makes me think you are out to win the debate rather than discuss the ideas.

      1.2 Yes, that’s true.

      1.3 Yes, it does, as a government, and its companies such as Google are not half-bad at it as well. They still have not been able to stop Chinese and Russian hacking, so the control is not complete, and as with technological weaponry, continued advancements will occur and be rationalized by the military, industrial, communications complex. It is considered to be a matter of self preservation in an era when murdering innocents is the method of choice by the other side.

      2.0 Yes, of course, one should be wary about American influence. My point would be that the Philippines is smart enough and mature enough to engage with the US adult-to-adult, not submissive to dominant, or child to parent. I actually believe that.

      2.1 The US is perceived by many in the US to have lost ground under the Obama “disengagement from world dominance”. Now you seem to be griping both because the US has not kept up with China in being a thug, as well as griping because the US is still too dominant. The US is damned if she dominates and damned if she does not.

      2.2 Worthwhile subject for debate, but it has very little to do with the pragmatics of China sitting today on PH rocks. I did not call them irrelevant. I declared them relevant in 1.0. Why to you put words into my mouth, suggesting to readers that I am somehow disingenuous. Those are your words.

      3.0 They are not bases, in technical, legal terms. They are repositories to store goods and armaments, with troops rotating through to train up and be trained up and respond to needs, which, hopefully are reduced in probability (Chinese adventurism) by the deterrence factor.

      3.1 That is your opinion, not shared by Philippine leadership or, judging from the discussion threads about town, by most Filipinos.

      3.3 That is likely true, but as a readout of the future, may not be. I suspect if the US wanted to, it could bring China to its economic knees, but chooses not to. China may try that in the future, to the US. Desperation in the minds of thugs is a rather ugly quality.

      I appreciate the commentary. It has been a slow Sunday, and it is nice to get a little exercise. However, after I go through all of this, I am left not really understanding the point? That EDCA is a mistake?

      That may be. But then, you need to propose an alternative that will preserve Philippine sovereignty and independence in the face of an aggressive, acquisitive China. Your point seems to be more arguing about the US, to the point that I have a hard time distinguishing you from Obed and Ric and Now and all the other Chinese laborers who have pressed their argument that the US is the problem here. I thought you were Belgian. 🙂

      • josephivo says:

        Things aren’t always straight forward. Discussion have a core but often the fight are at the fringes. Discussions have a rational side and an emotional side.

        Starting with the later. Some lazy Sundays one is more emotional than others.

        A character is build early on. My father worked in a Belgian company taken over by Americans in the early fifties. 5 years later he lost his job as the complete Belgian management was replaced by young “MBA” Americans, the factory rationalized, the customers lost and as a result the factory closed in the sixties. So I might have grown up in an American critical environment. Then as a student we all walked through the streets shouting “Johnson murderer” and singing “We shall overcome”. (On the days we were not rallying for “Louvain Flemish, Walloons out”)

        “Give them cake”. As a Flemish growing up it was so hurting to see the French-speaking elite in Belgium reacting. If you can’t speak Dutch, just enjoy French. “We should be happy to be dominated by them”, they had been at the cradle of the industrial revolution and Belgium’s wealth. Traveling a lot it was always shocking to see the lack of empathy of those who consider themselves superior, more knowledgeable, important, belonging to the stronger group/nation.

        I avoided conscription as I considered industrial killing invented in WWI as unethical. Artillery, bombing, fighting from a distance without risks for oneself is not fair. Dying for generals moving battalions on a strategic map as pawns on a chessboard not my thing. Face your enemy.

        EDCA debate. The core is the legality of the executive signing this deal. (I believe that there are good arguments for both sides. As a law obeying (non)-citizen I accept the SC decision with an afterthought that too many Filipino laws need clarification.)

        On the fringes many other thing are discussed, mainly:

        The importance of the deal and the importance of having the Americans in support to keep the Chinese at bay. (I think the Philippines own –economic and moral- strength is much more important than the American umbrella, see Vietnam)

        American imperialism. (see the first text)

        Philippine maturity and the power distribution between the executive, the legislative and the judiciary. (Since Pnoy the executive behaves professional, therefor should be given more respect until the legislative and judiciary catch up.)

        • Joe America says:

          Ah, okay, thanks for the personal backgrounding, which makes good sense now. I served in ‘Nam, and protested the war when I got out, so I am not totally dis-compassionate as to where you are coming from. EDCA debate is now over, as to legality. I agree that Philippine’s own economic and moral strength is more important than the American umbrella, but also potentially more bloody to promote, in isolation. So they are not mutually exclusive. American imperialism exists in the commercial/communications/technology arenas. No problem from me on that. And I for sure agree with your closing thought:

          “Since Pnoy the executive behaves professional, therefor should be given more respect until the legislative and judiciary catch up.”

          Then after that, we can respect the whole of government.

        • Robb says:


          Hoe is het mogelijk dat je hier naar al die zever in pakjes luistert ?
          Hij zal NOOIT zeggen dat Amerika imperialist is in de wereld en zijn macht over wil behouden.

          • Joe America says:

            Sorry, Robb, josephivo and I are friends. You are odd-man out. As in OUT.

            • Kloot says:

              Yes, you are a typical American, it’s black or white, friend or enemy.

              • josephivo says:

                This was my first idea too 5 years ago. Read a few more blogs please and see if you can support your black and white statement, I couldn’t.

                By the way I lived a few years in the US and loved it. Donald Trump is not the only American, there are more sources of information than Fox.

                (Is your name the only way to attract attention? Quite rude. )

              • Joe America says:

                He’s gone, along with Robb and Hypocrite. They are trolling the blog in the belief they are helping China. I’ll leave their comments in, as they don’t take a lot of space. It is easier to dump them if people can recognize the pattern and not respond. New visitor. Condescending remark. Let me send them on their way to spam. Some earlier today were downright nasty, so the infestation is pretty strong for this blog. They must not like the material.

            • Hypocrite says:

              You went to Vietnam war to stop Communism and being back at home you demonstrate on the street (and we would need to believe you, no guts to be a deserter and go to Canada as so many did). Vietcong is still there, LOL
              What hypocrite are you ?

              • josephivo says:

                Please go to the US talk to people about Vietnam, don’t assume.

                If that is too far, buy a book on WWI, the motivation of soldiers to enroll and the reaction of soldiers coming back. The front-movement in Belgium after the war, all hypocrites? You are insulting too many.

          • josephivo says:

            I don’t like Dutch being so rude not to communicate in the language of the host.

        • Bill in Oz says:

          Hi Josephivo
          You say
          ” The importance of the deal and the importance of having the Americans in support to keep the Chinese at bay. (I think the Philippines own –economic and moral- strength is much more important than the American umbrella, see Vietnam)”

          You seem to be recommending that the Philippines can go it alone against China because of it’s economic & moral strength as Viet Nam”

          I’m am sorry but I have to say that this is very foolish statement. You touch on Viet Nam the history of which was my PH D thesis for 5 years. ( Unfortunately unfinished )

          Viet Nam’s national identify was not forged by the wars with France & the USA. It was forged via 800 years of Chinese occupation till 832 CE. Then there was a war of independence for about 20 years. The Chinese invaded and tried again to colonise Viet Nam is the 14 th. century..This after a period of occupation was also defeated. In 1978 China ( the People’s Republic of China ) again invaded Viet Nam. This was also defeated.
          But the price of this independence (as when fighting the French & The USA from 1945-1975 ) was enormous.

          I think you should not suggest that the Philippines strengthen it’s national spirit by going it alone against China.The Philippines may survive but only at an enormous cost in lost & destroyed lives, plus physical destruction of the country.

          Your native Belgium in the 1860’s sought great power help against invasion. And it’s existence as a country was guaranteed by the UK against German invasion. The UK entered WW1 in 1914, because of the German invasion of Belgium.

          I assume you are a Belgian nationalist.If so it’s a bit two faced to suggest that the Philippines not do exactly what Belgium did for exactly the same reasons

          • josephivo says:

            The only Belgian nationalists you will find are French speaking (except when we win in football, cycling, pigeon races or tennis). Belgium is a marriage of convenience between 2 peoples, not out of love. For economic reasons we always looked for neutrality. (Sell arms to both sides, being to small to set up a competitive army.) But this it is not about Belgium.

            You did not convince me.
            – 1978 the Vietnamese kicked back the Chinese without American help, whatever their history.
            – I strongly belief the enemy here in the Philippines comes from within, look at the history. American armies will not suffice to combat them. NSA with info from Google and Facebook is more important.
            – American support will be more likely if they can trust and if there is something valuable ($$$) to defend. More then bases a strong economy and a regime they can trust.

            • Madlanglupa says:

              > 1978 the Vietnamese kicked back the Chinese without American help

              1988 the Viets were wiped out in Spratlys — Chinese opened fire with their deck guns.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Yes that is right Madlanglupa on both items…It goes to show the depth of feeling between the two sides that are both run by a ‘communist’ party…

                Viet Nam as a nation was forged and strengthened by Chinese aggression.

                Joesphivo I always thought that Belgium emerged in 1830 as a reaction by Dutch & French speaking Catholics determined not to be oppressed. by Calvinist Dutchmen..

                My point about Belgium seeking great power support to stay in existence remains valid. Great power ( the UK ) saved Belgium from a German invasion in 1870 when the Franco Prussian-German war happened. And Belgium knew there could be a second round and sought continuing guarantees from Great Britain to preserve it’s neutrality in the event of another bout.That second bout happened in 1914..The third and final knock out round happened in 1939-40. And Belgium survived.

              • josephivo says:

                … what they told me:

                In the war of independence in 1830, religion was only one element and mainly used to mobilize the masses. The main reason was the under-representation of Belgians, 62% of the total population and only 40% of the representatives, this combined by the new king’s style, interfering just as the Austrians with Joseph II and the French with Napoleon (we just had defeated the Austrians and tasted independence before Napoleons conquests.) Belgian cities and the nobility had a centuries old tradition of great independence.

                In the treaty of London in 1839 the Dutch eventually accepted our independence. The major European powers were reluctant to change the borders defined by the Congress of Vienna but gave in to the new reality. Especially England was afraid that a new Belgium would become part of France (the French had rescued the Belgians after their first defeats in battles with the Dutch.) Therefor they requested that Belgium should stay neutral and that all signatories could intervene to guarantee its neutrality. (This neutrality was lifted in 1948 by the Treaty of Brussels, the precursor of NATO.)

                In the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, the French and Germans were both afraid to invade Belgium and outflank the opponent because it could make the Brits enter the war. Belgium was happy with its neutrality as they could trade with both parties. Same in WWI, but this time the Germans took the risk believing they could conquer Paris before the Brits could cross the Channel, however the “heroic little” Belgians unexpectedly delayed German advances… then a war in trenches, artillery, poisonous gasses, millions of casualties, the Big War (but relatively few Belgian casualties and no hunger in occupied and plundered Belgium thanks to Herbert Hoover and the American food aid.) Same again in WWII, this time the Brits only could sail to Dunkirk and back, leaving behind their more than 40,000 vehicles.

              • Trench war in World War 1…

                The Belgian general who was famous for that also instructed Heneral Luna before.

        • Bert says:

          “Artillery, bombing, fighting from a distance without risks for oneself is not fair. Dying for generals moving battalions on a strategic map as pawns on a chessboard not my thing. Face your enemy.”—josephivo

          joseph, I agree. War is not fair, a duel is, :). But, who said, ‘all is fair in love and war’, karl, do you know?

  27. karl garcia says:

    Come to think of it,it would not be the first time the SC epwill dismiss a case,even if the petitioners claim it to have transcendental importance.

    This is closer to home,because my dad was one of the petitioners.
    They questioned the foreign funded infrastructure projects,that even foreign funded projects need to go through the process of bidding.
    end resuult case dismissed,because the implementing rules for foreign funded projects of the procurement law is not yet completed or even made.

    This decision was used by the government during the NBN ZTE hearing in the senate,that it was ok if dies not go through bidding any more.


    • karl garcia says:

      The self checking of Mary and her reaction to errors makes me ashamed of my errors.
      The problem is,I never learn.

      • Never mind, karl. It feels good to be in good company.
        chit is typing from her mobile phone, I think. The wonder of it is we are communicating our points, somehow, somewhat…typo errors and all, or wrong choice of word like amendment that should be supplement. Thanks for that again.

    • Joe America says:

      Legal technicalities are a bummer. How come we can’t just talk about things using common sense?

      The Philippines breaks down into those with power and those without and the lawyers are not referees. Judges may or may not be.

      • karl garcia says:

        It is a good thing in this blog,even if there are lawyers like caliphman or D’Agimas and some occasional members, Our discussions are mostly layman approach and based on common sense.
        As to other fields,if Chempo talked like a banker most of the time,I or some of us of us would not understand him.
        Edgar is an IT, professional,but he transcends to law,philiosophy,and others just because of reading every book he gets his hands on.
        ok he does not want to be called idol,so that is my last time to call him idol………
        I am digressing again.

        As to our Philippines,I remember Lance Corporal’s stand that we lack lawyers,Now he rightfully changed his mind,Maybe we convinced him enough that lack of lawyers is not the problem,we have too many of them already.
        And when you read the comment threads there are instant lawyers,instant soldiers and instant experts of what have you.
        I wont exclude my self,it takes one to know one hehe.
        Some are legit,but some of us are just enjoying the google searches.

        As to impunity,the powerful,the powerless or those pretending to be powerful.
        You said it Joe,that breaks down the Philippines.

        • Joe America says:

          Digress away. All sounds good to me.

        • Legal impunity is the worst form of impunity – even Rizal noted that in “The Philippines, A Century Hence”. Legalism is used to intimidate the less educated up to this day.

          My father told me that lawyer was one of the first professions open to “Indios” in Spanish colonial times. And I think it was useful to have a lawyer in the family just in case you needed to defend yourself against the rampant legal impunity – landgrabbing for example was so often done with the help of the law by those with money and connections. And with goons in case of resistance. Why do you think acceptance of the law is so low among masa – those who have taken over the role of Indios, like josephivo has already noted?

          There is a scene in Brillante Mendoza’s “Lola” where the grandmother is in court and everybody is talking in legal English (I admit I barely understood the accent, I have been away from the Philippines too long I guess) and at some point the judge asks a question, and her lawyer nudges her and tells her to answer “Yes” and she does. That is maybe closer to the reality of today’s Philippines – the movie is from 2009 – than all fantasies of “a nation of laws”. It is a justice that is more like the “colonial jest” Rizal called Spanish law. In Germany foreigners who don’t speak German have the right to an interpreter. Now I seriously doubt that Lumads get one in the Philippines. Might as well put them in front of the Spanish Inquisition with a bearded priest speaking Latin, and burn them at stake.

          • karl garcia says:

            re:land grabbing
            In my family, if I am to believe my mother,she said my great grand mother’s family owned a vast land in the island where Aman Pulo is ,Pamalikan island,I think, but somehow it was taken away from them.I do not know the details,but sounds like land grabbing via legal technicalities.

            • karl, join the club of former big land owners now almost landless…I have a post above which also digressed from the topic.

              • Edgar Lores also read Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “A Hundred Years of Solitude”…

                Now the stories of the Philippine countryside are almost better than that, and the different versions of history politicians like to tell are more than Marquez’s “magical realism”…

            • Land is a difficult topic in the Philippines… some legal history:

              1) In the 1860s/1870s it seems that they started titling lands the Spanish way. The Spanish way was to state that the land of Pedro was with the lands of Juan to the North, Jose to the East, Sancho Panza to the West, and Don Quixote to the South. No geographical coordinates whatsover. What was before is unclear to me – maybe Manong Sonny knows more. Some sales documents I have from our family dating back to that time contain affidavits (MRP was right once more, affidavits and witness accounts) from neighbors stating they knew that the Indio So and So (yes, they were called that way) had tilled the land for 30 years or more… and that was the basis for owning and selling.

              2) Spanish period land sales were certified by the Mayor. In the case of my family it was Don Higino Templado, famous mayor of Tiwi. Spanish official paper, and official stamps with the year on them and the King or Queen of that time. Beautifully written in the longhand of the respective village scribe. The Mayor had a flourishing signature, very much like that of Filipino officials today. Peasants had scrawls.

              3) In the period of troubles between Spanish and established American rule, there are documents still written by village scribes and in beautiful longhand, but without stamps. Somewhere I read that villages in Bikol continued that way in the absence of central authority. Lots of private contracts as well. I also have some papers like that.

              4) During American rule, the documents were bilingual in Spanish and English. Not the elegant Spanish paper anymore which was very thick and durable – American bond paper. And American ballpen ink, not the dark ink of Spanish fountain pens like before. In American times Church lands were sold. The Americans introduced a modern system of titling lands. In that transition period, it is alleged that a lot of cheating took place. Don’t know if the old “Torrens Title” system is from that period, Commonwealth or Republic.

              5) Sometime in the early millenium from what I gather, TCTs were introduced, and if I am not mistaken the Registry of Deeds was put in a centralized computer database. TCTs are a lot more precise than the old Torrens Titles.

              So the whole thing is very much like the matter of birth certificates. Before many did not even go to the municipio to register their children but had them baptized. Many had their kids baptized with a different name than what was registered at the municipio because of pamahiin (superstition) for example if the kid got sick the name was considered malas (bad luck) and was changed at baptism. Sometimes municipios burnt, who knows some officials had things to hide, so many had baptismal certificates plus affidavits only.

              NCSO at some point computerized birth, marriage and death certificates – and certificates of singleness which used to be the mayor’s business, but that was either late 80s or early 90s. I remember the printouts. We did not see any of that in 1988 at the Embassy yet. So if I see comments at Raissa’s saying the Militars may have committed a crime by not registering Grace at once, well maybe but I think that was common among the poor. And the fear of Chinese sneaking in via foundlings is ridiculous because the most common way they did get Filipino passports was through fake birth certificates or “friendly” officials. But it seems that now DSWD is involved which is a good thing. But all this excessive legal formalism while the practical reality is patchy is ridiculous. In nombre del Rey de Espanya!

  28. karl garcia says:

    The precursor of the BBL called the MOA-AD was also dismissed, this time the reason is the executive gave up on it,and decided not to sign it. So another premature petition.

    If it is not transcendental, it is pre-mature.

  29. Bill in Oz says:

    Back on topic sort of…The reasons for EDCA…
    Here is a link to the Guardian ‘s website with a collection of it’s articles onb the Western Philippines sea and the claims by China etc…Interesting that the Guaradian is usually fairly ‘left wing’ in it’s international reporting..But here it is pretty balanced and accurate.


  30. Madlanglupa says:

    Misworded title from this former obscure ambassador.


    What is the point of quoting laws to protect our sovereignty, if our markets are already being flooded with substandard products?

  31. Jake says:

    Would love to hear your opinion of the possible results of US presidential elections in relation to this. If Hilary wins, I think it will be good for EDCA. If Sanders win, I worry about the future of EDCA. If Trump wins, I don’t know. He does not seem to have a foreign policy

    • Jake,

      The problem isn’t so much on the American side, it is on the Philippine side, since EDCA is an “executive” agreement.

      The Marine and Navy forces in Okinawa, are overstaying their welcome. It’s high time to draw down. Which they already are doing, more units are being sent to Guam and Hawaii, and

      also units are being diverted to Darwin, Australia. So it makes sense to rotate forces around the Pacific, and SE Asia, regardless of who’ll be president— TRUMP 2016!!!

    • Joe America says:

      Trump would continue EDCA. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being peacenik and 10 being warmonger, I’d score notables roughly as follows:

      Cruz 8
      Trump 7
      Clinton 6
      Obama 5
      Sanders 4

      That is for policy. However, as for explosiveness, Trump leads the pack and would be a dangerous Commander in Chief, I think.

      • Q: The Russians are hitting Assad as well as people we’ve trained.

        TRUMP: Where they’re hitting people, we’re talking about people that we don’t even know. I was talking to a general two days ago. He said, “We have no idea who these people are. We’re training people. We don’t know who they are. We’re giving them billions of dollars to fight Assad.” And you know what? I’m not saying Assad’s a good guy, because he’s probably a bad guy. But I’ve watched him interviewed many times. And you can make the case, if you look at Libya, look at what we did there– it’s a mess– if you look at Saddam Hussein with Iraq, look what we did there– it’s a mess– it’s going be same thing.



        Trump, ironically, is the only guy I’ve heard on stage that gets Syria— Sanders is close, but his stance is more Ron Paul’s, ie. hands off the Middle East, I’ve never heard Sanders lay it out like Trump did.

        The only play in Syria is to support Assad— and only Trump is saying this, not Cruz not Hillary.

      • karl,

        You gotta watch this debate. I saw the 11th (one more primary debate to go) GOP debate last nite and it reminded me of this Idaho governor’s debate of 2014, gotta love Trump for making these national debates as entertaining,

        Here’s a shorter video w/ the highlights,

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