May 9: The day millions of Filipinos will turn their backs on the altar

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Voting in the Philippines as an act of faith. [Photo credit:]

I have been doing a series of articles to explain to foreigners how it may come to pass that the Philippines will elect a president who could very well drag the nation back to backward. As popularly described, the dangerous candidates are a crook and liar, a womanizing killer with a dirt mouth, and a shallow opportunist.

But today, I need help from Filipinos to explain to this foreigner, yours truly, about faith in the Philippines. Because I’m not getting it.

For the headline to this article, I had originally written “Filipinos will turn their backs on Jesus”, but my wife scowled at me. “I don’t like that!”

So I dialed the headline language down, in respect of her sincere belief, which is as pure as faith can be. From the heart, deeply.

Which confuses me even more.

If we step back from the heart, from the soul, and look at the human face of faith in the Philippines, it is clear that there is a disconnect between what the priests say, and what the priests do. And those of other cloths and pulpits as well. There seems to be no CONVICTION among them to do what Jesus Christ preached, and died for. For Christians, the idea is that we should believe in Him, that Christ and His way and sacrifice is the path to salvation. Other faiths have similar paths based the idea that being a flawed and sinful man or woman is not good enough. We should be principled. We should be good.

We should sacrifice of ourselves to rise above our manly sins.

I’ve read much of the Bible. I was a student for several years. Genesis and Exodus are good reading. Not airplane reading, mind you, but good for the mind and spirit. Frankly, though, I couldn’t get through Deuteronomy or Numbers. Hard reading. I love Psalms, and have done that book page by page, for the poetry and the richness of meanings. Exodus, terrific. Job made me aware that God deals harshly with the wayward. I was discouraged during the reading.

I read Job and I’m surprised more faithful here in the Philippines don’t tremble at what they do, and at what their friends and family do. There is a lot of sin going down in the Philippines. Judges, senators, representatives, agency officials, mayors, governors . . . they are thieving and lying as if God were just kidding. As if Job were a joke. The main principle in the Philippines is that a law is broken only if you get caught. And forgiveness is just a “Hail Mary” away.

Kindly cite which book of the Bible that idea is found in, that we sin only if we are caught.

But I digress.

Back to the Bible.

The New Testament changes gear. It is the soft side of God, through a very kind and compassionate man, His Son, Jesus Christ. The first four books are from the perspective of four disciples: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These books are the staples of every Christian’s beginning bible studies, and many a child carries a disciple’s name on his birth certificate, in respect of the faith into which he was born.

As we move on through the New Testament, we get to Acts. This book is an entertaining recounting of the work of the apostles during the founding of the Christian Church. It’s not a precise history, exactly (it is rather an adaptation, favoring certain themes and events), but meaningful, for sure. Luke is believed to have written Acts and the idea was to show that “virtue is better than vice” [Aune, David E. (1988), “The New Testament in its literary environment”].

“Virtue is better than vice”

“Virtue is better than vice”

I repeat intentionally. It is a lesson that seems not to have registered on Filipino public servants, or Filipino voters.

“Virtue is better than vice.” Well, is that not what Jesus Christ taught, lesson after lesson after lesson? How to put good in our minds and hearts, to put peace ahead of fighting, to think of others, to be humble, to heal rather than rend?

So I don’t get it.

I don’t understand the election survey polls that suggest half the voting base in the Philippines would opt for a known thief or a self-professed murderer. Or, to a much lesser extent, that it is okay to use a sacred house of worship for a political photo-op.

I don’t understand why the Catholic Church is complacent, as if the best the caretakers of faith can do is sit back and watch, impotent. It makes them sinful in my book, enablers of the most powerful sinners in the nation. I rather think Jesus would storm through Philippine cathedrals throwing out the priests. Then he’d worry about the money changers.

What kinds of disciples for Christ do Filipinos make, anyway?

Well, regular readers know my visual mind, the way concepts become metaphors or images. In my physical vision, it strikes me that the 2016 election Act, the selections made by Filipino citizens, will be as if the whole Christian congregation, on a quiet Sunday morning, decided to rise from the pew.

And turn their backs on the altar.

Do I have this picture wrong? If I do, kindly explain to me what faith means to Filipinos.

I have the suspicion that something a great deal more serious than the selection of a president is happening on election day.


253 Responses to “May 9: The day millions of Filipinos will turn their backs on the altar”
  1. The first mass at Limasawa was about food and drink for most Filipinos, I suspect.

    The Santo Niño left in Cebu was just another idol for them, I think. The Bible just something to memorize without thinking about it, just like most education in the Philippines ever since.

    • Ireneo, I don’t think they actually read the Bible over there— if they do it’s in small passages, missing large chunks of context. Since Filipinos don’t read the Bible they end up relying on homilies and priests (or pastors) drinking at fiestas 😉 .

      And I disagree with Joe’s, “I don’t understand why the Catholic Church is complacent, as if the best the caretakers of faith can do is sit back and watch, impotent.

      We can’t lambast the three religions of the Philippines, and then when things aren’t quite going the way we hope, somehow evoke/encourage participation and play the Jesus-card.

      That’s a brew, you’ll might have to drink, so best not to make it— no matter how dire.

      The best Church, IMHO, is the one that stays out of politics, thus impotent (as seculars) is what we want.

      Ireneo, your take on Duterte’s legitimacy early-on was based on ethnolinguistic break-up, caliphman‘s is economic/class, I’ve tend to agree with you two. But the rest here have had their blinders on.

      Now less than a month (for you guys), the Society’s now feeling the Bern. No one, IMHO, ever took the time to study why Duterte is ascendant (ethnolinguistic group and class break-up), placing Mar in a bubble of fluff.

      And now with this article Joe’s appealing to Jesus? C’mon.

      Joe, you don’t get Christianity. The whole basis of God becomes man, is that man doesn’t get to become God (that’s Buddhism)— so whatever sins Duterte is guilty of (real or manufactured) all he has to do is feign humility, apologize, then be forgiven (his letter to the Vatican apologizing, answered).

      That’s the whole point of Christianity. Humility is pride under Christianity–since Constantinople.

      So Duterte is a very Christian/Catholic leader– so long as he feigns humility and people eat it up. The difference with Trump over here, is that he doesn’t bother feigning humility— and it’s catching to him, but we’ll see after NY 😉 .

      Don’t play the Jesus-card, Joe (this is Wil‘s realm, and I’m sure he hasn’t gone down that path yet), study and figure out why Visayans/Mindanaoans are so willing to overlook Duterte’s shortcomings. Had Roxas started yapping in Visayan, he might have averted this calamity.

      • –since Constantinople.

        * —since Constantine.

      • Joe America says:

        “And now with this article Joe’s appealing to Jesus? C’mon. Joe, you don’t get Christianity. . . . Don’t play the Jesus-card, Joe.”

        Well, Lance, it is my blog and if I choose to play the Jesus-card, I’ll sure as well do so. What is amusing is that you see the article as playing the Jesus card versus playing the morality card, as if one can exist without the other. And you seem to think that what I write here has ulterior motives (preaching the way of the Lord) when it is merely an instrument to facilitate thought and hopefully good deeds, respectful of building a quality Philippines. So climb down off your own moral high horse and stop preaching to me, eh?

        That said, you point that the priests should not preach politics is a good one. But the reality is that they do. They (some) have repeatedly called for the resignation of the President of the Philippines, and long ago, to intimidate him away from signing the RH bill, mumbled a few words about ex-communicating the President. So the reality is, if they mix with politics they are going to get lectured to at least do it consistent with what their faith teaches. They get no free pass because some atheist in the US believes an ideology that has no relevance here locally.

        • Joe,

          I thought we were on the same team here. Are we not both secularists, who believe Bible thumping whether good (intentioned) or bad, should be dialed back (to zero) for the good of any nation?

          I get the stylistic license, and I’m not censoring you. From a stylistic angle, it’s an article that will elicit what you’ve aimed to elicit, like Wil’s. It may elicit some soul searching, though doubtful.

          I’m well too familiar with the politics of the Church (over here it’s the Evangelical movement), but the point I’m making is that secularists should be uniform when speaking of the Church, no matter which.

          You can’t have your cake and eat it too— IMHO 😉 But that’s just me.

          Because the moment you play the Jesus-card, then as all priests have done in past, you’ve assumed righteousness for your party (your side), essentially saying, ‘Jesus would vote for Mar Roxas’ (so you should too!)— and the absurdity of that is the point of my post, Joe.

          Like praying to God before going to war, or Tebowing after a touch down, or during the Grammy’s R&B artists ‘Thanking God’.

          I’m simply saying you can make your point for Mar w/out playing the Jesus-card, w/out Christening Mar Roxas in your imagined Church for the purpose of this article, Joe— I get the creative license (I did snicker a bit when I read it, though the hint of pandering is Wil’s specialty, IMHO).

          As secularists, I just think we can make our case for better governance w/out playing the Jesus-card (specially the Philippines, full of myths and magical-thinking still)… is all I’m saying, Joe.

          • chempo says:

            I don’t seem to be following…

            Methinks Joe is saying hey you Filipinos are so Catholic, so why are’nt you guys following whatever Jesus stood for when you consider which candidate to support – why support liars, cheaters, thieves, murders, womanisers, etc. That’s not tantamount playing the Jesus card to support Mar.

            • chemp,

              Therein lies the great loophole of Christianity,

              precisely because Jesus came as the great friend of sinners (and tax collectors 😉 ). All that gets nullified simply by “humbling” themselves. Every candidate essentially has a ‘Get out of Jail’ card, by evoking Jesus— because they are all sinners.

              “That’s not tantamount playing the Jesus card to support Mar.” It is. Unless I’ve been reading it all wrong, and Joe’s actually included Mar in this lot of—- ‘liars, cheaters, thieves, murders, womanisers, etc.’. I’m sure he’s not. Hence, ‘Jesus would vote for Mar’.

              But the problem is precisely that Mar is no sinner (where Jesus prefers sinners)— read too good, on a pedestal. The more Mar gets elevated on that pedestal, the lower his popularity. There’s a lesson there.

              That’s another point all together, but my initial point is simply as a secular— I’ve been consistent here calling for undermining magical thinking. Politics is politics, no matter where… saying “Jesus favors Ted Cruz” coming from an Evangelical is understandable, but

              Joe essentially campaigning with “Jesus favors Mar Roxas” (unless he’s a liar, cheat, thief, murderer, womanizer, etc.) does nothing to encourage governance based on secular ideals— IMHO ;-).

              • Joe America says:

                Chempo said it so simply and you keep complicating it. If you want a blog about secularism, write it. That is not this blog.

              • Joe America says:

                If the blog is a “fail”, write one that is not.

              • Peter Penduke says:

                your reading it wrong in the sense that you think joe is saying mar is the only alternative.

                all the other candidates have no stigma of killing, so why indeed the pinoys are pulling for the “killer”?

                it is really a head scratcher that a religious country will go for duterte.

                jesus card? probably, but not for mar. this is more of WTF variety.

              • “But the problem is precisely that Mar is no sinner (where Jesus prefers sinners)— read too good, on a pedestal. The more Mar gets elevated on that pedestal, the lower his popularity.” Well, Duterte be bad for sure.

                Those who want to be bad or are bad (in the Afro-American sense, Gian was right all along about similarities to that other slave experience) run with Duterte. Including Cayetano who likes to wear a black jacket nowadays, but comes across more like this:

              • Joe America says:

                “But the problem is precisely that Mar is no sinner (where Jesus prefers sinners)— read too good, on a pedestal. The more Mar gets elevated on that pedestal, the lower his popularity.”

                Now that is a legitimate point to make in the context of how the argument was laid out. Indeed, values here are backward so that “good” is read by poor people as “bad” because the good people have all the breaks, and they have none. They are more comfortable voting for other real people, the ones who are like the guys down at the cock fight arena, coarse of mouth, manly, decisive, and they’ll go get their gun if the situation calls for it.

                My audience, as Cha points out, is not the poor masses, but the line of opinion makers or educated people who may or may not be able to have sway with the masses. It is also priests and preachers. Maybe I’ll influence a sermon, eh? As for the undecided people, if I reach any of them and make a difference, I think the idea that I will push them into the Duterte or Binay camp is purely speculative. I’d wager the opposite.

              • “As popularly described, the dangerous candidates are a crook and liar, a womanizing killer with a dirt mouth, and a shallow opportunist.”

                Peter Penduke,

                crook and liar = Binay

                a womanizing killer with a dirt mouth = Duterte

                a shallow opportunist = Poe

                “your reading it wrong in the sense that you think joe is saying mar is the only alternative.”

                I’m pretty sure I’m reading it right. 😉

              • Joe America says:

                I believe Roxas would do the best job of building from the Aquino foundation of earnest, honest, productive government. I think Poe would also build from that foundation but would be a little looser and troubled with favors owed. I think Santiago would run a good government, but I don’t like her stance on EDCA and the US.


              • If the blog is a “fail”, write one that is not.

                I’m not saying I can write a better blog, Joe. I’m simply laying out an opinion that this whole “Jesus would vote for Mar” bit (though cute), goes against the promotion of secular governance— don’t get me wrong, as far as campaigning goes I’m sure it works, I’m just making a case for secularism.

              • “Maybe I’ll influence a sermon, eh?”

                I’m sure you’ll get some (maybe more) religious types to go around saying “Jesus would vote for Mar Roxas, and so should you!”.

                I’m picturing an ad space that reads,

                “My son would vote for Mar Roxas” ~ Mama Mary

                (would that fall under the ads stipulation, since it is a quote by Mama Mary? 😉 )

              • Joe America says:

                That is a facetious fail. Filipinos take their faith seriously. I suggest you go into read mode.

              • Okay, now I’m confused, Joe.


                So Mar is thumbs up (not a sinner), Poe and Santiago too (so they’re not sinners); But Duterte & Binay are sinners. In that case, Peter Penduke was right, you weren’t singling out Mar Roxas only as the non-sinner. I read it wrong.

                Poe (I’m sure Santiago’s out of the running) is a good alternative (kinda like Hillary Clinton for me 😉 ).

              • Joe America says:

                Sinners of the gross and malignant kind. Plunderers, murderers, unrepentant plunderers. Those kinds of guys. I am sure Roxas does a fair amount of sinning. For sure, the lunch he hosted when we met was of the gluttonous kind. Not exactly peanut butter sandwiches. I don’t know why you are confused. Maybe because you are operating on that secular plane rather than getting down to root in the dirt that is going down here, where sinners are leading in the polls and economic and social hell in a handbasket awaits.

              • My confusion stems from the fact that I was sure, the article was — Mar not a sinner (of the malignant kind), all others were.

                Though I’m still reading the article the same way, I’ll take that last comment as a half-hearted endorsement for Poe ;-).

                But I’ve read enough of your campaign articles to know this is a Mar article, Joe— but you’re crafty that way, so forgive my imposition on your fun.

                (Back to reading mode.)

              • Joe America says:

                No one can stop you from living your fictions.

            • JP says:

              You nailed it straight to the core.

              • balayang says:

                I read the bible as a literary oeuvre but somewhere along the way it leads me to GOD, go figure. Christian soldiers, most of us are and we LIKE it that way. Ask old SNL episodes : we get pricked with rusty nails and we stuffed it with chewed tobacco and we liked it 🏄

          • Joe America says:

            No, we are not actually the same. I am a secularist living in a land of faith and can either fight that or accept it or use it. In this article, I chose to use it because there is a strange gap between the lessons of the Bible (secular or religious, take your pick) and the decisions being made during the election. If my playing the “faith card” causes people to think about their choices in the election, then it is a card worth playing. I ought not be reprimanded for playing it, I think. The reprimand was not a comment on faith in the Philippines or the elections, but was a moralistic judgment of the author’s wisdom and perspicuity in how he laid out the argument. You might as well have called me disingenuous or a bible thumper or some other label to slap on my forehead because you have a different set of insights and think I should follow your path. Sorry. I’ll make whatever arguments I choose to make, as atheistic moralizing is just bible thumping from a different book. I have studied the Bible, I do think it has tremendous lessons, and I follow my own personal line of faith, detached from any organization.

            • “I chose to use it because there is a strange gap between the lessons of the Bible “


              Then you gotta account for the whole notion that Jesus is for sinners, first, then expand from that. The whole point of Christianity is missed if you don’t take that into account.

              “I ought not be reprimanded for playing it, I think. “

              Not reprimand.

              I’m simply expressing a secularist view (I think edgar would make the same observations, though with more tact I’m sure)— but you’re right you’re in the thick of it. It’s easier to play secular over here.

              But if the whole point is to improve the Philippines, isn’t a secular gov’t a more positive direction? Instead of, the indirect/slight of hand, “Jesus favors Mar Roxas”? It just reminds me of all the Mama Mary quotes over there—

              it’s a bit back-handed (those Mama Mary quotes, no matter the intentions).

              • Joe America says:

                The idea of a secularist nation is worth debating but is one of those grand ideas that has not one iota in hell of gaining a popular audience here and has absolutely nothing to do with the election, which is the subject of my article. Your quibbling is starting to irk me, frankly. You have become argumentative (again) and diversionary and aren’t contributing anything positive or relevant, as far as I can tell.

  2. Jorge Barba says:

    Joe, your confusion stems from your lack of understanding on the distinction between God’s injunction towards leaders and individual believers. True, Duterte is liable as an individual for his morals but as a leader of a secular country, he only has to perform the Biblical mandate to be the terror of the evildoers (Read Romans).

    In fact, Duterte personifies God’s attribute of righteousness in the OT by being a protector of the poor and rescuer of the wretched from the claws of oppression.

    If Jesus didn’t bother the blood of the Galileans was mixed by Pilate with blood for their sacrifices, why would a writer like you so horrified of the precision killings based on the full force of the law?

    • killer says:

      Mr. Barba, your confusion.

    • Joe America says:

      I’m sorry, but that is rather a shock to attribute God-like to a man who advocates killing, who finds adultery amusing, and swears worse than most drunken sailors. I don’t think I am confused at all on that point. I think your rationalizations are about as extreme as I could ever imagine. Jesus was not an executioner.

    • andrewlim8 says:

      @ jorge barba

      Ha. Straight from comic book lore into the real world.

      There is no such thing as a “precision killing based on the full force of the law.”. Ninoy was precision shot by the Marcos regime, and Rizal by the Spanish colonizers.

      Gomburza was precision garroted by the Spanish authorities, and they had the full force of the law.

      So Duterte is the God-appointed executioner?

    • stpaul says:

      Mr. Barba, the Phils. being once pagan is ruled by the New Testament hence the nine attributes of a Christian life according to Paul in his Letter to the Galatians “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23. And I tell you, none of those fruits can be attributed to Dugong and his supporters. Wake up.

    • JP says:

      A true Christian is the like Saul in the book of Acts that after he was struck and converted by the Light, Saul is a change man! He praised and work to glorify God practicing and preaching the good news to unbelievers.

      Philippines faithful have had experienced changes but the true believers are still very minimal. I recognised this as flawed in our faith. My hope is for Pilipinos to change and practice what a true Christian is and we can do and practice it with the same passion as part of our society.

  3. Harry Tan says:

    Spot on these key points, Joe. Agree much —

    1) I have been doing a series of articles to explain to foreigners how it may come to pass that the Philippines will elect a president who could very well drag the nation back to backward. [Drag the nation BACK TO BACKWARD. Hehe. I like it. You phrased it very wittily. Touche!]

    2) As popularly described, the dangerous candidates are a crook and liar, a womanizing killer with a dirt mouth, and a shallow opportunist. [Easy to identify.]

    3) I read Job and I’m surprised more faithful here in the Philippines don’t tremble at what they do, and at what their friends and family do. There is a lot of sin going down in the Philippines. Judges, senators, representatives, agency officials, mayors, governors . . . they are thieving and lying as if God were just kidding. As if Job were a joke.

    4) The main principle in the Philippines is that a law is broken only if you get caught. And forgiveness is just a “Hail Mary” away. [Exactly!]

    5) The New Testament changes gear. It is the soft side of God, through a very kind and compassionate man, His Son, Jesus Christ. The first four books are from the perspective of four disciples: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These books are the staples of every Christian’s beginning bible studies, and many a child carries a disciple’s name on his birth certificate, in respect of the faith into which he was born.

    6) I don’t understand why the Catholic Church is complacent, as if the best the caretakers of faith can do is sit back and watch, impotent. It makes them sinful in my book, enablers of the most powerful sinners in the nation. I rather think Jesus would storm through Philippine cathedrals throwing out the priests. Then he’d worry about the money changers.

    7) “Virtue is better than vice.”

    8) “Virtue is better than vice.”

    Joe, your lament on (6) is maybe already answered on (3) — they are not as fearful of the Lord as Job in shepherding the flock. Just maybe, IMHO.

    And yeah the Western mindset (as compared to the Eastern one) of meritocracy flaunts that “virtue is better than vice.” In the Philippines, this is trump on by vice plus impunity. So that, vice plus impunity is “better-er” than virtue. Perhaps because Philippine democracy is still young and so does our institutions. That’s why this Presidential election is very, very crucial. And, Daang Matuwid MUST continue “to roll on like a river.”

    So that, for additional six years, the institutions are much more strengthened and social justice & rule of law continue to prevail.


    • Joe America says:

      Thanks for the enlightenment, Harry. Especially the point that virtue is trumped by vice plus impunity. And I suppose that, broadly speaking, the vice part is voting to express anger and frustration at having no where to go whilst others seem to getting someplace. Sort of rebellion, totally detached from faith.

      Yes, another six years would give a lot more people the feeling they are also a part of the rising nation. Might just reach the tipping point to social justice and rule of law. There are clearly still a lot of headwinds.

  4. Amado says:

    Ha! Filipinos are Christians in name only. We have turned our backs on the altar a long time ago. Souls already sold to the highest bidder for less than 30 pieces of silver or to the entertaining clown for the price of a funny one-liner. Who gives a shit about the future when we have already forgotten the past. So short our memories we marvel at re-runs and retreads and bridge-sellers. Alas, Ninoy, you were wrong. The Filipino are not worth dying for.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, a rather severe view. I think, like education in schools, the churches don’t teach deep lessons. They teach rites and obedience. Rote and rite, I suppose. I would not judge so harshly a people who are largely powerless to change things. I would counsel them to think about things a little more.

      • stpaul says:

        The faithful Sir Joe are indoctrinated through rituals and obedience. But, in teaching the doctrines of Christ, I’m sad to say that the clergy had been remiss. Only a few of the faithful truly know the Lord Jesus Christ’s message.

        • Joe America says:

          Ha, I just wrote the same observation in response to Mr. Abad. Our notes crossed. Agree. That is clearly the conclusion one has to draw based on what we are witnessing.

        • akoypnoy says:

          During the first voting day for OFW, after voting, a Filipino priest together with his relatives gathered for a picture taking with a group of OFWs in black and red shirts in front of the embassy. After that, I overheard a lady in yellow asking the priest if he ever heard or read the pronouncement from another priest from Cebu something about the taking of communion of people supporting candidates promoting violence and answered in negative. Obviously he is one of those supporters.

  5. Jean says:

    From cultural practices down to superstitious beliefs, each region applies its own spin on things. History itself seems more a matter of perspective as opposed to facts. It should be no surprise that Faith is not the exception.

    Faith in my experience, finds strength and foundation in its ability to be identifiable to a person. This is why I believe we have so many versions on how the bible is interpreted and ergo a likewise number of religions have come into being. There’s the Born Agains, Jehova’s witness, Roman Catholics, Adventists ect ect. Each profess and push for virtues attributed to good. The discrepancy I’ve noticed is how each interprets what is good and acceptable. At least that’s what I’ve noticed with the churches.

    To tie this up with the topic at hand, I think people are ready to vote for flawed characters because being flawed is identifiable and makes it seem more real, tangible and with-in reach. Faith reinforces this somewhat as God seems to have a penchant for choosing flawed individuals to advocate his will as is narrated in many bible passages. I am guessing people may be thinking that this may very well be the case with their candidates.

    I just guessing of course…

    • Joe America says:

      Well, that’s also Jorge’s point in declaring Duterte to be just like the Old Testament God. Yes, there are a lot of flawed characters in the Bible, and they mostly earn their punishments. Jesus does not fall into that bucket, however, and I guess he is just a movie star, to be attended to on Sunday. Not taken internally, seriously, as providing a set of life-enriching lessons.

      • not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

        It is the Lord’s to avenge… and not Duterte’s if one takes this part of the New Testament seriously… Duterte is taking what is the Lord’s unto himself as a kind of God-King.

  6. Gemino H. Abad says:

    Though I will not despair — “carrion comfort, despair” — much of what you said, Joe, is a very sad fact (an understatement). A Jesuit priest, Jaime Bulatao, refers to the Catholic Filipino mind-set as “split-level Christianity.” The Philippine Republic as independent nation isn’t even a century old. The mind-set of the masses (this includes the so-called ABC economic class) is still tribal (or “regional”: e.g., I am Ilocano, and so, I vote Bongbong; I am from Mindanao, so I vote Duterte) and feudal (from Spanish colonial times, people looked to patrons — “the landlord” — to help them with their needs) and sentimental (emotional — how tele-novelas prosper! emotional, and so, ignorant and gullible, in that they are more swayed by feeling than by reason). We have a long way to go — more and more “matuwid,” more mature and responsible, I hope — and I think of education as one principal means for individual integrity of character.

    • Joe America says:

      Education, and a drive toward rational analysis rather than reactive emotions, would certainly stabilize the nation. Democracy is predicated on an informed public, and that presumes the ability to digest the information thoughtfully. The US seems to be going backward if I look at social media commentary there, so the Philippines is not unique. However, the lack of faith-based principles in daily living, I would say, represents a failing of the churches to do the work they are organized to do. I don’t think they are organized to just foster obedience and contributions in the collection plate. For sure. Pope Francis is a thinking, adapting person who does not just quote doctrine, but tries to figure out its relevance in today’s world.

  7. josephivo says:

    Think you should consult a Feng Sui expert to check your house first for negative influences and while at it wouldn’t hurt to consult an albulario too, there might be dangerous spirits in the trees around your house. I assume you have the proper religious relics on a proper altar or even more powerful charms in your pocket. Play it safe Joe.

    By the way, it is more than just not to be caught, but if everybody does it, than it must be meant to be done, you would be a fool to be the exemption.

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, right on that last sentence. Excellent clarification.

      My wife does the relics and the rites, and underlying it is a true belief in supernatural powers. She’s never read the Bible though. I don’t walk under ladders and believe all living things have an aura, so I’m kind to animals and vegetation unless it behaves in an offending matter. I told my son he is authorized to kill snakes, spiders, cockroaches and rats, but all other creatures should be left alone. I thought about adding leftists and Duterte trolls, but then reflected back on my Bible studies.

    • chempo says:

      “…you would be a fool to be the exemption”

      That’s where principled and those with real conviction are to be found. Where are your principles or conviction if you join the crowd? It’s not a matter of stupid, it’s what makes us who we are. It’s what makes us different if we don’t join the crowd.

      I know in many situations, the ones with principles tend to loose out. I think that’s God’s test for you. Do you foresake your principles when the situation favours you so to do? Obviously for the Binays the answer is Yes.

  8. I try to be guided by this:

    The only Role Model you need…

    “Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:2

    In this life, you will encounter many people you admire and respect, folks who inspire you by their kindness and goodness. I place the saints in your life as encouragers and teachers, but you have probably learned by now that even the nicest people can let you down. Because humans are fallible and imperfect, you will be disappointed if you look to a certain person as your role model. Look to Me, as the perfect example of how to behave in all circumstances. Emulating Me, you will never be disappointed.,+if+you+look+at+Jesus+you+will+be+inspired&source=bl&ots=RGlO53-rA3&sig=-9LRgNuEsHn4nS43U4JsZQYD0ro&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=If%20you%20look%20at%20others%20you%20will%20be%20disappointed%2C%20if%20you%20look%20at%20Jesus%20you%20will%20be%20inspired&f=false

    • Joe America says:

      Right, Mary Grace. You get it. You have internalized the teachings of your faith. You are the exception, and if more did it your way, we would not even have Binay and Duterte candidacies.

      • Supposed men of God (Mitsubishops, Quiboloy) have led their sheeps astray.

        I’m not giving up on our countrymen. The mother of all surveys (per sir NH) is fast approaching.

        We will see that our labor and prayer will bear fruit, I have faith, I have strength to be an instrument of Continuity, expansion and fine tuning of Daang Matuwid.

        For God, for our country, for our people.

    • stpaul says:

      Love that Mary and may I also add:

      “Dwell in thought upon the Grandest, and the Grandest you shall see;
      Fix your eye upon the Highest, and the Highest you shall be.”

    • akoypnoy says:

      …The 10 Commandments
      You shall not murder…xDuterte
      You shall not commit adultery…xDuterte
      You shall not steal……xBinay…xBongbong
      You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor….xPoe(Falsification)

      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        One, our representative age is maybe 16-17 across the board, not yet adults, but pretending to be adults.

        Two, we believe in God, the God of fiestas, the God of calamities, the God of exams, the God of post-dated checks with insufficient funds, the God of last resort, the God of hospital arrest, the bahala-na God, the God of Christmas and palaspas (Palm Sunday). As long as it redounds to our joy and benefit, there God is. But talk about transformation or reformation, talk about good citizenship and wise electoral choices, and you are shown the hand, talk to the hand.

        Three, we are probably idolaters, flinging our hopes on saints, angels, big people—the barangay captain all the way to president—if opportunity arises, everybody in heaven or on earth can be approached with childlike ease, so let the roof leak or build your shanty on the riverbank, because danger is nothing in the face of a big celestial or earthly somebody, problem solved all the time, toothless grins all around, turn the page please and pass the lambanog.

        Four, our problem is not poverty or corruption. Our problem is maturity. We should be responsible for the future, but that concept doesn’t take root because God is kind and He will make a way.

        Can’t wait for the time when we turn 18. In the meantime, I for one will choose to believe that in the near future we will finally grow up. God will be relieved of so much responsibility.

  9. Matthew 4:8-9 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

    Power, Fame, & Greed. Of these, the quest for power is the greatest temptation because it feeds on pride–the greatest of all sins–and the accolades of many.

    I often wonder (for all their show of piety), do most Filipinos pray to seek the Almighty’s favor for their own personal influence, popularity, or wealth? If so, what then is leap of faith, a blind dive into the abyss?

  10. uht says:

    Exactly my thoughts, sir. Exactly why some people want to follow the man who wants to rend rather than rebuild is beyond me. One is taught in Geology classes that mountains are built slowly, over very long periods of time, by eruptions or the folding of tectonic plates. If there is something that can be taken away from this, it is that the greatest changes, the ones that last forever, are not built by destruction. Perhaps destruction can speed up the process, but it is not the one that makes the mountain. The acts that make the mountain are the ones that build it slowly, but surely, over generations and generations.

    Christ taught that hate need not be the norm for us; that we can love slowly, carefully, and in His grace become better people. But some people have now chosen to vote for a leader who wants to take us back to the days when sinning equated stoning. I simply pray we don’t go down that path, because that now means we are turning back on what He stood for.

    • The pagan inhabitants of Ibalon (Bikol) said that God lived in Mayon Volcano, and that his jealous brother, the Devil, lived in Malinao volcano. It is documented in both legends and geological records that Malinao blew off its top at some point in geological history. The fertile soil of Albay is due to the more controlled (but sometimes also destructive) eruptions of Mayon. Even if one goes back to paganism, there is an understanding of the nature of “good” and “evil” as related. Too much force, uncontrolled, leads to bad results i.e. evil – or if one goes by the ethics of Star Wars the Dark Side is something to be avoided by control.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks, uht. Well said.

  11. Adrian says:

    Mediocrity is everywhere in the Philippines. Constitution is mediocre. Religions are mediocre, even their buildings are mediocre. Engineering culture is mediocre.

    A lot of Filipino Christians never read the Bible. If we would just follow the 10 rules (whoever your god is), this place would be a lot better.

    We like to copy everything but missed the essence of what we copy.

    I am of course speaking in general terms, and a bit exaggerating, there are a lot of exceptions.

    • Joe America says:

      Ii was just reflecting on what a couple of commenters have mentioned, the apparent need to fit in, to follow others. It’s rather like worshiping stars is a more profound moral expression than thinking about what Jesus stood for. In the Philippines, one walks with Jesus at some risk of offending those who follow their friends.

  12. Gener Geneta says:

    The core of the matter is the heart’s condition. If one’s heart is not changed, there will be no transformation in our lives and in our country no matter who the elected leaders are.

    Man would remain evil and sinful and wicked in the sight of God but not necessarily on the sight of men as some continues to idolize the thieves and the murderers. God is holy and even a tinge of sin is an abomination to Him. He could not even look at sin. That’s why when His Son Jesus was hanging on the cross who became sin and sacrificed Himself for all our sins, God looked away and had forsaken His son.

    Jesus’ death on the cross is the salvation provided by God because of His love and grace towards men whose hearts need to be changed by having a relationship with God by accepting the gift of sacrifice provided on the cross.

  13. Fidel G. says:

    I am not a very religious person but one of my favorite stories in the bible is that of Lazarus and the rich man.

    For me this story very much explains what is happening now in my country.

    • Joe America says:

      Luke 16:19–31, New International Version:

      19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

      22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

      25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

      27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

      29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

      30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

      31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

  14. Bill in Oz says:

    I hesitate to comment on this post : I am not Christian of any denomination at all..And to be honest I do not understand the attraction of Christian Theology or beliefs. I long ago binned the bible. I think that large parts of the old testament are dangerous to good sensible compassionate thinking..

    So waht to say ?

    Well Christianity was introduced here as part of being colonised by Spain..There were threats and blandishments ( rewards ) involved…I suspect very few individuals were baptised christian with a strong understanding of christian beliefs..Nobody here were catechumens before hand. as in the days of christianity’s origins..

    Children are compulsorily baptised and then indoctrinated..

    So i it surprising that many give the whole thing the flick later on when they are adults ? Nope !!

    But of course going public and telling the family or relatives what one really thinks would upset folks..So most keep it all to themselves and go their own way and have their own strict or slack moral standards….

    Alter..they think ..”Who’s alter ? Not mine..What’s on the TV ? ”

    By the way, this is also happening in Italy Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Germany, UK, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, even Poland nowadays…

    But Joe is an American..And this is not happening there so much. The constitutional separation of church & state conceals a vast religiosity….Americans have always been pilgrims n their own land.

    • – May Bathala save me from all those who take this too seriously. When the Spanish missionaries introduced the Ten Commandments to the natives from 1521 onwards, after Magellan and his men introduced the missionary position to native women, the natives were genuinely confused. What if I want to kill my enemy? What if I feel lust for someone who is not my wife? Some say according to Manny Pacquiao, if she is not your neighbor’s wife it is OK. What I have heard from the diwatas of old is that the natives introduced two more commandments, in order to be able to adjust old ways to the new order of things:

      11th Commandment: Thou shalt not get caught.
      12th Commandment: If caught, thou shalt not admit…

      • A balding bachelor said, I must straighten out things. He called this attempt Daang Matuwid. There is a special form of doing things that veteran commentator Mariano Renato Pacifico has called crookery and according to him is mastered at the University of the Philippines. The bachelor comes from Ateneo not from UP. The ghosts of the Internet have told me there is this amendment:

        11th Commandment: Thou shalt not commit crookery.

        Followers of the new 11th Commandment like to wear yellow, I have heard. But unlike Buddhist monks, most of them have no begging bowl. A widowed member of this order, I have heard, does go among the people in tsinelas or slippers. She is seen as a hopeful figure in the troubled islands. Yet enemies of the yellow order say that there is a secret amendment, at least for some followers:

        12th Commandment: If thou art not liberal, thou shalt be punished severely when caught.

        There are now many who wish to return to forms of ritual sacrifice, including throwing people into volcanos. One of the yellow order who is hated for traffic in Manila is seen as a sacrifice.

  15. Waray-waray says:

    One thing that stuck in the psyche of the Filipinos when Christianity was brought to our country was the fiesta. Fiesta originated from the Catholic practice of paying homage to a particular saint on a particular date. In time the fiesta evolved into pageantry and revelry that dwarfed if not relegated the religious aspect of what is being celebrated for.

    Filipinos liked, I must say loved revelry and entertainment more than serious stuff. That is why politicians bring with them actors and entertainers even mascots during campaign sorties. Yes even mascots as if elections were like children or a birthday party. That is why people were laughing at Duterte’ s jokes, his posturings, even before he opens his mouth. That is why the mocha girls can draw in more crowds in Hong Kong more than the open forum style of campaigning.

    For us Filipinos, serious stuff is boring, simply boring as boring as Roxas can be. We want it colourful and loud. The louder, the better.

    Contrast that with the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong. It lasted for 79 long days if not for the court injunction, but it was sustained that long without turning into a festival. Discipline was instilled early on that loud music, mahjong, drinking etc. that would resemble the movement as a festival were frowned upon and discouraged. Students went there with their study materials, books and laptops. There was a study zone for them and volunteers even expats contributed their time and talent tutoring based on their specific field. Each participant had assignments in each zone you would be amazed how many used the public toilets yet it was very clean complete with provisions. To the Hong Kongers the movement was serious stuff that should not be taken lightly.

    JoeAm we appreciate your concern for the well being of our country but do yourself a favour by also thinking about your well being. A word of unsolicited advice if I may; Please do not take us too seriously. It is bad for your health. Look at us, we are a happy people and we don’t take ourselves seriously.


    That is my daughter’ s favourite expression.

    • Joe America says:

      I appreciate the perspective of fiestas as worship of fun and hong Kong as a protest with serious acts. As for taking things seriously, I find it hard not to when I consider the difference between a Duterte admin and a Roxas admin might be night and day, economic ruin or finally getting enough wealth so that the broad masses feel it and believe it makes a difference who they vote for. I felt insecure under Arroyo and secure under Aquino. It is that simple. I like feeling secure and don’t believe the Duterte “discipline” schtick one iota.

      • I have shared this thread in some FB groups…. my attempt to spread such golden insights found here….it’s a shame not to include as many Filipinos as possible….with the proper attribution, of course.

        From here to FB, from FB to here….

  16. NHerrera says:

    Joe, let us talk rough numbers.

    There are about 20 million Filipinos who have not turned their backs to the altar and is keeping the “faith.”

    (I gather this from the core number of Roxas in the neighborhood of 20% from survey of registered voters which we can reasonably assume to be proportionate to the Philippine population of about 100 million.)

    To the other 80 million, we may have 40 million poor who because of their daily grind to feed the family and spending about a fourth of their otherwise productive time wasted in the congested traffic in the heat of a non-air conditioned bus or jeep, have no time to think and are led only by their local barangay people and the tv and radio programs.

    We are thus left only with the 40 million who really have turned their backs to the altar, with say 10 million ENABLERS of the crook and liar, the dirty-mouthed killer, and shallow opportunist; and the remaining 30 who are not necessarily poor — educated, in fact and who should know better — but whose mind “is a puzzlement.”

    I, along with Wil and Mary and many others, would like to be counted among those keeping the faith.

    • Joe America says:

      So the nation’s 40 million are like Lazarus and granted a path to heaven no matter the deed? This is a fascinating area of contemplation for me. The morality of need that differs from the morality of well-off, where need permits cheating or theft or voting for sinners, but the rest of us have to abide by stricter rules, lest we be banned from heaven like the rich man . . . according to Abraham’s interpretation of God’s rules. For one thing, it is slippery slope, and we can see that even senators in the Philippines qualify under the morality of need. For another, some behaviors under the morality of need are for sure going to keep people in need, like having that 9th and 10th kid, so where along the line do we think God would say “you are responsible for creating your own need, so you get no free pass.”

      • NHerrera says:

        That indeed “is a puzzlement.”

        BTW, in my penchant for numbers, I took the time to look at the most recent survey numbers taken at approximately the same period — late March to early April and averaged them.


        I am putting together in one post the three surveys by Pulse Asia/Abs-Cbn, SWS-BW, Laylo-Standard (taken at about the same period). I also took the average of the three surveys. Other than that, no further comments from me:

        ———– PA——– SWS—— Laylo—– Survey Avg
        Duterte– 30——– 27——– 30——– 29.0
        Poe——- 25——– 23——– 27——– 25.0
        Binay—– 20——– 20——– 18——– 19.3
        Roxas—- 19——– 18——– 21——– 19.3
        Santiago- 02——– 03——– 02——– 2.3
        (Diff)—– 04——– 09——– 02——– 5.0
        Total——100——- 100——- 100——- 100

        Notes: Mar 26 – Apr 1

        – PA-Abs-Cbn, Mar 29 – Apr 3, nominal 4000 respondents, error margin +/- 1.5%
        – SWS-BW, Mar 30 – Apr 2, nominal 1377 respondents, error margin +/- 3%
        – Laylo-Standard Mar 26 – Apr 1, nominal 3000 respondents, error margin +/- 1.8%

  17. Bronn says:

    IMHO Religion is just for show in PH. In fact There are people who believe that they can prove their faith just by typing “Amen” to any religious memes shared on their FB timeline.
    Duterte, Binay, and Poe leading the surveys are the voices of our emotional kababayans fed with wrong information by the media.
    Duterte winning the presidency is PH’s less traffic version of another EDSA revolution which I’m sure they’ll regret in just “3-6 months.” Bong Revilla, Gloria, and the Marcoses have supporters too, in millions, Duterte made a promise to these people.

    Good Luck emotional PH. See you all on December 31, 2016(IF Duterte wins).

    Salamat po.


    • Joe America says:

      Well, I can assure you that religion is not just for show in the Philippines. When my wife goes to light a candle for her dead grandmother, she is not doing it to satisfy the priests or her friends or me or anyone. She is going to console her grandmother, and perhaps herself (my wife), for her own failings. Rationalists who are outside the faith make the error of overlaying their own form of intellectual judgment on things, and it misses the quality of heart that is very real here.

      The PH is emotional, yes that is true. That is both the dysfunction and the charm of the place.

      Why is Dec 31 significant to you, as it pertains to Duterte getting elected?

      • Bronn says:

        No offense meant on the “religion is just for show” comment, please send my sincere apology to the good Mrs.

        December 31, 2016 is the 6th month after Duterte’s inauguration and PH should be crime free by then as promised by Duterte should he win. Duterte is converting a lot of followers through this promise of salvation(?) and my rationalist side tells me not to join the Hallelujah chorus.

  18. Donna says:

    Our family seethe in silent disgust whenever the media report on the latest surveys on the leading Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates. Oftentimes we ask ourselves, bakit di umaangat si i Mar? What is wrong with us is a question I will not fault you, not even how you equate some of our countrymen’s choice for a President with our Christian faith. I am over 50, I have been thru 3 EDSA people power uprising, I am still married to my husband of 34 years, my children are all grown-up and living a life far away from here, thou their hearts still belong to the Philippines. And we are all still Catholic in faith. We pay our taxes, we treat our few employees like family, we help our community, we are active parishioners and we live simply and in peace. Prices of goods and services in our area remain fairly the same for the last 6 years, Our garbage are collected regularly, we live just beside the Barangay Satellite Office, our Barangay Tanods are helpful, we have a number of physician friends who give free consultations and discount on lab fees, etc. All in all life is good where we are. We are going to vote for Mar Roxas thou I don’t really expect that our lives would be so much better or so much worse but at least we can be proud of our President. To our kababayans, well, this still a free country, you can vote for whoever takes your fancy, that’s all up to you. I can’t judge you but who you vote for will give others an inkling of what kind of person, what kind of life and what kind of faith you have and we can’t blame them not even Joe America. God bless us all!

    • chempo says:

      You brought some fresh air into the room Donna.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks for the hope, and uplift, Donna.

    • Marl says:

      Donna you are right. IMHO, is not only about faith but lack of wisdom. “Fear of the Lord is wisdom.” kaya nga yung ibang tao kung magnakaw o pumatay parang ala lang. Nasaan ang takot sa Diyos. Maraming tao ngayun walang takot sa Diyos, kaya hindi nila alam kung ano ang tama o mali. Kung sino pa sa kanila mas grabe ang kasalanan siya pa ang iboboto. Binay-Duterte-Grace-Mar.

  19. methersgate says:

    Joe, I live in England with my Filipina wife who, if she is a passenger in the car, and I draw up at a red traffic light, will say “Go! There are no policemen looking at you!” – a joke of course, but one with a point to it.

    She is an agnostic cradle Catholic and points out that for very many Filipinos, as once, long ago, for Europeans, religious observance is a matter, not of religious faith, but of superstition. God, Mama Mary, Jesus and the rest of the gang are to be placated and cajoled into not harming us, by novenas, splashes of holy water, genuflections and such like.

    Behaviour is not governed by guilt, but by “face”.

    They are few real differences between a Filipino Catholic and a Chinese Taoist.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Hmm. I still think Filipino faith in God is genuine. It is in the application of it that hits a snag, generally speaking. A friend of mine, who spouts Bible verses is pro-Duterte. I cannot for the life of me understand his conviction, but he is a friend and I leave him be. You sort of leap from rock to rock if you want to find a fellow Filipino with the same political persuasion as you. But it’s the lay of the land. The key word is still survival, and as long as we survive elections, we’ll be all right as a country. Don’t forget that Filipinos love gaiety, so I surmise we are actually allergic to the divisiveness of elections, so we are in it to find as much fun as possible, like watching sabong, hoping we can discern the winner, and when the contest is over, life resumes.

      • josephivo says:

        The faith in Feng Sui and albularios is equally genuine. The most common and strongest belief is that there is a spiritual world that we can not observe, only see the shadows in our daily fortunes or misfortunes. Ancestor spirits, Saints, Qi, Santo Niño or a statue of the Black Nazarene, all powerful and thus requiring our upmost respect.

        Mixing beliefs is as natural as mixing metric and imperial units, mixing legal systems, mixing food. What is lacking is a coherent view and understanding of mutual exclusive philosophies, beliefs, systems… a clear line of sight.

    • Joe America says:

      As I wrote elsewhere, I don’t think faith here is governed entirely by “face” or external show. It is internalized, and perhaps deeper than what I observe in the American evangelical singing and whooping it up for Jesus, which is very “showy”. But there does seem to be a disconnect between that faith and one’s choices here on planet earth.

  20. Caliphman says:

    I share pretty much Lance’s sentiments that the Catholic faith of 40 million Filipino voters (around 80% of Filipinos belong to the faith)have little to do in explaining why Duterte and Marcos are leading in the polls. There are many contradictions in the way Filipino Catholics practice their faith, like making novenas at Baclaran church every Wednesday without fail but failing to attend Sunday masses. Or the church heirarchy or Mitsubishops participating in the culture of corruption and looking the other way while local politicians rob or abuse their municipalities. This is not unique to the Philippines and is quite common in other predominantly Catholic countries. In Latin America, the tradition of men having queridas is just as prevalent there as it is in the Philippines. In Sicily, Catholic virtue and Cosa Nostra vice are part of the fabric of society. So is it in Colombia and Mexico. And lest we forget, the US is no exception either where in Boston, the heart and center of Irish Catholicism, 10 to 20% of the priests in the diocese were traced to child molestation and this is what the Oscar winning movie “Spotlight” is all about.

    No, the quandry is not why Filipino Catholics prefer these future if not past characters from a rogues gallery as their top leaders. It is the same reason why Peruvians now may soon reelect the daughter of the convicted murderer, tyrant, and plunderer ex-president Fujimori to be its next top elected official. It has to do with Filipino culture and the grinding poverty and income inequality that still grip the bulk of the electorate. It has to do with a government they percieve as being unresponsive to their plight. And just as over here, GOP voters have thumbed their noses at their traditional establishment in the belief that Trump can be successful and strong even if brutish in making dramatic changes, so does the Filipino Catholic majority increasingly believe that Duterte is the forceful leader that can make things happen that can benefit them and the country. Yes, they probably will be flocking to Baclaran in droves after casting their ballots for a womanizer, killer and despot…right after gambling in their favorite bloodsport, cockfighting.

  21. Jake says:

    The answer is simple

    Filipinos are not catechized enough, and all “preachers” tell people and emphasize are the “fear factors” from the bible.

    Catholicism in the Philippines is not about the values of Christianity but merely those funky rituals they themselves do not even understand.

    Also, many Filipino Catholics are clueless about the WHOLE history of the faith, and the history of many Catholic practices. Like how many Filipinos actually know why Maudy Thursday is in the same day as Passover

    • Joe America says:

      As I’ve argued elsewhere, I disagree with the notion that those who do not share the faith have any right to judge the quality or reality of the faithful here. That faith is real, it is meaningful, it gives ease to those who have many needs.

  22. karlgarcia says:

    Going back to Jake’s question of whether it is a hoax that we have Aztec/Peruvian blood running in our veins or not.

    Self Flagellation is a commonality and the fiestas with the Latin Amercans.

    Since the Mexican ambassador is not an audience I will daresay drugs is another commonality.

    The Philippines is more Latin American than South East Asian.

    • Joe America says:

      Interesting point. Flagellation is also done in Italy. and so we see the Roman Hispanic Latino Filipino circle of physicality of the faith. The volatility of emotions here is similar to the Latin temperament, yet is also overlaid with Asian layers of quiet suppression and fakery (VP Binay allowed to kiss the pope’s ring because he is an important person) or subterfuge. I get exhausted trying to figure out the influences of competing cultures on the Filipino psyche. It works for me to say the fabric is rich for all the colorful threads, but lots of luck trying to weave anything like it elsewhere. 🙂

      • karlgarcia says:

        Quiet Suppression and Fakery.

        Fakery is very Greek/Latin ,Hippocrates the doctor was the exception, but all his name sakes were fakers. 😄

        Quiet suppression,maybe due to being slaves for so long.

        But slaves of yesterday are tyrants of today as some wise man said.Maybe a Greek Philiosopher.

        • Joe America says:

          Maybe a modern Filipino philosopher going by the handle of Yogi.

          Excellent point, for sure. Do you think Binay carries this suppressed mentality of the enslaved? He could, you know, from his youth when he had it bad and others had it good. And ever since he has been angrily trying to right all those wrongs.

          • karlgarcia says:

            😄 His past poverty was his kind of self promotion then suddenly all the lands that are questioned are now part of what he inheritted from his parents.
            Is it just me,but as far as I remember a few montgs ago he said he had humble beginnings,but at the debates,he said he inheritted some of the questioned lands.

            • Joe America says:

              I’m looking forward to a biography on him done by a genuine neutral party. Not an Enrile kind of self-justification. A human rights lawyer generally is granted having high principles of behavior. Stealing is actually rather low. haha So he is definitely a “piece of work”.

              • karlgarcia says:

                He is a piece of work,in the vo debates,he was ill-advised to heckle Trillanes,he should have been thrown out together with the BBM hecklers.
                BBM got the cue from Binay by downplaying accusations as mere politics,or is it the other way around?

  23. This idea that anything about moral compassion have to base on the book called bible is absolutely absurd. What about literature? you could get your morality from literature book. If you disregard others by saying the only way is your faith/bible/religion it becomes very extreme & extremism lead to mental hazard & violence sometimes.
    Philippines is very extreme when it comes to religion, all laws have to be base on bible/laws. This is interesting for me though, if the politician think that they could steal billions then ask forgiveness later & think that they will be forgiven because jesus forgive no matter how bad you are. Same rules apply with all the crime happening in the Philippines today.
    Can you imagine how bad it is to the society.

    • Joe America says:

      I’m always struck by the notion that there is this intellectual construct of what is right, and there is the real world. The question is, if we believe there is a better reality to work for, how to get there. Simply condemning the current ways does not move in any direction, but does succeed in dividing people who, at the core, are all good. Diversity is enriching. It ought to be teaching us skills at how to integrate and get along, but rather we always seem to demonstrate the opposite.

  24. Cha Coronel Datu says:

    To be fair, a Redemptorist priest from Cebu, Fr. Crispin Mostajo did express concern and called on his flock to examine their conscience and reconsider supporting a candidate who “promises to end criminality through killings” in a homily delivered this first Sunday of April.

    “If you agree with this candidate, it’s time to re-examine your Christianity”.

    His call was then echoed and supported by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma and Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal in separate interviews with Cebu Daily News.

    “Priests have the role to educate and make people aware about the importance of the elections, discernment, as well as the continued study and assessment of politicians,” said Palma.

    Around the same time the CBCP President, Soc Villegas issued a pastoral letter with a somewhat “gentler” reminder to consider the Ten Commandments in choosing who to vote for:

     “Do not choose depending on who is topping or trailing in the surveys. You are called to take courage and make moral decisions. Your vote can make heaven come down and make our country beautiful and good as God desires it. Be free from the tyranny and pressure of trends and herds. Do it right! Choose what is right according to the Ten Commandments,” stressed the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in a pastoral letter to be read in all churches in Pangasinan after Sunday Masses until the eve of election day on May 8.

    The Church leader called on the public to make an effort to correct the mistakes of the past and not vote for “thieves of government coffers, murderers of the opposition and billionaires from public funds. More than intelligence, we need God-fearing leaders who are also bravely and stubbornly loyal to the flag and to the people. The great need of our time is leadership with vision. We need inspired and inspiring leaders who can rally the nation beyond the horizon of our dreams,” Villegas added.

    Well and good, one might say. But consider the call against killers of criminals at this time side by side with the endorsement of coup plotter Gringo Honasan as one of the Team Buhay candidates in the 2013 senatorial elections by certain dioceses of the catholic church and Duterte supporters might just as well yell back “you hypocrites” to the church leaders. Add to that the image of Bongbong Marcos receiving Villegas’ blessings early on in the campaign season (February this year) and the good bishop’s call for the public to “correct the mistakes of the past” through their vote certainly rings hollow considering Marcos Jr.’s consistent denial of his father’s transgressions.

    And so while we can appreciate and laud the church’s leadership on this recent exhortation, to evaluate the candidates in this election in the light of one’s christian values and beliefs, it remains to be seen whether they can have a real impact and significant influence on their followers (and actually dissuade them from voting for Duterte) even if they appear to be on the right side on this one. To recall, in 2013 the likes of Legarda, Escudero and Cayetano were included in Team Patay for being pro-RH, and therefore ought to be rejected by the catholic faithful. The three, if I remember right, topped the polls instead.

    • Joe America says:

      We have the same problem with those expressions, though, that we in this blog have at reaching the audience that is likely to vote to demolish (not change) the Philippine economy. A high priest or two speaking out is different than priests in local congregations making the point. Our ineffectiveness at speaking to “the masa” is assuming the proportions of epic.

      • cha says:

        Well to begin with, I don’t believe you have ever claimed to have the masa as your audience in the first place. Those who criticise your blog and keep telling you what you should and shouldn’t be writing about to improve Roxas’ numbers and appeal to the masa are being unrealistic in their expectations of you and the blog.

        Having said that, I can’t say however that what you do here has no trickle down effect at all or that it fails to have any impact at the grassroots level. Through your writing and the conversations that are opened up covering the various issues pertinent to this election and even way before, your readers who mostly come from a particular demographic (educated, engaged, and mostly middle class I would say) have grown in knowledge, understanding and confidence that then enables them to articulate in their own way some if not most of the points they pick up here in their own efforts to educate, inform, persuade those in their own circles of influence which at some point will extend to someone from the greater masa. So I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss your and the blog’s contribution simply because you are not really able to reach the masses directly. You have done more than most in educating and enabling many a Filipino to choose wisely in this coming election, directly and indirectly. So, sorry I can’t agree with you on this so called ineffectiveness of epic proportions that you are talking about.

        Now the bishops are a different matter.

  25. The Philippines is an “Oligarch-Driven” society that is why they control everything in the Philippines and use their connections to enjoy monopolies and oligopolies at the expense of the helpless poor people of the Philippines. 76% of the GDP is controlled by this self-serving elite of our society and can manipulate our corrupt politicians and of course our mainstream media that supports and sides with “corporate welfare” otherwise they will not be able to financially operate. And they also thrive on lies and will tell lies all the time and if a big lie is often conveyed repeatedly the people will eventually come to believe it most especially in Philippine society where majority of the masses are not well-educated and unsophisticated mindset and the more they hear lies the more they begin to believe that it is the truth…it really is public brainwashing and misinformation to a gullible and vulnerable Filipino society and that is why in every election of public office in our country – the will of the illiterates prevail over the will of the small portion of literate individuals in the Philippines and the result is there for all to see…INEPT CORRUPT LEADERS in public office and the candidates running for public office are tainted by corruption and contaminated with by an undesirable quality due to the major influence of the few oligarchs using the power of their money. In a nutshell it really is all about MONEY.

    • chempo says:

      The American political insiders worked with Wall Street and other well-heeled lobbyists for decades. 2016 the people, or at least the Republicans, say enough of this and they got for outsiders. Trump, a guy with billions but small vocabulary, and Cruz, the so-called outsiders are getting all the votes.

      In Phils, people complain about everything in the country, things that can move, things that cannot move, about corruption, and dynasties…etc etc. But they always end up electing the same people that will continue to give them the same shit. As the saying goes, the type of people will have their type of leaders.

      How do we get out of this cycle? Please don’t anyone tell me Duterte is the solution.

    • Joe America says:

      You cite the view of many, or perhaps most. I tend to see oligarchs in a functional manner, that they are not personalities, but giant bots that operate within a field of artificial intelligence given to them by us, the idiots. So we have election laws that allow the reporting of who funded candidates coming in AFTER the election, so we can’t see who is likely to gain from whomever we elect. The amount of money being piled into television advertising is astounding.

      I think the oligarchs provide an essential service to the Philippines. They build the big malls and the infrastructure projects that make the nation run. The problems are excessive influence on elections, and poor distribution of wealth to favor them and punish the poor. We ought not attack the bots, for they just do what the energies and information and laws allow them to do. We ought to be reconfiguring the laws.

      But, of course, we have a Senate that is in bed with the oligarchs, so that idea ends there.

      The problem is the Senate, I think, and we the people keep electing dolts like Pacquiao. Soooo, as in all things, the fingers come pointing back at us, including you, I suppose. No offense.

  26. NHerrera says:


    I knelt and prayed, but not for long.
    I had too much to do.
    Must hurry off and get to work,
    For bills will soon be due.

    And so I said a hurried prayer,
    Jumped up from off my knee,
    My Christian duty now was done,
    My soul could be at ease.

    All through the day I had no time,
    To speak a word of cheer,
    No time to speak of Christ to friends,
    They’d laugh at me I’d feared.

    No time, no time, too much to do.
    That was my constant cry.
    No time to give to those in need.

    At last t’was the time to die.
    And when before the Lord I came;
    I stood with down cast eyes.
    For in his hands he held a book;
    It was the Book Of Life.

    He looked into the book and said,
    “Your name I cannot find,
    I once was going to write it down,
    But I never found the time.”

    — Unknown Author


    for those who will vote for the obviously corrupt candidates

    the only reason you will vote for them is because you benefit from them…

    Sadly, in a land still steeped in poverty, the poor equates honor in voting for somebody who gives them something to alleviate their hunger pangs even temporarily.

    Sadly some of them says, “they are all the same anyway, might as well vote for someone who shares something with them no matter the rumor that those came from ill gotten wealth”.

    Sadly, they watch TV and witness the everyday negativity and the crimes, poverty… and long for change promised by Poe, Duterte and Binay.

    Sadly, the positive changes seen by other countries, by foreigners and some enlightened citizens are not newsworthy enough for our tabloid media.

    Sadly, God has given us the freedom of choice – to discern the right from the wrong – and allow those who exercise them to suffer the consequence of the wrong choice, and others who chose the right option will suffer along with them. Those adoring star struck voters gave us Estrada as President and the Manilenos a convicted plunderer as mayor.

    Sadly, what I am left to do is to pray and work harder so that those still asleep may awaken and those still in the dark maybe enlightened.

    Happily, the enlightened citizens and I will not give up on our countrymen. Onward Christian soldiers

    “Onward Christian Soldiers”

    Onward, christian soldiers,
    Marching as to war,
    With the cross of jesus,
    Going on before!

    Christ the royal master,
    Leads against the foe;
    Forward into battle,
    See his banners go!

    Onward, christian soldiers,
    Marching as to war,
    With the cross of jesus,
    Going on before!

    Like a might army
    Moves the church of god!
    Brothers, we are treading
    Where the saints have trod!

    We are not divided,
    All one body we,

    One in hope and doctrine,
    One in charity!

    Onward, christian soldiers,
    Marching as to war,
    With the cross of jesus,
    Going on before!

    Onward. then, ye people!
    Join our happy throng!
    Blend with ours your voices,
    In the triumph song!
    Glory laud and honour,
    Unto christ the king,
    This through countless ages,
    Men and angels sing.

    Onward, christian soldiers,
    Marching as to war,
    With the cross of jesus,
    Going on before!


  28. NHerrera says:

    Some Filipinos do not suffer from irrationality — they enjoy every minute of it. Some Americans too. 🙂

    • NHerrera says:


      Some worry what to wear at the wedding or even overthink about what to give as wedding present.

      If only one would worry half as much on the consequences of one’s vote this coming election, we would be a better country for it.

      • Yes, sir NH, If only the Filipinos would..

        The young adult today are more concerned on what happens to the main character in a Korean novela they are following, or the late night telenovelas starring their favorite local actors and actresses or how to download the latest songs and internet games or where is the latest place which offer another exotic menu to satisfy their foodie cravings.

        They laugh at Duterte’s jokes and insults directed at Mar; they listened to video clips of those from the debates and were never interested in the discussion itself or the nuances revealing the true character of the candidates…they are after the fun and entertainment generated by the exclusive clips being spread around in the social media by Duterte’s supporters.

      • Bronn says:


    • Sup says:

      It keeps us busy watching it on tv like the senate hearings etc…?


  29. Sir NH, what do you think of this post?

    Malaki po ang respeto namin sa dalawang survey companies na pinaniniwalaan namin ang SWS at ang Pulse Asia. Pero para po atang sa kasalukuyang kampanya sa eleksyon na darating mayroong mali sa sampling na ginagawa at tila po ata may pagkiling ang sampling method na ginagawa ng SWS/Business World survey kung saan si Duterte at Poe ang nakalalamang sa 1 & 2 at si Binay at Roxas naman sa 3 & 4. Meron po bang basehan ang aming pagdududa? Meron pong basehan at nanawagan kami sa mga survey companies na ito na itama po ninyo ang inyong sampling method dahil hindi po patas lalo sa lumalaking voting population ng bawat rehiyon at mga probinsya. Kung hindi po ninyo itatama, kokondenahin po namin ang inyong pamamaraan na sa aming pagsusuri ay kitang may pagkiling. Eto po ang pinalabas na survey results na sa tingin namin ay questionable dahil sa pamamaraan ng sampling na ginamit. Hindi po balanseng binigyan ng representation ang Visayas na may 20% voting population overall.
    Eto po ang pinalabas na survey:
    [Social Weather Stations
    The latest national scores in the Presidential race are: Rody Duterte 27%, Grace Poe 23%, Jojo Binay 20%, Mar “Daang Matuwid” Roxas 18%, Miriam Defensor Santiago 3%, and undecided/others 3%, according to the First Quarter 2016 Social Weather Survey of March 30-April 2, 2016 [Chart 1, Table 1]. ]

    Suriin po natin at tingnan ang ating mga kandidato at ano ang lugar ng kanilang balwarte pati na ang historical vote preferences eto po ang datos:

    North Luzon – Dati na po itong balwarte ng mga Marcos. Pero dumami na rin ang population dito na hindi na solid Marcos. Subalit makikita na tulad ng Ilocos Norte buhay-buhay na ang kanilang pro-Marcos loyalty. Total voters: 5.7 Million Voters

    Metro-Manila (NCR) – Halo po ang choice dito dahil binubuo ang NCR ng galing sa ibat-ibang probinsya. Pero ayon sa mga nagdaang surveys – Poe ang nangunguna sa NCR. Total voters: 6.2 Million voters. Sa Metro-Manila mas mababa kadalasan ang voters turnout.

    South Luzon – Halo din ang choices dito pero malakas pa rin ang impluwensya ni dating Pres Erap dito (Calabarzon) Mula Rizal, Laguna, Cavite. ito naman ay matuturing na balwarte ni Binay. Noong VP election dito sya kumuha ng malaking boto. Total voters: 7.6 Million voters

    Visayas (Western, Central, at Eastern) – Kilalang balwarte ni Mar Roxas bilang isang lahing Visaya. Sa bawat eleksyon mula sa pagka Senador hangang sa VP noong 2010 dito sya kumukuha ng napakalaking boto. Ayon sa nagdaang surveys malaki ang lamang nya dito laban kela Duterte, Poe, at Binay 37%. Total voters: 11.3 Million Voters o 20% ng total registered voters na 54 Million.

    Mindanao – Kilalang balwarte ni Duterte dahil sa malaking populasyon ng Davao. Sya rin ang kumakatawan sa mga council of elders dito. Sa mga nagdaang surveys nasa 42% ang kanyang suporta dito. Total voters: 4.6 Million voters

    Ayon sa suvery na pinalabas ng SWS ang total sampling nila ay 1,500 respondents galing lamang sa nasabing mga lugar at ang qualified voters daw po ay 1,377 o 92% ng mga respondents eto po ang sampling at ang pagkakahati-hati:

    North Luzon 278 (5.7 Million voters)
    NCR (Metro-Manila) 268 (6.2 Million voters)
    South Luzon 272 (7.6 Million voters)
    Visayas 280 (11.3 Million voters)
    Mindanao 279 (4.6 Million voters)

    Pagmasdan po ang sampling at lugar 25.4 Million voters ang nag represent sa sampling nila out of 54 Million so paano ang mga lugar na hindi na cover ng kanilang ginawang survey tulad ng Mimaropa, Bicol Region, ARMM, CAR, Caraga? Hindi po ba importante ang kanilang boto? Ang pinakamalaki po naming concern ay ito paanong ang Visayas na doble ang botante sa 4 na iba pang lugar na kinunan ng sampling eh pareho lang ang Sample at halos walang pinagiba?

    Visayas 280 pero ang boto 11.3 Million ang Mindanao 279 pero ang boto 4.6 Million lang. Isang respondent lang ang nagrepresent sa 6 na milyong botante na diperensya ng dalawa? Hindi po kami statisticians at hindi po kami bihasa sa scientific method ng survey pero common sense ang magsasabi sa atin mayroong mali at pagkiling ang survey na ito. Di po ba dapat dahil humigit kumulang sa 40% nga kabuuang botante ang Visayas dapat ang distribution ng sample ay ganon din para makita talaga sino ang nasa top ng survey?

    Lumalabas po na dahil si Mar Roxas ang nangunguna sa Visayas ang ginagawa ninyo ay trending pinapalabas ninyo na nasa pang-apat ang dapat ay nasa unahan ng survey. Bakit po namin nasabi ito dahil nakikita po sa ginagawa nyong sampling na ang mga historically vote base ni Roxas are excluded sa survey. Malinaw naman po kaya si Mar parating nasa pang Apat sa Noong VP run ni Mar ang CAR, ARMM, Mimaropa, Caraga, regions ay mukhang hindi po ninyo sinama pati na ang mga parts of Central Luzon?


    Kung pagsamahin ang North Luzon 5.7 Million at ang Mindanao na 4.6 total 10.3 Million pero ang total respondents 557 ang inyong sample pero ang Visayas na 11.3 Million ang total na boto ay mayroon lang na 280 na respondents sa inyong sample. Ang delikado po dito kung MANANALO SI MAR ROXAS palalabasin ng mga kalaban na nandaya dahil sa inyong survey na hindi patas. Wag pong ganyan wag nyong lokohin ang mamayan. Sa kagustuhan nyo kasing iangat ang inyong si Grace Poe (NCR and South Luzon) si Duterte ang nakikinabang. Kaya ngayon pa lang ginagamit na ng mga Duterte camp ang trending na ginagawa ng mga survey na ganito. Pati ba naman sa survey kinakawawa pa ninyo ang mga Visaya. Ayaw ba ninyo talagang manalo ang mga Visaya sa pagkapangulo?
    Sa aming paniwala kung itatama ang survey ang totoong nangunguna ay si Mar Roxas, naglalaban sa pangalawa si Binay at Duterte, sa pang apat si Grace Poe. Bakit po dahil bukod tanging si Garce Poe lang ang walang masasabing tunay na balwarte ng boto. Naniniwala din kami na bagamat nangunguna si Mar Roxas kung itatama ang survey, masyado pong dikit ang laban kung titingnan ang mga balwarte ng bawat kandidato na syang magdadala sa kanilang laban sa Mayo 9.
    (References: latest presidential survey)

    • NHerrera says:


      Marami nga ang nagkukwestyon sa surveys maski na yung tinatawag na “reliable” na mga kumpanya gaya ng Pulse Asia o SWS. Sa metodolohiya lang meron na makukwstyon gaya ng nabangit mo. Lalo na kung may duda at bias — hindi natin alam. Sa tingin ko yung normal na methodology ng SWS ay mas mataas ang kwalidad keysa sa iyong inenbento nilang Bilang Pilipino-SWS surveys na yung respondent stock nila ay nangaling sa parehong grupo mula noong ginamit nila yung respondents na binigyan nila ng free smartphone.

      Alam mo naman sa mga posting ko dito, pagka mali ako ina-amin ko. Kaya hindi ko ma dalus dalus sagutin ang kwestyon mo. Lalo na na wala akong “degree” sa statistics — kung di yung nalalaman ko bilang isang inhenyero.

      Para sa ating naniniwala kay Roxas at Robredo, naniwala ako na sa “ground campaign” na ngayon ay ginagamit nila — touching the hands of the voters and showing them their demeanor and sincerity — ay mahalaga at makakaiba sa survey numbers na nakita natin. Baka yang “ground campaign effect” ay hindi na lalabas sa mga survey — kasi sa 1500 or 3000 respondents, sino kaya, kung meron man ang na “touch” at nakita ang sinseridad ni Roxas at Robredo.

      Sana makatulong ito.

    • cha says:

      Mary and Sir NH,

      My gut feel tells me we are about to see some significant, if not dramatic rise in Roxas’ figures in the next round of surveys. The silent majority has bern roused and if you have been tuned in to social media this last couple of days, you probably would have seen as well a growing number of Filipinos coming out from the shadows and now openly expressing support for Mar Roxas. When before, it almost seemed embarassing to trumpet support for the guy, risking ridicule and contempt from one’s friends, I think people have become emboldened and now feel it their responsibility to come out and speak up.

      Last Sunday, did you read (from Rappler, if I rember right) that PH Roxas was among the top trending topics on twitter? And yesterday another hashtag with Roxas’ name was also trending.

      Also last Sunday, there were many pistings of photos in my newsfeed of Roxas and Robredo supporters going around Quezon City campaigning and distibuting and pasting Rixas Robredo stickers posters all over the place.

      Earlier last week, I noticed a friend, a former Director for Communications at one of our country’s top corporations becoming more active in facebook, posting short opinion pieces against Duterte. Then on Sunday, one of his posts came from a facebook group called “The Silent Majority” and it had something to do with Roxas or Robredo, I think. I just remember thinking – oh so he’s a kindred spirit after all. Then later, another friend, an HR Mgr. of one of the multinational companies based in the Philippines also shared a post from the same group called The Silent Majority. It was a post written by a former Division President of the company I worked for previously (and who also served as GM of the same multinational company where my HR Mgr. friend is now connected with) and it was about why his choice for president is Mar Roxas. The group certainly had my attention at this point as it included not only former professional colleagues and good friends but also the one person and leader I really respect and admire as part of it. The next day I saw another post from another friend (who also wasn’t a regular Facebook user previously and who works at the Asian Development Bank) sourced from the same group page. This is really too much, I thought. So I decided to look up the group and find out what’s happening. When I found the group page, I saw postings by more people detailing and explaining their reasons fir choosing Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo for President and VP. I clicked the button which said join this group and in a few hours, I was accepted by (lo and behold!), another friend (Country Director of an Australian NGO that now also operates in the Philippines).

      So there were about 6000 or so members when I joined Monday, mostly professionals and some family groups I also know. This morning I checked again and there are now more 40,000 people signed in, from the Phils and abroad, professionals, OFWs, students , parents, grandparents and so on, and it looks like it will continue growing as they keep on encouraging their friends who they know are secret Roxas supporters to come out in the open. Like, someone shared how he was not only able to convince his friend to go public with his support, the friend even asked if he can join the group himself and also told him that he has promised his own employees (the guy probably has his own business) that they will get a one month bonus if Rixas and arobredo wins, to encourage them to vote for the tandem. I know that the guy who shared this story would not be the type to make something like this up because, surprise surprise again for me, he happens to be a friend of my husband.

      These people in the “silent majority” are so happy and energised to have found they are not alone in this choice they have made to support Leni and Mar.So thiey are now talking to each other, sharing their “war stories”, accounts of how they are converting friends, relatives, strangers to their side, to vote for Roxas and Robredo. They are talking to taxi/uber drivers, hairdressers, manicurists, their kasambahays, officemates etc. etc. etc. They are happily reporting to the group the numbers of people they have convinced or feel they may have softened and more inclined now towards Roxas and Robredo. They are getting together, one on one or as groups to share their campaign paraphernalia with each other, some decide to distribute and talk to people together. They want to do what they can with whatever they can contribute. These are the best campaign volunteers any candidate can ask for, because their commitment comes from the heart.

      So some of the Roxas’ and Robredo’s campaign staff have been drawn into the group. Abigail Valte was one of the early contributors. Edwin Lacierda followed and thanked people for the inspiration yesterday. Then this morning I saw a copy of a handwritten message from Mar Roxas (posted by Lacierda) . “Yehey, the silent majority is silent no more.” , it said and then he thanked everyone for the initiative and support. Candidate and supporters both get a new boost of energy. Exciting days ahead!!!!!!


      At the moment, it s a closed group for security purposes but all members cam invite and add their own FB friends to the group. If anyone wants to join , look me up on facebook so you can be in my network and then I can add you to this group.

      • Joe America says:

        The group currently has 40,000 members after being up for three days, according to a Twitter report.

      • NHerrera says:


        Woke up late from reading ebooks till early morning. I have just read your note while having coffee. You made my day! Nay, the week! Thanks.

        • ebooks, ebooks….have downloaded a lot of them…will be reading them after the election.

          Sir NH…enough sleep is a must…you’re like me and my mom..couldn’t put down a book specially when it’s completely riveting.

  30. See, Joe, your premise that voters’ votes reflect their faith is flawed to begin with because, in this country, there is a fundamental disconnect between politics and religion (except for the ones who will be persuaded by endorsements of their church leaders, imams, or whatever). Let me be a behaviorist agnostic and assert what matters to Filipino voters.

    In a tight race several factors will be at play & will affect election results. If findings of a 2003 study by the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform on Filipino voter behavior remain valid, the following factors (ranked by importance to voters) will be relevant:

    1st – Benefits to the voter (ie. good & clean character, helpful to the needy, implemented a government program for progress); Please note, it’s benefit to themselves not to society or to country.
    2nd – Political Machinery (ie. candidate’s party affiliation, “maraming posters at streamers,” good public speaker, did house-to-house campaigning, being a member of the opposition);
    3rd – Popularity (ie. being a celebrity, being popular);
    4th – Endorsement of traditional network (ie. from family or relatives, from church leaders, from social associations, from a respected leaders).

    Binay, despite his substantial machinery, is burdened by wide-spread perceptions of corruption; most voters will not see any benefit in that. While suveys show Duterte & Poe to be popular, Roxas-Robredo has a very formidable political machinery & Robredo is proving to be popular.
    Machinery matters because on the last week before election day, the “hatak” (pull) factor will heighten “electorate enthusiasm” & bring out the votes. In 2010, 25% of electorate did not vote; a 5-10% increase due to Roxas-Robredo’s pull may be a game changer in 2016.

    On endorsements, Roxas-Robredo are riding on the wake of a still popular President with palpable & visible achievements (4Ps, PhilHealth expansion, bottom-up-budgetting, on-time release of LGU funds, etcetera); this does not include the endorsements of a huge number of governors & mayors, many of whom are not even with the Liberal Party.

    If most voters see more benefit voting for the Roxas-Robredo team, and they are swayed by its machinery to come out & vote on election day, Duterte’s & Poe’s popularity may be trumped. And PNoy’s endorsement as well as those of pro-administration governors & mayors may just push Mar & Leni to victory.

    In the end, faith doesn’t really matter. Most people may pray earnestly, and individually petition their gods for their owned favored results. Me, I’m counting on people’s self-interests to bring a Roxas-Robredo victory.

    • Joe America says:

      That is the disconnect I feel, Richard. Here, faith is not a person’s moral heart or anchor that defines LIFE, but something to be deployed or ignored as the situation warrants. I don’t know how a people become ethically and morally unified, if that moral principle is situational. I accept that it is what it is, and appreciate that you set it out so clearly. But I also think the nation needs a set of moral standards to live by that ends corruption. Biblical is a pretty good starting point.

      • “Biblical is a pretty good starting point.” in its truest sense yes. You had an article years ago about the Philippines possibly needing a Lutheran kind of sensibility…

        Now Lutheranism was a Germanic rebellion against perceived Latin hypocrisy – there is a book in the neigborhood bookstore about that which looks at newly uncovered Vatican archives and shows how much it was a conflict between those in Rome who perceived the Germans as coarse (Luther was coarse, even vulgar, an echo of those early Saxons who murdered the first Christian missionaries) and Germans who saw them as hypocrites.

        The Noli is full of references to the hypocrisy of the Spanish friars (which finds its present-day echo among the Sottocrats) and most Filipino revolutionaries were masons.

        Mabini’s code of ethics for Filipinos does refer to God – but not as “Diyos” (Spanish word) but “Bathala” (the native supreme deity) and to love just like Will likes to do nowadays.

        Ethics are indeed often situational in the Philippines. Say principles and many will think of the school principal. Like kids who behave when the principal is watching and misbehave the moment she (usually the principal is a woman in the Philippines) is not watching. And those who tolerate misbehavior are “nice” (Binay) or one needs a strict father with a belt (Duterte) to behave. It all boils down to Will’s maturity and your orphan nation analogy. Grown-ups behave because they see it as a good thing for the community and for themselves. Enlightened self-interest. Karl’s recent article in my blog is about that aspect.

        • Joe America says:

          “Grown-ups behave because they see it as a good thing for the community and for themselves.”

          Yes indeed. And the value of this blog and yours is to promote a kind of thinking that may help promote that adult introspection and decision-making. Pushing the rock, is what we do. If we grunt now and then, it is just what one has to do.

      • I hear you Joe, but I start with what is and work my way through what should be (in life the righteous path may not be purest path). I am also not sure that ethical unity is the only foundation of nation-states as much as the need for collective stability and security. In this, I recognize the Machiavelli in me, one willing to employ the worst capacities of the human heart if only to preserve the greater good (when absolutely necessary); more often than not these end with tragic consequences. For example, in a struggle against absolute evil, I can not imagine how the USSR would have prevailed against Nazi Germany in WWII without the ruthlessness of Stalin & his generals and the acquiesence of citizens resulting in the deaths of 20 million Soviet citizens. In this, Statlin employed the opium of religion to motivate soldiers for offense and defense until death.

        Biblical is a logical starting point to create the foundation for ethics and politics especially for those who identify with the Judeo-Christian tradition. What is the bible but stories of a covenant between mortals and their God, and between mortals themselves as guided by the Divine towards perfection. They are stories of politics, of competition for power between themselves, against themselves, and against their God.

        It is an on-going story. Yet, despite all these conflicts and struggles, humanitty has built an evolving movement through history defined by love and the fight for love. In these islands, the hearts of most have not yet sufficiently evolved despite their acts of piety, but many have also sacrificed in the name of love worthy of God & country. The Philippines is a young nation that has not experienced human suffering on the scale similar to that which prevailed in Europe (during the Hundred Years War or World War I & II); suffering that helped shaped the identity and aspirations of nation-states and the European Union, that helped its people aspire for greater love, as manifested in the policies, laws, and governance of their nations.

        My laments may sound to be that of despair but it is built on the foundation of love struggling through the torments of evil. For me, politics is much a struggle within as it is a daily moral Jiu-Jitsu with evil, for in the end we are all still sinners worthy of being saved. If I sin, it is because I engage in battle if only to love.

        (If you have seen the film The Mission, I’d choose a path in life similar to the character played by Robert de Niro).

        • Joe America says:

          What “is” is an excellent starting point. 🙂 My first ex-wife, a brilliant woman whose mother worked within the upper echelons of Singapore’s government, had a father who fled to China to write things. I suspect propaganda for government. She made the case that Mao, as ruthless as he was, managed to raise the great teeming masses out of starvation and misery. I never quite accepted the point, but I understand it. I oft wonder if democracy is right for the Philippines, but I am not about to make that case lest I get a fast exit visa. That said, I don’t think Duterte represents the “style” of strongman I could find acceptable.

    • Toink!! Toink!!

      The FB post says:

      He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. – MLK

    • Sass Rogando Sasot added 5 new photos.
      9 April at 06:15

      Hoy! Bongbong Marcos,

      YOU ARE A LIAR. According to your campaign comics, when your family arrived at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii on the 26th of February 1986, you were greeted by guns and abused by soldiers. Your comics make it appear that your family was in deep misery, very telenovela. Dramatic and tragic (

      According to journalists who witnessed your family’s arrival and according to these pictures, your family was greeted at Hickam by high ranking US military officials and by the old friends of your parents, Hawaii’s governor and his wife, who both placed leis around your parents’ necks. “After first walking along the red carpet toward the waiting limousines, vans and buses, Imelda Marcos turned back toward the plane to pick up and carry a girl about 3 years old, apparently one of her grandchildren.”

      Your family wasn’t also living in misery in Hawaii. In August 1986, Vanity Fair even featured your family’s life in Hawaii. And according to one news report in 1988, your family still enjoyed the high life you were accustomed to in the Philippines: “They are hosts to weekly Sunday afternoon gatherings and lavishly catered dinners at their multimillion-dollar Makiki Heights estate and dinner parties at some of the most expensive restaurants in town. Mrs. Marcos also makes occasional shopping trips to Honolulu’s designer dress shops.”

      While in Hawaii, your father even planned to invade the Philippines in order to regain power. The US Congress found out about it through the testimony of Richard M. Hirschfield, a dodgy lawyer, who posed as an arms dealer. Hirschfield secretly recorded his conversations with your father. In that conversation, your father boasted about his Swiss accounts, talked about the 14 billion dollar worth of gold he got from the Central Bank of the Philippines, veterans gold, and gold reserves of the Japanese commander, and how you Bongbong knew (a bit) about it!

      Here is the recording of the hearing of the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, of the US House of Representative on July 9, 1987. (

      President Ronald Raegan, key supporter of your family, even warned your father to abandon his plans

      Grabe ang panlolokong ginagawa mo. Ginagawa mong tanga ang mga tao. I hope one day your family will meet its proper Ceaușescu moment.

      Eto pa, may video ang pagdating ninyo sa Hickam airport:…/debarking-plane-im…/450000212



      • Joe America says:

        Mary, you are dropping a lot of links here. This is a discussion forum and I’ve counseled others not to use it as a dumping ground for agenda-based links. That is using the reach of the blog for purposes not intended, rather like promotional activity or spam. The idea is to discuss matters, not promote.

        • Noted with thanks, Joe…I apologize.

          • Joe America says:

            I need one of those little winky emoticons. 😉

          • I dropped those links to help new visitors who are not commenting, just lurking to understand and belie the propaganda being spread by BBM and Duterte political machinery..such propaganda are now reaping rewards by way of rating surges in the surveys. Sorry, my frustrations in realizing these thug / son of plunderers are topping them.

            The comic book of Mar is a defense by his supporters against his attackers on the Yolanda issue, the BBM comic book is an attempt to revise history, hence the links to show the true history which he attempts to revise….

            sorry for going Off Topic

            • Sup says:

              That child Imalda carried, was that Grace Poe?


            • cwl says:

              With the popularity of President PNoy and the well publicized corruption of the Marcoses, why the poll surges of BBM and Duterte?

              Clinton once said that elections are not won on election days but during the campaign. I think that the mediocre campaign strategy of Roxas is the culprit given the positve facotrs going for him ( PNoy’s popularity and the so-called equity of the ruling party).

              Less than a month before E Day, they could come up with a strong campaign to be able to win such as getting into the people the message if his candidacy.

              If one will follow his campaign messaging, you cannot help but notice the apparent lack of connect with what the people want to hear at certain period of the campaign , official or unofficial campaign period.

              Pardon for speaking like an expert but I noticed how his campaign has become a reactive one.

              When every candidate is proclaiming his promises to the electorate, Roxas was busy trumpeting the Daang Matuwid accomplishments which in my opinion failed top resonate with the public.

              True, the public appreciates what PNoy did to the country but the people want to hear more of what Roxas will do.

              It is only at the latter part of the campaign or early February when he started to give his own campaign promises to the people but i think it was a bit too late in the game, as poll surveys showed.

              His campaign failed to see that people loved PNoy but they also want to hear form the man who will rule them for the next six years.

              Sticking to his Daang Matuwid strategy, in my opinion, did him in.

              • Joe America says:

                People who visit this blog to write Roxas off seem unerringly to do that to try to undermine his support because they favor a different candidate. Some say who they support. Most do not. The number of experts who know better than Roxas and his advisors how to run a campaign is legion. It is actually hilarious. You tell him he should avoid Daang Matuwid, and somewhere else in the blog says he is erring by stepping away from Daang Matuwid. Hahahaha. So many armchair experts. I was one of them until MLQ3 gave me a tip about some the kinds of information they have at their disposal, that I can guarantee few are aware of. So I shut my yap. There is a reason Binay considers Roxas his main competition. It is because of the relentless local visits and armies of supporters being gathered up, from 3,000 to 5,000 per visit, two or three per day. The logistics that go into the organization of these visits is downright amazing.

                If Roxas loses, it is likely not to be from his “failings” as a campaigner, but due to sociological reasons of poverty and impatience. This Huffington Post article that came out today paints the picture clearly:


              • NHerrera says:

                Thanks for the link on the latest article of Richard Javad Heydarian. A balanced rendering of the Philippine political situation before the May election — concerning the case for or against democracy or autocracy with a focus on the Philippines aptly titled, The End of Philippine Democracy?

              • chempo says:

                The Huffingtonpost article is such a great write up on Phils. I recommended all my Filipino friends to read that.

  31. uht says:

    Off-topic, but I found this very unsettling

    An actual conversation between the driver on my morning jeepney ride and the two men in the front beside him started with the driver ranting about how life was better during the Marcos regime, how we could export rice back then how rice was much better, how life was better then in general–they could eat lots of good rice then, now not so much, he says.

    I found it strange, since the driver was already sixty years old (his words–he said he only became a senior citizen this January)…

    I suppose the Marcos problem is not restricted to the youth either.

  32. NHerrera says:

    Off Topic

    I was pleasantly surprised. I am a subscriber to PLDTMyDSL, a cable-provided wifi system with a subscribed speed of about 3 Mbps.


    Two days ago, 2016-04-11 at 7:42 PM, I got a surprising download speed of 5+Mbps compared to the nominal 3Mbps.

    But the speed reverted back to about 3 Mbps yesterday 2016-04-12.

    Today 2016-04-13 8:05 PM it is again at a download speed of about 5+ Mbps.

    I spoke of Download speed above. The Upload speed is still a nominal 1 Mbps — but that is alright with me. I am not a Blogger like Joe.

    Shouldn’t I be quiet about this? How does one return an excess network Download speed, hahaha?


    • Sup says:

      You return that when they did gave you uninterrupted service for 2 years..And not one minute below your agreed speed mentioned to you in your 24 month contract… 🙂

      • NHerrera says:

        Sup, I did get service interruptions averaging about a day a year — that is about 48 hours in 2 years. My conscience is clear then.


        • Sup says:

          Last election voting day and the 4 days after there was hardly any connection possible in my place…don’t know if the Comelec did order that so you can not hack their machines?

    • uht says:

      This could be the reason:

      This is the image from the thread describing how plans would be upgraded:

      The rollout is most likely behind schedule, as I’m on Home DSL Plan 999 (3mbps) and its speed isn’t upgraded yet

      • Sup says:

        @uht, Globe is still …uuuuuuuuuuuuuhm………Globe….early morning and evening ok but during daytime…………bad…… many game playing bata in the cybercafe’s…..

        • uht says:

          We had a Globe connection (broadband 1mbps) before this one, so I know exactly what you mean. It was very horrible for our needs (not to mention that we had some issues with billing on their end), and so after just a year we switched to PLDT.

          As for the speed, that really goes down to how network traffic is routed here in the Philippines. I either forgot or do not know all the specifics, but the long and short is that PLDT has a rather big hand on it and that causes the problem. One of the things I am hopeful the next administration will address is this, as the last attempt to fix this (a joint venture of SMC and Australia’s Telstra) was blocked by the DOTC and Jun Abaya…..

          • Joe America says:

            SMC and Telstra blocked by DOTC and Jun Abaya? That is new to me. I thought the deal failed because the Australian investors in Telstra bid the price of the company’s stock down because they didn’t want their money invested in the Philippines. So Telstra withdrew. What is the source of your statement? Abaya has plenty to defend, but I’m not convinced this is one of the issues.

            • uht says:

              Sorry, sir Joe, I think I was duped. The source was this link:

              Turns out this site is satiric news, I didn’t know this beforehand. I’m really sorry, again. I am young, very young, as I said before, and things like these can still get the better of me every now and then. 🙂

              In any case, however, SMC seems still determined to break the PLDT dominance in the market, seeing as it’s decided to push through even without any foreign ISPs to aid it. I pray for their success, as it will be another framework change that can entice foreigners to invest here–and it will be one less thing for GRP to rant about.

              I’m sorry once more for getting duped by false news. I only hope I am forgiven.

            • Bill in Oz says:

              Telsta has second thoughts Joe, when confronted with a maze of conflicting telco actions in Philippines.Ie PLDT etc…Not sure about share price : Telstra has been very low the past 10-12 years after losing it’s virtual monopoly in Oz

              • Joe America says:

                That was my understanding as well. Shareholders were wary about the bureaucracy and potential instability in the Philippines. Sec Abaya did not “block” the joint venture, to my knowledge.

      • NHerrera says:


        Apparently my area closer to Makati is already on upgrade — the table says that Plan 999 which I am on like you is to be upgraded at the end of Feb 2016, although PLDT has not done so yet in your area. Now I know my computer speed lately at about 5 Mbps is not a fluke. Thanks for that PLDT table of speed upgrade you posted.

  33. Ron Angelo says:

    Others would say, “we tolerate Duterte’s womanizing because we can look pass at stuff that won’t really affect the government’s affairs. The wife/wives of Digong apparently feel like they are not being placed in disadvantageous situations with his womanizing. So who are we to butt in? The laws are in place to help the ladies. It’s up to them to file against Duterte. Duterte’s approach to the issues coincide mostly with my political views. He is the closest to me when it comes to planning in running the nation. Why would I allow my vote for someone be affected by something that won’t affect his performance?”

    I have no answer to those people. I actually admire them for not getting caught up with personally politics. They would vote for Duterte to be president but won’t allow him anywhere near their daughters.

    Then there are people who fail to see every part of the story. For example, people voting for BBM. A lot of them justify their vote for him by saying he is not his dad and has done wonders for the north. But they don’t realize that he was influenced the most politically by the very same person who personified their political antonym.

    Then of course, there are those who vote for BBM who truly believed that his dad ushered in the Golden Age of the Philippines and he is truly a good human being.

    We are also a very forgiving people. “We hate that you duck all the investigations on your plunders/graft charges. We hate that you deprive us of explanations on how you spend our hard-earned money. But we forgive you. Anyway, you’ve not been proven guilty yet. Only God can truly judge. That’s what my parents taught from an early age”

    Personally, there are certain “transgressions” that I don’t mind politicians committing. I have my own set values. But to me, that shouldn’t undermine the value of others. I don’t believe polygamy is right and I will never promote it. But I can tolerate people of other faiths doing it as long as all information is given to the mentally-able adults who will be part of it. But then again, there are other things that drive me wild. FOr example, allegations of corruption. We at least deserve a valid explanation, right?

  34. David Murphy says:

    Irineo B. R. Salazar says:
    April 13, 2016 at 4:12 pm
    “But the problem is precisely that Mar is no sinner (where Jesus prefers sinners)”
    Not sure where the original quotation came from but I think it’s in error. Jesus didn’t “prefer sinners”. When asked why he spent so much time in their company he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician…” In short, all of us have sinned but Jesus chose to spend much of his time with those most in need of instruction. That is far from “preferring sinners.”

    • “Jesus chose to spend much of his time with those most in need of instruction.”


      I frankly don’t see the difference, between ‘preferring’ vs. ‘chose to spend much of his time’.

      But my point was that sinners carry a certain gravitas in Christianity. Hence the proliferation of seed faith and TV evangelicals with planes and such. Because when caught in a bind, these “sinners” can simply ask for forgiveness (from both God and the people), and they get a blank slate (and then another, and another…).

      All the politician needs to do is feign humility, ask forgiveness, and continues on.

  35. DAgimas says:

    my only concern is that Binay should not be elected. id rather prefer a womanizer, “uncouth” but don’t steal from the people. the Aquinos were elected to give hope to the people and to stop the corruption. and look where she and he brought us? better than the ones they replaced. if only Pnoy fired those in charge of the DOTC and NAIA, maybe Roxas should be looking good right now but that could not be rectified now

    Duterte has some vision that’s worth pursuing. as long as he appoints the right people in the government and jail Binay and family once his immunity is gone to show his can do attitude, I think the Philippines will continue to progress

    another concern is if Marcos will win too. hope Robredo will win the presidency

    • Joe America says:

      I prefer western standards of ethical behavior. Womanizing disqualifies candidates and is cause for elected people to resign. It lowers the values for children and everyone else in the nation.

  36. Joe: You called a come-to-Jesus meeting so I came in spite of my promise to stop meddling with PH politics. Foremost, it is for my sanity: coming here now and doing the nature retreat till May 10. If I let myself go insane thinking about where PH is headed as reflected in the masses’ choices for P and VP, I could not fight for another day. It might seem coward and self-serving to do a MacArthur now but I have my reasons.

    I have not given up on PH and Filipinos. I continuously invoke God, all gods, demi-gods, deities and spirits to have mercy on my country of origin and its people. There is nothing I would love more than for Mar and Leni to win on May 9th. If I have a child who I need to give up for adoption and my choices are the P and VP line up, as a mother who has her child’s best interest in mind, I will pick Mar and Leni to raise her/him. I feel that they will nurture and love her/him as I will. I feel that Mar and Leni are the right combination that will bring PH and the Filipinos closer to the threshold of their full potential.

    Yes, I lose sleep pondering the endless possibilities after May 9th, both the positives and the negatives. Kuya NHerrera will relate about my working of different combinations and permutations of the factors available for PH continued prosperity and stability. When I plug the recent frontrunners into the equation, I get brimstone and damnation.

    Where are you, edgar, when I need your level headed and logical wisdom? Glad that Joe and the Society regulars are here when I drop by. You do not know how much you help me cope with my “grumpies.”

    Thank you all for reading, listening and understanding.

    • Joe America says:

      Fellow blogger “J” is now an official within the Department of Foreign Affairs. He’s one of the smartest people I know. Superb common sense, expert in international affairs. He says the nation will be fine no matter who is elected. I believe what he means is that the STRUCTURE of the institutions restrains a president, and the checks and balances and public pressures tend to force a leader toward good works. The fundamental institutions of Philippine governance are sound.

      Always good to hear from you, JP.

  37. Angel says:

    Hi Joe,

    What I think is that Duterte is a Master TraPo. He instictively knows how Filipinos think and capitalizes on that, and yes, that includes our Christian psyche, ever present in our subconscious.

    As ironic as it is, he made himself look like the Messiah. The savior that the country needs. And that he is the “lamb” that’s willing to make the sacrifice for us all. In cunning fashion, he made the killings look like “yes it is bad and I’ll go to hell, but I’ll do it for you.” And that reached the (gullible) hearts of a lot of Filipinos that are all to familiar with Jesus’s story.

    • Angel says:

      And this deed taps in to the frustration of most Filipinos, that all anti-government entities have built up for their own interests, in a way that appeals to the Christian psyche. Two birds in one stone.

      As I said, Master TraPo (aka Manipulator).

    • Joe America says:

      I agree, Angel. He has the knack of relating to people in ways that even Poe cannot. His latest television commercial is fantastic, him almost draped in the flag extolling that he is Filipino in the way that common people “feel” it.

  38. Bill in Oz says:

    Recently I have been reading ” The Great Surge – The Ascent of the Developing World ” by Stephen Radelet.

    It provides an international perspective. A secular perspective – which I think has been lost here in this post

    The Philippines figures sporadically in this work along with comments & analysis about the growth in prosperity all across the developing countries since 1990 and the end of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    He is fundamentally optimistic about the future of these nations including the Philippines because the economic and social forces now unleashed are creating a better world. And he thinks this process is largely unstopable even if stuff ups happen. such as a poor quality person being haed of government…

    He points out that such incidents happened in more developed Western nations – even the USA.. But the direction was still towards an improved standard of living for all and more open transparent governments.

    • Joe America says:

      I’m not sure what you mean by “A secular perspective – which I think has been lost here in this post.” You sound a bit like Lance Corporal who thinks a blog should not be written unless it fits into his idea of secular. That is, faith-based arguments targeted to reach an audience that is faith-based and about to elect some really crummy characters into high office ought not be published because it does not toe the secular line. Forgive me if that view seems more totalitarian than ideas emerging from China and North Korea at the moment.

      As far as the positive trends in the Philippines, that’s what we all hope for and are afraid that it may be put at risk, or delayed, by bad choices during the election. I just expressed to Juana the point mentioned by “J” in the Department of Foreign Affairs that the Philippines will be fine under any president because its institutions have been strengthened and will restrain untoward deeds of a wayward president. So the point has not been lost, as discussion is a part of the blog.

      • josephivo says:

        If you are driven by secular motives or religious ones is not so important, more important is the direction you want to go. The betterment of all, the betterment of your clan, island, region, country… or the betterment only of yourself at whatever cost. I can site secular and religious motivations to move in either direction with the use of military might or with gentle persuasion.

        Don’t know if I’m so optimistic about the institutions. As a rule of thumb, if you want to change the culture in an organization you have to reach 1/3 of the members. I assumed that this happened in most departments, so the less corrupt style in support of the less corrupt leaders became dominant. But I also belief that still 1/3 of the old guard is resisting, so with a new leadership the culture could flip flop to the old ways in no time. Or in other words to have a robust cultural change you have to convince more than 2/3 of the organization and that is not the case yet in the entire administration.

        • Bill in Oz says:

          Joesephivo..I think you may be right on this…But Radelet is emphasisng the emergence of a new broad based middle class as a key aspect of this new change in developing countries…He suggests that this new class will demand change of it’s rulers and get rid of those tho refuse..EDSA was that happening here..And at least here in manila I do see an aspiring broad based middle class….

        • Joe America says:

          I believe fewer than 1/3 of cabinet positions are driven by something other than good works. Corruption is mostly gone. Political gaming still exists in some areas. The Senate is not so well-stocked, being the province of plunderers and enthusiastic participants in the culture of impunity. The SC is okay, I think. Not perfect. But a lot of smart people and (I think) not so driven by politics or corruption. Down the line, I don’t know what share of the courts are compromised by politics and corruption. The lack of good, secure automation I think is a weakness, as is weak investigation capabilities, and the too pervasive weakness in critical thinking and managing toward objectives. But all that has come a lonnnnggg way under President Aquino. More than anything, I think there are powerful voices among “the people” who will not stand for rank negligence or crookery.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        Radelet is discussing many nations with very different religious backgrounds all undergoing a similar economic and social process. So the word ‘secular seems appropriate to me. And I am simply saying that that bigger picture is there and optimistic..
        I have opinions about all of the candidates. And I have contributed information which seems important for Filipinos to know. But as a no Filipino it’s best that I not get drawn into the political debates about which candidate is best.

        There has been a good deal of discussion about the best candidate from a Christian religious perspective…(.Note : I do not use the term “Faith Based ” ) That’s fine for those Filipinos who truly do have deep religious christian convictions. I have not complained about it Joe, Just limited my comments.

        I would like to to second the comment of one bloke from the UK ( with a Filipina wife) He said that most Filipino are supersticius rather than strong Christian, believers. With a strong bent towards appeasing spiritual powers or asking them for help on the prosaic levels of life…I have been here again now for 6 weeks and that is what I see around me in the behaviour of many Filipinos….
        I think an awareness of this helps explain the disjunct between ” Traditional christian moral teachings” and what folks do.

        It’s wise always to remember that if babies are baptised and ‘determined thus to be christian’ as babies…( And confirmed at age 9 or 10 and thus ‘confirmed’ as ‘ adult members of the faith) weirdness will result.

        I have always rather respected those religious groups that allow their children to choose religious convictions later on when adult..The USA Amish are a great example…

        • Joe America says:

          I’m glad you offer up the optimistic view. That is important for people to hang onto no matter the outcome of the election. There is no need for a grand gnashing of teeth and bitterness of the kind that those who lost to President Aquino have displayed for six years (GRP, etc.)

          The one area of disagreement I have with observers is that there is a tendency to suggest that faith in the Philippines is somehow flawed because it has rites and superstitions. Yet I see it being exercised and can say for sure that it is genuine, gives a lot of people ease, stability and hope when there are few material ways to get it, and if it does not measure up to other people’s standards, then it is just like about every other faith-based practice in the world.

        • ‘I have always rather respected those religious groups that allow their children to choose religious convictions later on when adult..The USA Amish are a great example…’

          Same here. The Amish call it, . I was a big fan of the shows set in NYC and LA, attempting to document (via reality show) this break,

          • Englishmen or Outlanders (which is what Amish call other white Americans) call it spring break. The Igorots (used to?) have the institution of “bahay sa ulog” for teenagers, none of the Catholic lowland fake prudishness there.

      • “That is, faith-based arguments targeted to reach an audience that is faith-based and about to elect some really crummy characters into high office ought not be published because it does not toe the secular line.”

        I didn’t say shouldn’t be published, I’m simply saying if the ideal is for a secular gov’t (ie. separation of church and state, and rendering religious groups big and small there impotent), then make the case for Mar thus, no need to take him to the river Jordan and christen him as the candidate for Jesus.

        To lament on people like Quiboloy (thanks to cha), then turn around and do essentially the same thing, is crafty, but does nothing to further the secular ideals of gov’t. If the whole point was to continue Daang Matuwid, to support the ideals therein, isn’t it wiser to separate this movement from ‘faith-based arguments’?

        ” I just expressed to Juana the point mentioned by “J” in the Department of Foreign Affairs that the Philippines will be fine under any president because its institutions have been strengthened and will restrain untoward deeds of a wayward president.”

        Not sure about the DFA as a whole (no knowledge), but the Philippines’ representation in Jordan is int’l quality— what Filipinos love to say export quality.

        • Joe America says:

          Cha is cha, making her point. I am Joe, making mine. I had no intention of promoting Jesus or worshiping Mar Roxas. I do believe consistency of moral principle and deed would be nice and would be a huge step toward not electing scoundrels. I’m sorry you can’t find this message for your obsession with secularism and need to criticize others for not rising to your own moral standard, but I can assure you that many here do get the point.

          • Joe America says:

            “If the whole point was to continue Daang Matuwid, to support the ideals therein, isn’t it wiser to separate this movement from ‘faith-based arguments’?”

            Yes, but to make that point would be a diversion of the discussion I had intended. Here’s the deal. I wrote the blog to the best of my ability and it is not your place to question the “wisdom” of how it was written. You can make the point on secularism as a point without suggesting the blog, a free expression written earnestly, for no pay whatsoever, somehow fell short of standards you are apparently God-gifted to set.

          • OK, lemme ask you this, Joe, would you say that the essence of ‘Daang Matuwid’ secular or not? What is the core of ‘Daang Matuwid’? This blog is addressed to foreigners, no? The 1st world is secular, the essence of governance in the West is precisely that (and why it’s the 1st world),

            IMHO both Aquino and Roxas are attempting to move the Philippines in that direction, that is the essence of “Daang Matuwid”— so why indulge in ‘faith-based arguments’? Define ‘Daang Matuwid’ first and I think, you’ll find that we agree more than disagree 😉 , Joe.

            Get to the essence of ‘Daang Matuwid’ and you’ll understand my point.

            • Joe America says:

              We don’t agree. The Philippines is a faith-based state. Every SC meeting, every cabinet meeting, every legislative session begins with a prayer. The walls of separation between church and state are not as firm as in the US. Divorce legislation is unlikely to see the light of day anytime soon. The US is also not a secular state as far as I can tell, other than to ideological purists such as yourself who define it as such whilst ignoring the prominence of the Christian churches to define legislative agendas.

              This blog is addressed to foreigners to explain the forces shaping the election to them. Not explain to Filipinos the secular drives of the outside world.

              Daang Matuwid is not of itself a secular drive. It is a drive for earnest, honest good deeds. It is economic and law-based more than anything. It is respectful of diversity, including all religious faiths.

              Why indulge in faith based arguments? Because it is a way to speak to a faith based audience and perhaps have them listen.

              I understand earnest, honest good deeds are by nature secular, but they do not separate the nation from its broad, deep faith. I understand all your various points. They are mostly off topic and tend toward judgment.

              • “The US is also not a secular state as far as I can tell, other than to ideological purists such as yourself who define it as such whilst ignoring the prominence of the Christian churches to define legislative agendas.”

                Exactly, there’s a tug of war. The American gov’t was the first to come up with the idea of state separate from church powers— doesn’t mean the churches disappear, they’ll attempt to insert themselves whenever possible.

                The ideals of secular gov’t is about keeping the churches at bay. They are winning in the South and Mid-West. But where power resides (both gov’t and private) churches traditionally have taken a back-seat. There’s a lesson there (one both Aquino and Roxas are attempting to replicate, IMHO).

                “It is economic and law-based more than anything. It is respectful of diversity, including all religious faiths.” I agree respectful of diversity, but honesty via rule of law is the basis of secular governance (get God out of the picture, aside from symbolic— ie. US Marines in every function, whether celebrating the Birthday or a posting or a retirement, there’s always an invocation, “Let us Pray”— why we have Chaplains in the military.)

                I agree with your definition of ‘Daang Matuwid’, but I don’t think you’re appreciating that it is invoking essentially the Rule of Law. How do you think Mar Roxas would define it, vis-a-vis secular governance?

              • Joe America says:

                He would not use the word “secular”. You can go to his web site and read his platform. I’d imagine you won’t find that word there, although I have not checked.

              • Joe America says:

                I have to laugh because one of President Aquino’s communications guys, MLQ3, is an ardent atheist or agnostic, I’m not sure which. He is an avid Roxas supporter. I sent him a “Merry Christmas” this past December and he returned “Bah humbug!” I really like the guy. If Roxas is not elected, maybe he’ll return to blogging and raise the level of dialogue across the nation.

              • Joe America says:

                By the way, there is a prominent blog in the Philippines you may choose to follow. It is an intellectual advocacy of the type you seem to want here, but I am not equipped to deliver:


              • Bill in Oz says:

                “This blog is addressed to foreigners to explain the forces shaping the election to them. Not explain to Filipinos the secular drives of the outside world.”

                This blog has a Filipino audience an in country one.

                So it seems to me that explaining to local Filipinos the secular drives of the developed world wold be an excellent topic.

                And by the way France was the first secular country A result of their far more drastic & violent revolution. The USA simply ‘de-established’ the Anglican church which was in most the English colonies the established church..( a few had other puritanism as the established cult. )

              • Joe America says:

                I agree it would be an excellent topic. But it is not the topic of this blog. I did the subject some four years ago:


              • Joe America says:

                Also, these:




                The Department of Education removed “God loving” from its charter shortly after that last blog was published. There are others as well, I am sure. When you’ve written nearly 1,000 blogs, you cover a lot of territory.

              • “And by the way France was the first secular country A result of their far more drastic & violent revolution.”

                Read your history again, Bill 😉 .

                That French Revolution came right after ours.

                The French helped us, and Americans then paid in kind, and paid it forward for secularization. Thomas Paine was in the thick of it— doing what he did best (like Joe) writing his heart out.

                Without the American revolution, there’d be no French revolution, those two are joined at the hip.

              • stpaul says:

                Loved MLQ3 as THE EXPLAINER some years back and missed his newspaper columns too. Glad I found Sir Joeam. wink wink

              • Joe America says:

                Yep, he is a smart dude and has done wonderful work archiving Philippine history. I suspect few know of the treasures he has gathered for posterity.

              • stpaul says:

                To any presidential adviser reading out there, please censor and limit the telenovelas please. It had contributed to the dumbing down of our people. Let’s help them become critical thinkers . Thank you MLQ3 . Thank you Sir Joe for all your help. PARA SA DISENTENG BUKAS.

                From a simple volunteer for RoRo, no agenda.

  39. bauwow says:

    It is the double standard that permeates in every class Manong Joe. For the clerics, it is “follow what I say but follow not what I do.”
    You may steal billions of pesos, and enjoy a cup of coffee in an expensive hotel. But if a low life poverty stricken dude gets caught stealing a less than a hundred mobile phone, he is immediately thrown into prison and is ostracized immediately by the society.
    It is indeed sad that many of us Filipinos look the other way, because for us, the only important thing is our comfort and of our families.
    BBM and Digong will end the “suffering”of their families but not of the whole country.
    Double Standard.

  40. cha says:

    Joeam, you’re in good company.

    “Catholics must be active in politics, no matter how ‘dirty,’ pope says”

    From the National Catholic Reporter, May 2015

    • Bill in Oz says:

      Cha, how to say this ? ….The current pope is sort of Ok for an elderly Argentine..Probably because of his Jesuit background & training..But before him there were real duds…Going back to John 23rd who was not : a real saint ! But Carol Wotolya should have been retired long before he died as he was clearly mentally going down hill….And prior to him there were some not so intelligent ones as well…. Pius the 12th got the job and being a bit of a Germany liker, went far to far with Hitler ( and Franco & Mussolini as well !!)

      But is roughly 1700 years of historically known popes, mixed in with the good have been real bad : there have been idiots, ignoramuses, bigots, murderers, sodomists, rapists , etc etc…The one clear thing is that they are not infallible and have not direct line to any god..
      They are just blokes..

      So…I always take anything they say with a big grain of salt. But I do that with all blokes, even Joe here 🙂

      • Joe America says:

        One of the greatest challenges we have, as emotional humans with natural esteem issues, is to find a level of civility that allows us to strike up a dialogue with those who have ideas different than we do. To make diversity a joy instead of a fear or insult. We have a long way to go, especially when views are set down so hard that they cause others to turn away, and listen no further.

      • cha says:

        That’s alright, Bill. We all don’t need to agree about everything all the time.

        I thought I’d share this with Joe just to let him know he and the Catholic Church’s top honcho are thinking along the same lines. Now what you and I think about Popes and whether that is right or wrong of this current Pope to share similar views with our secular Joe here is really beside the point.

        Now about that second paragraph… Did you just call me naive, mate? 🙂

        • Bill in Oz says:

          No Cha, that was not my intention…!! 🙂

          • cha says:

            Thanks, Bill. I do know that. Just wanted to make the point that sometimes our comments here come across a certain way, perhaps not as we originally intend it to. And when people take offense, maybe it is best to just make the clarification like you did. That’s one thing I like about Australians, you ask them a simple direct question, you can exoect to get a simple direct answer. No dramas. 🙂

  41. cha says:


    Christians have a duty to work for the common good in the world of politics, the pope said, adding that that does not mean forming a Catholic political party.
    “That is not the way. The church is the community of Christians who adore the Father, follow the way of the Son and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is not a political party,” he said.

    However, individual Catholics must get involved and “embroiled” in politics, he said, because it is one of the “highest forms of charity” since it seeks the common good.
    Yet, it isn’t easy, especially when there is so much corruption, he said. “It’s a kind of martyrdom” where one carries the cross of the ideal of the common good every day “without letting yourself be corrupted” or discouraged in the midst of failure.

  42. Bill in Oz says:

    Hi Joe : Re the link

    I did read this..However there is an unsatisfactory quality to it..It focuses on comparing how separation of church & state differ between the USA & The Philippines..But there are lots of secular countries ..And each has it’s own interesting aspects….

    • Joe America says:

      I’m sorry it did not meet your high standards of satisfaction.

      • Joe America says:

        I think we need a contest labeled “foreign snobs of the universe who can write a better blog than JoeAm”.

          • Bill in Oz says:

            Grumpy Joe ? As you said you have written a 1000 blogs over what 15 years ? Surely you change your mind sometimes as information comes to light and as different perspectives dawn ?

            • Joe America says:

              I would welcome the information and enlightenment. I haven’t read any from you or Lance “High and Mighty” Corporal lately. I’ve read complaint and dissatisfaction. I write to the point of disconnect between what those of faith say and how they vote and am labeled a bible thumper. I write four articles on the topic of “secular” and it is not up to your level of “satisfaction”. Yes, I’m cranky. I bust my ass writing to the best of my ability, dealing with trolls and political gameplayers and you judgmental pricks with more mouth than consideration come cruising into my house fresh from the armchair and lay your judgments here.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Joe.Now I feel hurt. I am not Lance. I have not read his comments recently. Nor have I called you a bible thumper. Nor have I called you a prick. In fact I do not know what your own personal religious beliefs are….You speak as Joe Am, an American Philippines based blogger. in a largely “Catholic’ environment…But what you as a man, think, I do not know….

                Yes I agree that civility is important. And a willingness to listen even if the information put forward is unexpected or challenges our preconceptions..

                And I hear you when you mention trolls and game players. I am neither of these. Managing such stuff is not something I would like to do.But I am glad you are doing it as it is an essential part of being part of a civilised discussion bog….And Joe it is a blog..That we all do via computers or smart phones…I am not in your home.Nor do I wish to be…

                Time to press the reset button ?

              • Joe America says:

                Duly pressed. You had the unfortunate timing to follow his persistent and critical judgment on what I chose to write. Sorry for going off on you.

              • (I’ll jump in here since my name was mentioned)


                The difference with me is that I’ll make a point or two, and not simply drop “an unsatisfactory quality to it” (that to me is more of an insult than anything I’ve said above).

                Those are the same articles you shared to me while writing my Church/state article. I’ve read them then, and liked ’em.

                I’ve never pissed on your articles (saying I can do better, nor anyone else’s, I know how hard this writing stuff is) when we disagree, we disagree in principle. That’s the pattern here with me and I hope you can appreciate that— don’t lump me in with Bill,

                that was a snob-ass comment he made, you were right to snap back at him, our disagreement though is totally different (one we’ve had time and again, but have always move forward and not back).

    • is about the different aspects of how Church and State can coexist and cooperate.

      The German model for example has close cooperation between Church and State, but less of the ritualized “In God We Trust” stuff the USA has. But then again, the Christian Democratic Union is the ruling party, Chancellor Merkel a Lutheran preacher’s daughter.

      The CDU has Christian values at its core – they are very much like moderate Republicans – while the SPD (Social Democrats) have Labour or New Labour Party values at the center. Right-wing and left-wing parties are similar to Trump and Sanders in their ideologies.

  43. Bill in Oz says:

    Thank you Joe..I appreciate it and what you are trying to do in this blog…It is aprt of the effort to promote intelligent thinking and sharing of information..But there are times when anyone making this type of effort wants to pull the hair out :-)…

  44. R.Hiro says:

    I cannot for the life of me get what the point of your post is. The Catholic Church’s main mission,their prophetic mission is REDEMPTION. Not the old kind which was for sale. The CC cannot make judgments about politicians. As an NGO they never will.

    Individual bishops and priests in their individual capacities can. The CC did not condemn martial law under Marcos. However some priests did and fought back by taking arms against the government. I know of one bishop who was placed on the order of battle by the military for his work assisting the poor.

    Just because, based on surveys, your guy is doing poorly you look at our spiritual leaders and question the meaning of their faith?

    Christ is about REDEMPTION. The old celestial dictator hurling thunderbolts to the sinner is no more.

    Why would the Christ consort with prostitutes and tax collectors? The dregs of his community?

    His most famous disciple was Saul the Jewish Terminator of Christians of his time.

    Maybe the old Teutonic mindset for order and stability and rules makes it very difficult for you to take but cultures will eventually change when needs are met.

    Brown skins with white minds will eventually lose out to all brown and this country will move forward.

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, that’s better. Now we are back out of sync where we usually are. What is the foundation of a nation’s laws, as codification of moral rules and standards for ethical behavior? In most Christian nations, it is the Bible. The Philippines is both deeply faithful and deeply sinful. The culmination of that conflict is being expressed in the surveys and may be put into real terms during the election. How does the Philippines ever move away from corruption and favor if it does not develop a moral conscience? You no spekka da values?

      • R.Hiro says:

        “Most strikingly, drawing from the logic of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Smith argues in his “Theory of Moral Sentiments”: “The rich man glories in his riches, because he feels that they naturally draw the attention of the world.”

        “For Smith, the admiration that citizens feel for the wealthy amounts to nothing less than “the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.” Indeed, the natural consequence of being super rich is merely to feed what Smith calls their “natural selfishness and rapacity.”

        “On the opposite end of the spectrum, in market economies, the poor experience their condition as humiliation. Whereas in feudalism poverty was a mark of forces beyond one’s control, under capitalism it is a mark of shame, deserved or not. The inequality resulting from capitalism corrupts character, and it is for Smith simultaneously the source of an existential experience of worthlessness.”

        “For Smith, inequality’s effects extend well beyond individual character. It is the source of serious social dysfunction. The greater the gap between the wealthy and the poor, the less regard the wealthy have for the poor and their relative well-being. He notes in his “Lectures on Jurisprudence” that slave societies characterized by extreme inequality find that “the slaves were treated with the utmost severity, and were put to death on the smallest transgressions.” This stems from his observation in the “Theory of Moral Sentiments” that “Men . . . feel so little for each other, with whom they have no particular connection, in comparison of what they feel for themselves.” The results of this failure to establish sympathy include a legal system that is fundamentally rigged in favor of the wealthy without regard to the interests of the poor, and potentially even class violence — consequences some would claim have come to fruition.” David Lay Williams , Bloomberg

        John Locke even rationalized morality of the way forward for the white man to destroy the heathen, pagan and savages who were on the land the colonizers coveted.

        Roxas represents the economic political elite in this country that have been already erased in the other more progressive countries. He has had no message and his inability to communicate with the vast majority in this country shows a sense of callousness and lack of empathy that transcend him.

        Your thesis on principles do not hold for the many who are on the razors edge of human survival.

        What about the numerous calls for a moral economy? Your horse in the race is a fundamentalist free marketeer who believes government has no business in the economy.

        • Joe America says:

          “Roxas represents the economic political elite in this country that have been already erased in the other more progressive countries. He has had no message and his inability to communicate with the vast majority in this country shows a sense of callousness and lack of empathy that transcend him.”

          We definitely see him differently.

          • RHiro says:


            White man’s moral relativism was and is replete during the heydays of Imperialism till today in fashioning what is supposedly good for the planet.

            Once again we are hearing about the superiority of Western versus Eastern cultures.

            The Philippines ruled predominantly still by brown skinned white minds still awaiting the great disruption to end the charade.

            Right now we are in the top five in ASEAN soon to be in the top six as Vietnam will most assuredly pass us by.

            Vietnam by the way being the top claimant and occupier in the Spratly’s archipelago by over 2 to one over China.

            • Isa ka ring kanluranin ang utak at ipokrito sa tingin ko… isang Attac-style na aktibista na hindi man lang makatapak sa slums… ako napunta na pati sa West Rembo ikaw kaya?

              • R.Hiro says:

                Why another lunatic response???

              • Joe America says:

                Objection. Rephrase the question respectfully. I’m sure you have the capacity to do that.

              • R.Hiro says:

                1.”me pinag-aralan ka hanapin mo ulol… ano kami rito katulong mo? hehe.”

                “You are educated find it your self stupid. what are we here your servants?”

                2.”Isa ka ring kanluranin ang utak at ipokrito sa tingin ko… isang Attac-style na aktibista na hindi man lang makatapak sa slums… ako napunta na pati sa West Rembo ikaw kaya?”

                You are also a hypocrite western brain and think … a Attac – style activists who never set foot in the slums … I have been to West Rembo have you ?

                Joe one of your your gentleman regulars who I am for sure is not a cretin intruded on a my query addressed to another with a direct personal insult. Both his responses were in Filipino.

                I am sure with his full repertoire of knowledge he stooped really low to the reptilian side of his brain. Why? It escapes me. I cannot see why you objected. Sanity vs Insanity. No logical explanation for the man’s outburst except he has nothing intelligible actually to say .

                I am hopeful you allow this post in the interest of fairness.

                His second response was even more puzzling…,He now calls me an attack style activist who has never set foot in the slums. His exemplary example off course or his exemplary achievement was visiting West Rembo. That appears to be his Badge of Honor that he has bestowed on himself for all the world to see.

                The seeming lack of self respect or self esteem cannot be easily explained. It could stem from a variety of reasons like sexual molestation while a young boy, being victimized by bullies or combination of other things. We can only speculate.

                He should be reminded that persons who participate in advocacy groups do not talk about their activities as it is organizational in nature.

                As can be seen by this crude personal attack on my person somehow ratifies his need for status or recognition…Having visited West Rembo and all that…

          • R.Hiro says:

            We are all correct in a way and the number of people who agree or disagree with us will be clearer on May 10th. Will there be a larger protest vote or one of acclamation.

            As my acquaintance wrote recently, unfortunately the protest vote may be hijacked, but we are all supposed to be the guardians of the guardians so we could be living in very interesting times after May 10th.

  45. To what extent is the old religion of ancestor-worship still at the back of Filipino’s minds…

    voting Arroyo because of her father, the popular “poor boy from Lubao, Pampanga”?

    voting Noynoy because of his mother… and Duterte nowadays reminds me of THIS here – a mixture of an imagined warrior-king of old and an imagined savior like Makemake of Rapa-Nui:

    Deified ancestors… had comprised the most important cultural baggage of Easter Island’s settlers. But these ancestors had obviously failed to protect the settlers’ descendants from ecological disaster, famine, dangerous foreigners, pandemics… The island was dying, and drastic new measures were needed. Or so judged the ruling matato’a [mga mandirigma] who, convinced that a single deity could save the island, at this time advanced ancient Makemake — who came to incarnate Tangaroa, Tāne, Rongo and Tu‘u in one” (Fischer 2005, 57).

  46. shellyolvido says:

    I finally got the chance to read this sir Joe!! I have been busy at work and also been avoiding facebook and other social media for it not only makes me cuss every time I see BINAY or DUTERTE memes it also makes me question myself why I am friends with people with too much personal incredulity…As a responsible citizen of this country, I did my best to help educate my circle but I guess evil has it’s own way of winning the hearts and minds of lost souls. Some people have grown more arrogant because of what DUTERTE wants them to believe.For goodness sake this is not a fairytale!! I dont see it as a win-win situation…Filipinos are going to suffer the consequences and it would be too late before we even realize it…If prayers wont save the people of country, I dont know what else would…

    • Joe America says:

      It is most astounding, isn’t it, the dedication people give to ideas that are just plain bad, and the blindness they paste over it to justify the choice. I agree. My wife fairly rants at the wall after trying to discuss things with her Duterte fanatical friends.


    A Redemptorist priest’s call for the faithful to examine their conscience if they choose to vote for candidates who have been shown not to respect life came days before the results of the Social Weather Station (SWS) and Pulse Asia surveys showing Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte claiming a decisive five-point lead over erstwhile survey leader Sen. Grace Poe.

  48. caliphman says:

    The latest Pulse Asia survey just came out with grim and ominuous results, Duterte and Marcos are widening their leads in the polls. Robredo slipped a bit and is now third trailing Escudero. Tangina!

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