Time and circumstance, and how the office makes the man

Duterte at MBC bloomberg

President Elect Duterte [Photo source: bloomberg]

We see the lingering dust of battle as a few straggling Duterte fans ride the social nets to mock the losers. Meanwhile, the dedicated straight-pathers, who poured their hearts into a loss, wield the heavy club of righteous values and watchful eye.

Those who parried the arrows of the past six years aimed at President Aquino are now strapping up their bows. The tables have turned. The shoe is on the other foot. The pot and the kettle are clanging, ever at odds.

There are also two other groups:

  • The Duterte appointees, who must run a government, and those who wish them well and will help in any way they can.
  • The democrats, who place their trust in the institutions of democracy, even if they don’t like the players. They tend to look at issues rather than personalities.

I’m in this last group.

You are wherever you choose to be.

If we look at the recent political timeline, we can recognize that the combination of time and circumstance make a huge, huge difference in decisions and outcomes.

Rep. Leni Robredo, who polled 1% in the first polls just a few short months ago, ended up with over 14 million votes and the admiration of a growing share of the population. Senator Poe, who shot to the top early in a rush of popular adoration, sagged under the weight of coco levy funds, her American past and thin debate performances.

Then on May 9, we had a time, and a circumstance, and it was profound.

Disenfranchised and frustrated voters, egged on by political opponents of the Aquino Administration, joined voices at the ballot machines and shouted loud and clear: “Listen to THIS, you trapo elitists! We want ACTION!”

Now we can argue the reasonableness of this call . . . that I would say is clarion . . . until we are blue in the face, but it does not change the time and circumstance. Mayor Duterte is now President Elect Duterte, and the government is already moving to reflect his influence.

My first point. The past no longer exists. Are you aware of this? That’s why it is called the past. Read Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” if you have any doubts about this. Oh, there are lessons in the past, for sure, but I’d say the time and circumstance of May 9 has declared the past dead.

You can rue the result and the social media bots and trolls and the “irregular” way the Mayor sometimes speaks and behaves . . . but it is a whole new ball game. (Sancho Panza is my friend.) Promises, hyperbole, memes and dirty tricks have been tossed into the dustbins. They don’t mean anything. The election is history.

The only thing that matters now is results.

The ball game is new and the past is dead because Mayor Duterte will be President and the Office makes the man.

That’s my second point. Being President is its own reality.

As of May 9, Rody Duterte is no longer just Mayor Duterte. He is a different man. More powerful. Huge responsibilities. Different house to live in. Different domestic lifestyle. 100 million sets of eyes watching his every step. A rabid tabloid press waiting in the wings, drooling for fresh meat.

The Mayor will soon understand, if he does not already, that the forces of public watchfulness, driven by those who want a decent and productive Philippines . . . perhaps spiced by a little lingering political vitriol . . . are real forces. He is not master of the Philippines. He is President, and the laws of the land have not changed.

I think he “gets it”.

His first act was to announce an eight-point economic plan that emphasized that the macro-economic programs of the Aquino Administration would be continued. No disruption. “Investors, keep your confidence!”

Some in the Aquino/Roxas crowd bayed in resentful ridicule that this does not represent a promised “change”. But that is no longer the issue, is it? The issue is, is it good for the Philippines to assure economic stability? And it is. The particulars of the eight points warrant comment (I found them wanting in specifics), but that is a different blog.

The early announcement of the economic program is an example of how forces outside the government affect decisions made within government. Without a popular mandate, the Duterte Administration is dead in the water, like any democratic government. A weakening peso or weakening in GDP growth would weaken Duterte.

There will be pressures in other areas as well. Policing and crime trends. Poverty trends. NPA and extremist Muslim insurgencies. These matters were very visible during the campaign, and they have accordingly become key public benchmarks. Will the Duterte Administration perform?

Federalism. He will need to put some meat on the bones. It will be a great debate. He will need to convince the 61% of the voters who did not vote for him that he is not out to hijack the nation, ala Marcos. He does not have a blank check. He has a 39% mandate. He does not control the Legislature. Not yet, anyway.

The Legislature can seek to hold power and influence, or cede it to a dominant President.

Family values. Will he represent decency, as President? Or the brusk authoritarian manner of swearing and displaying his manhood to impress the rest of us? I’m betting we will see a more diplomatic Duterte. But I wouldn’t put any money on the bet.

China. President Duterte will not get on a jet-ski, I am quite confident.

Will he find the US presence in the Philippines oppressive? An affront to his personal power-mandate? Or will he find it a strong bargaining chip in his own stack of options for dealing with China and the Muslim insurgency (read into that ISIS)?

Next to economic stability and growth, I think President Duterte’s China policy and actions will be the most striking test of his government. It is nation-defining.

Many who support President-Elect Duterte find him loyal to THEM. To Davao. To Mindanao. To the disenfranchised. He speaks for them. He gives them power.

When he is President, will he speak for the sovereign Philippines? Will he speak for the rest of us? Will he give us power?

Will he speak for Manila, a place he does not even like to visit? Will he give commuters power, give them relief?

Will he speak for the fishermen of Luzon, now harassed by the Chinese Coast Guard at Scarborough Shoal? Will he give them the right to fish for food?

Let us project a scenario:

  1. The Philippines gets a substantial victory from the UN arbitration panel.
  2. China disregards the victory as not having the power of law.
  3. Duterte will propose multilateral talks. China will not agree to them.
  4. Duterte will accept direct, one-on-one talks with China, and China will take its normal position: agree to our sovereignty over all contested islands and rocks, including Scarborough Shoal, and we can talk.

Where along this timeline will President Duterte stand up for Philippine sovereignty and the nation’s rights to resources within 200 nautical miles of her lands? When does he connect these sea-based resources to the long-term need to overcome poverty and feed a nation? Where do Luzon fishermen fish when Chinese warships are cruising their old fishing grounds?

Where will Rody Duterte’s great personal pride come into play to draw a hard line?

Will he accept a Chinese military installation right off the coast of Luzon, effectively neutralizing Subic as a Philippine naval base?

I have the idea . . . just a hunch . . . that it is not a “given” that President Duterte will concede the West Philippine Sea to China in exchange for a railroad. I think he will find his national pride somewhere along the way, and start to represent the whole of the Philippines with the same kind of ardor that he grants to Davao.

Time and circumstance set the context, the office makes the man.


214 Responses to “Time and circumstance, and how the office makes the man”
  1. arlene says:

    I wonder if I am the only one who feels this. Sometimes, it is even harder to look at the issues without dealing on personalities.

    • Joe America says:

      It is very very hard because Mayor Duterte often makes it so. It is funny, I suppose. People frequently criticize Aquino and Rosas for being dull, but I’d say too much excitement in the speech can lead to as much confusion and anxiety as too little. I find myself often asking, “okay, does he really MEAN this, or is he just speaking for effect?” It will remain a mystery until he actually makes decisions. Today he said he would not back down from the Philippines’ sea claims. That is encouraging.

      • arlene says:

        Every day, he has a different statement, it is so confusing and like you I am asking myself, will he carry “this” out or not? Or maybe he is just pulling our legs.

        • Joe America says:

          We shall report which it seems to be, eh? Jokes or seriousness.

          • Thea says:

            Meaning,you can distinguish the jokes and seriousness? That’s tantalizing. I will read your blog first before the news. At least to level down the confusion.

            • Joe America says:

              Hi, Thea. Actually, I can’t always discern, and am learning like most. But I use exaggeration here from time to time, and I think PE Duterte is an expert. He likes pushing buttons, a little bully boy style. When others are off balance, he can tip them whatever direction he wishes. I stopped reading news, except when people refer me to an important article. I felt I was living in a separate reality following the newspapers, and they were distorting my sense of what is actually happening.

              • LG says:

                To Thea. I will follow your lead, from now on, that is read TSH, especially Joe’s response to each post first, and maybe read much later, if ever, the local papers for recycled ‘news’. I had stopped watching local news on TV. The various delivery styles and tones unmake my day.

              • Joe America says:

                I have three news scanning sources. (1) Google news, which feeds top Philippine news from any source, (2) Twitter, where I follow well read people who drop off news links, and (3) here at TSH, both within discussion threads and prowling around to research various topics. I stopped following mainstream news when it was making me way too angry.

              • LG says:

                Fabulous tips for news sources, Joe. Dacal salamat (‘thank you’ in Kapampangan, Pampanga’s dialect).

              • Joe America says:

                “da nada”, street Mexican for ‘it’s nothing’. 🙂

              • LG says:

                Started reading Google news, now on my home screen:). Wow, only print- and read-worthy news! First news I read: Political prisoners to be released only by the PE if they join the peace talks, then, depending on their input, see if they should be (the PE ready to compromise) is what I got…. Sounds good to me.

              • Joe America says:

                Yes, and the more you click on stories, the better Google is at knowing your preferences. It’s cool if you don’t mind computers knowing you better than your friends do. he he

              • LG says:

                Wonderful, in fact, I welcome the passion to address and satisfy my inrerests🤓.

              • LG says:

                Am on Twitter news now as well. Love the layout. News that grabbed: The PE’s 3-child limit policy. Am for population control and management. Even three growing kids with plans of providing each of them a decent education is already way challenging for a one-income family.

              • Joe America says:

                It is interesting. Many of us perceive that PE Duterte’s abrasive outspoken way offends our polite moral values, but if applied to walls that are untouchable by polite means, he may just be able to break through for good. Family planning, telecom services. Peace in Mindanao. Might be good to watch for awhile rather than be ever offended.

              • LG says:

                Yes, he can be well into DUE significant changes untried by his predecessors.

              • Hehe I might finally buy the book which reveals old Vatican archives about Martin Luther. Certainly he was an uncouth, half-barbaric Saxon to most of the clergy in Rome.

                Some of his famous words are still remembered to this day in Germany:

                1. That it is healthy and not harmful for man and wife to have sex at least twice a week.

                2. That a man who marries twice is healthy, he who marries more than twice is truly an animal – meant positively…

                3. To some higher-class people he once said at the table: why do you not fart and belch, did the food not taste good?

                It is also interesting that the Roman Catholic areas in Germany more or less coincide with the areas occupied by Rome while the Protestant (mostly Lutheran) areas are those where Romans never stayed – or were expelled quickly by the likes of Arminius. Somehow it is not surprising that the rebel against Catholicism comes from an area never held by Spain for long, while Leni comes from the probably most Catholic area of the Philippines, which Manong Sonny revealed was under direct Spanish control – Paracale gold mines…

              • Joe America says:

                Ahaha, Rody “Luther” Duterte it is. Media have been looking for a nickname, and Luther it is . . .

                Heretowith declared, Joe “the animal” America

              • karlgarcia says:

                In Germany is it true that you belch to show that the food taste good,and it is rude not to belch? What about flatulence?
                The belching part,I heard from a returning OFW,he learned fake burps,just not to be called rude.

              • Joe America says:

                Hahaha, I thought that was China. I’ve never been to Germany – go figure – so I have no idea.

              • I think that would still apply to Hong Kong but I don’t really know… belching IS considered rude at least in the Germany I know but values change over time in any country…

                In 19th century Europe spitting was common – it became “out” because of new knowledge on the spread of diseases like tuberculosis. Smoking used to be “cool”, just watch a movie from the 1950s – it still is very strong in Eastern and Southern Europe.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Thanks,So much for belching.

        • Bert says:

          Me, I totally stopped understanding what he said, pasok sa isang tenga, labas sa kabilang tenga.

          Better to judge him for what he did than for what he said.

  2. bill in oz says:

    Jo, thanks for writing this post.. the blog is regaining balance and the capacity to look at the facts, the persons and analyse in good faith… a pity i am hampered by a broken right arm…And restricted to left 1 finger typing..but i hope tha there is an informed and thoughtful discussion.. It would be good if this can include pro Duterte folk as well.

    • Joe America says:

      The blog is not regaining it’s balance. It has always been anchored by what is best for Philippine well-being. Perhaps you have not been along for the ride long enough to understand the background underpinning some of the arguments and passions, or we simply disagree on a point or two. Or maybe you are the one out of balance, eh? We’ll have to have NHerrera run the odds on that.

      I hope your arm heals quickly, so you can get those typing fingers flying.

      • NHerrera says:

        Nice read, Joe.

        Here are additional comments which relates to yours.

        There are those who say that PE Duterte is INNATELY A GOOD MAN. That the words and hyperbole pre-election does not define him; that that was part of election campaign Philippine style; and that the Trump template seeing how successful it was in the US was used; and used it was with great effectiveness. But the basis and image used WAS THERE TO START WITH. He defined the Office of the Mayor of Davao. The means F to his Goal and the Constraints C — borrowing from the framework I sketched in the previous blog article

        ( A >> F >> B ) C

        — were relatively modest and so succeed he did with flying colors.

        Now with the Presidency, PE Duterte is intelligent and realistic enough to realize post-election that the Philippines with its 100m population and 7000 islands is not Davao. The F and the C in my framework I am sure he realizes is more complex and not easily manageable. And thus this time the Office makes the man, but an Office that will surely take on the imprint of the unique PE Duterte.

        Consistent with my premises and in keeping with my belief of his love of country and that he CANNOTeasily be led by the nose by a person or entity, I subscribe to your:

        I have the idea . . . just a hunch . . . that it is not a “given” that President Duterte will concede the West Philippine Sea to China in exchange for a railroad. I think he will find his national pride somewhere along the way, and start to represent the whole of the Philippines with the same kind of ardor that he grants to Davao.

        • NHerrera says:

          If I may be permitted an addendum for emphasis:

          Unlike Poe who is also intelligent and has her heart for the country too but, or Estrada who is ? … the PE methinks most certainly CANNOT easily be led by the nose. Sorry in advance for the Poe supporters who may still be keeping the faith. And Joe sorry, if I may still sound like I am in pre-election mode.

          The PE may have the same hard-headedness that some of us here in The Society so admired in Pres Aquino when we judged him to be in the right like not giving in to the increase of P2000 pension to the SSS pensioners to the disadvantage of future pensioners.

  3. thanks joe…it would be good to discuss who is likely to influence the incoming president on the south china/west philippine sea issue. from what i read about him, seems he is used to getting his own way…barrelling through….or maybe he will confuse the chinese too by making “urong, sulong”….or maybe he has other strategies up his sleeve. How will a mayor react to a neighbouring province claiming a village under the Mayor’s jurisdiction ? I am not excited by his choice for the DFA portfolio either, but willing to give the incoming administration a chance and a six month honeymoon period….

    • Joe America says:

      Perfecto Yasay is the interim appointment pending Sen.Alan Cayetano’s availability, and he has indicated he will continue the existing DFA policies. That, too, is of some encouragement. For sure, he will get briefed thoroughly on what China is doing, including any info available from US intelligence. Today, PE Duterte indicated he will hold to the Philippine claims in the West Philippine Sea, so perhaps this does show a moderation of ACTUAL deed from the jetski hyperbole of the last debate. The future Sec. Yasay is from the political party of a televangelist, which suggests (to me) decent values, even if he is light in international experience. I think it is a stabilizing appointment.

      • eag97a says:

        Yasay is one of the better appointees IMO. My only concern is he attacked Mar for basically shutting down the pre-need business (which I wholeheartedly support since the plain vanilla insurance industry is more than enough to take care of the needs of this market and is more tightly-regulated). We all know Sobrepena was one of the main actors for the CAP debacle and this shows where the political winds are blowing with the return of old political players from the FVR, GMA and even the Erap regimes. We have little choice but to trust the confirmation process to effectively vet and make these appointments meaningful.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, it does have the appearances of friends and favor over proven capability. I thought the rationale for the selection of the departments to be given to the communists was that they are not all that important. Right. CCT program, storm relief. Essentially the social programs. I have to sit on my cynicism to keep it from flowing out the typewriter. Any old yahoo can manage an agency. I mean, same for the Senate. The senators are just royal placeholders, and the staff do the work.

          • eag97a says:

            We will see how it goes. Hopefully the line manager and the technocrats that are really running the agencies make a good account of themselves and hold the Cabinet Secretaries in line. I have some hopes with re to plain vanilla corruption since the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan have been effective recently and might prove a deterrent against would be plunderers.

            • Joe America says:

              Excellent point. We should hold confidence in the agencies that have performed well that there is a line of managers who can bring the boss on line and keep things rolling.

  4. karlgarcia says:

    I hope the office makes him a better man.
    He said all the tough talk was just strategy.
    Was the offer to apolgize to Vatican also strategy?

    So far a lot of inconsistencies between what is said and done abound.
    A diversified cabinet?

    Ok let us wait and see.

    That call from Obama was routine,but still a good sign.

  5. Sup says:

    watching the Senatorial proclamation…
    Maybe Manny could join forces with Nancy during hearings………..?
    Like playing Tic Tac Toe together?


  6. josephivo says:

    Everything passes, except the past. Imprints of past actions are stuck in collective memories. All Duterte did in the past will affect our perceptions of the results. Except when miracles happen, people will mostly look for confirmation of their preconceptions. Reconciliation of the 61% will could be greatly accelerated by a kind of “truth commission”. What did he really do as mayor, what does he really mean with some outlandish statements?

    It is all about results indeed, but some early warnings might exist such as the personality and beliefs of the president and the kind of people he nominates. (I always wondered about the loyalty of subordinates, their willingness to proof that the boss is right. He will need some strong people or jesters that dare to tell when the emperor is naked or his position of power might blind him.)

    • Joe America says:

      His apparent PNP head is not likely to be his conscience, I think. I wonder how it goes down with two-star generals when they are bypassed for a one-star who appears to be the President’s executioner. For sure, Mr. Duterte does not seem bound by the conventions of the past. Maybe Sens. Cayetano and Pimentel, or others close, will at least be able to ask some questions, if not outright say, “um, boss, this is not going to work out right.”

      This is absolutely fascinating. I’m out of popcorn and I think Edgar has headed for Alice Rock with the bowl, the salt, the pepper and the rum. I’m sucking rocks for juice right now.

      • Joe America says:

        A lot of journalists are evidently upset at the President Elect’s selection of an Ampatuan attorney as his spokesman. Separately, Mr. Duterte says he does not care who hates him. The deeply religious Pacquiao has come out in favor of the death penalty. Whoa, Nellie . . . got some shit goin’ down in the Philippines today . . .


        I leave it to Duterte backers to put these developments in a positive light. I’m strained to do so.

        • Andres III says:

          The religious Pacquiao said he didn’t see any problem with death penalty as it is also written in the Bible. (Hint: to convince Sen. Pacquiao, just show him that your point is written in the Bible and he will believe in you :-D). Even our Pope, wayback 2014? said that corrupt officials should have stones tied in their neck and thrown into the sea.

          I cannot see the wisdom behind appointing Panelo as spokesman. To me the guy looks like a joke. But whatever, as long as he faithfully represent and advocate the president’s position thats fine.

          Pres. Duterte said that he does not believe in religion, and also bashed the priests of hypocrisy. I just hope he will keep this attitude up, willing to hit on anyone, friends or foes, that committed wrong doings. A friend of mine in the Church said that the Pope himself supported Duterte in the race, thats why no matter the cursing and all the less morale things the Church was with him at the end. The Church did not openly supported any candidate, but they are doing it in their “own little way.” Now comes death penalty issue, i don’t know how long the CBCP will stand against it. It seems that they will be “silenced” this time, and it would be up to the human right advocates and ant-duterte to keep the fight.

          • Joe America says:

            I can assure you the Pope did not offer support for President Elect Duterte as he knows better than to meddle in the affairs of state, and this idea smacks of the same BS about Obama endorsing him. Peddling that here puts the conversation back to the bucket of pig’s ears.

            As I read it, PE Duterte believes in God, but not religion. Or man’s organization of religion, which is rather humorous considering that Q and he are as tight as . . . well, very tight.

            The Catholic Church doctrine opposes the death penalty, and the idea that the CBCP will take another tack seems to be more pig’s ear peddling. If we are to believe the backers of Duterte, we have to get the conversation out of this fantasy land of specious manipulations and into a real dialogue. I am mightily disappointed with your commentary.

            I do agree that speaking and acting straight is a strength, and I actually liked one of Panalo’s early comments as to why PE Duterte can’t listen to every complaint. To me, that is what is important. The results. What is being done. Not flighty political spin, such as your comment.

            • Andres III says:

              Q “saddened” because of Duterte’s camp snobing. Thats MNLF yesterday, now Q. Right now, uncertainty is the only certain.

              With regards to the Pope and the Church, you may argue on what i have said, and i may not refute it as i cannot show you any evidence of my claims. Yes, it sounds like making a pig’s ear. But, when the time comes that the CBCP goes “silent” on death penalty issue then don’t be surprise. There are so many things hidden, and when those things surfaces we are left in awe.

              • Joe America says:

                Lets discuss issues with information, rather than rumor, okay? I’ve put this blog on a central, neutral path, supportive of the President, and lost readership for this stand. You come along with this same old political claptrap that dominated the ridiculous campaign period. I won’t have it. Betting on this. Heard that. Name dropping the Pope.

                Issues. Facts. Sources. Or go away.

                That is as candid as I can say it without a Panalo to soften the statement.

            • LG says:

              Wanting to personally apologize to the Pope is believable. But I think the Vatican plans were cancelled because the PE was unable to schedule an appointment with the busy Pope, just to offer his apologies, in person. A photo op with the Pope would be priceless, politically, for the PE. The Pope (if words about him, by those who are most familiar with him, are accurate), is likely more politically literate and wise than the PE, for all the right reasons and life’s experience, hence would not have his title and the Vatican ‘used’ for PE’s populist reasons.

              • Joe America says:

                If I were the Pope, I would not want to get caught up in that kind of sensationalist political gameplaying. It is outrageous of PE Duterte to even think about making the trip. It is akin to the MNLF marching in and expecting an audience with Duterte. So very, very inconsiderate to put the Pope into that box.

      • NHerrera says:

        Hahaha. You started me with a positive note above and now this insertion of some realism serum. Yep, I need popcorn too. But not yet Irineo’s Lambanog. Watching, observing we will do.

      • mercedes santos says:

        You’re kidding, right bossman ? Youse mean Uluru, near Alice Springs ☂

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, that’s the place, the big rock just sitting there in the middle of nowhere drawing in all the spirits of the surroundings and a few of the more rugged tourists. Yes, I am kidding. He is still in Brizbun as far as I know.

      • bill in oz says:

        Hey Joe, if Edgar has headed for Alice rock he is probably lost.. So i suggest you send out for the popcorn, butter, salt & pepper and rum..But maybe he went to Ayres Rock = Uluru, and can get the bus home after a spell of meditation & silence…I really would like to hear his wisdom on the present situation

  7. Bert says:

    “I have the idea . . . just a hunch . . . that it is not a “given” that President Duterte will concede the West Philippine Sea to China in exchange for a railroad.”—-Joe

    For what its worth, my hunch is the opposite of Joe’s hunch. We will know within two years whose hunch will be the correct hunch.

    I will bet my bottom dollar to it.

    China will be dredging in Scarburough Shoal while President Duterte is enjoying his jetski, that’s for sure. Well, at least that’s what I am seeing in my most reliable crystal ball.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, it seems to me that neither of us has much credibility, given our projections for the election outcome. I’ve fired Sal and last I heard he was on a slow boat to Sicily.

  8. NHerrera says:

    On Panelo — who was the Ampatuan’s counsel — taking on the demanding, relatively unrewarding 24/7 job of spokesman for PE Duterte: if the PE trusts him, we should give the PE some slack. If Panelo bungles the job it is for the PE to decide to hold on to him or replace him. As important as the job is to the Administration especially in times of controversies, it is not like asking Panelo to be the Secretary of Finance, Foreign Affairs, or Justice.

    • Joe America says:

      Fair enough. I do note we can count two tough-talking lieutenants on his staff, the PNP chief and Panelo. They will operate as extensions of the determined Duterte, the aggressive Duterte. I do suppose that having Panalo as an attorney doing the speaking is possibly good, to keep Duterte from shooting from the hip with his lip. Which anatomically speaking, is fairly amusing.

      • NHerrera says:

        Anyway, I do not know what drives a man to accept such a job. It must be a case of really believing and trusting the principal 100%. I will never be a good spokesman, but I will only take the job if ever, and if younger, only on that condition.

  9. I’m feeling so afraid about this administration that I’ve never feel before, I can smell that we are going back to the old & traditional Philippine politics.
    The only change that they are talking about is they will run this government the complete opposite of the Pnoy administration.
    Before the 6 years end I hope I will come back here & say that my instinct is wrong.

    • NHerrera says:

      I think if we run through the “feelings meter” here, we may indeed have the average pointing AT LEAST slightly south.

      But to say the only change that they are talking about is they will run this government the complete opposite of the Pnoy administration seems rather final and extreme, don’t you think?

      May it not be a case of testing what or how the market will bear?

      After all their clock starts noon of 30 June 2016 isn’t it? If it is a game of poker no chips have been lost yet? Everyone are just eyeing each other especially towards the guy with lots of chips in front of him.

      • Why do you think he appoint mark villar for dpwh???? Give me a merit on that, that only 1 not considering others too.,

        • NHerrera says:

          If I am not mistaken we have some 20 Executive Departments headed by a Cabinet man/ woman and about 15 Officials without departments but with Cabinet-rank.

          So granted DPWH Sec is a lemon, do we have 9 other lemons so far to make 10 lemons in 20. Or do we need to have 20 full-bore lemons to pronounce that the incoming admin is the complete opposite of the current admin? This is the definitional part of the argument. But the fact is we have not tasted the juice from those lemons yet?


          • If you run a company you hired your managers through merits, you scrutinised thousands of CV, reference check etc., any vegetables that are not in season are difinetely does not taste good, I don’t waste my time to taste them if they are good or not.

            • NHerrera says:


              I made another cup of coffee from the Bailetti coffee brewer my daughter gave me when she and family came over for a visit a few weeks ago so I am still up and about. (I don’t know if it is the coffee I like from that device or just playing with it like a toy. My wife says it is the toy.)

              I have not been promised a Cabinet department, although I am beginning to sound like one. Take it in light vein, will you. Our bossman is asleep and since I am up and about, I thought I may give the repartee a try. Anyway, I am turning in now.


          • mercedes santos says:

            You reminded me of PPM’s lemon tree is very pretty . . . . but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat . now that impossible has now morphed into possible. . . me oh my

        • chit navarro says:

          It was very clear that he appointed Mark Villar in exchange for political expediency and other “favors” that the moneyed Manny Villar may have given him pre-election days. It is a fact that PDP-Laban does not have any number at the HoR and at the Senate. With the merger, it gets a semblance of a “real” political party and probably a crack at the leadership in the HoR. But I doubt if they will be able to challenge the leadership of Speaker Belmonte in the Jouse. I pray that the congressmen will keep Speaker Belmonte in the same place and Senate President Drilon in the same position. With them there, we can be at least assured that we are quite far from the “presumptive dictatorship” most are talking about.

          But with all the negative reaction on his appointment, I believe PE Duterte may change his mind. Who knows? He changes his position as fast as he opens his mouth.

          Besides, it’s still a month or so before he gets to do his oath of office as a President. A lot of things can still happen… God loves our country so much and so may Filipinos have been praying and invoking His miracles to put our country in the same straight path that we have been enjoying under the administration of Pres. Aquino.

          Don’t you just find the refreshing face and wisdom of our VP-elect Leni Robredo so inspiring? he is the best deterrent to the Marcose’ return to Malacanang.

    • uht says:

      You’re right, in a sense. But there is ultimately something bigger the Duterte admin is going to do, something we should watch out for. The idea of having four critical departments run by the leftists chills me….and the critics are strangely silent.

      • Joe America says:

        That’s an interesting point. Who are the critics supposed to be? Poe, Roxas, Binay and Santiago? They have conceded and have no foundation from which to speak. The senators? No, no. They will have challenge enough in their own little cock fight arena. The media? They are concessionary right now, for, after all, it is their work that led Duterte into office, so they also have no platform from which to criticize. Twitter and Facebook are thick with critics and criticisms, but that has no power whatsoever. Mostly, important people are waiting around for the other shoes to drop . . . And they have no leader.

        • bill in oz says:

          Joe, you raise an interesting issue. How is the leader of the ‘opposition’ selected ? Is there a regular process or is it spontaneous ?

          • Joe America says:

            Opposition in the legislature will essentially be LP (the Liberal Party) and those who agree to align with LP. The Duterte alliance has been forged among several parties and at this morning’s count stood at 12 of the 24 senators. I don’t know about the house; they are pretty fickle and follow the favors, which come from Duterte. I suspect Poe will align with Duterte, but I don’t know. I think she has burned her bridges with LP.

            Opposition outside the legislature would come from some formal movement, but I’m not aware of any substantial effort. There are various Facebook groups dedicated to opposing Marcos and Duterte, but they don’t have much force, I think.

            I think Senator Drilon will still lead LP in the Senate, but perhaps as minority leader rather than majority. I don’t really know; Karl or Giancarlo may have some insights.

            • karlgarcia says:

              In the Lower House,

              The second placer in the election for the speakership is usually named as the minority leader.

              For the Senate

              The Minority leader of the Senate, also called as the Senate Minority Floor Leader, is the leader elected by the minority political grouping of the Senate of the Philippines to serve as their official leader in the body and fulfill the responsibilities of a Floor Leader. He manages the business of the minority in the Senate. He is expected to defend the minority’s parliamentary rights, to criticize the policies and programs of the majority, and to use parliamentary tactics to defeat, pass, or amend legislation.

              The new coalition must not outnumber the LP in the House,if they do,then we have a new speaker of the house.

              Same in the Senate if the new coalition outnumbers LP,then LP will be the minority and Drilon would no longer be senate president.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Maybe we may have a Speaker Alvarez and a Senate President Pimentel.

              • bill in oz says:

                Thanks Karl.. much appreciated. & very different to what I know. For me the position of Speaker is a purely a ‘chairing’ the house role and meant to be non partisan. Usually in Oz the deputy speaker is from the main opposition party and again is meant to be non partisan… heated passionate debates undermine this sometimes

              • karlgarcia says:

                In the house,the deputy speaker is an ally of the speaker,it is different from the minority leader.
                Usually it is the opposition who is forming coaltions to outnumber or match the numbers of the ruling party,but this time,it is the ruling party that needs allies because they are too small.
                The LP,I think will be helpless if more defections will happen,no permant allies,only permanent intetests.

        • uht says:

          Right now, I’d say the only critic remaining (who has any real speaking power) is Trillanes, which would explain why Duterte’s camp charged treason against him…..If they win that case, they will be able to move as they please.

          • Joe America says:

            Ah, yes, he had slipped my mind. Yes, he is probably enemy number 1 for revealing the bank accounts. Thanks. I can’t imagine a formal charge of treason prospering, and it for sure will not ‘unify’ the armed forces or nation. I went hiking with my son this afternoon and we had to traverse this hillside with lots of big rocks and slippery palm branches on the ground. It seems like the political situation in the Philippines is a lot like that. Unstable rather than stable. Unsure rather than sure. I’d note the early effort of the incoming govt to project a stable economy, I’d say the Duterte Admin would also benefit by taking steps to project a stable political situation, as it underpins the economy.

          • uht says:

            I like to think that is what makes investors unwilling to invest here, more than anything. It is also bad for foreign relations—double whammy since the guys who make the Philippine outlook unstable are not interested in stepping up military spending, either. India for instance is vague in terms of alliances as far as I see, but at least they have the military to completely handle themselves.

            Also, that sounds like a good trip. I go through that every day I go to college, actually—rocky places with a lot of trees, as that particular area was built to showcase wild species of forest trees here in the Philippines. I imagine that has nothing on your hillside though. 🙂

          • bill in oz says:

            Maybe Trillanes is the man around whom the opposition will gather.. But Roxas has sort of become invisible the past 2 weeks. He has now retired I assume……

            • Joe America says:

              Retired from what? He resigned from public service when he filed his candidacy. He went camping with his family after the campaign. He was exhausted and of course felt bad that so many good people had put in so much effort to back him, and he did not win. I think he is entitled to a life and need not become some kind of vindictive attack dog to right all the wrongs of the Philippines. Indeed, I suspect he would rather that PE Duterte simply succeed as president of the nation that Roxas cares for so deeply.

              • bill in oz says:

                Hey Joe, there is no need to defend Roxas to me…I admire him a lot and wish him & his wife Korina well. . And thanks for filling me in on Roxas since the election. I did not now. Others things have demanded my attention since the 10th.But allow me some naieve questions. I am still learning here.

    • Thea says:

      I have the same feeling. The Left and Center -left had a come back in Italy. Look at what they’ve done. They meet in Brussels…and more.
      I hope, PE Duterte prefers our pechay than Brussel’s sprout.
      And I pray, our country will prosper whoever is and will be the President.

  10. Bert says:

    (I always wondered about the loyalty of subordinates, their willingness to proof that the boss is right. He will need some strong people or jesters that dare to tell when the emperor is naked or his position of power might blind him.)—Josephivo

    Hi, Joseph.

    Here’s written on stones the time-tested rules of world despots as recorded in History:

    “There Are Two Rules:
    Rule No. 1: I AM ALWAYS RIGHT!
    Rule No. 2: IF I AM WRONG, REFER TO RULE NO. 1.”

    • josephivo says:

      That’s the one side, but it is the other side I’m struggling with:

      Rule No. 1: MY BOSS IS ALWAYS RIGHT!
      Rule No. 2: IF HE IS WRONG, REFER TO RULE NO. 1.”

  11. Time and circumstance set the context, the office makes the man. – Joe

    I sure hope and pray that you are right there,. for all our sake.

    Am lurking and would like to comment more, but the stockholders are already restless and waiting for their dividend..had to finish the report for the meeting on the 26th.

    Great article, as usual. Thanks.

  12. LG says:

    Thanks Joe. Well put, wisely informing. Likewise, the posts it drew. At best, the forthcoming administration by the PE and his Men will be an adventure in Hulaland. Would be leftist appointees will soon find out for good, how it is to be on the DEFENSE, for a first. I actually welcome the plan to have them on board, if only for them to experience how tough it is to govern all classes of Filipinos. May be they will have a change of heart in the process, starting from Joma Sison. It’s absolutely audacious for Joma to put ‘conditions’ before his so called followers would even consider participating as cabinet men.

    • Joe America says:

      Sison’s expectations to me were in the category of overbearing, as if HE had won the election. Same with the MNLF leadership. They expected to drive to Davao and have PE Duterte drop everything to meet with them. It’s like they think the election suddenly empowered THEM. I worry that many of Duterte’s supporters will feel similarly, that THEY are now the entitled. What, we can’t just all be equal and earnest? We have to have rulers and subjects?

      • LG says:

        Indeed, suddenly the Philippine Reds, led by Joma, act empowered and emboldened. It’s as if they were the ones elected. I worry about the legitimization of NPA unlawful demands.

  13. sleepyhead says:

    Very nice read.. I’m looking forward to PE Duterte’s real ballgame with respect to the SCS dispute..because honestly, i really don’t think that a ‘WPS-centered’ foreign policy is good for the country..

    • Joe America says:

      I don’t think the PH has a WPS-centered foreign policy. It’s just that China is occupying rightful Philippine seas and harassing Filipino fishermen. One can hardly ignore that.

      What priorities would you place on foreign policy?

      • sleepyhead says:

        There’s a lot of other foreign policy issues that affect the average Filipino aside from the SCS which of course has a big relevance to fishermen in that area. but I guess when the dust settles on the WPS/SCS dispute after the decision of the arbitral tribunal is laid down, i hope we could focus more on other equally important stuff like our accession to the strasbourg (extrad), apostille (authentication of docs), and service conventions (court processes). we could also use some push on the economic diplomacy front and more active role in initiatives to combat terrorism and IS in southeast Asia.

        On another note, i think PE Duterte’s proposal to have a separate department to handle OFWs should be seriously considered. This would give our diplomats more elbow room in negotiating with other countries. Because for years I have seen how OFW issues morphed into huge bilateral issues (i.e. Flor Contemplacion, Mary Jane Veloso et al) thus affecting our position and negotiating power on other issues with concerned countries.

  14. G from Sg says:

    Forget the past. I am willing to forget his antics during the campaign period and have given him a clean slate moving forward. I’m gonna wait and see.

  15. Sup says:

    Off topic… Looks like the sheepish giggling Salud is in more dark business besides Philrem?

    Along with Purisima, ordered accused were Gil Meneses, Napoleon Estilles, Allan Parreño, Melchor Reyes, Ford Tuazon, Mario Juan, Salud Bautista, Enrique Valerio, Lorna Perena and Juliana Pasia.


    • bill in oz says:

      Once again the name Purisima comes up…Best mate of Aquino. Appointed by Aquino in 2010 as head of PNP. Suspended in 2012 amid allegations by the auditor of mass corruption re provision of gun licenses…
      I find it perplexing that Aquino still used him in government after 2012 in the police despite being suspended.. And so he was a ‘PNP’ liason key player (again for Aquino ) in the Mamasapano debacle in 2015…Earlier this May noted as one of Aquino’s close friends and now helping as part of the transition team Finally in May 2016 he is formally charged with the corruption from 2012.

      Which leads me to suppose that he has had protection the past 4 years from being formally charged but now the protection is starting to lapse..

      Will some here fill me in on how this fits the Straight Path of President Aquino ? Or not ? Or is it simply normal ?
      As an outsider I find it bizarre.

      • Joe America says:

        The Ombudsman is independent of the Executive and sets its own schedule, so President Aquino has no influence on matters. President Aquino let due process take its course and is probably much dismayed by the turn of events. It is in fact normal that favors are done and corners are cut here across society. The moral code in the Philippines is that laws only count if you get caught breaking them. The Aquino Administration is not squeaky clean, just as Australia’s government likely has some twits running about visiting pimps or skimming dollars, but the Aquino Cabinet is stocked with decent, earnest, productive people and the straight path ought not be confused with Jesus at the helm or some kind of impossible perfection.

        Don’t make the mistake of taking the exceptions and casting them as the rule. That’s what leftists and political opponents here do. It is not good critical analysis.

        • bill in oz says:

          Thanks Joe for the fill in on this.I am not making generalisations on the basis of this exception ..It’s rather that the nature of the exception is obvious and largely not commented on in the local media even though the media publishes lots of criticisms of the Liberal party government..But Aquino sees exempt..
          By contrast in Oz this would be a major story and the head of government subject to major criticism. It would be a resigning offence…

          • Joe America says:

            President Aquino is highly trusted, something that is not easy for a president to achieve because he has to make tough decisions, and can’t please everyone. I actually don’t think there are lots of criticisms of LP government, but rabid reporting on the few flaws. Some of the agencies are downright professional, but you never hear that reported. DPWH. Finance. Tourism. DSWD. DBM. DOST. NEDA. You basically get Agriculture and Abaya and Abaya and Abaya and Roxas, because it was politically expedient to try to attach him to any perceived flaw of the Aquino Admin, even those he didn’t even know about (Mamasapano). Start with the premise that this really has been a sound, honorable government that served the Philippines well and you would have a better handle on it than going by the media noise.

            • NHerrera says:

              This and the post immediately before — I rather like the way you summarize the Big Picture, balanced with due concession on the item(s) that mar the picture. And this is not the first time. I just thought it is time I put a note on it for the record.

            • bill in oz says:

              The Enquirer this morning reports the arrest of Purisma & gives me the info that I did not know … He was in charge the PNP squad that protected the Aquino family when his mother was president..And did so during the various coup disaffected military attempts against his mother…From memory Aquino still has a bullet in him from one of those attempted coups..
              So Aquino definitely has reasons for the friendship with Purisma.

              • Joe America says:

                Yes, he does. President Aquino is an historical figure, not the bobble-head doll portrayed by the boggle brained media. I cannot comprehend a nation so ungrateful toward a man who gave the nation so much, to honor his parents. It is simple and honorable, and the media make it crass.

              • caliphman says:

                Bill, that arm seems to be mending which is good news. As much as I believe PE Aquino was an infinitely better choice than PE Duterte, the latters choice of the Davao head cop whose loyalty and collaboration in supposedly ridding the city of drug syndicates one way or another does not seem so bad compared to Aquino appointing Purisima as PnP head.

              • bill in oz says:

                Caliphman I think there is more to this story..And it will probably emerge when Purisma goes to trial. there is hint of something exceptional about it…Before the election when Poe & Binay & Duterte ‘advocates’ were all seeking for ways to put down Roxas, nothing was said even though it is all out there to be said. That is remarkable i think…Buy why ? Joe suggests because of the respect for Aquino by most Filipinos…But it is still odd..’you cannot sledge the president but you can sledge his nominated disciple’ Ummmmmm…

              • Joe America says:

                I have not seen a detailed assessment of Purisima by a neutral source, just rather simplistic political spins. Here is the posting on the PH web site upon his appointment to head the PNP in 2012. It’s like a resume, I suppose, citing the accomplishments and awards. The objective look would have to balance this with his poor decision-making at Mamasapano, and whatever outcome there is from the Ombudsman case.


              • The aspect of power distance (Hofstede cultural model) comes into play here. It is very high in the Philippines, on a par with Russia, higher than even in India and the Middle East. Malaysia has higher power distance, with a really hierarchic traditional Malay society.

                Another aspect of the Philippines is that it is obviously a low-trust society. Trust is placed in those one knows well for a lifetime and even they might possibly betray that trust. Thus Filipinos tend to favor family and clique (“KKK”) when it comes to even private sector jobs.

                DND Secretary Gazmin was head of Presidential Security in Cory’s time and is from Tarlac like the Aquinos. So Duterte is following a Filipino pattern rooted in its familistic society. Much of Filipino politics is also not about the nation – it is about cliques and families that want to have their share of appointments and “benefits”. The Marcos clan of course is the crassest old school example of this. Party cliques like LP and now PDP-Laban are actually more advanced as they distribute what is to be distributed more broadly. Eventually some fairer distribution may come about, more like what is common in the Western countries – but even New York City had it’s Tammany Hall period with “Boss Tweed” running things for the benefit of a certain coterie. Wonder how things will balance out for the Philippines…

              • ” I cannot comprehend a nation so ungrateful toward a man who gave the nation so much”

                Sense of nation is weak in the Philippines, sense of whether one is at the feeding troughs of power and money way stronger, envy of those perceived to be there a major factor.

              • Joe America says:

                Capacity to find gratitude is weak, I’d say. I recollect you making that point.

              • I remember now – I mentioned that the Romanian attitude of “The Romanian knows neither gratitude nor mercy” could apply to quite a lot of Filipinos.

                Romania too is a high power-distance and low-trust society where gratitude and loyalty is often mistaken for subservience – and rebellion i.e. shaking off subservience is often absolute and even more merciless than in the Philippines. Power distance BTW is highest from my empirical observation in Orthodox countries (Russia, Romania, Bulgaria) and lowest in Protestant countries where the Lutheran revolution reformed the entire mindset. Trust is lowest in countries where the entitled abused communities. Russia, Bulgaria and the more “Eastern” parts of Romania, less in the “Western” German and Hungarian parts…

                There are certainly quite a number of Filipinos who will see Joe America as having been subservient to Aquino before and now to Duterte. The American idea of being loyal to the office of the President as such, until power is proven to be abused, could be alien to them..

              • Joe America says:

                Yes, I’ve lost some readers and gained some trol . . . er, readers. Odd that no one has joined the blog to speak forthrightly for PE Duterte. I had hopes for Andres III and then he went garbage time talking about the Pope’s endorsement and other propaganda speaking points. I also have suspicions that several people are writing under that same screen name, as his fluidity with English varies widely. When people are willing to fill space with trash arguments, it is hard to have confidence that they will be forthright.

                They have armies of social media people, and not one appears to have the wherewithal to write a guest blog explaining the “why” behind the cabinet appointments. Their social media effort I think is still aimed at propaganda rather than conversation.

              • LG says:

                Yes, such is quite known, that’s why maybe, has the nerve to do inappropriate doings. PNoy must practice debt of gratitude well enough to see only the positives in Purisima.

              • bill in oz says:

                Thanks for the link to Purisima’s police profile Joe. It confirms the Enquirer info.
                …….’You cannot sledge the president but you can sledge his nominated disciple’..
                Maybe my expectations are the problem here..As an Aussie I expect the current leader of the government to be attacked in an election campaign. But Aquino is barred from office and so now a eunoch politically : meaning there is no point attacking him. ( Like Obama now in the USA Joe ? )

              • Joe America says:

                There are no rules, other than what we set for himself. I reposted my earlier remark to you on Facebook (about lack of gratitude toward the President), and it has blasted about the internet getting likes and shares. Clearly hit a resonant chord. But one of the responses was from Gary Olivar, an ardent Arroyo supporter, and he did his normal rant against President Aquino. The bitterness will endure after Aquino is done with office, as this is a personality-based society, and hate or lack of consideration and compassion, are hallmarks of the culture.

                So, for me, I am thankful for what President Aquino did. He was kind enough to acknowledge my ‘supportive attitude’ in his SONA, so I am biased. My family has never been more secure and I have never been more positive about the nation. It is on a path to First World in about 15 or 20 years. People who are poor see and feel different things.

                The Philippines is not Australia, and newcomers fall into two categories. Those who fight it and want to remake it abruptly, and those who accept it and want to build it. I stay away from the former, and appreciate the latter.

  16. uht says:

    Off topic: ADMU’s Rizal Library has made Primitivo Mijares’ book “The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos” available to download for free. Here is the link:


  17. Bert says:

    Out of Topic:

    1. PSEi is tumbling down.
    2. UN Arbitration Tribunal decision expected very soon.
    3. US Aircraft Carrier Strike Group just around the corner on a visit to Subic and Manila.

    Hmmmn, nothing out of the ordinary, I think. Just a coincidence.

  18. Vicara says:

    Market bounced back after May 9 due to relief over what seemed to be a clear win and relatively low incidence of election-related violence. Market may now be reacting over a lineup of shady characters in the Cabinet who are blasts from the past. It turns out Arroyo won the election. Funny, I could have sworn the Comelec vote count pointed to Duterte as the winner.

  19. NHerrera says:

    I just had dinner after a long nap. (Nope, I didn’t take a drop of lambanog.) My wife told me that she saw a video clip where Pres Aquino stated — on the West Philippine Sea matter — something to the effect that “PE Duterte is a patriot and will do what is right.”

    This sounds very much like the penultimate paragraph of the current blog:

    I have the idea . . . just a hunch . . . that it is not a “given” that President Duterte will concede the West Philippine Sea to China in exchange for a railroad. I think he will find his national pride somewhere along the way, and start to represent the whole of the Philippines with the same kind of ardor that he grants to Davao.

    Also, the wife caught this item from the presumptive Palace spokesman Panelo: the criteria for the choice of PE Duterte’s Official Cabinet family and other officials,

    – Integrity;
    – Comptetence;
    – Knowledge of the required work.

    These news items keep at bay the Mr. Hyde in me and yield instead to my better self, Dr. Jekyll.

  20. NHerrera says:

    May be it is just me but the entry of PE Duterte sort of breaks the ice on the apparent “intransigence” (strong word, I know) between the two great powers on the matter of the SCS or WPS. If PE Duterte does this right, he will certainly earn a big feather in his cap for himself and the country, more easily I believe than the matter of Joma Sison and his comrades. I believe the art of prioritization is an art not lost on the PE.


  21. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    I fear presumptive Extremist President Duterte though I am not a criminal.

    I fear his “peace talks” with Communist Party of the Philippines when Filipinos are not warring with communist. Peace talks revives communism. It gives credence and legal existence. The world knows (I do not know if Filipino knows or media knows which are run by Filipinos) communism is dead. The world also knows, not the Filipinos, that University of the Philippines graduate Supreme Leader Joma Sison will never give up his belief the reason he did not return to the Philippines unless he gets what he wanted: Communism or War.

    I fear he tweaks Benigno Aquino’s working economic agenda. Philippine Pundits accuse Duterte of having no economic agenda. Duterte’s economic agenda is Benigno Aquino’s economic agenda. Philippine press still ask “What is your economic agenda?”. Why are they insisting? Is Benigno Aquino’s economic agenda patented? Copyrighted?

    I have no qualms Supreme Leader Joma Sison gets to appoint his people to Bureau of Labor, Department of Environment, Department of Social Work and there was another one I forgot. Well, I am pro-people pro-Filipino especially the brown ones and English-challenged. These bureaus are for the people and should be run by Reds-communists or Yellows-leftists definitely not by Imelda’s Blue Ladies. … aah, I remember of Department of Education.

    I do not fear if Duterte sells South China Sea to China, Filipinos cannot develop these specks of islands anyways. Not in my lifetime. Not in young voters lifetime. I am absolutely certain Americans will protect South China Sea from Chinese hegemony. Filipinos should not worry. The frigates, jetplanes and helicopters save to attack China is money saved for Education.

    Borneo? Give it to the Sultans. Philippines is not fit to fight. Philippines does not have resources. Duterte should focus what he can change and can chew not beat war drums with sticks and stones against China and Malaysia.

    I fear for the Christians in Muslim area. He ordered Philippine Military to back off Mindanao.

    I fear he promised the Muslims so much and he cannot fulfill it. We know how Muslims are.

    Before he starts slaughtering criminals he should make an example to PDAF senators by lining them up in Luneta and shoot them doing this sends shivers to their timbers that he means business.

    • Joe America says:

      The spam system put your comment into moderation, not me. You have served your 30 day penance. I think perhaps your track record of commentary elsewhere is riding along with your ID and flagging hosts. I do hope you will refrain from the blanket summary judgments of whole classes of people. That’s how bigotry learns to thrive.

      I personally don’t “know how Muslims are”, given that there are so many different individuals with their own values and brains and acts.

    • josephivo says:

      I have difficulty to follow your reasoning, on one side insisting on the typical Filipino “nature” for some and on the other side using universal concepts for the others.

      Is the Philippine Liberal party liberal? No it is a coalition of local powerhouses. Is the National Party nationalistic? No it is a coalition of different local powerhouses. And so on for all other regular parties. Proof is in the ease people switch parties in the Philippines and the dynasties of warlords or ex-warlords.

      But is the Communist Party communist? YES, YES, YES! Are Muslims muslim fundamentalists? YES, YES, YES! I don’t believe that, they might be a party of opportunists too, were warlord capacities are more important than ideological strength.

      Duterte understands this, I guess. Also these parties are peddling influence, distributing birthday cakes, making a little profit on the sidelines, sell their primogeniture for some bread and tasty lentil soup. There is little fearful about them as long as you treat them as any other Filipino party and share some of the goodies that come with government positions.

      • Philippine reality. King Philipp II relied on local powerbrokers as well – renamed the datus gave them the right to call themselves Dons as part of the principalia, while provincial power was eventually in the hands of insulares, Spaniards born in the Philippines.

        Intramuros was in peninsular hands, the birth of Imperial Manila. Mestizos moved up in the 1900s and took over provincial power, first by having sugar lands. One of their descendants, Mar Roxas, looks almost native now.

        Provincial powerbrokers like Aguinaldo, Marcos and Duterte were all able to get “The Prize” which is control of the center, but the power structures natural to an archipelago remained over centuries with different players. Real change never happened for long.

        The Americans got the Philippines fully under control in May 1920 and turned over the Moro provinces to the Interior Department. President Quezon still had the power to suspend governors. But he had direct American backing.

        Governors and Mayors quickly turned into warlords after 1946. Durano of Cebu, Crisologo of Ilocos were prominent examples of this early culture of impunity. Marcos only became the Supreme Warlord by wresting police control from mayors…

        Cory gave LGUs enormous latitude with the Local Government Code – she had her appointees everywhere, her support base included OIC Mayors Binay and Duterte. Jesse Robredo started reining in LGUs again with LGPMS, Mar Roxas continued this job.

        BUB was also about responsible budgeting – Federalism may do away with this. Will the pork barrel (which Cory re-established and is now considered unconstitutional) come back? Look at power relations and follow the money, and the Philippines is NOT complex.

  22. Jay says:

    The Philippines is 100% reliant on the US for self defense. So Duterte will follow their lead or realign the country towards China. He already lectured Obama about bilateral negotiations in their phone call.

    His administration is stacked with GMA retreads and cronies already, many of whom have a pro China track record.

    Also, he’s a confirmed death squad leader in the recent New York Times article, with innocents and children under his belt.

    Good luck.

  23. caliphman says:


    Sometimes its useful to get the all the sides of the key players in a major event to gain as complete picture of what really happened. The above link gives Trillanes’ side of what transpired at Scarborough Shoals from his role as Aquino’s alternative back channel negotiator with the Chinese in order to deescalate matters and avoid the legal public confrontation at the Hague and its current occupation by the Chinese coast guard and denial of access to Filipino fishing boats. If one goes by Trillanes account, direct bilateral negotiations which is what Duterte favors was working before Aquino made the decision to go with DFA’s del Rosario and proceed with US and Asean talks before filing a case at the Hague. The crucial question is whether the back channel Trillanes talks would have led to the total withdrawal of the remaining three chinese coast guard vessels as was mutually agreed upon. As it stands, it has now become an issue of sovereignty and rights to adjacent marine resources whereas before it was more a matter of disputed territory and rights with loose enforcement by the underresourced Philippine coast guard and navy and occasionally disregarded by Chinese fishermen.

    Given all that, can Duterte backtrack and pursue direct talks with the Chinese without appearing to be giving up Philippine claims to exclusive marine resources? Perhaps he might, particularly if a ruling favorable to the Philippines emerges at the Hague UNCLOS case regardless of whether it is enforceble or not. Seems to me resolving the dispute of who owns the underwater shoals may not be the most important immediate priority to returning to the previous status quo where Filipino fishermen harvested one fourth of its annual catch from the waters around the shoals.

    • When you say “direct talk” or bilateral or negotiations it means you are not bound by LAWS, that what the Chinese want because they know they have no case to fight if it will be base
      according to international law.

    • Joe America says:

      That was one of the more intriguing and perplexing episodes, for the venom that cropped up between two distinguished players. Three thoughts strike me:

      1) Ellen Tordesillas is bitterly opposed to anything President Aquino does, which makes any evaluation suspect (to me).

      2) Sec. Del Rosario was and is extremely well respected within the DFA, and among others in government. He is the diplomat’s diplomat.

      3) I doubt Trillanes could have gotten China off Scarborough. That would be like a fly moving an elephant.

      The only way the Duterte govt can achieve peace and harmony with China is to give China special rights to resources that rightfully belong to the Filipino people, rather the way Pres. Arroyo did. It will be asked, “why”? And the conclusion naturally drawn that Duterte would be selling the Philippines out for some special personal advantage. I think it tends to make people angry when their own president will not stick up for them.

      • caliphman says:

        .Well one has to take Trillanes side for what its worth. One cannot keep quickly dismissing a message based on who the messenger is. Tordesillas is presenting Trillanes account of what happened in the initial Scarborough confrontation and whether she is usually more pro or antiAquino might affect her take on the report, that I would grant. What Trillanes includes in his report is first hand info of the person involved in the negotiations. He might be mistaken or biased in his speculations of what or why things transpired or might have turned account. But the factual content of his report adds a new perspective on the issue of what the goals of each side are and whether direct talks or the present reliance on legal action and regional coalitions make the most sense or not. Its not a question of who has more integrity or credibility such as in a he said she said court situation since its possible that both versions are possibly true and no one is lying.

        • Joe America says:

          Fair statement, and I agree the episode ought to be well understood, for the lessons to be learned. In an ideal world PE Duterte would ask President Aquino what happened, rather than using media to demand to know why Scarborough was lost and threatening Sen. Trillanes and President Aquino with accusations of ‘treason’. Earnest conversation is much better than playing politics.

      • I watched the news in TV5 that the Chinese coast guard are now stop harassing the Filipino fishermen in Scarborough shoal if that’s true that means they are now putting everything on hold until the new administration will favour them through negotiations & if they don’t get their way they will be back harassing our fishermen again.
        Why did China will have to change their views now in regards to their claims with the new administration trying to get them in the negotiating table? Hmmp… Maybe because the Philippines is in better position now by sticking to the legal law of the sea & they want once again destroy that momentum.

        • Joe America says:

          At some point, it becomes a military issue, greater than the fishing issue, so PE Duterte’s appointed Secretary of Defense will be important to this consideration. Why? Because we have to expect that Scarborough will become a Chinese military installation and situated to block Subic. The name most frequently mentioned as DoD Sec. is Gibo Teodoro. I think he will represent the Philippine defense interests straight up and will resist any deal that has China remaining at Scarborough. That is just a hunch. It is an important appointment, for sure. DoD also has to keep the top generals loyal in the face of citizen unrest.

          Gadzooks. This is better than a Tom Clancy novel.

        • caliphman says:

          The Chinese are no fools. They want to avoid the risk of an international public relations disaster should they lose the Hague case and be seen by the world as a bully flouting the very treaty on the exclusive use of adjacent marine resources. Its a balancing act the Chinese have to pursue as the hardliner and the PLA faction in their Politburo have successfully made it publicly declared official Party policy to assert and protect Chinese sovereignty claims. The case in the Hague is not about whose sovereign territory the Shoals is a part of but whether the submerged shallows is a feature which according to the agreement defines an EEZ around it, regardless of whether it is Chinese or Philippine territory. I believe the Chinese have a strong aversion to making Scarborough the focal point of their grand plan to assert sovereignty over their claimed islands and territorial waters and being branded a bully and pariah nation internationally , not when Duterte is a president who is willing to negotiate on how to resolve the use of Scarborough marine resources without making it an issue of sovereignty. This is what the Trillanes report confirms in narrating how the Chinese were willing to reduce their cutters from a peak of 30 to just 3 in the processof trying to work out a solution returning to the previous status quo without publicly putting their sovereignty claims over most if South China Sea to a test.

  24. Bert says:

    I smiled when somebody says Scarburough Shoal was lost by someone’s fault or other means much more when said by P. E. Duterte maybe as justification if he himself really wants to lose it because Scarburough Shoal is/was not lost. It’s guarded alright by China’s Coast Guards but so what, is it lost because of that? No, no, no, far from it.

    This West Philippine Sea brouhaha is not about an issue of sovereignty or territorial claim. This is about FREEDOM OF NAVIGATION IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN. And, guys, you all know what that means, don’t ya?

    The US Aircraft Carrier Strike Group will see to that. Just my thought.

    • Bert says:

      Will there be “fireworks” after a favorable decision by the UN Arbitration Court?

      Suspense, suspense, suspense!

    • Joe America says:

      I think there are two issues that merge in the middle with the Mutual Defense Treaty. The US is concerned primarily about free sailing and flying rights in the South China Sea and the Philippines is concerned primarily about holding onto resources that are rightly hers by UN Law. Scarborough is more the latter than the former, unless the US believes it is important that China not seal off Subic by having a military installation right off the coast. My reading:

      Scarborough is a red line. If the arbitration ruling makes clear that Scarborough is within the Philippine EEZ, the Philippines can rightly defend her territory.

      If China attacks PH ships defending or trying to defend Scarborough, the US is obligated to come to the aid of the PH.

      That’s what the treaty says, and if the US is to have any credibility anywhere in the world, she will have to fulfill her obligations.

      The PH is likely to play little role in helping the US exercise her primary interest, free sailing and flying, other than drawing a line that pushes back against China’s adventurism, and possibly encouraging other nations to do so, as well. Probably aligning with the US, also.

      China controls the START of any conflict, but not necessarily the resolution thereof.

      • Bert says:

        “China controls the START of any conflict, but not necessarily the resolution thereof.”—Joe

        Hehehe, Joe, change that to “P.E. Duterte controls the start of any conflict….” and we can already guess what could be the resolution/outcome might be, :).

        Just being playful today.

        • Joe America says:

          Ah, yes, there does seem to be a bit of a parallel, that aggression inspires response. The ultimate question is, who has the will and the way?

          • Bert says:

            Joe, politics out of the way, here’s my take.

            Pres. Noynoy, in an interview in Manila with international media said that any sitting president of the Philippines ceding the West Philippine Sea to China (with reference to Scarburough Shoal) will be political suicide.

            I fully agree with the president.

            Th question now is:

            Is P.E. Duterte suicidal?

            That we have to see. Abangan.

            • Joe America says:

              The early mood he inspires seems to be in the realm of consternation to outright disbelief. It seems that the influential people are a religious sect, communists, Arroyo fans, the Chinese and political pals (Villar). I suppose there is a bizarre kind of unity to that, but I wonder when he gets to “us” ordinary people or even the residents of Manila.

              • It isn’t that bizzare I think to many Filipinos. What seemed bizarre to them – and even to me when I came back on the scene – was that the Aquino government really tried to do something for the good of the country. It all seemed TO GOOD TO BE REALLY TRUE.

                So here we are again, victims of the low expectations we have of ourselves and the country. Unless… (c) Andy Ibay…. unless the PE does have own, higher expectations.

              • Joe America says:

                The cabinet membership does not suggest high expectations. People bearing baggage.

            • NHerrera says:

              My observational on several items:
              1. The PE seems somewhat overwhelmed as shown by not being able to attend to, among others, Quiboloy who is supposed to have gifted him with a lot of material things aside from the spiritual of praying over him.
              2. That, or PE Duterte has come to act this early to the demands of the Office of the President — for example, prioritizing the essentials: WPS matters as against Quiboloy or that fellow from MNLF; or giving a thought on the wisdom of the non-engineer son of the Real Estate developer to head the DPWH.
              3. Of course, the transition spokesman Peter Lavina did a reasonably good job of explaining or rationalizing why the PE was not able to attend to matters Quiboloy, MNLF and others.
              4. That Quiboloy fellow is a funny fellow altogether. For a man of the spirit he should have been happy that some divine guidance aided the voters to voting his BFF to the Presidency; and thus, he can now go back to attending to his other flock contributing to the coffers of his church and the maintenance of his lifestyle. But no. Complete with Quiboloy’s spokesman a lot of TV space has been used in the complaint of Quiboloy that the poor minister of his church has not been invited to his after-election meetings. Goodness, is that how the grand minister of his church acts — like an overgrown child?

              • Sup says:

                Why not start the Society Church? Earn some decent money?
                Mariano Renato Pacifico could be the appointed son of God, Mary Grace the Angel and bookkeeper, N. Herrera for estimating how much in the collection during mass, Joe could be spokesman to the press, Bert, Caliphman and giancarloangulo as churchboy’s…maybe i could ring the towerbell? 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                No, no. I insist on being the preacher. That’s where the girls and jet planes are.

              • Joe America says:

                Haha. MNLF leadership reacted the same way. As if they were the ones voted into power.

              • NHerrera says:

                I remember the film “Munich” where the bookkeeper, after sharply closing his massive book with dust flying about in his underground office through which a streak of sunlight streamed, reminding loudly the head of the team out to avenge the Israel team massacre in the Munich Olympics — “I demand RECEIPTS, RECEIPTS.” So, Joe I will ask the bookkeeper to demand receipts from the Preacher or I will tell the angel Mary.

              • Joe America says:

                Mine will be a cash and carry church.

            • madlanglupa says:

              Reading this:


              If true… Oh, this is awful.

              It’s like as if he recognized their supposed “unshakeable” ownership of the entire WPS. No surprises if Global Times would trumpet it as a “triumph of diplomacy”.

  25. Joe America says:

    My bookie Sal called from Sicily. I guess he can’t get the Philippines out of his blood. “Hey, Joey,” he said. “Run a book on what SWS satisfaction rating President Elect Duterte will start his term with.”

    That’s a good idea. Four of five presidents have opened above +50. Where do you think PE Duterte will open?

    • LG says:

      Thank you for sharing the chart. Looks like, based on perception, PNoy is the best Philippine President we would have in the last 30 years. It should have been much better than the lines show. It’s lamentable to see the lines show GMA the worst perceived when she is the best educationally prepared to be president and perhaps one with a higher IQ, among all of them. It seems, it’s INTEGRITY and SINCERITY that matter more. Thank you Mr. President Aquino. You make us proud as Filipinos.

  26. bill in oz says:

    The Guardian published this short article on the 16th of May :

    “The democracy that the Americans established in the Philippines after ousting the Spanish and crushing the local rebels was from the beginning a nursery for oligarchs. Without quite intending to do so, the United States fostered the emergence of great land-owning and commercial families, often of part Chinese origin but Americanised in culture, whose relationship with ordinary Filipinos was always uneasy.

    The institutions of local and national government that Washington introduced were soon in their hands, and politics under the Americans, and after independence, was usually about power passing from one wealthy clan to another. Every now and again a leader would promise to reform the system, but it survived, even after upheavals as great as that represented by the overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.

    The oligarchical system has produced both good leaders and bad leaders, and the president who will step down next month, Benigno Aquino, of the fourth generation of that family to achieve political prominence, has been a good one. Under his rule, there has been rapid economic growth and solid investment in infrastructure, health, and education. It might have been expected that a candidate from the same elite, and connected to the same family, would succeed him. There were such candidates, but they failed to unite around a single champion when Rodrigo Duterte, a city boss from the southern island of Mindanao, running a vociferously populist campaign, began to sweep ahead in the polls.

    The upshot is that Mr Duterte will be the next president of the Philippines. For all that the elite system had become tired and distant from the common people and needed shaking up, this is a leap into the unknown for the country. He has said very little that is precise about his policies, but what he has said is not reassuring. His tough law and order line brought in the votes. But although he says he is against extrajudicial killing of criminals, the record in his city of Davao suggests such killings have been commonplace there. He wants to make the Philippines into a more federal country. The idea is attractive to those in the provinces who resent Manila’s dominance and lion’s share of everything, but decentralisation might bring more problems than it solves. He rages against the everyday corruption Filipinos have to endure, but offers nothing specific to counter it. He has threatened the Chinese over the South China sea and also suggested he could do deals with them.

    Mr Duterte’s appeal has been his insistence that he can fix everything and does not care what corners he has to cut in order to do so. It is a story many politicians in many countries have told before, and it dooes not usually end well. The gross misogyny he displayed when he joked about the rape and murder of an Australian missionary must add to concern about his ascent to the presidency.

    His supporters suggest his bark is worse than his bite, and that he has, for instance, helped women’s programmes in Davao, as well as pioneering such commendable objectives as reducing smoking. “I’ll behave if I become president,” he said a few days ago, adding, in one of his better jokes, that he would not make state visits to countries with cold weather. There is a cheeky chappy side to Mr Duterte that can be engaging. But there can be no denying that, in office, he could prove to be a very loose cannon indeed.”

  27. caliphman says:

    If Duterte was a very loose cannon during his campaign and did not care a whit whatever office, country, or respected traditions were being bombarded, why oh why would one expect his style and behavior be any different just because he is now elected president? The risk he and this country faces is running a major regional is not at all like running a country of more than 100 million people and there are vast scale and infinitely more complex issues that he has to deal with beyond just law and order problems. Can a zebra or a tiger change his stripes?

    • Joe America says:

      The zebra need not change stripes to see a lion up ahead and pick a different path. But, you know, he might just keep blundering along. We’ll see.

    • Sup says:

      Somehow Rappler became a Duterte supporters hang out the last few months….

      • uht says:

        I’d say the same for Manila Times and GRP. It really seems like no one in the media is willing to openly challenge his decisions….

        Something big will definitely happen sooner or later at this rate.

    • Joe America says:

      The article reports that staffers in the palace are upset because they have been given verbal orders to shred documents and erase files. It doesn’t have a comment from the Admin, and is therefore only half the story. The other half ought to come out soon, and then we can have a better idea about it.

  28. caliphman says:


    With the recent appointment of Mark Villar in Duterte’s cabinet as head of public highways, the Philippines is off to a great start in maintaining its great status as one of the leading countries for crony capitalism of the world. Crony capitalism is great wealth built on businesses closely associated with top leaders in the government. For example, Mark’s father a senate leader caused the diversion of the C5 highway route so that it greatly benefited the real estate developments he owned.

    As the linked chart from the presigious and well respected Economist magazine shows, Russia with the gangster billionaires fronting for or very close to Putin is in the number one spot. The Philippines has the distinction of being number 3, but this was before Duterte appointed Mark Villar so stay tuned on his other appointments.

    • karlgarcia says:

      How can serious land refirm happen with a real estate developer,rerouting infrastructure to have access to their developments ..ehem c5 extension,delay a major ppp project,because it will cause traffic to their projects..ahem daang hari slex connector.

      Another kind of oligarchic capitalism has something to do with booties.

      For the Banking Industry,Booty Capitalism never left the building.

  29. karlgarcia says:

    For what Bill describes as a professional public service commission, that is leader proof can only happen here if we have the parliamentary form.
    No matter who the leader is,the Bureacracy keeps on running,if the cabinet scretaries are chosen from the parliamentarians,no more Commission on appointments,and no more job applicants.The downside to parliamentarism will be mentioned later.

    The PPE wants a cooperative congress,to avoid impeachment of him and all the impeachables and to initiate the formation of a constitutional convention,his saying Federalism,but I think Congress wants parliamentarism because it will make Dynasties more permanent.

  30. bill in oz says:

    “a professional public service commission, that is leader proof can only happen here if we have the parliamentary form.”
    I confess I find the idea that the new leader completely replaces the heads of all the bureaucracy, very very strange…In Oz the public service is expected to be non political and professional at all levels. A minister coming to office may have ministerial ‘advisers’. But they have little direct power & authority.. Also the minister is accountable to the parliament . if s/he proves to be incompetent the minister can be removed by the parliament if a vote of no confidence is passed..But usually they see the writing on the wall and resgn before this.

    I suspect that Filipino thinking about parliamentary democracy is tainted by the fact that Marcos the dictator, introduced a ‘parliament’ here in the 1960’s as a way of entrenching his power and his mates in office..So i suspect that Marcos’ ‘rules made it a rubber stamp.not a true democratically run parliament. Irineo has made some remarks about this

    • karlgarcia says:

      The 1973 Constitution called for a parliamentary system.
      The Prime Minster was just for show,the ministers were not chosen by the parliament,they were all handpicked.
      Even the opposition was just a token opposition during this time,during and post Martial law.

      • bill in oz says:

        thanks Karl…In other words a sham parliament to keep Marcos in power or rather a mirage simply for show to the USA

    • bill in oz says:

      In a real parliamentary democracy the head of state is above politics.and represents the whole nation not a party or family….So then there is also the key idea of a ‘loyal opposition’ in parliament and in the wider society…This distinction is harder to see or be effective in society if the head of state is the head of government. Then ‘everything’ is politicised.

  31. karlgarcia says:

    As far as time and circumstance for Yasay,he is at the right time and the right place.
    He has a background in civil,criminal and corporate law,dunno if he has a background in international law.

    • Joe America says:

      I think we’ll have to rate the secretaries once they are pretty much finalized. For now . . very generally and shallow-ly speaking . . . on top would be Yasay and Teodoro (if he accepts), and bottom would be Panalo and Cusi.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Yes let us wait and see.

        One more If Singson will finally be DOTC, his proposal of merging DPWH and DOTC maybe off with Villar at the helm,Abaya one said in an interview that he is making sure that the next dotc secretary will no longer have problems, maybe all pending projects will now run smoothly.

        I also don’t know if there is seriousness in the privatization of BOC,BIR and GSIS.

        • Joe America says:

          Sec. Singson, if appointed, would top the list. That would go a long way toward balancing some of the more head-scratching appointments.

          Also, we have to await the Sison response to the shoe that dropped the other day, that a precondition of cabinet appointments is a dropping of arms, or ending of the armed attempt to overthrow the government. Cabinet service and attempts to overthrow the government cannot persist side by side.

          • Gibo has declined the DND post. Hope he reconsiders.

            • Joe America says:

              Thanks, I was just reading that. Not good, as it leaves DOD open. Also, there is an uncomfortable tenor developing in which Panalo has told people to “respect” the cabinet appointments, and PE Duterte has said people will have to adjust to his style. It’s like a prelude to shutting off discourse that does not please them . . .

              Somehow, I don’t think this path of “us” versus “you” is the path of unity. It goes back to a tweet I shot off a while back that said totalitarians demand unity, humanists gain it by respecting others.

            • NHerrera says:

              First he reportedly declined; then reportedly accepted; and now declined? The last word, I suppose.

              On another item, we have the three — Cayetano, Pimentel and even Sotto (?) — hot on the Senate Presidency. “Which one will the fountain bless?”

            • karlgarcia says:

              At least It is not Esperon,because he is National Security Adviser.
              And not Alunan because he just lost an election.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Now I think Biazon may postpone his retirement if offered the DND portfolio.

              • LG says:

                Per streamlined news last night on DZMM TV, Digong’s offer to Gibo Teodoro and Peter Laurel as Defense and Education Secretary, respectively, were declined. Smart of them?

              • karlgarcia says:

                Reports say that it is because Gibo is in the mining industry,and Digong is against mining.

                And Laurel is a supporter of K-12 and they say Digong will cancel K-12.

              • LG says:

                If so, highly respectable of them to decline. They are principled, unlike the forthcoming DPWH head. No delicadeza and ingrate, as well as walang paki, for abandoning his district as congressman elect even before he starts. Digong, per news report, had him submit to him a ‘project map’. He has a degree from Wharton, supposedly, in business, I think. Will he ace a self-made engineering type of a homework, such as this map?

              • Joe America says:

                Mining, okay, I agree. K-12 I wholeheartedly disagree. Such a waste, to go backward from fielding globally competitive Filipino scholars. It almost seems like hostility toward intelligence.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Biazon does not want to offer his services,if he is not offered the position,he wont bother.

          • Caliphman says:

            A clear case of another half baked idea implemented wirhout thinking things true. I wrote here previously how incomprehensible it would be for Sison to accept this given thr CCP’s charter to overthrow the government and how his affirmation of this goal lead to a murderous schism within their and the NPA ranks. Of course, Duterte’s advisors awakened to the danger of having CCP appointed leaders in key agencies having a military overthrow in their agenda and belatedly place an impossible demand for the NPA to disband and surrender their arms. Perhaps a ceasefire might have been achievable but to demand an outright surrender and prematurely ceding a huge gift with perilous implications for both sides? This and the obviously flawed Villar DWPH appointment bears witness to an inexperienced PE relying on equally clueless advisors at the helm unsurprisingly leading to appointment blunder after blunder. Even a Duterte with the best intentions for the Philippines will head it into a shipwreck without the guidance of knowledgeable, competent and honest advisors and department heads in his cabinet.

            • caliphman says:

              Sorry for the typos…

              • caliphman says:


                Update. Just when the Duterte admin appeared it had reached an impasse with the CPP and Sison, secret Aquino talks saves the day for everyone. It seems like these backchannel talks have been ongoing for a while and that in 2014 an agreement could have been signed ironing out the most substantive issues blocking a lasting peace agreement including transitioning the NPA from an organization committed to militarily overthrowing the government. Even Aquino’s negotiators were surprised at how willing Sison was in supporting the agreement. Hopefully Duterte can continue to build on the economic and peace progress Aquino has been able to accomplish. A question mark still remains on the corruption and justice fronts given his Villar and Aguirre appointments and his history with utilizing and talking about extralegal measures to fight crime

              • karlgarcia says:

                Villar had an interview with Karen Davila,he tried to address that conflict of interest questions by assuring us that Vista land wont be involved in PPP,etc.

                As for Aguirre,he is at odds with his cousin who is mayor of his hometown.Both of them own a news paper and they attack each other.

  32. karlgarcia says:

    DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre
    Disclosure he is a friend of my dad,a provincemate,he helped me when I was in trouble once upon a time.
    Moving on…
    ex lawyer of Hubert Webb,Napenas.
    He was lawyer for the Magdalo until he claimed that the Feliciano Commission was a farce.
    He covered his ears,during the Corona impeachment.

  33. NHerrera says:

    Trivia on the recent 2016 national election for President, Vice President, and Senators

    Mahar Mangahas in his “Do INC votes matter?” article in Inquirer concluded that it did matter, as the exit poll showed

    – for the VICE PRESIDENT position because of the close fight (the Congress which by law proclaims the President and Vice President starts its official canvass on May 25 and promises to be a show of sorts for the Vice Presidency position.)

    – for RECTO (he along with others enumerated in the article of Mangahas was supported by INC; while Pangilinan, De Lima and Osmena were not; Osmena did not make it)

    – As the election returns showed the 11th to 14th positions went to RECTO, De Lima, Tolentino and Osmena, respectively

    – If the INC support votes went to Osmena and Recto did not get INC support — that is, Recto and Osmena switched situations relative to votes coming from INC — Mangahas calculated that the 11th position goes to De Lima with the 12th/13th position a close fight between Osmena and Recto; and Tolentino goes down a notch to the 14th position.

    Here is the link to Mangahas’ article:


    • NHerrera says:

      Interesting that even before the election there was this almost universal bet that Duterte cannot be dislodged from being elected President. Thus, PE Duterte did not have to make “mano” to INC. According to Mangahas, the exit poll showed 77.2% of the INC registered voters of some 1.7 million (SWS estimated this from another page I googled) went for Duterte or 1.3 million. But it shows that even in the case of Duterte or his strategists the concept of “politics is addition” is not lost to them.

  34. He just told Jessicca Soho that the 61% who did not vote for him are insignificant. Just kike those in Davao who do not vote for him are tossed aside.So, there.

  35. Juan says:

    Its only now I read these posts. I think you should write more articles now du30 is on his 6th month as president.

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