Cause without a rebel

ben franklin

Ben Franklin, the “First American” . . . inventor, author and enthusiastic advocate for a principled democracy.

This blog recounts some thinking I’ve been doing lately, about the blog.

As I explained in a previous article, my official position is to support President Elect Duterte. This position is not much different than that of the outgoing administration or that expressed by Vice President Elect Leni Robredo when she said:

“For my part, I reiterate my full support and best wishes for the incoming administration, and I assure our people that I will always stand firm on the principles that have guided my entire career as a public interest lawyer, a women’s rights advocate, and a public servant. I have always taken the position that we should give our full support to our newly elected President. When we help him to succeed, we are helping our nation, and ourselves, succeed.” [Inquirer]

That said, the blog participants – including JoeAm, guest writers and commenters – have offered sharp criticisms of some of the statements and acts of the President Elect. The criticisms are generally in defense of civility and human rights. That is the important area where the rubber meets the road, or Mr. Duterte’s actual deeds run up against principles that seem to be in the best interest of the Philippines and her citizens.

The difficulty with this criticism is that it appears to have no official backing from anywhere within the national government. No Administrative officials or senators or public office holders have criticized the statements of Mr. Duterte. They have mentioned that it is important to follow the law and be sensitive toward women or journalists, but there is no formal objection to Mr. Duterte’s statements and deeds from within government.

That puts me, a non-citizen permanent resident visa holder, in a bind. Any criticism I might make could be seen as violating the terms of my visa because it might be argued by a nationalist that I am working to undermine government. There is no official group or deed within government that I can hang my argumentative hat upon to criticize the Duterte Administration, once it is seated.

I have a cause – principles that I think are in the best interest of the nation.

But I can’t be a rebel.

“Well, you can write about other things, Joe, in a non-controversial way. Education or poverty or cultural insights.”

That’s where we come to personal motivation.

I am motivated by going somewhere, by building, by arguing for good values and good deeds, by offering perspectives that support what I think are principles of decency, inclusion, productivity and opportunity.

To sit and talk about pancakes when the kitchen is burning is just not fulfilling.

As I was getting discouraged and thinking about not writing at all, I came across a comment from the ever-thoughtful Chempo. He wrote:

LP Party is now in discussion with joining PDP-Laban in the majority group in Congress. What does this all mean? Pnoy in his last few days can speak up against killings, hero burial for Marcos — and then in Congress LP to support his bills for killings ? Hindi ko maintindihan

Chempo lit the light toward a path I can follow.  I wrote:

President Aquino’s sway within the party is probably about zero these days as LP people look out for good old number one. The absence of principled people in Philippine national government would make Thomas Jefferson look a lot like the facial contortions of “The Scream”. I can count the number of principled people on one hand. Right now, I’m up to two, Leni Robredo and Bam Aquino. The rest, it seems to me, have the principles of a sea slug, and I am sorry to insult the sea-slug that way.

I posted my comment on Facebook and it fairly well ripped along getting likes, with a number of people recommending the names of other people who have and are expected to remain loyal to the Liberal Party (LP) for the duration.

It struck me that I do have a cause, and it is FOR the Philippines:

I am for the development of political parties of principle. Parties that put the nation’s interest above personal advantage. The group of Liberal Party loyalists seems to form a core foundation for such a party, although it does not have to be LP. It could be any party that didn’t play for popularity or self-benefit, but developed good principles and stuck to them. It amuses me to think that Waldon Bello’s Akbayan party comes close to fitting the bill, as well. It’s just that I don’t agree so much with the platform, as I understand it.

So I decided there is a cause, after all. It doesn’t require a rebel. It requires a positive-minded advocacy for Philippine well-being.

That purpose will frame much of the blog’s work during the Duterte Administration’s term:

  • Promoting the well-being of the Philippines
    • Within this umbrella, advocating for strong Executive, Legislative and Judicial processes and decisions
    • Advocating for development of principled political parties that supplant personality-based parties driven mainly by personal advantage

There will be some who say with derision, “Ah, Joe, you are just staying yellow, or getting yellower!”

And my response will be:

Expand your mind, find some wholesome principles to advocate and leave “labeling people” off your list.


154 Responses to “Cause without a rebel”
  1. josephivo says:

    Coincidence. Got stuck by reading todays editorial in my Belgian newspaper “De Standaard”, it used Duterte as one of the examples, some key elements (original in Dutch):

    “The current demagogues play with the same dark sentiments as their predecessors in the ‘30ies of last century, rekindle the same basic feelings of fear and anger or hate of the outsider/intruder. A secular democracy is still difficult to digest for many (for the people and even more by the people).

    Using the same tools as fascists before. Blaming everything to small specific groups: criminals, but also the elite, the intellectuals, imperial Manila… Debates reduced to a few emotional or vaguely defined topics. Hanging and drugs, federalism…

    “Betrayal” becoming the most favorite word. (As in betrayal of the poor, the people of Mindanao, the hard working OFW…) Once we can silence the traitors and their cohorts in the media the solutions will be easy.

    The ease of accepting former human rights violations and dictators, ignoring the suffering they created, the cronyism, the neglect of basic human rights.

    Even if part of the diagnosis might be correct but the proposed dictatorial leadership has always been proven to be wrong. “

    (And of course these are generalizations by a foreigner. But if everybody outside his inner circle misunderstands Du30, might that be an indication that his communication strategy is lousy or that his strategies are lousy)

    • Joe America says:

      Might it be . . . The current track is for the Philippines to become a pariah nation, or outcast, among the nations in or heading for first world. I tweeted off the top of my head that definition of pariah, outcast, plus the example phrase “peoples of pariah nations often suffer . . .”

      One chooses to bark at the UN Sec. General at one’s own expense. The other choice is to accept accountability for what was said, adjust, and move on. The amount of finger-pointing and blaming and scape-goating that it is us in the audience who are mis-understanding can only go so far before it is recognized for what it is.

      My problem is that, after July 1, I can’t say that. Filipinos have to decide if they will speak, remain quiet, or watch and then speak up. On July 1, President Duterte is the official leader of the Philippines, pariah nation or not. I rather suspect he will brook little tolerance for foreigners who “meddle”, with the definition of meddle being any criticism of government policy, people or deeds.

      • uht says:

        The whole scenario right now reminds me of the days when Erap was president. I was too young at the time, but I still remember stories of it from my parents and grandparents and the book Bakit Baliktad Magbasa ng Libro ang mga Pilipino? Except this time, there are Marcos and Gloria elements mixed in.

        The next time we ask for change, we should specify if we want good change or bad change…..

  2. – have been discussing with Prof. Xiao Chua on FB for some hours. This is the gist of an old article he posted on Facebook today, to counter claims the Katipunan was a violent group of idiots:

    “Ang buod ng diwang Katipunan mula sa kalat-kalat na mga akdang Katipunan ay ito: Kapatiran, Mabuting Kalooban, Kaginhawaan, at Tunay na Kalayaan na nagsisimula sa pag-ibig. Ito ang diwang naghahanda sa mga Katipon upang lumaban. Kumbaga, hindi sapat sa kanila ang humawak lamang ng sandata at magkaroon ng poot sa Espanya.”

    Translation: “The summary of the spirit of the Katipunan from diverse Katipunan sources is this: brotherhood, goodness, well-being and true freedom coming from love. This is the spirit that made the Brothers ready to fight. It was not enough to just bear arms and anger against Spain”.

    On my Learning Center FB page I compared the different groups with the criteria of the original Freedom Movement of Filipinos and came to the conclusion that Leni supporters are closest.

    Many DU30 supporters I found wanting in terms of brotherhood (for all) and goodness.

    • Joe America says:

      It is difficult to see the efforts at inclusion, for sure, except conciliatory steps toward CCP/NPA and China. Dissed the UN, dissed Human Rights people, dissed legislators who might disagree, dissed the Catholic church. Unity seems defined as “sit down, shut up, and stay the f**k out of the way.”

      “Got it, Mr. President. Will go out and tend to my garden now . . .”

      • Just posted this on my Learning Center Page today… about Hitler.

        “Remember, it didn’t start with gas chambers. It started with politicians dividing the people with us vs. them. It started with intolerance and hate speech and when people stopped caring, became desensitized mindlessly obedient and turned a blind eye”.

        Duterte supporter’s comment: “Black propaganda na sad…shut up!”

        My answer: “This is true. It happened in Germany so it is my right to post it here, if it does NOT happen in Pinas good for you.”

        No response and no further Dutertian comments… hehe.

        • Joe America says:

          That is the thing, isn’t it. The signs, the signals are just so plain and right out there. Words say one thing (unite) and deeds another (obey). This will be a huge test for the Philippine democracy and institutions (and character of legislators). I remember your first blog here, about the tipping point, so uplifting and filled with promise. Well, teeter totters go both directions.

          • My addition to my summary of Xiao Chua’s article on my FB page: “Kaunting dagdag pa: kabutihang loob ang pinag-usapan na prinsipyo ng Katipunan. Sa ganoon, napakasama siguro kung idadaan sa sama ng loob ang pagbabago. Puro galit lang.”

            Translation/summary: the idea of the Katipunan was based on goodness… now if change is based on bad feelings like anger, this can turn out very bad. Xiao Chua BTW in his article says the first betrayal of revolutionary principles was Bonifacio’s execution by Aguinaldo’s men. I added in my comment to the summary that the death squad killing of Heneral Luna by Aguinaldo’s Kawit brigade might be justifed by today’s DDS with the “logic” that Luna was from a rich family and had studied abroad – “Westernized konyo”.

        • uht says:

          “I remember: he asked his father: ‘Can this be true?’ This is the twentieth century, not the Middle Ages. Who would allow such crimes to be committed? How could the world remain silent?

          And now the boy is turning to me: ‘Tell me,’ he asks. ‘What have you done with my future? What have you done with your life?’

          And I tell him that I have tried. That I have tried to keep memory alive, that I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices.”

          – Elie Wiesel in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, 1986

  3. Annalissa M. Valdez says:

    Joe, I’d been reading your blog for years. You are not yellow. Just like I am not. I just loved my country too much. But I am out of the country. Does not make me less of a Filipino? You are a foreigner but you have been espousing everything that I felt for the Philippines. This fighting for democracy, freedom and justice is a tricky thing. There are days when I feel that maybe everyone defines it differently. But the again, no. I have not veered away from its true meaning. And right now, I feel a little dejected. But like a true warrior, I will pick up from where I fell, and then go again. There is too much at stake. Please continue on……please.

    • Joe America says:

      I’ll continue on, but with more discretion after July 1. I don’t have the same protections as a citizen. Especially in a nation that seems to be trending toward a new definition of free speech, as in “you are free to agree with me.”

      • ““you are free to agree with me.”

        Give me free cake and I will do that. 🙂

      • Andres III says:

        I could not find derogatory remarks on the articles you have written (except for some during election time ;-)) so don’t be afraid and continue to write more. This is a better blog compared to some. Good exchange of information in here while other blogs are just plain bullshit. I understand your fear of suppressing free speech, but is there any ongoing suppression? Media said they will boycott Duterte, he said, go ahead. In this case, Duterte was challenged. On the Mariz Umali case, if you watch the 10 seconds before and after the whistling, you can conclude that there was no malicious intention at all, its all according to “in-the-mood”. Mariz said, “Sir(Duterte), andito ako.” Duterte said, “Kanina kapa nag papansin sa akin” and he whistled, and sing a song, then, Mariz smiled, and ask the question, Duterte then answered and the it was it. The problem is that the media keeps on showing only the 4 seconds that shows only the whistling and the singing. See how powerful the media can distorts reality? Duterte said that journalist is not exempted from extrajudicial killings if they are son of a bitch. Is this a suppression of speech by Duterte? No. Does Duterte encourage extrajudicial killing? No, he only ordered to kill criminals if they resist (and not unwary journalist). And what was the headline on the newspaper? “Duterte Endorses Killing of Corrupt Journalist.” What on earth, well, whatever, it is more “catchy” if thats the headline. What i pity the most are the fair and honest journalist, they were destroyed by other retard mediamen.

        • Joe America says:

          Thanks for the encouragement, Andres III. I’m glad you appreciate the earnestness of the blog, even if you don’t agree all the time. I also appreciate your explanation of the misreadings that are going on with respect to Mr Duterte’s comments. I was clued in on this by a comment that Mayor Estrada made, defending Duterte’s whistling. “He’s just making a joke”, and I can see how that can be true. We witnessed a lot of that during the debates, and while the purists of intellectual discourse might complain, the regular people could relate to the humor of his remarks.

          I do think people are going through an adjustment, though. Heading into an unknown. I know that’s my predicament, as I witness the hardness of solution he proposes, or see the photos of people being rounded up after curfew. I’ve always been cautious about my writing, thus the alias, so it is easy to have a “chilling effect” on me, even it is a tabloid media distortion of what he said.

          I hope he calms the waters, once he takes over, and gives assurance to the earnest and honest that their works will be appreciated. And that he accepts criticism as a part of his job. He doesn’t have to listen to anyone. For sure, President Aquino did not. Nor should he. We aren’t the experts.

          But it would be nice to get rid of the chill.

          • Andres III says:

            Its always easy to pack your bags, lol, just kidding. Im sure Duterte accepts criticism, and he cannot do anything about it after all. Duterte is harsh, but only to some people and you know who they are. But because of some “recent” events, journalists are among in his blacklist. For this, i blame the media themselves for this. They making things really big when its actually thats not the case. They should have presented the news not interpret it the way they do which is usually a misinterpretation, making things go wrong. There are “opinions” column for them to voice it out, not in the headlines. The “Duterte Endorses Killing of Corrupt Journalist” was not the remark of some tabloid, it was made by the Philippine Daily Inquirer. See how that produces some “chilling effect”, its the Inquirer.

            • Bert says:

              Jun Pala, a journalist in Davao was killed in Davao and Pres. Duterte gloated over the killing of that journalist. Sure, it’s not chilling enough and sure, Duterter was just joking.

              • Bert says:

                When Pres. Duterte starts to get serious, then I guess that’s about the time for us citizens to rejoice.

              • Andres III says:

                Im not sure if sarcasm or not. First, i suggest you to know more about Jun Pala. Second, i suggest you to know more about Duterte’s joking and non-joking remarks, it will not take 100+ IQ to know such. So you mean Duterte is never serious all along?

              • – is this serious or not? Have you danced with the devil on a moonlit night?

                DAVAO CITY — Slain anti-communist broadcaster Juan ‘Jun’ Porras Pala Jr. must be turning in his grave.

                In a political rally held in Bankerohan toward midnight early this week, Davao’s tough-talking mayor, Rodrigo Duterte, lashed out at Pala, a famously outspoken broadcaster who endlessly criticized Duterte on the air.

                ‘Ah, patay na diay? Kanus-a? (Ah, he is dead? Since when?)’ Duterte mockingly asked the crowd, referring to Pala. Pala was killed in 2003 on his way home after playing cards with his neighbors. His case is one of the many cases of slain journalists, mostly radio broadcasters, whose killing remain unsolved. To learn more about Pala’s case, click here (PDF).

                ‘Kinsa nagpatay? (Who killed him?)’ Duterte, his mocking tone unchanged, told the Bankerohan crowd, as a weak strain of laughter eerily floated in the orange glow of the streetlamps late in the night. Duterte was suspected of being behind Pala’s murder but no charges were ever filed against the mayor.

              • Andres III says:

                Basing on what i have known about Duterte, the crowd he is speaking to and the topic/person involve, his remarks is a sarcastic joke. That is, Duterte can insult the death of Pala without the fear of being hated or criticized by the listeners because he knew many hated the guy. Again, i suggest you to know more about Pala why Duterte holds no remorse is speaking ill against this guy. Duterte knows what the crowd wants to hear thats why the laughter. If you go back to the campaign periods, you can notice that Duterte always using this, saying things that the crowd wants to hear.

              • edgar lores says:

                “If you go back to the campaign periods, you can notice that Duterte always using this, saying things that the crowd wants to hear.”

                A sure sign of a demagogue.

              • Bert says:

                “So you mean Duterte is never serious all along?”—Andres III

                I think he is always serious. While it was you who said he’s just joking. Do you want us to believe you?

              • Andres III says:

                To clear your mind, some are jokes, and some are not. Not what you thinks that he is always serious, or not like what you think that i think he is just joking all along. As i said before, know what the jokes and the not, it is not that hard to do so.

              • Bert says:

                I’m dense and you’re a genius, but I can also sense if it’s a serious statement or if it’s a joke.

                Example, Pres. Duterte mocking the death of journalist Jun Pala he’s suspected of killing.

                My opinion is that Duterte was serious in degrading a dead journalist he’s a suspect in the killing.

                Your opinion is that he’s just joking.

                Is this now a matter which IQ is higher? What do you think?

              • Andres III says:

                Yes he is serious and he mean it to mock the death of the guy, but he delivers it in a jokingly manner thats why the laughter. I base my conclusion on the limited articles posted above so mine may be different if i can read the entire dialogue. I said he was sarcastically joking, which means there is something he wants to express. Not just a plain joke with the purpose of making laughs. Not pretending to be genius here so don’t be sarcastic like you did when you said this –

                “Duterte gloated over the killing of that journalist. Sure, it’s not chilling enough and sure, Duterter was just joking.”

              • Bert says:

                In view of this discussions I now wonder which of the two has the more chilling effect to us democracy and peace-loving citizens.

                1.The newspaper headline which says, “Duterte Endorses Killing of Corrupt Journalists”


                2. The fact that we have now a president elect who is suspected of killing a journalist and then seriously mocked the victim of that killing.

                Oh, well, maybe it depends on ones intellectual outlook. Just thinking aloud.

      • El chupa cabra says:

        Joe America said:

        a new definition of free speech, as in “you are free to agree with me.”

        What do you expect?
        My reason:
        Remember when you had your permanent RESIDENCE Approved? What the immigration Lawyer, a legit government officer told us?
        I do!
        As long we offer proof of some sort of income to provide for your wife and children.
        Remember in intramuros Immigration when they post it a big sign forbidding it? they will be no stiffer? Well I do!
        It meant to me the government is working to make business legit.
        I love it!
        Because my wife and I could do our business clean and precise!
        and that is exactly what we want it!

        RWhen our rights were read to me at Immigration office.

        We are not citizens!
        You cant vote, or talk or push anything related about dissidence,
        Adultery it is not tolerated, it is our nation, We are here,under sponsorship of our wife’s, the real citizen of the Philippines not us the gringos, per say foreigners.

        You could baffle your opinion, publish it, write your disagreements, that is fine, but their is a method, a way that is legitimatize and to be effective, .etc, etc.
        I done that,

        But it is your Wife sponsorship that keeps you in this country,
        We do love our wife’s and kids, we honor them!
        But remember it is our wife’s sponsorship not yours. I value more my dependents, than just the freaking Internet or some blogging.

        I do respect your intentions and neutrality, but I believe we, us, the foreigners to be watchful, safe, careful and vigilant for what is right! but when you cross the political divide of their internal issues, then you are mingling in their business.

        Will I subdue my self to their terror, unethical drama, moralistic and irrational behavior?
        Hell no,

        I rather surround myself with educated intellectuals, pro-thinkers and listen for what they have to said, and the end of the show, then you decide, what it is more convenience.
        i do STILL WEAR A SEAT BELT!
        i DO WEAR A HELMET when driving a motorcycle!
        I follow the traffic rules, even do it seems a lot of nationals believe they are above the law!

        This Gringo!

        • Joe America says:

          Thanks for the inputs. We all walk the path we walk for a reason, and no one walks ours for us. Seems to me those are song lyrics. The beauty of free speech is people’s right not to listen, or read.

          • Joe America says:

            Lonesome Valley
            Words and Music by Woody Guthrie

            You gotta walk that lonesome valley,
            You gotta walk it by yourself,
            Nobody here can walk it for you,
            You gotta walk it by yourself.

            Some people say that John was a Baptist,
            Some folks say he was a Jew,
            But your holy scripture tells you
            That he was a preacher too.

            Daniel was a Bible hero,
            Was a prophet brave and true,
            In a den of hungry lions
            Proved what faith can do for you.

            There’s a road that leads to glory
            Through a valley far away,
            Nobody else can walk it for you,
            They can only point the way.

            Mamma and daddy loves you dearly,
            Sister does and brother, too,
            They may beg you to go with them,
            But they cannot go for you.

            I’m gonna walk that lonesome valley,
            I’m gonna walk it by myself,
            Don’t want to nobody to walk it for me,
            I’m gonna walk it by myself.

            • Joe America says:

              Woodie Gutherie gave birth to popular American folk singing. His son, Arlo, was a piece of work, nasally singing songs about squashing cops “The motorcycle song” and protesting the Vietnam War. Come to think of it, Bob Dylan was also a nasal singer. But man, could those guys write inspirational stuff . . . even about women laying across my big brass bed . . . heh heh

  4. Ron Angelo says:

    Political parties driven by issues and handling them is severely lacking here. Makabayan, Anakpawis and a few other leftist groups are the only ones that I see as idealogy-driven. Too bad I’m not in favor of their economic policies. Where are the centrists at?

    It seems like the as the political needle moves right, political party members start acting based more on political survival than anything else here in the Philippines. It seems like idealism exists mostly on our left-leaning friends.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, I thought about starting with one of the leftist parties, taking the platform, and seeing how it might be adjusted to move mainstream. It has always intrigued me that they are so adamant, but in that stubbornness, lock themselves out of having the influence that could actually move more people in the direction they want. Then, as you say, the more mainstream parties are totally fluid. UNA doesn’t bother with a platform. It is all personalities and power blocs.

    • uht says:

      The needle here is not really ‘left vs. right’ as it is ‘not corrupt vs. corrupt’, as far as I observe. Ideology is out of the question, because an idealist will not survive a political atmosphere this charged. In addition, talk of ideologies do not appeal to many—partly because they cannot imagine a Philippines where we can all sit down and talk about alternate political views, without interference from pragmatist personality politics. It is sad, but this is how deep the corruption is ingrained here—that most people cannot really imagine a better life.

  5. Edgar Lores says:

    1. It is disconcerting to me that the “spiral of silence” has begun or is being felt.

    2. The approach to take, of course, depends on whether one is, vis-à-vis Duterte, a true believer, an agnostic or an atheist. The majority of the commenters here have been atheists. They are now turned agnostic, and have adopted a wait-and-see attitude.

    2.1. I am an atheist and have the luxury of remaining one.

    3. For atheists turned agnostic, the approach I would take would be one of conditional support. Call it strategic support or strategic rebellion, depending on one’s distance from the Duterte center.

    3.1. The general tenor is to support Duterte as head of the Executive branch, as occupier of the Office of the President.

    3.2. The key to the approach is to identify what are the core promises of Duterte, and to support or to reject each. It is somewhat akin to being a cafeteria Catholic, picking what doctrines to follow and what not to follow.

    3.3. None of these are exhaustive lists, but I would support the following of his policies:

    o The fight against substance abuse (drugs, tobacco, alcohol)
    o The fight against corruption
    o The reduction of poverty
    o The promotion of peace in Mindanao
    o Maintaining the arbitration case against China, including jet-skiing to the Spratleys
    o The curbing of population explosion through the three-child policy

    3.4. I would oppose the following:

    o The employment of extrajudicial means in the fight against substance abuse
    o The violation of any civil rights and the silencing of dissent
    o Bilateral talks with China before the arbitration decision
    o Burying Marcos in the Libingan ng Bayani cemetery (No objection if it’s Marcos Jr.)

    3.5. I am neutral on:

    o Federalism (I have to see the details)

    4. Throughout the timeline of Duterte’s administration, criticism – and perhaps more importantly praise – should be meted out as merited.

    4.1. Somewhere along the line when the excesses of the administration seem to be tipping the balance towards a revolutionary government, then all bets are off. At that point, there would be just cause for rebellion. At that point, conditional support should turn out into full out rebellion, first on social media than in the streets.

    4.2. Needless to say, the fine judgment call to make is in determining when the balance is tipping towards anarchy.

    • Thanks Edgar – “Schweigespirale” is the German word for it, and the link is good as it shows that the word was coined by Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann.

      That name is connected to the “Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach” founded in 1947 – just like Social Weather Stations was founded I think by Mahar Mangahas after 1986.

      Allensbach failed to predict Schröder in 1998, and had to revise its models of society based on the changes that happened post-reunification and due to new media such as mobile phones, private television and the Internet – change came to Germany then as well.

    • Joe America says:

      A very balanced and reasoned position, with jet ski and Junior giving me a bit of a chortle. I agree with your support and oppose lists, but tend to think Federalism would be a weak approach to poverty, with the rich states getting richer and the poor suffering mightily. Indeed, the details will be important.

    • josephivo says:

      Why is so difficult to tell such simple things? Support your vision 100%

    • edgar lores says:

      On the support list, I would add:

      o The policy of Inclusion towards leftists (CPP/NPA) into the governmental framework

      The policy should include:

      o General amnesty to all communist rebels
      o Pardon of rebels currently incarcerated
      o Provision of livelihood support for rebels in the hills to come down and assume normal lives
      o Appointment of leftists to cabinet and other suitable offices

      Important: On the condition that the NPA surrender all arms and the CPP disavow all ambition to armed struggle.

      Finally, in conjunction with Bill’s idea of a “loyal opposition,” the transformation of the CPP as a legal political party. The party can be renamed the Labor Party, the Social Democrat Party, or something similar. It should incorporate all leftist organizations currently in existence, such as Gabriela, Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, etc. This could see the beginning of the formation of political parties along ideological lines.

      • Anakpawis might not join… in Germany there are the former East German Communists – the Democratic Socialists, and the venerable Social Democratic Party which is truly old… Anakpawis is more like the Social Democrats, Bayan Muna the “Democratic Socialists”. The Communist Party of Germany and its reincarnation the German Communist Party are both banned by the Federal Constitutional Court as being anti-constitutional parties…

        To the right, you have the National Democrats – their agenda is close to National Socialism but on paper it still accepts the most important principles of the Constitution – the free democratic basic order and human rights – so they cannot be disbanded… The AfD or Alternative for Germany is a Trumpish party which won over 10% of votes in some West German and over 20% of votes in some East German state parliaments.. not nice people, but within a democracy one has to deal with them by convincing people otherwise…

      • Joe America says:

        Wonderful suggestions. I wish I had a contact in the Duterte organization, I’d send this over.

  6. bill in oz says:

    Again I comment here to offer a comparison between Australia & the Philippines.

    We have in Oz opposition parties. They are viewed as ‘The Loyal Opposition”. Loyal to Australia and our people. But ‘opposed’ to the current government.

    There are a couple of things that help maintain this system.
    1 The head of state ( named the governor General ) is not part of the executive government. The G G is appointed as a symbolic representative of all the Australian people and is above politics and makes no comments of a political nature. He/she is expected to be upright & honest. As a matter of political courtesy the G G is above critcism unless he/she is found to be personally dishonest or guilty of an offense.

    2 The executive government & the prime minister are formed the party or group of parties that have a majority in the House of Representatives. They decide which changes to law, budget etc will happen

    3 The party or parties that do not support the government constitute the “Loyal Opposition”. It is their job and their duty to offer alternative policies and methodologies to the government. And every day that Parliament sits, they have the opportunity to do so
    -At question time when all members of parliament ask questions of ministers
    – During debates on proposed law and expenditures programs

    In the Philippines there is no concept or practice of a ‘Loyal Opposition’. When a new party or individual is elected to executive power (president ), everyone joins or tries to join the bandwagon. Hence ‘turncoatism’.

    I propose that the Society of Honor promote in it’s blogs the concept & practice of a loyal opposition trying to promote a better future for the Philippines & all filipinos.

  7. – slightly OT…this is what happens when you go around shooting…

    She was a Duterte supporter and it seems her uncle was the target: According to Facebook user Ililanam Eniale, Sunshine was a victim: “NA DAMAY LANG SYA…TYOHIN DAW NYAN ANG TALAGA TARGET…..PINABABA SYA AT NAKA BABA NMN…KASO DUMAPLIS PA DIN SKNYA ANG BALA….ANG UNA EH YUNG TYOHIN NA NAKASAKAY SA TRYCLE PINAPUTUKAN.”

    Since many Filipinos are incapable of abstraction, real-life (or real-death) stuff may help drive home the point of Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise: Tell me why are we, so blind to see
    That the one’s we hurt, are you and me
    – how many more have to die? 😦

  8. arlene says:

    Mine seems to be “wait and see attitude” Joe. At least for now, all is quiet on the western front but I am waiting, waiting with bated breath how we will journey through after June 30. Still hopeful for a better Philippines. Thanks for this lovely post 🙂

    • “all is quiet on the western front” – don’t think so…

      MANILA – Armed police are detaining crying children, bewildered drunks, and shirtless men throughout the Philippine capital in a night-time blitz that is offering an authoritarian taste of life under incoming president Rodrigo Duterte…

      Across the nation police have already reported killing more than 20 alleged drug suspects over the past fortnight, egged on by Duterte who has urged them to begin his war on crime even before he takes office at the end of this month.

      President Aquino is still in power, and the DILG THEORETICALLY still in control of PNP…

      • arlene says:

        I’ve read about this today Irineo.And it is kind of sad that he is not yet officially in office but he is already showing that clout. What I mean is lately, I haven’t heard of more foul language from the PE.

        • Well, I asked the Duterte people – I have some on my FB Learning Center page – to go and try to catch this gangster posted on social media who victimized someone in Shangri-La Mall, with the request to just beat him up, not shoot him… but with the somewhat sarcastic comment that who knows, he might be a Duterte supporter too? No answers from the usual suspects yet, I am waiting to see if they are just loudmouths…

      • jolly cruz says:

        “Armed police are detaining crying children, bewildered drunks, and shirtless men throughout the Philippine capital in a night-time blitz that is offering an authoritarian taste of life under incoming president Rodrigo Duterte…”

        It seems you have not been to Manila for the longest time. I live in Tondo. I believe that its about time the authorities impose the rule of law. I have no sympathy for these street kids who at their very young age are already involved in petty crimes, the drunkards who occupy the whole street during drinking binges, which occur almost daily, and the so called shirtless men who are shirtless so people can see their bodies full of tattoos, to scare whoever might want to reproach them for doing what they usually do, drink and gamble in the streets.

        • chempo says:

          Change is coming !!

          You forgot to mention two things carried in that media article:

          1. A young shirtless guy said he just went outside to close up his boss’ shop for the night (some stuff outside that he had to clear) and he was shirtless because of the SWELTERING heat.

          2. The report talk of “traumatised” kids.

          High-handed police action to solve social problems is like using a hammer to bash an ant.

          These type of change is good so long as no family member of yours is in that police van.

          Philippines is very good in legislation, too damn good for the country sometimes. Surely there is something somewhere, even in fine prints, that distinguishes “arrestable” and “non-arrestable” offences ?

          • jolly cruz says:


            I am more afraid of what I see currently happening in our community, rather than what you say “MAY” happen. The former is already 100% true, a clear and present danger, to quote tom clancy,to my family while the second is still speculation. Even if you believe that it will definitely happen, it still is speculation. Your fear mongering is not effective because I am already afraid of what is already happening.

            The fear of the present is definitely greater than my fear of the future. I can say the same thing you told me, you can only say the things you say until you or any member of your family become victim of these lawless people. It goes both ways my friend.

            • chempo says:

              I appreciate your fear of the now. But the means do not justify the ends. From your perspective, it does. What do you say of the following:

              1) It is OK to traumatise kids? I see kinds rounded up and placed together with toughie looking adults in the same police van. Kids are handled differently in countries all over the world, I’m sure you know that.
              2) There are no laws in all countries in the world for getting drunk. Drunks only break the law when they become a nuisance to the public.
              3) There are no laws anywhere in the world for going shirtless for males. Of course decorum is a matter of locality management. Restaurants etc can refuse entry to a shirtless man. Shirtless for females is a differently matter — it’s indecent exposure, that’s breaking the law.
              4) I don’t think a guy from Sampaloc will go shirtless when he make a trip to Makati. Shirtless guys are the neighbourhood residents. Sweltering heat and bad living shanty conditions drive them outside the house. I don’t know whether you have an opportunity to live in one of these box homes. Does it ever occur to you that some actually do not have much change of clothes.

              You want to make the neighbourhood cleaner and safer and better living enronment? I have several suggestions, not exhaustive, like :
              a. Increased visibility of police personnel. More foot patrols.
              b. How about anti-littering drive, and fines for litter bugs.
              c. Increased neighbourhood social awareness for responsible drinking — it’s OK to drink, but be moderate.
              d. Arrest drunkard disorderly behaviour, give them an overnight stay in a cell and a fine.
              e. Increased neighbourhood social awareness for responsible parenting.
              f. Kiddy programmes for neighbourhood kids to inculcate the need to stay home by 10pm.

              • jolly cruz says:

                @ Chempo

                In a more civil society where understanding and respect for the rights of others is of paramount importance what you say is true. But in an environment such as in our community where no such understanding and respect is present and the only thing that matters is “if you are willing to fight for your rights”, what you propose is not feasible.

                You talk of traumatized kids, just go around the Pier area, the Ermita and Malate area. You will notice these kids, some not even 10 years old, often in groups harassing tourists and passers by. They taunt the security guards and people who try to stop them. This is first hand experience. Believe me, these kids don’t get traumatized. Once they are released from detention, they are back in the streets, with no sign of remorse.

                I don’t think the police just apprehend any shirtless person. There is this thing called “bagansya tatak”. If you are shirtless and your tattoos are the tattoos of the street gangs, they will pick you up. But if you don’t have any tattoo you are let go. Don’t exaggerate the situation.

                If you want proof, I can bring you to my house, so you will see that I am talking from experience. You think I don’t know people who live in box houses. My neighborhood is filled with these types of houses. My invitation to you is open.

  9. bill in oz says:

    I want to make another suggestion…Rethink the “anti-oligarchy ‘ law suggestion…
    It has been promoted a lot but has never been able to be implemented..

    Why ? The representatives of the oligarchic families in Congress & the senate oppose it…So the numbers are not there to pass this law..

    A different approach is needed..

    I wonder, how do individuals who are members of these families think of themselves and their place in Filipino society, culture, history, politics ?

    All capitalist countries have rich & poor.It’s natural But do wealthy Filipinos think of their poorer hard working less fortunate citizens as fellow Filipinos to be cared for & respected ?

    Do the poor & less wealthy citizens think of the rich as hard working, fellow Filipinos to be respected and allowed a legitimate place in Filipino society ? Or do they think of them as the beneficiaries of theft, rent racking & corruption ?

    The answers expressed in attitudes, determine whether the Philippines is an inclusive country at peace with progress or a polarised one.with lots of conflict.

    Saying that rich oligarchic families should not be allowed a role in politics is polarising.

    • “All capitalist countries have rich & poor.It’s natural But do wealthy Filipinos think of their poorer hard working less fortunate citizens as fellow Filipinos to be cared for & respected ?”

      Many probably don’t. Bam Aquino does for sure, he is an exceptional character.

      “Do the poor & less wealthy citizens think of the rich as hard working, fellow Filipinos to be respected and allowed a legitimate place in Filipino society ? Or do they think of them as the beneficiaries of theft, rent racking & corruption ?”

      Most probably don’t. And are right maybe 56.3% of the time. What do Sal and Joe say?

      “The answers expressed in attitudes, determine whether the Philippines is an inclusive country at peace with progress or a polarised one.with lots of conflict.”

      Exactly. The postcolonial or rent-seeking attitude remains the source of conflict.

    • Joe America says:

      Fascinating topic, Bill. I can only speculate about the attitudes, unless there is data from the survey companies. But your point is spot on, the oligarchs basically build the Philippines, or maybe 80% of it. Why look at them as enemies of the state? They are not.

      • Some Duterte supporters among my FB friend have posted stuff that the oligarchs tripled their wealth in the Aquino administration – I don’t know if that is true, but I doubt these two who are wealthy care that much about the poor or more about their piece of the action.

        We can see how much Duterte cares about the poor… if the recent police measures that target the poorest are any indication – it already looks like early martial law where the newly affluent liked it that drunks and vagrants were rounded up and paraded on trucks.

        • Could that be the perennial issue?

          That most Filipinos don’t give a f… about anyone except themselves and their nearest?

          The Katipunan were optimists in their idea of brotherhood… which died with Bonifacio. 😦

        • The Philippines have free market economy & healthy capitalism, any Filipino citizen can buy share of stock in those companies, share are publicly listed. Anyone can own & be a part of those wealthy companies.
          So therefore it is not manipulated or control by any influential individual. We need those companies to grow so that they can invest to build our economy. A country can’t prosper without a capital

          • Not fully true. A reputable Swiss newspaper read by bankers wrote that most Filipino stocks are political in nature, meaning very dependent on political patronage. Modern democracies have controls in place against that – even Swiss with their bank secrecy. Theoretically the Philippines is a democracy with a free market economy, in reality it has been those in power who control who gets the best business. Some improved rules were put in place for SEC during Daang Matuwid, that one must give them credit for…

          • bill in oz says:

            Capital has the very interesting property : It’s very very mobile. Rich people move their wealth where they feel welcome & safe.. That includes rich Filipino families..

            Trying to exclude rich families from influence in their own country will move capital – elsewhere..
            On the other hand including and encouraging the wealthy ( who are the same families ) will have the opposite effect & promote the Bill Gates type process of development.. rich kid to super rich uncaring nerd to major global philanthropist

          • karlgarcia says:

            Erap did stock manipulation,you do not need blue chips to do that,you can manipulate a stock of an unknown entity like that company In the impeachment trial.

            On another note.
            as a minority stock holder you have a right to refuse to be bought during a corporate raid,but how many actually hold on to their shares?

      • bill in oz says:

        The old English/British position was that the aristocrats ha the house of lords and the commoners had the house of commoners ( Commons ) . Both were seen as a necessary & part of the whole..
        For want of titles like duke, Baron or Earl, it’s easy to think that there is no aristocracy here. But there is.the problem is that simultaneously Filipinos want to imitate the American refusal of any titles & rank.. That’s a contraiction..
        By contrast the UK today celebrated their Queen’s 90th birthday with lots of ceremonies & pomp that everybody enjoyed whether commoner or aristocrat or royal..

      • Ron Angelo says:

        The thing with oligarchs is that they tend to be inefficient, “aggregately” speaking. And inefficiency should be an enemy of the nation. Oligarchs possess immense political power with all the money they have. Conflicts of interest, cartels and other inefficient practices can be “rationalized” by the right official with the help of a few pesos here and there. In some cases, oligarchs can just shower politicians with campaign funds or other forms of support in exchange for an advantageous appointment. Cases that ran rampant were Aquino’s appointment of Geronimo Sta. Ana, an Aboitiz man like Almendras, to the ERC and Bert Lina, a freight forwarder, to the BOC. Villar to the DPWH is another case, this time done by the upcoming administration.

        Oligarchs have the capital and they have built this nation. But that does not mean they built it efficiently and not without unfairly disadvantaging people.

        I’m not hating on Oligarchs. They’re just trying to earn the next buck like anybody else. It’s just that the give-and-take they do with our economy needs to be magnified. The adverse effects they can cause is bigger than the adverse effects some random person can do.

        • “In some cases, oligarchs can just shower politicians with campaign funds”

          IN May 2015 voters in the United Kingdom went to the polls to elect 650 members of the British parliament. Four major political parties and literally dozens of minor parties placed candidates who stood for election. The total campaign spending converted to Philippine pesos was less than P3 billion.

          At home, prior to the beginning of the official campaign season for the 2016 national elections, presidential, vice-presidential and senatorial aspirants spent P6.7 billion on television, radio and print ads from March 2015 to January 2016.

          Lower ceilings on campaign funding are probably necessary. Maybe even a refund from the government proportional to the number of votes like in Germany and Australia? Anything to prevent too much indebtness to donors. And possibly the elections would be more rational if there were not this campaign frenzy driven by the need to outdo each other, almost like in a fiesta where probably a lot of people overspend to the hilt.

        • Joe America says:

          Thanks for the particulars. I’ve often wondered about that, particularly what was traded to get someone like Lina, who has a scarred track record, into that peachy BOC slot. It was among the most disappointing decisions, to me, of the Aquino term. I’m not up on the other cases, but the Villar one is pretty over-the top, as well. I say this having just read how US President Abe Lincoln, highly revered, also made some “favored” (unqualified) appointments in exchange for backing for his campaign.

          I’ve had in the back of my mind doing a blog that tries to identify some of the “leakages” of productivity or wealth from the Philippines, like smuggling and inefficiency and favor-trading that route investments to less than best purposes. Arghhhh, I sit and think about the common MRT/LRT station that was ripped in two, leading to a long connection through an underground passage way for millions of riders, because of Oligarch influence. Clearly, it was not a decision made for riders. It was a decision made for oligarchs.

          • bill in oz says:

            The fact that the Philippines is a ‘protected’ market with foreign companies either banned outright or forced to enter with majority Filipino ownership, makes for a local uncompetitive oligarchy. who are to a large extent related.. It’s a cosy arrangement.

            • David says:

              bill in oz says:
              The fact that the Philippines is a ‘protected’ market with foreign companies either banned outright or forced to enter with majority Filipino ownership, makes for a local uncompetitive oligarchy. who are to a large extent related.. It’s a cosy arrangement.

              Well that is a sadly true statement, 60-40 laws are the worst, Individual entrepreneurship is zero. not supported. Sometimes a good entrepreneur has to agree to the big dogs to survive. Elite classes are well protected under their own laws, but an average national to be competent nationally is almost a hardship of survival, Monopoly business is a common practice..

              • bill in oz says:

                Ahhhh I thought no one had noticed this…though I have to give credit where it is due.. Mr Wallace has written about opening up the economy…
                But I think that the oligarchic families of the Philippines are supported by it.. Te odd outsider breaks through & becomes part of the network occasionally.. The Sy family are a good example

        • karlgarcia says:

          More on oligarchs.
          The competition act was rendered toothless by the duopoly of PLDT-Globe,now even a powerful conglomerate like SMC backed out of the telecom industry.

          As for the campaign spending,who knows if the billionaires donated to more than one candidate.

          Poe was officially the biggest spender,but she lost,does this mean that the voters are wiser or more wais?Or did the oligarchs find a way to donate to more than one candidate undetected?

  10. gerverg1885 says:

    The policemen are trying hard to impress Duterte so that they will not lose their jobs even if they themselves are not so clean with their past records…which could be revealed if an honest dressing down of their ranks will be carried out with no fear or favor.

    I hope that ‘palakasan’ will be a thing of the past.

  11. NHerrera says:

    Richard J. Heydarian articles are familiar fare here at TSH. In a recent article we have his thoughts on Duterte and foreign policy:

    On the geopolitics of the West Philippine Sea

    Above all, when one talks about serious disputes with neighboring countries, direct engagement is indispensable. You need direct diplomatic engagement in order to manage the conflict and, if conditions are right, negotiate a mutually-satisfactory solution. It is for the above reason that, for instance, I believe in the indispensability of bilateral engagement to deal with the West Philippine Sea disputes. But it is extremely important for the Duterte administration to not give up on any leverage point, especially the ongoing arbitration case at The Hague. And the incoming government should have no illusions about the intentions of Beijing in adjacent waters. As President Reagan cautioned: ‘trust but verify’.

    On DFA

    Foreign policy is a time-consuming and labor-intensive work. It demands constant research, policy re-adjustment and rapid response. Throughout the years, I had the privilege of meeting and exchanging views with (retired and serving) Filipino diplomats and folks at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). I have nothing but deep respect for their hard work and dedication, not to mention world-class professionalism.

    Thanks to a rigorous recruitment process, the DFA employs the best and brightest of the country. Yet, a cursory look at the available resources of the DFA and their humongous menu of responsibilities, including the protection of millions of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), underscores the glaring underinvestment in the country’s foreign policy apparatus.

    Heydarian summary paragraph

    By combining independence, cautious audacity, capacity-building and consultation, ideological heterodoxy, and grasp of the spirit of the times, the Duterte administration can usher in a golden age of Philippine foreign relations.

    • Joe America says:

      I agree that DFA is one of the top agencies of government, but there is glaring underinvestment in so many, many areas, judiciary to defense. And then there are those trains . . .

    • karlgarcia says:

      The New foreign policy is to deny to the UN,that he endorses extra judicial killings.

  12. “Well, you can write about other things, Joe, in a non-controversial way. Education or poverty or cultural insights.”

    That’s where we come to personal motivation.

    I am motivated by going somewhere, by building, by arguing for good values and good deeds, by offering perspectives that support what I think are principles of decency, inclusion, productivity and opportunity.

    To sit and talk about pancakes when the kitchen is burning is just not fulfilling.”


    Was that above quote suppose to be me?

    I see your point about the kitchen burning, whether it’s really burning or simply a “feeling”, is beside the point, so I’ll cease/desist any further criticisms on this from here on out. It is a valid concern, and I respect it.

    On the flipside though, can you either link to blogs, articles, etc. on education and poverty projects in the Philippines? So basically, keep your anti-DU30 blogs, but be pragmatic and keep pushing for projects that will build the Philippines regardless of who’s in office.

    I think you can juggle your ethical concerns with say your kid’s education in Cebu. So going forward I’d appreciate a theory plus application (education especially, documenting your on the ground experience over there) approach.

    thanks, Joe! 😉

    • LCPL_X, some blogs are here:

      check out for the stuff I share there also.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Panelo: Duterte never endorsed killings

        This is just B__l S__t😡‼️

        Many times on stage he kept on mentioning I will kill them, I will kill him….i will have them killed.

        Then just because the UN Secretary General spoke up-All they could offer is a denial?

        What the F__k ‼️❓😡😡😡

        • Joe America says:

          Get used to it. Diplomacy under the new administration is telling a lie with a straight face. It is akin to Chinese diplomacy where the end justifies the means. The goal is to operate with impunity to silence or rid the nation of the aberrations of society, the drug dealers and intellectual elite, the political opponents and the kids out after dark. If the ends are a crime-free, drug-free, obedient society, what’s wrong with a little lie now and then to justify the means?

          • karlgarcia says:

            I will not be surprised,but getting used to it will be harder than I thought.
            I was one of the first to say that it is a good thing that the Society of H won’t be an anti-blog.
            I have been trying to convince will and Cha to comeback to commentary,now Will will be back somehow. Cha will still be on lurking mode.
            They even formed a community of ten SOH readers called Silent Muna.sorry guys if that is supposed to be a secret.I suggest not not be silent.Joe himself is giving signals that he will be discreet come July, that does not mean that we have to.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Ok Andress III ‘s comments made me pause and think.I hope he does something about his trust ratings and make people trust him.

        • karl, How’d you do those red angry faces????????

          • karlgarcia says:

            an Ipad mini feature,included in its emojis or emoticons.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Let us go back to Robin Hood Lance.
            If they(NPA) rob the rich and give to the poor,then why don’t the poor get any?
            The poor is not exempted from revolutionary tax.
            The collections go to the Vatican of the CPP somewhere in Utrecht.

            • Oh, I thought it was something you can do with semi-colons and parentheses. I need to get an iPad 😉 … or I’ll be stuck with winky faces forever!

              As for NPA and Robin Hoods, Counter-Insurgency is pretty simple really (implementation not so). If the State’s not there to serve, or provide for, the people, then another entity will, be it narco-traffickers, ISIS-type groups, Black Panthers, SLA, etc. etc.

              The people (that substance which a revolutionary movement swims in) has to be placated. The fact that NPA is still around, given that most Communist movements, if not all, have fizzled out, says more about the Philippine condition, than the Communist condition.

              I’m not sure where NPA taxes go, I’m no accountant, but the fact that they are still around & going strong, means… people (in which the NPA swims) over there are sustaining them. So focus on the why first, then you can talk about taxes—- after all Scarface was taken down easily because of taxes. 😉

              Study and focus on the conditions, taxes you can worry about once conditions can be brought to your favour.

              p.s.~ the fact the police/military over there are selling drugs, and participating in crime doesn’t help… so maybe DU30’s idea of raising pay is good? 😉

              Also what do you think of Drug Lords laying out a bounty on DU30’s head? (In Iraq and Afghanistan, if you—as an American— have a bounty on ur head from bad guys, that means you’re doing something right… food for thought 😉 )

              • karlgarcia says:

                You don’t have to be an accountant to see (even from afar) that the money does not go to the poor,and the poor involuntary give a sack of rice or what not.
                pinning down someone due to taxes only worked in the case of Capone.
                Where are all the Eliot Nesses?
                Raising pay of the forces is easier said than done.
                This is all perception management,Durerte is getting into them(drug lords) but Is he really doing something right? How can he? All he did was threaten them.The police allegedly acted because of fear of reorganization.I do not see anything right there?

              • “Where are all the Eliot Nesses?” There were none I met over there.

                As far as taxes, it could always be explained has foreign investments, better savings rates, or protection from gov’t, etc. Unless you have evidence of Communist/NPA as high rollers, ie. Joma in a jet and women like Quiboloy, it’s hard to pin down, karl.

                I agree it’s all about actually doing something, talk is cheep (but the Drug lords are worried, and that should count for something, no?)— like Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize for talk 😉 .

              • Joe America says:

                President Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize for giving the nation back it’s confidence after a brutal economic downturn. It was not cheap talk, it changed the course of the world. No need to diminish his Nobel Prize. He didn’t give it to himself. People appreciated the attitude he brought to office, and the deeds that righted the ship.

              • Joe,

                Here’s the actual wording,

                “The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.”


                I have no idea what that first sentence means since Obama hadn’t actually done much as Pres. at that point (were they referring to stuff he did as Senator?… then what exactly?) Maybe you can clue me in here. 😉

                As for the last sentence, the Nobel Committee should definitely strip that Prize from Obama for reneging on said “vision” : (see chart),

                “The United States maintains a modern arsenal of about 1,900 strategic nuclear warheads deployed on Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs), and Strategic Bombers. The Departments of Defense and Energy requested approximately $23 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 to maintain and upgrade these systems, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). CBO estimates that nuclear forces will cost $348 billion between FY 2015 and FY 2024.[i] Three independent estimates put the expected total cost over the next 30 years at as much as $1 trillion.

              • Joe America says:

                Thanks for the clarification and further opinion. I won’t enter into discussion about the American president as it is not really of mainstream interest to the Philippines. Do you have any idea what Trump’s posture is regarding the West Philippine Sea? I know Sec. Clinton was the architect of the Obama pivot to Asia, so she backs close ties and military partnership.

    • Joe America says:

      It had nothing to do with you. It has to do with choosing topics. If my primary interest is Duterte and the new style of governance, but I can’t really criticize government and have to write about, oh, banks . . . then the fun is missing. I’d rather go to the beach.

      I don’t do anti-duterte blogs. I do pro-PH blogs, and it gets around to him when he is working against what I or others think is in the best interest of the nation. I am pro-duterte in the sense that I want the economy to grow, the place to be safe and well-respected, we have free speech and other civil rights . . . HIS DEEDS bring the negativity, not the agenda of this blog.

  13. Ancient Mariner says:

    Apologies for the topic change.
    Hi Joe, is it necessary that you indent replies to replies on your blog? Today I was down to four letters per line and had to adandon reading. I read on a Samsung S6 smartphone. Or perhaps there is a way to fiddle my phone? Anybody know?
    Again today Raissa’s blog is down. Yesterday BBM was under discussion. As usual anti-BBM. If I remember correctly this was the situation last time it went down. Did any of you guys out there who visit CPM notice the association?

    • bill in oz says:

      Not just Raisa ! Rappler was down briefly this morning again just after a very balanced Aquino report went up & a Bong Bong report went up…

      I presume Rappler has better defences from attack.

    • andrewlim8 says:

      @Ancient Mariner

      Try going to the bottom of the page where it says: “View full site”. That will make it look like the desktop version.

      Raissa’s blog is usually attacked with DDOS when the topic is about China. The sites are pretty much secure, but what they do is make access difficult.

      • Ancient Mariner says:

        Thanks Andrew. “View Full Site” is the way to go.
        Yup you could be right. China was discussed also. The brave guys who hoisted the PI flag. Oops did I say China?

    • Joe America says:

      I have no control over the formatting, but do on the number of indentations. People have always asked for more indentations because it makes clear who is replying to whom. I turn my S6 sideways to read the longer pieces, but agree, it is awkward.

      • Ancient Mariner says:

        Joe, that works but when I right the phone again I end up at the top of the ariticle.
        I,ll try “View Full Site” as suggested by Andrew Lim the Eighth and revert.

  14. HighFive says:

    “The difficulty with this criticism is that it appears to have no official backing from anywhere within the national government. No Administrative officials or senators or public office holders have criticized…..”

    I think 3 elected senators have already voiced objections. Link is here:

    • Joe America says:

      That’s true, but their remarks were more in defense of the rights and responsibilities of the Legislature rather than a criticism of the President Elect. We’ll see if Senator Lacson decides to hold hearings on extra-judicial killings. I do note that he clarified the next day explicitly that he was not criticizing Duterte or his anti-crime agenda. My own commentary going forward will be much along these same lines, speaking for the soundness of Philippine democratic institutions.

  15. manuelbuencamino says:


    You have to distinguish between LP members who jumped shipped before the party made a decision to join the du30 coalition.

    Why did the LP join the coalition? I don’t know why but I think it was a good decision politically.

    1. As an opposition minority party they will have no committee chairmanships thus their influence on legislation and oversight will be zero. Becoming a part of the majority will entitle then to committee chairmanships proportionate, I think, to their numbers. End result is the LP becomes an effective loyal opposition.

    2. As the loyal opposition, the LP’s opposition to certain specific programs or policies of the current administration can stand as principled disagreement. They cannot be dismissed as simply being obstructionists, a description that can easily be tagged on the opposition or the minority.

    3. And if push comes to shove, the LP breaking away from the majority will have more impact than an opposition party howling for blood from day one.

    This is in line with eyes-open cooperation and support that the new LP leader Leni Robredo promised. Those who stayed with the party and went along when party leadership decided to join the majority coalition are a different breed from those LP members who jumped ship without waiting for the party to decide on its course of action. Leni and Bam are not the only principled members of the LP.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, when I posted on Facebook, readers offered up a number of loyalists that I had omitted (not researched) “for literary impact”. I appreciate the point that it is valuable to have a role in the governance, and committees, but I have a hard time understanding exactly what the principles are of the LP people who decided to join the coalition, on their own. It’s a peculiar step, when individuals operate totally without regard for Party integrity. Not knowing the principles, it is hard to say they will use their committee positions for the correct influence. Or maybe they will just be rubber stamps. If evidence for impeachment rolls in, what they gonna do? I’ll also wait and watch to see how the “three child” laws are written. Boy, that ought to be a hoot.

      Thanks for the elaboration and insights.

      • manuelbuencamino says:

        That’s why I said there were those who joined the majority after the LP decided to do so and so came in with the party and those who jumped ship. World of difference.

      • NHerrera says:


        There is a different dynamics of the Congressmen in the HOR compared to the Senators. In the Philippines, one of the reasons is that since the Congressmen have specific constituencies who have to be satisfied and ensure their allowed re-election in the usual cycle , their ease of access to get funding for projects in their constituencies require them to be in the good graces of the current Administration.

        The Senators who are voted nationally do not have that specific constituency and can act more statesman-like, enticed more by juicy Committees to chair while projecting themselves well for their future political ambitions.

        In the current case the matter of coalition of senators — NOT coalition of parties, there is no such animal — to get the Senate Presidency already shows cracks in the game plan this early in the game. Of course, Drilon and his group, and Sotto and his group are more realistic or pragmatic and have conceded the Senate Presidency, but not without some bargaining for positions (pro-tempore, senate majority floor leadership) and chairmanships of Committees for their allies.

        But what of Pimentel and Cayetano? Pimentel seems to be more practical in his approach in seeking the coalition — with 13 senators in the bag with their signature of a resolution endorsing him and at least three more through commitments and one still to decide: Pacquiao, forever the butterfly who earlier signed a resolution endorsing Cayetano and now leaning to Pimentel, the likely winner of the SP; Villanueva; and Recto, respectively.

        And there is the “holier-than-thou and bible-quoting Cayetano,” spinning his spin. who continues to want to be a SP placeholder pending a year lapse to replace Yasay at the DFA, with no guarantee for the latter where in the Philippines a year’s time is like the period between the Ice Age and the time of the iPad.

        Pimentel and his coalition allies know that at this time the PE needs them more than they need him (?). They know their politics. They know that there is political life after the PE. So what will the PE do? Why, of course, praise the Independence of the Senate; and drop a hint to the bible-thumper to be a good boy and shut up (?) or you will not get that DFA position. In a year’s time, a lot can happen so this is Cayetano’s fear. Yasay may very well prove his mettle without the lawyerly spin that Cayetano is good at.

        And history will record that their was once a Camelot in Cayetano Land — Cayetano of RH and other women’s advocacy fame; and another dynastic Cayetano of Presidents-and-VP-investigation fame. Whatever happened to them in their Camelot?

        • Joe America says:

          Heh heh. Ice Age and iPad Age. Such wonderful intrigues. I think Sen. Cayetano is going nuts. He gave money but his limb is being chopped off. He seems like a wrong personality for PE Duterte. Maybe he’s driving Duterte nuts, too. Thanks for the drama critique. 🙂

          • NHerrera says:

            He he. Reading too many detective stories lately. If you have not yet read Raymond Chandler’s “Long Goodbye,” try reading it when on a trip with a lot of time to kill at the airport waiting lounge or in the airplane. You will love the cynical but rather nice detective character Philip Marlowe. He reads like you at your cynical times. It is available as an ebook on kindle at amazon at less than a US Dollar. (Cheap. That’s me.)

            • Joe America says:

              Philip Marlowe, for less than a buck? Can’t beat it. I’ve read Chandler, and about every other detective writer from Helen Macinnes to Michael Connelley (Whom I met at a mystery book writer’s conference in Pasadena, CA). We all have swagger, in our detectives. 🙂

              • NHerrera says:

                Joe: one can tell from your blogs that you read a lot and these add zest to your blogs. And now I find that for enjoyment or fun you include detective novels featuring our swaggering/ sardonic hero-characters for your reading fare. I recall too your posting a comment about your enjoying the reading of legal thrillers of Grisham. Aah, the world of books and ideas indeed. 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                Well, I’ve been in a lot of airports and on a lot of planes, ahahaha. Cheers to the sleuths and private dicks amongst us!

              • edgar lores says:

                Airport fare? One author: Steve Cavanagh. Two books: “The Defense” (4.06) and “The Plea” (4.40). Numbers in parentheses are Goodreads’ scores.

              • NHerrera says:

                Edgar: I just read the first two chapter sampler in my kindle. Eddie Flynn — con man, former hustler, turned lawyer, turned drunk after a lost case, and while recovering from rehab from a separated family, got “invited” by an “insistent” client with unorthodox ways. Great intro and promises a lot.

                Thanks for the tip.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Paquiao wants to be like Ali,And fly like a butterfly.

          if Cayetano would not cooperate, the DFA portfolio will be given to BBM(joke)
          What cabinet position was promised ???

          • NHerrera says:

            Karl — I haven’t read any hint as to the specific Cabinet Position for BBM. Cayetano is quoted as saying this is all speculation, considering the Cabinet man-in-waiting has to wait a long one year in political time scale.

  16. bill in oz says:

    Off topic !
    Today I had an appointment with the surgeon at Chinese General re my broken elbow. Alas with 5 fractures ( what.the **** !! ?? He told me that today) I have to wear the cast for 2-3 weeks more..:-(

    Anyway afterwards my lady & i went to LRT 1 Blumentrit to go to Central station & to Manila mall… Ummm A 20 minute wait for a train with one going thru not stopping & empty..Umm So it was very crowded when we did get on a train. But everyone was patient and in good humor

    After doing our shopping at Manila mall we walked back to Central.. about 4.30 pm. There was a huge long line stretching a couple of hundred meters from security. So we waited in that line maybe 15 minutes..unmoving.. And talking about what was ( not ) in English and my lady with fellow Flipinos in Tagalog. then a young bloke 4 people ahead of us said to my lady that we should walk to the head of the queue because I was obviously injured.The people next to us said yes do that ! And if you have to come back, we will hold your places for you. I was doubtful but grateful & we walked to the head of the queue.

    We were waved through by security & I was really grateful for that. But the queue was stopped at a high tech airport screening device as well as manual checking. And nobody was being allowed through .. The queue was stopped completely. No idea why.

    At the platform two trains went through before one stopped with room for more passengers. So there was a mad scramble to get on board. We were packed like sardines. We got off at the next station Carriedo, after a bit of pushing & shoving..And then home to our hotel..

    But I begin to understand again the patience & the anger of ordinary Manila Filipinos at the state of public transport here. No wonder Duterte’s campaign slogan ” Let’s get this Country working ” won votes here..60%

    An interesting tiring day full of understandings for me

  17. andrewlim8 says:

    Is there anybody out there who can draw up a list of people who castigated the Aquino administration for not exerting enough effort to save the life of Mary Jane Veloso but are now salivating at the prospect of hanging drug traffickers?

    So what do we do with Mary Jane now, do we let her hang or do we save her?

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