Voters are allowed to lie, government is not

Pinocchio Repertory Philippines

Pinocchio, Repertory Philippines

Well, voters don’t lie, exactly. But they don’t say what they REALLY want when they vote someone into office, because they don’t really know. They are electing an idea, a hope, a desire for improvement in their lives.

When they vote for change and action, they mean to make things work better, not to shoot my neighbor’s daughter and jam our jail cells full of young men who could be doing service for the nation.

Have you seen those jail cell photos? Talk about depressing, young men jammed together with no expression on their faces. The blank stares of lost hope. Talk about a waste of resources. That’s worse than forests being cut down. That’s the nation’s people being cut down.

Voters didn’t really vote for that.

That’s what I mean by a voter being allowed to lie. They vote for an ideal and the person winning the election gets to decide how to provide it. If they do it well, they are cheered, if they do it badly, they fall from favor.

Governments, on the other hand, are supposed to speak the truth. That’s why people demand Freedom of Information (FOI), so the games of the past can end. So government can show the financial books rather than hide them and hide the corrupt who are building haciendas on a hilltop. So people know their elected officials are doing good work, and they can trust them.

Governments are elected to serve the people, not manipulate them. Not serve up a plate of deceits.

That’s why I object to the Duterte Administration’s continuing use of an internet army to influence public perceptions of the President and . . . more deceitfully . . . its opponents.

A President, after all, serves not just his supporters, but those who did not vote for him. Even those who hate his guts. If they are citizens, the Constitution grants them the same rights as his supporters get, and the President takes an oath to fulfill the mandates of the Constitution. He does not take an oath to stop serving the yellows, or to disenfranchise them of their respect or rights. He ought not . . . if he is true to his oath . . . use his troll brigade to declare opponents as substandard Filipino citizens.

He also ought not have the deceivers peddling fake memes or videos because a senator wants to investigate the result of President’s policies . . . a whole lot of killings in the Philippines. He should respect the checks and balances of democracy. That’s the position he was running for. That’s the position he has, President of the democracy.

It takes courage to be honest. It takes conviction that one’s decisions are correct and legal and helpful. The President should demonstrate courage and conviction, I think. That’s what voters voted for.

A senator has rights and responsibilities, and the President ought to be the first guy defending them. He ought not be encouraging or directing a program that tells the people lies about the senator. That is disrespectful of the senator and democracy. And the people.

I also think the President is being dishonest when he demands that drug dealers be killed if they resist arrest, then refuses to visit the coffins of the innocents killed in the crossfire. It is dishonest because he is denying the grief attached to the killings. He seals himself off from it. Calls it drama.

He should learn to live with the grief, because there is a lot of it going around in the Philippines these days. They are citizens crying, to the depths of their soul they are crying. He serves them. He does not make the grief go away by pretending it does not exist, by thinking that his cause is so good that he does not need to attend to the grief.

There are other examples that perhaps this government does not prize straight-dealing. Saying one thing, then saying something quite different later on. DFA Secretary Yasay ought to be saying the same thing to ASEAN that he tells the press here, or that he says to US diplomats, or Chinese diplomats. The arbitration findings either mean something important, or they do not. You can’t cut it both ways.

The nation needs honesty most when it is undergoing the most change. If it is going to adopt a new Constitution, it ought to be written through the honest and earnest effort of independent and non-political experts. Not political game players, ESPECIALLY that pack of deceitful hoodlums in the House. Can you imagine turning the Constitution over to a democratic body that puts in place a fake minority because it can’t handle objections to its agenda? A minority that belongs to the majority?

It is important to have a real minority, a real counterpoint to maintain the checks and balances that keep a government HONEST.

Even if there is only one member of that minority voice.

It is important to be honest and earnest in re-writing the Constitution.

Transparency is good for a core reason, a core value.

Being straight with citizens is one of the highest values a President can aspire to, because then he is truly serving ALL the people.

I think the Duterte Administration needs to be straight with itself.

And stop gaming Filipino citizens.


42 Responses to “Voters are allowed to lie, government is not”
  1. karlgarcia says:

    Rep Baguilat’s resolution is stuck in the Committee on rules.
    Delima’s resolution have more chances,she got the conmittee on justice,if I am not mistaken.The committe on public order may be the one to block it if ever.

    Senator Hontiveros urged PDuterte to consider drugs as a major health issue

  2. karlgarcia says:

    Those who say hey bozos accept that he won the elections,and give him a chance to prove himself.

    Yes,everyone is given the benefit of the doubt,including or especially our president.
    The magnitude of doubt is yet to be seen in trust ratings,which prove that we are fickle.First it goes down and then goes up again.

  3. Teresa says:

    Stop gaming Filipino citizens. Yes! That would be a good bumper sticker for a movement.

    I wonder if we could find 50 in the political leadership whose mindset is not to game Filipino citizens? How about 25? A dozen?

    Good God, i have turned to be such a cynic.

  4. You deserve the public servants that you voted for, or something to that effect was said by pundits, when we tried complaining of the blatant shenaniganism happening in our congress. I guess it istrue, because our voting public is immature, forgetful, lazy and grossly uninformed. How else can you explain putting into office the same characters who has managed to enrich themselves and their clan, leaving their constituents in the same state, administration after administration. I dare say that these so called representatives are the true reason why the number of people able to escape living in poverty is minimal regardless of the economic growth we have now. How easy it would be to come out with effective and timely, long lasting measures to address poverty and lack of education if these individuals would only look past their own interest and the interests of their benefactors. Now we are faced with an administration bent on changing our constitution, allegedly for our benefit, but how could our interests be included when no legitimate minority will be present to temper, to question, to contradict, to present a better option, to legislation that might favor the few instead of the many?

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, an interesting test ahead as to the maturity of GOVERNMENT. How they will develop the constitution says a lot about the kind of democracy the Philippines has. Government should lead the people toward maturity, I think.

    • Then if the minority will not fulfill its role, then it is only proper that the people themselves should become the opposition.

      Hmm… Vox populi being the minority. How ironic. Though not actually far from the reality…

      Nevertheless, it is high time that the people start to take an active role in safeguarding the processes of government. The current administration seems to be indeed preparing the framework for change and what the people need to do now is to just seize it from these people not acting in our interest. As is always the case, what will happen to this country will surely be up to the people themselves.

  5. Javier Gris says:

    A government of lies? A government of lice?

  6. arlene says:

    Some of us never learn. It is so frustrating. I stopped watching the news because all I see are the body counts which this present govt. seems to be proud of. I always say, if you don’t get at the root, you will never expect to see the branches die.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, I can’t watch, either. My vision of the Philippines is very different than what we see on the news. I agree that it is better to go to the roots.

    • JP says:

      NEWS is in business- again, I think. The likes of Tulfo brothers… Sad, but it seems a lot of Duterte’s folowers & believers are buying it.

  7. Donna says:

    Truly another sad chapter in our history. We can only hope that the police will finally declare we are drug-free that is when they have cleansed their ranks, the narco generals are jailed, the drug lords flee to china including peter lim! For now, the killing list gets longer and longer….

    • Joe America says:

      You cause me to think through which would be easier, trying to put an end to demand and the hundreds and maybe thousands of little dealers, or to go after the . . . guess . . . 25 top drug importers and manufacturers. I’d imagine a war room that identifies the suspects and where the drugs are sourced and starts to put knowledge on the table, and evidence, and goes after the big fish. Rather than thousands of police spanning the nation knocking on doors and heads, 500 professionals dedicated to shutting off the big pipelines of drugs, and jailing or shooting the big fish. Trust me, CSI would not go after the little guys. That is just scratching the itch.

  8. Sup says:

    Not all in jail are guilty…..

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand — The New Zealand government has agreed to pay more than half a million dollars to a man who spent 12 years in jail after he was convicted of killing five members of his own family but was later found not guilty at a retrial.

  9. josephivo says:

    …and the same happening in many parts of the world. Trump, Brexit, Eurocrats… It seems that the democratic systems set-up centuries ago, do not fit anymore. Over-communication, bias for money, complexity of the issues, the environment stretched to its limits, peoples’ energies stretched to the limits… The big 4, Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon, knowing much better and in greater detail what people want and are able to steer much better their behavior…

    Time to come up with new ideas on how to organize the world around us. New wisdom on how to live, how to act, how to theorize. But I’m repeating myself.

  10. Honesty.. is un-Filipino?

    Being sarcastic today.

    • Honesty takes courage… could all the hero cults in the Philippines be plain delusional, because in fact almost no one has the compassion and courage which defines heroism even in just small things? 😦

      • Chris the Irish Guy says:

        I wonder about that too, and I am worried that this is the core of the issue. Honesty needs a lot of courage and conviction especially in an environment like this. I teach Emotional Intelligence for a living and I found this nigh on impossible to do in the Philippines. Things like empathy, courage, kindness good communication etc seem totally alien to most as that behavior is not rewarded in business or as I’m often told “brings no food on the table”…….

        • Edgar Lores says:

          Neediness is a recurrent theme in this blog.

          The lack of emotional intelligence would mean that Filipinos have not progressed much beyond addressing subsistence needs.

          Looking at Maslow’s hierarchy, Filipinos are stuck at the first 4 levels. The anti-drug campaign satisfies the need for safety.

          Drug users, pushers and lords are not loved and do not belong to society. They can be killed outright.

          Most Filipinos demand respect from others, the lower version of esteem, but do not respect themselves, the higher version of esteem. Respecting themselves would mean having personal integrity… and this would manifest in their observance of the moral laws of the religion they profess to believe in.

          Most Filipinos have not attained the last two layers. The virtues of honesty, courage and conviction belong to the self-actualization layer, while the virtues of empathy and kindness belong to the self-transendance layer . In this last layer, there is a consideration for others.

        • From what I can observe, it’s not honesty per se, but trust, or the lack thereof, being the major root of the problem. And on your last statement, sadly, trust [and other good deeds] are not rewarded indeed. And to make it worse, there are even times where a person is even punished for these. It seems like the Philippines is stuck in some sort of a deep prisoner’s dilemma and the agents had always defected (chose selfishly) from almost all the iterations of the game.

          So given this situation, what happens is another agent will also usually choose selfishly as it is somewhat established that the other agent will almost always choose selfishly. A vicious cycle.

          And to put it out here already, I know that some people here will say that change should start with one’s self. However, how will you do that if you are severely outnumbered? If the prisoner’s dilemma is usually between two agents, well, for the PH, you’ll be against the whole society and they’ll even ostracize you if you don’t conform to the “normal”. How do you suppose will this be broken? Convincing each individual will be slow and hard as the threat of relapse is imminent given the huge number of selfish agents. So given this, I think the only way is to do something big. To copy-paste my other comment on another post as it seems related:

          ” And also, reading some articles on GRP, I think their point about Filipino culture makes sense. I think that is also what I meant by ‘stagnation’ in this country. Sure as pointed out by many here in the Society**, the Philippines has been improving and progressing under the current administration. And of course, none can ever deny that. However, when it comes to the Filipino’s culture? Well, has anything really changed? And note that when I refer to the Filipino, know that I mean the ‘normal’ Filipino. And personally, it seems to be even getting worse.

          In the context of government systems (Maybe in a generalized context even?), many here are advocating that we should just be patient as change will slowly follow. But will it really? Call me a cynic but I’m pessimistic that it will ever follow. Because for me, I think culture is like a habit. And you don’t just drop a habit unless you really want it. Or if there are extenuating circumstances for you to change. And given the Filipinos affinity for convenience and comfort, do you really think that Filipino’s would want to change? As said by Irineo: The lack of willingness to break out of comfort zones is a very Filipino weakness.

          So given this weakness, what could we do? Well, we make those comfort zones uncomfortable, or, we could introduce a much comfier zone. Sure the latter seems to be the better option but this will usually take time, if not forever. Why? As you already probably know, most Filipinos are impatient. Sure you could try it still, however, I think you’ll just be wasting time as Filipinos will just get tired of waiting and they will regress to what was before. One step forward, two steps back if introducing comfier zones is the only option that’ll be used.

          So in addition to the latter, we also use the former? Okay. What then? Well, Filipinos are very “resilient”. And God-freaking-dammit, that is a huge problem. *sigh* Given this, we really have to expend a huge amount of effort just to minimize the push by Filipinos against the discomfort for their current habit. We then slowly introduce the comfier zone so that they’ll have another option to choose. So in a way, I think this consistent with what I said to Irineo with some few additions. [Which is] Other than the comfort-discomfort, we should probably also plan big and start big. Sure, we may screw up but there will surely be still some gains. It’ll be like instead of one step forward, two steps back; what we do is: Ten steps forward, nine steps back. Then we try again and again until those gains build up to something significant.

          Sure it is inefficient as it’ll take lots of effort and resources, and not to mention that this’ll probably still take a long time. But hey, I think that’s better than a possible eternity. ”

          And with this, in a way, only some sort of huge revolution may change this country. So will the current administration start this? Well, maybe. But they also seem to be introducing other factors. So I really can’t say.

  11. josephivo says:

    “Voters are allowed to lie” Does that mean to vote for candidates that lie?

    Major Trump’s aid blaming Clinton and Obama for Captain Kahn’s dead because of their strengthened rules of engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan! Kahn died in 2004, Clinton became Secretary of State in 2008????

    Is every argument allowed to reach ones good goals? True or false, constitutional or not, civilized or foul? And what for the voters who don’t see the difference?

    • josephivo says:

      Or when the emotional, instinctive self takes over. Kill first, think later.

    • Joe America says:

      Lying seems to be standard procedure for the emotionalist candidates, as that is how they stoke the emotions. Voters vote with precious little facts, so they are more simplistic and principled in who they vote for. But government servants leave the campaign trail and ought to deal only in facts. Lying has nothing to do with what voters do, but it made for a snazzy tabloidian headline.

  12. NHerrera says:

    When will the time be to be less emotional — meaning more reasoned or to use the phrase used here, “High Falutin” or HF — in our comments about PRD’s Administration? Quick answer: in 6 months. Anyway that is the end range of the phrase used during the election period and shortly after the election.

    We expect to have more than 400 killed in the apparent killing-spree but perhaps on the 6th month we will have a different associated development — such as more drug lords or drug pushers in the statistics-mix and more credible circumstantial evidence than what we have seen so far: those killed have dirty bare feet or wearing “tsinelas” with some wearing a cardboard tag about their dead bodies.

    I am glad to find that in the SCS/WPS issue the statements and actions have been less rushed than in the area of drug-related events employing among others the elderly, experienced perhaps more balanced in his view — long term country view versus pragmatism — that of former President FVR as an envoy to China.

    The former speed of rapprochement with Joma Sison and his bunch, it seems to me, has been tempered too. (Is Joma in control of the ground elements?)

    The approach to the mining issue I believe is also more nuanced. (My bias: for the environment is perhaps showing.)

    • NHerrera says:

      Interestingly, I find the following connected to my thoughts above — the people are taking time to rethink and time further “noise” after some more serious thoughts:

      Notes from the Editor

      I note that people are getting quieter. Is that the quiet before the storm, or are people giving up on the Philippines?

    • NHerrera says:

      Raissa has a new blog topic dated August 1, 2016 “Filipino couple hired as killers by police talk to Al Jazeera’s Jamela Alindogan.”

      Their kill fee? The equivalent of US$200 per job order.

      P10k — that is the price of a life?

      • Joe America says:

        That’s been the price since 2005, when my dear fisherman friend offered to have someone take care of a particular problem I was having for P10,000. I guess rates aren’t tied to the CPI.

        I declined the offer, but I know he would have done it had I said “go”. His family was also a pipeline into the NPA, so he gave me advice now and then as to where not to travel, and when to be gone.

  13. OFF TOPIC:

    About how desalination is helping reduce conflict in the middle east.

    Don’t have facebook and I know this is one of Karl’s favorite topics.

    • NHerrera says:


      Will you kindly check the link. Tried several times. Thanks.

      I am getting this message —

      Hmm, we can’t reach this page.

    • Joe America says:

      Link works for me. What an amazing plant, and testimony to the idea that technology can take us into a new world of opportunity . . . if we use it to build rather than blow up.

    • NHerrera says:

      Got it now. Thanks Gian

      My previous problem of access to the link may be related or not to the following: I had difficulty accessing your site Joe until now. But I had no difficulty accessing others sites. It’s probably just a quirk of my computer. Cheers.

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