“Dear God, please spare my land these indignities . . .”

Aurora. Photograph by Paul Resurreccion

Aurora. Photograph by Paul Resurreccion

By Joe America

This article is a gift to Sir Tomas “Buddy” Gomez III, a man not of modest age, but still of great energy, wisdom and enterprise, just like other Filipinos who have served the Philippines with earnest work and hopes for a modern, well-respected nation. He visited with my family in Tacloban a few weeks ago. What a gracious, bright, passionate man, former Press Secretary for President Cory Aquino. He asked me to keep writing. “Sure, Buddy. For you . . . and for those who share your ideals and hopes.” JoeAm

Hope is found in the light, in knowledge, in the giving of compassion and care and prayer. Hope is found in dreams and a wager, a bet that I CAN win if I try hard enough, or often enough. If I am sincere.

The Philippines is a troubled land. It is poor and historically the abused orphan nation of Asia, exploited by the powerful, used and abandoned and passed to the next brutal overlord. Some of the overlords have been Filipinos. Indeed, most have been.

Today, most of the nation’s citizens are happy with the way things are going . . .  or if not happy, at least satisfied. They are happy because the conventions of the past are being demolished. Boy, is President Duterte showing people a thing or two!!

They laugh at his rude jokes and the way he insults powerful people and nations. “Fuck you, Obama and the EU and the Pope is a son of a bitch!” He asks journalists about smelly vaginas and rues that he was not given first rights to a rape victim, and the people laugh because he is in the face of their demons. He is in the face of convention and entitlement, in the face of those people of power who held them back, lorded it over them, took their money, kept them poor, and killed their love ones. There is a lot of anger in the Philippines, and President Duterte is riding high on it.

The angry make up most of the nation. Perhaps 75 million of the 100 million residents, including the kids who are influenced by what the elders are saying. There has been a lot of pain in the Philippines over the years. There are a lot of stored up resentments, bitterness hidden behind smiling faces and warm fiesta greetings.

But there is a different part of the nation, too. Smaller, for sure. Perhaps 500,000 people. Perhaps 2 million. Maybe more, it is hard to say.

This part is the conscience of the nation, the knowledge, the leadership, the teachers and preachers . . . and the hope.

It is on the ropes.

This part of the nation is made up of people who have studied, who have read and traveled and taken an interest in modern values like equal rights for all races and genders and religions. They are kind of bearing and compassionate of thought and deed. They are not unlike daylight angels. Most of them are in prayer. Some are just thinking things through, and know, in their knowledge and reason, that there are better ways than this . . .

There is a third part of the nation, also made up of people who have studied, who have read and traveled and know about values. But they are the corrupt, if not of money, of generosity and deed, for they are the takers, the ambitious for power, the people who OUGHT to know better, but manipulate and use others to their advantage.

They are the abusers.

President Duterte may point fingers at the United States and Europe and the Catholic Church, but they are out of the picture today. The abusers are Filipino. They live next to us. They are educated, they are powerful, and they are serving the President in the legislature or courts or police department or army or churches or local towns. They are the loyalists, the enablers, the users.

They are the real sons of bitches.

They are ripping the soul out of the nation and giving it to Satan. They are ripping the lands and seas out of the Philippines and gifting them to China. They are ripping dignity from the thoughtful and compassionate and stomping on it in front of the world. They are killing fellow Filipinos by the thousands and justifying it as a wholesome enterprise. They scowl at dead children and say they are just collateral damage.

Oh, for sure, for sure, these are the real sons of bitches in the Philippines today.

They are running the show. They are winning. They are basking in the cheers of the needful masses.

But you know, there are fewer cheering today than there were three months ago. And there are not as many sons of bitches today as there were three months ago. Because Filipinos do have conscience. And, behind their huge storehouse of resentment, they do have kindness and reason. One at a time, they have seen the abuse, and the crude manner of their nation, and found shame. And they have found the courage to admit that the man they elected President is letting them down.

If things continue as they are going, in three months there will be many, many more who stop cheering. And a lot fewer abusers, fewer sons of bitches, because, when the cheering gets tiresome for the indignities one must face, or the nonsense . . . or the pain . . . people come to recognize they are abusing their own family and friends and their own hopes and dreams. They are raping their own sons and daughters and neighbors. And their own integrity.

Power is a bastard. The President revels in it, and he has earned that right. It is a democratic right, and he played the system well.

But that right exists only as long as the people allow it to exist.

I have no idea what President Duterte’s motivation is, what drives him to be who he is or do what he does. I don’t share speculations that others pose about his mental health. I tend to think in terms of accomplishment, of deed, and see a pattern that is leading to a division of the Philippines into Duterteland and the rest of us. I mean, an AFP defense plan for Davao? Against whom?

So I suspect there are some pragmatics that form the President’s motivation. It does not seem to be to care for the whole of the nation. A care-taker does not rip the soul from a nation, embarrass it in front of the world, or describe it as a dark, dangerous drug infested place. When it is God’s glorious green playground in the sun.

Well, those pragmatics are cards dealt and played every day. Tangible. We can take care of them, given enough time and effort.

The intangibles are dreams and hopes. They are harder to master and control. They are integrity and honor. They are power, and resistance to power. They are shame and knowledge and reason.

They are what matter, in the end. For we are only here for a time. We eat and sleep and do a few things and die. What we ARE is the intangibles, the good that we do over a lifetime, our gift back to God for the opportunity to bask in His glory. The love we share and receive, the lessons and memories we pass to our children so they are stronger and richer. The gift back to reason, for the knowledge we possess that makes us whole if we think well, and do well.

We are our integrity, and our honor, and our compassion. The car is metal. The home is walls. The money comes and goes.

We are how we live.


248 Responses to ““Dear God, please spare my land these indignities . . .””
  1. karlgarcia says:

    I controllled my emotions when that one commenter called those caught in the cross fire,thise mistaken identities,thise whi were nit given a chance as collateral damage. You S.O.B and F.U. and your family tree!!!!!!

    • Yes, I can’t comprehend such callousness. Kids. Dead. Never to grow or learn or love or play or aspire. I fail to see the escape clause in what we stand for that says that is okay.

      • Cardboard justice for the poor, Just shoot them and leave apiece of cardboard that says “addic” beside their body. But if you are on Duterte’s list of 1000 mayors and bgy chairmen, “Please come ta;k to us.”

        So carboard killing for the poor. Talk for the politicians and oligarchs.

        Duterte is a coward and bully. Beats up the poor and sucks up to the rich and powerful.

    • Hey now, maybe we can find a good reason
      2 send a child off 2 war
      So what if we’re controllin’ all the oil,
      Is it worth a child dying 4? (is it worth it?)
      If long life is what we all live 4
      Then long life will come 2 pass
      Anything is better than the picture of the child
      In a cloud of gas
      And u think u got it bad

      Money don’t matter 2 night (no, don’t matter)
      It sure didn’t matter yesterday (yesterday)
      Just when u think u’ve got more than enough
      That’s when it all up and flies away (flies away, flies away)
      That’s when u find out that u’re better off
      Makin’ sure your soul’s alright (make certain that your soul’s alright)
      Cuz money didn’t matter yesterday,
      … it sure don’t matter 2 night

      • NHerrera says:

        Prince is not in my list of singers I listen to. It is only now with that lyric you posted, that I find I have been missing something. Thanks for sharing that, Irineo.

    • andy ibay says:

      Beg your pardon Karl to SINGIT here:

      If the SOH permits it: This is a commercial for a poem written nine years before in 2007, perhaps the longest piece in a wished for book intended to be donated to libraries of schools and alma mater of friends and anyone who like to share it with the youth now attending their beloved schools. Since to date I have over the years earned not a cent from writing so it shall ever be. Unless you do, I see no problem in sending the first draft to SOH devotees so that if they want they can comment or critique. They only need to email me through JoeAm. BUT of course, I expect them to promise they will donate to the library of their schools.

      What’s In A Name?

      In the Philippines
      Stratfordian Shakespeare may ask,
      What’s In A Name?
      In Campostela, in Tondo and in Payatas
      In the hovels of squatters,
      In the pushcarts of the homeless
      In the hearts of the Sikyos
      By the smelly sweat of drivers
      From the dried tears of mothers
      By the fighting soul of the Philippines.

      What’s in a name?
      I wrote them down and was saddened
      Enraged, infuriated. Tabloids and broadsheets
      Named them, judged them all.
      Guilty as hell, dirty as sewers
      Putrid and stinky worse than the Pasig.
      Yet smiling like angels, unbowed, unashamed.

      What’s in a name?
      Notwithstanding Shakespeare
      Write them and publish them
      Then go missing or go to jail
      since to libel, slander them
      these criminals of political and police power.
      Shakespeare did not say
      A criminal by any other name
      Will smell as sweet even if it murders.
      And that’s not what Shakespeare meant.

      To the world a name could be a lot,
      Shakespeare notwithstanding.
      Gandhi and Mandela, Lincoln and Washington
      To the Curia, they could be Albino Luciani or Karol Wotyla
      To the righteous it could be a shameless sinner
      To the cynic it could be his reason for being

      Shakespeare notwithstanding
      To a country it couldn’t be a lot
      Only a short list of patriots
      A long list of lawyers, accountants, magistrates
      And lawmakers, a multitude of crooks.

      Shakespeare notwithstanding
      Names bleed poetry of its justice
      Name our names taunts the criminals
      And be sued for libel, be ready for jail.

      Shakespeare notwithstanding
      Names are the unnamed bullets of soldiers
      That maim and kill dinosaurs of helpless mothers
      Resting in nameless mounds in the forests.

      Regardless of Shakespeare’s genius
      Names are not about flowers
      Nor about sensual fragrance of virgins
      Not about martyrs and their bombed victims

      Regardless of Shakespeare’s genius
      He failed to make sense of names of people
      In a country whose soul was sold to the devil
      Barren of Shakespeare’s genius
      I will suggest only three lists of names
      A list of names Muslims call infidels
      The victors of evil, names of rulers their sons and daughters
      A list of those who did nothing and accepted everything
      And those who fought to join the tragic list of victims.

      If I am to write poetry with names
      I shall only mention the names of victims
      Of names to be extolled and wept and remember
      If only to honor them

      I may write but dare not publish the names of the infidels
      The crooks and the criminals, the merciless and powerful
      The greedy and shameless, the traitors and soulless.

      Why should a writer act like God and judged and punished
      When Shakespeare notwithstanding
      There’s a lot to these infidels’ names
      Already published in newspapers.
      Need their names be in books
      Written for posterity to warn future victims
      To expose their sordid past and shame their children?
      To identify their descendants when they themselves
      Are descendants of names illustrious in crimes?
      Need a writer ransacked the records of prisons
      Or the books of higher courts for the names of those
      Who committed higher crimes?

      Indeed, what gives the Philippines the distinction
      Among sister nations of having a book of dishonour.
      The answer may be so simple for it has been found
      Not seldom but often in print and other media the
      Claim of: ”Only in the Philippines” The list is long
      And deserves written essays of shame and politicians’ perdition.
      So God help a courageous to write this book of names
      To identify the inhabitants of hellish Philippines.
      September 10, 2007

  2. NHerrera says:

    They (the intangibles: dreams and hopes; integrity and honor; resistance to power; shame and knowledge and reason — insertion by NH from the preceding paragraph) are what matter, in the end. For we are only here for a time. We eat and sleep and do a few things and die. What we ARE is the intangibles, the good that we do over a lifetime, our gift back to God for the opportunity to bask in His glory. The love we share and receive, the lessons and memories we pass to our children so they are stronger and richer. The gift back to reason, for the knowledge we possess that makes us whole if we think well, and do well.

    A meaningful gift with lyrical expression I am happy to have the opportunity to read and ponder upon in a Blog I admire. Again my thanks to you Joe.

    • Thank you for helping to anchor the discussion post my personal “stand down”, NH. I’m glad you find the articles meaningful. They are likely to be less frequent than before, and not directionally confrontational to Mr. Duterte’s government, but confrontational as to values that I think either make or break the Philippines.

    • Thank you for helping to anchor the discussion post my personal “stand down”, NH. I’m glad you find the articles meaningful. They are likely to be less frequent than before, and not directly confrontational to Mr. Duterte’s government, but confrontational to values and decisions on specific issues that I think either make or break the Philippines.

  3. Olive Mestidio says:

    So beautiful. Well said . I want to cry for the Phils. I hope there is a tagalog translation to share it to many of our countrymen. Salamat po.

  4. chemrock says:

    Powerful, just superb. Your reference to Satan, I can understand the emotion. I have been there, in some past blogs here. The negativities that have slipped so low we can’t describe it in any other way.

    The meek shall inherit the Earth. Here’s hopping the 500,000 can bring senses back to the 101,000,000. When the intoxication to stupidity and debauchery wears off, as surely as it must when the economy stumbles, the sun will shine again, as I clearly as I see it in the featured photo.

  5. edgar lores says:

    1. The choice cannot be plainer: a world of kindness or a world of cruelty.

    2. I think in Duterte’s world the axiom is: One has to be cruel to be kind.

    3. The shortsightedness of the axiom, from the viewpoint of the Now, is in seeing that the end is separate from the means. The truth is, with respect to values, the end and the means are not distinct. If the end is separate from the means… we will never get there.

    3.1. To get respect you must pay respect.

    4. As Thich Nhat Hanh says, “There is no path to [peace]. The path is [peace].” One can replace the word “peace” with “happiness” or with “kindness.”

    4.1. Or as I have always been saying, ad infinitum, “The journey is the destination.”

    4.2. Thomas asked this question of Jesus: “Lord, we don’t know whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?”

    And Jesus answered, “[I] am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to [the Father] except through [Me].”

    4.2.1. Again, one can replace the words in brackets — and “am” with “is” — with “peace,” “happiness,” or “kindness.” Or even with “cruelty.”

    But whatever substitution one makes, the truth is: The Father and the Son are One.

    • What if the son allegedly took drugs, and the father hates drugs – maybe because of that?

    • NHerrera says:

      I had lunch with a friend today. And he said, it is not a question anymore of IF [X] will occur, but WHEN and as long as we are on the topic of substitution as it relates to the current blog, we have several items we can put in the place-holder X:

      – the Filipinos in general, including a significant number of the DDS — Duterte Diehard Supporters — finally see the light, much like Paul of Tarsus, the persecutor of Christians, on the way to Damascus

      – the madness will stop for reason difficult to forecast exactly

      – PRD will make a turn for the good by himself or virtually forced to make a turn by means other than himself

      – etc.

      In short, that conversation over lunch has an interesting element coincidentally discussed here.

  6. Zen says:

    I like the spiritual tenor of your post Joe. It calms down the heathen emotions that had been widespread for months now. The tangibles vs. the intangibles bring us back to reality and to what is really important. It gives us hope that realization is just a matter of time and real change comes from the will guided by truth even if one suffers for it.

  7. uht says:

    Thanks, sir Joe, for writing this article!

    However, at this point, I’m afraid people are now callous. Many people (even some of my friends, and this I weep over) are absolutely convinced that the lives of 4,000 dead are a perfect price to pay for this country’s future.

    Many of them are also convinced that we are the ones who don’t want the country to progress, as we call out the killings for human rights, but not when an innocent dies. Many are convinced that China is not the enemy, it is the United States. They are convinced that an alliance with China and Russia will make the Philippines prosper more than the United States ever could.

    These aren’t my own words. They’re the words of many people I see on Facebook everyday.

    I’m convinced that we don’t need to kill off thousands of people just to get a better future, or that we need to throw off people who have traditionally allied with us (even if this alliance is imperfect). But many feel this is the one and only way. I just feel this needs to be addressed.

    Thank you, again, and sorry for the rant—it has only been three months, but I feel the changes are already worth fifty years. And they aren’t all necessarily positive. Had to let off the steam. 🙂

    • This is a good place to let off steam, uht. Glad you did it here. I agree the commitment to the new path is callous because it is not one of high principle. Plus it is ignorant for people not to comprehend why drugs exist. If people wanted true solutions they would be doubling down on building a productive, wealthier state with a clear goal of ending poverty in 15 years. Not give up and look for quick fixes for intractable problems. And it is true that independence is a good thing, but I fail to see how giving resources to China is independent, and I fail to see how it fits into the real solution of a prosperous nation. I for sure hope people will come to understand this, one at a time, until it becomes a rush back to sanity. Hero worship is not the same as building something.

  8. Thea says:

    This is the most inspiring you have written to date, Joe. That hope, we must have though how blurred the image is. That this is the present, the future will be different. My son asked me this morning if this madness will go soon. I told him my fear. Philippines is undergoing another stage and this will be a long bumpy road. What we must do is to survive till it ends. Keep our sanity and morals. For we need to survive to enlighten and guide whoever be the remnants of this battle. To tell them the stories no matter how bad, for the sake of good.

  9. Venus Gomez-Deming says:

    Thank you joeamerica….thank you for your truths and love for your adopted country. Indeed, I share your hopes and I pray for a Philippines that can once again rise from the moral turpitude and mire borne from a few corrupt and power hungry families.
    Please do not stop writing – you are the light that helps the people see through the darkest times of their existence. I hope and believe that the Filipinos will someday see and accept the fact that our society although forever burdened by a long history of a colonial mentality will someday realize that in order to survive the endless turmoil we must all unite and together fight injustice. I hope for Filipinos to someday claim and proclaim the justice each and everyone deserve. Perhaps even Duterte will soon realize that his war on drugs is Not the answer to make the Philippines we all want.
    Thank you Joe America. I salute you!

  10. caliphman says:


    How absolutely insane is it for the Philippines to shift its pivot to China when its top leadership is pivoting to the US in many respects?

    • It is bizarre that prominent people make sure to give their children a few years at an American university. I suppose we will know the pivot is for real when they start sending them to China. Until then, the pivot is hypocritical political poppycock, one man’s tantrum.

      • caliphman says:

        Not so much bizarre as an incontrovertible if unofficial evidence that China’s politburo is moving in the exact opposite direction Duterte has officially declared he wants to move tge Philippines too. The children and grandchildren of these top party leaders are likely the future politburo members and ministers of China and will undoubtedly steer their country from its ossified ideology towards what they learned in these universities.

        Incidentally, I would like to point out that in keeping with this admin’s blundering but perhaps well-intentioned decisions, its appointment of Perfecto Yasay as secretary of foreign affairs is as illegal and unconstitutional as it was for Senator Poe to assume the office of MTCRB head had she not officially repudiated her US immigrant or dual citizen status.

        As far as I know, Yasay has not given up either as he continues to maintain a legal and primary residence in Waikiki and a partnership position at a US law firm that bears his name.
        Someone noted here that I have 20-20 hindsight in mentioning in a prior post that those who were pillorying Poe about her American papers while ignoring my warnings about a Duterte presidency. Well the Yasay appointment and the WPS agreements with China may plunge the Philippines into a constitutional crisis unless a passive public as well as clueless or cowed public officials understand and proactively expose violations of our basic law,unintentional or not. And pointing out a concern before it occurs is usually not considered hindsight and Yasay’s appointment is an issue not only because of his incompetence but because its unlawful.

  11. a distant observer says:

    Just came accross this blog a few days ago when I was doing some research on Duterte’s presidential campaign finances. Today I came back because I had a very good first impression of this blog and the people reading it (judged by the comments) just to find this article. I didn’t read much of this blog yet, but from what I saw is that it contains a lot of deliberate thoughts. This entry is special because it reveals the writer’s emotional involvement with all the issues surrounding this beautiful country called the Philippines. There are a lot of intelligent people out there, but not all of them have their heart in the right place. I believe that people who can have the biggest positive impact on other people’s lives ought to have both: the wisdom and intelligence to cut through omnipresent bullshit, and the kind of heart that makes them able to feel empathy with their fellow human beings. I think the writer has both. I will return.


  12. josephivo says:

    A little of topic.

    Yesterday’s question from a far neighbor we never met before. Incapable of resisting every day’s temptations, surviving on an “allowance”, whatever that may be. Did all her regular utang sources dry up? Does it help to say yes or does it help to say no?

    What a luxury discussion we are having as few have the spare mental capacity to reflect on these political and deep moral issues. When it rains it is about surviving just one more day, when the sun shines it is enjoying as much as we can, knowing that the rain will come back. Don’t tell us that we are the “bosses”, we are the serfs and we accept this as out parents did and our grandparents and all generations before them.

    (But I can’t resist…. Drug pushing creates only a minor temptation, a problem for a small minority of real addicts. Nothing compared with the daily bombardment of professional TV ads, mall showcases, celebrity lifestyles, promoting thousand and one other non-essential but profitable (only for the sellers) consumables. Our far away neighbor is 100% drug free and still struggles. International relations start with getting a OFW visa. Mr. President get your priorities right.)

  13. LG says:

    May the Holy Spirit descend upon Duterte and his men. Amen🙏

  14. NHerrera says:

    Not quite off topic


    Senator Bam Aquino filed Senate Resolution 158 calling on the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations and Economic Affairs to conduct a hearing, in aid of legislation, on the foreign policy direction of the government with the end view of protecting our national interest.

    I hope Bam’s Senate Resolution will lead to a Senate Hearing that will clarify the elements of the Matrix shown below. In short, in the NATIONAL INTEREST, which box in the matrix is appropriate to which item.

    The likely protagonists in the Senate Hearing are,

    – On the side supporting PRD and in what “precise” tenor: The Chiefs and Staff of DFA, NEDA, DOF, DTI, DOE, DENR and other Executive agencies of the Government

    – The other side, if they will honor the invitations, are FVR, Del Rosario, Enrile and Members of Academe and Philippine Think Tanks.

    I believe, although the Hearing can be contentious, it will be a higher-quality professional debate than what we saw in the House Hearing on the Investigation of drug trade in NBP and the Senate Hearing on EJK. I thus hope the hearing, aside from producing something substantial in aid of legislation, will be informative and instructive; and serve to allay anxiety.

    (About the latter anxiety, my and wife’s US Visas have expired. I hope that Joe, when needed, can say a good word or two in my behalf. He can say that, really, I am rather harmless and if at all I just provide corny jokes here from time to time. 🙂 )

  15. Ybarra Crisostomo says:

    It is a difficult thing for a politically inclined person to find his ideas being trampled over. Human as we are, we immediately go into defense mode. Whatever the defense mechanism is, depends on our own perception of what is proper. PDuterte is in no way a liberal, and if you inclined yourself to live in the ideas of liberalism you will see it as PDuterte steping over you. The author categorized the 100 million Filipinos as, basically, good or bad. Good Filipinos being the least on the list. However, as how I interpret the article, the author marked those Filipinos who support PDuterte as the bad ones and the critics the good one.

    • NHerrera says:


      I read the essay differently. Joe was not focusing on the DDS — Duterte Diehard Supporters — which we have to admit are many, whatever statistics one wants to use to illustrate one’s viewpoint.

      He was rather hard on the Third Part of the Nation, who you and I and many can probably agree are the real ones we should despise, not the DDS. It is because these third part are well-schooled, enjoying comfortable lives in each Administration. Supporters, not because they genuinely believe in PRD. If that is the case then FINE. But they are the politicians who are supposed supporters, but really supporters of their OWN not the NATIONAL interest.

      I suggest you re-read the finely crafted essay.

      • Ybarra Crisostomo says:


        Thank you for the clarrifications. I would like to detailed further how I understand the article.

        “The angry make up most of the nation. Perhaps 75 million of the 100 million residents, including the kids who are influenced by what the elders are saying.” – the General Public.

        “There is a third part of the nation, also made up of people who have studied, who have read and traveled and know about values. But they are the corrupt, if not of money, of generosity and deed, for they are the takers, the ambitious for power, the people who OUGHT to know better, but manipulate and use others to their advantage. They are the abusers.” – A third is 33 million Filipinos. Or it is the 16 million if the base are the voting Filipinos. Seeing the familiar numbers I could say that the author implicitly suggest that they are the one who voted for PRD or who support him solidly. If it is really the damn politicians, etc, he is referring I agree with him. We need to flush them out and have them show their real colors.

        “This part of the nation is made up of people who have studied, who have read and traveled and taken an interest in modern values like equal rights for all races and genders and religions. They are kind of bearing and compassionate of thought and deed. They are not unlike daylight angels. Most of them are in prayer. Some are just thinking things through, and know, in their knowledge and reason, that there are better ways than this.” – The good guys. The critics. They may not support the ideas and programs of PRD as they believe that there are better ways. Since their ideals are far from that of PRD they could either lie low for a time or in extreme case do something to stop PRD.

        “And, behind their huge storehouse of resentment, they do have kindness and reason. One at a time, they have seen the abuse, and the crude manner of their nation, and found shame. And they have found the courage to admit that the man they elected President is letting them down.” – The one who have open their eyes. This, I believe, the author wants the general public to be. However, this is only valid to the premise that PRD failed them or will fail them. As long as PRD caters the needs of the general public this will not happen.

        • One’s reading of an article such as this depends on one’s moral compass. Mine is keyed to western (Christian based) ideals about compassion and honor and striving for good deeds. In this context, the part of the nation that is educated enough to know right from wrong but does wrong are the scoundrels. That’s not a third of the nation but seems to be about 90% of the legislature in my eyes. Your eyes will see it differently if you follow the Duterte morality, which is pragmatic and reliant upon tools like Mocha Uson and propaganda and hyperbole as policy. I view the general public as innocents, needful due to poverty and susceptible to the distortions of propaganda because they live simple and somewhat emotional lives.

          • NHerrera says:

            A tangential thought here: it is interesting to me the great country that produced some of the greatest poets, writers, symphonic music, the other arts, philosophers, mathematicians and scientists, like Russia has somehow — to me at least — not gotten out of the grove: from the Tsars, to the Communist Party, to the present time. Is that because of what we call an Inadequacy of the Appropriate Values? A mismatch of Values with the Need of the Times? An accident of history? How compare that with the Japanese. Is there really an Irreducible Set of Values.

            No reply or comment is sought. Venting or ranting in an oblique way. Probably age-related on my part. 🙂

            • That is a rather fascinating observation, that depth of emotive expression does not equate to an ability to promote good values or run government honestly and productively. I think values are not irreducible because there are too many mistakes made under good thinking, so criticisms will undermine the value set. The only way to get around that is to accept humanistic values that allow for mistakes. Hahahaha, so maybe there is an irreducible set, but it allows for imperfections.

              Speaking of emotional expression, a tweet came my way that said old media don’t cut it in the internet age. My response was to agree, because today people are too impatient for knowledge and civility and prefer emotive action. Your Russian case keyed this in my mind because the common denominator is emotive expression that denies knowledge or goodness.

              We are all becoming Russian composers, quick with the baton but unwilling to follow anyone else’s lead. Makes for lousy music. hehehe

              • NHerrera says:

                That will be quite an orchestra indeed. That funny man with a thin stick waving with emotion and no one follows or follow in a crazy way. Seems right on target with our times.

            • andrewlim8 says:

              Joe and the members of the Society of Honor,

              I think the best way to describe Uson is political pornographer. Just as porn stars bastardize something as beautiful as sex, Uson has bastardized something that can be noble and uplifting like politics.

              Political pornographer= Mocha Uson

            • edgar lores says:


              Let me hazard a hypothesis to explain the Russian puzzle.

              As we know, there are two kinds of society: honorable and non-honorable.

              No, I jest.

              1. The two kinds of societies are collective and individualistic.

              o Most Western countries are individualistic.
              o Most Eastern countries are collectivistic. These include the CRAP countries — Russia, China, and the Philippines.

              2. Collectivistic societies have not produced philosophers of note. Can you name a Russian philosopher? Can you name a Philippine philosopher? One can name a Chinese philosopher, and that would be Confucius, and perhaps Lao Tzu. Or even Sun Tzu.

              3. Philosophy is divided into five branches:

              o Metaphysics – study of existence
              o Epistemology – study of knowledge
              o Ethics – study of action
              o Politics – study of force
              o Esthetics – study of art

              4. One will note that the branches of philosophy that collectivistic philosophers have dwelt on are not metaphysics and epistemology but mainly ethics and politics.

              4.1. In these two branches, collectivistic philosophers, unlike Western philosophers, are not concerned with the individual nor of individual values. They are concerned with the role the individual plays in the collective, in the society. Thus, Confucius’ philosophy was concentrated on social interaction, and Sun Tzu on military action. While there are a handful of Russian metaphysicians and epistemologists, Russian philosophy’s greatest contribution has been in the field of politics – socialism and Marxism.

              4.1.1. Virtue, in Eastern philosophy, consists of proper behavior in one’s role as a member of a family and of society. Face is of primary importance.

              4.1.2. Whereas virtue in Western philosophy consists of proper behavior of the individual in accordance with abstract values, such as the Aristotelian virtues of courage, temperance, liberality, magnificence, magnanimity, justice, and truthfulness. Individual observation or approximation of these values is of primary importance.

              4.2. The greatest of Russia’s contributions have been, as you noted, in the fields of music, literature, and dance.

              4.2.1. The right-brain vs. left-brain dichotomy has been debunked as a myth. But using the model, one could say that Westerners are left-brainers, good in logic, math and language, while Easterners are right-brainers, good in creative and artistic pursuits.

              4.3. As an American colony, Filipinos adopted Western values but only in so far as words are concerned. Their Western virtues are skin-deep. Scratch the skin, and you find the collective vein. The individual is of no moment; society, the collective, is all important.

              5. The core of Christianity is the love of God and of neighbor. But there is another core: choice or freedom. Christ gave humans the freedom to choose. The Roman Catholic Church has in a way taken away this freedom and replaced it with the security of absolute certainty. Instead of freedom, she offers miracle, mystery, and authority.

              5.1. In Duterte’s Philippines, the State has replaced the Church in its offer of security. No longer the security of intangible faith but the security of a tangible reality of civil order and bread. Duterte’s certainty and authority, no matter how illogical or inhumane, are the answers to the neediness of Filipinos.

              • wasn’t Marcos’ New Society also somewhat Messianic in its message… or even Cory’s ascension to becoming the figurehead of the movement against Marcos? Re the Russians: the Orthodox Church is even more about miracle, mystery and especially authority than the Catholic Church. In Orthodoxy, the Father is greater than the Son, they are not one. Roman Catholicism had its great thinkers, while Orthodox ritual has great songs and ceremonies…

              • Edgar Lores says:


                1. I agree. Collectivistic societies tend to look for Messianic leaders, leaders who promise deliverance. Individualistic societies just look for leaders who can push progress.

                2. I am not familiar with the Orthodox Church. It may be more about miracles and mystery, but the Catholic Church has miracles and mystery aplenty in her communion of saints and the former Latin mass, and authority in the papacy. I understand the schism between the Orthodox and Roman Church was partly over the papal doctrine.

                2.1. The Catholic Church has been greatly influenced by Western philosophy. St. Augustine merged Greek philosophy with the Judeo-Christian religious tradition. The Orthodox Church practice seems to be purer, closer to the original faith. In this, it seems you are right, in saying that it has more miracles and mystery.

                2.2. Thanks for the distinction between Father and Son in Orthodox belief. Didn’t know that.

              • I do wonder if even Duterte can match the wackiness of Orthodox monk Rasputin.

              • NHerrera says:

                Philosophy 101 — categorized and related to individualistic versus collectivized societies which relate to Western and Eastern countries. Ending with 4.3, 5.0, 5.1 as the note applies to the Filipinos. What a package.

                That is why I love this Blog. I get these lessons, among others, in student-friendly absorbable form in edgar’s numbered style. Thank you, edgar

                Thanks too Irineo for rounding it up with the Catholic Christianity versus Orthodox Christianity.

                Now I am glad I got off-tangent. Got the great prizes without paying for it like paying at least the lotto ticket.

              • NHerrera says:


                Oh, I don’t know about whackiness of the two characters. The Jury may still be out deliberating on that.

              • a distant observer says:

                Some great and insightful discussions going on here.
                @ Irineo and NHerrera: well I think the “wackiness” of Rasputin is very hard to match. But if there’s one person that I would qualify to have a potential of equal wackiness, then it’s probably Duterte 😉

              • NHerrera says:

                @ a distant observer,

                A season of “wackiness” in our times. And the US cannot be denied their own in Trump. But using the thoughts of edgar, it seems the “collectivized thinking” of Trump and rabid supporters will most probably not win this one. I read that the base of Trump is not diverse. It is mostly white, non-college educated ones.

              • a distant observer says:

                @ NHerrera
                A season of wackiness indeed. Yes Trump supporters are predominantly folks left behind by turbo-capitalism or what political scientists summarize as “loosers of globalization”. Resembles some characteristics of Duterte supporters. Illustrates strikingly the perils of populism, which offers easy solutions for complex problems.

              • cruise says:

                So Teacher, which one is better, collectivism or individualism? Or is it that it all depends on where you are, what are your norms, customs and traditions?
                But Teacher, the world is multinorms, multi customs and multitraditions. my best food may be somebody’s despicable thought..pork, beef or azucena. If I desire to live simply and be happy that is my freedom of choice and I can not impose my will on anybody else so he/she can also live happilly.
                We all aspire for Globalizm, where every resources are shared by the world of the chosen powerful and the reject resources are shared by the world of chosen weak and non-influential. I like Localism, where my nearby resources are shared by all the locals and what is extra are exported to non-locals.
                If I live alone, then I have to be an individualist but if I live in a group I have to be a collectivist. Are the chosen third of abusers and opportunist individualists or collectivists? I say they are both, because they think only of what it profits them as an individual but collectivist when the cooperatively conspire to dethrone the general public elected leader.

              • edgar lores says:

                Cruise, In the best of all possible worlds, the collective should provide the optimum environment in which each individual can realize her full potential and, thereby, contribute to the advancement of society.

                Society should be in service to the individual as much as, if not more so than, individuals should be in service to society.

                The collective must exist for the individual seed. Each individual springs from the collective, but an individual may or may not exist for the collective.

                I say this because there are many among us who cannot fully care for themselves — the poor, the sick, the mentally ill, and the physically disabled. A society is judged by how it treats the most vulnerable.

                Thus, in looking at advancing the welfare and realizing the potential of each individual, society ultimately advances the entire community.

                Having said that, each individual must realize her dependence on others and on society. No man is an island. We do not make the shoes we put on our feet, the clothes we wear or grow the food we eat. We are interdependent. So the individual, in so far as she is capable, has an obligation to the collective, and this obligation can be paid in so many ways.

  16. madlanglupa says:

    The following are the inked deals that we are supposed to benefit from, but one of the firms is known to be heavily involved in corruption in several countries that were supposed to benefit from being under the AIIB umbrella.


    If anything, they don’t have to fire a shot. This is a demonstration of the soft-power approach of the Xi regime.

  17. I am weeping for my country, for my countrymen…

    Thank God for writers like you, Joe, the few who still understand the big picture, the vision for the future of this nation, compared to those who rejoice in short term, instant gratification and all.

    My continuing disappointment is the fact that we cannot continue on to the path to move towards escaping the curse of the developing nations, the 3rd world countries because of the so called yo-yo progress. We have overthrown a despot thru a peaceful revolution, have managed to restore democracy and slowly but surely moved towards economic emancipation via former Presidents Cory Aquino/Ramos Admins, then Estrada was blindly voted by the massa, GMA took over who allegedly acted as pimp to sell us to China, The next Aquino (the son) managed to give us a glimpse of what could have been achieved economically if another six years of the same style of governance was given a chance…but no, it was not to be, the blind lemmings made sure of that.

    Now, Marcos and Arroyo are hugging the limelight, the former introduced to China as the next VP and the latter actively participating in railroading the Cha Cha dance…to mangle the Freedom Constitution to pave the way to easily declare martial law? or to allow foreigners to conveniently take control of the country’s economy at the cost of the majority of the citizens still mired in quick sand named abject poverty?

    We can only pray, hope, watch helplessly as the misinformed lemmings rejoice and march on led by the piper not knowing if the voice in the wilderness could be heard and listened to.

    Prayers and faith in the Divine intervention. That’s all I can hold on to while doing my puny effort to plant the seed in the misinformed’s subconscious before it is too late.

    • NHerrera says:

      Mary, keep your prayer brigade going. We need “all hands on deck.”

      • Indeed, sir NH.

        Another disappointment – my former prayer brigade are on the other side now…huhuhu!

        Am so disillusioned with JIL. Am so confused now, how could they reconcile what Duterte is doing now,( in regard to EJKs and cha-ha and this pivot to China) with our Lord Jesus’ compassion for the poor and the downtrodden, and their democratic principles and their fight against Marcos’ dictatorship? And the INC’s, the Quibuloy’s church?


        • NHerrera says:

          Sorry for replying in this manner. Isn’t there a biblical passage (am certainly not a widely read Bible man) — God acts in mysterious ways?

          • Mysterious indeed. I cannot fathom what is happening in my church, in other churches for that matter.

            But you are correct in “God acts in mysterious ways” . He allows these things to happen for purposes only He knows and will be made known to us sooner or later.

            My eyes are focused on Jesus not on the failings or mysterious plans of mankind for we are all weak and not infallible.

            Hebrews 12:2
            Looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

            Another gem:

            Romans 8:28

            And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Watched inferno.
              Funny how fanatics think of saving the earth by killing half of its population.Reminded me of the Philipines.
              What in the name of love are they doing???

              The book was very pessimistic,the movie showed hope.

        • edgar lores says:

          Do not confuse the Message with the messengers.

          One can be a true follower of Christ — loving God and loving neighbors — without belonging to a church.

          A church offers joy in connection and fellowship, but it is not necessary to belong to one.

          For me, the rule is: follow the Teaching and Conscience above any interpretation by a church.

          • Many thanks, sir edgar for the additional golden nuggets for my personal file. I definitely agree with your latest as posted above.

            At this stage of my life, with all that has happened decades ago until now, I can only conclude that I am still seeking, before I seek comfort in the arms of the congregation and fellow-shipping in the form of the church…the one I grew up with has rules that contradict the full context of the bible, with men laying down doctrines that made me decide to seek another more bible based, Christ centered teachings, but somehow, lately, walking the talk has gone flying out that other church’s windows.

            That’s why I said I need to steadfastly focus on Jesus Christ, to fix my eyes to Him who simplified the 10 commandments – loving God first above all, and secondly, loving my fellowmen as I love myself.

  18. karlgarcia says:


    Several countries have overlapping territorial claims to portions of the South China Sea, which stretches from Singapore in the southwest to Taiwan in the northeast. The Spratly Islands and Paracel Islands are two of the most contested areas (see dark blue islands on map above). However, unlike other parts of the South China Sea, these areas have not been assessed to hold large (conventional) resources of oil and natural gas. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, ownership of habitable islands can extend the exclusive access of a country to surrounding energy resources.
    EIA’s analysis shows that most fields containing discovered oil and natural gas are clustered in uncontested parts of the South China Sea, close to shorelines of the coastal countries, and not near the contested islands. Industry sources suggest almost no oil and less than 100 billion cubic feet of natural gas in proved and probable reserves exist in fields near the Spratly Islands. The Paracel Island territory has even less natural gas and no oil.
    In total, the South China Sea has about 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas rated as proved or probable reserves. These levels are similar to the amount of proved oil reserves in Mexico and about two-thirds of the proved natural gas reserves in Europe, not including Russia (see figure below).


    There is a map on the link showing where the oil is in south china sea, and it is not in the Spratleys.

    Then what is the fuss all about?

    • chemrock says:

      As I mentioned before Karl, Irineo offered a pretty good explanation. Another ggod explanation is from US long term strategists, those that took over Kissinger’s reins, and it relates to complex containment of China’s military power, even as the US and China conduct friendly trade.

      I have a different idea, still trying to sort my ideas out.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Thank you chem,
        I also linked George Friedman’s analysis that China is sort of feigning military might through its missiles. But it can not be a naval power because of lack of a naval history even with its new fleet,so it will look for other advantages.

        Thank you too caliphman.
        Panatag is indeed a rich source of fish,but if they destroy or even touch the lagoon breeding grounds,then there would no fish talk about.

        My dad had a meeting, among them was Farolan who just had a column of Sukarno saying go to hell to the Americans, and a Duterte supporter Alunan was there and he submit that there is no oil there,and he changed his tone about Trillanes, a few months ago,he was spreading rumors that Trillanes was a sell out among other things.

        They talked about the psychological profile of Duterte and they think Duterte won’t change,and won’t listen.

    • Thea says:

      If it is not gas and oil, then it is the food supply (as well as water). The shift in the manufacturing by China has brought negative impacts in agriculture. The children of the aging farmers went to the cities. Industries poisoned the rivers , the air and land. Chinese now included meat and dairy products in their diet. A study shows that in the next decade, there will be a return of the famine/shortage of food in China. The present party does not want this to happen and to aggravate the growing dissent in the inner and northern part of China.
      Actually, IMHO, we can struck a deal to supply food eg meat and fish without risking the sovereignty over territorial waters. We concentrate on industrial agriculture and push poultry and livestock. The opportunity has been seen by some big food traders in USA already. Imagine feeding China?

    • a distant observer says:

      Good point. Salamat sa link. My take is, that the main importance of the SCS/WPS for the Communist Party of China (CPC) does not stem from this area’s resources. It is rather a project to display foreign policy success and to feed into the national pride of its domestic audience. Furthermore, the strategic importance of this region cannot be denyied. The one who controls the SCS/WPS controls shipping lanes to ports vital for China’s import and export economy and access of the Philippines, Japan and Taiwan to the world market.

  19. caliphman says:

    Karl, for the most part, the fuss is about sovereignty and not undersea oil, gas, and mlneral rights. For China, they are claiming the territorial and ocean areas included within their 9-dash line. The dispute between China and the Philippines in Panatag is about control and access to its very rich fishing grounds. Under UNCLOS, fishermen of both countries should and did have access. The Philippines claimed rights to patrol and preserve the fish resources against poachers and other abusers which incidentally both nations agree should be done. Because China alleges sovereignty and their effective gunboat diplomacy, they now exert complete and exclusive access and control. Its a big deal because as I mentioned in a recent post, President Xi would have to deal with yielding on the sovereignty issue if joint patrols are to be allowed under the marine cooperative agreement Duterte brought back. What complicates things further is that according to Carpio, such joint patrols would be unconstitutional.

    As I mentionef before, this is a breadbasket and not merely a national pride and constitutional issue for the Philippines. Before all this brouhaha at Scarborough occurred, these fishing grou ds supp,ied a fourth of the country’s catch and fish is one of this nation’s cheapest sources of food.

    • caliphman says:

      By the way, Carpio believes that under the constitution the government is prohibited from entering a state to state deal to explore, develop, and marine resources located within its EEZ. I do not think this applies to fishing but that is not a Supreme Court opinion..hehehe.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Thank you caliphman,
        If Nherrera is appreciative of the wisdom to be gained here at the society….ako din.

  20. NHerrera says:

    Tatah … BSP Governor Amando  Tetangco Jr. said The BSP may hold renminbi as part of its GIR to ensure that the currency is available to the banking system when needed.


    • Sup says:

      Yes, they need that to play the Monopoly game..


      • Sup says:

        And to pay the Chinese workers soon..

        By the way:

        Just now on Headstart ANC ”Phllip Goldberg US ambassador…..” No we are not surprised by the sudden sweet deals from China because we know that Cayetano went with Tugade to China in June together to arrange this”

        • karlgarcia says:


          Paved with good intentions: Cayetano, Tugade made secret trip to China in June — Goldberg

          Outgoing US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg on Tuesday said he was no longer surprised with the huge sum of business deals and soft loans the Philippine government recently secured from China, revealing that two of the President’s allies made an undisclosed trip there in June.
          In an interview with Karen Davila on ANC’s Headstart, Goldberg said Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano and Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade made an unpublicized trip to China in June, but did not elaborate.
          The government secured some $24-billion worth of loans and investments from China during President Rodrigo Duterte’s four-day state visit there last week.
          “I actually wasn’t all that surprised. I do know that the Chinese Ambassador (Zhao Jianhua) and others in the Chinese business community were visiting [then] President-elect Duterte quite often in the month of June,” Goldberg said.
          “I also know, and I don’t think this has been revealed publicly, but I know, that Senator Cayetano, President Duterte’s running mate, made an unpubicized trip to China in June along with Secretary Tugade,” Goldberg added.
          Asked by Davila if it can be said that Cayetano and Tugade made some back door negotiations with China even before Duterte took his oath as President on June 30, Goldberg said it is hard to speculate, but reiterated that he was certain that the two made a confidential trip to China.

          • Thea says:

            @Karl, how bad is it? Is there any issue when a president-elect do governmental dealings when there is still a president in position? What if the dealings do not jibe with the program of the administration in position? Is this unlawful?

            • karlgarcia says:

              They kept it a secret, maybe there would be issues if they were not discreet.
              They might say it is only a few days left anyways, but let us see if this becomes a big deal.

              • Sup says:

                If this was ”secret” what ”else” is secret?

              • chemrock says:

                This is interesting. In the case of the back Chanel efforts of Trillanes, it was official duty. In Cayetano’s case, the incumbent Pnoy admin didn’t send him. So has he committed the serious crime of usurpation? I appreciate usurpation connotes an act of misrepresentation with intent to cheat. Now this is missing in Cayetano’s case since the Chinese side obviously knew Duterte was not yet in power. However, from Pnoy’s perspective, there obviously was usurpation by Cayetano.

                Caliphman your input pls.

              • Thea says:

                With the dark intentioned mouth of the present president, bits and pieces always come out.

              • Ybarra Crisostomo says:

                I wonder which is more darker, the possible usurpation of by the incoming administration since the act has allegely happened before June 30 or the fact that US knew our affairs as a sovereign nation through espionage?

            • Thea says:

              Espionage is best done by the wife of a philandering husband.
              However, I will oblige myself to answer you. Both is dark. But look, we can’t say it is outright espionage because every corner, every road now there are CCTVs. How much more in the airports? Nothing can be a “secret” now. Youth are playing Pokemon Go now, hindi na Taguan Pong.

          • NHerrera says:


            That’s an interesting item from Ambassador Goldberg about

            – the many visits of the Chinese Ambassador and others in the Chinese business community with President-elect Duterte in June; and

            – the unpublicized trip to China by Cayetano and Tugade in the same month of June, before Duterte took the oath of office on June 30.

            Aside from those specific revelations of Goldberg, I believe IT SAYS WHAT IS UNSPOKEN — that the US has its ears on the ground and its monitoring system is on the job.

            Another point (a conjecture): for the Ambassador to reveal that information is to do some SIGNALLING of sorts — like, “I know what you did last night.”

            Last point: there has been quite a convergence of information or events of a generic nature lately. Even our defeated Senator Osmena gave his own piece. And before that Enrile. Shouldn’t these guys, especially old man Enrile, be enjoying their vacations? In the case of Enrile, fellow comrade FVR of EDSA fame is all over media, so why not he? He probably doesn’t want to be left out of this part of our history while he is still alive and kicking. Enrile is probably thinking of Memoire II. The first one was a dud.

          • uht says:

            This is very interesting….though I fear this news may produce the opposite effect: the diehard supporters will now question how Goldberg came to know this, and anti-US sentiment will further increase.

            • Ybarra Crisostomo says:

              Why the fear? *scratch head*. Not only the die-hard supportes, every Filipino should know how US get information like this. This is an affair of a sovereign nation. Is it espionage?

              • Istambay sa kanto. says:

                Nope, mapagmasid lang. 😄

              • they were not part of the government at that time, so it was not espionage. of course all major powers spy, but they will never admit anything. you can safety assume that the mobile phones of all major people in the Philippines are being tapped.

                The USA according to German news tapped Merkel’s mobile phone. The Chinese allegedly made a major cyberattack on Germany’s Trade Ministry – cybersecurity and protection of infrastructure was increased after that. And this is only what is known publicly, the rest one can only imagine – and one can only imagine how open for practically everybody the Philippines is. those who think the shift to China won’t affect BPO should rethink. How many Western corporations have sensitive data in Philippine datacenters today?

              • Ybarra is merely demonstrating the style of debate taking place on social media, where bad deeds (scurrilous China visit) are defended by making others the guilty party (US). It’s rather like blaming De Lima to excuse murder.

              • edgar lores says:

                Bingo. This is what I call deflection.

              • chemrock says:

                You are right Irineo. Data sensitivity is a big issue. And if Duterte wants Philippines in Huawei, good luck to the country. Huawei is private corp but everybody knows they bend to the winds blown by the Chinese Communist Party. If Huawei is in, Philippines communication capabilities are effectively controlled by two foreign countries – China and Indonesia.

                @Ybarra – perhaps you understand now why some 10 years back the US said they have solid evidence on the mayor’s involvement with death squads…as per weakileaks.

              • Ybarra Crisostomo says:

                @Chemrock. Nah, US has solid evidence on the mayor’s deaths quad yet still they presented none. Matobato was never solid.

              • How do you arrive at such certainty over something you cannot know? It’s like the Duterte trolls make up truths to suit their need. You don’t know what the US had or what they did with it. Motobato scared the shit out of a lot of people, I’d imagine. Solid fear. From the need to diminish him and defend Duterte, you derive your fictious facts. It is an awesome practice to behold.

              • Ybarra Crisostomo says:

                @The Society,

                Setting aside the issue of espionage to avoid the malice of deflection, should usurpation of authority be preceded by something like fraud or cheating at the expense of the original parties? Tugade denied the visit, so who has the burden of proof? Granting the visit was real is it a violation? As I remember lots of foreign and domestic personalities visited the current administration before June 30. Granting the visit was real, I believe no documents, contracts, memos or orders was signed during that time, since the signing was done by PRD this October. Giving malice to the visits granting it really occurred I think is of no big deal.

              • My comment was in respect to US spying, the very same tools that enable the PH to track terrorists and poaching Chinese vessels and get alerted as to drug deals going down. Citing that as a response to Cayetano’s secretive visits with the nation occupying PH territory is a smokescreen. The issue isn’t what you personally believe, which reflects a kind of religious adoration of the perfect Duterte. It is to question the strangeness of the visit, tying into secret bank accounts and other suspicious doings. Transparency, eh? Or is FOI just a joke? The SPIRIT of FOI is candor, not secret trips. Griping about the US spying is desperation, I think.

              • Waray-Waray says:

                Not long ago (to those who have joined here just recently) I have mentioned here that a bugging device was discovered by a very “effecient and reliable” k9 on a DFA furniture. The furniture was made in China. How do you call that device, Intel or espionage equipment?

                Note that some/selected areas or offices in the DFA do not have wifi or Internet for security reasons.

              • Ybarra Crisostomo says:

                @The Society,

                Someone said, and you concur, that US has solid evidence that Duterte has involvement with deathsquads. I contradict that there is none because if there is, it should have been presented already, either in the previous probe or whatever means they seem fit. I am not presenting or deriving any fictitious facts as you term it, rather, I am challenging the given statement that there is solid evidence. What is it? If there is they should have showed it already by now, justice delayed is justice denied.

                How can a deflection to spying an act of desperation? The party charged of desperation enjoys majority of the public support. Desperation is rather compatible to the losing side.

                I am supporting PRD as he was the elected and it’s respect to democracy unless he do something stupid at the expense of my country. Supporting him is not adoration, it was you calling him perfect, sarcasm?, how I hope he is but no one can be perfect.

                National issues and steps he had taken have both bad and good faces. We are aware to that, there is no perfect way. Somewhere in the comment section someone discuss about individualism and collectivism, in general, it was quite helpful in breaking down and understanding things like this involving opposing interest.

              • So what flaws do you see in the way President Duterte is doing his job?

                Also, I have no knowledge about US evidence against Duterte, so no way I concur with anything. You make up your facts.

              • chemrock says:

                “If the US has solid evidence of DDS why didn’t they present it yet”

                Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

                Ybara, the US do not expose the evidence to the Philippines govt because that would be really domestic interference. But one thing is for sure, if Delima were to appear in court, that evidence will be leaked to her lawyers.

              • edgar lores says:

                I don’t see why we need the solid evidence that the US holds.

                If the proof of the pudding is in the eating, then Dear God, isn’t the “eating” of 4,000 lives in 4 months sufficient proof?

              • chemrock says:

                To Ybarra who does not believe in Goldberg’s disclose of Cayetano and Yasay’s visit to China in June.

                Well Ybarra if you don’t believe in this, you obviously subscribe to the notion that all those deals came about at the snap of the fingers when duterte had tea with xi. Your naivette is astounding.

              • Ybarra Crisostomo says:


                If US has no means of showing it because of restrictions, then how can you arrived into conclusion of solid evidence? Delima once chaired a probe, yet there was no solid evidence presented by her or by Trillanes, yes it is not yet a court, but if the evidence is really solid they could always find ways to present it somehow, Delima is a lawyer.

                I am pointing out the rebuttal of Tugade that he didn’t go to China last June, so who is telling the truth? Maybe Cayetano went since he didn’t contradict Goldberg yet. I will only believe Goldberg if no one disagree with his statement, but here we are, Tugade denying his. You know, cooking can be done here in Philippines, it’s a known fact that Chinese Officials visited PRD right after he won and even before election. So much for naivety eh?

              • “those deals came about at the snap of the fingers when duterte had tea with xi.”

                many don’t know how complex international stuff is. I only worked for one international meeting in my entire life – the ASEAN-EC Ministerial Meeting in Düsseldorf in 1988.

                Two weeks just for the end result of a simple communique which was typed and retyped (on Word 3.0, I was the typist on the ASEAN side, proofreading was done by a very strict Singaporean attache) going to different workgroups in the first week, while the finishing touches were done at the actual meeting in the second week, when the big elephants came, I mean the ASEAN and EC ministers. How much more work will be behind deals…

              • madlanglupa says:

                “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” –Samuel Johnson

                I wish you should realize that inviting corporations known for wholesale corruption to set up shop here would be the start of our undoing as a nation.

              • madlanglupa says:

                This is addressed to a man who uses the name of a Noli/Fili hero.

              • edgar lores says:

                The idealist becomes a saboteur.

              • Ybarra Crisostomo says:

                @The Society.

                Flaws of Duterte. Additional debt from China. If I were him, I will not use the available $9B credit line.

              • Thanks for that comprehensive listing. I’m sure with such impeccable credentials, we’ll see his satisfaction rating absolutely soar.

              • edgar lores says:


              • “The idealist becomes a saboteur.” Simoun was Ibarra – turned cynical saboteur.

              • chemrock says:

                Re US evidence – weakileaks showed internal US embassy reporting to Washington talking of solid evidence which they have. No embassy is going to proclaim that unless they really do. Ambassadors are not like Aguirre.
                Let’s leave Delima out.
                As to Tugade’s denial, sure, what is he supposed to say. Check his passport? Depending on which one he shows.

              • chemrock says:

                Sorry Ybarra, forgot to mention this.

                Don’t take my word, pls. But of course you strongly believe duterte, right? Well he mentioned a couple of times about sending Tugarde to China in June. It’s all over media, you can check it out. You mean Mr T disobeyed his boss, or duterelte never meant what he said?

              • Ybarra Crisostomo says:


                The wikileaks, I would like to hear from you what is this solid evidence you are talking about? Is it a spy video? A wiretap phone conversation? some reports from human rights group? Some publicity speeches of Mayors wanting that Macho Image? What is that solid evidence really?

                Take note of the term used by Goldberg “unpublicized” but you said it, Duterte announces it in the news. I think Goldberg should do some explanation what is this “unpublicized.” And PRD announced it in June, it’s the announcement not the visit. But as I said somewhere here before, even the visit really occurred in June it’s no big deal. “Unpublicized trip to China in June..” I think Goldberg should watch the news sometimes while sipping his tea, then he could have think twice not to utter “unpublicized”.

              • NHerrera says:


                I have an idea. We have our “creative imagination.” Ybarra Crisostomo has his. Let us leave it at that. Let us or the other readers decide who is more creative.

              • chemrock says:

                May I have the last words.

                Those ‘solid evidence’ could have come out into the open in the senate inquiry. But of course Dick Gordon wouldn’t have allowed that, and so the CHR, with I think 20 witnesses in tow, were not called to testify.

              • NHerrera says:

                @chemrock: can’t help adding, definitely the last item from me on this thread — your last phrase, that is the creative imagination I like. 🙂

            • LG says:

              Should not diplomats know most of relevant happenings, if not everything relevant, where they are assigned? Or at least US intel should be aware and advise them, diplomats, as needed?

              • There is a very fine line between legitimate information gathering – which all diplomats do – and espionage. Now if some people like Tom Clancy, I like reading John Le Carre – my source for knowing that every embassy of a major country has a so-called Resident – meaning a covert intelligence officer. Of course every diplomat will have different local contacts – for all we know, it could have been a Filipino who saw Cayetano and Tugade board a flight to China, who told a friend who told Goldberg – one never really quite knows.

            • Ybarra Crisostomo says:


              You can tax those corporations. Can you expound further how can those corporations undone us as a nation?

        • Sup says:

          Wow , i did never get this many reply’s for a post…Thanks to Cayetano and Tugade i am famous now!!! 🙂

  21. uht says:

    Just to add something: The Philippine fishing industry has been in long-term decline for a very long time now, and Chinese fishing boats have been part of this problem. Allowing them into our territory for as much as the Chinese wish only speeds up this decline. The way BFAR presents its data doesn’t make this very clear, but a more comprehensive study can be found here:


    Special credit to Dr. Anticamara as he presented certain sections of this study in class to us a few weeks back.

    • NHerrera says:


      By way of context, The GDP of 2015 broken up in three sectors in percentage (rounded) are:

      Agriculture: 10%
      Industry: 33%
      Services: 57%

      On the other hand the components of the agricultural sector are (2014):

      1. Agricultural crops (palay, corn, coconut)
      2. Livestock
      3. Poultry
      4. Agricultural activities
      5. Forestry
      6. Fishing

      Of which Fishing is only 1.6%; Items 1-5 is 8.4%

      (Note that there is a date difference in the data, 2014 versus 2015, but since we are dealing with percentages, we may not be badly off the mark in terms of scale.)

      Note that Fishing are done in several places in the Philippines, not only near Scarborough Shoal, circa 2012 and earlier. So the GDP sub-component of 1.6% attributable to fishing in Scarborough Shoal must account only for a fraction (I don’t know by how much; I didn’t google enough). It may be small but it is a political hot potato now.

      You or others in SOH may wish to comment on the scale of the numbers as it relates to the political aspect of fishing in the Scarborough area.

      • uht says:

        I am told that the 1.6% figure comes from the GDP being averaged between the provinces, and since some provinces are landlocked the overall outcome looks lower than it is; in the provinces where fishing is a primary component of the economy, the contribution of fishing towards GDP is as much as 20%. Or at least, that is the explanation I was given when the article was shown to us.

        • NHerrera says:

          Thanks for the info, uht. You may have good basis for the 20% fishing contribution to GDP having interacted with your source. But the figure seems rather at odds with my “gut” feel of it. But don’t let this comment bother you. (As I wrote, it is just gut feel on the 20% figure. Gut feel is a “shot in the dark.”)

          • edgar lores says:

            Isn’t GDP a nationwide measure? We are looking at the slice that fishing contributes to the national pie.

            • josephivo says:

              It is a national figure, but you could talk of the contribution to the Gross Domestic Product of a specific province, a specific barangay, a specific individual. It this individual is a pure fisherman, his contribution will be 100% to the fishery slice of the national GDP, same for a barangay with only fishermen, the contribution to the fishery slice of the GS, the tuna capital, will be higher than the contribution of Dasma, a land locked city.

              So what?

      • karlgarcia says:

        I guess the problem of over fishing and stop fishing for a year has been proposed before.
        will google later.

          • karlgarcia says:

            This is more updated.


            • caliphman says:

              Its not how much fishing contributes to GDP which is crucial to the value of the industry to the Philippines. Its the fact that it is the main if not the only source of livelihood for 1 million Filipinos and 11 million others who are forward and backward linked to fishing. If the infustry collapses because a fourth of capture fishing sources disappear, the country would probably have to start importing fish as it does rice being that most of the catch is domestically consumed. It is the concentrated loss of livelihood, widespread poverty, and diminished food self-sufficiency and not fishing’s contribution to the GNP or its S&P credit rating iwhich is why the threat to Philippine fishing is a prinary economic concern in the loss of Scarborough.

              • a distand observer says:

                Exactly my thinking!

              • edgar lores says:

                Ah, another way of looking at it.

              • karlgarcia says:

                My problem is the proposals of stopping fishing in certain areas other than Scarborough for replenishment.I think it is not really an option, for the fisherman can not just relocate.

                Thanks for your perspective.

              • caliphman says:

                My comment is not about how to deal with the overfishing or make Philippine fish resources sustainable. I claim no expertise in those topics. As someone who knows a little bit of economics, I do know fishing is usually an insignificant component of any country’s GNP including China and the Philippines, the main protaginists at Scarborough. The above subthread could mislead readers here into thinking because fishing is such a small component of our component, it is disputed sovereignty and not so much economics which is principally at stake here. Agreement on the nature and importance of the problem necessarily precedes finding a way to fix it.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Thanks again.

              • NHerrera says:


                The above subthread could mislead readers here into thinking because fishing is such a small component of our component, it is disputed sovereignty and not so much economics which is principally at stake here. Agreement on the nature and importance of the problem necessarily precedes finding a way to fix it.

                Agree. Spoken like an engineer. This is not to modify your lawyerly mind and other fine attributes to being an engineer. It is the other attributes plus. [Note to engineers here who may gang up on me: engineers have other talents too, if I may immodestly say as an engineer myself. 🙂 ]

  22. caliphman says:


    National Geographic is very much like the other magazine I really enjoyed reading wgen I was young and single. Its full of very interesting pictures but its the well written and quite informative articles that make it worthwhile buying.

    This piece is no exception and it talks about the origins of the Scarborough and other Spratley disputes more accurately and clearly than other sources. It makes the point that fishiing in the South China Sea aka WPS is at the point of near collapse, not only in the Philippine EEZ but in the region as a whole. The Chinese effort to claim and militarize and control the vasr expanse covered by their 9-dash theory if you go by tbe article is to assure that their teeming billions have continued if not exclusive access to whatever still bountiful fishing grounds remain in the SCS. That is the main reason why the UNCLOS ruling, the underlying treaty which China signed, is so anathema to their strategy and why they insist on bilateral negotiations preconditioned by an admission of their sovereignty. Will the success of their strategy avert the impending collapse of fish species and resources in the SCS? Probably not as it still remains a zero sum game and the basic problem of overfishing and the lack of any orchestrated conservation and sustainability effort throughout the entire region is not discussed and addressed.

  23. NHerrera says:


    It is reported that Venezuela under Chavez riding on popularity and oil — of which they have a massive amount — at the neighborhood of USD 100 was able to achieve “massive reduction in poverty, more children in school, and greater access to clean drinking water.” Then came oil-price steep decline to about USD 50 for about 2 years already, then unraveling began. With the linkage of oil revenues to a lot of things and the government antagonizing countries, and thus investors. And so we have Venezuela today with Chavez’ hand-picked Maduro having the same mindset. (Price inflation is now about 500%.)

    Question: What are the key items that will unravel the present Administration and at what speed? Different circumstances granted.


  24. NHerrera says:


    While we are on the subject of Diplomatic or Other Intelligence that all countries of consequence practice as a matter of course, here is another of our colorful fellow — Harry Roque who was part of the Philippine contingent when Duterte visited China — making a colorful suggestion:

    “I relayed to Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay that after the trip to Japan, we should prepare a state visit to the US and my reason to Yasay was very pragmatic … Unless we pay a state visit to the US, baka the US will take steps to remove Duterte.”

    I did not know our colorful Roque is also fond of Tom Clancy.


  25. Bill In Oz says:

    I have been content just to watch this past week with Duterte going to China & now Japan. Ummmmm

    I sense in Dutere’s ‘English” something interesting..He uses the word “separate’ in his comments about the USA….And iI sense that he means something akin to separate from a partner as in a marriage….

    And perhaps this explains something : the Philippines has been a partner of the USA for the past 70 years. And it has been very much a junior partner. Duterte comes from an age when this partnership was even more unequal – in the 1940’s & 1950’s. I wonder how much anger & resentment from this period inspires his speeches and comments now.as President…

    • Yes, this is what Ramos meant when he called Duterte’s mindset “20th century”..

      Let us look back… US bases were made to leave in 1991. The US sponsored Marcos, then dropped him in 1986. Parity agreements were in force until 1974, allowing Americans and US firms full access to the Philippine market and more important, to natural resources. Look up Laurel-Langley, Bell Trade Act but also the revisions made by Magsaysay, the Filipino First programs of President Garcia… I think access to mining was even until 1995, when the Philippine mining act regulated things in a different manner..

      Also Duterte was under the tutelage of leftist Joma Sison. On the other side, the Marcoses are mad at the US, but more because they were dropped as clients than due to principle.

  26. b.nimble says:

    Well said Joe, you do have a way with words that cuts thru the fog of political obfuscation that we are seeing daily. Well done my friend. Don’t give up on the average Filipino just yet. Deep down they are guided by an innate sense of what’s right or wrong in their daily lives, though it might take time to surface, in the end that sense of decency will eventually outlast greed, fear, envy, and even despair. They still have their inner moral compass, I’m confident of that. It’s just that when it’s dark outside, and things seem to be getting dimmer by the day, it gets harder to read that moral compass. We just need more light to help people see better.

  27. J. Bondurant says:

    Despite all the Mocha Usons and Martin Andanars, all the Reynaldo Umalis and Vitaliano Aguirres, I still subscribe to what William Faulkner once said in one of his stories: man isn’t evil; he just lacks common sense sometimes.

  28. karlgarcia says:

    Tugade denied???

    But he was sent to China by Duterte himself.


    “Art Tugade has to go to China not to talk about war, not to talk about relations there, but to talk about peace and how they can help us,” he said.

    Duterte also said China has pledged to support the Manila-Bicol and Manila-Batangas railways.

    “They have not asked for anything because at that time I was not comfortable to discuss,” he said. – Jon Viktor Cabuenas/VDS, GMA News

  29. a distand observer says:

    I do increasingly tend to think that the Chinese government/Communist Party deliberately exploits the Bangsamoro’s sympathy towards them as leverage in this territorial dispute. It seems to me that the Bangsamoros love the Chinese as much as they hate the Tagalog-speaking Filippinos from the north. Duterte seems supported by Muslim groups. And then there are these highly dubious financing activities in the first phase of his presidential campaign. Can someone elaborate on this?

  30. karlgarcia says:


    Madlanglupa maybe referring to this news article.

    The company sounded familiar.

    Republic of the Philippines


    G.R. No. 167919 February 14, 2007

    PLARIDEL M. ABAYA, COMMODORE PLARIDEL C. GARCIA (retired) and PMA ’59 FOUNDATION, INC., rep. by its President, COMMODORE CARLOS L. AGUSTIN (retired), Petitioners,
    HON. SECRETARY HERMOGENES E. EBDANE, JR., in his capacity as Secretary of the DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS and HIGHWAYS, HON. SECRETARY EMILIA T. BONCODIN, in her capacity as Secretary of the DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET and MANAGEMENT, HON. SECRETARY CESAR V. PURISIMA, in his capacity as Secretary of the DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE, HON. TREASURER NORMA L. LASALA, in her capacity as Treasurer of the Bureau of Treasury, and CHINA ROAD and BRIDGE CORPORATION, Respondents.

    D E C I S I O N

    CALLEJO, SR., J.:

    Before the Court is the petition for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court seeking to set aside and nullify Resolution No. PJHL-A-04-012 dated May 7, 2004 issued by the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and approved by then DPWH Acting Secretary Florante Soriquez. The assailed resolution recommended the award to private respondent China Road & Bridge Corporation of the contract for the implementation of civil works for Contract Package No. I (CP I), which consists of the improvement/rehabilitation of the San Andres (Codon)-Virac-Jct. Bago-Viga road, with the length of 79.818 kilometers, in the island province of Catanduanes.

    The CP I project is one of the four packages comprising the project for the improvement/rehabilitation of the Catanduanes Circumferential Road, covering a total length of about 204.515 kilometers, which is the main highway in Catanduanes Province. The road section (Catanduanes Circumferential Road) is part of the Arterial Road Links Development Project (Phase IV) funded under Loan Agreement No. PH-P204 dated December 28, 1999 between the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.

    China Road And Bridge Corporation was blacklisted by WB because of the case above.
    This is sort of personal because my dad was involved as one of the petitioners.

    Dejavu all over again.

    • karlgarcia says:


      Classified By: Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney,
      reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

      1. (C) SUMMARY: The Ambassador met April 7 with Human Rights
      Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth to discuss that group’s
      new report on the long-running vigilante killings of street
      children, gang members, and petty criminals in Mindanao’s
      southern city of Davao. Roth said his group’s extensive
      research last year revealed that Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte,
      local officials, and current and former Davao police officers
      appear to be complicit in at least permitting the vigilantism
      and possibly in arranging actual killings. Davao’s
      outspoken, anti-crime Mayor Duterte has steadfastly denied
      any involvement in the alleged vigilante ring, which the
      Philippine Commission on Human Rights asserts has caused over
      800 deaths in 10 years. The Ambassador told Roth she would
      use the report’s compelling evidence to underscore our urgent
      concern on the Davao killings with senior Philippine
      officials and to again urge the government to undertake
      thorough investigations, which President Arroyo’s office and
      the Philippine National Police chief have publicly committed
      to do. The release of this Human Rights Watch report,
      unprecedented in scope and detail, comes one week after the
      Commission on Human Rights initiated an ongoing series of
      public hearings to launch its own investigation. END SUMMARY.

      ——————————————— —-

      2. (C) The Ambassador met April 7 with Human Rights Watch
      (HRW) Executive Director Kenneth Roth to discuss HRW’s new,
      ground-breaking report on the vigilante-style killings of
      street children and criminals that have been occurring in the
      southern Mindanao city of Davao since 1998. The report
      contains information gleaned from dozens of interviews with
      Davao victims’ relatives or those with inside knowledge of
      the vigilante group believed responsible for the killings,
      which observers have labeled the “Davao Death Squad.” The
      report squarely blames Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and local
      officials for tolerating the killings and even enabling them
      — through the support of the city police, who are controlled
      by the Mayor. Roth explained that Davao, the largest city in
      Mindanao, has long had a reputation for using extrajudicial
      means to keep the city crime-free. Duterte has in the past
      publicly boasted about the city’s success in reducing crime
      rates, Roth said, although Duterte has consistently denied
      any involvement in vigilante killings. Roth observed that
      the reduced crime rates were a misconception and that the
      crime rate had actually outpaced population growth. Roth
      further noted that the killings targeted petty criminals,
      such as teenage drug dealers, rather than the “big fish,” the
      criminals who produce the drugs. At least 800 Davao killings
      since 1998 were attributable to vigilantes, according to the
      Philippine Commission on Human Rights (CHR).


      3. (C) The U.S. deplores the Davao killings and all other
      human rights abuses, the Ambassador told Roth, whether
      committed by state actors or others. The Ambassador
      commended Roth for HRW’s important contribution, bringing to
      light an issue that had not been thoroughly researched by any
      major NGO. The Ambassador offered to reinforce the report’s
      key conclusions with the Mission’s many senior Philippine
      contacts, noting that the level of detail achieved in the
      report would afford the U.S. and others an opportunity to
      confidently discuss the Davao Killings with solid evidence
      in-hand. The U.S. Mission, the Ambassador continued, was
      engaged in a concerted effort to raise our human rights
      concerns at public events and in private meetings with senior
      officials. Noting that Mayor Duterte had in the past not
      been eager to establish dialogue with the U.S. Embassy, the
      Ambassador nonetheless reassured Roth that U.S. engagement
      with the Philippine government on human rights issues would
      not diminish, and, in fact, with this new report, would
      expand to include strong U.S. concern about the Davao


      4. (C) Roth described to the Ambassador his meeting earlier
      that day with President Arroyo’s Executive Secretary Eduardo

      MANILA 00000757 002 OF 002

      Ermita, who appeared to take the HRW report seriously. Roth
      told Ermita that HRW would watch closely for any new official
      statements or condemnations of the Davao killings from the
      Office of the President. Post has noted that while the
      President’s office released a public statement March 31 in
      support of the CHR investigation, Ermita said on April 1 that
      he did not see any basis for the CHR to conduct a separate
      investigation into Mayor Duterte’s connection to the
      killings. Philippine National Police (PNP) Director Versoza
      declared April 7 at a CHR hearing in Davao that the police
      would “go hard” against the perpetrators of these killings,
      but disagreed with NGO accusations that the killings were
      state-sponsored. Versoza urged citizens to cooperate,
      through testimony and evidence, to bring suspects to trial.

      ——————————————— —–

      5. (C) After an initial series of public hearings that began
      March 30 in Davao and adjourned for the Easter holiday, the
      CHR’s Legal and Investigation Office chief told the Mission
      that the CHR will resume hearings this week to collect
      evidence from additional witnesses and NGOs, with sessions to
      be chaired again by CHR Chairperson Leila DeLima. PNP Chief
      Versoza, the PNP Regional Director, and the Armed Forces of
      the Philippines are cooperating with the CHR investigation
      and have pledged to submit reports on killings that occurred
      on or after 2005, which is the cut-off date selected by the
      CHR to make this incredibly broad investigation both
      manageable and relevant. After concluding its hearings, the
      CHR will draft a report and examine its next steps.


      6. (SBU) Mayor Duterte, in attendance at the CHR hearings,
      acknowledged that he did not believe the killings were
      perpetrated by vigilantes, but rather were the result of gang
      wars. He flatly denied the existence of a death squad that
      operated under the control of the city government, police, or
      military, contradicting other testimony at the hearing by a
      Davao Trial Court judge, who said that the vigilante group
      existed, receiving support and protection from backers.
      Duterte, in a sensational, heated exchange with DeLima, said
      that if he were confronted by the leader of the vigilante
      ring, he would “shoot (him) in public,” a comment that
      illustrated his alleged penchant for extra-legal recourse,
      further raising suspicions among participants at the CHR
      hearing that the Mayor could be involved in the Davao
      vigilante ring.


      7. (C) Over the past three months, the Mission has been
      engaged in public and private outreach efforts and intensive
      training activities to seek to further reduce the level of
      extrajudicial killings (EJKs) that take place in the
      Philippines. While all observers agree that the rate of EJKs
      in the Philippines as a whole has declined dramatically in
      the past two years, preventing EJKs and other killings still
      remains a challenge, particularly in Davao, where Mayor
      Duterte remains a powerful — and popular — political
      figure. In private meetings with senior Philippine
      officials, the Ambassador has continued to call attention to
      the need for strong action on the part of the Philippine
      government to address human rights abuses. Since December,
      the Ambassador and senior Mission officials have participated
      in seven events to call attention to human rights issues,
      including a round-table discussion with human rights leaders
      at the Chief of Mission residence, training seminars for
      Philippine prosecutors on how to move cases effectively
      through trial, and a two-day seminar on human rights and
      EJKs, taught by FBI special agent instructors, for cadets at
      the Philippine National Police. This type of training will
      continue in the coming months. The Human Rights Watch report
      represents the first major effort to produce a more factual
      accounting of the situation in Davao. The Mission will
      incorporate the report’s findings into our outreach
      activities and press the Philippine government to take
      concrete action. The Mission also aims to use the report to
      further support the Commission on Human Rights and others in
      their efforts to respond to the long-term human rights
      challenges in the Philippines.



      There are other links to cables about EJK above, but this one allegedly by amb. Kenney is worth looking at. Believe it or not.

  31. NHerrera says:


    Credit when due:


    Consciously or not, PRD is doing an optimization in his latest statements in Japan.

    From a technical viewpoint, optimization may be classified (there are other ways of characterizing optimization, of course) as

    – stepwise local optimization: optimizing “locally” as one goes along;

    – an optimization which may termed a more global optimization, where one uses the solutions to previously optimally solved problems and combine the applicable ones with the recent problem to give the best solution for the given problem.

    This is not to say that local optimization does not lead sometime to the more global optimization in the end.

    About the latter optimization, if one, for example, have optimal solution using universal knowledge of morality and ethics and “combine” or consider this with the current (say, political) problem, one is more likely have a more global optimization in the end, than using stepwise local optimization WITHOUT using the store of knowledge about sub-problems and their associated optimal solutions.

    (If I have managed to totally confuse you, please make a quick pass and take the above out of consideration.)

    In any case, I am glad about this apparent optimization move of The President.

    • chemrock says:

      Sorry, I’m not impressed. He has no credibility now.

      He is a demagogue, adapt at doing in Rome what the Romans do. What he said and did in Beijing obviously unsettled the Japanese. Will what he said in Tokyo rile the new Chinese masters? Do you think the Chinese will be as gracious as the Americans when they analyse his speech and find its apparently at odds with the cheesy speeches in Beijing?

      I’m reminded of a funny incident in my elementary one class Yeats ago. There was a gangly Indian boy who sneaked into class during a meal break and stole a fountain pen belonging to another kid. To sow utter confusion in an attempt to hide the theft, he went through almost every kids’ bags, taking an item from one and putting it into someone elses’ bag. After the break there was an uproar as every one of us discovered something missing in our bags. When it was all sorted out, the net loss was a fountain pen, which he sold for a few cents to buy ice cream.

      Duty has to understand you can fool some of the people some of the time. You can’t fool all the people all the time

      Addendum to the boy thief. He was publicly canned and something funny happened. At the first stroke to his buttocks, the cane broke. Second cane also broke. It took 3 canes to execute 5 strokes. We nicknamed him ‘iron backside’.

      • NHerrera says:

        Nice story seems apt to our current subject. I hope, for his sake, he too has an ‘iron backside’ when the time comes. 🙂

        • NHerrera says:

          Well, may be Xi also has a Department of Interpretation and Reinterpretation to advise Xi: that what PRD said in Japan is really nothing interpreted the correct China-way — since Duterte loves China more than Japan. Hahaha.

      • LG says:

        Which one of the following acts does Du30 do best at his state visits in Asia?
        A. ‘Sails his boat in two rivers’
        B. Balimbing – tells you what you want to hear even if it negates a word told another
        C. Plays one head of state against another
        D. All the above
        E. None of the above

      • The Duterte strategy may have worked in Davao, playing the different groups against one another – but it only works when there are not so many witnesses like in his game today.

        It is similar to the so-called “Albanian interpreter” strategy I once read about, a Kosovar who manages to tell every other ethnic group what they want to hear, gets the best out of it and even avoids a typical Balkan conflict. It works – if nobody checks things afterwards.

    • edgar lores says:

      Is it then fair to say that Duterte invariably applies local optimization against the more or less “universal” solutions of global optimization?

      o In the country, he optimizes local civil order by ignoring the universal solutions, encoded in the Constitution, that have been derived from “global” (but mostly Western) political advancements.

      o While in China, he optimizes local Sino-Philippines relations by rejecting the previous “global” alliances with the US and countries embroiled in maritime disputes with China.

      o While In Japan, he optimizes local Japanese-Philippines relations by rejecting the newly fashioned alliance with China… and by confirming the previous global alliances with the US and Japan.

      It seems to me there is more than expediency in this multi-faced politician. I would characterize it as a certain gigolo-ness… except for the absence of a prepossessing appearance.

    • a distand observer says:

      I’m not impressed either. I think one gives him too much credit by interpreting an “optimization” strategy into his foreign policy actions. I have the impression Duterte’s a pretty simple minded guy who just loves power and money. Isn’t it nice to do and say whatever one likes and get away with it? Isn’t it nice to travel around the world as the President of the Philippines, eating fancy food, getting all kinds of girls, having important conversations with important people? As chemrock pointed out, the only thing Duterte’s really good at is the demagogueing of the Filippino people. That doesn’t exclude the possibility that he does something right from time to time though.

      • NHerrera says:

        ado, and others above,

        Shucks. Just when I was beginning to take a liking for the fellow, you guys burst the balloon. Thanks for the timely rescue. You have brought me back to reality. 🙂

  32. caliphman says:


    I have mentioned here how very important regaining access to Scarboough’s fishing grounds to the Philippine economy. We are talking here about 11 million livelihoods connected to the fishing industry, including 1 million fishermen.Considering that there are only 45 million employed Filipinos in the labor force, that is quite a huge chunk that would be affected if access is not secured and the infustry collapses. Duterte brought back a maritime cooperative agreement and at first it seemed hopeful that included the possibility of joint patrols and shared fishing access.

    As the above news link reveals, nothing was further from the truth and it appears the Chinese are still insistent that the quid pro quo to regain fishing rights is effective admission by the Philippines of Chinese sovereignity and irrelevance of the Hague ruling to this issue. Thankfully, the Philippines
    rejected a deal under these terms and the memorandum is just a testament that a deal vould not be reached.

  33. NHerrera says:

    Alex Magno on Duterte’s manners and fashion sense:


    But more than manners and fashion sense:

    We are the pauper in that triumvirate — China, Russia and the Philippines — and neither Moscow nor Beijing would want to be led by the weakest link in that proposed chain.

    So maybe Duterte’s unfathomable fashion sense is not of earthshaking importance. But the ruffian attitude and the coarse language that go with the way he suits up completes the picture of a careless and volatile leader who should not be depended on for too much.

    Duterte’s visit to Japan will not alter the basic geopolitical realities of this part of the world no matter the anti-US rant he unleashes. His version of the universe is about as unfashionable as the way he carries his clothes.


    • LG says:

      Duterte may be the one being played by Abe and Xi. Among all three, he is the sychopant neophyte, who wants to impress his ‘seniors’. His surrogate, Yasay, is a trying hard kinder level internationalist wanna be.

      • a distand observer says:

        Yes of course, Duterte is being played by Xi and Abe big time! By the way, that’s also the reason why Putin would like to see Trump as President of the US. Because he would be able to apply KGB’s manipulation 101 on Trump easily.

  34. fedelynn says:

    Been mulling some of the things which Mr. Duterte said in the past weeks. Here are my thoughts:

    (1) Will it be déjà vu soon for PHL? Joe Ma Sison and his group vs. Marcoses and their current cronies.

    I see them fighting over the PHL. Both their ambitions were stymied by the EDSA 1986 Revolution: the Proletariat Revolution (Joe Ma Sison et al); Heydays of Wealth and Power (Crony capitalists).

    I think that Mr. Duterte envisions a future Philippines where both the Left and the Marcoses are in government. He is loyal to both. Will the Left agree to such a scenario? It may—to get what it wants. But I have no idea if the Left will still play nicely with the Marcoses after Duterte’s term.

    Will the Marcoses and their allies play along? They may—to get what they want. But I think the group will be worried about such a scenario as it will leave them (and their riches) vulnerable to the plans of the Left (if the group is still stuck in the past).

    (2) Mr. Duterte asking China and Russia to form alliances with PHL vs. West:

    I think Mr. Duterte is trying to bring back the glory years of Philippine Communism (1950s-1980s). By his pronouncements, I think he was trying to convince China and Russia to go back to the way they were. Fat chance: both are pragmatic nations which left communism years ago.

    For some who think that Mr. Duterte is just playing footsie with Joe Ma Sison et al for his own ambitions, I beg to disagree. I think he sees himself a faithful student of Sison and will try to bring about a revised version of the Proletariat Revolution…because it has to be one that will accept Bong Bong Marcos as a leader someday. (Ha!)

    I have no idea if Sison viewed Duterte as a faithful student or just a tool.

    What will China, US, Russia and the rest of EU do? Wait and see while having lunch together.

    What about the Philippines? If my musings proved to be right (because so many things can happen): capital flight; economic desert; chaos; foreigner and Pinoys with money and visas (including govt officials) leaving the country; the rest of us will be left with cleaning up the mess that Duterte and his allies created.

    • chemrock says:

      The modesty of the man is beyond belief. I’m sure both Putin and Xi must have choked on their drinks when they heard about ‘us 3 against the world’. To these 2 giants, our president is just a photo bomber at best.

    • The most stunning comment I’ve read of Duterte saying was that Filipinos would be less well off with the US gone, but would get through it. So he is willing to put a suffering people through more pain rather than improve their lot. He admits that failure is his expectation. Astounding.

      • karlgarcia says:

        He said, “We will survive”. But first he should be afraid and petrified.

        • LG says:

          Absolutely incapable of worries and fear. “I am ready to die for my Philippines and people!” The megalomaniac! When did any single person own the country and its people?

      • Fedelynn says:

        He often struck me as more concerned with his feelings and ego rather than what he may put the Filipinos through.

      • bnimble07 says:

        That, plus when he stated publicly that he considered the 4 million Fil-Ams living in the U.S. as irrelevant or immaterial to his “political calculus” because they are Americans not Filipinos, which is, in my opinion, not factually correct as some Fil-Ams have dual citizenship status, speaks to his hatred towards anything or anyone resembling America. DU30’s contempt or hatred towards the U.S. knows no bounds, it’s personal for him. Sounds more and more like Hugo Chavez to me. That’s very troublesome, look where Venezuela is today. A basket case and a failed state. If that is his role model for the Philippines going forward, then God help us.

  35. manuelbuencamino says:

    Two surveys within a week or so of each other

    (1) SWS – 54% very satisfied w/ drug war; 30% somewhat satisfied; 8% undecided; 4% somewhat unsatisfied; 4% very unsatisified

    HOWEVER 71% said it is ver important to keep suspects alive; 23% somewhat impt: 5% somewhat not impt: 2% not at all impt

    (2) Pulse Asia Check out the ranking of most urgent national concerns. It looks like it did in Dec 2015 and as it always has historically Jobs, better pay, inflation,el. etc are back on top and criminality has sank back down to its traditional level. What has remained in the top five is corruption, which was at the same level as criminality before PNoy turned it into a campaign issue in 2010 and pursued throughout his term. Criminality became among the top urgent national concerns during the campaign, thanks to du30’s skill at connecting with voters.

    Anyway here we are a little over 100 days into his term he is still campaigning on crime and drugs but the public is already focusing its attention on real, not campaign-fueled, urgent national concerns and 94% of the public do not approve of the drug-related killings.

    He will now have to address real issues and the war frame and the accompanying rhetoric that goes with it just won’t do. He will be tested soon enough

    • Thanks, MB. I thought FVR’s description of a sinking boat was also a signal that the innocent acceptance of Duterte’s original promise has quickly turned to reality. I got a sense of a quiet before a storm about the same time. Then I read that Rep Lagman actually holds a majority backing in the House. I wonder if all these signals will merge into a stronger opposition to the radical, destabilizing leadership.

    • LG says:

      Duterte is siga siga local gang leader reincarnated. All gutterbrand-fear-provoking form. I don’t believe his Cabinet appointees believe and respect him at all, especially those with intellects and character much above his. A few political climbers, of deficient talent and caliber, e.g. the Press Sec. and a few more others whose names are forgettable, adore him to death.

      Duterte Surveys 2017 are unlikely favorable. US Duterte Suporters News have stopped appearing in my FB page. Democratic Warriors postings have increased.

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