The House horror show illustrates why Federalism is a bad idea


The House in aid of legislation.. [Photo source: Inquirer]

By Joe America

Did you catch that strange House hearing in aid of legislation last week? The objective of the hearings was to examine the drug problem in New Bilibid Prison. Unfortunately, legislation and Bilibid were set aside to pursue a public shaming of Senator De Lima.

The House reps stunned most of the Senate, a lot of House members, and a whole lot of citizens, too. It was a disrespectful, offensive, low-blow kangaroo court that began when the House Speaker declared Senator De Lima a “serial liar” during a television interview, and ended with the issuance of a “show cause order” holding her in contempt for “obstructing justice”.

Can you imagine a judge going on TV before trial to claim that the defendant in his court is a liar? He would not. Professional integrity does not permit it. People being judged are granted rights and assured of fair treatment. A deep Christian compassion underpins these ethical boundaries. So does the Philippine Constitution:

ARTICLE IV, SECTION 21. The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure. The rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected.

The House hearing was not an earnest, honest investigation into the whys and ways of drug operations within a prison. It was hostile, low-class, politically inspired vendetta. One important piece of information divulged during the hearing was the deep involvement of PNP officials in dealing drugs. This was “on topic” and could have pointed to legislation. But that information was substantially ignored. The legislators wanted to talk sex.

“Such offensive, small men and women,” I muttered to myself as I watched the spectacle.

If this is the Philippine version of integrity, decency, and good government, no wonder the nation struggles so.

Well, it appears to this observer that the House is no longer an independent institution. It has fallen into line as an executor of President Duterte’s demands, and his demand is to punish Senator Del Lima for seeking information about the killings he has ordered. They will do this even if the facts against her have to be concocted by drug dealers who win immunity if they testify properly.

The Senate’s President, Senator Pimentel . . . decidedly not a “yellow” . . . responded to one rep’s suggestion that the Senate dismiss Senator De Lima:

“We have our own rules also in the Senate. Rule of law tayo, but you know for a member of the House to tell the Senate to do something, ibalik ko siguro sa kanila, ibalik ko sa House, ‘do your thing first, before you ask us to do something.’”

Senator Hontiveros held nothing back in her own pointed statement about the hearing. She’d been working diligently on legislation to protect women from violence, and here she was, witnessing it in the House:

The House of Representatives hit a lowest of the low as the House Committee on Justice reopened its probe into the narcotics trade inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) during Senator Leila De Lima’s stint as justice secretary. It was not an investigation in aid of legislation. It was a public lynching in aid of misogyny and sexism.

Well, it seems to me that what we see in the House is what we could expect of the governance of states under Federalism. Leadership that places favor and personal interests above law, decency, institutional integrity, and the nation.

Who are the representatives, after all? Many are members of dynastic families that have been prominent in their local districts for years, passing the power to other family members. Arroyo, Marcos, Romualdez, Cayetano, Espina, and many others that you might recognize. Pacquiao, new to the class. They command loyalty and backing by playing the power and favor game. They grow rich with all the money thrown at them during their term. They grow powerful.

That’s why Liberal Party members had no problem turning coat to align with President Duterte. They have little interest in serving the people or the ideals of democracy or even the Liberal Party. They serve themselves.

Well, a few senators and representatives do have some dedication to democratic principles and legislative integrity, numbering I’d imagine fewer than 20. They are largely impotent due to the large number of congressmen who care so little about ethics and decency as a commitment, and as a model of integrity for citizens to follow.

And what will federalism do? It will empower a select few of these families and it will divide and undermine the nation. It will place the caliber of leadership we witnessed at the hearing, and the same unprincipled, biased, hostile, authoritarian, self-serving leadership, at the top of each state. Do you think people of this character will work diligently in favor of national interests? They can’t even manage the House as an institution of integrity and service to the people. They play unseemly political games. Why would they work cooperatively with “Imperial Manila”?

Federalism is a sure path to a divided nation, a weak nation, a poor nation, an unethical nation favoring the few, and a nation of administrative incompetence led by people of low democratic character who simply don’t get it.

The “it” being integrity, civility, service, and good works.


194 Responses to “The House horror show illustrates why Federalism is a bad idea”
  1. LG says:

    There are no words to aptly describe the congressmen who partook in the slimy questioning approach. Unelectable. NO to federalism.

    • typhoon1235 says:

      Unelectable? You see these men and women of sleaze in every congress; they make up the majority.

      I am fast losing hope on this country. I just hope an awakening of the millenials, with what appears to be the beginnings of such lately, prevent the total loss of this generation.

      See you on the 30th.

    • Andres 10k says:

      There is no good logic to conclude NO to federalism because of slimy congressmen. In fact, it is the opposite. If it is federalism, that slimy congressman could not scatter pieces of his shit all over the entire nation because the power is delegated to each region. His slimyness could be contain to that specific region alone and could not contaminate the entire Philippines.

      • chemrock says:

        If we can have a way whereby all those contaminated congressmen and politicians can be parcelled away in one single state, then I’m all for federalism. The sacrifice is worth it.

        • Andres 10k says:

          There is no political model that could separate in the most effective way the rotten and the not than a political model that tends to delegate. However, we cannot do anything about the traits and personalities of the person elected. Yet, we can do something about the system on how these people is elected.

          • People can decide they do like democratic principles and honest government after all, skip Federalism, and focus on hiring people with ethics, conscience, and skills to run National in such a way that localities see the benefits. In otherwords, decide the Duterte style of “change” is destructive and punitive and dangerous to the independence and security of the Philippines. I mean, what is the logic of throwing out US intelligence resources that had helped pin the most extreme terrorists off in the remote islands, open the gates in the name of dialogue, and finding the terrorists a couple of months later kidnapping in Cubu and bombing across the nation? Change that does not work right is a horrid thing to watch.

            • Andres 10k says:


              You are talking about quality of persons, which if you manage to have good people hired, any system will function well. However, when talking about federalism, we are not talking about people, we are talking about the system. When discussing issues like what political system is more appropriate, we could set aside peopleware as this is constant. Then, we could see much better what system suits our country. I have mentioned somewhere around in the comment section why federalism is more appropriate in dealing some situations. Why the heck this congressman from Mindanao has the power to cook De Lima? If its federalism, it is only the congressmen from Bicol Region that can persecute De Lima if she happened to be the Senator from that region.

              • When so many local politicians are corrupt, how will Federalism clean it up? They have the power and the advantage of not playing by rules. We can just agree to disagree. I am an advocate of democratic systems that weed out corruptions, not corrupt ones that use Federalism to generate a bunch of little autocrats who have no interest in helping the nation.

              • Andres 10k says:


                Federalism could not clean the corrupted local officials. Rather, contain them so as not to contaminate the entire nation. Corruption is inherent to a person, but a system can be created to minimize the risk it brings about. In federalism, every state officials should play by the rules as there is the national law that should dominate over the state law. Say, the national law state that due process should be observe in all cases, then every state should do that. And if local laws like curfew for minor is a violation of human rights then there would be no such law in all states. Federalism is also a democratic system as officials are elected by the people. The difference is that each state are sure to have a three senatorial seat and that to be elected as the president, you should win 2/3 of the states, or something like that. In short, each state are equally presented in national level, not like the current system that senators are mostly from Manila because candidates from the provinces has a slim chance of winning. The fear of authoritarian local leaders can be avoided by the national government intervention as each state is not at all in ab solute power.

              • I’ll look forward to reading the proposed structure and rules to see how such safeguards would be implemented. I frankly think there are very few people with a combination of high ethics, good management skills, and diplomatic talent. So I remain skeptical about the proposal and think it will just shuffle players around and further delay the nation’s growth. Poverty, the springboard of drug usage, will remain. But I repeat myself . . .

        • Yes, sign me up. May I suggest whatever state encompasses Sulu?

  2. karlgarcia says:

    Same people will be the composition of the new federal gov. They just added layers to dustribute their power. Same top three powerful families in each area will reign supreme.

    • parengtony says:

      Same people but made more deadly.

      • karlgarcia says:


      • Andres 10k says:

        No. Federalism will ‘contain’ corrupt leaders. Say the congressmen of Region 9 are all corrupted, they shall have no power over the the clean state of Metro Manila. Each region could manage their affairs free and independent from this corrupted leaders. The federal government are more in charge into national security and the such. It is left to the state government to manage their own state.

        • karlgarcia says:

          That is supposed to be the case today,but we all know how power works here right?
          Your dream scenario of only a congressman from a certain region can question his regional senator is ideal,let us see if this is in the charter change proposal?

          • sonny says:

            Neph, it seems Federalism is a solution looking for a place to rest its head on. I think there are also other issues essential (social, political, economic, even religious nature) to an effective democracy that are similarly situated. Our current times and affairs are in a position to look at live federations and examine what are appropriate to our situation: the US (nation w/ an inexhaustible natural resources and a 240-year historical timeline) or Italy (a peninsula w/ archipelagic temperament and a WWII historic timeline similar to the Philippines); this country is currently considering a constitutional referendum that uncannily simulates our own situation.

            “… Their aim is to make Italy, which has had 63 governments in the 70 years since the birth of the Republic, a more governable country.”


            • karlgarcia says:

              I have a problem with his proposal, it would be next to imposdible not to have committees and these can not be localized, congressmen ganging up on a senator because they belong to a justice committee or ethics committee, or something to that effect. They will pressure the senate to discipline the congressman.

            • karlgarcia says:

              ty Unc.

              • sonny says:

                ty, Neph. I bring my politics education to you.

                If I’m reading you correctly. Are we talking of Du30’s federalism vs the current PH’s unitary republic? The danger of gridlock, political muscling, the educational level of the constituency, etc. are generic probs that can be contextualized for solutions in either federal or unitary PH forms. I hope I’m keeping up (borrowing NH’s words I am slow on the uptake on politics, Neph 🙂 ).

              • karlgarcia says:

                Yes unc,but more specifically Andres 10 k’s suggestions above.

  3. andrewlim8 says:

    Excellently argued, but Duterte trolls do not argue, they vomit.

    Another prime example of ethics under this administration:

    Exhibit A is Philippines’ envoy to the US, are you proud of the choice?

  4. Gemino H. Abad says:

    NO to federalism — to dynastic thieves/corruptors with their private armies/goons/vigilantes/trolls! And stink-hole Congress now Du30’s tuta pushing for “constituent assembly” so as to serve their own selfish interests! — BUT Apocalypse NOW, the uncovering, the revelation: People Power rising, led by our youth, the millennials, whom tuta Martin Andanar calls “temperamental brats”!

    • Integrity must certainly frighten these thieves and trolls doing the bidding of self-dealing men . . . mostly men. When they get desperate and make up salacious stories about VP Robredo and Ombudsman Morales, we can know that this is an anti-humanity, anti-Philippines, horrid, weasely lot.

    • parengtony says:

      Impunity at its crudest form is what the regional overlords do with power. Federalism will lead to more abuse; something not very different from feudalism.

  5. How low can these Kleptocratic government drag the country to shame.

  6. chemrock says:

    In the era of post-truth, what we witnessed in the Congress hearing was Filipino legislators at their best.

    Well done Congs, be proud. I’m sure your wives, daughters and nieces are damn proud of you.

    • LG says:

      Indeed, what the world witnessed in the Dayan Can’t nares signal hearing must have been their very best minds n demeanor deserving of The World’s Most Unrespectable Congress, to date.

  7. madlanglupa says:

    Nailed it. This is why Federalism is not suitable, especially being pursued by these TONGressmen, being that it has the potential instrument to be used for greater greed and absolute power.

  8. chemrock says:

    Since the House opened the door to slime, with the permission of the blog owner, and for the records, may we post this question to the honourable Cong Rodokfo Faridas :

    Did you have a climax with Vivian Velex in that Betamax sex tape?

    Did you slap your late wife Maria the same way Dayan slapped deLima?

  9. Sup says:

    This morning on Karen Davila headstart…Alvarez..

    ”While acknowledging his colleagues went overboard with the questions asked to Dayan, Alvarez appealed for understanding since congressmen are just humans. ”

    Happy days….Mork & Mindy,,,,nanunanu…….. 🙂

  10. Jig Gozon says:

    The reality of today is that people are more intelligent than ever, but apparently, they tend to be stupid, insensitive and ruthless.

    Well, the simple definitions of the word
    INTELLIGENT (adj.) are:
    1. mentally able: possessing intelligence, especially to a highly developed degree;
    2. sensible or rational: resulting from an ability to think and understand things clearly and logically.

    Clearly and it’s saddening that it does not include in its definition the words ethics and integrity and its synonyms.

    • Yes there is a striking loss of way when high intelligence leads to amoral wisdom totally missing concepts like kindness and sacrifice of self for the greater good. Good of you to visit the blog and comment, Jig.

  11. conrado manigque says:

    ..federal form of governemnt is just but a dream……its essence is still to be drafted. its not a perfect government, but a better option compare to the current system of unitary and over centralised republican form of govt.,.in a federal system, democracy is deepened and expanded, peoples involvement and particpation is given priority..Political dynasty is normally presumed to fluoriosh but the people are not dumped and blind enough not to see the truth that is now happening.In the process of drafting the national and regional state constitution…..I strongly suggest to define and establish safety measure and to define anti political dynasty in order not to allow the present anomaly to perpetuate in power and abuse…..

    • chemrock says:

      What safety measures can you propose when what they want is cha cha by con ass? Everything will be done by a select group of congressmen who has only one master, and that ain’t you are the rest of ordinary Filipinos. Worst still, the master is beholden to the family of thieves..

      • sonny says:

        Even just being a babe-in-the-woods on legal matters, I think a cha cha cum con con is the better way for the Philippines, especially since PDu30 has thrown things up in the air. The solidarity-subsidiarity principle will work like hand-in-glove for most regions in the country – just my intuition.

      • con-ass (hole) con-ass lickers….

        so much in a hurry to con us …

        Sorry for the inappropriate play of words, please feel free to delete this, just feeling fed up.. and feeling inadequate. I envy Will for his energy and determination, sans fear…with the drug war now extending to rightist groups protesting the EJKs.

    • Harry Tan says:

      Hahahaha. Right on target, Chemrock! You said it succinct…

  12. Chris Albert says:

    Sadly the majority of people is spellbound by the show. Sadly the fake news way outstrip the real ones and no one is bothered by it. Sadly the anger onm both sides is rising. Sadly the bomb at the Embassy and a few other things are just paving the way for the People in control to execute their agenda and plan. Dark times are coming and sadly I cant see it stop. I think Sir that your projection of consequences are to mild for the horror that comes over the horizon. Sadly this will get way way worse before it will get any better, and sadly I think many good people will pay a horrible price to get this madness to stop. Trully shocking to see a nation go into total self destruction.

    • Johnny says:

      “Trully shocking to see a nation go into total self destruction.” – I hope not, Mr. Albert sir. And hope is just about all we have right now. Remeber, Nobody really expected the 1986 peaceful EDSA Revolt to happen then. Help us to wish, hope, if not pray, that everything will turn out right without much destruction, without us needing to “pay a horrible price”.

  13. caliphman says:

    Joe, thank you for expressing what should be the collective shame we as decent people should feel about this animal house that passes itself off as our moral and political leadership. It took three hundred years before Filipinos could muster the courage and the will to rise up and end Spanish tyranny. Nearly twenty years of rape, abuse, and misery inflicted by that Marcos despot before deciding it was time to topple him. How long more must this chamber of horrors be allowed to continue before the people rise up and put an end to this mockery of justice and basic human decency? Enough is enough!

  14. brianitus says:

    I can sense your disappoinment

  15. Johnny says:

    I couldn’t have expressed my disappointment any better. Thank you, Mr. America (You for real?! America? 🙂 ), for pointing out the mistakes, indecent & insensibilities of our present crap, rather, crop of of leaders, which goes all the way to the top. It has come to a point that i feel ashamed to be a Filipino! Then again, if only for citizens with comments that i read on this page, and those people expressing their disgust over the allowed burial of FM at the LBM, rather, LNMB; it gives me renewed hope, & strength that a brighter tomorrow is not going to be a far-fetched reality… sooner than later.
    Let us continue to let our voices be heard.

    • I’m a real American living in the Philippines who likes to keep his personal life and public life in their proper separate compartments. I’m glad you found the article meaningful. Visit the blog anytime, and join in the conversations.

  16. gerverg1885 says:

    Is there any other thing to expect from those “honorables” who will not hesitate to bow their heads, not in shame, to someone who is bringing this country to the lowest pits of anger and hatred?

    I stopped hoping since he was swore in and those men and women of the lowest moral standards occupied the pigsty.

  17. jp says:

    Pork barrel, evolved

  18. chemrock says:

    It really is a house of horror if you hear a recent comment by Cong Lagman on the way they are trying to railroad the death penalty bill. Meetings every day not hearings, not interested in dissenting views, no minutes of discussions.

  19. Reading this article, I thought maybe you guys can use this TV series more than us over here— If the Philippines does it’s own version I’m sure it’d be a hit… or maybe make it a What-If blog series, Joe?

    • Designated Survivor, a fast-paced, quickly engrossing escapist political action fantasy says Wiki

      That would be a fascinating what-if blog series, I agree, but requiring a lot of think and write time. However, given that the government here is rather like the bomb if it declares martial law, the program would be called “Undercover Survivor” and recount what happens to the “yellows” and others who live by democratic values, but are being executed willy nilly by the government every time they speak up. It would center on a hero undercover survivor who would have to figure out how to organize a resistance when the government controls all media outlets including Facebook and Twitter.

      If I wrote that, I’d be first on the execution list, so I think I’ll decline the offer. 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • LOL! True that, Joe—- but then again, there’s always pseudonyms 😉 . Wil has connections to TV and the film industry over there, correct?

        • Will knows EVERYBODY, but he ain’t stupid neither! lol myself

          • I ‘m not laying this on you guys, you guys are retired forchrissakes and should be enjoying these twilight years , but you think this is the reason how the Marcoses made a come back … lack of courage by Filipinos from late 80s on , to ensure the Marcoses never rise again???

            Why was there no significant push back, from the moment they left for Hawaii, then when they returned, then when Imelda was elected, and so on… So maybe stupid is what’s called for here, not from you guys (retirees) but from new anti-Marcos types.

            I’m not Monday morning quarter-backing (though it may sound so, and I’m record promoting the CARVER matrix), but edgar described the Marcoses as a juggernaut in the other thread… well, when they left for Hawaii their tails were tucked, so I’d posit that it was all this fear that allowed them to regain power.

            Maybe Wil, can write one of those love articles but egging on anti-Marcos to be a little bit more stupid— though I’m a fan of calculated risks 😉 . Go berserker!

  20. uht says:

    It does say something about the Representatives who want to politically execute Leila de Lima via trial by publicity. If their solution is to drown her in petty arguments, they’re not very credible. Rizal commented a lot in the old days about people who would try to jail their opponents by swamping them in cases—my goodness, I wonder how he would respond to the government of all things using this tactic on people they didn’t like (and are TECHNICALLY ALSO part of government)?

    As for federalism: I find that an important element in federalism is trust, trusting the constituents that they can govern themselves on many matters without the central government’s help, and that they trust the government to defend them in times of need and standardize their policies. You don’t see signs of either in the culture here. If given the legal power to prevent other parties from interfering at a local level (essentially the entire premise of federalism), political dynasties will be able to entrench themselves at the local level. This leaves the entire archipelago fractured at many levels.

    What I feel we need is an entirely new system of government based on the Swiss, Scandinavian, German or Indian models but more adapted for central governance: that is, no federalism, but representation at the national level modeled on parliamentary and federal systems. The head of state would still play a strong role in government (as Filipinos tend to love a strong central figure), but this power would be split among a council that MUST perform ALL decisions as a consensus (similar to the Swiss Executive Council). In general, high degrees of consensus, rather than split decisions, need to be promoted, at least at first. When we are more politically stable, we can choose to move in ways that are less like consensus, but still are majority decisions.

    • Superb assessment and suggestion for a way forward, and it makes a lot of sense. The problem is that it would require a revolution to get there, and I don’t see that happening.

      The public execution of De Lima is fascinating because the prosecutors know the law and know they don’t really have any hard evidence, but pursue it aggressively, just the same. It is a public spectacle and it allows them to control the headlines whilst the killings continue. We will see how today works out with an anticipated large protest against the Marcos burial. I read that there will be a counter headline event to try to push the protest to the background, so it is all a little ominous. Tensions are stepping up . . .

      • uht says:

        I just really think that the clamor for federalism is essentially borne out of a classical aspect of most Filipinos, the tendency to wish for something with the present, and only the present, in mind. That sort of thinking willed Duterte into power and now calls for de Lima’s blood. Of all the things it reminds me of, it reminds me of the time when the mob was given a choice to free Jesus or Barabbas…and the mob chose Barabbas.

        You’re right, the form of government I proposed seems to be really a pipe dream. But dreams are free. And to have a dream means you’re willing to see it never get fulfilled in your lifetime. I do not think Rizal expected his country’s problems to be solved in his lifetime, either. But for now, what we can do is tackle the present problems.

        Right now I see three major people driving the pro-Duterte movement: Mocha Uson, Sass Sasot, and ThinkingPinoy. As funny as it may seem I consider TP, rather than Mocha, as the real opponent to tackle. While I do respect the person, I feel that he has failed to see the dangers of the pivot to China and acknowledge that the President’s refusal to directly tackle extrajudicial killings and killing without trial has aggravated those who would wish to perform these deeds in his name.

        In the meantime I have a suggestion—have a series of articles where we examine a claim from any one of the three, and offer a counter-argument. This is what I meant from last time when I said we need to fight the disinformation squad on the ground. We can’t continually avoid their arguments, we need to face them head-on, no matter what we actually think of these arguments.

        • I think the tactic is good, but I can’t use the blog in a direct, active, confrontational role. It would have to be somewhere else.

          • chemrock says:

            PM turnover in a parliamentary system is viewed by some as a negative in that it’s disruptive. But given that it’s an intra-party battle it does not have divisive national impact.

            In contrast, consider trying to impeach Duterte. You damn well may have a civil war.

            Whatever the system or form of government, however civil or uncivil the politicians, or how great a king-to-be, it’s still back to the problem of an uneducated electorate. By uneducated I mean not voting freely in the Democratic sense of informed electorate. It’s still back to the Philippines way of personalities they suck up to, the usual band of thieves, liars, wife-beaters murderers, dumbsters, thugs..

            Ultimately it’s the voters that hold the key. The Marcos and Duterte camps have exploited technology to gain an upper hand in this via their troll army. This is the new game that will corner any new system of government.

            We have discussed before on some methodology of readjustment to voting count with a view to establishing a more intelligent voting. Like educational levels, tax paying folks etc being given some weightage. Like the electoral college system in US.

            A school kid nephew once told me another way. Have a simple Questionaire at the electoral station. Voters will be asked what they know of the ideological/economic platforms of the person he/she is voting. Wrong answers disqualify them..

            • chemrock says:

              Oops sorry this comment was to Bill’s thread.

            • LG says:

              Chemrock, your nephew sounds mature beyond his years. I like his Voter Questionnaire suggestion. Voting is a right with serious responsibility. An eligible voter should be held accountable for exercising his/her right to vote.

    • “but this power would be split among a council that MUST perform ALL decisions as a consensus (similar to the Swiss Executive Council). In general, high degrees of consensus, rather than split decisions, need to be promoted, at least at first. ”

      Given the present Filipino penchant for passing the buck or playing blame games, the consensus model is brillant. Swiss Executive Council has 7 members, they are collectively the Executive with one each year taking the role of “President”, but ruling by consensus..

      Seven people is one third of today’s Philippine Senate, an evolutionary (i.e. non-revolutionary) possibility could be an Executive Council of six Senators and the President..

  21. Andres 10k says:

    To conclude that federalism will fail because of the uncivilized conduct of the Congressmen is a premature conclusion.

    • It is conceptual, so there is no time element to it. If the nation is thin on non-corrupt, decent, earnest people who believe in the principles of democracy, and are diplomatically skilled at advancing an orderly society, it won’t be able to run the states in any way but how the hearing was held. Unprincipled. Doomed to failure.

    • chemrock says:

      To expect a civilised mode of federal governance crafted by a bunch of uncivilised congressmen is the wisdom of a wishful thinker.

      • Hmm… So how can you expect a civilised mode of unitary governance when they are actually still crafting it themselves at present? Isn’t it also the wisdom of a wishful thinker? It seems that this probably goes both ways as the problem is indeed the people in the system, rather than the system itself.

        And also, for another question, where does a civilised politician come from anyways? Given that they have always been hugely outnumbered, their survival rate seems very low at the present system. So given this, would a change of system actually increase the survival rate?

        But if I may offer my two cents, if the reforms are only for a federal shift, then we will really find ourselves in much trouble. Balkanization will be a huge threat if that happens. However, I think the plans are actually moving towards a shift to a federal-parliamentary system with an easing of FDI restrictions? So it may actually have some counter-effects towards the negatives?

        And if I may share again some of those things discussed from the previous federalism post by josephivo:

        The correctphilippines site above is actually a good repository for different ideas about constitutional reform.

        But I guess the concern still is: Will the country actually be able to craft a new proper constitution given its constituents? Well, I can’t actually say for certain as of now. But as Irineo had said on another post (though this was from a different context):

        {“How does one fix a problem like that anyways?” It would take a concerted effort. But the many lawyers of the country are usually caught in tunnel vision I think, because it is the only system they know and they are raised in it. Out of the box thinkers and reformers, where are they?}

        Well, they are probably many of them but they are usually passive and silent. But when the time comes? I guess it is about high time that those that are capable and knowledgable be active then. This is probably THE chance that they are waiting for.

  22. parengtony says:

    Pray tell then how these congressmen will not end up holding even greater power in their respective localities under this proposed federal government.

  23. andrewlim8 says:


    Duterte: You human rights advocates, you are responsible for drug addicts multiplying, I will include you in the hit list

    Human rights workers: That is wrong, that is alarming.

    Palace spokesmen: Don’t take him literally.

    Maute group and Abu Sayyaf: Yipee we never took him seriously with any of his threats anyway

  24. madlanglupa says:

    He pushed it again tonight, back in his home turf. As if federalism is the end-all, the silver bullet, the miracle cure.

    • Francis says:

      The best case scenario for Federalism:

      Federalism will open up—for reformists and what-not—an route for solid reform ala America. That is, reform by state. If I am not mistaken—policies such as Same-Sex Marriage have benefited from the federalism by allowing these policies to entrench themselves, then slowly gain momentum and snowball. Ideally—federalism would help facillitate a form of natural selection for policies; good (effective-popular) policies spread and multiply, bad (ineffective-unpopular) policies are contained and die off.

      I can only imagine the possibilities for the NCR Federal Region. Running—and experimenting—such an urbanized and relatively educated area could churn out and yield us geniuses for national office. Hell, I’m pretty sure that NCR probably has enough $$$ to have healthcare and education programs on par (or close) with the First World.

      One could also say that the Dynastic Wanna-Be-Aristrocrats—the trapos—will not see much gains in the long-run. Oh sure—short-term—good times go to incumbent. But in the grand scheme of things? I’m not so sure. All it takes is for a bunch of outsiders to kick them out for one time and pass…I don’t know…an anti-dynasty law by seizing the legislature and executive. No “you can’t do that, we’re just an LGU!” here, buddy. Being a sub-state is great when you’re king, It’s not great though, when you aren’t. Why go for one-time-big-time national reform (close to impossible, when the trapos all close ranks nationally) when you can do it, one province (one or two trapos families at a time) at a time, Starting with the richest—and to who has the money, has the power.

      That ties in with the best case situation for Parliamentarism. The common argument against that is the sheer chaos. Can you imagine these greedy and ambitious dynasts running a parliament. The good and bad thing about parliaments is you can kick out the PM any time the parliament feels like it. And for such a den of wolves like the Philippine Congress–I’m pretty sure that it will be rough sailing for quite some time.

      And the best case situation for both of these is: they force the wannabe-aristrocrats to shape up. Federalism will mean people will see what happens when the province next door (with reformists or simply enlightened trapos) looks better—and they will ask questions. Parliamentarism will mean trapos will be forced to stop petty feuding for the sake of preserving the golden goose that is the Philippine Government.


      Of course—there is a caveat:

      It looks good on paper. But what else looks good on paper? Lotteries. The long-term gains are high—but the short-term costs are equally high. Not to mention chaotic; what was it again: no plan survives the contact of war.

      Duterte’s erratic behavior and the opaqueness of the interests behind him—is there a hidden feud between the Right (GMA and co.) and Left in the administration, given all those anti-NPA broadsides in the Manila Times—are not good signs. And considering that any “reform” movement besides the…Far Left already in government…is unorganized…just how long will the “bitterness” of the bitter medicine last? Movements don’t organize themselves in a day. They take years, sometimes decades in gestation.

      And will the body politic even survive long enough for the bitter medicine to work its magic?

      • madlanglupa says:

        I would like to. But anti-intellectualism has taken hold so much that federalism is seen as a panacea, without thinking about what it demands from the citizens. We still have yet to attain political maturity to realize how federalism should be used, not for a select people but for everyone.

      • chemrock says:

        You say a selling point of federalism is that well run states can sort of be benchmarks that badly run states can look at and ask questions. That’s how pro-federalists are trying to sell too. Sure they can ask questions, but what can they do? Aren’t Filipinos asking questions when they look at Japan, Switzerland, Singapore etc? They can’t do anthing.

  25. andrewlim8 says:

    DUTERTE SAYS NO TO MARTIAL LAW- Inquirer headline 1 Dec 2016

    Tomorrow, the president’s communications team will tell us any of the following:

    1. Don’t take that literally, so he may declare it anyway.

    2. Use your creative imagination – so he may declare it anyway.

    3. There are layers of meaning in his statements- so he may declare it anyway.

    4. He is fond of oblique statements, so he may declare it anyway.

    5. He uses hyperbole, so he may declare it anyway.

  26. andrewlim8 says:

    “This fight is for the EDSA 1 generation. I was born free because of you. ”

    Awwwwww. Best sign of the day. Lump in your throat.

    • sonny says:

      Yes, all is forgiven. Come home, na.

        • sonny says:

          Sorry, Andrew if I’m cryptic. I share your sentiment about our millennials who recognize the gains of EDSA1. I can’t say ‘Awwwww’ for myself because I was an expatriate when EDSA1 happened. I address ‘all is forgiven’ to the other camp of millennials who don’t recognize what EDSA1 was all about. With this explanation, I hope I got the point of your thread. If not, I meant no foul.

  27. Bill In Oz says:

    Joe, I think that you are ‘infected’ with the political idea that the Philippines needs ‘a good man’ a “good president ‘ to save from evil And there is no good man, so the nation is destined for destruction.

    It is a peculiarly American type of political thinking. But I guess in earlier times it took the form of the “Good King” who saves the nation.

    Frankly I think this is mystical thinking. And not very helpful in the development of a modern nation state in the Philippines.

    The quality of a nation state & government are determined by the nature of it’s society. Philippines society is characterised by poverty & uncertainty; money, opportunity and jobs flow from ‘connections’ with powerful patrons. It is ‘person based’ not law & rules based.

    You think that this is all corrupt and yearn for the “Good Man/woman ” who will save the Nation. And De Lima is that “Good women”. So any attacks on De Lima are attacks on the nation’s savior. And your posts take on a prophetic Jerimiah like quality

    But in fact this type of person based political system is “normal’ all over South East Asia. It is how things are done. It is different to some ‘modernised’ regions of the world which try to predictable and consistent based on rules & laws.

    I doubt that many Filipino will pay much attention to your posts on this matter given this approach.

    And as for Federalism in the Philippines, that is totally different issue.

    • I will leave it to Filipinos on the blog to respond to your observations.

      • By way of statistics, the article has 4,353 reads so far. The prior blog “Knowledge rising” has had 55,946 reads as of this moment.

        • Bill In Oz says:

          I am content also to let Filipinos respond to my comment. I appreciate that the article has 4353 reads so far, But the number of people responding/commenting is also important. My count for these, is 27 individuals so far.

          • LG says:

            Bill in Oz. I see number of responses different from yours. Wonder why?

          • Presidents, senators, deans, journalists, and others holding sensitive public positions seldom comment. But they often read. Generally for the quality of discussion, not to tabulate them. Don’t put too much weight on any one blog. Kindly allow me to do what I do without headwind. I’m well into my second thousand articles.

            • Bill In Oz says:

              Joe, yes that is true. Silent readers do matter.

              As for “headwind” my purpose is not to stop or hinder you. Rather it is on this occasion, to help you see beyond your own mindset. And offer a contribution that comes from a different psychological & political perspective.

              By the way I do not think that the existing political way of doing things in the Philippines is ‘good enough ” or the best one. The issue is how to generate productive beneficial change to a more law & rules based political system in the Philippines.

              And on this topic, I remember reading that Duterte saying he will introduce a parliamentary system. Now that would be a real change for the better..See my comment below for reasons.

              • The issue is legitimate. Personalizing it to me is an offense against blog policy. It is not your position to overlay your own biases and limited knowledge on me. I do what I do for reasons that do not have to be justified to you. Read, or don’t. Great. Comment on the issues, or don’t. Great. Moralize about the author, don’t.

    • LG says:

      Well, Bill. Not only in Asia but someplace outside, like Oz. Some PMs of some federal nations change almost as frequently as the weather. It appears to me, it’s who and how they govern, and who is governed, not the type of government, that matters.

      I am a true blooded Filipino. I remain optimistic. Some day, someone will rise, close enough to fit the required gloves, to fight the fight for the Philippines, without controversy. Federalism or not.

      • Bill In Oz says:

        Hi LG ! It’s true that here in Oz we have had a period where our beloved Prime Ministers have been changed rapidly. Howard, Rudd, Gillard, Rudd, Abbot, Turnbull..And I suspect that Turnbull might have a short time as leader too.

        However far from seeing this as a problem I see it as a virtue. Each of these persons made decisions that were Not supported by anywhere near a majority of the Australian people. So we of rid of them.

        We entrust our governments to govern for us. When they don’t do that ( for whatever reason) we put the boot up their bums.

        I disagree with you when you say ” It’s who and how they govern, and who is governed, not the type of government, that matters” Practically speaking it’s far easier to get rid of PM than a President.

        In a parliamentary democracy the PM stays PM while he has the support of a majority of the House of Representatives. Here Reps get feedback from voters in their areas all the time via the media and via direct feedback to their offices in their electorates. If a PM is on the nose with the public ( as Turnbull is right now after only a year in the job ), the government members start to lose confidence in the PM & think about their own futures and how to stop a ‘catastrophe”. A change of leader is one way of ding this quickly. It can be all over in 2-3 days !
        By contrast getting rid of president via impeachment, who has lost the support of the public in the USA or the Philippines can take a year or two. And often, like with Nixon in 1972-74. it does not succeed. Now that is a total stuff up.

        I note you comment ” Some day, someone will rise, close enough to fit the required gloves, to fight the fight for the Philippines, ” Sorry LG I disagree. That is a version of the “good King” theory & mystical in nature. Surely the Philippines will be better off if political leaders are directly responsible to the Filipino people for their decisions in government. And got arid of, when ever needed.

        • well, at least LG has illustrated that it is not just the author’s American bias, it is a simple (universal) desire for good, earnest, honest leadership. If you saw the House hearing, Bill, you would grasp just how horrid the current batch of Duterte agents are. They control the House and I do not believe they represent the norm across Asia.

          • I don’t watch hearings whether on the Senate or the HOR. It’s definitely bad for my health. Unlike in the ones held during the PNOY admin where explosive revelations on the corrupt practices of VP Binay, complete with all the evidences (not one witness or affidavit from convicts who have nothing to lose but everything to gain (from immunity to reduced sentences and/or absolute pardon), the present hearings will surely turn the stomach and raise the blood pressure of civil minded citizens. These are some of the observations on the performances of our present “honorable” members of the legislature:

            “Instead of focusing on Dayan’s involvement in the drug trade during the hearings held on the controversy, members of the House Committee on Justice pried into the affair of Dayan and de Lima, asking lascivious questions which elicited lascivious answers. Some representatives defended their line of questioning by saying it was essential to establish the link between de Lima and Dayan, who in the hearing admitted receiving drug money from different drug personalities. Many questions, however, did not serve this purpose and were clearly out of line.

            Rappler collated some of the “nonsense” questions and listed the representatives asking these. Some of the most bizarre questions include what de Lima’s favorite dish was, when their anniversary was and whether they shared the same room. (“‘Kailan kayo nag-climax?’: Nonsense questions at the Bilibid drugs hearing,” Nov. 24)

            Inquirer also ran a report calling out the salacious questioning. The report recalled how the congressmen focused on the titillating details of the affair, pointing out that the congressmen chuckled over the sexually charged questions. The report cited the statement from Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, a member of the minority of eight as well as of the House Committee on Women, and reactions of disgusted netizens. (“House members feast on De Lima-Dayan love affair,” Nov. 25)


          • Bill In Oz says:

            “I do not believe they represent the norm across Asia” Well lets look quicly at the region :

            1 South Korean female president after accusations of having corrupt friend acting in her name, has after 2 months of massive demonstrations now offered to resign.
            2 : China : Do I really need to detail ?
            3 Makaysia : Massive theft by PM Najob Razak from the public purse now being investigated by the USA financial authorities as a lot of the stolen money wound up there.
            4 : Thailand : army 2 coups against a government that directs government funds away from the Bangkok elite and towards poor rural provinces
            5 Vietnam, a communist party dominated state which allows capitalism ( Doi Moi ) , providing that the cadres beneffit from corruption, bribes and gifts. The youngish idealistic PM who tried to change this was sacked by the party earlier this year for rocking the boat
            6 Papua New Guinea : endemic corruption for the past 30 years Persons “Big Men” run the show
            7 Laos : Communist party state with the cadres bleeding newish capitalist economic system
            8 Indonesia is in the midst of a major campaign to eliminate corruption under President Jokowo.I wish him luck
            9 The Philippines ;;Well we all know already..I need not go into details

            The one outstanding exception is Singapore which has a government of laws & rules. And here I have to acknowledge Lee Kwan Yuu’s extraordinary role is this happening from 1956 to mid 1990’s. He was Pm of Singapore.But effectively he functioned as the “Good King”

            I have just found your other comment which ends with the remark ” Moralize about the author, don’t.”

            Joe I am not moralising about you. I am not making any comment about your goodness or badness. I can see your idealism and desire for a better government in the Philippines. But I am suggesting that the way government operate throughout SEA is culturally very similar : very tied to bosses rather than laws & rules. The purpose of my comments is how best to change this in the Philippines

            • karlgarcia says:

              Your comment just made the argument that the need for a leader or set of leaders of integrity and of values very necessary. Not necessarily a saint, but good enough.

              • Istambay sa Kanto says:


              • Bill In Oz says:

                To ignore the role of Lee Kan Yuu would be denying the truth. But he had many assistants who were also just as inspired and helped this good King along the way.

                Chemrock could give us details

              • karlgarcia says:

                No one here is denying the role of LKY. What I recall was reacting when Duterte compared himself to LKY.
                Chemrock can indeed give more details.

              • chemrock says:

                There is always this hypothetical question of whether a Lee Kuan Yew could have done for Philippines what he did for Singapore. If all else remains the same, I would have to say a flat NO. Difference in size is not the critical issue. It’s an entirely different set of circumstances, of different peoples with entirely different value sets, of different political systems. Lee can never carry a nation that does not want to go along with him.

                Let’s put the hypothetical question another way. Can Philippines be as good as Singapore if the people adopts log stock and barrel the software, the social discipline, the various values like meritocracy, the willingness to trade some aspects of freedom, etc, in short, whatever we are as a nation. In the words of Lee himself, there is no reason why Philippines can’t be as good or even better than Singapore. It has enviable natural resources, the Filipinos that we hire in Singapore are as good as anyone else, in fact, the architects, the designers, they are so much more creative, and they are very adaptable

                Nie that it was in that same context Lee criticized the soft forgiving culture of Philippines that allowed the family of a past dictator to return to power. What he meant was, I think, Filipinos never learnt their mistakes, so they are bound to repeat their problems.

                I had initially thought I saw a Lee-like tough persona in Duterte which might be the “king” figure we are hoping for, but a terrible let down. But supposing Duterte is that king, say in the same moral mold of Lee, could he have been a saviour? My opinion is he may do some good, just as Pnoy did, but underlying problems remain. The reason is it’s impossible to expect a paradigm shift in 6 years. It took China 30 years, this is something Filipinos of today can see with their own eyes. It took Singapore 30 to 40 years. What Philippines can never have is the political continuity and stability for this 30 years for things to happen under it’s current existing presidential system. Nothing’s gonna changes even when it switches to a federal system. That was the prime reason I rooted for Mar Roxas which would have given Philippines 12 years political continuity.

              • edgar lores says:

                Chemrock, again — thank you.

            • Karl has responded to the issue you raise, about what to do about it. It is not to accept being like all the other corrupt nations, but to build something better. That is the gist of my article, and your comment, so we see things the same. The difference is I write to it to try to effect change, and you write to critique what I write about, suggesting the arguments come from ignorance: “As for “headwind” my purpose is not to stop or hinder you. Rather it is on this occasion, to help you see beyond your own mindset.”

              That is the moralization, that you believe you hold a more enlightened view than I do. As if you could read my mind, or do better what I try to do.

              If you can, why the hell are you not doing it, to help the Philippines progress?

            • chemrock says:

              Re Bill’ comment on ‘norms’ in those few countries

              I think Bill is slightly off tangent. Joe’s reference is to the whole bunch of scumbags in congress that prevents the country from going up. Bill refers to the problems of the heads of states.

              But Bill’s point is interesting. It does confirm that every country is different and needs to find their solutions. It also serves to demonstrate Bill’s point on parliamentary systems where the boss can be replaced easily. I think Sorkor Taiwan and Japan would best exemplify this.

              In the case of Sorkor, public pressure forces the Pres out, but there is no doubt it’s the party that is being forced to take the action.

              Malaysia is parliamentary democracy, but it has a unique political set up. Political parties are race based. The strongest party is UMNO and it has held power for decades with an alliance of a much smaller Chinese and Indian parties. The PM Najib is being investigated for a huge corruption scandal (there is a lingering stench of involvement in the murder of a Mongolian model) but the party UMNO does not push him out. That’s because whenever in trouble, the UMNO always play the race card. The spectre of a non Malay PM is the bogeyman. So the majority of the Malay Muslims always coalesce around their leader, corruption notwithstanding, unless there is another popular and outstanding leader. The public demo is majority from the opposition, so it will not translate to no confidence vote in the party.

        • chemrock says:

          I agree with Bill the no confidence vote of PM in a parliamentary system is a strength and not a weakness. A change in the PM normally has no impact on the running of the country in the sense civil service and ministers remain intact. In Philippines presidential system an impeachment of one president may cause a change in the entire cabinet.t

          • LG says:

            Bill and Chemrock. Thanks for the info.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Many Thanks.
            If the cabinet here are all certified professional civil servants, and not appointees, then we could have smooth sailing.

          • edgar lores says:

            I believe the frequent change of PMs in Oz has an adverse effect.

            Some changes in the leadership are not brought about by defeat at the elections. The changes are brought about by fear of defeat. They are the result of internal party squabbling and back-stabbing.

            The adverse effect lies in the frittering of political will. The concentration of the ruling party is on short-term look-good populist policies. Substance is set aside in favor of appearance.

            I point out the solutions on mining, climate change, boat people, and same-sex marriage as examples of short-term solutions.

    • “I doubt that many Filipino will pay much attention to your posts on this matter given this approach.” – Bill in Oz

      I don’t see anything wrong in The Society’s approach. Most of us are comfortable with his style of writing. Thought provoking, direct, and very accommodating in the way he responds to comments. Although most of his articles are not lengthy, he is often times kind enough to allow us to post super long comments and sharing of articles we think will enrich readers, on topic or not (once the current article has been fully discussed) and with his able and strict moderation for wayward and rude comments. Grammar police and personal confrontations are not encouraged here.

      The Philippines is still a young democracy. There is still a lot room for improvement, and we acknowledge that unfortunate reality; we need all the help we can get and we acknowledge as well with deep gratitude The Society’s concern which he had proven time and time again; we are truly appreciative of the deep love he has for the country he has adopted as his second home with his family here.

      We cannot control the response of every Filipinos but we will not waver in our quest for genuine freedom and democracy and good governance and this blog is one of those we come to as source of ideas to contribute to the continuous enlightenment, empowerment, enrichment, education and endless knowledge, wit and wisdom that we consistently get in this addictive blog.

      The search for the ideal, the prefect governance is never ending. The idea is to continue to reach out and share opinions and discuss them with open mind in a civil manner and we are able to find it here.

      The number 27 you counted is just like the number given by the PNP on the protest actions going around, some come early and depart just as early, some come at sunset and stays until midnight…. In this blog site your count does not reflect the lurkers, those who avidly read but do not have the time to comment, or intimidated by the deep thinkers of the commenters. Some are government officials and/or ordinary workers who sympathize but could not comment for fear of reprisals from their immediate supervisors. And some are fearful of the EJKs and are intimidated by the trolls. They are the silent majority. Silent but are reading.

      No one is perfect, no government is perfect as well. But kindness and civility is always welcome during our common quest for perfection.

      We are always reminded of his side bar caveat:

      “You are invited to join the discussion following the article. Great enrichment is typically found there. It is a place where people meet to validate or oppose the views expressed in the article, share their own knowledge and experience, or bring in additional information and wisdom. It is a respectful place, so please leave mud-caked shoes at the door . . .”

  28. Sharing a thread at Inside Philippine politics and beyond

    FaithandReason says

    December 1, 2016 at 4:17 am

    When injustice becomes law…resistance is duty: Thomas Jefferson

    My response was to share Anna Berkes comment:

    December 2, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    This statement has not been found in Thomas Jefferson’s writings, although it captures some of the ideas that Jefferson expressed in the Declaration of Independence, e.g. “…when a long train of abuses and usurpation, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government…”

    – Anna Berkes, 4/11/13…/when-injustice-becomes-law…

    My last comment was:

    December 2, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    We as Filipinos still prefer the gift we gave the world in EDSA 1…1986…a peaceful protest with almost no blood poured on the streets…peaceful protest action, non-violent but full of determination…may God help us all

  29. edgar lores says:


    From July1 to December 1, the death toll stands at 5,800.

    • edgar lores says:

      Oops. I failed in meme making. Don’t kill me!

    • NHerrera says:

      Not that it is something for the Admin to lose sleep on:

      5800 deaths
      153 days from July 1 to December 1

      = average of 38 (rounded) deaths each day of the 153 days.

  30. Bill In Oz says:

    Joe, you said : “If you can, why the hell are you not doing it, to help the Philippines progress?”

    Building a nation of laws and rules is what is needed
    A nation of ‘Big Men’ and women is what exists
    They generate poverty, corruption and cronyism
    Maintaining their power & place in the ‘ecosystem’
    What to do ?

    1 : Demand & enforce ‘responsibility’ for their doings of the Big Men & Women
    2 : How ? By changing the political environment so that the people can sack them whenever their decisions are stupid or corrupt or do not serve the people’s will
    3 A responsible parliamentary democracy best achieves this quickly.Elected representatives who make decisions and must live with the consequences of their political & economic decisions.
    4 A presidential system merely establishes what is effectively a despotic elected king (or Queen ). An elected King who is effectively safe from being deposed
    5 Introduce preferential voting ( or two stage voting ) to ensure that the parliament truly represents the people
    6 : Once a functioning responsible parliament is established should tackle as a first priority, a major economic growth program designed to eliminate mass poverty. Moving to a more prosperous society will reduce the ‘demand’ for favors from courtiers & hangers on.
    7 How ? A major infrastructure program to provide proper housing for the homeless
    8 Establishment of effective predictably enforced laws & rules that encourage investment in industry and generate jobs and employment
    9 Reform of the SSS so that it becomes a true Social Security program covering all employed people

    I think others here can fill in 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, etc. etc.

    But I want to suggest again as a major proposal this as well :
    That after political system is reformed any attempt to undermine it by Big Men or Big Women be punished by mandatory exile not less than 15 years.
    Why ? Because some of those who benefited from the old ways will seek to preserve their place, their power, their ill gotten wealth. I Jailing such persons in the Philippines would merely give additional opportunities to corrupt and deform the process of change. Fifteen years would I suggest be so long that their power and position in the old system was broken. Certainly 4-5 years was not sufficient with the Marcos mob.

    Could all this be done ? Yes if the people have sufficient political will as there was in 1986 when Marcos was overthrown. Unfortunately on that occasion while the mobster in Chief was exiled, his henchmen were not. Mrs Aquino cut off a snake off the head of the hydra. But she did not kill it. And so she allowed the old corrupt ecosystem to continue. And so later in a misplaced burst of generosity or compassion these evil doers were allowed to return

    These are spur of the moment ideas. But I hope they help the Philippines progress. At the moment Duterte is firmly the elected King of the Philippines. But he has promised political reform as well. So there may be the opening for change by better Filipinos after he has gone.

    • They are good ideas. The political will right now leans toward a Duterte dictatorship, so the problem is how to get to a wholesome parliamentary system. President Cory Aquino, like President Benigno Aquino III, was handicapped because she tried to run a law-bound, earnest government in a firestorm of dissent from the greater weight that is found in warlords and power mongers. The trick is for the law-abiding to speak to the needful in terms they understand. That trick has not been mastered. It is easier for the power mongers to speak of change and boldness than it is for the “good” to speak of stability and patience and gain the allegiance of the masses.

      So the question is, when the will of the powerful is for power and not democracy, and the need of the needful is for immediate satisfaction which cannot be delivered in real terms (better jobs and income), but only in terms of bluster and bold action (that harms the nation by undermining stability), how is the minority who want principles and good behavior supposed to break out and move an entire nation in a more wholesome direction?

  31. Bill In Oz says:

    The first step is analyze your opponent carefully.

    How old is he ? He’s 73 now and at the end of his term he will be almost 80. He has already said he wants to retire & go back home in Davao. On this I take him at his word.I don’t think he wants to establish a dynasty.

    The major ‘achievement’ of Duterte so far, is the war on drugs. he has another 5 years to go. Imagine that his campaign actually worked and drug use and drug pushing was greatly reduced. What else will he do ?

    There will probably be a groundswell of support for Duterte to implement his other major campaign promises including changes to the & constitution & political system itself…. . Contribute to that groundswell for change and put forward a program that actually offers hope. Try to make sure that Duterte’s camp followers do not use this opportunity as an occasion to establish themselves forever in power and position.

    That will be the opportunity for the opposition to contribute to the change in positive ways that help the Philippines “break out and move as an entire nation in a more wholesome direction”

    • Peter Penduke says:

      “I don’t think he wants to establish a dynasty.”

      That is not supported by facts. They have a dynasty in Davao City. And in my close to 6 decades of experience in this country, there is NO OTHER reason why political dynasty persists: Binay syndrome.

      Now, Duterte seems scaling this up to national level. Most, if not all of his actuations so far, has the footprints of Marcos. And Marcos we know is the epitome of what is wrong with dynasty.

      Federalism is a step to this direction. Remember, he also does not want to run for the presidency – so when Duterte said he will step aside if Federalism is in place, take it with a sack of salt.

    • chemrock says:

      Bill what opposition is there –

      – a magnificent 7 in Congress minority
      – a minority in senator
      – a majority 9 SC justices appointed by GMA with partisan opinions that favour GMA-Marcos-Dutere interests, with Duterte going to appoint 10 justices in his term and the writing on the wall is he is beholden to Imee to favour the justice nomination as prodded by her. If you had seen the JBC interview of Imee and Duterte’s nominee, the PAO chief, you would have puked at her legal prowess and wisdom.

      Duterte has shown everything openly that he is going down the Marcos route, there is no other way to interpreted these :
      – Imee’s largese in his BPI bank accounts. He is indeed a seat warmer for Bongbong. From the very beginning he has shown he was not really keen on the presidency. His behaviour in the office actually goes to confirm his non-interest in the job.
      – his first job was to buy PNP and AFP loyalty with doubled salaries
      – he wants to reestablish the Special Constabulary, a Marcos hound dog
      – he wants to bring back ROTC. If this happen, it will be a great tragedy for the country. Imagine a youth paramilitary under a bunch of Duterte diehards. This will be a youth fascist wing, the stormtroopers.
      – he is creating exactly the same situation of instability and fear and grounds for agitation that Marcos did before martial law declaration.

      A cancer diagnosed in it’s early stages still has hope of being beaten.

      • Bill In Oz says:

        Chemrock, you said “Bill what opposition is there”..Now that is a good question

        Let’s recall what happened after Duterte was elected president..Virtually all of Aquino;s elected Liberal House of Representatives members & Senators party switched sides to support Duterte. Think about that. What can we learn from it ?
        1 : That they did not BELIEVE in an Liberal Party philosophy or program or policies

        2 : That they were & remain basically OPPORTUNISTS seeking the best way of getting power, influence & money. In Australia we think of such politicians as scum, not worth a pinch of s**t.

        So now the opposition ( and I am not saying Liberal party people, Yellow shirts here ) must rebuild. And of necessity treat what happened as a ‘blessing’ and not problem. Now all the opportunist scum are all gone.

        And there are indeed people who do NOT support Duterte and his mob in the Philippines. But it is now a bit hazardous isn’t it to come out openly and publicly in opposition. So in finding those people who are willing to oppose Duterte’s regime in public, you will be finding the most precious thing of all : genuine believers & supporters. And that is a double blessing.

        Did I read that students are protesting against Duterte ? They are true believers. Are ther still some Liberals in the House who have not opportunistically gone over to Duterte ? They are among your public leaders….Those reading here already know of others or who are having doubts about the ‘blessings’ of Duterte’s government. In time they will be ready to become part of ‘National Front’ developing a program for the advancement of the Filipino people…..

        • chemrock says:

          The points you raised here have been discussed many times over in TSH. Others may explain more eloquently, my brief explanation here

          Turncoatism is a major weakness and problem of Philippines politics. It’s all about reps scurrying to a side that will favour them with PDAFs.

          When Pnoy won in 2010, lots of other other scumbags switched to LP. Of course LP loved that so as to control majorities in senate and congress. Similarly, when Duterte won, many crossed over. Most of the LP members who switched party were those originally some other parties. Some remain in LP but they join the majority side in congress.

          It has nothing to do with ideologies or platforms. On superficial scanning of personalities, LP members seem to be more palatable politicians to me.

          If you are thinking of LP as the core opposition tasked with the responsibility to rebuild and offer a challenge to the admin, I don’t think it’s going to work. There is simply too much lies, false news, distrust, the ground has been poisoned almost irreparably that the LP cannot rebrand themselves as a saviour. Simply put, the data guys lost, and I can’t see data winning over emotion.

          I do not wish for Philippines to have a regime change via impeachment. My point has nothing to do with democratic principles or messy and painful way. But the disiveness of the nation at this time means that a new president, let’s say VP Leni takes over, would be guaranteed a hellish environment of bitter hatred and destructive opposition. Instability, much like Cory’s time, will be repeated. It’s not going to be good for the country.

          The current admin is on a course of self destruction, as any govt would if top leadership concentrates on creating fear and criminality, undermines democratic institutions, plots haphazard foreign policies, and pushes economic management to the background. Sooner or later, the backlash will come. It’s inevitable. The peso is now 11% weaker than 5 months ago. Yet the govt is going into deficit spending. The impact is not fully felt in the retail market yet. When inventories get replaced, which is is about 3 to 6 months, retail prices will rise. This will trigger lots of pain and unhappiness. Even OFWs who thought that remittances will be higher in peso terms will find the vagaries of exchange rates nay be a zero sum game.

          The weakening of the economy will be the president’s problem to watch. This will be the cause of increased disenfranchisement that will lead to Senator Trillane’s tipping point. That’s when scumbags in congress and senate will re-align their loyalties.

          • chemrock says:

            My bottom line comment is let it get worse, let it get more intolerable. Filipinos need to get hurt before they can appreciate that the way of the clenched fist leads to no paradise.

    • Thea says:

      @Bill In Oz

      On the contrary, Pres. Duterte belongs to a political dynasty himself in Cebu then later on in Davao. Surely, he does not need to establish one.

      War on drugs achieved a total of 5,617 killings in a short span of 4 months surpassing the 5,312 Ejks recorded over a period of 30 years and 8 months, if that is an achievement. It brings me back chills if Duterte will continue his war on drugs this way for another 5 years. No need to imagine, his campaign has already worked. It silenced those who can tell where the suppliers are. What all of us must imagine,I must say, what if 10 out of those 5,617 killed can attest who are behind the drug problem? Will it help solve the problem? Applying his campaign, are we sure an addict will stop using drug out of fear? Are we sure big drug suppliers/pushing will stop when they are behind bars? Well, it exists only in fairy tales if we say yes. So…

      Groundswell support from the people? Yes,of course. As you said, Philippine society is “person based”. Duterte will get support from Cebu and Leyte, where his origins came and which family names ring Cuenco, Almendra, Veloso, Osmena,et al. He will have his Davao connection as well as Ilocos. He will get support from those who feared him, just like those who sung the Bagong Lipunan during the Martial Law, those who saw death is equivalent to opposing the power.

      And where is the opposition? Nope, there is no opposition. No LP. LP is beaten. They are enjoying the newly born puppies or taking in charge of the nephews. Those voices of the few are so faint almost not heard. Duterte has all the support from SC to the House till the brgy. kagawads who provides the lists of drug dependents. And, their support opens them to too much opportunities like more budget for pork barrel, extra protection, and freedom of malicious speech. With federalism, aka Philippine model proposed by Sen. Pimentel, they intend to stay in power for good, including their mistresses and shoemakers.

      Positive? The only positive happening is the awakening of the millennials. These are those who believe in laws, justice and rules. These people are NOT from the supporters of Duterte. These people oppose the EJK. They are still few and perhaps could not bring period/halt to the promised change by the present administration.

  32. andrewlim8 says:


    Duterte: It Was Me Who Asked the SC to Re-install Bongbong Marcos as VP.

    “I admit that it was me who asked for this, so he could be observed. Yung si ano malinis yun. Si Marcos may tama. We are trying to build a case against him, and it would disrupt the investigation if we did not put him in the VP position.

    ha ha ha ha

  33. “You think that this is all corrupt and yearn for the “Good Man/woman ” who will save the Nation. And De Lima is that “Good women”. So any attacks on De Lima are attacks on the nation’s savior. And your posts take on a prophetic Jerimiah like quality”

    I agree 110% w/ this, Bill. That’s what I’ve been trying to hammer in the other thread, and right before my 60 day hiatus. Don’t over-vilify and don’t put folks in pedestals, assume that Filipino politicians are all dirty and just focus on results, whether or not they deliver.

    To add to your list of things to do, I suggested the SoH do a letter writing campaign requesting certain stuff to be done in the Philippines from DU30 ‘s administration, almost like Ireneo’s internet speed article, then gauge how responsive and grade results based on generated asks to Malacanang Palace,

    For retirees, this is the best real world experiment to see if DU30 is creating a more responsive and results driven gov’t there.

    • karlgarcia says:

      You can not just write your president or even your congressman or mayor unless it is news worthy.
      To give credit,If implemented, the telephone numbers for lousy service complaints, the social media channels,etc is good, the line to the president if ever he answers,then great!

      This extension of passport,license renewals is good.


      Over vilifying,putting to a pedestal.

      Delima is over vilified, she is not put into a pedestal,if she is,I am not one of them.
      But if she is guilty, do not humiliate her further,just “the part of the game” stuff,but not the disgusting below the belt stuff.

      • karlgarcia says:

        I guess they really don’t want Robredo around, I would not be surprised if they push BBM to be the VP.

      • Americans usually write their Congressmen if they are concerned about something – the word Representative is taken seriously. Germans do also – it was one of my brother’s jobs before to sort through letters from an MPs constituency – and draft answers to them.

        Who do Filipinos turn to if, let us say, the street lamp around the corner is broken? Yeah, if you are in a subdivision, the homeowner’s association I guess. But if not, what then?

        What does the barangay do? Just invite people over for Tokhang meetings like in QC?

        • We also have district meetings in our part of Munich, but not mandatory and not to ask us if we are using drugs. The district council presents its works, reports on current issues and citizens can even put in resolutions or ask questions – this is a quarterly thing.

          Never been there, but I do read what matters are on the agenda of the invitations – the district would be the closest thing to barangay over here. There are also lively district-level meetings of different political parties represented in the council, party members are informed of the agenda and results. Even if it is just about what sidewalks need to be fixed, what pubs are causing noise and trouble, the crime report of the police.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Many thanks. Mareng Winnie attempted to remind us of the importance of the barangay.


            • karl,

              I understand that there is no participatory concept in the whole notion of democracy there in the Philippines (maybe this is the root of all that’s wrong there, Filipinos are happy marching and protesting, not engaging their reps). Hence I said to write the President’s office direct.

              Let’s say Dengue fever, yeah you can complain with your barangay or city or town or province, but for this little project, let’s say you write the President’s office and say, hey people are dying of Dengue fever here, it’s as simple as ensuring no still water for mosquitoes to lay their eggs, please Mr. President do something about it,

              send the letter, then wait a week and see if you guys receive acknowledgement, I’m sure they’ll give you local or point of contacts, that means you get to tout a letter of acknowledgement from the President’s office, and then gauge whether or not those contacts the President has provided you will get anything done,

              if yes, then write another letter thanking the Pres.’s office , if no, then tell the office of the President and then test if shit truly rolls downhill, that’s how you gauge responsiveness, karl.

              Dengue is just one example, think of other complaints, then write. As with Ireneo’s internet speed study, so then we can discuss how responsive DU30’s gov’t is, after all this was his promise. This whole letter writing campaign is better if you’re part of a group, ie. civil group, veterans group, nature group, etc. because representatives respond quicker when

              there’s number. But IMHO for public safety, health issues, like an impending epidemic, I’m sure there’ll be a response too. But my point is test the office of the President there.

              This isn’t quasi-philosophical , this is something people can do right now. 😉 Test it.

              • karlgarcia says:

                I remrmber a sory of three kids sending a paper boat to malacanang via the pasig river. All three were presented by ex pres Macapagal Arroyo in her SONA (first?)
                There was a story thar one of them died recently, that iswhy I remembered them.

                Maybe we should just send a paper boat to get attention.

                Kidding. If the internet is used other than trolling brigades, then the presudent can respond accordingly, but he prefers the telephone, he even left a number.

              • “…then the presudent can respond accordingly, but he prefers the telephone, he even left a number.”


                The reason why you don’t merely call is because you’d want to leave a paper trail. A letter is official …unless that Presidential hotline is documented sufficiently , ie. with case or file numbers.

                Otherwise , you’d want an official looking letter, typed and if possible with some organization letter head to imply that more than there’s more than one person complaining. Power in numbers.

                Ireneo’s brother can probably explain more on the process at the other end of where that sent letter goes, but you’d also want to CC or copy furnish a bunch of other organizations and offices, to bring more offices into the loop.

                Unless it’s very important, ie. news worthy, don’t expect the President himself to see it, his staff and office will be handling these citizen generated letters. The test is how quickly they respond and what they do about it.

                I remember in my neck of the woods, mountain biking was allowed, then a few knucklehead mountain bikers hit some hikers on the trail and a complaint was lodged and overnite, mountain biking was banned.

                It was public land ran by the US Forest Service, so after complaints at the local level, we were advised to form a group to better answer the issues we had. From there the US Forest Service leaders were able to get other groups that use this public land and come with solutions to all our problems.

                With some public funds , and the local Boy Scout troops , we were able to expand some trails and even make trails specific to mountain biking. So the use of public land was better honed, with just some citizen participation—- it all started out with my buddies and me generating a complaint (as to why we couldn’t bike the trails),

                and became a big project—- so that’s an example of participatory democracy and letter writing (and we did CC our Congressman , as well as State senator).

              • @LCpl_X
                This non-participatory of many Filipinos is probably true. However, only to some extent? Because to shed some light on how a majority of Filipinos “participate”, they usually would prefer to rely on using ‘connections’. The “I know *insert authority figure here*” kind of stuff. If there is no direct connection to the office of concern, name drops are still on the table and this will then usually result to threats of ‘escalation’ so that their own problems can be solved. There is actually a Filipino adage to this: “Sindakan lang yan. Ang masindak, talo.” (Loosely translated: “Just rely on shock tactics. The one that gets ‘shocked’, loses.”)

                But if shock tactics won’t work, they would then just suck it up.

                Still, if there is one thing that I would like to emphasize, it is that a problem is usually just solved only for one person. And yes, Regardless of how many other people are experiencing the problem. Seldom will a process be revised for the betterment of everyone under it. It’ll usually only happen when the problem becomes glaringly obvious and this is pretty much a very vicious and very inefficient cycle.

                I’m not sure if it the people’s approach contributes to this but compare a complainant that says:

                I’m having a hard time because of your system, do something about it.”


                We’re having a hard time because of your system, do something about it.”

                I usually hear the former.


                But with regards to the current government, it is actually just as of recent that I tried contacting government offices for inquiries about certain problems (Usually via email with an occasional phone call). To my surprise, they actually reply within a few days! I’m not sure if this was the case before with the previous admins but speaking to some friends who usually have businesses with different government offices, they say that the service is actually somewhat quicker as of recent. But do know that this is just a small sample size.

                But then again, rereading your comment and reading also the link to your other comment about a letter writing campaign, what you want is for the people to contact Malacanang directly? Hmm… I usually try to contact the offices concerned and they do forward me to another office if need be. But I’ll try to give this a shot. Maybe enlist the help of other people as well. haha

                Lastly, on a side note, would this kind of things be brought up if not for the things that are happening now? I think I’ve mentioned many times before that it is only with great adversity that the people will change. So to those that say that we will not gain anything from a Duterte presidency, is it really still the case? Because if there is another view that I’m currently entertaining: “People usually need a common enemy for them to be united.” So will the people become more involved with the political process because of what is happening now? Just some random musings. =)

              • chemrock says:

                Just outside of Malacang, they set HP a new office called Presidential Action Team. People bring their problems there. The guys there write them a referral letter to the relevant govt offices to assist the petitioners. I have heard from quite a few that PAT referrals work wonders.

                That’s credit due. Response time is good with intercession of PAT.

              • edgar lores says:

                I find this innovation of PAT (Presidential Action Team) peculiar. I am not sure anyone deserves a pat on the back for it.

                For one, the innovation reinforces the culture of patronage. It is a variation of the palakasan system. One needs to know someone and to obtain a referral, an endorsement, from him to gain bureaucratic attention.

                For another, it increases the inefficiency of the bureaucracy. There are now two offices to visit instead of one, and priorities are established randomly by political influence.

                In short, the innovation plays to the weaknesses of the Filipino of personalizing interactions.

                From a systems perspective, the solution should be to simplify bureaucratic procedures and to impress public servants that their duty is to give service with a smile without playing favorites.

                Just as an example, the simplest and fairest queuing procedure is: first come, first serve. In government offices here in Oz, there are ticketing machines located just pass the entry that will assign one a number. One does not even have to queue, simply find a seat and wait for the number to be called. Some machines are a little bit more sophisticated and offer a menu of the services available. Depending on the service one selects, one might be assigned to specialists with the proper expertise. This also reduces unnecessary interaction in that the reason for one’s visit is known in advance. Sometimes, the ticketing machine is replaced by helpful receptionists that do the necessary triage on one’s business and assign one a number.

                To be sure, PAT seems to be a variation of the helpful receptionists that I describe. There might be a need for it if it is not clear with which department one needs to carry out a transaction. I doubt that there would be many cases like these.

              • LG says:

                I agree with E.L. The PAT is just a Duterte innovation/gimmick; makes him look like he is instrumental- in short, powerful. “To go to guy”, like a Jordan, a Bryant, a Curry, or a James….except that such names are unquestionably authentic in their game.

              • ip,

                Thanks for the feedback, man. Yeah the whole point is to test DU30’s regime, so it has to be his office.

                But what chempo described is a far, waaaaay better, better process than even we have here.

                So yeah, man, if you wanna test out DU30’s gov’t ‘s responsiveness then that Team chempo mentioned is a great place to start… and if you can get a handful of your buddies to poke & prod and see if they produce results, then even better (you can write a report for us, re the Responsiveness of DU30’s gov’t 😉 , would be great reading I’m sure.)

                I’d also add, if you wanna do more than just expose problems or lodge complaints via that channel that chempo mentioned, you might also attempt and see if you ‘re able to offer solutions to the President’s office for certain issues or problems, to write a proper letter, Google

                “Policy Memo sample”, basically a proper policy memo offers three possible paths as solutions, usually path 1 is the current path , in which the writer outlines the pros and cons; then path 2 , then 3, then you’d conclude with what you think would be the best path. Basically, it’s what advisors do, but in paper and it’s called a policy memo.

                All the Marcos and EJK and politics aside or notwithstanding… it seems to me, like DU30 is kicking-ass actually governing. Nat’l government responsiveness and results would definitely be good reading, right about now, ip 😉 .

              • “People usually need a common enemy for them to be united.” So will the people become more involved with the political process because of what is happening now?”


                I think it’s just as simple as having something like the Presidential Action Team in place, ie. an easy to navigate process, where you don’t have to wait, with no results, and to top it all off, get random bullets inserted into your bags 😉 . Just have an easy, accessible process and show results. Simple.

              • “I agree with E.L. The PAT is just a Duterte innovation/gimmick; makes him look like he is instrumental- in short, powerful. “To go to guy”, like a Jordan, a Bryant, a Curry, or a James….except that such names are unquestionably authentic in their game.”

                If you have gov’t clerks asking for money under the table all the time, won’t this fix it? OR at least jump start a more responsive gov’t?

                I agree with edgar, “the solution should be to simplify bureaucratic procedures and to impress public servants that their duty is to give service with a smile without playing favorites.”

                But if procedures aren’t in place already, and public servants are busy asking for money or they’ll put bullets in your bag, what else can DU30 do right now? What edgar is proposing requires a certain culture, a certain culture that requires customers to also be of a certain temperament, ie. if gov’t clerks give them the run around, they’ll yell at them or complain.

                What else aside from PAT (chemp, I’ve googled this and nothing on PATs, is there I website you can link us to? thanks) can DU30’s administration do, LG? 😉

              • LG says:

                In all my already long adult life, I never had to bribe anybody to get important documents in due time, like passports, NSO BCs, school transcripts, driver’s license, visa, etc. from agencies, whether public or not. I find our public offices not too bad for a developing country like ours.

                It’s the uninformed who generally have trouble getting what they need in due time….usually the ones who don’t have the means to bribe. Procedural ignorance can be quickly resolved by just acting sooner than later. Another matter, if financing is involved.

                People, who bribe (in cash or gift), are generally “smart”, “over informed”, usually manipulative to get what they need in less time for higher gain. They may need or want things done much faster, want something done either illegally/unethically, and/or have an acceptable advantage over a competitor.

                In fairness and reconsideration…..

                The PAT (Presidential Action Team) office could promote participatory governance with the president’s office of the local government offices.

                Would be useful as referral source for complimentary job and justice seekers, especially. Also complimentary legal and small business set up assistance seekers

                PAT users would be the unconnected, undereducated, or underfunded.

                To have the PAT office only at Mendiola leaves out those who need to travel long distance and who may need it most.

                There should be PAT-like local units across the country, through municipalities, if not barangays….with the Mendiola office, the CENTRAL unit, monitoring local unit efficacy, among other central functions.

                The local PAT-like would be known as MAT (Municipal Action Team) or BAT(Barangay Action Team).

                For trustworthiness, updated, reliable info at the PAT office should be identical to the info at the MAT or Barangay unit. Such info should be available online….verbal and print info for those who have no internet access. No ques, just numbers to have on a first come, first served basis, at the PAT office and MAT units.

                Just musing…

              • edgar lores says:

                I like the BAT.

              • LG says:

                BAT is also my preference, E.L. Closest to everyone. Barangays will truly become the root of government.

              • LG says:


                In all my already long adult life, I never had to bribe anybody to get important documents in due time, like passports, NSO BCs, school transcripts, driver’s license, visa, etc. from agencies, whether public or not. I find our public offices not too bad for a developing country like ours.

                Bribing is unlikely done by the poor; likely done by someone who can afford to bribe. Why bribe if what you need done is legal and ethical, and you are not in a hurry to get such done?


                In fairness to the Duterte administration and reconsideration of its potential value, the PAT Office:

                Could promote and encourage participatory governance of the local government with the national government;

                Would be useful as a pro bono agency for assistance with employment, legal, health, business development issues, etc. (as PAT Office users would likely be the under connected, under educated, and/or under funded);

                Should branch out into units across the country….in municipalities as MAT or in barangays as BAT…with it (PAT) assisting local units for performance efficacy, among other major functions; and

                Should maintain updated and reliable info, MAT or BAT units to have identical info. Such info should be available online….verbal and print info for those who have no internet access.

                Just my random musings….

              • chemrock says:

                Re PAT

                I agree absolutely with Edgar that from the management science point of view, it adds a redundant layer to the process. This is ivory tower view.

                I have always thought Duterte has a good ground feel. He has the instinct to do stuff that the ground loves. He visits grieving family where he kiss the departed on the forehead, he dances with a group of youngsters, stuff like this. PAT is similar. It looks gimmicky but it serves the needy. For the needy, they get results, and that’s what matters. PAT has a role in an inefficient and corrupt bureaucracy.

                In Singapore, the offices of our members of parliament play a somewhat similar role, and more.

                In governance, one has to sometimes look beyond the political and management science textbooks. Here’s a good example. Singapore is a sticker to rules and parking offences is something that thousands get caught everyday. Sometimes it’s impunity ( you deserve the fine) sometimes you forget, sometimes you went over the time allowed, sometimes you ran out of tickets, etc. The fines for parking offences keeps doubling if you don’t pay on time, on first, second or third reminers. It’s a cash cow for the govt. But the govt knows it generates a lot of anger, because all offenders have a reason justifiable for excuse in their own opinion. But rules are rules in Spore and no one can simply make your summons disappear. So the govt has a special little office somewhere for people to go and plead their case. I went there a few times. First time I really prepared my case very well. I went to the office, took a number (long queues every day) and when my turn came, I proceeded to explain. The officer showed a complete lack of interest, as you can imagine he has heard that explanation before, plus a few thousand others. When i stopped talking, he took my summon, chop and sign it, and indicated ‘ reduced to xxx$’ and looking past me, he yelled “NEXT”. It took me a few visits to understand there is no cancellation, just some reduction, and that it was simply a way to show the govt listens to you after all. It’s simply allowing people to let off steam. You can explain you parked indiscriminately because you were running for a CR, or the parking attendant was rude, or my parking coupon slipped down the dash board — who cares.

                Back to PAT, the real usefulness to the govt is what do they do with the info. There is actually a gold mine to the office. It is what Lance suggest — tracking response time , etc. But it is much more than that. If PAT does nothing but simply dishes out referral letters, then Edgar has his day – its a total waste of resources, except the admin scores political points. The info at PAT is treasure trove for a good manager. When Sir Richard Brandon started the Virgin Airlines, he had a complaints office where customers are encouraged to log in if they were unhappy. Everyday when he goes to the office, the first thing that Branson did was to scan through all the complaints personally. A good manager wants to know what is wrong, not what us going smoothly.

              • edgar lores says:

                Certainly, something can be gained from PAT — such as a higher employment rate.

                But should not response times and other metrics — such as time-and-motion studies, critical path, procedural/ forms/functional analysis, office layout — be done internally by managers, the Sir Richard Branson’s, of each department?

                Sometimes the ivory tower view is the pragmatic view.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Exhibit A: text message telling Leni to desist from attending meetings.
                At first Leni wanted it in writing,but that never happened.

                If the Presidential office is like that with the Vice president, what treatment do we expect the ordinary citizen gets?

              • “There is actually a gold mine to the office. It is what Lance suggest — tracking response time , etc. But it is much more than that. “

                EXACTLY, chemp! Over here we learn early on in elementary that we can write our State reps , mayors, county supervisors, and US senators and congressmen. There is a sense that these guys work for us, not the other way around.

                Bureaucracy’s everywhere, even in your most well oiled governments. We’re already talking crap about P.A.T. , why don’t we test it out? See if the process actually alleviates and improves responsiveness, before we start willy nilly criticizing it—-

                use it first, then we’ll see if it’s good or if it needs to be re-done, etc. Let’s gather data first 😉

              • karlgarcia says:

                The Presidential Action Center (PACE), a front line desk in the Office of the President, serves as a liaison unit with various departments and agencies of the Government and private institutions/companies on all requests for assistance, and information, as well as complaints and grievances of the general public.

                Ang Presidential Action Center ay isang pangunahing opisina sa Tanggapan ng Pangulo ng Pilipinas, ay nag-uugnay sa iba’t ibang ahensiya at tanggapan ng pamahalaan at maging mga pribadong tanggapan upang mabigyan ng kaukulang tulong at impormasyon ang taong bayan.

                It aims to effectively bridge the delivery of services to the general public, as it strives to provide satisfactory conclusion to the needs of the public, through the most appropriate and efficient means available.

                Nais nitong magsilbing daan upang maipaabot ang iba’t ibang serbisyo ng ating pamahalaan sa taong bayan, at upang magkaroon ng tugon o lunas ang paghingi ng tulong ng sinuman.

                The Center hopes to serve as a rich source of valuable data, providing the Office of the President with enhanced insight as to the most pressing of public concerns.

                Hangad ng PACE na makaipon ng datos at kaalaman upang gabayan ang Tanggapan ng Pangulo sa pagbigay ng agarang lunas sa mga higit na pangangailangan ng taong bayan.

                The services of the Center may be availed of by letter-senders:
                Via email – thru email address:
                Via postal service – thru PACE official address at 2/F GAMA Bldg., Minerva corner J. P. Laurel Streets, San Miguel, Manila
                Via facsimile thru Telefax No. +63(2)-7368621
                PACE may be reached thru the following telephone connections:
                HOW CAN PACE HELP YOU?

                1. Send your letter or complaint following these simple and easy instructions:

                Magpadala ng sulat – kahilingan o reklamo sa pamamagitan ng mga sumusunod na pamamaraan:

                a. Indicate clearly your name, complete address and contact number (if any).

                Isulat ang inyong pangalan, kumpletong tirahan at contact number, kung mayroon man, nang malinaw at madaling basahin.

                b. Explain clearly the details of your request or complaint.

                Isulat ng malinaw ang lahat ng detalye ng inyong kahilingan o reklamo.

                c. Include photocopies of pertinent documents that will help PACE in understanding your concern and in determining the appropriate agency for your concern.

                Ilakip ang kopya ng mahahalagang dokumento na makakatulong sa PACE upang maunawaan ang inyong kahilingan at matukoy kung aling ahensiya ang higit na makapagbibigay-lunas sa inyong suliranin or kahilingan.

                2. Wait for a copy of the Action Document of PACE for your guidance on where you may follow-up your concern.

                Kayo ay makakatanggap ng kopya ng Action Document ng PACE, para malaman ninyo kung saan kayo maaaring magtungo upang makipag-ugnayan sa pinagpadalhang ahensiya ng inyong kahilingan o suliranin

                PACE CITIZEN’S CHARTER (Download PDF File here)

              • edgar lores says:

                If PACE exists, why create PAT?

              • karlgarcia says:

                Is Pat not the same as Pace?
                Then it is another un necessary layer.

              • NHerrera says:

                @ karl, edgar

                PACE = Presidential Action Center
                PAT = Presidential Action Team

                Yan ang ibig sabihin ng pagbabago. PACE is the old stuff. No need to improve it, if improvement is indeed needed. Create a new one.

              • “I like the BAT”.

                possible motto: ‘bahala na si BATman’.

              • LG says:

                Sorry, guys. I resent an edited reply, the original of which, I did not realize had been sent.

              • I don’t know what you are referring to. What comment, and who edited it? Commenters cannot edit comments. I can, and certain authors can edit for their own posts.

              • LG says:

                To Karl. As posted, PACE appears too wieldy, too many requirements. Must be why it is not so useful or effective as a solution. Or is it?

        • “The district council presents its works, reports on current issues and citizens can even put in resolutions or ask questions – this is a quarterly thing.”

          I’d add it’s recorded, transcripts available either on line or in your local library. Local public libraries (hell, even private libraries, like museums etc. too) are also venues of all this public discourse.

          I know there’s really no public libraries over there, and local barangay halls are used to play billiards or drink Red Horse, but I have seen barangay halls as public libraries, with books directly from the US/EU/Australia from those living there.

          • @Edgar, bureaucracy would only work if people are aware of how it works. Sadly, many don’t and this is where PAT comes in. So if anything, that was probably an excellent move by the government as they didn’t forget to take into account the users first.

            Because if it isn’t apparent with the systems that were set in place before that didn’t work, with good intentions and all that: If the people don’t understand what is it that should happen, it’ll be all moot as they probably would not bother. Because to be blunt, Filipinos are like children and you probably need to hold their hands along the way for now. You really can’t expect much from these people as of now and the sooner that it is realized, the sooner that we may get out of this mess.

            Nevertheless, there is some sort of learning curve to this kind of things and if people overcome it, it is a done deal. So it really should be considered if the people are overcoming the curve. Because If not, there is probably something wrong and a revision should probably implemented. But for that to happen, someone really has to listen and understand first.


            And in other news:
            A feedback system is to be set in place?

            {President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Executive Order No. 9, strengthening the Office of the Cabinet Secretary (OCS).

            The EO places under the OCS the Office of Participatory Governance (OPG) and the Strategic Action and Response (STAR) Office.

            The OPG is tasked to promote and ensure the direct participation of stakeholders in crafting of policies and programs to address concerns at the grassroots level.

            The STAR Office, on the other hand, is tasked to ensure the timely action and response to complaints from the public. It will directly supervise the Presidential Action Center, now renamed the Presidential Complaint Center.

            The Cabinet Secretary will continue to assist the cabinet and be a member of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) board committees.

            Duterte, a long-time mayor of Davao City, has been hands-on in the corruption crackdown in agencies. He has established the 8888 hotline where the public can file complaints against government offices.}


            • edgar lores says:


              Thank you. But why are you making excuses all the time? People don’t understand this, people don’t understand that.

              I do not deny that PAT works. It is effective. But it is a short-term solution and, in terms of proper long-term systems and procedures, it is an inefficient and unnecessary solution that plays to cultural weaknesses.

              You seem to have a very low opinion of our countrymen. People have learned how queue, have they not? So they just have to learn to take a number and wait for their number to be called. And public servants have to learn to be respectful and dutiful. I understand the civil force is being trained to be just that.

              • @Edgar. I’m just pointing out the things that I’ve observed and experienced myself ever since I’ve been born in this country. However, If I am to ask you if what I said is incorrect: Is it really incorrect? But of course, if I generalize everyone, it will be, of course. But what if I said that it is the case with only a vast majority of Filipinos? Is it still incorrect? If it is, well, then why do we have this problem then?

                But still, if anything, what I’m just trying to say is that do try and take these kind of things into account. If people can’t acknowledge this simple thing, then we really are not going anywhere. As I’ve mentioned before, there is a learning curve to this kind of things. You can’t just go straight from A to F without going through B,C,D, and E first. Because if you do: It’ll be severely inefficient, if not even a complete waste of time.

                And sure, it may seem simple and intuitive to many of you here, but do try and reflect on how you got to where you are in the first place. Other people were surely there, personally invested in your growth. If not, it would have probably been your environment, which would still have probably been conducive to your development. Now, try to compare it to these other people. How different is it?

                Nonetheless, I do agree with what you’ve said the the PAT is a short-term solution. However, if there is another thing to note, it is that the Filipinos are basically stuck in a deadlock as both sides are non-cooperative. So actions like this will surely be crucial in breaking it so that we can actually start to go somewhere.

              • edgar lores says:


                Sorry, you are speaking in generalities.

                o What exactly is the problem with what I described?
                o What do you think Filipinos will not understand about the process?

                Part of systems thinking is showing the progression of steps from A to F. That means going through steps B, C, D, and E.

                There are strategies to mitigate confusion in implementation such as simulation, staggered implementation, pilot department, pilot office, user training, public training, dissemination of information of timelines and guidelines through public service announcements, the anticipation of problems, contingent solutions for foreseeable problems, etcetera.

                Proper systems thinking is holistic. As much as possible, nothing should be left to chance.

              • @Edgar, it seems that I am speaking in generalities. So if I may humbly request, do guide me through it just in case. I tend to go from macro to micro. =)

                Moving on, for the problem with what you described, you seem to imply that the government should just stick to getting efficient and people will then just go along with it. Though I don’t actually disagree with it, at the back of my mind, there is something telling me that things won’t probably take off well if we do that immediately.

                To expound on that, I think it is because that, initially, Filipinos will not be doing it for the sake of efficiency, but rather, for the sake of compliance. And when you force people to comply, especially if there are a huge number of them, it tends to cause more problems than it solves. This then leads to more unnecessary actions, and so on and so forth, until things all go to, well, shit.

                Because as what was already pointed out by many here, many Filipinos are non-participatory. So going with your example, yes, most Filipinos have learned how to queue. However, what do you think is playing at the back of their minds? Are they doing it because they do indeed know that it is the best and most efficient way to get things done? Or are they just doing it because someone told them to?

                So to answer also @LCpl_X’s observation about the chaos when it comes to things like this, it is because the government can only do so much if they are the only one doing the policing. They can’t do it alone as they won’t be able to sustain it.

                For a very specific example: When Filipinos see a traffic enforcer, the driver will usually call your attention and say: “May Buwhaya.” (“There’s a crocodile.”) Though these people are just doing their jobs, sila pa kadalasan yung masama. (They are usually seen as just bad/evil.) That is why when they go away to take a break at night, places will usually turn into lawless ground.

                So if there is a root to this problem, one of those is probably the lack of self-policing among Filipinos. So if anything, what should be addressed first is the non-participatory attitude of Filipinos and encourage them to correct each others mistakes.

                But how is one to do that when he is overwhelmingly outnumbered? Can one actually start change by himself? Is it really that easy? Or would some hand holding from authorities be crucial at start? Sure, it is inefficient. But as said before, the people are really in a deadlock.

                But then again, why not a two-pronged approached? Hmm… Probably still more emphasis on the improving the participatory attitude initially.

              • edgar lores says:


                That’s a good starting point: Filipinos will do things for the sake of compliance.

                The compliance in doing something, repeated again and again, becomes a habit and overcomes any other motive or any cultural dysfunction… especially if the benefits are seen and realized.

                And the benefits for the public are fairness in treatment (queuing), efficiency in processing, and the meeting of expectations in terms of not having to bribe and turnaround times. And the benefits for the department are similarly efficiency and productivity.

                In the system I described, it is so easy to link and automate the ticketing machine, the LED displays that show what numbers are being processed, to get data on processing volumes, turnaround times, peak hours, peak days, employee performance, and so forth. The data can be used for many purposes such as management reporting, scheduling, manpower requirements, form requirements, and expansion planning. These systems have been used in Oz for many years now.

                Step into the new world… and leave your cares behind.

              • Well, one thing I saw in the Philippines (and this is consistent all over the Third World) is that people tend not to understand the concept of a line, of simply lining up. You go to a bus station it’s a mess, or to board a boat, even in airports (you can tell, a flight’s from Manila or going to Manila, by the way people don’t line up).

                It’s not just Philippines , mind you, but the only place I noticed in SE Asia that did understand that lining up was efficient was in Singapore. So there’s cultural undertones in understanding, or getting , this process. The question is , if this concept doesn’t exist in the Philippines as a whole, can it really be taught in gov’t and then in the private sector ,

                and would that learned behavior be transferable to everyday life? ie. at the bakery, etc.

                “simulation, staggered implementation, pilot department, pilot office, user training, public training, dissemination of information of timelines and guidelines through public service announcements” … I can see this in small private office type settings, but can you indoctrinate all this using schools over there?

                How do you implement something which is more related to culture and world-view, than systems?

                This all relates to what LG said here, “People, who bribe (in cash or gift), are generally “smart”, “over informed”, usually manipulative to get what they need in less time for higher gain.”

                You see there’s a temporal component to all this bribery stuff. Let’s say there’s 2 basic types of bribes, small ones and big ones. The small ones are what the not so informed folks face. These are your run-around type bribes, ie. “you have to go to this office and that, but I can do it all for you, with money”, etc.

                I agree with LG, if you have all the time in the world, you’d not need to bribe, but if say you gotta catch a flight, or you have a relative in the hospital or you have a deadline, because one process wasn’t explained well, thus generating a need to be fast-tracked, etc.

                the bribery game is usually associated with time constraints, placed there by the very people requiring said bribe. So essentially lines and lining up only works if it’s moving, once other variables start clogging that line up then bribery.

                I don’t know if LG’s experience is the exception or the norm in the Philippines, but this whole lining up thing has to carry with it this whole notion of efficiency, ie. having all the time in the world will not necessitate the right pressures for bribery, temporal conditions have to be in play.

                I believe this was the key to the whole bullet in bags at the airport scam, where people had no choice but to pay or else miss their flights, no?

              • edgar lores says:


                Most Filipinos have learned how to queue.

              • There are some who still try to squeeze into the front. My anecdotal survey pegs them generally older than 40, and generally women. Young people seem to me to be respectful of others in lining up. Some other nations are for sure less orderly.

              • Edgar Lores says:

                The photos at MRT/LRT stations show long multiple queues that might seem disorderly but are not.

                But even 40 years ago when I was working in Makati and took the Love Bus to work or when I applied for NBI clearance, proper queuing was observed.

                To be sure, there are queue jumpers everywhere… even here in Oz. One time I was at McDonalds and an old wizen Chinese lady just went straight to the counter ahead of me. I was so amazed I had no words.


              • chemrock says:

                I agree that queuing is something that Filipinos have got it right. And they have great deference for the old, pregnants and the handicaped.

                The test for both Singaporeans and Filipinos is will queue discipline still be there in disaster relief lines like the Japs we saw a Fukushima.

              • Joe, edgar, chemp, ip, et al…

                I’m now wondering if “Most Filipinos have learned how to queue” within the span of 10-12 I was there (recent), or if what I saw was Visayas & Mindanao specific, or if my definition of a line is too narrow, hence the lines I saw didn’t register as lines in my mind—- and that there are in fact a variety of lines (ie. one man’s chaos is another man’s order).

                edgar, I can totally see people lining up in Makati, and I have ridden on buses in Manila in which you buy your ticket, get an assigned seat number and everything’s orderly, but I’ve also been in public transport in Mindanao, in which people were simply elbowing to get in.

                As to Joe’s observation that women tend to cut lines more than men, I totally agree, over there they tend to be women with means and they’d usually go straight to the clerk (wherein the clerk who’s suppose to enforce the line rules, gets mesmerized and ends up doing the line breakers bidding); then there’s the pretend they know someone in the line cut (takes some con-artistry); then I guess edgar’s Chinese lady (which I call the I dunno what’s going on cut, or the no-speakey Engrish cut).

                In my mind, a line looks a certain way, basically your regular Singaporean line, is what you see in the rest of the West. So maybe, could also be, what I saw as disorderly in the Philippines were in fact orderly lines, and something was just lost in translation.

                But Joe, do you think there was some sort of line enlightenment that happened in that span of 10-12 years? Did something happen that cause Filipinos to now line up? This is all very interesting, since edgar’s perspective would be 40 years old, chemp’s is Makati specific, and Joe’s both rural and urban (ie. Cebu) and mine essentially 10 years ago but in Mindanao.

                ip, what’s your take on this whole lining-up stuff in the Philippines? What are you seeing? Because if people are indeed lining up, then this elusive societal discipline that everyone’s talking about is near, correct? Lining up is just one of those measures or milestones to see where a certain society is heading.

                Joe, how about an article on lining-up in the Philippines, a historical perspective?

              • chemrock says:

                You are right. My observation on queuing is basically in NCR only.

              • LG says:

                Most Filipinos in the Philippines queue when there are cues to line up, such as ropes, bars as in theaters, banks, some grocery stores, ticketing at train stations. Drawn lines in surfaces and Line Up signs are ignored, much like No Garbage Allowed, Urinating Here Not Allowed and No Parking signs.

                Cultural norms do work. Filipinos, at US airports (and everywhere else queuing is the norm) do line up, cue or no cue. At NAIA or any other local airport, expect not. Grocery stores, no exception. Much like traffic. Passing is on both sides of the road. An inch is all another vehicle needs to put his vehicle’s nose in to get ahead of you. No choice but to give in if you are a defensive driver.

              • Hmm, lines at my supermarket (Robinson’s Tacloban) are most orderly. I typically go to the old people’s line at outbound Immigration at NAIA, allowing my young wife and son to cut to the front. Well, actually, an Immigration Official once pointed me in that direction, seeing my gimpy gait (too much basketball) and pained, high anxiety look. Now it is the regular path. As for driving, it took me a few years to understand that there is a courtesy to the road madness, as no one really wants to get smashed and so find a way to squeeze three cars into two lanes with a modicum of flashing lights and swerving. I don’t drive at night though as a friend once plowed into the back of an unlit tricycle and has his own pained expression as a result. I no longer get angry when a big black SUV or commuter van blasts past and cuts in front of me, barely missing a smash-up with an oncoming bus. I compliment them on their courage and smile.

  34. JoeAm, if I could let Bob Marley do the talking. Spread the word.

  35. karlgarcia says:

    Bottomline is, the Comelec should remain loyal to the people and the nation.
    They must be the front runners in information disemination to each barangay, then they muet ensure that the plebiscite is not a sham.

    Italy recently rejected Charter change proposals, let that be a lesson.

  36. karlgarcia says:

    The thread about PAT is long.

    I can only find news about the 8888 hotline


    SSS gets most complaints via hotline 8888—CSC
    Posted on August 28, 2016 by Ruby B

    CSC says SSS posted the highest number of complaints received by President’s Hotline 8888
    The hotline has so far recorded a total of 4,421 as of August 24
    Hotline 8888 was launched last August 1
    According to the Civil Service Commission (CSC), the Social Security System (SSS) has posted the highest number of complaints received by President’s Hotline 8888 between August 1 and 24.

    Liz Agamata, CSC director for Public Assistance and Information, said that the SSS had the highest share of complaints out of the total 4,421 calls to the hotline, an article posted by ABS-CBN News on August 28 stated.

    Agamata revealed that most of the complaints include the slow pace of transactions, the failure of agencies to act on requests due to missing signatories, discourtesy of some staff and the presence of fixers.

    Based on the explanation made by Agamata, the SSS rank in the list is not surprising considering the fact that the agency has millions of clients.

    On the other hand, she claimed that out of all government agencies, the SSS has the fastest response to complaints.

    Placing second in the list are the local governments of Manila and Quezon City.

    Other agencies with the most number of complaints ( in particular order) are as follows: Land Transportation Office,
    Pag-IBIG Fund, Land Registration Authority, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Department of Foreign Affairs, Government Service Insurance System, Philippine National Police, and Commission on Elections.

    In defense, Agamata stressed the agencies being complained about showed positive and quick response to the citizens’ complaints.

    On his initial days in office, President Rodrigo Duterte issued a marching order for the creation of a direct line between government and the public. Thus, Hotline 8888 was launched last August 1.

    Callers who want to air their complaints are asked to identify the government employee and agency tagged in their complaint, date and details of the incident, their proposed solution and contact details.

    For proper action, the complaints are then forwarded to both the concerned agency and the Office of the President within five days.

    From an initial 10-man team, the hotline operators have increased to 25.

  37. Since the thread above is already long, I’ll comment here separately.


    @Edgar, LCpl_X, et al

    Compliance is indeed the starting point. However, as mentioned before, how it is implemented initially and how it would be maintained would be very important.

    Hmm… But it seems that my ramblings now, and even from before, are not actually about bureaucracy itself. Rather, the idea that is on my mind is actually about the Filipinos attitude towards rules in general. So as you’ve pointed out, I am/was indeed speaking in generalities. But I guess I’ll build it up from there as this may actually lead somewhere. haha

    So moving on, when it comes to following rules, many Filipinos can’t seem to ‘level up’ their games. People usually stagnate on complying for compliance’s sake, rather than complying for efficiency’s sake. That is, in some cases, if they even comply at all.

    However, given that the people are just somewhat starting with these things compared to other countries, it is probably understandable. As LCpl_X had asked:

    “Because if people are indeed lining up, then this elusive societal discipline that everyone’s talking about is near, correct?”

    It is indeed near. However, it seems to be taking longer than it is supposed to be. It can surely be faster, but it isn’t. Something is probably off about it. So what could be the reasons for this?

    First, let start with situations of non-compliance. It probably obvious that selfish non-cooperation can actually have bigger payoffs at times. In terms of game theory, this is what you’d call a “prisoner’s dilemma”.

    So given this, cooperating actually has a smaller payoff, but a fairer and more consistent payoff, compared to defecting. However, rather than say immediately that people should actually just comply so that everybody’s lives would be easier, it is probably best to note that the table above is just for a single ‘game’. So rather than analyzing the situation at one instance, we should probably look at it in terms of successions. This is now what you call an “iterated prisoner’s dilemma”. Basically, try to look at the history and see what the people will actually do when presented the situation again and again.

    So with this, it would probably become apparent that everybody usually defects in a consistent non-compliant game. Given this, cooperation will probably not have much benefits as you’ll just be eaten alive and then left in the dust. So might as well defect also and get a ‘1’ rather than cooperate and get a measly ‘0’. However, that is a really vicious cycle.

    So how does one solve this? Well, analyzing the situation, the main problem as of now is: Compliance is not rewarded and non-compliance is not punished, hence inadvertently rewarded. So given this, outside intervention would probably be important.

    This is where authority comes in. Let’s call it “government”.

    So with government, can the players now be forced to comply and things will become fairer and more consistent? Well ideally, yes. That is supposed to be the case. But it’s not. So what’s the problem then?

    As said before, one reason is the government can only do so much if they are the only one doing the policing. If thy really want to cover everything, it’ll require much effort and this is usually inefficient and unsustainable.

    So to fix this, as said before, we should probably urge, encourage, and teach people as well to police each other. Because if there is anything wrong with the mindsets of many Filipinos, it is that they will usually rely on authority to do something about it. Though not that relying on them is bad as there is indeed a process to it. However, what usually happens is that EVERYTHING is SOLELY in the hands of those in authority.

    See someone smoking in a no-smoking zone?
    “That’s government’s problem. They should do something about it.”
    “Wait… You want me to do something about it? Not my problem.”
    “Well, actually, it is somewhat also my problem. But it’s a hassle kasi eh.”

    Fake news about certain government agencies?
    “That’s government’s problem. They should do something about it.”
    “Wait… You want me to do something about it? Not my problem.”
    “Well, actually, it is somewhat also my problem. But it’s a hassle kasi eh.”

    People not using PUV stops?
    “That’s government’s problem. They should do something about it.”
    “Wait… You want me to do something about it? Not my problem.”
    “Well, actually, it is somewhat also my problem. But it’s a hassle kasi eh.”

    See a fixer outside LTO looking for clients?
    “That’s government’s problem. They should do something about it.”
    “Wait… You want me to do something about it? Not my problem.”
    “Well, actually, it is somewhat also my problem. But it’s a hassle kasi eh.”

    Boss bribes government officials for projects?
    “That’s government’s problem. They should do something about it.”
    “Wait… You want me to do something about it? Not my problem.”
    “Well, actually, it is somewhat also my problem. But it’s a hassle kasi eh.”

    Friend that is a police involved in EJKs?
    “That’s government’s problem. They should do something about it.”
    “Wait… You want me to do something about it? Not my problem.”
    “Well, actually, it is somewhat also my problem. But it’s a hassle kasi eh.”

    I could think of more situations like this but I probably have made my point?

    So given this “But it’s a hassle kasi eh” reasoning, this is actually another dilemma:

    “Why should people go out of their way and hassle themselves when it is very likely** that nothing will happen?”

    So what does the government actually do about it? Should they just shoulder on and just keep doing everything they can by themselves? Without the help of Filipinos, becoming involved with the process? Well, good luck.

    Or, maybe, they can actually address that problem and assure the people that they will deliver results if someone complains. Because the “very likely” stated above is actually disputable. However, before they can do that, there is actually something that they first need to do:

    Prove that there is indeed a problem, or, prove that they are indeed actually delivering results. And for that, we need data. And also, that is another problem, again.

    An example of a good system, as given by Edgar:

    “In the system I described, it is so easy to link and automate the ticketing machine, the LED displays that show what numbers are being processed, to get data on processing volumes, turnaround times, peak hours, peak days, employee performance, and so forth. The data can be used for many purposes such as management reporting, scheduling, manpower requirements, form requirements, and expansion planning.”

    But honestly, some offices do have those LED display stuff. But as for data gathering and utilization? Well, that is something esoterical to them. Rather than all the time, they’ll only use it when push comes to shove. Suggestions boxes are also abound. However, do you really think that people take those things seriously? Because if you think they don’t, there is probably something wrong.

    Probably best to understand what it is and why before they try some other things.

    • 1 for sure. It has to start with bosses who demand more. But look at the Legislature, and we see the same undisciplined behavior.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Would there be a chicken and egg here?Good Citizenship follows good leadership or should both be pro-active?

      If we have good leaders and no dynasts,and good citizens, then I say there would be nothing erong in having a federalist, parliamentary system of government.

      • LG says:

        Karl, if such is the case, the type of government would not matter, I think. I would opt for some type of government that would deliver the most good and the least sore for most people. One that could be the most efficient to govern by n for the people…where democracy is vibrant, equitability of opportunity is lived, the lazy inspired to work n the driven to lead.

      • There is indeed a chicken and egg kind of thing. Nevertheless, both being pro-active would surely be the best thing to ever happen. But to frank, that is probably too ideal as of now. As was already said, the people are currently in a deadlock .So what strategy should be used? Who should start it?

        If may suggest, try watching this video titled: “The Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma and The Evolution of Cooperation”

        Very informative, to say the least, and it is in a very easily digestible format. =)

    • edgar lores says:

      Intuitiveperceiving, There is something here, but something is also amiss.

      A. Rules & Proposed Solution

      A.1. Single Game:

      Lemma 1: Selfish non-cooperation can have bigger payoffs at times.

      Lemma 2: Cooperation has a fairer and more consistent payoff.

      A.2. Iterated Game:

      Lemma 3: Ideally, cooperation will result in an optimum payoff.

      Lemma 4: However, cooperation will have little benefit as everybody usually defects. This results in a vicious cycle.

      Lemma 5: Compliance is not rewarded and non-compliance is not punished. This is the main problem.

      A.3. Proposed Solution

      Lemma 6: If government polices, payoffs will be fairer and more consistent. However, the government cannot police comprehensively.

      Lemma 7: Everyone should police to obtain fair and consistent payoffs.


      B. Comments

      1. This is the first time I have seen the Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD) applied to the general population. Kudos for that.

      2. We will forego analysis of the Single Game (A.1.).

      3. My assumptions are that we are talking of:

      3.1. A continuous iterated prisoner’s dilemma and not a discrete dilemma.

      3.2. Multiple players, that is, Philippine society.

      4. Lemma 3. Agree, have no quarrel with this.

      5. Lemma 4: Agree/disagree. This seems to be realistic. But it also seems to be an excuse to defect.

      6. Lemma 5. This is partially true. It is a fair assessment of the culture of impunity (i.e., non-compliance is not punished). However, it is not correct to say that compliance is not rewarded. It is in terms of peace of mind and a relatively stable society… before Duterte became president.

      7. Lemma 6: Agree and disagree. If the government does its job, it is true we would have a fairer society. However, this is just half of the coin. The other side is that the people must cooperate to achieve a fairer society. The onus does not entirely rest with the government.

      8. Lemma 7. Tend to agree and tend to disagree. In its mildest form, citizen policing is what the barangays and the barangay tanods are all about. In its extreme forms, this leads to the horrors of STASI monitoring and suppression, and the fatal vigilantism that we see today. I think if enough people cooperate there would be no need for citizen policing. The shortcoming of this solution is that it focuses solely on non-compliance.

      9. The Prisoner’s Dilemma seems to apply and not to apply. In the theoretical definition, the payoffs are quantified in terms of the number of years of imprisonment. In the political situation, the payoffs are difficult if not impossible to quantify.

      9.1. Most of the scenarios assume that Party A and Party B are common citizens. This is true except for the Boss Bribery case and the Police Friend case. In the former, we see the difficulty of not defining the payoffs. Are we talking of payoffs in terms of personal rewards or societal rewards? If the Boss is successful in his defection, the personal payoff is huge. But if the employee “cooperates” he gets nothing. Cooperate in this case means that the employee is compliant with the law, which means that he turns into a whistleblower. So the payoff could be greater than zero, if for instance he is promoted, or zero if he is fired. And if the whistleblowing succeeds, then the payoff for the boss is imprisonment. Similarly, if the employee defects, the payoffs would not be 1/1 but conceivably 3 for the boss and 2 for the employee.

      C. Specific Scenarios

      There are several policing actions one can take. Which would you perform? The proposed action seems to be to complain. But to whom? And at what level?

      C.1. Smoking in a non-smoking zone

      C.1.1. Talk to the miscreant.
      C.1.2. Kill the miscreant.
      C.1.3. Call the attention of the security guard or the owner of the establishment.

      C.2. Fake news

      C.2.1. Create anti-fake fake news.
      C.2.2. Rebut the fake news.

      C.3. PUV stops

      C.3.1. Perform a citizen’s arrest.
      C.3.2. Talk to the miscreant.
      C.3.3. Kill the miscreant.
      C.3.4. Report miscreant to the police or the citizens’ complaint number.

      C.4. Fixer at LTO

      C.4.1. Talk to the miscreant(s).
      C.4.2. Kill the miscreant(s).
      C.4.3. Report fixer(s) to the LTO management.
      C.4.4. Report the LTO branch to the head office.

      C.5. Boss bribery

      C.5.1. Blackmail the boss.
      C.5.2. Kill the boss.
      C.5.3. Become a whistleblower.

      C.6. Police friend involved in EJKs

      C.6.1. Talk to the police friend.
      C.6.2. Unfriend the police friend.
      C.6.3. Kill the police friend.
      C.6.4. Report the police friend to Bato.

  38. karlgarcia says:

    3:35 11 December.

    Roger that. That is why they resorted to the hotline,but I heard a news reporter said it is always busy.

    Since you are based in Pampanga….
    I don’t know if I asked this before, but are you related to the former governor, of Pampanga Bren Guiao and Coach Yeng Guiao.

    • LG says:

      The ex Gov Bren Z. Guao is an uncle on both sides (we have the same middle and last names) but I don’t know the degree of relation. However, pretty close, in terms of acquaintanceship of our parents. I bet my parents voted for him. We are town mates. I never met him though. He is a lot my senior, and I was not home all along he was in politics and in retirement. I had not met Cong Yeng either.

    • LG says:

      I would like to see you a PAT or PACE be divided into units or sections, among them, employment, business-development, health, legal, education issues including scholarships, professional regulations, career devrlopment, self-employment, etc. NO complaints in such units.

      COMPLAINTS of any government agency, office or personnel of a government agency deserves its own subunit/s. Such would include complaints vs elected and appointed officials form bottom to top. The complaint subunits should be specific to the general nature of the complaint.

    • LG says:

      The PAT hotline or PACE must be busy with complaints and/or referrals but not consultations with immediate assistance in kind by appropriate personnel either paid or volunteers. The volunteers could be retirees who “had been there done that”, so their counsel would be credible. I know of some well off retirees who are looking for opportunities to stay useful n relevant, no longer looking for additional income. The above noted offices are excellent venues for such folks.

      • sonny says:


        This would be a way to light a candle rather than just curse the darkness. There must way to reach the DILG Sec’s group with this.

        • LG says:

          YES! Won’t it be nice if the PAT starts at the barangay level? No higher/farther than Municipality. Kapitan Action Team (KAT) or Mayor’s Action Team (MAT). A relevant, doable DILG project.

          The BAT or MAT offices may be manned not only by professional retirees but also by senior college students doing OJTs (internships, apprenticeships, clerkships, etc.) of a lot of professions, esp. business (marketing, accounting, banking, financing), law, some health professions, entreprenueurship, IT, education, travel/tourism. Follow-up must be intrinsic to the free services of such offices..

          School instructors would be more welcomed to come to supervise their students without inconveniencing the staff of establishments where OJT students are customarily fielded. OJTs can be a joke, but not if there is onsite faculty supervision of the OJT student and consultees expect appropriate OJT students or retirees to be helping them. I would think MOAs would be reasonably simple to set up between colleges and the DILG through the municipalities/barangays. Likewise, liability issues concerning retiree-consultants and schools fielding OJT students should not be so complex to deter the realization of the offices in discussion.

          Just today, at a Physical Therapy (PT) clinic, I learned that one of the clients is there because of a car-trike accident. As a back rider of the trike driver (her spouse), because of the impact of the collision, she was thrown out to the street, sustaining major fracture of the rt. leg, among other injuries. The trike was damaged. Spouse sustained minor injuries but no fracture. Consequently, she had not been able to work as a seamstress because of the leg injury (it’s now 1 1/2 inches shorter than the left, and is unable to flex it). Allegedly, the car driver was a 15 yo girl, I gathered, was DUI, at the time, with her teenaged BF, no adult with them in the car. Under educated n uninformed, they did not think to see a lawyer, so within a week of the accident, they accepted without problem the 50k for injuries + 10k for the trike repair + hospital cost offer. Also,verbally was promised to get a monthly stipend to compensate for her monthly salary loss of some 9k. The stipend never did come she said. It’s been 3 years. She is at least happy, the driver’s family are paying for her PT twice a week. On her request, she was set up a small convenience store of groceries worth about 3k, she said.

          The above story led one of the physical therapists to share the death, 10 years ago, of her jeepney driver- dad plus a passenger when the jeepney dad was driving was hit on the driver side by an incoming cargo bus at a Manila street. Allegedly, her dad tried to avoid, rather late, a manhole that had no warning sign, at which time, the bus was coming from the opposite direction. Bus driver, allegedly went to jail, the bus was not traced. No legal case filed because they did not know who to sue if the driver already went to jail, so got no compensation. At the time, the PT was only 16 yo. At least, the insurance of her dad paid them, part of which they shared with the family of the passenger victim who went after them. The jeepney was supposedly owned by the dad.

          Above two cases could and would have benefited from a MAT or BAT, if available then. There are PAs (Public Attorneys), but how accessible are they in municipalities?

          Frequently, I meet under informed people who can use, it not need, important n credible counseling assistance on issues related to education, business, legal, health, travel, etc.

  39. alburo jeffrey says:

    what are the negative effects of a federalism?

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