Enemy of the State


[Photo credit: Inquirer]

By Joe America

What do human rights advocates think about the Philippines? And people who believe in the goodness of democracy and Jesus Christ and Jose Rizal? What do the Yellows think, and those accused of being Yellow even though they are critics of LP?

Kindly allow me to dial it in straight. No wishy washy diplomacy or delicadeza.

The principled might think . . . .

Autocrats need enemies to justify extreme acts. It is the oldest trick in the totalitarian book. President Trump has his immigrants and the press. President Duterte has drug users and people speaking up for human rights.

The financially and emotionally needful like having these enemies as well. They get a measure of revenge each time an enemy is smashed down. The needful become powerful for a moment. They become punishers, too.

Then we have the enablers like the House of Representatives, Senators Cayetano, Gordon, and Pimentel, and the men doing the President’s bidding (Bato, Alvarez, Panelo, Aguirre, Andanar, and Yasay). They also need the enemies so they can be big shots for a powerful President. The noise from the conflicts drowns out the sound of them sucking at the fat of their pork, or greedily gobbling up bonus payments.

It would be comical if it weren’t so tragic. It is obvious what is happening, but the entire nation is like a deer caught in the headlights, frozen by confusion, expectation, and resignation. Or willingly participating in a campaign of killings.

Nothing happens to bring civility, compassion, and calm back to the Philippines because all the institutions have been captured or corrupted by the men in power. The House is a batch of lackeys, the PNP operates like the President’s Gestapo, professional journalists cede their space to trolls like Mocha Uson, and judges rule on the basis of advantage rather than law. It is an absurd democracy, a society of idiots without the savant, and the laughs we find to retain our sanity are miserably painful.

What a way to run a country.

Do you know what is really strange? Lost in the battlefield noise are the good deeds being done, the comprehensive tax reform, the better use of Clark Airfield, the raised emphasis on family planning, the working on critical infrastructure 24/7, the priority on education, and being at the edge of domestic peace for the first time in the history of the Republic.

The President is too often his own worst enemy, unnerving investors by threatening the US, UN, and Europe, burying President Marcos as a hero because the President owed the Marcos family a personal debt, and giving away precious sea resources as if they were Pokemon cards available only to the President for trading. And then there are the dead bodies in the gutters, bleeding, taped up or stuffed in trash cans, or cradled in the arms of weeping wives with wailing kids in the background, scarred for life. Piles of naked bodies . . . thin and malnourished and stiff with death . . . are stacked five-deep in a ghastly bin at the morgue.

Tough enemies, these guys, eh?

I’ve been in war, but this is no war. It is a slaughter. Armed cops or vigilantes sneak up using motorbikes or shoot through house windows at anything moving, unarmed teens, men begging for their lives, even little kids. Collateral damage, they say. There are no rules. There is never an investigation. Never a detailed press report; there aren’t enough pages in the broadsheets for that. Cops travel with a disposable gun and an extra bag of shabu to frame the mistakes; even priests or your mama are not safe. Questions are never answered. There is no FOI on murder. Cops killing witnesses? Criminals or sick people with needs? Legitimate use of force? Resistance to arrest?

You’ll have to excuse me for observing . . . the State’s enemies are your brothers and sisters. They are not the Japs or the Spanish or even the well-armed, brutal, racist Americans of 1899. It is your neighbor, or some poor schmuck across town, a small guy doing drugs because the world passed him by.

A world run by the entitled who simply did not give a shit about him.

The enemy is not several divisions of troops in flak vests and night-vision goggles backed by supersonic jets and missiles and artillery and tanks.

It is a skinny guy in tattered clothes who scored a pack of shabu and has nowhere to go.

Gun him down.

Enemy of the State.

If this is a war, it is hardly a courageous one. It does not make the Philippines great. Great requires big acts, brave ones, not small, ruthless ones. It requires heroes who will defend the innocent, not shoot them down. Great requires compassion,  courage, and honor, not executing Filipinos who never had a real chance.

. . . . .

Perhaps that is what they think.


48 Responses to “Enemy of the State”
  1. alicia m. kruger says:

    JoeAm, Thank You! Jose Rizal would turn in his grave if he knew what is happening to his beloved Philippines.

  2. Augusto Dimaunahan says:

    You forgot to include Pacquiao among the puppies of Duterte. These people that you mentioned plus Pacsiw have forgotten their upbringing in exchange for filthy lucre, cowardice, convenience.

    • parengtony says:

      That Pacquiao is able to get away with murder I put much of the blame on media. Is it not obvious that Pacquiao.s monstrous BIR problems are being swept under the rug of entitlement. “Sa arangkada pa lang abusadong numero uno na”, I remember hearing my old man say about abusive people in power.

      • I’m in the dark as to the purpose and justification of his 2B peso request for assistance re his return bout with whom? oh my!

        • Juana Pilipinas says:

          Marquez. I think he is requesting 3B from the government so the fight could be scheduled in PH. I honestly think that he could finance that himself if he is the patriot he think he is.

          • Thanks, JP….

            He retired from his boxing profession, he’s on record as saying he will not let boxing affect his duties as senator, so now that he is in league with the powers that be, he is requesting 3B….shame, shame….what government agency will be in charge of that fight – promotion, venue, etc, and how sure is he that the government will not lose in that endeavor? surely that’s a conflict of interest!!

            • madlanglupa says:

              It makes me furious that he needs part of that money to maintain his rather Imeldific lifestyle.

            • sonny says:

              JP & Mary, This just tells me “to a hammer everything is a nail” as far as Mr Pacquiao is concerned. He’s also practicing shameless self-promotion his version of charity begins at home.

      • josephivo says:

        Pacquiao: “Even Christ was sentenced to dead”??? Does this real mean that Pacquiao values Roman law over the 10 commandments?

        Let’s hope that he just has no clue what he is saying.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Yes, I watched that too.
          He also said that death penalty is in the Bible, I admire what he has done in the ring, but he really disappoints outside of it.

          I hope too that he was just clueless.

          • karlgarcia says:

            I wonder how he does in a bible study group? but he pro-life during the RH debates,so a different fighting stance this time, not unlike Gordon, who was once against death penalty.

  3. cortyinjp says:

    Too much truth here, Joe. Every day I silently weep for my country. From afar, I can only share your posts, hoping that friends would find time to read and ingest them, and have their conscience awakened or reactivated. But some are indeed too frightened to even think! (I’m sure you didn’t mean to offend, but if you don’t mind, Joe, please do not use “Japs” and spell out “the Japanese”. But if that was contextual in terms of colonists, I understand.) Excellent piece as usual. Many thanks.

    • I used the offensive term intentionally to go back to the time of WWII when the Philippines was fighting a real enemy. Fighting others rather than themselves. I trust that my many Japanese friends will comprehend.

  4. NHerrera says:

    Skinny, slipper-shod dirt poor drug addicts as Enemies of the State; and these are the people upon whom to unleash Martial Law powers if they turn virulent. That is, on top of Bato and cohorts saying the war on drugs is being won. Andanar, please interpret.

  5. chemrock says:

    A good piece, Joe, with fine observations.

    I like this : ” It is an absurd democracy, a society of idiots without the savant, and the laughs we find to retain our sanity are miserably painful.”

    And you know what I’m laughing along as I was reading?

    – Mocha Uson given the space to write in Philstar. When she was young her father was tragically shot. The poor girl is too dumb to realise she is now actually writing or fighting for the side that had her dad killed.

    – The irrepressible Pacman is similarly spewing funny faith and logic that goes to condemn the very cesspit of his early miserably poor youth days.

    – The “enemies of the state” that you conjured may likely be borrowed by Speaker Alvarez who has said that imposition of martial law is not a (legal) problem if Duterte expands rebellion to cover drug war.

  6. chemrock says:

    “Cops travel with a disposable gun and an extra bag of shabu to frame the mistakes”

    Planting evidence is a standard modus operadi, it came direct from the horse’s mouth. They have got away for far too often. Because of the scale of operation, sooner or later there will be blunders along the way that will clearly point to evidence planting. Viola — we now have reports that many guns recovered from EJK victims bear the same serial numbers. It is not clear from the reports whether the police were referring to say 20 guns physically and they had the same serial number, or they were referring to data from police files which describes the operation. If it’s the latter than obviously it’s the same gun being recycled. The skeleton in the cupboard is exposed. It’s astounding there has been no uproar — an idiot society indeed. It’s only Senator Lacson who suggested yet another senate inquiry.

  7. NHerrera says:

    Dwight Macdonald, an American journalist, wrote several articles after WWII questioning the extent of German and Japanese people’s responsibility for the atrocities perpetrated by their governments.

    Noam Chomsky, an American academic and intellectual, wrote “The Responsibilty of Intellectuals (1967)” during the Vietnam War putting forth a similar question: To what extent are Americans and American intellectuals culpable for the human rights abuses inflicted by the government?

    Joe America, an American blogger, wrote this article about the travesty of justice called “war on drugs.” The mass killing of the “enemies of the state.” They are poor and defenseless. To the government, they are disposable sitting ducks.

    My fellow Filipinos, to what extent are we complicit in the continuous extermination of our poverty-stricken countrymen by our government?

  8. grammy2342 says:

    Joe, your article hits the mark and it breaks my heart. I have ceased to fight in social media because my son who is abroad is very much affected. He thinks l am endangering myself – physically, emotionally and spiritually. Physically – because stress really make me sick; emotionally – because l cannot stop myself from hating; and spiritually – because l am truly amazed that the church is so quiet despite these execrable events that are happening right before our very eyes and under our noses that seem to have lost their senses.

    But regardless of my intent not to react – I am still very much affected. And my heart continues to break and bleed.

  9. Grace Lim Reyes says:

    In one of the documentaries presented by an international news organization on EJK, one Filipina was interviewed and asked whether she approved of the killings and murders in Davao. She replied, “better them than me” (paraphrased). Pinoys have lost their humanity and compassion. The small minded and selfish reply of the woman resonates the opinion of many today. This attitude is worrisome because good and sound values take a backseat. I fear for my life and my safety because anyone could just say, “better you than me.”

    • Cherish Valdehueza says:

      On behalf of other Filipinos who do not agree with that woman’s reply – I wish to say to you – take heart there are still a few of us who doesn’t believe that murder is the solution and that it is not better then than me – because murder is murder! Be strong and be very careful. The enemy is human but God’s wrath will fall on those individuals who take part in this sickening cleansing as Duterte and his allies call it. It is inhuman it is murder and it is a short cut to the drug infiltration problem. The Government simply want expediency instead of deliberate intellectual problem solving.

  10. Cherish Valdehueza says:

    Your article is an eye opener. From abroad all we hear is the propaganda accepting the current government’s intent on cleansing the country of the evil doers – little do we hear of the nitty gritty evil work of murder, slaughter or threats to ordinary people – no shocking pictures comes out like the packet of cigarette that you buy abroad. The gagging of the media in the Philippines and the inconsequential lives of Filipino people has left a sour taste on us all. I wish to thank you for your article, good luck and I will share your article as it is unbiased, honest and very direct. As an after thought perhaps the only way for the Philippines to get better is to be as sick as it is now – we have suffered from the hands of our leaders in the past – what more can Duterte do? Or the next president after him!

  11. NHerrera says:

    Off topic


    At Davos a few hours ago, China’s President Xi Jinping, gave the Plenary Opening Speech, the first time a Chinese President attended the WEF.

    Considering recent events, I am cautious not to be too optimistic in buying into the speech, but Xi gave a reasonably good picture — at the present time of a leader — who paints a more positive picture of the world and the positives of globalization while recognizing its negatives and suggestions on how to reduce those negatives.

    Bits of phrases from the youtube speech (recalling from my memory):

    “Global economy is the big ocean we cannot get away from, whether we like it or not.”

    “Problems are not to be feared.”

    “There should be balance between efficiency and equity.”

    No doubt his speech will be parse for its contents and those he did not mention. His speech is wide ranging — including of course the achievements of China while mentioning that a lot more have to be done.

    Definitely a PLUS for the Chinese President at this singular moment of the world in the World Economic Forum 2017 at Davos.

    • NHerrera says:

      By way of balance, here is a comment from Kenneth Rogoff, an economist at Harvard University:

      “China is still one of the biggest risks, and I think the only reason it is not at the top of the list is that the United States has become such a locus of uncertainty.”

  12. Again, you hit the spot. Allow me to repost. Thanks

  13. madlanglupa says:

    Somewhat offtopic, but possibly for the first time in history, the CIA decides to be generous.


  14. Oldmaninla says:

    I’ll share a reality of life……
    One of the world constant is “change”, I see Philippines is into this “change” phenomena because Philippines’ democracy for 70 years has not worked but created system corruptions, rampant destroying drugs networks and rampant crimes, which bring down people into poverty.
    What will be the outcome is everybodies guess….. one thing is sure, “change” is on going.
    Some will be winners, some will be losers…….

    • Democracy has worked fine. As to the values of the people running it . . not so fine.

      • Oldmaninla says:

        In Asia, evolution-democracy works among the Asian nations as opposed to exported-democracy to the Philippines, the truth is, all except the Philippines started as authoritarian, then slowly evolve to some form of democracy such as Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, even Japan as some degree of monarchy-democracy, Hongkong as China protectorate-democracy.

        I am not advocating authoritarian government for the Philippines but just making an observation as retired analyst……..but for sure, the Filipino people is now asking for “change” by electing President Duterte…..what’s the future is everyone’s guess…..my guess is as good as everybody’s guess.

        I hope for the progress of the Philippines …………….

        • My point is that democracy is not the reason people want change. It is a history of occupancy and war-lordism that has left people behind and with little opportunity to grow out of their wretched conditions. Democracy is elegant because it balances opposing interests along a center line, and from the freedoms and competitive vigor, wealth is generated. The Philippines needs wealth. A giant war-lord is likely to have little sympathy for the struggling masses (read EJKs), viewing them more as resources to use. Ignorance also plays a role. I like democratic ideals and outputs a lot better than totalitarian.

          • Oldmaninla says:

            Joe, I live in LA for 40 years I saw democracy works in California.
            As analyst, I tried to understand the political ideologies in Asia…here is my observations.

            Ideology in a particular nation has many interplay of people elements affecting the population’s best interest. Among them are individual financial income classes ( poor, middle class, rich), educational level (basic, secondary, collegiate), intellectual perceptions (poor, fair, active), political participation (poor, fair, active), cultural and religious exposures, nationalism sensitivity, leadership participations, and many others……..

            To simplify, I will illustrate the administration of my family with four children….
            At children young age, my wife and I acted as authoritarian socialist.
            At children late teens and early twenties, my wife and I acted as socialist.
            At children late twenties, my wife and I acted as socialist democracy.
            At children adult life, my wife and I acted completely as participative democracy.

            In all cases, we tried to be good, fair and righteously….the children interest is paramount….
            Their health, education, mental sensitivity, participation in management, opinions are welcome…
            Such is my simple illustration.

            Of course, a nation is very much complex than a family….be authoritarian, socialist, democracy ..with good, fair, righteous government’s rule of laws, these will uplift the nation.
            With more middle-class and rich, higher education, active intellectual and political participation, good cultural and religious exposures and increase nationalism……then the nation will benefit.

            Righteousness exalts the nation – proverbs.

            • Yes, I agree there are stages and unique issues and times that each nation must deal with. I’d have no problem with authoritarian rule if it were done with high values, ala Lee Kuan Yew. But to say one is like LKY and then unleash propaganda wars and killer cops . . . ummmmm . . . the values bother me.

          • josephivo says:

            Less than 1/3 of Filipinos has a bank account (half of them active) or 2/3 prefer their savings if any at home, opposite of the rest of Asia. This is may be a better indicator of real employment and development. If you don’t trust banks or if you have no income or capital at all, politics and democracy are just a words as lotto, cock fighting and Wawawee.

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