JoeAm’s highly scientific survey of Philippine political winds

Blowing in the wind [By Gilles Tran,]

Blowing in the wind [By Gilles Tran,]

By Joe America

Public surveys are flawed checkmarks at a given point in time. They quantify the biased and uninformed opinions of a lot of people and we misinterpret this as knowledge. The results are generally twisted to mean whatever someone with an agenda says they mean.

I have a different source of information that I find more precise as a way to judge how the Philippine political winds are blowing. My assessment is based on the public statements of Philippine senators. Because the senators are so self-serving and attuned to the public mood, they make a good measuring stick. Wherever the winds are blowing strongest, that is the direction they move.

It’s a lot better than the statistically pure calculation of a lot of people’s ignorance. I know this because my bookie Sal, who is back in-country, gives the nod to this methodology. He is only wrong half the time.

My observations sort the senators into three buckets: (1) those who are pro-Duterte and anti-democracy, (2) those who are pro-democracy, and (3) those who wander around in the middle playing both sides, which may seem safe, but is actually the place that earns them great resentment from those supporting the other groups.

At the time of the election last year, I would have recorded the memberships of the groups as follows:

  • Anti-democracy: Cayetano, Gatchalian, Gordon, Pacquiao, Pimentel.
  • Playing both ends: Angara, Aquino, Binay, Drilon, Ejercito, Escudero, Honasan, Lacson, Legarda, Pangilinan, Poe, Recto, Sotto, Villanueva, Villar, Zubiri
  • Pro-democracy: De Lima, Hontiveros, Trillanes

Liberal Party stalwarts – Aquino, Pangilinan, and Drilon – went with their party’s view that it is best to give the new Administration full support. But this changed as the EJK totals rose rapidly and the President made public statements that offended Catholics, Americans, Europeans and . . . well . . . a whole lot of Filipinos.

The President also gained some support from those who clearly believed their best advantage came from backing a powerful President. Three months in, the winds of event, advantage, and allegiances had moved some people:

  • Anti-democracy: Cayetano, Gatchalian, Gordon, Pacquiao, Pimentel, Ejercito, Sotto, Villanueva, Villar, Zubiri
  • Playing both ends: Angara, Binay, Escudero, Honasan, Lacson, Legarda, Poe, Recto
  • Pro-democracy: De Lima, Hontiveros, Trillanes, Aquino, Pangilinan, Drilon

Very clearly, some Duterte Administration initiatives have been troubling to those in the middle. The proposed death penalty legislation seems to bother a lot of senators. The Administration’s intent to abuse federalism frightened Recto; he withdrew his bill on the subject.

The Camp Crame Killing of a Korean in a bungled police extortion attempt seems to have pushed Recto and Lacson to the Pro-democracy group, or at least leaning that direction. Honasan is hard to read, but I think he is also troubled by that and so many runamuck PNP officers.

The alignment today seems to be something like this:

  • Anti-democracy: Cayetano, Gatchalian, Gordon, Pacquiao, Pimentel, Ejercito, Sotto, Villanueva, Villar, Zubiri
  • Playing both ends: Angara, Binay, Legarda, Poe
  • Pro-democracy: De Lima, Hontiveros, Trillanes, Aquino, Pangilinan, Drilon, Escudero, Honasan, Lacson, Recto

The De Lima jailing probably didn’t move anyone, certainly not Poe who seems to hold resentments toward LP for her election defeat. But it for sure sealed some to their pro-democracy stand. It seems to me that the drift is TOWARD democracy and away from the President’s anti-democracy initiatives.

The demotion of six senators to minority status is a battle within a war, and may have actually strengthened the opposition by giving it tangible status. It is not a final and definitive statement of where senators will end up, I suspect.

Senator Binay is probably conflicted, her father possibly favoring the plunder-favoring inclinations of Duterte, her personal faith highly troubled. She just can’t find it within herself to go join the ‘yellows’.

SEnators Angara, Legarda, and Poe are strange creatures to me. I’ve never seen such empty vessels. I can see vividly how playing it safe is an utterly undistinguished personality trait. It is the antithesis of “leader” to me.

I think the final alignment will shift by a senator or two as different issues come into play, but I do believe the President has his work cut out for him in the Senate. With the Catholic Church and a number of significant public figures lining up behind democracy . . . including Senator Angara’s father . . . there is clearly momentum building to adhere to constitutional mandates.

The matter is best understood by looking at it simply. Which is better for the nation? Democracy and the freedoms and fairness it promotes? Or authoritarian rule and the obedience it demands?

I think most senators understand, and, when push comes to shove, will opt for self-determined, principled success over success found through obedience to a President who blows with devil winds. Democracy empowers them, as persons. Obedience to Duterte strips them of their dignity . . . if not soul.


112 Responses to “JoeAm’s highly scientific survey of Philippine political winds”
  1. karlgarcia says:

    It is good that your ugly file number one Alvarez is not the Senate President.
    He stated that no tyrrany of minority can stop the death penalty bill from passing.

    The Senate is a good gauge because gauging the house would make a terrible gauge they would make any scientific process quackery or alchemy.

    • The House is no longer a part of the Legislature, it seems to me. There’s no legitimate minority. No tolerance for disagreement. It is a pretty nasty place, I think. Like a den of snakes.

  2. NHerrera says:

    A simplified diagram of the Scientific Process is shown in the diagram below:

    Now let me check Joe’s method against this diagram. His basic hypothesis or thesis is that the Senators are good weather vane when grouped or “bucketed” as:

    Anti-democracy senators
    Playing both ends senators
    Pro-democracy senators

    Now Joe took and used data from the Data Pool and continued his observation and found that his hypothesis remains intact with the shifting of the senators in the respective buckets made due to the data used from the Data Pool.

    The Data Pool is essentially big-ticket political events Joe used for the first iteration on his hypothesis. A second set of political events as described by Joe from the Data Pool was used for the second and last iteration in his listing of the senators in the three buckets, further strengthening the buckets list and his hypothesis.

    Understand, dear reader, that the Scientific Method is one of a continuing or on-going process. Joe adhered to that concept.


    Joe, our host, has followed closely the Scientific Process.

    Best of all, the weather vane are intelligent thinking groups compared to the House Members and certainly compared to the run-of-the-mill respondents in even good surveys from reputable survey companies such as SWS or Pulse Asia. So the phrase “Highly Scientific” is appropriate.

    No wonder, his bookie Sal agrees with Joe’s hypothesis. And so, along with Sal, I pronounce that Joe’s method is a highly scientific survey of the political wind.


    If I did not find Joe’s assertion of his scientific method agreeing to the concept of scientific method I would not have posted this commentary. You see, I am a political animal too — he may even label me as the “playing both ends” type? Right, Boss? 🙂

  3. karlgarcia says:

    Angara is having second thoughts on death penalty, to say that he is playing both ends is very apt.

  4. edgar lores says:

    1. I generally agree with the group classification. “Playing both ends” is a mouthful and I will use the term “Balimbing.”

    2. I also generally agree with the composition with the following exceptions:

    2.1. Honasan (UNA) should be in the Anti-democracy (AD) group.
    2.2. Escudero (Independent) should be in the Balimbing group. I agree he might shift to the Pro-democracy (PD) group.
    2.3. I would treat Lacson (Independent) in the same manner as Escudero.

    3. I base my assignments on two issues:

    o The De Lima Ouster
    o The Lascañas Hearing

    3.1. The first issue clearly established who originally belonged to the AD Group. And the second issue clarified who were the Balimbings.

    o On both issues, Honasan sided with the AD group.
    o Escudero voted to hear Lascañas.
    o Lacson abstained on Lascañas but he chairs the committee that will hear him.
    o Villanueva (CIBAC) elected to hear Lascañas but I fear he is too AD in his public manifestations.

    3.2. I find it strange that Gordon, who won as an Independent, is staunchly AD. Perhaps he is a born fascist.

    4. I agree that the recent re-organization drew the line between the AD and PD groups… except for the aforementioned Balimbings, Escudero and Lacson.

    5. All the Balimbings are wild cards, with Lacson being the most mercurial. One never knows where he will fall. His constant twitting of De Lima proves he is no gentleman. I suspect he – as one who fled rather than squarely face legal proceedings — is envious of her character.

    5.1. Three of the Balimbings will have their terms ending in 2019 and, being on their first term, may be up for re-election. These are Angara, Binay, and Poe. This fact may influence their positioning.

    6. The Death Penalty bill will not disturb the group classifications as it will be a conscience vote. Of the 24 senators, I count 11 as being against it at this point in time. These are Sotto, Gordon, Angara, Escudero, Drilon, Pangilinan, Hontiveros, Aquino, Recto, De Lima, Trillanes.

    7. I think the Balimbings to watch are Lacson, Escudero, and Poe. They may prove to be the true weather vanes. Lacson is his own buddy. Escudero and Poe are fair-weather friends.

  5. Micha says:

    This is OT but after the Human Rights Watch directly pointed to the national police as behind the murders of suspected drug users, presidential microphone Ernesto Abella says it’s all baseless and thoughtless.

    So there’s a state declared war on drugs and we’re seeing dead bodies on the streets and Abella is saying the police has nothing to do with it? What more stupefying stupidity is Abella and his boss capable of?

    • NHerrera says:

      Rather pro forma defense. But what can these communicators really say? Silence will probably be viewed as worse — from the masa viewpoint. So better be labeled as stupid.

      • Micha says:

        I will be in favor of the proposal to reinstate the death penalty as long as the first in line to the gas chamber is the notorious murderer, Rodrigo Duterte.

    • I agree with NH. Every criminal makes up alibis or excuses. So do people defending the indefensible.

      • Micha says:

        Duterte has of course, on record, boldly declared that he will “own” whatever actions the police may take, including outright murder of suspects, in order to prosecute his war on drugs.

        Now that international organizations have directly implicated the police on extra judicial killings, instead of owning up the atrocities, Duterte engages in denials and outright mendacity. That does not only make him a liar, he’s going yellow-belly on the owning up part.

  6. gerverg1885 says:

    And any politician who is holding on to something illegally amassed is always thinking of ways to divert the issue.

  7. I am on the fence about Lacson being pro-democracy. Right now, I have him pegged as a player. Lascanas’ senate appearance will give me something more definitive to be able to pass judgement. He questioned Matobato’s credibility but his line of questioning about PAOCTF, Macdum and King had been fact checked and it was verified that Matobato is closer to truth than Lacson on all points.

    While we are on the subject of highly scientific survey, the link below asks a very good question: Why PRD is polling high?

    Seems like Filipinos are “playing safe” as per author. They are afraid to go against the grain. Why? Because the administration has demonstrated a vengeful and one track mindset, a “you are for us or against us mentality.” God forbids if you are against them because there are thousand sinister ways they can employ to get back at you.

    Do the Filipinos really want the “walking on eggshells” feeling? What is the survey organization’s antidote to the fear of telling the truth? Could it be as simple as screening if the survey subject is fearful? Or try to get a pre-screened control group to validate their “usual” way of doing surveys?

    • This is a terrifying time for Filipinos. Here is an article that validates the fear factor mentioned above:

    • Yes, a lot of people may be lodged safely on the fence. Good point.

        • Looks like Angara. Yes, he is definitely a fence sitter. Thumbs up to the meme maker. Thanks for sharing it.

          There is a need in PH for political parties to spell out the values and principles they cherish and for the politicians to embody them. The balimbings should be taught a hard lesson by the people. Filipinos need to realize the power of their votes in achieving the country of their dream. They have the collective power to make public officials toe the line, not the other way around.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Unfortunately congress do not pass self defeating bills like anti-turncoatism,anti-dynasty, land use,etc.
            I think they were just forced to pass agrarian reform laws after compromises.

            • It all comes back full circle to the people who voted the spineless, dynastic, corrupt and self-serving representatives in the government. The real “people power” is when most Filipinos start being conscientious in picking their representatives and when people begin actively participating in building the nation by being heard, seen and productive.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Time will come when haciendas or big land owners tell who their servants have to votefor,mayors’ hold of the squatters, Organized Religion telling their flock who to vote, vote buying,etc.

                Binay’s sister cities and going around the country did not work, but sad to say Duterte’s men found a way to top that with memes like No more Maruming at Binayaran na Poelitics or something like that.Now we have to put up with Duterte and a Duterte Congress and soon a Duterte SC and the rest of the Duterte Institutions.

                Wake me up when it is all over.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Lucio Tan’s alleged control of our justice system struck again. Another tax case absolution from 90m to 200k. We still have not forgotten all the cases complied by former BIR Commissioner Chato that went down the drain.
                Maybe it is true that he controls the SC,Court of Appeals and Court of Tax appeals.
                Perfect template for Paquiao to follow.😕☹️

    • edgar lores says:

      Indeed, Lacson is a weathercock.

      With Matobato, he was a DDS-denier. Now, with Lascañas, he is acting as a DDS-confirmer.

  8. An honest, fair and level-headed assessment of where PH and Filipinos stand right now. Divided, fearful, and suffering from delusion and/or depression. I am deeply troubled by this. Are you?

  9. karlgarcia says:

    Duterte can simply say he is joking when he said that the police can not be prosecuted under his watch, but how can he and hs men deny ever instigating the executions bybsaying he never ordered any killings and neutralize ( which appears on an official police memo) only means arrest.
    to neutralize is to kill.

    • I think a great cover-up is beginning. The PNP spokesman yesterday was doing a spin on the numbers to trim drug deaths down and paint other killings as unrelated.

    • chemrock says:

      Imagine all those nincopoops taking and executing a kill order without any written instructions. Nobody can produce any written order from da boss, not even Matobato or Lascanas, or Bato himself. Look how he ‘ordered’ AMLC to disclose his financial transaction info. Unlike the stupid PNP, AMLC are smart enough not to act on such verbal outages. AFP are smart too. They asked for written instruction for their role in the drug war. PNP is a nincompoop institution.

      • karlgarcia says:

        And now this. Aside from this posted below, Cayetano also said that Trillanes and Delima wants to tell the international community that there is no Law and Order in the Philippines.
        Will he still replace Yasay come July?

        “MANILA, Philippines –  Drug lords are bankrolling efforts to destabilize the Duterte administration – aided unwittingly by human rights organizations and other groups with legitimate concerns over the conduct of the war on drugs, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano claimed yesterday.
        The senator said that with the illegal drug trade now a P20-billion to P500-billion industry, it’s not surprising for drug lords to fight back with arms and money to stop the administration’s strong anti-drug campaign.
        “There’s an ongoing destabilization. While there are really human rights advocates raising legitimate concerns, there are drug lords riding on this, there is also politicking involved,” Cayetano told a press conference. “Let’s not be naïve, the drug lords are not standing by.” 
        He said he does not have the details of how drug lords are financing the alleged destabilization efforts or how much they have put out, but he claimed security officials have received information on this.”

        • NHerrera says:

          As the bard said,

          Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!

        • josephivo says:

          These drug lords make 20 to 500 billion peso and so far I only saw bodies of people of people making 20 to 500 peso a day. Strange, the difference is a billion or of a thousand times a million. There seems to be a disconnect.

          Are these huge money flaws invisible for the police? Can dela Rosa only count up to 500 and is everything above “a lot”, the same, be it 1,000 peso or 500 billion? Probably is it the opposite and he understands large numbers too good, he does understand that 20 to 500 billion do buy protection, where 20 to 500 peso are irrelevant.

          Senator Caetano should explain this discrepancy first before he accuses others.

  10. andrewlim8 says:

    The sea creatures Stonefish will grow up with:

    1.Lolo- killer whale
    2.Ninong Kellyandanar- pufferfish (poisonous tongue)
    3.Tito Baste- mestizong bangus
    4.Uncle Bongbong – giant octopus,with tentacles everywhere
    5.Ninong Wiguirre- squid tactics
    6.Ninong Abella – bilasang isda
    7.Ninong Pacquiao- sea worm, not that evolved yet, medieval organism

  11. Sup says:

    I think Pacquiao is in his own class? ADHD….:-)………….

  12. chemrock says:

    My coloured views on Joe’s groupings. Generally I’m in agreement.


    Cayetano & Pacquiao — 2 of the dumbdest politicians in the land. Their pro-D stand is with their eyes on 2022. They are trying to rub Dtuterte political capital and stardust on themselves. But how stupid can one be when Duterte has publicly announced not once, but several times, his love for Bongbong. Not Duterte supporter is going for Cayetano in 2022, but some might go for Pacquiao — those thuggy types.

    Villar — she is not a politician, but a business women of the leech type, so she clings to D. Long live oligarchy.

    Gatchalian. Ejercito, Villaneuva — people with pending legal cases have b…. that can be squeezed easily, so better go with da boss. It’s personal, nothing to do about democracy or anti-democracy.

    Zubiri — it’s all about having a stake in Mindanao riches come Federalism.

    Pimental — I think he understands democracy, but he is on a tightrope as he may loose his party. To stay in power, he needs to fist salute. (Incidentally I have never seen a picture of Koko with a fist salute)

    Gordon, Sotto — Pigs who can’t fly stay in the pigsty.

    Playing both ends :

    Binay — She is in a spot. Her father’s position is perilous, so she needs to tow the line. For this reason, she beongs to the anti group.

    Poe — I think she is for democracy, but has a frail heart. Once in a while she will say something against the admin, but in a totally non-confrontational manner. She has no advocacy

    Legarda — She is a blonde

    Angara — A male blonde


    De Lima, Hontiveros, Trillanes — Real heroes with guts and commitment. Hard to find characters

    Pangilinan, Recto, Drilon — Good and principled men. Can be expected to stand their grounds.

    Aquino — Pro-demo but carries the yellow baggages. He is disqualified from leading any pro-demo movement, but expected to play supportive role in the shadows

    Honasan — Can’t figure him out, but definitely untrustworthy.

    Escudero — the slippery one. Currently he is a non-entity. Probably his Vietnam trip with the D entourage was’nt fruitful for him. Untrustworthy.

    Lacson — a survivalist and can be a tough cookie. I think he sees the tipping point is impending and it’s time to tip the scales and be on the right side. Practical but not-principled.

    • NHerrera says:

      Nice. The characterization of Angara and Legarda is beautiful. At least to Angara the 2019 election is a constraint. But Legarda is truly a BLONDE.

    • Superb, superb characterizations. Blonde = bimbo = airhead.

    • NHerrera says:

      We have the blog’s main framework, but as started by edgar, there are other smaller sets of weathercocks in the mix of 24 senators. Another subset is this set of Young Turks:

      1 Angara
      2 Aquino
      3 Binay
      4 Ejercito
      5 Gatchalian
      6 Hontiveros
      7 Pacquiao
      8 Pimentel
      9 Poe
      10 Trillanes
      11 Villanueva
      12 Zubiri

      I don’t have the complete characterization but for one these relatively young senators may not be labeled completely with the same political minds of the old. It has enough numbers to have a range of the political spectrum. It also has the range from the stupidest to the intelligent. Of course, they are all POLITICIANS. From one of them may come our future leader.

      • NHerrera says:

        Still a beautiful poem by Robert Frost on thinking about choices and the consequence of choosing one rather than the other, because choosing one will lead to more forks on the road, no going back to the other road:

        Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
        And sorry I could not travel both
        And be one traveler, long I stood
        And looked down one as far as I could
        To where it bent in the undergrowth;
        Then took the other, as just as fair,
        And having perhaps the better claim,
        Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
        Though as for that the passing there
        Had worn them really about the same,
        And both that morning equally lay
        In leaves no step had trodden black.
        Oh, I kept the first for another day!
        Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
        I doubted if I should ever come back.
        I shall be telling this with a sigh
        Somewhere ages and ages hence:
        Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
        I took the one less traveled by,
        And that has made all the difference.

        I hope even Pacquiao reads this. I would expect our US school teacher Poe read it.

  13. RHiro says:

    Btm. Line–

    Interests vs. Values

    I count only one Senator of the Philippine Senate who will hold her ground. Hontiveros.

    If a candidate like Trump succeeded and now Marine Le Pen stands a good chance of being elected can the bastion of liberal democracy hold?

    There is no historical foundation of liberal democracy in the Philippines.

    “Some years ago, I spoke to a Balkan leader who had just spent the day listening to an American philanthropist lecture him about all of his troubled young country’s democratic shortcomings. As he contemplated the political pain of following the philanthropist’s free advice, he asked me, “What am I supposed to do with that?” He had identified a fundamental shortfall in the movement to promote democracy: telling someone how to implement democratic reforms is not the same as taking on the risks and responsibilities of actually doing it.”

    It would be interesting to see what the SC does with the De Lima case for certiorari.

    Will the shallow foundations hold?

    Another example of theory and practice is this article almost 20 years ago in defense of unbridled globalization.

    Today the whole world is being tossed upside down due to what Rodrik had written about 20 years ago.

    • Yes, the SC decision is perhaps nation-defining.

      • I agree that Sen. Hontiveros is totally committed to democratic principles and human rights. I think both Sen. Trillanes and De Lima are as well, by dint of a mix of courage and persecution. VP Robredo is as well, I think, as she no longer has to play at political niceties.

    • Francis says:

      I disagree.

      “There is no historical foundation of liberal democracy in the Philippines.”

      “Will the shallow foundations hold.”

      They must. No liberal democracy has earned their liberalism without experiencing a degree of hardship or challenge against their principles. The American Civil War. The slow expansion of suffrage. Often—it goes: one step back—and two steps forward. Bones once broken are stronger than bones never broken.

      That said—to pin supporters of Duterte as anti-democracy is wrong. We are all for democracy. The difference—however—lies in what kind of democracy. EDSA was and is the symbol of the liberal democracy that “Filipinos” (note: the old middle class and idealistic upper classes) have always wanted the Philippines to be; a rational democracy of honorable consensus and cooperation, of lofty rights. On the other hand, it is completely wrong to say that Duterte supporters are automatically and inherently anti-democratic forces. No. They represent populist democracy—the democracy held by the “Filipinos” (the new middle classes and lower middle class, i.e new professionals in BPOs etc. outside of “traditional” lines such as medicine) that are tired of what they see as liberal democracy’s lackluster response to their burdens; “rights” and “polite discourse” are nice and all—but kung nag-plaplastikan (we’re just talking nice while doing nothing) lang tayo…gusto ko…aksyon…

      We are all for democracy. The question is: what kind?

      • NHerrera says:

        Aha. The kid from “the school of hard knocks” versus the un-bruised kid with alalays, drivers and bodyguards at every turn — who makes the better leader given only a choice between the two.

      • Is democracy that does not abide by the Constitution a democracy in anything but pretense? Are state-sponsered killings democratic? Is state-sponsored propaganda? Political witch hunts? If so, the ‘kind’ of democracy seems highly perverted to me.

      • “EDSA:.. old middle class and idealistic upper classes”

        “Duterte supporters.. new middle classes and lower middle class, i.e new professionals in BPOs etc. outside of “traditional” lines such as medicine”

        excellent definition of the milieus. Strangely, it was also a new middle class that brought Marcos into power. The old middle class was sidelined. The then new, pro-Marcos middle class turned against him in the 1980s, became the “yellows” because of economic crisis. All new groups in the Philippines went by the FYIGM principle, shutting the next group out. The present one even by eliminating those who could come after them and bite their asses.

  14. boom buencamino says:


    A good analysis….until the last two paragraphs which I found too optimistic…and kind.

    1. The anti-democratic bloc is composed of authoritarian personalities so the pros and cons of authoritarianism vs democracy is not on their menu. Never was. Never will be.

    2. The authoritarian personality equates dignity and soul with the amount of power he wields, whether in a personal capacity or by close proximity to whoever wields power.

    For those among the authoritarian bloc who dream but know they will never become the supremo because they lack the wherewithal then they buy their ringside seats with the only medium of exchange in authoritarian circles: Blind loyalty and total obedience.

    Thus blind loyalty and total obedience do not strip authoritarian personalities of their “dignity…if not soul” In fact blind loyalty and total obedience is the wellspring of their dignity and soul because being in the grace of those that wield power is the measure of their dignity and the essence of their soul.

    As to the fence sitters…

    The worst politicians are those who are fence-sitters by nature. They shouldn’t even be in politics in the first place because politics, I’m referring to democratic politics, is by nature about compromise. It begins with opposing sides, pros and antis, and ends with both coming together at some middle ground, the middle ground usually being determined with a majority vote and rarely by consensus. And isn’t it ironic that agreement to decide things by consensus is usually decided through a majority vote?

    A politician must always be for or against something. If everybody sat on the fence or started from a middle ground, there would be no issues, there will be no politics.

    Fence sitters cannot be ignored because their vote usually determines the outcome of a contest. And for that reason alone, they deserve no respect.

    The worst among fence sitters are those who declare they are keeping an open mind. Fuck that. Don’t open your mouth to declare you have nothing yet to say about an issue…unless it is your way of announcing that you are up for auction.

    • The last two sentences switched from analysis to a kind of groveling for Philippine leaders to get a picture bigger than their stone cold hearts. I don’t disagree with you, and appreciate your take on fence-sitters.

  15. josephivo says:

    Du30’s world: “Criminals? Shoot them, nothing to do with human rights, they are not human. Nobody complains when a criminal is shot, one criminal less is a good thing.”

    Criminal: one who has committed a crime.
    Crime: an illegal act for which someone can be punished by the government.
    Illegal: not according to or authorized by law

    There are no Filipinos that always acted in all circumstances according to all authorized laws (Proof? Just look at the traffic). So let’s kill them all and free the 7.000 islands for others to enjoy.

    What senators agree and who would like to add what nuance? (Beside fearless senator Cayetano who always projects himself in his boss and wise Senator Pacquiao who will find justification in the Bible. e.g. Noah, the only survival of a previous extinction of all human sinners and unlucky animals, he also sinned later by exposing his genitalia and thus merited extinction too. Noah even cursed his son, but that’s something Du30 did too even before the mass extinction, so maybe not a reason for to be killed)

  16. Micha says:

    OT again (sorry).

    When ex-prisoner Juan Ponce Enrile had a one on one meeting with murderer-in-chief Duterte at Malacanang, what do you think were the topic of their conversation?

    a) possible exemption be granted to JAKA Corp on the mining and logging ban by DENR.
    b) Enrile advised Duterte on how to prepare a blueprint for Martial Law.
    c) Enrile expressed gratitude for springing him out of prison and locking in Leila de Lima.
    d) arrange a possible marriage between Inday Sarah and Jackie Enrile.
    e) all of the above.
    f) none of the above, Enrile just missed his buddy and wants to chit chat about viagra.

  17. Micha says:

    One more quiz.

    If Jesus returned from the sky and landed at Malacanang briefing room, he would:

    a) Raise one arm like on the Sistine Chapel ceiling and send it down to you know where.
    b) Look for Pontius Pilate, believing he was reincarnated as Du30.
    c) Think the killing of sinners (addicts) were inefficient since they can only max 5 hits a night.
    d) Weep for the victims of EJK.
    e) Get confused between police chief Bato and former DDS assassin Matobato.

    • NHerrera says:

      After briefly surveying the Malacanang briefing room, pack Joe et al to a Noah Spaceship; then send a huge asteroid barreling down the SCS.

    • Edgar Lores says:

      f} Sweep the halls of power as he swept the temples clear of merchants and money-changers.
      g) Look around and weep, saying, “Is this what I died for?”

  18. NHerrera says:

    Off topic


    No matter the nonsensical response to the UN-HRW 120+ page report on the EJK in the Philippines, I sense a subtle or smooth move: Duterte orders Drug War II but leaves the implementing details to Bato. The reason behind this is of course subject to one’s own interpretation. Or I am just reading too much from my tea leaves. I bet Bert has a better picture from his crystal ball.

  19. NHerrera says:

    Off topic

    The US, a functioning democracy with mature and working institutions. I can’t help but admire the way the investigations progressed and are progressing there — first with respect to the US National Security Adviser Mike Flynn and now with respect to the US Attorney General Jeff Sessions — two very important Officials in the US Executive Branch aside from the President. Politics is politics there as in other countries but oh what a difference between the US and the Philippines.

    • NHerrera says:

      Contrast that with the People ‘s Republic of China — bolding mine — and how the government, national and local, treats its people just petitioning, say, over the grabbing of the petitioner’s land, not to mention the beating of the petitioner’s father to death:

      The Republic of China or Taiwan without the qualifier “People” treats its people better.

      • NHerrera says:

        (Sorry Joe, I am makulit on this one. I forgot to put this line in the last post).

        The reader, if he has time, should read the contents of the link. It reads like a nice story. Worth the time spent reading it.

        • NH , I dunno if mature’s the best term for this comparison, the word mature seem to me to convey permanence, ie. you can never be immature again, never be young… linear way of looking at progress,

          when in reality, it’s more cyclical , in the 1930s, FDR was almost ousted, , then in the 1960s JFK, and now Trump. So a nation isn’t permanently mature, it will go down again (chemp’s forecast),

          What i’m curious about Flynn (as many of you know i’m a big fan of Flynn here) is they let him go so easily. Trump’s correct simply reaching out to foreign representatives before taking office is how you’re suppose to do things—– that’s simply taking initiative.

          But he was kicked out. Why?

          Now Sessions, who’s a career politician and a lawyer (read, knows how to lie, vs. Flynn’s not so crafty with words), the same thing Flynn did, same exact thing, yet Trump’s defending Sessions? Why didn’t Trump defend Flynn as vigorously?

          I’m thinking Flynn (they thought) was the perfect sacrificial lamb (a one time pay to cross the bridge), but they’re not priests and the American people they’re not God (ie. they are never satisfied with a single scapegoat/ sacrifice) ,

          I fear that this is the beginning of the end for Trump,

          if a Special Prosecutor is assigned he’ll dig deeper than any Special Prosecutor that ever took the role, and Trump’s dealings with Russian oligarchs , laundering their money for them, will surface—– now billionaire friends loaning each other money int’lly i don’t think is a crime,

          but it’s enough… connect that to Trump’s tax returns, etc. plus the better likelihood that he’ll actually lie to the FBI and Special Prosecutor, would only be cherry on top… Impeachment.

          But all because they threw Flynn under the bus.

          Compare that to how scapegoats and sacrificial lambs are hung up to dry or jailed in the Philippines. I think the difference is that it’s less obvious, as Joe has high lighted in his article. 😉

      • NHerrera says:

        Thanks Lance for the above information. But let us not go further with this, interesting as the likely conversation would be; I can sense Joe reminding us that the current blog is not a scientific survey of the political wind in Washington. 🙂

        Love the chart.

  20. NHerrera says:


    After reading the TSH must read article of MLQIII in Washington Post and seeing the referred to drone photo of the crowd, I estimate that the crowd is probably in the range of 20,000 to 40,000 instead of the various numbers we have read or heard from the TV talking heads.

    First, there was the pre-February 25 Administration estimate of about 1.5 Million. Come February 25, it was estimated by an over-enthusiastic government functionary to be 800,000; by the crowd organizer to be 400,000; and by the Police to be 215,000. A high tech fellow, according to MLQIII, took his drone and shot a bird’s eye view of the crowd shown below (wherein I added yellow and red lines I used for my analysis).

    The high tech fellow calculated the crowd to be 20,000. I presume that the fellow may have used some sophisticated computer tools/ software to do his estimate — using the drone camera shot pixels, etc.

    Now this old engineer is not as sophisticated as that high tech fellow and used only an engineers low-falutin’ tools.


    My main resource is the google map and the drone photo referred to above.

    With respect to the google map of the Rizal Park, one notes that since the crowd was focused in the Quirino Grandstand area — where a platform, the bright area in the middle, stood for use of the speakers/ entertainers — I used a method no more sophisticated than using the google map, the length scale in the goggle map, a convenient ruler in Windows 10 to get the length and width with which to get the area of 100,816 square meters, or say 100,000 square meters. This area corresponds to the area in the drone photo I marked as yellow. This area is not rectangular in the photo — more like trapezoidal — because of the position of the drone camera when the picture was taken.

    Next we look at the drone photo. I focused on the most crowded area I marked in red, again not rectangular in the photo because of camera angle. The ratio of that area to the area in yellow by my engineer’s estimate is 0.197.

    Now the big leap of faith — to my assumption and rationale which I explain further below. I assume that 1 person per square meter of space in that area is reasonable. With that, I estimate the number of people in the red area to be 19,700 (= 1 x 0.197 x 100,000), say, 20,000.

    Now to be generous, I double that number of 20,000 for there are crowds bounded between the red lines and the yellow lines. So my “scientific” estimate is a crowd in the range of 20,000 to 40,000 — the lower value of the range corresponds to the high tech fellow’s estimate.

    Now for some rationale on the assumption of 1 person per square meter of space. I assume that the crowd are there to listen to the likes of Andanar, Aguirre, Cayetano. Now these guys no matter how they want to be celebrities like Vice Ganda are not crowd drawers enough for them to jostle to the platform. They are not there for the Black Nazarene to pack themselves like sardines. Besides the message can be heard loud and clear from the loudspeakers which I presume was employed.


    BTW, central to MLQIII’s thesis that “Duterte’s honeymoon” is ending is the use of the relatively small number attending that Luneta show against the advertised or wished for 1.5 million — especially when one adds the DILG Chief’s not-too-subtle memo to all governors, mayors and village officials that blandly stated, “Your constituents who are willing to participate in the events may be organized for the purpose.”

    MLQIII adds: the intent was clear: The administration was expecting local officials to do everything to organize a huge turnout. Twenty thousand from an advertised 1.5 million is a big letdown indeed and the DILG organized show of force of the Pro-Duterte crowd was a failure. Unless Trump or Spicer is the one viewing this crowd.

    • karlgarcia says:

      I will take your “low-falutin” analysis any day.

    • edgar lores says:

      You’ve done the math.

    • chemrock says:


      If the area demarcated by the yellow lines approx 100 sq metres, then there is something terribly wrong with the maths.

      At 100% density a reasonable number of people squeezed standing in 1 sq. metre would be 5.5. Here’s how it would look like in 4 sq metres at 100% density :

      And here is how density of 6 people in 1 sq metre looks like in a 100 sq metre area.

      6 per sq metre means the max number of people within the yellow box is only 6,000.

      • chemrock says:

        Oops sorry, the yellow box is 100,000 sq mtr. So the max with number of people with a density of 6 per sq mtr is 600,000. That is the capacity of the yellow box. OK I’ll be back with my estimate of your picture shortly.

      • chemrock says:

        I put in a grid overlay with one cell approx 100 sq metres. With a density of 6 people per sq metre, max for each cell is 6,000. Visual estimation for 38 cells there are about 34,000. 62 cells on the fringes were left out. Let’s give average 50 for these cells, there should be another 3,100. The total no. of people in the yellow box is 43,100 on the high side.

        The poor resolution makes it difficult to have an more accurate estimate.

        There was another point of interest in the police count. There was a sudden surge of 100,000 within one hour. Assuming the vehicle capacity of 18 persons, that would mean about 5,555 vehicles came in within that one hour. It’s logistically impossible to marshall that number of vehicles within 60 minutes.

        • chemrock says:

          Sorry, each cell is 1,000 m2

          • NHerrera says:


            I salute you. You did what should have been done:

            * Doing the grid inside the yellow lines is the correct way of doing it.

            * From that, using the reasonable number for the no. of persons/ sq meter multiplied by the cell area one gets the numbers in the cells which you did — with the highest no./sq meter at the densest and lowered as one goes to the fringes as indicated by the visuals.

            * Your note on the crowd surge in an hour and the associated vehicles required is very good indeed.

            Additional notes

            * My 20,000 was intended for the red area; the additional 20,000 was those outside of the red area but inside the yellow area. In effect 40,000 is the estimate for the whole yellow area. But in my mind I made things fuzzy because of assumptions in the crucial no./sq meter for the denser area. So I made the “fuzzy range”: 20,000 to 40,000 for the whole yellow area. RATHER QUICK AND DIRTY.

            * Your number 43, 100 which you note is on the high side is a rather good commentary.

            * Interesting that my fuzzy range 20k-40k is compatible with your 43.1k with your note that it is on the high side. You did the correct procedure and I did a quick and dirty estimate and we agree at least that the crowd there is most probably lower than 40k.

            * The only point of debate is the 6 persons per sq meter at the densest area. To the extent that number is really x, there is a factor of (x/6) in the result. But let us not argue this. This much I can say: my 1 per sq meter at the dense are, on second thought, is rather loose — perhaps indefensible.

            * The above said, I again give my thumbs up on your calculations.

            FINAL NOTE

            Joe you started this whole business of scientific approach to things so I did some science, but chempo, did a very good scientific work there.

            The 200,000 crowd estimate — the lowest from the Administration people is INDEFENSIBLE.

            • chemrock says:

              NHerrera — the troll chatter days before the rally was a call to take photos of views of their crowd where there is high density and to share these shots online. So they continue to kid themselves and feed the wrong info to da bosses and they will shoot themselves in their feet (one foot each). They can’t see the tipping point which is glaring.

      • Interesting. I eyeballed it and estimated fewer than 7,000. A thousand people is a lot of pinheads, and no way are there 20,000 there.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Grandstand in Rizal Park
      Former names Independence Grandstand
      Location Rizal Park, Manila Philippines
      Capacity 10,000

      Quirino Grandstand – Wikipedia › wiki › Quirino…


      They were not packed like sardines in that picture, so I guess it is less than 10,000.
      A jampack Araneta Coluseum would be 25,000 tops

      Maybe more in Philippine Arena and about the same in MOA.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Per google:

        Philippine Arena

        Smart Araneta

        MOA Arena
        Capacity‎: ‎Seated: 15,000; Full house: 20,000‎

  21. karlgarcia says:

    Who is familar with the sub judice law?
    If there is a gag order on discussing the merits of the Delima case, how wide is the coverage of that gag order, are we not allowed to mention her at all? Am I violating that gag order?

  22. Sid Bañez says:

    Your first paragraph articulated for me why surveys are unreliable, especially in the Philippines where respondents would almost always tell you what you want to hear. This is true even in casual conversations on any topic that is potentially uncomfortable. Having said that, I agree with your method of deciphering the behavior and pronouncements of senators, probably the most survival conscious animals in our political landscape.

  23. karlgarcia says:

    Recto on our justice system.

    “Press Release
    March 5, 20170
    Recto: US State report right on “weak prosecutions, slow court procedures”

    In this divided nation, there will be disagreements on certain conclusions in the US State Department’s human rights report on the Philippines.

    There should be no discord, however, on one passage in the report, which is true and incontrovertible: on our nation being plagued by “a weak and overburdened criminal justice system notable for slow court procedures, weak prosecutions, and poor cooperation between police and investigators.”

    We have long been aware of that, and we have long pleaded guilty to that charge. The said report merely reiterates a crisis we have long been grappling with.

    Our law enforcement system is plagued by logistical shortfalls and manpower shortages. The PNP is almost 50,000 men short of what is ideally required. They lack 18,000 long firearms and 3,000 patrol vehicles.

    Our prosecutors are saddled by the same problems. Some 1,700 vacancies remain unfilled, burdening each of the 2,000 in service with an average punishing load of 500 cases.

    Public Attorneys Office lawyers fare worse, with each of these underpaid, overworked public defenders attending 5,000 clients per year. Like prosecutors, they soldier on in spartan offices, where equipment and support staff are scarce.

    Our courts are slowed down by vacancies in judgeships. To cite a few: Of the 367 Municipal Trial Courts, only 289 have judges filled. A fourth of 1,229 Regional Trial Courts either have no judge or have yet to be organized.

    At any given time, the judiciary has a backlog of 600,000 cases.

    The last stop in the justice system is congested as well.

    The almost 20,000 inmates in eight Bureau of Corrections prisons are housed in cells which have an average congestion rate of 215 percent.

    Over at the BJMP, its 463 jails have a congestion rate of almost 500 percent, with each of the 116,000 inmates squeezed into less than one square meter of cell space.

    With all this squalor, it is no wonder that jail conditions have incubated crime empires whose tentacles breach prison walls and reach all nooks of the country.

    Drug war or not, we need to fix the problems of our justice system. These are preexisting ills we must all solve. The strong foundations of our democracy stand on how strong our justice infrastructure is.”

    • Spot on. Good for the Senator to call it straight.

    • chemrock says:

      After the SC ruled PDAF and DAF unconstitutional, Pnoy admin reduced the budget for the Judiciary drastically. I’m not saying that act of petulance caused all those problems Recto referred to. But certainly it was a rare nasty power play by Pnoy.

      • NHerrera says:

        That item escaped me. Nasty consequences — agreed. Though the SC Justices themselves are not wanting in relative comfort, allowances and office staff and amenities. Yet many of their “brilliant” decisions on consequential/ crucial issues are none too brilliant.

        I am afraid many of the fundamental ills of the system are not solved by budget constraints, though it is a factor. The many blog topics in TSH and commentaries have said that much.

        • chemrock says:

          Agreed. Absolutely. I believe court revenues are not transferred to govt coffers. The judiciary retains this fund and exercise independent discretionary use of it. Wonder how they spent it. At this moment there is a big bunch of them out in London supposedly to learn about the Brits judicial system. A waste of money IMHO.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Big picture.

          We spend 1 trillion for personnel services out of the 3.35 Trillion.
          BIR wants to get out of the Salary Standardization Law because people are leaving for the private sector, and I am sure this does not only happen in the BIR.

          What do we do scrap the Salary Standardization law and spend more than 33 percent of the budget just paying people?

          Our district engineers can’t even inspect all the buildings in QC because of lack of man power.

          Lack of man power, contractualization forever even of teachers?

          We lack police and soldiers due to budget constraints and yet to explode pension time bomb of police and soldiers.

          Back to judiciary.

          We have argued here that our lawyers end up as notary publics, yet we lack prosecutors, and judges.

          Again the salary budget conundrum.

          Fret not,
          Duterte will not kill plunderers, he is just asking Congress, why exclude plunder in the death penalty.

  24. karlgarcia says:

    Tomorrow, the DDS hearing begins or continues, let us see where this will lead us.

    Press Release
    March 4, 2017

    Sen. Bam on Lascanas: Explain retraction
    Hearing retired policeman Arthur Lascanas’ confession on the Davao Death Squad (DDS) is an indication of the Senate’s independence, according to deputy minority leader Sen. Bam Aquino.
    “The Senate should not shirk from pursuing the truth. Kailangan malaman ng taumbayan ang buong katotohanan sa isyung ito,” said Sen. Bam, who was among 10 senators who voted to hear Lascanas’ claim.
    During his previous Senate appearance last year, Lascanas denied the claim of Edgar Matobato regarding the existence of the DDS.
    However, Lascanas retracted his statement last Feb. 20, saying the DDS indeed exists and former Davao City mayor and now President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the killings.
    It was also revealed that Lascanas wrote a confession in 2015, detailing all his knowledge about the DDS.
    “These are heavy allegations against the president and it is our duty as an independent body to investigate,” said Sen. Bam.
    Sen. Bam also wanted Lascanas to explain why he is changing his story.
    “Gusto natin malaman kung ano ang kaniyang rason sa pagbabago ng kuwento at bakit siya umaamin sa mga nagawang krimen,” the senator said.
    However, Sen. Bam said perjury will be the least of Lascanas’ worries as he admitted committing several murders when he recanted his testimony.
    Lascanas will face the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, headed by Sen. Panfilo Lacson, on Monday (March 6).

  25. NHerrera says:


    I am expanding on a point made by MLQIII in the TSH must read article.

    An index of support S to the current Administration may be expressed as consisting of two main components:

    S = S1 + S2

    S1 comes from the support it gets from the masa and from the crucial Armed Forces (AFP), not the PNP. Even when the number of live bodies it gets from these remains, there is a natural waning factor due to the passage of time alone. (I may love strawberry ice cream but a constant diet of this results in my love for it waning with time. My love for the good wife waning with time — but just a bit?) There is a “natural” waning factor. An increase in M+AFP is partly negated by this natural waning factor. It is when there is a decrease when, acting synergistically with time, the decrease is pronounced.

    S2 comes from the “effective” support generated by the Fear which comes from the EJK mechanism. There is a parallel factor, although this one is a growth factor which works when the EJKs are increased — the more the EJKs, the more this “effective” support is magnified by this “natural” growth factor. The more crimes the more violent is the crime.


    The recent Luneta show of support organized by DILG with supporting casts from Andanar, Aguirre and Cayetano was meant to boost the M factor. We know that that fizzled. There is of course the continuing courtship of the AFP to boost that factor.

    The De Lima narrative and the recent move to undertake Drug War II is intended to boost the F factor.

    IN A NUTSHELL, I offer the picture below:

    • I’m wondering if there is not a third major source of support called ‘acquiesence from the educated working class’, covering the basic willingness to accept brutality as a means to some future greater good. Perhaps that is the flip side of the fear factor, but I see noise rising (internationally, universities, certain senators, Church, etc) and it suggests people are bothered enough to set aside fear.

  26. monk says:

    Democracy? More like feudal democracy.

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