The Rainbow Rebellion, a crowd-sourced opposition

An anti-government demonstrator builds a barricade in Kiev

Perhaps there is a different way. [Photo of Ukraine via emaze]

By Joe America

Let us suppose that the Philippines is engaged in a to-the-death battle between two very different value systems. One is the old ‘me-first’, tribal system of favor and power. The other is democracy with its attempt to engage everyone equally and fairly.

Tribal values have the edge in the Philippines today because it’s patrons currently head government, much of the legislature is tribal, and the government has deployed an army of loyalists to keep the needful masses properly aligned behind its programs. The opposition has no organized leadership or funding. So democracy is on the ropes.

Do democracy advocates give up, figuring that they are a minority? Their big problem is that the democracy leaders are not popular. The tribes have destroyed them. Furthermore, many people think it is up to someone else to wage opposition. So those who do have a passion for democracy have a weak support group.

That’s where my musings begin, not as a rebel myself, but as a musing guy, a ponderer, a scribe who drops off ideas crafted to provoke hearty discussion open to all earnest ideas.

And so I ponder, and wonder . . . and write . . .


Crowd-sourcing is a fascinating modern method of development made possible by advances in technology. It engages all who want to get engaged in the design and building of a system or product. It takes the idea that two heads are better than one and extends it as far as it can go, as far as technical skill and enthusiasm for the system or product can reach.

A company sponsoring crowd-sourced systems and products can make money because the design and building are cheaper and the quality can be better. They just manage the integration of ideas, marketing, and distribution.

I ponder and wonder if rebellion can be crowd-sourced. I muse that democracy itself is actually a crowd-sourced method of governing.

Duterte’s organized propaganda machine

I am fascinated as well by the organized propaganda that is disseminated today under the guidance of the Duterte Administration’s ideas about communication. Truth has no bearing on what loyalists do. Winning is what matters. Manipulation is the method and control is the goal. To democracy advocates, the people surrounding the President are viewed as the biggest pack of manipulators outside of Washington DC. It is galling to them that there is a trolling effort funded by their tax dollars.

It is also enlightening how gullible people are to the manipulations, both among uneducated and educated people. Emotional needs trump reason. Dignity is irrelevant. Believing fake stories is fun, a real high.

It is a powerful, successful model. The tribes are good at what they do, good at power.

The fractured, unorganized opposition

The opposition to the tribal, authoritarian methods is not organized and so is not so powerful, and not so successful. Now it seems to me that the opposition is growing. More and more prominent people are speaking their objections to killings, political jailings, gifting of sovereignty to China, and coddling of drug lords and plunderers. But legislators are still toeing the line, placing their own advantage ahead of any idea about national well-being and human rights.

Most legislators in the Philippines are tribal.

The most principled opposition, that of the Liberal Party, cannot muster much support because of the bitterness of Philippine political battles. The Duterte, Binay, and Poe presidential candidacies all painted President Aquino as some kind of  villain, and it seems like they actually believe their own political spiel. As I said earlier, emotions trump reason even among educated people.

Furthermore, legislators and LGU heads who have dipped into tax money cannot risk separating from Duterte, lest they get drawn and quartered by Duterte loyalists. Or tried and jailed by the courts.

So opposition comes from individuals and a few organizations here and there, none big enough or strong enough to have much influence.

That leads me to muse about how the opposition might crowd-source a rebellion, not AGAINST the State, but FOR the State and against policies that undermine the State’s civility, sovereignty, Constitutional mandates, and human rights. Such a principled rebellion would basically require that someone define the product. It would require that each person recognize what his or her technical skills are, and apply them, as individuals. They don’t need to belong to any political group or be of any color to join. They do have to have a passion for what they believe is best for the Philippines.

The name

All God’s creations have names. The Rainbow Rebellion is the name that popped into my head to specifically remove the color yellow from prominence and provide a place for everyone. Democracy is a rainbow form of government, after all. Plus I like the RR alliteration, having been brought up in a peculiar conjunction of marketing and poetry.

The Rainbow Rebellion, a mass movement for democracy, sovereignty, human rights, and civility.

The product

It seems to me the “product” could well be respect for, and allegiance to, the Philippine Constitution. The Constitution is meant to bind us. But re-writing the Constitution would likely not be the goal. Being true to its ideals would.

Subordinate goals: Separate and co-equal branches of government. Independent agencies. For and by the people. Human rights and due process. Sovereignty and good international reputation. Transparency and free speech.

The ultimate, long term goal of the rebellion might be to win decisively and defeat tribalism once and for all. That is, to rid the government of those who, by self-dealing, choose not to serve the people and the nation. An extreme view of this aim might be to remove from office most of today’s House of Representatives and a lot of senators . . . and judges and administrative officials and LGU officials.

But the design of the effort would ultimately be shaped by the participants.

The roles

Musing . . . musing . . . this rebellion would probably be peaceful and blood-free.  Guns and bombs are not needed. The force would arise from ideas and allegiance to laws . . . and, through them, votes or legal actions.

Here is an idea about the different roles people might pick for themselves:

  1. Recruiter
  2. Content generator
  3. Distributor
  4. Infiltrator
  5. Lawyer
  6. Star

These are not mutually exclusive. Any one person could be a contributor to any or all roles, depending on skill and inclination. He could be a recruiter today, a content generator tomorrow, and a distributor always.

Let me elaborate a little on the roles:

Recruiter. A recruiter would set out with the goal of bringing more people into the ‘rebellion’. He or she might visit colleges or join on-line forums or talk it up among friends, or in other ways inspire people to BELONG . . .  to find inspiration and brotherhood by helping to build a better, kinder, fairer Philippines.

Content generator. This person would be adept at crafting powerful messages. There are a number of them poking away on Facebook or Twitter today. They likely just don’t see themselves as fulfilling a technical role right now. Under the natural gravitational pull of crowd-sourced ideas, I suspect the content generators would soon develop themes around current events, or specific goals. They might begin to coordinate their messaging. Examples of content generators on Twitter today are Edwin Lacierda, Alan Robles, Vice President Robredo, Jim Paredes, and Senator Hontiveros. There are others.

Distributor. This is a person who would follow content generators and select the messages to send out to his own following. He would work diligently to expand his base . . . joining groups, engaging in discussions, and contacting new people. He would strive to stay relevant rather than mindlessly trolling on every topic. Jim Paredes would be a superb distributor, as he has more than a million followers. There are others.

Infiltrator. The rebellion’s mischievious troll, generating fake accounts, joining Duterte groups or following Duterte trolls. The aim is to weaken, not defeat, so direct confontation would be rare. More like “I love the way Duterte has shaken things up, BUT . . . I’m bothered by . . . the killings . . . the congestion . . . not defending our islands . . . the attack on Catholics . . . the sleazy people surrounding him . . . the death penalty . . . being looked down on when I travel or as an OFW . . . the pork . . . or the vulnerability of the day . . .”  

Lawyer. A lawyer can actually get things done. Lawsuits, TROs, defense of those being persecuted, making visible the deceits or abuses of government . . . I think of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) as an example of a group of attorneys who are actually out to do good rather than seek advantage. The more who join the effort, the better. In a law-based society, attorneys can move mountains.

Star. The Philippines is what it is, and that is emotional, superstitious, joyful, celebratory, and admiring of stars. Every Filipino stepping up to the karaoke machine is attuned to the nation’s playful, inspiring style. The best way to capture headlines is to create stars or star moments. A star can already exist (Jim Paredes) or be created from circumstances (Leila De Lima). The more, the merrier . . .

The chemistry

Open sourcing has its own peculiar magic. It is fueled by the passions of individuals who inspire themselves and others by just being involved. They figure out ways to move forward outside of any pro-forma structure.

People who need to coordinate do so because it is natural. But mainly, individuals are busy doing their own thing, generally with the pride that comes from being engaged and finding success in small accomplisments.

Barriers are opportunities, relished for the challenge. Set-backs are a reason to get up and try again. Defeat is not an option.

With enough individuals applying themselves, the noise would soon approach that of a great national cry for fairness, decency, and civility.

The end

Those are my musings on the subject.

I’d welcome yours.


106 Responses to “The Rainbow Rebellion, a crowd-sourced opposition”
  1. Nice one Joe. Excited with how the society evolves this framework/cast of characters.

  2. karlgarcia says:

    Having many tribes is already a given.
    Irineo’s rants of caring only for groups’ interests, us vs them,etc.
    Diversity must be synergized.
    We must make use if what we have and have unity in diversity.
    In the end being tribal may not be a bad thing.

    • If it is used honestly and earnestly, indeed it is a strength. But when used to divide and punish, or put State interests beneath personal, for public servants, it is not good, I think.

    • Those who are able to cross borders are important – and those who are tolerant of them. Author Ninotchka Rosca is a rare example of a person accepted by both left and yellow. Miyako Izabel a rare example of a person from Davao with a UP Diliman degree.

      The typical reactions of ignoring people dahil “ayoko diyan” should become less in the future. Many in the left still refuse to accept PNoys innocence when it comes to DAP, for example. Or stand by Leni in the recent attacks. Yellows often ignore Lumad killings. Etc…

  3. sonny says:

    I would suggest that it is not one of Either tribal OR democratic, but rather Tribal AND Democratic.
    After all the country is catholic, i.e. universal! 🙂

    • That is what it is supposed to be, but democratic ideals are under attack. That means tribal values emerge as dominant and corruption remains robust.

      • sonny says:

        Joe, maybe it took the emergence and ascendance of PDu30 for the 16M to realize the nature of political will and muscle and what it can do, e.g. render a Binay or a Roxas moot. I’m still musing about the composition of the 16M as Popoy suggested previously. If it is the millenials, then it behooves the “old guard” to go with their punch and add their own assist version and nudge the directional vector. IMO. Economics & Education come to mind.

        • I don’t know. Roxas is out, but Leni Robredo is not, and the effort to villify her is intense. I think the admin’s political will and muscle is testing a lot of people, and many are pushing back. The willingness to obey is dropping, I think.

  4. NHerrera says:

    I will start here by putting your basic idea in a nutshell.

    Since the traditional opposition in our “democracy” — the Opposition in the HOR-Senate-LGU — are tribal and weak, we have a need for the crowd-sourced opposition to help balance the heavily imbalanced lever.

    The marketing man in you did a great job of musing and detailing. I particularly like the enumeration of the Players and their roles. They are all important but I like that you did not forget the role of the Infiltrator and that the Lawyer plays a good part after all. The latter to perform what he is trained for and confuse the enemy — our lawyers are good at “confusing” the opposition. 🙂

  5. edgar lores says:

    1. Indeed, the thought of rebellion does come to mind.

    2. In the technological age, spreading the message of rebellion is no problem.

    3. It is the gestation and the sparking event that are the problems. And, of course, the end result. The democratic rebellions of the Arab Spring fizzled out. As did EDSA.

    4. The gestation period involves oppression and its fruit of discontent. It involves the realization that the situation is beyond repair. Tama na, sobra na.

    4.1. Discontent usually arises at first from the intellectual elite and spreads downward to the middle class then to the masses. A sign of the dispersal of discontent is mass movements. Then all that is needed is a sparking event.

    5. The sparking event can be anything. It can be the death of a martyr, troop mutiny, or an unopened envelope.

    5.1. There has been a copious shedding of blood, but not the cleansing and sacred blood of a martyr. The regime would do well do avoid the error of Marcos (or his henchmen). Not that there are no volunteers for martyrdom. At least one senator is being made a scapegoat, and another has announced his willingness to die for the cause. More firebrands (or stars) are required.

    6. My assessment is that there is growing discontent, but perhaps not yet enough. Most of the intellectual elite are on board, as well as a portion of the middle class (as judged from social media), and so is the Church. But not the broader masses.

    6.1. The support of a section of the military is crucial.

    7. The king is caught in a dilemma. The antidrug war is in an uncertain hiatus. Not to pursue it would be an admission of failure. But to pursue it is to increase discontent. And that pursuit will ultimately devour its parent.

    7.1. We cannot foresee or discount the influence of international maneuvers.

    • NHerrera says:

      Significant items: the gestation period and sparking point; the spilled blood of the “sparking” man/woman; the support of a section of the military.

      If I may be so bold — there is a covert international maneuvers but the scale or development is the unknown to me.

    • Micha says:

      3. Both the Arab Spring and EDSA fizzled out because the democratic momentum was hijacked by very undemocratic oligarchy. They are not under illusion to democratize wealth so in both instances they (the plutocrats) only put up an appearance of democracy and kept the economic oppression going.

    • Chinese tourism is on the rise, investments from China are huge, and the two governments seem compatible in terms of style. Filipinos speak English and Defense prefers American arms. International indeed.

      I do think the death penalty debate will raise the question, exactly what kind of nation are we? The Duterte govt seems to relish making enemies and turning people against the President. Strange strategy.

    • Operation Double Barrel Reloaded started I think yesterday. 9 was killed in encounters in QC.'Reloaded'-death-toll%3A-9

    • Thea says:

      6. “…there is growing discontent, but not yet enough…not the broader masses”. Yes, not yet. The masses are enjoying the 4Ps. They see the harvests from the past administration. The infrastructure eg. road widening, rehabilitation of bridges,etc. and those constructions(private and public)where most men work. One member in each family works abroad. Money flow in no matter how meager. Yes,they don’t feel yet the crunch.

  6. karlgarcia says:

    When I tried to be friendly to everyone, which was impossible I tried to engage witha pro-Arroyo fb group( Joe,it was a Bencard initiated group)at the beginning they told me not to worry because they do not bite and have an open mind(so they say), but eventually I just made my self invisile and left quietly.

    you have tried to engage with the Getrealists and Anti pinoy until they could no longer stand you.

    Those were the days, but now in FB, Vicara told our fb group that you are the best moderator in social media, you had a lot of practice from Filipino Voices to TSH Joe.
    Vicara is Very correct in her assesment.


    Crowd sourcing-
    The wisdom of the crowd.
    Researchgate is a a meeting place where Scientists converge.
    Scientific experiments can now move fast and decades of completion may only take a few years.

    Amazing discussions from Contributors in TSH is an example of crowd sourcing.
    Unfortunately echo chambers can always be a risk no matter the size of the crowd.

    Before we get the “where do I sign up” comments from readers, Joe you must remind the readers that this is a market place for ideas and not an invitation to rebellion.

  7. Micha says:

    Political democracy sans equitable economic justice is and will be meaningless. The disillusionment of the citizenry over so-called democracy that the Philippines pretended to have (elections galore and a facade of democratic institutions) was borne by the fact that most of them continue to experience hunger, alienation, and economic enslavement.

    At this stage it is still a wait and see attitude for most people – those who voted for Du30. They are willing, I would guess, to give the murderer-in-chief at least two years before they decide and/or realize that he is either the devil incarnate or the promised messiah.

    As we speak, the forex rate has breached the 50 to 1 mark, inflation is expected to rise, jobs are still scarce, war on drugs has resumed, summer temperature will nudge up, and national decay rolls on.

    What to do?

    Wait and see til that $20 billion loan from China runs out.

    Or, supply the rope for the murderer-in-chief to hang himself on.

    • Well said. I think opposition is getting material, from Trillanes, Robredo, Hontiveros, the Church, and others. Many have stopped waiting.

      • NHerrera says:

        RR = Rainbow Rebellion = Rainbow Roar

        I believe that the better analysts of the Administration can see ahead and see the RR coming. So it is employing all manner of gimmicks to fend the coming RR. It is fighting against time.

        The common thread in all these trollish attacks is painting everything with the LP brush or heaping lies on Robredo because it sees her as a potent symbol or force.

        It is interesting to me that opinion makers in some papers while writing about a topical item on the current Administration often veer toward writing or heaping insults on the LP, Robredo, FPnoy as if they are no different from the trolls in comments sections of online papers or Facebooks. It does not seem farfetched to me that they are being subsidized.

      • sonny says:

        The “rainbow rebellion” is a master metaphor, Joe. It suggests fragility, poetic effect, and together with rebellion also strongly suggests something highly portentous but not quite imminent. I really like. 🙂

  8. gerverg1885 says:


    “…they are being subzidized” is such a kind word for those who saw the opportunity to earn some. The iron is still hot so better strike and make the best of it while it lasts.

  9. Micha says:

    Duterte to mayors and governors in Mindanao : use the police personnel assigned to you to kill criminals and trouble makers. Or else, I will strip you of that power and I will declare Martial Law.

    The Machiavellian scope of this instruction (using henchmen and deploying fear) is exactly how fascist regimes operate. Who the “criminals” are, will of course be left to the discretion and definition of the mayors. It could be anybody who steals your neighbor’s chicken or the mayor’s rival to his kulasisi, collateral casualties be damned.

  10. chemrock says:

    Yesterday and today I’m seeing a tremendous amount of news and internet chatter that indicates public discourse has taken on a new course that’s putting the admin on defense mode. Cracks in the once seemingly iron clad armour are displaying. The push back is gaining momentum. Freedom, once tasted, can never be taken away. But remember, a wounded beast is a very dangerous beast. I believe the country is now traversing on a very thin line. Martial law in Mindanao appears imminent. Perhaps, just as DDS had Davao as it’s training ground, Mindanao may be use as a percursor for martial aw nation wide.In that recent meeting in Malacanang, was an offer made to Enrille to be architect of martial law again?.

    I see Joe’s article, more particularly ‘The Roles’ section, as an extension of my ‘Attack’ article. It’s interesting musing and probably more roles can be added. The only point I would add here is that this must take on as a marketing concept. You talk of ‘distributorship’ so I guess you got focus. There have been some who said Truth does not need to be marketed. Perhaps in the pre-truth era. It no longer holds today.

    Almost all politicians in Phiippines are so tainted we simply have no respect for them. Guys like Sotto (he should change his name to Tonto), Pacquaio and Gordon for example puts on their elite dressings and talks at a podium with self-assuming grandiose I wonder if they know ore than half the country’s folks are giving them a mental middle finger. But a politician that has squeaking clean reputation has no fear. They need to drag Leni through the mud, however, I get the feeling all these trash and false news do not bother people who believe in Leni. The VP is now in attack mode. I believe she is currently crowd sourcing her rainbow group.

    We are all just talk talk here. I do hope common senses will prevail and all these political players will sink into their dumb heads that it’s all about bread and butter on the tables for the people and improvements in transportation and traffic jams,etc. Law and order issues are easier to solve once basic needs are satisfied.

    • chemrock says:

      Oops,typo there. The VP is in ‘attack’ mode. Leni is not romantically attached to anyone although some sleazy congressmen tried, and false news abound. She is absolutely attached to her advocacy for the poor.

      [Typo corrected. Editor]

    • Micha says:

      Arturo Lascanas’ testimony, validating the one earlier made by Edgar Matobato, would have been devastating for any normal President. But then of course we are not in normal times and we don’t have a normal President.

      If he can’t get peace and order in Mindanao without resorting to more violence or Martial Law, I will chalk that one up on his failure tally, as did the collapse of peace talks with the CPP/NPA. His murderous war on drugs will most likely fizzle out too once the drug cartel bosses find their way to make a deal with corrupt police and military generals to protect their lucrative underground business.

      And then there’s the looming question about delivering on the economic side. Will he be able to deliver on the expectations of his constituencies – the OFW’s and their families, the urban poor and the rural folks, people on the periphery of the economic table?

      Once the dust settles and his constituency realize that he’s merely feeding off their frustrations of the previous regimes without making much of a difference – or worst, that he’s actually a failure – then this maniac is a goner.

      • NHerrera says:

        You have concisely stated Duterte’s big-ticket items and the probable failures of all of them; and ended with the possible failure too of the economic side of the table — and together that spells disaster for this Administration. Thanks.

        • Micha says:

          Or, he could always pivot and be as cunning as a fox, follow the Machiavellian formula to the letter, adopt a more progressive economic policy, and actually deliver the goods to his constituencies. In which case he will probably ride out the challenge to his reign and the country will have ignominious refutation in the international community of having tolerated a full 6 year presidential term for a self confessed murderer.

          • sonny says:

            Yes, and if I may: that the guileless must keep up the relentless message that the emperor has no clothes on.

      • chemrock says:

        Agreed. Absolutely.

  11. karlgarcia says:

    The hate has to stop. Both sides must stop the hate.
    I know many are against the laws against libel,but below the belt harassment has no place in this earth.
    Mysoginy must be contained.

  12. gerverg1885 says:

    The trolls are feeling the effects of the counterattack so they must resort to something that make them feel they are still invincible.

    They thought that their previous actions of threatening anyone who opposes them can be repeated this time without any corresponding actions from the threatened. It is turning out now to be the opposite. Leni and her followers are fighting back.

  13. NHerrera says:

    Off topic

    Malacanang is reportedly concerned about the spotting, on several occasions, of Chinese ships near Benham Rise — a UN recognized territorial area of the PH. DND Chief Lorenzana theorizes the Chinese are looking for a place for their submarines in the East Philippine Sea or Western Pacific

    What does the PH do now?

    I recall that during the visit of a Russian naval vessel to the Philippines in January, Duterte with his Cabinet officials were toured around the vessel by the Russian Rear Admiral. Duterte for his part welcomed the Russians saying they can dock there for replenishment of supplies. The President added that he hopes that Russia will be an ally and a protector.

    So now if the Chinese act aggressively in Benham Rise, will we ask the Russians to protect us? But I recall too that a Russian diplomat said Russia would like to have good relations with the PH but military alliance is not being considered. So Russia as a “protector” of the PH is out.

    Will we then pivot away from China and pivot back to good old Uncle Sam if China acts the bad boy in BR?

  14. Micha says:

    So, after 7,000 casualties the whole anti-drug campaign had been turned into a committee.

    Funny, what was it they said about the business of forming a committee?

    When all esle fails, form a committee?

    To guarantee its failure, form a committee?

    • NHerrera says:

      That 18- Agency member ICAD (Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs) chaired by PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) is indeed quite a Committee.

      That should have been the starting point of the Illegal Drug War, but no. We were first treated to a “shock and awe” conundrum and then this after the expected outcry. It is a programming as “we go along” kind of thing. Some sort of dynamic programming. But this leads me to a thought. One that was PACKAGED from the very beginning.



      PRD — in declaring what he intended to do pre-election and following-up with the even shocking things done post-election — DID NOT strategize the end point of his term.

      Plausible Assumption

      No matter how other people characterize PRD, I believe one cannot deny that he is intelligent — certainly super-intelligent compared to Pacquiao who idolizes him. From this follows that, at the very least, he is a strategist.

      The “Experiment”

      Being a strategist, the picture below or its equivalent cannot escape his intelligent mind.

      The end-of-term consequences prods a normal thinking person to survive — perhaps not in an ideal way — but survive nevertheless in a reasonable way. And to survive reasonably at term-end means the need for a protector. A protector — who or whatever it is — is part of the PACKAGE from the very beginning, not as part of the Dynamic Programming we see.


      The HYPOTHESIS is wrong.


      * How do the allies and social media trolls view this end-of-term situation?

      * How does the opposition view it?

      * What necessary steps are taken by both sides?

      • The end of term goal is federalism with the Duterte clan running a wealthy, progressive state built on the national government’s investment in Chinese-sourced infrastructure.

      • edgar lores says:

        1. The immediate vision was the Philippines as Davao City — peaceful, developing, on the way to prosperity.

        2. The strategy was:

        o Attainment of national peace and order through
        — Death squads
        — Reimposition of the death penalty
        — A modus vivendi with the NPA
        — Telephonic feedback mechanism for citizens
        — Revolutionary government if need be

        o Prosperity through traditional economic methods
        — Steel manufacturing
        — Loans from China (in exchange for ignoring Chinese encroachment in the WPS)
        — Solving Metro Manila’s traffic gridlock through emergency powers
        — Railroad and trains

        o Development of Mindanao through
        — A federal structure
        — An autonomous region for the Muslim people
        — Livelihood (?) for the Lumads, Abu Sayyaf, and other disaffected groups
        — Railroad loop around the island

        3. Was there a vision? Yes. Was there a broad strategy? Yes.

        4. But despite claims to the contrary, Duterte is not a strategist. Having a limited vision is not equal to having a strategy. Strategy is “an elaborate and systematic plan of action.” And neither Duterte nor his advisers devised a strategy. I would say he has “methods” but not a strategy.

        4.1. The anti-drug war is a method and not a strategy.
        4.2. The pivot to China is a method and not a strategy.
        4.3. Federalism is a method and not a strategy.
        4.4. The use of black propaganda is a method and not a strategy.

        5. Some say Duterte’s impulsiveness is a strategy. No, it’s not. It’s an absence of personal control and a lack of character.

        6. And the man, despite some good intentions, is malice ridden. Bottomline, this man is a murderer.

        7. The short-term consequences are evident — the abuses of power, the extreme polarization of the citizenry, the incivility, indeed the indecency, the misogyny, the loss of lives and the cheapening of life, the loss of national territory (?), and the nonobservance of law. The long-term consequences cannot be foreseen but there will be bad — and good.

        7.1. Duterte’s personal view of his end-of-term situation seems to be he will not be there.

        • I’m inclined to disagree on point 4. I believe the strategy work is done by Bong Go, and the various methods you recite are ways to implement the strategy of carving out an autonomous Duterte state in the south, no longer encumbered by Manila’s elitist control.

        • NHerrera says:

          There is perhaps a looseness in the use of the word “strategy” in my post. I am thinking along the same line as Joe when combined with my focus on what happens at the end-of-term which I premised on survival of PRD at EOT.

          In that context:

          The goal — knowing that he will be in deep trouble at EOT without a safety net — is protection and nice living beyond EOT, if he lives much beyond his present age; and that is achieved, say, via the federalism idea suggested by Joe.

          The detailed method or series of moves that connects to the federalism idea is not known to us, but Alvarez at HOR and Pimentel at the Senate seem in sync with that idea. Their detailed plan of maneuvers or moves may become clearer when the cha-cha train really gets going. The nature of politics makes for guessing the major thread of the strategy difficult. The events that have occupied us may even be argued as masks to the detailed plans. (I am guessing.)

          (Whether it is method or strategy is something I will not push.)

          • edgar lores says:

            A strategy is the implementation plan for an objective or several objectives.

            If, as JoeAm says, the objective is all about Mindanao, then there is a certain sense to Duterte’s methods. And, in that sense, he has a “strategy.” That strategy is for Mindanao. JoeAm outlined his perception in this blog:


            But my point was: Duterte may have a “broad strategy” but does he have a detailed strategy for the Philippines as a whole? For the welfare of the country and its people?

            His objectives for the country are largely undefined in detail.

            Yes, peace and order is an objective. But what is the strategy to achieve that objective? Is ignoring due process, killing 8,000 citizens, and dismantling the Constitution a sound strategy?

            Yes, economic progress is an objective. But is steel manufacturing an appropriate strategy (or tactic)? Is borrowing from China an appropriate strategy? Is ignoring our claims to the WPS territory an appropriate strategy?

            Are using lies, deception, and propaganda a proper strategy to develop an ethical civil society and to nurture a love for country?

          • Micha says:


            A few months ago, Du30 was quoted as saying that he is willing to step down midway through his term if his federalism project has been finalized or already in place. It is of course open to question why he would be doing that, what’s the mechanism for the transition, who does he intend to hand over the presidency, or will it even be constitutional?

            But setting aside those questions for the moment, that willingness to step down or even his being amenable to being criminally charged and going to prison (or getting killed, for that matter), gives him a sense of invisibility and a freedom to dare. When you have a self-proclaimed suicidal maniac like that who is seemingly disinterested or unattached to keeping the position of power, he could do almost anything – he could flaunt violations on social norms and decency, flaunt disregard for the legality or morality of his actions and just practically give the middle finger to anybody who criticizes and opposes his policies. He does not so much care about consequences as long as he has that single-minded dedication to achieve what he wants – federalism, drug war, autocratic/authoritarian rule, etc. In other words, his seeming disinterest in keeping power coupled with his apparent suicidal tendencies are, ironically enough, his strength.

            The country will either sink or swim depending on policy results crafted by this impulsive suicidal maniac.

            • Micha says:

              sorry, invincibility not invisibility

            • NHerrera says:

              I don’t know if his saying that he is willing to step down midway through his term if his federalism project has been finalized or already in place is a sign of his strength, but somehow his statement about going to the disputed SCS island on a jet ski to plant the Philippine flag keeps coming to my mind.

            • edgar lores says:

              I think he does care. He cares about his reputation and he cares about his fate. The indifference is just a pose. But it is also true that underneath the pose is a huge dose of Filipino fatalism. I think “seeming disinterest” is accurate, with emphasis on “seeming.”

              As a negotiator, one will find that he always adopts — publicly — the most extreme of options. One sees this in the public posture in the confrontation with the CPP-NPA and the Abu Sayyaf. He says bomb them and I will eat them with vinegar and salt. But, privately, he always backs down. There are backroom negotiations and meeting of ransom demands. This is supposed to be part of his “strategic” skills.

              This is what I wrote in “The Anatomy of Fascism: ” These acts of indifference, this bit of reverse psychology, are designed to make him look attractive. The hard-to-get and I-don’t-care ploys, to which women often fall prey, goes so against the normal grain of political behavior that it has fanned the flames of devotion and adoration in the needy.”

              As Lascañas said, the man has a “momentum of lethal temper.” True indifference would show up as detachment and equanimity.


              P.S. “Invisibility” is “invincibility.”

              • Micha says:

                Lethal temper I would attribute to his suicidal tendencies, not to his indifference to position of power.

                P.S. “invisibility” it is, thanks. 🙂

              • Edgar, sometimes Duterte’s negotiation style reminds me of this:

              • edgar lores says:

                Ahaha! Thanks for the early-morning laugh!

              • Micha says:


                I am inclined to agree that the seeming disinterest or indifference is most probably just a ploy, a con, a fake, a drama – a tulak-ng-bibig-kabig-ng-dibdib pa-kyime so unlike the atat na atat gestures of a Gloria Arroyo. It’s a political ploy to gain endearment or sympathy among followers.

  15. Gilda Rodriguez Dela Cruz says:

    Exactly my thoughts. Although I am not a writer as good as you, I know I am capable of writing from the heart. When I read in the papers the free rein the President has given the Chinese, who are also presently conducting an ocular inspection of the Benham Rise, and that he, Duterte, had discussed these matters without the benefit of consultations with stakeholders, it was more than enough for me to conclude that the future of our country is precarious. Released statements from VP Robredo condemning the killings, corruption, etc are but expected, but it is totally lacking in firm convictions. I am seriously thinking of offering my services before the President turn us over to the Chinese.

    • For me, it’s good to be active rather than ‘just let it happen”.

    • NHerrera says:

      On the precarious situation of the country, I have this thought:

      I have the feeling that quite a bit of political posturing of both sides, well meaning or not — although seemingly addressed to the masses — is really addressed to the still relatively neutral and watchful group, the AFP (a relief). It is to me a more stabilizing factor than is the Judicial Branch, not excluding the SC.

      There is then, to my mind, the great need by the Administration to muzzle the likes of Trillanes. That seems to me the next big project. But it is probably feeling its way, because after all Trillanes is military and is talking sense. (I wonder what FVR is thinking these days.)

  16. chemrock says:

    What with the INC nonsense going on, could it be a way to implicate Magdalo and link to Trillanes. Things are not as simple as it seems. If a couple of Magdalo guys are roped in to protect Angel Manalo, why on Earth is there a necessity to hoard that huge arms cache? Are they expecting war in with INC cadres? Could it be killing 2 birds with one stone?

    • karlgarcia says:

      Let us see how this develops, now that there is an impeachment complaint by the Magdalo.

      • NHerrera says:

        Karl, this is getting interesting:

        – there is to my mind a quantum jump in the intensity of big-ticket items, one of which is the latest on the agreement by Duterte to allow China to do survey or research — whatever is the right word — in the Benham Rise area; I do not know the law on this but it does put the President whoever he is in some bind;

        – Alejano’s impeachment move may have been crafted earlier without the BR item, but it seems the amended impeachment document will now include this;

        – Duterte and his camp must be feeling the pinch, especially as to how the AFP now views this move, considering that it may not have been jubilant on the earlier pivot out of US, pivot to China, and apparent gifting China in some way relative to the Scarborough issue;

        – Duterte’s dinner with the 15 senators now gives further meaning; and I note that coincidentally the two military guys Lacson and Honasan were not at the dinner;

        – you are right about your note on the yanking of the Chairmanships of those who voted for the Death Penalty comes at not too good a time;

        – the first quarter trust/approval survey will come soon; if done late March for the BR item to sink in, it may have an effect;

        – etc.

  17. Gilda Rodriguez Dela Cruz says:

    The President’s men are obviously moving now to prevent that impeachment case by their usual name calling, but lately, they switched to another mode (after probably realizing that calling others idiots don’t have the same effect anymore) and saw an opportunity to call it an eye for an eye, an opportunity I would say, that could backfire at them at a higher cost. That’s VP Robredo’s speech at the UN. Speaker Alvarez, with the look of feigned exasperation, declared that it is the VP who is the sole reason of our country’s worsening image. So, they are accusing her of treason, betrayal, etc and has threatened to file an impeachment case against her. and no less than the Senate President assures everyone that it is going to prosper. It is like “drop your case, we will drop ours” thing. It gets even more intense than that. Mocha Uson, writing for Philippine Star if I am not mistaken, is also with DZRH now. I saw her video while on air and if her blog reached millions of followers, expect that to balloon to more millions of followers with her new radio program. And yes, she was meaner talking about the VP, really mean, which led me to wonder if this girl ever thought of what might happen to her or to her family when Duterte is no longer President? I heard she is paid a hefty Php2M/month to do what she is doing now. Now, two things: It is probably not a bad idea to ignore the rantings of the President and his men against the VP, but learning from our experience with Mar Roxas, who took the same stance of ignoring the opposition’s demolition, maybe it is about time the VP addressed the issues hurled against her, even if they are not true, punto por punto and with a firm conviction as I mentioned earlier, on the same social media platform Duterte’s men use, instead of holding press conferences. It is for the people, not the world. The whole world already knows what is really happening here, more and more heads of states are clamoring for the release of Sen de Lima, put a stop to the drug war, etc. causing the President and his allies to fumble. But not the people. A good number of gullible Filipinos still believe the fake news, still believe Mocha, et al and I think that for as long as Duterte has the people, he is untouchable. However dimwit we think Mocha maybe or imbecile all of them may be, we can never underestimate the power of a group of dimwits and imbeciles. The people do not care about the UN, or the investigation of Amnesty International, or the GDP, etc.these are the elites’, as far as they are concerned. That’s what happened to Mar Roxas. However, it is the opposite on Alejano’s impeachment case, it might very well be a good thing if the impeachment case were prevented because by then, it gives the International Courts the reason to intervene. The only time ICC can file an impeachment case against any head of state is when all means to investigate, remove, etc a head of state through a fair and democratic process are exhausted. Oh well, it is messy and nobody can say what the future will bring, except all these punches the President is getting from all sides I’m sure has an effect on his blood pressure.

  18. Gilda Rodriguez Dela Cruz says:

    Oh thank you, you just made my day. I can’t wait for Friday’s blog but a quick scan revealed it touched on your thoughts on Marcos’ greed on the President. I have collected in mind my own timeline of observations as the metamorphosis of the President to something more confusing is undeniable. Now, it is harder to tell whether he is left, right or center. Or just plain stupefied. Or high perhaps? Eager for the blog tomorrow when finally, I can say Thank God it’s Friday!

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