Senator Angara shows why the Philippines is a failing state

Senator Angara is second from the front, left side. [Photo from Senator Ejercito’s facebook page]

By Joe America

What makes a successful state? Success is achieved when laws, institutions, and leaders inspire citizens to work together for the common good. Citizens choose to sacrifice to build something special because it makes their lives better and helps them feel proud.

Dictators have a hard time generating success because leaders too often command and suppress, they do not inspire, except among a closed circle of beneficiaries.

Democracy has a hard time achieving success because good voting requires knowledge and a willingness among voters to sacrifice as a matter of responsibility. Unfortunately, we humans are woefully ignorant, emotional, and self-involved peoples. These days, social media inject this emotional ignorance directly into our everyday lives and decision-making.

Dictatorship inspires power-mongering and the stacking of peoples, one above another, as betters and lessers. It divides, sharply. On the other hand, democracy drowns everyone in an amalgamated mush so that we are not unlike lumps in a bowl of mashed potatoes. Unity arises only when an event or peculiarly inspirational leader cause nationalism to rise. “Arise, lumps! Fight on!”

Even that grand moral beacon, America, has drowned her normally inspired citizenry in wild populist rhetoric totally detached from knowledge. The grand ideals of Jefferson and Lincoln and Martin Luther King are gone, little more than hazy historical figments in the crass, bizarre populism of President Trump and his loyalists.

And the Philippines. The Philippines.

The Philippines is a democracy in name only, a very lumpy, very cold, dish.

People like Senator Sonny Angara are a big part of why.

There are others. I cite him because his choice to straddle between autocratic and democratic camps has become legend on social media.

Senator Angara is an intelligent man, hard-working and productive in terms of laws passed, son of a dignified former senator. Well educated. Possessing a good awareness of his surroundings. He is not ignorant, for sure.

So we can know that all he does is willfully thought out.

I caught an interview with him on television the other day, one of those soft populist puff pieces masquerading as local news. He was in a car, just a regular guy. I changed the channel when he got to the part about how President Duterte is a good leader because he gives the senators more discretionary funds to use for projects they want done.

He did not say ‘pork’, but that is the name of the beast.

I thought to myself, yes, that is the kind of patriotism Senator Angara must subscribe to. The tangible, cash on the table kind. The incidents of abuse of pork are legend and legion, and pork is a large reason why the Philippines is mired in poverty. Projects are too often applied to the benefit of the legislators and their friends, not the nation. It is this kind of thinking that has dragged Philippine democracy into the pit of self-interest and poverty ever since Aguinaldo took cattle from the people to try to bribe US Admiral Dewey into accepting his republic as a qualified, independent state.

Aguinaldo, Napoles, Marcos, Enrile, Estrada . . . Binay, Kid Marcos . . . and today hundreds of representatives and mayors and thousands of dirty cops and agency workers seem to be busy lining their own pockets rather than taking care of the nation and leading it to prosperity. The country’s top leaders see the death penalty as infrastructure and jailing 9 year-olds as proper parenting. For sure these backward deeds are not in the national interest. Enabling of EJK’s? Acquiesance to China? Looking the other way about the President’s bank transactions or how foreign nations may have put him into office?

It is a misguided democracy, for sure. And Senator Angara is in the thick of it.

In a recent blog, I described Senator Angara as an empty vessel. I’ve long thought that about Senator Grace Poe, as well. But perhaps they are not really empty. Maybe they are filled with need, the kind of need that does not allow them the courage to take patriotic stands. For sure, the two senators talk a good game . . . but they seem blind to the path that the Philippines is on, and the tens of thousands of people bearing grief for lost love ones. Blind to the cruelty of government attacks on decency and decent people. Theirs seems to be a calculated gaming of the system, playing of the politics, manipulation of the public, for their own benefit.

But if you think about it, a person with a foot in both camps cannot, by definition, be a part of the principled camp, the one that understands democracy requires courage and commitment. If they had principles, they’d know that being a ‘tweener’ is betrayal of conscience, and betrayal of courage, and betrayal of those who DO give of themselves, for the nation.

Senator Angara is just one more of the self-involved ‘tweeners’, the enablers of a failing Philippines. Government is filled with them.

Well, they are free to be themselves within the law. They were elected by the people, or appointed within the rules.

It is up to us, however, to make sure that we are clear on who they are, why they do what they do . . . and to criticize or praise, as deserved . . . and vote smart in 2019.


123 Responses to “Senator Angara shows why the Philippines is a failing state”
  1. arlene says:

    Oh well, what can we expect from these guys?

  2. NHerrera says:

    To side with and do the work required in a Democracy is hard work.

    To side with and do the work required in an Authoritarian Regime is more convenient and lucrative.

    Angara likes convenience. Let us remember him in 2019. Angara is second from the left, next to Ejercito in the photo, the one holding the phone on the table. Just so we remember the face well.

  3. Cris Tee Em says:

    A “tweener” has no principles, only self-interest.

  4. LG says:

    Son Angara is indeed a huge disappointment! This article, as all the others posted this year by you, Joe, and the eruditeTSH guest authors, are well on point, relevant to the happenings of the times.

    To stay optimistic about the current and future state of the country has been a struggle.

    From the elected to the appointed (in significant positions), the balance of power is nil; the ‘negative’ forces far outweigh the ‘positive’ forces. Thus, the Exercise of Duty and Responsibility in the Interest of the Country is only apparent in a so Few, Good Men.

    Robredo’s impreachment is more probable than Duterte’s. God forbid a Marcos’ or Alvarez’ LORDING of the lost Pearl of the Orient.

    …..To avid TSH commenters….your expressed opinions are a gem to read. Why you never ran out of fresh views to share astound me. Thank you all!

    • On behalf of the Society, thanks for the thanks. Do read the new “Must Read” article in the right column, about the Vice President, in the main. I wish objective Duterte supporters would read this to get the full picture of the VP.

      In fact, here is the link:

      • NHerrera says:



        From the current blog:

        “Senator Angara is an intelligent man, hard-working and productive in terms of laws passed, son of a dignified former senator. Well educated. Possessing a good awareness of his surroundings. He is not ignorant, for sure.

        So we can know that all he does is willfully thought out.

        Angara says: President Duterte is a good leader because he gives the senators more discretionary funds to use for projects they want done.”


        From my memory bank: In her short stint at the HOR she has done good legislative work.
        She is also an advocate, among others, of Tax Reform that will benefit the poor and from the link above, the writer, Filomeno S. Sta. Ana III, a coordinator with the Action for Economic Reforms, writes:

        “(As part of her advocacy on tax reforem) she organized the forum, which drew an overflow crowd, consisting of businessmen or entrepreneurs, professionals, market vendors, and representatives of cooperatives and sectoral or people’s organizations.

        In this forum, the Vice-President said (and I quote her in full): “It’s important for us to have this discussion, especially among this mix of business groups and civil society. I’m very thankful that we have DoF here to discuss this reform. We have invited them here to address any questions that you may have on their proposal. I believe that it is essential for the people to better understand the tax reform package because once we do, it will be easier to give one hundred percent support both for the passage of the bill and its implementation. Rest assured you can depend on our support.”

        The Vice-President has spoken. Very constructive and cooperative. Showing clear and deep understanding of the issue.”

        Now from my memory bank again: She has repeatedly asked the country to support the Administration. But she said she will speak out constructively on those crucial — not petty — actions of the President she disagree with, which she has done.

        THE POINT:

        Good Legislative:

        * Angara — check
        * Robredo — check

        Speaking out or criticizing when warranted:

        * Angara — takes the easy way
        * Robredo — takes the principled way of criticizing on EJKs and Death Penalty, etc, something the Praetorian Guards do not take kindly and may cause her impeachment.

  5. karlgarcia says:

    The AFP is duty bound to protect the constitution even eith a coward president. if they lack the ships the citizen can lend ships and boats, and the AFP can provide the men and the guns.

    • karlgarcia says:

      I was supposed to put this comment somewhere else .Aaaargh!

    • karlgarcia says:

      Let me insert this OT here.
      Since I mentioned the AFP, The NYT aryicle about Being Duterte, The Makings of a strongman,which Abella called a well paid hack job, must not be allowed at all costs.
      If the symptoms persist, who do we call?

      • You know, a forthright leader would welcome reporters from the Times to come visit, and let them see first hand what is going down. Then let them report what they report, the chips falling where they may. That the Times is a culprit to both Duterte and Trump is not really a commentary on the Times, but on the courage, confidence, and candor of the two governments. (Rather, the lack of courage, confidence, and candor.)

        • chemrock says:

          Don’t know if you remember William Saffire.
          He was a speechwriter for President Richard M. Nixon and a Pulitzer Prize-winning political columnist for The New York Times. He was a fire brand columnist who inclined towards the uncouth sometimes. At one point he was vehemently anti-Lee Kuan Yew and his attacks grew incessant. I’m still wondering what his agenda was. Anyway, Lee has had it at one point and took up Saffire’s challenge to a one-on-one public debate in New York city. Saffire fizzled away.

  6. karlgarcia says:

    Angara plays both sides, so does Lacson.

    • karlgarcia says:

      One thing I admire with Lacson, and I hope it is always true that he never used any discretionary fund.
      With Poe, I admire her always seeking accountability, but always ends up blaming the wrong persons, though many still rides on with her ‘ the buck stops with the president’, I would like her do a version of that now with regards to EJK.

  7. Cora dj Manimbo says:

    mr joe America, youre always on pointon telling us the very sad reality of whats happening in my country of birth,that for so many reason will always be with her side ! A sad truth indeed of the young politicians that is supposed to be the hope of this country ! 😥😭😰

    • Thanks for the confirmation, Cora. I appreciate your visit and comment.

    • Yvonne says:

      On the surface it appears that among the biggest sins of the Marcos martial law dictatorship were the deprivation of our democratic/human rights and the systematic plunder of our economy. But I think the top on that list belongs to the creation of a critical political vacuum that put into life support the birth of competent, hardworking, incorruptible and patriotic leaders of this great country. Thus what we have seen post-Marcos martial law era are politicians who have followed the Marcos playbook.

      Gone are the era of Tanada, Diokno, Rodrigo, Salonga, Aquino, Kalaw, Roxas, and their peers who were truly in a category of their own. What we have seen, post-Marcos, are politicians like Arroyo, Binay, Estrada, Revilla, Lapid, Pacquiao, etc. What Marcos did was take away our great incubator for future national leaders that we can be proud of – and that is one of his biggest sins against the people.

      • NHerrera says:

        I agree with you. But allow me a variation of your thought. Marcos’s sins are many, but his greatest sin is interrupting the development of that incubator. I mean that given time, before one such as Marcos appeared, the still evolving infant incubator could have developed to one robust enough so it can withstand the likes of a Marcos. Exhibit A — Trump and his fanatics cannot undo the mature incubator the US has.

        • Yvonne says:

          Another way of putting it in a rather simplistic way is when you look at a couple (Marcos-Imelda era) raising a family (Filipino nation) in a dysfunctional way (martial law dictatorship) some of the children (future national leaders) will tend to emulate the dysfunctional behavior of their parents. The sin of the parents is the destruction of the moral and social fiber of that family – more so if it is done willfully to satisfy their personal whims and caprice without regard to the future of their children.

      • Great insight, Yvonne. New to me. Thank you.

  8. Anthony Fitzgerald says:

    The question that must be asked is @What is it in the PInoy mentality that makes it vulnerable to despotic leaders. Duterte is not the first leader elected by Pinoys to prove to be such a self-obsessed despot who doesn’t care about his own people. They get elected. They are easily forgiven. Where is the sense of outrage? Where is the belief in ethics?
    The bar is placed very low. Expectations are low. Evil is tolerated. The problem seems to be an inherent aspect of Pinoy culture. It is not polite to question your elders and people above you in society. If they steal from you and kill members of your family, it is expected that you will stay quiet. Kuya Satan thinks this system is excellent. I would not wish to see a loss of PInoy culture but there are problems that create so much of the poverty and corruption. I think something has to change.

    • Well said, Anthony, and I wish there would be an awakening of the national conscience.

      • andy says:

        What a sad state of affairs we as a nation are in. We have a despotic or should i say demonic leader; in this case i think its interchangeable, who has polarised our nation , countryman vs countryman as those who would stand for what is right clash with the opportunistic mob whose only intent is to serve their own selfish interests.
        A leader whose actions are so blatantly offensive and oftentimes comically inept and stupid that it simply boggles the imagination that such a person could, in this supposedly enlightened day and age assume the highest office in the land.
        The blatantly obvious attempts to label his terror campaign as a war on drugs that will benefit the nation, is being spun by his cult of rabid and ignorant followers along with the opportunistic trapos as patriotism, simply because he claims that he loves his country. If that be the case then why had he ordered the massacre of 8000 of his countrymen?

  9. josephivo says:

    – In the Papua highlands one cares for the own tribe but kills a stranger without any regret as it protects the tribe. This is how our brains are wired, just as the brains of chimpanzees are. All the rest is unnatural and needs “supernatural” justification. (Democracy is one of these “supernatural” beliefs.)
    – The individual ease of acting for the bigger good differs a lot, killing one individual to safe 2 or 5 or 100 lives or playing Robin Hood by stealing from one to distribute to others.
    – Our value systems differ too, mainly depending on where we are on Maslow’s pyramid, but also on cultural/religious differences.
    – How and how exclusive we define “our tribe” today is very different from what it used to be. Having a common leader is often the strongest stimulus, and leaders have only a weak “fixed geographic” component, we are almost free to define our leader(s) and we use different reasons: strong/influential or representing my interests or the same as my parents’ leaders… It can be a political leader, a religious, a local, a national, one or many…

    All this explains our different beliefs, our different political orientations. Different choices don’t have to be malicious or cynical, they can be genuine but incomprehensible to others. The preferences are selected intuitively and rationalized afterwards. A problem can have many solutions, the one to prefer depends on the individual sensitivities and beliefs.

    How to convince Angara that he is wrong, where is the evidence that he is hampering his constituents?

    (also see the Duterte story in the New York Times today, it explains a lot of his choices: )

    • One has to have the ability to see the sum of the little deeds to know they are reflected directly in Philippine poverty. Senator Angara probably lacks that capacity, and lacks guilt about participating in the punitive ways of power and favor. Senator Hontiveros has such insights.

  10. Ric Lamigo says:


  11. chemrock says:

    There are simply too many Judas in the featured photo.

  12. Annie Kimseng says:

    These sons in the current generation of politicians are just poor copycats of their fathers. They just inherited the names and the poor habits/ mentality….They never attempted to learn anything new nor acquire new skills, nor expand on what they know,…Hindi na nag-aral ng mga bagong kaalaman…Too privileged, complacent, arrogant, and spoiled….On the other hand, the feudal system in the rural areas still exist…the people are still largely dependent on “patrons” for their needs, and decisions in life….Thus family dynasties are so difficult to completely eradicate…feeling hari at reyna sila sa probinsya, who are after their own interests, and not the people’s….Haaaay so sad!!

  13. Most Filipinos don’t seem to believe a properly run Philippines is possible – so they continue in the same old way, which is to seek their own advantage if they are rich, their own survival if they are poor – even to the detriment of the whole. Nobody cares for me, why should I care for the rest?

    And many of those who spoke of being for the whole turned out to be the worst liars, seeking only their own betterment (and those of their hangers-on) so many Filipinos are deaf to such rhetoric.

    Fear of losing out drives ruthlessness and greed. The game ever since has been: winner take all.

  14. Onin Orozco says:

    And we are not even talking about APECO.

  15. Ed Maglaque says:

    Fair observation. More’s the pity because he has it would seem introduced some good programs. Twice I had the occasion to work in government and both instances I observed the following: the culture of corruption, subservience to authority, disinclination to change things for the better. In cases where someone attempts to, as they say, rock the boat, the immediate result is ostracism and a cut off from the financial system. The consequence is obvious, isn’t it? If this was true in the preceding administrations it’s even truer now, because the Duterte administration does not brook opposition, not in any form and regardless of reason. Young senators like Poe and Angara grew up long after what I call, bear the irony please, post-enlightened era, when democracy was somewhat better understood and subscribed to by people like Diokno, Tanada, Recto, etc. These men had vision, they had dreams. The present crop of politicians (and I dare say the previous one) are what I might call ‘realists’, meaning they do not find democracy a workable construct in their world. What does democracy involve if not adherence to the principles the opposite of what you enumerated as representative wrongs in the situation obtaining in the country today. Methinks it’s really beyond their ken. So what to do? For change to happen, start small. in the barangay where eye-openers may be welcomed in small does. Where corruption can be managed and new leaders trained in clean governance. This is nothing new; Jesse Robredo saw it and did it.

    On 3/22/17, The Society of Honor: the Philippines

    • Wonderful encapsulation of the condition of the condition, Ed. And excellent proposal. My own inclination is to try to build on the core of enlightened modernists who “get it”, that democracy takes principles, dedication, and occasionally sacrifice. Working out from Robredo/Hontiveros and others. Then recruiting those on the edge so the core gets stronger. For sure, the Philippines is unlikely to prosper as long as the amalgamated self-interest overwhelms compassion and giving.

  16. NHerrera says:

    Off topic


    Rappler: Duterte wants to appoint barangay OICs if polls reset

    BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is pushing for a measure that not only seeks to postpone the barangay elections in October, but would also replace all village officials with his appointees, Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno said on Wednesday, March 22.

    For the purported reason, here is DILG Sueno:

    “The President only wants to eliminate drugs and corruption.”

  17. Eunice Anne Blancop says:

    I so regret voting for that guy. Such a waste of talent.

  18. boblq says:

    Hi Joe,

    Did you receive my earlier comment?

    Have I violated some rule that I am ignorant of? I did include a link to a video but prequeled it with a sentence summary.

    I fear the SOH is stuck in an eloquent rut. We seem not to get beyond analysis. SOH seems to me not much better informed about the radical transformation that disruptive technologies are only beginning to bring to the economy and society.

    I would like to think i am wrong. This is one of the few places where I have found any kind of intelligent commentary on the political scene here in the Philippines.

    With warm regards,

    Robert La Quey

    On Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 8:00 AM, The Society of Honor: the Philippines wrote:

    > The Society of Honor posted: ” By Joe America What makes a successful > state? Success is achieved when laws, institutions, and leaders inspire > citizens to work together for the common good. Citizens choose to sacrifice > to build something special because it makes their lives better an” >

    • Your prior comment of March 13 is in the discussion thread on “The character of your associates.” I don’t engage as much as I used to and so don’t respond to some comments, leaving them to the discretion of readers to engage or not. Perhaps we are ‘stuck in a rut’ because people believe thinking about things is valuable, and we know for a fact that people with pull read here from time to time. If they pick up a concept or two, we are doing good work, I think. I agree, we are just entering the social tech area, and it is dynamic, as shown by Facebook and Twitter efforts to carve fake news out of the dialogue.

      • Ah, I found it in the spam bucket. Here is what you wrote, without the link, which may have caused the problem:

        An eloquent statement of the problem, a problem that almost every dispassionate observer recognizes. We watch the leadership of the Philippines oscillate between a self-serving oligarchy and disastrous dictatorship. Nowhere in the governing classes is any there any leadership that has a vision of the national future.

        I suggest without such a vision no amount of restatement, however eloquent, will much matter. Sad really. I am a old man with very low expectations for this and the next generation of Filipinos

        Disruptive, technology based, infrastructure is transforming the global economic context at an ever increasing rate. Think Internet, robotics, bitcoin/blockchain, machine intelligence biotech. ..,

        Example: High tech robots stamp, shape and weld Kia Sportage cars on the new production line in the Slovakian factory. Every 80 seconds a body shell is completed. [deleted link]

        This benighted nation is going to be left so far behind in the infrastructure economic race as to become a global backwater. The best I see any of these “leaders” offer is that the most desirable areas will be a playground for the wealthy global tourists while the bulk of the population remains mired in life destroying poverty. The BPO industry is the one exception to this dystopian vision.

        No vision, no future.

    • karlgarcia says:

      About Disruptive technologies.
      Josephivo has written a lot of avant garde articles.

  19. Can’t believe Sen. Angara did this but the pix is evidence enough, He was a statesman once!

    • The picture says a lot. I don’t see Senator Escudero there, interestingly enough.

      • NHerrera says:

        The picture and the numbers

        Fifteen were in that dinner. Not there were the six from LP, independent Trillanes and Akbayan Hontiveros. The other three absent aside from the six were Esccudero, Lacson and Honasan.

        Interestingly or questioningly,

        – the senators must have sensed what the dinner is for or impliedly for, timed as it was in the midst of events discomfiting the Admin;

        – were the three absentees not there by force majeure circumstances, by choice, or left out from the RSVP note?;

        – none, coincidentally or otherwise, were from the military trained senators.

        • Loyalists and opportunists were there, it seems to me. Interesting, re. military.

          • NHerrera says:

            My brain is on numbers today. If Trillanes is not Trillanes, then we have 3 military-types of a “certain” kind. Now the chance of a random zero presence out of 3 or 0/3 is rather LOOOOW.

            Forget it. Please pass.

            • NHerrera says:

              Oops wrong. Before I get clobbered:

              Possibilities of the throw of the dice:

              – 0 Present
              – 1 Present
              – 2 Present
              – 3 Present

              4 possibilities total

              0 present is only 1 in 4 so probability = 1/4, not so low.

              • edgar lores says:

                Agree. I am sure they attempted to invite Honasan but couldn’t find him. There’s a vacant seat across Pacquiao. Ho, na saan siya?

              • NHerrera says:

                Yes — ref the picture — in certain situation, the hole in the donut has more meaning than the donut. That is, the hole in that picture to be filled by Ho na saan. (Nice play on the name in conjunction with the hole in that donut.)

  20. gerverg1885 says:

    Maybe discretionary funds can really do a lot of things…even to change a statesman’s loyalty to his country.

    One thing I’d like to know is if those funds were really used for the betterment of his constituents and never any part of them to his personal accounts.

  21. Caliphman says:

    To single Angara out as a rotten apple, when practically the whole barrel is corrupt to the core understates the utter failure of the Senate as a democratic institution and the near collapse of the Philippines as a politically viable state. When the legislature, administration and judicial bodies and their processes and cultures are breeding grounds for collaborative moneymaking enterprises enriching our political and military leaders, one has to ask where,how and when if ever will salvation come from?

  22. NHerrera says:

    While we are on the topic “Senator Angara shows why the Philippines is a failing state,” here is the other one — Cayetano.

    In a press conference in Bangkok Wedneday, Cayetano made this statement regarding Duterte’s pronouncement on Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal:

    “[President] Duterte will not give up the territory. Many of his statements are misunderstood. Give the leader your absolute trust.”

    Trust is one. But absolute trust?

    My thoughts:

    – still buttering up for the DFA job?

    – who is the better one, Angara or Cayetano; place your bets.

  23. karlgarcia says:

    Pimentel said, he would not take the VP position if Robredo is impeached, the next in line is Alvarez, does succession mean if the next in line declines the post, the ine next in the hierarchy can take hus place?
    If not, I guess he will surrender the Senate presidency to Cayetano.

  24. lorelie edles says:

    Well-written piece. Enlightened and enlightening.

  25. Lennie dela rosa says:

    I wish someone will interview residents of Baler, Quezon and listen to the ways they have raped the country.

    • sonny says:

      Just to clarify, Lennie:
      “… they have raped the country” i.e. who is they?

      “… the country, entire Philippines?

      • karlgarcia says:

        I think Lennie was referring to the Angara’s.
        Remember the Eastern Luzon seaboard development article I discussed with you,
        The place is at the Sierra Madre mountain range, to develop that area means destroying the forrests and displacing farmers, fishermen and indigenous natives.
        So many tradeoffs for progress and developments.
        There is an ongoing SC petition with regards to APECO.

        • sonny says:

          Neph, you’re the same age as the senator from Aurora; you’re both scions of Quezon/Aurora provinces. I’m looking at geographic points: Mulanay, Infanta, Baler, Casiguran (Benham Rise) and onto the other side of the Sierra Madre to Region II. hmmmm … 🙂 (Wherever this goes I’ll bet on you).

  26. edgar lores says:

    1. I like the word “tweener.” It is poetic as fence-sitter is not. I associate it with another “tw” word — twilight. And twilight is a state of ambiguity, the period between night and day, between darkness and light.

    2. There is something true about Joseph’s remark that our “preferences are selected intuitively and rationalized afterwards.” And also Irineo’s remark that “most Filipinos don’t seem to believe a properly run Philippines is possible.”

    3. I have had the chance to chat with Filipinos from Mindanao, and their tolerance of the reality of corruption and their acquiescence to abusive power is staggering. There is no outrage, only spiritless acceptance. To them, these conditions are normal — as normal as day is light and night is dark — and there is nothing that we, as individuals, can do about it.

    4. I think that this pervasive attitude of defeatism stems not only from what is seen in the current world but is rooted deeply in racial memory from pre-Hispanic times.

    4.1. This is the way of the world, they say, in utter defeat, despite the evidence in other countries that a cleaner and kinder world is possible. And despite that brief shining period in our history, which Ed (Maglaque) mentions, when Quezon, Recto, Diokno, Tanada and others stood tall.

    4.2. The OFWs, who have been exposed to better worlds, know dark is not right and, if given the chance, would permanently reside in those Shangri-las. However, I believe most “revert to type” when they come home; others comprise the intelligent commentariat on news and social media.

    5. There is a hierarchy of power. At the top stands the chief, and at the bottom is the popular base. In between, there are various tiers such as the power wielders (the chief’s alter egos); the power defenders (army and police); the power intermediaries (internal and external liaison); the congressional layer; the judicial layer; the civil service; the LGU layer; and various citizen organizations (like VACC).

    5.1. The tweeners can be found in each tier of the hierarchy, torn between duty to country (or constituency), loyalty to the chief, and the voice of conscience. The latter is most easily ignored.

    o To us, the most readily seen and detected are those that are in Congress and, in particular, the Senate.

    o Thankfully the army has not been politicized but I am afraid the police have been, not necessarily as a matter of choice but as a matter of duty.

    o The justices in the Supreme Court tend not to be tweeners. They are either hard supporters of the chief or independent mavericks.

    6. And so Filipinos continue to live in the twilight zone.

    • sonny says:

      Are we losing out to societies that have the youth leaving referent circles at earlier ages or leaving in favor of technological economic magnets and hence more diversified social choices and decisions and possibilities?

      • edgar lores says:

        I would say the latter. It’s always exciting to leave for greener pastures (money being green). Pastures that offer many other benefits — novelty, technology, goods, and freedom.

    • “3. I have had the chance to chat with Filipinos from Mindanao, and their tolerance of the reality of corruption and their acquiescence to abusive power is staggering. There is no outrage, only spiritless acceptance. To them, these conditions are normal — as normal as day is light and night is dark — and there is nothing that we, as individuals, can do about it.

      4. I think that this pervasive attitude of defeatism stems not only from what is seen in the current world but is rooted deeply in racial memory from pre-Hispanic times.”

      including Spanish times… one only needs to look at the storyline thread related to Kabesang Tales and his ill-fated family to see that – including the son forcibly conscripted to join the Guardia Civil to the Carolines, returning as “Carolino”. The conversation of Filipino Guardia Civil men somewhere in the mountains could be a bunch of PNP recruits today. Or of course the desperation that drives to violence – including Tales becoming the feared and respected bandit Matanglawin – after they take his son and drive his daughter to suicide.

  27. Im also disappointed with Sen. Angara, but I don’t think Grace Poe is the same with him. She has proven to be principled even before even as she remained independent. I hope she does so in this administrations war on drugs too. I am still hopeful for her.

  28. Dens Legaspi says:

    With due respect to the author, whose posts I regularly follow, Sen. Sonny Angara (after listening to the actual interview and after repeatedly reading the transcript) was clearly not referring to Pres Duterte’s leadership. In fact, in many media interviews, he’s lauding and praising former Pres Noynoy Aquino for the reforms he had pushed that because of such initiatives, there’s more money now that were allocated to free college education, free irrigation, wider access to healthcare etc. The senator was talking about advocacies, not pork. As the good senator has repeatedly stressed, building strong countries requires good policies and money, not just talk and lip service. But again, this one does not mean any offense to the author who I regularly follow.

    • No offense taken, and I appreciate the clarification, although I for sure missed that readout. The Senator also responded to me on Twitter regarding the point, and noted that he had not expressed any opinion about discretionary funds or the President’s ways. I responded back that the issue is really tacit endorsement of EJK’s, jailing of De Lima, etc, along with no advocacy for democracy and due process.

      Thanks for following the blog and for being forthright in expressing objection to my take-away from the interview.

  29. NHerrera says:

    Translated from Pilipino (paraphrased)

    President Duterte:

    “She was elected. Just because VP Robredo criticized me is not a basis for her impeachment. Stop it.”

    But those pushing for the VP’s impeachment want to continue with the impeachment move. Abanagan and kasunod.

    A song-and-dance routine or re-calibration of sorts on the political tit for tat?

    That said, I believe PRD has a better feel on this than Alvarez and cohorts.

  30. akosiponyang says:

    I did the same thing, changed the channel! I voted for this man but it was a regrettable mistake. Tsk.

  31. Yvonne says:


    Several news reports came out today that North Korea, considered by many as a surrogate for China, is strongly suspected to be behind the bank heist that involved a transfer of stolen money from a Bangladesh bank to an RCBC branch in the Philippines.

    One report pointed to CHINESE THIEVES under the direction of North Korea as responsible for the hacking that happened a few months before the Philippine presidential election last year. There has been speculation that the Philippines might have been the target for the money transfer and laundering because part of the amount was intended to bankroll the campaign of a presidential candidate friendly to China. Incidentally, RCBC is majority owned by the Yuchengco Group of Companies that has ties business to China.

    Here is an excerpt from NYPOST.COM:

    “Federal prosecutors are preparing to finger North Korea for orchestrating the theft of $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York last year, according to a report.”

    “The Justice Department is zeroing in on Chinese thieves under the direction of North Korea, with charges that they hacked Bangladesh’s central bank and swiped millions from its account held at the New York Fed, according to the Wall Street Journal.”

    “The money was then transferred to banks in the Philippines and laundered through casinos, according to the reported allegations. While some of it has been recovered, much of it is still lost to prosecutors.”

  32. Lil says:

    The Philippines is still a failing because for one, our CnC is still an idiot.

    Anak ng … how do you accuse someone of being provocative and slam for inaction at the same time?

    • “He invited China to send a battleship to visit the Philippines and suggested sharing offshore energy resources in the Philippine EEZ that China lays claim to .”

      Could he unilaterally decide on sharing the nation’s resources without the people’s permission? Does his “mandate from heaven” allows him to do that?

      • edgar lores says:

        From the Constitution, Article XII – National Economy and Patrimony:

        “Section 2. All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna, and other natural resources are owned by the State. With the exception of agricultural lands, all other natural resources shall not be alienated. The exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the State. The State may directly undertake such activities, or it may enter into co-production, joint venture, or production-sharing agreements with Filipino citizens, or corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens. Such agreements may be for a period not exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for not more than twenty-five years, and under such terms and conditions as may be provided by law. In cases of water rights for irrigation, water supply fisheries, or industrial uses other than the development of water power, beneficial use may be the measure and limit of the grant.

        The State shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens. [1]

        The Congress may, by law, allow small-scale utilization of natural resources by Filipino citizens, as well as cooperative fish farming, with priority to subsistence fishermen and fishworkers in rivers, lakes, bays, and lagoons.

        The President may enter into agreements with foreign-owned corporations [2] involving either technical or financial assistance for large-scale exploration, development, and utilization of minerals, petroleum, and other mineral oils according to the general terms and conditions provided by law, based on real contributions to the economic growth and general welfare of the country. In such agreements, the State shall promote the development and use of local scientific and technical resources.

        The President shall notify the Congress [3] of every contract entered into in accordance with this provision, within thirty days from its execution.
        [Bolding and enumeration mine.]

        [1] Note: “Exclusively to Filipino citizens.”

        [2] Note: “… may enter into agreements with foreign-owned corporations…” and not foreign states.

        [3] Note: “…notify the Congress… within thirty days.”

        Arguably, the term “The President” refers to the President and his Cabinet alter egos and not just to the President personally and unilaterally. That is, the Cabinet — in particular the Secretaries of Defense, Foreign Affairs, and Natural Resources — must be informed and must consent to the actions of the President.

        And, in any case, the Congress must not only be informed but perhaps must review and ratify any “contract” entered into by the Executive.

        Section 21 states: “No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate.”

        • Thanks, edgar.

          So Enrile blows tiny bubbles?

          “…Enrile said that those who are thinking of using the Benham Rise issue as ground for impeachment do not understand the Constitution.

          “He’s the principal architect of foreign policy. He makes decisions on foreign policy without consulting anybody. How can you fault him?” the former senate president added.

          The President, he added, can’t be compelled to disclose his policies or strategies on how to govern the response to China’s actions.

          “You must always presume that the President is doing things for the country. That’s the presumption,” Enrile said.”

          • edgar lores says:

            Perhaps Enrile knows Senate Rules but not the Constitution. Is it any wonder he was so ready to disregard it and become a pillar of Martial Law?

            • Lil says:

              I wouldn’t trust that snake-eyed trapo Enrile as far as I can throw him (If only I could the latter)
              Looks like dear CnC has already sold out the Philippines for much worse than GMA’s time.

  33. john c. jacinto says:

    Sonny Angara is a big disappointment. There is no doubt in my mind that his about-face has been prompted by lots of pork from the executive department. I see no other “reason” why he would do a turnaround. The guy is just another crook with tremendous pretense.

  34. Eva Robles says:

    Well said Mr. Joe !!!!

  35. DAgimaz says:

    anybody who follows in the footsteps of his forebears, just because they have the same last name, to me, is up to no good.

    as Warren Buffet said, if I am a great baseball player, it doesn’t mean my son will also be a great baseball player

    so there goes the Pimentels, Rectos, and now the Angaras..there are lot of them, whose only capital is the last name they are carrying.

    that’s why, dynasties should be banned

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  1. […] Source: Senator Angara shows why the Philippines is a failing state […]

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