Who’s the frog?

[Source: goodreads.com]

By Joe America

We’ve had some discussion here about how the people of the Philippines are like a frog in a boiling pot, with the Duterte Administration playing with the gas dial to keep the temperature rising in a way that does not let the frog know he is cooking. So China has been eased into the PH seas and economy without objection, and communists have been welcomed into government, and the drug killings continue apace masked by semantic discussions as to whether they are EJK’s or criminal deeds, and the President continues to insult anyone of stature who would dare to differ with him about the drug program, and people laugh to make it okay.

Distractions are used to keep the frogs looking everywhere but at the steam rising from the pot: the jailing of Senator De Lima, attacks on Vice President Robredo, accusations toward President Aquino, and staged rallies to boost the popularity of the President. The PH sensationalist media eat this stuff up, as it grows circulation and they don’t have to pay for costly activities like research or investigative reports that might inject intelligence into the discussion. Gossip and slander are more fun than knowledge, after all. Who cares if Filipinos are ignorant?

But I’m wondering if is the people or the President playing the part of the frog. The Administration has placed a high priority on the manipulation and control of public perception, a leftover strategy from campaign days when a well-funded trolling operation set out to prey on gullible and uninformed Filipinos. But we see control unraveling a bit. Campaigning is different than governing, after all, so when the same bluster and promises take the place of real work, peculiar things happen. President Trump is showing this in America, and here in the Philippines, President Duterte is not exactly swimming in cool, calm water:

  • Social media outlets Facebook and Twitter are working to end fake news, and so the Administration’s trolling program is under pressure. Plus, the communications gaffes and crass bluster by those who speak for the President are legend. And provide the fodder for robust social media attacks on him.
  • The pro-Duterte rallies have been tepid affairs that do not demonstrate the mass enthusiasm that the trolls try to project. The rallies come across as poorly attended, contrived events, cheapening the Duterte brand and weakening his image as being wildly popular.
  • The Secretary of Foreign Affairs did not get confirmed because he was an American who said he was not. A top spokesman was dumped when ridicule over his statements embarrassed the President. The DILG Secretary was fired. Several departments are pits of internal strife. The President is regularly corrected or contradicted by his cabinet secretaries.
  • Trains break down regularly and transportation remains a mess. Immigration lines are long due to employment strife. Wang wang is back. Change seems to have produced change BACKWARD. It is not pretty, and calling it pretty undermines Admin credibility.
  • The President was slammed with shouts of “treason” when he said it was okay for China to survey Benham Rise. Backpedaling is now being done by sending out ships out to patrol, and by possibly renaming the area “Philippine Rise”. Clearly, he got scalded on that episode.
  • The peace initiative with armed communist groups is troubled as rebels continue to extort from businesses and shoot at AFP troops. Cease fires come and go and it is clear that Duterte does not have control of the rebels.
  • House Speaker Alvarez is being bashed for his philandering outside of marriage . . . and hypocrisy, given his vicious attack on Senator De Lima. He remains in place to represent the Duterte congressional brand as unsavory at best, and morally bankrupt at worst.
  • Senators are having apoplexy, caught in the middle between the favors received by supporting the President, and their conscience. They have been speaking more strongly for Constitutional due process and human rights. The challenges to President Duterte are becoming direct and harsh. Perhaps it was a mistake to remove the opposition from committee chairs. These frogs seem to bite.
  • International human rights agencies and the European Union have the Philippines under a negative watch for withdrawal of aid, court actions, or sanctions. The President’s swearing suggests he is feeling heat from that. His buttons are easy to push, it would seem.

But the most damaging factor, it seems to me, is that NOTHING IS HAPPENING THAT WOULD BUILD the people’s trust and admiration. President Duterte is bogged down in his drug war, and the nastiness and darkness that accompanies it. Nothing fresh or uplifting is coming from the Administration.

Incidents of corruption are flowing freely, money is handled loosely for short-term gain, infrastructure projects are stalled, debt is rising, the peso is weakening, stocks are tipping on what seems to be a brink, and poverty and poor treatment of citizens continues.

One is inclined to wonder which pot will boil over first. If the people keep pressing the President, perhaps he will declare martial law to try to stop it. That in turn, may make the People’s pot explode.

Therein, we take note that there is a third frog in this overly warm reptilian pot.

The AFP.

It appears that, if the courts and Senate fall, only the AFP operates with the Constitution as the one authority recognized as higher than the President.

The AFP clearly does not like some of the President’s dealings, particularly with the thief that drove the Philippines off Scarborough and tried to blockade the Philippine rusty boat outpost so troops could not get food . . . and particularly with the NPA which continues to kill AFP troops. The President, for his part, tries to dial down the heat by promising to double salaries of the troops and visiting regularly with them to extol their virtues. I’m sure the top brass understand the manipulations they are receiving. I wonder if they welcome that approach or are insulted by it? It is not exactly an honor to be manipulated like a puppet rather than treated as professional warriors.

But, for sure, the AFP is in the pot, with the people.

Will top AFP brass climb out and leave the people behind, do you think?

I somehow don’t think they are that kind of frog, but I don’t really know.

All I know is that the heat is continuing to climb, and the President is doing nothing to stop it.


106 Responses to “Who’s the frog?”
  1. Sup says:

    One did climb out….Trillanes…….Sign the waiver please…

    Today also Duterte asked the Inquirer and ABS CBN to check the bank accounts…same problem with AMLAC…No Waiver no data……

    He also noted that the Inquirer and ABS-CBN had reported on Trillanes’ allegations that he had more than P200 million in an undisclosed bank account, which he denied.

    ‘I don’t have that money’

    Mr. Duterte challenged the two news organizations to look into his bank accounts.

    “Now that I’m President,” he said, “I’m giving everybody the authority, including Inquirer and ABS,” to look into his bank records.

    “I do not have that money. And if anybody can point to it, I will step down tomorrow as President of this republic,” he added.

    Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/887224/duterte-slams-media-anew#ixzz4dWRTQuDJ
    Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

  2. edgar lores says:

    1. I note TSH has an affinity for animal tropes. First, it was crab mentality. Then there was the elephant in the room. Now we have the frogs in boiling water.

    2. I have done the research, and we have had mention of lions, snakes, sharks, monkeys, foxes, the odd hippo, and, of course, dogs. There was a post entitled “The Beast in Us… and Presidential Candidates.” There was even mention of the mythological beast, the chimera.

    3. This is not in the least surprising as we human beings exhibit traits that animals have come to personify. Perhaps we should use the term animify, a new word, or animefy, referring to the Japanese form of animation.

    3.1. There is the lion for courage, the snakes for treachery, the sharks for pitilessness, the foxes for craftiness, monkeys for imitation and ignorance (no see, no hear, no speak), and dog-eat-dog for Darwinian competitiveness.

    3.2. The elephant is interesting. It represents a huge problem no one wants to see or discuss, but it also represents the unknown world. And we reserve its mighty flatulence for the edification of trolls.

    4. There has also been mention of creatures that represent heavenly traits. The tortoise for longevity and, therefore, wisdom. In Hindu mythology, the world rests on the back of a turtle. The lamb for innocence. And, of course, the dove for peace.

    6. Frogs, in this instance, represent ignorance – and victims. This is apt. In the real world, frogs indicate the health of the ecological environment. Frogs are a source of food for many other species – birds, fish, snakes, monkeys, and even humans. Frogs legs are a delicacy. Frogs also eat other frogs. Thus, many frogs mean a healthy milieu and no frogs means famine and death.

    6.2. Like frogs in boiling water, we are adapting to conditions that we are ill-suited for in that phenomenon called hypernormalization. We must become aware that we are in hot water and no longer in the placid green pond, like the one in the picture.

    6.3. O! to be happy Kermits lazily lounging on lotus leaves in a green pond.

  3. jamesb says:

    Is there any hope for the phillipines when the politician who raped an 11 year old girl and who was freed by arroyo now seeks an absolute pardon from duterte so he can become a congressman!

    “Convicted child rapist Romeo Jalosjos is asking President Duterte to grant him absolute pardon in an apparent preparation for his plan to run in the midterm elections in 2019.”

    A gerontocracy of crooks and perverts.

    An antidote of levity – Davao – top 12 tourism slogans

    Davao – the fun stops here

    Davao – where the shit meets the sea

    Davao – killing it

    Davao – live large in little China

    Davao – where the dying is easy

    Davao – the home of Stalag Rody

    Davao – twinned with Auschwitz

    Davao – dim sum and dim people

    Davao – relive the past – 1984

    Davao – where there is smoke, there is another bomb

    Davao – where the men are gay and the women you pay.

    Davao – Sodomy and Gonorrhea

  4. madlanglupa says:

    A mutual friend pointed out that MRT breakdowns have become more frequent. Again, the blame-pointing when we know better.

    Soooo, I stumbled upon MRT’s Service Status Page (https://dotcmrt3.gov.ph/service-status) and tried to plot it in a calendar and BOOM. #Triggered ka na ba? hahaha As of 9:54 AM 04/06/2017 tong chart na to from Philippines

  5. NHerrera says:

    The Frogs Are Us.

    The blog mentions that Duterte — whether he knows it or not — is also being “frogized.”

    It is perhaps doubly ironic that Duterte, the frog, is an apt description because frog has another meaning. Definition 4 in the link below defines a Slang for frog:

    4. (often initial capital letter) Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive.

    Which means that “The Frogs Are Us,” but one, according to that slang, is more so than the others.


    • NHerrera says:

      Ok, now. I am going back to the pot; my mind seems to get the beginnings of some crazy creativity — my brain seems to like the heat. 🙂

    • I meant no personal insult by the frog characterization, but if the shoe fits, I don’t mind readers jamming it on his foot.

      • NHerrera says:

        Yes, Joe, I know you did not mean the way my post seems to imply. But as I said the heat is doing something to my brain — like the point when that whisky is beginning to do its work.

        The TSH may still save my brain. 🙂

  6. jamesb says:

    Arroyo, duterte, and marcos are the triads from yesteryear.The chinese connection with the morals of a sewer rat, and the smell of Pepe le Pew. A triumvarate of corruption and self-interest who are just shit under the shoes of an honest man.
    People would not cross the road if they were on fire. They would send their punkawallahs to p!ss on them whilst singing the duterte ditty:

    ‘Hitler, he only had one ball,
    Panelo, he has two but very small,
    But pervert Duterte has no balls at all
    His mother, the dirty bugger,
    Cut them off when he was small,
    The whore then nailed them on the kitchen wall
    And made Dirty Duterte her mother-f@cker on call’

  7. Gemino H. Abad says:

    Thanks, as always, Joe — and the people who join the exchange of views. I’ve always felt, since Du30 took over as mayor of the country, he is doomed! — he doesn’t know a thing about governing a republic.

  8. chemrock says:

    Frogs ‘R’ Us

    Me Oh Mine, why oh why
    The daily temperature seems so high

    No beer nor shabu did I take
    Why does everybody seem to bake

    Perhaps I should dive to levels low
    Like the sewers it may be cold

    Or climb over bodies to the top
    With rarefied air it won’t be hot

    Maybe I should just close my eyes
    Soon all unpleasantness will pass me by

    by a simple frog,who can feel the heat but can’t see the boiling water

  9. chemrock says:

    Joe, we need not worry, your frog is still very much alive. It’s a gif file, I wonder how the teckies get it to breathe. These kids are good.

    Coincidence again Joe. You write of clueless frogs, my next article on who’s looking after the economy talks of a fentanyl-induced country.

  10. Ging man says:

    Well said leaving nothing more for blank minds to think of, hitting the nail right in the head , its time to awake from deep slumber..and start croaking.

  11. In difficult times, it is better to be frog-matic than dog-matic.

    Amphibious vehicles may be needed to protect some islands.

  12. Micha says:

    What might have prompted our dear leader to do an about face and anger China by ordering the military to occupy some islands in the Spratlys?


    “The unoccupied, which are ours, let’s live on it,” Duterte told reporters during a visit to a military base in Palawan, near the disputed waters.

    “It looks like everyone is making a grab for the islands there. So we better live on those that are still unoccupied. What’s ours now, we claim it and make a strong point from there.”

    • Dialing down the heat until later. There is speculation that it does not change anything. I believe Pagasa Island is the only location of any import, and it is already occupied.

      • sonny says:

        I still can’t get over the myopic view of the people who terminated the leases of Subic & Clark. 😦

        • It would be interesting to go over the Senate votes. Maybe I’ll do that. Try to ascertain motive based on what happened later.

          • sonny says:

            Being truly self-serving here, the communications infra that were dismantled in both Subic & Clark that were serving as eyes and ears for the US Navy & Air Force coulda been free intel for the asking for the PH. What was the PH thinking, I ask?

      • Micha says:

        Methinks he might have realized there’s merit in Cong. Alejano’s articles of impeachment regarding his previous publicly declared abandonment of our sovereign claim on those islands.

    • chemrock says:

      This latest verbiage of the president betrays a leader totally lacking indepth knowledge of a very serious problem and casting populist derring-do’s for no other reason than to pop up a damaged image of libido losses in WPS and Benham Rise.

      Such misconceived outbursts create flashpoints in international relations.

      #Maritime Law/ #Law of the #Sea expert Jay Batongbacal posts:

      My initial random reactions to PRRD’s hyperbole today:
      1. The AFP already occupied, built/established structures, and raised the flag over the islands of Pag-asa, Lawak, Patag, Likas, Parola, Panata, and Kota.
      2. Some of these were permanently occupied as early as 1970 (Lawak Island); the latest (Ayungin Shoal) in 1995.
      3. All other islands of the Spratly Islands (from which the Kalayaan Islands have been segregated by the Philippines) have been occupied by Taiwan since 1956 (Itu Aba) and Vietnam since the 1970s (including Spratly Island itself).
      4. There are no other unoccupied islands in the Kalayaan Island Group as defined in PD 1596 issued in 1978.
      5. The AFP has also occupied, controlled, and raised the flag over Rizal Reef and Ayungin Shoal.
      6. Other reefs and shoals in the Kalayaan Island Group are occupied and controlled by Vietnam (since the mid-1970s) and China (since the late 1980s).
      7. There are a number of remaining reefs and shoals in the Kalayaan Island Group, which have remained unoccupied on account of the self-restraint exercised by the SCS claimant countries since the late 1990s.
      8. In accordance with the 2002 Declaration of Conduct of the Parties in the SCS, all claimant countries agreed not to establish any new occupation/inhabitation of any of the remaining unoccupied reefs and shoals.
      9. The Philippines, in the arbitration case it won against China last year, secured an Award from the UNCLOS Annex VII Tribunal that declared, among others, that China’s construction of artificial islands on the reefs it occupied were contrary to international law bcause it aggravated and extended the dispute, prejudiced the rights of the Philippines, and caused serious damage to the marine environment.
      10. Arguably, any new occupation of a currently unoccupied reef by the Philippines will entail the construction of an artificial island or facility (even if it is only a small one) and will aggravate and extend the dispute since it will spark a new round of reef-grabbing and amount to an escalation of the current situation in the Kalayaan Island Group.
      11. Ordering the AFP to occupy, build on, and raise the flag over islands and reefs that have already been occupied, built on, and flying the flag for decades makes no sense; such an order can make sense only if applied to an island or reef that is currently unoccupied.
      12. But since there are no unoccupied islands left, PRRD’s order might make sense if it is understood as an order to occupy islands currently held and controlled by other claimant countries. But then, that would mean possibly starting an armed conflict with the States in control of such militarily occupied and controlled features. That doesn’t seem right either.
      13. Playing to the galleries like this could actually lead to a really major crisis, especially if other claimant countries take PRRD seriously and decide to take forceful pre-emptive action.
      14. In any case, the island-grabbing in the disputed areas all took place in the 1960s-1980s. It is a little bit too late to be thinking about that now.
      15. Any new occupation/inhabitation of any one of the currently unoccupied reefs and shoals by the Philippines will comprise a breach of its commitment in the 2002 Declaration of Conduct of the Parties to the SCS to not engage in actions that tend to complicate and escalate the dispute, and to refrain from any new inhabitation of previously uninhabited features.
      16. The repair of the runway at Pag-asa and the construction of new facilities to augment old ones in the Philippine-held positions in the Kalayaan Island Group are indeed sorely needed and it is well-past the time they should have been done, but they do not amount to any new occupation.
      17. If what was meant was to simply order the repair of the runway on Pag-asa and the building of new facilities on presently occupied islands, then that’s exactly what should have been said. No more, no less.
      18. This is not a good way to blunt Magdalo’s supplemental impeachment complaint alleging a weak and defeatist foreign policy vis-a-vis China, or respond to public opinion & frustrations about China and the WPS, or address the reported drop in trust ratings.
      19. From whatever angle you look at it, this kind of statement does nothing for PRRD’s credibility in foreign policy.
      20. Somebody badly needs to read a Primer on the WPS:

      • NHerrera says:

        As the writer said, “From whatever angle you look at it, this kind of statement does nothing for PRRD’s credibility in foreign policy.” Batongbacal rightly said that PRD is playing to the gallery with probably the object to blunt Alejano’s impeachment complaint.

        It seems to me that we have recently these “defensive” moves by the Administration. In short, there is a different tone to the songs these days.

      • Yes, and Scarborough Shoal is not mentioned by the President. This rock formation is clearly within the Philippine EEZ and he has verbally ceded it to China.

  13. karlgarcia says:

    Balangay to China in lieu of jetski diilomacy


    Team Phl, methinks they are the same guys that climbed Everest.

    Since their Indian ocean trip did not push through and their previous voyage was cut short due to inclement weather, why not do it in April so no storms (hopefully). PRD would no longer need a jet ski he may just board the balangay for a few minutes.
    Duterte won’t bite,I guess because he said he can’t swim that is why the jetski was just a joke.

  14. NHerrera says:

    Off topic

    Strictly from an academic standpoint, I am very impressed with the attack by the US 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles:

    – accuracy;
    – the one-hour warning to the Russians at the target site resulting in no Russian casualty;
    – the ability to avoid the location of possible sarin gas depot at the target area;
    – the minimal civilian collateral damage;
    – the further accumulation of vital experience with the Tomahawk missiles;
    – something, for example, that China has no such experience;
    – the ability of NSA McMaster and his associates to weigh the B/C aspect of the attack (of course, this is continuously being weighed post-attack );
    – the attack probably intended to hit several items “with one stone” including possibly some signal of sorts to US global military rivals; and boosting Trump’s credibility with some sectors, while losing some of his supporters.

    The way Tomahawk missiles alone cost @$0.8m for 59 missiles or $47m (without counting the operation of USS Ross and Porter) is peanuts to the US.

    • NHerrera says:

      Interesting to me also is the report which said: Despite being warned of the attack in advance, it appears Russia did not deploy surface-to-air missiles, which are capable of taking out US Tomahawk missiles.

      My question: Why?

    • A nice positive review after a lot of American political trashing of what I think was a purposeful military strike. When the starting point is “I hate Trump”, then objectivity is gone from the getgo. I don’t like Trump, for sure, but SOMETHING needed to be done about the gas attack. Who else would do it? China???

      • It’s a win-win for everyone it seems, Joe— for bleeding hearts, for nationalists, for libertarians, for pro-Israeli evangelicals (who want to usher in Judgement day already), for globalists, etc. etc. everyone except PETA.

        For me, a realist , hence pro-Assad by default,

        the US called them an hour ahead of time to warn them, struck only specific targets, left the airfields intact allowing air ops the next day, and Russian/Syria forces went along with the “punishment”, it was all great theatre…

        IMHO all that was left, the tomahawk attack should’ve been recorded on film, in HD, various angles, big production,

        from what I read it was a sight to behold, 60 tomahawks, the first volleys had to linger and racetrack fly around the area until all the tomahawks caught up & were up in the area, then

        within a matter of seconds, all 60 tomahawks rained down on their respective targets,

        like ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas/Hizbullah, etc. we should ‘ve filmed all that, just to show what a tomahawk raining down looks like to other enemies out there, make a big production out of it…

        but make no mistake, this 60 tomahawks was simply a slap on the wrist, I think practically speaking Assad is for all intents & purposes still our “ally” in this fight against ISIS,

        it was a short, sweet, simple, yet strict “Knock it off!!!” (with these chem attacks it seems people prefer seeing their dead, less traumatizing i suppose, decapitated/bloodied, not convulsing & foaming , i’m being facetious here of course, at the hypocrisy of it all—- ie. if it’s not on video did it happen? war is messy regardless of the implement used to kill )

        nothing seems to have changed re Assad and Trump’s stance (which was pretty much also Obama’s stance). Though i do agree, 60 tomahawks was better than Obama’s pussyfooting, and Trump’s decision to slap wrists only i’m all for, I hope Trump doesn’t get

        bitten by the regime change bug.

        It was proportional (so tiny, so so tiny, small league 😉 ), I’ve scoured Google and there seems no deaths associated with the tomahawk rain at least from pro-Syria channels, thought 16 or so deaths have been reported in the tomahawk rain by rebels. Assad would be parading these deaths, within 12 hours, that he hasn’t i think means Syrians and not only Russians got the heads up.

        • I’m inclined to look at the raid for what it means to the Philippines, and end up with three take-aways, each of which is suitable for a separate blog. (1) How people rush to conclusion framed by their bias before having much information, thus contributing to fake knowledge (this Monday’s article), (2) the foreign policy implications of the raid as seen from a Philippine viewpoint, and (3) the concurrent meeting with Xi, also on the matter of foreign policy implications for the Philippines. As for military strategy, America’s Middle East strategy, or Trump politics . . . they are interesting, but huge topics that take us off course from the blog’s editorial focus.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Lets make it concerning Philippines,
          The ISIS couple caught recently should be another wake up call. Without US intel together with Interpol alerts, we would not have been alerted of ISIS presence.

          Pdut should stop his US bashing.


          Have you read this article?
          Can you give a brief commentary?

          • karl,

            I’ve been on record talking crap about PNP & AFP here, but i mean that in an institutional sense. At the individual level i don’t think Americans have a monopoly on this notion of courage or bravery or sacrifice.

            Whether in the Arab world, muslim nations or in SE Asia, when it comes to personal “honor” or the honor of his family, etc. IMHO we’re all the same. Temperaments may differ , maybe by nature (by way of genetics) or nurture (by way of upbringing) may differ, people’s det cords vary, but we all explode similarly.

            How institutions hone all that is the trick.

            Hence, I tend to focus on an organization’s preventive maintenance culture. When you get too many folks pretending its all Hollywood, playing Rambo or Charles Bronson, all that macho bs, then all that natural propensity for courage is being diverted wrongly, towards the wrong path… all posturing.

            I think that’s what Joe talked about re the South Vietnamese vs. say the South Koreans, some cultures favor all the posturing (wasting everyone’s time), while other more “militarized” cultures favor logistics, actually getting prepared, instead of just looking tough.

            Decisiveness vs. posturing.

            What I saw in the Philippines was a lot of things for show, but not so much training and taking the time to prepare, ie. preventive maintenance of weapons, gear and equipment. I fault the leadership for this. Ireneo’s talked about this before about German’s actually loving their equipment & taking care of it, same notion IMHO.

            I think this also is related to foresight.

            Like I said before the blade culture in the Philippines, compared to say cultures in the Arab world which still sported daggers and knives, yet didn’t really know how to use ’em… the Filipinos had a leg up on the Arabs in this regard, the Arabs have lost all their military prowess.

            At least in the Philippines, fighting was still very much alive, at the individual level (though not all). But at the institutional level, just a lot of posturing. Unlike say the Japanese, wherein the Samurai culture has essentially died (same with the Chinese), at least the Philippines still has a very martial culture, it’s just relegated way in the background,

            it can be invoked and honed, and institutionalized.

            so the question is whether i’d want a Filipino in the foxhole, i know some individuals there that would totally kick ass and save my behind in a fight, that’s at a tactical level; BUT at the strategic level, I also know for sure that your higher ups will sell our foxhole out to the Chinese (or the highest bidder), making my choice of Filipino battle buddy moot.

            The institutions need fixing, the individual fighting Filipinos, in comparison to other militaries I’ve come across have more martial / fighting culture still present, alive (S. Koreans would come 2nd IMHO). Every where I go I carry two knives, that habit I got from the Philippines.

          • sonny says:

            LC, hope you comment on this blog-installment, as Karl suggests. It is one of the best blogs I’ve read.

  15. Gilda R. Dela Cruz says:

    “Who’s the frog?”, I must say it is the people – us i mean. Except that the President is so confident he didnt notice the people were feeling the heat and were slowly climbing up, until recently his actions showed he did notice it and may suggest the change he promised. H3e fired cabinet secretaries Lavina and Sueno who were accused of corruption, he awarded houses and lots meant for our soldiers to the Kadamay informal settlers, visited wounded soldiers, sent Philippine ships to patrol our seas, even hinted to raise our flag in Spratly’s Islands, among others, as if to show the world the President is finally working. Yet, there were no cheers. The public is passive to the sudden of change in demeanor of the President. I think the President, for all his bravado, now realizes the Philippines is not Davao, where he easily manuevered his way in and out of political situations. He now realizes that money or the promise of it, is not always a guarantee that things will work in his favor. He realizes further that swearing and insulting people are no longer cute and has its limits. He also realizes he doesnt have a plan or a program in place now that things are a mess and neither the offer of more money, higher posts or more threats of “I will kill you” can change things. The honeymoon, novelty and charm of a gun-toting, cursing President is lost and the public now wants results – real results. He has to deliver big, significant and remarkable results that will create a big impact on the quality of our lives. Without a concrete plan in hand, I am not so optimistic he can. So meantime, he becomes the frog being boiled in the same water he had prepared for us. I wonder when will he know he is now the frog of his own recipe.

    • Most interesting read, Gilda. I would add my expectation that when rice prices rise, his popularity in the D group will move down fast.

      • Marie says:

        I would also add, sir, that when the outspoken young generation, our millennials, become a mobilized force, they would speak out as one voice, much like the child in the story “The Emperor’s New Clothes” who blurted out the truth – that the Emperor was walking around with nothing on him !

        The weavers of his “clothes” had fabricated a way for gullible people not to speak truthfully. The Emperor’s subordinates were too afraid of losing their positions, being considered unfit for their work assignments, that though they could see the reality, they dared not speak. And even the Emperor, seeing the truth about himself, did not admit it publicly.

        Many people are still pretending everything is under control and fooling themselves.

    • madlanglupa says:

      Honestly he and his supporters have put up an expectation bar so high that it will be truly difficult for him to bring in the filling silver platter of anything to a very impatient populace; should he fails, he shall have the longest fall.

  16. Bill In Oz says:

    For a different perspective by a Filipino based in Australia check out this article:

    • NHerrera says:

      Thanks for the read.

      This item from the link,

      If they feel that civil rights of citizens have been violated, they should press for oversight through the appropriate committees in congress. They should scrutinize the budgets of agencies prosecuting that war and seek to properly resource programs that provide better solutions.

      shows that the writer is out-of-touch with the reality or situation in the Philippines. Just my opinion. Others may have a different view of the article.

      • The author, E. D. Santos, has written about PH economics for some time. So he knows his stuff, but he also writes with an anti-Aquino bias, so he strains to lay blames on LP. I do think the paragraph you quoted is easier to write than do. But his other ideas . . . like a coalesced opposition . . . are worth thinking about.

        • NHerrera says:

          “A coalesced opposition” or in union there is strength: I agree. Thanks for the note on E. Santos, the PH economics writer.

        • karlgarcia says:

          I saw one blog of the cusp where he visited the Aquino family in Boston together with his family he was just a kid then. I could not recall when his anti fpnoy bias started.

          But aside from his use of people power this and that, he still made an attempt to be balanced (sort of).

    • edgar lores says:

      1. I like the structure of the article: intro, immediate past, analysis, extended past, recommendations.

      2. I have no quarrel with the descriptive sections: intro and immediate past.

      3. My comments relate to the last three sections:

      3.1. The analysis section is on three levels: electoral, public relations, political.

      3.1.1. All levels are political. All are engaged in political battles. So the third level is tautological. As such, I would divide the third section into two aspects: congressional and executive. The congressional aspect would relate to the impeachment. The executive aspect would relate to (a) influencing the judiciary in the electoral protest and (b) the prospect of a revolutionary government. There is no mention of past executive tactics: the mistreatment of Robredo of which there have been many. There is also no mention of the dinner invitation, which, to my mind, was designed to support Robredo’s impeachment. If she had rejected the invitation, the case against her for embarrassing the President would be greater. The tacticians mistook her for a lady without courage and sought to paint her into a corner. Now, the ball is back in Duterte’s court.

      3.1.2. The extended past section seems to suggest that opposition is futile because it invites greater repression. The suggestion is extremely defeatist and yet it is the basis for the recommendations. Here we must question the basic assumption behind the article. The assumption seems to be that politics is about winning and not about governing for the well-being of society. Because winning is all that matters, the view that politics is amoral is perpetuated. Matters of right and wrong do not matter. If Duterte is encouraging acts that are unconstitutional and immoral, never mind. Just be loyal to the president, work with him on administrative matters, and stop threatening impeachment and taking him to the ICC. As NHerrera noted, the author is out of touch. His recommendations assume that the political institutions – political parties, Congress and congressional committees, and the judiciary — are intact when they are not.

      4. I am tired of analyses that do not consider moral factors. The purpose of government is imbued with several moral purposes. These are enumerated in the Preamble.

      • Bill In Oz says:

        I put the link to his article here quite deliberately to widen the perspective and views and so lesson a narrower & more ‘sectarian’ character which I see developing here.

        The Duterte administration has a wide popular suport among many different elements of Filipino society. And some of those elements are not mutually friendly to each other. It is a coalation of convenience.

        Therefore I think the future of the Philippines depends on developing non sectarian broad based opposition movement. A coalition that over time builds support as elements of the Duterte coalition become disillisioned with him, or more frankly he violates their own interests. In other words ‘pragmatic’ just as the EDSA coalition was in 1986.

        • edgar lores says:

          “Sectarian” is a strange adjective to apply. Generally, the views of the members of TSH are secular, humanist, and universalist… and in accord with the UDHR.

          The term “pragmatism” hides a lot of transgressions.

          • karlgarcia says:

            If It was my fault that divorce was not discussed then once there is a blog about it, I promise to participate.
            Maybe that is the reason for the sectarian comment.

            • Bill In Oz says:

              No Karl..That is not the reason for my comments today. The issue of divorce is in the past. It is for the Philippines, something peculiarly sensitive.So I will leave it to Filipinos & Filipinas to bring that to the table.

              Rather my sectarian’ comment just relates to a narrowing of perspectives, views and comments that has happened over the past year. Yes Joe, it has a bit to TSOH being identified with the Liberal party and Aquino.

              And the Liberal party ( Yellows? ) following the electoral loss last May 2016, is now identified as a minority group and without significant ability to influence things. But those who voted for Duterte were just 16 million out of 38 million. So there were/are many others who are not Yellow supporters out there, but equally were/are ( ? ) not Duterte voters either as they supported Grace Poe or other candidates.

              • Here’s what I wrote in a recent blog, which is not far from Santos’ call for the opposition to unite, and why there is no joining by Poe et al. The dynastic, tribal posturings for expedience rather than ‘nationalism’, or national well-being.

                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.

          • Most interesting point. The label “sectarian” seems to me to reflect Bill’s belief that the contributors here are pro-yellow and don’t give the masses enough consideration for being democratically in charge. That is a political perspective, whilst I think the views here center mostly on the principles of civility and law that best assure the nation’s well-being, and not the politics. I reflect wryly on the fact that a person who divides the audience into sectarians and “right-thinkers” is in fact a sectarian. I also reflect on Duterte’s strange way of developing unity, by sending out armies to castigate the critics, thus being a master sectarian himself.

      • karlgarcia says:
        His recommendation of resorting to oversight function of Congress instead of ICC, as if Delima’s humiliation did not happen in the lower house and Gordon and Paquiao’s questionable actions should be noted.

        That made his recommendation too ideal and out of touch. But if he means do not resort to shortcuts, it still won’t make sense, if he wants us to trust the system or institutions, it would be chicken and egg or they should be trustworthy first.

        • Bill In Oz says:

          Resorting the International Criminal Court by some opposition leaders is an affront to Filipino nationalists. A very politically naive move.

          Here we recently had a UN “rapporteur” from the Human Rights Commission to inspect us here in Australia & tell us how we should treat refugees and asylim seekers. She was a Filipino. Her report did not even make it to the main media ..Just the left wing Guardian. She was ignored and it did not make news.

          Australians ( like Filipinos ) don’t take kindly to foreigners telling us how we should deal with internal issues.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Fair enough, but not all are anti foreigners. But many are, but using hindsight not all are wise decisions coming from nationalists just like the US bases non extension of lease, it is nice to stand on own two feet, but we are not ready until now.

          • Appealing to international bodies is a reflection that the institutions in the Philippines are broken and complicit in allowing thousands to be killed without due process. One would have to debate who are the Filipino nationalists who are offended by such an appeal. Duterte backers, they are the nationalists? Or leftists, such as Waldon Bello, who are opposed to the lack of due process which mainly strikes at the poor? Or the educated elite who are aghast at the killings? I mean, who really is the nationalist in the Philippines these days?

  17. karlgarcia says:

    Quotable quote from Cong Gary Alejano.

    “I don’t oppose making friends with China. In fact, we should do this, but not at the expense of our national interest and security in West Philippine Sea, Scarborough Shoal, and Benham Rise,” he said

    Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/154495/alejano-duterte-40-years-late-sending-troops-occupy-islands#ixzz4dj9FuUaf
    Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

  18. michael says:

    I’d like to correct you on one point. It’s an “amphibian” pot, not a reptilian pot.
    My undergraduate degree was BS Biology. We actually did an experiment where we placed a frog in in water which we gradually heated. But, in our case, the water didn’t reach boiling point before the frog started to try and get out. If I recall correctly that was around 60-70 degrees Celsius. No one in class was able to make a frog stay til boiling point.

  19. Bert says:

    Hi Joe, my soul brother. Philstar headline: US Embassy warns citizens of possible kidnapping in Central Visayas. Please take care.

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