Last week was a regular Fernando Poe shoot ’em up!

FPJ action scene [Photo ownership, FPJ films]

By Joe America

Last week, the Philippines was full of action, a jam packed, knock-down drag-out drama as exciting as a Fernando Poe shoot ’em up.

We had Time Magazine dropping it’s Leila bomb, giving international recognition to both President Duterte for his killing streets and Senator De Lima for standing upright in opposition. We had China firing warning shots on Filipino fishing boats and telling the Philippine Secretary of Defense to stay away from China’s private seas, which used to be international waters open to anyone. We had the Liberal Party deciding not to back any impeachment complaints because the complaints would be divisive.

We had Cabinet infighting galore with headlined arguments over mining controls, rice importation, and the NPA. The popularity of the President’s drug war slipped 11 percent. The President was supposed to receive an honorary degree from UP but the idea was quickly struck down by uproar from those opposed to honoring a President whose sleeves are shaded blood red. That episode sent the school, the President, and Senator Escudero – who was said to have proposed the award – ducking for cover to avoid a huge public shaming.

We ended the week with a photo of the guests of honor at Mayor Estrada’s birthday party, a collective rogue’s gallery truly stomach-churning for its presentation of dirty laundry as high Filipino fashion.

* * * * *

* * * * * * *

Like, wow, baby. “It’s wilder in the Philippines.”

Interestingly enough, when all those explosive pieces settled back to earth in the analytics of my mind, for the first time in a long time, I was able to catch a glimmer of hope, of optimism, that the nation can get through this dark and deadly time and onto the path of civility and compassion.

Let me share a few thoughts and then, as always, throw the discussion over to you for reactions. I’ll review: (1) some generalized traits of Filipinos that stand as barriers to progress, (2) some lessons coming out of the action-packed week, and (3) a possible path forward to unity and civility, laws and order.


Filipino traits standing as barriers to progress

Two Filipino characteristics make it difficult for citizens to align in favor of an honest, earnest government.

  1. Filipinos stubbornly hold onto an opinion once it is formed. Changing one’s mind is a slap at personal honor. Once an opinion is cited, facts don’t mean anything and logical arguments are useless. Families are being split apart these days because of the hardness of opinions between those for President Duterte and those against.
  2. Filipinos follow personalities rather than knowledge, and emotions rather than logic. How else do we explain Senator Pacquiao?

Putting it all together, I’d offer a re-interpretation of these traits as follows:

You can’t lead most Filipinos to water. But they will follow someone there.

Think about it. It is not a contradiction. We’ll see the importance of this in a moment.


Lessons from recent developments

The one striking lesson coming from the week’s events is that President Duterte is NOT fully in charge of the nation’s destiny. He is only in charge of his own decisions. And some of them are turning sour.

For example, we witnessed the following:

  • Time Magazine created a new ‘star personalty’ by giving “Leila” international prominence as an underdog rising. This is a plot line that disenfranchised Filipinos can grasp. The jailed fighter. Irrepressible. Scoring big with each punch she lands in her daily notes from Crame. Time Magazine put her into the Philippine headlines, validating her as a star, larger than life.
  • The Liberal Party, by opposing impeachment as divisive, makes impeachment complaints against the Vice President automatically divisive. Brilliant. She took the high road, the Constitutional road, the civilized, respectful road, and President Duterte can either join her on it, or show his colors as being willfully divisive. And he can foster the creation of an even more prominent underdog rising.
  • Vice President Robredo has taken the position that earnest good works are vitally important and trolls should just be ignored. She carries dignity with her, and IS getting honorary degrees and international speaking invitations and respect from every community she visits. She LIVES the life of a Filipino of integrity, representing hope, kindness, and decency for those who want it. Her broad image may be taking a beating from the Marcos/Duterte propaganda machine, but inside that superficial glaze, an unassailable core of decency and strength is forming.
  • The ERAP birthday photo is a visceral representation of the historical failures of the Philippines. It is a clear, tangible picture of corruption, scandal, and scoundrels. It will live long and do damage every time it appears.
  • The slipping popularity of the President’s drug program illustrates his inability to hold onto the popular mandate that underpins so many of his authoritarian and deadly deeds. People are noticing. They notice people killed in their town. They notice broken trains, traffic jams, poor government services, and high gasoline costs. And they will definitely notice when the price of rice goes up.
  • China’s bully behavior . . . shooting warning shots at Filipino fishermen and issuing a radio warning to the Secretary of Defense . . . makes it very clear that China is not a good-faith partner of the Philippines. I mean, can you imagine if the US had committed those acts? The outrage? The AFP understands this, and the President risks great offense to both the AFP and an emotionally patriotic people by subjecting them to the humiliations of China’s disregard for Philippine interests.

Clearly, the playing field between Duterte and the opposition leveled some during the past week.


Four action steps

Well, these are just concepts, and meaningless unless people who want a dignified and respected Philippines follow through to actually DO something about it.

Vice President Robredo, I believe, is illustrating a way forward through her own principles and acts. She has decided not to confront President Duterte directly, a matter of considerable disappointment to some of her supporters, but quite brilliant in its working.

Her view is essentially that she will advocate for human rights, the Constitution, and civility, and it is up to President Duterte if he wishes to oppose HER. And those values. And it is up to Filipinos to decide if they will stand for decency and respect for human rights and the Constitution, or stand opposed to it, as the trolls are standing.

Vice President Robredo’s position is genuinely unifying because it attacks no one and holds ALL Filipinos up as people of modern beliefs and practices. It shines a bright and refreshing light on the nation and its peoples. Arguments under that umbrella become just problems to solve, and she is confident they can be. Her kindness and good will are genuine.

There are two powers greater than President Duterte. Vice President Robredo is NOT one, nor does she aspire to be one, as far as I can tell.

  • One greater power is the Constitution.
  • Above that is the innate integrity and pride of being Filipino.

Here are three ways someone following the Vice President’s leadership can “go positive” and make “being a Filipino of integrity” the national way:

(1) End the carping. Advocate pro-actively for humanistic, democratic, patriotic, civil values, and the acts that flow naturally from them. Be FOR something, rather than against. Be patient with those who have not yet caught the thrill of being a modern, engaged Filipino. Just be FOR it. Show excitement for something that can excite others.

(2) Identify and promote the personalities who best lead the effort: Senator De Lima and Vice President Robredo stand out right now because they are headliners. Other personalities may also rise to prominence. Senator Trillanes, perhaps. Senator Hontiveros, perhaps. Who knows, even Senator Poe if she decides to live the courage represented by her father on film.

(3) Help discourage or eliminate propaganda as an effective tool to manipulate public perception. Ignore and block trolls. Call out “DDS” (Destroy, Distract, and Smear) communications as manipulative and deceitful, playing Filipinos for fools. Relegate trolls to talking to themselves so that each day they find fewer and fewer people who are gullible to their deceits. Support social media efforts to weed out fake news and abusive behavior.

The idea is to make the advocacy for decency and democracy so prominent and meaningful that it becomes infectious. And starts to pull in followers.

Are there other ways? Oh, for sure. Ridicule and in-your-face protests are the bad cops that help the good cops succeed.

But Filipinos need to see a shining star if they are to follow it. Against the darkness of death, drugs, corruption, in-fighting, incompetence, rising prices, what some people are calling treason, and bitter division, it ought to be possible to create a hero: the idea that we can be so much better by being decent Filipinos.


157 Responses to “Last week was a regular Fernando Poe shoot ’em up!”
  1. Defense Secretary Lorenzano had two stellar moments this week:

    1) flying to Pag-Asa, ignoring 4 challenges by the Chinese.

    2) telling Sec. Lopez to tell her NPA friends to come back into society

    “Pagbabalik-loob sa lipunan” was the exact Filipino wording, and Manong Sonny will certainly be able to explain better than me the depth and the breadth of its context-rich meaning.

    Pagbabalik-loob is often used in Church in the context of returning to faith. It is also used in alcohol and drug rehab in terms of finding back to the person one used to be. Lipunan is society, so returning to the faith in society is so much more, it is I think also what Joe is now suggesting.

    • It is, and great additional mentions.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Why do we have to explain to China?

      On Lorenzana’s request to Lopez, here the whole quote.

      “Kung gusto talaga tumulong ng CPP-NPA, bitawan na nila ang kanilang mga armas, itigil ang extortion, at magbalik-loob na sa lipunan,” Lorenzana said on Saturday.

    • Micha says:


      Ang tanong ay, anong klaseng lipunan ang pagbabalikan nila?

      • sonny says:

        Ah yes Micha, our eagle-eyed ‘fiscalizer’ for THS. 🙂 (the noun exists, for me the meaning is good). Anong klase, indeed. I don’t know how good or bad our ‘lipunan’ is. Since I’m 70+ I lay claim to provide perspective if not the ‘rich-context’ Irineo has referred to. I’m preparing one for whatever it’s worth.

        • sonny says:


          Historical data (people, time, place, event) by themselves are neutral. The interpretation is the more interesting part because the interpreter enfleshes the data and supplies the color, logic, visions, dreams, aspirations for the people, times and places in the data. Virgil narrates the Greco-Trojan origins of the Roman people thus:

          “Arms, and the man I sing, who, forc’d by fate,
          And haughty Juno’s unrelenting hate,
          Expell’d and exil’d, left the Trojan shore.
          Long labors, both by sea and land, he bore,
          And in the doubtful war, before he won
          The Latian realm, and built the destin’d town;
          His banish’d gods restor’d to rites divine,
          And settled sure succession in his line,
          From whence the race of Alban fathers come,
          And the long glories of majestic Rome. “ — The Aeneid
          (Look for Irineo’s graphic on the eras of PH politics)

          No matter the myth or legend, or blood, sweat and tears we use to tell our national stories, in the end we must define and determine our beginnings, our trajectory and our destiny on which to hang our progress and character as a people. Vicara observes thus:

          “…Doesn’t matter where those values and ideals supposedly originated–a mix of indigenous traditions, SEAsian sultanate dynamics, Hispanic Catholicism, ancient Rome and the French revolution via 19th-century illustrados, grassroots revolts in the different regions (e.g. Ilocano, Moro, Bisayaon, Igorot), transmuted Jeffersonian principles via the Thomasites: what matters is that these were basic values of freedom and self-determination and social justice that different generations of Filipinos have adopted, served and even died for.“

            • sonny says:

              Thank you for it, Irineo.

              • sonny says:

                Just like the rogues gallery, MLQ’s graphic can be used to chart what kind of ‘lipunan’ any concerned Filipino would like to see and evaluate and lend a hand so to speak.

            • edgar lores says:

              Here’s my take, which is not generational but multi-centurial.

              A. DEFINITIONS

              1. High – “Comes after a crisis, where individualism is weak, and institutions are strong—people, fresh from a crisis, want to come together.”
              2. Awakening – “Where those seeking individual or spiritual freedom attack institutions.”
              3. Unraveling — “Where besieged institutions are deeply distrusted, and individuals are relatively independent of each other.”
              4. Crisis – “When, in the face of the threat of a general collapse, people turn once more to a sense of community, to renewing cooperation and strengthening institutions.”

              B. BREAKDOWN (1521 – 2017) 496 years

              1. High: Spanish colonial period (1521 – 1898) 377 years

              2. Awakening: Philippine Revolution (Aug 1896 – Jun 1898)
              ….[2.1. High: First Republic (Jan 1899 – Mar 1901)]

              3. High: American colonial period (April 1898 – July 1943) 45 years
              ….[3.1. Awakening: Philippine Commonwealth (1935 – 1946)]

              4. Unravelling: Japanese colonial period and Second Republic (Oct 1943 – Aug 1945) 2 years

              5. High: Third Republic (Jul 1946 – Sep 1972) 26 years

              6. Unraveling: Martial Law and Fourth Republic (Sep 72 – Feb 1986) 14 years
              ….6.1. Awakening: EDSA I (1986)

              7. High: Fifth Republic (Feb 1986 – Jun 2016) 30 years
              ….7.1. Semi-awakening: EDSA II (2001)

              8. Unraveling: Reign of Terror (Jul 2016 – Present) 2 years

              C. SUMMARY

              1. Colonial Periods = 377 + 45 + 2 = 424 years (85%)

              2. Independent Period= 26 + 14 + 30 + 2 = 72 years (15%)

              ….2.1. Internal high = 26 + 30 = 56 years
              ….2.2. Internal unraveling = 14 + 2 = 16 years

              3. Total years = 424 + 72 = 496

              D. COMMENTS

              1. The Philippines has been in perpetual Crisis. That is, we have faced and are ever facing the “threat of general collapse.” But we have not turned – never fully turned? — to a sense of community.

              2. Our history can be divided into 2 eras – the Colonial Era and the Independent Era.

              3. The Colonial Era extends over 424 years. This accounts for 85% of our total years as a “nation.” In this era, we have had:

              o 2 Highs – Spanish (377 years) and American (45 years) colonial periods
              o 1 Unraveling – Japanese period (2 years)

              4. The Independent Era covers 72 years. This makes up the remaining 15% of our total years. In this era, we have had:

              o 2 Highs – Third Republic (26 years) and Fifth Republic (30 years). These “good” times of 56 years constitute 78% of our Independent Era.
              o 2 Unravelings — Martial Law (14 years) and the Reign of Terror (2 years). These bad times of 16 years constitute 22% of our Independent Era.

              5. I believe we have had three and a half awakenings:

              o Philippine Revolution – awakening to independence
              o Commonwealth – awakening to democracy
              o EDSA I – awakening to authoritarianism
              o EDSA II (half point) – awakening to corruption

              5.1. I would point to the Commonwealth (1935-46) as perhaps our most promising “awakening”.
              5.2. Are we undergoing another awakening right now? That is, awakening to human rights?

              E. Explanatory Notes

              1. First Republic (1899-1901) – Aguinaldo
              2. Commonwealth (1935-46) – Quezon, Osmeña, and Roxas
              3. Second Republic (1943-45) – Laurel
              4. Third Republic (1946-72) – Roxas, Quirino, Magsaysay, Garcia, Macapagal, and Marcos
              5. Martial Law and Fourth Republic (1972-87) – Marcos and Cory
              6. Fifth Republic (1987 – 2016) – Cory, FVR, Erap, GMA, and PNoy
              7. Reign of Terror (2016-17) Duterte

              • Edgar Lores says:

                Ah, I should clarify: my post was non-generational and non-cyclic.

                And I was using “awakening” in a slightly different sense.

                MLQ defines it as “individuals attacking established institutions.” I am using it in the sense of “enlightenment” — of attacking old ideas/institutions and establishing new ideas/institutions.

                o Philippine Revolution – attacking colonialism and awakening to independence
                o Commonwealth – attacking a colonial form of govt and awakening to republicanism
                o EDSA I – attacking authoritarianism and awakening to democracy
                o EDSA II (half point) – attacking corruption and awakening to morality

              • This is very good, Edgar. You should use it as the foundation for a book presenting a cultural interpretation of history, or a historical interpretation of culture.

              • It occurs to me that new generations don’t really learn the lessons that come with having been there, even if history books recite what happened. We are unable to capture the essence of enlightenment and hold onto it. Thus, the lessons have to be learned (again) first hand.

              • edgar lores says:

                In a way, that’s true. History does repeat itself.

                If we take war, for instance, we have had an endless string of wars. What has been learned is not that war is futile, but that bigger and better weaponry wins wars.

                As an indirect offshoot of war technology, the material aspect of our lives has advanced to the point that we are contemplating robots to do all the work while we sit back and enjoy a universal basic income.

                The non-material aspect of our lives, our moral and spiritual consciousness, have not proceeded at the same pace and, indeed, have lagged far behind.

                But there has been progress nevertheless. It’s hard to establish this progress. There has been the movement from polytheism to monotheism to syncretism. There has been the idea away from human sacrifice (to propitiate angry and thirsty gods) to the idea of a possibly indifferent universe in which we can creatively shape human destiny (if we dare). There has been the notion that the Divine is external (thus our owing respect to distant gods) to the Divine is both external and internal (thus our owing respect to all of Creation, ourselves and to the immediate Other.)

                If the progress in the material aspect has been kilometric, the progress in the non-material aspect has been millimetric. This is due to our biology. We are more soft-coded than hard-coded. The experiences and lessons of previous generations are not hard-wired and are, therefore, not retained genetically.

                I believe the long view gives cause for optimism. The time scales are like this:

                o Cosmological time scale (14B years)
                o Geological time scale (4.6B years)
                o Evolutionary time scale (3.8B years)
                o Anthropological (genus homo) time scale (2.5M years)
                o Human (sapiens) time scale (200,000 years ago)
                o Recorded history is only 5,000 years ago
                o Christianity – 2000 years
                o America discovered – 525 years
                o Philippines discovered – 496 years
                o America founded – 241 years
                o Philippines founded – 72 years

                In personal terms, I have just realized the Philippines is as young as me. And NHerrera is a bit older and wiser than both of us. 🙂

              • Hahaha! But don’t overthink the matter!

              • edgar lores says:

                Duterte is also 72. Yikes!

              • NHerrera says:

                @edgar, noted and thanks for the clarification.

              • sonny says:

                @ NH, a helix would incorporate cyclic and teleologic elements. 🙂

              • NHerrera says:

                That does expand the simple concept of cycle represented in a plane, and adds more conceptual variations.

              • sonny says:


                one can add a non-linear axis inside the helix, orthogonal to points and label as the nationalism axis. (Irineo drew a graphic once upon a time, no labels)

              • chemrock says:


                History will always repeat itself.

                Every state you enumerated is an assault on existing institutions and dominant ideology. It makes no difference what that ideology is — whether political ideas of right or left, economic gods of capitalism or socialism, hierarchical feudalism or freemen, oligarchical collectivism or proletariat collectivism etc. The minority dominants are removed and replaced by a collective majority. Human history never plateaus off into utopia because the new collective majority have one major flaw. The intrinsic human inequalities in each and every one of us. None of us are born with equal opportunities, equal capabilities, equal affinities. Education is a leveler, but it’s not perfect. We can all go to great universities, but how many of us can analyse like Edgar? How many can box like Pacquaio? How many can lead like Nelson Mandela or Ghandi? The intrinsic human inequilities will lead to a new stress in the status quo, and so the cycle repeats after a while.

              • NHerrera says:

                @edgar, others: don’t rub-in the age gap guys. 🙂

              • edgar lores says:

                NHerrera, but… but aren’t we proud to have reached such an august venerability? 🙂

                I must tell you when I read the news of someone younger going to the Great Sky ahead — of course, these would be famous celebrities and infamous villains — I have an ambiguous potpourri of feelings — surprise, confusion, gratitude, and pride. And guilt.

              • edgar lores says:

                P.S. I hope I am not being insensitive.

              • josephivo says:

                And the world before 1521? The Muslim influence, the Hindu influence, the immigration of the Malay people from Taiwan, the original Negritos. the continuous influx of Chinese traders and settlers? The deeper soul in not Spanish/Catholic. not American/consumerist but closer to nature and its spirits, closer to each other and ancestral spirits, living of the bounty of nature?

                But all the above will soon be history with globalization of products, systems and cultures and expanding artificial intelligence.

              • edgar lores says:

                Good point(s).

                To be sure, the influence of our pre-Hispanic history reverberates down the corridor of time to the present day. We see this in the barangay construct, the datu social hierarchy, the Padrino system (is this pre-Hispanic, Hispanic or American?), the roles and relationships within the family and between the sexes, the mercantile system, and others.

                I simply took 1521 as the starting point of our formation and consciousness as a Filipino nation.

              • sonny says:

                The year was 1999, my older son (almost the same age as Karl) gets the bright idea of giving me a commemorative edition of a book entitled THE 20TH CENTURY, An Illustrated History of Our Lives and Times. It is hardbound. It weighs a ton! In the 1943 entry I found that I have the same birth year as Catherine Deneuve (she has grown old beautifully), Arthur Ashe (+), Bobby Fischer (+), George Harrison (+), Billie Jean King (still svelte), Joe Namath (looks like still the ladies’ man); and then also Robert de Niro (holding his toddler!) and Mick Jagger (probably still strutting his stuff with his groupies). As chempo said, life is anything but equality. sigh … 😦

              • edgar lores says:

                Sonny, that was a good vintage year!

              • NHerrera says:


                Yep, glad to be around and still kicking and learning — here at TSH, among others. My note above about not rubbing-the-age-in, was actually meant as a thank you response to your “older and wiser” note ; that really did my day. In a variation of the words used by our host, Joe: now don’t go about overdoing it or I may not be able to wipe the blush off my face. Hahaha.

              • NHerrera says:

                Sonny, I am glad I am as “young” as you are at 73+. To use edgar’s word, you too are venerable. Wrong. More venerable using your posts at TSH as basis, at the very least. 🙂

                Ok, I will stop talking now about age. Can’t stop the clock or go back in time unless I travel more than the speed of light according to Einstein.

              • sonny says:

                Aye mates, edgar & NH.

                I can still remember that ‘blessed’ day in November, I barely rounded my 60th year. I was gingerly negotiating the center aisle of my Ilocos-bound provincial bus to get off. Out of nowhere with sympathetic eyes the bus conductor took my arm and guided me out to the ‘estribo’ of the bus to my waiting tricycle. Instead of a mortified glare, I had to force out a labored smile on the good deed just executed in my behalf. Ay apo, dyahe …

                But I already had my consuelo, I used my senior discount card – 150 PHP off my fare. 🙂

              • NH, sonny, edgar,

                I ‘ve been reading that William Clark (of Lewis & Clark) excerpt of the Mandan “Buffalo Dance” I think the wrong way, vis-a-vis this article. It’s not so much about power transfer as it is about (as per you guys’ discussion here, which I’ve just perused) about a community’s extreme deference to old age (see quote below)

                From a hunter/gather perspective, how do you guarantee this deference? Well you insert customs like the Buffalo Dance and ensure the aged get first choice of the hunt, etc. BUT when humans “evolve” another system, ie farming, animal husbandry, respect to old age isn’t easily administered, gets eroded… I guess wisdom, know-how, doesn’t apply to farming, the way it’s central in hunting.

                But especially in this age of “science”, where wisdom , know-how , power, can be easily gotten via books or internet. The purpose of the aged isn’t so connected with the young anymore— ie., no need for a Buffalo Dance (here the Dance being the extreme form of deference to the old).

                So the onus becomes the immediate nuclear family to offer that deference, actually at this particular point duty takes over not so much deference anymore—- old age gets treated like toddler years, just not as cute. It’ll be harder to convince the whole of society to provide this deference and/or duty.

                I’m not sure if you guys know of the Lewis & Clark expedition in detail, but a lot of what you guys talked of re 1521 and Philippines, parallels with the Lewis & Clark expedition, especially the trinkets specially brought on the expedition to give away to local chiefs (and women it seems) and all the VD outbreaks of the men upon contact.

                I don’t know if in our time, our “evolved” way of thinking, with all this science and objectivity, that customs like the Buffalo Dance will ever be matched, but in my opinion the American indians (I’m sure this custom extended not just the Mandans) , even extending farther to humanity as hunter-gatherers, were on to something.

                So maybe the idea of progress viewed linearly is all wrong? That we should probably invite the Buffalo Dance back (whether literal or metaphor 😉 ) back to be relevant in the age of Science and Critical Thinking?

                What say you?

    • popoy says:

      if I may add a word IBRS: stellar and STERLING moments.

      • popoy says:

        FPJ’s photo makes a blast from the past. Alejandro Lichauco (Thursday, 12 18, 2003, The Daily Tribune)

        The “educated” keep hammering that Fernando Poe Jr. isn’t fit for the presidency because of what they describe as his limitations for that high office — by which they mean, specifically, that he doesn’t hold any academic degree and has had no experience in politics and public service.

        But in one stroke last week, FPJ shattered the presumption, shallowness and snobbishness behind the assumption that you have to sport an academic degree and a political experience to qualify for the presidency. That one stroke was in declaring himself against globalization and proposing that the Philippines should consider withdrawing from the World Trade Organization or WTO, not withdraw from that body altogether.
        No other “presidentiable” has had either the sagacity or guts to say that. In fact that supposedly “cerebral” GMA and Raul Roco are on record as having pushed the country hastily and recklessly and prematurely into the WTO and neither can be expected to admit they made a deadly stupid mistake that has caused the nation dearly in terms of the massive job losses and ceaseless inflation that came with our commitment to liberalized trade and a policy of ceaseless devaluation.”

        Here’s more:
        FPJ grabs lead in survey January 6, 2004
        Malaya Online Edition

        “Fernando Poe Jr. topped the latest survey on presidential aspirants conducted by Ibon Foundation Inc., displacing consistent topnotcher Raul Roco who got 22.46 percent against Poe’s 26.08 percent.

        Poe’s rating was a huge increase from the 11.21 percent he got in the third quarter before he publicly declared his intention in late November to run for president.

        Sen. Noli de Castro, who has just accepted a vice presidential draft from the administration Lakas-CMD, was third in the December 1 to 14 survey, at 14.46 percent.

        President Arroyo placed fourth with 10.50 percent and Sen. Panfilo Lacson fifth with 10.41 percent. Their ranking did not improve, Ibon said.”

  2. NHerrera says:


    I believe as Joe does that that picture will be a marker imprinted in many a Filipino and will be referred to many years hence. It is a good concise summary or capsule of what is wrong with PH and an intro to what to do, to right the wrong, as the blog article enumerated as a starter.

    Speaking of which, ex-President Ramos has not lost his wits. He said that he was not in that birthday bash because he was busy with a book that he will launch. In short, FVR did not want to mar the setting made for posterity.

  3. Vicara says:

    We have to reaffirm for ourselves as a people what we are FOR, not just what we are AGAINST. Understandably, people are angry–and getting angrier and more frustrated still–over the shenanigans of the administration. But at some point we have to turn the spotlight on ourselves as a collective, and ask: How did WE let all this come to pass? How do WE turn our current situation around, the way we overcame the dictatorship of Marcos–the social and political and economic mess of it–and effect the largely peaceful restoration of democratic government.

    Duterte could be the worst thing that ever happened to the Philippines, yet he could also be the best-but only if the situation galvanizes US, the people, once again into a rediscovery and reaffirmation of the fundamental values and ideals that underline what we call our “nation”.

    Doesn’t matter where those values and ideals supposedly originated–a mix of indigenous traditions, SEAsian sultanate dynamics, Hispanic Catholicism, ancient Rome and the French revolution via 19th-century illustrados, grassroots revolts in the different regions (e.g. Ilocano, Moro, Bisayaon, Igorot), transmuted Jeffersonian principles via the Thomasites: what matters is that these were basic values of freedom and self-determination and social justice that different generations of Filipinos have adopted, served and even died for.

    Look closely, and it’s all distilled in the Constitution. We have to remember that we have one, a pretty good one, crafted in the clear-eyed, immediate aftermath of the Marcos dictatorship. It’s worrisome that people don’t cite it enough. No constitution anywhere in the world is perfect; and as imperfect documents, they at times require amendment. But nowhere is our imagined nation, our collective vision, more clearly captured. We have to rally around that document.

    One of the worst effects of various well-funded and nation-destroying campaigns of the last few years was discrediting and presenting as a sham the People Power movement which toppled Marcos and the 1987 Constitution which followed, simply because of mistakes, duplicities and crimes that took place over succeeding administrations.

    The Constitution has been our faithful servant. It is WE who have failed it, time and again–not just the fat cat politicians who have milked the country for their personal benefit, but WE who bought into the toxic, negative troll narrative. It is WE who were slack and did not insist on accountability; who let our attention wander; who never even bothered to Google-search our local representatives in Congress (I for one am guilty in that respect) in order to let them know what we want of our government, and to hold them accountable. It was WE who didn’t insist on making sure each schoolchild knew of the atrocities and crimes of Martial Law.

  4. Micha says:

    The rationale of the Liberal Party in turning down the impeachment complaint is weak. Or, to be precise, it’s the rationale of the weak.

    It’s like the rationale of a docile wife who refuses to make a police complaint on her husband who regularly beats her up.

    • That is duly noted as a common complaint from those who are angry and want to rid themselves of the anger by striking out. It would be nice if we could get counsel from Gandhi or Jesus or, hell, Mark Twain or George Carlin. I’ll personally not undermine Leni Robredo by making my way the only way.

      • Micha says:

        And that is exactly the kind of attitude that Rodrigo Duterte wants for the opposition.

        And that is exactly the reason why he will continue the abuse of power from his office.

        In a normally functioning republic, this murderous maniac won’t last a second longer in office. But then of course ours is not a normally functioning republic. It is, by definition, a failing state.

        • Yes, on that, I agree. But xenophobia is on the rise around the world, so the PH is just ahead of the nasty pack.

          • I would add that Senator De Lima took the confrontational route, and she’s in jail. Also, Robredo does not dictate LP’s tactics, but is bound by them.

            • Final thought, impeachment of Duterte has no chance of passage, so Robredo would be deemed a failed leader of a futile program. Not what Filipinos adore.

              • Micha says:

                It’s not so much for succeeding in the effort as it is for making a political statement and growing an ideological spine.

              • I think Robredo thinks differently than that, and seeks to work diligently for a better nation, not strut her stuff. I have great respect for her strength of character.

            • Micha says:

              De Lima is in jail partly because of political persecution and partly because she might have indeed taken drug money for her senatorial campaign. But it is a case of selective justice because from what I’ve gathered, so did other politicians like Ralph Recto and Tito Sotto.

    • karlgarcia says:

      For the impeachment complaint against Duterte, I was disappointed too that the LP would not support it. Maybe avoiding divisiveness is a valid reason because the VP also has an impeachment complaint.

    • NHerrera says:

      Keep the powder dry for use in the future.

      My guess is that there was a lively debate in that LP caucus, but among those who can keep a secret — secret since secrets are difficult to keep in the PH — the notion of balancing principles against a backlash on Leni and for the main cause of LP, for a more principled stance was probably a major consideration.

      An analogy scenario: I am principled in not telling a lie. However, in a recent trip to the US on a conference in a resort supposed to last a week, I and fellow conferees, including an intelligent and very attractive lady, were marooned in that resort because of a very bad weather. So, something happened between that lady and myself (no thanks to my handsome and intelligent self. 🙂 ) Back in the Philippines, because of my principles of not telling a lie when my adored and failing-heart wife asks how that trip went what with that stormy weather, must I reveal the thing about that lady? This may be a bad analogy beside not being a parallel one, but when does principles give way?

  5. Gilda Rodriguez Dela Cruz says:

    It reminds me of your past article on the “frog in a pot of boiling water” where I thought the pot of boiling water meant for us the Filipinos became inadvertently the pot of the President though he doesn’t know it yet. And yes, you are so right in many points but I will just mention those that made me either jump for joy or writhe the most. The photo. Yes, that was crass. It was a visual statement all on its own. To those who were there and regarded them as their idols and hero, it was power being with the best of the bests. Yeah, the best. The best in corruption, the best among all scoundrels, the most intricate and sophisticated scandals of all such that no one has been charged yet. To the few who held on to their ideals, it was repugnant and despicable because to see them as a group invited to the birthday celebration of one of the nominees in the best in corruption category,(I’d say the popular favorite), it was just simply nauseous. Thus. that photo tells me how much they deserve to be with each other. Birds of the same feather, flock together. Another point: Vice President Leni Robredo. I totally agree with you that the manner she handles the situation with the President has had its adverse effect on the Administration and earned her, and Sen. de Lima as well, the trust and support of international groups and countries as well; but I am not sure if she has gotten the people to really support her. The numbers of the President may be decreasing, but i don’t feel the people increasing their support to the VP. It is as if, being against the President does not necessarily mean being for the VP. I see a problem in that area. Again, I believe it is a matter of communication. The VP is able to communicate with you, with me, with us but not with the people who voted for the President. She doesn’t speak their language, only when there is a disaster would she speak the language of the farmers in Bicol, the survivors of a calamity, etc.Note that every time an issue is thrown at the VP and the people react to it, her supporters and the LP scramble in her behalf to explain, to defend, to justify, to rationalize. And we hear nothing from her? To the people, that’s arrogance at its worst. Yes, she is right to ignore the trolls, but not everyone is a troll. There are people, not educated as her, who feel they deserve to hear from her and know the whys. the whats, etc; and not from an LP rep or spokesperson, or some politician – but her.

  6. popoy says:

    This post should be taken as apolitical, neutral and INFORMATIVE posting of news about by gone days with the eloquent message: “don’t mess with a Visayan,” in Mindanao. Perhaps it’s a little knowledge but my very first (baptism of fire?) extension work was in Western Visayas, in Panay Island.

    If there is a hornet’s nest, there’s also a journalists’ nest.

    PRESDU30 was just reported (not a FAKE news, I presumed) in the Toronto Star he will eat liver. Here is a link to lots of interesting links about rich historic rural (not urban) legend in Mindanao :

  7. NHerrera says:

    Off topic

    The First Round of the French election gave Macron a win over far-right Le Pen with the following percentage votes with 97% of polling stations of 47 million voters accounted for: 23.9%, 21.4% for Macron, Le Pen, respectively. There is still the Second Round election scheduled for May 7, but currently some Hosannas are being sung for Macron.

    I am reminded of a certain investment banker and a blogger-host of a certain TSH, I believe, based in the Philippines. 🙂

    I tell you these investment bankers know their stuff and their politics if they give themselves to that sort of thing. He he.

    • NHerrera says:

      CNN reports:

      Macron remains the frontrunner, and the markets moved to reflect that. The euro jumped against the dollar to its highest level since November as investors bet that the chances of Le Pen winning power were fading. Stocks got a lift too — futures markets indicated gains of more than 0.5% for the main Dow Jones and S&P indexes.

    • josephivo says:

      Incidentally CNN wrote today about the slow learning of Trump compared to Kennedy, Clinton and Obama who blundered too the first 100 day. Something to do with age?

      Macron is only 39. promising for his learning potential.

      And DU30 is 72 😦

      • NHerrera says:


        But I am sad if I credit that hypothesis (I am 78). I will just stick to my arithmetic then. 🙂

        • edgar lores says:

          NHerrera, Pshaw! Youth is a frame of mind. Our mental plasticity is a result of our attitude and receptivity to learning.

          Now, what was I gonna say about… stormy weather? Oh, yeah, there is a golden orb that shines behind the dark gray clouds.

        • NHerrera says:

          Oh oh now I have to make an analysis and decide:

          * On the one hand, josephivo reminds me of old age and indicates that the associated learning curve with old age is near plateau;

          * On the other hand edgar reminds me that I can be young — hence keep my learning curve away from plateauing — if my positive attitude and receptiveness to learning are such as to keep my mind plastic.

          After a deep and somewhat agonizing analysis I have come to the conclusion that my learning curve is still ok but convex although not as good or concave as it was when I was in my kinder to high school.

          Whew, what a relief. Thanks josephivo and edgar for the reminders.


          • stpaul says:

            🙂 🙂 🙂

          • josephivo says:

            There is quite some research on the aging brain, a good maintained one at 75 lost only 5% of its capacity and luckily our memory deteriorates too, so we forgot what we lost.

            Learning from mistakes is another thing, and at a certain age most of us settle for a stable view on life. Paradigms are a good thing too, it prevents the brain from overheating. Keeping your head cool is falling back on “common sense” or paradigms. On average younger people are more flexible.

      • madlanglupa says:

        There is also Mugabe, now in his late 90s.

    • chemrock says:

      My nephew says the macoron may be greater than le pen

  8. This week starts with a humdinger:

    Duterte, 11 others accused of crimes against humanity before ICC

    The accused include Chief “Bato”, Aguirre, Alvarez, Cayetano, and Gordon, among others.

    • NHerrera says:

      There is to my mind a good flow of supporting events, and the timing is just right, with the ASEAN activities being hosted by the Philippines this year. This story is ably supported by the cast of characters including Bato, Aguirre, Alvarez, Cayetano, and Gordon. Duterte and Bato by themselves could not have made the story rich as it is.

      • Agree, and the case fires a warning shot for others who may be seen as complicit. It will be fascinating to watch the fall-out – denials, curses – but to be sure, it is a stain upon the Philippines.

        • NHerrera says:

          Say, the current blog and that picture with the flowered table, and decorated with those in their near 70s or older, except for the kiddo on the right, is a nice intro to that ICC news.

    • chemrock says:

      The only guy who is flustered because his name is not in the list – Panelo. What he would give to be in the limelight to flaunt his scarf and leather boots.

      • True. Maybe they figure he will be defense counsel. That would rock the court.

      • NHerrera says:

        Not to forget: if Panelo is the lead defense counsel, the plea of insanity for all will be most effective for who but the insane will make their lead counsel, Panelo, with the electric hair aside from his scarf, leader jacket and boots, not to mention his illogic.

    • Micha says:

      Could there be reasons other than sycophancy when Senators Lacson, Sotto, Gordon, and Recto readily jumped and defended the murderer-in-chief re the filing of complaint in the Hague tribunal?

      Is it possible that these honorable gentlemen might have also collected drug money from the cartel and that Rodrigo Berdugo has the goods on them?

      Defend me or you’ll follow de Lima to jail?

      • Those are speculations, and I shy away from them as they may unfairly portray a person. But there is no denying the role Gordon played in stopping the investigative hearings into the killings, or the way Lacson plays both sides of the fence, or that Sotto makes up his own really weird reality supporting the killings. And to think, I used to consider him the priest of the Senate, for his piety. Boy did he have me fooled.

  9. popoy says:

    I woke up at 3 am here, went online, I saw, read and heard two bomb explosions that will rock cyber world. The first is about eating human liver, the second is the ICC news. I wrote here and elsewhere a possible first but now relegated to third. Whether this third will come to pass as mild or high intensity earthquake, or a mere whistle bomb, I will say it here after it has or have not happened.

  10. edgar lores says:

    1. ”You can’t lead most Filipinos to water. But they will follow someone there.”

    2. I think about this and I infer the following:

    2.1. Most Filipinos are NOT independent thinkers.
    2.2. Most Filipinos are gullible.
    2.3. Most Filipinos cannot recognize water.

    3. I think Filipinos, both as individuals and as a nation, do not value independence. As individuals, we seek patrons. If not Binay, then Duterte. As a nation, we seek colonial masters. If not the US, then China or Russia.

    4. We believe whatever our patrons or masters tell us, and we tend to act according to their bidding. But our gullibility and subservience mask a secret contempt, a contempt that is mirrored by our patrons and masters.

    4.1. If we turn the mirror to ourselves, to TSH — as we must — outsiders may observe that JoeAm is our “colonial master.” But we are independent thinkers as we have proved time and time again. If we are open, frank, and honest, we may disagree but we operate in an environment of trust and respect.

    5. I would define “water” as Knowledge gleaned as a result of Critical Thinking. But for most Filipinos, water is whatever Knowledge – true or false — their patrons and masters tell them are true.

    5.1. Knowledge is not only facts but also values as well.

    5.2. The Constitution is water, and it should be the primary well from which we quench our thirst. All other claims of political and moral knowledge must be tested against it.

    5.3. Leaders must lead their followers to the waters of the Constitution. If they do not, they are in dereliction of their duty.

    5.4. Duterte is in dereliction of his duty.


    6. This leads me to the impeachment issue.

    6.1. As an individual representative, my approach to an impeachment would be to read the articles and try to understand if they are in conformity with the Constitution. If they are, I would support it.

    6.2. As a member of a political party, I would be aware of political strategy. I would think deeply if the issue is a matter of conscience. And if I decide that it is, I would vote independently.

    6.3. From 5.4, I would support impeachment regardless of my party’s strategy.

    6.4. In my view, principled support for the impeachment would bolster the case at the ICC.

    6.5. What do I think of the Liberal Party strategy? First, I think it was premature. Second, I would classify the issue as a conscience vote.

    • Thank you for suppying the discussion I could not take up within the article. You have read the meanings of my comment well. I’ll leave the impeachment topic to others. I am also looking forward to reading the ICC complaint filed today.

    • “We believe whatever our patrons or masters tell us, and we tend to act according to their bidding.” Which is why critical thinking is rare in the Philippines.

      You either have syncophancy to the point of absurdity like Andanar and Abella – or total opposition like the trolls. Words are not for communication. They are weapons.

      In fact there are Filipinos who see even reasoned opposition as potential disloyalty. The kind of people who would put Galileo in jail are still common in the Philippines.

      On the other hand, there are those among the servants who do not understand those “masters” who allow reasoned opposition. It is seen as WEAKNESS. “Nagpapatalo”.

      In that mindset, despotic patrons like China and Russia are RESPECTED. Trump is also respected as he represents the old school, J.R. Ewing American boss mindset.

      Obama is not respected. Neither is the EU. Both stand for equality that they don’t get.

      • edgar lores says:

        Illuminating expansion and examples.


        o Sychophancy to the point of absurdity — Andanar, Abella, Reps, and Senators Gordon and Cayetano
        o Reasoned opposition as potential disloyalty — Trillanes, De Lima, and especially Robredo
        o Allow reasoned opposition (nagpapatalo) — PNoy and Obama
        o Despotic patrons admired — China, Russia, Trump, Duterte, Arroyo and especially Marcos

      • sonny says:

        From readings about differences of reactions (the strand & land sultanates, Visayan, Tagalog, Pampango, Ilocano, et al.) of the Filipino principalia to the more dominant foreign colonial (Dutch, British, Chinese, American) forces that impinged on the island language cultures, it seems this same diversity is still being played out in the face of the homogenizing forces of democracy – we give up some, we take up some, reject all outright or accept all in toto.

        • sonny says:

          The catholic dynamic is recognizable as the solidarity-subsidiarity principle.

          • sonny says:

            In Philippine governance, Christian Monsod alluded to the subsidiarity principle: FM’s constitution created our 41,000+ barangays potentially inimical or friendly to our governance depending on how we deal with the question on federalism and dynasties.

            • The 41K barangays plus the relative autonomy of LGUs (provinces and cities) as per Cory’s Local Government Code – which includes guaranteed IRA (internal revenue allotment) based on size and population of the place. The the regional division to simplify national government, a Marcos-era reform. Add to that the progressive centralization of police forces (PC, INP, PC-INP and PNP) from Marcos to Cory. Centrifugal and centripetal forces in an archipelago.

              Then of course the elements I have scanned – Filipino urban civilization from the Propaganda via the Katipunan and the Commonwealth up to even EDSA Uno, partly EDSA Dos. Then of course the crowd culture of the Ricartistas, Sakdalistas, Lapiang Malaya and Dutertistas – Ileto’s Pasyon and Rebolusyon, the frenzy of the Poong Nazareno cult, the anger of the EDSA Tres crowd (“nandito na kami, maghanda kayo” was their chant) – the subculture of those who felt left out by the train of modernity. All this comes to a head in the present day, I think.

  11. NHerrera says:

    Here is the FULL TEXT: Criminal complaint filed vs Duterte before the International Criminal Court

    When the pdf-like panel appears, right-click then save in your computer folder. It comes as a pdf file occupying 1.37 MB of storage space.

    • NHerrera says:

      As an aid in scanning or going through the contents of the pdf file, I list below the main pages and corresponding titles of the topics. Note that the pages refer to the pdf pagination — which includes the cover letter of Jude Josue L. Sabio, lawyer of Edgar Matobato, to Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda of the ICC. The pdf paging may be seen in any page by left-clicking the page.


















    • This appears to be a plug for an anti-duterte blog, which is not exactly the discussion format aimed for here. The blog purports to be that of a:

      Clear-thinking Manileño who’s quite often horrified by words and deeds of powers that be.

      • manilapagpag says:

        Thank you. It’s definitely a plug, but I prefer to characterize the blog as pro- truth and reason than to define it as simply anti-Duterte, although his and his minions’ aversion to truth and reason do make them quite topical.

  12. karlgarcia says:

    “Families are being split apart these days because of the hardness of opinions between those for President Duterte and those against.”

    I have mentioned my example of my cousin Jim Paredes and my other cousins especially those based or once lived in Davao city.

    This has resulted to unfriending and blocking.

  13. madlanglupa says:

    Unsurprisingly on his Twitter, Teddy Boy attacks Robredo.

  14. NHerrera says:

    Off topic


    What is happening between the US, the big nuclear power, and NK, the small nuclear power, is akin to the centipede. The series of Ratcheting Moves in terms of rhetoric — including insults — and show of force is indeed dreadful, not only to those countries, but to the region and us in the PH.

    As the picture shows, ratcheting moves are favored over peaceful moves. At the nth such series, will we have Pn rather than Rn — with this last one leading to a catastrophic event?

    • sonny says:

      “Dreadful …,” indeed. It’s deja vu from WWI & WW2, ME crises, terrorisms (petite & otherwise). 😦

      • sonny says:

        Anti-Hegelian dialectic of old, maybe?

      • NHerrera says:

        Yes, and if I may add:

        With the arrival of the submarine USS-Michigan with the capability of launching 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles (and need we add, capable being nuclear armed) at Busan, SK — supposedly a routine exercise — joined later by the Carl Vinson Carrier strike group, the US military ratchet parallels the earlier and current show of force by NK.

        CNN reports:

        Amid the military maneuverings, the White House has taken the unusual step of calling the entire US Senate in for a briefing on North Korea Wednesday afternoon.

        • sonny says:

          Calling the US Senate looks certainly as a prelude to calling the US Congress to unilaterally interdict NoKor and due also to non-engagement/appeasement of PRC toward the affair. At the back of my mind this situation is pre-emptive on the part of US of unilateral Japanese mobilization. (Just my naive musings)

    • sonny says:

      Taking one or two steps back, on this talk of ‘nuclear’ dis or dat. Nuclear dis or dat implies ‘nuclear’ fissionable material/fuel. Does this mean NoKor has access to fissionable material or buddy-buddy with those who do? How explain the physical presence of US aircraft carrier and nuclear-warhead capable submarine? Or we’re just hoping that NoKor delivery systems will fail, or this is all about a game of poker bluffs? (nagtatanong lang)

      • NHerrera says:

        About use of some words, we at TSH must have gotten a dose of strategic this, strategic that lately, as in

        “strategic patience”
        “strategic provocation”
        “strategic miscalculation”
        “strategic ambiguity”

        Interesting how words, like those in women fashion, come into vogue — in the above case because of Kim, and for completeness, Trump.

        Locally, we may have,

        “strategic sycophancy”
        “strategic stupidity”

        — such as when we deal with China or with those who took by force the unoccupied units of NHA in Pandi, Bulacan.

  15. Sup says:

    I did just finish reading this 2 months Rappler investigation……
    Wow….Not to drag you away from your highly respected The Society of Honor but worth reading.

  16. karlgarcia says:

    Will this pattern continue?
    The pattern being, alleged communists taking over housing projects, with the consent of the Housing government officials allegedly infiltrated by the CPP.
    Farmers taking over “undistributed land” with the consent of the Agrarian reform secretary.

    The bright side- Potential Solution to Housing and Agrarian Reform.(Better legislation and implemenatation)
    Worst case- Anarchy and a perpetual vicious cycle.

    • chemrock says:

      Political convenience has its consequences.
      1. Already happening — Other Pandi town home owners have stopped paying their monthly amortisations. Why should they pay when Kadamay illegal occupants can their house for free? NHA reported a 50% drop in collections.
      2. Will others follow legal home owners in Pandi stop paying their amortisation? First Pandi, then others in Bulacan, and cascade into other provinces?
      3. Anybody give any due consideration to Mayor and residents of Pandi — 1/4 of the population are now from a single leftist group. Only Trillanes see the danger. Other executives and Congress are just too lame and wearing blinders.
      4. The president gave in to the leftist. When faced with those that can fight back, he gave way to the irresistible force. When NHA is faced with zero collection, will the legal home owners become branded as illegal occupants of their own homes? Will he shoot them like FJP?

      Cause and effect. It’s a damn curse.That’s why knee jerk appeasement policy sucks.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Vicious cycle was an under statement.Let us see the effect in tax payers’ compliance.If The taxes go to free loaders then why bother?

  17. karlgarcia says:

    We may question FVR’s past, like being a kingmaker,some allegedly shady deals,some of his decisions,etc
    But lots of his analyses are something to ponder.

    • karl,

      Every time I read of FVR as “king-maker”, I get reminded of old (i’m sure powerful— in one way or another…) Filipinos enjoying the bar scene over there, I’m reminded of

      this little excerpt by William Clark (of the Lewis & Clark expedition to the Pacific coast) on the expedition journal for Jan. 5, 1805 where the Corps of Discovery spent their Winter at Fort Mandan… near a Mandan village. (the rest of the Lewis & Clark journal here)

      Power is more an illusion than actual thing, and it takes the participation of others to render someone, usually the old people in the 3rd world (and apparently amongst American indians back then) with power.

      With all the dealings and sharing of women (I’m sure), I’m more curious who the young Braves are behind DU30 and FVR, who are the youngsters propping ’em up, karl? I know we’ve talked about Christopher Go here, but are there more in the background we’ve not covered?

      “who verry often can Scercely walk” ~ William Clark, January 5, 1805

      Focus on the youngsters.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Just look at the flight manifest of some air lines. J/k but pictures of junkets may say a lot.
        But some are really behind the scenes,never to beknown. if I take myself as an example, I only work for my dad, but my dad has multiple principals, so I may be indirectly advising them if my dad agrees with some of my ideas. I may not hold a phd in google like you do, but I am not the librarian for nothing, I do the research to make my dad look good.

        • NHerrera says:

          Good, helpful son of the lucky father!

          • karlgarcia says:

            Many thanks!

            • hey, karl, do most of what you find online you find for your dad’s research, or you find here first then you share to your dad… what would it be percentage-wise?

              Have you ever heard of this guy, dubbed “Yoda”,

              “It’s important because its subject, 93-year-old Andrew Marshall, spent four decades running a Pentagon think tank with a direct line to America’s defense secretaries. Credited with anticipating the Soviet economic collapse and criticized for treating a future conflict with China as nearly inevitable, Marshall has long been a mysterious Washington presence, nicknamed “Yoda” for his cryptic pronouncements and fanatical followers. With Marshall’s retirement this month, a look inside his Office of Net Assessment — a perfect name for an opaque bureaucratic outfit — is certainly worthwhile.

              So why wish it away? I’ll let the authors, Andrew Krepinevich and Barry Watts, explain. “We have endeavored to be as unbiased and objective as we could,” they write. “Yet neither of us can claim to be disinterested observers. We both have a long history with Marshall.” That history includes serving on Marshall’s staff, participating in subsequent studies sponsored by Marshall and currently leading an outside think tank that receives funding from Marshall’s office. “

        • karl,

          But at some point the son becomes the father (or more aptly the student becomes the teacher)… what William Clark failed to describe (he only stated that the reason for such custom was to magically get the buffalo herd to graze close by) was the notion of taking the hunting powers or skillz from the old men (or Whites) via their womenfolk,

          specifically through sex by sharing (some tribes in Papua New Guinea do something similar, they actually cut out the “middlemen” LOL!; and i guess sacred prostitutes in the Middle East did something similar too, but more in-line with the god/s).

          All that of course is metaphor, but my point is I think your relationship to your Dad is more as dutiful son (no?), where I’m looking for the young guys wanting to replace… ie., “take” their power (I remember you talking about not joining the military, to find your own path). Whereas you don’t really see yourself taking over the family business , am I correct?

          Kinda like Hillary and Huma/Trump and Jared, not just “principals” or assistants, but protégés , where there’s a grooming process. These seconds tend to be easy to recognize, but I noticed they tend to be over-looked in the 3rd world, whereas the media loves ’em over here.

      • sonny says:

        Aside from the mentions of penis pins by Pigafetta during their Philippine transit, I’ve not come across extensive mention of connections of sex & power & senior/foreigner deference similar to reportage by Lewis and Clark. The older civilizations might have more to say about the subject than the small scattered littoral Malay tribes, e.g. Chinese, Egyptian civilizations, annals of Genghis Khan or even Mao Tse Tung 🙂

        • sonny,

          I remember reading in Manchester’s “A World Lit Only by Fire”,

          of Pigafetta’s descriptions of young women in Cebu and their numerous escapades with Magellan’s men, and then a weird addendum of how this was pretty much tolerated by the local men, even encouraged—- the reasons were never explained but I’m assuming something similar to the Mandan Buffalo Dance, sonny…

          either some mystical transference of power, or diplomatic means to establish “friendship” by way of their womenfolk.

          The penis pins I don’t recall reading in Manchester’s book (where can I find this?), though among Filipino seamen genital mutilation by inserting metal bearing balls in (or rather around) their penis for the pleasure of the world’s women/prostitutes, that’s today, so I’m curious now if this is historically significant (not just a fad, but can be connected through history).

          If this is historically significant, it would be revolutionary, giving Filipino men credit for such an altruistic sexual practice, ie. all to pleasure the women … but then again maybe not so altruistic if you go farther into the calculus of the practice, ie. ergo maybe more women because of the ball bearings, or a discounted price, or even free-bies 😉 .

          I doubt though, sonny, we’ll be able to find anything similar to the Buffalo Dance in agricultural ladened civilizations… it seems more likely that it’s a hunter/gather culture themed event. But interesting nonetheless.

          • sonny says:

            LC, the hunter-gatherer/agriculture-husbanding social divide and tropics-temperate-zone geographic divide are IMO, the other significant lenses that can be used to examine the power-and-sex correlations within societies. One can look at the sociologies of temperate vs tropical mores and then also examine the tribes in economic pursuits in archipelagic/maritime vs land-mass based societies. These would unfold other facets of human beings as social animals. The correlations seem interminable.

  18. caliphman says:

    I completely agree with the central proposition of the article that the controlling Filipino criteria in choosing and sticking to its political leaders is personality and not fitness for the position. Not that that the two are necessarily contradictory bor inconsistent with each other but that the latter is oftentimes irrelevant with what type of leadership is good or bad for the country. Quezon, Magsaysay and Aquino comes to my mind. It is unfortunate that above all Duterte represents the powerful, rugged, simple if crude hero and leader archetype idolized in Filipino movies and popular culture which renders his public support impervious to the darkness and shambles his administration is leaving in its wake. But this is part of the curse of what the Filipino political culture brings to the country’s historical past, present, and future. Hopefully the persistence of the national awakenings Edgar has written in his posts above will last longer and have a more permanent and significant effect in changing who we pick and keep as our leaders.

    • “Not that that the two are necessarily contradictory bor inconsistent with each other but that the latter is oftentimes irrelevant with what type of leadership is good or bad for the country. “


      Can you elaborate on “fitness for the position” as stand alone, ie. isn’t being elected by a lot of people, via plurality even, or I guess via electoral college (by rule), enough as proof of “fitness”?

      In an election people get to vote, some look at their candidates resumes closely, others look at their temperament, many though vote according to their rhetoric, ie. how that makes them feel… problem as old as Ancient Greece.

      At what point do these two contradict, personality and fitness, if the core of fitness is the candidate’s shear will and personality even… to me it’s one and the same. But we all elect on the potential, and for everyone voting that’ll be different.

      • caliphman says:

        Lance, I do not mean to be short and flippant. I just do not have the luxury of time these days to respond in detail as your comment deserves. Suffice it to say demonstrated skills and experience are established objective measures of fitness for a job, including presidency of a country. Personalty and style is together a different dimension that usually has much less to do with someone’s qualifications and competence to do a job. It seems many Filipinos do not or cannot make such a distinction and vote based on the personality and promises of a candidate like Duterte. It also seems true for many Americans as well, and Trump is proof of that.

    • I think these ICC human rights cases only works in Africa, Micha. Don’t get me wrong its a good effort. But these only work with neighboring states participation and on top of that the West’s also. Indonesia and Malaysia, could care less… at least in Africa a war criminals actions seeps into other nations, via refugee, or banditry, or military incursions, not happening with DU30;

      Lastly, the only Western country that would have issue is the US, and I don’t think America will play this game, the Belgians and French in Africa maybe, since they still have actual interests in Africa. In short the World, i’m sorry to say, has no legal interest in DU30. I’m sure they’ll entertain the case as some sort of protest, but don’t hold your breath on any type of verdict, Micha.

      It s kinda like Nation Building and Regime Change, great on paper, but on the ground, implementation, lastly as habit, the world will be worst off for it.

      • Micha says:

        Corporal, did you read the editorial board’s opinion? The issue here is state sponsored mass killings and Sabio’s action recommends that the ICC look into the matter, the Philippines being a party and signatory of the Rome Statue which established the Hague court. It is now up to the ICC whether to act or not.

        Regardless, it is crucial that there is awareness from the international community on Rodrigo Duterte’s method, mania, mayhem, and madness.

        • Your arguing high level theory, where I’m talking about on the ground, bigger entities need to be victims of this mass killings, ie. neighboring countries, or western countries with some pull. Without these , there’s no case.

          For example, who will do the whole looking into the matter? Brad Pitt?

          (Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane, a former United Nations investigator who must travel the world to find a way to stop a zombie pandemic.)

          • Look at the examples in Africa for these types of ICC rulings, Micha.

          • Micha says:

            I don’t know what you’ve been smoking corporal. This is not an argument.

            A complaint had been lodged, let the court decide. And let the world know what is happening here – that in itself matters a lot.

            • It’s like this, Micha…

              If the ICC keeps on entertaining “complaints” like these, it’ll erode its power to do other stuff. In this particular case DU30 still enjoys a considerable amount of public support (compare that to Trump’s).

              What do you think —- realistically now— the ICC will do? Given the precedence of similar cases in Africa, and DU30’s popular support (dwindling yes, but still considerable)? You do the math, Micha. Like I said, enforcement comes from other Western countries,

              otherwise it’s this: (can you say Kangaroo Court?) Look at this more broadly is all i’m saying , Micha.

              • Micha says:

                Corporal, as in many other instances, getting rid of world tyrants and maniacs does not necessarily involve one sweeping action of any particular institution or individual. It’ll be a result of cumulative efforts and struggle over prolonged period of resistance. Consider this ICC venue as just one aspect of it.

              • Vicara says:

                And truth-telling requires no utilitarian justification. It simply should be.

              • Vicara,

                Still there should be some strategy involved in this truth telling, ie. what happens when the ICC says , sorry … DU30 still enjoys considerable legitimacy, it’s none of our business ; or say ICC sides with anti-DU30s, and say , yup… DU30 is wrong… now what? Who’ll capture and arrest DU30, the US?

                These EJKs are a police matter, Vicara, as such, the bulk of the truth telling should be done by the people themselves, go out and bare witness, based on edgar’s mobile internet penetration of 58% , why aren’t more Filipinos filming cops (if uploading is the issue, why not just photos)? Take from the Black Lives Matter movement over here, film your cops.

                That in turn should tip DU30’s approval ratings the opposite way. But the ICC based on similar human rights stuff from Africa, is just not the avenue for this truth telling, Vicara… historically the ICC has a predictable record on this, so at best this is a foolish stunt. ICC will not wedge itself in a situation where the president of any given country is still very much legitimate (ie. enjoys the support of many).

                Is there anything similar to the Black Lives Matter movement in the Philippines yet? Are folks filming police interactions there?

  19. Anton says:

    No, it has nothing to do with Filipino traits. It has to do with the presence of political dynasties which have been controlling the country for decades, and with support from crony capitalists and foreigners.

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