Open Discussion #1: Who is the enemy?

Manila via asiagreenbuildings.com

Open discussion blogs can address any subject, even the clientèle of Donald Trump’s hairdresser.  But let me kick this one off with a starter conversation:

* * * * *

Traditionally, the enemies of the Philippines have been:

(P1) Islamic terrorists: Abu Sayaff, BIFF and other splinter groups, and recently ISIS
(P2) Communist groups seeking to overthrow the State: CCP and NPA, for example
(P3) China to the extent that she acquires territory that, by law, belongs to the Philippines

Under President Duterte, we have seen a shift that leaves a shorter list of enemies. It seems to look something like this:

(D1) Islamic terrorists that ignore President Duterte: Abu Sayaff and ISIS.
(D2) Filipinos who use and deal drugs, as long as they are not influential.

Regarding (P1) and (D1): BIFF, under President Duterte’s friend Nur Misuari, seems to be off the list.

Regarding (P2): Communist groups have been welcomed into the government at cabinet level positions. The President and top officials are forgiving of battlefield incidents and even NPA extortion (“taxation”). The goal is to strike a formal peace agreement with the communists and the National Government is willing to “give” in order to “get”. These organizations have in the meantime been moved off the Duterte enemy list.

Regarding (P3): China appears to have been forgiven for acquiring seas and features within the rightful Exclusive Economic Zone of the Philippines. The Philippine priority seems to be to pursue immediate mutually beneficial commercial opportunities with China, not preserve resources for future generations.

Regarding (D2): Foreign nations providing drugs (eg, China) and influential drug lords (eg, Peter Lim) seem not to be on the list.

This revised list is problematic for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) because BIFF and communist groups are still raiding, extorting, destroying private facilities, and killing AFP troops.

Furthermore, China has long stood as a threatening force to AFP troops stationed on outposts near the contested Spratley Islands. The AFP has resisted moving from the US alliance to China/Russia because top AFP brass have worked side by side with American forces for years, and have developed skills with modern arms, intelligence, and interoperability with the Americans. There is professional respect between the top officers of the two alliance partners.

The AFP defers to the PNP on drug matters. One is inclined to wonder if the AFP believes its defense responsibilities only pertain to militarized space (battlefields) and not Philippine citizens. One might wonder who, really, protects those Filipino citizens whose constitutional rights are seemingly being abridged by the PNP.

Indeed, an extreme inquisitor, going down the original list and reflecting on the thousands of citizen deaths outside of due process, might ask if it is the President and PNP who are enemies of the Philippine State.

The President, on the other hand, might argue that the media and critics are enemies of the State, promoting “destabilization” or “subversion”. He could even think about engaging the AFP to suppress this dissent.

That is the framing for the discussion. Karl Garcia – who has family ties with the AFP – may choose to abstain from the discussion, or join it.

The floor is open . . .

* * * * * * *

During open discussion, any subject may be raised. There is no such thing as ‘off topic”. However, respectful discussion is always in order. Rude language or crude photos are not appropriate, as this is a public space. Teaching and learning from original commentary, with relevant reference to outside resources . . . that’s what we aspire toward . . .

 

Comments
133 Responses to “Open Discussion #1: Who is the enemy?”
  1. “The AFP defers to the PNP on drug matters. One is inclined to wonder if the AFP believes its defense responsibilities only pertain to militarized space (battlefields) and not Philippine citizens. One might wonder who, really, protects those Filipino citizens whose constitutional rights are seemingly being abridged by the PNP.”

    Military and police powers and responsibilities by definition are different. I understand that in the 3rd world the military generally controls or bullies the police (ie. Egypt, Turkey, etc.), so the fact that the Philippine military is bowing down to the Philippine police, when it comes to police matters, should be seen as good news.

    The only entity over here that takes on both mantle of police and military is the US Coast Guard, they use to fall under Dept. of Transportation, but now under Homeland Security. What they do for the drug war is amazing, so maybe focus the AFPs mission on interdiction and prevention of said drugs from landing on Philippine soil?

    But as for military playing police, they should steer way clear out of this, the precedent would just be waaay too dangerous IMHO.

    p.s. ~ the police , like here, respond to the people, so the people deems how violent they want their cops to be with them, on their own populace, remember this scene from “Demolition Man”? The people, not the military, should curb (or increase) police powers.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      The separation of armed powers, one internal and one external — just like the separation of political/judicial powers — is a necessity.

      The PNP, however, have gone beyond the peacekeeping and apprehension roles and have become combatants.

      And the AFP is not strictly external. It does bear arms against internal insurgents — the NPAs, the various Moro factions (MNLF, MILF, BIFF), and bandits/terrorists (Abu Sayyaf and Maute groups).

      There is an army in the country that may be inflicting greater harm than the above. These are the cyber armies of Duterte and Marcos.
      *****

      • edgar,

        I totally get that modern (thus professional) policing is new; the military (whether professional, volunteer, brotherhoods, or ad hoc types) has historically carried policing responsibilities.

        The oldest professional police force in the US is the US Marshalls (that’s if you don’t count Postal Police), who did the bidding of courts at that time, 1780s and on. the bulk of policing, keeping peace and order , was done by the US Army, who were strung out in forts way back when.

        then all the Wyatt Earps, local police made their mark.

        Hence why I said most 3rd world countries have a military/ police divide. The military being the pinnacle. The fact that the Philippines has evolved a police and military apparatus, IMHO is a good thing, one that shouldn’t be tampered with.

        At last count , there’s around , give or take, 18,000 different police agencies in the U.S., that’s working at the federal, state and local levels in the US currently. Sure some agencies will probably just have 10 officers small towns, but the bulk will be in the hundreds, NYPD is the biggest local police force and they’re up at around 30,000 strong.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_enforcement_in_the_United_States#Number_of_police says here that there are upwards of 900,000 police , either agents, officers, deputies, etc. that’s counting federal, state, local, etc… How many are there in the PNP. Compare that to the military here,

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Armed_Forces#Personnel says 1,500,000 active duty Marines, sailors, soldiers, airmen & coasties— though Coast Guard should be counted with police.

        900,000 police vs. 1,500,000 military , what’s the PNP to AFP ratio in the Philippines? karl?

        Then of that PNP number how many are “combatants” (as you say), I assume doing the EJKs?

        But my point is keep ’em separate, if it’s all of the PNP as combatants, then that PNP to AFP ratio comes to play, but don’t wish this war on yourselves, as I’m sure you know this will be worst than any EJKs statistics, hence keep the police and military apart, but

        do have an effective internal affairs (and IG for military), and most importantly, have the people participate, over here every time they have contact with police or see police contact they take out their smart phones and film everything,

        hence why the people more than anything are better poised to rein in police abuse, not the military.

  2. manilapagpag says:

    The REAL enemies of the Philippines are the thugs and toadies who commit and enable abuse, corruption, and mass murder under color of state authority.
    https://manilapagpag.wordpress.com/

  3. Some more “enemies” of the day:

    1) New York Times
    2) Reuters
    3) ICC
    4) Leila de Lima
    5) Leni Robredo
    6) yellowtards
    7) Alan Robles
    8) Raissa Robles
    9) Jim Paredes

    reminds me of the redneck in the movie “Don’t Mess with the Zohan” who according to Israeli agent Zohan’s miracle computerized visor “hates Jews, Arabs, niggers, Mexicans, liberals”..

    http://filipinogerman.blogsport.eu/for-me-they-arent-human/ – my latest blog article is about enemies as well, or perceived non-humans in Yugoslavia of the 1990s:

    a) Bosnians
    b) Croats
    c) Serbs
    d) Albanians
    e) Macedonians and
    f) Montenegrins somehow were not as prominent, hopefully good for them.. BTW I read that the one country Filipinos don’t need visas for in Europe is… Kosovo. Somehow this set a chain reaction into motion where I remembered stories.. and put them together into one story.

  4. Glicerio Lumagbas says:

    As a Senior Citizen I am hoping to see a Philippines respected and dignified in the ASEAN and in the international scene. what is very dismaying currently is the very negative image of the country because of the thousands of poor people killed in the course of the drug war of President Duterte. Human Rights is the biggest victim of the president’s war on drugs. I see no light at the end of the tunnel on this issue. Another aspiration that I have is for the economy of the country to be robust and inclusive benefiting most Filipinos. With the president’s concentration on drugs, corruption and crime prevention, I see no clear vision for the economy.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      Glicerio, Hang in there. People are coming to their senses as evidenced by the 11-point drop in the President’s satisfaction ratings. And there are pushback efforts, nationally and internationally. We shall overcome… someday.
      *****

  5. karlgarcia says:

    One of my comments at Irineo’s blog posts:
    —–
    karlgarcia
    April 27, 2017 at 01:43 · Reply
    Our common reaction to ASG or other rebel groups and AFP wars is sige pulbuson at ubusin ang mga yan.

    yet pag me strike ang mga union o mambubukid, me karatulang “Military 50 meters away”

    —-
    We demand that the AFP to eliminate the rebels and turn them to powder yet when labor and farmer groups strike, there is always(at least before) a sign of “Military 50 meters away”

    No need to add on EJK and cops.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      Karl, I take it that you consider the unions and the mambubukids as out-and-out communists and should be treated as NPA rebels.

      The genius of the communist movement is its fragmentation (CPP-NPA-NDF) and many fronts. The movement is able to present different faces and thereby attract different people in different roles with different grievances. And they are able to maintain the pretense of separate and unlinked entities.

      The problem then arises for the government as to the proportionality of response. Proportionality is a principle of fairness in law. The unions and the mambubukids are not armed and do not form part of the armed struggle. The protest struggle, yes, but not the armed struggle. Therefore, the AFP is constrained to treat them with kid gloves. The AFP cannot be seen to wield disproportionate force upon innocent civilians.

      A great part of our repugnance to the anti-drug war is the use of disproportionate, if not totally inappropriate, force.
      *****

  6. madlanglupa says:

    Some people talk of getting out. Pfft. I insist that the only way out is to resist.

    • madlanglupa says:

      Reading the article, it is no doubt that the current military does not have a visible and vocal uniformed fanatic equivalent to Police General Bato; it is also funny to see that PRRD is trying — wining and dining, giving gifts and promises of higher pay — to get the uniformed services to support his mandate for “heavenly peace”, when privately they’re not happy about him being too close for comfort with the hardcore Maoists and President Xi and his hawks.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      Impermanence is a condition of existence. In Buddhism, the answer to impermanence is Nirvana, which in its way is ironic because it is an escape from cyclic earthly existence.

      In Hinduism, however, the answer is finding the seat of permanence within one’s self. This is the Soul. Then one is a rock, a boulder, a mountain. Essentially, a stable and unmovable object.
      *****

  7. Ancient Mariner says:

    Based on recent blog subjects and my own observations, is it not the case that the Filipino people are their own worst enemy?

    • madlanglupa says:

      Sad but true. Perhaps we’re too vulnerable to scam artists who are even wearing the barong? For years voters have been overridden by promises of instant wealth, infrastructure, and harsh discipline and security.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      As I said somewhere, our own worst enemy may also be — no, is — our best friend.
      *****

  8. The disunity of Filipinos on major issues facing the country could be the biggest enemy of Filipinos. Another enemy of Filipinos is their penchant for change every time there are things they don’t like with the way the government is running the country. This penchant for change is being taken advantage of by people with ulterior motives.

  9. karlgarcia says:

    http://maritimereview.ph/2017/03/31/p-du30s-top-priority-poverty-terrorism-or-drugs/

    “How will Filipinos guard and protect themselves against the onslaught of extremist terror groups in 2017 and beyond? Not just purely military solutions will work. The 51 AFP Battalions to be deployed against the Abu Sayyaf as claimed by AFP Chief Ed Año are woefully inadequate –-If only conventional tactics are used, and are without supporting anti-poverty programs, deep penetration type of intelligence operations, pro-active community development, legislative reforms, and consistent leadership at all levels starting at the very top.

    The Philippines happens to be especially vulnerable because of its many soft targets, soft institutions, and soft systems.

    It is time for our government to focus on combating terrorism, and reducing poverty, tax inequities, joblessness, tackle malnutrition, infrastructure deficiencies, smuggling, and climate change – instead of solely pursuing its tunnel vision on illegal drugs.”

    • It’s all in the mindset, this book was a good read on this subject, karl…

      “Tony Schwalm commanded a tank company in Desert Storm, but it left him with a gnawing feeling that the mission was incomplete. So, he gave up the status he’d earned in the conventional Army to forge a new path as an “unconventional warrior” – a Green Beret.

      Schwalm not only made it through the Special Forces Qualifications Course – known as the Q Course – he was later brought back to help redesign the test of physical strength, stamina and wits.

      Now a retired Lt. Colonel, Schwalm traces his personal journey from tank commander to commander of Special Forces officer training at Ft. Bragg in his book: The Guerrilla Factory: The Making of Special Forces Officers – The Green Berets.”

      • Where can I buy this book? Is it available in National Book Store or Fully Booked?

        • Not sure, Glicerio… but it should be available on Amazon (and I believe someone here already mentioned Amazon ships to Philippines),

          but if you do find this book there, or find a way to get it shipped to Philippines, you might also be interested in getting these two books by Dick Couch,

          all three books focus on Unconventional Warfare, aside from soldiering stuff, focuses on Cultural Knowledge and Communications Skills, stuff that applies beyond military stuff for anyone interested,

          Good luck , and inform us if it is available in the Philippines, or how best to get it shipped there. Thanks!

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      “Deep penetration” operatives may be key. As the formidable Hildergarde Hammhocker says, Australian SASR soldiers who “who go in without packs or food for up to two weeks to seek out the insurgents” may do the job. The Israelites also make good use of in situ agents.
      *****

      • I’m familiar with the Scout Rangers and Marines there. I know there’s a Special Forces also, but I’m less familiar with them, and countless other intel, light reaction units in the PNP and AFP.

        Compared to US personnel, your folks already actually embody this light infantry ethos, ie. no packs, live of land, small footprints etc. (not by way of training, but just the whole economics of it all) What you guys (and we have similar problems too) cannot do is actually penetrate tribes and clans.

        You have to marry in to this, or get adopted, or live closely with them, at which point they’ll give you information, seeing you now part of the community. I agree with you re Israel’s capability on this, early on with Druze, even Bedouins they won over, right now they are heavily recruiting for Palestinian Christians to join the IDF— who themselves are being pushed out by their Muslim cohorts.

        The Philippine gov’t tried this with Misuari’s folks, it all fell apart. With the Maranaws, the gov’t early on set up schools for them. The lesson learned was playing favourites, if done badly, doesn’t quite pay off.

        But karl and FVR is right, a lot of this is economics, baking a bigger pie for everyone, so not everyone is fighting for crumbs, and that’s not so much a military problem. Though you can encourage intermarriage, like the White Mughals of the East India company getting it on with Indian women.

  10. karlgarcia says:

    From the same link.
    My comments come after the snipet

    “While Jimenez criticized the PNP (not Pres. Du30), he suggested a Special Task Force composed of senior police officers and prosecutors to investigate the deaths that were victims of police operations, now numbering more than 6,000 or an average of 37 per day.

    FVR fully agrees with this logical proposal because it follows the rule of law and the presumption of innocence of the suspects. President Duterte and his Cabinet are hereby encouraged to reinvigorate the National Peace and Order Council (NPOC) mechanism as the best means to harness people’s cooperation. FVR believes his two Presidential issuances are especially relevant and valid, namely:

    E.O. 20 (1992) reformed NPOC membership with the entrance of the DILG Secretary and PNP Director-General, and expanded its overall functions;
    E.O. 366 (1996) expanded its national membership, and fortified its security muscle by establishing Barangay Peace and Order Committees (BPOC):
    Coordinate the implementation of peace and order programs at the barangay level;
    Serve as information-gathering mechanisms;
    Identify residents with strong deviant behavior for referral to appropriate authorities;
    Coordinate and supervise operations of all community-based anti-crime movements within barangays; and
    Assess the prevailing peace and order situation in respective Areas of Responsibility and submit the recommendations to higher level POCs.
    E.O. 366 (1996) stands out as the only one –among all NPOC-related issuances under other administrations —that reached out to the grassroots by involving barangay Kagawads (members) as intelligence assets.

    It was during the FVR period that the national leadership extended strong support for the uplifting of local folks, by involving them as community stakeholders equally responsible for peace and order and their own safety/security – just like soldiers and policemen.”
    —-
    I am or was for baranggay assisting the police in everything, but what happened was that they provided police with a watch list forced to surrender via tokhang which may or may not make them vulnerable to vigilante groups whom I believe even check the blotter log books in police stations.

    On a related note.

    The Tulfo brothers are claiming that majority do not believe in the allegations by Robredo regarding the proxy suspects or suspect switching.
    Again with the 16 million majority hype.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      My personal assessment of FVR is mixed. I would say he has been a stabilizing force in the post-martial law period. First, as a protector of Cory against the coup plotters. Second, as a progressive president. Third, as a rescuer of Arroyo, not so much to save her as to save the frail political institutions. And fourth, as noted by Karl, his awareness of the momentous issues facing the nation and their prioritization.

      I would add he has shown some animus against the Marcoses. (I do not forget his dubious role during martial law.)

      This is the good side of FVR’s ambitious and objective-driven nature. The bad side surfaced in his brief criticism of PNoy although he was largely silent. And, of course, in his role as the kingmaker of Duterte. In this, he displayed poor judgment… as most Filipinos do. That he has become critical of Duterte is redeeming.
      *****

  11. chemrock says:

    China as of now is not an enemy. For if it were an enemy, then we have thousands of enemies and traitors within the country. As enemy, all ties are severed. You don’t talk, trade and happy happy with them.

    All the others – NPA, Islamist Moros, drug dealers and users, criminals, thuggies – they are just problems of the state to be resolved best way we can.

    So who are the real enemies? The Filipino race itself. We are our own enemies. Look at us and see if you feel shame :
    – we suck up to these peoples -celebrities, dumb but famous thuggies, national thieves, murderers, adulterers, liars, plagiarists, sychophants, dimwits, trashy porn star, foul mouthed demagogue….. so long as they are famous and wealthy.
    – our incivilities
    – our impunities
    – the way we put self interest before national interest
    – we profess to be Christian country but abandon God in praise of someone who does everything that He forbids us to do.
    – we want everything now but not prepared to sacrifice and work for it.
    – we reject a group of good and capable people who took the country to great heights, a group probably sent by Grace, and instead choose to bow to a murderer.
    – we castigate and kick at a strong leader who had balls to pass RH bill, implement K12, say no to SSS increased payout, bring China to international court…. and we cheered for someone as a strongman who showed great weakness in bowing to China, bowing to NPA, bowing to Kandamay, bowing to retirees who want SSS money paid for by others. How much more can he give away. Our freedoms?
    – our stupidity in believing black propaganda.
    – our passive acceptance when serious wrongs are committed by officials – like using state funds for party use, like junking GMA’s case by the SC, like Dick Gordon and Lacson abrupt cessation of senate inquiries.
    – I give up, too many to enumerate.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      Oh, boy, we are in deep trouble, aren’t we? A Spanish mother, an American father, an abandoned orphan…

      It strikes me that is what we are — children. Untaught children. Spoiled children. Rotten children. Selfish children refusing to grow up. And we think we are cute.

      And who we consider our fathers — real fathers, religious fathers, and presidential fathers — have often been without sufficient knowledge and without sincerity.
      *****

  12. karlgarcia says:

    Let me transfer this here.

    karlgarcia on April 26, 2017 at 6:49 am
    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.

    Reply
    chemrock on April 26, 2017 at 1:56 pm
    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.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      The “political convenience,” I would say, has come about as a result of the political rapprochement with the Leftists.

      I was initially in favor of bringing the Leftists back into the fold but it has become apparent they are dealing with the government in bad faith.

      There is no true desire to give up arms and lead normal lives, The political objective is still to win absolute power and not to participate peacefully as a social democratic party.

      As provided by Wikipedia, social democracy is “a political, social and economic ideology that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a capitalist economy, as well as a policy regime involving a commitment to representative democracy, measures for income redistribution, and regulation of the economy in the general interest and welfare state provisions.

      In many countries, like Oz and as represented by the Labor Party, the Left sings as one voice among several in the democratic chorus.
      *****

  13. Gilda Rodriguez Dela Cruz says:

    One of your blogs was about the new characters playing center stage after Duterte won. The objective I guess was to explain why behaving like thugs became the norm, rather than decency becoming the acceptable behavior. All of those mentioned are our enemies. Anyone who engages anyone unknowingly and with a vested interest hidden is an enemy. A politician or govt official who covers up the President with a clean blanket is an enemy. Anyone perceived to be playing a game of distrust and intrigues is an enemy. Anyone who terrorizes is an enemy. Thus, everyone mentioned is an enemy.They use different ways of preserving their connection and ways of showing support, loyalty to the present administration. But what about the people who truly believe in the President that he could change their life? They have nothing to gain in supporting the President except that promise of change. They fight fellow Filipinos on his behalf, They take everything he says hook, line and sinker as truth. They are weak, uneducated and gullible, parochial in mind. Is it their fault they are gullible? We will never know. But we do know that there will always be an enemy. It is part of life. But the enemy, alone, can hardly do anything if the people are one, see the same things, and have the same love for their motherland. With that, our number 1 enemy is ourselves and our own selfishness and greed. Somehow, beginning Marcos times, maybe even earlier and exacerbated onwards, some of us lost our national identity. These are the thugs today, those who felt society had deprived them of the privileges like education, wealth, freedom only made available to the higher bracket. There is an element of revenge? Envy? I don’t know; just that now is the time given by the President to the thugs like himself, they do not like anyone who is educated, decent and calls them elite or gay, they do not like America, calls anyone who criticizes them idiots, and when cornered, there’s ad hominem. There is a clear rift between the educated and uneducated, rich and poor, north and south. Crass and unearned arrogance are everywhere. To the opportunists watching us, this is the perfect time to do business. Our enemy is us, I say us because we are all Filipinos in that mental state which divides us and makes some of us think we had been oppressed for too long – those “some of us” are from Mindanao. What’s really sad is the President, who is from Mindanao, may be finding out that this is a different ball game, bigger than what he had expected. Since his ego is bigger than anything, he refuses genuine help. If only he’d humble down and accept that he cannot fix the country on his terms alone, stop cursing and using the yellows as his scapegoat, work with the opposition, accept criticism, he has the opportunity to unite this country of 7,107 islands.

    • Edgar Lores says:

      *******
      I am trying to find the common denominator in the list of enemies cited. After the list comes this question: “But what about the people who truly believe in the President that he could change their life?”

      The significance of this question to me is that it reveals a questing attitude, a spirit of inquiry. I think this attitude, this skepticism, is what is insufficiently developed in those who fully support the President… and in the President himself. They hardly exhibit a shred of doubt and present themselves as know-it-alls.

      The main attitude of know-it-alls is hostility. And their main facial expressions consist of smugness and sneering. This is the smugness of arrogance and the sneering of contempt. Panelo is the poster boy of these expressions. Andanar comes a close second. And the President does not come last in the ranking.

      Without seeing them, the social media trolls convey this attitude and expressions in their verbal excretions.

      There are those who have schooled their features not to betray their internal attitudes of hostility, arrogance, and contempt. Senator Cayetano for one. But one can easily detect the scorn in his demeanor as he questions Matobato and asks the witness to identify the masking tape.

      As with the President — and to our sorrow — humble is not part of their vocabulary.
      *****

      • chemrock says:

        “The main attitude of know-it-alls is hostility. And their main facial expressions consist of smugness and sneering. This is the smugness of arrogance and the sneering of contempt. Panelo is the poster boy of these expressions.”

        This, and your description of Cayetano fits exactly 100% of what I have in mind but couldn’t express properly. The fist coming at you tops off this sneering attitude.

  14. Bill In Oz says:

    I was reading an oldish history book today in a second hand bookshop. It was a country by country history of SEA. He made the very interesting comment that the Philippines is the only nation in SEA that does not havea pre-colonial myth of a kingdom/state. For example in Cambodia there is the empire of Anghor Wat; in Vietnam the pre-colonial monarchy kingdom that lasted a thousand years; in Thailand the pre-colonial kingdom based on Ayudhya. And in Indonesia, Sri Vidjaya while Java has Java Madjapahit. Each of these pre-colonial kingdoms functions in these nations as a foundation myth of nationhood.

    Also that the Philippines never had a major kingdom kingdom that could function as a unifying national myth. Instead there were before the Spanish conquest, just a series of small local tribal based datus and traders.

    Thus the central power of the state is a construct of the two colonial powers and an imposed on the many thousands of local communities & tribes.

    I sense still the remnants of this in the Philippines with so many people primary loyalty to their family or local ‘elected’ leading family leaderships. And this creates a context where a Filipinos enemies can very well be fellow Filipinos. And the institutions of the nation are not the natural common property of all Filipinos. Rather they are the target of competitive attempts to ‘capture campaigns’ to gain wealth, power, etc.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Very enlightening input, Bill.

      ps
      have you decided to push through with that article about Moros? Irineo said ok.

      • A civil war united the states in the US. What could unite all the PH tribes into a synthesized conglomerate?

        • karlgarcia says:

          If ever there will be a civil war.With our divisiveness it would be a faction of North East West South or even worse all the fhe letters you can find on the compass.
          Aguinaldo-Bonifacio
          Aguinaldo-Luna

          Both shown temporary alliances of convenience but individual self interests prevailed.

          But the US had 50 states after the civil war, yet still they were still united bound by a common denominator maybe the Constitution.
          Vicara, once said we couldhave been bound by the constitution(but we blew it several times(my interpretation)).

        • chemrock says:

          We couldn’t unite against the Spanish, Americans, Japanese.
          Marcos atrocities didn’t galvanise and unite us.
          Heck as a Christian country, even God can’t unite us.

          • Bill In Oz says:

            Chemrock, your comment got me thinking in another direction. The key element in the survival of a state, kingdom, is the character of the ruling elite. In Indonesia the ruling elites have always been Indonesian in character. Ditto for Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, Brunei, Cambodia, Malaysia and even Singapore now. ( Singapore is NOT British any more. )

            The Philippines is different : the elites since the US conquest has been very American in character with English as the language of choice, and US foods etc. I imagine that prior to 1898, the elites were very Spanish in character.

            This sets them apart from the vast majority of the province people who even now still make up the majority of the Filipino people..

            Folks seeking to become part of the Filipino elites have barriers of language, money, culture & education to break through. And that can be problematic. Especially as the ‘official national’ language is not English but Tagalog.

            By way of an illustrative imaginery example : imagine Indonesia today if the elite there still used Dutch as their language of daily communication with each other.

            I know that this is weakening as Tagalog is used overwhelmingly in the media now. But it is still there.

            Imagine a second hypothetical scenario : Imagine if all things American were banned in the Philippines. ( And NO Joe I am not suggesting this. ) I think that any attempt to do this by a government would be met will massive resistance from the eliets of the Philippines. ( Which is the reason why it will never happen )

            But some of Duterte’s statements in the past 9 months have tended towards anti-americanism and generated a lot of resistance for that reason I think. That is ‘Enemies”.

            • chemrock says:

              I think your observation is quite spot on. The fissure always arises when the dominant culture forms the minority.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                It’s curious I completely missed any thought of Malaysia when thinking about ths. But it is an interesting case. When the Brits were arranging to leave Malaya they organised for all the Malay ‘titular’ rulers ( datus, sultans etc) to be incorporated into the new independent post colonial regime. Each ruler of the states of Johore, Kelantan Trengannu, Melakka, Selangor, Perlis, Keddah, Pahang, Perak & Negri Sembilan become the hereditary “Head of State” of each state. And every 5 years these princes elect from among their number a new “Yang Di Pertuan Agong ” ( King ) of Malaysia.

                There are 3 states with no hereditary head of State : Sabah, Sarawak, Penang. in these states the governments chose their heads of state or governor.s.

                The state princes & governors however have no role in politics at all. They are ‘sovereigns’ not rulers…But of course have prestige, status and money.

                A very interesting fusion of the old traditional Malay way of doing things & a modern ‘parliamentary’ way.’

              • chemrock says:

                The King’s role is ceremonial, plus he is the religious head of the country, much like the British monarch is head of the Anglican Church.

                The Malaysian style is time-proven and has brought peace and nationalism when there were basically fiefdoms and datuships like Philippines. You got to hand it to the Brits for their insights. That’s why why it comes to federalism here i have often voiced the lack of research and study at other countries’ experiences. I have also mentioned in the fight against NPA they did not appear to have studied other countries. The British had some good tactics in their fight against communist insurgents in the Malaysian jungles. The only study that I know they did was Bato going to study the drug war in Columbia.

            • Bill In Oz says:

              Yes Chemrock, I think it would be very fruitful if the Philippines government organised some studies of how Federalism works in other neighbouring countries. Examples, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa, Canada, the USA, the UK itself ( England, Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland all have parliaments nowadays ) And of course here in Oz – Australia. Doing some research would be made easier by the fact that in all these Federal states, English is the/a main language.

      • Bill In Oz says:

        Hi Karl & all, My apologies ! I have not been here online the past 2-3 days. and so have not seen all these comment till just now.

        The “Break” of weather with cold winds and rain (Autumn ) has arrived. So I have been outside cleaning up the Summer garden beds and digging new beds as well. It is the time for such work now as the ground is softer from the rains. Digging dry hard ground in the hot Summer months, is hard exhausting work.

        Also last Tuesday was ANZAC day here in Oz and it as always lead to a flood of comments good & bad & indifferent about this our own Australian ‘Remembrance’ day for all our servicemen who have died in various conflicts since 1900.

        I will think about what has been said and reply if it is still appropriate – remembering that the Society is now focused on the new blog about Duterte & the ICC.

        • karlgarcia says:

          good to hear from you.

        • chemrock says:

          Bill we have dawn memorial service at Kranji War Memorial Cemetery on Anzac Day. Most Antipodeans in town will converge in drinking holes in town in the evening for a get together and in good spirit in honour of those who died.

        • karlgarcia says:

          What about the article about Sabah and Mindanao Bill, Irineo said, he has not received an e-mail yet.

          • Bill In Oz says:

            Ahhhh, That is in my meditative drawing room. I have a habit of writing comments that while accurate confront many folks from a Filipino perspective.. And doing a blog article for Irineo on Sabah, would I susepct generate offense.. So I am cogitating about it.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Ok cogitate more. Though internet is seen worldwide, Irineo’s blog has different set of readers though silent.( Me and MRP are the noisy types)

    • “Also that the Philippines never had a major kingdom kingdom that could function as a unifying national myth.”

      Bill,

      I guess you can say something similar about the US at the time of colonization, you got the Dutch settling in Manhattan; Spain down south; France up north; Catholics in Maryland, Pilgrims/ Puritans in Mass.; Quakers in Pennsylvania, then all sorts of trading companies, etc. etc.

      The Founding Fathers had to cobble together a myth that would connect them thru history, separating themselves from monarchies, they opted to go straight for the Greco-Roman traditions, with Judeo-Christian as a spiritual base underpinning the former traditions—- but even Judeo-Christian philosophies were up for negotiations, re-made in America’s image if you will,

      during the early 1800s a bunch of Americans attempted to make up their own religions, much of the energy for these were in New York—- the Church of the Latter Day Saints being the most successful (You visited the East Coast, Virginia no? I’m sure you saw some weird stuff in the Appalachia region too, though they didn’t move Westward)

      My point here is that America made up a bunch of its unifying precepts as well, it was hard fought, as jp implies with the Civil War, but I’d go further back with the Whiskey Rebellion— in the 1790s, pitting America with itself before the whole South vs. North divide, there was East vs. West, west here being west of the Appalachian range.

      Ironically, the western frontiersmen who traded heavily in Whiskey , were gonna be taxed by the new American government, so they invoked the same rationale for their own little War of Independence, taxation with no representation, plus a geographical divide (not the Atlantic but a mountain range).

      I totally understand that the Philippines was essentially a back water area for Hindu empires in Indonesia, then for Muslims based out of Borneo and beyond. I don’t know if you can make parallels within Australian history; But IMHO

      the closest to what happened in the Philippines as compared to the rest of the region is similar to what happened in the Northwest, of the US, territories, which actually dips as far south as California… you see after Spain named Baja California, California, they thought California was an island, the rest being Alta California, they sailed up, even as far as Vancouver island, decided whatever was up north wasn’t worth the trouble of colonizing.

      Leaving the British and Russian to intermittently settle the coast; with the French from Louisiana territory (based in St. Louis) plying the land. Then there was a big fashion fad involving beaver and otter pelts, and a rush occurred in the late 1700s, British, Russians, French trappers, under fur companies invaded the area, causing the Spanish to hastily build their missions/presidios combo towns but they only got as far as San Francisco area.

      Then all of the sudden the fad subsided, Napoleon sold the Louisiana territory to Pres. Jefferson, the Russians backed out to Alaska, Mexico ceded from Spain, so only England, the new US of A and Mexico but just as far as coastal California south of San Fran.

      All above San Francisco, all the way to St. Louis, that was all Plains indian territory; and west of the Rockies was all Northwest Pacific indians. With so many indian nations and tribes and clans, and sub-clans, I’d imagine that was what pre-Spanish Philippines would’ve been like, with Western powers just in the surrounding areas.

      The only difference I think was the Philippines never had gold and silver rushes, first in California in 1849, then spreading throughout, this led to the Indian Wars, slightly paused by the Civil War, then continued en masse after the late 1860s.

      So this time between the fur rush (pelts) and the gold/silver rush (about 50 years), would be the best parallel IMHO for the Philippines. That area is still very much contested, though now it’s mostly between environmentalists (of which Native Americans are part) and extractive industrial types, ie. fossil fuel, logging, mineral mining, ranching/industrial farms, etc. (just yesterday Trump

      signed an Executive Order threatening new National Monuments, under the National Parks system, essentially opening the possibility for extractive types to roll back the public, thus protected, land status.)

      I think something similar is going on vis-a-vis the environment in the Philippines, with the Northwest US. Hence the canary for me isn’t so much DU30’s EJKs , but his support for DENR and Gina Lopez, chemp’s been saying DU30 is gonna turn on Gina, but so far so good, once he does though the jig will be up, like what Trumps doing with protected land (the order right now is just to audit the National Monuments established since 1996, spanning a certain size of area).

      Hence my interest also with the whole Tausug Sabah claim vis-a-vis the Philippine gov’t and Ligawasan marsh, so if you are planning to write a Moro article, it would be awesome if you included land rights issues. the Northwest territories is a good model here IMHO, but you might have something better with Australian history. In particular re mining and extractive interests, I know there’s a place in Australia with i think uranium or other radiative minerals, being protected right now by Aboriginal rights or just located in protected lands— maybe there’s something there,

      but check out Butte, Montana:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_the_Rockies

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        If you have Butte, we have El Salvador in Misamis Oriental.

        What is interesting about this shrine is the dancing sun miracle, an echo of Fatima.
        *****

        • That’s from this,

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_Mercy_image

          The Divine Mercy image is a depiction of Jesus based on the devotion initiated by Saint Faustina Kowalska.

          “I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish,” Jesus told Faustina, according to her diary, which has been studied and authenticated by the Church over several decades. “I also promise victory over enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I myself will defend it as My own glory.” (Diary of Faustina, 48)

          Jesus is shown in most versions as raising his right hand in blessing, and pointing with his left hand on his chest from which flow forth two rays: one red and one white (translucent). The depictions often contains the message “Jesus, I trust in You!” (Polish: Jezu ufam Tobie). The rays streaming out have symbolic meaning: red for the blood of Jesus (which is the Life of Souls), and pale for the water (which justify souls) (from Diary – 299). The whole image is symbolic of charity, forgiveness and love of God, referred to as the “Fountain of Mercy”. According to the diary of St Faustina, the image is based on her 1931 vision of Jesus.

          But the Our Lady of the Rockies has a different point , and overlooks not only Butte but a poisonous mining pit. Is the statue of the Divine Mercy image also a reaction to mining abuse/pollution?

      • karlgarcia says:

        We will also have one at Batangas.

      • sonny says:

        LC, the foundational myth was what I was alluding to when I mentioned The Aeneid of Virgil as the provenance of Latium the ancient name for Rome pointing to the Greco-Trojan Roman connection. Of course we are familiar with the Arthurian Legend and Camelot for Great Britain and other foundational legends & myths.

        Regarding the miracle of the dancing sun at Fatima, the Benedictine Fr Stanley Jaki, OSB, investigated and wrote at length in his book about the Virgin’s apparition to the three children at Fatima, Portugal.

        • Thanks, sonny! Will check out Fr. Stanley Jaki’s book on this.

          As for Virgil, wasn’t the initial myth that of the wolf kids? These hero/creation myths are very pliant indeed, for example, the Mormons myth that Native Americans were the lost tribe of Israel, turns out Joseph Smith didn’t originate this, I don’t know who did, but

          Benjamin Rush (Sons of Liberty and doctor advising the Lewis & Clark expedition) requested Lewis to verify or seek evidence of indians as lost tribe of Israel, and this was long before when Joseph Smith was born (1805), Lewis & Clark were already nice and comfy by the Pacific (at Fort Clatsop). Joseph Smith also took heavily from Swedenborg’s writings (his books were known to be in the library where Smith lived), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emanuel_Swedenborg#Visions_and_spiritual_insights

          If the Church of the Latter Saints is a strictly American religion; Scientology a close 2nd, is by far the most original of all creation/hero myths. Whether a 3rd book continued from Homer’s or human wolf cubs— the parallels of the 13th tribe of Israel and Space aliens are very similar, sonny.

          And since Mormons have invaded the Federal gov’t , and Scientology’s in Hollywood and entertainment, I gotta feeling the next centuries will be more than interesting. LOL!

          • Native Americans too have a collection of very interesting creation/hero myths, usually coyotes as heroes, one of my favorites is the Nez Perce’s because it’s like reading Aesop and watching South Park,

            “He used up the entire body of the Monster in this way. Then Fox came up to Coyote and said, “What is the meaning of this, Coyote? You have used up the body of the Monster and given it to far away lands, but have given yourself nothing for this area.”

            “Well,” snorted Coyote, “Why didn’t you tell me this before? I was so busy that I didn’t think of it.” Then he turned to the people and said, “Bring me some water with which to wash my hands.” He washed his hands and made the water bloody. Then with t his bloody water, he threw drops over the land around him and said, “You may be little people, but you will be powerful. You will be little because I did not give you enough of the Monster’s body, but you will be very brave and intelligent and will work hard. In only a short time, the La-te-tel-wit (Human Beings) are coming. And you will be known as the Nu-me-poo (later referred to as Nez Perce), or Tsoop-nit-pa-lu (People Crossing over into the Divide). Thus, the Nu-me-poo Nation was born. Today, the heart and liver of the Monster are to be found in the beautiful Kamiah Valley in Idaho, the home of the Nez Perce tribe. Thus, the beginning of the La-te-tel-wit (Human Beings) was at hand.”

            http://www.lib.uidaho.edu/mcbeth/journal/heart.htm

            but what usually differs from a powerful vs. weaker nation is how their creation/hero myths condones or encourages the right of conquest (thus expansion and/or subjugation), many times you have to upgrade or re-brand your myths to accommodate this… the rebrading process is what’s interesting, ie. wolf pup/boys to Greek heroes in Rome. Of note too is how many Native Americans have converted to Mormonism, north and south of Utah, sonny.

            • https://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/jul/27/gods-without-men-hari-kunzru-review – there is the somewhat crazy British-Punjabi author who wrote a book that plays in the California desert and has a really wacky prologue involving a coyote…

              The novel is set in the Mojave desert in south-eastern California. The reader is primed for entry into what the blurb calls “the mysterious world of Gods Without Men” by the short prologue, a modern fable about a coyote who goes out into the desert in his camper van to cook up some crystal meth. It’s nicely done, with the folk tale diction playing off against the trailer-trash detail. Thereafter, the book is divided into shortish chapters, which move back and forth between points in the past and a series of strange events in 2008.

              (the story is about a coyote who keeps getting the cooking process wrong, goes to the Gods and they tell him what he did wrong, then he repeats and makes the next mistake, finally finishing a large batch of meth but with his face and everything patched up)

          • sonny says:

            @ LC

            Fr Stanley Jaki was a theoretical Physicist, cosmologist, educator, historian.

            The short version, as I read the report of the apparition of the dancing sun, witnessed by 60,000+ at Cova da Iria, Fatima were:

            a) there were no reported unusual recordings from solar observers, e.g. sunspots and the like.
            b) the phenomenon was also observed from some nearby locales.
            c) the dancing sun and dried clothes after a rainfall on that day could be explained naturally as the effect of an atmospheric refracting lens formed by water crystals and droplets.
            d) In my opinion, the miracle lay in the fact that of the accurate prediction of the date and place the phenomenon was going to occur.

            Here’s a comment on Fr Jaki’s reportage by a Chemist/theologian.

            http://www.catholicstand.com/fr-stanley-jaki-on-the-fatima-miracle/

            • “d) In my opinion, the miracle lay in the fact that of the accurate prediction of the date and place the phenomenon was going to occur.”

              sonny, I’ve spent the good part of the afternoon here finding holes on this Fatima stuff, and I agree that is the miracle here. Unless there’s time travel involved, there’s no explanation. I thought there was some anachronistic stuff at first, ie. the event first then the explanation, but no matter how I read it, the crowd was there on the kids’ info.

              Yeah, all the rest we can “explain” with science, but why the crowd was there in the first place is key.

              Do you have anymore of these miracles? I’m familiar with stigmata, etc. but these types, temporal, I ‘m really enjoying. Oh I forgot, I’m also a big fan of the Shroud of Turin. But miracles based on time, this is new to me, if you know of others similar to Fatima shoot it my way.

              • sonny says:

                @ LC

                a) The central worship of ALL Catholics, the Bread & Wine at Mass, is changed to the Body & Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, also known as the miracle of the Real Presence:

                http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/lanciano.html

                also at ‘love one another’ website:

                “At seven o’clock in the evening on August 18, 1996, Fr. Alejandro Pezet was saying Holy Mass at a Catholic church in the commercial center of Buenos Aires. As he was finishing distributing Holy Communion, a woman came up to tell him that she had found a discarded host on a candleholder at the back of the church. On going to the spot indicated, Fr. Alejandro saw the defiled Host. Since he was unable to consume it, he placed it in a container of water and put it away in the tabernacle of the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament.
                On Monday, August 26, upon opening the tabernacle, he saw to his amazement that the Host had turned into a bloody substance. He informed Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who gave instructions that the Host be professionally photographed. The photos were taken on September 6. They clearly show that the Host, which had become a fragment of bloodied flesh, had grown significantly in size. For several years the Host remained in the tabernacle, the whole affair being kept a strict secret. Since the Host suffered no visible decomposition, Cardinal Bergoglio decided to have it scientifically analyzed.”

                b) the Tilma of Juan Diego, the imprint of image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, as Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas:

                https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/blog/st-juan-diegos-miraculous-proof/4581/

              • a) I can see there might be some evidentiary issues here (ex. switcharoo-type stuff), though i’ve just scrolled thru it, sonny… but this was of particular interest to me: The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood-type: AB (Blood-type identical to that which Prof. Baima Bollone uncovered in the Holy Shroud of Turin).

                b) I should definitely read up on this particular one since it’s very popular in California. Thanks! send more if you have ’em!!!

              • b) there was really nothing solid I could grab onto in that 1st website , sonny… but I found this one,

                http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/culture/catholic-contributions/science-sees-what-mary-saw-from-juan-diegos-tilma.html

                the eyes I found really interesting! and had not known about this (though I knew this was some sort of miraculous painting), the writer though is trying to hard in regaling us with fancy scientific words and processes, but it’s in the eyes—————-

                “For over 20 years, this graduate in environmental systems engineering at Cornell University has studied the image of the Virgin left on the rough maguey-fiber fabric of Juan Diego’s tilma. What intrigued Tonsmann most were the eyes of the Virgin.

                Though the dimensions are microscopic, the iris and the pupils of the image’s eyes have imprinted on them a highly detailed picture of at least 13 people, Tonsmann said. The same people are present in both the left and right eyes, in different proportions, as would happen when human eyes reflect the objects before them.

                Tonsmann said he believes the reflection transmitted by the eyes of the Virgin of Guadalupe is the scene on Dec. 9, 1531, during which Juan Diego showed his tilma, with the image, to Bishop Juan de Zumárraga and others present in the room.

                In the eyes, Tonsmann believes, it is possible to discern a seated Indian, who is looking up to the heavens; the profile of a balding, elderly man with a white beard, much like the portrait of Bishop Zumárraga painted by Miguel Cabrera to depict the miracle; and a younger man, in all probability interpreter Juan González.

                Also present is an Indian, likely Juan Diego, of striking features with a beard and mustache, who unfolds his own tilma before the bishop; a woman of dark complexion, possibly a Negro slave who was in the bishop’s service; and a man with Spanish features who looks on pensively, stroking his beard with his hand.

                In summary, the Virgin’s eyes bear a kind of instant picture of what occurred at the moment the image was unveiled in front of the bishop, Tonsmann says.”

                ((( I’ve not found this imprinted images in the eyes online, but this is definitely worth an extra look, or maybe this is all just one’s interpretation of a microscopic image , if so, the whole colors and paint used is still of significance IMHO )))

          • sonny says:

            Note on the Aeneid and the Legend of Romulus & Remus: Virgil composed the Aeneid during the first century B.C. He synthesized the accepted legends of his time and laced together the two myths, the flight of Aeneas from Troy (11th century BC) and that of the twins Romulus & Remus (8th century B.C.).

      • Bill In Oz says:

        Lance, did you know that roughly 300,000 people left the USA after the treaty between the new USA & Britain at the end of the war of Independence ? They were resettled by the British in Ontario, the West Indies and Britain itself…

        I guess this got rid of a potential divisive element right there at the start in 1783-4

        • I didn’t know that , Bill… but makes sense to me. There’s the 3% movement here, related to the whole NRA (gun lobby, gun rights stuff) campaign. that 3% supposedly is the number of patriots who took up arms against the British at that time (hence the 3%)—- now I gotta feeling they got that 3% from the regular militias/Continental Army/Marines/Navy tally , but I’m sure it’s more like 5-10%, given the folks who fought on their own or in bands, or with indians, etc.

          Understandably, the rest of the colonists just wanted to live in peace, and were most likely hedging their bets (not too pro-colonies; not too pro-crown), a wait and see approach, then I’m sure there were colonists betting on the British to win, even working for them… when their team lost they’d have to high tail it out, or risk punishment.

          As for divisive , Thomas Jefferson, as early as the American Revolution forecasted the Civil War, writing how slavery was bad example for their children, not so much the ethics of equality, but how having others carry the burden made the next generation weaker and less hardy, soft was more Jefferson ‘s worry, why he promoted hiking instead of horseback riding thru the country.

          I’m pretty sure that’s not old Mao’s quote, but Jefferson thought in those terms, and despised slavery in terms of that sentiment—- also the equality stuff, but I think first that.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      Irineo once mentioned that the Philippines was part of the Madjapahit Empire. Looking at the map, we are on the fringes of the Empire and perhaps only the southern part of the country was truly encompassed. This would confirm the theory that Filipinos have had no strong and direct loyalty to a central government.
      *****

      • That historical experience shapes cultural attitudes is very true. France and Germany are a case in point. France went centralistic very quickly, became a nation-state, probably the Latin cultural tradition played a major role. The Roman Empire may have shaped the mindset.

        Germany remained a confederation of basically tribal groups and fiefdoms, the Holy Roman Empire, which constantly reconfigured and had its Emperor (Kaiser) elected by the princes of different fiefdoms, so no true central power for the entire Middle Ages. Several dynasties tried to consolidate power and centralized it – Guelphs and Ghibellines in the Middle Ages, with the involvement of Italian city-states (Dante), Habsburgs around 1500, French stopping them a century or more later, then finally, successfully, the Prussians. Chancellor Bismarck derided the German nationalists of 1848, those who first raised black-red-gold and wanted a Republic, by saying that blood and iron had united the nation, not nice words. Of course the result of Prussia winning was Habsburgs and Austria were out… last try to have them in was 1938.

    • “I sense still the remnants of this in the Philippines with so many people primary loyalty to their family or local ‘elected’ leading family leaderships. And this creates a context where a Filipinos enemies can very well be fellow Filipinos. And the institutions of the nation are not the natural common property of all Filipinos. Rather they are the target of competitive attempts to ‘capture campaigns’ to gain wealth, power, etc.” Very correct. I recommend reading articles by Manolo Quezon. The pork barrel of Congress is one example. The absurdity of Philippine centralism is shown by the BIR first getting all the money to Manila, then it gets distributed two ways: via the IRA to the LGUs and via all kinds of projects, whether PDAF or DAP or BUB or the new pork barrel they have under another name now.

      The President has not only the power of the purse, he/she has powers similar to those of a Spanish or American colonial governor. Cut a little bit in the 1987 Constitution, fortunately. President Manuel Quezon could dismiss governors, mayors, even school principals at will. And looking at the different Presidencies by ethnic group is also interesting. Aguinaldo, the first Tagalog outside Manila (Cavite, just outside). Quezon a bit more outside (Tayabas which became Quezon province). Then the Visayans (Roxas), then Marcos (Ilocanos).

      The FIRST prize is the Presidency and the thousands of positions he/she can fill just like that – including Supreme Court vacancies. The SECOND prize is pork barrel or similar. The THIRD prize is to be governor or mayor of a province or city. That is how the system works. Cory’s Local Government Code made local officialdom a lot more lucrative – it was the price she paid for her power, could be – or mere naivete, not realizing that it would create local officials that have all kinds of businesses, including illegal ones, instead of landowning.

      A bit of a nation did start to form due to urbanization from the late 19th century onwards. The Katipunan founders almost all had jobs in international firms in Manila. EDSA One of course was centered on both Manila and Cebu middle classes – the two major centers. EDSA One is I think a somewhat bastardized (via Marcos era) child of the Commonwealth and postwar Filipino nation, formed under American tutelage, with lofty aspirations toward freedom and democracy. The BPO and OFW nation that voted Duterte is another thing.

      It is the nation that cheered Pacquiao. It is also the nation that watched the Viva Hotbabes and cruel Wowowee.It is a very materalistic nation, a nation of malls and consumer goods. It is a nation that will kill the poor to have a safe way home with one’s new Samsung S8. The nation that used to get jobs in American bases until the early 1990s – and in Saudi or HK or Singapore after that. The nation that does not care about the values or alliances of the old Filipino nation, as long as it gets what it needs (and wants?). Two nationalities are what I see today: Filipinos and Pilipinos. Pilipinos of course are the pragmatic ones. What counted before does not count – but Filipinos for the most part chucked out Spanish and all what went with it, including most of old Manila and its genteel values. So is the Pilipins finally a nation without a past and without a future, just an eternal present and no soul? Well who needs a soul if you have malls? Who needs Rizal if you have a modern condo? But yet – the accidental nation may find its identity. These trying times will tell if yes or no.

      Just a few rambling thoughts, nothing really conclusive. BTW only Quezon and Marcos really centralized power in the Philippines. Quezon had it easy, American troops behind him. Marcos created the Regions, every Department has Regional Offices due to him. Marcos also created the INP (Integrated National Police) – taking police away from mayors, who often were warlords with police chiefs under their control. Cory’s time merged PC, an American-era peacekeeping force, with INP into PC-INP, later that became PNP. At the same time there was the dark side of people power in Cory’s time – vigilante groups like Davao’s Alsa Masa, founded by Col. Franco Calida, related to todays SolGen Calida – brother? And OIC mayors installed by Cory – Binay in Makati, Duterte in Davao.

  15. manilapagpag says:

    Nominate your “favorite” sipsip for the Golden Toady Awards:
    https://manilapagpag.wordpress.com/

  16. Sup says:

    The new enemy?

    Very disturbing…

    Lawyers from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), following a tip about drug suspects being held for extortion, were surprised and shocked when they found a dozen men and women detained in a secret cell behind a shelf in a Manila police station on Thursday.

    Gilbert Boisner, regional director of the CHR for Metro Manila, said at least four of the 12 claimed that they were locked in the cell at Raxabago station’s drug enforcement unit (DEU) in Tondo.

    Arrests not recorded

    Boisner said the alleged drug suspects’ arrests were not even recorded.

    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/892537/drug-suspects-found-in-secret-police-cell
    Friday April 28 2017

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      Sup, thanks. This is the same info as that posted by Juana (Apr 27 11:06 pm). The Inquirer version has more details and is replete with photos.

      If the guardians of the people become their assailants, then who, for heaven’s sake, can the people turn to?
      *****

  17. NHerrera says:

    I remember in my youth — and probably you guys remember it too — the line which runs something like:

    We have enemies all around us — left, right, back and front — that is good, so there is only one thing to do, attack.

    Of course, for the wiser side of us in TSH, we have to take that metaphorically and with a dose of salt. Perhaps, quicken the awakening that edgar spoke of in the previous blog and act accordingly.

    • But I think this is what your aiming for, NH 😉 :

      The Wyoming government had a problem with timber wolves. They offered $5,000 bounty on each wolf captured alive. That turned two men, Sam and Jed, into bounty hunters! Day and night they scoured the mountains looking for wolves. Exhausted one night they fell asleep dreaming about the fortune they would make capturing wolves.

      Suddenly Sam woke up to find that they were surrounded by 50 wolves with flaming eyes and bared teeth. Sam screamed, “JED, WAKE UP WE’RE RICH!!!!!!”

  18. NHerrera says:

    RE ENEMY IN GENERAL: THE CONTRAST BETWEEN TRUMP AND DUTERTE

    It is said that Trump’s bark does not match his bite. On the other hand, Duterte’s bite:

    * matches his bark on drug addicts, pushers, but not so on the drug lords

    * does not match his bark on the CPP/NPA and China

    * matches his loudest bark on De Lima

    * matches his bark on the corruption of the DILG Chief and the BI Commissioners but not so on the corruption of the killers of Albuera Mayor Espinosa especially considering the findings of his Senate Allies and the investigation of FBI, a unit under his great ally DOJ’s Aguirre

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      Duterte’s bark seems to be incontinent but his bite seems to depend on the size of the adversary.

      In that he barks at almost anything, I find him similar to a Chihuahua. If one is familiar with this small breed, one will know they will bark at anything. They are really annoying.

      In that he is only capable of biting entities of smaller stature (pushers and users, women, and subordinates), I find him similar to the Wolf Dog Hybrid. Here’s a description: “…The problem with this breed is that its behavior is really unpredictable because of mixed genetic traits. Wolf dogs are more destructible and active than any other breed of dog [in this list.] It is advised NOT to domesticate this particular species.

      I apologize to the Wolf Dog Hybrid. They look really handsome.

      http://listovative.com/top-12-dog-breeds-that-bite-the-aggressive-dogs-list/
      *****

      • Hahahahaaaa…

        Reminded me of this image, edgar—– Almost there! LOL!

      • NHerrera says:

        Insightful characterization. You also know a lot about dogs especially of the annoying, constant barking kind, the Chihuahua, and the barking, unpredictable mixed genetic destructive kind, the Wolf Dog. But I will stick to the Japanese Spitz, the only one my family had. Thanks.

        • NHerrera says:

          And if I may, I want to post again what I posted in a long ago blog at TSH:

          A TRUE DOG STORY

          About 35 years ago, my family — my wife, two daughters and I — pestered by my two daughters, with the wife joining in, finally came home from a pet store with a beautiful month old fluffy white Japanese Spitz. And I may say, we lived happily ever after. But that is not the point of this story.

          Five years into Tiny’s life — that is what the kids named her — though she has grown by then, the family went on a 3-month long vacation and left Tiny to the care of a dog-loving nephew and his family.

          When we came back, we were shocked on how Tiny has thinned out. She did give us a great welcome with the usual tail wagging she does when she loves something. It took only a few weeks for her to gain practically all the weight she lost. We were to learn later that there is what is known as separation anxiety or melancholia even with dogs.

          Tiny finally died at age 12 or thereabouts. The kids and the wife mourned her passing; I, somewhat less — probably because I had to work hard those days to make a living, but Tiny demonstrated a love for me, by grazing her fluffy fur on my leg when I am home and sit down to read the papers — no computer then to do it — and sit at the floor beside me. (Even she knows who is the boss of the house. Hahaha.)

          When I asked the kids if they want to visit a pet store to see if we can get another dog. Both responded with a quick NO. Either they don’t like to transfer their love to another dog or because of the new competition — boy friends.

  19. karlgarcia says:

    From random articles of Joe:

    https://joeam.com/2013/04/15/defense-iii-whos-the-enemy-around-here-anyway/

    THE ENEMY
    We put existing or POTENTIAL enemies into five categories:
    * Semi-Organized Domestic Extortionists: (probability of combat 100%; scope 25% of available fighting forces)
    * Muslim extremists: (probability of combat 100%; scope 15% of available fighting forces)
    * China: (probability of combat 10%; scope 100% of available fighting forces)
    * Other Asian state:  (probability of combat 1%; scope 100% of available fighting forces )
    * Civil unrest within the Philippines: (probability of combat 5%; scope 100% of available fighting via a smaller, well-trained, well-armed component.
    ——
    https://joeam.com/2017/01/18/enemy-of-the-state/

    Autocrats need enemies to justify extreme acts. It is the oldest trick in the totalitarian book. President Trump has his immigrants and the press. President Duterte has drug users and people speaking up for human rights.
    The financially and emotionally needful like having these enemies as well. They get a measure of revenge each time an enemy is smashed down. The needful become powerful for a moment. They become punishers, too.
    Then we have the enablers like the House of Representatives, Senators Cayetano, Gordon, and Pimentel, and the men doing the President’s bidding (Bato, Alvarez, Panelo, Aguirre, Andanar, and Yasay). They also need the enemies so they can be big shots for a powerful President. The noise from the conflicts drowns out the sound of them sucking at the fat of their pork, or greedily gobbling up bonus payments.
    It would be comical if it weren’t so tragic. It is obvious what is happening, but the entire nation is like a deer caught in the headlights, frozen by confusion, expectation, and resignation. Or willingly participating in a campaign of killings.
    Nothing happens to bring civility, compassion, and calm back to the Philippines because all the institutions have been captured or corrupted by the men in power. The House is a batch of lackeys, the PNP operates like the President’s Gestapo, professional journalists cede their space to trolls like Mocha Uson, and judges rule on the basis of advantage rather than law. It is an absurd democracy, a society of idiots without the savant, and the laughs we find to retain our sanity are miserably painful.
    What a way to run a country.
    Do you know what is really strange? Lost in the battlefield noise are the good deeds being done, the comprehensive tax reform, the better use of Clark Airfield, the raised emphasis on family planning, the working on critical infrastructure 24/7, the priority on education, and being at the edge of domestic peace for the first time in the history of the Republic.
    The President is too often his own worst enemy, unnerving investors by threatening the US, UN, and Europe, burying President Marcos as a hero because the President owed the Marcos family a personal debt, and giving away precious sea resources as if they were Pokemon cards available only to the President for trading. And then there are the dead bodies in the gutters, bleeding, taped up or stuffed in trash cans, or cradled in the arms of weeping wives with wailing kids in the background, scarred for life. Piles of naked bodies . . . thin and malnourished and stiff with death . . . are stacked five-deep in a ghastly bin at the morgue.

    • NHerrera says:

      Nice of you, Chief Librarian, to bring back nuggets of those two blog articles — they go well with the current blog. Thanks for the look back.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Thanks! Did you write your Japanese Spitz comment in Wil’s dog article?

        • NHerrera says:

          Right. Now I remember. Thanks, Chief.

        • “Lost in the battlefield noise are the good deeds being done, the comprehensive tax reform, the better use of Clark Airfield, the raised emphasis on family planning, the working on critical infrastructure 24/7, the priority on education, and being at the edge of domestic peace for the first time in the history of the Republic.”

          karl,

          I’d like to add to that infrastructure work, and pose a compare and contrast question , US and Philippines re home energy usage,

          Over here the bulk of electricity usage goes to Heating, Venting, Air-Conditioning (HVAC) and Water Heating, i’d imagine over there the bulk of energy usage would go straight to AC only, with the refrigerator a big chunk also… same for the malls and offices i’d imagine, AC that is.

          California’s doing a lot of wind and solar now, and actually weened off of coal, there’s thermo up in Mammoth, and there’s only 1 nuke station now up in San Luis Obispo, otherwise its hydro and renewables… but still the HVAC and Water Heating stuff is difficult, it gets cold and it gets hot.

          Also, I know most households use septic tanks still over there, while the poorest just do their business in creeks, rivers or the beach. What’s the sewage system work in the bigger cities looking like?

          The whole electric current (from making electricity to actual consumption) kinda parallels the water cycle, from rain all the way to waste water, so I’ve posed the two subjects together— i know they’re separate.

          the big idea here now is to capture storm run off, where to store it is another story; also what they learned in the 5 year drought in California, which I guess ended for us this year with all the rain, is that if people conserve water, which we did, the sewage system malfunctions, since the whole point is to keep things moving along by waste water, ie. flushing, sinks, showers , etc.

          • karlgarcia says:

            The environmentalist senator Loren legarda has a solar panel and a rain water collector, she dreams that every household has this setup.

            She claims 50 percent less on her electricand water billls.

            • edgar lores says:

              *******
              Karl, That is credible.

              In Oz though, some households do not install solar systems because of the high initial cost of installation. A system would be about equal to about 2-3 years of regular electrical usage, but not all households have that much extra cash lying around. There are other factors, for and against.
              *****

  20. NHerrera says:

    THE ILLUSIVE SOLUTION

    We have here at TSH and elsewhere in the Philippine media, traditional and otherwise — but of the rational kind, discussed what may be done. Still the definitive solution remains illusive. Or is it only the timidity to act, no thanks to the cultural mind set?

    You go first; I will follow.

    • NHerrera says:

      This is a qualification of the above. One of these “pockets” is the one pursued by Senator Trillanes: there certainly were intelligence, reasonableness, the following of the rules of law, strategy and NO TIMIDITY displayed by the combination of Trillanes and De Lima — from before the election to the present — where the sometime unseen hand of Trillanes is there, including the encouragement of Matobato, Lascanas to testify before the Senate, and the pursuit of the Impeachment and the bringing to the ICC of the complaint against Duterte and the Administration 11 officials. Whether this will right the ship of state is, of course, debatable.

  21. karlgarcia says:

    http://filipinogerman.blogsport.eu/god-is-dead-lets-be-bad/#comment-15052

    Irineo B. R. Salazar
    April 22, 2017 at 07:46 · Reply
    http://politics.com.ph/feeling-mr-clean-ex-ateneo-dean-tony-la-vina-explains-dilawan-hated-brand/
    The administration of former President Benigno Aquino III may have made gains in fighting corruption, but that doesn’t mean people have much love for the “dilawan.”
    Former Ateneo School of Government dean Tony La Viña on Thursday (April 20) explained why “dilawan” has become a derogatory term after he noted negative comments regarding a photo showing political bigwigs such as former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and President Rodrigo Duterte seated in one table at former President Joseph Estrada’s 80th birthday party.
    La Viña, who currently teaches law at the San Beda College of Law and other schools, said “dilawan” has become associated with self-righteousness.
    He said a cursory look at the photo would show that the personalities vilified by the “dilawan” actually have more supporters than them.
    “You add to them the Grace Poe supporters and you know why dilawan is such a disliked brand. It’s just insane, outright stupid, to say that all of these supporters are anti-reform and corrupt,” he said.
    La Viña said the “dilawans’” self-righteousness is baseless considering that several of the politikos who joined the Liberal Party, the ruling party during the Aquino administration, “who would not pass any integrity or good governance test.”
    For the law professor, those who tolerated the corruption in the Aquino administration are not in a position to judge Arroyo, Estrada and Duterte for supposedly being corrupt.
    A person who does, La Viña said, is “unfortunately blinded” and “will never get why dilawan is a political color that will not recover.”
    *

    * Irineo B. R. Salazar 
April 22, 2017 at 07:47 · Reply 
https://www.facebook.com/renee.villanueva/posts/10210942607275031?pnref=story (Will)
Yun lang ang reason mo, Mr. La Viña, kung bakit dilawan is a “hated brand” and “cannot recover”? Look at the man in the mirror. Kung dilawan ka’t hindi corrupt, papayag ka ba sa pangangatwiran mo? Hindi ba as long as malinis ka wala kang dapat ikahiya kung kinikilala mo ang sakripisyo ni Ninoy, ang sinseridad ni Cory at ang malinis na record ni Noynoy? Yan ang reasons ko kung bakit dilawan ako. Dapat bang ikahiya ang mga kadahilanang iyon?

  22. Francis says:

    Really Off-Topic:

    What if we had a run-off system like France for our presidential elections? How would that play into political dynamics in the PH?

    • Bill In Oz says:

      Or a preferential system ? That would be even better as it would all be done & dusted on one day. And thus be less expensive. All of us, even peasant farmers are capable of saying :” I like him first, her second & her third etc”

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      I tend to agree with Bill about preferential voting being less expensive.

      Some other points not really well thought out:

      1. Preferential voting requires a more sophisticated ballot counting scheme especially if electronic voting machines are used.

      1.1. The machines must either have the ability to read hand-written numbers, which may be next to impossible; or the ballot must be formatted in such a fashion that preferences can be indicated by shading dots in different columns, as many columns as there are candidates. This latter option puts the onus on the voter to fill up the ballot accurately.

      1.2. Expect a lot of invalid ballots. However, a ballot with a single selection should not be declared invalid.

      1.3. To truly capture the will of the people, mandatory voting should be considered. If preferential voting is used, but only a portion of the electorate participates, one cannot claim that the winning candidate has +50% support.

      1.4. The fact that the president and the vice-president can be voted on separately increases the complexity. It would simplify things if they are voted on as a team.

      1.5. However, looking at historical results, in particular, the current one, I am in favor of separate voting. If voting is done as a team, vice-presidential candidates will seek to ally with the winningest candidate. Imagine the nightmare of Cayetano being vice-president. Or imagine the horror of a Duterte-Marcos tandem! As it is right now, we have arrived at a sort of check-and-balance result by luck.

      2. Run-off elections have the advantage of offering closer scrutiny of the leading candidates and their platforms after the first ballot.

      2.1. A second set of ballots will have to be printed. Voters will have to troop back to the booths.

      2.2. In the Philippine setting, the candidate with the deepest pockets will have an edge. Corruption will continue to flourish.
      *****

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        1.1.1. A numeric keypad will come in handy.

        1.1.2. Alternatively, voting can be conducted on touch screens. This may make paper ballots obsolete. As such, there may be no paper trail, although Comelec should insist on there being one. An unexpected consequence is that there will be no more election protests. (Yeah, right, dream on!)

        1.1.2.1. If touch screens are used, the validation of the voter’s fingerprints should be considered to verify his biometrics. The validation should be done on a separate input area (like the one on laptops) as the voting screen will be very smudgy after a time. The voting screen should probably be equipped with windshield wipers!
        *****

  23. karlgarcia says:

    Since many of Duterte’s priblems ate self-influcted, his enemy is himself.

    http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Opinion&title=from-the-political-offensive-to-the-defensive&id=144487

    From the political offensive to the defensive

    “Firstly, there are the internal conflicts in his administration, both within his own faction and his own coalition. The vicious infighting within his own faction is evident with the dismissal of his own campaign spokesman, Peter Laviña, in the National Irrigation Administration, the ignominious sacking of former DILG Secretary Mike Sueño, the abrupt firing of Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco’s deputy, Undersecretary Maia Chiara Halmen Valdez, at the instigation of the National Food Authority head Jason Aquino and Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, and the fight over PhilHealth between Health Secretary Pauleen Ubial and some close confidantes of President Duterte.

    The public humiliation of Mike Sueño, an original loyalist, could rankle Duterte’s own followers and probably scare away any other qualified future government appointee.

    Secondly, his Cabinet, instead of moving in unison, is divided. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez is in conflict with DENR Secretary Gina Lopez and her anti-mining stance. Worse, Cabinet officials are busily undermining each other. For example, DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo has publicly criticized the Finance Department’s key legislation, the tax reform bill, before congressmen.

    President Duterte supposedly listens to his economic team, but he has been deaf to the economic team’s advice on mining, rice import liberalization, and the two-year moratorium on land conversions, which the leftist DAR Secretary Rafael Mariano implements anyway.

    Thirdly, there are rifts within his own coalition. House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is at odds with the Secretary of Transportation, Art Tugade, who has the hardest job of delivering on President Duterte’s promises on traffic and transport infrastructure. The messy fight between Speaker Alvarez and Duterte’s biggest financial contributor, Davao Congressman Antonio “Tonyboy” Floriendo, involving their respective paramours is well-known. Speaker Alvarez has also chosen to act antagonistically toward another powerful Duterte ally, former President and Pampanga Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo whom he removed as deputy speaker. These rifts will certainly affect Duterte’s legislative agenda.

    Fourthly, in addition to conflicts within his faction and his coalition, President Duterte has chosen to antagonize Philippine powers-that-be, which can only be described as reckless. He takes great delight in alienating the Catholic Church both with his profanity and his “anti-life” stance. However the Catholic Church remains politically powerful, especially when aroused. It may not be able to elect presidents but it can certainly bring them down, as it had with former Presidents Marcos and Estrada.

    Surprisingly, Duterte has also named traditional big media as an enemy. He has cursed and lambasted media powers the Philippine Daily Inquirer and ABS-CBN, and even accused the owners of Philippine Daily Inquirer as tax cheats. He even openly named and lambasted their respective owners — a big no-no in Philippine politics — but who remain politically connected and powerful.

    Furthermore, no matter what happens to the confirmation of DENR Secretary Gina Lopez, President Duterte will suffer politically big time. President Duterte still openly supports her and even echoes her derogatory remarks on mining’s contribution to the economy. However, just about any political pooh-bah or kingmaker is into mining — Manny Zamora, Paul Dominguez, Philip Romualdez, Manny Pangilinan, Manny Villar, etc. — so supporting Gina Lopez will cost President Duterte politically. These political bigwigs are apart from the local government executives who will see a reduction in their revenue from Gina Lopez’s closure of mines.

    President Duterte is still riding on the economic momentum provided by the previous administration. However, the yellow warning signals are already flashing. Inflation at 3.4% per annum is at its highest in the last 28 months and is threatening to surge. For some reason, joblessness is also up in the last quarter (the highest in two years) despite the high economic growth. I suspect that President Duterte’s own populist policies — ending endo, raising SSS contributions, stopping mining operations, etc. — have created a negative environment for employment.

    Perhaps President Duterte remains smug on the basis of surveys, which show him to still be popular, especially among the affluent AB crowd. This popularity among the rich may be due to his drug war which projects peace and order. The rich may be indifferent to the victims of extrajudicial killings, who are poor.

    However, two events may shake the faith of the rich. One is the illegal occupation by the leftist Kadamay urban poor group on NHA Housing. Instead of ejecting the illegal occupants, President Duterte surrendered to their demands. This will embolden Kadamay and other groups to illegally occupy more government and private properties. The second event is the Abu Sayyaf armed attempt to seize hostages in high-end resorts in Bohol, and possibly Cebu. The first event will put the fear among the rich over their property while the latter will shake their sense of personal security under the present administration.

    So far, the swaggering President Duterte is spouting venom at the European Union and international media for making him account for some 7,000 extrajudicial killings under his watch. Also, he’s pooh-poohing attempts by the political opposition to haul him before the International Criminal Court of Justice.

    However, there will be real consequences to the Philippine economy with his growing negative reputation as a violator of human rights. The EU may slap additional tariffs on Philippine exports. Investors from the US and the EU, fearful that their brands will be tarnished, will probably hesitate to invest in a country whose government is labeled as a violator of international norms on justice and human rights.

    President Duterte should disabuse himself of his fantasy that China is there to save him. All those Chinese promises of foreign aid are mere press releases until now. Assuming no corruption scandal erupts on ODA contracts as it had in the Chinese ZTE deal, it will still take time for an incompetent bureaucracy to implement those programs.

    Furthermore, the Chinese could complicate Duterte’s life if they decide to start building on Scarborough Shoal, a sort of red line both to the Americans and the Philippine military. Surveys already show that Duterte is taking a hit for his accommodating stance to the Chinese, who are viewed by most Filipinos with suspicion. With all his other political problems, continued kowtowing to China may compound his risk of falling popularity.

    Given his growing political problems (which he seems unmindful of), I had thought that he only has two options to regain the political initiative. One is to lower the prices of rice by abolishing the NFA monopoly and liberalizing rice imports. He can have his political cover because the country had committed to the WTO to liberalize rice importation by June 2017.

    Imagine if the price of rice fell by at least P5 per kilo! This will have the electrifying effect of making food more affordable to 103 million Filipinos. But no, President Duterte has chosen to side with the graft-ridden NFA to retain its monopoly, and to temporarily stop all rice importation upon the advice of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol. This could lead to higher rice prices and higher poverty incidence as had happened in 2013 and 2014 when delay in the importation of rice caused a spike in rice prices. As it is, rice inventory at 34 days is way below the ideal 80 day buffer inventory. A bad typhoon could cause rice prices to soar. This is a risky gamble with a huge political downside. As the Chinese saying goes, “He picked up a rock only to drop it at his own feet.”

    The other option is to pass the tax reform package without dilution and go on a massive infrastructure spending. However, because of President Duterte’s tepid support, the tax reform is facing rough sailing in Congress. (It was kicked to a technical working group instead of being passed.) It also faces high hurdles in the Senate where half of the senators will be seeking reelection in 2019 and will be mindful of the opposition from affected oil consumers, real estate developers, car manufacturers, and remittance companies.

    In my estimation, if rice prices rise and if the tax reform package fails to pass or is diluted, with his growing political problems and the infighting in his coalition, Duterte’s government will suffer a political body blow. Perhaps, not a TKO, but enough to stagger his government and keep it in the ropes. That could lead to a downward spiral with more infighting, more desertions, more policy paralysis, and faltering of the growth rate.

    For sure, in the face of his growing political problems, his rabid followers will demand revolutionary powers for President Duterte. Since many of his troubles are self-inflicted, how will that help?”

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      “However, two events may shake the faith of the rich:” Kadamay and Abu Sayyaf.

      I would add a third: Duterte’s “occupy oligarchs’ land” statement.
      *****

      • karlgarcia says:

        Is he sure about that? Except Floirendo’s , and Marcos’.
        Let them occupy Hacienda Binay.

        • That I believe is your biggest litmus test, karl. Gina Lopez is sort of DU30’s spiritual advisor right now. As for the rest of the article , if read from the opposite slant, it’s not condemning , but affirming that DU30 is pursuing his promise of turning the Philippines upside down and right side up—– where that leads nobody knows, but what I got from this article is that DU30 is staying the course.

          He’s got his sights on the Establishment (which is the premise of this article, ie. get the Establishment mad and you’re done-type sentiment), yes he may be playing favorites, but over all the article serves to affirm DU30 ‘s resolve IMHO, since he was voted exactly for this.

          The question now is, is the Establishment’s support really that crucial, or will the Public’s support be enough. Kadamay (this is the first I’ve heard of this) and Abu Sayyaf , won’t shake DU30’s base , remember he’s for the poor and for peace & order—– further development from these two entities will only make DU30 shine.

          Public support is what’s crucial here. As already pointed out the Public doesn’t much really know what they want. And can renege on said support at any time, like chempo’s predicting DU30 will renege on Gina Lopez, hence that’s your litmus test…

          IMHO so long as DU30 supports the aspirations and vision of Gina Lopez, so will the Public support DU30 (though they don’t quiet know , nor care what Ms. Lopez’s vision is), but there I think is your triumvirate, karl…

          So long as the interests of those 3 are in line, the Establishment will be out, read the article in that vein.


          (the symbol to the left is an old Masonic symbol to rid evil spirits; the one on the right is the AA symbol… I was googling AA triangle symbol, but found the Mason symbol also relevant here, since not only Recovery is being sought, but also some sort of Exorcism going on in the Philippines… Gina Lopez is some sort of mystical maiden in this whole equation, the moment she gets defiled by those within the triangle or without, everything crumbles—– sorry for sounding like i7 but googling that left triangle was a bit of a mindtrip.I miss i7 😦 sorry for going down this rabbit hole .)

          • Gina Lopez did not get confirmed, not even by Cayetano.

            So was Duterte’s being for Gina ever for real?

            • Ireneo,

              Why is the confirmation process, like one year after their appointment? that’s just weird, so for about a year she was still in the process of confirmation?

              Over here, they get confirmed first and they do their jobs, if no, then in the mean time some assistant or a head from the previous administration holds the position, but they get confirmed within a month or two.

              Either way it depends what DU30 does with Gina Lopez’s position, and whether or not he continues her vision (will DU30 keep her as some sort of special advisor?).

              In that case the mystical maiden has been defiled (sorry, I didn’t know anything about the confirmation stuff), question now is, can a tripod stand on just two legs? That’s the mystical question now. IMHO Gina Lopez in that AA triangle represented Recovery & Clean House, if another (or even DU30) assume that leg , that tripod might just well stand.

              • chemrock says:

                Lance

                Had Duts wanted Gina Lopez, do you think Cayetano and the rest of the sycophants would have voted no?

                Mines will not close, but ownership will change hands, especially in Mindanao. Those who will gain – Romualdez, Nograles ( from enemies to pals) with Chinese fundings and participation to go even bigger scale, under pretense of modern technology and thus greener. I think Zubiri will be out although they are still dumb to carry balls.

                Wither Gina? History.

                I thought a deLima didn’t get her confirmation as DOJ Sec too?

                The CA procedure is stupid. Three pillars of democracy, but the Executive is too that extent of confirmation of cabinet appointments by legislative, subjugated. The CA should be a non political board of distinguished character. Alas these are rare creatures in Philippines.

              • chemp,

                I noticed in the list of CA votes, Manny Pacquiao , which tells me if there any sort of conspiracy against Gina Lopez, then the champ would have been in the “NO” column. Granted I haven’t been keeping up with the details of all this confirmation stuff, just had a general knowledge that Gina Lopez was kicking ass and taking names in the mining sector.

                But If I had to hazard a guess then I’d conjecture that the “NO” votes were simply bought off by the mining interests (right?). I noticed one Panfilo Lacson in the “NO” column and I remember his name is infamous in the Mindanao re mining scene. So the votes essentially lined up for the mining interests, read corruption.

                Which affirms the article that karl shared, that the Establishment is now rising against DU30, that or this mining stuff is just ‘to each his own’-type of set-up hence a vote by say Cayetano against DU30’s DENR pick, will essentially be forgiven—- the guy’s gotta “eat” sorta deal.

                The real question here is if DU30’s truly been smitten by all this environmental talk. Environmental for me is the bigger bellwether than the EJKs, simply because I had no romantic views of the Philippines to start with, ie. all this talk of love and stuff from Wil, The Philippines IMHO is the most violent place on earth, not because of the violence per se, but

                the manner in which Filipinos compartmentalize all this, there is a very strong veneer of order or peace (or even Wil’s love) , like slight of hand, illusion. Korea for example those people are violent, I mean fights break out in the streets, in hotel rooms, bars, etc. but there’s no veil, you get what you see. So it’s the illusion of it all that amplifies this true nature in the Philippines,

                i’ve tried to describe it as night and day Philippines, so basically DU30 just pulled this thin veil off. So talks of EJK for me, having been to Mindanao and the Visayas, is all on par with the course, not that much surprising, chemp.

                Now the Gina Lopez appointment, i’d not heard of her til last year, then I Googled her (the results of which i based much of the last article i wrote on here). The fact that this Philippine equivalent of John Muir was given so much leeway by DU30—- I thought the whole relationship was very reminiscent of Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir—- means there ‘s something new now, not par for the course anymore… like EJKs.

                Of course I had no illusion that Filipinos were gonna stop just tossing trash left and right, or peeing and pooping pretty much everywhere, much less understanding why mining and logging is bad for everyone period (remember I’m Cascadian at heart) which was the source of all the heart ache of Native Americans from the plains to the west here… it took us a century to figure out.

                But the fact that a person like Gina Lopez was even appointed, and that for 1 year she was on, she was able to cause the mining and logging industry to pee just a little bit in their pants. that one year was success enough—- that’s like John Muir and the Clean Water Act done within just 1 year (70 years in 1 year). that this industry puckered up their butts was just enough.

                chemp, if DU30 was gonna roll Gina under the bus, this isn’t the best way to do this, like you said DU30 ‘s supporters voted “NO”, if I had a sacrificial lamb I wouldn’t sacrifice her this way (unless Gina Lopez needed to be appeased, ie. I DU30 still support you, it was them… ), but this doesn’t look like a sacrifice is my point.

                Looks to me, that DU30 was truly smitten by Gina’s worldview, which is very Cascadian, similar view you’re seeing in Costa Rica, who’s found an economic niche. I remember him saying, “Filipinos can live without mining [and logging]”. So my tentative conclusion here is that the mining industry was able to assert itself in the CA, the next move now is DU30’s

                he’ll either appease the mining industry and bow his head low; OR he’ll push Gina Lopez’s agenda, albeit more carefully this time. I read Gina Lopez recommending that DU30 himself personally see to DENR himself. If DU30 doesn’t kow-tow, then we’re still in the running, chemp,

                have you seen “Moana”? This is all about waking up Te Fiti , or raping her… (we’ll see DU30’s next move—–> 😉 )

              • NHerrera says:

                CA VOTES ON GINA LOPEZ

                I am late on the news. The table below shows the CA members votes — with the names in black for confirmation rejection, a 16-8 vote for rejection.

                (I will be happy to be corrected.)

              • chemrock says:

                Lance

                Duts is not the most influential person in the world for nothing. One word from him and deLima is in jail. There is no question Gina will be in had he wished it. There were mining interest in the CA board but Duts still have the numbers if he wanted. It’s floor show is all. His remarks after the CA vote was fait acompli. I expected it almost word for word.

                Was he besotted with Gina’s advocacy? It’s hard to put a hardened killer in the same camp as soft hearted nature lover. He showed no concern over the enormous damage to the reefs in the west Philippines seas from Chinese reclamation works.

                But I do agree with Karl’s view the Palace revolt is beginning stir. The latest indication is the charge that Congressman Farinas is bringing against Imee Marcos for breaking some regulations in the way tobacco tax was spent in her province. That was a 2012 incidentincident why is the minority bringing this up against the Queen now?

              • “There were mining interest in the CA board but Duts still have the numbers if he wanted. It’s floor show is all. His remarks after the CA vote was fait acompli. I expected it almost word for word.”

                chemp,

                But what was his gain here?

            • “Mines will not close, but ownership will change hands, especially in Mindanao. Those who will gain – Romualdez, Nograles ( from enemies to pals) with Chinese fundings and participation to go even bigger scale, under pretense of modern technology and thus greener. “

              Exactly, chemp! Nothing changed hands yet, hence the CA move was premature; ergo it wasn’t DU30’s move but (and to karl’s article’s point) the Establishment’s.

            • I think the bigger sign of revolt is Nograles not endorsing Leni’s impeachment.

              Nograles and Duterte, both Davao, had a rivalry before but later were allies. Alvarez was mad about Nograles not doing his part, Nograles denied knowing anything about it…

              • chemrock says:

                Definitely some game playing going on. According to Alvarez, Nagroles volunteered to be the Congressman to sponsor the impeach request. Then he reneged. After Atty Bruce’s apology, Nagroles say he is now amenable to an impeachment.

              • I’ll keep an eye on this development with Nograles. Thanks!

  24. karlgarcia says:

    Perspectives on ‘Dutertenomics’ | Inquirer Opinion

    Build, build, build” is the new mantra of the Duterte administration, as our top infrastructure officials joined Cabinet economic managers in the “Dutertenomics Forum” held earlier this week. I was invited to share my own reactions to Dutertenomics from my perspective as economic manager in the Ramos Cabinet. The forum highlighted the “Golden Age of Infrastructure” that the government promises over the next six years, bent on narrowing the wide gap that developed over the years between us and our neighbors in terms of quantity and quality of infrastructure. Indeed, if Dutertenomics succeeds in delivering on this—and with our past track record, there are many skeptics out there—a lot of other things will fall into place. Even so, I noted in a recent column that our neighbors have announced similarly aggressive moves to beef up their infrastructure as well. So even as we’re catching up on our own internal gap, the gap with our neighbors may not necessarily narrow.

    I centered my reactions on six points: 1) We have been on a roll; 2) Our foreign partners all matter; 3) We still lag behind the region; 4) Dark clouds are forming; 5) Dutertenomics is on the right track, mostly; and 6) A silent time bomb is ticking on us…..”

  25. Anton says:

    That’s because the US could do nothing about Chinese incursion in the region the past three decades, and the government couldn’t defeat the NPA and others for much longer.

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