Wise up, yellows. Rody is the people’s president!

Campaign charisma. Real people. [Photo by MNS via Balita, Filipino News, Canada]

Joe America

President Duterte is the people’s president. The proof is in the pudding, where the pudding is his high survey ratings and all the notables and legislators lined up to support him.

The President gives voice to millions and money to the rest.

He gives voice to the powerless by rejecting the conventions that have done so little to help them out. He is respected by legislators, judges, and movie stars. The headlines call him “Rody”, our best friend. He provides us with the security of threat . . . and the real-life brutality to back it up. People truly believe he is a tough guy, their tough guy.

His supporters care little about democracy or human rights. These are vague, meaningless concepts to the disenfranchised, disadvantaged, and emotionally downtrodden. We can moralize until we are blue in the face but we will only shout empty air at legions of deaf people. Most Filipinos care little about what we yellows think, or Europe, or the US, or anybody else, for that matter.

Wise up, yellow folks. Sovereignty can indeed be found by insulting overbearing, suffocating moralists who try to impose knowledge on the independent Philippines. President Duterte is high skill at pushing away legions of them, flipping the bird to the Catholic Church, the NPA, the US, the UN Human Rights blowhards, and whiny news organizations like Rappler. Fuck ’em all. “Leave us to our sovereign way, a way of favor and advantage, the stacking of powerful over less powerful . . . and at the bottom are those who won’t go along.”

At the bottom are the irritating, arrogant yellows who try to impose a wordy American-style order on real Filipinos when real Filipinos are comfortable with the way it has always been in their town.

Real Filipinos across the nation have always granted the powerful their due. Real Filipinos admire the strong.

We of supposedly high moral bearing believe in the promises and compassion of human rights and the fairness and inspiration of participatory governance. We are the weak, the needy, in the eyes of the strong. We are the troublemakers, the irritating elite who think we are better and smarter than everyone else. Most Filipinos would prefer that we go away or die or at least shut up.

Compassion, equality, fairness. Irrelevant. Weak.

Cruelty, cheating, threats. Relevant. Strong. That is what Filipinos, broadly, understand and admire.

To the strong, the nation’s democratic institutions are in the way. They are walls. They are not foundations. That’s why the people’s president is tearing them down, and it has proved easy. Because flip flopping, turncoating, and outright treason are the ways of the greedy. Legislators, judges, and lawyers have sold their oaths to the promises of favor. Indeed, Filipinos broadly ignore the rules because ‘getting mine’ is a part of the national psyche.

Journalism is not a fourth estate here, that vital democratic institution that gives the people knowledge and insists on ethical behavior. Rather, it is a part of the entertainment complex. Propaganda, social media, and mainstream sensationalism merge to create a bizarre field of actors and dramatics with you and I as the villains. The field of debate is a wasteland of lies, illusions, and emotions over sense.

Yes, it is horrifying. It is horrifying to think that people like Speaker Alvarez, Senator Gordon, Secretary Aguirre, and Chief Dela Rosa represent the character of the nation. It is frightening to see China taking charge of Philippine commerce and resources from an elegant room at the Chinese Embassy with a direct line to Beijing. It is horrifying to know that thousands of dead people and tens of thousands of orphaned children are worth no more than a careless shrug to most.

I read here and there that you, the hopeful, think these horrors will soon end.



Too many people don’t want that. Yellows are old people, in the main. We talk about “Marcos never again”, and warn how People Power can rise again. These are the poignant recollections of the few, irrelevant to the masses.

Who among us, fat and happy with our wealth and ways of comfort, are ready to take up a carbine and head for the mountains? Or riot in the streets like the leftists? Can the stout-hearted Senator Trillanes concoct a successful rebellion against a brutal government? Or will the military pull the rug on him? Where are the rebel leaders who can pull together objection as a force? Where are the rallies and shut-down of the city in demands for REAL justice? Where are the churches, the caretakers of Philippine morality? The educators, the caretakers of wisdom?

Make no mistake, I am not advocating riots and protests. I’m just asking, where is the passion? Where is the organization? Where is the hunger, the demand, to be the best that we can be?

Hey, resistance is usually a youth movement, and the youth of the Philippines are socio-political slackards, as far as I can tell. Apathetic slugs who go to volleyball matches and movies and malls and serve as the pawns of an aggressive government with its online vendors of mindless manipulation. Young Filipinos dine on the deceits of social media and spew nonsense across the globe as if a great nation can be built on a pile of shit.

Our brilliant contributor Francis, a wise and articulate mind in a young body, is the exception who proves the rule.

If there is a way forward to construct a modern, orderly, and compassionate Philippines, I don’t see it. Someone has to show it to me.

I wish you the best of luck in doing so.

At some point, we have to get past words that go nowhere but in circles of dismay and anger. We have to get past the moral superiority that is meaningless . . . or offensive . . .  to most Filipinos.

Perhaps it is necessary to redefine what it means to be Filipino. Something about how to be free, successfully.


163 Responses to “Wise up, yellows. Rody is the people’s president!”
  1. Vicara says:

    “He gives voice to the powerless by rejecting the conventions that have done so little to help them out.” The truth is he has been supporting the very conventions of Philippine politics that have done NOTHING but ruin the country: playing the political dynasties, backing the oligarchy (some are new, some dating back to Marcos times), playing the regionalism/ ethnic identification card endlessly, using shock and comedy tactics to win, intimidation, bullying, coercion, illegal detention, impunity for killers and criminals (really can’t tell anymore which is which), legal palusot, promotions and pay raises to “buy” the AFP and police (and, reportedly, bounty doled for tokhang kills). It’s nothing but good old goons, guns and gold. Only worse.

    And, perhaps worst of all: steadily degrading all systems, conventions, values, rationales, ideals, language; even thought itself: everything that Filipinos have painstakingly adapted or evolved–however imperfectly–to make ourselves a nation.

    Sorry, some of that echoes what you just said, but had to get if off my chest.

    So, living for the day when he leaves or croaks, you ask what we, the “morally superior” are going to do? For one thing, venture out of the Diliman/ Mendiola/ Bantayog/ EDSA shrine nexus.

    But forget the carbines and rebellion and riots. Less keyboard work, drop the slogans and indignation, engage in more flesh-and-blood community. Volunteer as a real person, get a dose of how real lives are lived. Help out–not lord over–as local volunteers. In parishes, with NGOs, in support groups for the families of EJK victims. I’ve been astounded by how many local drug rehab programs have been operating in the NCR—involving barangays, police, the Church, local supporters–for years now, in some cases. And they’ve had successes. Why not work with them? Not because they need help–although they do–but because WE need help in understanding and coming to terms with the national situation.

    We have to listen and learn, fast. Get a group together and meet our respective representatives in Congress. If we want them to do their jobs, we have to do ours as citizens. Why do congresspeople set themselves up as traditional patrons and cater to the poorest and most ignorant? Because it’s the poorest and most ignorant who show up. Really, when was the last time anyone reading this thread tried to talk with their congressman? Wrote directly to him? Sure, he may be a thug. But he may be a reasonable thug who knows his constituents well. (And is counting on stuck-up constituents like you and, well, myself 🙂 to gripe and snipe but pose no challenges.)

    We should study the electorate and pay attention. Look up the demographics, the local economies. Keep close tabs on the dynasties, even—or perhaps most especially–the more obscure ones. Take trips out to provinces, not for R&R, not to preach, but to learn. Not as academic types, but as street operatives looking for windows of opportunity. With that kind of attitude, unexpected avenues will open up, and we will go forward.

    The current situation not going to end anytime soon, with or without him. BUT, with or without him, the slate is being wiped bare, and we have to start over again with this thing called nation-building.

    Happy New Year 2018.

    • Thanks for the course correction on that sentence, Vicara. Indeed, he is convention, old-school, local power politics. The marketing program is that he is different, and that theme is carried out well on social media. The product has been purchased widely.

      Your suggested hands-on, tangible acts are excellent. I wonder if there are enough people to do that and make a difference. But it is for sure an important element of the whole picture. I do note that many people are leaving the Facebook platform, or downscaling what it means in their lives. So you point them in a good direction.

    • The streetwork and rural work are important, that is the approach Leni is also taking..

      It will not be without risk. Numerous volunteers associated with the left, but also with the church get killed regularly. So good networks will be needed. To protect and warn. Protest if needed.

    • I got blocked by my congressman in facebook. 🙂

    • “Take trips out to provinces, not for R&R, not to preach, but to learn. Not as academic types, but as street operatives looking for windows of opportunity. With that kind of attitude, unexpected avenues will open up, and we will go forward.”

      You mean to say, from the clouds to on-the-ground? j/k 😉

      I’d focus on gov’t services and the difference now, if you discover that under DU30 gov’t there is more responsive, then you’ll have to figure out how that’s being done (fear? love? , or more corruption?) then continue said responsiveness (no doubt thru fear, ie. DU30: “If you think you can do the job better, you can have his gov’t job!”, etc.).

      Gov’t responsiveness is where these yellows should start looking IMHO , they weren’t able to do it thru Daan Matuwid , so how the hell is DU30 doing it now? What’s the secret recipe? That makes these lowly gov’t servants now stand up in attention, where before they were seated waiting for money to grease their wheels.

      Figure that out and you can subvert DU30. Don’t and Filipinos will forever think human rights is crap and only fear gets things done.

      • Sabtang Basco says:

        Hey, yo, Lance. So the Philippine PESO is spelled “PISO” after all? When did the Filipinos changed the spelling?

        Is it Filipinos? Or, Pilipino? What is the difference? According to my drinking buddies Philippine Alphabet does not have alphabet “F”. True? Or, False? It also does not have “X” “Z”

        I Googled, there is a “modern” Filipino alphabet and there is “not modern”? I am confused. I wanted to learn “Pilipino” or is it “Tagalog”?

        It seems Filipino alphabet is confused as Filipino politics.

        • mfdeborja says:

          No, I think Filipino culture is so rich that’s why you need some units in college to fully understand it if you’re a foreigner. But yes, Filipino politics is confused.

          • Sabtang Basco says:

            I would rather experience culture than taught in college. I prefer to form my own opinion. It is like studying “Art Appreciation” and “Wine Classes”.

            “At the time of the “Mona Lisa” heist, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece was far from the most visited item in the museum. Leonardo painted the portrait around 1507, and it was not until the 1860s that art critics claimed the Mona Lisa was one of the finest examples of Renaissance painting.”

            It took 353 years for art critic to find it as finest Renaissance painting. 51 years later it was stolen from the Louvre. When it was recovered it became da Vinci’s icon. French lined up to gosh about it.

            “Two paintings worth £30m – including one by Gaugin – that were stolen from London home in 1970 are found 40 YEARS later in an Italian factory worker’s kitchen (after he paid £20 for them)
            Paintings are by French artists Paul Gauguin and Pierre Bonnard
            Found in lost property at a train station and sold at auction in 1975
            Fiat factory worker bought them for £20 and hung them on kitchen wall
            Found 40 years on after a lengthy police investigation following tip-off
            Used newspaper reports in New York and Singapore to trace UK owners
            Italian culture minister: ‘It’s an incredible story, an amazing recovery’ ”

            Nobody can know a good painting from bad EXCEPT YOU ! Or, some snob drop the million-dollar-painting in front of you and you start oooh and aaaah and Oh my Goshings.

            In art appreciation school they teach what to like and dislike. JUST LIKE IN WINE SCHOOLS.

            Trust your eye. Trust your palate. Don’t let anyone dictate what a good art and good wine is.

            Like culture, I have traveled the Philippines. I lived in Bohol, Cebu and Davao. I avoided Metro Manila. Now I am in Babuyan Island. What a wonderful place !!! Culture? I like this place better than Bohol. Bohol is inundated with foreign and local tourists. I’ve bumped into plenty of arrogant foreign tourists that complains of toilets. Yes, I complain of toilets, too, it is my pet peeve, EITHER I LEAVE PHILIPPINES OR LIVE PHILIPPINES.

            I decided to live …. because in the Philippine there are plenty of places to live my Little Private Idaho which Lance calls my Ireland of Asia, SABTANG ISLAND.

        • “Trust your eye. Trust your palate. Don’t let anyone dictate what a good art and good wine is.”

          True for Filipinos , as well as to all, SB. And reminded me of Wilde’s preface for Dorian Gray:

    • Francis says:

      @Vicara: Very well-put. I agree with your sentiments whole-heartedly.

      “But forget the carbines and rebellion and riots. Less keyboard work, drop the slogans and indignation, engage in more flesh-and-blood community. Volunteer as a real person, get a dose of how real lives are lived. Help out–not lord over–as local volunteers. In parishes, with NGOs, in support groups for the families of EJK victims. I’ve been astounded by how many local drug rehab programs have been operating in the NCR—involving barangays, police, the Church, local supporters–for years now, in some cases. And they’ve had successes. Why not work with them? Not because they need help–although they do–but because WE need help in understanding and coming to terms with the national situation.”

      It is a testament to the vibrancy of our civil society—the most tangible legacy of the EDSA Revolution—that we have all these local initiatives flourishing. In a way unlike previous generations, Filipinos have enormous opportunity to do good at a local level. Unfortunately, all these local initiatives lack the benefit of scale; simply put, there are insufficient mechanisms available to aggregate this multitude of local projects into a genuinely national effort and there is also a failure to popularly articulate all these little initiatives as part of a broader narratives—which explains partly why people do not appreciate the benefits of EDSA: they do not associate the little gains of their local barangay with the many little gains of many other barangays across the nation—even if their efforts all stem in part from positive factors brought about by EDSA.

      I wouldn’t put keyboard work and local work in a dichotomy. Both have their place. There is simultaneously a need for glitz and sentiment (PR) plus ideological work (reflection) and sweat (grassroots organization). I think more than people helping out via words and action—there’s a need for bigger systems that will allow said people to pool their efforts. Like genuine political parties which actually represent the grassroots, and not just notables—whether of dynasty or of the civil society leadership.


      “We have to listen and learn, fast. Get a group together and meet our respective representatives in Congress. If we want them to do their jobs, we have to do ours as citizens. Why do congresspeople set themselves up as traditional patrons and cater to the poorest and most ignorant? Because it’s the poorest and most ignorant who show up. Really, when was the last time anyone reading this thread tried to talk with their congressman? Wrote directly to him? Sure, he may be a thug. But he may be a reasonable thug who knows his constituents well. (And is counting on stuck-up constituents like you and, well, myself 🙂 to gripe and snipe but pose no challenges.)“

      I can’t help but think of one problem in broadening the democratic culture in the country and that is the fact that the middle class and elite have the ability to simply ignore the problems of the Philippines. Besides the fact that the the middle class and elite can simply go abroad for greener pastures—at home, there is little to genuinely train ourselves in democracy. I mean, democracy isn’t just big concepts like liberty—it’s also fixing things like bad traffic because your barangay doesn’t hire someone to direct traffic at an intersection or water leaking on the road or potholes on the road. Which people in subdivisions (I admit including myself) can ignore by the mere fact that subdivisions can be literally self-contained universes with all these things handled privately, not publicly.

      What does it mean to be a citizen in such a situation?

      • Subdivisions as self-contained universes… the Philippine middle class also sends its children to private schools… and of course malls replace properly tended city centers.. so of course the civic engagement is lacking.. the wild world is outside and is kept there..

        I went to an exhibit about Jerusalem recently in the Jewish museum in Berlin.. the divisions between Israelis and Palestinians reminded me of rich/middle class and poor Filipinos.. or rather Filipinos (with an F) and Pilipinos (wid a P op kors) that live in different worlds..

        One reason the German middle class takes care of the community is that they live and shop in the same streets as the poor, go to the same public schools.. their taxes pay police, city cleaning and school teachers… it is not like in Pinas, private money for private services..

        • NHerrera says:

          This reminds me again — I believe I posted it in TSH before. The Malls of the Sys and the Gokongweis are of course open to all Filipinos here but some are rather timid to partake of the facilities. My daughter who used to do investment analysis told me that in a certain Jollibee shop newly opened, the ambience was so classy/ high-class, that the poor had to ask the “Seku” to buy for them, too timid to be with the other Filipinos when they are not prevented from entering it and buy what they want. Another Filipino trait? But that was some 10 years ago. Under the present Admin, the dirty-mouthed officials must have changed all that.

    • I wouldn’t put keyboard work and local work in a dichotomy. Both have their place. There is simultaneously a need for glitz and sentiment (PR) plus ideological work (reflection) and sweat (grassroots organization). I think more than people helping out via words and action—there’s a need for bigger systems that will allow said people to pool their efforts. Like genuine political parties which actually represent the grassroots, and not just notables—whether of dynasty or of the civil society leadership.”

      I agree, Francis. Like Thomas Paine (with his pamphlets, Common Sense, Rights of Man, Age of Reason— which got him ostracized by other Founding Fathers) he was in the thick of it, never just some dude far away spouting cloudy words. If you love the Philippines so much, get in there and get dirty or dirrrty, which ever you prefer, but be where rubber meets ground… not trapped in some subdivision (make it fun hang out in girly-bars, sure to get dirrrty too, but mostly to get dirty— just one ‘r’— talk to the girls about their families in Mindanao or Samar, etc. etc.)

      I’d suggest to talk to your servants, but that would be pushing the bounds of protocol, so go to girly-bars.

      gian requested Ireneo to translate some Thomas Paine works, I think start with Age of Reason first.

  2. Two characteristics of Philippine society, especially rural society, are:

    1) impunity – http://filipinogerman.blogsport.eu/binaril-iyong-pranses/#comment-18577 – armed groups always existed whenever the colonial powers were not there, starting with the revolutionary army which was basically militia attached to different provincial power brokers, WW2 guerillas and the private armies of politicians that suceeded them after independence, and death squads like Alsa Masa after Martial Law. Marcos tried to consolidate, but failed to create a true state monopoly of power as true ideas of state never took root in the Philippines. It always was about personal loyalties…

    2) networks – http://filipinogerman.blogsport.eu/binaril-iyong-pranses/#comment-18576 – to the extent that their rules are more important than any abstract or universal rules. Of course the power brokers, whether they were datus before, principalia later or trapos today are at the center of these networks. Liberal middle classes were tolerated by the Spanish and American colonizers first and the oligarchy later on, as their special skills were needed. Their ideas tolerated as long as they were only words.

    But then there were the likes of Leila de Lima who dared attack 1) = impunity. Or the likes of Trillanes who attacked 2) = networks that were engaged in corruption, something nobody had been crazy enough to do before as it was normal to take. But most Filipinos lack the drive to change things.

    Rizal already noticed this, the El Fili is full of young students who want to change things yet make all sorts of excuses. The “you go first” mentality. I like to say that Filipinos like their heroes dead. They might worship De Lima and Trillanes 100 years from now, in a Philippines hardly better than today.

    “Yellows” also failed to put into practice the freedoms they enjoyed for the rest of Philippine society. Most Philippine groups are self-centered, they care little about those not part of their own network. OFWs and BPO workers do not believe “yellow” will help them with their interests. Trust is lacking. Lorraine Marie Badoy wrote an open letter to PAB in the beginning, saying forget the yellows, they will be nice to you as long as they need you, then they will throw you under bus and sip their Starbucks. This reputation of being jerks may or may not be earned. It pays to think about HOW it came about.

    • P.S. What surprises me is the number of occasional reads my Tagalog translation of John Locke (just begun, first chapter of Two Treatises of Government which disputes the legitimacy of absolute rule) is getting nearly every day. The founding work of liberal democracy.

      If the only thing I can do is raise a certain awareness, long-term, then so be it. Since I am elsewhere there is not much else I can do. The idea of equality won a bit today with people on twitter questioning an entitled man’s right to call them Gago.. but mental revolutions take time.

      Happy New Year to all as well.

      • You should also do some translation and updating of works like thomas paine and other enlightenment writers

        • karlgarcia says:

          I second the motion of Gian.

          Re: Art of war.
          All other available translations have deep tagalog, which is hard to understand.

          You can do layman tagalog.

          • Thanks both.. John Locke I will finish first… his style sounds old at first but is actually simple.

            In fact it is quite funny because it is like an answer to a troll.. the one who wrote Patriarcha.

            • I would love an Ireneo translation of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master%E2%80%93slave_morality in English from the original German.

              • Translation is about 3x the work you have for a normal article, so it will all take time.

                3x because you have to understand first, get the line of thinking, and then write it down again. Although again, Locke is great, sounds a bit like PAB taunting Mocha Uson and TP at times.

              • NHerrera says:

                Irineo, I admire you for the effort in doing what you are doing, — among others, that painstaking job of translating John Locke’s Philosophy, partial though it may be. Your love for the Philippines even from that distance is shown in that effort, as well as your encyclopedic knowledge of Philippine history which much have taken great efforts to accumulate too. And doing those while still working for a living. (Or are you doing the latter as a hobby too, after having enough to last you comfortably?)

              • Thanks NHerrera. 2015 and early 2016 I actually had more time than now, but I still manage to get a blog out each weekend, or sometimes there are slow days or during my vacations..

                Some things take longer, some shorter… What is interesting BTW about Philippine history is the many angles that it has… this is because each group will tell its own version.. putting it together is like being a judge listening to many witness accounts (c) MRP.. complicated..

                Got a bit caught in the day-to-day stuff, the tsismis politics recently.. but that is also part of it.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Hope you find time, or time finds you.

    • Nice elaboration, Irineo, thanks. Impunity and networks, to which even yellows belong. Indeed, reflection is an important step, the place where both your comment and my article leave off.

    • When it comes to these networks, it really can’t be denied that there really is a lack of drive to change things. Not to say that people won’t try. On the contrary, they surely will. However, it will seldom result in anything as the drive for changing things is usually in the form of changing things for the *other* network. Seldom will it happen with one’s own. And this is probably one reason why actions tend to fall short as most of it will inevitably lead back to their own networks in some form of blowback. So unless they are willing to risk their own, you can only expect more of the same. Basically M.A.D. (Mutually Assured Destruction) Doctrine in place and the situation will only escalate until one side (or both) can’t keep up and is then annihilated. Or maybe they’ll de-escalate? Highly doubt it though…

      As for how it came about, I think it is pretty much unavoidable when the mindset is usually destructive rather constructive. That is why everybody is talking with daggers behind there backs. A zero-sum game where one must fall down. An arms race and a vicious cycle.

      So how to break it?

      • The games are going more towards negative-sum games recently, from zero-sum before.

        Maybe everything will have to hit rock-bottom for everybody to wake up and start again. Possibly then a lesson or two will have been learned, maybe not even that.

        • For the huge established networks, they are surely in disarray. And to be honest, not only is it inevitable, it is probably also for the best.

          The revolu… I mean, the awakening is at hand. The opportunity will surely be there and it will then just be a matter of grabbing it, maximizing it, and sustaining it. Hopefully, we can find a common rallying point when the time comes.

          As from a convo with someone before the elections:

          // Duterte won’t be able to bring that much ‘good’ change for the country. But the catch is, well, not by just relying on him alone of course. As what is usually the case, it will be the people themselves that will bring upon the much needed change we need. And those people you are referring to who has their hearts, mind, and soul in a good place? They are actually indeed the main catalysts of who will bring upon the ‘good’ change. However, these people are disparate, isolated and unaware of each other, as they currently seem to not have a banner to rally under, though they actually have similar problems with one other. Given this, though Duterte may seem lacking on many aspects that is needed for the presidency, what I see about Duterte though is if there is one thing he can do, it seems to be that he can surely gather and inspire** people to help him and each other. //

          **That was when I was optimistic. As of now, I’m of the view that he forces it. In many ways, it is basically “step up or shut up”. And as of present, people are surely stepping up.

          I guess this is what Jefferson means when he says the the tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants every now and then?

          • Your last question is related to me and edgar’s current dispute re king of the road. You have to be where rubber meets the road, and you don’t do that by sticking your nose up and thinking you’re king, i.p. You’re in the jungle and the laws of Nature (of the jungle) prevail, work with that first then enjoy cloudy thinking— but realize cloudy thinking is illusion/ideal , you first have to navigate thru the ground, clouds are a luxury.

            • I navigate the ground when I am interacting with someone on the ground. Same with how I navigate the clouds when interacting with someone on the clouds.

              I have always tried bridging the two with little progress. You’ve seen some of these attempts. But hey, that’s probably how it is. A very slow process. Will keep trying.

              Oh, and yes, I am and will be trying to engage more. So you’re badgering of ‘do something’ is bearing fruit. 🙂

              Hmm… Maybe it’s a Tyler Durden thing? hahahaha
              (But again, nope. Not Francis. 😛 )

          • edgar lores says:

            Gadzooks! This is not the @intuitiveperceiving I used to know.

  3. chemrock says:

    “Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them’ … Assata Shakur, a Black Liberation Army activist.

    Take it any way you want.

    • Oppression is in the mind of the oppressed in some circumstances, I think. There is no question that Filipinos have been treated badly by the ruling class. But there will always be a ruling class. Why not educate people to use the democratic system the way it was designed, for self-fulfillment.

      The challenge is enormous because there are some deep-rooted cultural emotions in play, but I think (as a marketing guy) that they can be addressed as was suggested in one of the discussion threads . . . one small step at a time.

      I’d make stopping for pedestrians a national cause to mandate caring for others . . . for example. I think Filipinos CAN care.

  4. arlene says:

    I don’t think he is really concerned about the people he is supposed to serve. Good afternoon Joeam!

  5. karlgarcia says:

    Re: Francis.

    There are times that I confuse him with Intuitive Perceiving.

    But IP is more of a Devil’s advocate and Francis talks straight and direct.

    • chemrock says:

      Francis is well read and very intelligent. If he is as young as he said he is, just wonder what he can be in 40 years time with all the wisdom that comes with white hairs.

      • “But IP is more of a Devil’s advocate and Francis talks straight and direct.”

        I’ve always thought they were one and the same , i.p.’s had more than one handle. Who knows but i won’t be surprise if i.p.=Francis, like MRP=SB, LOL! (now this guy cracks me up everytime, HAPPY NEW YEAR, SB! i use “tongue lashing” a lot now, lol! just gold. )

        • karlgarcia says:

          Who knows?
          Popoy admitted using more than one, mercedes too.
          Do you use any other handle here?
          If yes, I did not notice.

          • Me and NH are one and the same, karl, hence the wisdom of old age and the penchant for prostate, Lol!

            But seriously, writing styles cannot be made up, it would take an effort to mask or “create” another style ad hoc (possible, and great if you have lots of time), i.p. and Francis however write quite the same, take out the Myers-Briggs psycho mumbo jumbo and all the fence-sitting, ‘i dunno guys…’ (at least to me).

            For example, you and NH never write more than 3 paragraphs when commenting, that’s writing style, either you two are too busy or too lazy. NH likes to draw; while you like to share links. If you two started writing more than 3 paragraphs using different handles, that would be out of pattern, thus necessitating effort.

            SB’s style of posting in series, is basically MRP’s, add on affidavits and U.P. you got yourself a SB-MRP pattern. My point, i.p. and Francis look very very similar to me, karl.

            • @Karl, Lance, I only used a different handle to put the handle out of the equation. So nope. Me and Francis are different people. Not to mention that I think that I can’t really hold a candle to him. Hmm… I guess I’ll take the comparison as a compliment. haha

              • i.p., you are Francis, fess up!!! hahahahaha… karl, you notice when i.p. comments, Francis doesn’t? 😉 that’s a clue too. hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…

              • Sorry Lance, wrong again. I remember interacting with Francis a few number of times. And in those instances, we seem to have been in agreement on most points. So I guess I can understand when you say that there are similarities. 🙂

                Hmm… if I were to attempt to point out the overarching similarity: We both have much appreciation of the importance of context. And with that, how we then point out the ‘disconnect’.

              • Okay, then maybe brothers from the same mother, then? Lol.

                Maybe the context thing is spot on, but the writing style is similar. Maybe you two went to the same school, and/or had the same teacher? But you two are definitely peas in a pod, i.p. IMHO.

              • If I were to hazard a guess, Francis was probably influenced by a blue school in Katipunan. As for why, Call it ‘lukso ng dugo’? hahahaha

                But in all seriousness though, I honestly don’t have any idea.

                (Just in case Francis, no need to confirm any details. But if you do, that will be swell. 😉 )

              • What school is that? And kudos for that school and teachers there, now to spread that to the rest of the Philippines. But you and Francis are on track, i.p. now just attempt to infect others over there.

              • Ateneo… Rizal’s university.. Jesuit mental training.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Ok IP,
                I wil take your word.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Btw, Happy 2018 IP ( and the rest that I haven’t greeted.

                Good to have you back, IP.

              • chemrock says:

                I just get the sense tha IP is much older than Francis. I see Francis writes a lot from a fresh perspective. Which is why I’m a fan.

              • karlgarcia says:

                I am a fanboy of most of you guys.🍾

              • @Chemrock, what’s your estimate? I’m actually very curious…

                @Karl, Thanks. Happy New Year also!

            • NHerrera says:

              Lance, busy and lazy are not binary or complement of each other. I strongly believe karl is neither and so am I. And we two may have something in common but not that prostrate thing. 🙂

              Happy New Year to you and the family.

              • True. busy ‘s opposite would be not-busy, whilst lazy is not-lazy. But here busy is a compliment, while lazy though not necessarily so, but those who are busy wish they were being lazy, so not binary nor complementary , but related, like business and leisure.

                Go. Lol! we both like non-zero sum games!

                HAPPY NEW YEAR, NH! keep your prostate (and liver) healthy.

              • NHerrera says:

                Right you are. One essence of democracy is not to believe generally only in zero-sum games.

              • That is why democracy and extremism are generally incompatible. A functioning nation tries to maximize the benefits from shared resources – transportation and communication networks, industries, skilled people etc. so all have more. In kleptocracies, only a few have much more.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Hehehe 😜😂😅 about you and NH. About the rest……Nh-too busy Me – too lazy. Francis (50% agree)

              • Actually, I was implying that you are too busy (Trillanes’ advisor) and NH lazy (but he’s earned it being 80+).

              • ie. karl’s got business to tend to; while NH has leisure in mind (always 😉 ).

              • karlgarcia says:

                NH is never lazy,
                He still tutors math to friends referrals, etc
                As for me.
                My dad is the advisor and I advice my dad 😉.just kidding..I only help my dad.
                Me and my sis tag team in assisting my dad.

                Happy 2018 Lance!

                I can never call NH lazy.

              • I imagine NH wanting to write his brains out, but then thinking, hmmmmm… i’ll just doodle something post it and hang out with the grandkids instead , or tend to his prostate health 😉 (so lazy in commenting, where edgar is industrious).

                Happy New Year, karl.

              • NHerrera says:

                Thanks for the note, karl. The label “lazy” does not bother me. I agree with Lance: edgar’s industriousness in his comments here — and, more often than not, deep and meticulously organized — is a legend.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Agreed. A toat to you and the rest🍷🍻

      • karlgarcia says:

        @Chemrock, I agree, he said he is still a student, but he writes like he has seen it all.(compliment)

  6. NHerrera says:

    You punctured so soon the unreasonable (?) hope expressed at the immediate other side, dividing the old with the new year. But that is Reality. Saying it as it is. Welcome to 2018. Thanks for the strong, clear articulation.

    The Reality is that the momentum of the economy as normally understood — untrickled though it may be, or at least weakly, to the very poor — will continue for sometime. And so the same supporters enumerated in the blog article will shout “validation or confirmation” to their strong support, especially aided much by the trolls, paid or not. The Build, Build, Build Project is guaranteed to bring that economy higher for some time. (I am not an economist and will leave chempo to demolish or comment on this statement.) So let us not count on the desire of the “yellows” to gain effective traction soon. Unless some presently unseen miracle or accident of nature …

  7. josephivo says:

    I assume that this article was written on Rizal Day. Rizal, a child of the era of enlightenment, a Free Mason and a polyglot, multilingual, a world citizen….

    It is important to understand that democracy is a result of the enlightenment and a shift from a society organized by “Devine” principles to a society organized around individual citizen. From listen and understand the revelations to listen and understand your inner self.

    In the late 1800’s and the early post-Spanish years, the influence in politics of enlightened people was high, hence Rizal as a national hero. Democracy was the natural modern solution (later also strongly promoted by the Americans). Also the free market to work well needs the invisible hand, individuals striving for their own best solutions and a government stimulating this.

    But individualism never got strong roots in the Philippines. For most relying on the family and the tribe or neighborhood is the organizing force, not relying on your God given individual strength, on your individual vote.

    It is my belief that the number of enlightened individuals grow much slower than the total population. The last 40 years the population doubled, but not the number of well educated teachers, not the number of qualified politicians, not the good newspapers, publicists. And now we reached a breaking point, the people stuck in pre-enlightenment thinking took over.

    • On or about . . .

      Excellent points you make here, especially the statistical conclusion. It seems to me that social media have cemented people to tribes rather than taught them to be free and independent, and accountable.

    • NHerrera says:

      Josehpivo, your last paragraph: this is a consequence, among others, of the demographics of the population increase. It is nice to imagine the positive consequence on politics and its discourse if the RH Law was passed and implemented, say, two decades ago.

    • Yes, and there have always been many who SEEMED enlightened but used only the words. Much like an estimated 57.98% +/- of Filipino Christians only pray without understanding.

      The falsely enlightened and the false Christians managed to spread their teachings faster. Senators like Pacquiao and Sotto are the result of this.

      Plus enlightenment was barely put into practice in the Philippines. Quezon put up a machinery of government, very modern for its times, but among those who took over I can imagine that 65.32% had a pre-enlightenment, Spanish colonial understanding of GABERMENT.

      A lot of people may not be consciously enlightened even in Europe, but the day to day of an enlightened machinery running their lives teaches them what it means in practice. In the Philippines such stuff is truly just empty words.

      Saper audere for example. Dare to ask “why” and it might be even the teacher will glare at you for questioning authority. Even if she just preached Rizal’s words like a parrot.

  8. edgar lores says:

    1. I read this piece as splashing cold water on one’s face after waking up hungover from the New Year’s revelry. It’s provocation, get real-time, you babes in the woods.

    2. Not to gainsay Vicara’s litany of ruinous conventions, but I read the keyword “conventions” in the cited statement to mean “constitutional conventions.”

    2.1. Thus, “He gives voice to the powerless by rejecting the constitutional conventions that have done so little to help them out.” This makes good sense.

    3. As I re-read Vicara’s response and Francis’ elaboration – a dramatic accompaniment of drum flourishes to Vicara’s soulful contrapuntal melodies – I keep nodding my head in agreement.

    4. The suggested alternatives to expressing the passion of resistance are well taken. Something as “small” as “stopping for pedestrians” is instructive.

    4.1. On reflection, this traffic rule is not a small thing. As I walk the streets of Oz, I walk like a king. A minor king, to be sure. A King of the pedestrian lanes. A King of the small domain of the narrow zebra-painted corridors between the street islands and the sidewalks. A King, nevertheless.

    4.1.1. To the pedestrian, the rule means, “I am king.”

    4.1.2. To the driver, the rule admonishes, “Give way to the king.”

    4.1.3. Ultimately, the rule proclaims, “Give way to yourself – after all, you are the king.”

    4.2. May this little “moral” lesson, the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings, trigger the revolu… I mean, the awakening. The Great Awakening.

    5. Indeed, Happy New Year 2018.

    • Hahaha, “awakening”, yes, yes, that is a word I shall subscribe to henceforth.

    • NHerrera says:

      Happy New Year to you, edgar.

      While I agree with you, from the standpoint of the pedestrians crossing the street, the other side of the coin is: as a vehicle driver here in Metro Manila, you may find yourself stuck in that place for a long time, what with the many pedestrians behaving like a king, and not giving in to their fellow kings in the vehicle.

      Making light of things in the New Year here edgar. Oh, what I will give to have the kind of demographics you have in Oz. (I enjoyed it there on my last visit to my daughter and family in Melbourne in 2015.)

    • 4.1.1. To the pedestrian, the rule means, “I am king.”

      4.1.2. To the driver, the rule admonishes, “Give way to the king.”

      4.1.3. Ultimately, the rule proclaims, “Give way to yourself – after all, you are the king.”

      So what was the operating rule in Melbourne, edgar?

      • edgar lores says:

        The operating rule there seems to be terrorism. Which, as you must know, is a rule that operates in the hearts of the unwoke — who are everywhere.

        • Nope.

          “the Victorian Police stated that while they had not yet determined Noori’s motivations, “we haven’t found anything at all to indicate his linkage or involvement with any type of extremism with any terrorism organisation or anything of a terrorist nature”.


          • edgar lores says:

            All the item says is that there is no known linkage with any terrorism organization.

            A terrorist can be a lone terrorist — even if he is crazy.

            Terrorist (noun)

            1. a person, usually a member of a group, who uses or advocates terrorism.
            2. a person who terrorizes or frightens others.

            • No, the operating rule is a car can easily kill a person, whether drunk, on diabetic shock, mentally ill, sleeping , accident, etc. etc. etc. whatever… when a car hits a curb or goes direct to bodies, bodies will tear apart, break, get smooshed, so for that reason and that reason alone,

              one should never feel invincible in the street, or on the sidewalk. My point, car is king.

              Every time I come back when in the 3rd world, the first adjustment is usually in driving and pedestrian-ing at home ( the first visceral difference i feel). Sure I come home, and see order, but that’s a false sense of security, sure I can think of myself as some King walking around, but it’s the King has no clothes on situation, edgar.

              So I try my best to keep that head-on-a-swivel , that 3rd world awareness when driving or walking amongst cars here. I try not to walk like I own the street. or pretend I’m king.

              Terrorism happens, accidents happen, whatever, car always wins. Operating principle, car will kill you, no matter the motivations of the driver. Whether that car is in the 3rd world or in the 1st world, Australia or Philippines, same-same, bodies sqoosh samely. 😉

              That’s the main take away.

              • edgar lores says:

                Sorry, if that’s the operating principle in your world.

              • Car is king, is nothing to be sorry about, edgar. It’s like Lion is king. 😉

              • edgar lores says:

                As I said that’s in your world. The word “sorry” is used to express commiseration.

              • It’s not my world , edgar. it’s simply fact.

                You don’t jump into a lion’s cage and discuss human rights with it; same with a car hurtling towards you. Hence, you are not king— it’s merely illusion. The threat remains, no motivations necessary for a car; in the case of the lion, simply its predisposition.

                My point, yes the individual is sacred in the Western world, but he is not necessarily king, he is still part of the jungle, as such subject to predation and/or accidents (acts of God). Do you walk into a crosswalk without looking? You take pre-cautions no?

                That’s my point.

              • edgar lores says:

                Understand: I am not rejecting the factuality of the laws of physics.

                What I am saying is that by intersubjective consensus — in certain worlds and in certain situations — the pedestrian is king.

                It’s a new year. Must we start it with this tedious discussion?

              • It’s not physics, we’re not talking literal here, edgar. But your mischaracterization of Western norms is too idealized, I get that a Man’s home is his castle; but this Pedestrian as king theory is just wrong, it doesn’t apply in the 1st world nor the 3rd world.

                When you’re with other moving parts of society (other variables) no the world does not revolve around you.

                Do people walk around like they own the road here, yes! And usually those that do over here tend to be blacks (or poor), walk without looking, no respect for traffic or other motorists, I think it’s connected to welfare thinking, i dunno.

                But blacks here like to walk on the road like they are king.

              • edgar lores says:

                1. What happens when a car hits a pedestrian is a perfect encapsulation of Newton’s Three Laws of Motion.

                2. Idealizations can be realized; ideals can become — have become — reality.

              • Then maybe you’re just using “I am king” (as pedestrian) here wrongly, edgar.

                chempo: “The Chinese has a saying — you cannot have two tigers in the same mountain.”

                Ireneo: “A functioning nation tries to maximize the benefits from shared resources – transportation and communication networks, industries, skilled people etc. so all have more.”

                i.p. : “A zero-sum game where one must fall down. An arms race and a vicious cycle.”

                The connotation for “I am king” is no regard for others, either other kings or lesser folk. Now I can go on and on about traffic and public transportation (as you know I try to go public transport as much as possible, rendering me a pedestrian 80% of the time here).

                High probability, Low impact (fender benders); and Low probability, High impact (like cars plowing into people) all that aside, it’s the notion of owning the streets/sidewalks that i take issue with. Yeah, you should take ownership of public spaces, pick up trash where you see it, bear witness of crimes or other shaniganans when seen, etc.

                but to assume a car or a mugger will bow down to you (stop for you), that’s just wrong, edgar. So no you are not “king”. That’s an illusion.

              • edgar lores says:

                Sorry! You just don’t know the truth and the feeling!

              • Humpty dumpty dictionary?

                But as much as I get what you’re saying, what Edgar is trying to say here is that in the specific situations, it is established that the pedestrians is king. And with effort, it is really no different from how the red lights are established as king in some intersections.

                (So again, there are designated zones. It is irrational to expect a car to give way to people if its a highway/freeway. Same with how it is irrational to expect a pedestrian to give way to a car when on a freaking *pedestrian* lane, especially when it explicitly says that cars should *GIVE WAY*.)

                Key thing here is: It is be negotiated and established. As said by Edgar, there is intersubjective consesus. So the issue is acting like a king when you are not supposed to be. And from what I see, that isn’t really inconsistent with the connotations you’ve enumerated. (Where for the PH context, nothing is ever properly established.)

              • “Key thing here is: It is be negotiated and established. As said by Edgar, there is intersubjective consesus.”

                Agreed, i.p.

                And that’s my point that consensus isn’t uniform, isn’t the rule (where edgar seems to thing it’s a natural state of things, like human rights or animal rights by animals), my point

                it’s case-by-case basis, and why everytime you cross the street or on the sidewalk, you have to look around. For example, when you cross the street do you do so, texting away, not a care in the world as king? (i know people do that nowadays), but my point is it’s the wrong assumption (that is being “king” to me).

                Standard operating procedure when one crosses a busy intersection is to make eye contact with each driver , to ensure 1). that he/she sees you and 2). to establish this intersubjective consensus (again case by case), you don’t assume that they’ll yield.

                You assume that they either do not see you, are impaired, texting themselves, or having a medical emergency. You don’t place your life unto this notion of “intersubjective consensus”, to do so would be irresponsible.

              • chemrock says:

                The discussion here is law and practically.

                It doesn’t matter you have the right of way if you are legally dead.

                People in Philippines don’t understand the basic principles in road use. The underlying rule is the big must watch out for the smaller ones. The bus must watch out for the cars, the cars watch out for motorcycles who watch out for cyclists. At the bottom lies the pedestrians. The pedestrian is king, but it would be a foolish king who crosses a road with his eyes closed.

                In Singapore, motorists turning a corner has to give way to pedestrians crossing the road.

                Although kings, pedestrians cannot cross a street within 30 metres of proper street crossings, such as traffic lights, zebra crossings or overhead bridges.

                There are laws but also practicalities. It’s live and let live. Pedestrians are kings but roads don’t belong to them. That’s why whenever vehicles stop for me, I always make a hurried crossing and give a wave of appreciation.

              • Exactly, chemp! I make it a point to respect motorists too, if they give me the right of way, I wave thanks and jog to the other side. I don’t take my sweet ass time and tell myself I’m king! That’s practicality, but also more practical is that i realize I’m not made of metal, just flesh & bones, ie. I’m no match for a car. There’s a whole balancing act when dealing with society.

              • @Lance, Again, I don’t exactly disagree. However, it is just the implication of your ‘case-by-case basis’ is eternal paranoia.

                I know that, sure, rules WILL be broken. However, that is the exception. And the exception is not the rule. Hence, not the ruler/king.

                (And damn those glaring typos. -_-)

              • i.p. ,

                I totally understand that these concepts are not mutually exclusive, it’s just been the theme of me & edgar’s disputes here , ie. cloud vs. on-the-ground. So when he says something airy I usually pounce , for fun but also to make a point, my sentiments also expressed here by

                Sabtang Basco : “The danger of the country is not the low-class it is the high-class applying theoretical democracy on the low-class”. a quote featured in chempo’s current blog,

                topped with chemp’s : “Freedom is fragile and it is not a birth right. All those countries where men live free, the Freedom came from the blood of others. People before us have fought and died so that we may live free today.”

                this quest for freedom, political or personal, requires lots of manueverings and navigating thru obstacles, ie. how to make use of limited resources and time to achieve goals; which initiatives to continue and which to pull the plug off of; how to maximize flexibility while keeping focus; weighing competing interests, tradeoffs, and/or options ; when to attack and when to wait; when to lead and when to follow… ex. If we have six weak areas on the field and two strong ones, how do we allocate resources appropriately? How do we enter a situation where an opponent is well established?

                there’s a lot of tug and pull, so my point this whole king of the road thinking is lackadaisical , yeah sure you can describe my mindset as paranoid (it’s different for everyone, say an off-duty cop walking down the street vs. some absent minded professor will pay attention to different things , with different levels of awareness…) levels of complacency and paranoia will differ , but once you realize the first laws that apply to your person are the laws of Physics and then the laws of Nature, then Human Rights and Animal Rights are luxuries in the clouds.

                Precisely because edgar’s analogy of King of the Road by definition presumes that Freedom is a birthright (like Human Rights/Animal Rights) and that it isn’t fragile (doesn’t need to be contested every time), that I take issue, because reality (even in the 1st world) does not agree with edgar’s analogy.

              • I prefer this, over your “eternal paranoia” , i.p. 😉

  9. madlanglupa says:

    Back from the holidays, of beer, revelry, and ribbing from relatives expecting me to be either svelte and/or married.

    Overheard a country cousin with his “new” phone: (looked aghast as the technician recommends installing a game with PRRD as a gun-toting character) No. He’s really bad.

    Based on how last year played out, I’m expecting much worse, more bread and circuses, beginning with Senator Gatchalian (vacationing somewhere in the state of Nevada) going berserk online and cursing critics like much a whiny kid losing so badly in an online match.

    • Sabtang Basco says:

      “President Duterte cited excessive foreign trips as the reason for firing all commissioners in the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP).

      He even mentioned as ironic his sacking of commission chairman Terry Ridon for making seven trips abroad since he heads an agency that’s supposed to help the country’s poor.”

      Yes, madlanglupa, Filipinos go to America. It is their pilgrimage to pay homage to their former colonial masters.

      Filipino successes are not complete if they cannot have the coveted American Visa for their pilgrimage. They prefer America over Europe, Hong-Kong and other Asian countries. Why? They hate us, right? Why do they insist in going to America?

      Just recently The Filipinos hijacked our one of our 100-most-beautiful-faces American Zozobrano who was born and raised in Santa Clara, California and claimed to be a Filipino. There is a beautiful face in the Philippines: Oca Mochon is one. Former spokeswoman of former president Benigno Aquino is two. Why do they have to go to my country and claim them as Filipino? Brown Filipino faces are pretty. They are not scary looking.

      Talking about Nevada, whatever happened to the wife of a Senator who got caught lying that she did not have $50k dollar with her when she arrived in Las Vegas? Whatever happened to her? The allowable cash to be carried in person is $10k.

      What about the Philippine General who also got caught with a sackful of $100,000.00 bills?

      Why do they prefer America? Why? What about Spain that caressed and name these islands Philippines? Portugal who founded Philippines?

      Talking about Philippines, what was the name of Philippines before it was discovered?

    • Sabtang Basco says:

      Vietnam 5th happiest place on earth?

      Where is Thailand, the Venice of Asia? Thailand is where foreigners go to be happy puny pensions go far and wide.

      I am not surprised of Vietnam and the Philippines. Before the survey I knew these two countries are top of the world ten happiest place on earth where it is cheaper to live daily than Disneyland which costs $120.00-a-day to be JUST HAPPY and leave penniless.

      $120.00 is more than enough to live, eat and frolic among $2/day Filipinos. $2/day is $30.00/month.

    • NHerrera says:

      Hey, hey, hey!

      Malacañang [Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque] on Tuesday gave President Rodrigo Duterte credit over a recent survey that ranked the Philippines the third happiest country in the world. He also said Filipinos were known for their resilience but added that the poll also proved the positive effects of Duterte’s leadership.


      • Sabtang Basco says:

        It is called Duterte Effect.

      • Sabtang Basco says:

        The article is like Donald Trump
        1. Donald Trump is the 2nd most admired American in the U.S.of.A
        2. Dow Jones skyrocketed under Donald Trump
        3. Homicides, Murders and crime against property are down
        4. Americans feel more safer under Donald Trump

    • Sabtang Basco says:

      3rd HAPPIEST NEW YEAR TO FILIPINOS !!! Can you people feel it? Feel it even if you cannot. Filipinos are happy when they know they are the 3rd Happiest in planet Earth !

      What exactly the Filipinos are happy about ? I need the answer so I can internalize what they are happying for.

      • edgar lores says:

        Filipinos are “happying” for suffering.

        o In politics, as if voting for public officials who steal were not enough, Filipinos now vote for officials who curse and kill them.

        o In religion, as if adoring a God who promises eternal damnation were not enough, Filipinos must reenact the passion of the Christ including the crucifixion.

        o In daily life, as if riding in cramped jeepneys and tricycles were not enough, Filipinos must endure long queues for the privilege of using the unsafe MRT/LRT system that undergo regular breakdowns. A working Filipino in Manila wastes many hours in his daily commute.

        It’s too late to “internalize” it. Sorry to say, all of us are already infected.

  10. Sabtang Basco says:

    New Year’s Day is often a time of contemplation and reflection.

    Filipinos pause to consider their triumphs and trials during the past year under Rody, look back at where he did well and where he fell down, and resolve to do better.

    Most of the time this is a personal journal and reckoning, but today I would like to expand it to Filipino politics. I do not hate politics but I hate how politics are run in the Philippines. I didn’t vote for President rody I cannot vote. If I could I would have had abstained or boycotted however you call it. I am a proud independent and see the need for new parties to arise that better represent the majority of Filipinos who feel political parties no longer fit their needs.

    That day has come. I have also at times lauded him for things he’s done well, but his achievements have been (spotty at) best. He answered to the clamor of the Filipinos.

    The news reporting in the Philippines suits well for Rody. They report news that fit Rody without them knowing it.

    The killings of 13,000 addicts splashed across the Philippines were well accepted by majority. AT LAST SOMEBODY IS DOING ABOUT IT which they can hear, watch and read in the news instead of rule-of-law justice that grinds slowly imperceptibly. Filipinos wanted palpable justice with an end and reason not Slick Trillanes justice way.

    The Philippine National Public Radio instead of covering live boring senate investigation they need lawyerly analysis what the outcome would be. They should also inform the public in summary why they are doing it and how.

    Filipinos are tired of waiting. They picked the chap to man Malacanang who is also tired of waiting. The waiting is over. And the Filipinos love the result.

  11. Sabtang Basco says:

    In the Philippines, Filipinos do not see the RESULT OF RULE-OF-LAW. Rody showed them HIS-RULE-OF-LAW. If 13,000 dealers and addicts were not mowed down the way Italian mobsters do the court dockets would be overwhelmed. Prison system would need more prisons. The Philippine media would be clamoring for more money to fund the court and prison system.

    (I do not use “Fake News” because it was recently banned by the Queen’s Dictionary including insightful, impactful and so many impending words)

  12. Sabtang Basco says:

    The following perceptible palpable achievements of Rody:

    1. EXTERMINATION OF DRUG ADDICTS AND SOME DRUG LORDS. There should be study why Filipinos do not believe Rody Family are importing drugs. My study says: JEALOUSY. Filipinos believe that Philippine Media is just jealous of accomplishments of Rody that Philippine Media cannot accomplish
    2. WHAT IS NOT PALPABLE WHICH FILIPINOS WILL FEEL THIS YEAR IS TRAIN lovingly called DUTERTE TAX. Working Filipinos will be surprisingly bewildered why they have more money in their paycheck.

    There is already a blowback in literate reading community against Philippine News Media for constantly attacking THEIR Rody. The newspaper circulation is down, actually to this day the newspaper people are still counting their circulation for 2016. It will take another year to count for their 2017. So, these peeps print x number of edition and NOT KNOWING HOW MANY THEY ARE PRINTING? How many are unsold?

    WHEN IT COMES TO NUMBERS NEVER TRUST literate highly educated FILIPINO COUNTING because they actually do not know how to count.

  13. Sabtang Basco says:

    This is my take why Yellows failed. They do it the American educated way that is why they cannot connect to the people.

    It is like brutalizing Gloria Arroyo, Jejomar Binay and others in public thru the media but in Philippine copied American-style justice system they failed. They may have piles and piles of affidavits, which is the justice Filipino-style, but once in court they are asked for solid evidence and they failed flat on their face because this is required of American-style justice system.

  14. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:


    On your article:

    Ooh. That hurt.

    But just now, I got a note from a convert, Pro-Dut to Anti-Dut. He looks forward to my posts in Facebook. Progress. Slow by slow. Trickling water to rock. Water wins all the time.

    After all, the Duterte era is just an expensive lesson in civics, hekasi I think in the country.

    Takes a while to wean our people from swimming with the current versus against the current. We will either be reborn as a nation or die, and no one will miss us.

    We just have to keep digging. There’s gold in them thar hills, if we persist. Sorry for the mixed metaphors.


  15. madlanglupa says:

    On one hand, a total loss of historical artifacts; on another, one of many writings on the wall: MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN.

  16. Pedro Balintawak says:

    I agree with some of the premises underlying this article. It is true that the elite in the Philippines is out of touch with the mood of ordinary Filipinos. I don’t see how you can argue with that. I also agree that to people on the breadline surrounded by violence, dirt, and disease, concepts such as human rights must seem “vague” when put beside dealing with the thug next door. Certainly the current administration has tapped into these feelings and deserves credit for altering the terms of the debate.

    But the author immediately closes off any discussion by stating that anyone who disagrees with him is part of the “irritating, arrogant yellows who try to impose a wordy American-style order on real Filipinos” (the author of course has a monopoly on an understanding of who “real Filipinos” are). We seem to have lost the concept that an idea can exist independently of the person who holds it.

    I am disappointed that the Joe America site chose to publish this badly written and abusive piece. The article does not discuss a single policy of the current administration. It does not explain why handing over power over lives to the corrupt and dysfunctional Philippine National police is a good idea. It does not explain the benefits of kowtowing to China and giving up patrimony over the Philippines’ internationally validated claims in the South China Sea. It does not seek to justify the President’s foolish challenge to the Maute that blew up in his face: “They said that they will go down upon Marawi to burn the place,” Mr. Duterte recounted in December. “And I said, ‘Go ahead, do it.’”

    It is fine to have an open forum with different points of view, that is exactly what we need. But I see no advantage in giving someone airtime to give vent to his/her prejudices and assertions of moral superiority. Surely there must be administration supporters who can do better than this?

    • I’d welcome a proposed article from anyone of any political persuasion. You could write it yourself, perhaps.

      • karlgarcia says:

        I sense Joe that he took the piece literally, I also sense that he just occasionally visits,
        He might have mistaken this piece was written by a Duterte supporter guest writer

        • Yes, I think he does not know this Joe America fellow’s style of taunting and teasing and would rather see some well enumerated academic piece. haha Hi Edgar.

          • edgar lores says:

            1. Ahaha!

            2. Hi, JoeAm. How you doin’?

            3. Happy New Year!

            • Happy New Year, Edgar, Karl. When I was a hotshot banker, my boss (the president) would on occasion take me to the California Club, a snobby men’s only club (then) in downtown Los Angeles for lunch. The power brokers in town would be sitting in lounge chairs at the bar discussing this deal or that woman, I suppose, I don’t really know. I just ate my lunch. This Society is a little like that, except you don’t need power or money to get in, you need brains and decency (elitist, I suppose). We nibble popcorn instead of smoking cigars. It is just a comfortable place to get together to discuss this or that with people worth respecting, or even admiring.

              • How interesting! I just watched a show on secret societies/clubs which mentioned the California Club (I forgot the name, but that sounds about right) , in the program it mentioned two secret or private clubs in Los Angeles (around a block away from each other, near the L.A. library), one frequented by titans of industry and the other by politicians, lawyer types, etc.

                It was one of those count down shows, where their “number one” secret/private club was the Bohemian club (in SF & Northern California), whose motto was,

                I voted for Wil’s description of this place/hang-out to be official:

                “But Joe and The Society of Honor is like that. We don”t mince words, call black black, white white, but that is the nature of pearls. We thrive on irritation. We need irritation. Crave irritation. This place is not for sissies.” or shortened to,

                TSHO: “We thrive on irritation. We need irritation. Crave irritation”

              • California Club for CEOs, Jonathan Club for upper echelon executives and attorneys, and Athletic Club for run of the mill executives, lawyers, sportsmen, and businessmen. I once met Steve Garvey (Dodgers) on the elevator there, and another time, Kieth Wilkes (Lakers). I played basketball with a pro football player whose name escapes me, and a lot of personal injury attorneys I would be sure to elbow vigorously.

                The Bohemian Club was like the California Club, I think, but not so stodgy. I dunno, never been there . . . San Francisco is a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Happy New Year again to the two of you.

      • “I also agree that to people on the breadline surrounded by violence, dirt, and disease, concepts such as human rights must seem “vague” when put beside dealing with the thug next door.”

        Exactly! tambays, sigas and druggies next door or in the neighborhood making everyone’s lives miserable (more so). For those in closed off communities, sure it’s not a problem, but i’m sure this issue is clear and present for many—- and calling for compassion seems the academic and not the realistic approach here (especially when everyone’s probably saying, ‘good riddance!’)

    • edgar lores says:

      Pedro Balintawak, welcome to The Society of Honor.

      1. Your critique is both justified and unjustified.

      2. Before I go on to the reasons, let me state two facts:

      2.1. If you read the “Note from the Editor” at the top right of the page below the Search facility, it says “This blog is a collaboration by people interested in the well-being of the Philippines.”

      2.1.1. Collaborate means to work jointly. Specifically, it means that authors and commenters work jointly for the country’s well-being. It also means that the commenters and their comments should be given high value almost — yes, almost but not quite! — as high as the author and the article themselves.

      2.1.2. This fact and the invitation extended to you disaffirms your first criticism that the author “closes off any discussion.”

      2.2. The blog is a continuum consisting of more than a thousand separate posts. Ninety-one point seventy-five percent (91.75%) of the posts are authored by this abusive writer named Joe America. Contrary to his natural disposition, he has been “kind” enough to invite and publish contributions by Filipinos and foreigners.

      3. Now to your second critique.

      3.1. Your characterization of this article is that it is “badly written” and an “abusive piece.” I will not comment on the first characterization. Except… except perhaps to say that a concatenation of nouns and adjectives without enumeration is not aesthetically pleasing.

      3.2. On the face of it, your second characterization is justified. One of the commenters, Wilfredo G. Villanueva, felt so abused that he said, “Ooh. That hurt.”

      3.3. You may not know it but Mr. Villanueva is a contributing author here. His famous interviews can be found on the tab “The Villanueva Interviews” at the top of the page above the Search facility.

      3.4. Articles published here are written in different styles and tone of voice. Some are philosophical, others sincere and expository, still others humorous. There is even some poetry.

      3.5. What then are we to make of this “abusive” article? Is it meant to denigrate Filipinos or to challenge them? Is it meant to belittle and dismiss or to provoke?

      3.5.1. Hint: The author is NOT an administration supporter.

      3.6. I will leave you to make up your own mind… and this leads us to your third and last critique. And why I keep mentioning the, you know, the Search facility.

      4. You may be unjustified in saying that the “article does not discuss a single policy of the current administration.” Remember, this blog is a continuum.

      4.1. I invite you to use the Search facility and input your search terms. I am sure you will find at least one post on the given topic.

      o Philippine National Police / PNP / Police
      o China / West Philippine Sea / South China Sea
      o Marawi / Mindanao / Bangsamoro / Maute

      5. Happy New Year and happy research!

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Mr. Pedro Balintawak:

      Ooh, that hurt. What you said hurt.

      I, too, was hit by Joe’s piece like a stray bullet from New Year’s revelry. I could have said, “Joe, how could you?” I just took comfort in the concept of irony.

      But Joe and The Society of Honor is like that. We don”t mince words, call black black, white white, but that is the nature of pearls. We thrive on irritation. We need irritation. Crave irritation. This place is not for sissies.

      Having said that, welcome. Please join us regularly. Joe’s is one of the pearls that has been created by the irritation, discombobulation, paradox, love-hate phenomenon that is called the Philippines. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Joe by his lonesome has perhaps shed more light on the issues that dog us than high officialdom and its grade-school, even gutter, language that finds traction in creatures that crawl and slink away in the dark. Maybe there’s too much light in The Society that causes us to wince and say enough.

      As to style, best leave that as is. How can anyone reinvent thunder and lightning?

      But I like you. There aren’t many of us left standing. I dare say Hello, Yellow.



      • NHerrera says:

        Well said Will.

        If I am new in the blog and read through the blog article fast, I may react partly like Pedro Balintawak. But knowing the numerous blog articles written and commented on here, the concept of irony as a style of writing quickly came to mind, as did Karl, Will, among others. That is why, Pedro Balintawak may find it worthwhile to read previous blog articles. Or alternatively, write out his thoughts for possible publication by Joe. I will be very much interested in such a write-up.

        • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

          Me, too. Found me a dabarkads in Pedro Balintawak.

        • Pedro Balintawak says:

          Thank you for your gracious response to my comment Mr Villanueva. I owe you an apology—I think my heated response to your article had less to do with your particular piece than with my general despair that discussions these days (and not just in the Philippines) so seldom address policy issues and consist only of attacks on people holding a different point of view. As Mr Herrera says, I probably read your piece too quickly and missed the irony—once again sorry about that ☹ I shall do as he suggests and read more articles on the site so I can grasp the concept of the Joe America blog more clearly.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Greetings, as a point of clarification, it is the person behind JoeAm who wrote the article and not Wil.

            May I refer you to the post of Edgar above to have a quick back ground of JoeAm’s blog.

          • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

            Apology not needed if I wrote the article. Hope to see more of you, Pedro.

  17. josephivo says:

    “The peoples president”, but caught in a coalition, see:


    • NHerrera says:

      Interesting, particularly this line:

      This means that 2018 is a make-or-break year for that coalition. Its best hope, as a successor to protect the current culprits and restore some measure of basic competence, is unelectable as president: Gloria Arroyo.

      That means the future “health” of the Coalition — particularly the Boss — lies in Arroyo. MLQIII, I believe, knows enough about the politics in Olympus to make that statement probable.

    • Sabtang Basco says:

      Actually, this is the year Filipinos are living affluently. P4,200.00 additional take home pay. Dizzying infrastructures that will employ the Filipinos. After these infrastructures are finished, Filipinos can now travel faster at the speed of Light rail.

      What makes Filipinos live dangerously are the snooty so-called upper middle-class and so-called intellectuals who are misled missed-guided. Their vehicles are now taxed heavily to finance Duterte’s Infra to employ the Filipinos so they can travel faster and see their hand-crafted bridges and roads.

      Uppder middle-class and intellectuals don’t want them to experience what they have. Because they do not want to rub elbows with the construction workers and call girls and call boys at call centers. They look at these working class as low class not worthy their eye contacts and silver-braced toothy smiles.

      The danger of the country is not the low-class it is the high-class applying theoretical democracy on the low-class stripping their President of the People.

  18. Sabtang Basco says:


    I hear this word often. From the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich. “KURIPOT”. What does it mean, I asked. Filipinos tell me “is to spend the last penny for barkadas and friends for them to be with them”.

    HUH? This is bad. Bad. Bad. Bad.

    They call me “kuripot” behind my back in front of my face if I do not shell out money for Banana-Q or tiling-tiling ice-cream.

    Call me kuripot I will never take money out of my pocket unless I feel like it.

  19. Sabtang Basco says:

    Another clueless journalist, here: http://cebudailynews.inquirer.net/159204/young-dumb-broke-singer-khalid-grabs-a-bite-in-a-filipino-fast-food-restaurant

    I mentioned this in my rants before. Never ask a visitor from outer space if Jollibee is good because they always say IT IS GOOD !!!

    A sign of clueless journalism. Well, all of them I guess.

    If Jollibee is sooooo yummy GOOD … why is it only FILIPINOS EAT AT JOLLIBEE in New York? Out of Filipinos that eat at Jollibee YOU CANNOT FIND A 2nd GENERATION FILIPINO EAT AT JOLLIBEE. You can only find 1st Generation Filipinos.

    PROVE ME WRONG ! If anyone prove me wrong THEY ARE LYING !

    • “If anyone prove me wrong THEY ARE LYING1”

      You should definitely be in politics.

      • Sabtang Basco says:

        I learned it from Donald Trump.

        It is going to be a happy new year in the White House: Donald Trump burns Steve Bannon after years of calling him a “friend”


        • Sup says:

          Not to negative about Jollibee Sabtang Tabasco……they have hot sause and Mc Do not….


          Good am all

          • Sup says:

            sauce.,.,……COFFEE !! 🙂

          • Sabtang Basco says:

            Jollibee does not have Tabasco so does McDonald. What Jollibee has is Sriracha Garlic Hot Sauce. McDonald has house buffalo sauce, which is essentially hot or they do not call it as such.

            Yes, of course, I ate at Jollibee. Twice, my last count. Several times when their Filipino manager brings me spicy chicken wings for free after-hours, READ: Unsold Left-overs. Well, she likes me. Unfortunately, I do not believe in physical-contact relationship.

            We lost contact when I began to travel.

            I like Jollibee spicy chickens. The size is about right so are the number of portions. The best fried chicken so far that I have eaten. Their spaghetti is weird. It is sweet. What is weirder is: Spaghetti with RICE? Huh? Nowhere in this world Spaghetti is served with RICE. Or, is it RICE with SPAGHETTI? I do not know.

            Breakfast Joy menu is not enjoyable at all. It is targeted for Filipinos. I understand that.

            I do not get fooled by Halo-halo. 2/3rds Ice shavings with a gush of sugar and drowned with what they call evaporated milk (it is a processed milk and anything processed is not good) Two scoops of Ube Ice cream. and plenty of technicolored squishy marbles some has taste others just do not belong there at all. And the price? Wheeew! I’d rather go to Jack-in-the-Box and get one of their budget-busting sugar milk shake. I am 29 and diabetic. Not good but taste good and worth the money.

            Don’t care much about their meat-on-a-bun. I do not eat pansit obviously I do not have a review.

            One thing about Jollibee is the ABSENCE OF THE FILIPINO CHANNEL !!! What a relief !!!

        • NHerrera says:

          Birds of a feather unravel!

        • Trump and Bannon are birds of a feather, outspoken dealmakers whom many would call assholes. Made for each other. I wish Bong Go would turn on Duterte, but, hey, some dreams don’t come true.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Non-Filipinos,jollibee and politicians.

  20. NHerrera says:

    Eurasia Group’s president, Ian Bremmer, and chairman, Cliff Kupchan, wrote in their annual “Top Risks” report, risks they described under the following ten headings

    1. China filling a global leadership vacuum
    2. Accidents
    3. Global tech cold war
    4. Mexico
    5. US-Iran relations
    6. The erosion of institutions
    7. Protectionism 2.0
    8. The United Kingdom
    9. Identity politics in southern Asia
    10. Africa’s security

    Among the ten items is 6. The erosion of institutions which is something TSH has discussed over several articles and commentaries in the case of PH. Again, PH is a “winner” in this regard — the institutional erosion came to us much earlier and discussed in TSH. The Group writes on this item:

    “Institutions that support and sustain peaceful and prosperous societies – governments, political parties, courts, the media, and financial institutions – continue to lose the public credibility on which their legitimacy depends.”


    Indeed, when there is euphoria as some feel at the start of 2018, there is, for some like us, the associated feeling that great danger lurks.

    • Sabtang Basco says:

      The Philippine Court had lost its credibility.

      In the days of Rody, the Political Parties are irrelevant.

      The Media is read for entertainment and to inspire blogging content not for information

      Financial Institutions are run by non-Tagalog speaking ex-colonists. They frequent same country clubs, invited to weddings, birthdays, Halloweens, Christmases, marries sons-and-daughters of same-race businessmen and talk business that insider-trading is difficult to untangle assuming if there is such a law in the Philippines.

      What about Filipinos? They are in politics, as usual. Marries sons-and-daughters of same-political parties. They talk about “commissions” and “cuts” “voter & election frauds”

      What is left is the Government of Duterte …

    • Thanks for the list. Identifying the problem is the first step to solving it. That’s the positive outtake from the list. Number 8, The United Kingdom, is a mystery. I’d put starvation ahead of that, because desperate people do desperate things. Maybe that’s ‘Africa’s security’. I didn’t read the article because my internet connection is at about 1K per minute.

      • NHerrera says:

        I am with you on starvation/ food security. Item 10 in the write-up, however, speaks about militancy and terrorism from jihadists types in the volatile African regions — although that brings about starvation in its wake, I would say.

        1K per minute. Hahaha!

    • edgar lores says:

      NHerrera, thanks.

      4. Mexico?

      I read the article. I didn’t know the situation in Mexico was that bad. Venezuela has been in the news more.

      No mention of the Philippines. Apparently, the Group do not read MLQIII.

  21. NHerrera says:

    Lacson mocks Duterte’s plan to fire another gov’t official for corruption — GMA News Online

    Lacson tweets:

    To one corrupt official: YOU’RE FIRED!
    To another corrupt official: YOU’RE HIRED!


    My take is that a Trillanes or a Lacson type — with their relative independence and who still command respect and following from the Military that Duterte tries mightily to woe — can do such things that Honasan, who was very much tied like a tuta to Enrile and who I believe rates low in the eyes of Military, cannot do. Of course, such a tweet cannot come from “Flush” Gordon.

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