The Philippine Mayor

A mayor wheels and deals, he doesn’t moralize or act on grand policies. [Photo source: GMA News]

By Joe America

President Duterte likes to call himself ‘just a mayor’. He does this to portray himself as a humble man, and to explain his decisions as the kinds of straightforward, no-nonsense, successful choices he has been making for decades.

Unfortunately a nation is not a city. It’s laws are not just executional policies. It’s laws are developed in concert with other nations, and with concepts of freedom and human rights and citizen participation that are ‘best practices’ for democratic institutions around the world.

Mayors of Philippine cities and municipalities are given wide latitude to run their own affairs. They are little autocracies, in the main. They take their legal guidance from the nation, and then the mayor adds his personal imprint on the community through his dictatorial decisions.

So, yes, the President is trying to be a mayoral kind of top executive for the Philippines. Decisive. Responsive. Authoritative. But this ends up becoming a huge penalty for the nation. It means the nation lacks diplomacy, for example. It means foreign policy is a series of situational responses to what others do. If Europe offends the mayor, the mayor cuts off aid from Europe. Even though the Philippines is hurt by the decision.

The value of Benham Rise, or ramifications of letting another nation explore there, are not weighed in terms of what’s good for future generations of Filipinos, but what benefits the Mayor, today.

Sovereignty, in the eyes of the Mayor, is found in taking no grief from others. He strikes out against those who do not properly grant the him his turf, and it usually comes with an abundant use of swear words. It’s as if the mayor of some city in Luzon tried to lecture Davao. That’s what his response would be.

At the national level, his priority is not to take care of Filipinos and improve the well-being of the nation. If he wanted that, he would temper his words . . . diplomatically . . . to keep EU aid, but make the point that the Philippines insists on being allowed to make her own sovereign way after centuries of interference from abroad. If the Mayor were a president, his decisions would not be the Philippines punishing Filipinos, but the Philippines punishing Europe (via trade policies, withdrawing from agreements, kicking European diplomats out of the Philippines, whatever).

Alas for us, Mayor Duterte cannot get there because such matters are in his black hole of diplomatic ignorance that is partly a mayor’s way, and partly stubborn old age and an incapacity to enlarge his way of thinking. His foreign policy expert, Secretary Cayetano, is basically a sycophant placeholder interpreting the Mayor’s directives. He does not develop thoughtful global policies and guide the Mayor.

The Mayor sees China as a benefactor and the United States as a moral pain in the ass. Well, China holds him in her arms and the US moralizes at him. I wonder what his mother was like.

The West Philippine Sea is like a mountain near Davao that a large, rich, morally corrupt corporation wants to strip mine. “Give me kisses. Pay the fee. Mine away.”

Who lives on the mountain is irrelevant. The impact on the environment doesn’t matter. The future does not matter. It is a simple business transaction between a mayor and a businessman.

Alas for the Mayor, he reports to a Constitution and the Constitution creates an Armed Forces that is mandated to protect Filipinos and Philippine sovereignty. And the Constitution has a boss, called the People.

The Mayor is trying to control all three: Constitution, AFP, and People.

  • Constitution: federalism and a re-write that could easily leave the Mayor in charge for many years, and his son or daughter thereafter.
  • AFP: pay raises, promotions, visits, weapons and helicopters. License to shoot and license to rape.
  • People: end free press and free speech; label any critic as an unpatriotic destabilizer. Jail or shoot them. Force them to obey.

But the AFP and Constitution and People are not mayors, and they are not residents of a city.

They are Filipinos. In a grand, sovereign, enduring way. Not in a provincial, narrow, transactional way.

The Mayor may be nominally in charge, but he must always worry that ‘grand’ Filipinos will undertake a transaction to ensure a more stable, more diplomatic, more prosperous Philippines.


72 Responses to “The Philippine Mayor”
  1. Mayor: transactional – versus – President: strategic

    Leni makes a strategic proposal: (not just send all home)

  2. arlene says:

    He calls himself a mayor. Yes probably being a mayor is only what he is capable of, not a president to a country like ours. Good morning Joeam!

  3. josephivo says:

    I was lucky the other day that I could get in the president’s brain when, on a rainy day, he was sober and in a contemplating mood. This is what I saw:

    Long time ago, I wanted the people of my city to prosper.
    But prosperity comes from wealth creation.
    Wealth creation requires stability and predictability.
    I did provide those by eradication crime and showing myself as a beacon of hope.
    Davao prospered.

    Today I want the Philippines to prosper so I tried to repeat what I did before.
    But things are not moving the way I want. Why? What is different?
    In Davao I defined the rules, their execution and punished any deviation. I could rule as a dictator.
    In the Philippines some object my rules, it is too large to guarantee proper execution, not all courts agree with my judgments or punishments.
    The only solution is to rule the Philippines as a dictator too.

    Let’s create the conditions to install dictatorship. This is what I owe the people, to make them prosper.

    • NHerrera says:


      josephivo = Duterte,

      under the guise of that other worthy contributor here. 🙂

    • That sounds about right. The constitution is in the way. Ignore it, then get rid of it.

      • It is seen as an artifice most Filipinos don’t care about or understand anyway.

        Unfortunately he may be right on both counts. It may be something many Filipinos understand in the head even but don’t care for in the heart, except for around 10-20%?

        • Vicara says:

          Not just Filipinos, Ireneo. The growing number of countries where large numbers of citizens choose to install authoritarian leaders through democratic elections shows how little they value their Constitutional safeguards. Maybe they’ve just had it too good for too long.

  4. NHerrera says:

    The blog article distills the situation like the best lambanog: the deadly thrust on the Constitution, AFP, the people — with the AFP remaining the last effective great barrier.

    AFP and the uncommitted People, please hold on, we beg of you!

  5. NHerrera says:

    Not quite off topic —

    Journalists, media groups tackle fake news at a two-day conference in which protection of people’s freedoms will be at the core of the discussions to be held Monday and Tuesday at Ateneo de Manila Rockwell Campus in Makati City.

    Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen will deliver the keynote address on Monday afternoon, with the topic “Our Fundamental Freedoms.”

  6. Ancient Mariner says:

    Spot on JoeAm.
    Based on my observations of the mayor in the municipality where I live and that in which my in-laws live is that law enforcement is based on potential votes.
    Sometime ago I asked a classmate of my wife, an ex-mayor, why he had allowed the motor cyclists and tricycle drivers to rule the roads of my in-laws municipality. Including non enforcement of the crash helmet law. His reply was one word, “votes”.
    Oh, how I long for a mayor who conducts his business without giving a fig if he is re-elected or not. Is there such a beast?

  7. Sup says:


    Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has ordered the dismissal of House Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia from service over her questionable purchase of a P98.9-million Balili property when she was the governor of Cebu.

    • Sup says:

      In a phone interview with reporters, Alvarez said there is nothing in the Constitution that allows him to implement the action ordered by the Ombudsman.

      “In fact, it is not within the power of the Ombudsman to discipline, much more to remove, any member of the House of Representatives,” he said.

      Alvarez..are you sure you can read?

      Powers, Functions and Duties

      The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following powers, functions and duties

      Investigate and prosecute on its own or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient. It has primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and, in the exercise of his primary jurisdiction, it may take over, at any stage, from any investigatory agency of Government, the investigation of such cases (Sec. 15(1) R.A. No. 6770; see also Sec. 13(1), Article XI, 1987 Constitution)

      Direct, upon complaint or at its own instance, any officer or employee of the Government, or of any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, as well as any government-owned or controlled corporations with original charter, to perform and expedite any act or duty required by law, or to stop, prevent, and correct any abuse or impropriety in the performance of duties (Sec. 15(2) R.A. No. 6770; Sec 13(2) Article XI, 1987 Constitution);

      Direct the officer concerned to take appropriate action against a public officer or employee at fault or who neglects to perform an act or discharge a duty required by law, and recommend his removal, suspension, demotion, fine, censure, or prosecution, and ensure compliance therewith; or enforce its disciplinary authority as provided in Section 21 or this Act: Provided, That the refusal by any officer without just cause to comply with an order of the Ombudsman to remove, suspend, demote, fine, censure, or prosecute an officer or employee who is at fault or who neglects to perform an act or discharge a duty required by law shall be ground for disciplinary action against said officer (Sec. 15(3) R.A. No. 6770; see also Sec 13(3), Article XI, 1987 Constitution);

      Direct the officer concerned, in any appropriate case, and subject to such limitations as it may provide in its rules of procedure, to furnish it with copies of documents relating to contracts or transactions entered into by his office involving the disbursement or use of public funds or properties, and report any irregularity to the Commission on Audit for appropriate action (Sec. 15(4) R.A. No. 6770; see also Sec. 13(4), Article XI, 1987 Constitution);

      Request any government agency for assistance and information necessary in the discharge of its responsibilities, and to examine, if necessary, pertinent records and documents (Sec. 15(5), R.A. No.6770; see also Sec. 13(5), Article XI, 1987 Constitution);

      Publicize matters covered by its investigation of the matters mentioned in paragraphs (1), (2), (3) and (4) hereof, when circumstances so warrant and with due determine what cases may not be made public: Provided further, That any publicity issued by the Ombudsman shall be balanced, fair, and true (Sec 15(6) R.A. No. 6770; see also Sec 13(6), Article XI, 1987 Constitution);

      Determine the causes of inefficiency, red tape, mismanagement, fraud, and corruption in the Government and make recommendations for their elimination and the observance of high standards of ethics and efficiency (Sec 15(7) R.A. No. 6770; see also Sec 13(7), Article XI, 1987 Constitution);

      Administer oaths, issue subpoena and subpoena duces tecum, and take testimony in any investigation or inquiry, including the power to examine and have access to bank accounts and records (Sec 15(8), R.A. No. 6770);

      Punish for contempt in accordance with the Rules of Court and under the same procedure and with the same penalties provided therein (Sec 15(9), R.A. No. 6770);

      Delegate to the Deputies, or its investigators or representatives such authority or duty as shall ensure the effective exercise of performance of the powers, functions, and duties herein or hereinafter provided (Sec 15(10), R.A. No. 6770);

      Investigate and initiate the proper action for the recovery of ill-gotten and/or unexplained wealth amassed after February 25, 1986 and the prosecution of the parties involved therein (Sec 15(11), R.A. No. 6770);

      Promulgate its rules of procedure and exercise such other powers or perform such functions or duties as may be provided by law (Sec 13(7), Article XI, 1987 Constitution; see also Sec. 18, R.A. No. 6770);

      Constitutional Guarantees Insulating the Office from Political Influence and Interference

      The organic provisions finally approved insulated the Office from political influence or interference by:

      giving the Ombudsman and his Deputies, whose appointments need no Congressional confirmation, the rank of chairman and members, respectively, of a Constitutional Commission;
      prescribing for them fixed term of Office during which their salaries cannot be diminished;
      removable from Office only by impeachment; and,
      making it an independent office enjoying fiscal autonomy.

  8. BAYAN (Town) and BAYAN (Country) – two words for the same thing and what they could mean..

    Filipinos often say now that they FEEL there is more of a President around than before Duterte. Could it be their expectations of a national leader are confused with those for a town mayor?

    Could it even be that the level of abstraction of Country has not been quite reached by MOST? There are very plausible reasons in history for this, let us take a short trip to the 1521 situation.

    Datus and Rajahs. Datu = barangay captain, more or less. Rajah = like the President and Mayor of those few communities that had broader scope and wealth, Manila and Cebu are well known.

    Sultans were hardly around yet. If Legazpi hadn’t arrived in 1571 and someone else maybe in 1680, the formation of a Tagalog Sultanate, similar to the Sultanates of Sulu or Maguindanao, would have been finished. A Sultan is a secular and religious role, is like King+Bishop. LCPL_X please confirm.


    An American census official around 190-something wrote that the Tagalogs were a “nation”. People speaking the same language over a broader area. Quite clearly a product of both pre-colonial and post-colonial developments of bringing people together. In German they would have been called a “Volk” – a people (the German concept of Volk is related to the English words flock and folks and is more tribal than the French concept of nation) but de facto the ethnolinguistic groups were there.

    Bonifacio may have heard about nation from Rizal, but his native concept was “Haring Bayang Katagalugan” – sovereign Tagalog nation. The 8 rays of the flag are 7 Tagalog provinces and Pampanga if I am not mistaken, so the very local focus of original 1896 Revolution is clear.

    Former cabeza de barangay Aguinaldo, elected to Mayor in the first Philippine local election in 1895 (yes, the Spanish were giving the people concessions but too little, too late to save their rule) acted like a Mayor in many ways. Including his infamous Kawit brigade that killed Bonifacio and Luna. Kawit, Cavite is the hometown of Aguinaldo – and his descendant Secretary Abaya. Without Luna there would not even have been a Philippine Army with one uniform. De facto the loyalty was always to local commanders. The formal role of Supreme Commander that Luna held was hardly respected. As American papers published Luna’s death the day after, the US knew about all of this.


    The Philippine Assembly in 190-something (1908) and then the Senate in 1916, both under the supervision of an American Governor with similar powers as the former Spanish Captain-General. The President in 1935 got similarly massive powers as those of a colonial governor.

    The stuff that happened “up there” was an abstraction to most simple Filipinos – the kind that later went out to work in Manila and abroad and became today’s middle class. Might have been Spaniards or Americans for them, with strange ideas and legalistic rituals in a strange language.

    The first real Mayor of the Philippines was Erap. And at some point, the Bayan (Town) collided with the Bayan (Country). Gossip became national in the form of Senate and Congress hearings on TV. But the way it was treated was as if it was village gossip, from the tone to the rationality of all of it.


    Even 1986 was the first time the Bayan (Town) influenced the Bayan (Nation). It had this familiar feeling of community about it, the malunggay pandesal line Will once wrote about on the highway. EDSA 2 was organized not by Radio Veritas calling people in but by text messages.

    DDS winning the election was because of social media – the feel of the entire Bayan or barangay wanting change, the efficiently launched town/country gossip about Yolanda, Mamasapano etc.


    Now there is a raucous Filipino version of democracy on the Internet, including discussions of the latest Senate hearing. At least the discussions are more on content now, even if much is illogical there are a few who excel. It is not about what people wear at the SONA like just a few years ago!

    Of course Josephivo once mentioned the imagined sense of Filipinoness created by mass media, including Pacquiao. The virtual village has its icons. Now how to convey to the probably 80-90% who do not understand the scale of what a country needs that a country (bayan) is not a town?

    The only leader I can think of who has gone beyond town to at least province is Joey Salceda. There is the daunting task of weaving together the informal structures of the Bayan (town) and the Pilipinos in it – and the formal structures of the Bayan (country) and the Filipinos or “elite” in it.

    • Addendum: if the Spaniards or someone else had come later, they would have found a number of proto-state or Sultanates in a more stable situation than even the Moro ones. Think Indonesia or Malaysia and their kingdoms – the Philippines was basically at the fringe.

      Indonesian and Malaysian native concepts already had higher ideas of organization while Filipinos still see the state and nation as foreign implants. This is why the likes of Erap and Duterte have their fatal popularity, as they provide a coziness the unloved nation does not. The Constitution and all of that – just stuff the English-speaking elite thought of, “who cares?” How to make them care? How to bring that closer when it is almost to late? Will they listen?

      • NHerrera says:

        A little bit of low-level thinking. How make the Filipinos of some 7000 islands think of Bayan, the Country rather than Bayan, the Town. Will the internet and the smart phone — the Johnny-come-lately phenomenon — change that orientation before the Administration’s juggernaut makes that impossible?

        • Internet-wise, there is now the Pinoy Ako Blog where there used to be only Mocha Uson.

          Radio/TV-wise, there is of course “Bawal ang Pasaway” against the Tulfo brothers. Etc., etc. The fight for the attention of the instinctive national Town is on its way, outcome still open.

          • NHerrera says:

            Gives this geriatric hope, Irineo.

            • One has to break logical stuff down to a practical level for the average Filipino.

     I wrote:

              Thinking of a certain complexity is seen as mere grandstanding. The dearth of real thinking in the Philippines makes it impossible for many to see the difference between pilosopo (sophist) and philosopher (real thinker). Or between valid and fake arguments, making political debate HARD. Except for a few talents like Pinoy Ako Blog who manage to bridge the chasm between logic and common sense in the Philippines. Yes, logic is often seen as a tool for showing intellectual superiority, not as a useful tool to make more of our observations and experience.

     – and also:

              Life experience and proper education can make people and society as a whole better. If education has been misused by charlatans or by privileged classes as a status symbol – Rizal has a few asides at the Dominicans of UST in his novel Noli Me Tangere (link), showing that he disliked their conservatism and preferred the more progressive Jesuits – then resentment against it can exist. Additionally, a language very different from what is spoken at home can be a social barrier also. Recent reforms like MTB-MLE “Mother Tongue – Based Multilingual Education” in K-12 (link) – may improve things for good: “Research stresses the fact that children with a solid foundation in their mother tongue develop stronger literacy abilities in the school language.”. There is often a gap in the thinking of many Filipinos, as if theory and practice inhabit separate worlds entirely.

              (the entire Dengvaxia controversy shows the tragic gap between theory and practice IMHO)

      • josephivo says:

        And don’t forget religion. Muslims and protestants are responsible as individuals to understand the revelations and to formulate their prayers. Catholics just have to listen to a priest, the revelations are too complex to interpret by yourself and a priest knows exactly what and when to pray. This gave protestants an uneasy feeling of individual responsibility, and a certain seriousness. Catholics can be more relaxed, the priests as replacement of Christ on earth will make no mistakes in religious matters, serious things will be taken care off by those above you, plenty of time left to enjoy life.

        • The whole thing about Sultanates as proto-states has to do with this.. a Sultan had not only secular but religious duties, and that made Sultanate like a unit within the larger “Umma” (Islamic Community) – but I am sure LCPL_X can write more expertly about this.

          The idea of a group larger than the immediate neighborhood (barangay) or city (rajahnate of bayan) needs some kind of glue (c) Joe. Well, for the Philippines there IS Catholicism, the community of the faithful – at least it was Mighty Glue both 1872 and back in 1986. Probably both 1896 and 2016 are similar in that they are more ethnic, one Tagalog-driven, one driven by Visayans, both anti-elite, more “folkish” in the German sense, suspicious of “highfalutin” – Bonifacio’s revolutionaries were known to chop of noses of Spanish saints, MRP-inspired?

          • josephivo says:

            I’m talking about the attitude of “the masses”. Got the ideas from comparing “protestant” (independent) Dutch with “catholic” Belgians (colonized by the Spanish, then inherited by the Habsburgians).

            Dutch had a very different view on “nation”, individual responsibilities, and working together when the dikes needed repairs… whatever their differences. “We own the government, we decide”. They have a mentality of “Don’t agree? Start you own church or party”, what they often did and do. They are more unified too as one nation.

            Belgians are more community minded, leaving the church was leaving the community, unthinkable, same for leaving your political party. “The government will decide for us”. Belgian has two peoples too, two languages, two cultures, one Latin and one Germanic, with an imperial Brussels in between.

            The Philippines today resembles Belgium in the 60ies. With the revolt of the Visayans as the revolt of the Flemish, we didn’t have a Duterte, but an extreme Vlaamsblok (= Flemish Front) party arose. But unfortunately the Philippines has much weaker democratic institutions.

        • a Sultan had not only secular but religious duties, and that made Sultanate like a unit within the larger “Umma” (Islamic Community) – but I am sure LCPL_X can write more expertly about this.


          And don’t forget, Jesus Christ never left a blueprint how to rule Christendom (because he martyred himself), that was all Paul’s (and even he kept his parishioners in line, thru letters, much of which make up the New Testament, nothing resembling a Constitution at all), then the Greek Churches set up their own theocracy ad hoc/de facto (nothing according to Christ).

          In Islam, the Prophet himself ruled using something akin to the above graph in Medina,

    • NHerrera says:

      Irineo, on Joey Salceda, I read something about him some time ago. That he is a good economist and was (is?) a top-notch stock market analyst. There is something in the wiring of good economists (with exceptions, of course — GMA comes to mind) that make them good politicians with a good part of their brains and hearts motivating them for the country, I hazard to say.

      • Salceda understands the needs of both national Bayan and the formal structures of government established by Quezon and reformed by both Marcos and Cory – and the needs of the local Bayan (towns, province of Albay which he was governor of)

        Used social media to be “present everywhere” especially during calamities, using it to communicate the goals for the province transparently and simply, like a manager talking to employees on the whiteboard. Bridging that major gap is something Mar Roxas failed in. Jesse Robredo was able to bridge that gap but only at city level. Duterte is failing to bridge the gap, ignoring or even destroying the machinery needed to run a real country. There is hope if Leni comes in on time I think, she gets both the “Apparat” (serious work in Congress) and the grassroots (tsinelas projects for so many years now). FVR also got the country more than anyone before him, as a soldier who had been all over the islands..

        • sonny says:

          PiE, on the nose as usual with your observations & interpretations.

          Mini footnote on presidency of FVR. I expected him to be much more “infra” sensitive as a soldier (Roman like). I was waiting for super initiatives from him to link the islands geography-wise and communications-wise. Did not happen.

      • Vicara says:

        NHerrera, Salceda leads the way in LGU disaster preparedness, and is an intelligent economist. But that can go either direction. For example, Harry Roque was an intelligent human rights lawyer, once.

        Salceda also led the pack in the quickness of his switch from Team Poe to Team Duterte, right before the 2016 elections, after his equally abrupt abandonment of the Liberal Party for Team Poe (the most cynical choice of all, in retrospect).

        He’s a prime example of siga, smart local politicians with a hold on their bailiwick, who don’t bother to hide their contempt for national party politics. I grant you, the LP badly needed to be pruned of its dead wood (and much of that dead wood is now–hurrah!–Team Duterte’s problem). But how will political parties evolve without the backing of intelligent people ready to devote energy to national team-building and not just to local (and personal) political ambitions?

        At one point, Duterte dangled the possibility of Salceda becoming the head of NEDA, which would be flattering music to the ears of most economists. Guess the president must have been joking. 😀 He does that a lot.

        • NHerrera says:

          Vicara, thanks for adding to my obviously incomplete knowledge of Joey Salceda. Balancing ones’ interest versus the country’s; and the winner is … In my perverted sense, I can imagine his jumping from GMA to Pnoy to Duterte as may be his way of saying: “I can serve my country better if I do these high-jumps.” A “smart” politician — most possibly the envy of the usual PH politicians.

          In the case of Harry Roque, an intelligent lawyer, we have at least the case of SC Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, an intelligent lawyer, as a counter-example, one who has not lost his way. Same may be said of his relative (?) Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.

          • Vicara says:

            NHerrera, if I sound particularly scornful of Salceda, it’s because I was sorely disappointed. Feet of clay, and all that. 😦 Intelligence alone won’t cut it. Maybe there’s a gene that carries an ethical compass–which the Carpio clan possesses?

            • NHerrera says:

              Yes, DNA that guides, as in the Carpio clan; so it is in the Aquino clan, if I may add.

            • sonny says:

              Economist-politician roles have been benchmarked by Virata (FM) & GMA. Salceda and Dominguez should bear watching as ballasts on Pres Du30 “stresses”. I think.

    • Quoting Joe: “But the AFP and Constitution and People are not mayors, and they are not residents of a city.

      They are Filipinos. In a grand, sovereign, enduring way. Not in a provincial, narrow, transactional way.”

      The AFP is an enduring institution. So are UP, Ateneo, La Salle, UST, San Beda and more. All national in scope and mindset, sticking together with a real feeling of unity behind them.

      PNP is in many quarters provincial, narrow and transactional. So is the Congress (lower house) under Alvarez.

      Senate and Supreme Court are being tested severely.

      The People are partly Filipinos, especially those shaped by AFP or the big universities. They are also Pilipinos, those shaped by PNP, smaller schools and often OFWs or migrants. Their mindset is provincial even at national level, Pacquiao and Duterte might be their “heroes”.

      The traditional middle class can personally relate to the Philippine Republic. Many of them, looking at Facebook, are either friends or friends of friends. Many of them have had parents or even grandparents or ancestors who worked for the government – or were public figures. So there is a maximum of 2-3 degrees of separation between them and nearly anyone important now or before. The identification with the legacy built by so many is personal. Not so with the many -lets or -lyns of the Philippines.

      Often they will be (children of) migrants or OFWs who themselves were from simple peasant or working-class families, maybe with an enlisted soldier or a policeman in the mix, who now have a little more. If they have some degree of connection to the traditional middle class, it might be through having worked for one of those families – if these families remember them which not all do.

      • I think the SC is a failed institution. The decision on extending martial law was ridiculous. De Lima, cruel and ridiculous. The Senate . . . hmmm, we will see what transpires on Sereno impeachment and federalism. I suspect it will prove to be failed, too.

        • madlanglupa says:

          The jealous two justices grumbling about Sereno… what if they are the CJ? It would’ve been a different world, and today would’ve been dark for dissidents once the triumvirate of power is completely taken over and influenced.

          • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

            This (very likely) is a SPAM but was posted in the previous blog. Let it spammed (este Yoodeh) its way here . . .

            Yoodeh, I eat SPAM, fried egg (yes that’s singular), and fried rice for breakfast. I always check if my single or hundred lines blog get posted. Don’t remember even once a post got spammed. May be because I have spam for breakfast alternatively with Ox & Palm corny beef (thanks Australia).

            I think WordPress is not a Yoodeh to wordsmiths. I have been asked what’s a Wakatitot and Wakarang, not yet asked what’s a Watot, and a Watiwat. What’s YOODEH? There was this Yoodeh Presidency. If you listed the names of all the Yoodehs starting with the President’s and all the officials with the amounts newspapers HAD ALLEGED they had stolen during the President’s term of office, you will have The Society of DISHONOR (TSoD) of the top five Yoodeh Presidency in the country
            The world have listed the top ten dictator-plunderers. The PCIJ should visit newspaper morgues and do the simple arithmetic of addition and summation to identify once and for all the Top Five Yoodeh former Presidents.

            After I failed my Math 101 in Los Banos 63 years ago, I am still clueless why the unknowns are represented by the letters x, y, and z. Like this exam question: If m and n are de Sade PRACTICING lovers who got married, solve for x, y, and z.

            The answer is Gadzooks: 50 Shades of Gray. Y O O D E H . . . .Eh !

          • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

            Except for one or two, some SC and CA justices have always raised a hand even without the rains and umbrella.

          • True. One thing for sure, small hearts and minds make for poor judgments. So childish.

  9. madlanglupa says:

    > I wonder what his mother was like.

    I am sure he was minding his own behavior while she was present. Of course, when not in her presence, and as the motorcycle gangster he was, outside he was a feared figure, well-protected by the men of his old man beholden to Marcos.

    Now he does visit her tomb, in what is more and more of a ceremony just for show, lip-service because his mother will not know exactly what he is doing today: a monarch and as a cacique.

  10. Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

    SC halts Mamasapano hearing amid SolGen’s call for homicide raps vs. Aquino
    By Eimor P. Santos, CNN Philippines
    Updated 19:01 PM PHT Fri, February 9, 2018

    Okay, okay, let this long one be a long Spam and be deleted, it is almost 3 years blast from the past. SPAM because it is longer than a usual Supreme Court decision

    Dismal Senate Hearings On Manasapano massacre
    February 28, 2015

    By oneself one cannot know whether one’s reaction and formed opinion about a tragic event like Mamasapano when put in writing will be mere rubbish or have any use at all to those who will read it. At best for the writer it is like a release from a chest load of pain for the victims and anger for the perpetrators. To many writers it is also a noble way of earning one’s pay. To translate into simple knowledge what has been known so far about the Mamasapano PNP-SAF versus MILF-BIFF encounter, this is what I gathered:

    ONE: the country has two uniformed forces, the AFP and PNP. AFP is the country’s only military arm, consist of the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy including the Marines and the Coast Guard. The PNP is the police with specialized permanent and ad hoc sub units to combat crime. The police is civilian and not military yet their higher ranks like Generals, Colonels, Majors and Captains encourage a norm of conduct that’s strictly military where discipline exacts instinctive obedience to superiors by subordinates.

    Very bad allegations continue to blacken the image of the uniformed forces: AFP’s ordnance (no I please because it’s about weaponry or armaments) has been alleged to be sold to dissidents and terrorist organizations; PNP members had been alleged to engage in all sorts of crimes against the citizenry apart from their daily activities of TO SERVE AND PROTECT themselves on whatever they are doing. Filipinos consider these allegations in their belief that if there is smoke there is fire. Strong winds had always blown the smoke away but some Filipinos do not believe nor mind the fire is still there.

    The Mamasapano so called “misencounter” brought out allegations that the AFP and the PNP do not trust each other; involving the INSTITUTION or just between their higher Officials is not clear; but the public believes that the lowly soldiers and policemen will at any time in battle are always ready to die for each other. Also that the suspected mistrust is caused not by patriotic reasons which is good for the country but by something else.

    A lot of people did not notice that the police has been tasked to go after what in international terms belongs to the domains of war, the responsibility of the military; to go after or arrest persons protected by one or two well-equipped armies, not by a handful of mafia hooligans.
    Interestingly, this might be the new world view, the new myopic world thing: to erase the classic and traditional demarcation between police and military territory in terms of assault power and defense capability. To train the military to be and do duty as policemen (to serve and protect the citizens) and to train the policemen to be and do the duty of military men (to kill the enemy) is tantamount to mixing and confusing roles of national importance. The police and the minds of the military have their own unique borders beyond which lies confusion and limitations.
    This is the paradox of the Mamasapana deaths that drove the concerned and caring citizenry into frenzy. Some noticed too but without attention that the policemen who carried the coffins of the fallen cops were in soldiers’ uniform not dressed as policemen. When uncommon sense try to tamper history given roles, something funny or tragic can happen as when a wife assumed the role of husband or the husband becoming the wife even once in a while. In the Mamasapano incident, the AFP not the PNP should have been the husband.

    TWO: The death of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) policemen and some civilians is a tragedy to the public at large while the death of men on the other side could be their own martyrs. It is in a sense heroism versus martyrdom. Why the number of deaths had not happened in the reverse is the source of much anger on those on the side of the law. On the government side it is right and fitting to determine the causes of failure: what are the causes of failure and not WHO are the causes of failure.

    To determine who causes of failure are is a failure itself that is not even simple idiocy. As a fourth class (first semester) ROTC cadet in UPLB in the mid-fifties I heard from other cadets that our Lieutenant tactical officer veteran of the Korean War was a sole survivor losing his entire platoon and that he seemed to be suffering from it as if being a surviving hero is a lifelong punishment. Much much later in the mid-seventies while drinking beer with students of AFP-CGSC who it turned out were buddies in the early stages of the Vietnam war, a light Colonel just burst into tears and uncontrollably sobbing. The others in the group told him it’s time to forget it, because it really was not his fault that things went wrong.
    In military operations any failure in loss of lives or territory is paid for swiftly at that moment and for those correctly or wrongly at fault the punishment of conscience could be lifelong. If you bungled it in headquarters or in the battlefield you get a life sentence. There is no word to describe the deepest humiliation of man who wears the uniform of a warrior crying like a toddler.
    Those were in the past which still haunts the present because now they cannot even cry those veterans of real war. It is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in so many combat arenas in the Middle East, and other countries as well. The military do not and must not accept WHO is at fault must prevail over WHAT is at fault in the critique of bungled battles.

    THREE: The Senate Committee investigating Mamasapano chaired by a lady Senator looks pathetic (at least to me, may be at most too many). WHODUNIT seemed to be direction of questionings rather than WHASAT? Crying and some amount of tears are suggestive but only suggestive of whodunit. Whasat should give answers to what are the causes of failure to save the lives of the 44 SAF men after they already had accomplished their mission. Not WHO but WHAT bungled the last stages of a successful mission will provide answers that will surely AID remedial or corrective legislation. The names of the Generals and their CIC on the dock will be almost worthless in the remedial law that will result out of the investigation.

    Indeed the Senate Committee seemed to have willingly waded into the impossible waters of remedial legislation. Only one or two senators seemed to have really sensible questions which were relevant to the objectives of the Senate hearing. When more and more questions were asked then more and more likelihood they are beating dead meat.

    FOUR: Do not cry over spilled milk is a lousy admonition or advice. Not in this case. Although this looked like what the Senate hearing has precisely accomplished. You see the baby who spilled the milk is already crying. It is lousier to ask who spilled the milk. It is more adult and rational but more difficult to ask WHAT spilled the milk anyway? Gravity is the answer difficult to disprove but carelessness of what kind is what people like senators are paid by taxes to decipher. The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) ask any pre-law student is NOT a law it is Bill to be submitted to Congress to be jack hammered by the House of Representatives and the Senate and may still have to be ratified by the people before it becomes law.

    What’s in a name ester title anyway? It is presumptuousness if not a form of human plasticity. Taking Shakespeare’s line: A boyfriend buys cheap a bunch of little rosebuds and gave them to his girl who was expecting large roses. The girl friend is not amused because a rosebud is not a rose although it smells as sweet. In the public interest, a bill is not a law; a cease fire allows not the death of some people. And that WHAT and not who is at fault should be the FOCUS of an investigation IN AID OF FUTURE LEGISLATION.

    FIVE: Citizen’s comments on the news became unheeded on why there seemed be no interest on justice for the fallen, no palpable interest or lukewarm efforts to go after the killers. Instead there was Senate concentrated fire on the suspected bunglers; when these bunglers had already been meted their swift punishments with their conscience damaged for life. Future laws arising from the Senate hearing should have addressed the questions why the living relatives of the fallen heroes as reported by media were angered more by unsatisfactory empathy and sympathy from higher authority than by the cold disinterest to go after the killers. Remedial legislation should look at AregLaw by the courts as possible culprit of why many victims’ of other crimes had developed cheapened or dampened interest for justice.

    SIX AND THE LAST: For a congressional committee to claim broad and noble objectives of the entire government like public service and protection of the people as it conducts an investigation is to say the least by way of kindness should at least be more specific about objectives of the hearing to show sufficient understanding as to how their expensive hearings and sessions can aid future legislation.

    What were seen, heard and read are mostly about the Mamasapano aftermath than its future consequences to be influenced and steered by future legislation. Mamasapano is truly unique Philippine character of writing history. Loss of lives in tens not even in hundreds by natural calamities or by political incidents (about 60-70 deaths in both Mamasapano and Ampatuan massacres) is turned (by the righteous egged on by media and clergy) into a national mess whereas in other countries lives are lost in hundreds and in even thousands taken as history’s matter of course. ****

    • NHerrera says:



      There may be a great attraction to focusing on the who rather than what because:

      – hammering on the who serves the interest of their patron who will help in their reelection;

      – hammering on the who hugs the limelight more easily and need only the mind of one who knows how to read and write and passes citizenship and age requirement for candidates to the legislature (ref: Sotto, Pacquiao);

      – hammering on the who gives the impression, to some, of serious investigation;

      – hammering on the who ends the Hearing in the more easily crafted report essentially recommending that so and so be further investigated for possible administrative or criminal charges rather than the crafting of a remedial law;

      – hammering on the what requires more brain and logical power;

      – hammering on the what to end with a serious piece of legislation is hard, oftentimes thankless work;

      – hammering on the what is not what they are there for, but to work for and seek reelection?

      • Lolita de Guzman says:

        Very clear and concise analysis of the difference between the who and the what, love it.

      • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

        Wise and Nice NH.

        In a Congressional search for remedial legislation. The NEED to KNOW “WHAT IS” must be thoroughly fulfilled before the law can prescribe :WHAT OUGHT TO BE.”

  11. chemrock says:

    About the president asking the soldiers to shoot female NPA guerrillas in the vagina, the clarification just came out. Duterte was referring to gorillas.

    • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

      It’s the ultimate HIGH to be seeing gorillas in any part of the Philippines.

    • Yeah, right. Do I have to laugh now or do I have to wait for Hairy’s cue? 😦

      His androcentric views have a way of revealing who he really is. Together with his other provincial views, Filipinos got a full-on “Mr. Hyde” as a leader.

      The question is: Is that what Filipinos are? Hideous Hydes who express the vilest, cruelest, and nastiest acts and thoughts without guilts and consequences?

  12. Over here, to become President, the traditional avenues for this office are as state governors (ie. Reagan, Clinton, Bush Jr.), US senate (Obama, Hillary) and US congress usually by way of cabinet position then as VP (Bush Sr. , Pence). Then there’s Trump, no public office at all.

    Bloomberg (NYC mayor) was gonna run for the presidency; now current LA mayor Garcetti (you’d remember his dad, Joe, former DA) is being groomed for the presidency. But mayor straight to presidency is a long shot over here w/out name recognition.

    So my question, what are the traditional avenues for the presidency over there, and why not as mayor (of a big city there) become president? What was Cory’s qualifications for instance (as comparison)? Wasn’t DU30 also in Congress over there?

    Notwithstanding his current performance, and whether DU30 is a big ideas kinda guy or small ideas, strategic vs. tactical thinker, dumb vs. smart, global vs. provincial, etc. etc. I’m just wondering what other avenues for this office are traditionally held as sufficient for vetting one’s qualifications, Joe.

  13. edgar lores says:

    On an improbable planet whirling around a sun in an improbable galaxy, there lay a group of pearly islands.

    The islands were lush and verdant, with tall mountains and volcanos, beautiful lakes and winding rivers, and seas teeming with fish.

    The people were gentle and brown and happy despite being pummeled by one season of hot sun and another season of strong winds and rain.

    The people were ruled by hereditary chieftains, some of whom were good and kind, and some of whom were rapacious and wicked.

    But most wicked of all, in this kingdom by the sea, was the grand chief, the King, who was an ogre.

    The people at first thought the ogre was a good man before they made him king.

    Although he was unprepossessing, he was easy to like. He didn’t have grand airs and dressed like them. He was funny, he talked straight, and he told them he came from a port town in a southern island and from the same stock as the common fisherfolk. To prove it, he sprinkled his speech with salty words that had them holding their sides with laughter.

    And so it came to pass that the good folk raised him above all the other chieftains and anointed him King.

    Alack and alas, once the ogre had ascended to the throne, he showed his true colors.

    He started by ordering the killing of miscreants who were enamored of a poisonous potion that enabled them to escape, for a time, from the misery of their lives.

    He shamed a good and brave woman and ordered her to be shackled in a dungeon because she had courage and once attempted to reveal his hideousness and his true nature as an ogre.

    And he gave away some small pearly islands to a neighboring kingdom in exchange for cheap gifts and promises of fast moving cars on rails.

    And so now, in this kingdom by the sea, the King sits comfortably on his throne, unafraid to show his true face. Everyone, the ministers, the lawmakers and the judges, are at his beck and call. They tremble with fear and tremble with delight, and are eager to obey his every whim.

    And many do not see his ugliness and are still dazzled by his salty words and common touch.

    But many weep and wail, weep and wail, for lost kindness, for lost riches, and for lost lives.

  14. The article below talks about Marketing gone bad. Ad and PR men as chief architects of disinformation in PH. It is a very informational read.

  15. chemrock says:

    Wishing one and all a prosperous lunar new year….kong hee fatt choy

  16. Sup says:

    Sources from the Office of the Ombudsman told CNN Philippines the investigation ended because of insufficiency of evidence and lack of merit.

    This was first revealed by Solicitor General Jose Calida in a press briefing. He said Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Carandang sent him a letter stating that the plunder complaint filed by Sen. Antonio Trillanes against Duterte “was already closed and terminated as early as November 29, 2017.”

    “It means there is no evidence to support that complaint,” he said, adding that it was junked for lack of merit.

    CNN Philippines obtained a copy of Carandang’s letter to Calida dated February 12.

    It stated: “Based on the record, the recommendation to terminate the investigation was approved by Deputy Ombudsman Cyril E. Ramos.”

  17. Ed Gamboa says:

    Thanks for insightful analysis, Joe. Appreciate your courage and persistence. Here’s link to my latest on a situation which is deeply troubling to us all.

  18. – there you go. Duterte’s comments are causing tourists to cancel their trips.

    Knee-jerks politics simply does not work at national level and does not even win any respect at all.

    • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

      This Boracay shame should have been treated QUIETLY and discreetly like a personal private thing because it’s about sanitation and hygiene that involves sans racial health. This is not a freedom to know thing that needs publicity even to a cave man .

  19. madlanglupa says:

    Offtopic: NO, not while having this vacillating, Quisling-like lunatic power in the Palace.

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