Aquino’s doberman and Arroyo’s rottweiler

By Chemrock

A rabid Arroyo apologist recently wrote a scathing attack on Chief Justice Sereno and called her Aquino’s doberman. It was a dog walk outing for a frumpy grumpy misanthrope of all things Aquino who figured a corrupt-Arroyo regime, of which he played a role, should still be running the country. (Aquino’s ‘Doberman’ in the Supreme Court by Rigoberto D. Tiglao)

The article was vicious, obnoxious, and toxic, full of hate and sans a modicum of respectability that one expects from a columnist of a popular press. He ought to understand the need to write with a calm and neutral head. My sensibilities were agitated at the vehemence. I had to show him the Rottweiler in the mirror still lingering under Arroyo’s dining table, snapping at crumbs.

The Doberman article prompted me to write on the logic fallacies prevalent in pubic discourse in the Philippines. The ‘yellows’ or democracy-loving folks on one side, and Duterte/ Marcos/ Arroyo supporters on the other side of the political aisle, are all guilty. Some are more guilty than others. For the thugs, arguments are heated vehement exchanges due to differing viewpoints. For the literary enthusiasts, an argument is “a reason or set of reasons given in support of an idea, action or theory”. The challenge is to analyze the argument and refute it if it is invalid.

By fallacy, I mean it in the philosophical sense, that is, the way an argument is structured that defines it’s invalidity. An argument is basically a structured statement that draws a conclusion from defined premises. If the logic in the premises are wrong, the conclusion is invalid. It is said to be a fallacious argument.

In the current bitter and confrontational political environment that is the Philippines, fake news proliferate. However, fake news are easily identified, and the state attempts to stop this by legislation. One wonders how the state can police such legislation when govt agencies and their paid bloggers are the main offenders. On the other hand, fallacious arguments are very subtle. Many are simply innocent errors of logic, but some are masterly-crafted texts meant to deceive. Cunningly worded fallacious arguments designed for deception are high-end propaganda tools. The invalidity of the argument easily gets past most readers except for those with sharper and trained minds. The dangers of such pre-meditated fallacies is in the sublime capture of a reader’s mind.

To illustrate, I refer to the Tiglao article that ruffled me. There is a heading that says :

” Thirteen of the 15 Supreme Court justices want her out. “

This statement is a Fallacy of Large Numbers. Even if 13 out of 15 justices want CJ Sereno out of the Supreme Court, that does not equate to the majority being correct. Similarly when surveys say “83% of Filipinos gave Duterte high trust rating” it does not mean Duterte is a trustworthy person. Such fallacies are nuanced and persuade many to immediately accept invalid propositions.

For the simple reason our brain is a receptacle of limitless capacity, we should nourish it with knowledge. To enter the realm of facts, data, knowledge and logic, it is essential to understand the difference. If one has dumped yottabytes of facts and data into the cranium, does that make him/her knowledgeable? Facts and data are merely contents. The fact that one can recall and regurgitate them does not mean one has knowledge of the contents. Knowledge suggests an active recognition of the facts and data into one’s consciousness. The contents have been analyzed, spliced, examined, questioned, etc. In order to do this, a healthy dose of skepticism is essential. The fact that Filipinos are lacking in this area is glaringly exposed in the international survey that found us ‘confident’ and ‘ignorant’.

Logic here is “reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity” (Cambridge dictionary). The fact that so many fallacious arguments can be enumerated really means some basic understanding of logic is essential for everyone generally. Not everyone is up to Aristotelian logic, or the likes of John Locke, Kant, Plato etc. Some basic understanding is really a good skill set to have.

Let’s take a look at some of the fallacies in arguments by picking up on some real examples.

Argumentum ad verecundiam (or argument from authority):

This is an argument which relies on the support of an authority to defend its validity. In many situations, within a proper context, an authority’s report may very well be valid. However, in many other situations, there is a dumping down of an authority’s report as most people would tend not to question such authority, eg, the Fed’s inflation figure is unquestioned.

Recently, the head of the Public Attorney’s Office, Attorney Acosta, and some other lawyers-turned-pathologist, performed autopsies on 14 child cadavers. It was an ambulance-chasing exercise that was absolutely ultra vires the function of a public defense attorney.  Obviously politically motivated, it was a gamesmanship attempt to pin the blame on the Dengvaxia vaccination program with a view to haul the previous admin, particularly ex-president Aquino, to court. The lawyers masqueraded as scientists and arrived at their unprofessional conclusion. She outrageously denied a professional team of qualified pathologists, assembled by the Dept of Health, access to the tissues for a separate opinion. With a publicity-seeking Acosta, a non-critical press, and a bus-load of pro-Duterte bloggers with bots and millions of blind followers, the country was immediately flooded with a non-scientific explanation of the 14 deaths. The Filipino public thrives on emotion, so the good attorney ensured press releases are accompanied by dramas of 4 wailing mothers crying for justice. Her aim was achieved, never mind that it was later disclosed the children of the 4 presumably paid wailers were not amongst the 14 dead.

Acosta’s questionable report sows mistrust in other govt regular immunization programs. There will be serious life and death consequences. That’s why argument from authority is one of the most dangerous form of fallacies. We have a front row seat to watch this being played out.  Health agencies all over the country are already reporting of people refusing to let their children be inoculated. There is already a reported outbreak of measles in a province.

Indeed, Carl Sagan said of arguments from authority:  ‘One of the great commandments of science is, “Mistrust arguments from authority.” ‘ (Especially those that are politically-tainted <sic>).

Texas sharpshooter fallacy:

This is a clustering illusion. A guy shoots at a wall and then draws a target at the part where most of the shots cluster, then declares himself a sharpshooter.

It’s about a large data but concentrating only on a small subset because the inferences on that support a pre-conceived outcome. Never mind the false reasoning. This is the game being played out against Senator De Lima and CJ Sereno.

(Of course, I left out a whole lot of unsavoury and illegal acts such as falsified evidence and compromised witnesses, in the De Lima  and Sereno cases).

Straw man fallacy:

When an argument is refuted simply by ignoring a proposition, but by diverting or replacing it with another proposition, that is called attacking with a straw man. Think you’ve met this before? Why, of course. This is the most common fallacy, especially by Duterte/Marcos/Arroyo supporters. When ever you discuss an issue, say corruption re D/M/A, you will receive a retort with reference to Aquino. It’s giving a false impression that the opponent is refuting an argument but all he did was inserting Aquino who is not the original proposition.

Straw man attacks usually arise in highly charged discourses where there are actually no understanding of the arguments. There is no critical thinking going on.

Ipse dixit fallacy (he said it himself):

I have spoken, that’s it.

It’s an opinion. There is no proof. There is no reasoning.

Haven’t you heard it before?

Speaker Panthaleon Alvarez : “I am from the Manolo tribe. I can have more than one wife”. (Not his exact words). The premise is he is Muslim. The conclusion is he is not an adulterer although he has a wife and a live-in partner.

Duterte: “Drug takers are not human beings.” The conclusion is his killing policy is justified.

These fallacies are pronouncements of the master, not about reasons. You hear one new one every day from thuggist authorities.

Argumentum ad baculum or appeal to the stick or cudgel:

This is one-a-penny in Philippines and it emanates from thugs. Their argument is to be believed, or woe unto ye. Do you need examples, really?

Speaker Alvarez: Cebu Pacific, you go to Subic airport , or your franchise will be cancelled. (The premise is if Cebu Pacific goes to Subic, Ninoy Aquino Intl Airport will decongest and improve.)

Philippines National Police : You taking drugs? Go surrender or you will be shot. (The premise is you surrender, you will be rehabilitated).

Argumentum ad populum (appeal to popularity):

This is about the lies, false news, and historical revisionism. If these are repeated too often by many people, it becomes normalized or accepted. All the invalid propositions and conclusions, the absurdities, the outrageous insertions, all become reality and truth in the people’s consciousness.

The Marcos/Arroyo/Duterte camps have reached the peak in their understanding of using this fallacy to shape people’s mind. In this undertaking, the Marcoses had a far greater head start. Historical revisionism of the great dictator Freddie Marcos started creeping into the country a long long time ago. Perhaps they learnt from Chinese masters. Long before Aristotle or Plato, there was a Chinese proverb 三个人做老虎 which literally means ‘three men make a tiger’. It has the same meaning of reinforcement by repeated mention.

Ad hoc fallacy:

This is an interesting topic. It is not a fallacy per se but commonly grouped as such. This is something an opponent often utilizes as a rescue tool to deflect a proposition that he cannot challenge. Let’s take a real example:


  • Duterte and daughter Sara has bank accounts with billions of pesos in transactions.


  • (Initial denial) I don’t have accounts with PDI.
  • (Partial acceptance) Yes I have an account. See bank certification show balance of Php 17,816.98.   
  • (Further refutation) If there is more than Php 40 million balance, I’ll resign.
  • (Justification of wealth) I received birthday gifts of millions / My wife operates several dunkin donut franchises / I had money from parents’ estate / I already had millions as a youth.

The ad hoc fallacy technique is used to rescue the opponent from an original proposition. You can easily recognize an ad hoc fallacy when such words come into play — maybe, perhaps,could be, it’s possible, etc. You get the idea.

Basically, the technique is to open up a whole universe of possibilities, but never address the original proposition.

I find this situation interesting when addressing the concept of burden of proof. Trillanes made the claim that Duterte has bank accounts showing transactions of over 2 billion pesos. He demanded Duterte sign a bank secrecy waiver to prove his innocence. From both philosophy and legal standpoints, the onus of proof lies on Trillanes. Duterte does not need to do anything. The one that made the proposition has to prove it. In the Philippines, it is not a rarity to see such travesty of law. The accused are often challenged to prove their innocence.

(Bank secrecy gets in the way. Any investigation into those bank accounts will be futile unless Duterte signs a bank waiver. That’s the law of the land. By not co-operating, the implication on guilt is crystal clear.)

Ad hoc fallacies open up a can of worms. Duterte now refutes Trillanes’ proposition not by invalidating his claims, but by introducing his own propositions. He is thus going down the un-parsimonious road. So now the goal post has shifted, in other words, the burden of proof has shifted. The onus now rests on Duterte to prove his propositions. And the only way he can prove it is to open up his bank accounts for examination.

Occam’s razor and fallacies:

Occam’s razor is a guiding principle in science and logic. It is a principle of parsimony which basically says that in a situation faced with many complicated explanations or hypothesis, all things being equal, the simple explanation, or the one with the least assumptions, is to be preferred.

The use of Occam’s razor is establishing itself in juridical decisions in the US. It has been used in several cases in the recent past. Google does not know if this has been used in the courts in the Philippines.

In an exceedingly legalistic state like the Philippines, clever and cunning attorneys run circles around the presiding judges all the time. Court cases take an inordinately long time for a final, real final, decision. Adjudication is a process of ‘Till death do we finalize’. As speedy resolutions are not forthcoming from the courts, people and govt agencies get paralyzed with projects that hang in suspended animation. The opportunity cost of all this is unimaginable.

Questions are often asked in exasperation. Why are we like this? Why is it so difficult to get things done in the Philippines? What can we do so we function like most other countries? I think the govt agencies and the courts ought to carry huge Occam’s razors to scalp the layers of inefficiencies, inconsistencies, and confusions as a way to solve the paralysis. For sure the MRT woes can be resolved, the utterly corrupt Bureau of Customs can be tamed, Bilibid can function as a proper prison and not a den of drug purveyors, etc..

Unfortunately this is a land where 7 unprincipled Supreme Court justices recently conspired to unseat a Chief Justice by unconstitutional means, out of spite, jealousies and being beholden to their political sponsors. When Supreme Court justices can no longer act judiciously, legislators who think their new role is to gun down perceived enemies of the president, policemen who moonlight as vigilante killers, and cabinet secretaries who view everything through hate-filled myopic bi-partisan eyes, Occam’s razor should be off-limits to them . Because such razors are dangerously too sharp. Innocent people will be hurt badly.

And so, we let dobermans and rottweilers loose.


81 Responses to “Aquino’s doberman and Arroyo’s rottweiler”
  1. edgar lores says:

    Chemrock, thanks.

    1. This is what I have been saying all along. Half of the reason the country is in the dumps can be attributed to reasoning disability which, in turn, leads to judgmental disability.

    2. Dobermans and Rottweilers? On reflection, the Filipino logic is more chihuahuas – small and all bark but no bite.

    3. The other half of the reason are our attitudes of neediness, of partisanship, and lack of love for country.

    4. I think the most potent fallacy in the Filipino toolkit is argumentum ad passiones or appeal to emotion. This is underlined in the article by this statement: ”The Filipino public thrives on emotion, so the good attorney ensured press releases are accompanied by dramas of 4 wailing mothers crying for justice.”

    4.1. Looking at today’s top story in the Inquirer, “Judges mobilized to urge Sereno to resign,” the reason given for the court employees to wear something red is “if they are for the protection of the institution and not just of one person.”

    4.2. The subtext is (a) that court employees must protect their livelihood and (b) that it is all right to sacrifice an individual to the collective. We have seen the second reason (b) used to justify the Drug War.

    4.3. This reasoning neglects a primary principle of justice that a person must be given due process. As Sereno counters, “Judicial independence means that you should not pass judgment until you have seen all the evidence. But I’m being asked to resign even before the evidence against me [can] be presented.”

    5. Filipino political analogy is primarily canine and not feline. On behalf of the country, I apologize to man’s best friend.

    • chemrock says:

      (1) You summarise extremely well. Your various writings of this subject matter inspired my article. I can only write in an enumerative format and I for one sees my own limitation. One day I shall try out a real creative article.

  2. Gemino H. Abad says:

    Cool-headed critical thinking in our country as among the finest results of quality education, and as essential part of a working democracy’s foundation — alas! it’s a “long, long way to Tipperary!”

    • Yeah but the 7 Justices who conspired to do the unconstitutional ouster to the CJ shows the critical thinking is a result of the finest quality education whilst the cool-headedness is probably a function of some sort of impulse control. This is something our people seem to have an issue with.

      • Self-centered pettiness = immaturity. Not uncommon in many a Filipino setting, including the recent scenes with Bruha Teresita, CJ Sereno and Ate Vi. Of course Filipino netizens relished the pictures like a real-life teleserye.

        In fact mean because of what is at stake for the country. But even UP faculty can be like that, I know I grew up on campus.

  3. This is something we need to teach Filipinos young and old.

    Minor quibble Chempo. Alvarez claimed he was Manobo which is lumad in nature. Basically non muslim tribes. Part of the Indigenous people that are both being bombed and killed out of their tribal lands becuase of mining. He is claiming affinity to an IP who has a practice of polygamy.

    • chemrock says:

      Noted and thanks for the clarification. Either way, he did injustice to some community for personal weasle out of a condemnation.

      • Impulse control seems to be lacking for a lot of successful people in the Philippines. The people who succeed here needs a lot of bravado and over confidence. Quiet strength and sacrifice for the nation are foreign concepts when applied to the nation. Not for family or clan.

  4. It all boils down to a ‘teleserye mentality’.

    Would be boooring without all the drama!

    Except that the drama affects real lives. 😦

  5. buwayahman says:

    Sadly the majority of Filipinos cannot grasp the concept of logical fallacy.

    • Truly abstract thinking escapes many.. most?

      Plus social media makes many think they ‘know’ someone as if they personally knew. Many too fast judgements result out of this, including talk as if everybody were part of one village so opinions become facts too quickly.

      • “opinions become facts too quickly” Bingo. That’s why senators decry opinions as fake news. They can’t distinguish. Nor can most. And if someone else’s opinion agrees with mine, it is clearly a fact.

      • chemrock says:

        Opinions are important. Too often people do not have their own opinion on something which I think is pathetic. Right or wrong one ought to have some opinion on an issue. It will be a class of dumbs if a teacher asks for an opinion and there was silence.

        Every body is entitled to his/her own opinion. Everybody is entitled to publicise their opinions. But too few understand what making an opinion means. When one makes an opinion, one must have the means to defend or substantiate it. One must not be like DDS trolls who drop an opinion and disappears. If your argument becomes indefensible, you must have the humility or courage to acknowledge it and reassess that opinion.

        The right to have one’s own opinion does not mean the right to ramp that down the throat of other’s who do not share that opinion. If you don’t understand what I mean here, try arguing with The Thinking Nieto.

  6. NHerrera says:


    chemrock, thanks for the read on a timely topic. Here are online grabs on the two types of dogs for readers not well versed on dog breeds, as I am:

    Doberman = well known as intelligent, alert and tenaciously loyal companions and guard dogs if trained well.

    Rottweiler = an aggressive, ruthless, and unscrupulous person (NH addendum — or dog, hardly any difference in the case of the subject Manila Times writer).

  7. Micha says:

    Lots of fallacies there chemp. But you did not address Tiglao’s main contention; which is that Sereno is acting for and in behalf of the Cojuangco clan’s interest in hacienda Luisita.

    • chemrock says:

      I merely scratched the sufface. Too many fallacies to enumerate here. For me I feel that making some attempt to know these fallacies itself is very enriching in as far as real comprehension of agruments is concerned. I write at a very superficial level in the hope some unitiated may stop and ponder and say Hmmm I never thought of that, perhaps I better go read up on that further.

      Most of Tiglao’s writings spoil my day, not because he is pro this or that, but the hate and the vehemence in the prose. As to the Sereno-Cojuanco angle, that’s not my objective here,

      As to the Cojuanco’s, my personal unverified unproven gut feel is that the Aquinos try to distance themselves from Cojuanco for reasons we can only speculate. One suspicion is the Cojuanco’s complicity in Ninoy’s murder.

      • Micha says:

        When Tiglao talks of Cojuangco clan he does not only refer to Danding Cojuangco. The clan includes Peping, Teresita, Cory, and others down the line.

        What is odious about this Hacienda Luisita drama is that the whole country is being dragged down with it.

        Why did Pnoy appointed Sereno who, as Tiglao alleged, is the least junior and least qualified of the nominees?

        • It’s a good question. My guess is he went with character as a paramount concern, along with a legal mind he believed was excellent, and the attractiveness/stability of a 20 year term for a good, not-corrupt character. He did not trust the more senior justices, especially those appointed by Arroyo. I don’t know his thinking about Justice Carpio who, in hindsight, seems to be the strongest advocate for the Constitution and Philippine sovereignty. I doubt he foresaw the immaturity and envy of the justices who were passed over.

        • edgar lores says:

          I would like to re-post a comment I made on Raissa Robles blog, on June 11, 2012, about choosing the next Chief Justice. The comment is titled “Insider, Character, Harmonizer.” These are the selection criteria @baycas proposed at that time.


          Insider, Character, Harmonizer

          This is my two cents using @baycas’ criteria (#27). I apologize for the length: my two cents are heavy.

          The first criterion is Insider.

          I will assume @Johnny Lin’s (#40.1) definition of an ‘insider’ as one currently serving as an associate justice.

          As with @Johnny Lin (#39), I believe the obstacles facing an outsider are too huge. The obstacles are not insurmountable, but it would take a man or woman of an extraordinary caliber to master the intricacies of the dysfunctional Supreme Court, to properly administer its resources, and to harmonize its current personalities. I would, therefore, go for an Insider.

          The second criterion is Character.

          The current justices of the Supreme Court may be broadly classified into two classes: individualists and conformists.

          The first class are comprised of the independent-minded jurists, the iconoclasts, the loners, the non-orthodox, and these are Carpio, Sereno, and Perlas-Bernabe.

          The second class consists of the rest of the jurists who, while they may be possessed of intellectual brilliance individually, are also possessed of herd mentality and even of intellectual dishonesty. This is demonstrated in their voting on the Corona and Del Castillo issues, in which their collective behavior and reaction were to close ranks and to protect their own.

          I would choose the next Chief Justice among the three individualists. By definition, individualists possess character. First and foremost, they think, not to justify or rationalize their biases, but to flesh out the correctness of their usually true and correct intuitive judgment. Second and equally important, they believe in the soundness of their judgment and have the courage to stand by it.

          Amongst these three, the choice is between Carpio and Sereno. Perlas-Bernabe at this stage is an unknown quantity.

          From the Rappler article (“Antonio Carpio: the man on the bench”), Carpio is noted as saying, “The most important qualification of a judge is independence, not brilliance”. He later proved this by going against (a) President Ramos, under whom he served as chief presidential legal counsel, in the PEA-Amari case, and against (b) President Arroyo, who appointed him to the Supreme Court, in the People’s Initiative and the Arroyo travel TRO.

          It must be noted that Carpio voted alongside with Conchita Carpio-Morales on PEA-Amari, the People’s Initiative and the Truth Commission, both against Corona. Re comment #121, Carpio inhibited on PIATCO.

          Important: if ever Carpio is appointed by the President, he will be PNoy’s appointee, but never PNoy’s yes-man. So in answer to CPMers’ fears and PNoy’s critics, Carpio will keep the judiciary independent. As @Johnny Lin warns: “PNoy, beware.”

          By her voting record, Sereno has proved character equal to, if not greater than, Carpio. Certainly, she does not carry the baggage (Vizconde case?) that the latter does, and therefore seems ‘purer’. Her judgment, reasoning and the clarity of her language are formidable.

          Both of these candidates meet the criterion of Character.

          The third and last criterion is Harmonizer.

          Let me caution that to harmonize does not denote fostering herd mentality. Rather it is the propensity to foster not only a good working relationship amongst the justices but also within the judiciary staff. Perhaps even amongst the three branches of government. A commentator has noted the poisonous atmosphere currently circulating in the Supreme Court, with justices not talking to each other and mistrustful of each other.

          Sereno is through and through the ultimate loner, a maverick. With her dissenting opinions, she is almost anti-Judiciary establishment. This is possibly her weakness as a harmonizer. But most certainly it is also her strength, and the nation needs that strength to cut through the outgrowth of vegetation in the way of the Daan Matuwid. Presently, it would be a waste to dilute her strength on the mixed-onerous-and-trivial tasks of administering the court. She is young and perhaps it is best to keep her in reserve, if the next Chief Justice fails in the urgent goal to initiate the cleansing of the judiciary.

          Carpio has administrative experience in setting up a law firm and has initially demonstrated strong leadership in the matter of SALN disclosure. This latter coup indicates that there exists mutual respect between him and the other judges. With respect to Raissa’s concern that candidates from a corporate background have no compassion for the downtrodden, Carpio as a UP student was affected and molded by the Marcos repression; he was also politically involved during EDSA 1.

          The next test of Carpio will be the decision on the retirement benefit of that down-threader Corona. If he fails here – that is, if Corona will be given consideration in any measurable quantity be it quarter-, half- or full plenitude – then he (Carpio) is out.

          (As an aside, I have never put faith in the tradition of seniority, and this crisis has given us the opportunity to break with tradition.)

          Whoever the next Chief Justice may be, let CPMers be vigilant and monitor how the court will solve the myriad issues confronting it, like the problem called Midas, the question of having novenas in the court, the mess of justice allowances and the paying of judiciary personnel in cash, the transparency of the judiciary funds, and the unholy recall of the FASAP case.

          I submit, most respectfully.

          • Micha says:


            I despise Tiglao for sticking it out with a liar and a disgraced magnanakaw but the issue he is bringing out against Sereno deserves an honest answer, viz, that Pnoy choose Sereno even if there were more senior and more qualified nominees because he is expecting a quid pro quo on the matter of the Cojuangco clan’s intererest in Hacienda Luisita.

            Tiglao backed that charge by pointing out that indeed, as a sitting judge, Sereno ruled favorably for the Cojuangcos.

            chempo claimed that Tiglao’s piece was vicious and toxic but he never bothered to refute the issues raised by the latter.


              (March 6, 2012) – it could very well be that Aquino himself destroyed the good aspects of his legacy by thinking he could do no wrong and the exceptions he made justified the means.. well isn’t it a very Filipino tragedy to never think one’s own barkada/tribe/clan can be wrong?

              ..[In] her Dissenting Opinion, Associate Justice Sereno stipulated that the Cojuangco-Aquinos must [be] compensated according to the current market value as the time of the taking; soliciting for a whopping P10 billion contradicting the court’s 1989 position as the time of reckoning with a mere 1 percent of what HLI is currently demanding,” a joint statement from Uma and Ambala read.

              “We are reminding Justice Sereno that it is against the public interest what she had done. Her Dissenting Opinion had served as an apocalyptic warning… The Hacienda Luisita farmers will not pay a cent… Her personal interest is a disservice to the farm workers. We condemn her action to hamper the eventual distribution of Hacienda Luisita in the highest order and it will be dealt with resounding and massive protest if she will not change her ways.

              “Obviously, she [wants] to be Chief Justice in the soonest possible time,” the statement read…

              • ISK says:

                Hello Sir.

                There’s a video clip posted in Rappler; this was during the JBC interview between AJ Peralta and now CJ Sereno.

            • edgar lores says:


              Perhaps the question to ask is not “Why did Sereno rule favorably for the Cojuangcos?”

              Your speculation is that Tiglao is right in his claim that it was a quid pro quo for Pnoy’s appointment of her to the High Chair.

              Perhaps the proper question to ask is: “Is Sereno’s ruling based on principle? And is that principle just and unassailable?”

              The video posted by @ISK goes to the question of “just compensation” and, I believe, partly provides an answer.

              • Micha says:

                Just compensation is the principle behind Sereno’s ruling favoring the Cojuangco’s?

              • edgar lores says:

                From the Rappler article cited by Irineo:

                “The High Court’s decision entitled HLI to just compensation for the agricultural land that will be transferred to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to be reckoned from Nov. 21, 1989, the date of issuance of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council’s (PARC) Stock Distribution Plan (SDP)-approving Resolution No. 89-12-2.

                “[In] her Dissenting Opinion, Associate Justice Sereno stipulated that the Cojuangco-Aquinos must [be] compensated according to the current market value as the time of the taking; soliciting for a whopping P10 billion contradicting the court’s 1989 position as the time of reckoning with a mere 1 percent of what HLI is currently demanding,” a joint statement from Uma and Ambala read.”

              • Micha says:

                Just compensation for the oligarchs who acquired that vast tract of agricultural land not with their own money but with a loan from the government and who then profited from it not by working their ass off and tilling the land themselves but by employing tenant farmers in what can only be considered a Philippine version of a feudal system, of master and serf relationship.

              • edgar lores says:

                That’s a different discussion.

                And Juana’s interjection puts another complexion on the matter.

              • My apologies for cutting in.

                Irineo’s link has this as its last sentence, “Mr. Aquino, who divested his shares in Hacienda Luisita, has repeatedly denied these allegations.”

                The Aquinos supposedly divested from HLI in 2010. In effect, the Aquinos did not profit from Sereno’s ruling if they divested. Is the “utang na loob” presumption due to the perceived closeness of the Aquinos to the Cojuangcos? History has it that the Cojuangcos have forsaken the Aquinos during the Marcos regime. Danding is even rumored to be the mastermind of Ninoy’s assassination. These reasons are enough for me to say that PNoy probably did not care whether the Cojuangcos received just compensation or not.

              • Micha says:

                As you very well probably know, there are two warring factions of the Cojuangco clan : there’s the Danding Cojuangco faction, loyal to Marcos and has nothing to do with hacienda Luisita, and there’s the Peping Cojuangco faction which has as much interest in the hacienda. To be precise, the animosity between these two factions can be traced to their fathers or grandfathers.

              • Yes, Micha. I am aware of the two factions of Cojuangco’s but there is also a family feud between the Aquinos and the Peping/Tingting Cojuancos. Kris said in print something along the line that if her mother is the price to pay for putting up with Peping/Tingting, it is such a teeny tiny price.


                To me, that debunks the “utang na loob” theory.


            in 2003, she was against the impeachment of Hilario Davide.. in 2012..

            ..Nine years later, Sereno would be asked to testify in an impeachment trial against the present leader of the Court, Chief Justice Renato Corona. She would decline after the prosecution decided to rest its case, but Sereno’s dissenting opinion served as ammunition enough against Corona.

            She also dissented against a ruling of the Court that bars justices and court employees from testifying before the impeachment trial and divulging internal deliberations of the High Court in the name of judicial privilege.

            “The injury to society would indeed be greater if the Court upholds unconditionally the judicial privilege against all inquiries on its adjudicatory processes and denies outright the powers of the Impeachment Court to determine the truth and the public’s demand for accountability of impeachable judicial officers,” she wrote.

            Sereno believed then that the impeachment case against Davide was politically motivated — that Cojuangco was reportedly behind it. The impeachment case against Corona, critics said, however, is also initiated again by another Cojuangco — President Benigno Aquino III, who is also a nephew of the powerful tycoon.

            Sereno said the impeachment complaint against Davide came at a time when the SC was about to decide on a case involving Danding Cojuangco. The impeachment complaint against Corona, critics said, was filed after he voted in favor of distributing the lands of Hacienda Luisita, which Aquino’s family — particularly that of his uncle, Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco, — owns…

            ..Also in the name of accountability, Sereno has gone against the tradition of confidentiality in the Court. She detailed the internal deliberations of the SC on Arroyo’s petition for a temporary restraining order, saying the voting was not accurately reflected in the resolution issued by the High Court..

            • edgar lores says:

              Just on the Davide and Corona cases, the Rappler article states that Sereno believed the former was politically motivated.

              The article seems to imply that the two cases were similar in that respect.

              But it does not state what Sereno believed of the latter, whether it was different or similar.

              It goes on to say that Sereno dissented in cases involving GMA and her allies and that Corona thought she would cause him difficulty and embarrassment.

              It would seem that Corona appreciated (conscious of but not grateful for) the difference between his approach — expedient? — and Sereno’s.

  8. In line with Occam’s razor reasoning: Who is to blame for the country’s slip sliding to the skid row?

    Gatchalian wanted to probe the PH educational system because of its low marks in an international ranking. Pacman blamed teachers for Filipinos’ lack of patriotism.

    IMHO, the educational system in is but a small fraction of where the liability lies in PH not faring well domestically and internationally. The glaring problems at present emanate from the government, specifically the Executive branch, resulting in a chaotic domestic situation and a plummeting international reputation. All PH institutions should be probed and probers can start with the 3 branches of the government first.

    • NHerrera says:


      The Executive allocates a not-well-thought-out budget for school buildings; the Legislative pares it down further because of the need for porkt; the Judiciary on a case brought before it concerning the physical hazard of poorly designed buildings timidly defers to the two Branches of government.

      On a strong typhoon or earthquake that kills hundreds, House and Senate Investigations are done. Pacquiao blames it on the Weather Bureau not giving timely advice, and the teachers for acting too late.

      Yes, JP, blame it on the Weather Bureau and the Teachers, the lowest in the Totem Pole. Blame the Teachers too for the low PH rating in our education system and, of course, lack of patriotism — the lack of patriotism the Administration itself clearly displays in large measures.

    • NHerrera says:


      What are we in power for? — scolded Jose Avelino erstwhile Senate President and Liberal Party President under President Elpidio Quirino who out of a sense of duty caused the embarrassing investigations made into graft and corruption, the results of which implicated the Liberal administration of Quirino.

      It is suggested that the now classic Avelinism greatly contributed to our brand of politics.

  9. chemrock says:

    JP, there’s really a lot in your short comment here.

    1. “Who is to blame for the country’s slip sliding to the skid row?”
    Everybody has their own favourite scapegoat.
    My favourite is — Get lawyers out of the way in the governance of the country. Put in professional managers of the appropriate fields.

    2. On Gatchalian — a probe? you need a professional evluation, better still, engage foreign expertise. We don’t need another useless senate inquiry.

    3. Pacquaio — not worth commenting.

    4. On education — as regards subject topic of understanding fallacies, yes it’s a school failure. That means a whole lot of associated causes — like curriculum structure. But Philippines is not alone in this. It’s actually quite universal. On the personal level, these are the kind of stuff that I would invest time with my own kids.

    5. Government is responsible for the country not doing well domestically and internationally — Govt has an extremely important role, but the whole community too has to contribute. In some cases, it’s not entirely the govt’s fault. Eg the govt did’nt put crooked Erap or Arroyo or a thug to lead the country.

  10. Sup says:

    The supreme court did commit EJK this morning.
    Extreme Judicial Killing.

  11. madlanglupa says:

    What a coincidence. What perfect timing, with SC employees want her out, subpoena powers to the cops, and you have these characters waltzing out of the courtroom.

  12. This bodes ill for a lot of the decent and principled Filipinos. Subpoena powers for PNP to target the educated and/or wealthy.

    “… PNP chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa vowed that there will be no abuse in the implementation of the subpoena powers.

    “I swear before God, the people, and the media that I will never abuse this power,” he said while raising his right hand.”

    Who is going to police the police?

    • And unfortunately, nearly the entire opposition in the Senate approved of the bill..

      even Leila De Lima (still free then), Bam Aquino, Risa Hontiveros. Trillanes wasn’t there, question is what were they thinking when they approved subpoena powers for cops?

      • edgar lores says:

        What were they thinking?

        Not one libertarian among them except Recto?

      • I scoured news from 2017 but have not found any news referring to this act. Aren’t representatives supposed to bring back this matter to their constituents and for the Senators to openly talk of a very important act such as this one so people could give them feedbacks? Are legislators oblivious to the abuse of police power in the war on drugs?

        Is this act constitutional?

        To me, this is reminiscent of Marcos’ act of giving the armed forces power in 1972. Then the apprehension, arrest, detention, disappearance and EJK of the country’s best and brightest started. Will it be different this time?

        Click to access 20180301-RA-10973-RRD.pdf

        • karlgarcia says:

          Below are 2 year 2017 news items about the matter.
          That is what we lack, a feed back system.
          We have hearings and we hire resource persons, but that’s it.
          We do not write our congressmen, we just send fb messages or tweets and they may not be to our respective congressmen.
          The offices of the congressmen are for lobbyists or vips, and the front desk handles all constituents who usually the ask for assistance.

          • Thanks, Karl.

            The feedback system is what makes the electorates smart and engaged in politics. If the politicians truly want to represent the people, they should ask them to participate in discusing issues that will affect their lives. It is their job and duty to educate their constituents about what the government is doing. Their votes on congressional bills should reflect their constituents’ and not their personal choice in the matter. Maybe the reason why some Filipinos are ignorant is some politicians just want to lord over them when they should be teaching, listening, and collaborating with them while working on their concerns. Democracy did not fail PH. PH failed to work it to bring about progress and prosperity.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Some participate in open forums like kapihan here and there, but if it would be like Rosales and Gadon( impeachment troublemaker) yesterday it will lead to nowhere.

              From congress to the senate.

              And another thing is the PDP even tricked some supporters of a federalism seminar, only to be bombarded by campaign like speeches.

              • A lot has to change in how public administration is being done in PH. Switching political ideology from Democracy to Communism will lead nowhere too, IMHO. It is the quality of politicians that needs to change. A change in ideology with same self-serving leaders will not make PH flourish. The politicians and a chosen few may make out like bandits but the populace will be plunged into a dark abyss.

                Not surprised about your last sentence. The PDP seems to be bent on being the last and only party left standing, like the CPC. As the Big Bad Wolf would say, “The better to oppress you with, my dear.”

              • karlgarcia says:

                After huffing and puffing and blowing the house down.

              • NHerrera says:

                The following item may be related even in a tangential way.

                Joel Ruiz Butuyan writing in Inquirer makes a relatively well-known assessment. He writes:

                President Duterte’s mass support has hardly been dented by

                – the thousands of extrajudicial killings,
                – his use of vulgar language, and
                – his friendliness with China despite the Philippines’ territorial conflicts with that country.

                But the economic hardship brought by his administration’s policies will

                – reconfigure the political views and
                – reshape support of the masses for it.

                As it was in past dispensations, the Duterte administration refuses to recognize that the best political adviser is the stomach.

                (Bolding, mine.)


              • karlgarcia says:

                Another thumps up to you NH!

              • Very good read, Kuya NH.

                I guess it is a universal reaction. In the US, it is called “getting hit in the pocketbook.” It seems to shake the sleepyheads from their stupor.

  13. distant observer says:

    Thank you chemrock!

    “The article was vicious, obnoxious, and toxic, full of hate and sans a modicum of respectability that one expects from a columnist of a popular press.”
    Welcome to the new style of “engaged” writing 😉 I however refuse to get used to this style. Just because someone is yelling an argument loudly doesn’t make it more true. That’s something many people, not only Filipinos, do not realize.

    Fallacy of large numbers:
    Yes this is an often used “argument” in political discourse. Hitler got democratically elected and enjoyed high popularity in the earlier days, but no one in his right mind would argue that Hitler was right in what he was doing and planning. The majority is right in the democratic, political sense that might makes right, and the majority rules. The majority however can be very wrong in terms of argumentation and reason and can be easily deceived.

    “The fact that Filipinos are lacking in this area is glaringly exposed in the international survey that found us ‘confident’ and ‘ignorant’.”
    Baam, that hurts. The truth hurts often.

    Argumentum ad verecundiam and ipse dixit arguments can only work in distinct hierarchic and obedient societies. As far as I observe, they work way less in western societies.

    The argumentum ad baculum however doesn’t seem to me as an argument at all but simply a threat.

    I have an ambiguous opinion concerning occam’s razor. I am if favor to apply it for the sake of feasibility and pragmatism. However, as you point out, a sharp razor in the hand of the wrong person can slash a lot of people. From my philosophical standpoint, I adhere to the axiom that reality is stranger than fiction and occam’s razor might falsely lead to the impression that reality is less complex than it actually is.

    How I hope that people like Franco Mabanta, the seemingly intelligent “social influencer” in the service of Bongbong Marcos would read this article. Just today he called Mar Roxas a “toolbag”, while it is obvious that he is a tool for the Marcoses himself. What kind of fallacy is that? Argumentum ironia? I guess the best answer is the same as you had to JP concerning Pacquaio: “not worth commenting on”.

  14. caliphman says:

    That Philippine government leaders are remarkably devoid of logic is very sadly not the crux of why it is or has become a failed state. The fundamental and endemic flaw is not lack of intellect but much more, lack of morals and character.

  15. sonny says:

    We have acquired the form and failed to learn and own the substance. Sadly and tragically.

  16. karlgarcia says:

    Tiglao is barking up and barking at the wrong tree.
    The charbroiled pot calling an often cleansed kettle black.

  17. NHerrera says:


    John Nery writes on the subject in Inquirer’s Op-ed which he titles,

    Enrile is proof of politicized Court.

    Rather than paraphrase or comment on the short article, I would rather the reader — if he has the time — reads or scans it, in order not to lose the flavor of the nuanced article.

    • I wish Jover the very best.

      • Sup says:

        Public Information and Mass Media 10:00 A.M.
        Session Hall 2/F Left Wing, Senate
        P.S. Res. No. 315 – Proliferation of Fake and/or Misleading News and False Information

        P.S. Res. No. 271 – Proliferation of Misinformation and Fake News Sites in Social Media

        P.S. Res. No. 259 – Social Media Trolls

        Manifestation of Senators Sotto, Pacquiao, Villar, Gordon, Pangilinan, Zubiri, Aquino, Hontiveros, and Angara on the article #Silent NoMorePH

        S. No. 1492 – Anti-Fake News Act

  18. FWIW: Below is the late Sen. Miriam Santiago’s take on CJ Sereno’s appointment to the SC. It was originally printed through the Senate Press Release but I can’t access it through there. I am posting it here because the discussion with Micha and Edgar about this matter is now nested to the max.

    “”Pres. Aquino is not paying off a political debt, or investing in a political asset. Obviously, he merely chose the best and the brightest. In our country, that is an achievement in itself,” Santiago said.”

    • That is, it is rare to see someone actually appoint on the basis of capability. What is interesting is the robust skepticism that exists everywhere regarding government deeds in the Philippines, and is found in Micha’s disbelief that Aquino could actually be honest and above-board in appointing Sereno. I would say that such relentless skepticism is generally deserved, but it is tragic that this is so.

    • edgar lores says:

      Miriam says brilliant; I say formidable.

      Sereno says, “I will not resign.”

    • NHerrera says:

      That, coming from Miriam is really something, especially one who was also a sharp critic of Ex-Pres B. Aquino. I am glad, you retrieved that, JP. It makes my day!

  19. Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

    it can’t (cannot) be helped I supposed that we measure or judge people based on our self standards: our aesthetics or morals. My way of life, my living standard at the time of SALN (Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Network) and my financial situation constituted or were probably SIMILAR to may be ninety per cent (90%) of government employees.

    I was an employee of UP (University of the Philippines) and like many others I strongly believed SALN was not for me; a nuisance, a burden, repeating the same figures reminding me of my humble earnings and little property every year from HONEST TOIL. I may not have missed filing for every fiscal year because I was lowly enough not to deter my supervisor for admonishing me not to forget to file.

    The Gods of public Academes are the Faculty Members. Their job is to teach, do reasearch and do community service. TO HELL with the SALN. I don’t need it, it doesn’t need me, I thought at the time. BUT as lawyers tell me: The law may be toxic or stupid but it is the Law. Tax laws just proved to Chicago’s untouchable Al Capone that taxes are unavoidable like death. As SALN is now being used to butcher the number one lawyer in the country, fittingly perhaps as the POTUS will twit: SAD.

    • chemrock says:

      The explanation is provided by Escudero — many govt employees after long years in service, cannot locate their copies of old SALNs submitted previously. This was what happened to Sereno.

      And in case anyone is still comparing Sereno to Corona, the latter did’nt declare his assets correctly in the SALN as CJ. Apples and oranges.

  20. preetyvarma says:

    Rottweiler Rottweilers are loyal and protective towards their owners. They are powerful, calm, trainable and courageous. They become natural guard dogs but their even temperament makes them a good social companion. They are easy to train and are highly intelligent and courageous
    Dobermans Dobermans are energetic clubbed with tremendous strength and stamina. Loyal, Tolerant and affectionate are the adjectives goes perfectly well with them. They are the outstanding guard dog but also a gentle family companion.

    • chemrock says:

      Thanks for dropping by.

      I’m no Ceasar Milan the Dog Whisperer. Don’t know much of doberman and rotweiller. You are mostly right from the owners’ point of view. Most stuff I know of these 2 breeds are from tragic news when these breeds show their teeth.

      I have had several breeds in the past, all cuties and lovables — shih tzu, silky terrier, golden retriever, coolie and a bulldog-boxer mix. Loved them.

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