Mr. Chill

Prof/Atty Florin Hilbay, former Solicitor General

by Wilfredo G. Villanueva

He prepared well for the Bar Exams in 1999, and when an acquaintance who called by mobile phone read his name from a list faxed by the Supreme Court to the Department of Justice, he knew from the pit of his stomach that he would be number one because he had studied for it. Waiting for the results, his family, especially his mom, couldn’t eat. He felt normal, in his words he was “chill.” His mom actually collapsed at the ton of good news worth its weight in gold; he picked her up and proceeded to pose for press photographers, smiling, owning the moment as his mother wept and melted in his arms.

Florin Hilbay applies the same diligence and nonchalance to waves when he surfs in Baler, when he defends Senator Leila de Lima in Supreme Court en banc, when he sits down for an interview with The Society of Honor in the University of the Philippines College of Law on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

The sign at the door of his office in the college says Prof. Florin T. Hilbay. He has three positions: law instructor, writer in law publications, and recipient of various grants.

“I’m not bald,” he said without a tone of defense, “I only shave my head because it makes me glide in the waves.” Spoken like a surfer, hanging loose. Who cares?

Does he flinch,

grimace or startle? Never caught him in a state of hesitation. He answers quickly, in fact before you finish pitching your question, he is already at first base. First time I talked with a person who comes at you like a bullet, you have no time to dodge, in a hurry but not rude, intelligent but not arrogant or patronizing.

He was not an honor student in Holy Child Catholic School in Tondo, Manila where he finished elementary, University of Santo Tomas high school “educ” and a degree in economics in the same university but he was always near the top. In UP Law, he finished no. 13 in his class and was awarded the Dean’s Medal for Academic Excellence.

Studying full-time, he was a working student, as assistant to the Dean of the college, and assistant to a congressman.

He is the one of a few Filipinos

to finish a masters in law in Yale University, on full scholarship. Yale accepts 23 students only for masters, and he made the grade. Go ahead, read that again. He has full-on bragging rights, but I don’t see standoffishness in the man, just a lawyer explaining things in layman’s terms, careful perhaps not to spook the daylights out of you if he trots out legal jargon. But he looks at you with a trained eye, wary for every muscle twitch or stutter, sizing you up probably, seeing if you can run with him in punishing pace. Pilo, as his friends call him, is a swimmer and runner as well. He picked sports that probably suit his temperament to forge ahead with or without companions, regardless of time and place, to set personal goals by his lonesome—a completionist, maverick, pioneer.

Of all the cases you handle, which is first priority, I asked.

“Leila is first,

a live case, very symbolic. She’s the first political prisoner, first high-profile detainee in the time of Duterte. Her fate is tied to the fate of this administration. It’s an integral part of the regime, to make an example, to set the tone for the impunity that followed.”

“The moment the Senate did not budge, the moment Supreme Court validated a fake case, admin felt empowered to do everything and anything. She’s the first step in the road to impunity.”

How do you feel about what’s happening?

“I can’t be cynical; I should always be hopeful.” No other words followed.

Succinct is power.

Did you ever consider living abroad, with your talents… My voice trailed.

“I never considered life abroad, I’ve always thought my life should be here.”

His is a Cinderella story. Pilo’s mother Lydia was born and raised in ​Cagayan Valley, who tried her luck in the big city where she met his father Rodrigo. She worked as a domestic helper. His father was a messenger in RCPI (Radio Communications of the Philippines, Inc.) of yore, delivering telegrams, granddaddy of text messaging. His father was a high school graduate, his mother finished elementary school.

Lydia is a religious person, a trait her son doesn’t exemplify (“I’m spiritual, but not religious.”). From being a household help, she cooked and sold fried lumpiang togue, lumpiang sariwa, kare-kare. She also hacked buy-and-sell dry goods from Divisoria. She’s now 68 years old, and just recently underwent coronary artery bypass. Mother, be proud.

What’s the origin of Florin?

“From Florin Gheoghiu, a great Romanian chess grandmaster. My father loves chess, and my brothers and I are named after grandmasters.​”

Pilo lives in a guarded community, and on weekends, he would bring his parents to their old haunts in Tondo where he grew up, so they can play tong-its and pusoy dos with friends in their old house in Amarlanhagui street, between Pritil market and Tondo church.

How old were you during EDSA One?

“I was 12. The killing Ninoy Aquino was my political awakening. I don’t remember being interested in politics before that.”

“My father was anti-Marcos but not pro-Aquino. He would bring out his prized Akai stereo to the street so neighbors could listen to broadcast news of the People Power revolution. After RCPI, he landed a job in SITA (Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques), where he became a teletype operator. He ended up as president of the union when he retired.”

“My father was principled, read the newspapers, does puzzles, not a college graduate but very opinionated, likes discussions, strong-willed, chill. (That word again.—WGV) We used to play basketball together.”

Why law?

“I didn’t want to be a lawyer, wanted to work in the stock market, because I graduated economics in the University of Santo Tomas. When my classmates said they wanted to take up law, I took the entrance exams to the UP College of Law, because UP has more trees than other campuses, I told the panel who interviewed me. I was the only one who passed among my classmates; in graduating batch the only one from UST.”

“We couldn’t afford to pay for on-campus dorm, so I commuted: four jeepney rides one way, two hours each trip, from house to Tayuman, Tayuman to España, España to Fairview, from Philcoa, finally an “ikot” jeepney to Diliman campus.”

Are you dilawan?

“No. My opinion as Solicitor General on the issue of whether Grace Poe is a natural-born citizen is that a foundling in the Philippines is assumed to come from natural-born Filipino parents.”

Did PNoy talk to you about it?

“To his credit, no. But it was my call, and I had to stick to the truth even if the admin at that time would have wanted Poe’s disqualification. SolGen is independent, not subservient to appointing power. I was prepared to leave the office, but I finished my term co-terminus.”

Hmm. SolGen Calida, are you reading this? Not an echo chamber, get it?

So what happens to rule of law?

“It’s imperiled, in danger, under attack. This is a very dark period in our history but we’ll survive somehow. It’ll be difficult to reconstruct our institutions. We have work to do.”

Senator de Lima’s case?

“Still waiting for the action of the Supreme Court on our motion for reconsideration, that there is no probable cause. The lull may mean they are not in agreement on the nature of the charges, that the case is a fake charge.”

Is it time to call in the ICC (International Criminal Court) because our justice system may not be functioning?

“If the state is unable and unwilling to respond to impunity, it’s time for ICC to intervene. That’s why it was created.”

President Duterte’s threat to arrest ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda?


How do you reconcile your being non-religious to the resistance that opposes President Duterte, a big portion of which is the fount of religiosity?

“We should find salvation ourselves. Divine intervention? If it helps, it helps. Can’t exclude that possibility, but we can’t simply hope for divine intervention.”

“The Church has a moral obligation to intervene. I spoke to Bishop Broderick Pabillo (auxiliary bishop of Manila), I spoke to and am speaking before priests, for this is not a purely secular matter. It’s a moral issue; the lives, freedoms, dignity of Filipinos is at stake. It’s a matter that deeply affects public morality.”

“The policy of killing, the policy of giving away our national territory, promoting fake news, the undignified way they conduct themselves. People in public office ought to act like model citizens. Everyone is affected by the example they give.”

Conquered territory na ba tayo ng China?

“Politically we are. The President is compromised; he doesn’t seem interested in the constitution, he wants to share our territory for joint development. That’s an impeachable offense!”

Civil war?

“Don’t think so, no conditions for it. AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) is commendable for standing its ground against a declaration of a revolutionary government.”

Things to do?

“Plod on. Depends on what the admin is doing, we have to continue informing the public, to build a critical mass of outspoken citizens, because in the end politicians will listen to the people.”

Talk to the Filipino people.

“As a lawyer, I have to say we have to resist if the constitution itself is not respected. The constitution says that martial law can be declared only in the event of invasion or rebellion, so pwede pang magsalita, our freedom of expression is intact.”

Rate your happiness, satisfaction or fulfillment, ten being the highest.

Personal life?


Professional life?






Being chill?


Scholarship, continuing education?


Helping others, like giving alms?

“I do give alms, regardless whether syndicate or not. Nine.”

Satisfaction as a Filipino?


Relationship with the sitting president?

“Last July 12, 2016, the President asked me and Supreme Court associate justice Francis Jardeleza on how we should react to the decision of international Arbitral Court rejecting China’s nine-dash line claim. Soft landing, we said. Not to brag about it.”

“But I don’t agree with the policy to be friendly to China, disregarding the ruling.”

“He wavers. He’s been wavering with our rights. I don’t know his reasons, but it’s clear to me that what he’s doing is wrong.”


“I doubt that the closure is lawful, it’s just that no one is complaining.”

When is the time to finally say enough?

“It’s long overdue, we should have risen up a long time ago.”

“I think we need to inform our citizens on the ground about what’s happening. They have been able to control the pipelines of information, muzzled the critical press, tv, radio. Everything is essentially government propaganda, critical views are not able to reach the people. They might not like the policy of killing, how our national territory is not protected, that’s why we have to go to the ground level, go to the country, to reach who are woke. Talk to your neighbors, house to house, the only way to do it.”

Do you use social media?

“I tweet twice a day.”

A run for the Senate?

“People are telling me that I should run, that they will support me, but it’s difficult to decide. I just need to say what I need to say. It does not mean I have to run for public office.”

What can you say about lawyers, are they part of the problem or part of the solution?

“Law schools form an important function. Lawyers are the soldiers of the legal system. As a law professor, what’s important to me is to teach technique and principle to care for the rule of law.”

Rule of law. Sweet music. Metaphorically, Mr. Chill is the principal player in the anti-Duterte orchestra, probably chief violinist, the dominant sound reaching the ears of an adoring audience.

“Surfer General”, Solicitor General Hilbay catches a wave at Zambales [All photos courtesy of Atty Florin Hilbay]

88 Responses to “Mr. Chill”
  1. edgar lores says:

    1. I find myself agreeing — and disagreeing on a couple of points.

    o Grace Poe being an NBC. Not per the Constitution or the body of law.
    o Leila De Lima being the first step in the road to impunity. The EJKs started before her incarceration.

    2. Other than those two quibbles, I am in total agreement with all the rest – even with going bald for better glide… although I only surf the Internet. (Do you think it would help?)

    3. I particularly like this quote: ”We should find salvation ourselves. Divine intervention? If it helps, it helps. Can’t exclude that possibility, but we can’t simply hope for divine intervention.” This is what I have been pushing – a secular solution to a secular political problem.

    4. Principled parents make for principled children. And his parents are a testament to the oft-forgotten and ignored fact that the not-so-educated and the not-so-rich have great moral fiber.

    5. Don’t forget the issues:

    6.4B Drugs (at least)
    20K EJKs (& counting)
    West Philippine Sea

    Fake News
    Attacks on CHR, SC, OMB

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      As I was writing this article, I realized that Filipinos do not only have an American Dream but also an Honor-Your-Parents Dream. We have an infinite capacity to love our parents back. The key to national progress is the parents who also have an infinite capacity to love their children beyond imagination and comprehension. The story of Atty./Prof. Florin Hilbay captures the essence of the Filipino. We may be ungovernable, we may commit epic mistakes, but seldom do we dishonor our parents.

    • “great moral fiber”.. fiber comes from fruits and vegetables.

      What moral fruits and vegetables should be mandatory eating in order to acquire moral fiber?

    • Francis says:


      A crazy thought-bunny arising from thoughts raised in this thread of comments:

      1. Politics in the Philippines revolves around (and is held back by) family–or an unsophisticated concept of such[*].

      2. Our main social structure for political mobilization is the political dynasty, or political parties built on political dynasties. This restrictive focus on family is evident in our perception of politics; we view politics in simplistic terms: Philippines as one big family, one big barangay.

      [*] = Which is not to say that “family” always holds back higher, more sophisticated understandings of society. Observe Confucianism; family can transcend itself, if sufficiently reflected on. Perhaps, the problem lies in education system and value placed on non-instrumental learning and reading–but that is digressing from things.

      3. Hence, to engage in hyperbole: whether Communist Manifesto or On Liberty–would not matter much, save for a circle of academics.

      4. Yet, character of all Filipinos shaped by family. Maybe, a lot of detrimental views on authority (I am always right, even when I am wrong) and education (education matters yes, but on an instrumental level i.e. become a doctor or lawyer, not an artist or historian, etc.) originate in how Filipinos parent their children. Maybe, the reverse is also true: a lot of idealistic, positive views that foster critical thinking democratic citizenship also arise from parenting.

      5. Hypothesized Conclusion: One can radically change Filipino culture, politics and society via parenting books. Will probably be more effective than boring manifesto–that is half joke and half sober assessment.

      Crazy, right?

      • edgar lores says:


        1. Definitely, not crazy.

        2. When I started commenting in TSH in 2012, I observed that by my family standards — I happened to grow up in Hawaii in my first 8 years and my Dad was very strict, almost Puritanical — children here were wild. Primitive even. No ethical training. No discipline. No values. Joe Am asked what was wrong with Filipino parents, and I replied they “don’t know any better.”

        3. The parents of my father’s generation — whose childhood or teen years were greatly influenced by Thomasite teachings (1901 – 1935) — were outliers in terms of idealism, and good manners and right conduct. I would guess the Thomasite legacy extended to the 1950’s. The greats in Filipino politics emerged during this time. Alas, there was one snake.

        4. I guess not many were exposed to the Thomasite influence. And democracy was soon overrun by pre-Hispanic social structures and influences — dynasties, family, clan and tribal hierarchies. The snake brought back the barangay construct.

        4.1. Confucianism centers around the family and is rigid about familial roles, duties, and responsibilities. The concepts of ancestor worship, filial piety, and ethical behavior extend beyond the family into society and government.

        4.2. You will note that Duterte’s mother was anti-Marcos. She was born in 1916 and may have come under the Thomasite influence. Alas, her son has not inherited her values.

        5. Your point 3 is a brilliant insight. I am trying to imagine how communism would have fared here. I believe it would have fared as badly as democracy has. Perhaps worst. The means of production would be owned, not by the state, but by dynasties.

        6. Your conclusion is also valid. I am in total agreement. The question is: Who will teach the parents?

        7. It may be that in current times, the barangay has great influence on the young. Perhaps equal to that of parents and certainly greater than that of the church. The barangay, in effect, is the proverbial village needed to raise a child. And what is the barangay teaching and implementing? Mainly the political values of the current regime. Thus, I shudder.

        • Yes.. Duterte’s mother was a school teacher. The older generation of school teachers had a certain “habitus” or style of behavior that was derived from the Thomasites and those trained by them – just like the older Philippine civil service also had a certain style.

          What I read in another source was that landowners started hiring goons from the 1920s! This was the beginning of the warlord culture that was to return in full force after 1946. But even Marcos was already a bit warlord – one only needs to look up the court records of his trial for the murder of his father’s political rival Nalundasan in Commonwealth times. And at how CJ Laurel exonerated him with weird logic. Future Pres. Laurel. Nothing really new..

          Of course the seed of warlordism was born in Aguinaldo’s time, with an army that was essentially feudal, Heneral Luna’s mission of professionalizing it nearly Mission Impossible. Many commanders had their own troops (Ola in Bikol) or own flags (Llanera, black skulls).

          There was a certain formal standard of behavior even in late Spanish times – see Mabini.

          Warlordism from 1946 onwards, Martial Law from 1972 onwards, and the chaotic times after Marcos from 1986 onwards (yes, there were attempts to get things under control but they failed IMHO) with KFR (kidnappings) in the 1990s, local officials involved in hueteng etc., LGUs depending on loansharks, different types of syndicates infiltrating LGUs, PNP etc. – all of this I think turned the Philippines into a wilder and wilder place. Like talahib grass grows over parking lots that are not tended. The snakes and other animals follow after a while.

    • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

      I definitely agree with No. 1 re Poe.

      I also am not in agreement with the vote and the long explanation of CJ Sereno on the said case.

      Although I am an admirer of both Prof. Hilbay and CJ Sereno, I believed that Poe’s untimely candidacy for President has made possible the election of Du30 and the crisis we have now in the current administration, in addition to the multi-party system, a legacy left by the deposed dictator, and the fake news and black propaganda against Mar and Pnoy plus the gullibility and bandwagon mentality of the unthinking Pinoys. And to think, Poe is ranked no. 1 again in the polls for the mid-term election…aarrgghh!

      I admire the stand of SC Senior Associate Justice Carpio on Poe’s case, alas, that’s another dissenting opinion, that’s should be the first argghh!

      Kudos to his continuing efforts on the WPS.

      • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

        Losing the West Philippine Sea to nuclear-armed China may just be the “gravest external threat” to the Philippines since the second World War, acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio said on Friday.

        In his commencement speech at University of San Carlos in Cebu City, Justice Carpio warned that if Filipinos lose the huge resource-rich waters to Asia’s superpower, they would lose it “forever.”

        “If we lose this huge maritime area, we lose it forever. This generation, and future generations of Filipinos, will never be able to recover this vast area with all its rich natural resources,” the magistrate said.

        “I call this the gravest external threat to the Philippines since World War II, bar none,” he lamented.

        Carpio stressed that it is President Rodrigo Duterte and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) who is “tasked by the Constitution to lead the way in defending our national territory and maritime zones.”

        The magistrate, likewise, said that Filipinos should also defend the country against China’s “unlawful and unjust aggression” by turning to the 1987 Constitution and spreading the message to the world.

        “Let it not be said by future generations of Filipinos that today’s generation of Filipinos slept while China seized the West Philippine Sea. We, the Filipino people, can defend today the West Philippine Sea,” Carpio said.

        Filipinos, Carpio said, can do so by having people-to-people conversations with all peoples of the world, and with the “inherently good” Chinese people, through social media, blogs, conferences, journals, books and newspapers, online and print.

        “I am certain that the Chinese people will change their thinking once the history of the South China Sea is properly explained to them in a people-to-people conversation with other peoples of the world,” the acting chief magistrate said.

        “Let us not delay any longer, let us start this historic people-to-people conversation with other UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas) member nations, and with China, today,” he said.

  2. Mercedes says:

    Mr Hilbay, I appreciate you and thank you for doing the right thing for our country. God bless you.

  3. Marilet Meris says:

    Thank you, Mr Villanueva for writing this article
    And thank you, Atty Hilbay, for inspiring us to be better Filipinos.

  4. Oh no! After Ipe Lustre, another bald man from Tondo..

    a) proving that democracy and rule of law aren’t just promoted by elitists, born with a silver spoon;

    b) that the right kind of elitism, striving for excellence, is after all possible in the Philippines;

    c) that poor origins do not mean acting or speaking vulgarly, that true Filipinos aren’t ill-mannered.

    Will, please – what are you doing to all the popular cliches of today?

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Hi Irineo! I like the third cliche best. Thanks for the encouragement! Mabuti nandito tayong lahat–gwapo na, matalino, humble pa. Another shattered truth! Hahaha!

      • Well, we two are not kalbo. We can’t have everything, as they say the sexiest men are bald.

        Let us ask the women of TSOH about Yul Brynner, Telly Savalas, Vin Diesel, Bembol Roco, Ipe Lustre and Florin Hilbay… I prefer not to include Bato in the list, or Pugo.

    • madlanglupa says:

      The things that outrage me: (1) a growing culture of anti-intellectualism and (2) supposed intelligent people who decided to become greedy and cruel courtesans to a sultan-mayor.

  5. karlgarcia says:

    He is the hope of our justice system.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      When hope is all we have left, that’s true hope, like true love, reaching for the divine.

  6. Loudie Olaybal says:

    I salute you, Mr. Chill👏🏼 We need more of your kind especially during this time. May your tribe increase 👍

  7. marikit says:

    a big fat LIKE both for the interviewer and the interviewee! pls, pls, pls, dont just surf, run for office, mr. chill!

  8. off-topic.. just yesterday… note points K and 14..

    European Parliament resolution on the Philippines (2018/2662(RSP))
    The European Parliament,
    – having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in the Philippines, in particular those of 15 September 2016(1) and of 16 March 2017(2),
    – having regard to the Statement by the EEAS Spokesperson of 16 March 2018 on the Philippines and the International Criminal Court,
    – having regard to the statements by the EU Delegation and the spokesperson of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR),
    – having regard to the Framework Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation between the European Union (EU) and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of the Philippines, of the other part,
    – having regard to the joint staff working document on the EU Special Incentive Arrangement for Sustainable Development and Good Governance (GSP+) assessment of the Philippines covering the period 2016-2017, of 19 January 2018 (SWD(2018)0032),
    – having regard to the statements by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, regarding the accusations by the Government of the Philippines that the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other human rights defenders were involved in terrorist activities,
    – having regard to the outcome of the ASEAN-EU commemorative summit on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of ASEAN-EU dialogue relations, and to the ASEAN-EU Plan of Action (2018-2022),
    – having regard to the statement by the Chair of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) of 23 February 2018 that ‘keeping Senator De Lima in prison without charge is unacceptable’,
    – having regard to the diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the EU (formerly the European Economic Community (EEC)) established on 12 May 1964 with the appointment of the Philippine Ambassador to the EEC,
    – having regard to the status of the Philippines as a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN),
    – having regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,
    – having regard to the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance,
    – having regard to the EU Guidelines on Human Rights,
    – having regard to the Rome Statute,
    – having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,
    – having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),
    – having regard to Rules 135(5) and 123(4) of its Rules of Procedure,
    A. whereas the Philippines and the EU have longstanding diplomatic, economic, cultural and political relations; whereas through ratification of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, the European Union and the Philippines have reaffirmed their joint commitment to the principles of good governance, democracy, the rule of law, human rights, the promotion of social and economic development, and to peace and security in the region;
    B. whereas since 1 July 2016, around 12 000 people, including women and children, have, reportedly, been killed in the Philippines during an ongoing campaign against drugs, internationally proclaimed as President Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’; whereas President Duterte has vowed to continue his anti-drug campaign until the end of his presidential term in 2022; whereas the EU remains deeply concerned about the high number of killings associated with the campaign against illegal drugs in the Philippines;
    C. whereas the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, a Philippine national, has been accused of terrorism and, along with 600 other individuals including indigenous leaders and human rights defenders, was put on a list of terrorist organisations by the Philippines Government in March 2018; whereas UN experts enjoy legal immunity; whereas the accusations followed Tauli-Corpuz’s condemnation of the army’s attacks on the indigenous Lumad peoples in Mindanao; whereas Tauli-Corpuz noted the use of harassment, torture and arrests against indigenous people peacefully protecting their property;
    D. whereas Senator Leila De Lima, a human rights activist and the highest-profile critic of Philippine President Duterte’s anti-drugs campaign, was removed from her position as chairperson of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights on 19 September 2016 and was arrested on 23 February 2017; whereas Senator De Lima led the investigations into the extrajudicial killings in Davao while President Duterte was mayor of the city; whereas there are serious concerns that the offences Senator De Lima has been charged with are almost entirely fabricated and politically motivated;
    E. whereas the targeting of indigenous peoples by the Philippines authorities is a serious concern; whereas, at the end of December, the UN warned about the massive human rights violations suffered by Lumads on the Philippine island of Mindanao; whereas UN experts estimate that, since October 2017, at least 2 500 Lumads have been displaced; whereas it is feared that some of these attacks are motivated by unfounded suspicions that the Lumads are involved with terrorist groups, or by their resistance to mining activities on ancestral lands;
    F. whereas the Philippines signed the Rome Statute on 28 December 2000 and ratified the Statute on 30 August 2011; whereas the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has opened a preliminary examination of the situation in the Philippines, which will analyse crimes allegedly committed in the country since at least 1 July 2016 in the context of the ‘war on drugs’ campaign launched by the Government of the Philippines;
    G. whereas on 19 March 2018 the ICC was officially notified by the UN that the Philippines had, on 17 March 2018, deposited a written notification of withdrawal from the Rome Statute;
    H. whereas the Philippines House of Representatives approved a bill on 7 March 2017 to reinstate the death penalty; whereas the bill still requires senatorial approval before the president can sign it into law; whereas President Duterte has actively campaigned for the reinstatement of the death penalty; whereas reintroduction of the death penalty would be in clear violation of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which the Philippines is party as of 2007;
    I. whereas Philippines ranks 111 out of 180 countries in terms of corruption in the Corruption Ranking published annually by Transparency International;
    J. whereas there is an increasingly shrinking space for civil society; whereas human rights defenders are reportedly facing an increasingly hostile environment in the Philippines; whereas President Duterte has made statements encouraging police attacks against human rights groups and advocates;
    K. whereas persons who make public statements against the extrajudicial killings face the risk of being banned from entering the Philippines;
    L. whereas President Duterte has made a number of derogatory and demeaning statements about women and has repeatedly justified rape and called for the shooting of women;
    M. whereas human rights defenders, journalists and activists routinely face threats, harassment, intimidation and violence for seeking to expose allegations of extra-judicial killings and other human rights abuses in the Philippines; whereas the LGTBI community faces continuous harassment;
    N. whereas the Philippines is a beneficiary of the European Union’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+);
    O. whereas the EU-Philippines Partnership and Cooperation Agreement calls for the establishment of a meaningful human rights dialogue in the form of a Working Group on Human Rights;
    1. Calls on the Government of the Philippines to put an immediate end to the extrajudicial killings in the pretext of a ‘war on drugs’; strongly condemns the high number of extrajudicial killings by the armed forces and vigilante groups related to the anti-drug campaign; expresses its condolences to the families of the victims; expresses grave concern over credible reports to the effect that the Philippine police force is falsifying evidence to justify extrajudicial killings, and that it is overwhelmingly the urban poor who are being targeted;
    2. Notes the government’s recent initiatives to ensure a more unified and integrated approach to anti-drug efforts based on enforcement, justice, advocacy and rehabilitation and integration; welcomes Senate Resolution 516 filed in the Philippines on 25 September 2017 urging the authorities to ‘undertake the necessary steps to stop the spate of killings, especially of our children’; calls on the government to prioritise the fight against drug trafficking networks and big drug barons over tracking down small-scale consumers; stresses that the authorities of the Philippines must pursue their fight against illicit drugs with a focus on public health and in full compliance with due process, in line with national and international law; invites the government to adopt specific non-violent policies;
    3. Invites the authorities to cooperate fully with the UN Special Procedures; calls on the authorities of the Philippines to immediately carry out impartial and meaningful investigations into these extrajudicial killings and to prosecute and bring all perpetrators to justice; calls for the EU and all its Member States to support a United Nations-led investigation into the killings in the Philippines and for those accountable to be brought to justice;
    4. Reiterates its call on the authorities of the Philippines to release Senator Leila De Lima and to provide her with adequate security and sanitary conditions whilst in detention; further reiterates its call on the authorities to guarantee a fair trial and to drop all politically motivated charges against her; calls for the EU to continue to closely monitor the case against Senator De Lima;
    5. Calls on the Philippine authorities to remove human rights defenders from the terrorist list, dropping all charges and allowing them to carry out their activities in peace; reminds the Philippine authorities that Ms Victoria Tauli-Corpuz benefits from immunity under the Convention on Privileges and Immunities of 1946;
    6. Welcomes the initiative of the ICC to inquire into the allegations of crimes against humanity in the context of the killings during the ‘war on drugs’; calls on the Government of the Philippines to cooperate fully with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in its preliminary examination of the Philippines; strongly regrets the decision of the Government of the Philippines to initiate its withdrawal from the Rome Statute; calls on the Government to reverse this decision;
    7. Reiterates its deep concern about the decision of the House of Representatives to reintroduce the death penalty; calls again on the authorities of the Philippines to immediately halt ongoing proceedings to reinstate the death penalty; recalls that the EU considers capital punishment to be a cruel and inhuman punishment which fails to act as a deterrent to criminal behaviour; calls on the Government of the Philippines to refrain from lowering the minimum age for criminal responsibility;
    8. Is alarmed about increasing levels of corruption under the current Philippine administration; calls on the Philippine authorities to step up efforts to tackle corruption effectively; underscores the importance of respecting fundamental principles of democracy and rule of law in this respect;
    9. Condemns all threats, harassment, intimidation and violence against those seeking to expose allegations of extra-judicial killings and other human rights abuses in the Philippines, including human rights defenders, journalists and activists; urges the Government of the Philippines to ensure that human rights defenders, journalists and activists can carry out their work in an enabling environment and without fear of reprisals;
    10. Urges the Philippines to stop banning the entry into the country of persons who are perceived as critics of President Duterte’s policies;
    11. Urges the Philippines to observe its obligations under international law to protect the human rights of indigenous peoples, including in the context of armed conflict;
    12. Condemns all forms of violence against women and recalls that such violence constitutes a serious violation of the human rights and dignity of women and girls; strongly condemns President Duterte’s demeaning and misogynist statements about women fighters; reminds the President that encouraging state forces to commit sexual violence during armed conflict is in violation of international humanitarian law; calls on the President to treat women with respect and to refrain from inciting violence against women;
    13. Encourages the EU and its Member States to consider calling for the Republic of the Philippines to be removed from the United Nations Human Rights Council before its current membership term expires at the end of 2018;
    14. Reminds the authorities of the Philippines of their obligations under international law, the GSP+ scheme and the PCA, notably with regard to human rights, and of the consequences of failure to comply; stresses that, while the progress in the implementation of the GSP+ conventions is largely positive, strong concerns remain around human rights violations related to the war on drugs; recalls, in this respect, its previous resolution on the Philippines of 16 March 2017, and calls on the Commission and the External Action Service to use all available instruments, including the PCA, to persuade the Philippines to put an end to extrajudicial killings related to the anti-drug campaign and, in the absence of substantive improvements, to initiate the procedural steps which could lead to the temporary withdrawal of the GSP+ preferences; urges the EU to use all available instruments to assist the Government of the Philippines in respecting its international human rights obligations;
    15. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the President, the Government and Parliament of the Philippines, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the parliaments and governments of the Member States, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the governments of the ASEAN Member States.

    • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

      I am most appreciative and grateful for this call by the European Parliament, makes me feel that the Filipinos, each patriot resisting this government, that is, are not alone in this fight for genuine democracy.

    • Francis says:


      I find Mocha Uson’s numbers…impossible. Given my preconceived notions of PH Politics with the Rise of Duterte–I was surprised to see both awareness and approval with such low numbers.

      54% Awareness. 1.3% Voting Rating. Despite personalities sympathetic or associated with the administration at the top of table.

      That implies several interesting, counter-intuitive conclusions, assuming that the polls are representative of the population:

      1. “Traditional (Audio-Visual) Media is still King.” TV-Radio potentially trumps Social Media…for now. [Though “Newsprint” is possibly only a minor player–overwhelmingly beaten by literally all other forms of media, if this survey is to go by; any reader of any major paper would be more aware of personalities ranked lower in the table i.e. Alejano, Baguilat. Observe the dramatic rise of Persida, in contrast.]

      Point #1 also raises a certain question–how much of Duterte’s victory was due to the fact that his statements got him airtime on TV and Radio, instead of the “social media” war as it were? Hmm.

      2. The ability to govern well (or perception thereof) is seen as major plus. Lack of this (even when you are associated with a widely-supported group i.e. the current administration, when your views are in alignment with a substantial portion of the public, i.e. among those who support the administration) is seen as a negative.

      Why are Roque, Andanar and Mocha ranked lower than Persida, Tulfo and (Sara) Duterte?

      Being a mouthpiece is not seen as being capable of governing.

      While name recognition and celebrity is a factor, my hypothesis is that what personalities are perceived as matters. For voters, it is important that you look like you can govern, you look like you can be a public official. This is similar to certain European countries i.e. Germany but is different in that “the look of an ideal public official” (the expectations that one has regarding how a public official should act) is different; whereas abroad, the idea is that a public official is boring and impersonal, but nevertheless loyal to duty i.e. they would appeal to development plans and proper procedure–in the Philippines, public officials are expected to be more personal in approach as they govern i.e. they would fix your problems via ad hoc means (i.e. personal intervention) like family or a good friend–an advocate.

      Think of Sara’s tough-as-nails confrontation with that errant sheriff. Or Tulfo’s role in giving advice to those navigating the murky waters of public service complaints.

      I link this observation to Irineo’s observations regarding the previous administration and the popular perception of its governance. The emphasis in bold text is mine:

      “There is a way to reach Filipinos in power – if they want to hear you – via “intercession”, a bit like you can reach God via the saints. For OFWs/migrants that Saint was Mocha when she went to Europe to ask them what their needs where. Saint Mary Magdalene herself on tour. “We would like to ask to have the Embassy for Hungary and Romania relocated to Romania, because we need a visa to go to Hungary from Romania, that is very hard for us”.. etc.”

      The sense that Aquino’s people were NOT open to “pakiusap” was VERY widespread. That they just did what they wanted and did not want to hear any request from ordinary people. There was nobody like Leni yet in the forefront of their public relations strategy. Back to my Malaysia project – you needed to convince some mid-level people first, who spoke to the upper levels, who then could act as if it was their idea all along. Face and power there too!”

      [I can think of the following scenario: Official Z goes to Barangay Z. Asks what he can do. Voter Z pleads for assistance. Official Z (or an assistant of) gives instructions detailing the proper processes Voter Z should go through. Official Z thinks that he has done his part, and is happy that he has accomplished his duty as a public official; he thinks to himself: his instructions were quite clear and Voter Z nodded–looking like he had understood it all. Voter Z is of the opposite opinion; this Officer Z guy was so plastic, saying that he was “open to them, the voters” but being so impersonal–shoving brochures with instructions, and leaving him all alone to deal with those offices he directed me towards–he was only nodding because he was afraid to offend Officer Z, not because understood these instructions (que horror, in English…)! Couldn’t, Voter Z would reason, Official Z be generous enough with his time to guide him through the right process, whisper some encouraging words into all those offices he would have to deal with? A Westerner might view this as “hand-holding” not “public service” but to Filipinos, used to a reality of corrupt and self-serving public officials at every corner since the Spanish Era, going through bureaucracy without “pakiusap” is like an idiot exploring the forest at night without a flashlight–pakiusap is public service.]

      3. The administration and its views are dominant, but not overwhelmingly so. Also–being unoffensive has neutral/no gains relative to actually having a stance on things.

      On a semi-related note, Mar is surprisingly ranked highly. Considering that the nation has experienced an Anti-DELAWAN barrage on social media for months–oddly surprising. Or is it because more negative campaigning has been directed towards those actually in office or more prominent figures i.e. VP Robredo, CJ Sereno, etc.? Or is it because the administration “majority” in the court of public opinion is overstated; while still dominant and in the lead, the breakdown is more even? Hmm.

      And Nancy. A very, very interesting case.

      Nancy’s views cannot be placed in a neat box, like Poe. Unlike Poe, though–correct me if I’m wrong, as I don’t pay much attention to current news itself as much as I’d like to–Nancy doesn’t apply Poe’s approach of “unoffensive, general statements” but rather goes “all in” in her views.

      So instead of Poe, who appears to always aim for the median of whatever controversy pops up in the news cycle–Nancy appears to adopt a mix of “all in” stances from both “Dilawan” and “ka-DDS” angles. Some stances are principled “Dilawan” stances. Others are principled “ka-DDS” stances. Note, the word “principled” used here; I use this in the value-neutral sense, referring to unambiguousness/clarity and depth.

      A comment in another article noted that Nancy appears to be aiming to be “third option” or “alternative” to the dominant “DDS” and “Dilawan” narratives. In which case, (putting on my “Machiavelli” hat) that in itself is a work of political ambition–perhaps, in time, political genius; Nancy isn’t like any of the other folk, who are bandwagoning by pandering to the Palace/spouting pro-admin lines in other to get blessings or seeking relative security in numbers by going to the “yellow” opposition with their establishment (if not “popular”) support.

      Crazy? Brilliant? Who knows?

      Nancy herself implies a couple of things:

      One: People aren’t entirely DILAWAN or KA-DDS. Some “Dilawan” stances are preferred. Other “DDS” stances are preferred.

      Two: Not having a definite stance and being unoffensive i.e. Poe, does not confer substantial advantage. In other words, having strong opinions on things is not a turn-off or a major risk. And, as illustrated by the above point, these opinions are not just “Ka-DDS” opinions but can also be views from a “Dilawan” perspective.

      Three: I may getting this ALL wrong and maybe people just like Nancy out of her personality. But in any case, the first and second points still stand–in the sense that these political opinions (a mixture of those favorable to the yellow and administration) and the way they have been delivered (with decisiveness) are not dealbreakers; that is, exert little significant negative effect.

      That “Dilawan” opinions are not automatically verboten, indicates that there is a “Silent Minority” that is substantial. Administration-Opposition is not 80-20 or 70-30, but somewhere near 60-40. Hmm.

      • Excellent analysis. I find counter intuitive that a decent guy like Bam Aquino who works hard on legislation to develop an economy and people gets no attraction. Mainly because he is not controversial enough to get mainstream news coverage. I agree, mainstream news is a dominant image-maker, and Mocha Uson’s social media platform represents an elite of disgruntled FB users, not mainstream Filipinos.

      • “pakiusap is public service.” Not only in the Philippines. The factors for this are:

        1) how literate and articulate is the general public?

        2) how approachable and helpful are the decision makers?

        3) how approachable and willing to explain are the officials/service people?

        Looking at Bavaria’s postwar history one can see changes..


        1a) postwar – most people hardly spoke High German, only Upper Bavarian dialect.
        Most of them barely understood the official routines, were scared of the powerful and scornful of intellectuals and functionaries, collectively called “Großkopferte” (big heads)

        1b) the level of education was raised in the postwar period, more opportunities came. People slowly became less scared of the powerful. Possibly there was some influence through the American GI presence. This was true in Berlin I know. Ideas of freedom.

        1c) today – most speak High German, a few with an accent but that is not an issue.
        Official routines are simplified, computerized and understandable. People informed.

        2a) postwar – the first postwar Munich mayor had hours in the morning where anyone could come in and talk to him. This was a first, mayors had been less reachable in the olden days. This was also helpful as the city was in ruins and there was a lot to do, lots of issues

        2b) in between – one former mayor was a “Bürgeranwalt” (citizen’s advocate) whom one could write at a tabloid. He also responded – I think there was also times one could call. Somewhat like Tulfo but more reputable. Famous cases were featured in the tabloid.

        2c) today – the mayor only is reachable by raffled appointment once in a quarter. One can talk to one’s district representatives. There is a regular district meeting as well where citizens can ask questions and air needs. Police and city administration are present there.

        3a) postwar – probably still many with the old hierarchic and intimidating mentality. This is where the friendly mayor probably came in, to order them to serve the people better.

        3b) in between – some where paternalistically friendly if you acted humble to them – I know one old man who explained everything to me, I did my Pinoy routine of treating him as “Sir”. Probably the citizen’s advocate and ex-mayor helped with those that were still difficult.

        3c) today – service center approach, almost everything is a one-stop shop except for what is related to cars and drivers licenses (own building) and taxes (state and municipal offices). The personnel especially those under 40 are friendly, efficient and explain things to you.


        So the general level of development or “literacy” of the populace plays a major role there.

        While they are not yet there, intermediaries are necessary to make access easier.

    • I always experience great humility when I see the thinking of the Philippine voters and realize how out of touch I am with that thinking.

  9. Mr Florin is like one of the characters that I read in the novels of the great F. Sionel Jose. As a Filipino artist/academic in diaspora, such character keeps me going; reminds me to keep being Filipino and speak a language of hope for my nation. Mr Florin will be part of my visual narratives in my artworks here. I also hope to meet him one day.

  10. TT says:

    Great read, Wilfredo Villanueva! It’s truly inspiring to know more about the likes of Florin Hilbay. He’s a breath of fresh air; from his humble beginnings to his successful journey to our judiciary system. He is the hope and inspiration for our future who can keep the bastards grind down and out! Wish you as well, Wil V more power in your scribing skills to have more articles put out, like this one! interesting, intellectual and non-partisan..

  11. Mayet Diaz says:

    Beautiful..Just beautiful and inspiring story. I enjoyed reading the comments section also.

  12. NHerrera says:

    Thanks again, Will. A nice portrayal of the young and competent lawyer, Florin Hilbay. His being a chill, surfer, economist, lawyer give him a balanced view and way of doing things. He is well placed continuing to be a professor of law and thus help in the molding of lawyers — infecting them, I hope with his ideas of law and its practice.

    (On practicality: Hilbay shaving his head for a purpose; he looks good with it too. Now if his companero Vit Aguirre took a lesson from Prof Hilbay, not only about hairpiece, but about the practice of law.)

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      You’re welcome, NH! The symbolism is not lost. Exposed head = Honesty, Transparency, Confidence. Covered head = Dishonesty, Hidden Agenda, Low Self-esteem.

  13. Jennelyn mappatao says:

    Thanks for bringing awareness to all those who are blinded with black propaganda and fake news. I love that My dear Aunt Lydia is featured in this article. makes me feel proud of my roots and our humble beginnings. I actually brought home to the province the some of RTWs she sold for resale.

  14. Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

    Mi primo Wilfredo if I may interact and interpret
    this, your new WATEROUS public offering
    that’s truly sagacious, and be like
    an old fool, I am like anecdotal.

    When still there was no pre-school
    or kindergarten before I went to school
    my parents taught me with sternest words
    because of playmates and younger siblings
    “Do Not do unto others . . .”

    In grade school and cathetismo
    I don’t know any law or what is law
    but the Ten Commandments.

    In high school I am led to think that law
    is the prescribed norm of human conduct
    which all who are not savages and barbarians
    MUST obey and follow.

    In agriculture college and in awe, I learned about
    the supreme law, THE LAW OF NATURE
    which is nothing but the basics of SCIENCE
    behind God’s Law, the periodic table of chemistry
    that explains the DNA of the Ten Commandments.

    In the schools of adult and work life which
    people claim as the university of hard knocks
    I learned about MARTIAL LAW as
    magnum opus Law of Deception.

    Dissertations of post doctoral divinity studies should
    try to prove that with the blessings of Martial Law
    any demagogue as hero, can violate with pure reason
    the entirety of the Ten Commandments.

    No need and never say M Law is the law of the devil
    because evil thrives and rules in the absence of law.

    Now back to you Pinsan Wilfredo you are
    waterous like me, ’cause I am water like everybody else.
    God created all beings in His own omnipotent image
    like plants and animals, the entirety of the evolving universe.
    Dusts we are to dust we will return. But Water we are too
    so to Water we will return to follow the law of nature.

    Let me skip for now long epics of serendipity when
    while studying in Silsoe, Beds, England I caught in photograph
    a single raindrop which blew the storm in my neurons
    how to stretch and vaporized water into the ridiculous,
    the unbelievable freak waves, the turbulence
    and tsunamis, the typhoons and floods, soil erosion
    and landslides, the sweat and tears, the sinkholes
    and fluids of assholes,

    the dews, the mists and rainbows
    and gentle rains as distilled water, the flurries
    and the sterile snowflakes and hailstones, and now
    in TSoH the laughable madness like when I write:

    as the ULTIMATE END of any law, JUSTICE is like water
    it seeks and never stop to climb to its own level.
    It may take its own good time and may be delayed
    but justice like water cannot denied, it gets up there
    even against the pull and force of gravity.

    It gets there for sure because God made sure
    by giving it a HYDROLOGIC CYCLE
    as one H and two Os forever
    Water like justice and vice versa
    have been immortalized.

    And of course, the pious and hypocrites
    may hypothesize the ends of justice
    without fail is truly serve for those
    without conscience like animals in Limbo;
    and for the heathens in Purgatory,
    In Hell and or in Heaven.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Primo Popoy, you have a sting for death,
      For you can rouse white sepulchres
      with enviable erudition: Not Equipped,
      That is how your poetry leaves me,
      For my base is shallow, and the water
      I hold not much to stir the tide,
      In the future when we meet, I shall bring
      Cistern and flask, and a camel’s back,
      So I can take some of your wisdom,
      And tell the wife, I have gobbled up the sea,
      and stared at the sun.

      • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

        we can be the deepest ocean or the coolest sun
        that’s what words that rhyme can make us
        wannabe possessors of wisdom my pinsan.
        arrigato, obregado, danke, T.Y..

  15. NHerrera says:

    Off topic


    Talking about lawyers, here is the other lawyer.

  16. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    Wait. Totally off-topic but related. What do VP Leni, Chair Chito Gascon, Pilo Hilbay have in common? They were all born politically on August 21, 1983. But that’s not my topic. As I type this, VP Leni is speaking to the Bible Society over CNN. Wow. A star is born. Speaking off-script and from the heart. She detailed her life, to explain her faith. You all know about the romance, the struggle to study law while caring for their panganay, her resigning as lawyer for impoverished inmates because what her husband-Mayor arrests by way of police, she sets free by legal process, the crash, the private grief, giving in to people power to run for public office, that it’s natural for her to care for people, her winning VP come from behind because of debate, the electoral protest, and her Angat Buhay. “Why is this happening to us?” she asks. Maybe she is destined to do something if she loses the recount, she said. Her journey of faith is asking what does God want her to do. “Why are things getting difficult for us in this country?” “Kung minsan yung inaction natin, baka contributory sa nangyayari sa atin.” She speaks as a mother and a public servant. “We have to remind ourselves that our responsibilities are so much bigger than our problems.” “Everyday is a struggle. We find the joy and meaning in our struggle. To be vilified, there is a reason for it.” Aah. Filipinos be proud.

    • Wise lady. She has the decency and reasoning that ‘the other side’ gives up in favor of ambition. Add some fire and brimstone to the message, and she is a leader. Her current position keeps a cap on that. There is no bad outcome with a good person, only the question of how much burden others will force her to carry because they are meek.

    • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

      I have another birthday, too…a political birthday which is also August 21, 1983, the day my recent hero was assassinated…that was the day I was rudely awakened from my apathy, from my ignorance on what’s happening with my own country, that was the day I tuned in to Radio Veritas, cried and never looked back, bought all the mosquito press I can get my hands on and started attending rallies…

    • edgar lores says:

      “Everyday is a struggle. We find the joy and meaning in our struggle.

      Reminds me of Camus and Sisyphus: ” One must imagine Sisyphus happy.

      • Or he is Filipino and has endless faith and patience. Or one day he turns Dutertian and decided it is fun to roll down the mountain on top of the rock. Or he migrates and lets it roll.

        • edgar lores says:

          The first Filipino is Sisyphean.

          The second is nihilistic.

          The third is an OFW. Heh heh.

        • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

          Well, it’s good to be wary of geniuses, such as Cayetano who thrilled us in the Senate subcommittee hearings on fmr. VP Binay, and look what shame he has brought us now. But Mr. Chill doesn’t have a bone of love of money in him, his mother always prays for him, his father has street smarts, he is as integral as a whole number. I pin my hopes on him. What is life for without hope?

          • edgar lores says:


            1. I believe in each era and in each generation, there are outliers who represent the worst and the best of humanity. There are villains and villainesses and there are heroes and heroines.

            2. The villains and heroes are never purely black and white, respectively. They are spotted or mottled like polka-dot fabric. Or they are blended black and white – grayish — either predominantly blackish or whitish.

            3. In different times in our history, the outlier opposites were Aguinaldo and Bonifacio, Marcos and Cory, and now Duterte and De Lima.

            3.1. Each historic figure had a supporting cast, people in the background who directly or indirectly exerted great influence on the main actors. If directly, they were alter-egos; if indirectly, they were role models.

            3.1. Aguinaldo had Mabini and Bonifacio had Jacinto (and Rizal). Marcos had Enrile (and the Rolex 12) and Cory had Cardinal Sin (and Father Bernas). Duterte has Medialdea (and Cayetano). And De Lima has Hilbay.

            4. The outlier heroes/heroines and their spiritual companions serve as moral compasses of the times. In Bonifacio, Cory, and De Lima, the compasses point to the ideal notions of independence, democracy, and good governance – all free of corruption and wrongdoing.

            4.1. Today, the other compasses of note, aligned with De Lima, are the other persecuted women (Sereno, Carpio-Morales) and ignored women (Robredo) that stand, directly or tangentially, in opposition to Duterte.

            4.2. These women and Hilbay are moral compasses that point true north and remind us of our humanity. Remind us that there is goodness in men. Without them, we may live lives lost in mere sensation. Some, of course, will not say no.

            4.3. But there are those who cannot exist without spiritual essence. And, as Faulkner said, these spirits capable of “courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice” affirm that men will not only endure but will prevail.

            • NHerrera says:

              It is remarkable how self-evident truths or axioms becomes immediately in full display and acceptable after these are put into words by one such as edgar. That is the case with Items 1 and 2:

              Item 1 — just as no two fingerprints are the same and DNAs are unique to a high probability, humans vary in a spectrum from villains to heroes/ heroines.

              Item 2 — all along the spectrum there are variations — that is, the worst villains have some taints of good in them; and the heroes, taints of bad in them; much as gold or diamonds are not perfect.

              From those two, the rest of edgar’s note above follow rather smoothly and persuasively like math corollaries.

              Thanks, edgar for the nice read.

  17. Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

    Thank you, Will for this excellent interview of yet another admirable public figure in our country today. They deserve to be made known so that our countrymen will realize that they have other choices to believe in other than Tulfo (the man with a sewer – imburnal for a mouth), Mocha, Sassot or Badoy.

    I follow Prof. Florin Hilbay on FB, and an FB friend to Pilo Hilbay. I admire his able defense of Sen. De Lima (Unfortunately, my faith in the Arroyo/Duterte controlled SC is at its lowest) and his pro bono legal advice for Jover Laurio or PAB.

    I admire his stand on fake news and shared his speech in the Senate Committee hearing on the said topic.

    Thank you Prof. Hilbay. I will surely vote for you if you decide to run in the mid-term election. You deserve a seat in the Senate much more than any of the PDP Laban candidates. I wish you’re ranked no 1 instead of Poe.

    Poe is ranked number 1 again in the mind conditioning survey…aarrgghh!

    • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

      MUCH of, than less of the surveys ARE FAKE NEWS. It will be fake news if like many disgusted people, I will say the unvarnished truth that SURVEYS ARE TURLY FAKE NEWS. SURVEYS is a politically correct thing. Surveys like lawyers unless done pro bono is a commodity for sale for the right price. Old professions sometimes are more honest than others. .

      • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

        How the hell did I know that? I was part of a study of the UN Freedom from Hunger Program with Filipino farmers as beneficiaries; I partly got to design the questionnaire, and do the actual interviews from sample provinces in Luzon, etc. It is like I feel I am designing a civil service exam for ulterior of unpatriotic motive? It’s like concocting fake news. It is a DRUNKING kind of personal, intellectual power, a test and manifestation of integrity and honor.

        • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

          FAKE NEWS? WHA SAT?

          And also, pray tell me and the smart alecks others why there’s seeming difficulty to define what’s FAKE NEWS. Hard or easy, those concern will only have to establish the truth. But there’s the rob in a nation where the truth is what it is not. For example red is blue and night is day. Where people believe they are okay and healthy because they have one meal a day; because Pedro is a coward and happy about it because Juan said so on TV. That a prisoner tried to commit suicide in her cell as reported by the guards. Procopio said he did not do it, he is really rich and he can prove it.

          FIND OUT MAN! Weaving Lies and cooking FAKE NEWS MIGHT cost the taxpayers a lot of money. The TRUTH can cost more to disprove fake news. Do the math. It will cost less if NEWS FAKERS are given free meals and security guards behind bars. Fake news are NEVER GOOD even if they make the people FALSELY HAPPY.

          As long as NEWS FAKERS are NOT GIVEN free board and lodging, daily exercise and 24 hours security, fake news will be walking the streets like zombies.

          • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

            some kind of news is a kinda dilemma.
            like when Peter is bad news to John
            and John is fake news to Peter
            Which news you ask will bring karma
            No news may be is best for both.
            If you ask the Dalai Lama.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Aarrgghh! If I’m running for public office in the time of Duterte, that will be my rallying cry. Aarrgghh!

  18. chemrock says:

    Almost all of us here at TSOH knew what to expect under a Duts presidency way back 2015. There are certainly many good people in high positions who shared our views, but unlike us keyboard warriors, they need to be more circumspect. Being public figures, they can’t be seen to be bashing away at what they dislike.

    But there ought to be a redline for all those who cares for their country and people. There ought to be a time and place when they put their feet down and play their role in the push back. I’m glad to see Mr Chill as one of the very first few to try to play a role much earlier than his other peers. It’s people like him we look to for leadership in times like this. JBC and other Bar Association are getting into the act lately. The business community is alas always the last to join the fray.

  19. LG says:

    Much thanks again, Willie. Keep writing about personaliies, especially those of importance in national governance, worth knowing about.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      You’re welcome, LG. Will do. But I am only a branch to JoeAm’s tree. Let’s all thank him for welcoming articles for and comments to his blog The Society of Honor. JoeAm and the country is a case of mutual love and affection.

  20. karlgarcia says:

    A few thoughts.

    Rather than say not vote tv/movie/sports personalities why not suggest the continuing education for such personalities.
    Maybe showbiz people and athletes left school early, we can suggest to them to go back to school.
    Telling people to stop voting for them is sort of discriminatory.

    The voters too must continue their education.
    This keep the people poor and stupid must stop.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Educate, educate, educate. VP Leni, Sen. Leila, Sen. Sonny, Sen. Kiko, Atty. Hilbay, Leah Navarro, Jim Paredes and others say the same thing. We need to walk and talk with common folk to exchange views, to learn from them, and the other way around. No more triumphalism which may lead to elitism. Reaching out to laylayan ng lipunan is key to unlock the answer to the conundrum of a Marcos return in national politics. Who is willing to give French lessons, for example? I think it’s time for kapalan ng mukha. Wala nang hiya-hiya.

      • Not Imee’s French, I hope.

        The rest before that is essential and the only way.

      • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

        Educate, Educate . . . with what we have in
        and among our own people. Oftentimes I feel
        and suspect what Pinoys have to dish out
        in talent and courage are more than world class.

        • I wonder if group-driven (NOT boss-driven) approaches like Kanban and its software cousin “Scrum” can unleash the daily creativity one sees in the Filipino system of survival. Of course they would require unlearning a (post-)colonial mindset of fear and of blaming – but the unlearning might be helped by the group-driven approach and quick wins of both. Filipinos doing things together badly is usually the issue, not individual excellence per se. What I have long ago noted is that Romania has one of the fastest Internets in the world due to an approach similar to squatters (Philippines) or gypsies (Romania) stealing their electricity – neighborhood networks. There is a Vice magazine article on that success. Why does one nation tap its (bandit) capabilities and the other not? One has more fear I guess.

  21. Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

    two previous pieces away from this blog I failed
    to complete the abstract truth, words
    can really mean. As can be gleaned
    from two words UNISON against precision.

    April 17, 2018 at 9:36 pm
    There’s more
    about military minds
    and canalized thinking.
    More about PRECISION
    as armies march in unison
    but not like drones
    on a mission.

    Civilians march in UNITY. Armies march in UNISON like this

    So what? Countries and people can think and fight in UNISON.

    When countries and people should be thinking of PRECISION like this
    with fixed bayonets.

    When American soldiers more than any in the world
    can already do PRECISION, Many don’t see the need
    When President Trump for a military parade to
    display UNISON.

    • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

      In all what the soldiers do and become
      as heroes or shell shocked or PTSDs
      or limbsless, homeless soup kitchen junkies
      soldiers evoke ethnocentrism
      and the unfading vitality of youth.
      That’s why citizens and Presidents
      feel high watching military parades.

  22. lscheske says:

    Are there any lawyer’s here who can me advice as to how to deal a fraudulently obtained court order for custody. My son’s father (Noel M.Carino of Fil-Estate fame) had me served with papers for a custody hearing at an address I no longer resided at. I was in Canada. Then he argued in a Kalibo court that I was mentally unfit (baseless)and thereby not fit to parent our son. (Illegitimate under 7). He was granted joint custody – as I was not even aware of the hearing. Did he commit fraud by claiming to the court he did not know my whereabouts? (He was well aware of my address in Canada as he’d been there several times). Please help – looking for HONORABLE lawyer only for a bit of advice.

  23. My idol!!!!!
    I agree with most of his statements and principles, though, I don’t agree with the “natural born” citizenship of grace Poe!!!

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