Taking an ax to the preamble of the federalist constitution

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte with Consultative Committee following their oath-taking ceremony on February 13, 2018. By King Rodriguez, Presidential Photos

By Joe America

Sometimes words soar majestically, meaningfully, and lightly across the mind and sometimes they trudge thickly and dully as if lodged in mud. The proposed preamble to the federalist constitution of the Philippines . . . to me . . . is unbearably thick and meaningless, a line-up of eloquent and educated words that, put one after the other, mash meaning to mush.

The federalist constitution is being drafted by a Consultative Committee, shown in the photo to the right. I note that it reflects a certain respect for elderly men but I wish it had some younger minds and a little diversity. I’m not sure I could categorize that crowd as dynamic. Maybe it is distinguished.

But back to the Preamble.

Here’s the draft:

“We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, to build a permanent and indissoluble nation and establish a just, humane, united and progressive society under a federal government that shall embody our shared ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution of the Federal Republic of the Philippines.”

Let me bullet point the problems I have with this paragraph:

  • Imploring the aid of God is a blatant denial of ‘free will’ accountability. It’s a horrible start for the document. The constitution should represent commitment, determination, and confidence. Not neediness. Never mind separation of church and state.
  • The word ‘indissoluble‘ is unnecessary as ‘permanent‘ means it won’t be dissolved. It is a thick, useless word, sure to drive readers to abject somnolence (put them to sleep). It adds no important new meaning.
  • Independence and rule of law etc etc are not ‘blessings‘. They are standards, commitments, rules of how we are going to go about being a nation. This word ‘blessings‘ denies our accountability and removes what ought to be a determined commitment.
  • What is ‘patrimony‘? If you know what that word means, you are a better dictionary than I am. I have no idea how one develops patrimony? Does it mean father a lot of children? Man, lose that word.
  • The phrase ‘Secure to ourselves and our posterity‘ I suppose is meant to express the quality of an enduring state. Why take a good idea and mash it like potatoes? If we want our nation to endure, say so.
  • I don’t understand ‘love‘ as an institutional achievement or way of doing things. I thought about ‘compassion‘ because it is a quality that often seems missing in many deeds of the State and its citizens these days. But I eventually cut that out, too.
  • I would add the term “opportunity for self-fulfillment” as a commitment so people feel the responsibilities and rewards of applying themselves to good citizenship. I’d also put ‘prosperous‘ in there as an ideal, if not quite realized just yet.
  • Why “ordain and promulgate” the document rather than commit to it?

Here is how I would restate it:

“We, the people of the Philippines, commit to building an enduring nation that is just, humane, united and progressive. We enact this Constitution to promote the well-being of all citizens by forming an independent, sovereign, democratic, and law-abiding Federal Republic that will assure citizens of truth, justice, freedom, opportunity for self-fulfillment, equality, prosperity, and peace.”

And if I wanted a truly inspirational preamble, I’d throw out the old framework entirely and write something original from scratch.

But maybe you might want to take a whack at that first . . .


113 Responses to “Taking an ax to the preamble of the federalist constitution”
  1. andrewlim8 says:

    “When enough people make false promises, words stop meaning anything. Then there are no more answers, only better and better lies.”

    For a government that bears false witness on a daily basis.

  2. Patrimony is roughly what belongs to the nation, its inheritance.. including its ISLANDS!

    Patrimonium Petri was the term for the old, somewhat larger Vatican State of olden days.

    “We, the trapos of the Philippines, committed to getting rich, securing our dynasties and selling the land, sea, soil, other’s women and children, killing those we don’t need, and silencing those who protest, implore Xi Jinping and the Almighty Chinese Nation to help create this Eternal Prostitution.”

    enough even I can’t continue this is too much. Everything is nowadays.

    De Castro has been nominated as Ombudsman. Evil reigneth. The mangrove swamp rules now.

    • Thanks for the explanation. I suppose I might use heritage rather than patrimony. De Castro is good for nothing as far as I can tell.

    • edgar lores says:

      If truth were the criterion, this version gets my vote.

    • Andres 2018. says:

      Agree, write something original from scratch. TSoH restatement is clear and concise, however, the phrase “…well-being of all citizens…” and “…will assure citizens of…” somehow encourage individuality rather than collectivism. I would still prefer the words “common good” and “general welfare.”

      • Good point. I think individuals have to feel a desire to excel, and believe the opportunities to do so exist for them. But a sense of unity and sacrifice in ‘common good’ is also important so that responsibility emerges. Thanks.

    • josephivo says:

      Isn’t patrimony what you inherit from your fathers, grant- and before? Looking at the picture that makes sense, except one all male experts, female contributions to our inheritance can be neglected.

      • josephivo says:

        None of these august old man noticed that times are changing, I guess. I hope that while rewriting the constitution they realize that slavery and serfdom are ancient concepts too.

      • edgar lores says:

        Wonderful point! Embedded misogyny.

        What about the matrimony, hey?

        If islands are masculine — because they protrude — the seas are feminine.

      • karlgarcia says:

        On ditching patrimony.
        As suggsted why not use heritage, inheritance, or legacy.
        For that to happen, we need matrimony.
        Nah, just procreation.

        Few more things.
        Legacy leads to dynasty.
        Inheritance leads to sibling war.
        Heritage can be obliterated by right of way and build, build, build.

        I give up, let us stick to patrimony.

  3. edgar lores says:

    1. My simple proposal:

    “We, the people of the Philippines, in order to form a secular democratic republic that is just and humane, to promote the common good, and to secure to all citizens justice, liberty, equality, prosperity, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.”

    2. The word count is — wait for it — 42.

    2.1. “Democratic Republic” may be a tautology.
    2.2. Inserted “secular” as something new… and as something blue.
    2.3. Retained “ordain and promulgate” as something old… and as something borrowed.

    3. At 90 words, the proposed Preamble is too wordy and full of ambiguity.

    3.1. “Imploring the aid of Almighty God” — for God’s sake, why?
    3.2. “Permanent and indissoluble nation” — like permanent ink, right?
    3.3. “United and progressive society” — you wish!
    3.4. “Under a federal government” — putting the cart before the horse.
    3.5. “Our shared ideals and aspirations” – what are they?
    3.6. “Conserve and develop our patrimony” — more honored in the breach than in the observance.
    3.7. “Blessings of independence” — half a century and we are still talking about wearing short pants.
    3.8. “Rule of law” – is subsumed under justice.
    3.9. “Truth” -= what is it?
    3.10. “Love” — you have got to be kidding! What is this — a missive to the querida?
    3.11. “Federal Republic of the Philippines” — tautological, same as 3.4. Really trying to sell it by ramming it in.

    • Five basic principle: “justice, liberty, equality, prosperity, and peace”

      A good preamble does indeed show in few words what your picture of the nation is…

      Not far from the Swiss: “liberty, democracy, independence, peace”.. I see.

      Every Constitution normally reflects a school of thought about how the nation should be.

      Probably not much real “state philosophy” in the Philippines after Mabini and Quezon?

  4. trebor9 says:

    Patrimony as defined in the dictionary;
    – Property inherited from one’s father or male ancestor.
    – Valued things passed down from previous generations;
    The phrase “develop our patrimony” may imply the expansion and strengthening of a family dynasty?

  5. Francis says:

    It’s worth noting that a good portion of the wording comes from the 1987 Constitution; which—to be fair—was written by a relatively diverse group of people:

    “We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.”

    This has experienced modest revision in the new wording from Com-Com. To make analysis easier though, the differences have been highlighted:

    “We, the sovereign Filipino people[4], imploring the aid of Almighty God, to build[1] a permanent and indissoluble[2] nation and establish a just, humane, united and progressive society under a federal government that shall embody our shared[3] ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings[4] of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution of the Federal Republic[5] of the Philippines.”

    In summary—the changes to be preamble are closely tied to the idealized purpose of the federalism project: to further “build” the nation and to make it more inclusive, particularly those outside of Luzon i.e. the provincial elites in Mindanao and Visayas.

    [1] is meant to emphasize that the nation-building process is not yet satisfactorily accomplished. There is still a substantial amount of “nation-building” left to do.

    [2] is not wordiness for the sake of wordiness. At risk of sounding pedantic, “permanent” is not “indissoluble” as “permanent” is meant to highlight that the temporal aspect, that the nation should ideally last for a long, long time whereas “indissoluble” is meant to heavily emphasize that the federal nature of the nation should not undermine the unity of the nation, that our differences will not mean that we shall take different paths.

    [3] is like [2] in that it’s meant to show that this national project, called the Philippines, is not the project of one (heavily Tagalog, mostly from Imperial Manila) group but something that is shared by the diverse groupings that make up this nation.

    [4] and the article’s objection is a particularly American take on things. This is a contract signed under the free will of free citizens—not by any force of compulsion, divine or otherwise. Not that I disagree, but I think that [4] has something to do with some currents in Filipino culture. My anecdotal observations make me note that a lot of Filipinos use the word “blessings” to mean the graces, the “lucky breaks” we receive from God. While I am sure that the academics and religious folk who wrote the 1987 Constitution had a deeper, more formal interpretation of things, I feel it could imply something a bit more profound.

    I guess, God is the ultimate patron of us all?

    It’s not much of a hassle, this wording. Far more irritating—and anger-inducing—was when one of those proposals out of Congress sought to restrict sovereignity of the people to “elections” (making EDSA unlawful) and replace “just and humane” with “more perfect society.” Better these old men than Alvarez.

    • Thanks. Rich with pragmatic insight. Re God and blessings being cultural endowments, I’d only ask is this denial of accountability working well?

      • Francis says:

        I wouldn’t say that there is a denial of accountability (or lack of such) in Filipino society or in this constitution—only that our sense of “accountability” is different from the Western perspective.

        I don’t mean to offend, but if I may be frank—most of us (myself included) are looking at things from the eyes of the Liberal West. We assume that man is an individual, rational man who freely-associates into society. Filipinos have a different idea of “man” that, in many ways, is directly opposed to this. Filipinos assume that man is social, emotional and governed by debts which tie him to society.

        (I myself—an Westernized Inglasero Filipino—am very guilty of this myself.)

        “Accountability” for the West, is “to get one’s due in the eyes of an impartial observer.” It is an “objective” matter; for example, I break a law–I get punished with the punishment that the law says I should get. I steal something of value, I pay compensation equal to the value I stole (or more, to “objectively” account for the distress I generated). How did this sense of “accountability” come about? I do not know precisely how—but I can offer a sketch:

        The importance of “reason” and the “rational man” from the Greeks. The importance of “law” and “rule of law” in governance from the Romans. The rise of the Enlightenment.

        You cannot separate the Western ideal of “accountability” from the image of the courthouse, I suppose.

        “Accountability” for Filipinos is located elsewhere. It is “before” the law—in contrast to the West, where it has been raised “alongside” the law. I hazard (again, I guess) that, for us, it is “to be in an all-connecting cycle of debt where we recieve payment of debt and to pay our debt—with our “total selves” (kalooban) in the spirit of “good will” (the cynical economist might note this as: recognition of mutual advatange).”

        I am just a layman, so I am not sure of the validity of this hypothetical—but here goes:

        We live in an archipelago. It is constantly hit by typhoons. We all live in different islands. I ask this guy for some fruit and meat, because the storm blew away all my crops and scared my animals. How can this guy who promised me some fruit and meat accountable? I say, you—I owe you a debt from my total self (utang na loob) and he shall give me aid, not only because I am bound to him by force of obligation—but because if he screws me over, no one will help if he’s in my shoes. Ditto for me; I betray him, I get a bad rep too. Thus—there will be times where I am the creditor and he is the debtor; in the course of our lives, we will be both.

        Just as “objective” and “rational” law become beloved in the arms of the West—so does “utang na loob” not just represent a debt, but a solemn communion between two people.

        Often, Filipino Culture is often criticized (many times, for good reason) but it does recognize man as an inherently social being. That is worthy of praise and admiration.

        “Accountability” in the Filipino sense—where has thou gone? I suppose that modernity has not been kind to our sense of accountability. Unlike the Western conception of accountability—a construct literally built for democracies and empires i.e. Athens and Rome—the Filipino conception of accountability is hard to scale up.

        For one thing, it relies a lot on face-to-face emotional ties. “Hiya” is important because of this. It’s hard to be an ass in front of someone’s face. It’s easy to be ass, when everyone’s doing it. Or when you don’t have a face to go by.

        The litany of complaints regarding the behavior of our countrymen—the rude folk who cut in lines, the illegal settlers—can be traced to two factors. In the case of the former, it is that everyone is doing it; this robs “hiya” (shame) a lot of its effectiveness to police behavior. In the case of the latter, it’s not only because everyone is doing it—but because the illegal settlers don’t perceive themselves as “breaking a promise” or “going back on their debts” in breaking the law because who are they being an ass to; the state—the nation—has no face.

        I’m not being “walang-hiya” if everyone’s doing it. I’m not being “walang utang-na-loob” because who is it, that I have “utang” to?

        Yet, is that why we make such saintly immigrants? We follow the rules because we don’t want to be “walang-hiya” or shameless.

        What should we do then?

        There are two paths.

        1. Impose “Western” norms of accountability.
        2. Scale-up our own norms to fit the needs of modern and complex society.

        I prefer a mixture of #1 and #2—an integration of the best of the West, and the best of native selves—as opposed to the path of solely following #1.

        It is worth noting that implementing #1 would require nothing less than a full overhaul of society. For instance—it would require the full-throttled Filipinization of the law. How can you expect impartial, Western-style courts to be adopted by the masses if it continues to speak in a foreign language? Forget the Latin, the fact that a court decision is in English might as well make it German to people! It would require us reaching a point where the next generation can confidently
        talk about the likes of Aristotle, Rosseau and Rizal—and their ideals—in Filipino.

        It would require that the burgis and the elite accept that their cosmpolitan “Western” selves is superficial, if it is just based on the fact that they speak in Dollar English. That a true embrace of the “West” and its norms is not about language, but about ideas.

        What binds together a Frenchman, a Brit, an American, a German, an Australian? It is a shared understanding of common ideals, not language.

        Pardon my digression. Take my explanation of #1 as a rant against the superficiality of our middle classes and elite.

        Onto #2—my real concern.

        Is it impossible to scale-up “utang na loob” and “hiya” as means of accountability in our society. Are Western measures of accountability the only way to have accountability in modern society?

        No. No.

        Japan proves that it is possible to integrate Western measures of accountability with native concepts of accountability.

        When I came across Ruth Benedict’s Chrysanthemum and the Sword—what really struck me was a similarity between Japanese and Filipino, in that both peoples fundamentally took “debt/obligation” and the concept of “debt/obligation” seriously.

        Yet, why is Japan…up there, while the Philippines is…down here?

        There was a concept of “debt/obligation” that the Japanese had, which we didn’t. Besides the debt we have between ourselves and the debt we have to or parents—the Japanese also had the notions of a “debt to the Emperor” and of a “debt to society” in general. In short, they have a “scaled-up” version of “utang na loob” where the individual has “utang na loob” to something larger than himself or his family.

        Which is something that we evidently lack.

        Hence, if given the chance to write the preamble, I would write it as such:

        “We—the honorable families of the Filipino people, as free citizens—ever fulfill our heavy debt of heart to the Motherland and the World to establish and defend a just, humane and loving democracy not only for our sake, but for the sake of all children. Shameless shall be those who break this sacred promise, this constitution.”

        Like Irineo, I agree that the 1987 Constitution is to unwieldly. Too much concepts floating around. Leave the legalism for the more technical parts of the constitution–in my view, the preamble (and the bill of rights, but I digress) should be catchy, memorable and quotable. An “executive summary” for the spirit of the law.

        All of the blather regarding what our ideal society is can be further elaborated in other parts of the constitution; for now, all of that can be summed up in terms of a “just, humane and loving democracy.” I put “just” there because “justice” is a universal concern, and “humane” and “loving” (the “high” abstract concept of “humane” and the “simple” emotional concept of “loving”) to guard against authoritarianism, and to balance impartial justice with a human touch.

        In the other parts of the preamble, I’ve tried to anchor the constitution to some of the fundamental essence of the Filipino.

        By “debt of heart,” I mean “utang na loob” and extend this to apply to something larger than ourselves and our families: the Motherland—the Inang Bayan. In describing the Filipino people as “honorable families” and “free citizens” — I want to balance our sense of collectivism (which is further balanced by being honorable) and the individualism we adopted from the West. In “for the sake of all children,” I want to appeal to the inherent, deep-rooted desire of all Filipinos to better the circumstances of their childten at all costs. The last sentence, “Shamless…this promise, this constitution,” is meant to ingrain in people the sense that this constitution is a promise and to break it is to be “walang hiya” or utterly shameless.

        We ought to have a constitution that reflects the best of our mixed heritage.

        • Francis says:

          “Tayo—mga marangal na pamilyang Filipino, bilang mga malayang mamamayan—ay babayarin ang utang na loob namin sa Inang Bayan sa pamamagitan ng pagtatag ng isang makatarungang, makataong at nagmamahal na demokrasya, hindi lang para sa aming kapakinabangan, kung hindi para sa lahat ng anak. Walang-hiya ang magtatakwil sa sagradong pangakong ito, sa konstitusyong ito.”

          • Francis says:


            “Inang Bayan at Daigdig”

            Internationalism is a spirit that we ought to indulge in more.

        • Thank you for the elaboration, which rings ‘spot on’ from what has been discussed here about cultural mores, and from what we can witness. The failure of western methods is pretty clear based on the way education fails and almost all institutions fail, by admittedly western standards of order, opportunity, and prosperity. I think your preamble is brilliant, getting to the emotional heart I was feeling a need for when I said a better way was to start from scratch. Inspiration and ‘buy in’ are so crucially important, and I think you do that very well. I only ask the question, what should Filipinos expect their nation to be? An emotional ride, or prosperous? (Yes, it can be both, but how do you tell if leaders are excelling?)

          • Francis says:

            I think that with constitutions—particularly with their “stirring” parts, i.e. the preamble—it is not so much the destination, but the journey (and its spirit) that is what is at stake. I suppose that the focus of constitutions is not so much the specific, measurable objectives at stake—but more of the general processes to achieve overall aspirational “goals” which are less “objectives” and rather more akin to limits in calculus: always getting closer and closer, but never truly getting there.

            A hypothetical:

            A student is told to write a paper and get a perfect one hundred. He just can’t. So—he tells himself merely to write the best paper he can—and put his heart and soul into it.

            He may end up getting a ninety. Maybe, an eighty-five. If lucky—a ninety-four. Never a seventy, though. It is impossible for him to fail.

            It may seem like a corny truism—but the reward is not so much in the destination, as it is in the journey. A meaningful journey is its own reward. Claudio, in his book on Filipino Liberalism, noted that the reformist, “boring” and pragmatic style of liberal politics was natural and built-in—a liberal society is as much a method, as it is an objective.

            (A digression: I don’t mean that constitutions should be quite vague. By all means—they should have specific and well-worded provisions that concretely gurantee our rights and the accountability of our officials. Still, it’s worth noting that even all these measures to ensure liberty are not for us to attain specific goals but the conditions by which we can authentically attain the goals we freely desire and need.)

            Given that, the question still remains:

            “I only ask the question, what should Filipinos expect their nation to be? An emotional ride, or prosperous? (Yes, it can be both, but how do you tell if leaders are excelling?)”

            I would say that Filipino should expect their nation to be both an emotional ride and prosperous. And I would add that I think that it is a universal truth that all peoples, all nations do generally wish for both sentiment and prosperity; it wasn’t our Declaration of Independence that talked about the “pursuit of happiness,” after all. 🙂

            On a serious note, I think that, firstly—Filipinos ought to expect their nation to be a sacred trust. A solemn promise.

            This is why I worded the preamble above in that particular manner. To highlight this.

            The West has, due to historical and cultural circumstances, a far more comprehensive and deeper understanding of “freedom” (as it stands alone) than most. I guess, you could say that “freedom” is the West’s “speciality” as it were.

            Filipinos, on the other hand, are an “obligation” sort of people. The Westerner asks—how shall I decide to live my life? In contrast, the Filipino asks—how shall I fulfill my debts, my obligations? There is also the question of our odd relationship to the concept of “freedom” as the West understands it. It is worth noting that there may be a relationship between the word “kalayaan” (literally: “freedom”) and the phrase “laki sa layaw” which means “spoilt.” To be free is to be spoilt—which shows a rather undeveloped notion of freedom.

            Hence—there is a grain of truth in those oft-heard complaints that Filipino need “discipline” etcetera.

            But I disagree that “disciplining” ourselves is the way. To chain ourselves to obedience, is to trap ourselves in the past. We must learn to free, in a profound and holistic sense.

            Which is why, another way of reading the preamble I wrote above is that we are obligated to be free.

            I expect that Filipinos treat their nation as a sacred trust, and to respectfully pay their debt to the nation with their authentic freedom. And I expect Filipinos to see the break of such trust as utterly shameless—and by extension, to see the lack of authentic freedom as shamelessness of the highest order.

            As for determining whether leaders are excelling: I believe that, once you get Filipinos to truly see themselves their nation (and freedom) as a sacred trust—it follows that Filipinos will expect much, much more from their leadership.

            Shameless, after all, would be the leader who will abuse the debt he has—of which the people, the citizenry is the creditor.

            • Your view edges up to the American bias that, along with emotions, there must be order and individual accountability, and it advocates an ethical environment within which all the emotional and prosperity aspirations can be realized. Your preamble solves my problem that reliance on God and blessings removes accountability. You use emotional bonding with children and nation to instill accountability. Superb! Thanks for your further elaboration.

            • I share three of Edgar’s caveats:

              1) utang na loob is a transactional concept.

              2) it is usually seen as personal, not abstract. So a typical Filipino leader will see himself as not obliged to honor the obligations incurred upon by his predecessor. NAIA3 got hassled as soon as Estrada was removed and Arroyo came in – regardless of the mistakes of Fraport which like Magellan got too deep into the Filipino game with its traps and treacheries. Or Sanofi must be wondering why they are made to look like criminals now just because the next admin does not like the previous one and wants to make Dengvaxia look like poison. Or not honoring treaties like the Treaty of Rome signed in 2011, or the GSP+ agreements with the EU, or the Mutual Defence Treaty with the USA which is practically dead as of now.

              An example from a Filipino overseas association: a member refuses to honor a decision made in the last meeting with the reasoning that he wasn’t there when it was decided (!)

              3) The Japanese Emperor is an institution more than he is a person – he has to keep his person toned down at all times. Like a Pope, for example, or a Dalai Lama. This is because these offices exist for so long. Utang na loob to the state may be misinterpreted as utang na loob to the government and the President. This happened in the days of Marcos, this is happening in the days of Duterte. To some extent there was a bit of fixation on the Aquinos as well, even if milder, the (for me) suspect words “Mahal na Pangulo” were also used.


              Now I do agree that the formation of any group of people is a process, but in the Philippines there can never be any permanence if everything is “weder-weder”. The Swiss, for example, started their journey in 1291 with a simple treaty, a common oath to help each other:


              For the common good and proper establishment of peace, the following rules are agreed :

              1. In view of the troubled circumstances of this time, the people and communities of Uri, Schwyz and Nidwalden promise to assist each other by every means possible against one and all who may inflict on them violence or injustice within their valleys and without.

              2. Each community shall help the other with every counsel and favour and at its own expense in the event of any assault on persons or goods within and without the valleys and to this end have sworn a solemn oath to uphold this agreement in confirmation and renewal of a more ancient accord…

              There is the central idea of people and communities cooperating that reaches up to the present Constitution (1999). In the Alpine regions everybody and his cows if he has some is a member of a community. Social rules are commonly agreed norms, not individual deals.


              In fact even Constitutions in the Philippines are not really new ideas – they are merely ceremonial and there to designate that a new group of rulers has taken over. My opinion. The real details and relationships work out case-to-case. place-to-place and weder-weder.

        • There is the idea of kaginhawaan… https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12646-016-0373-7 or “Filipino wellness” as a condition where an individual enjoys economic freedom and security and psycho-emotional wellness within the context of the family. In the absence of family, an individual may turn to occupation to provide a semblance of Filipino wellness. On the other hand, when the individual faces economic difficulties, one turns to spirituality as a source of wellness. Prof. Xiao Chua recently wrote on FB that freedom without kaginhawaan is useless.

          Add to that the idea of kapatiran in Andres Bonifacio’s Katipunan – “solidarity” might be a better word, as one cannot, in a nation as opposed to a small group of people, be brother and sister with everyone. And kaginhawaan goes in the direction of Edgar’s prosperity.

          So we have distilled “solidarity and prosperity” out of some typically Filipino ideas – makes sense as this is how the ideal barangay with bayanihan looks, like an Amorsolo painting.

          Then democracy and mutual obligations or mutual consideration for one another – the idea behind rule of law – should somehow be worked into the framework. Thinking out aloud now.

          Because without democracy, pluralism and rule of law, the goals of solidarity and prosperity alone can be suspiciously similar to the DDS vision of paradise – with all dissent abolished, ruled by a national barangay captain, all “happy” like “Barangay Hong Kong” in one article.

        • edgar lores says:

          1. My questions would be:

          1.1. Is not political morality “universal” as of a given time? (But not of place.)
          1.2. If so, are the cultural traits of a nation — for example, “utang na loob” and “hiya” — opposed to what is perceived to be the “universal” paradigm?
          1.3. And if so, should the cultural traits be enshrined in the constitution at any scale?

          2. “Utang na loob” is a debt of honor. It is an obligation, a duty that we must honor out of loyalty.

          2.1. Take note of the operative words in that last sentence — duty, honor, and loyalty.

          2.2. Yes, we are talking about the Three Primary Virtues… which also happen to be vices depending on perspective.

          2.3. I tend to see “utang na loob” as a vice rather than a virtue in the way that it is practiced. Observe Duterte. Out of “utang na loob,” he has honored a dictator, associates with free plunderers, appointed incompetents in government service (because of their help during the campaign) and made the country subservient to China (because of economic promises).

          2.4. In the eyes of the Filipino, “utang na loob” is transactional at the level in which the obligation is incurred. It is personal debt. Hence, the obligation to any person or entity that extends an utang transcends obligation to the country.

          2.5. The parallel analysis with Japan is apt. However, I do not agree that Japan was able to “scale up” the virtue/vice of obligation to the level of the Emperor. The position and the title precede the birth of Christ. There is no such supreme and living symbol of the nation for Filipinos.

          3. I also take “hiya” to be negative. Why should our primary countenance to one another be one of shame?

          3.1. Shame basically says, “I am bad.” It is a character trait of someone with low esteem, who feels internally inferior to others but who might mask his inferiority complex with arrogance and contempt. Observe Duterte meeting Obama.

          4. At this point in history, democracy is accepted as the best form of government. Certainly, it has been failing lately because of demagogues and political parties that do not understand how frail the practice of the ideology can be. But this is a failure of the practitioners and not of the ideology.

          4.1. The democratic form of government is both individualistic and collectivistic. The meta-principles of justice, equality, liberty, prosperity (or opportunity), independence (or peace) can be viewed as pertaining to the individual as well as to the collective.

          4.2. Pew Research tells us that 97 out of 167 countries are democratic.

          4.3. The preamble of the Japanese Constitution recognizes this belief:

          “We believe that no nation is responsible to itself alone, but that laws of political morality are universal; and that obedience to such laws is incumbent upon all nations who would sustain their own sovereignty and justify their sovereign relationship with other nations.”

          5. Ethnocentrism in morality is limiting. A Constitution should embody the best of our ideals — “our” referring to universal man and not to an ethnic group.

          • Francis says:

            Thank you, Edgar,

            Regarding 5—I took precise measures to avoid ethnocentrism:

            “We—the honorable families of the Filipino people, as free citizens—ever fulfill our heavy debt of heart to the Motherland and the World to establish and defend a just, humane and loving democracy not only for our sake, but for the sake of all children. Shameless shall be those who break this sacred promise, this constitution.”

            I added the “World” to emphasize that the “ultimate obligation” lies not only with the nation but also with the wider world. I also put their “all children” and not merely “our children” to emphasize that we works towards the good of “all” children throughout the world—not just our own heirs.

            I think that we ought not view “native” and “global” in binary opposition—but instead, view the two as interacting in a dialectical process: “native” thesis meets “global” antithesis which results in a genuine hybrid that comes closer to the “truth” of things, as it were. In other words—the local “thesis” meets the (Western) universal “antithesis” to give birth to something closer to the “capital-u” Universal, which I think is something that all nations do aspire to, but merely take different temporal routes (“journeys”) towards.

            (On an esoteric and weird note—one of the things I’ve tried to think about, was how do we retain our identity if ever we become like Q in Star Trek and become a post-singularity civilization or something? How do we distinguish between “blobs” of perfect post-singularity civilizations? I suppose that what will separate Post-Singularity Civilization A, B, C, D, etc. is their history, their narrative, their journey—their temporal identity, their marks through Time itself, if Time were a plane. But that’s just some idle thought.)

            Edgar, I am an awfully Westernized Filipino. I suppose we all are.

            Which is why I was extremely passionate in my explanation on how Western norms of accountability could be imposed—I honestly, sincerely want the Filipino Nation to enjoy the rich bounty of Western Civilization. This is why I am extremely allergic to the nationalist discourse in UP—I just cannot “rid’ myself of the “Western” aspects of my identity. In my mind—to be “Western” is not contradictory, but complementary to my being a “Filipino” citizen.

            It is extremely imporant to note though, that not all Filipinos are like that. In fact, even the intelligentsia is split—stuck between passively sticking to some ambiguously hybrid Western-Filipino identity (which only Claudio, I think, comes close to explicitly affirming) and a strident “Purge-All-Things-Western-Save-For-What-Is-Practical” nationalist current.

            And then—there’s Duterte.

            We have to work with our culture. There is simply no alternative.

            On 1.1—I am reminded of what one of the readings in class noted about the concept of Justice. There are two varieties of Justice—the formal kind and the substantive kind. If I recall my reading correctly, this is encapsulated in the dictum: treat all like cases alike, and all unlike cases unalike. The formal kind of justice refers to the former part of the dictum, the substantive kind of justice refers to the latter part of the dictum.

            All humans agree that we should get our due. All humans agree that what is “just” involves balance, or a “proper” proportion. Guy A who broke Rule A, must be treated just as Guy B who broke Rule A did. All humans agree on that. Where we disagree is—what should be the “Rules” altogether, or what counts as the violation of a “Rule” anyway. We diverge on how to treat unlike cases.

            “As Rawls notes: ‘Men disagree about which principles of justice should define the basic terms of their association, yet we may still say, despite this disagreement, that they each have a conception of justice’ (Rawls 1971: 5)”[1]

            There is, I suppose, a universal political morality—but we disagree on how to get there and what thay “universality” may mean, when translated to the “local.”

            I am also reminded of some quotes which have stuck with me, from one of the readings in class, on political theory:

            “The goal for the interpretive theorist is not to eliminate preconceptions. These biases, Gadamer writes, ‘constitute the initial directedness of our whole ability to experience…They are simply conditions whereby we experience something—whereby what we encounter says something to us…Preconceptions make for friction between the theorist and the text…Preconceptions are to theory what the sharp edge of a skate is to ice,”[2]

            “The point is not to blindly or uncritically to promote one’s prejudices. Their retention is certainly not the goal. One’s attitudes, beliefs and values simply provide a starting point…Good interpretation constantly seeks to replace initial preconceptions with more suitable ones as the reading of the text progresses…’abandon the prejudice of imagining that one can abandon all prejudice.”[2]

            To extend that to the level of us—as a “national” consciousness, as it were: we cannot ignore our starting point, our “biases” (however flawed) in our culture(s) as a nation(s). Our biases make us Filipino and make our countrymen Filipino—we cannot “not” account for that, but only move from that. Transcend that.

            We work with what we have—our culture, our heritage—towards the Universal that lies beyond.

            Thus, on 1.2-4.3—despite faults in my attempts to shape and transcend certain concepts in Filipino culture i.e. “utang na loob” — it still stands that it is necessary that we must transcend these concepts, and not just merely be rid of them.

            Yes, “utang na loob” is transactional—for now. Yes, it does not share the fortitious circumstances of similar concepts in Japanese culture. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t to try to transcend these concepts, to utilize these flaws into stepping stones towards the enlightenment of our nation. For it is the journey, that makes us who we are.

            I believe that applies for nations too.

            • Francis says:


              [1] Chapter 4: “Bleached Foundations.” Vincent, Andrew. 2004. Nature of Political Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

              [2] Chapter 1: “Theory and Vision.” Thiele, Leslie Paul. 2001. Thinking Politics: Perspectives inAncient, Modernand Postmodern Political Theory. New York: Seven Bridges Press.

            • I think the drift goes in this direction.. how can the social contract in the Philippines be redefined – or maybe even defined properly for the first time nationally?

              All evidence at this time points to a broken social contract – both on the street where conflict is rife at least in the cities, and in politics where dialog has broken down and institutions no longer serve their original purpose – Representatives don’t represent, justice isn’t just etc.

              The hope of some was for one man to fix it but that has proven impossible – for ANY man.

            • edgar lores says:

              One clarifying thought about “utang na loob” and justice is that observance must be based on principles and not personalities.

              Stick to the principle and apply it, no matter if the heavens fall, and one can hardly go wrong.

              At the same time, recognize that principles have a hierarchy.

              If the first fallibility is honoring people rather than principles, then the second fallibility is using the wrong principle. One sees these in Supreme Court decisions.

              It took me a long time to realize the importance of the meta-principles of democracy. But take equality. Once you see it, you can never unsee it. And “it” applies to any form of distinction whether of “race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” — UDHR Article 2

              (I would add “gender” after “sex.”)

              Once you see “it,” all forms of prejudice will wither away in your mind. And you readily see the injustices perpetrated by inequality. Justice is fairness. And fairness is equality.

              Well, perhaps not. I believe the hardest distinction to overcome is that of intelligence in combination with the infliction of injury. I can respect contrary opinions, but I can never — almost never — respect an idiot who causes harm.

              Hmm. I have to rethink that last sentence. Don’t untrue opinions cause harm even if they are not acted upon? Yes, they do. So where does one draw the line? The distinction is between Good Thawt and Bad Thawt.

              • Recent example of inequality at work in the Philippines – and those who notice it:

                Naisip ko lang… I remember that poor grocery employee who was imprisoned because he stole one canned food due to excessive hunger… While the Tulfo brothers and sisteret Teo and her husband wants to dodge guilt by RETURNING 60million pesos worth of “misused” funds? If they weren’t called out bout the issue , would they, guided by their conscience return 60 million pesos? Or binabalik lang nila kasi na buking sila? This blatant fuckery infuriates me even more to compare the case of the jailed grocery employee who stole 40pesos worth of CANNED food due to hunger as compared to these CORRUPT TRIUMVIRATE OF PROPAGANDISTS who tried to get away with 60 million pesos , and they think they can get absolved just because they want to return the 60M? Eh di sana binalik nalang nung kawawang gutom.

                Yung delata or 40pesos… is that how it works???? Seriously! Thank you Elaine Velasco for pointing out this similarity.

                Unfortunately, a typical Dutertian response to this can be “e ano?” (experienced personally from a Dutertian who theoretically had the education to know better) so you can come with any sort of Constitution, as long as that fundamental attitude is there what can you do at all?

              • edgar lores says:

                I am watching the Tulfo case with interest. Also, the Junjun Binay case splashed out in the Inquirer this morning.

              • Francis says:


                Thank you.

                The sincerity of your reply struck me.

              • edgar lores says:

                Francis, you’re welcome.

                I’m still sorting out the Good/Bad Thawt puzzle. I seem to have driven myself into a cul-de-sac.

              • Edgar, this is not mainly about Tulfos – it is about partiality of judgement among Filipinos. Looking at the mote in the others eye but having a log in their own.

                Another older video of Eat Bulaga supporters shouting at pro-Pepsi Paloma demonstrators in Canada (2014) makes me doubt whether the large mass of Filipinos knows right from wrong at all.. is it always just KAMIII, kamiii, kamiii!?

              • edgar lores says:

                Irineo, thanks. Gotcha.

    • Some comments.

      1) indissoluble sounds a bit like someone is forcing unity from above – telling Boracay to close and Marawi to accept Chinese rebuilding, for example. As a Martial Law Baby, I have a certain sensitivity to disparity of words and actions.. “mutual consideration and respect for diversity” which the Swiss have in their Preamble sounds more truly federal in nature.

      2. God as the ultimate patron? And the President as God’s appointed/anointed Representative? Somehow the authoritarian and liberal ideas still clash in the Filipino. Even the 1987 Constitution has a somewhat theocratic sound to it, being Father Bernas’ “child”. Contrast that, just to see with God as someone to face with responsibility (German preamble) or as a witness (Swiss preamble). Or as the Sovereign Legislator of the Universe – 1899 Constitution. Remember that many of the founders then were masons, i.e. secularists.

  6. Vicara says:

    Federal or not, the administration that is ramming this new Constitution down our collective throat is neither independent, nor sovereign, nor democratic, nor aw-abiding under the current Constitution.

    It has constantly trampled on truth, made a mockery of justice and freedom, and given great opportunity for self-fulfillment to those with a talent for assassination.

  7. chemrock says:

    The draft preamble reminds me of China 30 years ago. Their grasp of the English language was very weak and they translated literally word for word. Those days there were no smart translators like Google Translate. So the result was either comical or incomprehensible. You see this in their early websites and product label descriptions.

    “We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, to build a permanent and indissoluble nation…”
    Is’nt there something grammatically wrong? Take away the clause “imploring the aid of Almighty God”, the sentence then becomes funny…”We. the sovereign Filipino people to build …….”

    Philippines copycat the US in positioning the place of the Almighty God in the Nation. But there is no consecrating the nation to God, which the US do.

    Are the Phillippines getting their act backwards? Should’nt we have Federal States first and then reps get together to decide on a Constitution? Why should a bunch of old men wrtie a constitution to force into onto unborn states?

    • edgar lores says:

      Good point.

      1. There should be no comma after God.

      2. Or insert the prepositional phrase “in order to” as in In the 1935 Constitution.

    • I agree with your last point. I think the idea is that these educators and distinguished people can interpret what is best for the people, starting with the idea that federalism is best. But if even that premise is wrong, what’s the point? If the can doesn’t hold water, it is a lousy can.

  8. NHerrera says:

    Why not honestly say it as:

    I, Rodrigo Duterte, do ordain and promulgate through my subordinates, this Constitution of the Federal Republic of the Philippines.

  9. Rod Fermin says:

    Consultative Committee to Joe America: TOUCHÉ!!!

  10. http://www.chanrobles.com/1899constitutionofthephilippines.htm#1899%20Constitution%20of%20the%20Republic%20of%20the%20Philippines – let us look at the 1899 preamble – short and CLEAR:

    We, the Representatives of the Filipino people, lawfully covened, in order to establish justice, provide for common defense, promote the general welfare, and insure the benefits of liberty, imploring the aid of the Sovereign Legislator of the Universe for the attainment of these ends, have voted, decreed, and sanctioned the following:

    four clear ideas: justice, common defense, general welfare (!), benefits of liberty. Of course Mabini was a man with very clear ideas. Too much bla-bla I think obfuscates the real meaning of things. That was what also turned me off about the 1987 Constitution Preamble – are they bullshitting?

    In fact the typically Filipino overusage of “love” (Imelda) and “God” (all kinds of hustler preachers) is already a red flag for me. I like the clear definition of nation and the purposes of solidarity in the 1899 Preamble: justice, defense, welfare, liberty. Very quickly, people know what things are about.

    Just for comparison: the 1949 German Constitution in its present form – the Preamble was changed to reflect unity with all Federal States (which BTW cannot be simply changed):

    Conscious of their responsibility before God and man, Inspired by the determination to promote world peace as an equal partner in a united Europe, the German people, in the exercise of their constituent power, have adopted this Basic Law. Germans in the Länder of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia have achieved the unity and freedom of Germany in free self-determination. This Basic Law thus applies to the entire German people

    There is a nuance of difference. While as Francis said, “imploring the aid of God” is truly Filipino -the German preamble is more Protestant in nature, speaking of RESPONSIBILITY before God. Protestantism is a religion where you earn your redemption, not just confess and then sin again which is de facto what many Filipino Catholics do. Of course Protestantism has a stronger sense of accountability – Max Weber saw the Protestant ethic as a reason for modern capitalist success.

    “Imploring the aid of God” (“awa ng Diyos”) has a more passive touch to it, much like the Muslims have “Inshallah” (“God willing” – interestingly born agains like to use exactly latter English phrase) – but a modern Arab might tell you “Inshallah my ass” if you say you will do something “Inshallah”. Still the 1899 Constitution names God after a clear plan of action – not God first and values later, and then so many of them that you don’t know what the priorities are, just FOUR clear principles. This sounds more solid than the usual ceremonial bla-bla so characteristic of much Filipino rhetoric. My cynical (and equally Pinoy) reaction is “ha, pandisplay na naman iyan” (just for display again). Nice words like “rule of law” in the clean kitchen, quo warranto and EJKs in the dirty kitchen di ba?

    • For further comparison: the Swiss 1999 Constitution (the Swiss have revised their constitution numerous times in around 700 years, the latest modernization was recent):


      In the name of Almighty God!

      The Swiss People and the Cantons,

      mindful of their responsibility towards creation,

      resolved to renew their alliance so as to strengthen liberty, democracy, independence and peace in a spirit of solidarity and openness towards the world,

      determined to live together with mutual consideration and respect for their diversity,

      conscious of their common achievements and their responsibility towards future generations,

      and in the knowledge that only those who use their freedom remain free, and that the strength of a people is measured by the well-being of its weakest members,

      adopt the following Constitution:


      1. Resolved to renew their alliance (the original oath of alliance of the three founding valleys)

      2. Four principle: liberty, democracy, independence, peace …

      3. in a spirit of.. solidarity and openness (we stick together but we are friendly to the world)

      4. mutual consideration and respect for diversity (highly federal and multi-ethnic character)

      5. common achievements and responsibility towards future generations (past and future!)

      the final passage about use of freedom and protecting the weak is like wow..


      There is the invocation of God in the beginning, more like having him as a witness..

      … the character of Swiss Constitutions being like oaths, like covenants between people..

      and groups of people (cantons, the original ones were basically valleys, practically tribes)

    • Ah, so the Constitution is just a show, so we ought not get that excited about it, and just do what our elderly patriarchs instruct us to do.

      • My point is that the 1899 Philippine Constitution seems more sincere to me in its simplicity. More sense of purpose in it. Even the 1935 Constitution had a certain crispness/sincerity.

        It is like I distrust too complex rules with too many loopholes. I.e. “Quo warranto rule of law”.

  11. josephivo says:

    The Belgian constitution (it was a milestone for many) had and has none of this. It starts without any bombastic or gratuitous introduction, straight with Heading one and its articles. The latest revision, when we became a federal nation in 1994 starts with:


    Only one new (2007) addition with only this one article:
    Article 7bis: In the exercise of their respective powers, the federal State, the communities and the regions pursue the objectives of sustainable development in its social, economic and environmental aspects, taking into account the solidarity between the generations.

    Heading 3: “THE POWERS”
    3.1 Legislative branch; 3.2 The Monarch; 3.3 Executive branch; 3.4 Communities and Regions; 3.5 Judicial branch; 3.6 Local government
    Heading 4: “FOREIGN AFFAIRS”
    Heading 5: “FINANCES”
    Heading 6: “THE ARMED FORCES”

    All in reasonable simple language, understandable for the average citizen. All in legal, enforceable language, no word as “love, Almighty, blessings…. “

    • NHerrera says:

      There you go! The Articles are the meat of the Constitution; no need for the cringe-inducing words of the Preamble [relative to the behavior of this Administration]. The fancy façade is not necessary (the new Constitution is not even necessary). I agree, josephivo.

    • edgar lores says:

      I would prefer no preamble to a flowery and meaningless preamble.

      But I would prefer a simple preamble over no preamble.

      Form can have functionality. At the very least, the preamble establishes the Who and the top-level Why.

      • josephivo says:

        The general why is in the policy objectives. The overall purpose you see in the table of content. Every extra sentence can add to confusion and that is only in the interest of lawyers.

      • NHerrera says:

        On second thought, a Preamble — non-flowery, non-superficial — may be needed.

        Which brings up the process. Doubtless a Draft of the new Constitution by worthy men and not designed to fit the desires of Duterte will have debates on the many points of the Articles until a reasonable agreement. It may have started with some Preamble to start with, but this I believe should be revised, perhaps drastically, to reflect and correlate well with the final Articles — again none of the flowery, white-washing stuff beloved by the Filipino.

        Another thought: books especially those written by a new author generally have Introductions, probably as a marketing tool. But a first-time serious reader of the Constitution of a country, I believe, may just delve right into the meat of the Constitution — not surprising because of the usual flowery, facade-making stuff to be found in the Preamble, or if he reads it does not meditate on it for the same reason.

        • I think many of us here are “builders” of some sort: engineers, software people etc.

          Anything we build we specify first, and usually we start with general aspects, then details.

          Plans that say “the building has five stories and the third floor has green windows” are poor.

          Introductions can be written at the beginning, the end or a little bit during both phases.

          As Edgar mentioned, it should concisely say WHAT and WHY, not much HOW I think.

          • NHerrera says:

            Somewhat joking here, Irineo — The Preamble quoted in the current article, rid of the “flowery stuff” or motherhood statement should just say that this Constitution is for the purpose of establishing a Philippine Federal Republic. Period. That answers the Why.

          • sonny says:

            I feel PDu30 should add TSH-kind of builders, thinkers, doers to his retinue and maybe the country will get somewhere good for more.

  12. Sup says:

    I did read under a federal we pay more tax? One time regional and one for national?
    Please no……..!!!!
    Did check the electric bill today with only one year ago…Almost identical kilowatts (difference only 4 KW more this bill) but the amount to pay is roughly 30% higher now compare to April last year…..
    Salamat government……

  13. andrewlim8 says:


    If you see a pilot reading “Flying Jetliners for Dummies” in mid-air….ta-dahhh! Revive the steel industry! Land reform for Boracay! A Chinese telco should be awarded! EEZs under missile range!


  14. Sup says:

    I remember Joeam asking some time ago about Chinese arrivals in the PH?

    The PH. developers are going for them……

    ”MANILA – DoubleDragon inaugurated one of its biggest developments on Monday, with Chinese-run online gaming companies accounting for 60 percent of its occupants, a company official said.

    Once fully operational, DoubleDragon Plaza will have 280,000 square meters of leasable space on 7 floors. The white building with patches of blue, yellow and green sits on a 4.8-hectare property just a few minutes drive from shopping malls, condominiums and billion-dollar casinos.

    The property is close to being 100 percent fully leased, said DoubleDragon chief investment officer Hannah Yulo.

    DoubleDragon welcomes strong demand for commercial space from the Chinese mainland, Yulo said, adding this is also felt in other developments in the capital.

    The company is a partnership between Filipino-Chinese billionaires Edgar “Injap” Sia and Tony Tan Caktiong, founder of the country’s largest fast food operator, Jollibee.

    Rival developers DMCI, SM Prime Holdings, Rockwell Land and Federaland have all noted increases in demand for residential and commercial space from Mainland Chinese.

    Chinese companies have employed Mandarin and Fookien-speaking real estate agents to entertain prospective clients, who are eyeing properties in central business districts or in the Manila Bay area, industry sources said.”

    • karlgarcia says:

      What I would hate are Chinese workers stealing jobs from Pinoys, that is not xenophobic.

      Chinese Tourists and gamblers who are not criminals and are behaved must not be stopped.

      If the Taipans are among the richest here, it is not their fault, we must not be bitter and envious.

      The thing about military incursions, we should protest, and we must ask why is our president not doing anything, not even protest.

      His attitude if removing the comfort woman statue so that no one would be antagonized is BS.
      Even in China, thry show hatred for the Japanese when it comes to WW2 attrocities.

      • NHerrera says:

        If someone you love goes into your house and nibbles some of your cookies, you don’t protest do you? Unless, my geriatric mind betrays me, I read Duterte saying he loves Xi. Problem is Xi did not say he loves him back — so nibbling will continue, nay becomes one of devouring.

  15. NHerrera says:

    Off topic

    Can’t help myself: there is a clone of Trump or is it the other way around? No, emphatically no — I don’t mean our President. It is the one in his own backyard: Rudy Giuliani.

    Why is it that some politicians turn out that way when they get old? Quite unlike the old guys in TSH (heh heh). Or closer to their homes, unlike the ailing fellow Republican, Sen. John McCain.

  16. NHerrera says:

    Off topic


    International: Trump decides on the Nuclear Deal on Iran May 8, Tuesday at 2PM, Washington DC (9 May, Wednesday at 2AM, Manila Time).

    Local: a full Supreme Court session on the quo warranto case against CJ Sereno will be held on May 11, Friday.

    • edgar lores says:

      And Trump has pulled out.

    • karlgarcia says:

      CJ is contemplating on cutting short her leave of absence.

        • karlgarcia says:

          TY Sup, that is why she will cut short her keave to face them head on. Eh yung ibs dyan kaya di nagrereseign dahil they have the trust and confidence of the president and they serve under his pressure, este pleasure.(then they get fired, este reassigned).

          • Sup says:

            Philip Lustre Jr.

            Sol/Gen Jose Calida is missing in action. His whereabouts are unknown. He’s been absent since April 30. Latest is the Office of Ombudsman will file Wed or Thurs graft charges against Calida for filing a defective quo warranto petition against the Chief Justice.

  17. Sup says:

    I see a lot of commercials on TV about surfing in Siargoa lately….

    SIARGAO, Surigao del Norte – Residents of Siargao Island have long been talking about how House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has gone into a buying spree of properties in the island after becoming the fourth most powerful man in the country.

    A property broker in Siargao, who requested anonymity, said many of real estate hunters have expressed their desire to purchase lands adjacent to the Alvarez properties knowing these areas would be developed and their current land values expected to skyrocket as a result.

    A piece of land in Siargao normally cost P500 to P800 per square meter a decade ago but since the island’s international exposure as a surfing destination, property prices have soared from P15,000 to P25,000 per square meter (sqm), depending on its proximity to the world-famous Cloud 9, a surfing spot in the town of General Luna.
    The broker said some of Alvarez’s Siargao properties were bought back in 2013 before he returned to politics in 2016.

    A check with the Municipal Assessor’s Office (MAO) records showed there are seven properties in the name of the Speaker and two more under the name of a certain Anaclito Alvarez and another two under Carlito Alvarez.

    Alvarez bought three properties back in 2013, namely: a 4,102 sqm property in Poblacion Cinco; and two properties in Barangay Malinao with an area of 9,433 sqm and a 4,256 sqm respectively.

    In 2017, half a year after taking over as Speaker, Alvarez bought four properties in General Luna town alone, specifically a 4,102 sqm in Poblacion Cinco; a 4,856 sqm in Barangay Malinao; a 7,295 sqm in Barangay Malinao; and a 1,796 sqm in Barangay Malinao.

    In particular, a piece of land along Tourism Road that leads to Cloud 9 was said to have been bought by Alvarez in 2017 for P120 million from a certain Atty. Diodero Ravelo, reportedly a former regional manager of a government agency in Cebu.

    The sale of the property, which is about 4,102 sqm and located in Poblacion Cinco, was said to have been consummated in Cebu City.

    Another property of Alvarez is located adjacent to the Bayud property of the Barbers family, near the high-end Dedon Resort, in Barangay Malinao.

    According to municipal records, Alvarez owns three properties in the said barangay.

    Alvarez also recently purchased a property in Barangay Catangnan, still in General Luna town, which is adjacent to the Catangnan-Cabitoonan Bridge now being constructed.

    With the ongoing bridge construction, properties around the area are expected to increase in value soon.
    A 2,000 sqm property in the same location that is up for sale in the internet is priced at P22 million, or P11,000 per square meter.

    In Pacifico area, Burgos town, a residential area with several huge houses inside it said to be owned also by the Speaker and is located along the Del Carmen-Sta. Monica-San Isidro Road.

    The property stretches from the road towards the beachfront and has two layers of gates at the entrance.
    From the highway, several huge structures inside the same property can be seen, including about five structures like cottages and gazebos, and a towering water tank.

    A local real estate broker roughly estimated Alvarez’s properties in Siargao to reach half a billion pesos.
    In his 2016 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), Alvarez declared his total assets at P91.8 million with P5.3 million in liabilities or a total net worth of P86.4 million.

    He was the 50th richest member of the House of Representatives. (BOT)


  18. NHerrera says:

    Off off topic

    Forgive me for posting — ad nauseam — the Board Game GO as a metaphor for China’s global strategy of influence.

    In GO one has a 19×19 grid or 361 intersections or points (compared to the 64 points in Chess) over which two players with either a black or white “stone” alternately place their respective stones — the objective being to surround or capture the opponents stones. (It is a game of simplicity with few rules but difficult to master.) Koreans, Chinese and Japanese are masters of the game. The player, aware of the big board, is always mindful of playing well the “local” game versus the “further areas” where for the moment he has fewer stones with which to influence the game. Thus, not only time is involved — some games can last more than 5 hours; in ancient times, over several days — but both “local” and “far-out or international” concerns.

    In the case of China, the far-our concerns through rapprochement with US under Nixon and acquisition of membership to WTO; and problems at home, reasonably resolved — through some false promises for the former and ruthless means if necessary for the latter — went about their geopolitical game of GO. Now the whole world is China’s oyster.

    I have the GO game and China in mind as I read Hilary Clinton’s statement in New Zealand.

    Speaking to an audience in New Zealand on Monday night, the former US secretary of state [Hilary Clinton] and presidential candidate said Chinese interference in domestic policy was apparent in Australia and New Zealand as well as the US.

    Clinton said:

    “In Australia and here in New Zealand experts are sounding the alarm about Chinese efforts to gain political power and influence policy decisions.”

    Clinton’s comments follow testimony from the Australian academic Clive Hamilton to the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China that Beijing was waging a “campaign of psychological warfare” against Australia, as America’s most significant ally in the region, undermining democracy and cowing free speech.

    Hamilton said Australia was being subjected to Chinese Communist party-sponsored operations of “subversion, cyber intrusions and harassment on the high seas”.

    Hamilton adds:

    “Beijing knows that it cannot bully the United States – in the current environment the consequences would be unpredictable and probably counterproductive – so it is instead pressuring its allies.”


    Pilipinas, hindi ka nagiisa.

    However, the case of the Philippines is an instance of that delicious “low-hanging fruit” offered to China in a silver platter. Meaning there is no need for China’s struggle with that geopolitical GO game in our part of the world.


  19. DAgimaz says:

    the concept of federalism for the Filipino politician is more money from the central government and more autonomy without being accountable from the central government.

    the case of Boracay is exhibit no. 1 why it wont work or they don’t know how to make it work. DENR, Health, Social Welfare etc. have already been devolved to the local government units. the responsibility for enforcing environmental laws falls to the LGU and its PENRO/MENRO. But due to incompetence or corruption, they never bothered to enforce the law even though it is for their own benefits.

    now if we are a federal government, the central government would be powerless to take action with the Boracay mess.

  20. Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

    I thought I wrote something about CON CHA or CON ASS during the closing years of PNoy Administration. Found it among my old files, made some changes and some updating here and there and behold I got something to share with TSoH readers, bloggers and contributors.


    TRATEGIC CONSIDERATIONS– In crafting the fundamental provisions for and in the interest of the present and FUTURE generations of Filipino people a modern constitution should be dominantly prospective than retrospective. It is RETROSPECTIVE only in the sense it respects history in the life of nations. Learn its lessons by not repeating them in terms of principles which had governed mistakes and problems that dictated unfortunate and tragic events in the past. It is PROSPECTIVE in the sense that it secures in the long term the stable and progressive future of the country and its people.

    It is therefore best for the delegates (members of Congress, appointive or elected sector representatives) to include the youth from universities and leaders of the common tao in the Barangays to ensure that factors and principles that influenced the call for a new constitution be stood down. For example, among the delegates new expertise and young blood should have majority representation than old ones. There should be less of law and more of the public interest.

    To avoid repetition and continuation of past mistakes and pestering public issues, the issues to be eliminated must be listed and stricken down ONLY AFTER the prospective issues had been mapped, deliberated on and agreed upon. It’s a kind of thinking outside the box approach; that of being very clear about WHAT OUGHT TO BE before tackling the WHAT IS conditionalities based on the assumption that there is more than enough knowledge what ails the society which warranted constitutional change.

    In other more simple words, PROSPECTS must be tackled first and firmly decided on, in order to have bases or premises to exclude aspects deem problematic among past constitutions. Drafting or mind crafting a new constitution is not like prosecuting or defending a civil or whatever case in a court of law; it is not like determining or writing a decision on appealed cases based on precedents but the exigencies of the present and the future.

    Delegates SHOULD NOT BE behaving like lawyers in a court room weighted down by RETROSPECTS AND PRECEDENTS. Delegates should behave more like positive planners than cautious sages and prudes.

    • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

      to continue . . .

      THE TACTICAL ASPECTS –To the youth and non-lawyer delegates to be prospective is to articulate for example: These are what we want; for our and for the future generations. We want an elected executive cabinet to have a substantive role in law making and primary responsibility and accountability in public policy execution; we want significant supportive roles for the legislature and the judiciary; we do not want political dynasties in government; we want the death penalty for plunder and massive vote buying: we want divorce; we want no political dynasty in the provinces; we want to tax all citizens of majority age; we want a two-party system; we want to protect our natural resources; more jobs that will persuade our people to work at home instead of abroad; we want a strong citizen army, WE WANT A CONSTITUTION FOR THE GREATEST NUMBER, etc. KNOWING WHAT WE WANT, LET US DEBATE AND AGREE ON HOW TO MAKE THEM HAPPEN.

      What matter is not the design of separation and possession of equal powers of government branches but the character and conduct of rulers (read greedy elite). Checks and balance principles smacks of negativity that assumes absence of sense of propriety, even dubious integrity of those with power and authority. Heavy and swift sanctions are expected to ensure checks and balance in governance by and among the agencies of government.

      Past experience of the three co-equal branch of the government may have indicated such dysfunctions making the powerful branches convenient vehicles of division and equalization of spoils by high officials. Three hundred fifty years before the birth of Christ, Aristotle had advanced the view that the best design of a constitution is a “mixed system, including monarchic, aristocratic, and democratic elements.” Fast Forward to 2,044 years after the crucifixion of Christ, research can easily establish the best form of government –by its constitution—by looking closely at the UN top 20 countries listed in the human development index.

      Would it not be better for the delegates to decide first WHERE they want the country and the people TO GO before they spend time and saliva on HOW TO GET THERE. Will it not be useful to have a look at the top 20 countries in the UN human development index. And ask why the Philippines is ranked 117. How many of these top 20 countries practice the separate and equal tripartite powers of the executive, legislative and judicial branches. HOW MANY?

      Not even two from the top ten countries which readers can Google to verify. Take a look: 1) Norway. 2) Australia, 3)Switzerland, 4)Netherlands, 5)United States, 6) Germany, 7) New Zealand, 8) Canada, 9) Singapore , and 10) Denmark. And 117) the Philippines. World wide how many countries are adherents of the Philippine style of democratic governance of three separate and equal powers of three branches?

      Among the ten ASEAN countries the Philippines at number 117 ranked number 5 below Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Among the ten ASEAN countries only the Philippines have the separate and equal powers of the three branches.

      It is possible, even probable majority of these top 20 countries for a few decades now had been practising what may be called E-Democracy type of governance. Not mainly culture and legalese-based but more on common sense–where the Preamble and the Bill of rights as the country’s vision become the foundation of all subsequent articles. How to get there, to this vision shall make up the content of subsequent articles like CITIZENSHIP, ELECTIONS, or whatever. In framing or mind crafting a constitution, it might be better to ask university students and barangay chairmen to have a constitution that’s not to be mistaken as a constitution promulgated by lawyers, for lawyers and of lawyers.

      There should be a paradigm shift in the drafting of a constitution. Where before a constitution is deemed the fundamental law, as the bases of all to be enacted laws, such might not hold true anymore for modern e-democracies. Because the classic legal paradigm which assumes that the law is the paramount discipline pulling all others in various directions like medicine, economics. politics, etc., may have distorted the pursuit of the public interest, it may no longer be THE LAW IS THE LAW regardless of harshness or irrelevance when the law should in many cases should be set aside in cases of conflict with other disciplines that cater to the public interest and common weal.

      • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

        finally . . .

        CONTEXT AND CONTENT — where then will the constitution delegates want to go? The vision for the NEW CONSTITUTION shall provide paramount mandates for the following need of the country’s future from 2019 and beyond:

        1. A Preamble for E-Democracy
        2. Executive form of government
        3. limit to two or three political parties
        4. Abolition of political dynasties
        5. E-based elections
        6. Taxing religious persons and organizations
        7. Divorce and abortions
        8. Alliance with foreign countries
        9. Property ownership by foreigners
        10. Protection of the environment
        11. Conservation of natural resources
        12. Defining rights and responsibilities of citizens
        13. Death penalty for plunder and other heinous crimes

        It may be of doubtful efficacy but the 2014 statistics indicates: the United Kingdom with a population of 64 million (240 persons per sq. km.) does not have a written constitution while the United States of America of 319 million people (32 per sq. km.) have the shortest constitution. The Philippines as the 12th largest in the world population-wise have 100 million (333per sq. km) .

        Because of massive hemorrhages and erosion in the polity mainly due to corruption in its social and political foundations during the last three decades the Philippines really need a new constitution to avert the lingering and lurking civil strife.

          • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

            Thanks Karl, para bagang maraming binuksan mo ang limot na, na kasaysayan ng makabuluhang talakayan dito sa TSoH. Kung ano man ang mangyari sa aprobadong Saligang Batas, meron ng nakasulat hindi naman sa tubig sa ilalim ng tulay kundi kahit sa buhangin lamang merong maaaninag na bunga ng malasaktt ng mga opinyon dito sa TSoH..

        • Check this out: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/theworldpost/wp/2018/05/08/direct-democracy-is-thriving/ – populism and direct democracy as reactions to elite democracy..

          also worth looking at in terms of Internet-based democracy is Liquid Democracy and the Pirate Party. The latter now rule Iceland, land of the Viking clap.

          • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

            Maraming Salamat din Irineo BRS sa links na ibinigay mo. Mahaba, malaman, mabigat, makahulugan, Hindi rin eche bucheche (much ado about nothing). Malayo, napakalayo ang pagitan para pagdugtungin ang mga tuldok. Long lines separate the dots of what Popoy conjectured: That the isms or ideologies from Capitalism to Communism’s ultimate goal is NAZISM not by a despot or a demagogue but by the people. The RULE OF LAW by, for, and of the people. Peoples’ POWER for honor, dignity, peace and progress — THE GOOD LIFE. That’s when NAZISM is the ultimate nationalism, the attainment of a truly nationalistic socialism. Perhaps what separates cannot be connected between notion to conjecture to hypotheses to theory to law to reality It is like the rock of Sisyphus bestowed upon him for eternity because killed Death himself because Sisyphus wanted to live forever.

        • The communication, the drafting process, can and should include the entire country.

          Via delegates, yes. But not to have ceremonial English nobody understand but just nods off.

          Ang Konstitusyon, kasunduan ng pagsasama ng buong Lipunan. Kasunduan at PANATA.

          • sonny says:

            Do the draft in both Tagalog and English!! The English must be done from the Tagalog. The late Fr Chupungco, OSB did translations using “Dynamic Equivalents” method rather than using ceremonial/literal English. Rolando Tinio used something similar from English to Tagalog.

            • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

              Sonny, if I may forward a notion: It is always hard and fruitful work for those who think and serve. … To avoid losing something in translation. More? Life despite difficulties and whatever is POETRY. So is rhyming nonsense.

              • sonny says:

                Learned from Philosophy: words come short of reality. I keep this precaution in mind, more so in translations.

                On prose and poetry: there’s a reason we converse at one time and sing at another. 🙂 I hope I’m understanding in sync.

  21. Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

    Finally may I say that whatever may be drafted, deliberated on, adapted and adopted as the new Philippine Constitution during the administration of Pres Rodrigo Roa Duterte, may be scrutinized and measured by the intellectual and masa discussions here in TSoH. already done long before the Consultative Committee sat down to consider the eche bucheche of elite interests.

    As a philosopher had suggested to Sophie. A truly genuine document of a nation’s destiny drafted by people’s delegates can only be realized if all the delegates knew and accepted, they will be put to death after their work is done and they all knew and resolved what they will leave behind as legacy is for their country. Not for their families, or friends. Eh.

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