Finding hope in the Philippines

New attorneys take their oaths, with purple ribbons and social engagement evident. [Photo Source: Philippine Star]

By JoeAm

Where is hope found, for those who have lost it, in the Philippines?

Well, the poor and disadvantaged have never really had much, have they? The failure of past leaders to address this is the reason President Duterte is in office today. However, I would guess that few of moral or even economic bearing think the current Administration is on the right path. They may not say anything because they are busy buttering their own bread rather than uniting as a force against killings, betrayal of sovereignty, insults against women, the decent, and the poor, and failure to care-take the nation’s economic well-being.

Self-interest is a predominant force in the Philippines. Unity is not. Decency is not. Ethical bearing is not. Moral bearing is not. There are a lot of constitutional frauds in Philippine leadership and society, I fear.

But upon issuing that discouraging report, I am happy to say that I am gaining hope, not losing it. Where does this hope come from?

From Young People

It comes from young people who are increasingly aware that their future is being sacrificed to the altar of greed by powerful and self-serving government officials. University students are getting louder. And every once in a while we have a remarkable statement from young, moral, decent Filipinos like Carlos Quiapo, who wrote “Rodrigo Duterte and My Lola“, in which he concluded:

“Like water and oil, you can’t say that you support Duterte and that you’re a good person at the same time anymore. Every justification sends you a little bit down the circles of hell. If it’s one circle per victim of his War on Drugs, you’d be back and forth ten-folds.”

Or from new lawyers taking the oath that so many attorneys like SolGen Calida seem willing to disregard. Some could be seen wearing or showing purple ribbons, the color representing women’s rights, anti-violence, and opposition to the ouster of Chief Justice Sereno. They have conscience, they have values, and they are not silent about it.

SolGen Hilbay explaining the Philippine position to the International Arbitration Tribunal. [Photo source: Philstar]

From former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay

I had the opportunity to meet Florin Hilbay a few weeks ago and am happy to say we enjoyed lunch, a beer, and a brief chat together with other friends.

He headed the Philippine legal team that won the Permanent Court of Arbitration hearing on behalf of the Philippines. This ruling clarified Philippine sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea.

This man is smart, articulate, moral, constitutional, and not political (he is not an LP ‘yellow’). If the Philippines had more leaders of his capability and mindset, we could all just go to the beach and relax knowing the nation is in good hands. That’s why requests for him to run for Senate are getting louder, and why local television stations seek him out for candid interpretation of complex legal matters.

He represents hope, for me, that Filipinos of great character exist today. They are not relegated to history books.

From notables who have changed their position

I read from time to time confessions by people who voted for President Duterte and now regret their decisions. I also make note of two opinion makers of considerable clout who spent almost two years giving President Duterte the benefit of the doubt, but have grown increasingly critical as damage to the nation’s institutions and future become more evident:

  • Writer/international strategist Richard Heydarian
  • Blogger Noemi Dado (momblogger)

The playing field is dynamic, not static. Duterte popularity ratings are in decline. Protests are increasing. All the propaganda in the world will not stop truth from emerging in people’s minds, in a connected Philippines.

From AFP and Magdalo (Trillanes, Alejano)

The AFP has maintained its ethical and constitutional maturity when other institutions have collapsed. Training with the US and other nations continues. Intelligence is evidently received from the US (on terrorists and Chinese militarization of artificial islands). The Philippines, militarily, is by no means isolated or captured by a rogue government.

The Magdalo legislators remain outspoken about the Administration’s failure to defend Philippine sovereign rights and other abuses of Filipinos and Philippine institutions. I am hopeful that other political parties can begin to operate on principle rather than favoritism, and people will vote the principled into office. I find hope in Congressman Alejano’s recent decision to run for senator.

From Women of Steel

I draw inspiration and hope from five women who refuse to be cowed by the bully/macho culture represented by President Duterte and his disgraceful troll army: Senator De Lima, Chief Justice Sereno, Vice President Robredo, Senator Hontiveros, and Rappler Executive Editor Maria Ressa. They are smeared regularly by specious legal cases, fake news, and insulting commentary from government-backed trolls.

They persist in doing good deeds and making intelligent, principled statements. They set an example for many women and hopefully for many men who can choose to stand strong rather than take the weaker path of just becoming gang members.

I hope Kris Aquino decides to join the women of steel in their fight for dignity and democratic principles. The issue is bigger than her spat with Mocha Uson regarding insults to her father, Ninoy Aquino.

I am hopeful because the harassment game cannot be won by President Duterte. Even if prominent women are removed from office, they gain a martyr’s credibility and platform. I believe that thousands of women . . . and men . . . are willing to step forward to correct the offense.


72 Responses to “Finding hope in the Philippines”
  1. edgar lores says:

    To me, the significance of the Kris-Mocha feud is that it brings the political feud down to street level.

    Although both battlers are not pure — and Kris is the first to admit her past mistakes — the fight is still between decency and indecency.

    The decency consists of a president’s daughter who would defend the memory of her parents who gave sacrificial service to the nation. Her father who gave his life and her mother who fought to restore democracy.

    The indecency consists of a judge’s daughter who would slur the memory of the other daughter’s father by comparing him to an unprincipled president.

    The feud is primarily about family values. The Filipino places a high value on the family unit.

    This is all to the good, except that the high valuation often lopsidedly results in corruption and the approval of EJKs. The nation’s interests are sacrificed to the family’s interests.

    So family values, if not properly conceived and practiced, does have a detrimental effect on the nation’s economy and morality.

    Therefore, the feud — not spat, which means a petty quarrel — has national implications far beyond the immediate and the obvious. It demands that the man in the street take a stand.

    And upon such stand will we know whether we can find hope.

  2. Gemino H. Abad says:

    Right on! People Power is rising! “Courage is indeed a verb,” says Ed Garcia, “and the noun is the Filipino people.” THANKS, Joe!

  3. David C. Martinez says:

    So long as there remain enough slaves to support tyranny, it will endure. And all hope would be false.

  4. madlanglupa says:

    Sure, and I got a bridge for sale.

  5. NHerrera says:

    As is said “drips of water wear out a stone, not by violence but by persistence.” Those drips you mentioned, Joe, will wear out that stone, especially as many of us note, the drips are increasing and persistent. After all there is only one head of that octopus of a stone, although it has many arms.

    Here’s for hope rising!

  6. Andres 2018. says:

    1. “This ruling clarified Philippine sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea.” – No, it did not. In fact, the Tribunal did rule any question on sovereignty. For your reference, PCA Press Release dated July 12, 2016, paragraph 2:

    Click to access PH-CN-20160712-Press-Release-No-11-English.pdf

    2. “Duterte popularity ratings are in decline.” – Yes, but still a ‘very good’ rating according to SWS. A net satisfaction rating of 58% and 56% for December 2017 and March 2018, respectively. For your reference, a column from PhilStar:

    With regards to Sereno ouster, it is constitutional. I initially believe it was not because i think you can only remove an impeachable official by means of impeachment. But after reading all the dissenting and concurring opinions of the Justices, i believe that it is.

    • 1. Sovereignty attaches to rights.
      2. Yes.
      3. It is a better man than me who would read through all those lengthy legal rationalizations. I would note that opposing views from attorneys, judges, and legal experts are substantial and run different than your view. Are you an attorney or student of law, I am wondering.
      4. Thank you for your perspective. I know your hope resides on following your leader.

      • Andres 2018 says:

        1. No, its the other way around, rights attach to sovereignty. One could not claim sovereignty if its only rights that is given, however, one can claim rights if it has sovereignty.

        2. —

        3. It is because law professors always thought their students that you can only remove an impeachable official by way of impeachment. However, the Constitution used the words “…may be removed…” instead of “…shall be removed….” Also, legal experts consider this check and balance between the Three Branches, yet, the Constitution gave the Supreme Court this power of Quo Warranto, without limitation applicable to the state. It is the technicalities of the law that Calida and group exploited. I am no attorney or student of the law but a researcher.

        4. Yes, and unity.

        • Chemrock says:

          (3) Do you think the quo warranto applies to de Castro and Calida as well?
          You read the arguments to and fro — I’m sure the read those of the biased 5 and Calida’s. Have u read from all that’s out there? How many did you read?
          Do you think the biased 5 should have reclused themselves in the first place? Afterall, you are in favour of technicalities, not the spirit of the law.

          • Andres 2018 says:

            Quo warranto applies to all, de Castro and Calida included. I also read that of Carpio and Caguioa, plus with Tijam thats three. The five were not obligated to inhibit. More weight is actually given in technicalities (the letter of the law) than in the spirit when it comes to the interpretation in this particular case and most of other cases. The words thereon are to be interpreted accordingly in their ordinary meaning. The spirit is subjective. How can you prove that the intention of the authors is to remove impeachable officials by way of impeachment only?

            • chemrock says:

              1. “More weight is actually given in technicalities (the letter of the law) than in the spirit when it comes to the interpretation in this particular case” — says who? YOU?

              Spirit of the law is the intent of the law. Your bias for technicalities is one of the reasons for what ills Philippines. In your case, form overules substance, that’s what you mean. That’s the reason why Filipinos are crazy about affidavits and notarising documents, never mind about how it’s done.

              “Small men command the letter of the law. Great men serve its spirit. For the spirit of the law is justice… and justice is the spirit of God.” ― J.C. Marino

              2. “The five were not obligated to inhibit” —– anywhere in the world, legal opinions would have considered this a mistrial. So you did’nt read from unbiased illuminaries like ex CJs or ex AGS, or ex drafters of the constitution?

              3. “How can you prove that the intention of the authors is to remove impeachable officials by way of impeachment only?” There is no proving — there are only arguments. I believe this has been put forth by many many legal professionals. I believe one or two of those involved in the drafting of the constitution has also stood their grounds.

              • Sup says:

                I am also researcher…Andres 2018 is a newly created pro Duterte troll…a payed hack…A baby created in 2018 by the PCOO…. pamperboy…… 😉

                The name Andres is a Greek baby name.


              • Andres 2018 says:

                1. Says not me, originally. That is the generally accepted guidelines in the interpretation of the law. In fact, this was discuss by one of the Justices i could not remember who, IIRC Del Castillo(?). The priority are as follows:

                1.1. Interpret the words accordingly in their ordinary meaning.

                1.2. If the words are absurd, then the court may modify it meaning.

                1.3 Determine the authors intention.

                The spirit of the law is given the least priority because it is subjective. In this particular case of quo warranto against Sereno, knowing the true intention of the drafters about impeachment is as vague as the case itself. It is the difficulty of establishing a strong case that the true intention of the authors is ‘by way of impeachment only’ that hindered the spirit of the law as the best option. Considering also that the President and the VicePresident can be removed by quo warranto (Erap vs Arroyo), this further weakens the premise of ‘by way of impeachment only.’

                However, as the above priority are mere guidelines, they are not strictly rules. Thats why, in some other cases, the spirit of the law, if clear and well established, is given the most importance.

                2. Legal opinions of someone else, if not backed with jurisprudence, is of no good. Tell me, what particular law obliged them to inhibit?

                3. There you go, arguments without proof. No matter how many of them said that, if they could not back it up, then its as good as their personal opinion.

              • Chemrock says:

                1. The spirit and intent of the Law cannot rest on the quarrels over a single word ‘shall’ or ‘may’. This is where the minds of reasonable man is far superior to learned attorneys who can write a 50 page argument on the meaning of ‘may’. In this particular case, the spirit of the law has be be viewed from an overall objective of the constitution in regards to the removal of a CJ. And that objective is to enshrine the independence of the 3 pillars of democracy, coming as it were, from the Marcos experience where a president can make a CJ inutile.

                2. What particular law obliged the biased 5 to recuse themselves ?

                Judicial disqualification is enshrined in the Code of Judicial Conduct. The specific grounds are laid out, of which the Sereno case is not covered. However, the code of conduct permits a catchall situation :

                “A judge may, in the exercise of his sound discretion, disqualify himself from sitting in a case, for JUST or VALID reasons other than those mentioned above. ”

                As to what constitutes just and valid, depends on your moral compass. In the Sereno case, it is obvious to everyone except to those who bend laws to suit their purpose.

                This is from Judge Panganiban (2001) in his explanationto the en Banc :

                “By his request for my recusation, petitioner I take it is of the opinion that I should no longer participate further in the oral argument today and in the deliberation and voting that will follow, because I MAY HAVE PREJUDGED HIS CAUSE. As I understand it, he believes that he may not be able to convince me to alter my position and vote in his favor or in any other manner that would deviate from my earlier concurrence in the Chief Justices action.

                Though I am ready to hear his arguments and firmly believe that I have an open mind to consider his plea according to my best light and to vote according to my conscience, I nonetheless deem it of highest importance that, as a jurist, I must hold myself above petitioners reproach and suspicion.”

                See the difference? Those with integrity and those without?

                The Law is some times an ass. But it’s people of integrity that uphold its virtue.

                3. Personal opinions — true these are all personal opinions of distinguished personalities. Strange is it not, that those who argued that Sereno’s outster is constitutional tend to be rent seeking sycophants with biased views and lots of skeletons in the cabinets. Let’s be non-partisan and just go on statistics — how many do you have that say it was constitutional and have voiced their opinions (and I mean those in the legal business). Do you have the numbers as represented by the Bar Association of Philippines?

              • Andres 2018 says:

                1. In this particular case, its not only the “shall/may” that was considered, even though “shall/may” is as important as the others. Take note also of my previous inclusion that the President and Vice President, both impeachable officials, can be removed by a quo warranto. If the authors intention is to really remove an impeachable official by impeachment only, then, why is it its not the case for the President and Vice President? With these, knowing the real intention of the authors is vague as ever, someone could say it is and it is not. In this case, its so clear that it is not by impeachment alone.

                With regards to the check and balance of the Three Branches, notice that the quo warranto is exercise both by the Executive and the Judiciary as mandated by the Constitution and the Rule of Court, filed by the Executive, decided by the Supreme Court, it is not monopolize by a single branch alone. Also, quo warranto is to challenge the validity of the appointment of the Chief Justice. To a validly appointed officer, quo warranto is ineffective.

                2. Since, according the statement you have given, it is still base on “his discretion” then, there is non that really obliged them to do so.

                3. No partisan thinking here, my conclusion is from what was written in law. I dont have the numbers as represented by the Bar.

              • Chemrock says:

                1. “Take note also of my previous inclusion that the President and Vice President, both impeachable officials, can be removed by a quo warranto.”
                So said YOU? or the Biased 5?. I wonder how Erap was removed.
                In any case, the Pres and VP are straw amn fallacies here, so let’s cut that out.

                “… the quo warranto ….is not monopolize by a single branch alone”
                This is not in contention, I wonder why you are throwing this point in.

                “To a validly appointed officer, quo warranto is ineffective.on”
                This is a revelation — of your inclnations and depth of knowledge.

                Please refer to :

                “Under Rule 66 of the Rules of Court, a quo warranto petition may be filed by the government or an individual against “a person who usurps, intrudes into, or unlawfully holds or exercises a public office, position or franchise.”

                The government may also bring a quo warranto petition to court against “a public officer who does or suffers an act that, by the provision of law, constitutes a ground for the forfeiture of his office.” ”

                You said the quo warranto on Castillo and Calida are right. You wanna put your money on the petition by one Citizen Acosta whether he petition will see the light of day?


                2.”Since, according the statement you have given, it is still base on “his discretion” then, there is non that really obliged them to do so.”

                EUREKA !. That’s what I have been talking about. The biased 5 has no ‘discretion’, no what Filipinos like to term delicatezza. The moral fibres are’nt there.
                The law does not compel a lot of other stuff. But the righteous rises to the ocassion and do what’s necessary. For a jurist, it is of utmost import that one needs to be impartial, but to be seen to be impartial. The position of the biased 5 are plain even to nitwits that the pre-judged the case because of teir role in the Congress Inquiry. That that was not a mistrial is a damning testimony of the stinking quality of Philippines judicial process. The world took notice of that I am sure.

                3. “I dont have the numbers as represented by the Bar.”

                You only have the President, the Scarface, VACC hooligans, sycophantic Congressmen and Senators, Harry Roque, the prancing monkey of a lawyer commanding the crowd at the SC and the initiator of the quo warranto who is hoping Imee Marcos opens a Cayman Island account for him. Notice all the alphas of Philippines?

                Thank you for this admission. Of course we all know you don’t have the numbers.

                The Bar represents the legal profession in the country and thousands of lawyers are fed up with what happened in the SC. Thank God, the majority of Filipino lawyers still do have moral and ethical souls.

                JUSTICE or JUST ICE — depends on which BAR you are in.
                Obviously you are in the BAR that serves “Impunity Strong”

              • Andres 2018. says:

                1.1. You did not know that Erap filed a quo warranto petition against Gloria Arroyo? Again, its not me that saying this as what you are thinking, its the Constitution, and it actually happened. So before concluding something that i am making things up, verify it first. Or ask me to give you proof, i will do gladly for you.

                No straw man fallacy here, it is an actual example that even the President, an impeachable official, of the same level of that of the Chief Justice, can be challenged from office by a quo warranto and not only by impeachment.

                You bring the argument of “to enshrine the independence of the 3 pillars of democracy” so i say, quo warranto is initiated by the executive, decided by the judiciary. No monopolization.

                1.2. “The government may also bring a quo warranto petition to court against “a public officer who does or suffers an act that, by the provision of law, constitutes a ground for the forfeiture of his office.” – by you.

                The depth of knowledge, eh? Yet, Rule 66 should be like this:

                “An action for the usurpation of a public office, position or franchise may be commenced by a verified petition brought in the name of the Republic of the Philippines against….a public officer who does or suffers an act which, by the provision of law, constitutes a ground for the forfeiture of his office….”

                Your restatement of Rule 66 removes the premise of usurpation, resulting to a different interpretation. The phase ‘constitutes a ground for the forfeiture of his office’ should be interpreted within the limit of usurpation. Thus, a bad act you have done while you are validly in the office is not a ground for a quo warranto. It is rather the acts you have done while in the office that is conclusive of your usurpation that will open you up to a quo warranto. Says me again? No, says the Supreme Court in its ruling about Sereno’s Case. Quo warranto to remove the Chief Justice in office because of invalid appointment. Impeachment to remove the Chief Justice validly appointed but committed impeachable offense.

                1.3. “You said the quo warranto on Castillo and Calida are right. You wanna put your money on the petition by one Citizen Acosta whether he petition will see the light of day?” – by you.

                Depends on her basis if its good enough or not, what are they again?

                1.4. Yes i do respect law of limitations.

                2. Do you think that the alleged bias, prejudice and alleged absence of delicadeza is enough to call for the inhibition of others? Its not, Sereno should first prove it by clear and convincing evidence and she failed to do so. A judge should consider the balance of considering voluntary inhibition and his duty to decide cases without the fear of repression. Bottomline, you are a stupid judge of you could not see that someone is repressing you.

                3. I am not all knowing. If you have the numbers, put it here. Lets play your statistics.

              • Sup says:

                Troll Andresssss . Why don’t you and your wisdomsearchers use your never ending wisdom to educate Sass, Mocha and Nieto so they will not publish fabricated lies anymore…..?

              • Chemrock says:


                1.1. “You did not know that Erap filed a quo warranto petition against Gloria Arroyo? ”

                Did it prosper??? Nyaaa

                1.2. I referred to Rule 66 to show that contrary to what you said, quo warranto is applicable to all officials in govt service. You are simply muddying the waters to a simple point of argument.

                1.3. I asked “You said the quo warranto on Castillo and Calida are right. You wanna put your money on the petition by one Citizen Acosta whether he petition will see the light of day?” – You answered : “Depends on her basis if its good enough or not, what are they again?”

                Gee whizz — Need I explain? Castillo quo-warrantoed Sereno for non-submission of SALN. Private citizen Acosta petitioned to quo warranto Castillo for similarly failing to submit all her SALNs.

                1.4. “Yes i do respect law of limitations.”

                Well done. Correct answer.
                Well the limitation on quo warranto is 1 year from date of appointment to office. How long has Sereno been the SC?

                2. “Do you think that the alleged bias, prejudice and alleged absence of delicadeza is enough to call for the inhibition of others? Its not, Sereno should first prove it by clear and convincing evidence and she failed to do so. A judge should consider the balance of considering voluntary inhibition and his duty to decide cases without the fear of repression. Bottomline, you are a stupid judge of you could not see that someone is repressing you.”

                Andres, I give you that. You are the expert in disambiguation. The rings you ran makes me giddy, I confess.

                I was simply stating that jurists ( or those with good moral and ethical values) are challenged by the need to recuse themselves when they have been seen to have pre-judged a case, or when their bias had been seen by the public. They need to be impartial, and seen to be impartial. I referred to judge Patangina’s example where he explained to the en banc on why he recused himself from a case.

                3. “I am not all knowing. If you have the numbers, put it here. Lets play your statistics.”

                Well the Bar Association of Philippines have thousands of lawyers. They are saying the bias5 are scumbags that destroyed the standing of the SC.
                Can you name just 50 legal professionals who supported the ouster of CJ by quo warranto?

              • Andres 2018. says:

                @ chemrock

                Did it (quo warranto against Arroyo filed by Estrada) prosper?

                – Yes it did. The Court heard it and ruled that Arroyo was a valid President of the Philippines in accordance with the Constitution.

                Conclusion: Quo warranto filed against an impeachable official is constitutional.

                Law of Limitation, quo warranto should be filed within one year after the appointment, or else, the prescription period will expire. However, prescription period does not expire if it is the Republic that filing the case, nullum tempus.

                Conclusion: Filing of quo warranto against Sereno is not bared by limitation of prescription because nullum tempus.

            • Zen says:

              What is the role of the Judicial Bar Council in determining the fitness of CJ Sereno to her post? She actually underwent the scrutiny of this august body composed of brilliant justices. In the video of this interview which should form part of anyone’s argument as to why CJ Sereno was fit for purpose, it showed her innate talent and knowledge of the law, sound judgment, conduct becoming, articulateness and even her being personably perfect. In court it is important in the judge’s forming of his decision later, to consider the demeanor of the one who testifies. The letter as well as the spirit of the law must be applied but the motive and the circumstantial evidence also lend weight. Duterte’s vindictive pronouncement that he would take Sereno down and out of office was the cog that turned Sereno’s wheel of misfortune ultimately. There are just too many of them in government at Duterte’s bidding, sadly.

  7. Joe, many thanks.

    1) yes, there is hope – and danger.

    1a) even Rizal hoped for the youth. The youth often became older. Maturity in the Philippines often means acquiescing to the system, making one’s peach with it, playing by it’s rules. Jejomar Binay, former human rights lawyer. Harry Roque. Senator Cayetano, former anti-corruption crusader.

    1b) Hilbay and Magdalo, plus the Women of Steel will not stop. But will they manage to convince the broaders masses? One should not forget the #BabaeAko initiative which was started more by the left and has spread. The counter-narrative of the #SexyFuehrerDuterte challenges #BabaeAko.

    1c) Kris Aquino has thanked Bong Go for the apology he gave for Mocha: Is Bong Go really the shadow Chinese Governor and Duterte just the National Mayor to entertain the natives with jokes? Hint: Chinese prefer to deal with “pure Chinese”, Go even has a bit of a real Chinese accent.

    2) Everybody hopes for a new February 1986

    2a) many have forgotten the First Quarter Storm. Alan Robles has not. Swelling opposition against Marcos led him to quickly declare Martial Law. I would not discount the article madlanglupa posted.

    2b) Many of the masa who are now new middle class hardly figured as players in February 1986. Their attitudes are different and the present admin appeals to that majority, not the old middle class.

    2c) Filipinos are bandwagon people, so the critical mass may never come inspite of criticism.

    3) Duterte is stupid by sly

    3a) he may go for a fake coup a la Erdogan with police arresting soldiers, then more arrests

    3b) Chinese troops in unmarked uniforms might surface anytime in case Filipino military moves

    3c) I have noticed a new trend among Duterte supporters on the Internet – Andres is just one. They are suddenly becoming “reasonable”. This means to me that it is not enough for them to just curse or insinuate. They know they are losing ground, so the order might be – Engage. Just my theory.

    • Most interesting read, Irineo. Lots to ponder. Thanks.

    • edgar lores says:

      1c. Both Duterte and Go have apologized — with alacrity — per Sup’s news item. This goes to the point I raised that the feud was at “street level” and would bring the madla into the fray. I believe Sup is correct: they are afraid of Kris’ drawing power.

      1c1. The expressed hope of Kris joining the Women of Steel is opportune.

      3c1. The trick with Andres is to make him a double agent — with or without his knowledge. Every argument he makes is a double-edged sword.

      3d. And yet Duterte was bold enough to attack the Roman Catholic Church frontally in South Korea. Plus he is setting up his own church which promises instant gratification. Plus the book he gave away was anticlerical. This bold challenge is partly because the Church has lost so many of her flock and partly because Tagle is no Sin.

      3d1. This should provoke the true believers. Whether the cafeteria Catholics will become true Christians and defend the Faith is a big question mark. I doubt it. They have strayed too far. Unless a thunderbolt is unleashed and strikes its target.

      4) The other remarkable development is of Duterte promising to tighten the screws. The Kiss must have him feeling his oats.

    • NHerrera says:

      Irineo, my thought:

      In science or mathematics, if a proponent goes against the mainstream, he usually has a startling or remarkable idea supported by equally startling if not complicated scientific arguments. But when many in the mainstream shows reasonable counters, the proponent usually stops after a few retorts — meaning the proponent says to himself, “I have given my treatise and explained it; if you do not give it due consideration, fine.”

      But the persistence of the proponent in presenting his rather shallow, most often belabored, arguments in the current case, I agree with you, is a mark of a troll — whether paid or not. We have seen such deployed here in TSH: a rather good training ground for them. I wonder if somebody is keeping score.

      • sonny says:

        “… the persistence of the proponent in presenting his rather shallow, most often belabored, arguments in the current case, I agree with you, is a mark of a troll — whether paid or not.”

        I too am wondering, NH. You best described it. In addition, I speculate not one troll, but a committee. ‘Yan ang dating, sa basa ko. 😦

        • NHerrera says:

          Sonny: your hunch is very plausible. With resources available, best train/ deploy a committee of quite a few members.

        • edgar lores says:

          1. May researchers si Andres! That is also my impression. Which means that “they” are putting some effort into these forays.

          2. It is obvious that Andres is echoing nothing but technicalities. As he admits:

          “It is the technicalities of the law that Calida and group exploited. I am no attorney or student of the law but a researcher.

          2.1. Note those two words: “group” and “exploited.” The second word is an admission that the Quo Warranto filed against Sereno is not just. And the first word denotes a conspiracy; it goes to Sereno’s claim that Duterte is behind the ouster.

          3. I have said argument should be based on principles. But in law for every base principle, there appears to be a counter base principle. This is why lawyers are highly paid in both base salary and allowances.

          3.1. And the higher principle is hard to establish even among the jurists. The majority wins, but not necessarily justice.

          4. In any discussion, there must be agreement on which base principle to use.

          4.1. If there is no such agreement, then it may be that to argue at the level of legal technicalities is futile because it may ultimately redound to opinion.

          5. Truth in law is almost always never objective; it is intersubjective. The fact that the Constitution needs to be interpreted at all proves this.

          5.1. Law can only guide ethical human behavior to the extent that human volition allows.

          6. And in focusing on technicalities, we may lose sight of the big picture, of the exercise of human volition by Duterte and his alter egos to reject the rule of law. The campaign to intimidate if not remove critics. The body count of the Drug War. The proliferation of corruption. The neglect in the defense of the WPS. The dissemination of fake news. The broken promises to resign. The unpresidential conduct.

          7. Duterte has said the Constitution is nothing to him. The High Court has echoed this sentiment in the Sereno ouster that has been called a “legal abomination.”

          7.1. Duterte’s admission is a violation of his presidential oath. This admission in the context of the big picture (item 6) is enough to conclude that he is unfit to be the president. Technicalities can neither erase the big picture nor demolish this conclusion.

          • caliphman says:


            It is curious that what is at issue is whether the quo warranto ruling defeats the constitution’s intent of separating powers among the three branches of government to preserve democracy and prevent dictatorships. The sad thing is Duterte has defacto control over the admin, legislative , and judicial powers so this may be just legal and public posturing if not academic.

            However the extent of legal sophistry used to support the ruling against Sereno is mind boggling. The position taken in the Philstar editorial is logic stretching as the majority opinion parroted by Andres above. That is, by using the word ‘may’ instead of ‘shall’ the constitution provides the authority to remove specified individuals through quo warranto instead of just by impeachment. Unlike the impeachment process which is found and written in the constitution, the quo warranto process is laid out in the Rules of Court which is written and revised by the Supreme Court in governing and administering the court system. Whether these processes are unconstitutional or not depends if they add, amend, or go against the substance instead of the form, implementation or details of what is written in the constitution. To argue now that impeachable officials are now subject to the Supreme Court’s quo warranto rules and removable other than through the impeachment process detailed in the constitution is in my opinion is quite substantial and very specious.

            • edgar lores says:

              Totally agree.

              I made the comment elsewhere that the hierarchy of laws is:

              o Constitution – basic law of the land
              o Legislation – crafted by Congress
              o Rules – Rules of Court

              This is partly why the SC decision has been labeled a legal abomination.

              • NHerrera says:


                You are right of course — that is, in the concept of the hierarchy — but the whole concept of the Supreme Court majority being the endpoint of the argument is the “legal abomination” waiting to happen, which in fact happened in this case. Thank goodness in my lifelong field of interest no Majority of a Group says — this is how things are to be interpreted and that is the end of the discussion; unless we ourselves re-interpret it. In my field, we may rightly call this Group as Supreme Bulshit.

              • NHerrera says:

                Correction and Addendum

                Supreme Bullshit = Supreme Bulshit

                Not even the Science Guru Einstein can be the end all of discussion on Quantum Physics which he is not a believer of, when many Physicists of note, though generally not of the caliber of Einstein says he is wrong.

    • madlanglupa says:

      > Maturity in the Philippines often means acquiescing to the system

      One paradox I realized is that the worst bureaucrats are also often the most knowledgeable about the bureaus they populate. Consequently newly-minted young public servants have to bow down to the “old boys club” and be forced to pass on knowledge of corruption, whether for personal wealth, influence, and/or increased power, and so preserving the status quo of graft; it’s rare for young servants to challenge and fight the status quo.

  8. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    Dear Kris,

    Thank you for your classy rant. Been waiting for you to wade in. God bless you and your loved ones. You go, girl.


    • Sup says:

      They are afraid..

      Duterte apologizes to Kris Aquino: ‘We are sorry for the incident’

      President Rodrigo Duterte and Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go have apologized to Kris Aquino over her word war with Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux “Mocha” Uson.

    • NHerrera says:

      The crass one and the one who has down-to-earth good reasons on her side. Nagkaroon ng katapat. The life experience of Kris — with right on her side — makes her ready for a battle royale. No legal mumbo-jumbo or politics here, just plain vanilla values and love for parents who have done good for the country.

      • Sup says:

        After “conceding” to communications secretary Mocha Uson in a viral word war, Kris Aquino hinted at the idea of seeking a Senate seat in 2019

        • Sup says:

          With no Mocha apology, Kris presses Bong Go on ‘request’

          ” Earlier on Wednesday, Go said Uson would apologize for the incident, adding that he and Duterte had already said sorry to Aquino.

          But in a video posted on her Facebook page, Uson refused to apologize, saying the issue was not about Kris Aquino.

          Aquino told Uson the government official “won” their tiff.

          “Mocha, you win because you hurt me and I think that’s what you wanted to do. Nanalo ka dahil patuloy mong inaapak-apakan ang pagkatao at alaala ng dalawang tao na pinakamamahal ko,” Aquino said.

          “You are right. This was not about Kris Aquino, this is a reminder that Filipinos still love and respect Cory and Ninoy Aquino,” she said. ”

          • Micha says:

            So typical of Kris. I thought her balahura self-reference would result in a mud bath fight with Uson.

            Ganda sana yun. 🙂

            • Sup says:

              Bong Go will not lose face over Mocha, he told Kris she would apologize……Lets wait…..popcorn mode….

          • edgar lores says:

            It is said that comparisons are odious. And this comparison was just that.

            The circumstances were vastly different. In one kiss there was a demand and, in the other, the kiss(es) were freely given.

            The demand was from a position of power. It was inappropriate and, therefore, it was an abuse of power.

            The odious comparison was an invidious attempt to burnish the pitted armor of a non-presidential president by borrowing the gleam from the halo of a hero.

            Apologies are often misunderstood as being offered only when a wrong has been committed. Not so. They are also offered when no wrong has been “perceived” to be committed but, nevertheless, pain has been inflicted.

            At times, we offer “Sorry!” even when no pain has been actually inflicted but just avoided. As when one obstructs the way of another.

  9. Sup says:

    A blind person can see that there is a lot wrong with this administration but there are a lot of people who can see but don’t see it…….

    • trebor9 says:

      This reminds me of the quote “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” by Martin Luther King, Jr.

  10. Micha says:

    Hope. It could mean different things to different people. A pedicab driver, side walk vendor, high school teacher, priest, student, nurse, farmer, CEO, OFW, a congressman, a pimp, a cook, a cancer patient, a tambay, a drug addict – could it be that they share the same or entirely different hopes?

    It’s possible they share the same generic hopes as peace freedom and prosperity.

    In the context of this article though, I would assume that what is being specifically hoped for is the overturning of the current political order – the reversion towards the longed for normalcy and decency which, if we go by our standards, is the easier part to achieve given our concept of what is being normal and decent.

    And indeed, given the untethered trajectory of the current regime, the unmasking of its fraudulence and lies, it’s possible it will go down the precipice in a rather short time.

    But if we are again about to overturn the political order without also overturning the economic order, the overall result will be as predictable as what we’ve gone through after EDSA 1.

    • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

      Kiss as Wannabe Poetry

      A kiss is like a stray bullet
      That ricochet off a cyber wall
      To hit innocent bystanders;
      A kiss can make “the earth moves”
      under one’s feet like a soft tremor
      Of an earthquake’s after shock
      And people can think what they like
      To be afraid of a coming tectonic
      Or to appreciate the orgasmic
      Message of a kiss applauded.

      But here is a published wannabe
      Short lines written long before
      An unexpected choreography
      to render a historic kiss as poetry:

      Quick and slow
      Quick becoming slow
      Slow but long
      From neck to cheeks
      Back from cheeks to lips
      Lips to lips
      No longer
      Quick and slow.
      Eternity in 10 seconds.

      Sunday, October 2, 2005
      CONSTANT WINDS, 2017 page 24.

      • edgar lores says:

        ” Eternity in 10 seconds.”

        within a span of time but timeless
        the urge moves from kiss to kiss
        from bruised lips to hilly breasts
        wandering wandering wandering

        across soft contours, taut yet yielding
        across remembered slopes and peaks
        thence to austral continents
        meandering meandering meandering

        thus do free men roam through land and sea
        chasing shards of memory
        conjuring wild ecstasy
        centering centering centering

        Thursday, 7 June 2018
        SOFT BREEZES, 2019 Page 1

        • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

          WOW! Edgar, ano ba sa Tagalog ang Wow?

          Human lips no matter
          how large and hard
          do not bruise female lips
          rock hard and sharp
          perhaps it is teeth
          that bites can make
          lips bleed.

          Con men’s kisses
          bruise a maiden’s
          heart instead
          mocking lives ahead
          that you may read in
          The Atlantic

          • edgar lores says:

            Popoy, thanks for the long but entertaining read on a conman and lothario.

            So many suckers in the world. And his victims were intelligent women. Not surprising though. Filipino suckers are capable of parroting arguments… from Supreme Court justices who are legal conmen… who support a presidential conman and lothario.

    • Francis says:


      I am of the same sentiment.

      We will need not just unorthodox political thinking—but also economic thinking to be able to handle the massive paradigm shifts that exponential technological advancement and climate change may bring; advances in technology such as automation and AI are going to force us to seriously reflect on the role and treatment of labor in a society where full employment is no longer a realistic ideal and where some wildly heterodox redistributive economic policies (i.e. UBI) will have to be at least considered, while climate change may force the entire world to juggle the woes of automation alongside a possible transition from a “growth-based” economy to a “sustainable” economy in order to stave off the worst of climate change.

      That’s in the long-term, some might say.

      I wonder whether we can even handle all of that as a society—if some of our leadership cannot even accept freaking 4Ps program, the tamest substantial welfare scheme you can think of. I mean, the 4Ps is not an “evil socialist” thingy—it’s marked with a seal of approval from that den of activism, the World Bank with the World Bank considering our own program to be quite successful in its own right.

      • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

        In college because I didn’t have algebra or geometry I had back subjects in math
        and trigonometry but life in the public service taught me that Political Science and
        Economics Science seeks the same level of perfection of an EQUATION. One side EQUALS the other side. Good politics equals good economics.

        Bad politics equals bad economy. Canada and some countries approximates defendable examples. It’s even CORRELATION in statistics. Positive correlation that means increasing
        worsening politics equals increasing worsening in the economic life of the people.
        Micha might have hinted that already, re: EDSA.

        As Sherlock would have uttered to his Dr. friend: It’s elementary my dear Watson.

  11. Francis says:


    Not an expert with techie stuff (I don’t even play video games) but this is pretty cool. Might be especially useful for an archipelagic country like ours with lots of sea.

    • NHerrera says:

      It is a “moon-shoot” or “out-of-the-box” idea. The exponential requirements of AI requires such a quantum jump of an idea. Interesting; Microsoft may just be successful in this. Thanks.

      • sonny says:

        I think we could apply our own versions of Ockham’s razor on this Microsoft project. For now the experiment just tells me Microsoft has lots of cash in hand and not really knows what to do with it. IBM at its zenith was in the same situation. It established IBM-Philippines and IBM-France, and other IBMs all over the world. The information giant underwrote many research projects so much so that it published a science encyclopedia-like journal, IBM Journal of Science & Technology, to house all the accumulated research reports that resulted.

        As you said, NH: “Interesting; Microsoft may just be successful in this.” After all 10 to minus-9 scale is a long long journey. 🙂

    • edgar lores says:

      I had to read the entire article to find out why the datacenter sits on the seabed.

      I thought, wouldn’t it be easier to base it on land for maintenance?

      And the answer was in the third to the last paragraph:

      “The world’s oceans at depth are consistently cold, offering ready and free access to cooling, which is one of the biggest costs for land-based datacenters.”

      • NHerrera says:

        Add to that the possibility of putting a wind turbine at the shore where wind speed is usually higher — since the hotter air above land and the cooler air above the water in the shoreline causes the air to circulate that much faster — and we have sustainable energy to the data center aside from providing power to local needs. (Of course in storm-prone areas the wind turbine tower and generator needs special consideration as in the Philippines.)

        • edgar lores says:

          Apparently, there are 5 wind turbines farms. Four are located along the Western coasts: 3 in Ilocos Norte and 1 in Mindoro Oriental. The Eastern coasts and islands usually bear the brunt of typhoon winds.

          The fifth is in Pillila, Rizal. Pillila is inland, seating along the right ventricle of heart-shaped Laguna de Bay. I didn’t know that the bay would generate strong enough winds. I guess the bluster from Malacañang helps.

  12. madlanglupa says:

    OT: whatever he said has only made a lot more reasonable people angry.

  13. A.Vista says:

    It is great that there are Pilipino women who have guts to express their opposition and there are more proactive youth.

    I believe that there is a need for nationwide
    deprogramming and reprogramming to achieve a transformed society.

    Social scientists have long held to their
    conclusion that culture is learned; not genetic.

    I believe women are the key to a progressive Philippines as they are the most influential figures in the children’s formation of core values.

    Properly educated and empowered women,
    not just a few but in the majority, vigilant citizenry who are well informed on
    their intelligent exercise of rights of suffrage and programmed/ educated on the more desirable core values:

    Ethics, patriotism, rights and responsibilities
    of citizenship, mindful stewardshio of natural resources/environment, volunteerism, rule of law. among others.

    Institutional Reforms/Deprogramming & Reprogramming.
    Educational and Judicial.

    Deprogramming & Reprogramming of
    both will help facilitate achievement of national objectives towards a more compassionate, patriotic, law abiding and progressive society.

    Policy and programnes of educational institutions must be crafted to align with
    a progressive and transformative agenda through the education and empowerment
    of women– if there’s going to be hope for
    the future generation.

    Judicial Reforms:

    There must be serious implementation of laws
    to diminish if not totally eradicate graft and corruption/ crimes which drains the country’s resources.

    There ‘s hope.

    It boils down to education and women.

  14. R says:

    You cNnot unite people by pointing fingers.

  15. edgar lores says:


    1. There are two issues:

    1.1. Quo Warranto can be used
    1.2. Only impeachment can be used

    2. Quo Warranto

    2.1. Argument: Quo Warranto can be used on Presidents. Therefore, it can be used on Chief Justices.

    2.2. Counter: Yes, it can be used on Presidents because Presidents may gain their office through unconstitutional or extra-constitutional means. Whereas, Chief Justices gain their seat only through a constitutional process: JBC shortlisting and Executive appointment.

    2.3. Argument: Quo Warranto can be used beyond the prescription period because the State can do no wrong.

    2.4. Counter: This argument sounds like the Divine Right of Kings which is archaic and obsolete. That the State can do wrong is factually proven by the Proclamation 572 which sought to destroy the Doctrine of Immutability.

    2.5. The Constitution provides that the State can be sued — implying that it can be on the wrong side of the law — although it must be with its consent.

    3. Impeachment

    3.1. Argument: The Constitution states that certain official including the Chief Justice may be impeached. The use of “may” indicates a choice of method.

    3.2. Counter 1: The use of “may” does not indicate a choice of method. It simply indicates the choice of whether to impeach or not to impeach.

    3.2.1. It is similar to the question of “to be or not to be.” The choice is about existence or non-existence. It is not about the choice to be, to exist, as a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker.

    3.2.2. Counter 2: The use of “shall” would make impeachments imperative.

    3.3. There are several ways of interpreting constitutional provisions. A proper method, in this case, may involve three steps:

    o Textual
    o Contextual
    o Drafters’ Intention

    3.3.1. Textual. As stated in 3.2, the use of “may’ simply indicates the choice to impeach or not to impeach. It does not indicate a choice of method.

    3.3.2. Contextual. If there is doubt about the textual interpretation, the last sentence of Article XI, Section 2 states: “All other public officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law, but not by impeachment.” The implication is clear: the aforementioned public officers may only be removed by impeachment.

    3.3.3. Drafters’ Intention. If there is doubt about the textual and contextual interpretations, resort must be made to the intention of the drafters of the Constitution. This intention is clear in Justice Carpio’s citation of J. Bernas in his book “The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines: A Commentary.” In his dissenting decision, Justice Carpio quotes Bernas thus: “The provision mandating removal only by impeachment is ‘the Constitution’s strongest guarantee of security of tenure. The guarantee effectively blocks the use of other legal ways of ousting an officer.’”

    4. The question arises: If impeachment is the only way to remove certain public officials, why was a quo warranto petition considered by the Supreme Court in Estrada vs. Arroyo?

    4.1. It is because of the special circumstances of Estrada’s exit and the “extra-constitutional” means by which Arroyo took hold of the presidency. Sereno’s appointment as Chief Justice was by the constitutionally approved method; she served as Chief Justice for six years. And, at any rate, the quo warranto against Arroyo did not prosper.

    • Excellent post-mortem. Calida has done more to destroy the pillars of justice than just about anyone, I would imagine. He uses laws as weapons of punishment, not justice. I hope when decency returns to the Philippines he gets locked up for about 40 years, and right next to him is Persida Acosta. (Ha, in the NEXT cell, not actually right next to him.)

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