The incredible shrinking presidency

2018 SONA. Senate President Sotto, President Duterte, House Speaker Alvarez, in the middle of the House coup. [PCOO photo]

By JoeAm

The Duterte presidency has assumed the look of a fast-draining balloon farting its way across the living room ceiling as it loses air fast.

The blows have come fast and furious.

  • Arroyo’s bold coup of the House right before the President’s SONA. It made him nothing but an old guy in the waiting room fuming as others hogged his limelight.
  • His speech got few laughs and little enthusiastic applause.
  • Then his darling Mocha Uson killed off the last shred of dignity of his administration and federalism in one bizarre, clownish, juvenile video.
  • China issued a demeaning, threatening message to AFP pilots flying near the artificial islands in international waters. It is obvious that China does not respect Duterte or Filipinos.
  • A huge shipment of drugs was missed and the President whitewashed the incident. His lack of indignation has people whispering about his family’s possible engagement in drug smuggling.
  • His killer police continue to operate across the land, killing and killing, priests, city councilors, nameless poor. Support for the bloodletting is fading.
  • Prices are out of control and panicky senators up for re-election are objecting to government policy. High prices have eroded the President’s popularity both in the legislature and the streets.
  • Exports are falling, the peso is weak, investors have been leaving . . . the economy is faltering. The President says and does nothing. He apparently has no idea as to his own destabilizing impact.
  • Agriculture is stuck in the mud, there is a rice crisis, social security is going broke, transportation is a mess, the airport went aground when a plane went off the runway, passports are hard to get. Incompetence reigns. The President ignores the issues.
  • Corruption is all over the place as the Commission of Audit and Ombudsman exhaust their resources trying to keep it in check. Garcia out. Teo out. Generals out. It’s endless. The President’s threats do nothing. No one is listening anymore.
  • The President is losing the strong unity he had before. Senators speak their mind more openly (opposing federalism, for example). The opposition legislators are loud with protests that makes a lot of sense these days against the President’s outrageous rants.
  • The President disappeared from view for several days as Manila rode out a punishing storm and flood. He still has not expressed empathy for those affected.
  • The president said he was tired and wanted to resign if the right person took over (Marcos or Escudero). He truly looks pitiful these days.

Some say most of what he does is posturing. He plays the victim to draw people together to defend him. He says he will resign to distract from the huge drug shipment that got through. Then the next day, a different story comes out. No one quite knows the truth of what he is saying. It makes it difficult even for his loyal followers to understand what is going on.

He criticizes the Catholic Church, flaunts his disregard for the Constitution by calling for a military coup and insertion of Marcos or Escudero as President, says three of five Americans are idiots, and keeps threatening to kill people. He numbs objection because he leaves people speechless and stunned. The entire nation has been standing like a deer in Duterte’s headlights.

But it seems to have bolted to the side of the road.

The nation persists. Resilient, I suppose, in a rather dilapidated, directionless, self-damaged way.

The President’s death-dealing approach to drugs has made it impossible for him to simply leave office at the end of his term. He needs a pardon, or to stay on. He has been working diligently on several options but so far they have been dead ends.

  • Revolutionary government received loud protest and no support from the AFP. He backed off.
  • Federalism is probably dead. It makes no sense except to the loyal apologists. The Senate is not buying it.
  • Nationwide martial law is an option. It would create havoc with the economy, intensify objection, and likely drop his popularity into the tank. It would force a heretofore patient and law-abiding military to join in the thuggery. That would offend the honor of many officers.
  • His current approach seems to be to establish a police state one step at a time, continuing with executions, installing killer cops in Cebu, arresting attorneys, and accusing people of drug crimes. His bloodthirsty followers seem to accept brutality as a solution. He bans journalists from reporting and hides case reports for drug killings from any investigating body.  It is martial law without the destabilizing declaration. Each offense increases criticism of the President.
  • His last chance would be the 2022 election and installing the President of his choice. Someone who would pardon him and replenish the cycle of impunity that flourished since the Marcoses were allowed to return without going to jail. I tend to think Sara Duterte-Carpio is the most likely 2022 presidential candidate.

If I move way back, up above the clouds, and look down at the social, economic, and political scene today . . . the Philippines looks shattered. Divided. Poorly led. Incompetently managed. Crawling into the arms of an imperialist China. Economic basket case. Murderous. Corrupt. It’s democratic institutions . . . the Supreme Court, House, and Ombudsman . . . captured by unethical and corrupt self-dealers.

And at the center is an erratic, brutal, divisive leader, somehow small amongst the chaotic carnage.

The President is no longer the proud monarch parading before the adoring, cheering throngs, talking change and touting lavish promises. He has been revealed, and he looks defeated. His rallies are dismal affairs, poor people paid to be bused into town for a free lunch. All he has is an empty shell of trolls propping him up, a shrinking group of ignorant people defending their bad choice, and a large cadre of self-dealers installed in key positions across the nation.

But even they are cracking under the relentless embarrassments, killings, and failures. They see the weakness, the craziness, the law-breaking . . . and they no longer want to be attached to it. Perhaps they know it has to end.

Arroyo is strong. Go to her.

Sara is strong. Go to her.

One wonders when the sane, the rational, the compassionate among them will summon up the courage to conclude:

“We need to stop this craziness. This is my nation, too.”

Democracy is strong. Let’s go back to her.

 

Comments
107 Responses to “The incredible shrinking presidency”
  1. karlgarcia says:

    Exports.

    Habito tells us the sad story of our exports.

    http://opinion.inquirer.net/115427/why-cant-we-export-more

    • Andres 2018. says:

      But WorldBank said: “In 2017, the Philippines was among the top three growth performers in the region. Only Vietnam and China did better. The Philippine economy grew from 6.9 percent year-on-year in 2016 to 6.7 percent year-on-year in 2017. Growth was anchored in strong exports, while investment growth significantly slowed and consumption growth moderated. The Philippines’ annual exports rose sharply in 2017 and became the main engine of economic growth, while imports continued to grow by double-digits.”

      https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/philippines/publication/philippines-economic-update-investing-in-the-future

      Which is true?

      • karlgarcia says:

        The problem is Vietnam was behind us then, but in the early 2000s many have moved there, even those from the Philippines.
        Now Vietnam is even ahead of Indonesia. Good for them.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Again Andres, I commend your positive attitude towards the success of the Philippines by citing that World Bank report.

        But we also should not pat ourselves in the back just yet.

        In the article of Habito below he said we did our best, but our best is not good enough.

        http://opinion.inquirer.net/115269/were-still-kulelat

        We’re still ‘kulelat’

        There is much to be pleased about with our economy in the past seven years. Apart from the most recent price movements, we’ve had the slowest price increases since the 1990s. Our economy has been among the fastest-growing in Asia and the world, with GDP growing annually at 6-7 percent. Our exports have substantially grown over the last decade, earning $69 billion in 2017, from only $41 billion in 2005. And after averaging a measly $1 billion in foreign direct investment inflows a year in the first decade of the 2000s, last year we attracted more than 10 times as much.

        There is also evidence that our economy’s growth has become more broad-based, and its benefits more inclusive. Whereas private consumption spending had dominantly driven the economy’s growth in the past, investment spending, which has grown consistently at double-digit annual rates since 2010, now contributes much more to GDP growth.

        On the production side, industry, dominated by manufacturing, has become the fastest-growing sector, outpacing agriculture, fishery and forestry, and our traditional growth driver, services. These have pushed unemployment and underemployment to historical lows (now averaging 5-6 percent and 16-17 percent, respectively), even as the exodus of Filipino workers overseas has slowed.

        Poverty incidence has gone down to one in every six families (16.5 percent) as of 2015, from one in five (19.7 percent) in 2012. Many more indicators point to a much stronger economy than we’ve had in past decades.

        All that is good news, but we can’t exactly pat ourselves on the back yet. The sobering reality is that, even after all these, we still haven’t done quite well enough to catch up with our comparable Asean neighbors. In past decades, our neighbors, especially those among the original five members of the Asean (Asean 5), had left us behind to be the kulelat (bottom-dweller) in most key economic performance indicators.

        The sad fact is that, today, we remain very much the kulelat; in some indicators, we now lag even farther behind. Let’s look at a few indicators to see what I mean.

        Up until about 10 years ago, Indonesia had a lower average income (GDP per capita) than we did, making it last, and us fourth, among the Asean 5 in average income. Last year, Indonesia was already 12 ranks (113th) ahead of us in the World Bank listing of 184 countries, with a nominal GDP per capita of $3,847, while we ranked 125th with $2,989.

        In 2005, we had the lowest export earnings among the Asean 5 with $41 billion, trailing Indonesia, which earned $86 billion (Thailand had $110 billion, Malaysia $141 billion, and tiny Singapore, $230 billion). We still did better than Vietnam’s $32 billion then. Last year, 12 years later, our $69 billion from exports trailed behind Indonesia’s $169 billion, with the gap having more than doubled to $100 billion from just $45 billion in 2005.

        Vietnam had already overtaken Indonesia with $214 billion in exports, having grown its exports nearly seven times in the last 12 years. Our total trade was deep in deficit last year, with imports exceeding exports by $27.4 billion. But the rest of the Asean 5 saw trade surpluses, from Indonesia’s $11.8 billion to Singapore’s $45.5 billion.

        We had $10.1 billion in net foreign direct investments last year, slightly edging Thailand and Malaysia’s $9.1 billion each—but well behind Vietnam’s $14.1 billion, Indonesia’s $22.1 billion, and Singapore’s $63.6 billion.

        We had the worst annual inflation (4.8 percent) as of the second quarter this year, as our neighbors ranged from Singapore’s 0.2 percent to Vietnam’s 3.8 percent. We also had the highest joblessness last year at 5.7 percent, versus Thailand’s 1.2 percent, Singapore and Vietnam’s 2.2 percent, Malaysia’s 3.4 percent, and Indonesia’s 5.6 percent.

        And while our neighbors (except Indonesia) saw their currencies go up from a year ago, our currency dropped about 8 percent—telling us we must be doing something differently, and wrongly.

        All told, we have not gained any ground relative to our neighbors. In some ways, we’re even more kulelat than ever. Yes, we seem to have achieved so much—but, alas, it’s still far from enough.

        • Good news on manufacturing growth. Exports are weak. Manufacturing must not add value. That is we have little ‘whole goods’ manufacturing. Instead we import parts, put them together, then ship them out. We need a ‘corporate Philippines’ attitude in government that has the state partner with private companies to do large-scale start-ups in the whole goods manufacturing. We need an ‘ideating’ push. Innovation, y’know?

          • karlgarcia says:

            Yes and the small companies need more coopetition. I still see the landfills as raw material sources. I hope regulation and legislation would make it possible.

  2. madlanglupa says:

    The shamelessness of this creature of abusive privilege, an insult to her victims.

    This other creature of chess-game politics wants to win the thing she helped started.

    But let’s not forget the people who voted her for Veep, because I do hope they understand the meaning of the words “balance” and “competence”, that at any time she would take the job and end the lunacy plaguing our society.

    • The links refer to Imee Marcos who wants critics to ‘move on’, Gloria Arroyo who wants to go back to her cozy relationship with China that was a part of the reason people turned against her before, and Leni Robredo who is a rock of dignity, civility, and sense.

      Marcos and Arroyo are a part of the network of self-dealers who keep the ignorant mis-informed and emotionalized against civility and sense. As the President moves toward irrelevance, this network needs to be broken down. Probably one step at a time, with the 2019 election being an excellent time to pitch some sycophants into the ditch.

  3. ALFREDO G ESCOBAR says:

    THIS PUBLICATION SHOULD BE CALLED “SOCIETY OF HORROR” BECAUSE THAT IS ALL ITS BEEN DOING THE YEARS IT STARTED ITS PUBLICATIONS……SAD BUT TRUE

    • Well, Alfredo, it is hard to argue with a statement that is so black and white, in all caps. Clearly you are not here to discuss where the presentation erred, and I am confident you missed the article that congratulated President Duterte for winning the election, or the one that made sure we did not fall into the trap of emotionalizing his presidency and instead established benchmarks for measuring performance objectively. But you are entitled to be upset if the current article on the President’s troubles threatens your long-held beliefs that he is best for the Presidency. And if indeed you have followed the blog since its inception, thank you for your loyal reading and self restraint all these years.

      • ALFREDO G ESCOBAR says:

        THEIR

        • THEIR, what. Look, Alfredo, this is a discussion forum for people to debate issues forthrightly. It is not a chat room, or Facebook posting, or place to denigrate people. I would advise that, if your approach is name-calling and thuggery, you only reflect poorly on the President, and I have no idea why you would want to help diminish him further.

      • ALFREDO G ESCOBAR says:

        OBVIOUSLY ALL THE CRITIZISM DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD. THESE KINDS OF PEOPLE ARE THEMSELVES THE SCOURGE OF THE COUNTRY ITSELF. IF INSTEAD OF CRITIZISING THEY FOCUS THEM SELVES ON HELPING OUR PRESIDENT THEN I WOULD SALUTE THEM FOR DOING THE RIGHT THING FOR ONCE IN THEIR LIFE.

        • andrewlim8 says:

          pls unlock your all caps and if possible, fix your english as well…

        • Could you please refrain from using all caps? It means that you are shouting.

          Aren’t you doing the same thing? You called this forum the “Society of Horror” and now you are critical of the contributors calling them “scourge of the country.”

          You are welcome here. Please tell us how you feel without the insults. Thank you.

        • Marc O Ali says:

          what harm could criticisms do? unless they have been found to be true, they would do no harm. but had they been found true, then something must be done, not with the criticisms, but what really scourged the country, in this case, not the critics.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Once upon a time, Fred Escobar used to unlock his CAPS lock.

      Fred Escobar on July 31, 2015 at 12:27 pm
      Joe Am
      You just the nail hard on the head. I myself is in wonder why the present government cannot get rid of this plunderer, thief, liar, immoral wannabe. Nice blog JoeAm. Very True too.

    • Joy Oh says:

      it’s horror to proponents of lies , fake news and disinformation. sad but true nyahahaha !!

    • madlanglupa says:

      I don’t know what’s more horrible, this or the “smart” PinoyMonkeyPride and his ilk.

  4. edgar lores says:

    *******
    1. Yes, the illusion of invincibility is dissolving. The de-contagion from the idol that was Duterte is spreading. The rats are headed for the exits and are ready to abandon ship.

    2. The wonder is that the ship sailed at all with this Captain. The wonder is that it took so long for the ship to hit the reefs with this Captain who does not know how to read maps and navigate.

    Actually, the first wonder is why this Captain volunteered his services at all.

    3. Well, there were those who volunteered his services. And the ego of this Captain, who has little self-knowledge and says he invariably tries to test the limits of decency and the limits of the possible, succumbed to the temptation.

    4. No doubt this Captain, after his impressive election victory, felt that he was a “man of destiny.” A man of destiny to work wonders. A man destined to cleanse the country of criminals and drug addicts as he did in his beloved city of Davao; a man destined to bring into the fold the communist rebels; a man destined to make peace with the Muslim insurgents; a man destined to bring the wonder of train transportation to Luzon and his island home of Mindanao.

    And a man destined to curse the Pope, kick the bishops, and call God stupid.

    5. At first, everything seemed possible. The first deadline of six months came with the goal of stopping the drug scourge a big failure. The deadline came and went, and was extended to twelve months. The second deadline of a year came – and went the way of the first. Now we are into the third year, and what has happened?

    o There are arguably more drugs and the drug lords run free.
    o The détente with the Left has failed.
    o There is no peace in Mindanao.
    o The promised investments from China have dried up.
    o God still continues to work in mysterious ways.

    5.1. It was obvious to some from the start that the vision was faulty, that it was myopic if not blind.

    5.2. It is a wonder that three years on, many still hold on to the bloody vision and cling to the tattered hopes of their idolatrous faith.

    6. The question that now predominates is whether the succession of a failing president will be constitutional or extra-constitutional.

    6.1. In the end, the Filipino people come through with semi-constitutional means when push comes to shove… and when civil violence tends to erupt. This happened in EDSA I and EDSA II. And in the counter-revolution of EDSA III.

    6.2. Since Filipinos do not learn from history, may it be that EDSA IV will be similarly benign. Let us hope so.
    *****

    • I tend to think the end will come within the election cycle, and between now and 2022, it will fall to Speaker Arroyo to stabilize government and the economy and end the blood letting lest her aspirations get cut off yet again. Now the President’s health is a different matter. But I don’t foresee street actions because that is not the style of most of the united opposition, who believe in civil acts and belief that President Duterte is doing sufficient damage to allow civility to rise on its own power.

      I’ve observed that the dailies are moving more toward journalism than taking Roque or Bong Go’s word for things. They report on the President’s speeches, and his wild-ranging rants do not work in his favor any longer, I think. People just look at that gray face spewing venom and get nervous. Reporters at press conferences ask uncomfortable questions, as if they once again want to reclaim pride in being journalists. Perhaps the unfair treatment of Rappler became a burr under their saddle, I don’t know. 2019 elections will be telling. 2022 will be defining.

    • All the Captain knows is how to ride in a small banca. He thought it already qualified him.

      Tragically, many voters thought the same.

    • Carmela says:

      Hi edgar. I shared your first line on my wall po. – the illusion of invincibilitybis dissolving” – i hope you do not mind. Thanks.

  5. karlgarcia says:

    Peter Wallace defending TRAIN and explaining high prices.

    http://opinion.inquirer.net/115401/trabaho-will-reduce-taxes

  6. andrewlim8 says:

    Joe,

    WE ARE IMPORTING GALUNGGONG FROM CHINA THAT CAME FROM OUR TERRITORY IN THE WEST PHIL SEA

    Here’s something that started as a hypotheses, but is now being supported by facts, no less from the Fisheries undersecretary himself:

    https://www.rappler.com/business/210126-galunggong-round-scad-imports-china-west-philippine-sea

    WHAT AN INJUSTICE! WHAT AN INSULT!

    TATAY, TATAY, BAKIT MO IPINAMIGAY?

  7. karlgarcia says:

    Sara’s Hugpong inks alliances with NP, other parties today | Philstar.comhttps://www.philstar.com › 2018/08/13

    https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/08/05/1839823/saras-party-may-back-8-bets-senator

    I guess Trillanes must move out of the Nationalista Party because Villar has joined the Coalition and JV Ejercito.

    I think for the Senate 2019 it will be
    Sara Duterte
    Imee Marcos
    Bong Go
    Cynthia Villar
    JV Ejercito
    Pia Cayetano
    For Hugpong Coalition

    If PDP and others want to coalese
    add
    Sonny Angara
    and
    Nancy Binay

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_Senate_election,_2019

  8. Antonio Montalban II in his opinion piece below bared why the Davao “facts” sold to the 2016 voters were mere illusions.

    “Davao City is the most “shabulized” city in the Philippines. It is a bogus Exhibit A. With practically nothing to stand on, Mr. Duterte’s drug war must be deemed “hao-siao” as well.”

    http://opinion.inquirer.net/115502/davao-hao-siao

    Hao Siao, Hao Xiao : 1. ridiculous, 2. laughable, 3. funny, 4. very humorous.

    PRD had been exposed. All his sycophants and trolls cannot do anything to stop the masses from finding out the truth. 2019 will be a referendum on PRD.

  9. Andres 2018. says:

    I thought JoeAm will not make a post directly criticizing PDuterte and his administration, but now here it is.

    • I am reporting what I read and see as the results of his policies, and the implications on political allegiances. I do not call the President crazy and old as some do, or denigrate him personally or mock him. I did take offense to his attacks on Americans, when he declared 3 out of 5 of us are idiots, so I do note that he does not restrain himself from such insults. An assessment of the results of his policies is different than attacking him directly. It is being concerned about the Philippines. I’ve long criticized the drug war as policy, for instance.

      So that little detail aside, what do you think about what I describe? You can go point by point if you wish and rebut my assessment. That is fair, I’d think.

  10. This Inquirer story pertains to the blog article statement that more people are speaking directly to the facts and not following the Duterte line. Here, the PNP Chief states that there is no evidence that there is a CIA plot to kill President Duterte as the President had claimed.

    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1023856/pnp-no-info-on-cia-assassination-plot-vs-duterte

  11. arlene says:

    Wow, I pity that guy Escobar shouting at all of us. Couldn’t you share your views/opinions without all caps? It’s bad to the eyes and the ears.

    I believe Duterte is rowing the boat not gently but rapidly down, down the stream.

  12. distant observer says:

    Thank you Joe for my regular dose of sanity.

  13. Andres 2018. says:

    1. Arroyo’s bold coup of the House right before the President’s SONA. It made him nothing but an old guy in the waiting room fuming as others hogged his limelight.

    – Nothing legally wrong in Arroyo’s appointment. If there is, its malice in the minds of opposition, but its the lawmakers’ prerogative, so….

    2. His speech got few laughs and little enthusiastic applause.

    – Im not particular of someone’s speeches.

    3. Then his darling Mocha Uson killed off the last shred of dignity of his administration and federalism in one bizarre, clownish, juvenile video.

    – This is why, Mocha was criticized even among her peers, see Speaker Roque.

    4. China issued a demeaning, threatening message to AFP pilots flying near the artificial islands in international waters. It is obvious that China does not respect Duterte or Filipinos.

    – China, you mean Chinese soldiers stationed in some artificial islands. PDuterte criticism of China’s claim of airspace over some artificial islands is a good start. He needs to, next is to put that into action, maybe aligning again with Trump’s military in the pacific.

    5. A huge shipment of drugs was missed and the President whitewashed the incident. His lack of indignation has people whispering about his family’s possible engagement in drug smuggling.

    – There was a Senate hearing about this, it was not missed.

    6. His killer police continue to operate across the land, killing and killing, priests, city councilors, nameless poor. Support for the bloodletting is fading.

    – PDuterte does not tolerate policemen who abused their authority, provided, a strong evidence against them is available. See Kian delos Santos case.

    7. Prices are out of control and panicky senators up for re-election are objecting to government policy. High prices have eroded the President’s popularity both in the legislature and the streets.

    – Yes, rising prices, its the TRAIN.

    8. Exports are falling, the peso is weak, investors have been leaving . . . the economy is faltering.

    – Exports are in fact, rising, see my comments under karlgarcia. Yes, a weak peso because of BuildBuildBuild. Luckily, the GDP is increasing, the economy is not at all faltering. The worst case is a weak peso, coupled with negative GDP growth, that means the money is going somewhere.

    9. The President says and does nothing. He apparently has no idea as to his own destabilizing impact.

    – He needs good advisers, or maybe he would listen to the good advisers.

    10. Agriculture is stuck in the mud, there is a rice crisis, social security is going broke, transportation is a mess, the airport went aground when a plane went off the runway, passports are hard to get.

    – Yes, agriculture sector was forgotten. Rice crisis, where? Maybe you mean some municipalities in mindanao were a state of calamity was declared. However, it does not mean that there is a rice crisis in the Philippines.

    – Social Security System going broke? SSS will never go broke, unless the age expectancy right now is 100 years. The concept is that the working population below the age of 60 fund the benefits of the senior citizens, just to the math.

    11. Incompetence reigns. The President ignores the issues.

    – The statement is a generalization.

    12. Corruption is all over the place as the Commission of Audit and Ombudsman exhaust their resources trying to keep it in check. Garcia out. Teo out. Generals out. It’s endless. The President’s threats do nothing. No one is listening anymore.

    – The bad thing is, if they remain into office.

    13. The President is losing the strong unity he had before. Senators speak their mind more openly (opposing federalism, for example). The opposition legislators are loud with protests that makes a lot of sense these days against the President’s outrageous rants.

    – They should, if they need to.

    14. The President disappeared from view for several days as Manila rode out a punishing storm and flood. He still has not expressed empathy for those affected.

    – If he showed critics will say its publicity, if not then there is still criticism. Issues like this are immaterial to me.

    15. The president said he was tired and wanted to resign if the right person took over (Marcos or Escudero). He truly looks pitiful these days.

    – Health/age issue.

    • Thanks for putting in the time. I do appreciate it.

      1. True, nothing wrong, legally, but the timing was horrible. This was the SONA they held up for an hour on prime time television. It made President Duterte look weak to have to wait for ‘his guy’ Alvarez to get dumped, even after he said not to do it.
      2. Okay. It was not the speech, though, it was the lack of response. He was evidently afraid to ad lib such an important talk and ended up sticking to script and people just sat there. He was not a dynamic leader.
      3. True. But she did great damage.
      4. Yes, the radioman, who clearly had not been told that the Philippines was a friend. The incident was so humiliating to Filipinos that President Duterte did have to speak up about it.
      6. The President whitewashed the incident before the facts were in. There were contradictions galore. It did not serve the President well, because the dog got a sniff, which is more than a whiff.
      7. Yes. And the President’s popularity is sliding and senators are complaining.
      8. I’ll give you that argument. But clearly, the President is not engaged on the economy, and his economists have spoken up against federalism, his pet project. He no longer has control. Logic does.
      9. He needs to listen. Agreed.
      10. The NFA rice fiasco was a major screw-up, and Zamboanga is a special case due to closing of shipments from Malasia for reasons I don’t know. But it is not a small deal with a state of calamity declared. 1,000,000 people. The President has not stepped in.
      11. Rice, Passports, Tourism, there are specifics. But I’ll give you the argument because I have not comprehensively studied agency operations.
      12. Yes, and when killer police are merely re-assigned (Kian).
      13. Yes.
      14. They were not immaterial to Manila residents who felt abandoned. It hurt the President, which is the point.
      15. Yes. The lack of transparency has people bothered. Is he fit to lead or not? That question is being asked and he chooses not to address it with facts.

      If you add up all of these things, which are real, they do not portray a Captain who is confidently piloting his ship. He is in his cabin sleeping and storms have arrived, one after another. He even admits it. He wants out. But, he needs total control and overthrow of the Constitution (and the AFP), or a pardon, or to stay on with federalism. But he looks terrible, and conveys weakness. Which is what events recited in the article confirm.

      • I just read that the President’s health problem is, according to him, pain from an old motorcycle accident. His living partner does not want him to undergo operation because it is risky. I don’t know if it would require the VP to be sworn in as caretaker while he is incapacitated. That would be another complication. I suspect his gray pallor is related to poor oxygen circulation. I had read some time ago he sleeps with an oxygen assist. I don’t think it is life threatening, but it probably contributes to his tired condition.

        • sonny says:

          I feel a coadjutor-president is not out of the question; doesn’t have to be overt. I think he will gain tremendous sympathy if he does seek help from the VP; this will really show he is pointing to the common good of the country.

          There are lessons to be gained from the experience of an erstwhile disabled leader of painful memory.

          • That’s true, but I don’t think it is in his character to think in those terms. He sees threats everywhere.

          • edgar lores says:

            *******
            1. In the Constitution, the term “incapacitated” is not used for the president. It is used for the members of the Judiciary, the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Elections, and the Commission on Audit.

            1.1. The term used for the president is “permanent disability.” The other two reasons for removal are death and resignation.

            1.2. Permanent disability means physical and/or mental incapacity to perform work for the remainder of one’s life.

            2. A fourth situation is that of a temporary disability.

            2.1. In this case, it is the president who transmits a written declaration to the Senate and the House of Representatives that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.

            2.2. Alternatively, both in the case of temporary or permanent disability, the written declaration can come from a “majority of all the members of Congress.”

            2.3. In both cases, the vice-president assumes office for the rest of the term or until the president, in the case of a temporary disability, declares the inability no longer exists. His declaration is subject to congressional review.

            3. Similarly, in the US Constitution, the president may transmit a written declaration of his inability. However, instead of Congress, the vice-president and a majority of “the principal officers of the executive departments” may issue the written declaration.

            4. The hurdle is very high in the Philippines.

            4.1. I don’t believe Congress will act in the case of temporary disability. There have been instances when the president has been absent from public view for several days.

            4.1.1. The public has not been informed of his health despite the constitutional requirement.

            4.1.2. It is said that Marcos was comatose when Ninoy was assassinated.

            4.1.2. So even if the president is temporarily disabled for any reason — as when he is in a coma — unless he declares it himself, he is not considered disabled!

            4.2. Congress might act in the case of permanent disability, but I am skeptical. Who will prod them? Did they act to review the imposition of martial law?

            4.2.1. Have you noted that the president has a double?

            4.2.2. In history, there are cases where the permanent disability or the death of a ruler have been kept a secret to maintain the reins of power within the inner circle.
            *****

            • Thanks, edgar. Answers the questions I had.

              • sonny says:

                Thanks to edgar, too – for elucidating, concretizing a wishful thought borne of frustration searching for some understanding.

                Looking back at the Marcos events transitioning to Cory, I speculated then on the medical incapacity of FM that allowed the painful mess of Ninoy’s assasination, so antithetical to FM’s measured style in doing good and evil. Now I find only disarray and rapacity, openly available to all.

    • karlgarcia says:

      5. A huge shipment of drugs was missed and the President whitewashed the incident. His lack of indignation has people whispering about his family’s possible engagement in drug smuggling.

      – There was a Senate hearing about this, it was not missed.

      —-
      Wasn’t it missed?
      You know all investigations are after the fact.
      You do not deny any whitewash.

  14. andrewlim8 says:

    JOKE TIME

    Duterte calls up Hidylin Diaz after winning a weightlifting gold medal.

    DU30: Congrats, Hidylin. Ano nga tawag sa event mo?

    Hidylin: (inaudible due to poor phone signals) …. jerk…

    DU30: Tang na tinitira ba ko nito? (hands phone to Bong Go)

    🙂

  15. Tweeto Wakatono says:

    I thought this piece aims to be the last nail on a coffin, but that’s wrong, there were so many nails and somebody pulled them ALL out for effect and so that many more could have a second look, them nails were hammered again with extra vigor.

  16. Representatives Edcel Lagman, Tom Villarin, Gary Alejano, and Teddy Baguilat Jr are going to file impeachment complaints against the seven SC Judges who voted to oust CJ Sereno today.

    Bravo, Congressmen!

    https://www.rappler.com//nation/210193-impeachment-complaints-supreme-court-justices

  17. karlgarcia says:

    http://globalnation.inquirer.net/169238/pimentel-urges-duterte-talk-diplomacy-rather-war-china/amp

    Maybe PDuterte wants approval.
    This war talk is all talk so Pimentel has nothing to fear.

  18. karlgarcia says:

    http://globalnation.inquirer.net/169240/ph-concerned-entry-nuclear-weapons-south-china-sea-palace

    Roque is concerned yet he only thinks it is just a possibility because intel came from the Americans. Title and text a tad confusing.

  19. karlgarcia says:

    I posted in the other article Monsod’s article about Failure of governance across the board.

    http://opinion.inquirer.net/115281/governance-failure-across-board

    Again here is Cielito Habito making a follow up to Monsod and his previous essays on what is keeping us behind.

    http://opinion.inquirer.net/115352/keeps-us-behind

    What keeps us behind?

    My last piece on how the Philippines remains the “kulelat” (tailender) among the five original Asean members (and now even including Vietnam) begs the question, why? Years ago, I surveyed fellow economists and other associates as part of a study that a multilateral development agency requested of me. I polled my respondents on what they believed to be the top three impediments to achieving high and inclusive economic growth in the Philippines.

    The runaway winner was bad governance. One respondent was more precise and emphatic about it: His three listed answers were corruption, corruption and corruption!

    Last week, I found myself in a discussion with various eminent thinkers. The strong consensus that emerged on why the Philippines has consistently performed poorly relative to its neighbors pointed to the same answer: governance. Professor and fellow Inquirer columnist Winnie Monsod, who was in that discussion, recently wrote of “governance failure across the board,” and noted how the Philippine Statistics Authority has reported that the country has remained stagnant or fell back in its rankings on various global governance performance indices. In other words, she says, the war against corruption is being lost.

    One might ask: Is there even such a “war” being fought? The sad fact is that, two years since coming into power on the promise that “change is coming,” this administration has failed to bring about promised change where it matters most for our economy and our people’s general welfare. If only our top leaders had pursued a vigorous and credible crusade against corruption in all parts of government with the same ruthlessness with which it pursued drug pushers and addicts, we could have been seeing the change we all want to see by now. This is not to undervalue the importance of addressing the drug problem, but our government officials either had their priorities (and methods) wrong, or have never really been serious about curbing the cancer of corruption in our society, because they also benefit from it.

    The other side of the question is, what did our neighbors do differently? It has been argued that their political and colonial history, unlike ours, had a unifying effect on their people, seen in a general concern for the common good, and a sense of national pride and identity. For example, Thais draw pride from never having been colonized by foreigners, and unity from its centuries-old monarchy. The Vietnamese take pride in being the only country, large or small, that emerged victorious in a war with the world’s strongest country.

    In contrast, our own seeming lack of national pride and unity and concern for the common good may have been rooted in the “divide and rule” approach that had been deliberately and effectively used by our Spanish and American colonizers. We ended up prone to an intense regionalism that’s reflected even in associations that expatriate Filipinos form abroad, and cited by federalists as an argument to advance their cause—when what we precisely need is unity as a nation. In turn, our weak sense for the common good finds manifestation in a greater propensity for corruption.

    Political histories have also shaped people’s work ethic. In my first visit to Vietnam decades ago, I was awestruck at the seeming absence of our ubiquitous idle “istambays,” and how every single person I saw seemed to keep himself or herself busy, engaged in their respective occupations, or even just cleaning their premises.

    Filipinos, on the other hand, have the dubious distinction of spending the most time on online social networking sites (over 3.5 hours per day vs the world average of 1.77 hours) — yet another sign of so much idleness among us. Perhaps partly behind this is the 40 days of annual forced labor imposed on our male ancestors by the Spanish colonizers, likely contributing to the demeaned view of manual work in the Filipino psyche. Our seeming greater propensity for easy-money ventures and pyramid scams, and for rent-seeking behavior in business and politics such as bribery and smuggling, may be associated with this flawed work ethic as well.

    Change, it seems, will be much harder than what many thought it would take.

    • These kinds of introspections save us outsiders from having to make awkward observations. It is a sign that there is hope.

    • Karl, if one adds “roots of disunity”, I think it is more about the barangay mindset (c) Francis or the barangay mind (c) chempo or heritage of smallness (c) Nick Joaquin. Regional yes, but small-group mentality (clan, barkadahan, ka-brad, ka-barilan, ka-blog hehe) even more.

      There simply was no nation when the Spanish came, just small groups of people, some had the same language, but there was no central power. Even so-called Rajas just kept datus together by a form of “pork barrel” – see the book “Raiding, Trading and Feasting” for that.

      There were ideas of forming a nation by ilustrados, by the Katipunan (especially the first batch who were workers that came to Manila, therefore uprooted from their barangays, Bonifacio if not orphaned as a teen would have been principalia) and others..

      But I say that it was migration to Manila and the big universities that started forming the nation, and that this has happened in jumps and starts as it became bigger groups that competed and acted in a similar way to the small groups of before – a natural thing.

      And that social media has been a major driver. 1986 would probably NOT have happened if there had been no videotape of Ninoy being taken of the plane on Aug. 21, 1983. Filipinos are visual, personal, emotional. EDSA 2 was TV and text messages. Duterte was Facebook.

      The last Filipinos to leave their barangays are most OFWs, and of course they are more tribal and small-group in their thinking – just like their Lodi Duterte. The opposition of today is “scrambled eggs”, meaning yellow and other colors are blending in ways unlikely before.

  20. peter francis c alanes says:

    idiot…ano nagawa mo?

  21. ALFREDO G ESCOBAR says:

    READING YOUR BLOG ABOUT THE SHRINKING PRESIDENCY I FIND IT FULL OF LIES AND DECEIT…..BORN OF AN FROM THE MIND OF AN IDIOT WHO NOTHIND BETTER TO DO IN HIS LIFE. ONLY A MORON CAN CONCEIVE THIS KIND OF THOUGHTS THAT IS INTRINSICALLY EVIL TO START WITH. REMEMBER THE TIMES WHEN YOU WERE LOOKING FOR A PRESIDENT WHO CAN GOVERN THE COUNTRY BY IMPROVING THE PEOPLES WAY OF LIFE, DESTROYING CORRUPTION AND DRUGS AND RULING WITH AN IRON HAND FOR THE SAKE OF THE PEOPLE?…… NOW YOU ARE DESTROYING THE VERY MAN WHO IS WILLING AND ABLE TO MAKE ALL THESE CHANGES POSSIBLE. YOU ARE NOTIHNG BUT A PIECE OF SHIT WHO WANTS TO GAIN RECOGNITION WITH YOUR STUPID MORONIC BLOGS THAT PEOPLE HATE….. YOU WILL BE SORRY FOR ALL THE BULSHIT THE YOU PUBLICATION HAS BEEN PUBLISHING ALL ALONG TO FOOL THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY…..YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT TOMORROW WILL BRING TO YOUR DOORSTEP…..ASSHOLE…

    • Nice commentary, Alfredo. I’m picking up an angry vibe though. The people in government are committing the acts that are self-destructive, not me. I just write. Thanks for letting us know that you possess the same mindset that drives the killing of innocents, some 25,000 so far, and that you not only don’t feel any pain for those who suffer, you relish their misery. Readers know which of us is really the asshole.

    • trebor9 says:

      Be calm and gentle Alfredo G. Escobar, you’re here in “a place to think and discuss, to teach and learn”
      I can tell you are very upset and angry. You came here not to join the intelligent discussion but to throw nasty statements and then walk away.
      Come back when you’re sober and be ready with your well-thought-out views and argument in this “clearinghouse for knowledge and insights”
      As of now, I will not get down and roll around in the mud with people like you who can’t control their emotions.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.