How Duterte’s ‘change’ brought gross incompetence to the Philippines

The face of the Philippines in the international arena. [Photo source: PhilStar]

By JoeAm

You can’t build competence on the back of deceit, bluster, and favors.

What are the elements of competence? Competence requires objectivity and its brother transparency to correctly recognize, state, and size the issue at hand, whether it be the availability of rice or the best Supreme Court Chief Justice. Along with objectivity, competence requires knowledge and skill to apply man’s best effort to the task at hand.

There is more, but let’s just focus on these three crucial elements, objectivity, knowledge, and skill.

What are the opposites? Well, if objectivity is replaced with lies, deceits, and wrong information, then purposeful work is impossible. Efforts get shifted to something other than what is required. If knowledge is replaced by ignorance, problem-solving does not correctly measure the problem or find the right solutions. And if skill is absent, then everything is guesswork, confusion, or mistake-riddled. High risk, wasted effort, failure.

Two of the most common blocks against competence are ego and politics. Ego too often promotes the denial of accountability. Without accountability, there is no path to better work. Politics too often inserts personal gain into acts that ought to be forthright and neutral. Without candor, work gets misdirected down unproductive, or even destructive, paths.

We have seen gross forms of incompetence under President Duterte. He is a ‘hands off’ kind of leader. Hands way off. Absent sometimes, that far off. He does not really care about the mundane details of government. He mainly cares about power, from all that I can tell. He uses the drug war to concoct an enemy he can use to assert ruthless authority. He switches the entire nation, economy and all, from Western to Eastern because China has no problem with his human rights stance, and offers him a way to plug the economic holes represented by the flight of western-minded investors. He plays ruthless with institutions to get them to back his escapades. Money, offers of jobs, threats, anything that works. And it works.

But the gross national work product is incompetence.

Former Tourism Secretary Teo. Set aside her conflict of interest and possible corruption (placing advertising to benefit her brother). Granting P60 million in advertising to the Tulfo show will not bring tourists to the Philippines. Hotel and tourism workers suffer because government is not seeking the best media buys to attract tourists. These wastages are going on across the nation as motives other than dedicated good works affect priorities.

Chief Public Attorney Persida Acosta. She has pursued a political objective on the Dengvaxia vaccine, posturing herself as a medical expert to deceive Filipinos about the true, factual risks and benefits of the vaccine. As a result of the hysteria she has created, children across the nation are not getting needed vaccinations against preventable diseases. Some are dying. This is a level of incompetence that reaches malfeasance, or even criminal intent.

Agricultural Secretary Pinol. If this were baseball, he would already have three strikes and be ‘out’: (1) recommending that Filipinos just eat bug-infested rice, (2) excusing China’s theft of Philippine seas by claiming fish know no nationality, and (3) recommending that smuggling be authorized to make up the shortfall in rice. This was one week’s work. This is a very troubled agency. It is not working for Filipinos. Incompetence directly impacts food security. Like, “Hey, Bubba, this is serious business!!”

The NFA and NFA Council. Man, talk about inept, take this politically infused batch of finger-pointers and deniers of accountability. You can read about it here (I can’t bear to write about it):  NFA, council swap charges on rice crisis [Inquirer]. You can see how ego intrudes to escape accountability.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Cayetano. This character is a devious, deceitful agent of China as far as I can tell. He says the Philippines has filed some 50 to 100 protests against China’s incursions, but can neither count nor document them. “National security” he claims. He is a bigger risk to national security than truth ever will be. Recall the botched raid in Kuwait? A publicity effort gone bad. Then there is the passport problem. Citizens who need to travel are given excuses instead of vital documents. Things are so bad that his own diplomats want him replaced: Career diplomats want Cayetano, aides to resign [PhilStar]. The President loves the guy’s work.

Transportation Secretary Tugade. Transportation is a mess. Trial and error. Finger pointing. Bridges to nowhere. Botched airport reopening. There is no vision, no set of priorities, lots of television time and plenty of wang wang. Tugade has interfered with and delayed Cebu’s bus rapid transit project. The amusing irony is that no one is blaming Abaya anymore . . . although they are taking credit for his good works (MRT trains that are NOT too heavy).

Secretaries Pernia, Diokno, and Dominguez. The three economic blind mice. The proof is in the product. Weak peso, inflation, fleeing investors, export weakness, and a lot of denial of the REAL underlying problem, the President’s brutal policies, destruction of institutions, and failure to build competitiveness. The slow delivery of infrastructure projects is normal but deserves some shade for the early braggadocio about how they would do better than President Aquino. Then there is the gross over-reliance on the unreliable China.

Former Police Chief Dela Rosa and current Chief Albayalde. The police are feared and no longer respected. What kind of leadership can accomplish this destruction of integrity and competence? Failure to follow due process or guidelines on restraint of force. Hiding case records. Recycling killers to new killing fields. Establishing murder as an acceptable form of problem resolution, fueling civilian killings. The mission to protect is failed. The mission to serve is failed. That is incompetence. The President insists on more of the stuff.

Destroying LGU authorities rather than enhancing them: Borocay closure, Marawi takeover, forcing barangays to make up drug kill lists. Presidential slanders of well-run cities like Iloilo and Naga. Always drugs, always. We can witness this and know that Federalism is not a vehicle for empowerment of LGUs, but a vehicle for empowerment of dynasties. And incompetence.

Legislature, Supreme Court, and Ombudsman. It is impossible for various arms of government to be competent when their mission is to support a strongman who is not working for Filipinos:

(1) The House Justice Committee spent months debating how to impeach a Chief Justice without sufficient evidence. What a waste of time. The House Budget Committee took only 10 minutes to approve a P6 billion budget for the Office of the President which basically funds political payoffs and State propaganda. The State’s fake news effort is INTENTIONAL incompetence, taking money away from good uses and putting it into deceits.

(2) The Supreme Court can’t discern justice on matters as simple as conflict of interest. It is a dead institution, intellectually corrupt at the core.

(3) The new Ombudsman, as his first act in office, allowed the President to fire his Deputy Ombudsman. He gave away the independence of his office to the President. That means there IS NO INDEPENDENT CHECK on loyalist government officials. But opponents of the President are open game.

There are other cases, of course, but I am sure you get the point.

When government is basically in the business of deceit, you can’t get competence. It is just not possible.

When appointments are made, not on the basis of knowledge or skill, but for political favor, you can’t get competence. It is just not possible.

President Duterte’s trolls still sing the ‘change’ song and tout the strongarm benefits to be ‘like Singapore’, but they are just another deep rooted product of the gross incompetence that now represents the way the Philippines does business. The President’s agency heads protect themselves from his wrath and do not speak or act forthrightly for Filipinos. Other government institutions, except perhaps the Senate and Commission on Audit, are politically compromised. They have lost the path of objectivity, knowledge, and skill.

If this dysfunction continues it will lead all the way to self-destruction. There can be no other outcome.

Only when the nation aspires to objectivity and its brother transparency, to knowledge, and to skill, can the Philippines begin to serve its citizens the way the Constitution intends. Only then can the nation get on an orderly path to well-being and prosperity.


86 Responses to “How Duterte’s ‘change’ brought gross incompetence to the Philippines”
  1. karlgarcia says:

    As Andrew Lim puts it, Change Scamming!

    • madlanglupa says:

      It is indeed. The people happy with this are either brainwashed beyond recovery, those interested to fill up their offshore accounts, or wanting to exert more autocratic power over their constituents.

  2. George Yao says:

    Teo was Tourism Secretary, not Transportation.

  3. LG says:

    How about SolGen Calida? Newly appointed CJ De Castro? Fairly new Sec. Villar of DPWH? Superduper Duterte fanatic Bato?

    • Yes, I only listed examples and could not in my lifetime be comprehensive.

      • LG says:

        Invoking ‘competence’, maybe, Inquirer published an hour ago today that Theodore Te has tendered his “irrevocable” resignation as SC spokesperson to SC DeCastro, effective Sept. 7! He must not support her appointment?

        • NHerrera says:

          If I were Theodore Te, I would do that too, pronto — to preserve my sanity and competence; back to the University of the Philippines’ School of Law to communicate and refresh myself with the fertile and still unsullied minds of the young Students of Law.

        • He is unwilling to do a Roque, I suppose, twist the twisted reasoning of an intellectually corrupt court into some kind of straight-faced delivery of justification to the people.

    • madlanglupa says:

      The happiness of De Castro loyalists today can only sum up what kind of Supreme Court we have now: beholden to the powerful.

    • Andres 2018. says:

      SolGen Calida is doing a great job, he was able to oust ExCJ Sereno. CJ De Castro is one of the most senior justices, traditions wise, she should be appointed. Sec. Villar is not fairly new, he is a businessman and a congressman.

      • Well, we will see if Justice Carpio is selected to replace De Castro in 40 days or so. Then we will know that President Duterte is consistent in his belief that seniority is a qualification above all others. I don’t think it will happen because seniority is irrelevant to knowledge and skill. Duterte knows it. I know it. You know it.

        I see Calida as another corrupt official (his security contracts) doing the President political favors rather than pursuing justice. Justice is a joke in the Philippines as long as Senator De Lima resides in jail. And kindly don’t infest this blog with troll reasoning. It demeans the Society as a thinking body.

        • Andres 2018. says:

          Carpio did not want the CJ position i believe. In a group where everyone (the Justices) is deemed of the same skill and knowledge, it is the seniority that will matter. I mean, how could you say that Sereno is more skillful and more knowledgeable than De Castro, or the otherwise? Seniority is a safe bet. And of course, above all that, PDuterte will appoint the CJ that he thinks he is most comfortable with, thats his constitutional right afterall.

          It was said that Calida resigned as president in his Security Company prior to the appointment as ColGen and that the contracts underwent proper bidding process.

          De Lima, yes she was jailed without much evidence, politically motivated as they call it. Gloria Arroyo was also jailed and later acquitted because of insufficiency of evidence. Justice is a joke in the Philippines ever since, even before De Lima’s jailing.

          • Sereno was more more knowledgeable because she understands conflict of interest, something De Castro has neither the intellect nor character to grasp. Why do you cite the constitution and duterte in the same sentence? He has absolutely no respect for the document. Arroyo was acquitted by a court that deployed technical justifications that would be considered obscene in most courts. You are babbling troll rationalizations. I get so sick of these deceits and how they harm good people.

      • andrewlim8 says:

        Calida is doing a great job in the sense that Heydrich and Himmler accomplished a lot in helping Hitler consoldate power, sure. Excellence without morals. Right.

        • Andres 2018. says:

          To find reasonable arguments that you can actually oust a Chief Justice means you are excellent in your legal expertise. Who would think that quo warranto would actually work? Calida and who ever in his team.

          To judge them without morals since they did that to someone of the opposing party is hypocrisy. Look at CJ Corona, oust because of non-filing of SALN. This is why, the frequent used of this “you-have-no-moral weapon” by the “yellows” makes them sounds like hypocrite. I am, personally, not saying that yellows are hypocrite, it is rather the impact of what they are doing that makes them look like hypocrites. Thats karma, DeLima-GMA, Sereno-Corona.

      • LG says:

        IMHO and skepticism, De Castro is rewarded the CJ post by Duterte for starting the whining vs. former CJ Sereno. And pinagbigyan lang (can’t think of the English phrase for this Tagalog phrase, pardon me) for after all she’ll be CJ for two months only. De Castro’s dream to have the CJ seat is well known. Further, for all we know, behind the scenes, Duterte conspired with SolGen Calida, De Castro and all the other associate justices who voted to oust Sereno as CJ through Quo Warranto. Maybe Gadon was merely ‘used’ by Duterte to initiate the drama of it all, as Duterte must have thought in advance in his sanity that there are no grounds to impeach Sereno.

        • The other suspicion is that she was installed because she is pliable enough to have the electoral tribunal disqualify VP Robredo. Certainly her retirement paycheck becomes quite generous, so there is a payoff for sure. It is an excellent example of incompetent governance. 40 days of service, huge downstream cost to be paid by the taxpayers. Duterte is throwing money around like crazy buying loyalties (the hundreds of generals who packed off to an expense paid vacation in Israel to gawk at missiles). But loyalties like that don’t bring taxes down or put rice on the table.

          • LG says:

            OMG, NO to PET declaring BBM as the elected VP! I won’t be surprised if BBM had already deposited a huge sum in her banking account. And indeed, the retirement pay of a CJ must be another something to lose shame and morals about.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Bato is in the list.

  4. NHerrera says:

    Forgive me for taking liberty: If you just pubished this blog article with only the picture of Cayetano as the poster boy with the caption, The Exemplar of Incompetence, you may have saved yourself a lot of efforts on this nevertheless very fine article. I am looking forward to reading more of the associated comments.

  5. arlene says:

    Haha, the incompetence is clearly seen sa lahat ng alipores niya. Good morning guys!

  6. Andres 2018. says:

    The call for appointees from all kinds of group was originally intended for the sake of the nations unity. But when an environmentalist was removed as the DENR secretary, someone can comprehend that the appointees competence is never enough. One good plan of an appointee will go down the drain if another influential forces wants it down. Its never easy.

    • Unity is not a goal of the administration, or why deploy billions of pesos on “communications” and trolls to demean perfectly capable and patriotic Filipinos? And why attach the label “yellow” as a demeaning categorization of critics when all they really want is civility, respect of the Constitution, and competent governance?

      • Andres 2018. says:

        If you go back to the history of PDuterte’s presidency, Leni was given a seat, the left was given a seat. Unity was really pursued. It would be difficult to run a nation that is not united, that is why, it would be counter intuitive for PDuterte to disregard unity.

        However, since some would not agree to PDuterte’s methods because it contradict to their morals and principles and the constitution(?) comes the criticism. The call for unity failed. PDuterte’s fault because he could not appease his critics, and critics fault for not being tolerant to methods that are contrary to their beliefs.

        All in all, both parties, the Dutertards and the Yellows, could not met in the middle. Ego over the nations need. Both have shares in the countries failures.

        • No, the buck on division stops squarely on the desk of the President who deploys people like Mocha uson to demean decent people. Who spends 3 billion pesos on his propaganda department. You will now be placed in moderation because your kind of reasoning is the ugly underbelly of social media today, and I don’t want it here.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Unbelievable, you are defending incompetence!

  7. There is an entirely new form of incompetence at work in the present government.

    It is of the kind that believes things will run by themselves, after all there are people paid for it.

    I have seen (in social media) publicized examples of Thinking Pinoy pushing around seasoned DFA people during the time he was (is he still) consultant there, calling them “elitists” for insisting that things be done properly, insisting that rules (which have reasons in diplomatic circles) be skirted.


    A town mayor forcing seasoned professionals in so many national agencies to work in a simplistic manner is like an incompetent captain with incompetent offices – the ship of state is bound to run aground just like the BRP Gregorio del Pilar recently has.

    Marcos at least kept the ship afloat (his people were some notches more competent) and was better at airbrushing things. Of course there was no social media then to communicate by picture the rotten reality, the dirty kitchen – as Edgar said Filipinos lack abstraction, so picture needed.

    There has always been some incompetence and rot around government machinery – mainly it is exactly the same machinery as that Quezon created in American times, totally outdated, with some minor fixes and upgrades during the Marcos and Cory periods. Imagine a ship like that.


    This time, it is a small town mayor and a bunch of bozos taking the ship to sea, not as usual a few pros to keep it running and a few smooth talkers to tell the people it is a modern cruise liner.

    Experts have long said overhauls were needed. Hope the clowns don’t sink the ship before that.

    • small town mayor is exaggerated, town mayor.. but bozos is mainly true. For those affected, things are not that funny. Not even new department logos can change that.

    • Yes, the arrogance of ignorance, brother to the confidence of the dumb, has arrived to run the business of a rather large nation, people wise. I was reading the other day that the population of Great Britain was something like 65 million. Good lord, we are 110 million +/- and operate government like a hick town mayor would.

  8. andrewlim8 says:

    You cannot have competence if there is no good moral fiber. It is a pre-requisite for accomplishment. Everything falls apart in the end if there was no character in the first place.

    You cannot be competent if :you deploy fake news purveyors as part of official government news, if you make up fake account nos of a senator, if you are corrupt and rehabilitate corrupt families.


    ” INCOMPETENCE IS THE ROOT OF ALL WEEVILS.” – Professional heckler 🙂

    Attention: DFA, DA, DAR, NFA

  9. andrewlim8 says:

    The dogs of PDEA are competent and trustworthy.

    China’s lap dogs in the DFA and Malacanang? Nahhh….

  10. NHerrera says:

    A Pause — not quite off topic

    While we are on the subject, when Duterte was pictured as looking unusually dark because of probable illness, here is Competent Roque: “Maybe he’s not wearing powder. The President normally wears powder. Maybe it was just a photo taken of him without powder.”

  11. NHerrera says:


    Worldwide, we don’t seem to be making mothers like Roberta McCain anymore.

    Ramon Farolan, an ex-Filipino military man, writes about Roberta McCain: In March 1973, on his [recently deceased John McCain] release from prison, he shouted expletives at his [Vietnamese] captors. He thought his behavior was understandable considering the suffering he had undergone. When his mother, Roberta McCain, heard about it, she called him to say that, “I never taught you to use such language, and your mouth needs to be washed with soap.” McCain was 60 years old when he received this rebuke from his mother.

  12. Ray Ciocon says:

    Nakakalungkot talaga ang nangyayari ngayon sa ating bansa. More Patriotism, Competence and Integrity of Character is what we all need said the late Bro. Rolly Dizon, former president of Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines in his advocacy with Dr. Antonio C. Roldan, Jr. in the Good Citizenship Movement.

  13. chemrock says:

    By your own admission the enumeration of incompetencies are far from complete. Pardon this impetuous light moment on a serious topic. The prevalence of incompetency in the country conjures up images of Dilbert’s office. For those not familiar, Dilbert is a comic strip that was extremely popular back in the 1990s. It portrays incompetencies in the office in everyday work routines in a satirical fashion. It is one of the most downloaded comic strips there ever is.

  14. edgar lores says:

    1. I like the symmetry of the elements of competence against the traits of the administration.

    o Objectivity vs. deceit
    o Knowledge vs. bluster
    o Skill vs. favors

    2. I like the long list of the incompetents in the administration and laughed at the “three economic blind mice.” Did I say “like?”

    3. And I like that a troll has been put into moderation.

    4. There is a fourth like. I like that Duterte is seen to have brought in “gross forms of incompetence.” The term, of course, is the adjective Duterte used as the reason he would not resign and hand over the reins of government to VP Robredo. The irony is delicious.

    4.1. I like VP Robredo’s response. She said: “The allegations made by the President are recycled rants conveniently used to deflect attention from the failures of this administration.”

    4.2. She did not reply in kind but with replied with considerable kindness: ”And while he may be intending to flatter me by keeping me at the top of his mind these days when he stands behind the seal of his office, I’d still prefer that he focus on the many important matters that he needs to address—as rising prices continue to make life difficult for our fellow Filipinos, especially for those in need.”

    4.3. It’s as if Duterte fired a shot at VP Robredo using a rubber band pistol with a U-shaped barrel… and the rubber hit him squarely between the eyes.

    4.4. This is one classy – and competent – lady.

    5. This post ensures that the red mark on Duterte’s forehead left by the rubber band is there for all to see. Not that there is any need: the death toll in the Drug War has reached 27,000. That’s a daily average of 34 for the 793 days between July 1, 2016 and yesterday, September 2, 2018.

    (5.1. Perhaps there is one reason to be thankful for the administration’s incompetence. If Duterte intended to EJK the 4M drug addicts during his term… the daily death toll target would be about 1,826.)

    6. What kind of a president denigrates a vice-president for no valid reason? What kind of a man denigrates women for no reason?

    7. Bukbuk rice, anyone?

    • No, no. Popcorn, please. The President is is empowering Leni Robredo with his nonsensical accusations and incivility of speech. She also hit him on his rape joke. The senatorial line-ups will be heavyweight oppositionists against a weird collection of creatures of corruption, deceit, and incompetence. I wonder if the voters still like what he is delivering.

      • edgar lores says:

        I picked this up from The Atlantic’s “John McCain’s Parting Gift to His Nation:”

        “McCain’s funeral was intended to remind his fellow citizens, as all the speakers said but as the ceremonies conveyed even more powerfully, that the United States is about the greatness of its ideals; that when it falls short, as it inevitably must do, that should occasion not cynicism but a drive to repair wrongs and build anew; that American patriotism is, as McCain warned us, the very opposite of blood-and-soil nationalism; that when America fails to lead abroad, darker forces gather and gain force, and minorities can be massacred with impunity, and dissidents can be safely strangled in underground chambers.”

        In the article, there was no need to define what the ideals were, but I pick these from George W. Bush’s eulogy:

        1. He loved freedom with a passion of a man who knew its absence.
        2. He respected the dignity inherent in every life, a dignity that does not stop at borders and cannot be erased by dictators.
        3. Perhaps above all, John detested the abuse of power. He could not abide bigots and swaggering despots.
        4. …it was this combination of courage and decency that defined John’s calling… It’s this combination of courage and decency that set America on a journey into the world to liberate death camps, to stand guard against extremism, and to work for the true peace that comes only with freedom.
        5. The passion for fairness and justice extended to our own military…
        6. The strength of democracy is renewed by reaffirming the principles on which it was founded.

        And from Barack Obama:

        1. John McCain passed that test again and again and again. And that’s why when John spoke of virtues like service and duty, it didn’t ring hollow.
        2. John cared about the institutions of self-government, our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, rule of law, separation of powers, even the arcane rules and procedures of the Senate.
        3. John believed in honest argument and hearing other views. He understood that if we get in the habit of bending the truth to suit political expediency or party orthodoxy, our democracy will not work.
        4. John understood… that part of what makes our country great is that our membership is based not on our bloodline, not on what we look like, what our last names are, it’s not based on where our parents or grandparents came from, or how recently they arrived, but on adherence to a common creed: that all of us are created equal, endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights.
        5. John understood that our security and our influence was won not just by our military might, not just by our wealth, not just by our ability to bend others to our will, but from our capacity to inspire others with our adherence to a set of universal values, like rule of law and human rights, and an insistence on the God-given dignity of every human being.
        6. We saw this country as a place where anything is possible, and citizenship is an obligation to ensure it forever remains that way.
        7. That’s perhaps how we honor him best, by recognizing that there are some things bigger than party or ambition or money or fame or power. That there are some things that are worth risking everything for: principles that are eternal, truths that are abiding.

        McCain seems to be bigger in death than in life. (This was said of Robredo.) Perhaps it is because his values are set against the backdrop of Trumpian disaster. But for a certainty, McCain’s death seems to have focused attention on the values that make America great. In each of the sentences above uttered by two past presidents, one can appreciate what these values are.

        One can only wish we could graft these values into the minds and hearts of the leaders of our wayward republic.

      • NHerrera says:

        Edgar noted above the eulogies made for John McCain by former US Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

        Here is former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s eulogy for McCain. Kissinger’s eulogy also contains elements of those made by Bush and Obama. However, the obvious bite of Bush’s and Obama’s eulogies aimed at Trump is not there — although if one wants to stretch it that way, it may also refer, in a contrary way, to Trump. Kissinger’s eulogy is so nicely phrased it can come only from an Experienced Diplomat par excellence. I suppose history will judge which of the three — Bush, Obama or Kissinger — made the better eulogy on McCain, in substance, phraseology and enduring message. My bet is on old man Kissinger.

        Our country has had the good fortune that at times of national trial a few great personalities have emerged to remind us of our essential unity and inspire us our sustaining values. John McCain was one of those gifts of destiny.

        I met John for the first time in April 1973 at a White House reception for prisoners returned from captivity in Vietnam. He had been much on my mind during the negotiation to end the Vietnam War, oddly also because his father, then commander in chief of the Pacific Command, when briefing the president answered references to his son by saying only ‘I pray for him.’

        In the McCain family, national service was its own reward that did not allow for special treatment. I thought of that when his Vietnamese captors during the final phase of negotiations offered to release John so that he could return with me on the official plane that had brought me to Hanoi. Against all odds, he thanked them for the offer but refused it. When we finally met, his greeting was both self-effacing and moving. ‘Thank you for saving my honor.’ He did not tell me then or ever that he had had an opportunity to be freed years earlier but had refused, a decision for which he had to endure additional periods of isolation and hardship. Nor did he ever speak of his captivity again during the near half century of close friendship.

        John’s focus was on creating a better future. As a senator, he supported the restoration of relations with Vietnam, helped bring it about on a bipartisan basis in the Clinton administration and became one of the advocates of reconciliation with his enemy. Honor, it is an intangible quality, not obligatory. It has no code. It reflects an inward compulsion, free of self-interest. It fulfills a cause, not a personal ambition. It represents what a society lives for beyond the necessities of the moment. Love makes life possible; honor and nobility. For John it was a way of life.

        John returned to America divided over its presidency, divided over the war. Amidst all of the turmoil and civic unrest, divided over the best way to protect our country and over whether it should be respected for its power or its ideals. John came back from the war and declared this was a false choice. America owed it to itself to embrace both strengths and ideals in decades of congressional service, ultimately as chairman of the Senate armed services committee, John was an exponent of an America strong enough to its purpose.

        But John believed also in a compassionate America, guided by core principles for which American foreign policy must always stand. ‘With liberty and justice for all’ is not an empty sentiment, he argued, it is the foundation of our national consciousness. To John, American advantages had universal applicability. I do not believe he said that there’s an errant exception any more than there is a black exception or an Asian or Latin exception. He warned against temptation of withdrawal from the world. In this manner John McCain ‘s name became synonymous with an America that reached out to oblige the powerful to be loyal and give hope to the oppressed.

        John lived all these battles for decency and freedom. He was an engaged warrior fighting for his causes with brilliance, with courage, and with humility. John was all about hope. In a commencement speech at Ohio’s Wesleyan University, John summed up the essence of his engagement of a lifetime. ‘No one of us, if they have character, leaves behind a wasted life.’ Like most people of my age I feel a longing for what is lost and cannot be restored. If the happy and casual beauty of youth prove ephemeral, something better can endure and endure until our last moment on Earth and that is the moment in our lives when we sacrifice for something greater than ourselves. Heroes inspire us by the matter of factness of their sacrifice and the elevation of the root vision.

        The world will be lonelier without John McCain, his faith in America and his instinctive sense of moral duty. None of us will ever forget how even in his parting John has bestowed on us a much-needed moment of unity and renewed faith in the possibilities of America. Henceforth, the country’s honor is ours to sustain.

        • edgar lores says:

          Beautiful. Both Bush and Kissinger mention the word “decency.”

          This element is lacking in our republic. In fact, one finds the opposite — obscene evil.

        • Eloquent with a powerful close. I think that was a shot at Trump. I would note that there are two rallies brewing at the same time in Texas. Trump’s is to back Ted Cruz’s re-election bid and presidential aspirant Avanetti’s is to counter it “to take back America for Americans”. Both are likely to be huge.

          Senator McCain was rather the Republican version of Teddy Kennedy. They battled on principles but respected opponents, and were respected in return. Now spite and party self-dealing take prominence. It’s pretty ugly.

    • NHerrera says:

      Great notes on “likes” particularly the one made on that one classy – and competent – lady.

      • NHerrera says:

        In this regard, I am recalling our initial admiration for Poe which quickly turn to sourness/ disgust. Robredo seems getting better like vintage wine. YES TO THE POPCORN!

  15. andrewlim8 says:

    Somebody ought to put out a meme of that video of VP Robredo putting forward options on the rice crisis and iinflation, showing how she understands the issues and economics in general together with the video Duterte claiming there’s no rice crisis/shortage when even the NFA data itself shows how their stocks were depleted during his term.

    You can just imagine the Cabinet meetings when economic issues are on the agenda. The President probably asks his economic secretaries, ” O ano na napagkasunduan niyo?” because he cannot and does not participate in discussions.


  16. karlgarcia says:

    Wow! Mon Tulfo is telling Duterte who to fire, he even told him to fire his sister. 😱

    • sonny says:

      Neph, personal confession, I had high hopes that Dominguez and Tugade would be the shining exceptions to an otherwise bleak prospect on the executive line-up and performance. Turns out both are the sourest of lemons. 😦

  17. This lengthy report gives insight into the massiveness of the build build program under President Duterte, and the many problems with corruption eating away at the pace and quality of construction. It also has commentary about the Villars. It fits right in with the article’s topic of corruption. It appears that money is being thrown to local officials for work but there is little or no management, tracking, or auditing of performance going on.

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