Why yellows are losers

By JoeAm

Let me first say that I will be talking about Filipino culture. It’s nothing personal. The concepts apply to other cultures as well. However, they risk being particularly damaging to the Philippines given that there is an election coming up.

It may be wise for the advocates of democracy, civility, and human rights to do some introspection. 

I’ll call such people ‘yellows’.

When I first came to the Philippines in 2005, I spent a little time learning Visayan. I’m not fluent, but I learned enough to share laughs with my neighbors. One of the first concepts I learned is captured in the term “gahi ulo” or, as it was explained to me, “hard headedness”. (My landlady was complaining about her husband, haha.)

I’ve lately come to understand the nuance of the term a little better because it does not just mean stubbornness, where one does not allow in any new ideas to enter one’s mind, but it means a self-containment of outward expression of emotions. People are trapped inside their skulls and can’t get out, emotionally.

As a result, they are restricted in their ability to comprehend where others are coming from.

I know that is vague, but let me provide an example.

Take the matter of recent criticism of Vice President Leni Robredo for the way she responded to a question addressed to her about price increases. People felt her answer was cold and not compassionate.

My criticism is not of Leni Robredo, but of the critics. They, to me, capture the concept “gahi ulo” it the full, rich, way it damages the pro-democracy cause. They could not let an expression of confidence or appreciation in Leni Robredo come out. They had to put their own dissatisfaction on the table.

“But it’s constructive” they said. “It will help her.”

Well, yes, if this were the classroom instead of a campaign for the well-being of a nation. If this were not a bitter, knock-down drag out competition for the heart and soul of the Philippines. 

The anti-democracy initiative is intense, well-funded, well staffed. The trolls give no quarter, show no mercy.

And if we are helping them do their job, how is that constructive?

Of what use is it to display our dispassionate, objective brilliance, and lose a nation?

Let me define another term here. I’ll call it the “presumption of good intent”. It is a tool that will help you out of the gahi ulo trap. It is basically the discussion framework ‘yellows’ ought to start with when they consider the words and acts of their fellow yellows. It means we recognize that none of us is perfect, but we are all sincere in what we want. And what we want it is good. And all that we do is well-intended.

Let me say that again. “All that we do is well-intended.”

All. Every statement. Every act. Every thought.

Even the ones that don’t come out quite right, in our eyes.

If ever there were a person who has earned the right to a presumption of good intent, it is Leni Robredo. No one I’ve known in my lengthy lifetime walks closer to a magical and mystical goodness of soul and effort than her. No one in the Philippines, that I have been able to identify, has such purity of character and openness of heart. She’s smart, too.

Yet ‘yellows’ yelped and complained about how she put her words together, impromptu, as she was trying to answer a question sincerely. If an outsider came in and read what the critics had to say, he would think that Leni Robredo was crass, stupid, and mean.

The critics seemed “gahi ulo” to me. People were so self-contained in their own minds that they could not give Vice President Leni Robredo a “presumption of good intent”. And support her.

It is vitally important that yellows give yellows a presumption of good intent, I think.

If you give Leni Robredo that presumption, you don’t have to worry about her every word. Because you know, inside yourself, that she means well. Ever statement. Every act. Every thought. You know that SHE did not get it wrong because it is impossible for a person of her character to think ill of anyone, or want to make them uncomfortable. 

To complain about word choices or decisions may be perfectly well-intended. But it is to join with the trolls. It is to do to good people that which was done to President Aquino as he worked earnestly to serve the Filipino people well. Or that which was done to candidate Mar Roxas when he got caught in a bad photo op. It added to the voices of complaint and dissatisfaction, and the trolls’ incessant criticism, that merged and became one unified, loud, visible complaint . . . and gave us President Duterte.

So if yellows want to stop being such persistent losers, they will have to get rid of the attitude that the only correct way to do something is the way they would do it or want it done. It is such a hideous trait, actually, if you think about it . . . to be so self-involved as to strip others of their freedom to do it their way. To require that Leni Robredo say something exactly the way we would have said it, from our comfortable and perfect place of hindsight.

When we have adjusted our emotions properly, then our minds will come up with the right words to defend and promote Leni Robredo.

When we presume good intent, the whole yellow movement becomes stronger. Because we are supporting one another rather than nit-picking one another and helping the trolls. In fact, if it is done by everyone, it then becomes easy to identify the trolls. They are the ones so small or malicious as to criticize one of the best of all Filipinos.

The “presumption of good intent” changes everything from uptight and negative to confident and strong.

It builds a bond.

Try it some time.


173 Responses to “Why yellows are losers”
  1. Cory Hipolito says:

    We were taught to look into ourselves which includes those close to us and point out mistakes to help each other be better persons. Not bad upbringing but we have forgotten not to wash our dirty linen in public. You are right, we should stop criticising VP Robredo. She is one of the very few silver lining in our government

    • It sure seems that way to me, Cory. I look at it through the sports metaphor. Teammates do not air their complaints to the public lest it fracture the team or give competitors an edge. Disputes stay in the locker room where they can be resolved without damage to the team. This doesn’t mean complaints should not be aired. They should be aired through non-public channels.

  2. I saw an exchange of tweets about “constructive criticism” of the VP Leni. She actually answered and said this: “You’re right. I don’t mind at all. I appreciate all well-meaning criticisms.”

    Let me get my good intentioned spiel here: If you respect her (VP), instead of calling her out on social media, e-mail or PM her directly. Parang kung yung employee, anak, kaibigan o relative mo na nagkamali. Talk to them privately.

    Nakisawsaw din is Benign0 dun sa tweet exchange and linked his article that is surprisingly positive about the VP (on the surface. I read the headline and the text but did not click the link. 🙂 ).

  3. ha. i’ve been waiting for this. here goes:

    “The anti-democracy initiative is intense, well-funded, well staffed. The trolls give no quarter, show no mercy.

    And if we are helping them do their job, how is that constructive?

    Of what use is it to display our dispassionate, objective brilliance, and lose a nation?”

    a friend tweeted.. allow them to be disappointed, and that telling them they are wrong makes them defensive. i told her im not satisfied with the vp’s actions at times too. but criticising her in public buys into duterte’s propaganda that she’s a weak leader. she told me, isn’t it fair game (to criticise the vp as well). i told her not when we’re in different times now when democracy’s inches away from the edge of a cliff and bbm’s preying on her seat like a vulture.

    hers was well-meant, of course. and kind, compared to others who called the VP DDS, or said Duterte is correct in calling her weak. i don’t even know why others made it about themselves, when VP Leni was addressing Angat Buhay beneficiaries who are probably too hungry to even think about politics and only want to hear solutions.

    • A little sacrifice of self is all it takes.

      • Ed Maglaque says:

        Gahi ulo is one. Another is ego-tripper, as exemplified by the paki-alamero. The paki-alamero almost always thinks he has the best solution/correction for almost anything. But called to act, he begs off because he is a fence-sitter too. Deep-thinking and sensitive he is not; he just loves to hear his own voice. Team-player? No way! The irony is he thinks he should criticize because he means well. There are so many of this kind in the anti-duterte movement. One reason why it’s taking time to built a critical mass. “Masyadong maraming marunong, unlike the dotards who are single-minded and fanatical in their idolatry. Separately, I totally agree with the points raised by Juana and yellowpadawan. But how do you get rid of paki-alameros in social media?

        • Wonderful, wonderful characterization of what I see on twitter, when people defend their critiques. I don’t think you can get rid of such critics, but you can strengthen the team by getting a lot of people to stop expressing every nagging thought they ever had in the heat of a battle for hearts and minds.

        • “The paki-alamero almost always thinks that he has the best solution/correction for almost anything. But called to act, he begs off because he is a fence-sitter too. Deep-thinking and sensitive he is not; he just loves to hear his own voice. Team-player? No way! The irony is he thinks he should criticize because he means well.”

          hahahaha spot on.

  4. Tancio de Leon says:

    “Gahi ulo” as defined in your examples do not seem to fit hardheadedness or “tigas ng ulo” in Tagalog. This weakness of Pinoys can be better understood as one-upmanship or “pagalingan” bordering on “yabang”. I presume many supporters of Leni will not just say “I agree” and say nothing else.
    But you are right, trying to improve on what Leni says will just add fodder to the trolls – better to just say nothing else. If we must show our support, do so in private.

  5. Tem says:

    I agree 100%. You have a way of capturing ideas into words that I couldn’t have done as well. Thank you.

    To be fair, I thought of applying the same concept of ‘presumption of good intention’ to the president. You see I voted and campaigned for him in the last election. I must now admit it is not as easy.

  6. edgar lores says:

    1. “Presumption of good intent” is, to me, the recognition that VP Robredo invariably acts in good faith.

    (Wikipedia provides this definition: “Good faith (Latin: bona fides), in human interactions, is a sincere intention to be fair, open, and honest, regardless of the outcome of the interaction.”)

    2. I think this is a rare quality for a Filipino politician. Most primarily act out of self-interest. Grace Poe, for example.

    3. Some politicians act out of ignorance and outright malice. In a word, bad faith. Duterte, for example.

    (Wikipedia provides this definition: “Bad faith (Latin: mala fides) is double mindedness or double heartedness in duplicity, fraud, or deception. It may involve intentional deceit of others, or self-deception.”)

    3.1. Among Duterte’s inner circle, I would point out Calida and Roque as prime examples of officials who act in bad faith. The difference between the two is that the former acts out of deception while the latter out of self-deception. Calida is “honest” in his deception while Roque is dishonest with himself. For this reason, Roque is more to be pitied.

    4. Some countries act out of bad faith. China, for example, in their baited loans and in the WPS. Countries that act out of good faith — in our times — are Japan and Australia. Arguably.

    5. I am not sure whether most Filipinos act in good faith. I think we are initially trusting, and not skeptical, of others… due to lack of critical thinking. So trusting that we are gullible. This is why we are losers.

    • 5. people lack critical thinking. see, when nancy binay suddenly has good PR on twitter embracing her colour and such, people were suddenly all praises to her. that’s also why they fell for grace poe who “rides the MRT.”

  7. Andres 2018. says:

    Why yellows are losers? Or maybe i will change the question “Why the hate on yellows?” Yellows are hated because of this peculiar attitude of claiming the moral high ground. Its hypocrisy. This attitude, together with boastfulness, are the top hated attitudes of the Filipinos in general while honesty tops as the most favored. It is when, during the election time, Mar Roxas failed to accept in public that there are short comings in the current administration (dishonesty). Instead, Mar Roxas focused on all the good things that the administration have done, good things which were usually coupled with a bad one (boastfulness). And when Mar Roxas claimed the slogan of decency while there are still dirt on the background (hypocrisy). The mention of Mar Roxas here is for the sake of giving an example of what yellows are, nothing personal. 2019, election is coming, if the yellows will employ the same sales talk, surely, yellows will be losers again.

    • chemrock says:

      In the 2016 election, Santiago and Binay were out of contention. It was a 3-cornered fight. Poe was the spoiler for Mar, of cos one could say Mar was a spoiler for Poe. It a 2-corner fight, whether Duterte Vs Mar or Duterte Vs Poe, Duterte will be knocked out. It’s just statistics. All the pschyo-analysis blurs an outright simple picture. Stripped of emotions and think like an engineer or accountant, or statistician, and the obvious stares in your face.

      • Andres 2018. says:

        “In a 2-corner fight, whether Duterte Vs Mar or Duterte Vs Poe, Duterte will be knocked out. It’s just statistics.”

        First, anything pertaining on this situation fall under “what if” category. But for for the sake of discussion, lets go.

        Duterte – 16.6M
        Roxas – 9.9M
        Poe – 9.1M
        Binay – 5.4M
        Defensor – 1.5M

        The gap of 6.7M (16.6M less 9.9M) between Duterte (first) and Roxas (second) is just too big that one could safely conclude that whoever paired with Duterte, Duterte will knocked him/her out.

        The main argument that Roxas will win in a one-on-one against Duterte lies on the premise that those who voted for Poe hates Duterte so will vote for Roxas. But what about those who voted for Binay, thats 5.4M? Im sure they also hate Roxas, so will vote for Duterte. If thats the case, basing on the argument of voters hate, its Duterte’s win with a total votes of 22.0M against the 19.0M of Roxas (plus Poe). Even giving the Defensor voters to Roxas, its still Duterte’s win.

        Conclusion: Duterte vs Roxas, 1 on 1, Duterte will win, hands down.

        Interestingly, using the “voters hate” assumption. If its Duterte vs Poe, Poe stands a chance! Why? Because Binay’s voters have no reason to hate Poe, and they may or may not vote for her, thats 50-50 of Binay’s vote! Lets do the math:

        Poe (actual vote) ——- 9.1M
        Roxas (hates Duterte) – 9.9M
        Binay (50%) ————– 2.7M
        Total ———————- 21.7M !!

        Duterte (actual vote) —16.6M
        Binay (50%) ————— 2.7M
        Total ————————19.3M !!

        Conclusion: Thats 21.7M (Poe) against 19.3M (Duterte)! Poe’s win, a very close win!

        Thats the result of my “statistics” for a 2-corner fight, Duterte vs Roxas or Duterte vs Poe. What is yours?

        • chemrock says:

          OK I concede your nbrs make sense.

          • caliphman says:

            Why on earth are we still arguing who wudda cudda shudda won if only Poe, Mar, or Binay dropped out of the 2016 election. If one must ponder how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, the more interesting academic speculation is what if it was Duterte himself who dropped out, who wudda cudda shudda won?

    • karlgarcia says:

      2019, the time you change your name to Andres 2019.

      Elitism has been used.
      But hypocrisy, even the sincere ones are called hypocrites.
      Why not just use inconsistent, no one is co sustenance.

      Presumption of good intent, or benefit of the doubt us all we can give a person, because when we use the hypocrisy badge, it will backfire more often than not.

      As for boastfulness, how about I killed people. I pushed people out of helicopters.
      Duterte is the most hypocritical and boastful president there is.

    • There is a lot of truth to what you say, I suppose, but I think many Filipinos mistake, for instance, a call for civility, to view the speaker as saying that “I am civil and you are not, so I am better than you.” But what is really meant is “If we all are civil toward one another, we will have a better nation and more prosperity.” The voting base thinks the first, the candidate the second, and so they never join. Part of the problem is the enduring suffering people here bear, which makes them envious of people who had it good, and the other is a failing of the capable (a term I will use rather than elite) to speak in terms the suffering souls can relate to.

      • I would add that if the Duterte Adminstration keeps heaping suffering on people, they will find it a lot easier to start to listen to the capable.

      • Andres 2018. says:

        Yes, the perception of the voters frequently differs with that of what the candidate is trying to portrait. However, it is the voters perception that actually counts. The candidate could only manipulate certain variables to catch and agree with the voters perception. Another thing that counts is the power of peer influence. If this certain individual does not see what the other sees then the other person, through proper means, can usually influence that certain individual. Peer influence taken into national level is game changing. Social media was one of the best vehicle for that. One person post can reach atleast 3,000 of his facebook friends, which could react immediately with just a simple comment. Imagine, before socmed, people usually discuss anything about their candidates in the plazas, streets or any public places where different kinds of people listens (and argue), and they need to go there personally. Socmed made that super easy.

  8. LG says:

    That you critiqued the ‘yellows’ and you are not Filipino should be more effective than if you are a fellow Filipino yellow. If so, your loyalty might be called to question. Or get named a faux yellow. If another ‘color’ (duterte’s, don’t even know what it is) guy, you might be ignored out of good manners or unusually get a curse word.

    • Hmmmm, I think if a columnist who worked diligently on being objective made the comment (Randy David), it would also be well received. Most people seem to think I am objective and think well, so those are more important qualifications to be listened to than the fact that I am an outsider.

      • LG says:

        I agree, we do have thoughtful and objective writers like Randy, MLQ3 out there, etc., and among TSOH followers. Being of a different nationality should have nothing to do with decent writing.

        I read the article as an etic anthropological perspective, the title reflecting the perspective of the writer.Thus, my comment above is rooted out of the premise that you, as the writer, being American, has perhaps a different anthropological background, thus etic. If so, the voice may sound stronger.

        I also thought that perhaps the title is a provocation, to have the so-called yellows introspect and reflect as the ending line suggests.

        • The title was an intentional provocation. And, yes, I for sure feel my ethical background is different based on what goes on hereabouts. Anthropology I don’t know much about. I do know I don’t really think much of caves, they being dark and imposing. 🙂

  9. Zen says:

    Very well put out observation about ‘gahi ulo’ Joe Am. Historians will call it ‘crab mentality’ almost at the same context but without the person knowing that by criticizing another, he is actually pulling the person down. I try to find an equivalent character in Rizal’s novels having ‘gahi ulo’ mentality but couldn’t seem to point to one. Perhaps we have evolved in our leanings to ‘ badness’ as the political situation in the Philippines goes bad to appalingly worse.

    • Yes, I think it is normal to be share our opinions, and normal to be defensive about criticisms, and even normal to have a little envy, but the dialogue today is so polarized and extreme that it is damaging. It’s like we depart from reason. The trolls have unity but yellows do not because everyone is out exercising their normal ways of thinking. And it makes for a weak movement.

  10. chemrock says:

    Joe’s musing is a call to the yellow crowd for an article of faith. That’s what a presumption of good intentions really is.

    Harking back to Lance’s virtu and fortuna lifted off Machiavelli. Virtu here is not in the Aristotellian moral virtue sense, but about strength and the ability to compel reality to your objective. Fortuna is not about wealth, fate, luck or chance but it’s about the unforeseen things for which we have no control. Machiavelli’s formula success for princes and politician is to strive for more virtu over formula. The same Joe asks of the yellow crowd. For the candidate that has passed your assessment to be of one with a moral compass, have faith in their good intentions. Don’t play on gaffes or slip ups as surely there will be along the way. That is something you can control, so build on the virtu.

    This is however, not a message to the yellow contenders. On the contrary, never depend on a presumption of good intentions. No Afghan civilian in some remote villagers place his faith in the good intentions of the Americans when they hear the helicopters coming. There is no winning of hearts in the countries where US showered their good intentions in their promotion of their democratic systems, save maybe Isreal. People are what they are. A market of voters. Candidates has to market themselves and all marketing ideas, tools and methodologies come into play.

    I would borrow another of Lance’s vocab — candidates need to be granular. This is what basically Andres is preaching in his various descriptions of the failings of Mar and yellows.

    • edgar lores says:

      Still, some people are “granular” but interpret the facts differently and come up with unsupported conclusions.

      Partly, it’s because they pick only some of the facts, just enough to confirm their bias.

      Partly, it’s because they focus on “alternative” facts.

      Partly, it’s because the framework they use is inapplicable or distorted.

      If one looks at the flimsy Supreme Court decisions, the focus is on the granular (the technicalities), almost no stone is left unturned, but the framework is wrong.

      Also, remember that one of the criticisms of Mar was that he was very granular, that he spouted facts and figures but there was no overall wisdom in what he said.

      I think for a perspective to be true, there must be a combination, a meshing of the macro (the framework) and the micro (what is granular) and insights as to why the meshing is coherent.

      • The blog article is not proposed as the single one solution to winning an election. Certainly what the candidates do to speak to voters is crucial, and it was an Aquino/Roxas failing, that they spoke concepts rather than offer riches or strut in manly fashion or curse the pope or however one reaches an audience that does not want to be preached to. But certain myths develop. Roxas is out of touch. Robredo is soft. And people (yellows) innocently reinforce them. How the support cast plays its role is important. Too many people want to project that THEY are the leader (claiming Robredo is too soft) rather than help the leader be a leader (by saying she is strong). Yellows should learn to squash myths rather promote them. That’s all I’m saying. Granularity is a different topic.

        • edgar lores says:

          I’m not sure that granularity is out of topic. Chemrock raised the point and it is relevant.

          1. Myths can be destroyed in several ways.

          1.1. One way is by creating a counter-myth.
          1.2. Another way is by providing a proper framework.
          1.3. Another way is being granular, looking at the facts.

          2. In fact, a sure way to maintain a myth is by not being granular, by not looking at the facts.

          3. So kill the myth that VP Robredo is soft and weak by citing the facts, such as:

          o She ran for the office of the vice-president and decided to serve the country despite the fact that she was newly widowed.
          o She won the vice-presidency even if she was a relative neophyte and came from behind.
          o She is fighting Bongbong’s electoral protest despite his abundant resources and her meager ones.
          o She has traveled all over the islands, to the farthest barrios, for her projects.
          o She is raising her daughters — all of them scholars — successfully and singlehandedly.
          o She has managed to earn Duterte’s respect which he tries to hide by saying she is weak when in actuality he is the one who is weak and a coward.
          o She has turned aside Duterte’s attacks by telling him to focus on his job and not on her.
          o Did you see her photo during Independence Day — standing tall in the rain?
          o A tongue is soft but it is not weak and it outlasts the teeth.

          What I am trying to convey is perspective.

          • Yes, the counter-truth to the myth that Leni Robredo weak is that she is incredibly strong. I agree, and your facts bear that out. But what people want is for her to scream in Duterte’s face, or spit in his eye, and they won’t let go of the idea that she is weak until they see her cursing or marching in the street. They give her no wiggle room to be her own person. It is incredibly frustrating to see this whole myth-building start again WITH THE YELLOWS.

            • Trolls are not even needed. The yellows do it to their own leadership.

            • edgar lores says:

              That is something deeper and might be unconscious on the part of the yellows.

              It may go to our patriarchal culture and our cultural conditioning.

              Still, I think compared to the US and to Australia, women as presidents or prime ministers are more accepted here.

              o Cory was seen as weak but Gloria is seen as strong.
              o Sereno is seen as weak but Conchita Carpio-Morales is seen as strong.

              What is the difference?

              Actually, it may go to physiognomy and the gravitas we attach to it. It may just be me, but I see:

              o Cory, Sereno, and Robredo as maternal types. Strong as mothers can be but somehow vulnerable.
              o Gloria, Conchita, and Sara as non-maternal — strong and tough.
              o Risa, Grace, Leila (surprise!) are in-between — feminine, vulnerable, but can be tough.
              o I wouldn’t know how to classify Imee.

              If it is culture or physiognomy, we just have to be aware of our deep-seated biases.

              • Interesting that you would put it that way because I just hammered out the basics of the blog draft and ended up telling readers to drop the male stereotypes of strength. Hahaha, I likened the male version of strength to a cowboy with two six-shooters waving two penises in the air. I don’t think that will make the editor’s final cut. But thanks for inspiring the blog idea, just the same.

              • edgar lores says:


            • Andres 2018. says:

              You got it Joe! YOU GOT IT! Thats what meant to be strong in this current political meta! Imagine, the combination of Trillanes and Robredo in one person. But how about Trillanes alone? He is already strong base on this current meta. Maybe because Trillanes is not a newbee anymore in the national election. He is no longer “fresh.”

              • I am extending a theory that what you call “current political meta” is a Marcosian influence. The myth of “Malakas at Maganda.” It corrupted the masses thinking. “Malakas” is someone like Marcos who rules with impunity. A one-man ruler, not answerable to the Constitution nor to the citizenry.

                Are you endorsing this mentality?

              • Andres 2018. says:


                I am not endorsing anything. It is actually stating an observation rather than endorsing.

                Its the nature of human society to look for an individual to lead. An individual that will stand among the rest, an individual that set the trends, where everyone can look up to, and follow. Thus, you cannot completely erased the longing, in this case of the Filipino people, to look for a strong leader, a one man ruler. Strong which is usually associated with the characteristics of the masculinity. It is imprinted in the human DNA to look for this kind of person to lead the society, the exploits of the Kings and Emperors and Khans, one man ruler. Even in animals, the lion’s pride, the wolf’s pack, the white-back gorilla.

              • chemrock says:

                Andres, let’s drop the BS about the the president as a strong man.
                – He flip flops like hell.
                – He made difficult decisions outside the country.
                – He says do this and that and if the acts are outside the law, issues no written orders to make him accountable.
                – He disposes enemies using dimwits to do the job on his behalf.
                – He challenged someone to a duel and did’nt turn up.
                – He consistently has foreign intel for the claims he made against his enemies but has no guts to show the evidence of proof.
                – He has been challenged to sign the bank waiver but can never find his pen to sign the papers.
                – He could’nt neutralise a fractious group of banditry in Marawi but had to decimate the whole town to show his wrawth.
                – He so scared of ICC he won’t let investigators in.
                – He is so scared of ICC, he needs Sara to be the next prez to protect him
                – He is so scared of being grilled by a street smart reporter he need Panelo to put up a show for the people.
                – He could’nt even get Arroyo’s nephew into custody for drug offence.

                I don’t see any strength here. Care to name some?

                Did he tame inflation?
                Did he tame drug smuggling?
                Did he tame corruption?
                Did Sison and NPA cower in fear and surrender and sign a peace deal?
                Did he tame crime?

                Sure I forgot — He was damn strong in other ways :
                – Single-handedly made the second biggest thief in the word Marcos a hero
                – Single-handedly gave freedom to another plunderer and allevated her to Congress head
                – Single-handedly killed the SC.
                – Single-handedly responsible for the deaths of 20,000 deaths in the barangays.

                Geez .. I need a cool drink man

              • Andres 2018. says:


                I think you missed the point of the particular comment above. Its not about proving Duterte being a strongman. Its a generalization of what is a strong leader based on the perception of the society he leads.

                Time Mag last time said that Duterte stands together with Putin and the others as strongman. So, I agree, its better to drop any discussion about Duterte as a strongman, he is already.

              • chemrock says:

                No Andres, we should never depict Duterte in the mould of a strong man. The comparison to Putin is way of wacko. The fact a reputable press prints it don’t mean its God given proof – it’s the opinion of the columnist who is most likely a freelancer. It’s not an editorial, that’s different. You chose to belief, I don’t.

                Putin is in an entirely different theatre. He is in a snake pit with divisive, destructive militant forces all around him. It’s the kind of environment Gorbachev or Yeltsin cannot survive. Obama nor Reagan too would never survive over there. It’s an environment where the display of strength is a necessary evil.

                In great contrast, Duterte is in an environment where the only reason d-etre for popular disenchantment is poverty. All he had to do was grow the economy handed over by Pnoy, and then build on the social distribution and improve people’s lives. No need to lead the country on a bravado ego trip of armalite weaponries and camo-resses. There is no need for Arnold Schwarzenegger to flex his muscles on enfeebled barangay residents.

                I understand where you are coming from in this thread. Nuance and subtlety is thy skill. This talk of strong man that the people look for and by inference Duterte is the strong men and thus he wins. He wins because folks were dump. This blog explains one of the ways folks were dump. This talk of strongman ought to be nipped in the bud.

              • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strongman_(politics)

                the best way to nip this argument in the bud, is to ask if DU30 is feared.

                Putin is feared; Hitler was; Marcos was, various warlords in Africa are, etc. etc. If DU30 is feared then he is technically a Strongman; if lowly senators and others are running laps around him, then we’d have to agree he isn’t. there’s also the issue of DU30’s age, the illusion of virility is part of it all after all. Maybe DU30 will achieve this stature , but for now he seems more impotent than virile, so not Strongman.

              • chemrock says:

                BTW Lance, glad to see you back.

                In most other comments, you have given good inputs from often unusual points of view. It does have the effect of making me stop to ponder. However, this here is a sloppy and I think cursory opinion of yours.

                Do we compartmentalise strongman as someone to be feared? Surely that’s a bit shallow, don’t you admit? I fear the dentist (for his needles) – is he a strongman? Let’s leave the obvious out – the virility and bulging muscles.

                In the context of our discussion here, what then is a strongman? Notice we did not mention political strongman – this one is quite easy — it’s simply someone who wields power above the constitution. Now in this case, hands down hat’s off, Andres is right spot on, Duterte is a strongman, the arm twisting riffle barrell in your face type.

                For me a strongman is someone who can get things done within legal bounds, in the face of opposition. In the face of personal threats. This guy has the power of negotiation, selling ideas, diplomacy, pooling concensus, motivation, leading by examples, etc.all the good stuff one wants to hear. Duterte is a miserable failure in this class.

              • chemp,

                thanks. I agree it was sloppy and cursory, ie. Rome = China. but unlike the quick Rome = China analogy ,

                the strongman concept is more weighted and carries with it unintended ramifications. You’re right fear should not be the only standard, but i’m sure we can both agree (and Andres to) that all strongmen throughout history wielded fear, whether applied proportionally (expertly) or clumsily (amateurly, there is a learning curve mind you) is another topic entirely, i think Marcos was proportional, while Pol Pot not at all.

                So that’s the fear aspect, distilled. But the other reason why i agreed with you re nipping in the bud, isn’t so much Andres’ view of DU30= strong, but of yours as DU30= weak , i’m sure i could’ve gotten Andres (base on his pattern) to concede that base on lack of total fear standard alone, DU30 is no strongman. But yours of insisting he is weak (ie. the opposite of strong) has IMHO graver consequences.

                I see that you are trying to diminish DU30, but i fear in so doing only suggest that he is no one to be feared, which is a more dangerous proposition than Andres’.



                DU30 does wield power, thus deserving of some healthy dose of fear. Today he’s not yet consolidated power, but its obvious he intends to, maybe never will. My point, between Strong and Weak, he’s closer to Strong, more than anyone since Marcos. And that deserves attention. it’s not similar to the academic is VP Robredo weak or strong (and what kind of strong), DU30 actually affects the state’s ability to use force right now, both within & above law.

                So IMHO it’s better to view him as a strongman, than a weakman. DU30 is consolidating power, at what ends I have no idea. So the safer bet is to go with fear,

              • sonny says:

                LC, this talk of strong-to-weak reminds me of how lasers work: make incoherent light rays into concentrated powerful light rays by the use of collectors and collimators. I suspect there is a political analog to this physical concept of creating strength, intensity and direction.

              • edgar lores says:

                Perhaps this is the best perspective — see Duterte’s stature as a process.

                Sure, Duterte looms large but, in the words of Joe Am, he is shrinking incredibly fast.

                Chemrock’s assessment is true. His is the judgment of history.

            • “But what people want is for her to scream in Duterte’s face, or spit in his eye, and they won’t let go of the idea that she is weak until they see her cursing or marching in the street ”

              So, in reality, the yellows yearn for someone like Sara not VP Leni. PRD, himself, said that she is a dictator in the offing.

              We talked about aggressive vs assertive in another topic. Sara is an aggressive person prone to use negative behavior (i.e.. violence – slugging the Sheriff ) to show her dissatisfaction but VP Leni is an assertive person who chooses non-violent ways to confront what she can not abide by.

              My choice of a strong person is the assertive VP Leni. To choose Sara to me is status quo. Siya ang “kalakaran” sa paningin ng masa na “malakas.” Kalarakan na kung bubusisiin ay hindi tama. Ang tunay na pagbabago ay si VP Leni, ang taong malakas sa tamang pamamaraan.

          • I think I’d like to do a blog using this list of facts you cite. Something like “killing the myth that Leni Robredo is soft”. It will be able to stand as a reference article people can link to anytime someone comes up with the “soft” point of view.

      • chemp (and I’m sure sonny too),

        I’ve been thinking a lot of Machiavelli’s virtù and fortuna and I think the best way to understand Machiavelli’s mind is to put him side by side with St. Augustine, “the City of God” to be specific, his general view as well.

        Virtù = man’s will; the indomitable human spirit, like Job or Esther.

        Fortuna= God’s will; the inscrutable will of God, the God in the book of Job w/ a sick sense of humor, or the God in the book of Esther, absent, invisible, silent.

        Machiavelli’s view of God is succinct:

        “God doesn’t like doing everything himself, he doesn’t want to deprive us of our free will and our share of glory”

        in other words, God wants us to enjoy wielding virtù.

        St. Augustine’s is less succinct, and his view of God seems to vacillate , so its similar to Fortuna.

        Where Machiavelli wants to manage mess, keep ’em small; St. Augustine seems more open to big punishments by God’s reps on earth (he’d be pro-DU30, ‘render unto Caesar’ mindset). St. Augustine is actually more Machiavellian than Machiavelli. Also St. Augustine seems to view free will as a curse , where Machiavelli revels in it.


        chemp, do you have any input on the above from a Chinese or Buddhist perspective?

        sonny, is my reading of St. Augustine fair in your Catholic view?

        • chemrock says:

          Lance –
          The imprint of Confucianism and Buddhism in the Chinese psyche is very deep and strong. Two things that tell virtu and fortuna are low key.
          1. Respect for elders (seniors, superiors, officialdom etc) is key to sustainability of equilibrium of an orderly social structure. So long as life is OK, people don’t bother much with the idealism of ilbertarianism. (The Cultural Revolution unleashed by Mao was the greatest unheaval in Chinese sociological mindset — it made brain-washed youngsters turn against their elders)
          2. Everything is written or ordained in the stars. But one can always do stuff to shift the impact of a particular alignment of the stars — fengshui and many other stuff.

          Given this background, history is resplendent with personalities diefied or beloved for centuries for their sacrifice and loyalty to nation.

          If you are looking for the female virtu, the Chinese Yang family of female generals who made great sacrifices, may be your best reference. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Generals_of_the_Yang_Family

          Chinese hate the thuggish alpha male types like Duterte, Robin Padilla, Roque, Bato, etc. We have a term for these. We call them “gu”, literally translated means ‘cow’, someone thuggish.

          • thanks, chemp! that’s a very fruitful Wiki link , still mining it, but i’m already pouring thru some works, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_and_Civilisation_in_China and https://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/bitstream/handle/10125/23078/%2347_Ng.pdf “Mirroring the Past: The Writing And Use of History in Imperial China”

            If you’re familiar w/ anything contemporary to Athens or Rome 400-300 BC, I know Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” was written around this time, but i’m less familiar with the era, do share. thanks!

            • chemrock says:

              Lance, it’s OP but since you asked, hope Joe don’t mind I’ll just drop briefly here.

              The period you asked is one of the most interesting times in ancient Chinese history. It’s called the Warring States (475–221 BC). Sun Tzu preceeded this. He was from the 6th BC.

              It was a period of warfare of a few kingdoms that ended when the Qin Dynasty was established which finally united China. Because of the warfare going on, it was a time of great military tactics and strategies, building up on Sun Tzu’s work. A lot of virtu in this period. Of great statesmen, military leaders and thinkers.

              It was also a period at the tail end and summit of a great run on Chinese philosophical thoughts starting with Confucius in the 6th BC.

              At the same time, it was a period of many great reformists who left their marks in the governance matters.

              Of note during the period :

              1. Erya – the first Chinese encyclopedia was written (author unknown)

              2. Tsinghua Bamboo Slips — a collection of texts written on bamboo slits. It’s a physically huge collection. Texts were all sorts of uncategorised stuff. Every day matters. Admonishments by Emperors. etc. One important stuff — it contained the first decimal-multiplication tables in the world.

              3. The Canon of Laws or Classic of Law – this has been lost. It was the first documented Legislative writing that influenced later works.

              4. The Book of Lord Shang — everybody knows of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of a united China. Actually it was Lord Shang, a statesman, whose policies led to the foundation of the Qin dynasty. Shang’s followers compiled the Book of Lord Shang. It is a foundational book on Chinese Legalism.

              1,2 and 4 have been recovered.

              That’s all my limited brain can retrieve. In terms of laws, I think they gave Roman law a run for their money. In development and construction, I’m not too sure with all the fighting going on. But in administration, they may be one up the Romans. Book of Lord Shang, for eg, went into codifying military ranks, schematics for assessments and examinations of official jobs, etc.

              • chemrock says:

                Lance, I just have to add this which I forgot.

                The warring states was the backdrop from which came one of the greatest Chinese novels of all time — Romance of the Three Kingdoms. It is a historical novel written in 14th century. I have always wanted George Lucas to make a serial out of this. It is a real Game of Thrones played out in ancient times.

                I read the English translated version, which is a shame because in long form Mandarin, the prose is very poetic. I can imagine 3 major characters (Liu Pei, Chang Fei and Kuan Yu) swearing brotherhood with tea ceremony in the peach garden.

              • I feel like it’s Christmas, chemp. thanks! I’ve copy/pasted this list and will get cracking right away.

              • sonny says:

                I thank the Internet for such relative ease of access for many things which would’ve otherwise remained recondite.

        • sonny says:

          I’ve started on The City of God, LC. Will revisit here when I get something.

    • “My criticism is not of Leni Robredo, but of the critics. They, to me, capture the concept “gahi ulo” it the full, rich, way it damages the pro-democracy cause. They could not let an expression of confidence or appreciation in Leni Robredo come out. They had to put their own dissatisfaction on the table.”

      Joe, I know this Visayan phrase very well! gahi ug ulo or gahi’g ulo , and its sibling dako’g ulo. tough headedness and big headedness (though when the girls there used it usually to describe another appendage) ;

      The first is easy to define tough headedness is universal, big headedness can also be used to describe arrogance , but I’m more familiar with it used over there as ‘biting more than you could chew’ (which in a way, is a species of hubris), ie. if you take 3 GROs out of KTV when drunk, that’s dako’g ulo or also dako’g huna-huna, same-same but the latter is more poetic, translates to ‘big imagination’.

      But I think there’s a Visayan word better suited for this blog and that’s libak , essentially to talk behind one’s back, but the connotation at least in KTVs and bars is a lot more nuanced. Usually libak is used with ‘try’-dor (traitor) usually, so this one word itself is almost related to the German https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schadenfreude . Back-biting, bitching, crab-mentality, sabotage.

      So basically, you’re describing a perfect storm of sorts, which is very similar to what Hillary experienced especially among the Bernie supporters. Except it wasn’t ‘weak’ or ‘strong’ that was levied her but ‘untrustworthy’ and ‘liar’, i think you’d agree a worst proclamation.

      I agree w/ chemp above, Virtù must be leveraged. It’s usually understood as vigor, valor, virility, versatility, valiant, vigilant, vengeance, and for social media today viral, basically Caesar’s veni, vidi, vici. But what is the female Virtù ??? That would be an interesting blog, Joe. There’s a lot of strength and economic power within a KTV or bar , but too much “libak” gets the girls riled up for all the wrong reasons.

      How’s that for granular view of things?

  11. I have to police myself on this sometimes.
    Thanks for reminding

    • We all do it as we analyze things. That is natural. But it would help if we helped squash myths in the bud. I see one developing now, that Leni Robredo is soft or weak (because she does not chew tobacco and spit it in the Pope’s eye). Talk about people guaranteeing she will fail.

      • Juana Pilipinas says:

        Duterte affixed “incompetent” to her and so far, I do not see it sticking. Only the trolls ride it like a boat. The problem is, it is riddled with holes so it never floats. Netizens always throw it back at Duterte and for good reasons.

  12. karlgarcia says:

    I do not see her as soft.
    She does need support, but not over protection.

  13. canadadry says:

    The Staying power of the 4 “Horsemen” of Duterte Apocalypse : Robredo, Trillanes, Delima and Sereno

    With what was thrown at them by the Duterte government, any sane public figure would have buckled down and give in. Yet after 800 plus days of incessant attacks by Duterte and his minions, these four “horsemen” of Duterte apocalypse are still at it, calling him out, baring the rottenness of his regime. In any public appearance they looked fresh, calm, poised and relax. Contrast this to Duterte and his men (and women) who looked tired, bloated, angry, evasive and defensive.

    One wonders what keeps these man and three women going. I think it is because they are not out seeking to win or seek public approval. They are just being true to themselves in living out what many just talked about-the adherence to the belief that every Filipino has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is what liberates them to any pressures from any quarters,whether in jail as with Delima, ousted as with Sereno, branded incompetent as with Robredo or threat of jail as in Trillanes.Fresh winds of change-indeed on its way.

    • Nice uplifting perspective.

    • edgar lores says:

      Nice metaphor. And a nice observation about the freshness in the looks of the three horsewomen and one horseman.

      Trillanes looked dapper throughout the ordeal and Sereno looked fetching today in her visit. VP Robredo is always attractive whether in some distant barangay or her visit with Trillanes.

      They possess an inner and outer beauty and handsomeness that only people who are “true to themselves” can emanate.

  14. NHerrera says:


    Perhaps from watching too many movies, or lack of distinction between reel life and real life, Filipinos have a marked preference for the “good and tough” or better still the “tough and good,” holding “tough and not so good” as only slightly lower in rank, with the curious case of “tough and not good” as not that much lower in rank, and to some or many even better because he is “like us.”

    Is it easier to transition from Case 1, “good but not tough” to “good and tough” compared to Case 2, “tough but not (so) good” to “tough and good”? I have no strong basis for answering this question.

    Case 1 is exemplified by Robredo in the eyes of not a few; Case 2 is exemplified by Trillanes. I may note that Trillanes had the luxury or advantage of time for the transitioning that Robredo does not have. (NB — to me Robredo is very good and tough in a soft way.)


    Bongbong Marcos is definitely not tough and not good. But he has the money.

  15. popoy says:

    out of topic : in the mid seventies while drinking beer with law students I overheard them talking about a female classmate. One said : she’s lime the Supreme Court, . . . .

  16. popoy says:

    SORRY K became m.
    she’s like the Supreme Court, . . . .NO APPEAL.

    SORRY again: A Supreme Court can just pass the buck to a lower court.

    • popoy says:

      One student said she may have no appeal, but she’s a court of last resort of LAST REASON. Another student raised his San Miguel bottle for a toast and said: She’s an intellectual, she could reason credibly, on any issue and appeared fair and just to every one of her fancy among the moralists snoozers. .

    • LOL, i get it now, ‘no appeal’. hahahaha. But relevant to Joe’s upcoming blog about female virtù, i’m sure the norm there is more this?

      • popoy says:

        LCpl perhaps didn’t get the last laugh este the last resort for intellectual pass the buck. the buck ends somewhere not in the dame of no appeal. Snoozers Praise The Lord. Gibberish Eh.

        • popoy, i read it more with the thought of “libak” in mind, thus in so doing probably missed the “lightness of being” assumed in the joke overheard, or am i just adding more weight here,

          could the students you overheard been speaking of, making “libak” on, one Justice Maria Sereno? the irony would not have been lost, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einmal_ist_keinmal

          • Tweeto Wakatono says:

            You got it wronger LCpl, may be a mile away. It’s no lady which mock the no appeal and last resort credo of a damaged court. Read it again, meron nalubak, hindi si Sereno. who like Truman stopped the buck during her warch. It is not latigo sa kalabaw ang latay sa kabayo. It’s mildly kicking intellectual asses. .

            working downstairs makes me popoy, now unexpectedly working upstairs tweeto just took over blame me or W, no deceit there intended.

  17. sonny says:

    “The anti-democracy initiative is intense, well-funded, well staffed. The trolls give no quarter, show no mercy.”

    To this I said a while back (2017):

    “…any diverse country or society must be able to (1) recognize its areas and degrees of diversity, (2) define its differentiations in their diversity, then (3) work by consensus on tolerable syntheses and legislate and execute its methods of unification.”

    I think this points to the direction out of our country’s morass.

    • It does. It needs to be translated to fit with the beliefs of the disenfranchised, which is several thousand degrees of skeptical.

    • Click to access machiavelli.pdf

      sonny, you might find this essay enjoyable. in essence about how virtù is without a single standard, that as it is man’s will/spirit implies variety, so long as proportionality is observed (“economy of violence”). so i’m excited and looking forward to Joe’s article on female virtù— ie. what does it look like for a Filipina woman today in politics.

      • p.s.

        The Prince is to Confessions, as

        The City of God is to Discourses on Livy.

        • sonny says:

          LC, I’m a latecomer to St Augustine, having briefly attempted to read him in high school (Confessions), a time that was more than a tad early for me. I see that The City of God is volume-rich (i.e. formidable). I am hoping I find friendly translation to sink my teeth into. Livy, too. 🙂

          PS I did find the 2017 back issue of Joe’s blog, as you see. That was quite a lively installment.

          https://joeam.com/2017/06/28/ (during your “Chief-trolling” days 🙂 )

          • hahahahaha… I do miss Bill.

            Translation is key, sonny. But sludging thru 1700 or 1800s translations is fun too, a Stoic kinda fun makes you focus more as to what the original is saying vis-a-vis where the translator’s coming from. Not unlike reading books in the Bible, ie. what exactly did Luke mean and what given the historical context could Jesus have meant.

            As to “Discourses on Livy” and Machiavelli here are two great quotes shot from opposite angles from which the parallax of the two works comes to focus:

            “But in Republics there is a stronger vitality, a fiercer hatred, a keener thirst for revenge. The memory of their former freedom will not let them rest; so that the safest course is either to destroy them, or to go and live in them.”

            ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

            “For it is not the well-being of individuals that makes cities great, but the well-being of the community; and it is beyond question that it is only in Republics that the common good is looked to properly in that all that promotes it is carried out; and, however much this or that private person may be the loser on this account, there are so many who benefit thereby that the common good can be realized in spite of those few who suffer in consequence.”

            ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Discourses on Livy

            • sonny says:

              “… Not unlike reading books in the Bible, ie. what exactly did Luke mean and what given the historical context could Jesus have meant.”

              On the nose, LC. Interpreting the Bible gave birth to hermeneutics, i.e. one must be trained to watch out for the lens one reads through. For biblical interpretation the paths are well-trodden, contrast this to onesy twosy translations on arcane literature from past ages. 😦

  18. sup says:

    To get rid of political dynasties the next 20 years never vote a politician for a second term.
    So they will not use the money from the first term to buy votes the second term.
    A new candidate is using his/her own money.
    Sorry for the ‘’good ones’’ but they can still serve as advisor to the’’ next’’ candidate.
    Don’t say ‘’But we can see their money in the SALN’’….What you see there is the ‘’legal’’ money…..The illegal is abroad or in others names stashed away.
    Just admit that most politicians start being ‘’good’’ but switch easy to the other party in charge to get also money….(Look at the HOR holding the President hostage to get their pet projects)
    What happened to the HOR?
    Gloria is back and with her all the ‘’guy’s’’
    Ex president going to run for congress for what? Are they doing that in Europe? USA? Australia? Canada?
    Only going back to avoid what? Getting jailed, convicted..Back in power…. Nobody would vote her as house speaker right after being President…Right?
    I remember the ratings for Gloria in her last few years

    Public satisfaction with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has plunged to an all-time low of -53 in the latest Social Weather Stations survey, less than three months before she bows out of office.

    The survey was conducted last March and was made exclusive to and reported by BusinessWorld on Monday.

    President Arroyo’s rating was the lowest achieved by any President since the SWS started the survey in May 1986. None of her predecessors — Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada — received a negative score.


    If I see this all wrong please correct me.

  19. NHerrera says:


    MLQ3 who has been around and knows contacts that help frame his political writings has this to say, among others, concerning the Duterte-Panelo tête-à-tête:

    If the past two months have seen the startling transformation of the President from a strongman whom no one dared oppose, to a tired, cantankerous senior citizen overwhelmed by events, then the Trillanes saga offered the chance to prove who’s boss. It’s turning out that there remains residual self-respect among legal practitioners to resist the Executive’s whims—gently, but firmly enough (so far).

    The President’s bullying and hectoring has found its match in Trillanes, who has never been subtle and whose lack of subtlety is apparently tailor-made for confronting the current Chief Executive. Indeed, the whole message in the presidential tête-à-tête, if there was one to be found, was that the President has discovered the limits to his power and charisma. There are lines more and more of his subordinates won’t cross. He needed to save face, and so he had a chat on TV.


    • NHerrera says:

      A complement to MLQ3 piece cited above is today’s Inquirer Editorial entitled “Farce in Progress” which concerns the Trillanes amnesty revocation.


      … this belated resort to blaming Gazmin was obviously meant to shore up the battered Palace position; nowhere was any “usurpation” mentioned in the original reasons cited for the amnesty revocation.

      Perhaps the more authentic reason was let out in Mr. Duterte’s unusual televised “tête-à-tête” with presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo on Tuesday.

      “Ang problema kay Trillanes ay (the problem with Trillanes is) he’s crucifying Bong Go for entering into business with the government,” said the President, referring to his long-time special assistant.

      The implication seemed to be, if only Trillanes had played nice with the administration, he wouldn’t be hounded this way.

      But in this farce in progress with Malacañang moving its arguments and goalposts every time, the bet is high that yet another, more cockeyed rationale would soon roll out from the Palace story factory — any excuse, really, to cut down the prickliest thorn in the President’s side.


      • Thank you for the links. Let me add another complementary link. It is about the lawyers who will represent SenTri at RTC148 and RTC 150.

        “Trillanes said among the lawyers who will represent him are former University of the Philippines College of Law Dean Pacifico Agabin, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, law professor Joselito Chan, and the senator’s chief legal counsel Reynaldo Robles.”

        I do not think the last paragraph in the article is accurate:

        “The senator tried to get a reprieve from the Supreme Court but it threw out his petition seeking to nullify Duterte’s revocation of amnesty.”


  20. chemrock says:

    At first they came for deLima — we did’nt do nothing
    Then they came for Sereno — we still did’nt do nothing
    Now they come for Trillanes — we are likely gonna do nothing

    • It depends on what you want people to do. Three distinguished lawyers have joined Trillanes legal team to bolster his ability to fight the State’s cases, and the harassment cases filed against him. He now commands media attention whenever he wants it. He has the President groveling to try to explain himself in some concocted interview chat with Panelo. Social media and mainstream media are beating on Duterte, Calida, and Roque as never before. People call for street actions and no one shows up because they are all pounding out tweets and FB posts. The idea that nothing is happening I think is wrong.

      • I would add that the AFP appears to have been pushed back to a Constitutional role rather than allegiance to Duterte. It was a huge win for Trillanes.

        • caliphman says:

          I want to agree with you but cannot because Lorenzana also added that the chain of command will be followed. Last I heard Duterte is still commander in chief?

          • Yes, that’s true. The analogy is we are on a ship, the captain is acting oddly. But the standard is not defined clearly as to when he can be declared, by the crew, as being so negligent as to be overthrown. Some of the crew (the ones in yellow raincoats) think he is past the point of sanity, but most of the crew do not. The AFP are the pistols, but won’t shoot on their own.

      • chemrock says:

        Perhaps you are right, and I certainly hope so. And note that all these mentioned are within legal bounds. But alas, a corrupted (in morals as well as in legal acumen) SC Castro sits on top of the heap in judgement. NOt much to look forward to. Just hope. Just pray to Fortuna.

    • Juana Pilipinas says:

      The civil societies are very active in protecting SenTri at the Senate. I saw Kuya Will, Jozy and other patriots on a news media video.

      I just posted a link above naming SenTri’s lawyers. I think they will give the government lawyers a run for their money. I am hoping that the RTC judges will uphold the rule of law.

      • NHerrera says:

        Agree and hoping too.

      • LG says:

        I want to bet that Dean Agabin, Former SolGen Hilbay, and Prof. Chan have offered pro bono services to SenTri, (maybe volunteered) they knowing he does not have the financial means to afford them through out the ordeal. They must be gigil na gigil na sa abuse of power ni Duterte at Calida and mock the constitution in the process.

        Defending Sen Tri, I hope the noted above counsel preempt whatever questionable decision the SC might do (on the who cue of you know who) on the constitutionality of EO 572 and the subsequent ‘preplanned’ actions of RCTs 148 and 150, (do they have your trust and faith) following the SC’s decision. Soon, AJs Carpio and Leonen should be back from leave. These AJs must be ecstatic over the body of Sen Tri’s counsel.

        The CJ and AJs who voted to oust Sereno as CJ, matakot kayo ngayon. No more fooling around with personal emotions, you guys. Restore our damaged esteem of you. Work like you deserve your appointment.

        Hunch ko lang. A few (or more EVIL men up there) must be requiring booze and downers to get some sleep now. Expect eye bags…dark circles… more powdering…
        rumbling, incomprehensible speech… more scapegoating…. acne rebirths… no eye to eye contact when speaking… more lies… more distractions. Bato bato sa langit, ang tamaan, wag magagalit.

  21. NHerrera says:


    The stock analyst-chartist John Mangun did his analysis and crystal ball gazing — citing past political movements as background — and concludes that the stock market [probably not only here but worldwide] will move to another high around November and go down until 2020. Here is John Mangun:

    Now we are moving to the next high in the cycle at the end of November. From there we will go down until January 2020. The political chaos since 2015 will now be economic chaos until 2020. It has begun. Watch the dollar.

    In the case of the Philippines the political chaos will most probably not stop — it will continue, which when combined with the economic chaos Mangun sees, is some sort of Perfect Storm.

    Meantime, take care of the real storm that may come your way, Joe, but I note that you are prepared — batten the hatches and all that. May be you should take time to think about building yourself a stone house like they do in Batanes.

  22. Andres 2018. says:

    Maiba naman: Two showbiz personalities on LP senatorial slot?

    • chemrock says:

      I don’t know about the other one, but Dingdong Dante I know a bit. He has don’t his bit for society. You don’t associate his name with sheenigans and scandals that has an affinity for showbiz personalities. He is no Robin Padilla who runs away after a hit-and-run (and he calls Trillanes a coward). He is no Sotto who rapes and jokes. Dingdong is no Kat de Castro or Cesar Montano.

      Generally, I don’t like the idea of showbiz personalities just for the glamour to the team. But DD I think is different. He has political ambitions and he has been preparing himself. He has advocacies. Are you aware of his youth foundation? and other social work he has contributed?

  23. Micha says:


    Why the P100M+ plus Israel Trip was such a Washout.

    1. On western compatible helicopter based weapons system Israel is the only supplier left after the US, Canada, the UK and the whole EU closed their doors on Duterte because they were afraid that the weapons systems they’ll sell to him will be used against the civilian opposition.

    2. Israel also knew of his Pro-Hitler tendencies which was why they demanded of Duterte to make a significant appearance at their Holocaust Memorial, not only to nudge Duterte into an anti-fascist stance but more to record his anti fascist speech that they can use to ridicule him if he returns to his fascist tendencies.

    3. Israel allowed him to come merely as a gesture of goodwill in repayment for favours granted to them by President Quezon in 1940-1941; not because they like him now.

    4. Israel is the last country he hasn’t visited where a large population of OFWs reside.

    5. Because the Jewish media was unto his antics, they did not hold back printing anti Duterte stories which resulted in an almost empty venue when Duterte was supposed to meet Jewish Businessmen – and where Jewish civilians staged an Anti Duterte protest rally.

    6. The Duterte visit started on the wrong footing when the Jewish Media was barred from covering his meeting with Pinoy OFWs in Tel Aviv, From Day One it was already downhill.

    7. The $60 Million “promises of investments” his Cabinet signed in Israel was the smallest ever from his 37 foreign trips; and none was a concrete FDI commitment.

    8. No Government to Government weapons deal was ever signed.

    9. The Israeli flop contaminated the Jordan trip when all events planned for September 8, their last day WERE ALL CANCELLED. Jordan didn’t agree to procure helicopter based weapons systems for and in behalf of the Philippines – they just donated two (2) used H64 Attack Helicopters that they will refurbish before actual donation.

    10. And to top it all, his stay in Israel and in Jordan was eclipseded in the world news by what he triggered at home and niggardly ignored to fester on its own – the Trillanes Amnesty revocation proclamation – making him irresponsible in the eyes of the world at a time he tried to put his best foot forward. He lost in the world perception toss up, so he came home empty handed after spending the better part of some P150 Million in two foreign states – with nothing to show for – except elevating Senator Trillanes to unexpected heights in popularity.

    • Andres 2018. says:

      If the west never like him, he can go the east. Its time.

      • Micha says:

        Trouble is, most if not all of the military’s weapons and ammo systems are western compatible technologies.

        Could our military retrofit and China to fill in the role of supplying the hardware?

        • there’s also the military (and police) exchange programs, training/exercises, as well as access to American expertise. so with the hardware compatibility issues there’s software (very human to human, peer to peer) relationship/compatibility that needs to be overhauled also.

          it’s un-realistic. wishful thinking.

    • chemrock says:

      Micha, these negativities you see only in western press, not much is shown here. Of cos those of us who reads a bit more, we know better.

      The denial to western weaponries on fears of their mis-use against civilians is just a public excuse. As Duterte cozies up to China and Russia, Philippines will be locked out of western arms markets, at least for the latest technologies. They fear the Philippines being used as a surrogate purchaser and latest military technologies being stripped and shipped to the dragons and the bears.

      Of course we will hear plenty juvenile responses like hey if the west turn us away, let’s go east. Sure, nobody is stopping you. But as a buyer, I want the best that my money can get.

      • Micha says:

        Duterte cozying to China and Russia does not mean China and Russia is cozying up to Duterte. Leaders of both countries view him as a joke, a joker, a clown, and not much else.

        If it is indeed true that there is an undeclared arms embargo from the west, that should explain the trip to Jerusalem (pun) with 400 plus entourage of mostly military generals.

        • chemrock says:

          There are some who would give an arm or a leg to be in the Russian or Chinese company after Duterte has left the room. Just to hear those crank calls.

          If you have watched any Putin interview, I’m sure you agree he is not what the western press portrays him. He is an incredibly direct and intelligent fella. I can only imagine what he says of Duterte in private. The Chinese I’m not too sure — you know, save face nonsense craps.

    • edgar lores says:

      In the sense of the last sentence, the money may be said to be well spent.

    • sonny says:

      Thoroughly appreciate this update and summary, Micha. Thanks!

    • LG says:

      You ain’t kidding. The Prez can’t boast of the ‘little’ business he brought back from his trips to Isarel and Jordan. Broke even lang with expenses. The business men who tagged along must lament they came.

    • NHerrera says:


      In view of that listing of items in Israel by Ding Velasco, even if partly true only, my puzzle as to why Duterte timed his apology to Obama in Israel is no puzzle anymore. Those and considering that Israel is an ally of the US and one whose leaders do not suffer fools gladly makes the reason for the apology crystal clear to me. His trip in Jordan was not any more pleasant. No wonder he was in a foul mood on his return, with Trillanes caper obviously a snafu adding to the dark mood — reflected in his complexion lately.

      • NHerrera says:

        Also [no expert on diplomatic niceties here] but shouldn’t it be more proper and formal to make that apology via the US Ambassador to the Philippines or call Obama from the Philippines directly to make the apology? What is so urgent in having to make that apology in Israel?

      • Micha says:

        Yup, the apology was the giveaway he and his generals are quite desperate to get those arms contracts signed. Our genius mayor from Davao thinks he can foul-mouth America and its former president and brag that he could always pivot to China without much of a consequence.

        He and Trump might be best friend forever but the true power in the US – the deep state/steady state, the generals and CEOs of the military industrial complex are keeping score of his policy pronouncements and will respond accordingly.

        The keepers of America will not yield that superpower role to China just yet.

  24. Scoping errors all over the place..

    1) a certain remark of VP Leni, taken out of context and made into the headline by Manila Bulletin, was the topic for DAYS and mainly pushed by “yellows” – while real idiocies showing genuine contempt for the poor by Digong and his people were hardly given that much attention.

    1a) I mentioned that the criticism of one remark by VP Leni basically was acting as if she was an elitist who didn’t know how the poor suffer, negating years of real work for the poor.

    1b) I have also noticed nitpicking groups already pushing Trillanes-Sereno as a President/VP tandem. Fine if that doesn’t happen by diminishing VP Leni. Filipino intrigues can be awful.

    1c) Americans at least support their party’s candidate, even if their own loses the primaries.

    2) lots of Visayans got mad because Raissa made a comment about Duterte saying “stragol”. Feeling discriminated and all. After a day of watching it happen, I couldn’t help but respond:

    How much outrage is there when the Palace defends Duterte’s vulgarity as “Visayan subculture”?

    But I guess it takes more courage to face real scoundrels than to let stuff out on decent people.

    • Micha says:

      “…a certain remark of VP Leni, taken out of context and made into the headline by Manila Bulletin, was the topic for DAYS and mainly pushed by “yellows”

      That reminds me of a personal intuition I’ve been keeping that the Jesse Robredo helicopter crash was not really an accident. Maybe it’s just me watching so much Versailles and The Borgias on Netflix.

      Jesse is a natural leader and exudes charisma too. There were talks that he could become a presidential contender but he is not in the inner circle of established politicians.

      I have a close relative who was a colonel in the army and was due for promotion to a one star general. He drowned on a scuba diving exercise off the seas in Mindoro which, after internal investigation, was found to have been deliberately caused by sabotaging his diving equipment instigated by his rival for promotion.

    • Micha says:

      “1c) Americans at least support their party’s candidate, even if their own loses the primaries.”

      Not true. Many of Bernie Sanders supporters did not vote for Hillary in general election.

  25. Tweeto Wakatono says:

     LCpl_X (@LCpl_X) says:
    September 13, 2018 at 7:00 am

    hahahaha… i’m even more confused now than the first ‘lime’.
    popoy says:

    So Sorry. It is really my bad LCpl, I was stilted and circumlocutory. Thanks to Juana Piipinas who KISS( kept it short and simple) the unnoticeable : “The senator tried to get a reprieve from the Supreme Court but it threw out his petition seeking to nullify Duterte’s revocation of amnesty.”

    Hoping this clarifies the confusion . . .

    Non-lawyers and Non-intellectualizers could be wrong to believe, but the Supreme Court is a NO APPEALs Court, a court of last resort, a legislative (law making) court, a “THE BUCK STOPS HERE COURT”, an ultimate precedent-setting court, a dynamic court, etc. It should have known (LIKE Sereno) the case at bar INVOLVES thousands of patriotic soldiers and rebels who LATER (after being AMNESTIED) have done their country RIGHT) and should have been decided PRONTO.

    This is how I made it BAD and confusing to LCpl:

    September 13, 2018 at 1:47 am
    One student said she [the SC] may have no appeal, but she’s [the SC] a court of last resort of LAST REASON. Another student raised his San Miguel bottle for a toast and said: She’s [the SC] an intellectual, she could reason credibly, on any issue and appeared fair and just to every one of her fancy among the moralists snoozers. .

    Well, Juana P just KISSed it. But the riddler as usual was Gibberish.

  26. Tweeto Wakatono says:

    Tweeto? Nah, it’s popoy truly.

    IF i may throw my gibbers here before I recess to tackle health issues; I lately received an indeterminate death sentence (been in death row since May 11) which the Internet says (not to worry) will prolong my life, I will try to confuse MORE those already confused by my gibberish deductions (so unintellectualized like the recent Supreme Court decision) . So . . .

    Holocaust or conventional war, REGARDLESS, In case of a WWIII, I see US and the entire Free World viz. Canada. Mexico, Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Australia, RUSSIA, (yes RUSSIA) Israel, Japan, SOKOR, India and Pakistan, even Egypt and Saudi Arabia, on ONE SIDE. (ADD ’em population, Man! ) It’s THINKABLE, Filipino soldiers will share foxholes with soldiers of any of these countries.

    The countries NOT mentioned above might and LIKELY be fighting on the side of China.
    I might see larger concentration camps for peaceful aliens or those naturalized in those countries. WWIII therefore should not and LIKELY will and MUST NOT happen.

    The US press thirsting, drooling for the cold blood of Donald Trump (for the dinuguan impeachment delicacy) may have reported that he had caused the improbable meeting between WWI AND WWII mortal enemies Russia (Putin) and Germany (Merkel). Immediately after that meeting (with feedback perhaps??) Trump WENT full throttle ratcheting up Tariff on China may be up to $500 billion yearly?

    There is something in the air when: as was not done or happened before, when an elected president RIGHT AFTER being sworn in goes unprecedented army camp and police HQs visiting and courting, and who claims to be a stranger to statesmanship, the snoozers fail to get it, that the something in the air (like the song) is village craftmanship, not statesmanship.

    Dictatorships have ports of sail but NO horizons. The end of the road to any dictatorship is a RAVINE, of an abysmal depth that descendants of perpetrators continue paying even its psychic debts to its victims for many generations.

    I did write or insinuated here many months ago, the declaration of Martial Law will be something connected with thingy (ICC?) overseas but something could go wrong and could be postponed to another lime este TIME.

    Unsaid in the constitution, and cannot be sued occupants of high government positions, if they are lawyers, can the ordinary people initiate their DISBARMENT? Can the alleged scalawags be disbarred?

    TSoH being so ENRICHED by facts and WISDOM by and of world caring, democracy loving do gooders, I welcome and will be thankful as before any corrections to my postings, my senile-emergent deductions.

  27. Quaddie says:

    I’ve always thought that softness overcomes hardness. Maybe not in (Philippine) politics).

    Softness triumphs over hardness,
    Feebleness over strength.
    What is more malleable is always superior over that which is immoveable.
    This is the principle of controlling things by going along with them,
    …of mastery through adaptation.
    – Lao Tzu

    “When you pour water into a teapot, it becomes the teapot”
    – Bruce Lee
    “Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee”
    – Muhammed Ali
    “To be hard is easy. To be soft is hard”
    – Martial proverb
    “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far”
    – Proverb

    • Quaddie, please repost this comment in next Monday’s blog discussion when I discuss the myth of Leni Robredo being ‘soft’.

    • “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far” – Proverb

      “Speak loudly and have a small dick – your name is Robin Padilla” – Rosanna Roces

      Osang knows: a loud robin is not always the best of birds” – Ornithological truth

    • edgar lores says:

      Love the Bruce Lee quote.

      It takes a while to sink in.

      For me, it takes on three levels:

      1. That soft water takes on the shape of its hard container. (This is the literal meaning.)
      2. That water, which is essential to life, can be combined with other elements to enhance life. (This is a figurative meaning for the significance of water.)
      3. That the teapot is a utilitarian vessel — that is, VP Robredo — in which the spiritual essence — that is, water — offers service to life. (This is a figurative meaning for the significance of the teapot.)

      • popoy says:

        When softness didn’t find its way to the bible:

        Three nuns died of old age and went to heaven and was met at the Pearly gates by no less than St. Peter. They were told they can be in heaven forever if each of them can answer correctly just one question. St. Peter asked the first nun: what are names of the first man and woman created by God? The nun answered: Adam and Eve. Correct, St. Peter said happily.

        He then asked he second nun: Where did Adam and Eve first lived? In Paradise and St Peter was happy to say Correct.

        The third nun looking the youngest of the three was asked: What did Eve said to Adam while they were eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge? the youngest nun looked lost and puzzled and scared. St. Peter said, C’mon tell me, there’s nothing to be afraid or ashamed of. and the nun still puzzled, not knowing the answer whispered: IT IS HARD. And St. Peter gleefully shouted: Correct. Thus it came to pass that the three nuns led by St. Peter happily entered the gate of heaven. And thus the Bible failed to mention that hardness instead of softness is Christianity’s best weapon against temptation and evil.

    • sonny says:

      “Speak softly and carry a big stick; …”

      Usually attributed to Teddy Roosevelt.

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 )

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.

%d bloggers like this: