“President Duterte is the symptom, he is not the cause.”

Two symptoms. [Photo source: UNTV News]

By JoeAm

This idea was expressed by the always eloquent Barak Obama in the US as he talked about the Trump presidency and the way thinking and politics in the US has deteriorated into bitter, hostile, and divisive argument.

Politics has degraded into win/lose battles and mistrust of people who look different and think differently than we do. Americans started losing their grasp of founding principles some time ago, and President Trump is what the animosity and partisanship produced. He is not the cause of it.

That is very much true in the Philippines, too, is it not? President Duterte did not invent a voting mindset that values an emotional connection to power rather than an intellectual connection to the qualifications of candidates. Duterte did not invent the culture of self-dealing that is so pronounced here. It’s been here since Aguinaldo established himself as dictator in 1898.

I mean, if you consider it, the majority in both houses of the legislature, and the Supreme Court, buy into this culture, don’t they? They either support bad dealings, including thousands of killings outside of due process, or stand silent about the most outrageous offenses to the Constitution and our sense of order, dignity, and justice. Why? Because it might hurt their standing in the eyes of a very loud and brutal president, and in the eyes of a population that seems to need that brutality to get even with the injustices they live every day.

“I was pondering the dynamic nation that the Philippines has not become under President Duterte. Filipinos threatening Filipinos, China in PH seas, poor people with fewer jobs and higher prices, allies reacting in disgust, blood in the streets, people satisfied . . .” [JA, Twitter, 9/11/18]

People satisfied . . . The cause of Filipino self-punishment is that voters are satisfied with giving their lives to powerful people who are not thinking about the well-being of those voters.

There is not yet a fix because self-dealing leaders choose not to SHOW that population the way to order, dignity, and justice, but choose instead to subjugate themselves to the opposite: disorder, indignity, and injustice.

And the riches that come with loyalty.

That is the real cause of all this, is it not? Greed? And the ease with which riches can be acquired by the cheaters?

I think so. Greed which has people thinking of themselves first, their family next, their God, their community, and their nation somewhere far down the pecking order.

But change is in the wind. It’s the circle of life, neh? Disney gets it. Filipinos will, too.

Filipinos can only treat themselves well . . . and their families, their God, and their community . . . if they have a strong nation.

The Philippines is not that, and people are hurting. And it can’t continue this way.

The nation is beginning the inevitable collapse into economic pain, judicial tyranny, and legislative paralysis. It has to happen, as wise contributor Andrew Lim wrote two years ago: “Duterte won’t be able to govern at all

Contributor Irineo B. R. Salazar wrote: “Does the majority really think the Philippines is meant to be ruled by impunity, by face and power, and by rent-seekers forever?” [“Quo warranto et ab initio in saeculo saeculorum“]

The unrest is moving fast. High prices, rice shortage, fish shortage, corruption and favoritism everywhere, brutality everywhere. Investors shy away. Businessmen express concern. Legislators pass a tax law that shifts the burdens to the poor, in the form of higher taxes.

They were warned, but did not listen.

How do the ever-ready turncoats read these changing tea leaves? It seems many congressmen and women have attached to Gloria Arroyo . . . but Filipinos possibly have not. They ended up not liking her much, and I don’t know if that has changed or not.

The core of the argument for order, dignity, and justice currently rests on the shoulders, hearts, and lips of six senators: Trillanes, Hontiveros, Pangilinan, Drilon, De Lima, and Aquino. And Vice President Robredo. Are they destined to be heroes, or pall bearers?

And then we have the ill-defined senators, most of whom call themselves majority but never really speak up for the President or anything else of principle: Lacson, Angara, Ejercito, Poe, Binay, Recto, Legarda, Honasan, Villanueva, Zubiri, Gatchalian, and Escudero . . . how do they read the tea-leaves? Oh, we know Sotto, Gordon, Pimentel, Villar, and Pacquiao are tight with Duterte. But the others have to be looking at the growing public unrest, collapse of the nation’s economic vibrancy, the intrusion of China into the Philippines through occupation of the Philippine EEZ, drug smuggling, debt trap, and political meddling, the enduring corruption and incompetence of government agencies, and the killings, the killings, the killings.

They can read surveys. They know the tide is turning. Poe knows she is losing ground to Robredo and Trillanes in the unstated battle for the peoples’ presidential affection.

Some of the recent rash acts of the Duterte totalitarian machine have tested the senators and increased the strength of the Senate as an institution. It has strengthened the bond among senators. Impeachment of Sereno. Federalism. The Trillanes amnesty case. The senators stood as an institution, not a subordinate body or a batch of riff-raff self-dealers.

The Supreme Court seems lost to Constitutional integrity. One can only await their decisions to see if the judges submit to Executive authority rather than work as an independent Court that has a national conscience and a true commitment to justice. Are they distinguished or are they diseased?

Who are the teachers in the Philippines, I wonder?

Who are the leaders who can explain to an emotional people the importance of taking care of themselves better? Who can teach them to vote for competence instead of entertainment?

Who are the doctors?


219 Responses to ““President Duterte is the symptom, he is not the cause.””

    Sorry for yelling. My first yelp of joy in a long while.

    Should we thank Mocha, Drew and GMA for killing it?

    Calling Rappler and Vera Files. Please fact check before I pop the cork off my special occasion beverage.

    Rep. Nograles said that the federalism proposal is dead. Any discussion about it is academic. #Meetlnquirer pic.twitter.com/rKVpY6yPJs— MinerG (@MinerINQ) September 13, 2018


    • karlgarcia says:

      Oh no,PM GMA?!

      • Juana Pilipinas says:

        Who is pushing for a Parliamentary form? I would like to read about how they intend to do that. They can’t really talk about RevGov because that is oxymoron coming from the incumbents. What other way than ML and plebiscite are there to achieve the change?

    • andrewlim8 says:

      I have the impression that a huge bloc of Duterte allies in GMA’s camp is not supportive of federalism . So is the business sector, the academe (economists) and civil society.

      There’s a wonderful study by Fabella et al how federalism has led to greater inequality and poverty incidence in other countries.


      The only ones left are the Davao-Mindanaoan-PDP-Laban bloc.

      • I do not think PH is ready for federalism. There are just too many factors that are not compatible to its implementation at this time. Maybe it is a blessing in disguise that the HOR leadership changed in the nick of time.

        Thanks for the link. It is a great read.

        I would be surprised if PDP-Laban remains strong in the 2019 midterm election. I think Sara’s Hugpong will go nationwide and will decimate it. Pimentel and Alvarez will be left with a ghost ship. The real battle for senatorial seats will be between Hugpong and the united opposition party.

    • Andres 2018. says:

      If Federalism will not push through, another option is the Parliamentary System.

  2. karlgarcia says:

    Who will be the caretaker of joeam.com, when we are all gone?
    Is Joe Jr. interested?
    So many lessons to go back to.

  3. Bill In Oz says:

    In July 2018 Scribe Publishing in Melbourne Australia, published a biography of Duterte.It’s called “Duterte Harry: Fire & Fury in the Philippines” by Jonathan Miller.pp 339. Miller has lived in SEA for 25 years and has been a foreign affairs reporter with London based Channel 4 News.

    No doubt a little out of date in the fast moving Philippines political world.But a well written outline of the ‘Deeds of Dutters’ up to about March 2018.

    • Bill In Oz says:

      A link to a short talk by Jonathon Miller :
      “Duterte Harry has come to encapsulate what populist authoritarianism can look like at its very worst, at its most violent – and at its most insidious. Duterte has pulled it off without the trappings of dictators past. There are no massed ranks of jack-booted soldiers goose-stepping down Roxas Boulevard in Manila. He has conned a nation of 100-million people into thinking he’s a breath of fresh air, a saviour come to clean out the cobwebs of elitism and corruption and to rid the Philippines of drugs and crime. He’s done the opposite and he’s done it by stealth. “

      • Bill In Oz says:

        I found myself perplexed but nodding in agreement as I read this article.

        I am happily married to my lovely Filipina still after 3 years together..My lady is apolitical. But when I got this book in the mail we discussed Duterte for a while. She is now a Duterte supporter even though in 2016 she voted for Poe and Leni Robredo.

        This book made no difference to her. She believes only what she sees on Filipino TV via Youtube. Which only shows Dutters propaganda. I suspect until a member of her own family is killed or seriously injured by Dutter’s thugs she will stay that way.

        • Does she know of Rappler? Why does she only use social media and not internet? Curious. I’m pondering a blog to the point.

          • Bill In Oz says:

            Joe She now has exclusive use of her own lap top and Ipad as mobile phone..And yes she uses exclusively social media..Books rarely – they are for studying only I feel. Her mum in Naga has a big influence and she has been a Duterte supporter since 2015…Even though she also voted for Leni as a fellow Bicolana.

          • Most Filipinos are not very deeply literate, more on visual than written.

            Not very abstract either, prefer to be “spoken” to personally by radio or podcast.

            The culture of the bayan, the nation with the soul of a village, banwa in Bisayan.

            Many English concepts merely learned by rote, not genuinely understood.

            A culture that discourages inquiry and shames mistakes further blocks learning.

            • Bill In Oz says:

              Thanks Irineo..

            • Yes, that makes sense. But it almost seems like there is also an attachment to what I will call “anti-news” or “dirty-news” or “strong-people’s news”, so a person like Mocha Uson would be popular but PinoyAko less so. It is attractive because it is confrontational and not a part of the establishment. Hippy news, but with no free love, just free hate.

        • chemrock says:

          I have a similar situation. My wife and her entire family and I suspect the whole clan in Cavite, with only one exception that I know, the youngest brother, are all pro Duts and Marcos. They are all highly educated with pretty high level jobs, living in gated village. Higher middle class types. Don’t get me wrong, character wise, they are absolutely good people, which makes it more perplexing.

          Duts and Marcos are the only 2 issues we quarrel on — and of course the other side of the coin too — Aquino, Leni, Mar. I gave up and never talk politics. I did ask once, pray tell me, why is it despite everything you have read, why still for Marcos n Duts. The reply? – Oh you don’t know the reality. People are safe now. What of the 20K ejk’ed? Well you don’t know these guys are so dangerous? But what if some are innocent — the kids and babies? No answer. And of Marcos the reply was Ah you don’t know. My mom saw it all. She said this and she said that. My you momsie was a housewife, practically no worldviews type. Hey your husband actually handled bank transfers to all those Marcos loans and have colelagues who attended those Imelda functions and seen up close and personal all those dirty tricks — don’t mean a difference man.

          I am beyond perplexed Bill !!! I think the people have been so traumatised by the centuries of poor and corrupt leadership and governance they just want to cling to something they believed in and just refuse to see or search for truth.

          • Bill In Oz says:

            It reminds me of ‘barracking’ for a football club. Club supporters are completely one eyed about their team. They can do no evil even if the evidence says different.

            I suspect this is something very innately human..

            And it is the other perspective ( lets check the evidence ) which is ‘learned’

            • Juana Pilipinas says:

              Hubby and I mostly see eye to eye when it comes to social and political issues. My inner circle is likewise civil and affable and pretty much sings the same tune. We argue mostly about details and technicalities.

          • edgar lores says:

            As we are confessing, there too in my family are “renegades.”

            Part of the answer may be in that response: “Oh you don’t know the reality.”

            There is an alternative reality — the real reality — that we are not aware of because of our darn abstractions.

            We can see with our heart (emotions, which are concrete) or with our mind (ideas, which are fantasies).

            Bill is on the right track. Emotions are “innately human.” Ideas are “learned.”

            Which goes to show that emotions may be false. I mean the emotions are real but may nevertheless be false.

            And so can ideas. I mean ideas are not real but may nevertheless be true.

            • how do we parse reality? How would we parse reality if we were remote controlling a robot on Mars, with certain sensors? Beyond immediate reality we see, hear, touch, smell, taste – we have what we are told by people, writings, pictures, videos – how do we sift and sort it?

              • edgar lores says:

                It’s hard.

                I used the term “Good Thawt” to signify the harmony between heart and mind.

                I later changed this to Intelligence — to use an existing term. This is the fusion of heart (emotions) and mind (ideas).

                I broke this down in my 5-tier model before.

                1. What is the truth here?
                2. What does my intuition (heart) say?
                3. What does my reason (mind) say?
                4. What is the fusion, the product of heart and mind? This is intelligence.
                5. Implementation. This step is optional.

                Step 2 is relatively easy because it is based on conditioning. It is usually automatic… unless one is conflicted… such as being caught between two loves.

                Step 3 is hard because logic is hard and because of psychological blocks (defense mechanisms). This step involves categorization, scoping, and reasoning.

                Filipinos usually do not proceed to step 3, which is the manipulation of abstract concepts. Or if they do at all, it is to find reasons to justify what the heart says.

                (Joe Am has good practice here in step 3 as he has to rotate his views as he considers different angles. [You provide history, Chemrock provides economics, NHerrera provides math and strategy, Karl provides web input, the gentlemen provide personal inputs, the ladies provide intuition, LCpl_X provides off-tangents, trolls provide balance, and I provide logic (?).] That is why he gets a crick in the neck.)

                But even Intelligence, step 4, has to be reviewed as new input arrives.

                Finally, it may be that even Intelligence is stymied… because there is not enough input, or because it hits the wall of faith, or because reasoning cannot cope.

                It is especially difficult if intelligence arrives at something that is not “commonly” accepted.

              • Step 3 as Joe does it is typical managerial work. You have to put together data from different sources, weigh which aspects you consider more and which you consider less – even considering your own knowledge of the biases of your sources of information.

                To get a panoramic picture of how things are presently in Munich’s No. 1 trouble spot since some years, the area around the train station, Step 3 would involve weighing what social workers say differently from what policemen say, for example, as both have their biases.

                As I already mentioned, the major Filipino weakness is thinking their own view of reality is THE korek en onli view. Everything somewhat bigger than one’s own personal sphere is an approximation of reality, a mental model that can be revised based on new data or needs.

              • popoy says:

                Still in the pipeline: For book I vol 2; are these thoughts
                mere arbolario anatomy which a village quack uses to
                calm remote barangay hot heads?

                1 My Energy My Engine
                The heart is energy
                the mind is the engine
                of love and hate
                of brilliance and idiocy
                of peace and turmoil
                of flowers and dynamites
                of life.

                I listen to my old body
                to hear and feel
                the arrhythmias
                as blood like fuel weakly
                climbs up to my brain
                the apex of my mind
                the last to say like God
                whether I live or die.
                -September 30, 2017

                2 GRAINS OF THOUGHTS

                Grains of thoughts everybody have it
                Like a flash of lightning sans thunder
                Micro photos of instant memory
                Fleeting particles of brilliance
                Or tragic elements of stupidity
                Current or distant memory
                Lodged in the neurons of the brain.

                I must write them down lest
                They are lost forever
                Never to return till next life time.
                -June 3, 2014

            • Wow, that last line rocks! Mind bender.

            • Bill In Oz says:

              Edgar I suspect you mean to say that the emotions are real but that hey are not reflecting a factual situation but are responding to fake facts…

              This is obvious in another context with another Filipina we know : she is fascinated by short video snippets of dogs doing incredibly difficult & clever things. A dog doing Irish dancing in step with a young woman comes to mind…These snippets she sees as clever & amusing and worth watching again & again. Whereas I tend to immediately see them as fake and thus not worthy of my attention….

              • edgar lores says:

                Yes, Bill.

                I would say emotions are real and people are responding to the “facts” as they see them.

                From their viewpoint, the facts are not fake.

                From our viewpoint, we interpret the facts differently.

                The difference in the interpretation of facts is in the criteria used.

                o “EJKs in the Drug War are justified because they make me and my neighbors feel safe.” The criterion is immediate security.

                o “EJKs in the Drug War are unjustified because they violate due process which holds that life and human rights are sacred. EJKs make me feel unsafe because I could be killed as collateral damage. Moreover, since there is no due process, no rule of law, the lawless government may, in the long run, imprison or kill me because I hold a different opinion.” The criteria are certain civilized values and long-term security.

                In both interpretations, the concern is law and order. In both interpretations, the fact of EJKs is true and not fake. But in the first interpretation, emotion is predominant. In the second, emotion and ideas are balanced.

                It is deep thinking, looking beyond the immediate, that makes the difference in the interpretations.

              • popoy says:

                Commissioned to do a study job there during the late 70s, in PADAP I &II (Phil-Australia Dev Programme) in Pagadian City, I heard that local maidens got married to 28 Aussie expats who worked in the foreign assisted project. Not surprised though because in the days of yore Zamboangenyas are known for their beauty and speak Chabacano. These maidens would have produced by now a good number of productive, and worthy Australian citizens.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Chem, I wanted to ask you a long time ago, since you mentioned that your wife’s family is pro-Marcos, have they read all your blogs?

            I have lots of relatives,friends,aquantances,etc who are pro-Duterte.

            Maybe half of my batch mates, I interact almost daily thru viber and fb are pro-Duterte.
            Some of them have positions in the Duterte Government like one is a USec in PCOO,some are congressmen,one is a governor,etc.
            I just don’t talk about politics..
            About that PCOO USec whom I have not seen for decades,called me and shook my hand the instant he saw me in our reunion.(I said to my self, gulp, he must have been monitoring TSH).
            I have already mentioned that I have relatives living in Davao, I have a relative there who’s father was close to Cory Aquino, Noynoy even called him Tito Chito, her family is solid as a rock, Duterte, my dear aunties(sisters of my mom), cousins( some first cousins of Jim Paredes) are Duterte supporters and I would not even call them names like gullible or I will also have the “You don’t know or you don’t understand” treatment.

            In my father side. I have a former DOJ sec distant relative, I only knew we were that close a few months ago when my dad said they had the same grandparents.

            In short, truth and reality is really perplexing.

            • chemrock says:

              They have seen some of the blogs but I’m not sure if they read them. I doubt it. They never talk politics. They cherish peace and tranquility and avoid any discussion. Actually, a prevailing non- interest in politics. My wife reads when she comes across my post. Her comment always ” MY God dear, why must you write about that”.

              For the sake of avoiding unnecessary friction, I avoid the subject as far as I can.

              Gosh just looking and yours and mine, where the folks are pretty intelligent ones, and the level of independent and critical thinking ought to be high, the problem is really very deep. When Truth stares in the face and one still doe’st want to believe, I don’t know what can be done.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                Curious Chemrock..politics here in Oz has been too exciting the past few months..And I have been closely involved with our local member of parliament’s re-election in a by-election. ( Google Rebekha Sharkie ) And our PM was recently booted out by right wing insurgent extremists in his own party.

                Throughout all this, my interest and involvement has drawn no interest from my lady. In fact you took he words out of her mouth ” ” My God dear, why must you write about all that”. And yes lack of interest in being informed about Oz politics…

                How curious !

              • karlgarcia says:

                Yes, I don’t know what can be done either.

              • chemrock says:

                If crime breeds in the slums of barangays, apathy breeds in the gated middle class.

                There are many who hate politics. Who say what can I do. It’s always the same whoever is voted in. All politicians are the same. My one vote makes no difference. And so they live in delirious ignorance and wonder why the cost of living is going up, why buses don’t work, why passports are difficult to obtain, why marriage annulments are almost impossible to obtain, why rice is so expensive.They don’t understand the connection.

              • I think Filipino middle-class apathy is similar to lower-class apathy – a product of a long and heavy period of colonial rule especially the Spanish time. Add to that the consumerism fostered by American influence and you have a very strange mix. Active citizenship never really took root that strongly, the authoritarian aspect of the culture has deep roots, except as showing one is democratic – somewhat like the overt show of Christianity over there.

                Apathetic consumers are excellent employees (without much drive towards career, as Joe has already noted) and of course consumers who think you can BUY everything – a life in a cozy subdivision, a private school for the kids – and are frustrated by public stuff not working IN THE PHILIPPINES. Those abroad see public stuff work but as consumers just don’t care HOW the machinery behind everything works, that is the kind of stuff tinkerers like Irineo like to observe and write about.Those at home complain and don’t get the complexity of stuff.

              • karlgarcia says:

                If I do not know Irineo, I would say he writes like GRP, full of self punishment, as I have stated time and again.

              • The difficulty arises when someone has thought and thought about the way things are in the Philippines, and the self-punishment that Filipinos engage in, then one only has to describe what is going on and it sounds elitist or discriminating and, if one is Filipino, self-punishing, and if one is not Filipino, racist. But it is only people talking about the futility of what they see. It is neither self-punishing nor racist. It is hard to write uplifting things if you can’t see it. That’s my guess on it.

              • karlgarcia says:

                I guess that you are right.

      • Juana Pilipinas says:

        Bold and succinct characterization of PRD. Thank you for sharing.

        As Joe said, there are signs that the tide is turning. A lot of subtle forces are stymieing his moves but his undoing may be brought by the sputtering economy.

        “The unwelcome rise in inflation is but the tip of an iceberg. Other shocks, from a speculative attack on the peso to double-digit interest rates, await the economy if the structural weaknesses of the economy remain unaddressed. Time for the administration to go off its high horses, remove its air of arrogance and hubris, and buckle down to work. Otherwise, it will keep breaking records in terms of inflation rate, decline in the peso, and loss of business confidence.”


        • Bill In Oz says:

          Juana, Australia is running a balance of trade surplus.Yet the Aussie dollar has depreciated from buying US 0.79 cents to just US 0.71 cents today… That is leading to a sort of boom as our ‘exports’ get cheaper….I imagine the same will happen in the Philippines…Although imported goods will become more expensive including rice.

          • I agree that there are external influences, Bill but most of the structural weaknesses of PH economy were brought about by the new tax reform and bureaucratic incompetence. PRD supposedly appointed the best and the brightest in his cabinet. So far, there are more misses than hits coming from most of them.

    • “[You provide history, Chemrock provides economics, NHerrera provides math and strategy, Karl provides web input, the gentlemen provide personal inputs, the ladies provide intuition, LCpl_X provides off-tangents, trolls provide balance, and I provide logic (?).] “

      Here’s another off-tangent from the previous thread, relevant (or made relevant here 😉 for this particular thread),

      Most of Bruce Lee’s aphorisms and maxims he actually wrote down in a book, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tao_of_Jeet_Kune_Do .

      When read as is, it’s pretty unoriginal, sayings from Buddhism, Taoism, etc. But he studied dramatic arts & philosophy at the University of Washington (Seattle), so he’s able to mixed Eastern & Western philosophy, making his view of Eastern thoughts unique. The beauty of Bruce Lee’s books and interviews is that everything he wrote and said , was fully expressed physically, nothing theoretical (this is where dramatic arts and martial arts converge).

      And it was expressed rather uniquely (you’ll never see anyone move like Bruce Lee again).

      So his teapot and water quote (although a much older saying) was specific to how he viewed martial arts, ie. have your own style by not having one, constant evolution. But more generally, it’s about having a formless mind, nothing rigid or dogmatic but open to all forms the mind comes across. But a more specific quality of water was favored, still related to the teapot but as part of the water cycle, and that is water’s preference for the path of least resistance.

      So to chemp‘s and Bill‘s dismay re their wives & Filipino families. A pond, or a mere puddle, or even a enclosed large lake (see Walker Lake, Salt Lake, Salton Sea/man made) where water is stale. I posit a Filipino’s mind is like water in a teapot (or maybe in a Tanduay or San Miguel bottle), but unlike Bruce Lee’s the Filipino mind just stays still in one container, or festers like puddle, and is content as stale.

      A stale mind.

      I would like to add also that what makes a river or steam run is gravity, it’s actually headed somewhere, trajectory.

  4. canadadry says:

    The heady events of the past weeks….

    When the House made Duterte wait for 2 hours until they fixed Arroyo’s position as Speaker, this got me to observed that what was unthinkable six weeks before Duterte SONA happened before our very eyes. Nobody makes a move without the President knowing and here it was , they even made him wait. Six weeks from the President SONA nobody dares touch Alvarez belt, but here he was six weeks after. not only was his belt removed, Panty became “panty less”. Then came Duterte gracing and joining Sara Du30’s party, I asked ano na, what happened to PDP Laban? The once impregnable party overnight became a paper tiger?

    Next thing I know, I’m hearing Duterte asking forgiveness from Obama in Israel! What?!! In the land of God, the guy who called God stupid asking forgiveness from Obama? Then we see images of a very deathlike appearance of Digong, na mukhang galing sa kabaong and the other day he was seen wearing two types of mismatched shoes, one boots and one low cut. Is one foot swollen that bad?

    When Arroyo made a move for Speakership with Sara Du30 fast tracking her Party and Duterte uttered he’s content in leaving the country to Sara, (what,no more Bongbong?) could Trillanes had a foreboding that indeed Duterte’s time is near at hand? Could Calida’s move to arrest Trillanes be a panic move before any records be revealed of his blatant corrupt practices by Trillanes?

    What I find most interesting is Senator Sotto’s move of protecting Trillanes. As the senator closest to Duterte and Senate President at that, he could have just stepped aside and allowed Trillanes’ arrest, why didn’t he? Another surprising development was when the affected lower courts not issue the alias arrest warrant, why didn’t they when normally any Judge scared of “matokhang” would give in to Duterte’s whim. Another surprise is the Supreme Court, why didn’t they allow the arrest, their move only lengthened the controversy knowing everyday Trillanes is free, the weaker the government position becomes in the eyes of the world?

    Strange as it may seem, I’m sensing hope.. but then again, what’s happening to our country, General, (as quoted from Pelaez)?

    • edgar lores says:

      Events are zigzagging and, as noted, there are surprises.

      It’s like we are traveling on a bumpy mountain road on a rickety bus. The view is exciting and even spectacular. But the driver is old. He keeps talking and doesn’t seem to be concentrating on the road. And we are just inches away from the precipice.

      • I once rode on a bus in Los Angeles heading into gangland. The driver was a very nervous mousy guy who was bopping in his seat to some unknown beat in his head, and every once in a while would spring up to his feet and whack the ceiling of the bus with his hand, really hard, and loud, then go back to bopping. Until the next time he shot up and whacked the ceiling. The riders were very very well behaved. That’s our driver.

  5. andrewlim8 says:

    Joe/regulars of the Society of Honor:

    This is my manifesto for economics and politics. It is the antithesis of everything DU30, Trump, pro-Brexit, racism, economic nationalism, etc.


    It is under siege; the excesses of capitalism, the complacency after decades of success have undermined it. But I am confident that in the coming years of upheaval, chaos, pain and suffering people will find their way back to it.

    But people need to suffer first before they realize that they have been had.

    Here’s another article on how Facebook was used to fool millions of gullible Filipinos:


    Question is, are there enough Filipinos who have the capability to learn and remember from their mistakes?

  6. caliphman says:

    Joe, thanks for starting this wake up call to Filipino carabaos. Its not about Duterte, for if not him, it would have been or will be someone else. Is the carabao hide now so thick it is impervious to the lash of the tyrants whip or the spurs of the few unwilling to bear his yoke? Its about all about you. Wake up, you are our only hope.

  7. popoy says:

    If I may gibber, this piece by TSoH is not about the Filipino people I know but about the UNFILIPINO people which may be about only 12% of the population. As an aggie extension worker who tried to adhere to the Ho Chi Minh credo with the poor people, I have been there, done that and all else. This is about the kind of people proportionately, slightly larger than those who perished in the French Revolution.Take a city, a province, a municipality, an ENTIRE Barangay to see what I mean. How many of the inhabitants should have their blood flood the streets. Not much for sure. Count even those living in gated villages.

    If twenty (20) percent are nominated to the guillotine, may be eight (8) percent should be spared. What happened to France is clarion to France’s here and now. There could be one cause arising from many symptoms. Eliminating the cause does not eliminate all the symptoms.

    In the days of the Founding Fathers of America, there arose a learned honorable group that lived by CORRECTLY in moderation by what they call the FOUR APPETITES OF MAN, namely; The stomach appetite, the sex appetite, the religious appetite and the greed appetite. These were of no dangerous use to the masses of the poor population but of greater liable to the abuses of the elite by wealth and power. Among the high and mighty these appetites have no symptoms but a way of life. Among the downtrodden these appetites come only in moderation. But circa what is the Filipino, and circa what created the UNFILIPINO?

    • caliphman says:

      I think you are missing my and pethaps Joe’s point. Its addressef to Filipino carabaos, those electef him, those eho continue to support him, and those who stay on the sidelines while the country is headed to cataclysmuc convulsions. Last I heard, that covers most Filipinos.

      • popoy says:

        I think you missed entirely my gibber, Mr. Caliphman. I said FILIPINOS I know, who showed the world EDSA, said to have inspired many an Arab Spring. The bus taurus philippinensis which is a ruminant should not be insulted to be called the UNFILIPINOS. Snoozers’ wives buy and eat their meat as beef because they cannot distinguish carabeef from real beef. Compare the POPULATION of bus taurus with bus bovinus and contemplate if karne sold in public markets are real beef. During Martial Law a cabinet member whose son is now a senator was rumored to be importing cattle from Australia for the wife of a high official. PALM corned beef taste classy and is more expensive than Purefoods corned beef.

        My beef here is that rana vitigera is edible and a delicacy in Bulacan but bufo marinus is suspected poisonous. The FILIPINOS I know is wrong to be afraid of another EDSA. It was a bloodless dud by its outcome but it wasn’t as bloody as consequent Arab Springs, it was bambusa glosecence (wrong spelling eh) bending with the strongest winds as was said by CPR (one time Pinoy UN Gen Assembly President). It should be the UNFILIPINOS who should be afraid of a cataclysmic upheaval (French Rev Style) but that will not happen even if they are the family dynasties of old history. I told my Ilocano co-mentor friend: Sige kayo, clueless kayo, baka maTacloban kayo. Old history says something about how nature took good (bad) care to wipe out family dynasties in the Orient.

        This gibberish post of course has nothing to do with Ompong, a force majure now raging, postponing school classes for three? days. As a warning the UNFILIPINOS may have more of Ompong of increasing destructiveness in the future. Was it Ondoy before or during PNoy’s term? I should look for it in my essays old file. Could be posted here.

        • caliphman says:

          NM. Have s good day.

          • popoy says:

            haa, hah, hah Hah. Are you UNFILIPINO Mr. Caliphman? Your avatar looks it. Ompong could break precedent to the benefit of the FILIPINO.

            • popoy says:

              Let me clarify, the FILIPINO I have in mind ever since is a farmer, a fisherman, a lumad and al indigenous first Filipino, a sikyu, a jeepney driver and his starter, a barber, a carpenter, an OFW, Noyspi annually affected and endangered by typhoons, LRT and MRT commuter, those who eat pagpag and pangat, apolitical entertainers, etc. etc. If my thingy is taxonomy, that could be my bias and prejudice, a part of my miseducation in the natural sciences. etcumspiritutuo, asalamolaikum to all FILIPINO.

  8. Filipinos will often distrust institutions because they have seen them as hostile. Not us who are fortunate to have had access to those who run institutions, understand their language and more. Those who “outside the walls”, those who always were in risk of police brutality and long jail time.

    A powerful patron does wonders for such people. Being on their good side is a form of insurance. Guarantees in traditional Filipino culture are personal, not institutional. Filipinos abroad often flock around weird leaders until they learn the ropes. That you don’t need “pull” just follow the rules.

    Some real institutions were already being born, in theory they were there but were still “tribes”. Duterte was and is a backlash to 1521. Hope more wake up, realize it is almost 500 years later.

    • Addition: most Filipino “institutions” were originally for the benefit of those inside them. What Americans and idealistic bosses said or asked to swear was mainly parroted.

      Circumventing institutions for the people (or one’s folks) often was illegal but admired.

      • popoy says:

        INSTITUTIONS have many facets, angles and perspective. Institution building was the primary concept applied by the study leader when PADAP (Philippines-Australia Development Assistance Programme) in Zambo Del Sur commissioned UP Col of Public Adm to make the Institutionalization study of the Project in the late seventies. IB (INSTITUTION BUILDING) model tackled by Milton Esman became the main guide post. The report articlelized was published in PJPA. In any IB endeavour, LEADERSHIP appeared to be a paramount variable.

        • From the outside, an institution must be to a citizen like a computer system to it’s users: predictable and reliable. If possible even service-oriented and user-friendly.

          Philippine institutions are either unpredictable (OK, if you say it they are based on personal “pull” or palakasan and perceived allegiance instead of enforcing rule, then they are very predictable) or unreliable – OK maybe reliable if you pay bribes to make stuff happen faster.

        • popoy says:

          If I remember right (most likely than recent memory) the generic meaning and usage of the word institution is insane asylum and prison which the Philippines have in situ neither in plenitude or scarcity.

          • UP is an institution, so is the Senate. Duterte is demolishing institutions.

            Do Filipinos prefer a madman they know to many madhouses, by that logic?

            • popoy says:

              Oh My God
              How can cynicism
              do this ? How can
              it corrupt reality
              to the depths of
              senile incivility
              that one must perforce
              seek apology:

              “From the outside, an institution [insane asylum or prison] must be to a citizen like a computer system to it’s users: predictable and reliable. If possible even service-oriented and user-friendly.

              Philippine institutions [insane asylum or prison] are either unpredictable (OK, if you say it they are based on personal “pull” or palakasan and perceived allegiance instead of enforcing rule, then they are very predictable) or unreliable – OK [insane asylum or prison] maybe reliable if you pay bribes to make stuff happen faster.”

              Blame the generic common usage of INSTITUTIONS.

              • https://www.dictionary.com/browse/institution

                1. an organization, establishment, foundation, society, or the like, devoted to the promotion of a particular cause or program, especially one of a public, educational, or charitable character:
                This college is the best institution of its kind.

                2. the building devoted to such work.

                3. a public or private place for the care or confinement of inmates, especially mental patients or other persons with physical or mental disabilities.

                Two examples:

                A. Duterte works in Malacanan. Malacanan is an institution. Which definition applies?

                B. Trillanes lives in the Senate. The Senate is an institution. Which definition applies?

                (lightbulb) B. could be a good defense. Why arrest Trillanes? He already IS in an institution!

          • popoy says:

            IF being naughty is a childish excuse, as octogenarian, I apologize to IBRS.

            “Addition: most Filipino “institutions” were originally for the benefit of those inside them.”
            [insane asylum and prison]; “Filipinos will often distrust institutions because they have seen them as hostile.” [insane asylum and prison].

            addendum to PADAP comment above: SMEC (Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation) of Australia seemed to have accepted the IB study report. Author and wife while in Melbourne were invited and given free passage and tour of Canberra, Cooma and Snowy Mountains and Sydney in NSW.

            • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilization_and_Its_Discontents by Freud:

              Many of humankind’s primitive instincts (for example, the desire to kill and the insatiable craving for sexual gratification) are clearly harmful to the well-being of a human community. As a result, civilization creates laws that prohibit killing, rape, and adultery, and it implements severe punishments if these rules are broken. Thus our possibilities for happiness are restricted by the law. This process, argues Freud, is an inherent quality of civilization that gives rise to perpetual feelings of discontent among its citizens.

              Every form of civilization, order and discipline is a bit of a restriction for the cavemen that we are, biologically and unconsciously. But clearly, can the caveman way work nowadays.

              A small German town abolished all street signs, only the first paragraph of the German traffic law alway applies, a very generic statement that all have to be careful and considerate. I guess all public order is about respecting others rights, in the end.

              What works for people on the small scale doesn’t work on a larger scale anymore. But of course it gets difficult if Filipinos see institutions like castles and monasteries of invaders. Places to get a job in and maybe even steal from a bit for fellow townspeople and tribesmen (good in the traditional values of the colonized) or places to make a career in (bad in the traditional values of the colonized, ambitious, trying to belong to the Brunei invaders of Maynila, the Spanish of Intramuros, the Americans) but NOT village/bayan institutions.

              If in fact the FILIPINO as per popoy is ONLY “a farmer, a fisherman, a lumad and al indigenous first Filipino, a sikyu, a jeepney driver and his starter, a barber, a carpenter, an OFW, Noyspi annually affected and endangered by typhoons, LRT and MRT commuter, those who eat pagpag and pangat, apolitical entertainers, etc.” – not the BPO professional, the UP graduate, the DFA, DOST or AFP professional, then might as well do what Pol Pot did, close the cities and send everybody to farms for years. See what remains after that. Demolish the NFA first as an institution and see how the ordinary Filipinos go hungry, OK? Duterte of course it the one who par excellence believes in native genius and in the uselessness of all theories and science, whether Project NOAH or simple economics.

              • popoy says:

                Thanks IBRS for using the words IF and ONLY, thanks too for putting in black and white, the numerous entities of my etc., etc. for spelling out the ETCETERA of the FILIPINO I know which I was so LAZY to enumerate. I didn’t specify the UNFILIPINOS (pilloried in this piece), the respectable and honorable dregs and scums of the society which also INFEST in very small numbers even the FILIPINO I KNOW. Nobody except artificial intelligence posseses the handle (statistics and facts) of the UNFILIPINOS.

                To me the FILIPINO I am referring to comprises more or less (plus or minus 10%) about 88 per cent of the population. Moreover, among the one percent RICHES FILIPINO, there is a small percentage of UNFILIPINOS, and vice versa.

                And that is not very original. Being American is definitve from being UNAMERICAN. Being to locals Ugly Americans overseas doesn’t mean being UNAMERICAN at home. If I know what I mean. The skirmishes, battle or war in the US press marches on: Is Donald Trump by his total persona American or UnAmerican?

                Etc. etc. in a sentence has also significant value as a stretch of the depth and breathe of the reader’s compass.

                Thanks IBRS, if l am lucky to set forth in erstwhile Third Reich soil, now I know it’s better verboten for me not to ask any local: Are you German, Nazi, or Aryan?

              • Asking if someone is German is normal.

                Get asked if you are Aryan, then better not ask that person if he is Nazi or nasty. Just avoid.

                Un-American meant suspected Communist in the 1950s. Un-German meant someone suspected of harboring ideas of free trade and occupation (as opposed to the mercantilism and guild system that excluded Jews from learning craftsmanship, for example) or democracy, considered Western – or simply “un-German” in ancestry, generations of being in the country, even having served patriotically like some German Jews with an Iron Cross. This UN prefix is dangerous, Un-Filipino to a DDS certainly means a DILAWAN, we know.

                Sure, one can go Tulfo towards PGH, accuse its doctors of elitism and arrogance when they are doing what they can to help on a government salary and with a shoestring budget.

                One should be careful not to play into the game of those who use the common Filipino’s distrust towards institutions – seen as cold und uncaring – to run into the arms of those who pretend care (malasakit) – as if Bong Go and Digong cared more or better than real doctors, having the shamelessness to put themselves even on health cards, thus manipulating the common Filipino’s idea of utang na loob – while hardworking pros are branded as “elitists”. Funny that the populist attack on PGH by Tulfo came before Go advertised himself there.

    • That actually answers the question posed earlier, why there is an “anti” tendency toward the search for information.

    • Francis says:


      Something that has on-off been on my mind is
      the notion of “popularizing” reform or the question of making reform understandable such that people are compelled feel invested in the process of reform. “Strengthening Institutions,” for instance sounds too much (I feel) like ritualistic voodoo/memorized facts to people outside of the academe or anyone “professionally” involved in governance, i.e. civil society, bureaucracy, etc.

      Add that to the fact that we Filipinos (even the well-meaning among us) have such a personalistic view of politics. I don’t just mean in the “palakasan” way—note that reformist rhetoric here (outside of the academe and the Left) is…very moralist in tone…very personalistic in a different sense: “Filipinos should be disciplined! We should work on our values…”

      I don’t mean this is wrong—I just mean that this is insufficient alone as a perspective. Politics is not just a problem of “individual ethics” but of sociology—or the way clumps of people (including the biggest clump of them all: society) function (or not).

      It is when politics is viewed as a societal problem that specific platforms, programs (and yes—ideologies) arise.

      The problem with a moralist reformist rhetoric (i.e. Filipinos should elevate their values!) is that it doesn’t work well in generating specific programs, policies, etc. Very vauge in implementation potential.

      Currently—I’m taking two classes. One focusing on institutions. The other on classics in political theory. And I couldn’t help but realize a certain connection between the notion of institutions and Aristotle’s views on virtue.

      In class—if I recall correctly—the definition of political institution was that they were “formal rules” that “influenced the strategy of political actors” by either “incentivizing” or “dis-incentivizing” the actions of said political actors (which includes us—as citizens) who had the choice of either complying or refusing to follow.

      My interpretation of this is that institutions (political institutions included) act like a “maze” and we’re all rats guided by certain incentives and disincentives (the “shape” of the maze) towards certain actions, certain strategies.

      Aristotle’s view on virtue is particularly interesting in that Aristotle saw humans as having the potential for virtue—but that this does not mean that humans automatically will be good. This potential can only be actualized or made true when repeatedly practiced in action:

      “Neither by nature, then, nor contrary to nature do the virtues arise in us; rather we are adapted by nature to recieve them, and are mad perfect by habit.” (N.E., Book II)

      I propose a possible way to bridge the “strengthen institutions” rhetoric of the academe and those involved in “professional” goverance and the more popular, more grassroots moralist rhetoric of the reformist constituency centered around “values” and such:

      We frame measures to “strengthen institutions” as ways to incentivize virtue (and disincentivize vice) in society. We must write and strengthen our “rules” (institutions) such that the “rules” make us do good things more and bad things less. The benefit of this framing is that we unify once disparate reform initiatives into one cohesive narrative that can both generate a ton of solid, concrete policy programs and be relatable to people, i.e. that it is partially anchored on people’s moral intuitions.

      • Francis says:


        “Politicians strengthening institutions” as “technicians of virtue?”

      • sonny says:

        Like all the above, Francis. I came across someone who said politics is necessary because it deals with fitting square pegs into round holes. 🙂

        • I think Weber’s classification of types of authority is most helpful here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rational-legal_authority

          Traditional authority has to help make the transition to rational-legal authority, somewhat like King Juan Carlos of Spain gracefully reintroduced democracy and gave it legitimacy to the old guard. Charismatic authority rarely does that, one possible exception: Napoleon.

          • sonny says:

            Aye, how very true, PiE.

            There are minimal guarantees to charismatic authority except when practiced in true theocracy. So far the Judaeo-Christian G-d fits this attribute, IMO, 3000 years and still going.

      • popoy says:

        An author wrote this to put in context the content of a book of poetry:

        THE LINEAR COMPASS of my studies and life experiences which in various mixes chronicle my biases, and prejudices –how I see and write about life.

        How I refined what is already defined, re-color what is already colored, re-state which were previously ably restated I venture to share below:

        The UNIVERSE- is God’s total and concrete manifestation to man; it is God itself: His knowledge, power, love and punishments which are boundless, without borders and frontiers, timeless without beginning and without end, the infinity. It is a void, the chemistry, and the physics as the unravelled secrets of anthropology. The UNIVERSE is the COSMOS, the never ending enigma.

        The CHEMISTRY-The fathomable and unfathomable, the seen and unseen, visible and invisible, felt and unfelt, known and unknown, the measurable and unmeasurable, the discovered and undiscovered, the explained and unexplained CONTENT of the UNIVERSE.

        The PHYSICS- is the relationships of the enormous contents of the universe to each other in quantum and universal terms in infinite symbiosis or as permanent protagonists and antagonists; of electrons, protons and or versus neutrons, leptons and neutrinos, genes and DNAs, of vacuity and density, gravity and weightlessness, waves and particles of light and sound, the causes of time, of light and darkness, etc. etc.

        The ANTHROPOLOGY- God granted eternal life to all His creation, His creatures plant and animals and their habitat of air, water, soil, rocks and the sky. Anthropology is their beginnings and relentless struggle through the ages as they live, decay, die and live again to a way of life in constant change.

        The SOCIOLOGY- God’s creatures especially in the animal and human kingdom increase their survival rate by living in groups and in communities. How they do it well and badly is the domain of sociology which is biased towards the causal factors of sickness afflicting groups, communities or societies

        The PSYCHOLOGY- The focus of PSYCHOLOGY is the individual, his behaviour and the causal factors impinging on his personality, attitudes, anger, happiness, sanity. What makes him tick, why he is functional or dysfunctional member of society.

        The AGRICULTURE- Basic science (my first degree in) AGRICULTURE is about the HONEST and SACRED cycle of life itself, about God’s secrets on how to live with NATURE without greed and abuse. Agriculture is man’s relations with nature, with his close environment in eternal symbiosis; it is not bout man with man, or man and his God. It is about how earth, fire, wind and water sustain man.

        The MEDICINE- The discovery and application of secrets of keeping in working order God’s machine designed in His image, the human body, its nervous, muscular, circulatory, digestive, excretory, dental, immune, etc., and whatever systems yet undiscovered. The biased focus is on the malfunction or dysfunctions and imperfections of the machines’ anatomy and physiology.

        The POLITICS- The seldom clean therefore frequently dirty authoritative distribution of wealth and opportunity within families, tribes, communities, and the larger society or nation. It is the rarely good but generally bad practice of who gets what, how much, where and when. POLITICS is the “authoritative allocation [or misallocation] of values in society.”

        The ECONOMICS- Mainly the HOW of using science and opportunity in legally getting wealthy for man and society albeit unethically and immorally, until reaching the state of bankruptcy of money, morals and values. Human insatiability is its main engine to its desired developed state. It is the art of assumptions in hot pursuit of science.

        The PHILOSOPHY- It simply seeks to define and refine man’s ideal relationship to man and nature. It is physics devoid of support from results of experimentation.

        The RELIGION- It is mysteriously man’s complex relationship to his God. It is FAITH applied and existing only between man and God and falsely, to everything else. It is the mistaken notion and pre-occupation to the here and now (what is Caesar’s) by the clergy instead of the eternal thereafter (what is God’s).

        The MAN – Man is the universe; UNIVERSE IS MAN, if thinkers come to think of it. Both are the same in perfection and imperfection in existentialism; the Alpha and uncertain Omega of the Cosmos. Characterized by transience, permanence and salience, man and his universe have the same design and content and eternal properties across time and space. A writer’s pot of Gold and armory begins with the Universe and ends with Man.
        Please take note of Sociology and Psychlogy


      • I propose a possible way to bridge the “strengthen institutions” rhetoric of the academe and those involved in “professional” goverance and the more popular, more grassroots moralist rhetoric of the reformist constituency centered around “values” and such:

        We frame measures to “strengthen institutions” as ways to incentivize virtue (and disincentivize vice) in society. We must write and strengthen our “rules” (institutions) such that the “rules” make us do good things more and bad things less. The benefit of this framing is that we unify once disparate reform initiatives into one cohesive narrative that can both generate a ton of solid, concrete policy programs and be relatable to people, i.e. that it is partially anchored on people’s moral intuitions.

        Unfortunately, those who have capture the weak institutions of the Philippines are using them to build “feudalistic” structures. Witness Bong Go on Malasakit Health Cards.

        Poor Filipinos if they really “bilib” that Bong Go, Duterte or Persida Acosta CARE for them.

        But since Filipinos often have the need to feel cared for, the likes of Leni Robredo come in. Since Filipinos have the need to feel defended, there is a need for the likes of Trillanes. Trust in institutions takes generations to build, generations that see them actually working.

        • popoy says:

          IBRS in our amplification and magnification of the concept of UNFILIPINO and INSTITUTION, I think we stayed within the ambit of TSoH’s purpose of useful and objective and mature discourse. Ergo, Danke.

          I was tasked long ago to do a brief management audit of UP-PGH and found a minuscule flaw: their pharmacy was paying for large vials of injectables on delivered small vials. In polo barong I noticed the poor folks looked at me wondering why I joined them in the queue for treatment. Those few treatment times were during the incumbencies of Directors Drs. Carreon and Salceda.

          In my pathologic taxonomy of the bullies or powers-that-be, I consider as UNFILIPINO those who abuse the professionals who served sincerely their poor kababayans.

  9. edgar lores says:

    1. So Duterte is the wart that indicates the presence of cancer in our society.

    2. The wonder is that many see the wart as a beauty spot.

    3. The danger is that the cancer will continue to infect the body politic. The original title of Jose Rizal’s “Noli Me Tangere” was “The Social Cancer.” From the book’s dedication:

    ”Recorded in the history of human sufferings is a cancer of so malignant a character that the least touch irritates it and awakens in it the sharpest pains.”

    3.1. The “least touch irritates” therefore, “touch me not.”

    4. The senatorial election next year should tell us whether the cancer is spreading or receding.

    5. It may take another significant death to stop the metastasis.

    6. The cancer will never be extirpated… but it can be controlled. Rizal’s prescription was exposure:

    ”And to this end, I will strive to reproduce thy condition faithfully, without discriminations; I will raise a part of the veil that covers the evil, sacrificing to truth everything, even vanity itself, since, as thy son, I am conscious that I also suffer from thy defects and weaknesses.”

    6.1. The truth shall set you free? Hmm.

    6.2. Begs the question that we have pondered time and again: What is the truth?

  10. chemrock says:

    He may be a symptom, but he certainly is also an agent or catalyst that promotes the malaise.

    • That’s true, he uses it and feeds it. It is quite astounding. But when the frying pan is too hot, the grease splatters out and that is what is happening now. Duterte seems incapable of lowering the heat so, well, at some point it becomes untenable.

  11. Pablo says:

    Yes. The root cause for “Duterte” was the disgust of the majority of the population with the self serving political establishment. Same in the USA (Trump) and UK (Brexit) and Europe (Le Pen, Wilders, Austria and Poland and Hungary)… And indeed: Where are the leaders showing competence, passion and strong leadership?
    But in reality, we probably never learn, the disappointed majority is ever more angry with the deteriorating situation and believes the excuses from the establishment. History showed all this clearly and it makes me very worried that it will repeat again and again (like the French Revolution LOL). Duterte still has the majority behind him and the decent possible future leaders are just too decent, none of them seriously prepares “to drain the swamp”, something the majority apparently is desperate to happen.
    So, the most realistic case is that things will get worse untill it is clear to even the most thickheaded majority that they are cheated and then the situation will explode. Uncontained.
    I so much hope that I am wrong. We will try to persuade people to do the right thing. But we need to prepare for the most likely (worst) case. But… We never know… do we? Climate change might throw a curve ball.. or a trade war… or.. When things get bad, Good Leaders generally emerge. We hardly ever recognize those when the going is (relatively) good.

  12. Andres 2018. says:

    In a certain public plaza, group of assorted people are taking (and arguing) with each other which they usually do on a daily basis. Then come this news, a man killed two children out of the whim. It was later found out that the man was an addict. The people were asking each other, “what should be done to this man who killed the two children?”

    The man should be:

    1. Life improsement
    2. Rehabilitation
    3. Killed on the spot

    The consensus, and the obvious, its killed on the spot.

    • chemrock says:

      So they killed the man, and allowed the pushers and the drug lord to persist?

      • Andres 2018. says:

        No, they could not, they are just ordinary people talking and arguing on almost anything. They went home.

      • popoy says:

        Mr Chemrock, with this leaky make believe concoction of fiction, is Andres 2018 unsubtly justifying EJK? Andres need to be careful lest readers and bloggers mistake him as paid for “pakawala” of his own beliefs.

    • chemrock says:

      By the way, why did a drug addict kill kids on a whim?

      I assume he took shabu? Why nobody mentions the effects of shabu. do you know the effects? Well it’s like this — It creates a sense of euphoria, increase wakefulness, and physical activity. In addition, it suppresses appetite. If the addict was under the influence of drugs, he was feeling euphoric. Why would a happy guy kill kids? Goes against logic.

      The danger of addicts is in their resorting to violence to get money to feed their craze. But here, he killed 2 kids on a whim. Makes no sense. If already drugged, he was euphoric and thus won’t kill. If he was not drugged but looking money are you saying kids there are loaded with cash? Queer logic.

      • Andres 2018. says:

        Who cares about the euphoric effect of shabu? When you are a known addict, and you killed someone, it is because you are an addict. An addict will do anything without thinking of something. A pharmacist could not argue his facts in front of angered and emotional people.

        • chemrock says:

          It’s my humble way of telling you stop this innocuous made up stories.

          • “I assume he took shabu? Why nobody mentions the effects of shabu. do you know the effects? Well it’s like this — It creates a sense of euphoria, increase wakefulness, and physical activity. In addition, it suppresses appetite. If the addict was under the influence of drugs, he was feeling euphoric. Why would a happy guy kill kids? Goes against logic.”

            I see you two are talking past each other, but I need to add to this perception of drugs and its affects (chemp, remember our talk when you introduced that American black neuro scientist awhile back?) So same qualifiers as then, I’m no expert.

            The affects of drugs ‘goes against logic’. Just as alcohol makes some mellow and happy, while others angry and violent. Bad trip is bad trip. Shabu is no different. To add to that, you never know what precursor ingredients are mixed with other agents. hence much better to take peyote, chew coca leaves and smoke a joint, at least you know so and so plant has evolved for millennia, no amateur criminal chemist mixing and matching.

            The worst bad trip i’ve heard of happened in South Pasadena of an up and coming rapper and his girlfriend. Bad trip. he bludgeon his gf and chew her stomach open and when police got there he was half-way thru his dinner, his gf’s abdominal cavity. That was meth (shabu), or mostly meth. I suspect there would be synthetics involved (from China).

            When the guy came to, turns out that was the first time he took meth. Crazy stuff. I’m all for marijuana, peyote, coca leaves etc. etc. but when it comes to knuckle heads cooking this stuff sky’s the limit, chemp. I saw a KTV girl with a bad trip shabu attempt to scratch her face off, mamasan and girls had to restrain her. Crazy stuff.

            • chemrock says:


              Same points I intended. I was just economising on words. There is no sense pursuing a discussion with Andres. My interjection was meant for benefit of other readers of the blog.

              My comment “So they killed the man, and allowed the pushers and the drug lord to persist?” is a wry inference that they just kill and never bother with other equally importance follow up. Like you said – a new killer variant of meth? a new distribution chanel? poverty issues etc…

              The pure meth base induce euphoria. Karl may be right — prolonged use may have screwed the brain. But there are dangerous variants to add more kicks. Crazy stuff coming out of Chinese labs that’s making zombies and walking dead out of the unwary.

              I see Andres as a more dangerous specie of trolls. They don’t cuss and try hard to be polite and he has an agenda which is not difficult to discern. But he is a danger to those who can’t read between the lines. Subtlety is the name of his game and there is design in his comments. For all of us, we comment to share, to teach, to discover, to exchange. to titilate our minds, to banter…for Andres it is to influence the unwary readers.

          • popoy says:

            Mr Chemrock, If I may, drug addicts steal or kill for money to buy the drugs when they are sobre and craving, NOT WHEN they are under the influence, because when they are durog, they are like Congress in session peaceful and content. Filipinos in the town plazas are usually with their kids enjoying nature’s polluted air and after dark with their partners to save on motels.

            Politics is discussed by jobless tambays as they tagay in alleys outside their shanties. Those employed and with some atik (little money) to spare argue and debate politics in their beer houses watering holes with an arm abre siete with a cheap GRO. The rich gents spend their free hours in Makati and Taguig cities’ expensive dives discussing how to make more legal or illegal moolahs.

            Fathers or mothers crazed by dire poverty kill their children because of experienced permanent desperation and suffering of their children that death is the only release. Rich fathers and mothers very rarely kill their children; if they do, it is because of insanity or mental illness.

            • popoy says:

              So sorry, my bad Mr.Chemrock as if telling you all these, I am suggesting the way to straight thinking which . . . i better must stop already Eh.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Brain damage due to frequent use of shabu can cause that,Chem.
        Ecstasy causes euphoria or even marijuana,does that.


        The chief troll is partially correct, but is also very partial.

        • sonny says:

          You’re correct, Neph. And minimizing due process and putting EJK in its stead is also not right. I hope I got this right. My suggestion is to put addicts and pushers alike in Culion-like islands (isolate) and

          • sonny says:

            … leave them with food, shelter, water and NO DRUGS. Parents and interested friends of addicts are way welcome to contribute money and in-kind. Or something like this.

          • karlgarcia says:

            The big rehab center built by the Chinese failed big time in letting addicts choose that as their tehab center because

            Most addicts in rehab stick to their day jobs, so I guess forced rehab, but I guess forcing them and taking them away from their family is a bit harsh, but maybe the only way, but I don’t like it.

        • popoy says:

          Karl, is it possible that brain damage because of the need to survive aided by a regular job and at worst driven by greed for quick wealth, these people could be posting their justifications here in TSoH ?

    • These little one-off anecdotes are fallacious reasoning that ply on people’s emotions. They enter the realm of the creepy for their debasing of due process, taking away the presumption of innocence and right of sick people to health treatment. They argue for a return to laws of the jungle under which any person can claim righteous control over another’s life and the powerful are supreme in their cocoon of impunity. I really detest this stuff. It’s why the nation has some 25,000 people killed without justification or trial, robbed of their rights and innocence, and tens of thousands of children and family members get nothing but a shrug and grief and this trollish bullshit. Keep this disgusting reasoning out of my blog.

      • Andres 2018. says:

        You may hate it Joe, but that is it. Outside of intellectual discussions, thats the consensus. And to think of it, how many Filipinos are intellectual?

        • Back to moderation with you. Trollish quibbling. Promote and justify your death madness in some other forum.

        • sonny says:

          I agree with chemrock and Joe. I would call the “logic” disingenuous, like shadow-boxing, strawman fallacy and if done often, trollish intent.

          • Unfortunately, there is a fondness for simplistic solutions among many Filipinos..

            1) commonly heard among migrants: “the best way to solve the problems of the Philippines is to kill everybody over seven years old, we who are grown up are the problem, all bad”

            2) almost a running joke: car isn’t working that well, husband says let’s leave the car on the roadside and set it on fire. Wife stops complaining so that husband stops getting mad.

            3) little attention to maintenance and upkeep, focus on just building new things. Just after a few years new buildings look dilapidated. Solution: borrow again, build again.

            There is also a lack of tolerance that is amazing, contradicting the usual friendly image:

            a) many “yellows” nowadays on social media are wondering how simplistic the reasons of DDS they know PERSONALLY are for wanting Trillanes behind bars: “he’s yellow and he talks too much”. Simple personal annoyance, and you want to take someone’s freedom?

            b) Supreme Court Justices (!) depriving their own CJ of a job and potentially of reputation because of simple, personal conflicts.

            c) the quick judgements of the likes of VACC and those who sent Paco Llaranaga to jail.

            And of course this being SO SURE of being right even with insufficient evidence (c) MRP.

            Unfortunately, those who take time to judge matters are seen as slow/weak in the culture.

            Revising one’s judgement based on new facts is also often seen as “being easily swayed”.

      • chemrock says:

        Precisely, hence my probing questions. What is the intent of dropping this gossip here if not for mischief under the guise of innocence. Joe what you said is absolutely correct, but unfortunately majority of those in socmed cannot see through such covert insertions.

        • True. And this one gets me in a soft spot, all the kids left without fathers, when the fathers were denied their right to innocence and punishment within laws that fit the crime. Most of the murders have been for a few sachets of drugs and for police to make their quotas, not for heinous crimes they’ve committed. Yet that troll’s example puts them all in the same bucket. It’s as if, during prohibition in the US, people were executed for drinking a beer.

        • sonny says:

          Classic Sisyphus!! This was the fault (mischief) that merited Sisyphus punishment in Hades of rolling the rock up then down.

      • oooopps, didn’t catch this, not trying to get on moderation, again. 😉 Just wanted to offer 1 (plus KTV girl) anecdote.

        So let me follow it up with, what happened to that up and coming rapper based on my knowledge of the criminal justice system here. If the suspect attempted to eat the cops ala Walking Dead, he would’ve been tasered. then transported to the jail, depending on whether it’s a big jail or not, there will be medical available on site. Probably , the suspect will be made to drink charcoal to fast track processing of said drug in the system. Once all back to normal, he faces the judge, guilty or not guilty.

        then his defense, ie. I was on drugs, I was not there mentally your honor. That was my first time ever, yada yada yada… Because it’s California and most judges have bleeding hearts, they’ll say, yup of course it couldn’t have been your fault, you were under the influence. Punishment. Probation, some public service, cleaning up the highways, and it’s GOOD LUCK in your future rap career. Was the substance taken studied, to see patterns of chemicals? Nope. And the criminal justice system churns through.

        So there’s due process afforded him. but was there justice? That’s another question all together. But these anecdotes are important if only to serve context, granular, to the bigger issue on hand, justice, due process, etc.

    • The people were asking each other, “what should be done to this man who killed the two children?”

      The man should be:

      1. Life improsement
      2. Rehabilitation
      3. Killed on the spot

      The consensus, and the obvious, its killed on the spot.


      Thanks, Joe.

      There’s something interesting about Andres2018 post here. For one I don’t see it being relevant to the blog, if as response to another comment then maybe, but it’s a stand along post so i assume it’s in response to your overall article above, seems very off the cuff.

      But it is , in the end, just a word picture of everyday life in these times sorta story in the Philippines. And that consensus is very Filipino , it could just as well be very Iraqi, Afghani, Mexican, etc. etc. Maybe because Andres2018 has a pattern of trolling here now, you guys are reading it differently than me,

      so for me, benefit of doubt aside, the story’s consistent with my understanding of the Philippines (and the 3rd world in general and their views of crime/punishment), ie. if this same story happened in say a park in Southern California the consensus most likely will be 2. , but if in Northern California the consensus would be 1. for sure.

      but 3. in the Philippines is on par. I’m sure you’d agree.

      Now for the two responses to Andre’s post, yours and chemp’s.

      Yours is within the bounds of argumentation and debate tactics, ie. that’s anecdote give me stats!!! Nipped in the bud.

      chemp’s response is more bothersome to me (and I still don’t know why quite yet). But essentially, chemp doesn’t argue anecdote vs. stats, he’s attacking the story head on. And his attack of it is very naive, ie. shabu makes you feel good, killing kids doesn’t make you feel good, hence your shabu story is fake news.

      There are many downsides to this view, but mostly if you view shabu as some feel good drug, you’re not truly understanding how its affects reverberates thru neighborhoods and towns, society as a whole. I do agree with him (and you) that violence and murders are less a problem statistically, compared to petty robberies and burglaries by addicts, the bulk of violent crimes related to drug addiction happens higher up top.

      My point, the problem of drug addiction needs to be viewed realistically.

      • If you have had to deal with the nonsense the trolls dispense, these anecdotes that Andres used repeat over and over again against all argument and reason. It is like advertising that keeps coming at you but there is no off button. No dialogue can be entertained because that gets you back to Andres’ second message, the endless challenges and diversions and insistence. It is futile to engage in it and it is emotionally destructive because there is no intent to understand or teach, just brainwash. Yet the subject of the brainwashing is untenable to a compassionate, law-based person. So I installed an off button, and it is large, and I have no reservations about using it.

        That said, realistic handling of the problem is not for PNP to execute the small time users, or innocents, and plant guns for cover, to fulfill a kill quota and get promoted.

      • chemrock says:

        “chemp’s response is more bothersome to me (and I still don’t know why quite yet). But essentially, chemp doesn’t argue anecdote vs. stats, he’s attacking the story head on. And his attack of it is very naive, ie. shabu makes you feel good, killing kids doesn’t make you feel good, hence your shabu story is fake news.”

        Lance, I simply cut to the chase. It’s as you noted — his comment has nothing to do with the blog. He walks in and drops the package. What’s the idea. To draw discussion to his agenda. So just concoct a story. I have 10 better ways to spend my time then an honest discussion with him. But I am aware there are many innocent and honest young readers here. Certainly there are many much much more intelligent than you and I who can see through his antics. But I am sure there are equally many who can be taken in. Thus I called him out on his story.

        • edgar lores says:

          For the innocent and young readers.



          1. If you support EJK, what do you hold sacred?

          o It’s not Life because you are killing it.
          o It’s not Law because you are violating it.

          o It’s not Order because you are setting aside the Law.
          o It’s not Peace because you are upsetting Order with Violence.

          o It’s not Safety because Peace and Order become arbitrary.
          o It’s not Society because you have forsaken Peace and Order.

          o It’s not Others because the victims are Others.
          o It’s not Compassion because you are increasing the suffering of those left behind.

          2. It would seem that what you hold sacred is YOUR personal safety and the STATE power that protects it… and others be damned.

          3. And when the POWERS THAT BE come for you… as they inevitably will… would anybody – should anybody — give a damn?

      • Francis says:


        The odd realization that humans have made during the 20th and 21st centuries is the realization that human intuition is fundamentally flawed, that human intuition does not fundamentally equate to moral goodness, that over-reliance on these could even lead to incomprehensible disaster.

        I do not pretend that “soft” ideologies like “liberalism” (or “democratic socialism”) are realistic because they—to a significant extent—aren’t. It is much easier to kill the criminal rather than rehabilitate them; I am no exception—there are times (I must confess) when I can’t help but think about vengeance upon hearing some atrocity somewhere.

        Yet—what is the “realistic” defense of “soft” principles?

        Humans are cruel, vicious and only a few steps away from savagery. In fact—as WW2 demonstrates—peer pressure is sometimes all you need to make “atrocity” the new normal; if everyone is doing the “bad,” it isn’t bad. Intuition—in the end, in the final line of analysis—won’t save us from going off the cliff. Intuition may even egg us to jump off the cliff, into the abyss of amorality.

        I don’t view “bleeding hearts” as merely utopian idealists, though they frankly are. I view them—and their principles and ideologies—as restraints. We are all beasts, barely lashed and chained by these chains called “religion,” “democracy,” “constitution,” “human rights,” etcetera.

        I suppose that when liberals “strengthen institutions” or “strengthen rule of law” — I cannot help but sometimes view it as a feeble witch enchanting a restraining curse on a demon she has summoned, that demon called human nature.

        Aristotle said of bad men, if I am paraphrasing his thoughts correctly: bad men are like sick men in that they had a choice in whether to become bad/become sick—but once they were already bad/sick in nature, they had not much choice in doing bad things/being utterly sick.

        Liberal Democracy is like a vaccine. If the vaccine fails—it’s literally a snowball to avalanche from there…

        • Francis says:


          What I meant with Aristotle:

          “Institutions.” “Morality.”

          They’re like dikes. We build them to hold back the sludge of human nature. They’re fundamentally artificial—and eventually break. All that one can do is to build them up as strong as one can. Hope that the dike holds up as long as it could,

          When it breaks—one has runaway train…

          • All fair points, Francis. We’ve here had plenty of these morality, immorality and amorality debates, so I’m not going back into that rabbit hole, since i’ve just been re-instated (again).

            But since you’re already a fan of Aristotle, I urge you to read both St. Augustine and Machiavelli. Not sure if you’re Catholic, but even if not, both men are still worthy of your time if this is the stuff that interests you. And it seems it is.

            St. Augustine I’m sure would disagree with you. He called ’em “benevolent harshness”. If the City of Man gets in the way of creating the City of God, then yeah “benevolent harshness” is totally, perfectly OK, the end justify the means. And you could see that in his role as bishop, he gave no mercy to heretics, thus expected Caesars to do the same, so long as the end was the City of God.

            Machiavelli on the other hand, didn’t look to God for his ends, his was simply stability and security, keeping messes small, so his advice is more don’t overdo it. So in a sense Machiavelli would be your “liberal”, but as we all know he too understood and agreed with the use of violence, proportionally applied, and for the sake of stability, St. Augustine’s sake were souls.

            Now your boy Aristotle, was never really in a position to apply his theories, unlike St. Augustine (who took heavily from Plato) and Machiavelli. He and his pupil Alexander died within a year from each other. Yeah, they kept in touch since Alexander the Great’s childhood. But some years before their demise, when Alexander came back from conquering the East, he claimed to be a God. And Aristotle called him out on it, and Alexander basically

            said don’t fuck with me old man, I respect you and your philosophies, but I’m trying to rule here, so either you’re with me or you’re against me. Being that they both lived a few more years , it’s safe to assume Aristotle acquiesced. And there’s a lesson there.

            I agree with you that there should be compassion in governance, both St. Augustine and Machiavelli would agree too, I’m sure Aristotle (and Alexander the Great) as well. But let me ask you,


  13. Joe,

    I watched Obama’s speech at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign calling out Trump last Friday– his first time doing so. The whole paragraph of that speech is worth posting here,

    I’m of a different mind, as to the nature of the status quo push back. But I agree that Trump is merely a symptom, but what’s more interesting is the Trump backlash from the other side. You probably can’t feel it from over there, but there’s a sense that the news here is just about Trump, like 1984, folks are fed up. It looks like the Mueller investigation is winding down and no impeachment in sight. So I think more than anything the backlash from the other side of the spectrum is more telling of the actual state of the nation.

    But my point, again off-tangentially , is that there is a push and pull, their backlash, our backlash, then their status quo and our status quo, hoooooray for our side , booooooo for their side. There’s still a sense of upward progress though or at least movement. Is there a sense of progress over there? or is it just a sense that everything is stagnant and stale

  14. karlgarcia says:

    D is the Symptom, a showing sign of our pain in the butt and neck, unless he kicks our butt and karate chops our neck.

  15. karlgarcia says:


    Today’s Inquirer editorial, the title is War on Truth.

    • karlgarcia says:

      LCX, do you still disagree that FB catapulted Duterte to the presidency?

    • Juana Pilipinas says:

      I read somewhere that BBM’s three sons are now in-charge of his social media presence. The implication is: his sons together with BBM’s retinue of trolls may just get Imee in the senate in 2019 with a little help from FB.

      • karl,

        If you remember, my points re fb and DU30 were two folds,

        1). Why didn’t Mar Roxas go viral himself? He had the same access to social media tools.

        2). Were the folks who voted for DU30 receptive of his virulence? He promised them blood and he delivered.


        I can understand what Ireneo’s saying here below, and why I tend to agree with Andres2018 of folks talking in park, word of mouth (or Ireneo’s small town culture),

        So my point, fb and social media (unless your link provides actual solid proof, cuz it’s not opening for me)

        didn’t catapult DU30 at all , precisely because DU30 was already viral (with or without social media) precisely because of his virulence (his platform, his message, knowing his audience). Have edgar check the logic here, but

        unless I get actual proof that fb muted Mar Roxas and distorted his message of decency, then this whole fb talk is moot, spilt milk under the bridge. Is that what your link is about?

        • karlgarcia says:

          What Joe said,

          • I took my comment out, Karl, because I see he was responding to the discussion, not initiating anything new. That said, I don’t particularly care to rehash Mar Roxas again because that is what got LCX launched out of here last time, I believe.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Ok Joe.

            • The drug war, the killings, the impunity, the failure to investigate, the same pistol used repeatedly as evidence of resistance to arrest, have reached novelistic proportions, the kinds of shenanigans previously reserved for the minds of inventive fiction writers are commonplace in the Philippines today. Cebu now appears to be a war zone between an outspoken mayor and PNP death squads. Recently in a failed ambush of a councilman, a plainclothes policeman assassin was killed and PNP charged the Mayor’s staff with murder for killing his attacker. Now this:

        • Juana Pilipinas says:

          Have you read this LCplX? Free Facebook greatly influenced PH 2016 election mostly through fake news.


        • karlgarcia says:

          97 % of cellphone users use FB, you ask for proof but you don’t read links from PH media.
          You took the title of chief troll but pretend not to know anything about trolling fb?

          Sure there are word of mouth tambay discussions since time immemorial, but you know very well how conversations evolved. And of course we have the usual vote buying, and an fb post or message or sms can monitor candidate movements.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Reply to LCx

            • JP and karl, my computer crashes when I open any news outlets from the Philippines too heavy—not techy enough to fix this. But more to the truth is this fb stuff is all same old same old. Like I said if Mar Roxas was indeed somehow muted/censored then you guys totally have a case against fb. But realistically, let’s do a quick counterfactual analysis;

              Let’s say that fb did support Roxas and muted DU30, would DU30 have still won? Did Mar Roxas have,

              1) viral

              2) virulent

              No matter how you cut it, DU30 would’ve won because he had 1 and 2.

              Joe’s wrong, I wasn’t kicked out for perpetuity because of Mar Roxas it was the culling debate which did that, although I do remember maybe getting kicked out another time for this debate fb/Roxas, so I’m not gonna go chasing links for you guys. State your arguments. If you have something, new evidence we can totally talk it out let’s, but there seems nothing new, so no need to rehash, and repeat of this will just place me in hot water with Joe.

              But do your own counterfactuals, maybe you’ll come to where I am.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Ok this is turning to be a rinse and repeat discussion. No mas Señor, Buenas Dias.

              • karlgarcia says:

                JP’s link is not even Philippine based, try clicking on buzzfeed.

              • Yeah, but i’d rather you guys form an argument to which I can response, instead of having to read it for you, distill and argue against. This way Joe knows who’s positing and whose rebutting. Gets me off hot water too, plus I don’t have to read stuff i don’t have to, make it easier for me. Plus its common courtesy, if you’re positing something lay it out for the guy rebutting, if you wish for a rebuttal.

              • You don’t direct the orchestra here. Our job is not to make your life easy.

                For other readers, LCX has been placed in moderation again. I have no desire to play these power games. I doubt if I’ll let anything through.

              • That is the trolling I don’t really appreciate. Propose something preposterous then ask others to prove it is not true, when it is impossible to prove to the troll’s satisfaction, because then he just deflects to another issue and it’s around and around the mulberry bush we go. It is common within this pattern to claim the others are not doing proper research (chasing links).

                You are in hot water. You are gaming here again.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Aside from the True North, the BBM 2016 voters might put her there and I hope not.

    • Here is another article about FB and PH politics. This one is about TP using dog whistle tactics to incite violence against SenTri.


  16. karlgarcia says:


    The link was not about Roxas at all, it was about Duterte.
    So there is no crying over spilt milk, or no water under the.bridge, my link was all about Duterte’s weaponizing FB.
    So if you are not interested don’t respond at all, if you do respond inform us that you are not interested this way, we both do not tell each other what to do.

    I do not question your memes, wiki cut and pastes,videos and whatnot, either, I read them or ignore them.
    Do you want that to be called Meme chasing or YouTube chasing?

    Just be fair, that is all I ask.

  17. Grace Lim Reyes says:

    Last Tuesday, we brought our 12-year old son to watch “Goyo”. He is kind of a history buff and likes anything about the past. Ask him anything about the past and he would surprise you with his expanding knowledge. Maybe I could credit that to his workbooks in homeschool and his insatiable desire to learn and absorb anything and everything like a sponge.

    As we watched the movie (the movie by the way is a must watch. Exquisitely crafted by Jerrold Tarog!), several thoughts raced through my mind. First, we seem to have the habit of shooting ourselves in the foot. It was the reality then as it is today. By executing General Antonio Luna, the revolutionaries had lost an excellent tactician against the Americans. Even General Otis acknowledged that the Filipinos had made their job easy when Luna was assassinated. Today, the gains achieved by the Aquino administration were wiped out in two years by this current administration because of wrong policies and chaotic governance. Our problems today are self-inflicted.

    It dawned on me that the political culture that we have today is the same during the early days of emancipation from our colonizers. As the young nation attempted to establish sovereign rule, a culture of patronage appeared to erode the noble cause of the Revolution. Goyo rose to the rank of general at a young age because he was a favorite of Aguinaldo. To rise to the rank, Goyo had to let go of his principles and kowtow to the desires of his patron; pretty much the same with how our politicians today behave.

    Do we Filipinos idolize personalities or abide by the principles they represent? In the film, Mabini reproached the Filipinos’ need to express loyalty toward personalities rather than to the cause for the good of the country. Mabini also pointed out that in the battlefield, we do not need heroes, but soldiers and men who are willing to die for the country. The Filipino brand of hero worship that has been transmitted for one generation to the next is flawed. Ocampo (2018) cited how our textbooks have extolled on the virtues of our heroes, failing to show that they also have feet of clay and their decisions and actions are not infallible. It could explain why many Filipinos today remain passive about many issues and wait for the next hero to come along and save them. Brecht chided that, “cursed is the nation that needs heroes” (cited in Ocampo, 2018).

    Many also focus on individuals rather than the cause they represent. They also fail to discern the tendency of the so-called heroes to have skewed or flawed reasoning. Hence, we have Filipinos supporting the drug war, violation of human rights, usurpation of power of one branch of government over the others, and silencing of critics. Mabini described this disruption of harmony among the three branches of government with the executive imposing its will on the other two as the cause of “public calamities and ruin to the citizens” (Majul, 2013, p.200).
    As parents, we have much to do to reverse the errors of past generations. Our millennials and future generations should veer away from this flawed mindset on heroes and leaders and it is our duty as “woke” parents to show them the right path. Silence is not an option if we are to ensure the perpetuity of our sovereign nation.

    Majul, C.A. (2013). Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary. National Historical Commission of the Philippines: Ermita, Manila.
    Ocampo, A. (2018 Sep 12). A question of heroes. Retrieved from https://opinion.inquirer.net/116005/a-question-of-heroes-2

    • karlgarcia says:

      Grace is the next one about Mabini? Wow, I hope so. if it is about Aguinaldo, it will reach 1963 or the time if Diosdado Macapagal.

    • https://www.esquiremag.ph/culture/arts-and-entertainment/the-many-faces-of-gregorio-del-pilar-a00203-a2212-20180914-lfrm?utm_source=Facebook-Esquire&utm_medium=Ownshare&utm_campaign=20180914-fbnp-arts-and-entertainment-the-many-faces-of-gregorio-del-pilar-a00203-a2212-20180914-lfrm-fbfirst

      What Do We Really Know About Gregorio Del Pilar, Philippine History’s Baby-faced Assassin?

      ..There’s a reason that Nick Joaquin described Goyo as “the Byron of Bulacan.” He was the definitive Byronic hero: proud, defiant, and suave. He created a flag for himself and was always dressed impeccably. He had a gold tooth fitted during his stay in Hong Kong. His aide-de-camp, Vicente Enriquez, recalled during Tirad that he “wore a new khaki uniform with his campaign insignia, his silver spurs, his polished shoulder straps, his silk handkerchiefs, his rings on his fingers. Always handsome and elegant!”..

      ..As Aguinaldo’s favorite officer, he was despised by everybody else. During a military parade to commemorate the Malolos Republic, he had a spat with General Isidro Torres, prompting Goyo to ride to the plaza on his white horse to proclaim that Torres had “no command where [he] commands.” Jose Alejandrino, Antonio Luna’s aide de camp, recalled Goyo as “a young, pretentious general who … spent days and nights at fiestas and dances which his flatterers offered in his honor.”

      Joaquin also refers to him as “Aguinaldo’s hatchet man.” He was sent to arrest Antonio Luna, and then tasked to liquidate the Bernal brothers—a task he performed unflinchingly. He arrested Luna supporters like Vivencio Concepcion, demoralizing the army. He took over in Dagupan, not to defend against the Americans, but against Ilocanos who might rebel due to the Luna murder..

  18. NHerrera says:

    OT and somewhat technical (please pass if not to one’s liking)


    In the Prisoner’s Dilemma, two prisoners kept in different cells, unable to communicate with each other, are both encouraged by the police to confess or squeal on the other because the police has only evidence on a minor crime of theft committed by both, instead of murder suspected by the police. The basic decision for both is

    NC = not confess or squeal
    C = confess or squeal

    The table below for Prisoner 1 and Prisoner 2 have generic “payoffs” (what is important are relative values)

    0 = jailed for life
    1 = jailed for 5 years for both cooperating to the police
    2 = jailed for a month for the crime of theft on which there is sufficient evidence
    3 = given freedom

    It is seen by Prisoner 1 that no matter what the Prisoner 2 decides, the “payoff” to him is better if he decides on C, confess. The same goes for Prisoner 2 relative to Prisoner 1. Thus, as framed above, the optimal strategy profile is (C, C), that is Confess for both Prisoners.

    A table similar to the above may be made in the case of the Judges of RTC 148 and RTC 150 with decision choices of

    NW = No warrant of arrest issued on Trillanes
    IW = Issue warrant of arrest on Trillanes

    Again, the “payoffs” are generic or illustrative (what is important, as in the above, are relative values) and have these associated descriptions:

    0 = Displeasure of the Administration which is seen to bring negative consequences
    1 = A rain of harsh criticisms from legal experts, media and citizens on both judges
    2 = Personal and professional satisfaction to the Judges for rendering justice in a historic case and certain to be praised for ages.
    3 = Pat in the back by Admin and an implicit or implied future rewards

    Decision profile under Environment 1

    Under the environment of low or muted criticisms, the decision profile of (IW, IW) may be expected as in the Prisoner’s Dilemma.

    Decision profile under Environment 2

    Under the current environment of widespread condemnation of Trillanes’ amnesty revocation from legal experts and others not allied with the Administration, the decision profile (NW, NW) by both Judges is not improbable even if the Judges do not communicate or coordinate with each other. They may be seen to implicitly coordinate if only by their rational thinking based on basic justice and the environment of widespread outcry surrounding the amnesty revocation. Consider too that they will be making a historic decision for justice and judicial sanity and one that will be praised in history books. Moreover, the practical aspect is that the associated payoff of the decision profile (NW, NW) is higher than that for the decision profile (IW, IW) — that is, payoff (2, 2) versus payoff (1, 1).

    This is not a forecast on how the two Judges will decide. But gives some sense to a probable positive decision by the Judges of RTC 148 and RTC 150 — in a game theoretic sense — not to issue a warrant of arrest on Senator Trillanes.

    Let us pray the two Judges do what is right.

  19. For those with split politics within family and friends, this is funny:

    A man explains why he split from his pro-Duterte girlfriend..

    • karlgarcia says:


      • canadadry says:

        “Rice Sufficiency?…Lupa at tubig lang yan..”.-Manny Pinol in early 2016….

        A buddy, also an ex Du30 fan sent me this 2016 Video of Secretary Manny Pinol outlining how Pinol claimed he can achieve rice and food self sufficiency for Filipinos…

        2 years later “the good mountain,good water, good life…” became a nightmare ….what happened to the “brilliant farmer” Manny Pinol?

        • edgar lores says:

          Secretary Piñol disclaims responsibility for the rice shortage crisis as the NFA is not under the Department of Agriculture (DA).

          NFA was transferred by President Aquino from the DA to the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization.

          Duterte reverted the NFA back to the DA on April 16, four and a half months ago.

          So Piñol is being disingenuous.

          He does take full responsibility for the importation of galunggong as the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (FBAR) is attached to the DA.

          The situation now is so far different from the confidence he showed in that 2016 interview. Tubig at lupa, indeed.

          I am not familiar with the Secretary’s background — he has held a number of responsible positions such as mayor and governor — but he seems to be affected by, if not contributing to, the incompetence that pervades this administration.

          • edgar lores says:

            I might add: Piñol’s comic and pathetic demonstration that bukbuk rice is acceptable fare does him no favors. It is an unacceptable lowering of standards… just like profanity. And it is one step from having no standards… just like suborning murders.

            • canadadry says:

              Indeed, much like Duterte’s “too many beautiful women in Davao is to blame fpr the alarming number of rapes”, this bunch’s incompetence betray exactly as karl said lack of standards…”anything goes” governance… what a waste of time and resources and opportunities and all this smoke screened by war on drug..

              • canadadry says:

                as you said lack of standards…what’s fascinating is how can these bunch lose sight of simple standards of governance, hindi naman rocket science yun…

              • The illiterate kings of the European Dark Ages at least knew they were not educated – and took advice from the most expert people of those days, the monks. The Mongol invaders of China like Kublai Khan respected the knowledge of the mandarins and let them run things.

                The most stupid, stupid, stupid sort of barbarians are those who think they know better and everything is solvable in 3-6 months – history probably forgot most of them for that reason.

            • Irineo Salazar says:

              I faintly remember Pinol having played a not so good role in Kidapawan some years ago.

              It is of course very ironic to have the same man playing smart ass towards Aquino’s government for allegedly “starving farmers” FAILING in national responsibility now.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Legalize smuggling daw, to solve the crisis. Now there are orders to distribute the confiscated rice to the disaster areas due to rampant smuggling there are lots of confiscated rice. What about next week?

          Our food source in Luzon will take time to recover, will allowing smugglers to do what they do be the unofficial solution?

          • That is about as stupid as Duterte’s idea of barter trade to reduce inflation. Sometimes experts and technocrats are insufficiently grounded, insensitive to those affected by their policies – it is like a computer expert can sometimes be insensitive to users, admins etc.

            BUT letting total amateurs run the show is about as loony as the Mr. Bean scene where he can’t wait for the dentist and starts to fix his teeth by himself. Excruciating to watch.

            For example, would anyone in his right mind entrust his child to Dra. Persida Acosta?

  20. madlanglupa says:

    (Offtopic) With crisis comes opportunity.

    • This sure givesTHEM the spotlight they are craving as they were complaining about Sentri getting media mileage from the crisis they themselves created.

      Bong Go: “Let Trillanes probe me. Another senate appearance will give me free media mileage.”

      Harry Roque: “… Napunta lahat ng media mileage kay Senator Trillanes dahil nandoon po kami nagtatrabaho sa Israel at sa Jordan.”

  21. karlgarcia says:

    If his food secretary suggests smuggling for food security, economic managers suggesting pushing TRAIN2 even if it means BPOs will move back to India or other English speaking country and locators in economic and industrial zones having second thoughts.

    Is it just incompetence?

    We have leaders who just wants media mileage all of them from Duterte to Bong Go to Piñol, the Econ managers, the congressmen, senators just to manage the perception about them and destroying whom ever or what ever is in their way.

    • That educated people participate so enthusiastically in the deceits and distortions, in favor of their own interests, suggests that the Philippines as a nation really lacks a broad consensus commitment to laws, ethics, and societal order. That’s why even the historical heroes represent this sect or that and not the national conscience. Jose Rizal would be executed again today, and there are no Spaniards here to direct the firing squad. Just a whacknut mayor and several thousand self-dealers.

  22. Sandman says:

    Just wondering how the philippines will fare if there is an stupidity index for government decisions or lack of it. Some people are having a hard time understanding inflation, interest rates, gdp etc indexes, maybe stupidity index can be digested more easily.h

    • Excellent idea. Might be a worthwhile blog topic. Thanks for the idea.

      • canadadry says:

        Success in Duterte government priorities today September 19,2018

        A college classmate based in US asked me yesterday, what exactly are the priorities of Duterte. Pondering the question,someone once said the results betray one’s priorities. So 2 years under Duterte, the following 10 priorities cannot escape my observation:

        1. Critics are be silenced, Today, Trillanes is the enemy, to be locked up at all costs..
        2. Constitution be damned, Bongbong Marcos or daughter Sara should succeed Duterte in case of incapacity.
        3. Billion dollar shabu importers need to be protected. Without shabu, nothing to use, without users, no one to kill. Without no one to kill, no one to frighten, Without no one to frighten, there is no governance. The Bureau of customs should accommodate shabu importation thus Faeldon and Lapena are to be commended.
        4. Killing is an effective governing approach. It prevents criticism due to fear. Target mainly poor addicts as they have weak advocates.
        5. It is the destiny of beautiful women to be raped.
        6. China is supportive of duterte so to be pleased, even sacrificing Philippine territory.
        7. The military leadership should be pampered at all times by government position on retirement or foreign travel at government expense. This preempts any coup tendencies.
        8. Billionaires like Arroyo and Marcoses helped Duterte election thus to be saved at all costs.Create new billionaires among friends by favored government contracts. Let Ben Tulfo be a millionaire but Bong Go and Dennis Uy have to be billionaires.
        9. Mocha Uson and other fake news propagators have to be protected as they serve to confuse the public and divide the people. A divided people is always easy to govern.
        10. The economy of Duterte, family and friends are more important than Philippine economy. Let no one see Duterte bank accounts.

        I maybe wrong but so far, Duterte and company have been fairly consistent in maintaining success in these ten priorities.

        • I think you are exactly right, every line, every word.

        • edgar lores says:

          1. Brilliant!

          2. If I may add the following:

          11. COA, like the CHR, are government commissions to prevent the administration of good government.

          12. The Judiciary is a separate branch that is an ever-willing and ever-ready helpmate of the Executive.

          12. The Constitution is a piece of paper that is a good substitute for toilet paper. Article III – the Bill of Rights is soothing 4-ply.

          13. The national coffers are a source of personal largesse to be used for expensive foreign trips and the awarding of bounty.

          14. Priests are sexual predators; bishops are loud; the Church is a mendicant institution; and God is stupid.

          15. L’etat, C’est Moi et Sara.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] fascism and Idolatry, JoeAm has written about critical thinking, confidence of the dumb and that Duterte is the symptom, not the cause of many things. The “dogmatic ignorance” one can observe isn’t just due to village habits and […]

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