In a world of liars, let the honest people shine!

Bharat Vatwani from India receives his Magsaysay award from Vice President Leni Robredo at the 2018 ceremony (Photo source: Hindustan Times]

By Joe Am

How do you measure the value of integrity, of dignity, of rising above our mundane little lot in life to give yourself to humanity? The Ramon Magsaysay Awards are granted to people of Asia who do just that.

Bharat Vatwani from India was one of six people so honored this year.

“Vatwani was recognised for ‘his tremendous courage and healing compassion in embracing India’s mentally-afflicted destitute, and his steadfast and magnanimous dedication to the work of restoring and affirming the human dignity of even the most ostracized.’ ” [Hindustan Times]

Such a wonderful, wonderful giving contribution to our humanity, and to our meaning on this great blue orb of ours. Leni Robredo was invited to the ceremony to hand out the awards because she herself possesses a dignity and grace suitable for the granting of such honors.

And yet we live in the Philippines.

We live in a world of liars and deceptions. From Facebook where people are preening and posturing for glory to the President’s spokesman who has never met a criticism he will grant as legitimate. From Mocha Uson’s obnoxious, demeaning presentation of what it means to be Filipina to President Duterte’s public utterances which we are explicitly advised to take as a joke. From our crablike neighbors who detest civility because it left them behind to Grace Poe who has no commitment to anything unless she can shine.

Collect them all up, throw in the ease of widespread social media deceits, and it stands as a grubby failure of a way to run a nation . . . or a life.

It is delusional, surreal, confusing, depressing, and . . . as we become used to it . . . dulling of our inspiration and joy and desire to do anything about it.

We are being bludgeoned into mindless inertia, into giving up, into conceding to the futility of it all.

The Philippines is a place where the President would not be asked to hand out Magsaysay awards for they would be forever tarnished.

It’s that bad.

So I think it is about time.

It is about time to let honesty and integrity shine. It is time to look past the gameplayers and deceivers, to find the the many jewels of honor and grace who walk amongst us. The people who prize dignity and candor over personal gain, and who talk straight instead of crooked:

The dirtier our world becomes, the more they shine:

  • Leni Robredo
  • Sonny Trillanes
  • Riza Hontiveros
  • Conchita Carpio-Morales
  • Richard Heydarian
  • Antonio Carpio

There are others.

Why do they seem to collect among the “Yellows”, although Trillanes is Magdalo and Morales, Carpio, and Heydarian are not even political?

They are distinguished because they have principles that don’t permit deceit. That are out to solve problems and do it with huge helpings of respect for others. They all . . . each and every one . . . understand that lies and cheating are personal failings that they just can’t bear. They had mentoring events in their lives, all different . . . a life lost too soon, military service, gender discrimination, a father’s guidance, the joy of intellectual rigor, and teaching. These lessons helped seal within them the pride and sense of accomplishment to be had by rising above the ease of lying and taking advantage of others as the way ahead.

The dirtier our world becomes, the brighter the people of dignity shine.

The Philippines may be a poor and battered nation, struggling with even the simplest matters. Deceits are the rule these days, insults and incivility the method. It is horrifying to think this is what we have to deal with and rely on in an angrier, shrinking world.

So don’t.

The nation has its jewels, and in them, hope.

Rely on them, raise them up. They are strong. Find more of them and point them out to others.

When citizens learn to go hunting for THESE KINDS of riches . . . and stick with them rather than relying on quick-time satisfaction and laughs from actors and showboats and deceivers . . . they will find their own joys straight ahead. They will find a path to fulfillment straight ahead . . . and perhaps a little piece of prosperity.

Integrity is its own reward.


43 Responses to “In a world of liars, let the honest people shine!”
  1. andrewlim8 says:

    I did a red-team of this article just to be fair to the DU30 regime. (red-teaming is sitting on the opposing side’s chair and assuming all their perspectives and goals)

    And I came up with some names: Mon Lopez of DTI, Pernia of NEDA, Nene Pimentel.

    But what negates their previous lives of integrity is their uncritical support of the politics of Duterte.

    Ask them this: Do you really think economic development is possible without a moral foundation?
    Does Nene think his fetish for federalism takes precedence over what DU30 is doing to the country?

    It’s rather like all the well-meaning German citizens who supported Hitler in 1930s Germany, because they thought he would usher in an era of prosperity. Their consciences were screaming otherwise, but they were so afraid of Hitler.

  2. andrewlim8 says:

    Some questions/memes for millenials who voted for change :

    1. Can you still afford your Starbucks? (prices increase today)

    2. Can you still afford to be a foodie and instagram your meals?

    3. Can you still travel frequently?

    4. Are you brave enough to admit you were wrong?

    5. If your answer is yes to #4, do you realize that what you fight for is principles, not persons?

  3. Quaddie says:

    What happens when these liars die?
    They lie still.

  4. Gemino H. Abad says:

    WE must all stand our ground on integrity of character and human dignity! We are still fortunate to have honest, competent, exemplary individuals among us — We must rally behind them and do the best of what we are able to do.

  5. edgar lores says:

    1. It seems that out of 110M people, one can count the number of good people on the digits of one’s hands and feet. I exaggerate, of course, because I am aware of many in social media who are aghast at what is happening in the “world of liars and deceptions.” The ones who post protests, the ones who press emojis on protest posts, and the ones who join protest rallies.

    2. Increasingly, there are apostates to the cause of the liars and the deceivers.

    3. The key question for me is, “Why are there apostates?”

    4. Without going into details, I believe the reason is that things, on a personal level, have not changed for the better; they have changed for the worst.

    4.1. It may be because of the outrageous contradictions of the President, the rising prices of goods, the death of a relative, the influx of Chinese migrants, the absence of any improvement in traffic, or the sartorial contrast between a sloppy Duterte and a dapper Trillanes.

    5. Whatever the reason, it is important to note that apostates may not have come into goodness. They have changed their minds simply because they have, as it were, been personally inconvenienced.

    5.1. And not having come into goodness — and not deeply examining the deceit that they have been complicit in — means that they will be prey to the next demagogue who comes along.

    6. Coming into goodness means actively pursuing and practicing the spiritual aspects of life. No amount of economic progress will bring us to a kinder world.

    6.1. We must water the seeds of goodness within us. Otherwise, the “world of liars and deception” will continue to overwhelm.

    • Thinking is shallow, and the base emotions that permit compassion are equally shallow. For the life of me, I will never understand the Christian who endorses the brutal drug war, or the mother who nurtured a child of her own who endorses the brutal drug war.

  6. Andres 2018. says:

    In fact, Duterte is honest. He admitted his sin of EJKs.

    • But then he said it was a joke, so I think your conclusion is amiss.

      • Andres 2018. says:

        I dont think Duterte himself said that he is joking on that particular statement. Or did i missed any news that says he himself said he was just joking? But his minions say that he is joking or being sarcastic or whatever.

        However, other than that specific statement about EJKs, he already said he was killing people even before as elected. This old man have a tendency to divulge anything, not considering the implications. And that, his minions do everything to retract or to explain it so as not to implicate him based on what he says.

        I think its honesty, in a dumb way. EJKs admitted. Lets wait for some other admission then.

        • True, it is the lawyers who recognize the implications of the statement who are scrambling to redefine what the President said. Roque, Panelo, Cayetano. But there are enough contradictions and jetski moments unfulfilled that suggest the President is not a man of his word.

        • chemrock says:

          There you go again Andres. Always nuanced.

          “At least he is honest” is what we call a fallacy of relative privacy. Or an appeal to a major problem .

          It is also a straw man fallacy, to lead attention away from a certain issue.

          In this particular case, Andres sees honesty as a more important issue than EJKs. The president is allowed to kill so long as he is honest about it.

        • Micha says:


          “…other than that specific statement about EJKs, he already said he was killing people even before as elected… Lets wait for some other admission then.”

          No, that’s more than enough admission.

          In a normal world, Rodrigo would have been already indicted, prosecuted, and jailed.

          There has got to be a point where all that hubris and arrogance need to stop and his criminal acts be held accountable.

        • Scipio says:

          A Freudian slip perhaps?

    • grace says:

      On that, his spokesman is debunking D30’s honesty. He said the presidente meant something else.

  7. NHerrera says:

    Indeed: In a world of liars, let the honest people shine!

    This brings to mind Judge Andres Bartolome Soriano of Makati’s RTC 148. He has the options — considering the weak legal support of the revocation of the amnesty of Sen Trillanes to

    * do, for some laughable reasons, what Judge Alameda of Makati RTC 150 did and order the arrest of Sen Trillanes; or

    * do what many, including the Philippine Bar Association and experts from the Academe and esteemed retired government officials, think is right and junk the DOJ’s petition to issue an arrest order on Sen Trillanes. Thereby shine in the esteem of his countrymen and relatives and descendants for now and in the years to come [in the historical records]. Not a lot of people are given such a golden opportunity.

    The latter option aside, there is also a practical aspect. The current Administration is not forever. And without diminishing the noble motives that Judge Soriano may use in his judgment — and he may not even factor it into consideration — there may come a reward in due time. Meantime a good judgment is its own reward.

    I would like to end this note the portion of that oft quoted passages in Ecclesiastes: a time to keep silent, and a time to speak. We at TSH have not been silent, but it is good we are speaking/ writing more.

    Joe, thanks for this article. VP Leni Robredo is radiant in that picture. Although the VP may not agree to my flattery note, here is Alfred Tennyson’s Sir Galahad: My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure.

  8. karlgarcia says:

    The one apt word for lying and propagating is spin, that dizzying spin of the spin masters. We must fight the vertigo.

    • Tweeto Wakatono says:

      Eche bucheche can also be an heinous crime when tyrants and their Dobermans, Rothweilers and pit bulls like askals eat their daily bread of heroes. So sorry to them CANINES, if only they can accept apologies.

      • karlgarcia says:

        If you can touch a Doberman or a Rothweiler you will find out if they have accepted your apology.

        • Tweeto Wakatono says:

          I think humans should find another kingdom (discard the animal kingdom) as sacrificial models of their inhumanity against each other, Who really started this UN-ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE analogy of beings? It is grievous imbecility to compare because of the behavior of many to say that politicians are like lawyers and lawyers are politicians. That dictators are murderers, and murderers dictators. Or when honesty justifies murders. I know, I know I must search my files if I myself am/was guilty of comparing a two legged rat to a four legged rodent.

  9. Tancio de Leon says:

    To JA and the knights of TSH, can you guys hear me cheering and clapping for your well written spins. Meanwhile are these all we can do?

    • karlgarcia says:

      I know Will together with some readers go the streets. Will went to the senate, spent time there, etc.
      So TSH are not merely keyboard warriors.
      Joe discourages anything bordering to rebellion, so we do the next best thing, which is what we are doing.

    • There are a whole range of activities people can take up. Joining parties or groups, joining this gathering or that, voting, debating individuals to try to bring them to the side of civility and democracy. Our part here is to teach and learn, and not much beyond that. Maybe a joke now and then. It seems to inspire people and give people ideas. I participate in social media to do what Edgar calls “missionary work”, advocating for civility, democracy, and the constitution. I don’t organize others to do anything, and discourage calls for action here at the blog.

      It’s all good, I think.

  10. NHerrera says:

    Off topic

    Here is news on part of the list JBC is considering for the post of the CJ of SC upon the retirement of CJ De Castro. Excerpts of the Philstar news report follows.

    Carpio declined his nomination for the post last June out of delicadeza (sense of propriety), saying he did not want to benefit from the ouster of chief justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, which he opposed by dissenting from the SC’s ruling on the quo warranto case last June.

    President Duterte said his appointment of De Castro was based on seniority and meritocracy, and that Carpio was not considered since “he stated publicly that he’s not going to accept.”

    But this time, a source said Carpio will now accept his automatic nomination “because there is no longer (an issue of delicadeza) or legal reason to decline.”

    If appointed chief justice, he [Carpio] will serve the SC as its top magistrate for one year. Another source revealed that Peralta and Bersamin will also accept their automatic nomination.

    The sources said Carpio, Peralta and Bersamin will formally accept the nomination upon submission of their written conforme to the JBC by Oct. 15, the deadline for submission of nominations and applications.

    Apart from the three, the two other senior magistrates – Associate Justices Mariano del Castillo and Estela Perlas-Bernabe – have also been nominated for the position.
    “The five most senior associate justices of the (SC) are automatically nominated, subject to the submission of a written acceptance of nomination,” the JBC announced.

    Sources in the administration told The STAR that Duterte plans to give SC justices a chance to be promoted to the top judicial post before their retirement.

    Here are relevant information from wiki on the five SC Justices automatically nominated by JBC upon their acceptance:

    • edgar lores says:

      I thought Bersamin would get it since De Castro had only two months to go. To be followed by Peralta.

      But now Duterte’s hand is forced to hoist Carpio.

      • NHerrera says:

        Seems like it to go by the statements attributed to Pres Duterte.

        I was going to say: will the President not risk a year with Carpio at the helm? But the reality is when it comes to a decision on important issues, each Justice carries the same weight. We hope, though, that Carpio can be persuasive, considering that he does not carry a baggage Sereno had ab initio.

      • I don’t think he will select Carpio. Logic does not enter the picture. Loyalty does. That is the only principle in play.

  11. I would add Sereno to the list. She decided not to run for any office for now, but her working directly with EJK victims families is THE great thing she is doing at the moment.

  12. Adolfo Bince Valdez says:

    The listed names above are the traitors of the motherland. They wanted to burn the country with the help of foreign forces. They use the word freedom and democracy to steal the wealth of the country. They are all self centered and greedy just to satisfy their personal goals.

    • Thanks for the visit, Adolfo. As you are new to the discussion forum, kindly let readers know your location, nationality, and interest in the Philippines. Then we can try to discuss your somewhat amusing take on matters.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Wow. Words Opposing Words. If only words are all that matter, then Adolfo should have the last word on this topic.

  13. Sup says:

    Mocha dares Leni to face her ‘eye to eye, eyeliner to eyeliner’

    Resigned Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson lashed at the camp of Vice President Leni Robredo for saying that she is still liable for alleged lies and scandals despite her resignation.

    If you can handle to read more :

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