The ethics of being a relative

Former US President Jimmy Carter’s brother Billy [Newsweek cover, cropped]

By JoeAm

The recent post here that criticized three entertainers for aiding and abetting the incivility, killings, and destruction of democracy in the Philippines generated a lot of good discussion both here and especially on Facebook. Most agreed with the point of the article but a lot of people came to the defense of the three women.

As I read these sincere comments, it struck me that we have no rules for what the spouse of a major political figure should or should not do.

There is no statement of etiquette, no statement of ethical rules. For example, can and should a wife give policy advice to her politician husband? Presidential First Ladies in the US certainly do, and the Marcos presidency was as much of Imelda as of Ferdinand. And First Ladies are commonly hosts for visiting dignitaries of other states. That is not a paid job. It is just traditionally what is done.

In the US, candidates for office often bring their wives and families onto the stage to display the wholesomeness of their family. It goes along with praising God and the United States of America. We saw that same togetherness underscored in the Philippines when the husband of Grace Poe was asked to give up his American citizenship and become a Filipino citizen to demonstrate support for his wife and assure the family’s allegiance to the Philippines.

It struck me in pondering reader’s comments that there ought to be a set of ethical rules for spouses of candidates. That was the germ of an idea. Then I thought, okay, but if the wife is an entertainer, there need to be rules for the politician, too. Why should Korina Sanchez find her career penalized because her husband is in office? Or even if she is a doctor or just has a job. Same idea. And what if the politician is a woman, what do we expect of a male spouse? Is he supposed to organize dinners and decorations for the office? It is for sure not supposed to be to organize the plunder, as seemed to have been done by President Arroyo’s husband. So as my thinking rolled out, the issue seemed to get broader and more generalized, and I concluded that what we need is a simple set of ethical rules for spouses. Period.

The rules should make clear what is proper so that both the family and the employer are protected.

Well, knowing that there are almost no original ideas left in the world, I decided to google the idea. Lo and behold:

Not so helpful. The first of these has a lot of general thoughts on how to keep a family together and happy and the second discussed the ethics of therapy counseling for the family. Both have excellent guidelines but neither really addressed the questions I wanted to resolve. So my generalized conclusion unwound all the way back to the specifics of the three women:

  1. If Sharon Cuneta is married to Senator Pangilinan, should she have dinner with President Duterte without the Senator being present?
  2. Kris Aquino is not a spouse, but belongs to the famous Aquino line of Liberal Party public servants. Is it okay for her to have dinner with President Duterte?
  3. Korina Sanchez is a journalist whose “Rated K” show is of the entertainment or personality variety. Her husband is former Senator and Cabinet Secretary Mar Roxas. Should she interview Mocha Uson or not? How about interviewing President Duterte?

One answer is that they are private citizens and have the right to do what they want. Another view is that they should be respectful of their family and not do anything to embarrass their relatives. A third view is that it depends . . .

By the way, as I was reminded by a reader of Kris Aquino’s donations to the Roxas campaign, I also recalled that Korina Sanchez had gone on leave from her news anchor job when Mar Roxas declared his candidacy for the presidency. So she HAD been sensitive to family integrity at considerable expense to her own professional endeavors. I don’t know of a case in which Sharon Cuneta provided such tangible support for her husband but I imagine she probably has.

An ethical framework would have family members making decisions to protect and preserve the integrity, dignity, and professional standing of their partner. Grace Poe’s husband and Korina Sanchez sacrificed their own personal standing for their spouses, and it seems right and proper in both cases. So sometimes there are losers so that others in the family can benefit. Sacrifices are a part of a proper ethical fabric. Such decisions are family decisions and if neither the husband or wife’s (or relative’s) professional integrity or ability to do his job is damaged, that is their  rightful decision. We should respect it.

With this as background, let’s consider the three cases and see if there are any rules or lessons we can extract from them.

Sharon Cuneta. Presumably it was a family decision for her to dine with President Duterte in her capacity as a popular entertainer. That suggests the decision was made in concert with Senator Pangilinan, and let’s assume that it was HE who made the crucial decision that she could attend but it would not be prudent for him to. Why? Because if he attended, his standing in opposition to the core Duterte policies would confuse his constituents or anger them. If there was anger, it would be HIS loss, and he was willing to take it to support his wife’s professional visibility. So my takeaway is that, if the Senator was involved in the decision, there is no ethical violation. If he was not involved, there is an ethical violation because he is the person damaged by his wife’s seeming attachment to the political opposition.

Kris Aquino. I reflect back on US President Jimmy Carter’s brother, a beer swilling wild man so very much the opposite of the studied, reflective president. President Carter just ignored him. Kris Aquino is more respectful and responsible than Billy, for sure, and is an entertainer which gets her in the public eye a lot. She has committed no ethical violations whatsoever, it seems to me. Even if she chose to vote for, support, and back President Duterte, that is her choice, free and clear. She need consult with no one.  If the Liberal Party were hurt by that, it would fall into the category of “that’s life”. And people can choose to like or not like Kris Aquino as they will. And bloggers can even express dismay, but that all of that should impose no obligation on her.

Korina Sanchez. This is actually the most interesting case for me. I have no idea if she discusses her show’s content with Mar Roxas or not. I presume she does. But let’s worse case it and presume she does not. Would it harm her husband’s professional interests at all? Did her interview with Mocha Uson cross any ethical lines? Absolutely not. She does an entertainment style of journalism, and for an interview, one cannot tell before the fact what the content will be and if anyone will be helped or hurt. As it turned out, ratings for the show were very low. Mocha Uson appears not to be a star anywhere but to her own bots, bosses, paid followers, and needful souls. In all likelihood, the Liberal Party GAINED by this interview. Again, we can be dismayed that Uson, who does so much damage to unity and civility and truth, gets any publicity at all, but that is just a personal opinion, apart from a journalist’s choice.

So where do I end up on this. I end up with one simple rule in cases where families have two or more people affected by a decision.

If the matter has an effect one both spouses (or parent/child), both people should have input into any decision potentially harming either. Married couples have a deep legal and moral entanglement. The only ethical violation would be a harmful act carried out by one member of the family without consultation with the other.

For people outside the immediate family, there is no such ethical issue. The greater violation would be muzzling someone’s right to self-determination and free speech. There would be no ethical problem at all even if Kris Aquino took over Mocha Uson’s old job.

That doesn’t mean we have to like it, or be silent about it.

Thanks to all for the vibrant discussion that we had on the subject.


119 Responses to “The ethics of being a relative”
  1. arlene says:

    I think it is by way of delicadeza Joem. Kung baga, sila ay kalaban ng kamag-anak sa pulitika. Good morning!

  2. karlgarcia says:

    Billy Carter looked like the Gutierrez twins( Richard and Raymond).
    Speaking on Kris being a responsible person warts and all, because people don’t look at the mirror they see only warts.
    If you question those kind of people(critics) you will be tagged as a whataboutismist.

    For Korina, Sharon and for the rest of the human population Rinse and repeat.

    Half-joking(c) Irineo of course.

    As to Sharon supporting Kiko,
    No choice but to drop a link.

    Stop for now.

  3. popoy says:

    To me and to other TSoH visitors: This is a stretch of a cable in the Golden Gate Bridge.

    “What Does Caesar’s Wife Must Be Above Suspicion Mean?

    Caesar’s Wife Must Be Above Suspicion Meaning
    Definition: People associated with public figures must not be suspected of being a part of any wrongdoing.

    This expression is a complete sentence by itself. It has been interpreted in several different ways, but most often it means that people associated with public figures cannot do anything that would shame that public figure.

    In another interpretation, it has also meant that people who are associated with public figures cannot be held responsible for things those public figures do.

    However, the phrase may also be used to refer to women. In this case, the phrase means that women cannot be held responsible for what their husbands do. Therefore, women must be “above suspicion” for anything their husbands (or other men around them) are responsible.

    Either way, this phrase teaches that people must be responsible for their own actions, and people around them cannot be held responsible for those actions they did not commit. It also teaches that people in positions of power must wield that power responsibly and not commit any wrongdoings.”

    • popoy says:

      If adultery and concubinage are crimes of passion,
      indiscretion is passion and hunger for public attention.
      But a woman’s greed for pomp and power
      is the worst blemish of all female’s character -popoy

    • karlgarcia says:

      Let us not go far and we must never forget about Imelda.

  4. karlgarcia says:

    Random thought:
    Ignorance is niot knowing nothing it is about knowing little; And that makes it dangerous.

    • And it is refusing to know that we don’t know.

      • karlgarcia says:

        And that so it starts by listening and If necessary researching and of course asking a little and not a lot. Who says old dogs can’t learn new tricks, when I am older I still want to learn.

        • popoy says:

          Wait Karl Just wait till when being an octogenarian you become full professor and being centenarian you become senile professor emeritus. I was teenager when I read somewhere that “I am not ashame to be ignorant of what I do not know,” and “he who cannot rule himself cannot rule a city.”

          Old dogs can’t learn new tricks because they really don’t need them anymore unlike clueless tail wagging puppies. That’s why radical students in the early eighties (80s) were yelling full vocal chords: toota ibagsak, Tota Ibagsak,TUTA IBAGSAK, sigaw ng bayan himagsikan, HIMAGSIKAN.

  5. chemrock says:

    Sorry if this does’nt add anything to the discussion. Just drop by to share a small bit. Lee Kuan Yew’s wife was never in the spotlight. In public with her husband on official duties, she is always a couple of steps behind LKY. (Same as Pres Xi’s wife). She always put herself out of the picture in public ocassions. But less you think she is a timid uneducated housewife, mind you, she was a senior partner in a prominent local law firm. She was the only girl in class back in Oxford Uni days to ever beat LKY in some courses. (They attended same uni, that’s where they met). According to old Harry (that’s LKY’s nickname), back in the privacy of their home, it’s a different story. She was a source of great strength to him, both morally and intellectually and she certainly must have contributed much to his ideas.

    I’m not saying the Confucianist idea of a demure and totally dedicated wife is the role of a woman, to the extend of loosing her individuality. But certainly, the idea of public service requires of those aspiring to serve, to make tremendous sacrifices. That ennobles the enterprise. I think we all have free will. If certain sacrifices is beyond one’s threshold, than the relevant line of profession ought not be pursued. Eg if one is a pacifist, soldier is out. If one is a moralist, bar top dancing is out.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Certainly added a lot to my riches and treasures.I repeat this is an enriching place where riches have nothing to do with self-interest.

    • Nice example. American first wives are often social directors and there have been all kinds. I like it when the wives take advantage of their opportunity to promote good deeds, as many have.

    • popoy says:

      Mr. Chemrock if I may, I heard that description of a housewife before in 1958 from the coach of then UAAP Wrestling Team Champions; surnamed Santiago (Go Tia San, jokingly) but he was describing Japanese women, as humblest of world’s women and as housewife, she prepares the bath then bathe using the same water in the tub only after her husband. He was telling us wide eyed sophomores that the best wives in the world are Japanese and the best husbands are Filipinos. He taught us the basics of falling on the mat etc. and introduced us introductory Karate and combat judo; he was much older than us and speaks Mandarin; regaled us how he gets the lowest price in Manila’s Chinese stores by haggling in Chinese.

      China has in distant history their now extinct dynasties and the Long March while Japan had their Shogunate and the Samaurai and Ronins. Many here in TSoH knows the image of a Geisha but not may be their rigorous training.

      BWSA (being wannabe smart alecky) will Japanese men then be the best husbands for Filipinas? What do I mean? Well that might force the Pinoys to think outside the box.

    • sonny says:

      Then all this points to Penelope, the wife of Ulysses, “uxor fidelis” was her eponym forever: desirable to many, loyal & faithful to her husband, wise to pretenders/suitors, woman to come home to no matter what: lover, wife, mother, counselor.

  6. Andres 2018. says:

    I think the first lady should remain as a private citizen (unless appointed with official position) entitled with her own views and opinion even contrary to that of his President’s husband. However, this does not prevent her in supporting her President’s husband like campaigning for him or joining him in occasions and meetings.

  7. edgar lores says:

    1. I start with the paramountcy of the individual.

    2. The State and the Family exist for the individual. The individual is the building block of society and eventually that of the State.

    3. We have stated that the self-evident values inherent in the individual are liberty and equality.

    4. Therefore.

    5. A child may develop preferences and life principles that differ from the parents. Similarly, a spouse may possess preferences and life principles that differ from their spouse. This is permissible.

    5.1. Husband and wife usually share compatible values. However, this is not always the case. Attraction can be (is?) irrational, based on physical chemistry, and not always on shared mental and spiritual life values.

    6. Where there is a conflict in principles between family members, a modus vivendi should be worked out.

    6.1. The modus vivendi should be based on mutual respect and tolerance, if not acceptance, of divergent preferences and principles.

    7. If the conflict cannot be resolved to the point of a toxic atmosphere of unacceptable disharmony, then separation must follow. Provided:

    7.1. That any dependent child is not cast out.
    7.2. That each spouse is equitably provided for. (Equity covers a lot of factors such as age, employability, the division of property, child custody and support, etc.)

    8. I agree that:

    8.1. Sharon can have dinner at the Palace with Kiko’s consent. (Whether she should is another matter. We do not know all the factors. As Irineo has suggested, the wives may be moderating the President’s intemperate tendencies.)

    8.2. Kris may not extend her loyalty to her brother to Mar, and may say in pique that she understands why Duterte became president.

    8.3. Korina, as an entertainment personality, may interview Mocha — and Kris’ ex – even without Mar’s permission. For her to limit her professional work choices in consideration of her husband would be unprofessional.

    9. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the author of “Half of a Yellow Sun,” warns us of the dangers of the “single story” in her TED talk. A single story, a single narrative, may show a distorted one-dimensional view of a person (or a people) and may be used to dispossess them of the depth of their humanity.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Like they say, ‘ Nuff said’ , but I want you to say a lot more, so nicely said as usual,
      Another total package delivered.

    • That last point is a hum-dinger. On 8.1, the “should” part, though, is a matter of personal opinion, not ethics. If we respect that, and if the family agrees with the dinner, why not support Kiko for allowing his wife to have her own sense of being, loyalties, and preferences? Well the answer is, hey, we lost the last election, why is she working against us? But it is a personal opinion, a matter of political wrong and right, not ethical wrong and right. We can yammer at will, but it is just opinion and she can consider us trolls, no problem.

      • edgar lores says:

        Item 8.1 may be an ethical issue when viewed from the question, “Should one lend any semblance of friendship and normality to a murdering fascist?”

        This view is not from the angle of family matters, not from the husband, which is the topic of the essay, but from the angle of the nation’s well-being, from the host of the dinner.

        Again, barring Irineo’s caveat, it is from this angle that many may disapprove of Sharon.

        • Well, we cross into moral issues there, I think. Not too many came to the defense of Sharon on FB, but a good number of people defended Korina and Kris. Most attach Sharon to Marcos. All I can say is Kiko is a more generous husband than I would be, if he indeed agreed to the get-together. My impression of him slipped a notch, but Kris and Korina did not lessen my confidence in anyone.

          • popoy says:

            To me it will seem unfair and extrajudicial (that abhorrent murderous word) to compare the ladies as fruits of the tree and how far they fell from the tree.

        • popoy says:

          Being octogenarian and having been in some provinces in the Philippines, I have met or heard of MALAMBING wives being the husbands and husbands being the very loving wives. With apologies to Cavite and their people there arose in capitals the letters IMUS which if spelled out Karl will tell you.

          • karlgarcia says:

            They tell each other I Miss U Sweetheart.

            • popoy says:

              That’s a great escape like Steve McQueen (who married one of Lou Salvador Sr.’s beautiful daughters) you did Karl by not saying and spelling out IMUS as something I am under ….. whaaat?

              • karlgarcia says:

                It can be shortened to Takuza wait that is more letters than IMUS, my bad.

                Lou Salvador Sr. more than 100 children and more than 100 points in a basketball game.
                Steve McQueen married one of his daughters?

              • sonny says:

                Neph, the Salvador connection of Steve McQueen is first wife Neile Adams whose father “was” Salvador.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Thanks Unc,
                Carmen Salvador was the mother of Nelie Adams.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Thanks Prof and Unc, I learned a lot about the famous Salvador clan.
                Dolphy and Ramon Revilla can not even compare to the number of children Lou Sr. Sired.
                I think there are more unnamed pinoy said who sired 100 and more.
                No wonder we are overpopulated.Their tribe really increased when some one told them Abou Ben Adhem.

                sometimes misdirection is a good thing, you never know what you will discover when you get lost.

              • karlgarcia says:

                that said after pinoy is not supposed to be there- auto correct(edit) is always wrong,that was the complaint of Hawking about his first AI apparatus that helped him speak and spell este type.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Sorry to go back on this.
                Lou Salvador Sr. was the uncle of Neile Adams.
                Carmen is the sister of Lou.


    • popoy says:

      World’s experience is full of historical spouses, if I may mentioned names I read about like: UK’s first gentleman of the Iron Lady, Arthur’s Guinevere , Robin’s Marian, IL Duce and Rachele, Adolf and Eva, Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu, etc., etcetera. then we cogitate on Joseph and Mary; Jesus and Magdalene, Moses and etc. Julius, Mark Anthony and Cleopatra, Napoleon and Josephine, Diego and Gabriela, Elizabeth II and Philip and very recently Harry and Meghan. Three or four blasting adjectives might suffice to describe acceptable or obnoxious spouse behaviour. And Mr. Edgar’s views on three watitats have been SUCCINCT in this regard.

      Far fetched may be but as helm of the state, being single, widowed or widower seem the best. And so name them Karl starting with Noynoy. More? Being separated, divorced or annulled is stringent disqualification.

    • I start with the paramountcy of the individual.

      Lahat tayo, BIDA sa pelikula! Ayos!

      Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the author of “Half of a Yellow Sun,” warns us of the dangers of the “single story” in her TED talk

      Untrue yet real: I have been in the mind of Duterte, using technology from the movie “Inception”. But I am only able to capture the state of dreams and shortly before and after.. isip ni Duterte bago matulog sa kulambo, tapos maglulô…ay walâ, mahinâ” inisip niya ulit. “Tapos mawala pa trabaho ng disente, wala na. Buti pa tayong mga madiskarte, may lusot-lusot sa tabi-tabi”..

      finally, his mother slaps him in the dream. He wakes up on the floor, Bong Go finds him there and tells him to hurry up, the Chinese ambassador has stuff for him to sign.

      it is rumored that his face blackening is due to the successful inception of that sequence.

      • edgar lores says:

        Heh heh. Gotta improve the technology so that you can not only extract sequences but implant helpful suggestions into the subconscious… that will eventually bloom in the conscious mind to improve the well-being of the country.

        • sonny says:

          Image: aluminum helmet w/antennae, set frequency dial to “S” (subliminal).

          • karlgarcia says:

            Let the nanobot entry be done by darts or bullets, but it is hard to do in congress they are always absent.Let Johnny English do the sniping, he always finds a way.
            First implanted dream, I will advocate and vote for anti-dynasty law.
            A part of that dream- I will advocate and vote for National land use law.

  8. Sup says:

    They solved that ethics relative problem by running all in politics….

    • Hahaha! You are right about that, Sup. But… there are still conflict of interests. Take the Binay siblings who are duking it out.

      Why are we even talking about ethics in case of political families in PH? For a lot of them: “it’s not personal, it’s just business.” One thing that they may need to be aware of is that the person who uttered those words was Michael Corleone of Godfather and he’s into dirty business. Legal businesses that are successful do not just run on business plans and strategies, they have “personal” relationships with their employees, customers and all stakeholders.

    • karlgarcia says:

      If on TV Days of our lives outlasted Dynasty especially if that General Hospital gets turned into a mall or a golf course, in real life, our days of our lives will be always run by dynasties if there is no enabling law. We must watch this charter change, try might erase the anti dynasty part for real.

  9. andrewlim8 says:

    You don’t have to look deep for evidence that Filipino culture, after 2000 plus years since Christ, is essentially l a primitive, backward, and tribal culture. Just look at the families running for all the positions.

    A question, specially for the Catholic church: why have Filipinos evolved this way, where family is more important than God, country and principle?

    Why is family an excuse for everything- corruption, incompetence, evil?

    Is there something wrong with the catechism?

    • Good question. I imagine most bishops and priests are feeling impotent these days, unless they are under the blessing of a local dynasty.

      It is very warped, I agree.

      • andrewlim8 says:

        To give one very concrete example.

        Tony La Vina is a lawyer/human rights/environmental activist with a good track record.

        He is the brother of Pompee La Vina, a Duterte appointee to the SSS who got embroiled in a corruption scandal and was transferred. He was also instrumental in Du30’s soc med disinformation/trolling campaign.

        Tony supports his brother’s candidacy for CDO mayor. He also supports Pia Cayetano.
        And simultaneously, he is a deeply Catholic man. Check his tweets.

        Is it just me, or is there something wrong in how the Catholic church forms consciences?

        • andrewlim8 says:

          To serve as contrast:

          In the US, there is a family of six siblings who took out ads campaigning against their own brother, because he has racist views.

          That’s principle over family.

          In the past, I have read of parents turning in their children when they commit crimes.

          Why does it work that way over there and not here? Is there something wrong in the teachings?

          • karlgarcia says:

            Here It is nothing more than sibling rivalry.
            It is the principals ( bosses and not the school heads) that prevail,all we can ask is who’s the boss?

        • There you go. Fine example.

        • edgar lores says:

          It could be the home training of the children even before church training in the catechism.

          Specifically, the lack of training in boundaries.

          As a rule, Filipino parents are very permissive. There are hardly any training in good manners and right conduct. No rules on when children must be home for meals or when to go to bed. Or when to rise.

          There is tutelage in respect for elders in mano po and for sibling hierarchy in the ate and kuya honorifics. But hardly any instruction on respect for neighbors and their property. And no sermons on the evils of gambling and other vices.

          One may have been brought up by strict parents but peer pressure in school would easily undo the early years of parental guidance.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Yes and rebel children usually have strict parents.

          • “lack of training in boundaries.” But for those who drive jeepney there is boundary.

            But isn’t lack of boundaries a clear reason for lack of structure that Joe mentioned?

            The concept of invisible boundaries is a strong mental model.

            “There is tutelage in respect for elders in mano po”

            explains the deference to hierarchy – and rules only obeyed if coming from Da Mayor.

            Rules are orders of the day, given by the figure of authority – not invisible boundaries

            “No rules on when children must be home for meals or when to go to bed.”

            Many anti-drug or anti-alcohol therapies center on re-establishing a regular daily rhythm.

            Same thing for programs to reintegrate long-term jobless into a normal working life.

            Or (thx Sonny) the ora et labora fixed hours for work, reading, prayer of the Benedictines.

            On the other hand, a lot of mental torture is based on destroying people’s rhythms.

            Keeping them in cells where they don’t know when it is night and day anymore.

            • Although having no boundaries and no structure can have advantages, maybe.

              One is total resiliency, as there are no expectations to be disappointed. Everything flows.

              And just do what da Boss says means no responsibility. What an easy, wonderful life.

              • Different lanes going different places on EDSA need physical barriers where in other countries signs and marked lanes suffice. Another proof of missing mental boundaries.

                Aren’t the plastic barriers on EDSA often run over or pushed aside by buses or cars?

              • edgar lores says:

                “Everything flows.

                The Filipino then is like water. He seeks to penetrate all corners and overwhelm all obstacles.

                Just like the political dynasties. Properly position all family members and apply for all levels of candidacy — mayor, vice-mayor, congressman, senator.

                Water, which is fluid power, is also a controlled resource. Therefore, plug all available holes. So that the familial reservoir of power is properly dammed and can be used to generate electricity in the forms of money and favor.

            • edgar lores says:

              It does relate to lack of structure.

              In classical Freudian terms, the Filipino is all Id and Ego and no, or very little, Superego.

              Initially, Superego, which is Conscience, arises from all the boundaries — the Do Not’s — established by parents — primarily — then by religious training — secondarily.

              Filipino parents neglect their duties in this regard and religion is no better. As Sonny notes, the practice of infant baptism can be a factor. The infant is mentally and, therefore, spiritually unconscious.

              In Protestant adult baptism, the conscious youth is asked to make a decision of great import: Do you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Not only that but more: do you swear to follow in His footsteps?

              One will observe in truly born-again Christians, like ex-CJ Sereno, this dynamic of approaching issues with this question uppermost in their minds: What would Jesus do (WWJD)? It is a question that seeks guidance from innermost conscience.

              In both institutions of Home and Church, there is also the gap between the words and the deeds. As Josephivo would say, children watch the feet and not the lips.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Unc, you are the most versed in catechism in TSH.
      Can you discuss to us these concerns?
      In English not in Latin of course.

      • sonny says:

        Thanks for asking, Karl.

        “Is it just me, or is there something wrong in how the Catholic church forms consciences?”
        “… you are the most versed in catechism in TSH. Can you discuss to us these concerns?”

        What Andrew and you bring up has a rhetorical quality because there are only partial answers I can try to furnish, with a lot of presumption (“I am the most versed in catechism in TSH”) on my part by daring to answer. 🙂 But yes, I do have some ideas about this. Here goes.

        Yes, there is something lacking in forming a Catholic conscience but the fault does not lie with the Church. Rather the responsibility lies in each individual.

        Like most Catholics, becoming one is easy (baptized at infancy or thereabouts as contrasted to an adult conversion and then instruction). After this event, the next phase is learning the WHAT of being a Catholic. Invariably this means studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church; then everyone enters the sacramental life of the Church through Penance and the Eucharist (the Mass) and following the vocation one discerns through prayer. This phase is supposed to bring the Catholic to holiness and the imitation of Jesus Christ the Founder of the Church. Note that Mother Teresa of Calcutta and the saints of the Church and Joe/Jane at the pews are “presumed” to follow the same path of doctrine and discipline and then everybody and everything until heaven comes, falls into place: Catholics/Christians become the models of virtue & citizenship for the whole world to follow and emulate, namely the salt of the earth. Not! There is the little matter of CATECHESIS and EVANGELIZATION.

        “We’ve got a lot of big words in our religious vocabulary. Each one is quite specific in the territory it covers. Catechesis is basically religious education. It’s rooted in the Greek word for “echo,” and its intent is to nurture the Christian life through imitation in word and deed. Obviously catechesis involves learning the “faith facts” that enable us to speak meaningfully about what we believe.

        But catechesis is not only about transferring information from one generation of the church to the next. We need to echo the faith of our mothers and fathers in a spirit that is awakened, nourished, and developed. That is why we’ve heard so much in recent years about “whole community catechesis” and “adult faith formation.” Religious education isn’t only for children anymore, and it goes far beyond religion class and sacramental preparation. Catechesis is a lifelong process that seeks to deepen the echo of faith so that it reverberates through every corridor of our lives, relationships, and decision-making.

        Catechesis is important, but it can’t go anywhere without the work of evangelization. This word also has Greek origins and means “proclaiming good news.” Where Christianity is concerned, that good news is contained in the gospel. We should recall that, just as catechesis doesn’t mean memorizing rote facts about faith, evangelization isn’t the same as shouting scripture verses to passersby in hopes that the gospel will “take” in their hearts. We can think of evangelization as creating the spark that ignites the fire and catechesis as the work of tending the flame once it’s established.

        Regretfully, some folks who practice religion their whole lives, were never properly evangelized and so their faith remains unenlivened and burdensome, all obligation and very little illumination. In the same way it’s possible to really hear the good news of Jesus and believe it—but lack the follow-up of catechesis and so remain like spiritual children, immature in understanding. When they work hand in hand, however, evangelization and catechesis can make saints out of us, bringing us to faith and then to holiness, inch by inch.” — Alice Camille

        To know matters of faith and how to incorporate them to daily life in the home, office and market place entail hard work and personal sacrifice, for life.

        And so the short of all this will be to realize that Christian life is all about one’s relationship with One Person, Christ himself. When this happens, all things do fall into place.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Many thanks Unc Sonny.

        • was Blessed by Pope Francis..

          his picture is in Palermo Cathedral, a priest who was killed by the Mafia for advising poor kids not to see it as a career option. During a recent movie about him, those who watched it came back to damaged cars. It is indeed striking that the most corrupt parts of Europe are Orthodox, second most corrupt Catholic, least corrupt Protestant. There is I think a connection to how religion is practiced, especially how its high representatives act.

          Orthodox bishops often hobnob with Eastern oligarchs, the Vatican especially the Italian clergy pre Pope Francis was not openly anti-Mafia, sometimes even too tolerant maybe.

        • andrewlim8 says:

          Thanks for the reply. I have to clarify that I did not think there was anything wrong being taught in the doctrine itself , but rather in HOW effectively they were being taught, and HOW they measure their effectiveness in getting the flock to apply it. Shouldn’t there be a benchmarking of sorts for these, just to see if results are achieved?

          Personally, I rarely hear a priest explain this with clarity – family or principle? family or God? family or country? Of course, they are not dichotomies, but you see the blatant display of impunity of families engaged in wholesale corruption.

          Can’t the Church correct these using its pulpits?

  10. andrewlim8 says:



    Im curious about this recent news re Teddy:

    Was he referring to Cayetano/DFA career officers?

    Or is he just tricking people to vote for Go, and highlight his importance despite his lack of any relevant skills set for the Senate?

    Ahh the erudite but execrable Teddy.

    • karlgarcia says:

      I think Cayetano and the non-career appointees and hangers on like Nieto and Uson.
      He has a direct line to the SAP and I would not be surprised if he bypassed Cayetano right from the start.
      Anyways the career officials will be the one to do the heavy lifting at the end of the day.
      Maybe we can add Andanar, but what the heck,he is campaigning for Go at the expense of all the rest.
      If Cayetano wins the speakership, let us hear what Locsin has to say.

    • Good questions. I don’t know where support for the UN ambassador comes from, but I presume it is DFA. That would be his predecessor, Cayetano. I don’t think lower level people would be able to provide guidance on UN matters.

  11. Sup says:

    I think that ”ethics thing” gets only worse when you have a Dissociative identity disorder?

    • karlgarcia says:

      Don’t tell me he co-authored the ant-turn coatism bill too.

      • karlgarcia says:

        His blood sugar levels must have spiked that he decided to be the Miriam Santiago of the senate as if that is more relaxing, she ate death threats for breakfast and he must top that. (pls don’t).
        Before that he knocked on the doors of kabayan and luntian party list.
        I am sure, he will remind us that he championed the universal health law ( which I would love to see implemented).

        Unless we elect the opposition slate of eight in the senate, it is more of the same till 2022, I am yet to check the aspirants for the whole HOR,I think it would be hard to shake up changes there if the incumbents go unopposed.

  12. Gideon Lasco about the same topic.

    BTW I was in Sicily end of September. Vacation, not business. Why amoral familism has been and is so powerful there I did not ask out of delicadeza. But 600 years of Spanish rule (starting with Aragon not Castile) and land estates controlled by Spanish nobles are a clue. Widespread banditry and support of it by an impoverished rural population is also a clue. That ruthless peasant groups took over protection after the Spanish lords left but went by the same power practices is not surprising either. Mafiusu originally meant a tough talking, ruthless person = sanggano, balasubas.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Irineo went to Sicily to see the real life version of Don Corleone, but out of delicadeza he changed his mind.

    • karlgarcia says:

      There are more gems discussed in that article.
      First Pia Cayetano’s silence on her advocacies all in the name of family.
      Maybe she had a silent advocacy in the lower house, we don’t know that.😉
      Maybe she plans to continue that silent advocacy in the senate because her brother wants to be speaker of the house.
      Then some others we discussed here like nepotism.
      Then it closes with Erap’s campaign line walang Kamag-anak.
      The whole line goes Walang kai kaibigan, walang kama kamag-anak, Erap para sa mahirap.

      That is campaigning and not advocating.

  13. Francis says:

    A joke. A parable. Please take the following seriously—but not literally.

    In partial response to @Chemrock—regarding the role of the wives of heads of state and that ensuring comment thread:

    The Philippines is nation that prides itself on equality between the sexes. We are the 10th most equal nation in the world; highest in Asia.

    Proof of that is FG and Imelda. Graft is equal-opportunity (and more fun) in the Philippines!

    Isn’t it odd how one of the personally least corrupt presidents in our nation’s history—our previous president—was single. It made me think.

    All this brouhaha about cha-cha. Look! Imelda. FG. Marcos was smart. GMA had a PHD. Ah. In the Philippines—not even intellect is immune to the wiles of the spouse.

    So I thought. Cha-Cha? Parliament, no. Federalism, no. Let us instead amend the constitution to add one more qualification to the Office of the President—he or she must be SINGLE.

    Hmm. What if the President falls in love during his term?

    Then—the Majestic People of the Republic of the Philippines is entitled to proper checks and balances! Look! That Supreme Court Justice held an umbrella over Imelda’s queenly head; ergo: the First Spouse is supreme over the Supreme Court!

    And if the Supreme Court Chief Justice is entitled to proper review by the JBC—then I sincerely recommend that all future wives (or husbands—this is the 21st century after all, let us not be so chauvinistic nor barbaric) be reviewed by the Matrimonial Bar Council, where the potential love interests will be whittled down to three final candidates.

    It will be, I think, a matter of fierce debate whether these will also be subject to the Commission of Appointments. Congress—once headed by Alvarez—is sure to take keen interest.

    Of course—ABS-CBN is free to have an outlandish reality show-cum-paparazzi investigative unit to cover the daily goings of the potential First Ladies/Gentlemen. Center for Media Freedom and Resposibility would likely remark, “This is simply an example of sensastional reporting. Such reporting on such crucial public matters—the potential First Spouse of the country—should be subject to only the most objective reporting, commentary and analysis.”

    This was reportedly a question in the Bicam: “Paano ang mga kabit.”

    Ah. The earnest reformists pondered on that. Hmm. If spouses are a matter of public interest—we should make mistresses also a matter of public interest! After all, they too may be a major factor in public policy?

    A lawyer-congressman pointed out: let us treat the wife and husband—and the mistresses and misters—like the Supreme Court, only that they always sit en banc. The First Spouse was thus legislated constitutionally as primus inter pares among his or her peers, the kabits.

    I mean no offense with the above. I just could not let this joke pass—given the subject matter of the article.

    • karlgarcia says:

      All candidates must be single from start until end of term will solve but create a lot of problems, so your proposal would surely cut it.

      • andrewlim8 says:

        that was humorous, but let me say this in the interest of generating discussion – so many have justified corruption as something necessary for the survival of their family – specially if there are so many of them to support. Again, wrongly, family is the excuse for corruption.

        • In the days where there was no PhilHealth, a member of the extended family with major health issues could mean financial ruin – or the choice to go abroad, or accept the help of a political Ninong with utang na loob strings attached, or join in the games others play.

          An uncle of ours was an affluent lawyer, but when he got sick and needed regular dialysis, his family lost a lot of money. His wife was in government but very honest so the elder kids had to help out but it stretched them pretty thin, maybe others would have been tempted? With politicians who already have money, not the case. But I guess habits out of hardship persist even some generations later. Fear of ending up poor drives greed, possibly.

          • In Germany, government employees including police usually have lifetime employment and good pensions. That means an incentive to behave and not to risk the pension.

            After at least two full terms, parliament members also start to have pension claims. An incentive not to risk them either by being corrupt, and a direct benefit from serving.

            Francis has always mentioned realistic instead of idealistic ways to motivate people, these are examples which like corporate bonus systems take human nature into account.

            • Bavarian peasant families (usually Catholics) have internal solidarity as well, but lazy and irresponsible ones are shut out.

              One Bavarian who married a Filipina asked me for some advice on her family and told me they were suspicious of potential parasites, he might be shut out even from inheritance.

              What eventually happened I don’t know, not my business, it sounds harsh but I think the Filipino system breeds too many freeloaders and that makes it weaker.

        • karlgarcia says:

          First that entered my mind was. Epotism.
          Nepotism in business and government occurs.

          For businesses small or large you want it a family bussiness even when your children do not want to continue,
          If it is a large businesses some founder and cofounders would usually bypass the board and the most competent and productive employee for senior management positions?

          Governors,mayors congressmen, baranggay chairs hire their relatives as staff because they say they trust them.

          Now there are strict audit and oversight bodies that would not make a dent .

          Nepotism breeds dynasties.

          Now for survival.
          The police, soldiers, teachers often demand higher pay.
          It will never be enough for them so jobs on the side from the enterprising to the most revolting jobs.
          And of course the accepting of bribes from the varoious agencies may give the initial justification of not asking for it, but they gave it and since a they told me they know that my mother is in the hospital, so I accepted it.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Automared Nepotism

          • Centuries of oppression and poverty create hunger that is never stilled among some.

            The big news in Romania when I was there 10 years ago was a 28 year old lady judge who did porn on the side. Some saw it in Germany and sent evidence back home. Possibly even some she sentenced, or relatives? Revolting or entertaining? That depends.

            A bit OT, the latest news of a 29-year-old Pinay in Romania is that she (Bella Santiago) rocked The Voice. Seems her band is a mainstay at the Hard Rock Cafe Bucharest, her Romanian perfect and she even helped compose a song for which became a runner-up for Romania’s Eurovision entry. Ain’t just always bad news and this cliche of Pinays abroad being prostis. She does dress hot but that is standard in Eastern Europe.

    • popoy says:

      Mukhang maganda ‘to Francis pero meron din akong sinabi sa itaas tungkol diyan ah:
      “Far fetched may be but as helm of the state, being single, widowed or widower seem the best. And so please name them Karl, starting with Noynoy.”

      But it remains, some men and women are like the Supreme Court: NO APPEAL.

      Matagal na, meron din akong sinulat na fictional dialogue nahiya (yata) akong e post kasi baka hindi magkatuloyan yung binata na presidente at dalagang kunsehala. Pinagtatalunan eh yung bisyo ng yose. Ayun it was made obsolete by real life events. Hanapin ko nga sa old files.

      • karlgarcia says:

        I had this thought that retired and active priests would all shift to politics then all of our priests would be foreigners.
        What about those who never married but with many common law wives (mistresses) and children
        Imagine the late Dolphy as candidate.

        Now to the single leaders without googling I could only think of Noynoy, Sherwin Gatchalian and maybe more who are at the tip of my tongue.

  14. popoy says:

    Sa darating na HALALAN, ito ang dapat sa Kalsada ISIGAW NG KABATAAN:













    May I request readers here (IF there are TUTAS)
    to WRITE and COUNTER





    (can be sung as refrain to the Song Red River Valley)
    please continue WRITE THE LYRICS RHYME

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