Anatomy of a Dust-Up

Victor Ortiz and Saul Corral, by

By JoeAm

I have reproduced below a comment by Edgar Lores from the discussion from the last article that generated a social media firestorm and some hurt feelings. Edgar’s examination of the dust-up is well within character for him, orderly, earnest in search of understanding, and downright brilliant. J.A.

Edgar wrote . . . 


In reply to distant observer.

I intended to respond last night but things got in the way and I lost my thread of thought.

1. After reading Richard’s column this morning and reviewing Irineo’s Twitter account, I think these three tweets summarize the crux of the matter:

1.1. Jumer Cadelina: “I have 2 siblings who are pro-Duterte, in addition to several cousins and friends. All decent, honest, hard-working guys. Jover’s husband is DDS. Should we just stop talking to them?”

1.2. Joe America: “I think they are entitled to be whatever they are, angry or uninformed or just liking a firm hand rather than due process. But I also think they ought not to be used to justify abandoning the goodwill in the Constitution, especially by people with broad public following.”

1.3. Richard Heydarian: “That’s why we need to educate them, engage them instead of insulting them and alienating them with our intellectualism and high-minded liberalism. I don’t know why this point of mine is so hard to get for some people?”

2. Personally, I have struggled with how to interact with people who support Duterte. As Richard does. As we all do.

2.1. The difficulty is that pro-Duterte supporters constitute a continuum.

2.1.1. On the extreme right, there are the officials in government who hasten to comply with any and all of Duterte’s whims. Among these are Panelo, Calida, Guevarra, Aguirre, Bato, some Senators, and the majority of the Lower House. These are the accessories, before and after the fact.

2.1.2. Beside them are the pro-Duterte propagandists who manufacture and spout pro-Duterte items in the news and social media. Among these are pro-Duterte columnists and the likes of Mocha Uson, Thinking Pinoy, and Sass Sassot. These are the facilitators.

2.1.3. Next, are the rabid DDS supporters who may or may not act under the direction of the facilitators and who vent their threats and profanities across socmed and in real life. These are the trolls.

2.1.4. In the middle are the silent pro-Duterte supporters who give the president a 70% satisfaction rating. These are the enablers.

2..5. On the extreme left are our grandparents, parents, siblings, children, and cousins who – horrors! – are pro-Duterte. It is possible that these people may belong to the other categories detailed above. But I put them in a separate category because they are family.

3. Given this taxonomy, it is impossible to react with a single emotion to the army of Duterte supporters.

o For the accessories, we may rightly rage against them.
o For the facilitators, we may hold them in contempt.
o For the trolls, we may treat them with hate… or brotherly love © Will.
o For the enablers, we may pity them.
o For the family, we can do naught but love them… despite their imperfections.

4. The above is in so far as our emotional reactions go. But what should be our course of action?

4.1. With respect to Jumer Cadelina’s tweet, the answer provided is that we continue to love them. We accept our family as they are… in the same manner that they accept us. “The blood of the womb is thicker than the water of the covenant.”

4.2. With respect to Joe Am’s tweet, he is saying that people are entitled to their own opinion but that we should not abandon the Rule of Law Foundation (RoLF). Where opinion and the normative rule are in conflict, the norm must reign supreme.

4.3. With respect to Richard’s tweet, he is saying we should not respond negatively… and immediately. We should listen and learn… and teach.

4.3.1. There is no little irony in the fact that that last sentence is the adopted mantra of TSH. [TSH = The Society of Honor, this blog. J.A.]

5. What is the opinion of my computer?

5.1. Firstly, I think our primary emotional reaction should be one of respect despite the difficulty of doing so. If some people have lost our respect, so be it.

5.2. Secondly, I think our primary course of action is to challenge.

5.3. Thirdly, I think Richard fails to see the taxonomy.

5.4. He has chosen to (a) engage the pro-Duterte supporters at the level of the facilitator’s and (b) he has given – is giving — comfort and aid to the principal and the accessories. I agree with @distant observer.

5.5. The facilitators and accessories are uneducable. They are complicit to the outrage that is going on. The trolls, enablers, and family may be educable… to the extent that they are open and receptive.

5.6. Parenthetically, I would ask: “Why is it our responsibility to educate ‘them’?” Are we not we all adults? And is it not incumbent upon each of us to inquire and find out the truth? I speak specifically about the truth of the Constitution and the RoLF. Despite my question, it is beyond question that TSH functions as an educational forum.

5.7. The principal and the accessories are beyond redemption. I use the phrase in a non-theological sense.


50 Responses to “Anatomy of a Dust-Up”
  1. Sup says:

    The Philippines is way too much divided now, anti and pro government.
    But to be honest it is almost impossible keeping your head clean.
    Very confusing…Anti corruption is the Duterte Administration, right?
    My head can not follow the thinking anymore….Liberal or DDS….Whatever you are called are all taken for a ride.
    the Senate had a lot of hearings about the overprized Makati buildings.
    At this moment there is a CA case against the Binays and Hilmarc constructing

    Click to access B_Crim_SB-16-CRM-0439,%200442%20&%200453_People%20vs%20Binay,%20Sr_02_22_2018.pdf

    But the Senate did groundbreaking yesterday for a new building build by?
    What to choose? Who to Choose?
    Only Trillanes and Pimentel did skip the event.
    BTW. What will happen when the DPWH will blacklist Hilmarc soon?

    • karlgarcia says:

      Same reaction of disorientation and confusion.

    • The forgiveness in this joint is outrageous. The nation should be renamed “Impunity”.

      • Sup says:

        Future hearing in the senate about another water crisis .
        Senator Paquiao ”Lets pray for water”
        Bato ”Lets do the rain dance”
        Lapid ”Lets shoot holes in the clouds”
        Gadon” You are all bobo’s”
        Good luck Philippines…………..

        • Sup says:

          Bong Go did arrive late. ”Sorry, had to take care of the President with his migraine. Lets go to Pagasa to make a selfie”


        • Heh, heh. I watched some of that testimony. I thought time had stopped and all competence had evaporated. Poe remarked, in quick repartee “They need better lawyers!”, I think straight from one of her Papa’s scripts. I fully expect her to start brandishing a pistol and ducking in from behind barrels piled in the corner.

      • karlgarcia says:

        We forgive without forgetting so we nag about it and be accused of reopenning wounds.
        That is the household situation.
        But that is also applies during elections.

  2. Heydarian’s view of Edgar’s write-up:

    Good piece, except he ruled out the possibility (actually the case) that by engaging the facilitators in public arena with force of reason & compassion, you can sway those lower the hierarchy of complicity.

    • edgar lores says:

      Thank you for quoting Richard’s response.

      1. My reply is that I did not rule out the possibility he cites.

      Of “those lower [in] the hierarchy,” I explicitly stated, ”The trolls, enablers, and family may be educable… to the extent that they are open and receptive.”

      2. Speaking of possibilities, the reverse is also true: fence-sitters, or even people who are not anti-Duterte, may become pro-Duterte through the planned dialogue.

      2.1. How so?

      2.2. In my essay on “Duterte: The Anatomy of a Barbaric Autocracy,” I used Johannes Gerschewski’s framework to understand why some autocracies remain stable while others collapse.


      2.3. Gerschewski posited that there are three pillars that underpin regime stabilization:

      o Legitimation
      o Repression
      o Co-optation

      2.4. The second pillar is not relevant in this case.

      2.5. On the first pillar, I will quote @distant observer who said in the previous blog, “The whole operation of holding this (in effect Marcos-sponsored) debate of course, was to garner academic legitimacy for anti-democratic and pro-Chinese viewpoints.”

      2.5.1. And I will also quote myself: Richard is legitimizing the Duterte regime in that “he has given – is giving — comfort and aid to the principal and the accessories.”

      2.6. As to the third pillar, Richard says he is “walking into a den of lions.” Well, not quite. He will be walking into a den of lionesses. In Gerschewski’s words, co-optation is “the capacity to tie strategically-relevant actors (or a group of actors) to the regime elite.”

      2.6.1. Without a doubt, Richard is a “strategically-relevant actor.”

      • distant observer says:

        You are certainly in great shape lately 🙂 Mabuhay!

      • 2.6. He is also dealing with hustlers..

        Just see what I quote from RH here:

        ..all they need to do is play him, make him feel way too comfy and cozy..

        Franco Mabanta just need to be like “Richiiie my frrriieeend!!”..

        A bit of moro-moro para di obvious, with Mocha as the bad cop, Sassot sa gitna..

        Yeah, and I do take RH for vain and easy to manipulate via that. It worked with Cayetano and with Harry Roque. RH is a beginner compared to those two, IMO.

        b) how did other dialogues fare?

        Bruce Rivera / Jesus Falcis did one, neutralizing F. as a liberal voice.

        Xiao Chua / Van Ybiernas do one (Dulowtards history) and I think that the more seasoned Ybiernas dominates..

        c) the Left did not win that game either. They lost credibility and time.

        • edgar lores says:

          Irineo, thanks.

          So there were dialogues in the past that did not turn out right. Hmm.

          I think it’s hard to debate face to face with lions/lionesses because they counter reason with passion. And for them, there are no bites, punches, or holds barred.

          Whereas on the printed page, arguments can be unpicked and rebutted logically in detail.

          Well, I gather that Richard speaks very fast, is articulate and has a glib tongue… as @Vicara attests.

          He is also forewarned and forearmed.

          More power to him.

          • I know a Persian who fled Khomeini’s Iran on the back of a donkey, aged 17..

            ..with a Swedish passport and IT degree, he became a colleague of mine..

            ..he told me I was too careful in so many situations, checking for mines before passing, while he just ran straight through the minefield.. well.

            • edgar lores says:

              That’s it.

              It is so easy to tie up a person in a debate.

              Follow Trump’s technique of making one outrageous claim after another, and the opponent gets busy dismantling the first mine while a succession of exploding mines quickly burst in succession.

              The poor guy is so busy defending that he never gets to be on the offensive.

              Much depends on the debate format. But even so, impassioned outrageous claims will be the points that will be remembered.

              In a way, Leni and Chel are showing the way to be cool and calm in political discussions.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Persians are bara-bara?
              Typical pinoys not in war-torb areas are mote afraid of thorns.
              Ika nga, ang tumakbo ng matulin, kung matinik ay malalim.
              Superficial wounds compared to amputation or explosion.

          • sonny says:

            On lions & lionesses, the latter weakens the prey and the former delivers the coup de grace and has first dibs on the carcass.

        • If RH was an outsider to the pretentious Manila elites, the more he as an academic of that middle-class habitus will not be up to the games hustlers play.

          He may end up in limbo like Cayetano and Roque, or fully assimilated like Lorraine Badoy.

        • distant observer says:

          Exactly right, nothing to add.

  3. caliphman says:

    In case it went unnoticed, the latest senate polls were just released. Whatever RH says or does to politically promote or denigrate the Duterte regime s less than a carnival sideshow in our continuing national tragedy. The big tent event is how the mass of of our electorate is on the verge of electing the most pitiful clowns like Bong, Imee, Bato along with the other less desirable Duterte picks to pack a senate body will cement this dictator’s grip on power. The survey seems to show a very high correlation between the candidates name recognition and their rankings. Unfortunately the Otso Diretso neither is gathering the attention nor the appeal needed to further their diminishing chances. I regret to say this RH fracas seems a bit too petty at the moment since whether or not he is becoming a Dutertista or not siding with any camp is an inconsequential issue. If the survey trends are any indication, as bad as things are the only Pagbabago this hukbo will bring is a further descent into the lower rings of a hellish Philippines.

    • edgar lores says:

      It didn’t go unnoticed. And there is a correlation with the RH fracas. And it is not inconsequential.

      In his column, Richard quotes Kierkegaard who maintains that “truth is with the minority.” Richard identifies the minority thus: “Today, the ‘minority’ is composed of those who choose to speak on behalf of the ‘silent majority,’ namely the tens of millions of Filipinos who don’t subscribe to the binary divisions of our society, but are instead struggling to cope with everyday challenges of survival.”

      If 74% of Filipinos support Duterte — as the SWS Q4 survey claims — then the minority is not as Richard says. The minority is the 26%~ who don’t support Duterte.

      It may be true though that within that minority is the minority that Richard speaks of.

      Unfortunately for the country, the SWS survey backs the latest Senate polls released by Pulse Asia.

      o The voter preference for Bong Go is reputed to be 53% which puts him in the third to fifth place.
      o Bato, with a preference of 44.6%, is in the fifth to eighth place.

      The majority is composed of those that I have identified as the trolls, the enablers, and the family.

      We have characterized them as educable.

      The Otso Diretso candidates take heart that their numbers are improving.

      So this RH fracas should be seen as a continuing soul-searching, as a series of debates and dialogues that serve a purpose.

      The purpose is to raise consciousness that the Rule of Law Foundation is imperative and that it must prevail. It is a purpose that drives the conscience of men here, in America, and in many parts of the world.

      The situation here certainly looks bleak at the moment. It looks less bleak in the US.

      We shall see if Filipinos have learned a lesson. We shall see if the minority will ever turn into the majority. If not this year… then perhaps in four to five century’s time.

      It took us that long to remove the yoke of colonization.

      And yet… if within the span of 3 years — 3 years! — Duterte and his cohort are now succeeding in restoring the yoke to a more grievous colonization, then the joke is on us.

      • The colonization already exists. The colonizers are dynastic families who see Filipinos as resources to be used of disposed of at their will, for power and riches. China can stand in the shadows and get all she wants because both powers share the same goals and moral foundation. The frog is merely enjoying the warmth of the water.

        • edgar lores says:

          That is true.

          That is our political colonization, which, is a domestic one.

          Then there is our religious colonization, which is a Western one.

          Then there are our other colonizations — materialism, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and tradition.

          The frog — the happy fool — has many toys to play with as he enjoys the warmth of the water.

    • NHerrera says:

      Caliphman, thanks for the link and your comment.

      Using our handy Excel spreadsheet, here are the correlation coefficients for respondents’ awareness of candidates versus ranking. [Correlation coefficient greater than 0.50 shows some correlation; the closer to 1.00 the CE is, the better correlation]. Note: the first column below is the CEs and the second column, the group of candidates in the ranking from the survey.

      0.54 — for the first 12
      0.80 — for the last 12
      0.93 — for the last 12 less Aguilar*
      0.76 — for all the 24 listed in the PA survey

      Aguilar has reasonably high respondents’ awareness but ranked rather low, a big departure, so I re-calculated without his datum.

      By the way, in an earlier blog, I gave my gut probability assignments on the number of candidates from “Otso Diretso” that will be voted into the first 12:

      A play on numbers.


      2 out of 8, 40%
      3 out of 8, 30%
      4 out of 8, 20%
      5 out of 8, 10%

      I just hope that my probability play is better than my winning in the Philippine Lotto of PHP 1.0 million or more. 🙂

      I must say, I will not be happy if those gut probability numbers I assigned earlier become reality. Since the survey sample size of 1800 respondents gave an error margin of +/-2.3% at the 95% confidence level, I hope that Bam Aquino gets into the first 12.

      • NHerrera says:

        Technical note: my correlation coefficient calculations used only the data from the first table in the link, not all tables which continue from the first table — thus, my phrases, “first 12,” “last 12,” and “all 24” refer only to the first table.

      • caliphman says:

        Very nice statistical quantification of what intuitively leaps out from the poll results. Name recognition appears to be a primary factor driving voter candidate preferences, much more so in those vying to be in the first 12 and less so with those already in it. This confirms the prevailing premise discussed here at TSOH before that by far Filipinos tend to choose their leaders based on which candidate names are familiar and who they are rather than their platforms and fitness for the elective post. Those already established in the top 12 get to be senators and they come from dynastic political clans or are well known celebrities who voters are familiar and comfortable with, regardless of their competence and corruptibility.
        Otso’s idea to use debates as a way to familiarize the national public with who they are and what they stand for was a good strategy except those already secure in the top ranks of course demurred because they had nothing to gain and would just boost name recognition for potential competition. The continuing rise in Go and Bato among the first 12 leading contenders is a testament to their identification with a highly popular president whose brand also lends credence to the candidates running under the umbrella of his daughter’s party. It’s not much different from the Binay or Poe brands that propelled these two ladies
        In their highly successful Senate races . The OD need to restrategize their campaign plan individually or as a group to focus more on increasing name recognition since the AP indicates that it is a stronger factor in determining chances for securing a place among the top 12 who get to win senatorial seats. I hope Mar Roxas and Bam Aquino figure out how to do this in their it is not enough to just win the dilawan, RH’s liberal elite; or TSOH vote.

        • NHerrera says:

          Nice explanation to the correlation statistics, especially between those in the first 12 and the second 12 of the survey. You sharply commented on the OD’s debate strategy and why those in the first 12 wisely demurred.

          • My bookie Sal says the candidates maxed out in awareness at 95% have no ‘up” to get to, whereas candidates with awareness in the 30% area have huge “up”. They just have to figure out how to get awareness fast. Traveling around with the others is unlikely to do that. However, if Diokno sky-dives into Luneta, he’ll be a senator. Bato can skydive into Luneta and his awareness won’t budge.

            I like Sal. He is out of the box.

  4. caliphman says:

    Do not get me wrong, Edgar. I suspect my values and principles are not much different from yours or many of those who comment here at TSOH. But it’s not our moral or intellectual integrity that is at stake here but that the rest of the country may not be engaged in the soul searching that you speak of. That is what these polls are really saying regardless of what RH and other smarter and more sophisticated thinkers on what should be right and wrong in the current situation. And my impression is that the poll results is not helpful to OD at all and they mainly embody the candidacies that we may both desire to prevail.

  5. This is the original explanation by RH of why he is debating Sass.. but if he is simply trying to get out of his (elite) ivory tower, isn’t attacking everybody else a bit like projection? Miguel Syjuco I respect for working the EJK night shift as a reporter/researcher for a while, to get a feel of on the ground and out of elitism..

    • sonny says:

      Thanks for indexing RH, Irineo. An eye-opener.

    • edgar lores says:

      Irineo, thanks.

      So Richard is doing what I once expressed as doing an “experiment in life.”

      I used the phrase to describe my descent from the ivory tower during my early college days. It was an attempt to dabble in reality, to lead the authentic life of the engaged existentialist.

      I note the sneer Richard directs at liberals. And the feckless elite. And the trapos. And the detectors (sic). And the trolls.

      That first sneer is worrying.

      If I google and take one of the dictionary meanings, I get this:

      1. willing to respect or accept behavior or opinions different from one’s own; open to new ideas.”

      o (in a political context) favoring individual liberty, free trade, and moderate political and social reform.”

      synonyms: progressive, advanced, modern, forward-looking, forward-thinking, progressivist, go-ahead, enlightened, reformist, radical;

      Conversely, if I google conservative, I get this:

      “2. (in a political context) favoring free enterprise, private ownership, and socially conservative ideas.

      synonyms: right-wing, reactionary, traditionalist, unprogressive, establishmentarian, blimpish, ultra-right;

      The meaning of these terms have shifted over time. I believe in the US that, the liberals are currently the Democrats, Obama, and AOC. And the conservatives are the Republicans, Trump, and Mitch McConnell.

  6. caliphman says:

    Perhaps unless Bato does it sans parachute. Then his awareness will certainly budge…his to zero and voter awareness will skyrocket from the media coverage…my bad!

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