Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then

By JoeAm

Those song lyrics were penned by rocker Bob Seeger in 1981. He was talking about a girl, but it perfectly characterizes my relationship with the Philippines. When I started engaging in on-line conversations a decade ago, I was inspired to know about this friendly, undisciplined, small-town nation.  Now I know too much, having been bludgeoned between the eyeballs by the most ridiculous election in the history of free choice. When those people who intoxicated me with their warmth and humor years ago decided they like murderers and plunderers leading their nation, I knew that I know too much.

Take me back to innocence when girls were pure and I was naive, when baseball was a cause and economics was for someone else. Today I’m looking at my girl and her teeth fell out. Worms crawled from her hair and her breath was like kerosene (c Willie Nelson).

I started the blog for education, entertainment, vanity, and writing practice. It took me everywhere, up mountains to build dams, into the sea to examine an American ship stuck on a reef, and right into the Senate chambers to watch the amazing performance of self-involved people pretending great national ardor. Poe on Mamasapano. Cayetano, Pimentel, and Trillanes investigating Binay. Poe again waxing about the research capability of a fake news artist. Gordon working hard to end a drug inquiry and a good senator’s career.

I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.

The Philippines is really messed up. The principles are those of mobsters and self-dealers, not humanists and ardent advocates of fairness and opportunity. It is not just Duterte. It is a Supreme Court that refused to stand for law and justice. It is a House of Scoundrels, not representatives. It is a whole raft of mayors and governors who enjoy stepping on others to get to the gold. Friendliness is genuine when nothing is needed, and a fraud when you are useful in some way. The good are the few, the brave are the fewer, the persecuted are the bravest. They carry our burdens and we watch TV.

I have no idea where this blog is headed. Readership is down, contributors are discouraged, I am often uninspired. I miss Josephivo’s depth of thinking and dislike Chemrock’s harsh and bitter assessment of things.

I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.

The Philippines corrupts the good. Turns them into wild-eyed zombies like Teddy Locsin and drooling public servants, licking their chops for the lucre, right there, by the millions. For the taking.

Killers. Robbers. Blackmailers. Trolls of no conscience and even less brain.

Probably I will hang around for a while, dropping expectations, enjoying the insights people offer up, if they do.  Poking a stick in people’s eye now and then.

Oh, snarky is how I feel most days, observing the goings on of government.

It is a struggle to find wholesome these days, to not issue curses and obscene gestures at the television.

I don’t like being a dark and bitter soul.

But it is surely difficult to find light and cheerful when surrounded by corruption, incompetence, self-dealing, and thuggery. Even my neighbor is a thug.

If I am vacant from the blog for any time, you can be assured that I am off seeking wholesomeness, for me, for my family, and I’d give you some, too, if I found an excess and a way. If you are not here, I will imagine you are off on a similar quest.

It’s all good . . . that we do have choices.

We know what we know. We do what we must do.


128 Responses to “Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then”
  1. chemrock says:

    “..it is surely difficult to find light and cheerful when surrounded by corruption, incompetence, self-dealing, and thuggery. Even my neighbor is a thug.”

    Philippines is none of my bloody business as I am no longer residing there. Funny why I should still feel the same pain as you on the results of the election. I can imagine the devastation and the anguish on sensitive souls like Gian.

    I have nothing but contempt for many of those who got into elected office. But this I can live with because at the end of the day, it’s democracy and people’s choice. Good luck to them. I can shut myself off and don’t read news on the corrupt murderous incompetence self-interests and seek better ways to past my time. But my problem is, I have to deal with people I love who are in favour of the very people I detest who got elected. These folks share my values in many ways, but they are absolutely sold on blind faith that candidates on the side of righteousness and constitutionalists are the baddies. I look at them and I can’t figure how to find a balance.

    • edgar lores says:

      The difference, as I note, is in the level of consciousness.

      You are enlightened, @chemrock, per my criterion.

      • kasambahay says:

        I dont really know how to say this, dili ko pareho sa mga geniuses dinhi, but couldn’t you guys shift o kaya enlarged your focus, foci? you have the money, the brain, the time, tenacity and whatnot, to take up computers studies to the max whatever? instead of sulking and feeling sorry, you guys might be able to stand up to challenge automated election results and see for yourself how clean and honest indeed the computerized election results. and let there be no doubt.

        pinas is already being gobbled by higly paid specialized computer geeks and nerds that have absolutely no border. anything goes basta may malaking paycheck. automated ang election sa ato, and people think honest ang computers! my adjutant boss has serious doubt.

        sa amoa lang, people are confused kaayo why the senate candidates they voted lost. pero the local candidates they voted won, dislodging dynasties and sitting politicians long been on the job. what happened, question nila.

        in the euphoria of winning, no one’s listening. at kung dunay discrepancy man, no one’s listening as well. basta nakadaug sila, that’s it! winner takes all, pox too and I’ll add dengue, ahh!

    • seems I am easy to read. thank you chempo

  2. Micha says:

    This is now a failed system devouring itself.

    • kasambahay says:

      if I were to borrow peter cayetano’s metamorphosis, our system has undergone metamorphosis. there are now new players brought in the system po the likes not seen before. they’re foreigners and outsiders and highly corruptible, specialising in unmatched state of the art technology. our system is their toy and we are played like putty. stalking our airwaves and cyberspace and their presence is uber potent. they cannot be stopped but they can be contained.

      at the moment, they’re in demand, much prized by bent politicians who cultured them: parang yogurt, cultured.

  3. karlgarcia says:

    You think the only people who are people
    Are the people who look and think like you
    But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
    You’ll learn things you never knew you never knew.
    (C)Judy Kuhn

  4. Bert says:

    “But my problem is, I have to deal with people I love who are in favour of the very people I detest who got elected. These folks share my values in many ways, but they are absolutely sold on blind faith that candidates on the side of righteousness and constitutionalists are the baddies. I look at them and I can’t figure how to find a balance.”—chemrock

    How comforting to read that statement of yours, Chemp, over and over again, :). Our dear Joe here should just relax and enjoy the summer heat, and take some cue from what you said.

    We good people, eheerm, are all in the same boat of discomfort after the election, but it’s not the end of the world.

    To my good dear Joe here, hang on here and there, Joe, for awhile. Better yet, come here to my island paradise and be my guest.

    There is always an equalizer, and it/he/she will come.

    • Thank you, Bert. I intend to do better than hang on, and very much appreciate the invitation to chill in the local custom.

      • popoy says:

        Chemrock and his independent minded loved ones (not spelled as once) should be thankful to be living under the political religion called DEMOCRACY. Those living under the wannabe neutral countries or autocracies they will be blessed to have no real choice, to have ONLY one same political religion or the same bastardized sect called benevolent dictatorship, It’s the DIFFER OR ELSE political religion .

  5. LG says:

    I never fail to read each new article. I don’t post my reactions though. No need to, I am mostly in agreement. Thank you for informing and expanding my worldview. To each article’s author, that is, and as much to those who posts their comments.

    My Philippines has been a shameful democracy, if can still be called such. As shameful are those in elected and appointed power and authority to govern. In general. Complicits.

    I voted for no one among the newly elected senators, except for Bam if he finally makes it. At least Bong seems tossed out of the 12 for now. May he remain out!

  6. I see why you wish you had remained innocent! You also probably wonder why some countries hold “democratic elections”! I do! Maybe, am just cynical, but sometimes I think I should stop dreaming!

    On Wed, May 15, 2019 at 9:19 PM The Society of Honor: the Philippines wrote:

    > The Society of Honor posted: ” By JoeAm Those song lyrics were penned by > rocker Bob Seeger in 1981. He was talking about a girl, but it perfectly > characterizes my relationship with the Philippines. When I started engaging > in on-line conversations a decade ago, I was inspired to know” >

    • I have to chuckle. I am here for the enlightenment, but I thought enlightenment was attached to uplift and not downdraft. Maybe the new term is “endarkening”.

      • popoy says:

        I vehemently disagree with your statement JoeAm: “When those people who intoxicated me with their warmth and humor years ago decided they like murderers and plunderers leading their nation, I knew that I know too much.”

        JoeAm, for God’s sake, it’s not the people you admired and know. It’s called evil CHEATING. It’s those murderers and plunderers who’s doing it to the country abetted and aided by clueless greedy imbeciles. Lahat may bayad JoeAm. They and their descendants will pay heavily across time. As they say elsewhere them varmins are fucked; And fucked stink deep.

  7. Sup says:

    Of course you have less readers……Most trolls are gone now after the ”election”….. 🙂

    • Yes, their work is done, I suppose. They pretty much leave me alone here and on social media though. I think because they would stand out like a dumb thumb.

      • popoy says:

        I don’t read this blog of yours JoeAm WORD FOR/BY WORD. And so “the “Trolls” are gone now after the election.” I am just curious for facts: Are they many? Who are these vanishing guys?

  8. caliphman says:

    Chemmy, I am guessing that those you love are like so many Filipinos who were for and against candidates in the last election out of blind trust. For someone who is very thorough, deliberative and very analytical in developing and reaching a conclusion that must be very difficult. Like you, there is a piece of the Philippines inside us, including those no longer residing there, that binds us to its fate. I too have to deal with loved ones who are agnostic rather than rational not only in their belief in a Catholic God but in their choice of who should he leading the country. But like in any relationship with a loved one, things are rarely perfect and completely compatible. Oftentimes this realization comes after a honeymoon phase is over and the warmth of sping is replaced by a harsh bitter winter period. So the choice is to reject the Filipino piece that seems so alien, frustrating and depressing and perhaps change if not move away from the relationship. I have rarely minced words in describing how gloomy the country’s future prospects appears nor the carabao mentality Filipinos seem to display in their willingness to accept if not welcome the horror inflicted upon them by the leaders they choose. But as I said nothing is perfect, and all the dismay and alienation is more than balanced and made acceptable. by all the other things that I still enjoy and treasure in my loved ones. When the frustration subsides, I hope perhaps Joe, you, friend Edgar and others will find that balance.

  9. edgar lores says:

    1. There are bad and good people everywhere.

    2. I see the good people as having attained a certain level of consciousness. If I were asked what that level of consciousness is I would say they have a “consideration for others.” They are possessed with a high degree of kindness.

    3. I see the bad people as not having attained that certain level of consciousness. They are unenlightened and have little or no consideration for others. Instead of kindness, they are possessed with a wide seam of selfishness.

    4. It is unfortunate that the majority of Filipinos are unenlightened as per the just-completed election. There is this great imbalance in the demography of the good and the bad. But the Philippines is not unique in this regard. Most of the WWII superpowers are afflicted with this imbalance right now. Russia. China. UK. Perhaps not France. But, yes, certainly the US at the federal level.

    5. Pity about the US. As with Duterte and his minions, Trump and the Republicans are destroying constitutional boundaries and the rule of law.

    6. I do not think the Philippines will recover from Duterte’s depredations any time soon. Or that Philippine democracy will become a true democracy in whatever form.

    6.1. We have analyzed why the country is like it is. There have been other explanations from other quarters as well, like Micha’s neoliberalism over a feudal structure and notably Randy David’s crisis of modernity. I have a simpler explanation.

    6.2. In Oz, I observe that people enter politics for a variety of reasons, but the three major reasons would be:

    o The lure of power
    o The desire for status (recognition)
    o The opportunity to serve the community

    6.3. Whereas, in the Philippines, the first two reasons are important. The third becomes a perversity. The opportunity to serve the community is replaced by the opportunity to serve the self, family, clan, and tribe.

    6.4. There is an element in Filipino politics that drives the perversity – the availability of lucre from office.

    6.5. In Oz, politicians are well recompensed, have perks, enjoy travel, and have a generous retirement package. But they do not have access to the money pot – directly (pork barrel) or indirectly (access to government contracts). The expenditure of public monies is limited to public purposes. And there is hardly any corruption. No politician became rich by just being a politician. This may be true in the US as well. (Rich American politicians mostly built their wealth from outside business ventures.)

    6.6. If the incentive of lucre, in all its forms, can be removed from Filipino politics, then politics will be revolutionized.

    6.7. This solution is doable if we follow the model and procedures of the US and Oz.

    7. Corruption is the killer.

    • 6.6 is difficult because normal pay scales are not high enough. It will take 20 years to develop a thriving middle class of people living comfortably by ethical standards. Lotsa luck. People want the quick buck.

      • edgar lores says:

        6.6. On the other hand, consider the billions upon billions lost to corruption. Come to think of it, what I am proposing is the Singapore solution.

        • popoy says:

          The Singapore solution? Nah. A century or more can usher the ultimate solution: Andres Bonifacio’s read and admired The French Revolution. Sad, this and coming generations can’t participate or observed the ultimate solution which turned France to what it is the here and now. In a destiny’s time horizon, the country is still in LEAD TIME on to time duration to constitute TIME LAG before blood flood the streets of the metropolis. Bloodless EDSA is a fluke centuries so ahead of real time when the country like its Asian neighbors was set free from their family dynasties. . .

    • caliphman says:

      Oz grew out of convict and sheepherder settlements so the corruption and apathy embedded in Philippine society fundamentally responsible for the reprehensible results of the recent election may hopefully undergo an eventual transformation. I am not sure tweaking the Philippine public service setup and structure can be a game changer in cleaning up the mess in government.

      I am reminded of when as an altar boy in Manila of how devout Catholics flocked habitually to Baclaran to make their Wednesday church novena praying for divine favors after missing mass the previous Sunday. So there is the societal fixation with blind trusting a powerful figure and disregard for bending rules if it can improve ones lot. Ridding the rot in our public service institution may be a generational process but still it is posdible. And there is hope that in the meantime a good and enlightened leader may be swept into power by the masses if he has the same type of charisma and resonance that swept Duterte into power.

      • popoy says:

        England’s “Poor Law” at the time dents a bit the belief that Australia’s white second aborigines punished by “transportation law” are entirely convicts. Australia comparatively small as it is by demographics could be the most militant and fiercely loyal ally of strong countries like USA, GB and France in the Free World. .

    • “No politician became rich by just being a politician. This may be true in the US as well. (Rich American politicians mostly built their wealth from outside business ventures.)”

      You set up a “foundation”, essentially it becomes the official hub for both corruption and legitimate enterprise.

      Very much like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_college_admissions_bribery_scandal

      “The 2019 college admissions bribery scandal, nicknamed Operation Varsity Blues,[1][2] exposed a criminal conspiracy to influence undergraduate admissions decisions at several prominent American universities. It was disclosed on March 12, 2019, by United States federal prosecutors, and at least 50 people are alleged to have been part of it, a number of whom have pled guilty or agreed to plead guilty. Thirty-three parents of college applicants are accused of paying more than $25 million between 2011 and 2018 to William Rick Singer, organizer of the scheme, who used part of the money to fraudulently inflate entrance exam test scores and bribe college officials.[3][4]

      Singer controlled the two firms involved in the scheme, Key Worldwide Foundation and The Edge College & Career Network (also known as “The Key”). He pled guilty and cooperated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in gathering incriminating evidence against co-conspirators.[5][6] He said he unethically facilitated college admission for children in more than 750 families.[7] Singer faces up to 65 years in prison, and a fine of $1.25 million.”

      it’s Money-laundering 101.

      My point, it is as corrupt here, the difference is that most Filipino politicians (except for Marcos) buy real estate and invest their loot here, hiding it in American economy— why they send their kids to America usually for school and for US passport.

      You set up a foundation when you have more money to hide and filter thru the financial system.

      Philippine corruption = amateur , they do it in front of you.

      US corruption = professional level , they hide it.

      The Philippines doesn’t even attempt at veneer. 😉 that’s the only diff.

      • popoy says:

        “No politician became rich by just being a politician. This may be true in the US as well. (Rich American politicians mostly built their wealth from outside business ventures.)”

        Can we say the quotes above, about Trump and the Founding Fathers who went into politics. Is that why his opposition and their supporters so love Trump as their punching bag?

        • Nixon got rich via politics; Carter is more like Pepe Mujica;

          Reagan was already rich; Bush Sr. was already rich; Clinton got rich via politics; Bush Jr. was already rich; Obama got rich via politics; Trump was already rich— and surely he’ll also indulge in the ‘foundation’ for hire game perfected by the Clintons, tapped into by the Obamas, will continue under the Trumps.

          it’s a bigger beast compared to the Nixons. Reagan and the Bushes retired quietly, like most other presidents before.

          Clinton, Obama and Trumps will surely be in the game for quite awhile. My point the corruption is bigger here than there, because money is coming from Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, and corporations.

          • Giving speeches is not exactly corruption.

            • Joe,

              if hidden entities paid you $500,000 bucks per article here, would you say that was a fair price or that the money is for something else entirely.

              maybe its just redistribution of wealth and not really corruption, but the consensus here is that too much money is being moved around by who knows what and where,

              for both parties involved, that our concept of democracy is inherently now in danger.


              subtract LARGE SUMS OF MONEY and INTERESTS (ie. lobby) , no CORRUPTION.

              • The distinction to me is legality. Politics is legal. Lobbying is legal. Taking personal commissions for a government project is not legal. Being rich and influential is not illegal. Giving speeches is an earned right. I agree, money-influence has put democracy in danger. But saying Clinton or Obama are corrupt is itself corrupt by your definition. It is not illegal. But it is a twisting of truths for argumentative advantage. We need a new dictionary and new laws, I think.

            • edgar lores says:

              Joe Am, thanks.

              The original statement was: “No politician became rich by just being a politician.”

              1. The statement referred to non-Filipino politicians.
              2. The statement was made to assert the fact that Filipinos enter politics to get rich or enrich themselves.
              3. The implication was that Filipino politicians enrich themselves by feeding at the trough of public money. This is public corruption. “Public” referring to the abuse of government funds.
              4. I do not know why the discussion gets sidetracked and veers into an example of private corruption in the US. “Private” meaning non-government funds. And the conclusion made that corruption is the same here and there.
              5. If I had to explain my discernments every time, I would lose all my hair.
              6. So please try to understand what I am saying in context.

              • I understand. Thanks.

              • Therein lies the difference, edgar.

                There is no public and private corruption, it is all corruption.

                Whether it’s pay to play, or play to pay (or get paid)— same-same.

                Both diminish democracy and the public good.

                I agree w/ Joe that money-influence endangers democracy, but I disagree that this legally and illegality is finely defined.

                It’s like tax evasion vs. tax avoidance— the intent is the same, whether legal or illegal, it’s not to pay taxes!!!

                same-same with public vs. private corruptions and legal vs. illegal corruption.

                The intent is to diminish democracy, hence bad all around.

                With China there, it’s not just about public corruption, private corruption is there now— my point, what’s here will be there.

                Thus, best to treat it all the same, not differentiate, my point a second time. Dirrrty money is dirrrty money whether earned or stolen.

    • sonny says:

      No. 6 can serve to guide a remodelling or paradigm-shifts to a better Philippines.

      7.0 Corruption short-circuits all gains in altruism and transcendence of moral principles.

      Well-put, edgar!

      • edgar lores says:

        Sonny, thanks.

        I’m seeing the problem from a current system perspective. Forget the historical whys and wherefores. Forget the governmental and social structures.

        Basically, two questions:

        o What is the central problem?
        o What is the solution?

    • Somewhere between 2) and 3) is Nancy Binay’s motto: “Be nice”.

      Nice does not necessarily mean kind. But you get a cake!

      • edgar lores says:

        Cake? Did somebody offer cake? I’ll take it! Yum!

      • edgar lores says:

        The good and the bad may be polar opposites at the extremes. But the band is a spectrum. There are white cats, black cats, and cats with more than 50 shades of gray in-between.

      • popoy says:

        Binay sounds like Be Nice. If a person have that surname which was intensively investigated by the senate, one can wear a white t-shirt emblazoned with BE NICE. Careful, careful because BE NICE as words of appeal can backfire to give the reader judgmental ideas, like asking BE NICE to who and why?.

  10. isk says:

    When those people who intoxicated me with their warmth and humor years ago decided they like murderers and plunderers leading their nation…

    Always been a follower of yours, I know where your heart is. Frustrating indeed!

    However, as demonstrated in the mock election done in universities and colleges nationwide, these youngsters are aware of what’s going on.

  11. Like LG, I’m also one of your regular reader but seldom post any comments as I can hardly express my thoughts because of very little knowledge of english language. I’m just happy reading the articles, especially the exchanges in the comments section. It broadens my knowledge. I wish you wont leave us for so long Joe. I will surely miss you. And if you haven’t visited my beloved Province of Palawan, why not visit there and enjoy the remaining summer days? And if you already have gone there, there’s still a lot of good places out there to enjoy. refresh, and energize.

  12. Joe,

    I just watched a Netflix series titled “Street Food”, one episode featured Cebu. Reading this blog and having watched the episode , I was struck by how appropriate ‘Tuslob Buwa’ (dipped in bubbles) which is pre-packaged rice dunked in simmering pig’s brain, as a whole Philippine metaphor— just exchange pig’s brain for the real thing.

    On the bright side, street food is a 3rd world phenomenon , so long as there’s a vibrant street food scene, and this whole farm to table directness to people’s mouths, you guys already have us beat here, where we rely on automation and factories to bring us food, fast or otherwise. Why we always have rubber, metal, and god knows what else found in our food. Re-calls.

    So ‘Tuslob Buwa‘ is also an optimistic metaphor, non-zombie in this case, where you eat every part of the animal. I’ve eaten ‘Sisig’ , but regret I missed having ‘Tuslob Buwa’ in Cebu , but the other foods featured in that episode I’ve had. That eel soup is truly something special.

    Sara DU30 is not her father, so aside from grooming Bam Aquino now, start also educating Sara DU30, bloggers and journalists alike, so too regular folks. She was born in 1978, so her outlook will be much different, I bet you she’ll be more pro-America than pro-Chinese.

    Try to get a bead on her brothers too. I’m Googling and there’s no in-depth interviews with Sara and her siblings. Assume she’ll be the next Philippines president (given the outcome of this recent election), and get a bead on her already. What she’s like, what she likes.

    • edgar: “1. There are bad and good people everywhere.

      2. I see the good people as having attained a certain level of consciousness. If I were asked what that level of consciousness is I would say they have a “consideration for others.” They are possessed with a high degree of kindness.

      3. I see the bad people as not having attained that certain level of consciousness. They are unenlightened and have little or no consideration for others. Instead of kindness, they are possessed with a wide seam of selfishness.”


      My point is stop, stop already, this whole bad/good , smart/stupid, uneducated/educated, dark/light skinned, masses/gated communities , etc etc… dichotomy. this is the perfect recipe for losing.

      It hasn’t worked, it will never work. Only serves to put into office people you dislike. because it Otherizes— like saying “it’s because of malnutrition”,

      or “unenlightened, etc. etc… it’s presumptuous. Time to strike different chord already!!!

      We get it, Nature vs. Nurture. but find commonalities instead. Assume they are your equals.

      Assume Sara DU30 is good, smart, educated, light skinned but of the masses , start there and work backwards to your goal.

      • https://joeam.com/2018/02/14/a-meditative-interview-with-god-for-ash-wednesday/#comment-244388 (another oldie but goodie thread 😉 )

        Don’t bother with the whole good vs. bad dichotomy— if we

        already agree that good can come from bad; and bad from good. There ‘s no need, unless for political purposes, simply to Otherize.

        The difference is mere illusion, so why entertain it at all???

        • this is the only interview in English I’ve found of Sara Duterte, she’s pretty articulate I know it s rehearsed, but very unlike her father,

          all other videos and stories i’ve found are either political or social in nature. She’s motorcycled up and down Philippines, been caught for speeding, and the most interesting is

          when as mayor she punched a sheriff (acting on a judge’s order) for mass eviction of squatters… she asked the sheriff to postpone eviction, Sara DU30 was attempting to avert a riot situation, the sheriff evicted or so the story goes, pissed off she let loose on him.

          Sara DU30 punches said sheriff, the crowd (the squatters) cheered her on, so did the media. So she’s a hot head, a non-issue for me, since that’s what you want in leaders, passion.

          Her two brothers seem like two typical rich kids (male) in the Philippines, just in the way they talk to the media (no longer interviews i’ve found). but similar demeanor as all entitled powerful rich boys the world over.

          Sara seems very different from her father and her brothers in tone , reminds me very much like the whole Ivanka Trump and her brothers ‘Dee & ‘Dum difference.

          Another endearing item in the videos i’ve noticed is her sweatiness, she’s always wiping sweat off her face, I dunno if she has some sweating disorder (i’ve met people who just perspire a lot ), but the masses tend to sweat a lot too, hence

          they see Sara sweat and they like.

          Here’s another one, I don’t understand much, but you can seee her personality really comes thru here,

          • Micha says:

            Sus kaliwat gyud sa iyahang amahan dong. Wala nabay laen?

            So typical of dynastic politician, attending a clan reunion of a local oligarchy and pitching for her father’s “good” works.

        • Nancy Binay might be another dark horse – pun intended.

          She managed to get the endorsement of the leftist Makabayan bloc during this election.

          This isn’t surprising as she is positioning herself as a social democratic populist.

          Now she is NOT Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but the Philippines is not the USA.

          She plays a similar game to that of Poe, but with a more discernible direction and focus.

          • Interesting, Ireneo, thanks.

            Nancy Binay was born in 1973. But she seems only popular in Luzon, no???

            @ Micha,

            I get that its a rich family reunion, thus technically a fund raising event for Sara DU30, but I was more struck at how she greeted folks in the beginning, then her little speech which to me sounded extemporaneous, yet funny.

            She has the common touch, is what I’m saying here.

            As for Nancy Binay, let me Google her further.

            • No go on Nancy Binay, Ireneo, too much family in-fighting. sister vs. brother, sister on sister. Political families are only as good as the family unit. If they can’t even be political or diplomatic to each other, how are they gonna rule a whole nation???

              I’ll google more, but that’s what surfaced first. Looks also figure in politics.

    • It’s an impression, not knowledge: ‘battleaxe’

  13. What is interesting about this election is that many local dynasties lost.

    That could be either indication of cheating on national level – or that Filipinos are NOW finally more aware but still ONLY at the local level, national still being too far away and too abstract for most.

    What will happen at national level is totally open. I think the trend and the voter sentiment is in general correctly reflected – some cheating may have been used to ensure the 12-0, first time in 80 years that no opposition senator won. Now DDS has no one left to blame – except Canada.

    • caliphman says:

      As you and others have pointed out, this brutal election may not be all bad news. The losses by some long established and prominent dynastic clans in the local elections can be a hopeful and unexpected sign that possibly a generational shift in voting preferences has started. Perhaps time and closer scrutiny will tell. I hate to repeat what is already posted here, but MLQ does not overreach by ending his recap of local dynastic losses with ” Ours is NOT a hopeless country”. Add to that my comment above on how well OZ has turned out from convict and shepherd settlements. Its a surprise silver lining but the immediate perspective is still very grim and things can get very much worse before rhey get better.

  14. Zen Wolff says:

    Those of us like minded spirit feel the way you do Joe. I have deactivated my FB for a week for a breather. I too felt so disappointed with everything you’ve just mentioned and the attitude of the Filipinos whether poor or anti administration. I always read your blog but not always able to comment as I am not a very verbose person but always my feelings and thoughts are not dissimilar to yours partly for the reason I have lived in a foreign country where democracy thrives and people still respect the rights of others and serve their country in big and little ways with the end toward the common good.

  15. NHerrera says:

    I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.

    Indeed memory, though useful in many ways, can be a cruel faculty at times, such as we have now for those of us with similar persuasion. The loss is that much deeper because of it. [I thought my age is an advantage in a failing memory, but alas there is persistence in many of those that similarly concerns the younger of our contributors.]

    I still follow the blog and the commentaries of our insightful, analytical, critical thinkers, but like you and them, “we must do what we have to.”

    • NH,

      In chemp’s God article, we were discussing the memorizing of the Qur’an, and its dependability vis-a-vis written down and read.

      They’ve done studies on memory, of note were the London cabbies who have to memorize the Knowledge, which is basically the lay-out of the whole city of London— MRI showed that parts of their brain do expand and neurons make new connections.

      That’s a big clue there in how to use memory, think in terms of geography or a palace (your memory palace, a house, building youre already familiar with), with rooms and/or forks in the road, and attach thumbnails of subjects in your memory throughout , then open it up to access.

      Imagine your favorite path to school when young, something indelible in your head already, then just hang bits of memories along the way; change the weather or time of day, and you can use and re-use same path in your mind for other bits of memories to hide.

      Or a childhood home or your school in elementary, hide bits and pieces of memory in there,

      this should prevent loss, NH.

      I am confident in the Qur’ans transmission via memorization because of this, ancient Indians and Greeks memorized whole epics by memorization alone, nothing written. Before we learned to record our memories outside of our heads, our heads were a lot bigger, figuratively, filled with more.

      Be more like Popoy, NH,

      write more, whatever comes out, then remember your thoughts by mapping them out. For example, I have a favorite bar in Australia in mind, with all of you guys here and your comments, visualized as conversations (or heated drunken debates 😉 ), thus comments become indelible.

      Take care of your memory, NH. it’s as important as your prostate. 😉 Write more here!!!


      • read best with this book,

        • maybe Socrates was right??? 😦

          • popoy says:

            Did Socrates really write the above or somebody wrote it for him?

            • Socrates never wrote anything down, popoy; Plato wrote it, attributing to Socrates— it’s safe to say too that Plato has his own agenda , but this particular quote seems of Socrates (and why he never wrote anything down).

              Plato is to Socrates, as Paul was to Jesus. 😉

        • Socrates: “At the Egyptian city of Naucratis, there was a famous old god, whose name was Theuth; the bird which is called the Ibis is sacred to him, and he was the inventor of many arts, such as arithmetic and calculation and geometry and astronomy and draughts and dice, but his great discovery was the use of letters. Now in those days the god Thamus was the king of the whole country of Egypt; and he dwelt in that great city of Upper Egypt which the Hellenes call Egyptian Thebes, and the god himself is called by them Ammon. To him came Theuth and showed his inventions, desiring that the other Egyptians might be allowed to have the benefit of them; he enumerated them, and Thamus enquired about their several uses, and praised some of them and censured others, as he approved or disapproved of them. It would take a long time to repeat all that Thamus said to Theuth in praise or blame of the various arts. But when they came to letters, This, said Theuth, will make the Egyptians wiser and give them better memories; it is a specific both for the memory and for the wit. Thamus replied: O most ingenious Theuth, the parent or inventor of an art is not always the best judge of the utility or inutility of his own inventions to the users of them. And in this instance, you who are the father of letters, from a paternal love of your own children have been led to attribute to them a quality which they cannot have; for this discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves. The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.


          Found it, popoy, it’s towards the end, so scroll down.

    • chemrock says:

      The NH
      Take more gingko nuts.

  16. edgar lores says:


    1. There is no going back. There is no going back to an earlier state of ignorance or innocence. The way to regain innocence is by the way of more knowledge, and more knowledge, until wisdom is attained.

    2. But wisdom is not the gaining of all knowledge. In fact, the opposite. As Socrates put it, “Wisdom is knowing how little we know.”

    3. We all carry around the burden of unwanted knowledge. It affects our emotional and mental state in a negative way.

    4. I surmise there is a purpose to this. If personal life is evolution, a succession of steps, we gain access to the next level by integrating what we learned after the last level. The new knowledge may not be to our liking but it is there for a purpose.

    5. By integration, I mean not only integrating the new knowledge to our understanding but also integrating it into our purpose. The new knowledge may represent a huge obstacle to our purpose. It may seem insurmountable and our purpose may thus seem unachievable.

    6. We come to realize how little we know and perhaps how foolish we were in our earlier ambitions.

    7. But the other part of wisdom is knowing we can do something. Knowing we can make a difference. Not in the Dutertian or Trumpian sense of making the world worse off than when we started. But making the world a better place… even just a tiny little bit.

    8. Sisyphus rolling the rock up the hill may not notice it. But in time the hill becomes that much less rugged, that much less steep.

    9. We do what we must do.

    • I’m reminded by what chempo said here,

      “3. We all carry around the burden of unwanted knowledge. It affects our emotional and mental state in a negative way.”

    • caliphman says:

      I agree with the process. But not sure what the take away is and how that translates into approaching much less doing things differently. The election outcome should be no surprise. That this was going to be an overwhelming win for Duterte was long obvious from the surveys. That even if one or two opposition candidates won instead of being a complete shutout would not have altered that fact. If the shutout was signiuficant to some in that it completely crushed any hope that this election would offer at least a sign or symbol validating the conviction that in the time of Duterte right can still prevail over might. So its a time to reflect, reassess and recover and then figure out what this all means.

      • If this link works, it shades the election results differently than just the Senate outcome. The discussion is also interesting.

        • karlgarcia says:

          The Fariñas clan sneaked in the HOR via the party lists system and the rode the success of the probinsyano teleseries like another party list.
          I am sure some other clan who lost also used the party list system as an insurance to remain in power.

        • Joe,

          So the folks that did win, are they DU30’s folks too???

          I’m familiar with the Ecleos, and vaguely the Jalosjoses, if these two families are associated with the shabu trade over there, is it fair to say that one way or another those other families that lost this cycle were also somehow involved in the drug trade,

          and that this new turn around, about face, is related to DU30’s drug war. I’ve been asking when DU30 will bring in the big fish, and fry ’em, well this is somewhat a stand & deliver moment, no???

          So both at the local and national level, all this was a referendum in support of DU30, and against narco-politics over there. Now i’m really convinced Sara Duterte will be the next President. or maybe I’m just stanning. Lol!

          • I don’t really know. The senators are loyal to themselves and thus easily see and gain the benefits of doing his bidding.

            • “MANILA, Philippines – Did the drug list work?

              Out of the 36 candidates in the 2019 elections that President Rodrigo Duterte named in his infamous drug list just two months ahead of the polls, 27 won.

              That is a 75% winning average or 3 out of 4.

              This is based on Rappler’s count cross-checked with Commission on Elections records as of Wednesday, May 15. (WINNERS: 2019 local elections in the Philippines)

              Out the 27 winners, 6 were part of the President’s own party PDP-Laban, while the 21 others were either from other political groups or ran as independents.

              Of these, 19 were successful reelectionists, 7 came from different government positions, and 1 held no public post before the elections.

              The 9 losers, meanwhile, consisted of 5 mayors, 3 vice mayors, and one congressman. Two of them ran under Duterte’s party.

              Rappler holds a copy of the list released by the President, but we are not publishing it. Various rights and media groups also agree it is right to withold releasing it.


              thanks, karl. But who were they??? did they keep opposing DU30 hence the win; or did they end up acquiescing hence the win??? I wanna see this list now!!!! Lol! 😉

        • https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1070017

          here’s a partial list:


          Outgoing Pangasinan Rep. Jesus Celeste did not run but a member of the Celeste political clan from Bolinao is winning the congressional race.

          Bolinao Mayor Arnold “Noli” Celeste has led rival, former Metro Manila Development Authority General Manager Thomas Orbos in a tightly contested fight for representative of the first district of Pangasinan.

          But former Rep. Arthur Celeste, elder brother of Jesus, was defeated by re-electionist Gov. Amado Espino III.


          Zambales Rep. Jeffrey Khonghun and his son, Subic Mayor Jefferson Khonghun, were among those linked by Duterte to illegal narcotics.

          Poll results showed they won against respective opponents, former Rep. Mitos Magsayssay and Liberal Party bet Ramon Lacbain.


          Mayor Marjorie Apil Salazar of Lasam, Cagayan, reportedly did not run.

          She was replaced by a relative, Juddy Salazar who is losing to Vice Mayor Dandex Agatep in the mayoral contest.

          Region I and III

          In Region III, expected winners whose names were included in the Duterte narco list are Mayor Ferdinand Aguinaldo of Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte; Mayor Erlon Agustin of Camiling, Tarlac; Mayor Cirpriano Violago Jr. of San Rafael, Bulacan.

          Region IV-A and IV-B

          For Region IV-A and IV-B, Mayor Bruno Ramos’s name is not in the list of candidates vying for a vacant seat in Bay, Laguna.

          But one Edwin Ramos, apparently a relative of Bruno, lost to rival, Jose Padrid for the mayoral post.

          So is the name of Mayor Juan Torreja of Ibaan, Batangas.

          Aside from the case of Ramos, all of the two regions’ narco list politicians are expected to emerge victorious based on the latest counts.

          They are Mayors Caesar Perez , Los Banos, Laguna; Raul Palino, Teresa, Rizal; mayoral bet Dennis Hernandez of Rodriguez, Rizal; Loreto Amante of San Pablo City, Laguna; Mayor Roderick Alcala of Lucena City, Quezon and Mayor Eulalio Alilio of Lemery, Batangas are sure victors in their mayoralty bids.

          On the other hand, Rizal 2nd District board member Rommel Cruz-Ayuson is expected to retain his seat.

          Recent poll results indicated that Rodriguez town Mayor Cecilio Hernandez is winning in his vice mayoralty bid. He is in the narco list.

          Mayor Nieves Rosente of El Nido, Palawan denied any links to illegal drug trade after being named in Duterte’s list.

          But her re-election bid suffered as she is being defeated by rival, Edna Lim.

          Western Visayas

          Two Western Visayas politicians implicated by Duterte won their mayoralty bids while two others were defeated.

          Culasi, Antique Vice Mayor Ariel Tabugo Jr. and Mayor Mariano Malones Sr. of Maasin were defeated.

          On the other hand, Mayor Julius Ronaldo Pacificador of Hamtic, Antique emerged victorious in the vice mayoralty race.

          So did Mayor Siegfriedo Alfuente Betita of Carles, Iloilo, who enjoys a slight edge over challenger Merle Tupas.


          San Fernando, Cebu Vice Mayor Franz Sabalones was reported to have been killed in Quezon City last April 19.

          On the other hand, alleged “narcogeneral” and Mayor Vicente Loot of Daanbantayan, Cebu, did not join the midterm elections.


          In the Zamboanga peninsula, incumbent Siwarai, Zamboanga del Norte Mayor Gamar Ahay Janihim will retain his seat while Mayor Leonida Albor Angcap of Midsalip, Zamboanga del Sur may not. Janohim and Angcap are in the narco list.

          Narco list club member Mayor Roberto Luna Jr. of Lingig, Surigao del Sur, is also in the victory column over Edgar Agdog in the mayoral race.


          In Region XII, South Cotabato Mayors Albert Palencia of Banga and Pablo Mondejar Matinong Jr. of Sto. Niño was able to skirt the “narco tag” and win their respective races.

          But Mayor Abubakar Pendatun Maulana of Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat, was not as lucky.

          He is far from winning a vice mayoral seat and placed No. 4 in the contest.

          Bangsamoro region

          A number of Muslim candidates in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) are feeling the effects of being tagged as a narcolist member.

          Vice Mayor Jamal Abina Pangndamun and Mayor Mamaulan Abinal Mulok have reportedly been defeated in their respective re-eleciton bids. Both are from Maguing, Lanao del Sur.

          Vice Mayor Anida Dimaukom was unsuccessful in his challenge of administration bet, Edris Sidatokok in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao. Dimaukom’s name is in the Duterte list.

          But the local elections in Maguindanao also saw victories for listed Vice Mayor Abdulwahad Sabal of Talitay; Vice Mayor Ohto Caumbo Montawal of Datu Montawal, and Mayor Vicman Kambang Montawal who ran for mayor and vice mayor, respectively.


          the question now is, can DU30 nullify the narco-listed politicians who won elections??? IMHO, that would be the purpose of said list.

          • Micha says:

            The narco list is just another ridiculous, if not disgusting, feature of the war on drugs. It makes a mockery of the rule of law. It is no different from the summary street executions of suspected drug users.

          • karlgarcia says:

            I agree with Micha.

              • Wait, wait… so all three of youz can guarantee that none of those on the list are narco-politicians??? or, are you simply saying publishing lists is bad business for rule of law and human rights? Because those are two very different things. Must differentiate here.

              • It isn’t a matter of us proving guilt. It is an abuse of the presumption of innocence. It is like stamping numbers on peoples’ foreheads without citing the evidence or granting legal due process. It is also used by thugs or even killer cops as a target list. It is horrible practice, and I trust you will not defend it for the sake of argument. Perhaps you don’t grasp why Edgar will not respond to your posts. I do. Don’t push it.

              • Micha says:

                The state is empowered and has all the resources to deal with criminality. If there is/are sufficient evidence; arrest, prosecute, and mete out commensurate punishment.

                Short circuiting the legal system is thuggery and mafia rule.

              • “The state is empowered and has all the resources to deal with criminality.”

                Micha, the flaw is assuming that there is a state, as you’ve described.

                Ecleos, i’ve written about, I don’t know other similar clans that own whole islands and/or towns over there, but I’m very sure the Ecleos aren’t the only ones. Reading the article karl shared, and ones i’ve googled based on said article, i’m confident at least more the 50% in that list are actual narco-politicians.

                You can assume less to 0% , and that’s fine, but IMHO if one narco-politician is nullified (politically at least, I know many have been nullified by other means) then it’s a win for the nation, no???

              • Micha says:


                The Philippines is an internationally recognized nation or territory with a body of laws and a system of governance.

                What is your definition of a state?

              • One that functions , which can take out clans like Ecleos as soon as they undermine said state.


                Part I: The forces against justice

                Around the time I was in the Philippines, the Mamasapano fiasco was then Dinagat. Or more precisely Cebu, since the murders, shoot-outs had already happened, PNP and AFP working together captured their man. I’ll let you dig into the Ecleo story if you wish (“22 Surigao cultists killed . . .“) . The only thing that needs to be mentioned here is that he bailed out for 1 million pesos, which was chump change for the likes of this man.

                Unlike the Mamasapano fiasco, not too many PNP/AFP died. It was a better executed attack against former PNP/AFP trained cult security guards. I knew PNP and AFP folks who kept a close eye on the Ecleo case because they were either directly involved or knew friends who were. I won’t rehash all the deaths directly or indirectly connected while Ecleo was awaiting trial in Cebu.

                During the trial, if you can call it that, private prosecutors, judges, and clerks recused themselves left and right. Everyone had an excuse, but the sad truth was that Ecleo’s men were either buying or threatening them, or worse. At the end of the day, the government of the Philippines let Ecleo go, and from the looks of it, did not want to have anything to do with the man, ever again.

                There were plenty of other murders and examples of corruption while I was there, but the Ecleo case was interesting because it involved corrupt politicians, former military men against current military men, and – my personal curiosity – the Filipinos’ predisposition to cults and the supernatural. It was an absolute breakdown of the very institutions and people tasked with defending the rule of law.

                In America around the early 1900s, similar events transpired, up to maybe the 1970s when the RICO Act was enacted. But the only recent example I can think of that would come close to the Ecleo case is the Church of Scientology against the IRS. Demanding tax exempt religious status, and denied repeatedly by the IRS, the Church of Scientology undertook an orchestrated campaign against IRS personnel by way of bribery, intimidation and harassment.


                Only now have they been unseated, hopefully all the cases against them still pertains. Loss of political status, means loss of power.

              • Micha says:

                Many nations have to deal with separatist/rebel elements. There will always be Ecleos, Wacos, Shining Path, IRA’s, Basque. Flanders, Wallonia, Moravia, Corsica, Tibet, etc. We could say that the Philippines is a weak state. Does that justify the government to behave like a mafia and discard its ratified laws to deal with the so-called drug problem?

              • We can agree on weak state, Micha.

                As such, when criminality is beyond the normal threshold, as over there… it allows for folks like the Earp brothers, the Mobster squad LAPD circa 1920s, Elliot Nest, Frank Hamer, etc.

                there’s some creativity involved, before this rule of law thing galvanizes is my point, human rights stuff that’s still arbitrary also.

    • popoy says:

      Here’s something about knowing not knowing.

  17. karlgarcia says:

    Only 7 of the top 20 (senate votes) won in their bailiwicks.
    It is no longer a case of the devil you know in some areas.

  18. edgar lores says:




    Because EJKs happen. Because innocents get killed. Because children are torn from their parents.

  19. @LCPL_X. about Filipinos and their cult obsessions: Duterte is also a part of that phenomenon. People attaching their destiny to presumed powerful sorcerer/warlords. The tradition of that in the Visayas is absolutely strong. This would be one example from the early 1900s.

    His predecessors would be the likes of Dagohoy (1724-1800) whose cult / mountain rebel group even outlived HIM on Bohol – a former barangay captain; and Tamblot, a native priest who led an anti-Christian revolt from 1621-1622 on Bohol also.

    Dagohoy’s worship already had more Christian trappings while Tamblot’s religion was still pure native. Hermano Pule (1815-1841) was a lay preacher from Quezon who founded his own cult after a conflict with the Church – executed and a sign placed below his head – “this is a heretic”.

    One of the looniest groups of the modern age was that of the Bicolano Valentin de los Santos – the Lapiang Malaya or “Freedom Movement”/”Party”. They also went out with amulets like many of the Katipunan and got shot up by Marcos’s forces

    This article: http://filipinogerman.blogsport.eu/why-is-he-still-alive-asked-president-duterte/ has a compendium of the presumed magical powers of ancient Filipino datus – proving that indeed the capability to kill commanded respect throughout the ages. There are also examples of warlord politicians like the Duranos (related to the Dutertes who are also from Cebu originally) but one only needs to have read Prof. McCoy’s “An Anarchy of Families” to know them. Back to sorcery and leaders: even Indonesia has such beliefs. Student demonstrators against Suharto in the 1990s reported that they felt a powerful force emanating from his house, pushing him back. Consider the nuns facing tanks on EDSA armed with rosaries and prayer a more benign and modern form of such magical beliefs. Better I guess than the “black magic” Filipinos subscribe to these days.

    • Re: the Philippines as a weak state:

      1) Spain only had tenuous control over its theoretical territory. Except for Zamboanga – and later a few mission stations in the East which Christianized a few Lumads (and some people in Marawi!) hardly any control of Mindanao. The Highlanders of Luzon in the Mountain Province – practically lived their old way of life, to be Christianized as Anglicans and introduced to country music by the next colonizer, speaking perfect English until today. Many mountain areas in Bicol and Visayas were still pristine and had their respective tribes. What is interesting – recently read in a book of Prof. Ileto – is that many local mayors started to resort to criminal activities themselves in the late 1800s. Cavite seemed to have been one of the hotbeds. I always wonder how Aguinaldo mobilized that quickly, I think this is one clue.

      2) America consolidated power in the modern way, something which Spain only had started from the 1830s onwards with the classical stuff: standardize naming (1849), Penal Code (1886), land titling (around 1870s), rudimentary public schooling (1860s), local elections (1895 where Aguinaldo won as a mayor) – the USA was more consistent and ruthless in trying to wipe out banditry, make a full census (1903), create an Insular Government (1902), a Philippine Assembly (1908) and even a first definition of Filipino citizenship. Then public schooling (Thomasites), a university modeled on a typical American “state university” (UP was founded back in 1908), a military academy (PMA), a Senate (1916). Full turnover of all Mindanao to the Insular Government – to the Department of the Interior of the Philippines – was in May 1920. Still, Sakdalistas and other semi-cultic groups were an issue throughout the 1920s/30s, while violent local politics remained the norm. Ferdinand Marcos was already convicted of murdering his father’s opponent for mayor, but Chief Justice Laurel let him go..

      3) The Japanese occupation made it easy for the Communist (Soviet-style) Hukbalahap to consolidate discontented peasants in Pampanga and Tarlac – plus former Sakdalistas. Pro-American and Communist guerillas both fought against the Japanese while a major part of the political class (Roxas grandfather, Benigno Aquino Sr., Mariano Marcos included) were collaborating with the new conqueror. Ok the previous one had just been 40 years ago.

      4) The USA left and the Huks were very powerful, killing even Aurora Quezon, the widow of the deceased President. It took American assistance including Magsaysay and his cooperation with Lansdale to bring them down. A lot of landless peasants and former Huks were enticed to go to Mindanao 1950s – seeding the next problem hardly a generation later. The first wave of migration to Mindanao had been in the 1920s and 1930s, US-sponsored.

      5) Marcos era brought renewed discontent and the (Maoist) NPA and CPP, as well as the original Moro group, Misuari’s MNLF (aligned with Khadaffi, even Misuari’s style shows it). The end of postwar parity agreements granting the USA equal access to Philippine natural resources around mid-1970s paved the way for Marcos cronies in mining and logging. Of course rebel groups mobilized disgruntled and dispossessed people in Samar, in Bicol and of course Mindanao – while PC, police and Army often acted as goons for landlord interests.

      6) Marcos left and Aquino took over. Still the goal was to destroy the Communist rebellion. Groups doing EJKs including the Alsa Masa in Davao come from the early Aquino period. The Communists did everyone else a favor and purged themselves violently in the 1990s. But 1995 came the Philippine Mining Act. Seems that the violence from the 2000s onwards was mainly due to displacement of inhabitants / natives by corporate mining, licensed by the Philippine state but most probably with local fat cats earning their share – and there the stories abound of total chaos, good and bad no longer clear. PNP, AFP and NPA plus different Moro groups as hired guns for miners, but also fighting against miners. Plus the OFW boom had led to many agricultural lands sold to become subdivision or mall land. The old landlord class became less powerful in many an area (this I read in a posting by Mila Aguilar, a former Communist turned born-again Christian) so the new politicians – often linked to former showbiz personalities – started off with other business like jueteng etc. – some say Kuratong Baleleng and Parojinogs (drugs) were tolerated by the military because they helped combat some Muslim groups. Also, local autonomy (Local Government Code) may not have been good for all places. But it seems governance weakened more post 1987.

      PRELIMINARY CONCLUSION: fighting fire with fire like Marcos or post-Marcos only weakened the central state more and more. Duterte wants to do it with more force, like a ruler from the Dark Ages, which de facto the Philippines are in. But he is making it worse.

      • CENTRALIZED vs DECENTRALIZED (also based on a question by LCPL_X above)

        1) 1935 Constitution. President Quezon could simply remove governors, mayors, even public school principals without having to justify anything, such was his Presidential power.

        BUT mayors did not get IRAs like today, they had to earn their own money through local tax. Also, they had direct control of the local police. Warlord mayors made use of this

        2) 1972 Constitution. Marcos practically castrated mayors and governors. At some point he created the INP (Integrated National Police) – removing cops from the control of mayor.

        3) 1987 Constitution. Cory gave mayors automatic IRA (internal revenue allotment) based on population, plus much autonomy, via the Local Government Code. She had appointed OIC mayors all over the country (including Binay and Duterte) as her base of support.

        PC (dating back to American era, founded by Rafael CRAME, a Filipino formerly in Spanish military service) was merged with INP to become PNP in Cory’s age. A small step back to 1935 was giving mayors supervision over local police, but the President can withdraw this.

        • That DU30 is making it worst , I’m open to, Ireneo. You laid out a great case for precedent, thanks!

          I’m in agreement re weak state.

          My initial point above was in responsiveness and deliverance, ie. he delivers what he promises (in response to his constituents),

          I agree Filipinos in general tend to follow the leader, especially in Mindanao, rural areas where they still believe in White Ladies and stuff. In urban areas its more like Too Many Chiefs with No Indians.

          I was more focusing on his new senators, and as according to Joe’s MLQ3 post shared, that local wins also ousted old guards, karl answered with the narco-list,

          We delved further and now we know there are motions to nullify specific wins DU30 rendered invalid based on that list.

          I agree that’s not democratic, and tangentially I’m asking if those he ‘s nullified via the list, are they deserving or not, of said attention and ire of DU30,

          if they are and are indeed narco-politicians, then whether or not one supports DU30 should be unimportant, like taking down the Ecleos, etc.

          Remember also, everyone talked crap about DU30 because he was merely a mayor in the backwaters, now we know he can play at the national level— his own style of the consolidation game.

          That particular fact should carry a lot of weight as we proceed toward 2022. That’s my wider point here, Ireneo.

          If we can look for others to go up against Sara Du30 then fine, but if there are no others but only her, then focus on helping her out— she seems a lot better than her dad in so many different ways.

      • sonny says:

        Irineo, thanks for the detailed recap of many factors presenting the Philippines of the postwar years. The virtual socio-political balkanization of the archipelago at the end of the war continued unabated up to the late ’50s & ‘early ’60s. This, in turn made it, in hindsight, easy pickings for the FM powergrab of his tenure. This is the broken record I alluded, Joe.
        Also, I think this fault-zones of Philippine society gave good reason for the US to withhold part of the money, initially 620 million WWII dollars, representing its Pacific side Marshall Plan for the Philippines.

  20. NHerrera says:


    After the recent PH exercise in the mid-term election for senators and other government officials — a meaningful and honest election being a bedrock of a meaningful and working democracy — this article, concerning a non-too-recent efforts by Finland to combat fake news, principally coming from attempts by Russia, is a refreshing read:


    “The Finns have a very unique and special strength in that they know who they are. And who they are is directly rooted in human rights and the rule of law, in a lot of things that Russia, right now, is not,” Willard said. “There is a strong sense of what it means to be Finnish … that is a super power.” [Highlighting, mine.]

  21. QuietPoetic says:

    I believe it is Philippians 4:6 that speaks about despair and trust in the Lord. The way it was explained to me is that despair (or being worried) is a sin because it indicates we don’t trust God.

    In contrast, I wish I know then what I know now: the importance of marriage, children and family – I didn’t grow up in an intact household and was carried over by the feminist movement til it was kinda late.

    At this point, the result of the election is beyond anyone’s control. The powers that be will always contend their position and greed runs deep in the Filipino politics. This is a marathon not a sprint – he who has endurance and stamina wins, conflict is the default.

    You have a rich and dynamic influence, Joe – do not quit.

    It was profoundly articulated:

    “And, as we know, civilization absolutely depends on long term time preferences, on men planting trees in the shade of which they will never sit.”

  22. Micha says:

    I do not know our if our newly minted national politicians have some articulated plans on how to mitigate global warming catastrophe in 10 years.

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