When government bullshits you

The Administration’s communications expert. [Photo source: Inquirer]

By Joe America

I have an advanced college degree in communications from one of the best communications schools on the planet at the University of Southern California. You know Walter Annenberg? Dude funded a lovely school, lovely.

I recite these credentials so you know I’m an expert at this stuff. I’ve examined everything from newscasts to the length of Cher’s dress in search of knowledge about the ways of the wise, and not so wise, when it comes to transmitting idea A from lips X to ears Y.

The Duterte Administration does not communicate straight, and does not want to communicate straight. It talks in curves, in jokes, in lectures and excuses. It bifurcates and prevaricates, bobs and weaves, and never ever talks straight.

If a message is received badly, the Admin’s main mouth, a fellow named Panelo, lectures we the audience for misunderstanding. We the audience are supposed to hear things only the correct way and are at fault if we screw it up. Panelo and Duterte always speak accurately. If it is messed, we messed it.

Because grasping the right message is not always easy, the Admin employs a whole lot of trolls to help us along, to recite the wisdom of God or Duterte, to lecture us and call us names if we misspeak, and to otherwise add to the grand confusion that is meant to give the Administration the wherewithal to do anything, say anything, and always have ways out.

When Panelo says De Lima is undergoing due process, he sounds so virtuous, does he not? We could never imagine this same fine fellow defending the murderous Ampatuans.

But he did, and that should give us a hint that when he says “due process” he is giving us a double dose of bullshit.

There is no due process in building a case on lies from convicts offered special promos for laying it on thick.

There is no due process when, even as recently as a couple of weeks ago, the President is still sliming Senator De Lima about a sex video that the entire world knows was fake.

That is the opposite of due process. Not to mention cruel.

My keen eye has learned that the best interpretive scheme for this Administration’s utterances is to apply the “effect of the opposite” which presumes everything that Panelo says is a lie or manipulative. There is never ever any straight talk occurring, and if he says De Lima is undergoing due process, we can understand that the exact opposite is true. She is being railroaded. Punished.

Similarly, when Secretary of Justice Guevarra says he will let the facts speak for themselves, we can know that he has lined up the biggest pack of lies in the world as facts, and he’ll ride them into the sunset and beyond, a modern hero of majestic proportions, in his own mind. Or at least a lot richer.

Well, communication is an art and a science.

It is the way we relate to one another.

We can do it well, or we can do it unwell.

And we can determine the character of the Duterte Administration by its overweening need to utter bullshit, and to deploy an army of bullshitters to keep our thoughts straight.


71 Responses to “When government bullshits you”
  1. Bert angeles says:

    I have three words for you.
    BEAUTIFUL. !!!

    • Thank you, Bert. I appreciate all three, though I’m still looking for two of them. 🙂

      • Micha says:

        Beautiful. Period. Exclamation.

        Three. 🙂

          • Mike says:

            They spew out bullshit as a form of control. It’s no different from the BS that the colonial Spanish gave us to help them govern us more easily. Duterte is the creation of a massive media campaign. Cambridge Analytica’s CEO trained his top people in 2015 on how to win elections plus they supplied thousands of fake accounts to influence public opinion. I also believe he got help from China in the form of resources and training on how China does it on their turf. Spyware, malware, funds, office space, etc., whatever he needed to win the elections, he got it. He also got help from the Marcoses who have been in media manipulation ever since they returned. But the bigger picture is China. We’ve all heard of their Belt & Road initiative with the goal of world domination. China has a three-pronged attack plan referred to as the Cabbage Strategy. One is the military. No colonization starts without a military element involved. The second is Financial. They’re lending to cash strapped nations to develop key ports, bridges, roads, etc., at usurious terms. The third is media manipulation. The Duterte government is an extension of China’s policy of media manipulation. Quite possibly more than that. They say one thing but do another. I filter out most of what they tell us to spare me the frustration of making any sense out of it. They will talk bullshit but they will do what they want to do anyway, and little of it is going to be good for us. The next questions are, when does it end? When will we finally put our collective foot down? And possibly a good question is, what aren’t we doing anything about it?

            • kasambahay says:

              whose we? and why do we have to do anything about it? who’ll benefit if we do anything about it? and why must we do anything about it? my lolo’t lola been there done that, thank god both my lolo’t lola are dead now.

              cory deserved edsa, she worked hard for it. before their demise, lolo’t lola said, they would not wish edsa on anyone anymore, cory had coup after coup after coup. lolo’t lola’s pet hate and mine as well are those rallyistas that expect their rallies to be edsa right away, that citizens will just drop all they were doing and come, lend a hand and support whatever it is they were rallying. no can do.

              if the country is going to be obliterated, then all will go down, plain and simple. some are fortunate to have bolt holes and rabbit holes to hide and escape to. and I say, good on them. stay there.

              surely new masters no matter how cruel, how brutal, how greedy and how obnoxious, need tons of workers, yet tons more of peasants and mega tons more of servants, people that do their dirty bidding and all the dirty work for them. work that very ordinary pinoys only knew too well. it’s those that are above the ordinary, the new rich and the pseudo intellectuals that will be badly hit. and I say stuff them! it’s their turn to suffer.

              dont expect poor people to put their lives on the line and maybe lose them just so the middle class people can have something to crow and sneer about. if poor people are to put their lives on the line and lose them, they’ll do it on their own terms, the when, where and how at their own choosing. they’re not in a hurry.

              but those in a hurry can go on ahead! and set the tempo for once.

              I’m being a jerk, I know. I have suntory to console me. salud!

              • sonny says:

                Just realized Cory’s EDSA was more than 15 years in the making and a cast of characters also in the making. Agree with the other ultra-lite edsas assessment.

              • MLQ3 (Manuel L. Quezon III, historian) analyzed correctly, I think, that EDSA 2 was the end of the masa – middle class alliance that carried EDSA 1. The groups supporting Arroyo were basically a ( cynical ) rich people – middle class alliance.

                By that time, most of the old middle class had left for other countries. Those left of the old middle class feared the poor of EDSA 3 more than the corrupt around Arroyo.

                My take though is that a part of the middle class did get fed up with Arroyo’s corruption and that was the reason for the (short-lived) yellow rebirth, triggered by Cory’s death and carried by her son’s Presidency. Duterte period looks more like Arroyo cynicism is back.

                Possibly, some of those formerly poor have joined the cynical part of the middle class.

                As for the poor, they are already being killed, but tokhang is a form of cruel, nationwide Russian roulette where the hope of surviving dominates. And divides are used to rule.

              • kasambahay says:

                I’m going to reiterate po na there is already a case vs crime against humanity and tokhang et al. sa ICC. it’s being set in motion na.

                it’s not that our people are not doing anything. in fact, our people have been busy collating and collecting evidence, documentary and others. furthermore, anyone with additional evidence are encouraged to present them to ICC. pls google the case.

                those that are impatient and want immediate action now! and want to circumvent ICC and the rule of law, I say good luck po.

              • MIke says:

                To kasambahay: You said, “I’m being a jerk”.

                Well, you said it, I didn’t.
                But I say that without any malice. I read every word you wrote and you’re overthinking. Was it the liquor?

                You asked, “Who’s we?”

                The Filipino people. YOU and me. Then again, were you at EDSA in 1986?
                I was there the very first night, one with the Filipino people, mostly poor people. Our people.

                That’s “who’s we”. And I’m still here, but the enemies of the Republic have different names, faces, tactics, strategies, they’re within the country and without, because the stakes are much, much higher for them and for us.

                You asked, “Why do we have to do anything about it?”
                I’m a little bit dismayed that you asked that because your words are clearly educated and highly intelligent but you don’t seem to see the big picture. It’s as if you skimmed over my comment without understanding it because you may have been too interested in what your intended reply.

                There were coups after attempted coups because there were leaders like Juan Ponce Enrile and Gringo Hinasan who mistakenly thought they could take over the country by replicating the authentic revolution that happened in February 1986. What ego.

                Cory even had Enrile arrested after that last extremely bloody 1989 coup attempt led by Honasan on the frontline but everyone knew the latter was acting under Enrile’s shadow.

                I explained that to highlight that we need to understand the context of history in order to fully understand the sequence, the hows and whys.

                Now on to the big picture.

                They, this government working with Communist China, have the grand agenda of world domination, and they need the Philippines under their foot for as long as they can because 1) we’re symbolic of resistance broken down and 2) we’re prime-located real estate.

                The goal is power and how to hold on to it. Which is ironically what the colonial Spanish wanted when they colonized this country.

                And in order to maintain control over the WPS, China needs its minions at the helm of this country. That means China wants, needs, this government to push through with its federalism program with an amended constitution as its engine, which will give them full, long-term power. If they could, they would probably try to make us a province of China, to fully cement their hold on the WPS, and bring them closer to their goal of replacing the USA, and its allies, as the dominant world power.

                AS for the people you labeled, “tons of workers, tons more of peasants and megatons more of servants, people that do their dirty bidding and all the dirty work for them. work that very ordinary Pinoys only knew too well. it’s those that are above the ordinary, the new(ly) rich and the pseudo-intellectuals..”.

                They are Filipinos, too.

                And like the colonial Filipinos before them who were enslaved for over 400 years, subjected to forced labor, hunger, unjust taxation and punished when they resisted.

                Their suffering conditioned to behave like self-interested traitors, corrupt, liars, rulebreakers, evil, who enriched themselves through and by the suffering of their countrymen, they do so in order to SURVIVE. Breaking the rules was their only way left to retaliate. Crab mentality was born out of desperation and hunger when we turned on each other to survive.

                I neither approve nor condone evil but knowing our people’s history and what we went through makes it easier for me to communicate with compassion without compromising values, because understanding the Filipino experience provides degrees of enlightenment.

                That’s why Jose Rizal preconditioned education as a path to enlightenment prior to attaining our freedom, he said, “We can be free but we cannot be independent. We can be independent but we cannot be free. Before we can reach that true freedom we’re aspiring for, we need to have enough education to have individuality.”

                And again he wrote, “What is the use of independence if (the) slaves (of) today will be the tyrants of tomorrow.”

                Rizal stressed the importance of enlightenment and education before undertaking independence from Spain. The revolutionaries, as Rizal as stated, must have a clear goal that encompasses future generations, and this goal must be the thrust of the revolution. A revolution out of spite and anger will not be successful, even if it succeeds, “the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow.”

                History is repeating itself. And Dr. Rizal’s words from the past are still alive in the present.

                Ironically, history may ultimately be the key to China’s decline and downfall: Their failure to learn the lessons of history, or perhaps even dismissing them.

                I speak only for myself when I say that we, the Filipino people, are in grave danger. So I fault no one for having a few shots of liquid courage.

                To your health and our future. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas. God save the Philippines.

              • Great insights. Thanks, Mike.

  2. Lindy Jalbuena says:

    Thank you for throwing out the lies and giving us a crystal clear assessment of the real state of the nation.

  3. karlgarcia says:

    It is unfortunate that your bookie is named Sal.

  4. karlgarcia says:

    Their master BSer rants,rambles and mumbles his spokesperson pretends to be eloquent but actually is as non sensical as his master. Roque is way better.

  5. Andres 2018. says:

    Panelo is never a good communicator at all and in every standard. Duterte is a good communicator in some way, thats why he is popular among the masses.

    De Lima is a political prisoner, much like of Jinggoy and Bong.

    And for the trolls? They are propagandist of the administration. Also JoeAm is a propagandist but not of the administration. They are technically not trolls, they are simply propagandist, whose purpose is to promote a certain person or idea. Trolls are people who try to sow discord on a certain blog. Like if i do something like this and like that like calling people and whatnot on this blog i am definitely trolling. But no, i am just a devil’s advocate.

    • Devil’s advocacy is a form of trolling. It’s gameplaying unless announced. I think Jingoy and Bong actually stole money. I think De Lima is completely innocent.

      • Andres 2018. says:

        Your thinking and my thinking and everyone’s else thinking are subjective. In crimes what speaks the most are the evidence, and Jinggoy and Bong and D50 where jailed with evidence that were not strong enough to convict.

        • In the Philippine court system, facts are pliable. In a jury trial, Jinggoy and Bong would be in jail and De Lima freed.

          • Andres 2018. says:

            Jinggoy and Bong were jailed without enough evidence, that if i would ask what was the evidence of their plunder, i doubt anyone here can explain well enough. That also holds true in D5 drug case. On the cases of this three senators, it was not the evidence that convict, but the people that judges, and they judged unjustly, if you are with us you are good, if you are not you are convicted. Remember Benhur and the Bilibid Drug Convicts? They are all the same, their testimonies were seasoned with lies, all have committed crimes and yet then became the state witnesses. The parallelism of PNoy’s and Du30’s ways of getting “pogi-points” for their each battle cry is uncanny.

            • Mike says:

              I’m not a lawyer but based on my readings of the case of Bong and Jinggoy, the fiscal reviewed the charges to preserve the judicial system from frivolous, forum-seeking cases. They did not need to see the evidence in its entirety in order to establish prima facie evidence, a legal term used to mean that you have enough evidence to prove something by pointing to some basic facts, but that your proof can be refuted in open court. That they were given a trial is the judicial system’s way of providing them the opportunity to prove their innocence. They were detained, not jailed, as the latter entails a guilty verdict, until the conclusion of their trials because plunder is a non-bailable charge that necessitated their temporary incarceration.

              In the case of Delima, a total of 6 judges so far have either inhibited themselves from hearing her case, or opted for early retirement including the original judge who issued the arrest warrant against her.

              The DOJ has amended the charges against her several times, their charge against her based solely on the affidavits of convicted drug lords and murderers. But they have maintained the charge of “Drug Trade” against her because that charge is non-bailable.

              However, DOJ prosecutors in the illegal drug cases against Sen. Leila de Lima have admitted that the Banco de Oro (BDO) accounts identified by Bilibid witnesses as depositary accounts in the Bilibid drug trade do not belong to the detained Senator but the DOJ is still waiting for the final report of the AMLC. It will be recalled that the original judge gave weight to testimonies by gov’t witnesses alleging that the BDO depository account for the drug money was in her name. Could this be a turning point for the lady senator?
              (Source: MIndanews TURNING POINT: A Quirk Episode: the De Lima Drug Case
              By WILLIAM R. ADAN -NOVEMBER 28, 2019)

    • isk says:

      De Lima is a political prisoner, much like of Jinggoy and Bong.

      Estrada and Revilla are kawatans,as per Luy’s ledgers and receipts.

      And Panelo? He’s the “Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf” of the Duterte regime.

      • kasambahay says:

        tama po kayo, isk. and I say, if de lima is political prisoner much like jinggoy and bong revilla, why is she not out like jinggoy and bong and enjoying freedom?

        na-magnitsky tuloy sina duterte et al. not allowed to set foot sa estados unidos and apparently, their assets there are going to be frozen too.

        • Andres 2018. says:

          I have commented here before that D5 will be out of prison after 2022 election. Like Jinggoy and Bong were out after PNoy’s term. If you look at it, Du30 and PNoy’s have in common, that is, throwing into Prison some senators for crimes which evidence are weak that in a fair trial it would result to to case dismissal. Since PNoy’s enemy was corruption, it is an accomplishment that a high ranking politician was jailed because of corruption. Since Du30’s enemy was drugs, it is an accomplishment that a high ranking politician was jailed because of drugs.

          Another case that they have in common is the ouster of the Chief Justice, Corona and Sereno, both ousted because of defective SALNs.

          • kasambahay says:

            thanks for your piece, andres 2018.

          • The distinction between the two CJ cases is what each President wanted to accomplish. President Aquino wanted to clear the Court’s leadership of Arroyo corruption, Duterte wanted to clear the Court’s leadership of integrity that would hinder his agenda. Corona went to trial and he was impeached. Sereno’s case did not measure up on impeachment standards, no matter how hard Gadon and the House Judiciary tried to concoct something. So ‘quo warranto’ was used. Saying the two cases are in any way similar is really bad reasoning.

            • Andres 2018. says:

              It is just that the prosecutors from Du30 were “brighter and wiser” enough to find in the books the “quo warranto.” The bottom line is, both were oust because of defective SALNs.

    • kasambahay says:

      just my opinion: duterte is popular with the masses because he gives money, money, money, gives out medals by the bucketful too. nice to have medals, deserved or not, medals equate higher pension rate in old age. they’d be set for life.

      and it does not really matter what duterte says so long as he’s throwing money away and lots of it. what comes in one ear, easily goes out the other!

  6. JuanPinoy says:

    Bakla ka Joe America, you know nothing.

  7. Kamote Procopio says:

    Well this makes thing clear, Duterte’s government is the opposite of the opposite of lies, cowardice and injustice.

    • popoy says:

      An ipomea batatas may be can also think that the opposite of evil is good; therefore the opposite of the opposite of evil is EVIL. The opposite of plus one is minus one therefore the opposite of the opposite of minus one is plus one. Put another way:

      “Well this makes thing clear, Duterte’s government is [NOT] the opposite of the opposite of lies, cowardice and injustice.”

  8. popoy says:


    Upang maging tulad ng mga Pinoys dapat IRAN at USA ay matulog mahimbing sa pancitan. Translation: To be like Pinas IRAN and USA should sleep soundly in the noodle house for at least six months.

    Haw, haw, HOW THE CARABAO can it be done: Both countries have military camps with PERSONNEL, offense and defense weapons capabilities against its other and their allies. THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL MUST ORDER Iran and USA to vacate, remove and EMPTY these camps and facilities OF THEIR MILITARY AND CIVILIAN PERSONNEL for a period.

    Even without toothless UN intervention, both countries can empty their camps of administrative, defense and offense personnel if both countries are against world DEPOPULATION.



  9. Government bullshit was also a regular fixture of Marcos Martial Law.

    The daily dose of Bolatin (Bulletin Today, formerly and now again Manila Bulletin).

    Evening news with the one major bolero of the times, Mr. Pomade himself, Francisco Tatad.

    Until he fell out of favor and was promoted “upwards” to remove him from his position.

    There was Miss Piggy, I mean Imelda Marcos with moi, and her talk of Truth, Love and Beauty.

    Could that be the time we started to ignore what we were reading, as most of it was bull anyway?

    What use is comprehending stuff if none if it is true anyway? Well, we had the rumor mill.

    Studies of Indonesia show that people believe rumors more because they got used to it during the time of Suharto, probably it is the same phenomenon in the Philippines. IN MOCHA WE TRUST!

    • popoy says:

      Karl did you say Absolute Panelo?

    • kasambahay says:

      I’m going to be sarcastic! yeheeey! like company talaga. our students bottomed out sa pisa score, habang sa report ni leni, the drug war bottomed out as well, score of 1/100.

      dapat there is party, our students celebrating with the likes of bato et al. failure to failure calling, backslapping a plenty. failure is the state of the nation with inflation higher in december 2019. but nothing to worry about, so let’s party! no long faces, haha.

  10. Ernesto V Italia says:

    So succinctly true!

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