Philippine government is intellectually corrupt. It’s a short step to stealing

Corruption [Wikipedia]


By Joe America

We can easily identify a few examples of the intellectual corruption that forms the foundation of Philippine governmental processes today.

  1. The government declares it is a model country in responding to the coronavirus, does little to prepare, then blames the people for being undisciplined as the disease spreads.
  2. Pro-democracy, pro-civility citizens are hounded by State propaganda agents, commonly called trolls. The whole idea of trolling is to realign how people think by spreading lies and threats. Honesty? Facts? They are in the way. Talk about corrupt thinking.
  3. Friendship with the thief China? What kind of principles are these, to align with the thief, then tell the people it is good?
  4. Denial of accountability anyone? Can you find ANYONE in government who will admit to a mistake, or point to the real reason things don’t work well? Nope. Blames, excuses, finger-pointing. Everywhere. They’d rather have citizens ride behind plastic screens on a motorcycle, dangerously and ineffectively, than admit, boy howdy, this is the dumbest idea since the State shot Rizal. (Well, not really, because dumb comes a dime a dozen when intellectual corruption is the norm.)
  5. The Calida cases? Tearing up the Constitution, due process, and common sense to punish decent people! I mean, any government that will, with straight face, try to jail a senator because Government lost his papers is intellectually corrupt to the very core.

Well, I suppose government is a reflection of the peoples’ values, and vice versa. They go hand in hand let’s say. It seems to me that most Filipinos spend the better part of their lives justifying bad thinking and then calling it resilience when they have to live with the lousy outcome.

Accountability. The strength and pride of being honest with oneself. It seems not to be a cultural norm in the Philippines, no matter how often people pray or go to church. Playing power games is the cultural norm. Blames and excuses are. Envy. Jealousy. Vengeance. The place is rich with it.

These, too, are forms of intellectual corruption. They are the foundations of it.

Honesty starts with truthful self-assessment and acceptance. Not the business of putting on layers of fakery so thick that people can no longer trust what’s under them.

Trust is the glue that binds a people together. That bind people to their government.

There is precious little of it in the Philippines because few people understand it . . . and earn it.

Certainly, the Duterte Government does not, as a basic state of being. Nor do the officials throwing out the bad ideas, touting their own glory, and justifying everything from adjusting vital health statistics to stealing taxpayer money.

Which is why Government is left to terror laws and batons to try to bludgeon people into loyalty.

It won’t work, I’m guessing.

It’s an intellectually corrupt approach.

Honesty wins every time in a thinking society.

Hahaha. I suppose that is the real issue, isn’t it? Is the Philippines a thinking society or not?


38 Responses to “Philippine government is intellectually corrupt. It’s a short step to stealing”
  1. karlgarcia says:

    Resilience or is it turning a blind eye because it is what it is.

  2. NHerrera says:

    Orwellian World.

    Nitpicking here, but this,

    Well, I suppose government is a reflection of the peoples’ values, and vice versa,

    is debatable percentage-wise. But it is a truism that a small (fraction of the population) along with the top leaders of the Armed Forces; and of the Legislative and Judicial branches can make it appear so.

    • In my mind was the general view that cheating is acceptable unless you get caught. My experience locally is that there’s a lot of that, accompanied by stories not unlike govt’s propaganda.

      • I agree, most barangays were pretty corrupt (at a smaller scale). I’d also include households to that mix, Joe. If kids see mom and pop cheating and stealing (big or small), obvious or rationalized, that’ll do it too— my experience was that most households who had servants were pretty severe… IMHO, just the notion of having a servant will mess a kid’s worldview up good.

        • p.s.—

          Joe, i wouldn’t be surprise if barangay vs. barangays were beating each other up over COVID19. ie. Hey i don’t know you , so we’ll beat you up cuz you know COVID19! LOL!

          • There have been local angers toward health workers and positive case people.

            • there’s a bit of Capulet vs. Montagues in the barangay system.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Subdivision officials are even stricter than barangay officials in the place I am at.
                LCX, we talked about the supposed love for health workers until they test positive for covid.

              • Karl, I guess you mean this recent article about the nurse who was kicked out of her boarding house on the same day she told her landlady she was Covid-positive. Seems the landlady is a mini-version of Cynthia Villar, not in size, in wealth.


              • LCPL_X, the most extreme place in terms of infighting wasn’t Romeo and Juliet’s Verona (in Mario Puzo’s the Last Don, you have the Last Don saying “whatever Romeo and Juliet were they certainly weren’t real Italians”) but Bologna with its family towers:


                unlike Manhattan, Bologna’s towers weren’t built to host offices or corporate giants. Back in the Middle Ages, when land equaled money and power, it was imperative to guard your space with a watchful eye. Constructing a tower allowed you to do just this because you could see potential threats from far away. After sometime, building towers became somewhat of a family feud – in which a tower’s height demonstrated a familiy’s status within society.

                Only a few of the towers of old are still standing today.

              • Thanks!


                I can totally see this applied to tanod barangay security , most carry around rattan sticks, some richer barangays have walkie talkies, with only a bunch of bamboo poles, voila! towers at ever point in barangay perimeter!

                Hark! who goes there, COVID19 positive, beat him up! (i’m just here to visit my girlfriend, ouch! ow… take another short cut! ). And so it goes.

                (p.s. karl i see your point about subdivision security, but subdivisions are already built with exclusivity in mind ie. broken glass on top of high walls; people in city barangays are suppose to be connected , thus have to be locked down consciously , but i like these italian towers and can see them as permanent fixtures in Filipino cities )

              • kasambahay says:

                methink, that has been sensationalized, the story of the covid positive nurse that got kicked out of rental accommodation.

                health workers the moment they turned covid positive, dont go home right away to tell landlady of their status. they tell their immediate coworkers and received workplace guidance and counseling: what to do, where to obtain help, who to contact, how to care for self etc. rarely left in the lurch sila.

                the nurse was not the 1st health worker that got sick, there is mechanism designed by fellow health workers to help people like her. she should have taken stock sooner, being a health worker and problem solver and should know being covid sick is not always the end of the world.

      • NHerrera might be one of the remaining examples of old school Filipino morality that has all but dissipated today. It isn’t just that the old public schooling broke down, the morals of communities probably did. The OFW phenomenon probably wasn’t good for people too – not only did it further decimate the population of public school teachers towards HK, Saudi, it also ripped traditional families apart. The drug problem is one manifestation of this. There was a short period of hopefulness in 1986, I felt that.

        But probably that hopefulness died in the harsh realities of the post-Marcos years. It became a free-for-all, every one for himself kind of society, possibly. What explains how a human rights lawyer like Jejomar Binay – highly active and recognized in Marcos times – became corrupt? Didn’t Alan Peter Cayetano seem idealistic once? When is the point reached where one says – damn it, I might as well take my turn in stealing? How did the “Pirates of the Carribean” ethic “take what you can, give nothing back” become the norm?

  3. kinesthesia says:

    yes.. the philippines is a thinking society.. a groupthinking one that is..

  4. Micha says:

    That is exactly the kind of government you get if you subject your citizens to decades of neo-liberal diet.

    Neo-liberalism is the mother of all intellectual corruption giving birth to our many splendored maladies.

    • What conceptual framework do you endorse for a better social order? My view of neo-liberal is that it is pro-wealth development, innovative, humanistic, and pro-social equality. The tensions between these dynamics are handled through democratic discourse. What’s the preferred alternative?

      • Micha,

        This whole democracy stuff, how we practice it now, not Ancient Greece (that was too much democracy), but this freedom of thought stuff is straight from Spinoza w/ Locke tweaking it some.

        The the US fore fathers.

        I’m fine wit dat. But not corporations as people.

        But this is how neo-liberalism is that’s my favorite female rapper now ( incidentally also half Filipino) , here’s some of her lyrics…

        (actually i just realized i can’t post the lyrics… but google “My Type”, and that’s pretty much neo-lib ‘ism ).

        As to Joe’s question. Corporations should have shelf life. like copyrights and tm’s , ensure they can’t just rebrand, but actually dissolve. that’s a start.

      • Micha says:


        In its early stage, neo-liberalism seemed to be a harmless enough concept. Who could afterall argue with the free market? Let the market decide all the fundamental economic arrangement and outcomes. If businesses suffer (or thrive) from the hiccups of capitalism’s cyclical recessions just let them be. Let the chips fall where they may. That’s the standard bible for Friedmanite economics.

        In the real world, however, that’s not what happened. Corporations wanted to be left alone in the good times but will have no qualms seeking government subsidies and interventions in the bad times. That is called privatizing the gains and socializing the costs.

        Neo-liberalism’s intellectual perversion was spectacularly demonstrated in the 2008 Great Recession.

        Thus, what neo-liberalism really came to be, and what it’s about all along, is freedom for capital barons to plunder and loot; enabled by its demand for privatization and de-regulation.

        Yes, you are correct about the wealth development part. But wealth for whom?

        Undoubtedly, it’s only the 0.01% that are thriving.

        Did you also say pro-social equality?

        I really hope you’re just kidding.

        So, what’s the alternative?

        Progressive Rooseveltian economics.

        • Thanks. I view neo-liberalism as Obamaesque, not Bushesque, I suppose. Modern America is not easy to name-call and have a clear definition. I’d have to study Rooseveltian economics to understand your point, but probably won’t. I’m into the ease of ignorance these days, having gained no succor from knowledge.

          • Looking at it from a completely empirical, experience-based POV, I think the Philippines always had more “jungle capitalism” than the USA ever had. By the time of Marcos public schooling had degenerated into schools for the poor while in the 1950s public school was still the place most people went to, and was good quality. I think it was MLQ3 who wrote that the old batch of teachers still shaped by the late Commonwealth period, idealistic and strict as hell, went into pension in the early 1970s, and were replaced by a new, less well-trained batch which was to boot selected by political loyalty, mainly. Of course there was the ripple effect that young people badly trained from childhood onwards could not get into UP that easily anymore – by the mid-1990s UP was considered more “elite”, measured from the number of student cars, than Ateneo. Used to be that it was common that a peasant son could pass the UPCAT. Even getting into Pisay is hard for children from poor families, as there is a severe difference in public and private school quality.

            Neoliberalism of course thrived in a Philippines that already grew more unequal in terms of opportunities during the Marcos era, in a country were people care first about their own. Probably that is where the conundrum between JoeAm and NHerrera can be resolved. Most Filipinos are NOT bad people, just egoistic. They may not be corrupt but they will not lift a finger or even a hand against it – also knowing that they will not get any help. Nearly no one gave a damn when De Lima went to jail. Even now resistance still seems futile.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Re resistance,outrage, dissent.
              Some are just waiting for the incumbents to end their terms, grow old or,,,
              Duterte already set the precedent of reversing pardons, if it is worth the effort to go after Erap and Arroyo, their pardons can still be undone,
              Not saying that it should aleays be an eye for an eye, do not get mad, do not gey even, either you go ahead or get ahead.

              Duterte and Bong Go’s time will come.

              re innequality

              you mask it by removing income taxes firom the mimimum wage earners set high income and corporate tax fot the rich only to give tax exemptions and or credits all in the name of investments.

              Dang those oligsrchs, Beware the Military Industrial complex, Pro and anti lobbyists…they control the policiies, and I have not even mentioned dynasties.

              • Yes, inequality. It is also masked over here in Germany by social welfare. Those who are indigent get their housing paid for by the state, certain landlords here are said to prefer civil servants and social welfare recipients as the payments are always guaranteed. Least preferred are self-employed people as they can always go broke. Social welfare recipients get €390 a month directly to their bank accounts, those without bank accounts go to the postal bank (in the post office of course) at the end of the month to collect it. National ID makes it possible to not have them all queing for ayuda at the municipal office.

                As for lobbies, that is a very advanced game whether in Washington or Berlin. Trade unions are also a lobby but the jobless are not in unions, so they don’t have a lobby.

                Health insurance? There was a major reform of health insurance in Germany around two decades ago as costs exploded. No more free spa vacations like the generation before mine had. Many of the old Filipina nurses now in pension went to take their “Kur” every few years as they literally had back-breaking work and it was easy to get the medical certificate that it was needed. Thinking of articles that criticized the palatial headquarters of some health insurance providers in those days. And of stories of hospitals overcharging. Seems all big social funds are prone to the tragedy of the commons, even without outright theft.

                Neoliberalism, Prof. Vicente Rafael explained to me, was originally a response to big government approaches of both national socialism and socialism after war’s end. There is a certain charm to the idea of controlling costs via the market, but it isn’t that simple. “Communism failed because people are pigs” is what a Jewish Auschwitz survivor once told me in NYC. Everything fails in the end because not only Harry Roque is a pig.

                Dynasties are all but gone in Germany, except for the Quandt family who still own major parts of BMW. People kinda laughed at Mrs. Quandt-Klatten when she was conned for money by a Swiss gigolo. Helg Sgarbi looked very “boring”, so I guess she thought him honest. Swiss have a reliable but boring reputation while Italians have the opposite reputation. Probably that is what Mr. Sgarbi is smirking about on the day he was released.

                His next victim was even beautiful, except that this is her picture from 1965. Possibly the gentleman made her feel young again.

                But I am in tsismis mode again. I will stop now.

          • Micha says:

            In this Covid era, banks and the stock market have been propped up by government bailout. Yet another spectacular demonstration of neo-liberalism’s intellectual corruption.

            The parasites thrive, the host is dying.


          • NHerrera says:

            @Joe: I’m into the ease of ignorance these days, having gained no succor from knowledge.

            Interesting thought of the day. I saved that. In the realm of socio-economic-political that can be what the doctor prescribes during this pandemic time. In the scientific-technical world, however, knowledge continues to be useful. But then when you put in the behaviors of the top guns of Tech Giants my view is blurred in the latter field too.

            @Irineo: Thanks for the kind statement but I doubt that my morality score is any higher than the average contributor/ reader of the blog, though I agree with the word old in the phrase “old school” in the physical sense. 🙂

            Joe has written another piece that will be rich in the comments and concepts with the contributions from Irineo, Lance, Micha, and others.

          • LOL!

            Joe, to your last sentence, I so recommend just playing Saweetie’s “My Type” full blast , its the best end (or ending soon) of the world music.Put it on full blast, Joe!

            And play Go with an AI ( free to download ) . you’ll never beat her (Leela) but you’ll find solace that there will be smarter brains when humans disappear.

            hahaha.. wadaya know there’s a 1 hour loop!!! LOL. play this one in the house , Joe!

  5. From the older Teodoro Locsin, on the topic of whether the Filipino was worth dying for:

    “To debase the good is to rise in self-estimation. If all men are vile, then you are not worse than you might think you are. You just know the human score. To face and recognize goodness is to sit in judgment on oneself. Avoid it.”

    Some Filipinos indeed say “pare-pareho tayong hindi mga santo” – “none of us are saints”.

    The virtuous like Justice Carpio, Antonio Trillanes, Conchita Morales-Carpio, Ma. Lourdes Sereno or Risa Hontiveros annoy the hell out of many Filipinos. The cliche of “virtue signalling” was used against the previous administration a lot. Recall the glee with which the affair of Senator De Lima with her driver was publicized. Jesus said “let him without sin cast the first stone”. Some Filipinos seem to say “let us throw stones on those who think they are not as sinful as we are”.

    • A commenter on FB accused me of being elitist for writing in English. Haha. She’d prefer that I shut up, I suppose. I wrote back:

      “Cynthia Estrada Elitism is an ad hominem concept concocted by crabs to drag the successful back down to their level of inutile. 😂😂🤣”

  6. A FB post by Nuelle Duterte (who is in the USA and is very opposed to her uncle’s politics) is in a similar vein to this blog article:

      • Think of corruption as 1st class 2nd class 3rd class, in planes or ships over there. luxury business economy, stow away… last would be free ridership.

        Ever since humans started talking, some talked good, others not so good, still others bad talking talking, there was hierarchy. the system works differently according to status.

        With COVID19, there is no hierarchy really, except maybe pre-existing heath conditions, but we’ll all reach that some sooner others later. that’s why corruption talk has no place in COVID19 talk…

        first come first serve for vaccines, have at it, be my guinea pig guest. last in line may be best place, not first. corruption is up ended, precisely becuz hierarchy now is up ended.

        what’s the point in getting tested, that’ll only help epidemiologists and their charts, for me it’ll just make me stand in line and waste time exposing me to further contamination , cuz people are dumb.

        COVID19 will spread whether or not you’re in first class; second class; or third class , stay away from people, make sure you have clean water; fresh food; comfy shelter. breathe fresh air.

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