Letting go of the Philippines

The Philippines has changed. [Photo from Phil Star]


By Joe America

When you are young, you tend to wonder about the future. When you are old, you tend to look back at the past. Along the way, you slot into life as it is presented, the ‘now’ being what it is.

Most of our angers and anxieties arise because our present circumstance is grinding against what we want. Gas price increases, complain about it. Tax increase, complain. Virus restrictions, complain. The President tells a rape joke, complain. The VP not rebellious enough, complain. Free speech being threatened, complain.

In the Philippines, today, there is a lot to complain about if we were raised in the idealism of American democracy with its beliefs in freedom, responsibility, fairness, civility, and compassion. The current batch of leaders, both national and local, seem willing to depart from these ideals because they value self-satisfaction as a higher ideal than nationhood. They don’t embrace the idea that taking care of all Filipinos is good for them, too. They conclude that they’ll be fine if the nation is under Chinese influence, or anyone’s influence, as long as they are allowed to pursue the path of power and favor to their advantage.

This is the feudal framework seen in dynastic societies where certain families are “better” than the others and entitled to game the system to their favor. The business model attached to dynasties is “cronyism”, where trading advantages flow to those who cooperate. The Philippines is not capitalistic, in a free market sense. It is captured by the crony oligarchs, including a whole new set arising from the Chinese incubator attached to Michael Yang in Beijing and Bong Go in Manila and Davao. Dennis Uy is the spearhead operating across the Philippines.

The dynastic and crony worlds are grinding against the Western view of what is right and wrong as some of its more unsavory associations come out of the dark. We see Chinese gambling joints in Manila, shadows of the Chinese triads (recall Trillanes vs young Duterte’s tattoo) in Davao, and a current stark view of Abu Sayaff terrorists in Davao. There, amnesty has been granted to a murderer and enemy of the Philippine armed forces. Read: Amnesty eyed for Abu Sayyaf leader worries military brass.

Our established systems of right and wrong are tested mightily by this entitlement, the cronyistic favors, and the leadership’s willingness to set laws and enforcement of laws aside for family gain. Government, run by dynastic lords, sees advantage to giving a top terrorist amnesty. Like, “wow!” Someone is gaining from this other than the murderer being allowed to roam free and get a new arm.

But we don’t know who and we don’t know how.

This development is an exclamation point to the erosion of our humanistic and democratic ideals that has been taking place since a powerful dynastic family from the South basically captured the nation. Nary a shot fired.

The surrender has been completed. The armed forces are shrugged aside. The protections of the Constitution are willingly undermined by new laws under the virtuous guise of anti-terror and a new normal. The top television station has been shut down as if it were an irrelevant sack of waste to be disposed of in the dumpster. Critics are being swarmed by social media thugs hired by the State. And killings occur so fast that we can’t keep up with them all.

A new normal indeed.

We, the few of Western ideals, have lost.

Once we accept this, then we can stop playing with the idea that this is just a passing fancy, to be corrected in 2022. No, no. The nation, it’s electoral system, its money, it’s legal system, and it’s social values are under the control of the Davao dynasts.

Letting go of the idealism is important, I think, because we are misleading ourselves if we believe the Philippines is a functioning democracy. It is a dynastic realm and we are subjects. Just watch how representatives in the lower house dispense with any notion of facts, fairness, or benefit to the nation as they do the dynast’s bidding.

Most of the Senate. The agencies. The courts.


It seems to me we have three choices: Live with it. Leave. Rebel.

I don’t do rebellion.

I’m not leaving.

So I have to let go of the Western ideals that frame my every thought and deed.

That will require some effort, and I’ll let you know from time to time how it is going.


192 Responses to “Letting go of the Philippines”
  1. Spain agreed to support the dynasts of old if they were loyal to King Philipp and at least pretended to be Catholic. America agreed to support the dynasts of a century ago if they were loyal to the US and played “democracy”. Sure, Catholicism and democracy had true believers in the Philippines.

    In the Marcos era they at least still pretended to rule of law. Keeping appearances still mattered. Nowadays almost all true believers and even the pretenders are gone, so it is old ways reloaded.

    • It’s a culture shock to live in an environment that fosters so much stealing. Can you imagine? The whole health enterprise is stealing the money that is supposed to go to caring for the sick! Such a cruel set of values.

      • kasambahay says:

        joeam, I also let go of my western ideas few yrs ago, but not without grumbles and complaints and lots more grumbles and more complaints, causing frictions and conflicts almost anywhere I go. and sometimes, I got hubris thrown back at me, threats of bodily harm as well. por bida, if low lifes like me are threatened how much more kaya those higher up the likes of . . . cannot mention their names. already being harassed sila at all levels.

        and by the grace of god, here goes me again! if there are to be made new saints sa catholic church, I nominate the military, hahahahaha. they’re more patient than yours truly, always turning the other cheeks sila, happy and content with their lot, innocent and blameless as the 1st whiff of – retirements!

        alright, seriously now, few months back, 4 military intel officers got shot sa checkpoint ng kapolisan in sulu, on the way kuno sila to apprehend a high value target, instead intel officers become the high value targets and sustained bullet wounds to the back. high powered caliber guns were used. there was to be investigation and the military hold their peace, saintly talaga.

        and now again, a high value target, misuari has his back, waltzed into dabaw in plain sight of the military. only the military did not know of the high value’s whereabouts kuno, playing blameless again, and saintly. of course there are saints in the military, ask their wives.

        high value’s demand? new prosthetic in dabaw hospital, methink, lahat na medical expenses yata niya ay taos pusong sasaguting ng philhealth. alleluia, his wish is philhealth’s command.

        I think, I’m lost. thanks for your tolerance, joeam.

        • Haha. Tolerance is a quality needed these days, in many respects.

          • kasambahay says:

            know what’s funny? terrorist could well lose new arm again. live by the sword, die by the sword, set in his ways na yan and will continue on making bombs, training others in bomb making, playing with explosives. next time though, misuari may not be around.

    • karlgarcia says:

      With the pretentious gone there will be no more hypocrites.

  2. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    Joe, we have a fourth option: Pray and ask for divine intervention. No one expected dutertism to happen. But then, no one expected Ninoy Aquino to happen. I’ll stop there. Ingat.

    • NHerrera says:

      The Four Options: Live with it; Leave; Rebel; Pray. Yes.

      • NHerrera says:

        For a more comprehensive listing of choices add Join. One can always find a rationale if that is chosen.

        • kasambahay says:

          kaming mga bisaya dont limit ourselves to one option. and when convenient, go through all options kami and mix them all. sari sari, diversified, varied, etc. in marriage, monogamous ang karamihan sa amin; else cloudland kami, may intellectual freedom if only I have intellect . . . haha.

          • NHerrera says:

            I was born in the Visayas with parents from Luzon. Yes, I share your view in at least this: don’t be overly focused on one option; think about the other options. 🙂

  3. I’m surprise Misuari still has super wow! that’s for https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wasta

    As for giving up but not leaving, you’ll be this guy below, Joe! not so bad i suppose.

    (I feel that DU30 should probably ban Mormons from the Philippines, lest they god forbid civilize them, i think that guy above is a Mormon (“Bisayang Hilaw”)… no one else gets language proficiency that good, but Mormons , Arabs have banned them, so too the Russians.)

    • Joe ,

      this is a video from Catalina Sea Ranch aquaculture, so instead of chicharon you think Filipinos will eat crunchy seaweed?

      more importantly can you grow this in and around the Bentham Rise?

  4. NHerrera says:

    When I got the notification of the new blog in my email, I read it as something that seems to miss a following phrase: “LETTING GO OF THE PHILIPPINES … ” Letting Go [the Senator cum Presidential Assistant] to do what, I said to myself, jumping the gun before reading the essay.

    Seriously, another good TSH topic. Thanks.

  5. Micha says:

    “In the Philippines, today, there is a lot to complain about if we were raised in the idealism of American democracy with its beliefs in freedom, responsibility, fairness, civility, and compassion. The current batch of leaders, both national and local, seem willing to depart from these ideals because they value self-satisfaction as a higher ideal than nationhood. They don’t embrace the idea that taking care of all Filipinos is good for them, too. They conclude that they’ll be fine if the nation is under Chinese influence, or anyone’s influence, as long as they are allowed to pursue the path of power and favor to their advantage.”

    In America today, there is a lot to complain about if we were raised in the idealism of American democracy with its beliefs in freedom, responsibility, fairness, civility, and compassion. The current batch of leaders, both national and local, seem willing to depart from these ideals because they value self-satisfaction as a higher ideal than nationhood. They don’t embrace the idea that taking care of all Americans is good for them, too. They conclude that they’ll be fine if the nation is under billionaire class influence as long as they are allowed to pursue the path of power and favor to their advantage.

    There, seems like accurate description of your home country too, Joe, doncha think?

    • NHerrera says:

      I felt something was missing. That completes the picture.

    • isk says:

      American politics is quite amazing and interesting. Having two major political parties competing, it seems the check and balance is quite effective… but sometimes…

      • Micha says:

        Yup, we have two parties taking turns screwing the 99%. Both parties engage in vote suppression, both embrace the billionaires and bankers of Wall Street, and both have aggressive neocon hawks in foreign policy.

        American democracy is a sham.

        If this decline towards plutocratic rule is not soon reversed, we are indeed witnessing the twilight years of what was once a largely admired American empire.

        And you can thank the corona virus for exposing the obvious (to those who bothered to see) cracks in the so-called American exceptionalism.

        • isk says:


          I believe in capitalism and I trust the various regulating agencies in the government.

          The problem I believe is with the electorate, the nation must be well informed of what is going on. The future of the next generation is in their hands… specially the natural resources in the Philippines’ EEZ and this so called terrorism law by the duterte regime.

          Philhealth’s issue is somewhat similar to government service enterprise in the US that led to financial crises.

          I love YouTube , here’s another video of the check and balance in the US house of representatives .

          • Micha says:

            “I believe in capitalism…”

            Well, there are several strains of capitalism, which one are you favoring? Mom and pop capitalism? Industrial capitalism? Corporate capitalism? Financial capitalism?

            That last one is malignant parasitic variety which is capitalism’s latest iteration and signals its entry into its late stage lifespan. Are you all in for that too?

            “The problem I believe is with the electorate…”

            Well, yes and no. Yes, the electorate make foolish voting decisions but that’s only half of the picture. The other half is that we have a ruling class that actually wants an electorate to make foolish voting decisions. Keeping most voters uninformed and uneducated preserves the status quo, thus keeping the privileges and power of our entitled elite.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        The author claims to be there when they came looking for WMDs.
        Let the history book readers be the judge.


          • I get ‘page not available’ message.

            • isk says:

              Had checked the link, it works on my end. I tried to copy and paste the first paragraph of the article, it did not work. Could be the site is not a “secured” one.

              It is about tons of uranium yellow cake shipped to Canada.

            • NHerrera says:


              Secret U.S. mission hauls uranium from Iraq
              The Associated Press

              The last major remnant of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear program — a huge stockpile of concentrated natural uranium — reached a Canadian port Saturday to complete a secret U.S. operation that included a two-week airlift from Baghdad and a ship voyage crossing two oceans.

              The removal of 550 metric tons of “yellowcake” — the seed material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment — was a significant step toward closing the books on Saddam’s nuclear legacy. It also brought relief to U.S. and Iraqi authorities who had worried the cache would reach insurgents or smugglers crossing to Iran to aid its nuclear ambitions.

              What’s now left is the final and complicated push to clean up the remaining radioactive debris at the former Tuwaitha nuclear complex about 12 miles south of Baghdad — using teams that include Iraqi experts recently trained in the Chernobyl fallout zone in Ukraine.

              “Everyone is very happy to have this safely out of Iraq,” said a senior U.S. official who outlined the nearly three-month operation to The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

              While yellowcake alone is not considered potent enough for a so-called “dirty bomb” — a conventional explosive that disperses radioactive material — it could stir widespread panic if incorporated in a blast. Yellowcake also can be enriched for use in reactors and, at higher levels, nuclear weapons using sophisticated equipment.

              The Iraqi government sold the yellowcake to a Canadian uranium producer, Cameco Corp., in a transaction the official described as worth “tens of millions of dollars.” A Cameco spokesman, Lyle Krahn, declined to discuss the price, but said the yellowcake will be processed at facilities in Ontario for use in energy-producing reactors.

              “We are pleased … that we have taken (the yellowcake) from a volatile region into a stable area to produce clean electricity,” he said.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Did you write this? MMT for the PH was the proposal. If not, our years of discussing it paid off.


      • karlgarcia says:

        it was written by a certain Bon Juego…

      • Terrific article. Bon Juego does say MMT would be a test. It presumes economic factors would be managed in line with the idea of a sovereign Philippine peso. Foreign debt should be restrained, for example. Fascinating stuff. Govt should hire Bon Juego if they are going to pursue MMT.

      • Micha says:

        Excellent article karl. Bookmarked it. Thanks.

        Mr. Juego, it seems, is an academic researcher based in Finland. I’m glad he is part of a growing number of heterodox economists espousing MMT (and a Pinoy at that, I assume). The idea is out there, and this pandemic is forcing policy quants to think out of the old orthodox box.

        “Robert Hormats, who has worked in senior economic and trade policy roles under five different U.S. presidents and spent 25 years at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., believes the Covid-19 pandemic has forced the government to embark on what could be considered an involuntary experiment with Modern Monetary Theory”


      • isk says:

        The macroeconomic techniques offered by MMT and Keynesianism may prove effective for the Philippine government to keep the economy dynamic. But utilizing them requires strict adherence to the principles of democracy and integrity in governance.

        Here lies the problem… not to mention inflation.

        Thanks Karl.

      • NHerrera says:

        No wonder Micha likes the article, it touches many of the buttons Micha like. While Bonn Juego espouses MMT for the Philippines, he states that there are concomitant requirements:

        But utilizing them requires strict adherence to the principles of democracy and integrity in governance … there is a need to redefine the role and restructure the responsibilities of the central bank in a way that contributes to a coordinated economic and social reform process—specifically to strengthen the domestic industry, manage the terms of trade, and institutionalize redistributive welfare programmes … Though the central bank’s independence should be guaranteed, it must not be made immune from democratic accountability … [there is a need to] reassess the ethics of inherited wealth, and dismantle rentier capitalism.

        • NHerrera says:

          In short, do not just apply the mechanical or easy part of the MMT; do the responsibility and accountability part of the equation! That is the hard part.

          • Micha says:

            I’m with you on that too NH. So which project or program do you think the national government should be doing now whereby we could source its funding through the sovereign monetary power and authority of the state?

            • NHerrera says:

              I would think what has to be done pronto is for the central bank and the top Economic Team, along with the President, to be genuinely convinced of the wisdom of MMT and its implementation. These top guns will have to be convincing to PH’s international lenders that its obligations will be met. China I suppose will not welcome the move. MMT and its effective implementation will make PH stronger and less dependent and so they — your external predators — are expected to put barriers. And all these will have to be done amidst the pandemic? Tough job.

              • Micha says:

                I was actually looking for a specific program like, maybe public infrastructure or, in this time of carnage from the covid virus, sustained economic aid for those who’ve lost their jobs or their SME’s

                But anyway, in our present system, the enabling authority for sovereign spending is still Congress. Unless of course you have a pledging autocrat who will, on his own, craft the legislation and oblige congress to just rubberstamp it.

                From that enabling law, the Finance Department, in coordination with the Central Bank, will comply and act accordingly.

              • NHerrera says:

                Thanks. Congress to enable. Without flipping through pages of the Constitution/ Laws that seems to be the correct procedure with, in my opinion, some hefty “tickle” from those who believe and will implement it. As to the sequence of specific projects/ programs, this is something I believe needs some time, analyses. Neither do I have the ready expertise such as you and others in TSH have.

  6. Mike A. says:

    Dear Joe,
    I haven’t written in awhile but I continue reading your blogs. I enjoyed this one. You poked the elephant that’s lumbering around everyone’s minds: Live with it, leave or rebel.

    Another option, one which I practice, is to wait. Not just wait mindlessly but to wait in faith, or hope, in something better. Wait for karma to catch up with those who made bad choices, specially those in government who have broken the rules. Wait with an attitude of inevitability. The Endgame.

    I’ve lived long enough to know that karma, aka the law of sowing and reaping, or gaba, as they call it in the south, always comes a-calling. It’s one of the immutable laws of the universe. Like gravity.

    You can’t see gravity, can’t smell it but if you slip on a banana peel, you’ll feel its power. Same thing with this karma-sowing-and-reaping-gaba deal.

    The universe is made up of rules, and if you break them, you will pay. When is the question. But a timer is set off with every choice we make. So it’s just a matter fo time until it winds down to the end.

    Look what happened to Marcos. History repeated itself. Every time a despotic leader takes control, and people are hurt, killed, the treasury is looted, the laws are flouted, corruption rages, then karma comes along and poof, everything changes. Human nature keeps trying to be true to itself by making bad choices and the cycle repeats. History repeats.

    As with Marcos, so with Duterte. Both have made some really bad choices. Mo, a lot. His choices caught up with Marcos. It will be the same for Duterte. There’s no escape. I could almost pity him. But then I see images of the 27,000 or so human beings who were murdered and their families left in oblivion. And I don’t feel anything anymore for him. Just objectivity. If that’s even a feeling.

    Live with it. Leave. Rebel. Pray. Wait. Wait in faith. Wait believing. Wait hoping.
    It’s not as useless as some may think.

    And it makes each day worth living believing that karma will come and have its day. It will come for all of us. In his western movie, “The Unforgiven”, Clint Eastwood said, “We all got it coming”.

    Well, some of us got it coming worse than others.
    Keep faith, Joe.

    • That is an excellent option. Indeed, the weight of the bent structure might cause it to collapse, or there might be intervention. Who knows. It seems unsustainable to me now and then.

      Thanks for the optimistic view, and for continuing to read.

  7. NHerrera says:

    As a grade school student in Visayas where I was born, I loved eating pandesal condensed-milk sandwiches. The first day of the US Democratic National Convention recalls to me that condensed milk of my youth.

  8. NHerrera says:


    John Kerry, talking about US foreign policy: Joe Biden has a moral compass.

    • isk says:

      It’s quite confusing vetting for integrity when it contradicts one’s action.

      • isk says:

        Why to kick out a former prosecutor general of Ukraine investigating Burisma’s alleged corruption practices?

        (13 Jun 2020) Ukrainian authorities say they have intercepted a US$6 million bribe attempt aimed at dropping a criminal investigation against the head of a natural gas company where former US Vice President Joe Biden’s son once held a board seat.

  9. NHerrera says:


    A 1.5 million COVID antibodies tests in New York show high rates of antibodies in some areas — as much as about 50% in Corona, Borough Park, East Elmhurst — suggesting (although epidemiologists are cautious in interpreting the results) herd immunity against the virus. [Higher antibodies rates were found in poorer sections than the affluent areas.]

    Is it possible, that with high rates of confirmed infections which now stand at about 173,000 in the PH [and may actually be multiples of that number] high rates of antibodies have developed or may develop too and offer some protection in the poorer areas? I hope that is the case.

    • kasambahay says:

      that is what I hope as well, poor filipinos are herd immune na and no need for them to be vaccinated vs covid. if duterte gets live covid vaccine, doh should think 2x about vaccinating those already immune, else they develop full blown covid.

    • Karl Garcia says:

      Any comment on the proponent using the Singapore fatality numbers for computation.
      WHO acknowledgedour low fatality rate.
      Why celebrate when 50 percent were not able to enter a hospital.


      • NHerrera says:

        Karl, the 3 million undetected coronavirus cases estimated by the Ateneo fellow is plausible in the following context.

        First, we know that as more tests are done more positive cases are uncovered. Also, WHO recommends that if large scale testing is done and the positivity ratio (positive cases uncovered versus test) is 5% or less, then the country may relax restrictions on activities such as business and school activities. Take that number of 5%. If, as a thought experiment, one takes 110 million tests for all populace and that positivity ratio is used we may uncover roughly 5.5 million positive cases. If the positivity ratio is, in reality, closer to 3% for large scale testing, then we have 3.3 million. That reasoning shows that the 3 million number of Ateneo is plausible.

        I may note that because of the relatively small number of testing done relative to the Philippines’ 110 million population as compared to other Asian countries, the average positivity rate during all these months is about 8% — higher at about 13% during the last month.

  10. NHerrera says:


    Policy items — gun control, climate change, immigration — showcased tonight. Through statements from mostly young Americans affecting their families, an effective technique in my opinion. Interspersed with musicals to draw the young?

    That before the speeches of Hilary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, Kamala Harris.

    Meantime, emphasis on voting. A most important item in my opinion.

  11. NHerrera says:

    There goes another one — Steve Bannon. Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.

    • NHerrera says:

      As discussed by talking and writing heads, the shocking thing about the scam perpetrated by Bannon et al of sweet-talking and defrauding Trump supporters by donating to the “We Build the Wall” scheme, is taking advantage of these gullible supporters — an ethos that comes all the way from the top.

      • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Bannon#Federal_fraud_indictment

        NH, remember in Delaware is where this hyper money laundering, ghost corporations, bank to bank stuff go perfected.

        Now this Steve Bannon stuff sound a lot like the charges for the NRA. it’s basically foundation and fund raising stuff, and both Dems and Reps are guilty of this over here, some get caught some don’t… all about juice or who has wasta, ie. political connections.

        What’s interesting about this Bannon case is that he was arrested on a yatcht, owned by a Chinese billionaire.

        I’m sure Bannon is the little fish here and that Chinese billionaire is the bigger fish, maybe more bigger fishies out there. But where’s that damn wall?!!!

        So remember, everyone who got pinched, except for Michael Cohen, have been set free (he himself is free). Which forces the question, are these charges just arbitrary? IMHO, its all politics. Where before all politicians of all styles were making money without rocking any yatchts, that was understood, gentelman’s agreement if you will,

        under Trump more of these types of indictments will surely be coming, for both sides. its de-curtaining the Wizard of OZ times over here. Which i think is good in the long run.

        Remember corruption over here is more sophisticated, less obvious.

        • What’s your take on the several dozen national security officials who wrote a letter saying they will support Biden?

          • Remember, Joe, my standard for Trump is very low.

            Has he gotten us into another war? If not, then he’s doing fine in my book.

            I get that Trump rubs a lot of people the wrong way, that goes for national security folks too, much of their qualms with Trump is leadership and rhetoric, and that he’s undermining institutions. All that is small potatoes to wars.

            So long as there’s no wars under Trump’s time, I’m happy, Joe.

            • Good that you’re happy. I watched all of Uncle Joe’s acceptance speech. Best speech since Obama’s convention speech that got him into the national limelight. I can’t watch Trump. Makes me feel dirrrty, and dismayed that this is what a whole lot of Americans like. Then I check my stocks and shake my head. I’m richer but my son will pay the price.

              • Micha says:

                “Then I check my stocks and shake my head. I’m richer but my son will pay the price.”

                Hmmn, that’s rich with implications, Joe. In what way will your son pay the price?

              • Climate change, in the main. I suppose the breakdown in moral and democratic values pose a risk, too. He’s not really among the disadvantaged and will have a good education, including the ability to speak, read, and write Mandarin. But he’ll never see Alaska the way I saw it, with glaciers around every bend in the river.

            • NHerrera says:

              Lance, excluding Mary Trump and her immediate family, do you think there are other saner Trumps who are ashamed of Donald Trump? Melania Trump and son Banon [I hope I spelled the son’s name right, lazy to Google this fine day in Metro Manila]? Even McConnell must be more than a bit uncomfortable these days. So is my favorite, Lindsey Graham.

              Joe, if you change your mind and watch Trump’s “nomination acceptance” speech, please make sure you don’t choke to death laughing. Tell Junior to give you a good whack at your back when that happens. And make sure that your will is up to date — gotta take care those riches are passed on properly, just in case.

              And Joe: I agree. I watched and read the transcript of Biden’s speech. Doesn’t seem like a speech of a “sleepy Joe” to me. Also, fitness-wise Biden seems like one who can negotiate that West Point stage ramp OK, in contrast with that turtle with a suit and a long red tie I saw weeks ago.

              • Haha. I won’t watch his utterances. Half will be divisive, half will be lies, and half will be nonsense.

              • isk says:

                Trump has no statesman’s quality, he’s unfiltered and undisciplined. He tweets on every issues… explore ideas and concepts, not well thought and politically incorrect. A frequent “superlative” word user kind of guy. lol

                Sleepy Joe or Slow Joe on Joe Biden and Sick woman on Pelosi are not appropriate nick names on political adversaries. He is what he is, behaving like a celebrity in the Oval Office.

                Doesn’t seem like a speech of a “sleepy Joe” to me

                If there will be a Presidential debate, we will be able to observe the “sharpness” of the former Vice President.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Bannon hates media but he runs Breitbart?
        Pot calling Kettle black.

  12. caliphman says:

    Let me say at the outset. I have been a registered Republican for over 30 years. Trump is no Republican and in the last three years has proven incompetent in capacity and unfit in character to serve as president. The US electorate who voted him in 2016 can be forgiven as they had hoped Trump would break the mold of traditional White House occupants who failed to address the socioeconomic ills that has plagued middle America.

    Trump serves the self-interest of no people or no country except his own. For those who supported and voted him in 2016,. Those who believed in his promises of making America great again did not have the benefit of seeing how he would conduct himself after three years in the White House. The continuous lies, the meanness, the corruption. the ineptness, the lack of direction, the lack of compassion, the nepotism, and the complete lack of leadership and responsibility and empathy for the 200,000 Americans that he could have saved except for his character flaws and incompetence.

    Those who voted for and trusted that America would be great again with him as president who now realize their dream has turned ito a worsening nightmare, then if they should wake up…then their redemption is to tell Trump “Shame on you” by voting accordingly. For those who remain clueless and think that America in utter shambles can be made great again by a failed leader and a witless and corrupt despot? Well then you may just mumble after you cast your ballot, Shame on me!

    • Agree, Trump is no Republican, and good to see you place priority on principles rather than party affiliation.

    • NHerrera says:

      Hear, hear!

      But wait — isn’t the expression, “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,” so you are ok and no need to say that phrase.

  13. NHerrera says:


    In chess, as in the board game Go, starting first in the game is an advantage. It is probably true in this pandemic time for the Democrats to start its Convention. A week after the DNC ended its show on Thursday, the Republicans will start with its own show on Monday with its RNC. That is of course a nominal statement with Trump tweeting, all caps, by the minute as the DNC was holding its convention. Not to be outdone in the game there is a plan afoot for DNC to have something in the days RNC is holding its convention featuring some of the Democrats big guns.

    This move-countermove pattern of the game is called the “Centipede Game” in Game Theory.

  14. caliphman says:

    Manong, this is no game. It is no contest of political wits that America and the world at large can watch idly by for sport and entertainment while reeling or recovering from er Covid lockdowns. It is a life and death struggle for the collective soul of democracy and decenfcy in a time when despots have increasingly seized power or willingly voted into power by what used to be considered freedom loving peoples all over the world. If this November, the American people as a whole are again duped or are willing to overlook and even bless the moral and legal vacuum Trump is wreaking on their constitutionally guaranteed democracy, then what hope is their for the Philippines and countries elsewhere who once looked to the US as modeling a political system conferring power to and for the people?? This current blog poses the question what Joe and others who adopted a country and people who have turned it’s back on the promise and principles of a liberal and constitutional democracy. The answer depends on finding out who at core one is and what is important in life. Tens of millions of Filipinos are willing to to just shelter in place in their foxholes and just survive the pandemic of corruption and the moral decay that is now rooted in the very fabric of its society. When one is powerless to do anything but survive and hope that time will bring forth a miracle, that is definitely an option. This is what Filipinos did for four hundred years under the Spanish yoke and for twenty years under the Marcos dictatorship until the masses woke and realized enough was enough!

    • NHerrera says:

      You are of course right: not to treat this as a game. Nevertheless, I am intrigued by the strategies to be employed and the follow-up and tactical moves by both sides as November 3 approaches [the Centipede Game] — whether foul or not.

      As Biden and DNC portrayed it, the election is a battle for the “soul of the nation.” In my reading today, on the other hand, RNC seems to be searching to employ a “Willie Horton” effect, just like the RNC employed in Bush’s campaign against Dukakis. To employ this against Biden, but mostly against Kamala Harris. And I suppose other tricks that may be employed in a scorched-earth way, no moves barred in so far as Trump is concerned.

      I am biased toward the concept of the battle for the soul of the US. If the proponent of that wins, I believe it will be good for the Philippines.

      • NHerrera says:


        Now the US Administration says there is no need for FDA to approve private-lab developed vaccines before use. Trump tweets that FDA and its deep state are slow-walking vaccine development till after the November 3 election. Goodness, now it is the safety and efficacy of vaccine that is being jeopardized for political purpose.

        • It shows starkly how personal interest shapes most opinions. We all do it. Defend our interests. Trump’s position makes it a bigger deal. I make this observation because some blacks are criticizing VP candidate Harris for not addressing US racism in her speech. Well, her job is to get elected and coming across as an angry black woman won’t get that done in white America. If unity is to be achieved, we need to do a better job of slipping into other’s shoes. We need to stop griping at good people, tearing them down.

        • NHerrera says:


          This touted Russian vaccine has reportedly caused horrific side-effects as it went for clinical trials on soldiers and volunteers after “approval.” Hence Russia is launching a second coronavirus vaccine named EpiVacCorona — its development to be completed in September.

          This news is a cautionary tale if US vaccines are rushed for use without FDA approval.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Australian employers are threatening to sack employees who would refuse vaccination.
            Very unwise considering the risks.

          • NHerrera says:


            The chart below is the latest showing the daily cases and the 7-day moving average. There is now a rather fully developed fourth plateau at an average level of about 4000 daily cases. The past week’s 7-day ma of daily deaths ranges between 50-60.

          • NHerrera says:

            Two NYTimes news item which would otherwise be greeted with great relief,

            * F.D.A.’s emergency authorization of blood plasma as a treatment.
            * Trump aides reportedly said a vaccine would be approved before the election.

            is being met with some skepticism coming as they do in about two months before the US general election.

            In the first, “emergency” authorization because of incomplete clinical trials [one recalls EA on hydroxychloroquine which was later withdrawn with more definitive clinical trials].

            In the second, the vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca is undergoing clinical trials in foreign countries, Britain, Brazil, and South Africa. FDA requires that a drug should undergo clinical trials in the US before approval. NY Times reports that AstraZeneca has also begun large-scale trials in the United States, although it began enrolling volunteers only a few days ago.

            • NHerrera says:

              The above the fruit of “Warp Speed” efforts. A game-changer.

            • NHerrera says:

              I may mention that a quick google yields the info that there is an AstraZeneca Philippines with the following address:

              ADDRESS: Km 14 South Superhighway 1740, Paranaque City, Philippines

              I hope DOH is on the ball on this.

            • NHerrera says:


              The good thing about the US is that there are a lot of experts and researchers on virtually any topic, especially of the scientific kind. So FDA’s Stephen Hahn must know that he cannot get away with faulty reasoning. While it may be the fact that his researchers found that without using other treatments, use of a high dose of such plasma saved 35 more lives out of 100 compared to those receiving a low dose of the plasma, it does not compare the results of survival rate from the use of other treatments. Surely Hahn must know the basic elements of Statistics 101 for one who heads the FDA.

              • NHerrera says:


                Suppose that from a sample of 100 patients, 30 were subjected to High Dose of plasma; 20 to Low Dose of plasma; 50 to other treatments. Say, 3 survived from use of HD plasma; 2 survived from use of LD plasma; x survived using other treatments. Then in this example, 50% (= 3/2 – 1) survived from the use of HDP over those using LDP. I do not know what x is in relative terms, so I am not doing the arithmetic on those.

              • NHerrera says:

                Karl, that shows the danger of taking US-FDA’s pronouncement as gospel.

              • kasambahay says:

                money making venture by selling convalescent plasma sa cebu? what people need to understand is that the process to extract plasma from red blood cost money, the special bags that contains plasma also cost money, the bags are labeled, weighed and measured, carries use by date and the logo of the red cross or blood letting firms. plus further tests are also done to ensure there are no other diseases like hiv-aids present in the blood. all these processes cost money.

                sometimes, a 500ml bag of plasma is not enough for a patient and more bags can be ordered as seen fit.

                I think, people should be allowed to sell their own blood, the way they sell kidneys rather than just donate them for free. except family members of course, we give our organs to them free and with love.

                hospitals do charge patients for convalescent plasma therapy, it is only proper that blood donors be paid as well. donors need to replenish their energy, eat well and be healthy and ready to give albeit sell blood again.

                plasma is highly priced, it has short shelf life and must be used within 30days. after that, the quality goes down, becomes less effective.

              • Thanks for this information.

              • NHerrera says:

                Kasambahay, the procedure you described indicates that even if coronavirus plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients is effective in treatment, besides the cost, it is a cumbersome procedure. Thanks for the information.

    • I have to be careful in this blog not to engage in the encouragement of protests. But we can examine it as a social phenomenon. EDSA had a flash point. Hong Kong rallies have had flash points. Short of flash points, people get angry and complain in the comfort and safety of their homes. Social media have given people an outlet for expression, but it is not effective, really, like physical confrontation. Indeed, it bleeds out the pressure. The coronavirus makes the people immune to other peoples’ suffering. So that stops the pressure from building. It is a perfect setting for further abuses of the Constitution and the people it protects.

  15. caliphman says:

    Oh well never mind. Enjoy the political show in America if not the NBA games in Florida. Someday blood may be spilt on Filipino streets because voting can no longer oust despots and tyrants. I just hope the masses will realize it’s not just another spectacle to watch on TV. Oh wait, they just took ABS-CBN off the air and past the anti-terror bill. There may not be any on air or online media to see who wins or loses.

  16. Micha says:

    What’s with that revolutionary government being pushed by Rodrigo’s sycophants, if not by the psychopath himself? The justification for it, based on news reports, is totally out of whack. Proponents want to establish RG because Da Mayor’s pet projects, like the drug war and federalism, have all but failed?

    Sensible people from all sectors better nip it in the bud or we will have a lunatic tyrant that refuses to yield power. Or maybe it’s a scheme of getting a buffer of protection if he loses the criminal immunity suit post 2022.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Already disowned by the PNP chief who confirmed that he was invited.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        He should have them all arrested, but he did nog think it is treasonous or an act of sedition.

        • kasambahay says:

          akala ko millions ang tagahanga ni duterte and by their sheer number, could have triggered revgov in no time. people’s coalition kuno tapos kakarampot lang pala siya, lol! at ang daling naisantabi, baseless.

          if they were trying to counter ninoy aquino’s death anniversary celebrations by launching revgov, I say kulang sila ng schmaltz. should have asked gamboa to lead them, instead of just inviting him. plus, their boss of all bosses is in perpetual isolation, presumbly sicker than sick.

          for dds to compete with the dead, they would have to be dead too, lol! and if dds are so braver than brave, they might as well stand with lorenzana and condem china’s incursion sa eez natin. china did not only destroy our fishing boats and instead of the promised covid vaccine by september, may panibagong military exercise na naman ang china right next to our doorstep seemingly charter changing our seascape.

          dds should leave the memory of the dead alone and worry about china.

          • Karl Garcia says:

            Yea and the Chinese are crying Foul and illegal provocation. What are legal provocations?

          • karlgarcia says:

            But Gamboa should have had them arrested for inciting to revolution.
            If an opposition did that who knows what can happen to them. Will all the deaths going on.

            • kasambahay says:

              not too late po for gamboa to arrest all 300 revolutionary govt inciters, sit them down soonest and tell them what was wrong with their call, else the inciters will try again.

  17. i7sharp says:

    Just a thought.
    What if President Duterte (in a well-covered press conference) asked Dr. Fauci – or NYC Mayor de Blasio – to send a urine sample in response to the recent challenge from the black, female, immigrant physician, Dr. Stella Immanuel?

    • karlgarcia says:

      Hello sharpy.
      I think Duterte would not even know Fauci, Immanuel and de Blasio.

      • i7sharp says:

        Karl, nobody (Trump, Pelosi, Biden, Kamala, Limbaugh, CNN, …) seems to have asked Fauci or de Blasio.
        Any reasons you can think of?

        • Karl Garcia says:

          Dunno with the rest.
          As for Trump all he is good at is retweeting
          But him saying he would use that anti malarial drug is like him sayjng he would drink Lysol.

          Lastly why did you ask? Do you believe Immanuelle?

          • i7sharp says:

            To prove Dr. Immanuelle wrong, Dr. Fauci (or Mayor de Blasio) could have sent urine samples the very day (how hard is that to do?) they were challenged regarding hydroxychloroquine.

  18. madlanglupa says:

    Regarding the topic itself, MLQ3 provided a very illuminating quote of an explanation why entrenched politicians enjoyed considerable power once they master the concepts of “malakas” and “mahina” while keeping the commoners under servitude and unable to revolt by free will.

    For one to rely upon the powerful to be a notch over others pretty much upholds the existing autocratic arrangement and squashes the concept of a working democracy.

  19. NHerrera says:



    Kellyanne Conway leaves WhiteHouse and George Conway is also stepping back from his role in the anti-Trump Lincoln Project and take a hiatus from Twitter. For now, they will devote their time to the welfare of their children who are in middle and high school that will be conducted remotely from home for months.


    • Richard says:

      Steve Bannon, her old co-worker at the Mercer organization and her co-campaign manager during the 2016 Russiapalooza campaign, was arrested last Thursday; she suddenly resigns three days later.

      What a coincidence. /s

      • Wow! Thanks for the tip. It’s bizarre that she resigned, I agree.

        • The Conways are clean in my book. They’re like the Carvilles, Mary Joe & James.

          She has to step down, as her Filipino husband is now actively campaigning against Trump.

          Trump looks like he still got a win, since part of the condition with Kelly Anne is that they both stop campaigning for or against.

          The couple is now on silent mode. But he still got a few licks in. LOL!

  20. madlanglupa says:

    This might as well be the thing. But him is not enough — his inner circle will be accountable.

    • kasambahay says:

      filler lang yan, duterte likes to talk about his own health but refuses to release his recent health records of the last 2yrs. interestingly, his doctor is nameless! near stage one cancer ang barret’s disease kuno niya, in my honest opinion? not near enough yan.

      matagal na po siyang pinagbawalang uminom ng alcoholic drinks, nuon pa, yrs ago. alam nyo, duterte not only recycle his appointees, he also likes to recycle his own health maladies, lol! I suppose he likes to have cancer and if he is desperate enough to have cancer, he can start drinking alcoholic drinks again.

      in the meantime, pandemic is gripping our country. many of our people are jobless and cannot afford medical care, businesses are collapsing and our economy is tanking. manila is being made province of china, and chinese military is now ensconced in our eez.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        That is a different take (recycling medical condition)from many wishing him to be taken by god. I for one do not subscribe to that.

      • madlanglupa says:

        It is filler, but still he and everyone involved in the enterprise to bilk the people are accountable.

        • kasambahay says:

          methink, dexterity is needed to make duterte and his cabal accountable, the traditional way rarely works anymore. as well our top universities are into it and barely defend intellectual freedom, and academic diversity is rarely practiced these days. nagkaruon ng almighty collusion yata sila at ang academic opinions nila ay halos magkapareho na. ateneo and UP are now backing doh’s trend of playing down covid, one for all, all for one.

          maybe that explains why education is highest sa coming budget: more funds for universities’ research programs, their acquiescence assured, their hunger for funds sated.

  21. karlgarcia says:

    Government must shoulder the 8000 Php plus tongpats swab tests. Stop making mass testing is only ideal but not practical excuses.

    For the next pandemics for us not to divulge personal info on a sheet of paper, they can invent an invisible tatoo id with all the info and scan a barcode..
    oops been invented already. Plus do internet of things with that barcode scanner to transmit data.
    This may or may not make up for lack of mass testing and contact tracing.

    Sorry to say but the mutated past outbreaks can come back to haunt us due to forces of man and nature, and we must be ready for that.

    Let us have a vaccine institution, not just a CDC type.
    Interagency task forces never gets the job done, they just let the agency heads get away with non accountaibility and pin the blame on task force heads. This happens all the time, all the presidential task forces never pins the blame on the president if all else fails.

  22. NHerrera says:


    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quietly modified its coronavirus testing guidelines this week to exclude people who do not have symptoms of Covid-19 — even if they have been recently exposed to the virus. [Bolding, mine.]

    My uncharitable self: first, FDA folded; now, CDC?

    • karlgarcia says:

      That is what caused the miracle recoveries numbers in PH.
      Plus before you would npt get discharged unless you have two negative tests, now they consider just one negative result is enough.

      I guess everone wants to have miraculous recoveries numbers.

      Here many doctors and frontliners test positive even after they had two negative results before hand and one from PGH who never made it wasin the news.

      • kasambahay says:

        be patriotic, health sec duque’s message to nurses and health frontliners, some of them died in the course of duty. for working so hard with less pay and often late pa yang sahod, be patriotic is all duque can say to them.

        health workers work without borders, they go where duty calls at anytime of the day and night, patriotism is the lest of their worries. fighting diseases is their priority and making people healthy again, duque should know that.

        often, doctors and nurses treat enemies of the state, as well as criminals and wrongdoers. their job is to preserve human life and they dont judge. I doubt if they care a hoot about politics and patriotism.

          • NHerrera says:

            And so are the Heads of US’s FDA and CDC — with their latest pronouncements — with the big difference that no taint of financial corruption has been ascribed to them. A milder form of idiocy then.

            • kasambahay says:

              the heads of both fda and cdc have been kanye’d? alright, I wont hit presidential candidate kanye, I’m below his pay grade, lol!

  23. karlgarcia says:

    I still want to be a Filipino and I am not going anywhere, but I want to share the author’s thoughts.


  24. NHerrera says:

    Japan’s PM, Shinzo Abe, resigns. Abe’s time in power coincided with the terms of 3 Philippine presidents: Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Benigno Aquino III, and Rodrigo Duterte. I have a soft heart for Abe, mainly because during his term Japan has been a friend to the Philippines.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Due to health reasons.
      Here we have a president whomis not transpatentvabout his heakth or anything,

      • kasambahay says:

        duterte resigning? not in his life! bong go wont let him and roque would just wave off duterte’s resignation like his opinion is more important than the president’s and people listen to him more.

        many dds want duterte to stay forever in office, he’s their most valued moneypot, lol! trillions already signed for next yrs budget and already their hands are itching. let them at it! watch those philhealth officials na mga appointees niya, they’d soon be recycled.

        methink, duterte cannot resign even if he wanted to, he’s not free and not allowed. even if he runs away to singapore, he’ll be brought back in chain if need be, lol! bong go needs his rubber stamp, they all need their rubber stamp, within sight and as close to them as possible.

        shinzo abe has the luxury of resigning, duterte doesn’t.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Until now it is Bong Go doing the talking of Duterte’s state of Health.

          Luxury of resigning?
          All they can do to stop Leni is to say that she will destroy the nation, WTH have they been doin in the last four years?

          • NHerrera says:

            The phrase about Leni, that — she will destroy the nation — seems taken from the same playbook used as a theme in the recent Republican National Convention to describe Joe Biden and the Democrats. When one runs out of rational arguments, use this playbook. Right?

            • Theyre saying these two videos aired around the same time, plus the fact that NBA players went on strike, essentially giving the time slot to Trump’s last day of RNC, I believe baseball too didn’t play, plus Kenosha and ongoing protests, these two videos sealed the deal for Trump , NH…

              Police and their unions who were once Dems, are turning out for Trump, and remember those police will have wives who are either nurses, or doctors, or teachers, etc. word spreads. that’s the suburban vote, everyones been after.

              • isk says:

                Who could be the financier of these mobsters? A political miscalculations? Or a strategy gone awry?

              • NHerrera says:

                Lance, one [or two] swallows (or videos) do not a summer make. There are as we know arguments versus arguments. Rational ones versus irrational ones. Videos vs videos. Polls vs polls. And it is early days yet in politics.

                That is why FiveThirtyEight always depicts the scatter of poll numbers in its charts. We should always be aware of the nuance.


                I write this, as one who appreciates the game of Go as you do. 🙂

              • NHerrera says:

                You may also want to view the scatter of the generic poll numbers on the race for Congress, the average widening to about 17+ points in favor of the Democrats since Mid-March.


              • NH,

                I’m reading Cho HunHyun’s memoir right now, and surprised (but not really having studied some judo/karate, just for fun) was that the difference between Japanese Go and Korean Go was that Go was seen too formally in Japan. Remember Cho HunHyun (Korean) went to Japan as a kid to study with the same dude who produced Go Seigen (a Chinese).

                Koreans were seen as barbaric at Go. No sense of aethetics, just pure chaos and war. Where the Japanese saw Go as sacred; the Koreans always bet on Go, ie. loser buys lunch, etc. like pool halls.

                So i think you’re seeing this game like the Japanese once did, too formally; Not accounting for stuff going viral, and votes being casted emotionally not rationally. What I’m attempting to give you is the on-the-ground stuff, stuff i’ve been 99% percent right most times here when it comes to USA.

                Now, that is the BLM protest/riots is turning off a bunch of tax paying (people with actual professions, not gig economy stuff), turning off hard middle class folk. So this stuff, maybe not polls, but remember the polls didn’t see Trump coming in 2016 as well,

                but what goes viral and what sticks emotionally is where we are now in 2020. It’s Korean Go, not Japanese. Cho HunHyun only talks about Korean and Japanese Go, and treats Chinese Go individually, like his competitors, so I don’t know how he categorizes Chinese Go.

                Polls will not be accurate.

              • Micha says:

                Really, isk? You’re swallowing that Fox News libertarian crap?

            • These the videos gaining traction, NH.

              • Micha says:

                @Lcpl X

                Yeah right, if the racist-in-chief did not fan the flames of ID pol we wouldn’t be enmeshed in this goddawful race war in the middle of a pandemic he, too, helped spread.

              • BLM started around 2014-2015, Micha.

                Mueller investigation has connected BLM as well as other social media stuff to Russians.

                Trump is seen as pro-cop, while the Dems are anti-cop.

        • madlanglupa says:

          Bingo. This country is run not by one but by a secret committee of thieves.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] I myself have not gone to the Philippines for long as I sort of felt that kind of stuff approaching – the only skin in the game I have left is in my heart and by putting my name out in the open, meaning I can only hope for a modern, innovative and open-minded Philippines in my lifetime. Come what may. […]

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