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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Bato lost all moral ascendancy to lead PNP

It started with a bang and will end with a whimper, this anti-drugs campaign of the Duterte administration. What I am very worried about is that with just the whim of an obsessed man, it literally threw away more than 25 years worth of efforts at transforming our police forces into a civilian-oriented, human rights abiding security force.

In just seven months, our Philippine National Police (PNP) became more brazen and more blood thirsty. Seven months ago, I wrote in this blog my apprehensions at using the anti-drugs campaign of government as a centerpiece propaganda of this administration. Now, my fears are beginning to appear. Instead of becoming a legacy of Mr. Duterte, this anti-drugs campaign is turning into his worst nightmare.

Is this the fault of PNP chief General Bato dela Rosa? Yes. Why? He showed insincerity at the very onset of the campaign. Look at how he handled the case of the mayor of Leyte. Look at how he conducted himself when he faced those accused of being involved in drugs--Bato told the public that he's friends with this and that--that sent a wrong signal to other PNP officials. Bato became a victim of his own undoing. His propensity of taking the focus to himself became Bato's weak point and it was exploited by his enemies inside the PNP organisation.

Now, Bato faces a most serious challenge in his entire career and worse, it came from Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, the President's political ally. Alvarez is calling for Bato to tender his resignation to avoid an obvious humiliating backlash which could affect President Duterte.

If he does not mete the proper punishment to those responsible for the gruesome murder of this Korean and other so-called drug suspects, Bato should definitely resign for delicadeza and for command responsibility.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Corruption as a smart way of besting others

I wrote the Sisa Syndrome sometime in September 2010 (take a look at and its very words are still true up to this day.

However, what I am concerned about is our slow descent towards strong man rule, a wrongful interpretation of History and us, as a people. Since the very founding of this nation, we, Filipinos are accustomed to the democratic way of living. We want to do things our way. We want to be free of doing things which we want to do.

As a consequence, our individual interests most often, clash with the collective interest. We want to be rich, but in doing so, several of us think of using government as their personal bank or cash cow. They indulge in worldly things at the expense of others. There is simply nothing good about that.

Often, in our hopelessness or when we are struck with that feeling, most of us think of just surrendering ourselves to the soft and comfortable bosom of a Leader who sweet talks us into believing that he knows the solution to our problems. We wrongfully submit to the beguiling words of this Leader only to learn later than he is just the same as the others.

Take the case of former president Benigno S. Aquino III. He started his administration on the right path only to squander everything in the last three years when he and his associates began raiding the public coffers. This same thing happened with Arroyo. Arroyo came into power as a counterpose against a perceived corrupt president Estrada only to prove herself as more coarse in constitutional thievery than him.

Why do we serve government? We are in government because we want to change things. That is supposed to be the motivation of people. Overtime, it became apparent that the prime reason why people indulge in politics is to gain a foothold in government for wealth generation.

These people of previous administrations and possibly even so in this administration are totally brazen in their desire to be "smarter than others" as what former First Lady Imelda Marcos once said. I agree---some are really smarter than others. Some are smart the good way, while others use their brains to get ahead of others thru stolen public funds.

Some steal big, others small. There is an ongoing principle while serving government---you need to achieve your personal quota. Someone once told me that in Malacanan, if you are a political appointee, you need to get at least 7 million pesos before you leave office. That's the minimum. In other agencies, the "minimum and guaranteed take" is between 30 to 40 million pesos especially if you take office in a regulatory agency.  Imagine a thousand people in government having that thought and taking action to realize that--you have minimum 30 billion pesos just going to the pockets of men in public office.

Charge them in court. Make them suffer. Beautiful words. Historically, this does not happen.

Just consider how many dismissed cases the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan dispense every single month and these cases are not small ones--those involving high government officials are expected to be dismissed over time. Eat dirt for a month or several months but expect none of the experience of spending equal time with murderers in the Bilibid in the end.

If you don't charge them in court, at least humiliate them in public. In most cases, this tactic fails. These people are so proud, so thick skinned and so accustomed with the game that they don't care if people accuse them of thievery. At least, as what Meldy says, " they are still smarter than others."

In my book, these smart alecks deserve a unique tokhang which I call "talk bang." Talk them out of it, but they continue their nefarious way, shoot them, kill them, mangle them and feed them to the crocs. For desert, serve their sons and daughters too.

Coup d'├ętat against Duterte? Nah. I don't think so.

Presidential Communications secretary Martin Andanar should be very cautious and circumspect before he raises any issue at all. IN the first week of January, Andanar was quote as saying that there is a group now actively campaigning for the ouster of his principal, President Duterte. He points to a wealthy Filipinos-American businesswoman as behind this, and even tagged several members of the Vice president's staff as involved, although he was very careful not to directly involve the vice president Leni Robredo at all. Robredo has consistently denied being part of any plot, and even that US-based Filipina also belied it.

Obviously, Andanar's " scare tactics" will never work and it is too obvious. It came before the release of two surveys, the Pulse Asia and SWS, which points to a slight drop in trust and satisfaction ratings.  It was a highly deliberate tactic, which we, in the PR industry, knows as a mitigation tactic--ascribing blame over others. What Andanar wants us to believe is that the reason why people are slowly having fewer trust and lower satisfaction about this administration is that there is a deliberate attempt by anti-Duterte forces to influence public trust and satisfaction.

This is bullshit.

First off, the dip in Duterte's satisfaction and trust rating is, if you look at the presidential ratings from Aquino to Aquino, or an historical assessment, is highly regular. Ratings of presidents go South really after a year or two. In Duterte's case however, it came unexpectedly after six months, which is fast, if you ask me, considering that this administration has always said that Duterte is highly popular with the masses. A change in the perception from positive to negative is a cause of worry but this cannot be the handiwork of saboteurs. Ratings dip, and this is a given in any administration.

Second, I think that there is really no serious group out there sabotaging the President or making sure that he fumbles and fails in his mission. For one, the controversies that surrounded or hounded this president last year came from his very mouth. Doubts about his health came out when Duterte himself admitted he's sick and is using a powerful painkiller being used by cancer patients. Of course, people in the know would express their concerns realizing that stability rests on the health of the Chief Executive. We already have an experience with former president Marcos who lied constantly during his term and even denied that he was sick with lupus, and eventually, the issue broke out in humiliating fashion after his ouster from office. That explains that provision in the Constitution about the health of the President being revealed in public and there is simply nothing wrong with people expressing concerns about the President's health.

I think what concerns Malacanan right now are the following issues:

1. Malacanan is losing grip of Congress. Several sectors are questioning the leadership of both Houses and the possibility of a change looms.

2. Economic. The rate of foreign investments outflow is fast. If it stays that way and becomes a trend, there are serious repercussions to our economy.

3. Imposition of new taxes and that SSS pension fund issue are very serious. If the public are made aware of that SSS proposal to try and raise contributions from its members to fund that 1,000 pesos extra in pension, that would seriously turn into a very nasty public backlash.

4. That proposal of Diokno to impose taxes on diesel is a highly explosive economic issue which could turn seriously political the moment they implement it. Diokno's reasons are understandable; but for a public who has been brainwashed into thinking that the Philippines is on an economic roll, such a measure would turn fast into a political issue which could seriously undermine this administration.

5. There is now a growing public perception that this government is not vigilant in making sure that prices of goods stay within consumer expectations. Inflation is worsening.

Okey--what am I saying here? Government inaction and possibly, absence of strategic planning and thinking and the lackluster management and handling of the OP of certain things are contributing towards the fast deterioration of things in our country. As what Senator Trillanes said, one does not need to destabilize this administration because it is destabilizing itself, and that is true. Duterte may fall by his own sword if he does not seriously address the root cause of these things which is simply his aversion to address serious issues of governance and his overzealousness in the fight against drugs which has affected other more substantive aspects of governance.

His administration needs him to provide direction and it is becoming obvious that he is not stepping up to the plate. The fact is--Duterte's path or direction rans contrary to what most of his Cabinet members think and this is seriously destabilizing him. Honestly, I don't expect Duterte to change because I think, serving as mayor for 22 years already, our president is seriously tired. He's old, and he's accustomed to a governance style that could only be described as "remote control". Yes, you can do that to a small city but to a country of 101 million souls? Duterte is expected to protect people's interests against the interests of carpet-baggers and influence peddlers and bureaucrat capitalists who now surround him. Yes, these are allies, but these people are concerned only of their own personal and fiduciary interests, neither the country's nor the people's. The minute Duterte becomes weak and weaker still, expect these people to abandon him.

Andanar should not point to other people--he should tell the truth as part of his public mandate. Andanar should realize that his boss is not Duterte but the people. He is the Secretary of a Department which is created by the Constitution. He should not start a fire which could backfire eventually.

The lesson here is simple---do not think that people nowadays are fools or stupid idiots. People are highly informed. Raising the red flag at this early stage is detrimental to the administration, not at all helping the efforts at stabilizing or lowering the level of anxiety over the administration.

Look---after Andanar's supposed revelation (which I believe is self-serving; of course, Andanar's stock as a reliable or trustworthy member of Duterte's cabinet is assured after him giving the President a "heads up". Rumors of his eventual ouster or replacement would definitely be just that, rumors. Andanar is very influential being the husband of the daughter of an Aguilar, who happens to be the relative of Senator Cynthia Aguilar-Villar, a strong electoral contributor and political ally of the President), investors, I was informed, immediately took a position of "wait and see." With Andanar's propensity to shoot his mouth off, there will surely be a time when he becomes that kid who cried wolf. That is not good.

Political Instability possible in Philippines: Worrying drops in public satisfaction in just 6 months

A US-based think tank has just released their report telling of a mnimum degree or level of political instability in the Philippines. This comes shortly after the release of two surveys, SWS and PulseAsia which both show the ratings of the president dipping somewhat, but stays "pretty good" says SWS.

Overall, that 70 plus ratings is really pretty good. However, note that this ratings dip happened in just six months which is alarming to say the least. Yes, there is still 7 out of 10 Filipinos who trust our president but as to public perception per issue which this administration has been involved with, there is a noticeable change in the percentages of people having positive views about government action.

Let me put here a part of the report of Helen Flores of the Philippine Star which you can see at

It got “very good” net rating in helping the poor (+66 from +63 in September); promoting human rights (+56 from +63); defending the country’s territorial rights (+54 from +53); providing jobs (+51 from +46); fighting crime (+50 from +58); and developing science and technology (+50 from +49).
It received “good” scores in ensuring an efficient transportation system (+48 from +39); foreign relations (+46 from +39); eradicating graft and corruption (+45 from +57); fighting terrorism (+41 from +55); ensuring that no family will ever be hungry (+34 from +37); reconciliation with Muslim rebels (+33 from +42); reconciliation with communist rebels (+30 from +39); and solving the problem of extrajudicial killings or EJK, which was included in its governance report card for the first time, at +40.
It obtained moderate scores in fighting inflation (+25 from +33); and recovering the hidden wealth of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies, which was included in the survey for the first time, at +24.

Do you notice something strange?

IN the issue regarding "fighting crime", public perception dipped 8 points from positive 58 to 50. This is the centerpiece issue of this administration. PNP chief Bato has been saying all along that the public approve of what they are doing. Why only 50 percentage points? This shows there is a huge number (about 50%) of the population not satisfied with what is truly happening on the ground.

Notice the alarming drops in public trust or perception in the fight against corruption 45 from 57, a 12 percentage point drop. Meaning, the graft and corruption exists and probably is worsening under this administration, again, despite what the President has promised that "there will be no corruption" in this government. He has repeated this several times even during the campaign period, that my ears actually swelled because of this.

On the issue of extra judicial killing, more Filipinos are now having second thoughts or negative views about it, about 60 percent because the only ones who see it on a positive light is about 40. This, again, belies what the PNP and this government are saying---that more people approve this Gestapo-like tactics in addressing the issue of drug addiction. Reality check points to a very low score.

Worse, this administration should be extremely concerned that this administration is now failing in two fronts: inflation which is a serious economic issue which affects the poort and a highly divisive political issue, which is the recovery of hidden wealth of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos which is just 24, a truly failing grade, if you ask me.

And this is just for the past six months. This is, curiously, like the trend which we saw during the time of Erap.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

What do we expect in 2017 and beyond

A rabbi just predicted that the 10th Jubilee ends in 2017. What this means is catastrophic---the next Jubilee is expected to reveal astronomical anomalies and heavenly truths to those who believe in the revelation of a Messiah.

IN the United Kingdom, many psychics see the rise of economic crises, with people rioting due to food shortage. Failure to contain the exodus of migrants from the Middle East is expected to further strain the already depressed economies of the European Union (EU).

For the Philippines, it is quite easy to see where all these things are heading. The last quarters of 2016 show a predictive pattern, especially when it comes to investments.

We don't need psychics to tell us of massive outflows of foreign investments in the Philippines. It is not because the Philippines is not a hot place to put your monies---it is that the United States continues to show positive developments that attract hot money away from developing economies and back to developed ones. The dollar is strengthening and in doing so, is weakening other currencies particularly the peso. IN the last six months, the peso was the most underperforming currency. Of course, economic growth will still be in the positive even after 2017, but I think our economic planning agency will re-calibrate or re-assess the impact of US and European developments to our economic growth.

The problem with the United States is self-evident---lack of new products due to uninspired innovation. In previous years, the reason why the US remained as the world's top economy is because it produced products and services that the rest of the world needed or aspired for. It produced massive surpluses that fed and clothe the world. Now, that role is now with China, that explains why China is now the biggest economy in the world.

From being an economic superpower to the world's military superpower--that is a shift that the US government is trying to correct. From the eighties administration to Obama's, the US assumed the role of a top cop which unfortunately, not only tarnished its reputation globally, it also made it the prime target of extremism and terrorism.

And because Europe is a strong ally, it likewise committed the same mistake as what the US experienced. Leaders of these continents became so engrossed with tightening the noose in the Middle East that they forgot to take care of their economies.

Of course, this would not last long as technological innovations continually create digital disruptions in global communities. I think at this point leaders from these countries already realized that they have the competitive advantages in this sector. They cannot really compete with China and India when it comes to traditional manufacturing---it is rational for them to re-focus their attention on further improving technologies for billions of people around the world, but it should be way past the mobile telephony sector.

These disruptions are actually positive developments since it feeds into innovations. Innovation is the fodder of development. Societies develop only when innovation leads to products that people use. The new is the market.

Baklang Maton

Fifty na per dolyar.
si Mayor ay bipolar
Fentasyl ang binabanatan
naghihintay ng kamatayan.

tingin sa mga tao'y zombie
gustong magka World War Three
dikit sa Tsino'y ganun na lang
pagka Pilipino'y isantabi.

Walang Vic Sotto sa pasko.
Pinalabas na ang Rogue One sa kanto.
kandarapa ang mga tao sa mall pag sabado
hanggang lunes bakasyon pa rin ako.

araw-araw pa ring may bangkay sa kalye
palakpakan pa rin ang mga pro-Duterte
hanggat ilan sa kanila'y natokbang
kinatok tsaka nag-bang.

psychotic na yata si mayor
aalisin daw siya sa palasyo
plano daw ng mga Amerikano
palitan siya ng babaeng balo.

papalag daw pag tinumba
sisiguraduhing duguan din sila
nakakita na ako ng ganyan noon
ang tawag diya'y baklang maton.

talak ng talak
nagpakita pa ng itak
pero ganun din bumagsak
sa isa lamang tulak.

mayabang kasi
ang taumbaya'y nilansi
pangakong pagbabago'y
wala pa rin
six months daw
solve na mga buto-buto.

tingin ko palabas lang lahat ng ito
inaaliw ang taumbayan sa madugong senario
para hindi makita nakawang umaatikabo
ng mga brad niyang mga bobo.

kung hindi tumalak
hindi sana nabunyag
150 milyones na hatag
request ng isang fag.

marami pang lagayang nagaganap
korapsyon tuloy-tuloy lang sa hinaharap
tinatakot tayong Pilipino
para walang mag-alburoto
sa sandaling full-blast na ang
nakawan ng mga bobo.

abangan lang at may tatayo
sasapakin sa mukha si baklang maton
dudurugin pati ulo ito
at itatapon sa Pasig
kasama ng banig.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Duterte surveys tell nothing of the real situation on the ground: a social volcano brims

Those who think that they already won and their battle is already half-complete---think again. The Filipino has a voice. The Filipino loves his freedom. The Filipino will fight for the preservation of these liberties which he got back thirty years ago.

To those who think that they can just make the masses fall on their knees out of fear, think again. For 300 years, the Spanish did it. For fifty, the Americans tried to do it, and for four, the Japanese. They all failed. 

Pollsters should re-examine their data. I think this administration is in a very perilous and precarious situation. While surveys say many are agreeable with the anti-drug campaign, 78% says this out of fear that they, themselves, will probably fall victim from this vicious enterprise. 

Filipinos are very hard to crack. Sociologists know this. Filipinos say one thing but meant another. Filipinos will show you a thumbs up while keeping their true opinions deep within.

That happened in 1986 when the Marcos regime thought that they still hold sway with the masses when a million suddenly appeared and chased them out of the palace. Seems that the state has oppressed the people and terrorized the people so much, everybody were expressing agreeable and positive opinions while they seethe in anger deep within them.  This phenomenon was not expressed in those surveys. 

The fact was---it was those surveys which led to a successful revolution because it made the government too complacent and too proud. The Marcoses thought they have the masses by the balls, when, in reality, every single Filipino out there was ready to tear them to pieces. 

Remember what happened to the president played by Sutherland in the movie Hunger Games? Those people whom the president once oppressed suddenly appeared out of nowhere, when the Mocking Jay refused to shoot her deathly arrows. The people were the ones who tore the president to pieces. 

For every oppression of men, for every withholding of freedoms, there is a corresponding increase of suppressed feelings. Eventually, these suppressed emotions will try to find an outlet, and it may lurk at a certain level. It will not take long and these will eventually try to break out, and I think this time, when this happens, this will surely challenge our conventional wisdom in politics. 

As God says in the Bible, " the mighty will be made low, when the Sun of Justice shines in those dark alleys."

O Bloody Night in Lovely Philippines (sang ala O Holy Night)

O, bloody night
the stars are ghastly shining
another night
when a man loses his soul.

long lay the road
in sin and error finding
and Death appeared
and the soul felt its sword.
A shrill is heard, the demented soul rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and bloody mourn!

Fall on your knees,
Oh hear the police curses
Oh night, bovine
Oh night, when a shot was heard
Oh night, bovine
Oh night, bovine.

Led by the light of a police car beaming
cops with their guns a-blazing
some fell their heads exploding,
blood curdling screams mind blowing
The mayor's men from Fentayl Land arriving
with their AK-47s at hand, bullets flying
women, kids, men, dying.

Truly He taught us to hate one another
His law is Death and His gospel is Kill
Bones shall He break for the addict is a Zombie
And in His name all addiction shall cease
Sweet heroin of grateful druglords praise him,
Not one Chinese Opium guy fell
all druglords praise His Name.

(Tahimik sa San Isidro.
tila bayan ng mga multo
walang naglalabasang tao
wala ni isa mang namasko.

simula pa lang alas-otso
dagsaan na sa loob ng nitso
yaring bahay lahat ay ganito
walang salitaang diretso.

dati'y hatinggabi pwede ka pang
umuwi sa inyo
may tricyle na maghahatid sayo
ngayo'y ni bisikleta wala na rito
ni langgam yata'y nagtago.

takot si paring damaso
walang magawa si don santiago
supalpal ang komunistang si simeon
kuting na lang ngayon si leon.

at parang may itim na talukbong
isang hanging may binubulong
" ilan kaya ngayon,
ang makakalawit ko?"

ilan ang sasabog ang tumbong
ilan ang malalalag sa bubong
ilan ang iiyak at luluhod
ilan ang magtatago't

silent night, bloody night.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Rodrigo Roa Duterte: Under a Socialist Lens

Duterte claims the "Left" will die for him.
Where did he get that idea, when he is not even a true
Philippine president Rodrigo Roa Duterte is fond of claiming to be the only president elected from among the poor classes. By harping his "proletarian roots", Duterte claims to be speaking on behalf of the poor and destitute among the socio-economic classes of Philippine society.

Before we go on an in-depth analysis of Duterte, let me just address this claim--Duterte does not belong to the poor, the very same way, former president Joseph Estrada had claimed before that he also was born poor. Both gentlemen--who rode on the rising tide of populism to power---are members of the professional classes who sprung from the capitalist system. Their familial roots can be traced as those from families who are classified as a lower sub-stratum of the politico-socio-economic elite.

Duterte's grandfather was a Chinese immigrant who assumed the surname "Roa" out of deference to the lawyer who facilitated his immigrant status. The Roas became extremely wealthy while Rodrigo's father was a lawyer by profession and became a member of the political elite. Compared with Estrada's, Duterte's status is higher because his maternal and paternal lineages belonged to economically wealthy and politically influential families. Hence, I don't see anything near proletarian levels for this man.

Compared with his peers, yes, maybe Duterte is poorer than them. Duterte's friends include the Alcantaras, the Floreidos, the Lims, Cos and Yaps---economically dominant families from the South. These families had strong ties with China because they do business with Chinese firms. For decades, these families have tried to scale up the social ladder, something that is now dominated by Iberian-American-Chinese families of old.

Baratz and Grigsby define poverty as a "a severe lack of physical and mental well-being, closely associated with inadequate economic resources and consumption." Duterte never ever lacked anything material in his life, especially during those times when he was a student. He even claimed that he spent seven years in high school, a proud achievement for him, which he always says during his speeches. He probably thought that this claim is good, because majority of the poor in the Philippines did not reach college, and most are just high school graduates. But to say that this is an "inspiring thought" is overstretching it. Duterte became a Duterte not because he did not finish high school--he became one because he passed the bar, became a lawyer, and is influential enough, that friends allowed him to be a fiscal and eventually, was appointed public official and eventually elected mayor.

Duterte's actions and statements are laced with observations from "down below", according to several columnists and analysts. These views are those of a man who, for 22 years, had lorded over the politics and social life of Davaoenos, and for several years had a direct experience socializing with members of the provincial elites as well as the lumpen proletariat.

At best, we can call Duterte's thoughts as pseudo-Socialism---closer to the ideas of National Socialism rather than pure Socialism. Duterte's thoughts came from bits and pieces of his own personal take on Philippine reality, validated by the views of those whom he came into contact with, and are not entirely organized based on a purely Socialist framework.

One example is Duterte's belief on the non-rehabilitation of drug addicts. A "Socialist" Duterte would not want these drug addicts killed or exterminated. A "Socialist" Duterte would want their rehabilitation because every Socialist values human life. The only one who would probably advocate this kind of solution is Adolf Hitler, who had views of human reality using Aryan race lens. Thoughts of exterminating 4 million drug addicts and pushers remind one of the destructive tactics of the National Socialists under Hitler who thought of Jews as cattle, and were ready for systematic slaughter.

Duterte's predilection on Federalism does not, in any way, prove his "Socialist" self. Federalism is a governance model, which is essentially a modern version of Feudalism except that what is being distributed is power and resources. Analyzing Federalism, it is more of pseudo-socialism rather than distributive or managerial Socialism.

Yes, some countries adopt the Federal form while under the aegis of Communist or Socialist parties. However, one must closely observe that these countries did not adopt Socialist economies. Meaning, Socialism is not deeply rooted and is used only as a framework for politics and as the underlying policy for bureaucratic processes and systems.

Federalism is being promoted as a solution to poverty. Federalists say poverty exists because of underdevelopment. There are no outside investments because these areas lack the infrastructure necessary to encourage investments. There are no infrastructure because public funds go elsewhere, and are being controlled and manipulated by the Powers managing the central government.

By giving federated regions the power of the purse, many see this as the most efficient way of downloading the economic gains which are now centralised under Malacanan and its economic allies. By re-distributing power, from the center to different stated “Federal regions,” public funds can now be efficiently utilised, unlike now where funding projects go thru the national parliamentary which uses a very slow approval system. Federalists harp that locals know what the conditions are in their respective localities. Hence, there would be more efficient use of public resources.

Meaning, this setup will only bring back the power of determining projects to local politicians, which is “pork” or PDAF in a more legal and acceptable form. Under Federalism, it would now be acceptable for local politicians to determine what projects do they want implemented, how best to distribute these projects to economic and political allies and how best to keep economic gains for themselves and up to what extent the people would get from these public funds.

This strategy will not work because these "federated regions" will still be controlled by politico-economically dominant elites. Looking at the landscape right now, we find that local economies are controlled by political power centers. Politicians are themselves economic overlords or at best, agents of economically dominant families. Federalism will not change how wealth is being distributed. Conversely, it will even fully centralised wealth to a chosen few—those who lord it over the parliaments of federated states.

What Federalism would bring about is a re-invigorated set of elites who now would feed on public monies instead of private capital for their own personal wealth and gain. Instead of socializing power and resources, in Federalism, we will now create regions ruled by dominant powers who will use the police power of the Federated state to further tighten the chains of the proletariat classes, which will bring forth more isolation, destitution and alienation.

This will not even abolish the hold of economically dominant families who now own 56% of this country's resources. By Duterte's lead, this will just surely increase the power of his oligarchic friends who claim lordship over provincial lands and resources. Thru Federalism, Duterte's oligarchs will now get the capital (they would get it thru public funds since they would now dominate Federated states) to compete with the 40 or so families comprising the National Oligarchs.

Meaning---Federalism will be used as a brute weapon of the rural Oligarchs (most of them landlords and bureaucrat capitalists) against the Metro-based Oligarchs who have benefitted from the return to a neo-liberal environment. It will even bring about the return of traditional power centers who lost their wealth during the tumultuous dictatorship of Marcos.

Is this the Socialist framework we so aspire for? No.

We have a problem on poverty, which arises due to the flawed distribution of this country's resources. Why is there a warped distribution of resources? This is a manifestation of the domination of a few of the means of production. Since the means of production will not be socialized, expect profit to always be under the hold and control of a few.

Without changing the socio-economic and political landscape, federalizing the Philippines will not solve the poverty problem but would instead exacerbate it. Without changing property and ownership relations, poor families in Federated states will not have sufficient resources to improve their economic lives.

The fact is---by federalizing these regions; this will even lead to a de-prioritization of land reform because by Federal edict, the state parliament can surely pass a law not recognizing land reform. And there is also a question of the adoption of laws---how many civil rights stated in our Civil Code will be recognized? Surely, Federated states will have their own penal codes--how many of these crimes stated in our Revised Penal Code will still be "criminal"? How many executive orders and bills criminalizing certain acts like money laundering, land grabbing, and environmental laws would be adopted?

And with the further globalization of resources, expect intense competition between Duterte's elites ranged against those 40 or so families who now dominate the entire national economy. This will surely stunt the intended growth of this country affected by the never-ending competition for resources between and among these elites, leaving the rest of the Filipino people, holding an empty bag.

We would have a situation where several Federated states conform or have strong ties with stronger capitalist powers such as China or the United States while others are not. There would surely be a more blatant manifestation of socio-economic inequality, more severe than what we have right now.

So, then, realizing this, who is Duterte if a Socialist puts him under an analytical microscope?

Duterte is a true representative of his class.

Duterte is realizing his pseudo-Socialist thoughts based on his bourgeois existence. He is a true representative of his socio-economic class, and is their poster boy. Duterte serves the interests of the rural Oligarchs who are aiming to use state resources to keep in toe and in competition with the present set of dominant oligarchs. There is now a conscious attempt at using state funds for wealth generation. Look at the number of conglomerates formed by these elites and how many of these firms are now jacking for projects under the Private-Public Partnership (PPP)?

(This phenomenon is not something new. It was the dictator Marcos who thought of this when he declared Martial law in 1972. Marcos used state power in the hopes of dismantling the old oligarchs. He failed, because of his avarice. Marcos kept some traditional oligarchs, convinced them to partner with them, while those oligarchs who sided with the opposition, he destroyed.

In the middle of martial law, Marcos undertook an audacious enterprise---he used public monies for infrastructure development. Though a brilliant political strategist, Marcos was not as bright in economics. When public coffers went dry due to lack of economic activities, Marcos went to foreign banks for loans. Foreign and domestic loans thus sky rocketed.

When foreign funds went to government, it was then that Marcos thought of centralizing these resources and thus, was born the conjugal dictatorship. Afraid of resuscitating his political and now economic enemies, Marcos kept these monies within his own clique. Furthermore, Marcos carved the economy into enclaves for his chosen few, who now became rich and therefore, cemented their statuses as the new elites. While the old elites became rich thru their skillful manipulation of capital, this new set of elites became skillful in commissioning their way out of government projects, and using these monies to enrich themselves and fund their own enterprises. Thus, was born bureaucrat capitalists who used public positions for wealth generation)

His social consciousness is not at all Socialist because he does not have any idea of how to transform this country from its present Capitalist state into a Socialist state or at best, its National Democratic state. For many, this is actually the right time for this country to take hold of its History, and slowly transcend. How?

1. Creation and nationalization of industries
2. Socialization of property and ownership relations including genuine land reform
3. Defeat of traditional power centers thru categorization of them as counter-revolutionaries and sup plantation of them by Patriotic elements
4. Improvement of relations of production by managerial socialism
5. Improvement in state economic planning

The best that this country will ever get from a Duterte administration is an improvement in social services---palliatives undertaken by Capitalist states to tame the people and prevent social inequalities from breaking out into the open and lead to a revolutionary situation. However, peoples are slowly becoming socially conscious. Technology is now allowing people to have a firm and correct grasp of their realities. Thoughts, views and analyses, which were, in the past, kept inside the halls of libraries and academies, are now in the open and ready for consumption. Very soon, these views will influence 33 million Filipinos who are constantly online and these people would realize that the best option for them is launching an authentic revolution that would aim towards true transformation by a change in the ownership of the means of production.

Duterte does not have enough powers to prevent such a crisis from happening. Since the Philippine economy is fast integrating into the global Capitalist system, expect further the widening of wealth distribution between those who have and those who have not, leading to an eventual break. Right now, we are experiencing such a sign by the acts of the United States which, slowly yet surely, is doing something to weaken our economy. Next year, we will see more direct tactics to be employed by this Imperialist power, whose President-elect, is bent on reviving the glory of the United States as a global superpower.  By relying and without changing the way our economy is being managed, expect nothing to change soon.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Ferdinand Marcos and Efren Penaflorida: Similarities and Contrasts as Heroes


For some generals, Ferdinand Marcos Senior was a hero, worthy of that spot in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Marcos was a soldier. Marcos fought the Japanese. He was a former president, and he ruled this country for a very long time.

Meanwhile, CNN right now has just nominated Efren Penaflorida once more as one of the CNN heroes. Penaflorida was thrust into the global limelight when he pioneered the pushcart education concept. He goes out of his way to teach streetkids using just a pushcart complete with educational materials.

Marcos and Penaflorida---heroes?

Penaflorida made it his life's quest to reach as many young minds as possible and teach them. He thinks that by doing so, he is helping them escape the lethal fangs of poverty.

Marcos meanwhile, made it his life long dream to be accepted as one of this country's elites. He was intelligent---he topped the Philippine bar, he defended himself against murder charges heaped against him by his father's political enemies and he crafted laws that until now, are affecting the lives of each and every Filipino.

Marcos went out of his way and became a Governor, a Congressman, a Senate President and eventually a President. His life was extraordinary, something like how John F. Kennedy lived his---he partnered with a beauty queen, and got the adulation of the people.

Marcos made it his life long ambition to keep most Filipinos poor because doing so means he, as a politician was relevant---the more social ills, the more the people need politicians like him who animates their lives every single day, with dreams, with promises of salvation. And the poorer Filipinos become, the more foolish they are, and the more vulnerable and weak they think they are. Hungry Filipinos know no law, says Erap. Marcos says, the hungrier Filipinos are, the better for them to be governed.

Penaflorida gave hope to those who think they don't have one. Marcos gave hope to those like him that they can be rich and even richer and more powerful than any Cojuangco, Tan, Sy, Ayala or Zobel by just pioneering a pushcart full of billions of pesos worth of gold bars straight to Swiss banks.

For Penaflorida, life's success is full of struggles and heartaches. For Marcos, it is as easy as declaring oneself Overlord, of a country full of people conditioned to fear authorities, and making laws that apportion the country into economic enclaves of his family, their close relatives and even their drivers and yayas.

Penaflorida taught kids of Cavite how it is to live an honest life---honest living means honest pay. For Marcos, he taught us how to regard those with guns as more superior than us, he taught us that everything he built came from his own pocket and he definitely taught us that stealing billions from our very own pockets, is okey for as long as it is done systematically, by law, and the amounts run to the billions. If you steal other people's monies, steal big.

Just think--two people who belong to two different generations, one pushing a cart filled with hope, the other pushing a cart full of gold bullions, bank certificates and shitload of pesos, while wielding a big baseball bat in one hand swatting people like flies, and backed by a throng of people wearing their Pradas, Gucci, Hermes and being shielded from the midday sun by people with umbrellas.


The Philippines Under Duterte

I just came from talking with several Filipinos now based in Hongkong. Likewise, I was able to talk also with different nationalities and boy, are we seriously in trouble!

The trouble right now is our image. People from outside the Philippines have this impression that our country is burning, that it is too chaotic and we are on the verge of collapse! Seriously.

While we don't really feel what President Duterte is actively telling us that we are seriously chaotic hence, it justifies the imposition of a national state of emergency, such scenarios, real or imagined, are putting a great strain on our external image.

I ask our President to refrain from picturing our country right now as seriously fucked because I really don't think we are really on that precipice where everything is titling southwards. For the past six years, we were okey except of course with all those corruption committed by people who masqueraded as angels while, in truth, they are demons in barongs.

What are the impressions that our fellow Filipinos abroad and others think of us right now. What is the Philippines under Duterte?

1. To solve our population problem, our President daw tagged 3-4 million Filipino drug addicts for extermination, while allowing drug lords to escape scot-free. Ask for Peter Lim. He's nowhere to be found after his lawyer conversed with the President and after their photo together got prime time TV exposure.

2. To solve poverty, kill Filipinos, especially those from the countrysides, and tag them as drug addicts. Duterte logic: You do drugs, your mind is already fucked up. If you're mind is fucked up, you are like a Zombie. Zombies are menaces. They kill. Hence, it is now the duty of government to annihilate them.

3. To solve insurgency, put fear into the hearts of the urban and rural poor, violate their rights, enter their houses, conduct sonas, and when they resist, kill them. Tag them as drug pushers who resisted arrest.

4. To solve the Communist problem, give those tired revolutionaries sinecures in government.

5. To solve graft and corruption, allow the burial of someone who invented systematic and large-scale thievery in government. That institutionalizes graft and corruption and sends a great message to those who want to dip their fingers into the public coffers---when you steal other people's monies, steal billions, so that you have monies to bribe your way out of court cases and even make yourself, an immortal and a hero.

6. To solve student militancy, withhold government subsidies of state universities.

7. To solve another country's intrusion into Philippine territory, declare the area as nature reserve.

8. To solve the Moro problem, resurrect the man who thinks he's sultan.

9. To solve the problem of rape into the country, make it presidential to think that women are lowlifes, portray them as just legs without brains and easy for the picking. It is like saying, " when you are being raped, just lie down, and enjoy it," to paraphrase a dead prick who once was our foreign secretary.

10. To avert a revolution, bring in the beauties of Miss Universe.

So, these are the learnings that our children have heard and even seen, during these past six months. I just pray to God that God spares our kid's ears from these immorality and profanities.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Why ousting Robredo is not a legitimate opposition leader

The Liberal party and their cohorts are now actively discussing among themselves what to do with President Rodrigo Duterte. The public is being primed to accept that all of these things are being done in the name of human rights and of countering the fascist tendencies of Duterte. What is true and acceptable in all of these things is that the Liberals, along with the carpet baggers and the Liberal operators, are planning to maneuver out of naked fear--not of a repeat of martial law--oh no.

They are deathly afraid that, the next six months of the Duterte administration, the shift or locus of attention would now shift from drug lords to grafters in government or those who dipped their fingers into the public coffers during previous administrations and probably, even still, in this administration. There are loud "rumours" of the president's minions digging up the graft activities of these Liberals during the six year "Tuwid na Daan" administration. Many of these people are now being asked to choose the best option---cooperate with this administration or fight it all out.

With the rising anti-Marcos sentiment among the people, especially the middle classes, next year is the best time to tilt the balance of power. It is quite evident how these movements are sprouting left and right almost organically and without clear supports from traditional power sources. The Liberal leadership has seen this as an excellent opportunity to reprise its role as a "liberal democratic" reformer and has even christened Robredo as the leader of the "opposition."

Honestly, these Liberals have over estimated the people's sentiments. Clearly and unequivocally, the people disdained the Liberals and conversely, even some people appointed by Duterte in his government. There is now an increasing realisation among the people that both camps are destructive to this country and are not the people competent enough to lead this country to better times.

Robredo is a different political personality. Compared with Cory Aquino, Robredo does not have the "moral ascendancy" of a mere housewife pitted against an intelligent strongman. That is surely not a narrative now being seen by the people.

We see someone totally concerned with the loss of power. We see a compromising politician, asking the President himself to retain her to power. Those statements show weakness. These statements indicate none of the values which we so desire for a figure to lead us.

Worse, these Liberals are trying to hijack the gains the people have already sustained in the past few weeks. They see these movements as tools for the resumption to power, whereas the people see things differently.

The people are now divided into three distinct camps: those who want true change led by well meaning people other than those of Duterte's and previous administrations. The second group are those who think of the resumption of the mustard like leadership as provided for by the Liberals and the third, those who think of Duterte as a credible populist leader who can lead a revolution, a true one, that would weaken the hold of the oligarchs to the economy and lead the path towards genuine change.

The thing is--Duterte is physically weak. He is afflicted by many illnesses due to his advanced age and if people think that he is most capable of declaring martial law, they are mistaken. People are ascribing more things to Duterte than what is really possible for him to do.

Robredo meanwhile, has not exhibited a stronger personality and a more magnetic one that would pull most if not all of the middle class to her. The thing is, Robredo is not a Cory. She is not even an Arroyo. There is an innate disability in character that is quite glaring, just like how people felt with Grace Poe.

You know what is the most ideal thing to happen?

1. First, for Duterte to gather all progressive groups and change agents, and isolate those from traditional political powers, and thereupon, launch a revolution. That would re-calibrate the country to square one POLITICALLY, NOT ECONOMICALLY.

Under a revolutionary government, Duterte can now form a Council composed of intelligent and nationalistic elements of Filipino society. This Council will act as a planning body which will now dispense policies to different agencies and departments of government.

2. Second, after fixing the political problems of this country, Duterte thru a revolutionary government will now shift their focus on further strengthening government thru industrialization. In the interim, create a socialist economy. Allow capital to flow in all directions, then create an economy that absorbs these capital inwardly, and then create a system that would allow these economic gains to trickle down to the lowest rungs of the economic structure.

Plan how the people's monies are to be spent. Prioritize on agriculture, then create strong industrial bases and then, leave the business community to fend for themselves but with strong regulations. Make the business community players swim in a very equitable playing pool.

3. After fixing the economy, shift focus on social welfare.