Condolences to Davao

Davao river mouthfor yesterday’s attacks. I know how it feels, as a resident of Munich which was also in the grip of a tragedy exactly six weeks before with 10 dead in a highly frequented public place, also on a Friday. The sense of vulnerability and the question – why, what for? What also struck me was the recent seriousness of “General Bato”. Well, I guess I don’t really like a top-level policeman being too much of a comedian anyway – it is way too serious a job for that. President Duterte even declared a “state of lawlessness” with this explanation (link): There is a crisis in this country involving drugs, extrajudicial killings, and there seems to be environment of lawlessness, lawless violence. Now didn’t the President allegedly tell people just after his inauguration “if you know a drug dealer or addict in your neighborhood, just kill him”? And didn’t the war against drugs itself possibly provide the vigilantes among those doing the extrajudicial killings with cover? Where will this all go?

Lee Kuan Yew?

Many supporters of Duterte see him as a potential Lee Kuan Yew, and a response to the UN regarding human rights even stressed that the Philippines is (link) “an Asian nation that places premium on common good” – protesting against “liberal Western values being imposed” on it. Let us look at the original Singaporean definitions by Michael Teo (link)

As a former British colony, Singapore started off with a Westminster-style parliamentary system. But we have adapted it to suit our unique position: a small, multi-racial, multi-religious city in the middle of a turbulent south-east Asia. We introduced multi-member Group Representation Constituencies to ensure multi-racial representation. We created non-elected Members of Parliament from independent groups and opposition parties to ensure diversity of views in Parliament. We instituted an elected presidency to safeguard key state appointments and the nation’s financial reserves.

As English laws evolved after Britain joined the European Union, Singapore has not always followed, because our circumstances are different. Thus, unlike the UK, we have not weakened our defamation laws, which are essential to keeping our public discourse responsible and honest…

China and Russia study Singapore as one possible model for their own development. Whether they can adapt it to their own circumstances will depend on their ability to run a clean, honest and meritocratic system, governing for the long-term good of the country with the support of their people. But ultimately these large countries, with their long histories and ancient cultures, will develop in their own ways.

Now this is an interesting – and more rational – basis to look at things. Because “Western” for many Filipinos means “American”. Thoughtless adaptation of American institutions has indeed NOT worked that well for the Philippines, which its own specific culture. A multilingual country like the Philippines might indeed function better with federalism. It works for Switzerland with its four languages and highly diverse cantons, especially those in mountain valleys that proudly maintain their distinct dialects. It works in Germany, which has strong and very old regional traditions.

There is the interesting point of “defamation laws”.  Germany has very strong anti-defamation laws, some dating back to old concepts of honor, others as a lesson learned from the times of Hitler. That new media people are not yet used to dealing with can be used for propaganda is shown by today’s social media, but also was shown by how Goebbels and Hitler used the radio for incitement. So German democracy has legal constraints on both free speech and freedom of association that fall under the concept of “defensive democracy”. Now is that already depriving human rights? No.

The Asian way?

Japan and Korea, even if they are Asian cultures, adapted aspects of both French and German legal systems in the 19th century. The Japanese parliamentary system is like the old German system. What is possible is that many aspects of Indonesian institutions are from the Dutch system. What Michael Teo does acknowledge is the importance of institutions and a meritocratic system.

Now as long as Filipinos rely on a virtual father figure like Duterte to establish order, and do not strengthen their institutions, he will be nothing close to Lee Kuan Yew and the Philippines will never be anything close to Singapore. Not even close to Indonesia, which although it is a harsh system did indeed give Mary Jane Veloso due process. In fact one of the most disgusting aspects of the Martial Law system may resurface – not even that much its strictness which one can adjust to – but its personalism. You pissed off someone with power, and that person could get back at you.

And meritocratic? The clannish system in the Philippines has often fostered mediocracy. Plus no Buddhist or Confucian traditions means the sense of social responsibility is not really that strong.

Vladimir Putin?

Now Duterte looks forward to meeting Putin, because they allegedly have similarities. Well, Putin grew up with his parents in one room of a three-room communal apartment in Leningrad (link). Duterte is the son of a governor. Most entitled Filipinos have a built in safety net against failure, which I think does not force them to struggle as much. Russian culture is a harsh, no-excuses culture. There may be many things one may not like about it, but their fierce drive for excellence is known and proven. Education was much more meritocratic in the Philippines before, when public schools were still good and every valedictorian and salutatorian of those schools got an automatic UP scholarship. But somewhere along the road, many Filipinos went for the path of least resistance and instant gratification like so often. Does anyone really believe that spectacular raids will solve a serious drug problem, or do they just want to see quick stuff that looks effective to then forget again? Why did Russia, whose security apparatus is for sure more efficient than that of the Philippines, seemingly not win its war on drugs (link)? Things are never that simple.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 3. September 2016

Lügen wie gedruckt

Münchhausen-AWilleor “lying like printed” is an old German expression from the time after Gutenberg invented the movable-type printing press in 1450 – it means totally twisting a story. A still oral culture, except for the few monks and merchants who knew how to read and write, distrusted the printed word. After all, it is easier to tell whether a person you know is lying to you or not. The expression seems to have become even more used in the subsequent conflicts between Protestants and Catholics after Luther’s Reformation. Somewhat like some trolls say “BIAS!” today.

Social media today can be compared to the invention of printing in 1450. Wide groups of people who hardly used to read get access to information they can hardly distinguish from nonsense. Daniel Levitin has written a book called A Field Guide to Lies – Critical Thinking in the Information Age (link). Well, seems many Filipinos are not really strong on critical thinking (link) as the culture is more oral and much is believed only when there is a viral video of something. While they often can also be more like the Germans of before, who believed in fairy tales and witches.

Now Joe America’s old article on thinking critically vs. critical thinking has gotten me thinking. The question WHY can be considered offensive in the Philippines for more traditional Filipinos. Meaning as an affront to authority. Old-school teachers and persons of authority expect those who are below them not to ask why but to accept truth as they say it. Somewhat like the Church did not particularly like Galileo questioning established doctrine. So criticism is often not constructive in the Philippines (thinking critically) – or if constructive (critical thinking) is seen as an offense by the more traditional authorities.

Now some could say the Philippines is Asian and Western culture does not apply. But the West also once went through a period where what men in robes or with crowns said was truth and law. Rebels like Luther originally just wanted to point to mistakes in the system. Because the reaction to simple questions was piqued, Protestantism arose. But it was Protestants who conducted the Salem witch hunts in what later became the United States –  not Catholics. Here in Europe, which has had so many wars, many are very wary of those who believe they know the entire truth.

It is a big achievement to know the relevant truth. I don’t really care about Warren. Who? If you don’t know, then don’t bother. I do hope that President Duterte’s Matrix claiming Senator Leila de Lima had somehow gotten money from drugs is not true. I have the feeling it isn’t, because the timing with the Senate hearing on extrajudicial killings and previous statements about “having to destroy her” (link) make me doubtful. Now what if she had stopped the hearing? Would he have done nothing? Is he lying like printed, is she lying like printed, or is everyone lying a little bit?

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 26 August 2016

 

Fear and Intimidation

Koksan gun barrelwere part of the atmosphere of Martial Law in the Philippines, confused with “discipline”. But it was always there in the Philippines – from many scenes shown in Rizal’s El Filibusterismo like the random picking up of students like the orphan Basilio, provincial warlords and communist rebels in the postwar Philippines, impunity in many places after Martial Law, and yes killings even before the over 1000 killings reported since July 1st, more on the local level and never as many. So demonstrating against the Marcos burial (link) is noble, but maybe more symbolic than useful.

The goal of fear and intimidation is domination on one side and submission on the other. In the recent case of a motorist killed by police officers (link): “MMDA constables Bayani Batac III and Jeslie Manlangit said Dela Riarte was rude in confronting the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) policemen who accosted him following a traffic accident.” – many Filipino commenters on social media saw it the same way. Well from the video one could see he had attitude, but is that a reason to kill him? To make sure nobody else dares look at them the wrong way? A German book about the Philippines in the 1980s had this in its warnings for visitors: “authority that does not feel taken seriously can be vindictive, do not act in a way that may be misinterpreted”.  President Duterte said recently of an unnamed lady government official who he thinks is critical of him (link): “I will have to destroy her in public”. Could it be he feels his authority is not being taken seriously?

It seems intimidation also plays a part in making some drug users (and even just alleged users) surrender (link): “We were invited based on a list prepared the barangay. They said that, if we don’t come and yield soon, we might find ourselves in the kills count.” The lists seem to also have contained friends of suspects as well as occasional and former drug users. There are of course Filipinos of a certain bent who say too much freedom does not work with Filipinos, and that they don’t tell the truth anyway. The question is finally one of chicken and egg, the answers are not easy.

Eastern Europe also had a hard time after Communism. People used to intimidation may not know how to handle freedom properly – including the consideration for others needed for order.

To convince a large mass of people to uphold order, one has to also make it work for them, socially and economically. Fear of being shot dead even as an innocent is hardly motivating. Intimidation as a recipe to gain “respect” can breed bullies, rebels – and the apathetic type of Filipino many have noted. The goal should be a society of people that are confident AND considerate – not a society of intimidators and intimidated. Human rights alliances like the recently founded I DEFEND (link) are a step towards this, even more than the protests against the Marcos burial.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 13 August 2016

Jago and Preman

Suzuki Bandit 650SA - sideare terms for two types of Indonesian ‘gangsters’ or ‘bad-asses’. The former ‘good’, the latter ‘bad’. According to Wikipedia, jago (link) “literally means a rooster and refers to a type of strongman that exists as a part of the everyday life in urban and rural areas of Indonesia. The jago is a social and political actor in both recent and more distant history of Indonesia. In Indonesian popular culture, the jago is often romanticized as a champion of the people whose acts of violence are motivated by a deep sense of justice, honour and order.” Sounds like a Filipino action star.

A preman is “the modern, diagonally opposite form of the jago. This word originated from the Dutch word vrijman (free man)” or pree man since it seems that Indonesians also make F into P.  The Wiki article also says: “In the traditional state of the Medang (Mataram) Kingdom, thuggery was very much part of rural Java. The jago in pre-colonial times gained their legitimacy through their physical strength and sense of justice. In contrast, preman are notorious for their bullying behavior. Due to their image as thugs, the preman in rural Java were very much despised by the locals, while Jago were highly praised as heroes.” One can also see from the article that jagos played a role as intermediaries between the people and the traditional elite or priyayi, and that they also were a major factor in Indonesian independence. The Pancasila Youth (link) that played a major role in the 1960s killings in Indonesia were considered preman or political thugs. The Act of Killing documentary movie (link) is about some of the former perpetrators of the killings that took at least half a million lives by the lowest estimates – all within just a few months.

Indonesians are also known to drink “tagay” like Filipinos – they are the neighbor closest in culture, which could be the reason why Rappler and Eat Bulaga both succeed there as well.  And the parallels are striking and worth looking at. There is indeed a history of admiring “honorable bandits” in the Philippines as well, not only in movies. The culture of the “tulisan”. Matanglawin or Eagle Eyes is the name of a dangerous and respected bandit in Rizal’s El Filibusterismo – former barangay captain Telesforo or Kabesang Tales. Well, one could also look at cowboy movies which have characters like the jago and preman – High Noon anyone? Or go to the Balkans, where the Hajduk according to Wiki (link) “is a romanticised hero figure who steals from, and leads his fighters into battle against, the Ottoman or Habsburg authorities…. In reality, the hajduci of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries commonly were as much guerrilla fighters against the Ottoman rule as they were bandits and highwaymen who preyed not only on Ottomans and their local representatives, but also on local merchants and travelers.” Sounds a bit like some NPA characters.

Filipino World War 2 guerillas will also have moved within the spectrum from jago to preman. The Makapili were neither – they were simply scumbags with baskets on their heads who pointed out fellow Filipinos for execution by the Japanese. Although they were originally formed as another flavor of Filipino nationalism, a pro-Eastern one, with former revolutionary general Artemio Ricarte playing a major role. Anti-American Ricartistas in the 1910s were often street tough types. Quezon got the Jones Law through in 1916, the Senate was founded and they had lost ground.

Nowadays one can hardly tell who are the jagos, preman and Makapili among the different groups of Filipinos. With the killing happening, Pandora’s box has been opened. Oh yes, there is also the police. The gist of a posting of Senator Gordon Facebook (link) is: ‘a policeman has the right to defend himself, but where are the reports of Internal Affairs?’. This is correct. There are indeed situations where policemen have no choice. But there are also situations where a review of strategy to learn lessons can be useful. Checks also make sure that those who bear arms in order to protect people do not start to think they are naturally right. Because violence, even if it cannot be avoided sometimes, must always be used in a controlled manner. Everything else, and that is an experience that cuts across cultures, is a very slippery slope. Recent incidents show rage rising in the Philippines – a cyclist shot over a trifle, a motorcyclist arrested and shot by some policemen, wannabe holduppers run over intentionally by an SUV (link) – and everything that heats things up more might not do the country any good. Think Indonesia in 1965 – or Bosnia in 1993.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 6 August 2016

What is destroyed?

First page of El filibusterismo manuscriptsays Simoun to Basilio in Rizal’s El Filibusterismo – “Evil, suffering, miserable weeds that will be replaced by healthy grain. I would call it creation, production, giving life” to justify killing those against his revolution. When Simoun later has taken poison to not fall into the hands of the Spanish alive, Filipino priest Padre Florentino tells him: “we must win our freedom by deserving it, by improving the mind and enhancing the dignity of the individual”… but the interesting part is:

“as long as we see our countrymen feel privately ashamed, hearing the growl of their rebelling and protesting conscience, while in public they keep silent and even join the oppressor in mocking the oppressed; as long as we see them wrapping themselves up in their selfishness and praising with forced smiles the most despicable acts, begging with their eyes for a share of the booty, why give them independence?”…”if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow”.

Rizal knew his own people very well.  The present days will show whether anything has substantially improved.

Irineo B. R. Salazar

München, 16 July 2016

Finding Common Ground and Sense

Amari Agia Anna Fresco 02is hard in the Philippines. Was Aquino’s rule too elitist (link) or is Duterte’s anti-crime drive too Bang! (link)? Common Filipino principles, do they exist? In the Constitution, in theory. But I wonder how many Filipino Catholics understand what is in the Bible, any more than the natives understood what Padre Damaso was preaching to them, so there we are back to Square One. Filipinos often just say Yes Sir, without any understanding. And act the same old way.

But wait, other countries also went through similar processes, but finally they learned and made their own common principles by which they live (more or less) until today:

  • England from the Wars of the Roses, the original Game of Thrones between York and Lancaster. The Welsh Tudors came from outside, finally Queen Elizabeth winning against the Spanish Armada set the ground for the rise of England to naval power. Then came the Scottish Stuarts, expelled once and replaced by country nobleman, Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector = dictator. Stuarts came back and were expelled by the Glorious Revolution. Parliament effectively ran things from then on. John Locke, a Glorious Revolution supporter, inspired Thomas Jefferson…
  • France had its Revolution, its Reign of Terror, Napoleon, the Bourbons returning but just like the Stuarts not learning from their mistakes, the Second Republic with Louis Napoleon, first as President, then as Emperor Napoleon III, who then lost spectacularly against the Germans, then the Third Republic. Hugo and Dumas novels are full of references to these old politics.
  • Spain had almost two centuries of conflict between Carlists and Reformists/Liberals. Even its colonies were affected by this. The final incarnation of Carlism was Franco, some say.

But I believe most Filipinos think this way about their leaders, especially Presidents:

  • In the beginning: nanalo ba kami? Did we win? Being part of the bandwagon feels great, nearly every Philippine President started with high ratings if one is to believe SWS.
  • Towards the middle: nakinabang ba kami? Did we have any advantage? After the bandwagon feeling is gone, there is one’s own interest and the fear that the usual opportunists got more.

Where are the principles here? In school, we behaved when the principal was around. Being immature, we did not have much in terms of principles yet.

Like people, nations also mature. But it takes a common discussion to find this maturity. Might be it is starting now in the Philippines, among some. But hopefully, there are more real philosophers among those leading the discussions, in the sense of real thinkers. Not pilosopos, meaning sophists who only want to justify their own prejudices, their own group or their ego.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 5. Juli 2016

 

 

The original sin

RPS Rajah Soliman D-66of the Philippines was its datus swearing allegiance to King Felipe II, in exchange for privileges and helping enslave their own people. Power became entitlement without responsibility.

These principalia or native elites evolved into local politicians. There were mestizos, taxed more than natives but outside the barangays, looked down upon by the Spanish as well. These got rich in the 19th century due to business opportunities then. Parts of both mestizo and native elites got powerful in American times. Many of these elites rule even today by the following true principles:

  • I determine what is right
  • My people must serve me
  • I serve those above me

As for supporters of the powerful, many act like beta primates around an alpha. It is basically intimidation, either naked or clothed in different forms. There are few true principles that I see, unlike in the hierarchic cultures of the rest of Asia which have ancient traditions that were never interrupted and deformed as much.

It was no small wonder that those who were fed up with dictatorship in 1986 flocked around a widow, even if she was part of an oligarchic family. Male power seemed to be a bit tainted.

Power entails responsibility for those one has power over. It is not just there to serve oneself. It has it privileges for sure, but in a balanced society they are only the reward for true leadership. Religious beliefs and different systems of government exist to curtail raw power to serve the whole. Making it leadership and not just bossing around. Let us see how things go in these times.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 3. July 2016

Who are you?

Cheshire Cat appearing (detail)in the Philippines has the connotation of going beyond one’s rights. Do you know who I am? is known as a statement of having a right to something. Pro-Duterte commenters attacked Lourd de Veyra for his somewhat ironic wish list to the President, saying who is he? Junjun Binay said to security guards in Makati – do you know who I am? Philippine culture is high power distance. An article by a Bikolano (link) name Adrian V. Remodo (could be from Oas, Albay to judge by his family name) expresses very directly what I have felt to be Philippine reality for a long time:

From the philosophy of sadiring tawo flows the dialectics of the ideological dakulang tawo and sadit na tawo: as one is born inangkan nin darakulang tawo or the opposite of it. Dakulang tawo is the family of the wealthy, powerful, the landowner, and the educated; the sadit na tawo is the voiceless, the property-less, the descendant of the tumatawo of the landlords. Tumatawo speaks a lot for us here. The dakulang tawo, having amassed great wealth, plays as the real tawo of the society: she is the self, the sadiri, that has attained an identity in the society; the tumatawo  only who shares in the pagkatawo of the dakulang tawo. The sadit na tawo remains an Other, an ibang tawo, and can only speak of selfhood if she becomes a property (by employment or by other means) of the dakulang tawo.

In Germany, dogs get the family names of their owners on their certificates. The statement that you are only somebody if you have wealth and power, or if you are property of the entitled – WOW. Forget all ideas of human rights for those who aren’t defined as anybody anyway. Reminds me of an old detective story with Father Brown who is English. He asks everybody whether someone was there during the time of a murder. Finally he deduces that it was the postman, as the postman is not really seen as a person in the class society of England of those days – and gets his confession.

When the Beatles did not give a private concert to the Marcoses in 1966 (link), they had the worst experience ever and swore never to return to the Philippines: Moments later, a newspaper arrived with the headline “Beatles Snub President”.  After much ruckus, increasingly worried manager Epstein decided to issue a formal apology over Manila television.  As Brian’s apology was being broadcast on TV, the picture mysteriously went off and dead air was transmitted to the viewing public… the Beatles and their aides were kicked, punched, spit on and yelled at with angry epithets. “We treat you like ordinary passenger! Ordinary passenger!”, the airport personnel unsympathetically informed them.  (Strangely, the Beatles aides were all attacked more furiously than the Beatles themselves- the boys were to remember their hapless chauffeur, Alf, getting kicked, bloodied, and pushed down a flight of stairs.).

We treat you like ORDINARY passenger. Yeah sure. Ordinary people deserve to be treated badly. Something the ordinary people see every day when they go to government offices or banks in the Philippines. Now there is some sort of hierarchy everywhere in the world. Even the United States at first had equality only in theory and black slaves in the Southern States. But defining people as being human (tawo) only by virtue of their being property? Or by their being the supporter of this or that politician? Most religions have an idea of intrinsic human value. Do Filipinos have?

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 30 June 2016

 

True Discipline

USMC-02461is self-discipline and good habits. Japanese schools usually have no janitors. School children clean the school themselves. NO señoritos there.  German chancellor Merkel (link) does her own grocery shopping, dragging a small security contingent to the German equivalent of Kroger’s. “If you have good luck, you meet her on a Friday afternoon at the supermarket buying a bottle of white wine and a fish for dinner for her and her husband,” says Wissmann. “That’s not a show.” These are two very successful countries known for discipline which starts on top. Sense of entitlement, like that of Duterte’s no-longer speaker Panelo (link) is not part of the culture – it is in fact despised. This is I think a major reason for the success of countries like Germany and Japan.

The Philippines is hierarchic. So is Japan. But there are hierarchic countries where entitlement is king. In Russia, I have heard, high military officers sometimes treat non-commissioned officers like servants – to clean their vacation houses for example. The Middle East is very hierarchic and entitled, with European foreign experts at the top of the pecking order and Filipinos struggling within the lower to lower middle rungs, and in the Gulf many natives see it as their entitlement to let all the others work for them. Some have said that Russia is an Emirate where it is cold. This sums up many things. Entitlement does not lead to progress. What cars do the entitled all buy? Mercedes of course, Lexus maybe – Maybach, Porsche, Toyota. Will they ever build anything equivalent? Don’t think so.

What does the Philippines rely on heavily for money? It does not have oil like Russia or the Middle East. It has people. OFWs, BPO. There are those who write that it is the oligarchs of the Philippines who heavily milk the middle class – with high prices for basic services they oligopolize, some say they made the most out of growth.

But could it be that those who clamor the loudest just want to be the new señors? Colonial times corrupted the original Malay culture from hierarchic into merely entitled. Hierarchy is necessary to order society. But those who discipline must be disciplined themselves. At least get up on time. The decadence of entitlement in fact destroys order, as respect for those above is lost. Remember Gloria Arroyo’s expensive dinner (link)? Irony of ironies – it was still-VP Binay who criticized it.

Britain has its royal family, but first of all they can afford them, second they have style – TODAY. Look back in old English history, and you don’t need to watch Game of Thrones.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 18 June 2016

Walang Taong Diyos

Persepolis relief god kingkahit gaanong kataas. Kahit na Presidente. Karapat-dapat itong galangin, pero hindi kawalaan ng paggalang ang pagpuna, kaya hindi ako sang-ayon sa ipinost sa OFW Tambayan (link): We, many of Filipinos around the world should know about this. We, and everyone of us should respect our presumptive president. We should stay our mouth with the words of limitation. There’s a quote “No one will disrespect you if you respect others, respect them how you respect yourself”. Tungkol ito sa isang video ni Lourd de Veyra na open letter sa darating na Pangulo (link).

Medyo palabiro ang dating ng pananalita ni Lourd sa akin – hindi bastos. Malayo sa kabastusan na madalas nanggagaling kay Duterte at sa iilang mga supporter niya. Sabi ng isang nagkomentaryo sa OFW Tambayan: Tama lang yan… Bakit pag siya ang nag wa wild sa mga campaign at presscon niya…. Ok lng sa inyo!???  Dapat mas maging magandang ehemplo cya bilang uupong pangulo at hindi manguna sa KABASTUSAN ng BUNGANGA at madalas na pagbabanta. At sinabi rin ni Raffy Tima (link) na: “Walang presi-presidente kapag asawa mo ang binastos”.

Kahit bumalik pa ang Pilipinas sa panahon ng mga datu, wala naman sigurong datu na pipito-pito sa asawa ng may asawa. Maaring angkinin niya ito kung gugustuhin din ng babae, tulad ng ginawa ni Raja Mangubat sa kapatid ni Amaya doon sa teleserye. Hindi rin siguro magbibiro ang isang datu tungkol sa isang ginahasa at pinatay. Kahit datu siguro matatakot sa multo, o kaya sa paghihiganti ng mga babaylan. Tsaka nakikita sa mga diskusyon na ayaw na ng maraming Pilipino ang maging sunud-sunuran na lang ng matataas na tao.


Tapos na talaga ang panahon ni Lapu-Lapu. Kung gusto ni Duterte na galangin siya, galangin niya ng kaunti ang mga pinamumunuan. At tandaan niyang ibinoto siya, hindi ginawang hari. Sabi niya sa Kongreso (link): “Don’t investigate me. The road will end with me. The buck stops here. We are going to have a fight,” he said. “I am doing what is right, as long as it is the truth.” Bakit? Diyos ba siya na sa kanya lang ang katotohanan? Maliwanag ang sagot ni Senator Panfilo Lacson, isang ibinoto rin ng taongbayang Pilipino, sa ganitong hamon:

”The Congress, particularly the Senate is not like most of the provincial, city or municipal councils where many local executives exercise control over them. Having said that, the Senate will conduct investigations in aid of legislation whenever necessary, and nobody, not even Duterte can dictate and stop us from doing our job. In a civilized society, respect deserves respect. Upon the other hand, unmannerliness deserves some rudeness.”

Maraming mga pumasok na impluwensiya sa Pilipinas. Indian, Muslim, Tsino. Pagiging Kristiyano. Mga korte at iba’t-ibang batas. Gobyernong Maynila. Demokrasyang Amerikano. Iyong dating galing sa dayuhan, ibinago at inangkin ng Pilipino. Tulad ng mga jeep na naging jeepney. Tulad ng hamburger na naging Jolibee. Mall na Pilipino iba sa mall ng Amerikano. Ang demokrasyang Pilipino, hindi na siya kopya lamang ng demokrasyang Amerikano tulad nang sa simula – bahagi na rin siya ng kulturang Pilipino. Walang taong sinasanto sa demokrasya.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 11 June 2016