Smugness and Contempt

Ernesto Abella, Malacanang Press Conferenceshow in the faces of today’s Filipino leaders (link), in the actions of the police (link) and rich people on the street (link). This is the kind of Philippines I never liked, the one that often showed its face during Martial Law. Those with that attitude considered themselves STRONG back in the days, and all-knowing; as Edgar Lores mentioned in his posting about faces of some leaders: “The main attitude of know-it-alls is hostility. And their main facial expressions consist of smugness and sneering. This is the smugness of arrogance and the sneering of contempt. Panelo is the poster boy of these expressions. Andanar comes a close second. And the President does not come last in the ranking.” And as a Martial Law baby, I knew you better not cross a cop. Or a rich kid in a big car, might have a gun – be insecure and easily pissed off.

Joe America observed well what the country will become if this continues (link): “this government by impunity will continue to stack Filipinos by worth, from powerful to powerless, and the least of them will continue to be exterminated.” But at least Marcos defended Pag-Asa island – the airstrip there was built in his time. Duterte has conceded to China (link) and three Chinese ships shall visit Davao (link) today – which is the last day of the ASEAN summit in Manila. National dignity may be dying next.

That human dignity dies first is a given. The report about police keeping people in a dark passageway just 1 by 5 meters that I linked above mentions this: “When someone defecates, sometimes the officer outside would shout at us asking who had relieved himself.  ‘You’re like pigs! We can smell it outside, what more inside’”. As if conditions already widely reported in Philippine jails had not been bad enough already. So much for the “just and humane” society in the Preamble of the 1987 Constitution.

Preachers like Abella can continue to mouth words of that sort in public, or even say the Philippines is like Singapore nowadays. They are not fooling any smart people.

Lee Kuan Yew did call Filipinos soft and forgiving – for letting the Marcoses come back. He did not in any way suggest that the Filipinos bully people like they do now. What Singapore does represent is a classic Confucian order where the rules are higher than everybody else. Where a very strict rule of law exists with no exceptions. Banning firms from contracts if found to be giving bribes to public officials. Not a fourth-world place where people are kept for weeks in dark passages behind bookcases. Not a place where a rich person in an SUV goes out of his car to slap a poor tricycle driver, just like that – exemplary for the attitude of the entitled who feel they can punish whoever crosses them and their inflated, smug and contemptuous egos. Rules and institutions lead to sustainable progress. Rule by clout back to the jungle.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 29. April 2017





8 thoughts on “Smugness and Contempt

  1. – last part:

    In his tweets, Locsin also expressed confidence that the case filed by self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato’s lawyer Atty. Jude Sabio on April 24 against President Rodrigo Duterte on crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court (ICC) would not prosper.

    “Goodnight everyone. Again, thank you Agnes. The ICC case is dead. Trust me on this. Dead as a door nail,” he added.

    The office of ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda had earlier confirmed that it has received the complaint filed by Sabio, adding it would “analyze the materials submitted, as appropriate.”

    The country’s ambassador to the UN also took notice of Callamard’s “messy” appearance.

    “I was right after all and people thought I was flippant: never argue with people who don’t shower at least twice a day. It clears the mind,” he said.

    President Rodrigo Duterte named Locsin ambassador to the UN in September. He was confirmed by the Commission on Appointments in November.

  2. – here we go.. those with contempt for most Filipinos are coming..

    MANILA, Philippines – Three Chinese naval vessels will arrive at Sasa Wharf, Davao City on Sunday, April 30, for a 3-day goodwill visit.

    The Philippine Navy said on Thursday, April 27, that a welcome ceremony and a port briefing will be conducted upon arrival of the Chinese vessels.

    The visiting Chinese naval vessels include a guided missile destroyer, a guided missile frigate, and a replenishment ship, according to Naval Forces Eastern Commander Captain Ramil Roberto Enriquez.

    The fleet is headed by Rear Admiral Shen Hao, Deputy Commander of the East China Sea of the People’s Liberation Army Navy.

    There will also be games and a shipboard tour for invited guests.


    Vicente Rafael on Miguel Syjucos

    Miguel Syjuco on the peculiar nature of the criminal justice system in the Philippines that in part accounts for the popularity of Duterte. Reading his description, you can see how prisons in the Philippines are so unlike those in the West (at least if you follow Foucault’s account). There is no merging of the penitentiary with the prison. The prison is merely a site of captivity, not one of reform and of penance. It is meant to be outside of society, not continuous with it. Given the highly localized workings and effects of police extortions and killings, and the absence of police oversight, there is no panoptic logic that governs incarceration and socialization alike. “Justice”, unlike the West, is not about discipline and punish, nor is it predicated on the surveillance of bodies. It is about casting out people, the way the mad and lepers were cast out from society in the 19thc. US colonial rule tried to introduce the penitentiary and the panopticon. But post-colonial incarceration entailed returning to a system of highly localized impunity, expulsions and killings, rather than a centralized, juridically-sanctioned and rationalized system of punishment that critics of Duterte long for.

    “Many accused, after being pressed for bribes and languishing in jail for years, end up simply released after the police do not attend trials to testify, or the prosecution is absent or the evidence proves flimsy. Under Mr. Duterte’s predecessor, roughly one in four cases led to conviction — a pittance, but an improvement from the administration before that. Our criminal justice system has never been able to properly exonerate the innocent and punish the guilty.

    “Despite his violent rhetoric and his coddling of police, the blame is not all Mr. Duterte’s. No one person is culpable, just as no one person can fix it. What is supposed to be a precision instrument for ensuring law and order has become a weapon so blunt that most people can’t trust it. The current embrace of violence, and all the justifications people make for it, are predicated on this. The system is so broken that many Filipinos think it’s just better to purge the dregs of society. It’s a perverse hope — one that if we’re honest we can all understand, but one that if we’re responsible, we must ultimately reject.”


    No. 1: Alam n’yo bang we promote indigenous games sa mga kulungan sa bansa? Nang araw na dumating ang CHR for the surprise inspection, naglalaro ng taguan ang mga suspek. In short, taken out of context ang na-discover na alleged secret jail cell. Hindi nakakulong ang mga suspek doon; nagtatago sila para ‘di mahuli ng taya.

    No. 2: Mahilig magbasa ng libro ang mga suspek. Gusto nila ng tahimik na lugar kaya mas pinili nilang ikulong sa maliit na area behind the bookshelf. Kailan pa naging form of abuse ang pagbabasa?

    No. 3: Takot sa dengue at malaria ang mga ‘yan. Masyado kasing malamok sa regular cell. Eh sa loob ng sikretong selda, ultimo lamok, hindi gugustuhing pumasok. Health is wealth kaya tama ang choice of jail cell nila..

    “At sabi ko nga sa CHR, ‘Hindi ba kayo happy na the 12 of them are lahat buhay? Hindi naman sila lumaban.”
    ~Manila Station 1 Commander Robert Domingo..

  5. Rich personin SUV slapping tricycle driver…..
    Saw the video
    Felt the hate
    Once again the privileged become masters of the poor
    My martial law experience

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