Stop Fooling Yourselves

The Amazing Race Philippines 2 Mapor continue to if you want! Only addicts and pushers die in Philippine streets. Paolo Duterte’s tattoo is nobody’s business. And who cares about the massive shabu shipment just lost in Customs? If ever, it is probably just a destabilization plot by the “yellows”, a group nearly like the Illuminati!

Liberals – barely there

Sarcasm aside, it isn’t the Liberal Party that is the most visible opposition. Senators Trillanes and Hontiveros are Magdalo and Akbayan respectively, center-right and center-left in orientation. Senator De Lima makes her regular stand, but her own party’s support seems a bit half-hearted.

In fact I found Walden Bello’s recent concern for her safety very sincere – even if he is half-crazy, he is definitely not a fool. The LP may renew itself, but could it forget the hard work of even those like Leni Robredo, Teddy Baguilat and Edcel Lagman if it gets power back to quickly? I don’t know.

Leftists – protesting again

The leftists have practically nobody left in Duterte’s cabinet. They still cannot quite let go of the chance of power. Typical turncoat Filipinos after all? Slogans are not really principles. With real principles, you might be considered crazy like the late Senator Santiago. Or go half-crazy like Bello.

Or you have nerves of steel like the Senators Trillanes and Hontiveros. One can see it in their eyes. The sheer willpower. But the classic Filipino left has proven it is not principled, for the most part. Of course it is organizing more marches now, once more – but is this just to get some concessions?

Institutions – what institutions?

The Philippines still lives in the house of institutions that President Quezon built back in 1935. Some stuff added haphazardly, like the way they build in the slums of Manila. Some renovation during the time of Marcos, most notably the division into regions to reach the people better.

The second-best reform of Marcos – who is NOT a hero, this I say again for the record – Metro Manila, was only partly kept. The MMDA is a shadow of the once powerful Metro Manila Commision and Metro Manila has no governor. Central authority would solve a lot of issues.

My group/tribe/gang first

The present crowd around President Duterte do not even make a pretense anymore of caring about institutions. Very Filipino, if one is to take the mentality of the provinces and the working classes as a measuring stick. Everything is situational, nothing lasts forever. Today’s boss orders, not rules.

Of course all who are up for impeachment are associated with the previous administration – Chief Justice Sereno, Ombudsman Carpio, Comelec Chairman Bautista. One could say that President Aquino set the precedent for this, but now it looks like the facts don’t even matter anymore. Well.

Paths to unity or division

in the barangays, a group called SWORD – Sincere Warriors of Rodrigo Duterte is forming (link) – this is the command and control approach of Marcos, or the Spaniards who used the barangay for their indirect rule. No barangay elections for now means drug lists and impunity (link) continue.

the approach of Vice-President Robredo, or that of cities like Iloilo (link) are more on community. Will that be extinguished eventually by the insistence on command and control, even coercion? Cohesion in larger groups is based on community first – control is to keep the less mature in line.

Will people or communities submit in apparent resignation or collaboration, or resist like Iloilo? Leni Robredo’s approach is cautious, will it help? Will lonesome fighters like Trillanes, Hontiveros or De Lima be used or betrayed? 1986 was way too easy. Filipino character may yet be forged now.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 9. Sept. 2017



11 thoughts on “Stop Fooling Yourselves

  1. @Bill in Oz – “But it needs a new color, a new symbol which could perhaps unite the anti Duterte groups.”
    I agree and disagree at the same time. Do we really need a new color? In the short run maybe yes. In the long run, what really needs to change is ourselves. I am sick and tired of my country being betrayed over and over again.(by the way, thank you for pointing me to the James Webb novels, I am presently browsing Amazon to check him out)

    The fact still remains that as long as almost half of my people are mal-educated, we will always be victims of tyrants. I want to go home — that is the hero-wannabe complex in me that feels she can make a difference. The thing is, I have worked almost 10 years in government-service in my country and instead of making a difference, it just exposed my failures as a person, as someone who can (given the the right or wrong circumstances) be co-opted and yes, corrupted. I left because I wanted to keep what was left of my integrity intact. Now, I am still fumbling for a plan to go back 🙁

    • – “To the good people in gov’t” by Gideon Lasco..

      Most of the time, nobody knows. Of the sacrifices you make, the narrow paths you take, the difficult people you have to deal with. Of saying no to opportunities within the system that would have been great for you and your family, but bad for our nation. Of saying no to prospects outside that would have been great for your career, but not for our country.
      When you entered the government, you were idealistic, and genuinely thought that you could make a difference. Surely there were other, more pragmatic reasons, like the security of tenure and retirement benefits. But you were young, and, flush with the sense of nationalism you learned in college, your main motivation was really to serve.
      Of course, even then you were not naive, and knew what working in the government entails. You’ve seen cases and heard stories of how people can easily get devoured by the system. You knew from experience how painfully slow the bureaucracy can move. Still, your optimism prevailed.

      Yet, despite your tempered expectations, you are disillusioned. When you look around, you notice that the same security of tenure you value is also the reason for the poor motivation of some — and the mediocrity of many.

      And then, one by one, you experience the various aspects of the bureaucratic culture. First, pakikisama: of trying to be on the good side of every person and faction; of unwittingly participating in the gossip that you thought was harmless until you find yourself at the receiving end of it..

  2. But it needs a new color, a new symbol which could perhaps unite the anti Duterte groups.

    As you say Irineo, Yellow is tainted by the wealthy corrupt political dynasties that have always dominated the Philippines.

    Off Topic : I recently read a novel set largely in the Philippines during WW2.It is by James Webb and the title is “The Emperor’s General”
    It is presented as a work of fiction but from my own researches I know so much is the truth.

    The General of the title is MacArthur. The Emperor of the title is Hirohito.
    The title refers to the way that MacArthur protected the emperor & his family from being thrown off the imperial throne in 1945. The evidence of the emperor’s involvement in the command of the war is pretty compelling. The evidence of imperial family members being involved in war crimes such as the massacre in Nanking in China & elsewhere is also compelling.

    MacArthur protected them from being tried as war criminals. Of all the Axis leadership the only ones who managed to survive and stay in office ! Extraordinary !

    It is also about how MacArthur betrayed the Philipines in 1945-6 to get ahead and become the Supreme Commander of US forces in post war Japan.

    The key issue is the wholesale destruction of Manila in February 1945. Factually the battle took place because MacArthur was determined to avenge his defeat and forced flight in 1941-2.

    But he then placed the blame for the destruction and murder that happened in this battle on the Japanese General Yamashita. But Yamashita had withdrawn from Manila to the Northern Cordillieras. And declared it an open city to avoid any major battle. Unfortunately Yamashita did not have command or control over the Japanese marines still based in Manila. It was these marines who resisted to the end. And these Japanese marines who committed the rape and murders of civilians in the battle.

    Despite this MacArthur arranged for Yamashita to be arraigned before a commission of 5 US officers with no legal training or qualifications. And this military commission found him guilty of war crimes for what happened in the battle for Manila while he was in Baguio over 200 hundred miles away with no control or command over the marines in Manila.

    For this MacArthur had him hanged. When really it was MacArthur’s decision as military commander to pursue the battle to it’s bitter and bloody end.

    Such was MacArthur’s US military ‘justice’.

    There is a sub text in the book : the way that US servicemen like MacArthur treated the beautiful Filipinas who became their lovers. In the story MacArthur’s Filipina lover is named Consula Trani and hr life is placed at Tacloban where MacArthur came ashore on Leyte and where curiously he also had his first appointment as a US officer in the Philippines in the 1900’s.

    I do not know if this aspect of the novel is based on facts. But at an emotional level it feels intuitively true.

    But is seems clear that in the military sphere, in the national sphere and maybe at the personal sphere, MacArthur betrayed the Philippines.

  3. Thanks, Irineo. The article above is like drone photography. Details are seen clearly from up above. These details are previously known, but taken together, bunched up in a single frame, they somehow make sense; rivers and trees of related information can be quickly spotted and navigation is made easier. Regards.

    • Welcome, Will. The details come from numerous articles and postings from those in the Philippines.

      I am quite happy that the picture I have pieced together makes sense to so many – this was the feedback. Hope this – and other analyses – help Filipinos chart a way to safety. It isn’t easy but still possible.

    • I think that your articles on Trillanes and De Lima were two valuable inputs for my “drone view”.

      Even the greatest editorial writers in the New York Times are nothing without the work of local reporters and photographers. Let me add a number of people I have followed avidly on FB:

      1. Alma Anonas-Carpio
      2. Bernard Ong
      3. Cocoy Dayao
      4. Felipe Buencamino
      5. Gang Badoy Capati
      6. Gideon Lasco
      7. Inday Espina-Varona
      8. Joel Pablo Salud
      9. Manolo Quezon
      10. Marne Kilates
      11. Ninotchka Rosca
      12. Philip Jr. Lustre
      13. Robert Kniazeff Lopez-Pozas
      14. Romano Cortes Jorge
      15. Sylvia Claudio
      16. Sylvia Mayuga
      17. Teddy Montelibano
      18. Tonyo Cruz

      Then also the Pinoy Ako Blog, which takes the role of the town crier versus Mocha and Co.

      recently I have been on twitter a lot, check out who @ibrsalazar follows there…

      Re reporters in Marawi: check out Jamela Aisha Alindogan, Chiara Zambrano and Froilan Gallardo.

    • The citizens I think should take a more active role, instead of trusting politicians too much. You have to give them some trust, like you trust a doctor or a lawyer to work for you, but stay the boss always.


      After Senator Benigno Aquino was assassinated by the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, rallies were different. They were no longer dominated by leftists waving red banners shouting invectives. They became festive, with yellow confetti–phone book pages shredded–raining down gently on streets with yellow ribbons. Marchers in the thousands became a sea of yellow.

      Yellow became the symbol of protest after the yellow ribbons tied around trees that were supposed to welcome exiled anti-Marcos leader Senator Benigno Aquino became tragic signposts.

      Back then, yellow wasn’t yet a color associated with any political dynasty. It was the color of everyone who dared go against the Marcos dictatorship. Yellow was the color of democracy.

      As Gang Badoy Capati noted, “yellow was real.”

      Today, it’s understandable to be cynically dismissive of yellow (“dilawan”) as just another political brand, especially after the color was co-opted by so many corrupt political dynasties practicing traditional patronage politics that joined the bandwagon. Both Ninoy and Cory came from political dynasties–the Aquinos and the Cojuangcos–that controlled oppressive haciendas.

      Aquino instinctively and reflexively returned post-Marcos Philippines to the pre-Marcos oligarchy dominated by hacienda-owning landed class.

      Many of today’s most corrupt political dynasties were founded by once-principled anti-Marcos activists. Jojomar Binay, before establishing a political dynasty accused of plunder and nepotism, was a human rights lawyer who defended activists pro-bono.

      The Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), the current ruling party of regime of fascist dynastic politician Rodrigo Roa Duterte, was co-founded by Senator Benigno Aquino with Aquilino Pimentel Jr.

      The Duterte political dynasty, like that of the Ampatuans and other warlords, rose to power after being appointed during the administration of Cory Aquino.

      Nonetheless, yellow was real.

      As naive as we were back then, (the likes of Gang and I were just coming of age), the idealism that the yellow ribbon represented was real. It was real enough to move millions and change the course of history.

      Our naivety has died, but our idealism and our fervor remain.

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