'Moses' by Michelangelo JBU290May the spirit of Gary Lising come upon me, that I may not take this too seriously. May Bathala save me from all those who take this too seriously. When the Spanish missionaries introduced the Ten Commandments to the natives from 1521 onwards, after Magellan and his men introduced the missionary position to native women, the natives were genuinely confused. What if I want to kill my enemy? What if I feel lust for someone who is not my wife? Some say according to Manny Pacquiao, if she is not your neighbor’s wife it is OK. What I have heard from the diwatas of old is that the natives introduced two more commandments, in order to be able to adjust old ways to the new order of things:

  • 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not get caught.
  • 12th Commandment: If caught, thou shalt not admit.

When the Spaniards of the 19th century introduced laws like the 1884 Penal Code, the natives were even more confused. But being creative and resilient, it seems that they amended the Twelve Commandments. The tikbalang of the forest have told me they looked like this:

  • 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not get caught by the police.
  • 12th Commandment: If caught, thou shalt have a good lawyer.

Then the Americans came and introduced democracy. According to some duwende under a balete tree, the last two commandments were further amended to read this way:

  • 11th Commandment: In order not to get caught, thou shalt support a politician who covers up for you.
  • 12th Commandment: If thou art too stupid to be on the right political side, thou shalt have a good lawyer.

Cha-Chas and Con-Cons

Now the islands are, I have heard, in a state of confusion. Different people live by different versions of the Twelve Commandments. Just like there have been Three Philippine Constitutions.

Charter Changes and Constitutional Conventions everywhere. Except that the codes that are secret cannot be amended that easily. But recently, someone has tried to do exactly that.

Daang Matuwid

A balding bachelor said, I must straighten out things. He called this attempt Daang Matuwid. There is a special form of doing things that veteran commentator Mariano Renato Pacifico has called crookery and according to him is mastered at the University of the Philippines. The bachelor comes from Ateneo not from UP. The ghosts of the Internet have told me there is this amendment:

  • 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not commit crookery.

Followers of the new 11th Commandment like to wear yellow, I have heard. But unlike Buddhist monks, most of them have no begging bowl. A widowed member of this order, I have heard, does go among the people in tsinelas or slippers. She is seen as a hopeful figure in the troubled islands. Yet enemies of the yellow order say that there is a secret amendment, at least for some followers:

  • 12th Commandment: If thou art not liberal, thou shalt be punished severely when caught.

There are now many who wish to return to forms of ritual sacrifice, including throwing people into volcanos. One of the yellow order who is hated for traffic in Manila is seen as a sacrifice.


Some have called upon Greek Gods like Apollo (link) and native gods like Anib (is he from old Makati?) to smite down those who wish to criticize them (link). The islands are truly confusing.

Possibly, the Twelve Commandments have to be redefined. Not on paper but in reality. But I am not Moses, I do not have a beard like Joe America (link), so I will stop now.

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