Wednesday, August 24, 2016


photo borrowed from

HE ALSO said once: At kayong mga drug lords, magtago na kayo kasi papatayin ko talaga kayo kapag ako naging Presidente. Something to that effect.
Hmm. At tila nagsipagtago nga. Dahil ngayon, ang tila kawawa ay ang maliliit na drug runners lamang na walang ibang makitang trabaho, sila nalang ang pinagpapapatay. Parang Pilipinas lang din, kung saan ang maliliit na napilitang maging kriminal lang ang naipatutumba at ang biggest criminals ay labas-pasok sa bansa at may mga offshore accounts na nga, may mga libingan pang mararangya na aakalain mong minsan sila ay naging bayani.
You could say one ought not to shed tears for even the smallest drug runners or pushers, approaching all this from a position of retribution against the evils these people have also brought upon their barangays. But if I am to take the same approach, I would actually still say 
“enough with the drug pushers dying, I’d want to see the biggest drug lords heads swinging from EdlSA MRT poles, including those of their brokers on the Ilocos shorelines that have served as these drug importers/exporters ports!
    On this approach of retribution as social cleansing, the National Economic and Development Authority chief socio-economic planning secretary, Ernesto Pernia, recently called the President’s war on illegal drugs “a necessary evil” for long-term economic gains. Well and good. Pero huwag naman evil. Dahil wala namang matinong kritiko ng war na ito ang nagsasabing evil ang Duterte anti-illegal drug campaign. Ang sinasabi lang nila ay tanggapin sana ng Presidente at ng Philippine National Police chief na mayroon marahil nangyayaring execution ng ilang apprehended suspects committed by police, o on-location execution ng mga lower echelon dealers and runners and users committed by police, with links to the illegal drug trade (as police under drug lords payroll or as secondary drug dealers of confiscated drugs), executions all done in the spirit of eliminating possible whistleblowers on these police elements. Kung maluwag daw sanang tatanggapin ang reyalidad na ito ng civilian at police leadership, marahil ay maaari na nilang mabawasan ang lumulobong numero ng drug-related deaths, not to mention deaths due to possible wrongful accusation or mistaken identity or as collateral damage.
    But here’s where the problem is. One thing that attracted a lot of Filipinos to the Duterte team (as against the Mar Roxas team) during the 2015-16 election campaign was its image of being so grounded in reality, its being streetsmart, almost defiant of academicism. But how grounded in reality was it really? It’s been so right about the enormity of the problem, thats for sure! But it also comes as a surprise that PNP chief Bato de la Rosa would now come out surprised at this, to him, news of so many policemen involved in illegal drugs. His attitude surprises us because it’s “news” that the general public have already been treating for a long time as common knowledge! Kung ganito ngang nasosorpresa pa si Chief de la Rosa sa bilang ng mga pulis na sangkot sa using at trading of illegal drugs, aba, hindi nakapagtataka na tila di matanggap-tanggap ni Tsip na may summary execution nga talaga ng lower echelon links committed by cops involved in the drug trade (who’ve also likely used the “nanlaban” alibi and an evidence-planting habit)!
    The intent of the shooter to prevent the suspect from spilling the beans, thats the overwhelming suspicion among critics of the ballooning number of anti-drug-campaign-related deaths. The overwhelming suspicion among these critics is that some of these “operations” have actually been done by police elements trying to erase links or tracks that would lead to them in any investigation. In short, preemptive strikes against would-be whistleblowers.
    The PNP has been defensively arguing that its operations follow the laws of the land to the letter. But heres the thing. All the critics need is one to two anecdotal evidence of extrajudicial killing or vigilante killing, or a simple execution by police allegedly linked to the drug trade, for the critics to qualify the argument that says such killings exist. In contrast, the PNP cannot present an anecdotal evidence of a legitimate and clean arrest, and consequent killing in a shootout, of a dirty narco-cop by his fellow cops to qualify an argument that says all its operations are similar to this operations. The single evidence presented by the former already contravenes the evidence presented by the latter.

ALL THIS actually started when the President introduced a loophole in the law to the most law-ignorant of policemen when he publicly pronounced: kapag nanlaban, you have all the right to shoot the suspect in self-defense. That could have paved the way for executions hinged on the self-defense alibi, which would not be hard for perpetrators to contrive, given that it’s been a PNP personnel habit to plant evidence on unwanted elements of society (or unwanted elements of police scalawags kind of society).
    The problem is also on the bottom-up approach of Dutertes war on drugs, the rationale for which can vary. As of the moment this approach is not giving the campaign the 100% social support it ought to get, even from anti-drug activists. Some among the latter actually could be seeing this bottom-up approach as worrisome for the campaign in that it could work against it instead of gather the much-needed 100% support for it. . . .
    Unless the President is not interested in any 100% support, now that he’s President with so much power. In which case all we can do is wish him and all of us good luck, about all the things that may come in the wake of this carpet bombing when the dust settles. [S / -I]

Saturday, August 20, 2016


MANY a man has recently been listed as having to do with illegal drugs, pursued, and eventually shot dead. The reason for a man's death would almost always be resisting arrest and choosing to shoot it out with the arresting police force. Most of such men would be drug pushers, even simple junkies; we have yet to see on our TV sets footage of drug lords shot and killed after resisting arrest. Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte has more than once implied such killings as justified, given how big a social menace illegal drugs are (particularly methamphetamine, which has been linked to heinous crimes).
    Recently, after getting flak that the government's war on drugs seems to be focused on small fry rather than on big fish, President Duterte himself started---on August 6---the "naming and shaming" of politicians and other generals purportedly involved (directly or indirectly) in the illegal-drug trade. There were also judges on the list, likely as participants in such acts as a juridical crime of omission after a drug trade personality's arrest. The government officials, meanwhile, were mostly local officials, likely acting as protectors of their given economic territory. Only days after the reading of the long list, we would soon watch a report about a Leyte mayor's arrest wherein several of his men were killed in a shootout with police; the mayor himself was not hurt.
    Then came August 17. On this day, during his speech with members of the Philippine National Police during the 115th anniversary of the Philippine police service, the President accused new senator Leila de Lima of having links to drug money that funded her campaign. To this big accusation, the senator found it appropriate to hold a press conference with the following emotional statements:

FIRST, allow me to highlight these clauses from her public statement:

  • ". . . I think it is already clear that what is being done to me is what will happen to anyone who does not bow to the wishes of the President."
  • "Pangulo po kayo, Senador lamang po ako. Patas na laban lamang po ang aking hinihingi. Sana ay ibigay niyo rin sa akin ang ibinigay na rin naman ng batas at Konstitusyon, sa kahit kaninong naaakusahan, sa ilalim ng ating sistemang pang-ligal."
  • "I am not the enemy here. Stop portraying me as one."

    Now, based on the gist of this speech and the President's accusatory speech, I would be inclined to be on her side. Why? Dahil tila lumalabas na ang pagpunterya kay de Lima ay dahil lamang sa dalawang bagay: 1) ang nais ng Senadorang ipagpatuloy na imbestigasyon o enquiry tungkol sa mga nangyayari diumanong mga extrajudicial killing ng suspected drug trade elements, at 2) ang sama ng loob ng Presidente sa dating Justice Secretary sa mga pagparatang nito sa dating meyor bilang pinuno diumano sa likod ng tinaguriang Davao Death Squad. Tila hindi pinupuntirya ang Senadora dahil sa late report na diumano'y sangkot ito sa droga, isang report na dapat sana ay kasabay ng mga report o mga parinig na una nang inilabas o di kaya inimply ng Pangulo sa media. Wala tayong narinig na ganitong report tungkol sa isang Senador, hanggang ngayon, kung kailan nalalapit na ang tila matutuloy na ngang imbestigasyon tungkol sa extrajudicial killings na tinutukoy.
    Ibig sabihin, ito ngayon ang tila puno't-dulo ng isyu: tila natatakot o naaasiwa ang gobyernong Duterte sa imbestigasyong ito.
    Kaya ang tanong ko ay ito: ano ba ang kinatatakutan o ikinatatakot ni Ka Digong sa gagawing enquiry ng Senate commission ni Leila de Lima? At kung ito nga ang dahilan kung bakit ilalabas na ng gobyernong ito ang kanyang barahang Alas laban sa Senadora, aba'y sana naman ang gobyernong Duterte na binoto natin ay di mauwi sa pagiging gobyernong mala-Erdoğan ang dating, kung saan ang anumang pagtatanong sa mga aksyon o polisiya ng gobyerno ehekutibo ay ituturing nitong casus belli para sa pagsira sa lahat ng magtatangkang "opositor" nito.
    Sinasabi ko ito dahil ang lumalabas ay ito: kung di pala itutuloy ang enquiry ni de Lima ay di isasama ng gobyernong Duterte ang pangalan ng Senadora sa listahan ng mga pulitikong sangkot sa droga? At ngayong itutuloy na nga ng Senadora ang imbestigasyong ito ay isinama na ito? Anong klaseng ka-Erdoğan-an o ka-Mahathir-an naman 'yan? Oo, totoong seryosong isyu ang methamphetamine drugs na matagal na sanang nasagot ng radikal na sagot, dahil high school pa lang ako ay may nababalitaan na akong mga nasira ang ulo dahil diumano rito. Ngunit saan lahat mauuwi ang tunay na war on drugs na ito ni Ka Digong kung sa bandang huli ay gagamitin lang pala itong casus belli for political oppression of any form of opposition and God knows what else? Ang war on drugs bang ito ay tunay na end in itself, o stage one lamang para sa isang war on opposition elements?
    Ipagpalagay na nating totoo ngang sangkot sa droga itong si de Lima, whether directly or indirectly. Subalit hindi ba ibang issue ang mga tanong niya, at ibang issue naman ang mga paratang ng Pangulo sa kanya? Hindi ba dapat may sagot sa bawat tanong, imbis na pumasok tayo sa hindi matalinong usapan kung saan sasagutin ng isa ang mga tanong ng isa sa pamamagitan ng pag-paratang sa nagtanong (isang argumentum ad hominem)? For now, I see the Duterte government's stance in this exchange as proceeding from an argumentum ad baculum, a blackmailing argumentum ad verecundiam by a supposed knowledge (real or not) through intelligence (that dictators can actually manufacture), an ipse dixit on truths upon a following agog these days about "sound reports".
    At paano kung inosente ang pinaratangang de Lima? O pinaratangang sinuman? I can understand most people's (and President Duterte's seeming) long-pent-up frustration with the presumption of innocence legal concept that criminals have been successfully using to their favor all this time. But must we forget the fact that this presumption of innocence concept was designed primarily for the protection of the accused innocent? And if we are to remove that protection within access by the accused innocent just so we can go after the accused guilty, does not anti-crime at that very moment become a crime-in-the-making in and of itself? Will crime-fighting success be measured by the number of correctly convicted or executed people versus the lesser number (should that be the result) of wrongfully convicted or executed ones? Because if that's the direction where we're going, then I wish us all good luck.  [S / -I]

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


WAS the Aquino government to blame for the Marcos family's comeback, as hinted by former Vice-President Jejomar Binay and as per the legalist defense of President Duterte himself re his funeral honors for Ferdinand Marcos?
    Well, partly, yes. A big part? Yes. Binay's and Duterte's technicalities aside and the people's pulse as the primary measure, when the Aquino government used the Marcos era as the very opposite to its own, and then the intelligentsia itself failed or refused to call the Aquino government's own little Marcosian atrocities and as Marcosian its sporadic dictatorships by legalism, and then also call that government's members' own business with---or alleged tax accommodations for---Marcos and Romualdez-affiliated business interests, e.g. Benguet Corporation, among others. . . . the Marcos comeback road was definitely paved by that government, ripe for loyalists' long-awaited historical reification programs.
    So, was the Aquino government also to blame for the Marcos comeback? Again, definitely yes. But so is the Duterte government's loving embrace of the late dictator's family, as was Binay's own transformation from being a human rights lawyer during the Marcos years to being a symbol of Marcosian kleptocracy in later years. As were all those post-Marcos acts of governance (or absence of governance) that failed to demonstrate Good opposite to the historical metanarrative concerning Marcos' Evil. And so was the intelligentsia's failure to see that the history it was academically writing was not the history that the people were reading. [S / -I]

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


cartoon borrowed from

1.) The Filipino oligarchy's leadership with its filial penchant for forgiving, even if only a bit, and permitting people in exile to return to their regions of wide support in exchange for the surrender of a few centavos of their stolen wealth. Along with this, the dismal performance of the Presidential Commission on Good Government in running after the Marcoses' stolen wealth in offshore accounts, not to mention the reported corruption of some appointed officials of the commission. Along with this, the oligarchies' lack of transparency with regards to the amount and whereabouts of all the recovered ill-gotten wealth from the Marcoses' haul.
2.) The Filipino oligarchy's leadership with its treatment of Philippine politics as a game wherein its leaders can nurture an anti-Marcos image, complete with TV documentaries about the Marcos era and annual anniversaries reflecting on the Marcos oppressive era of horrors, while entering into business jointures and secret political alliances with elements of the Marcos family; in the case of Mar Roxas, for instance, constantly speaking against his father's oppression under the Marcos regime even as he attends Araneta family reunion parties going through the usual beso-besos with Marcos elements of the Araneta family tree, ultimately buying stocks of Benguet Mining and other mining interests care of Philip Romualdez (son of Benjamin and whose wife is the daughter of a stalwart Noynoy Aquino campaigner and supporter) and Bongbong Marcos (whose wife is another Araneta); in the case of Noynoy Aquino funding or fanning anti-Marcos rhetoric on PTV4 and ABS-CBN care of the Lopezes even as he patches up differences with the Danding Cojuangcos and the Floirendos and other former Marcos allies to build both business and political alliances for his Liberal Party machine, one of which products would be getting back a larger influence on Hacienda Luisita stocks that would result in Kris Aquino's sitting on the board of the corporation, to mention a few such arrangements beyond our masses' knowledge.
3.) The Filipino oligarchy's leadership and its failure to govern beyond the (legalist) ways of the crony-serving Marcos era, which led to people's disillusionment with these post-Marcos governments that led in turn to a popular belief that perhaps Marcos was just a victim of black propaganda and that perhaps all that the Marcos-supporting white and grey propaganda releases have been saying all this time were probably more right than not.
4.) The Filipino oligarchy's leadership with its secret arrangements with the Marcoses in exchange for the Marcoses' entry into the free propaganda media, which entry would lead the Marcos machine to convince millions of disillusioned Filipinos of old and new generations to consider the possibility that maybe Marcos was not that bad, culminating in an almost-win for the vice-presidential candidacy of Bongbong Marcos.
5.) The Filipino oligarchy's leadership and its failure (a failure by design, some would insist) to strengthen a continuing knowledge of all the recent Philippine history of abuses and inculcating all this into the memories of both old and new students and teachers.
6.) Finally, the irony of a newly-elected President who unabashedly proclaims that he is a socialist (possibly partly true and partly false) while confessing to a close friendship with the Marcos family, and---after the elections---confessing to having been primarily funded by a Floirendo (a former Marcos ally in Mindanao) during his presidential campaign. (Incidentally, it was thanks to this Floirendo that a Duterte-Marcos 2016 tandem became the most common tandem on the presidential election posters on the walls and fences of Davao).
7.) And. oh, we almost forgot: the Filipino people's being too divided on their impression about the Marcoses, thanks to all of the above, that would now render it impossible for them to launch a revolution against all of Marcos' friends in government (if there is even such an animal as a true enemy of the Marcoses in the highest roster of government since the presidency of Ferdinand's cousin, Fidel Ramos). [S / -I]

Thursday, August 4, 2016

An Open Letter to a Socialist President

DEAR President Rodrigo Duterte:

Sir, for describing yourself as a Socialist I already salute you. Not many in our country have a proper appreciation of the word/concept “socialist”; most equate it with being a “revolutionary communist,” even as armed revolutionary communists regard mere socialists as lame while the socialists regard the armed revolutionary communists as party fascists. I salute you for the boldness in your unabashed self-tagging using that word, Mr. President, the same way that I continue to salute Ninoy Aquino for calling himself a Christian Socialist during that time when “confessing” to being a socialist was equal to confessing one had leprosy.
Pero ito lang, Mr. President. For almost a week now the UV Express-using commuting working class has been made to suffer by a memo made by your LTFRB chair appointee, Martin Delgra, care of a legalist rationale. The memo banned UV Express vans from using the length of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue immediately after its release. The objective of the memo? To relax the heavy traffic along EdlSA—as if the UV Express vans ply the entire length of EdlSA and number in the thousands. Mr. President, who are profiting from this memo? There are the bus lines, of course, who now have to carry the UVE passengers from the provinces dropped off by their UVEs at an EdlSA or near-EdlSA corner 200 meters away from their connecting MRT stations. (Some would take the bus for such a relatively short distance to avoid perspiring on their office clothes in a 200 meter walk). And right now, colorum vans (even cars) have cropped up along the highway in question to exploit the shortage of a faster alternative to the slow buses and the cramped MRT (the faster alternative, the UV Express with licenses, are now missing). These colorums don’t have to pick up passengers at UVE terminals, and their passengers don’t have to walk 200 meters to get to them.
In short, Mr. President, the objective of the memo is not at all accomplished by its targeting the UV Express as a culprit, especially since the number one and number two culprits for the heavy traffic along EdlSA are the staggering number of private vehicles and buses plying the route, as well as the taxis and gentrified Ubers and Grabs.
Mr. President, the legalist rationale used by Atty. Delgra has not only resulted in working class commuters’ equating their current suffering (at the heavier traffic now traversed by the UVEs and at their having to walk 200 meters to their connecting MRT train stations) to what they’ve suffered in the long MRT queues from the start of DOTC Sec. Jun Abaya’s secretaryship in the Noynoy Aquino government. And they now equate Atty. Delgra’s use of the law with the Aquino government’s use of the law in relation to laglag-bala victims (which, you'll remember, victimized the victims twice and supported the extortionists).
Therefore, Mr. President, Atty. Delgra’s seeming insensitivity to the working class commuters’ suffering, a suffering produced immediately after his memo’s diktat, does not seem to reflect your Socialist sensibility. In fact, it seems to negate it, defy it, and defame it.
I have no connection with any UV Express operator, Mr. President. I merely have relatives and friends who belong to the UV Express-using working class who have suffered enough, Mr. President. And—like you—I too have claims to a Socialist sensibility.
And speaking of Socialist sensibilities, Mr. President, I would not be surprised if—by your Socialism—you were to nationalize the EdlSA bus route, Mr. President, as well as limit the number of private vehicles using the highway during the rush hours, instead of continue to allow Atty. Delgra to sacrifice one mode of public transport (some of which have ceased to invest in trips) in favor of another public transport (the buses, and the new colorum vans and cars along this route) in order to indulge his mysterious understanding of EdlSA traffic.
Mr. President, I believe that if there is one leadership that can stop the long-standing Filipino culture of favoring the private vehicle over the public transport vehicle, the favor for the vehicle over the pedestrian, as well as a ludicrous favor for a public transport over another public transport, it is your Socialist presidency, Mr. President.
The working class commuters of our republic have suffered enough, sir. That is why we rely on your socialist awareness and here hope and pray that Atty. Delgra will imbibe the same amount of empathy for such suffering that you have used to express yourself through this past year, Mr. President.
We thank you in advance,

Respectfully and humbly yours,

Jojo Soria de Veyra

Tuesday, August 2, 2016



BAKIT daw ba ako nagrereklamo sa ilang mga pangyayari sa ilalim ng pamamahala ng gobyerno ni Rodrigo Duterte, gayung ibinoto ko ito at tila ikinampanya pa sa Peysbuk.
    Ang kritisismong ito laban sa kritisismo ko sa ilang hakbang ng gobyernong Duterte ay nagpapatunay lamang na may tatlong prinsipyong umiiral sa ating kultura:
1. Na ganun kalalim ang kumpyansa o tiwala natin sa ating mga manok sa eleksyon, na para bang sila'y walang magiging dungis kung sila ang nanalo at siyang magiging tunay na messiah tungo sa mas magandang umaga;

2. Na ang ating kaligtasan ay nasa isang presidente at hindi nasa mamamayan;
 At, finally,
3. Na ang ating kaligtasan ay nagmumula sa boto natin sa ating mga eleksyon.

    Dahil ang ating kaligtasan ay hindi nasa mga panginoong matatalino, kundi nasa patuloy na tunay na kritisismo nating mga tao, ayon sa ating kolektibong talino, laban sa mali ng alinmang manok na nanalo sa ating mga eleksyon, maging sila'y manok mo man o manok ko. Dahil sa paniniwala nating nasa kanila ang ating kaligtasan at nasa kanila lamang, diyan tayo patuloy na tinutuka ng garapata ng mga hayop na 'to na tinuturing ng ating representatibong demokrasya na siyang tanging may talino para sa milyun-milyon.
     Oo nga't dapat may binoboto tayo tuwing eleksyon. At oo, yaong sa palagay natin ay may mas magandang plano, isasakatuparan niya man ito o babaliktarin. Pero yan ay eleksyon lamang ng mga lider, mga kababayan. Nakakalimutan natin na ang lider ng mga lider ay tayo, at ang pamamahala ng mga lider ay dapat pumapangalawa lamang sa ating mga kagustuhan bilang pinakamataas na lider ng demokrasya, demokrasyang di sana humihinto pagkatapos mahalal ng inihalal. Kung patuloy nating kakalimutan ito, aba'y ano ang pinagkaiba ng kultura ng demokrasya natin sa royalistang kultura ng fans ng naglalaban-labang mga hari ng mga monarkiya?
    Sa tingin ko, kaya tayo di umuunlad o may mabagal na pag-unlad sa ating pulitika ay dahil tayo ang nag-aaway-away sa sabungan ng ating reyalidad na pinapatakbo ng partisanong confirmation bias na itinanim sa mga utak natin ng ating mga pinanigang partido. Tila ayaw na nating harapin ang katotohanan na ang dapat nating sinasabong ay ang ilang mga polisiya ng mga manok nating tila'y wala pa ring humpay ang katutuka sa atin sa araw-araw.
    Sabi pa nga ni Dana D. Nelson: ". . . our habit of putting the president at the center of democracy and asking him to be its superhero works to deskill us for the work of democracy. . . . the presidency itself has actually come to work against democracy."

ANG lalim ng ating kumpyansa o tiwala sa ating mga manok sa eleksyon, na para bang sila'y walang magiging dungis kung sila ang nanalo at siyang magiging tunay na messiah tungo sa mas magandang umaga, ay nagpapatunay lamang na di pa rin tayo makaalis doon sa ating paghahanap ng ideyal na lider sa katauhan ng mga manok natin. Ito ay nagpapakita rin na sa pamamagitan ng patuloy nating pagsandal sa ideyal na lider sa ating nanalong manok, o sa ideyal sanang lider sa ating natalong manok na sa ating paniniwala ay siyang may dalang liwanag ng umaga, ay nananatili tayong nakakulong doon sa mito ng "ideyal na lider" sa katauhan ng mga elemento ng plutokrasiya na may mga sagot sa problema na para bang hindi natin kaya.
    Nakalulungkot na ang ating mga laban ay, bagamat para sa atin din, unang-una ay para sa kanila.
    How I wish that every political critic (professional and not) owned this sub-definition of "politician" or "government official"---as one who is a friend in a cause and an enemy in another. It's sad that politicians and political parties or factions have become many of my friends' political end-causes themselves.  [S / -I]

Monday, August 1, 2016


photo from

IN 2010, Noynoy Aquino's party intimated, that is to say by implication, the rise of a wangwang-less social liberal society. This social liberal society, so the message went, should constitute the President's bosses, not his subjects. However, as the years progressed, people saw more neoliberal and corporate liberal interests in the "liberal" of the Liberal Party than social liberal ones. Sure there were social liberal directions that remained, the CCT (qua CCT), for instance, as well as the expanded TESDA skills program (very social liberal, being in the service of both the working class and the employers' class at the same time). In the long run, though, what remained embedded in people's minds were these: hardly could someone see a social liberal direction in the elitist DAP arrangements with politicians, as against what they might see had it been a participatory DAP arrangement with the people (the former produced such crap as a convention center, while the latter might have produced such useful efforts as a market bazaar space for vendors, more mangrove projects, or solar power for villages). . . .
    But that's the past, and now we're in the present. So now let's talk about the election campaign of 2016, wherein Digong Duterte did not just imply, but explicitly described himself as, being a Socialist. He boasted of his projects in Davao City as manifestations of a Socialist mayor's sensibility in relation to choosing which provisions are priority to his community (sophisticated healthcare, women's centers, heavily-protected LGBT rights, etc.).
    So when Duterte won the Presidency and we saw such appointments as Lisa Maza's for the Anti-Poverty Commission, no one was shocked. Nor that another leftist was given the post of Agrarian Reform secretary to hasten decades-old go-aheads for land redistribution. Nor were the leftists among his supporters shocked to witness the appointment of a scion of a wealthy family who now mans the Department of Natural Resources, because her profile as a pro-people anti-mining activist seems to go beyond mere show for "corporate social responsibility" and is familiar to all as being so (moderate though it may be to the radicals).
    There are other sensible little diktats that display this Dutertean socialist sense, as when the President messaged NAIA people to avoid another case of laglag-bala victimizing ordinary passengers (or be ready for airport personnel cleansing). That diktat was a breath of fresh air from the era of Noynoy Aquino that kept on denying that such a racket existed at Aquino's cousin's turf, that kept providing everyone in the process the legalist argument that there are existing laws governing such cases and that all that needed to be done was merely to follow what the laws said.
    A breath of fresh air. Until yesterday, when this news came out.

NOW under the Duterte government, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), along with the traffic-planning and -enforcing Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), announced that all UV Express vans would henceforth be banned from Epifanio de los Santos' avenue because, as legalism goes, the UV Express franchise does not include the vehicles' entry into Epifanio de los Santos' avenue of traffic ill-repute.
    Now, I remember the time when, despite the Aquino government's neoliberal lack of empathy towards the common commuter, we would still be shocked by a Mar Roxas blurting out such classic lines as "heavy traffic is a sign of industrial progress", or something to that effect. Discussions during that time, especially among socialists, touched on the ultimate solution: the nationalization of the EdlSA bus route and the provision of a ceiling for the number of private transportation using the main avenue during the rush hours.
    One would have expected such an ultimate nationalization solution to come from a socialist Duterte. Surprise, surprise. Instead, the UV Express of the lower-middle and upper-lower classes are taken out, so that the cars and Ubers of the middle and upper-middle and upper classes can continue to hog the traffic of EdlSA. Meanwhile, we can only conjecture on why the buses---also the mode for the lower-middle and upper-lower and lower classes---are being permitted to remain on EdlSA (and remember that buses use the entire length of EdlSA). We can only think of two reasons: there's the legalist rationale (the buses' franchise do specify where they are allowed to roll), and then what the rumors say (that the buses are mostly franchises owned by retired generals and reigning politicians friendly to the Duterte government). Totoo kaya 'tong rumor na 'to? Sana naman hindi.
    Pero the basic question for now is this: what comfort does this memorandum provide to the UV Express-using working class? Well, this niche of the working class would now have to ply the heavier rush hour traffic of other avenues, and then be dropped off corners or UVE stations 200 meters or more away from their connecting MRT stations. Thank you, LTFRB, for the Aquinoesque inconvenience.
    Isn't it funny? Aquino would start his administration with a lie using elements of public transport as overall metaphor: that his social liberalism would be displayed through a non-elitist wangwang-less and counterflow-less traffic. Duterte just started his public transport administration with a truth: that his lopsided socialism would be demonstrated through a traffic legalism one can't make heads or tails of---if it is, on the one hand, indeed socialist and pro-working class commuter, or, on the other hand, pro-bus owners and car-owners or what. Have the buses and some colonels' taxi lines become the newly-reborn wangwangs?
    On this uncategorizable memorandum, at least, I suspend my labeling pen till the next shocking (mostly to the socialists) public transport diktat. [S / -I]


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THE President is giving us a dressing-down for flagging his statements that favored a Con Ass over a Con Con for the drafting of a new Constitution. He says that this distrust towards our senators and congressmen in Congress is too much. And he says nobody has a monopoly on good wisdom.
    We understand the President's concern about the huge resources that would be needed for a Con Con. However, the President must indulge us our continuing distrust of these people in Congress along with their wisdom. We might like to note that they mostly derive from the wealthy class of our Republic, as do their wisdom (or wisdom absent from their knowledge).
    As a self-described Socialist, the President might understand where people's distrust is coming from. In fact, he might recall that his campaign leaned on this very distrust towards the wealthy political class. He used this distrust to push for a more trustworthy alternative, and in fact continues to use it as a rationale for many of his freshly-launched new or rehashed policies, the anti-illegal drugs drive being one of them. After all, this is the same wealthy political class that would never give up its access to the pork barrel (of whatever name) and rid us of a pork-barrel-run system of executive-legislative governance. This is the same wealthy political class that would like to continue to use the "epal" tradition of putting their names on every government project or vehicle or structure that they can appropriate as products of their generosity. Therefore, it is this very same wealthy political class that would likely avoid a furtherance of power-sharing areas with the people through stronger direct democracy instruments such as the initiative, the right to call for referenda, the right to recall elections, among others. Thus our fear that this Con Ass could very well decide to get rid of the people's initiative clause in the 1987 Constitution (instead of strengthening it).
    Sure, it's possible that delegates to a Con Con might be just as suspect to our nation's eyes. There would be the gamble. But the President must understand that our fears in relation to most politicians in Congress are not totally without grounds. The President might remember that most, if not all, of his new policies, and the people's support of them, all come from fears. So that if he can trust that our larger fears against the proliferation of illegal drugs in our neighborhoods are what is keeping us from fearing his police state methods against illegal drugs more, then he must trust our expression of fears in other areas.
    Who knows: he who rules by fear just might be able to help this nation further in exploiting and defeating one other fear: the fear of reinvigorated old privileges among wealthy political class elements when they go unchecked by the people who may have just been further excluded from their government via a more fake democracy in a new Constitution. [S / -I]

Friday, July 29, 2016


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I'D AGREE that when you let calls and checks for human rights work for the criminals, as criminals have no concern for human rights, then human rights end up benefiting criminals, to the disadvantage of anti-criminal enforcement (which is usually the only present subject for human rights calls and checking).
    However, I also buy the fact that when due process that is meant to protect the wrongfully accused is removed from the equation of going after criminals, the absence of that process also successfully removes from the face of the earth both 1) the criminals and 2) the wrongfully accused . . . having both been summarily executed by the judge, jury and executioner-cleaner who implemented their removal. And should we ignore the collateral damage that these executions produce? One wonders if the absence of due process is truly the only way to successfully clean a dirty street, or if there is a more precise way with almost no collateral damage.
Could there be a cleaner with a cleaning plan better than what the Duterte/de la Rosa cleaning theory boasts as being the only plan sure to successfully clean streets? Could a denial of an alternative plan be due to an attitude indifferent to collateral damage? [S / -I]


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SABIHIN na natin na ang mga nasa larawang ito ay totoo ngang methamphetamine drug pushers na direkta o di-direktang may kinalaman sa maraming krimen na nangyayari sa ating lipunan. Malamang totoo ngang pusher sila, dahil . . . may tattoo.
    Pero paano, halimbawa, kung ito ang nangyari? May mga akyat-bahay na pumasok sa isang shop at naabutan sila ng dalawang may-ari ng shop kaya pinatay na lang ng akyat-bahay ang dalawang may-ari ng shop at nagsulat ng "pusher, huwag tularan" sa isang nahanap na karton at itinabi ang karton na ito sa mga bangkay ng kanilang napatay na mga may-ari ng shop. Ano sa palagay ninyo ang gagawin ng pulis ukol dito? Iimbestigahan ba nila ang marder na ito? Maaaring hindi. Dahil maaaring maging malakas ang dating sa superintendent nila ang diwa ng karton. [S / -I]