Self-styled executioner, blabber-mouth Rodrigo ‘Digong’ Duterte might – after all – be good for the Filipino people


In a previous post (Why Filipinos must not. . . , Feb. 16, 2016), I suggested that Philippine presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte was “an egomaniac who believes himself to be above the law” and whose “delusions of personal greatness will eventually bloat” causing him to “become a dictator.” President-elect Duterte has proven otherwise.

Immediately after having won the Philippine presidential election on May 9, 2016, Rodrigo Duterte toned down his rhetoric and admitted that all his tough talk was campaign ploy, saying that he was going to serve according to law even when he acts “tough on crime, drugs, cigarettes, corruption – and everything else wrong with the country.”

Bravo, president-elect Duterte!

Duterte ran a controversial campaign in which he cursed detractors, bad-mouthed Pope Francis, and promised to personally execute wrong-doers, but he bent down to become humble in victory and sober in his approach to his inauguration.

Rodrigo Duterte won the hearts and minds of folk all across the country’s social and economic strata.

While the out-going Aquino administration associated the country’s problems with graft and corruption and focused on the prosecution and conviction of corrupt officials, Duterte aimed his sights not only at government corruption but largely at the economic problems of the people. Candidate Duterte focused on the plight of the large percentage of Filipinos living in extreme poverty all across the country (While the Philippine economy grows. . ., Sept. 27, 2015), while simultaneously appealing to the economically well-to-do and the wealthy by credibly talking tough against crime, drugs, and tobacco.

The people saw in Duterte’s tough talk and stance a person who could truly deliver on his promises. On the other hand, candidate Mar Roxas – poorly short in personality and charisma – delivered his message of helping the poor with little to no credibility. The rest of the aspirants to the presidency – Grace Poe, Jejomar Binay, and Mirriam Santiago – were non-factors. Poe was handicapped by questions on her citizenship, Binay was plagued by plunder and corruption cases filed against him, and Santiago was simply out of touch.

Duterte has promised results in three to six months of his administration. He may very well achieve his goal if he pursues it with what is expected: extra-judicial efficiency.

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A threat to the people: Manny the boxer who condemns homosexuals as “worse than animals” and non-Evangelical Protestants as “hell-bound” now wants to be a Senator of the Republic

Pacquiao-TheBoxer-530Emmanuel “Manny” Dapidran Pacquiao, currently an elected member of the Philippine House of Representatives, is running to be a Senator of the Republic. Is he qualified? Is he mentally and emotionally fit for such high public office?

Pacquiao is qualified to be a senator by reason of law – he meets the citizenship, age, and residence requirements – but he is neither mentally nor emotionally fit for office, public or private. The high school dropout’s only claim to higher education is an honorary degree in Humanities from Cebu’s Southwestern University “in recognition of his boxing achievements and humanitarian work.”

Simply being philanthropic does not cut it. No doubt Pacquiao has a kind heart and loves to help the underprivileged and underserved among his people. He has built schools, a hospital, and homes for the poor of his province of Sarangani. But that does not mean he has the education, training, and mindset to be a leader of his people.

Pacquiao-ThePreacher-350Manny Pacquiao – who is also an Evangelical Protestant minister – is a homophobic demagogue who appears to seek recognition to compensate for his shortcomings and poor beginnings in life. He wants to be a senator because he feels inadequate as a congressman, because his ego needs a bigger lift. He joined a religious group as a minister because he feels the urge to wow it over his people and win their utter reverence, knowing that they already admire and respect him for his boxing skills.

How can a person who has no respect for a large segment of his constituents (people he has called “worse than animals” for being gay, as well as folk who he proclaims are going to “hell” for not subscribing to his faith) possibly represent them? How can a person who has a terrible attendance record and who has accomplished absolutely nothing after many years as a member of the House of Representatives be useful in the Senate?

Pacquiao’s senate candidacy is a threat to the Filipino people.



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Why Filipinos must not elect Duterte or Binay – two men who may bring ruin to a country struggling to emerge from a culture of political lawlessness, graft, and corruption


The past six years saw the Philippines recuperating from decades of failed leadership, mismanagement, and plundering. Public officials high and low have been charged with graft, corruption, and plunder – and dozens upon dozens of them have been removed and perpetually disqualified from public office, while many more face similar fates.

This year – on May 9 – the country will elect a new president who will head government for the next six years. Whether the Philippines continues to remake itself and totally eliminate the virus that is both a culture of corruption and abuse of office depends on who gets elected from among the five presidential aspirants. The aspirants are Grace Poe, Mar Roxas, Rodrigo Duterte, Jejomar Binay, and Miriam Santiago. Those who have a chance of winning are Poe and Roxas, and, unfortunately, Duterte and Binay.

Duterte and Binay are strong contenders because a lot of people admire politicians that act like bullies who neither fear the law nor respect any reason, as well as politicians that behave like the legendary Robin Hood – who steal from the rich to give to the poor.

Many Filipinos believe that Duterte (a poor imitator of the late Manila Mayor Arsenio H. Lacson) is a Rambo-type hero who takes the law into his own hands to kill the bad guys and save the good guys, all the while forgetting that this type of personality may get out of hand and eventually serve no one but himself. Apparently, Duterte is an egomaniac who believes himself to be above the law. He is that person whose delusions of personal greatness will eventually bloat and then aim to become a dictator.

Many Filipinos believe that Binay rose out of poverty by milking the rich – and therefore needs to be honored for such an accomplishment. These folk don’t realize that Binay milked them as well, and whatever he passed on to them is peanuts compared to what he kept for himself. Robin Hood never got rich.

The Philippines is at the crossroads. If the people elect Duterte or Binay, they set the country back a decade or two in its effort to reform. If the people elect Poe or Roxas – or even long-shot Santiago – they move the country forward and well on the road to political, social, and cultural renaissance.

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The need to reform Saudi Arabia and its extremist Wahhabi influences

TheIronyOfSaudiArabia-530x735Saudi Arabia – once the United States’ most fervent and dependable ally in the Middle East – has become the United States’ biggest diplomatic liability.

While Saudi Arabia is the US’ largest and most consistent buyer of military equipment ($12 billion in military purchases between 2009 and 2014 alone), the country run by the Saud family also has been a strong funder and protector of extreme Islamic ideologies that are responsible for breeding such groups as al Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS. In addition, Saudi Arabia has caused political and diplomatic embarrassment for the US by pursuing a dubious military adventure in Yemen.

The “mutual protection” deal that the Saud family made with extreme Islamic sects – such as the Wahhabis – when the family began its rule over the vast desert empire needs to be put to proper light. That mutual protection pact in effect keeps the Saud family in power while bestowing upon the extreme Islamic religious sects (Sunnis and Wahhabis) huge financial grants, independence, exclusive rule over social matters, and political protection.

It is time for the United States and its Western allies to put into question their “friendly” relationship with Saudi Arabia. There is not a need to protect Saudi Arabia’s vast oil reserves as much as there is a need to put an end to terrorism and the emergence of powerful, well-financed terrorist groups.

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Fight terrorism by going after the root of it: those that foment hatred

Islamic Wahhabists, radical Christians, white supremacists, and political demagogues are among the promoters of hatred and mass murder


Sigmund Freud defined hate “as an ego state that wishes to destroy the source of its unhappiness.” People and institutions that preach hate in effect preach the destruction of those they dislike or disagree with. There would be hardly an environment that nurtures terrorism and terrorist acts if every nation on earth made it illegal to preach and promote hatred of any kind.

WahhabismSpawned-350Much of the hatred in the world is born of religious, ethnic, cultural, or political intolerance. Those that preach hate should be punished for inciting crime and criminal activity, and for effectively being principals in such crimes.

Going after and exclusively punishing the terrorist themselves is akin to killing the messenger but leaving their message on the wall.

Governments take the idea of free speech and the right to peaceful assembly too loosely. Free speech does not include the right to promote hate and condemnation. Free speech and the right to free assembly does not mean a person or organization can wage campaigns of death and destruction to those that are opposed to their ideas or beliefs or those whose ideas and beliefs they disagree with.

WestboroBaptistChurch-350Free speech and the right to peaceably assemble come with the responsibility to be respectful of others’ dignity, rights, and privileges.

Law enforcement can spend a lifetime spying on, tracking down, and pursuing terrorist elements and cells – but terrorist elements and cells will continue to spawn unless those that breed them are put away.

Who are the breeders of terrorism and terrorists?

WhiteSupremacists-350They are the religious extremists, the Islamic Wahhabists and radical evangelical Christians (among them, leaders of the Westboro Baptist Church) that condemn people not of their faith or who do not heed their teachings. They are the ‘white’ supremacist ‘societies’ – including the Ku Klux Klan – that believe in the superiority of the ‘white race’ over the rest of humanity and that demand exclusivity and the ‘elimination’ of people not of their color. And they are the political demagogues who spew hateful discourse against those whose ethnicity, culture, and religious and/or political views they dislike and oppose.

The world needs to put an end to dogmatism, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric.

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Those that give away 99% of their wealth can’t possibly be “conservative”

A conservative will not spend a dime of their money for the benefit of humanity or some other good cause


Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan have just had a baby – a girl they have named Max. And to celebrate the occasion of Max’s birth, the couple has announced that they are giving away 99% of their wealth – about $44.3 billion of their Facebook holdings. They will keep a measly $449 million worth of shares in the company he founded.

In a letter to their new child Max, both parents said the funds will go to the “Chan Zuckerberg Initiative” which will “join people across the world to advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation.”

Chan&Zuckerberg-400Now that is some moxie!

When you do something like that – pledge away almost all you’re worth in money while you’re still around – you can’t possibly be a selfishly filthy-rich conservative.

You’ve got to be a rational, altruistic, practical, and down-to-earth human being who knows you can’t take anything with you when you die – so you might as well put it all to work for the good of others while you’re still around!

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Terrorism is not an ethnic trait – it’s a malady wrought by social, religious extremism

Some nations unwittingly provide the ways and means for terrorists to thrive

McVeigh&Nichols-OklahomaCityBombers-530Every nation on earth has the potential to produce its own brand of terrorists and criminals. But only a few nations provide the media and conditions that produce and nurture terrorists and criminals. There are nations notorious for organized crime syndicates, and there are countries where corruption is the way of life. And there are countries that allow institutions – in consideration of the rights to free speech and peaceful assembly – to promote and foster hate and ill-will toward others. The latter becomes the breeding ground for all sorts of terrorists.

The United States and Saudi Arabia are the two countries in the world today that are breeding grounds for terrorists, terrorists groups, and mass criminals.

From Saudi Arabia come terrorist sub-sects brought about by Wahhabism; and from the United States emerge terrorists and mass criminals inspired by fundamentalist or evangelical Christian groups, certain “rights” movements, the Ku Klux Klan, and other White supremacists.

TerroristRobertLewisDear-530Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabists (a Sunni Muslim sect) is responsible for the propagation of organizations like al Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS. The American government’s inability to outlaw or reign in the activities of organizations that incite hatred and violence encourages many members of fundamentalist or evangelical Christian, White Supremacist, and anti-abortion or pro-Life groups to take the law into their own hands. And then, of course, there are the mentally unstable people who “hear voices” that tell them to do certain evil things.

Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia preaches tenets to which al Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS are bound. The Wahhabist sect had entered into a pact with the Saudi rulers (the Saud royal family) in which the religious group would not oppose the government as long as the government leaves them to their whims and devises.

BostonMarathonBombedIn2013-530America’s fundamentalist and evangelical Christians unwittingly induce people to commit crime and terrorist acts in the name of their causes and beliefs. An example is the very recent killing spree at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood building by Robert Lewis Dear. Colorado Springs is a hotbed of racists. Colorado state has an “open carry” weapons law. In an another instance, the brothers Dzokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev planted home-made bombs at a Boston Marathon site in 2013, killing 3 and wounding 264; they later engaged police in a shootout.

White Supremacists dominate many small towns and cities in America’s “deep South” and are responsible for the emergence of the Ku Klux Klan and White Militias that run free of the long arm of American law. The US government has somehow allowed these movements to thrive by not prosecuting their members for their unlawful agendas. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols are two home-grown southern terrorists who blew up a Federal government building in 1995, killing 168 people and injuring 680 others.

Many religious and political organizations do imprudently or unknowingly produce “lone wolves” that execute extremist goals for and in their behalf. Most anti-abortion and pro-Life movements likewise unconsciously provide compulsions for the mentally-unbalanced members of society to carry out their agendas.

Terrorism is not an ethnic trait. Terrorism is unwittingly and imprudently engendered by a country’s civics.

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America: land of the free and the brave, or home of the bound and the fearful?

A1-StatueOfLibertyPLAQUE-530x520The United States of America – a nation of immigrants – appears to be turning away from and shunning its history. More and more voices are condemning the US government’s plans to provide asylum to thousands of desperate Syrian war refugees.

Many Americans who believe their country’s heritage is best symbolized by the Statue of Liberty unreasonably object to having refugees from Middle Eastern countries. Many Americans who consider the Statue of Liberty as synonymous with freedom unconditionally brand refugees from the Middle East as terrorists. And many Americans who insist on their right to freedom in the choice of a religion consider Muslims in general as undesirable.

Many Americans have forgotten that the Statue of Liberty, a gift from the people of France, symbolizes America’s heritage as a nation of immigrants. What gives meaning to American culture and heritage is the inscription at the base of the Statue – written by poet Emma Lazarus – that proclaims “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free . . .”

01-SyrianImmigrants-530x250There is no one in America – outside of the country’s Indian natives – who is not an immigrant or the descendant of an immigrant.

America is a country made up of migrants from around the world who escaped persecution, war, and other forms of oppression: Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Filipino migrants from Asia and the Far East as well as people from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. They all helped man America’s industry and commerce, and made America the most powerful nation on earth.

02-SyrianImmigrants-530x250America’s record as a haven for the oppressed and misplaced is well-established. The US welcomed 1.2 million Cubans after their country turned communist; tens of thousands of Koreans after the Korean War; 65,000 Vietnamese following the end of the Vietnam War; 300,000 Soviet Jews in the late 1980s; thousands of Afghans in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of their country; and 100,000 Iraqis following the Gulf War. All of these refugees have become part of the American social milieu.

03-SyrianImmigrants-530x250Refugees do not easily qualify for admission to the US – they have to undergo a vetting process that could last a year or two. The process weeds out possible criminals, jihadists, or other religious zealots and makes sure only qualified people are admitted.

Conservatives have created fear and near-panic among uninformed Americans by championing anti-refugee rhetoric. Donald Trump (who is married to a Serbian-Croatian war refugee and immigrant), Ben Carson, and Marco Rubio – three demagogues – have been spreading rumors that the majority of Syrian refugees are terrorists trying to infiltrate Western societies, while 31 Republican governors have announced that they will turn away Syrian refugees who attempt to enter their states. None of these demagogues are true Americans.

04-SyrianImmigrants-530x250The inscription on the base of the Statue of Liberty is America’s national credo – and is the foundation of America’s national philosophy.

Immigration from around the world makes American culture superiorly diverse and the American society rich in tradition and creativity.

We should keep it that way.

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The difference between a Democrat and a Republican: like the difference between blue and red

Dem&Rep-LOGO-530Many Americans appear to be confused about, or unsure of, their political identities. Some Americans align with a party because they have friends or associates within it, while some drift towards a party because of one or two platform issues they like, and still others join a party because they are attracted by its charismatic leader.

Few Americans truly understand the meaning of being a Democrat or Republican.

Let’s look at the origin and platforms of these two political parties.

In 1791, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison organized the Democratic-Republican Party, in opposition to the Federalist Party of the time. In 1824, the party changed its name to the Democratic Party (dropping the word Republican since the Federalist was no longer). Thirty years later (in 1854), the Republican Party was founded by anti-slave activists and liberal-minded statesmen, including Abraham Lincoln.

Up until 1912, the Democratic Party was the party of conservatives while the Republican Party was the party of liberals.

Lincoln&Roosevelt-LIBERALS-300In 1912, the Democratic Party started taking stands “to the left of” the Republican Party position, especially on economic and social matters. The socialist philosophy of Franklin D. Roosevelt formed the Democratic Party’s agenda beginning in 1932, controlling much of the government’s programs. Meanwhile, Lincoln’s Republican Party was being scorched by internal factions and scandals, resulting in changes in its membership and thinking. Starting at about 1910, the party became pro-business and started embracing the viewpoints of the “religious right.”

And so in today’s political world, a Democrat is liberal while a Republican is conservative.

How can you tell today’s Democrat from a Republican?

I like to quote Ambrose Bierce who once said that a conservative is “a statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.”

A Democrat is on the “left” of the political spectrum, while a Republican is on the “right” of it. The farther left one moves, the more liberal one gets (extreme liberalism, bordering on socialism); the farther right one goes, the more conservative one becomes (extreme conservatism, bordering on social chaos).

A Democrat is for a broad range of social services (social welfare, social security, universal healthcare, etc.) all of which a Republican will oppose. A Republican is pro-religion (Christian, of course), pro-business, pro-military, anti-government, and wants people to be personally responsible for their own well-being.

A Democrat believes that the government is a business owned by the people, of the people, and for the people. A Republican considers government as an obstacle to the “survival of the fittest” and believes that private enterprise can serve the needs of all the people without government assistance or interference.

DemsVsReps-530A Democrat is against growing the military while a Republican wants a militarily powerful nation. A Democrat will oppose military intervention in foreign disputes while a Republican will seek it.

A Democrat is for stricter gun control and is opposed to the carrying of concealed weapons in public places, while a Republican holds the opposing view.

A Democrat wants those who make more to pay taxes at a higher rate, while a Republican believes everyone should pay taxes at one low flat rate.

A Democrat will support a woman’s right to choose, while a Republican (because of religious leanings) will oppose the right to abortion.

A Democrat favors equal rights for gays and lesbians, while a Republican (again, due to religious beliefs) is against it.

A Democrat favors a higher minimum wage so workers can live respectably, while a Republican believes businesses should decide what wage to pay workers in a market economy.

VotersByPartyAffiliation-350Demographically, more minorities (Blacks, Asians, Latinos, etc.), including immigrants, are Democrats while more Whites are Republican.

Democrats are more educated than Republicans (there are more Democrats among college graduates).

Democrats are blue, Republicans are red.

According to Gallup, 43% of American voters are Independent (no party affiliation) and of those who’ve declared a party affiliation, 30% are Democrat while 26% are Republican. On the other hand, the Pew Research Center claims that 39% of American voters are Independent, 32% are Democrat, and 23% are Republican.

So there – choose your side.

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Some seek public office only for the honor and distinction of the title, but not to serve

PoliticalUnderperformers-530There should be a law making it a misdemeanor for one to have achieved nothing – or next to nothing – for the benefit of a constituency while enjoying the title, benefits, and honor of a public office.

Winning an election – and then basking in the glory of the title and honor of the post – is the primary and only goal of many a candidate for public office. Serving the people in any way is a collateral aim, if at all. Once elected, the candidate’s primary objective is achieved, and all that needs to be done is parade around with the title that’s been won, serve out the term of office and – worse of all – seek reelection.

According to a Washington Examiner story dated 9/29/2014, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) missed 93% of her meetings on the House Energy & Commerce Committee; Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) failed to show up for 69% of the time for her House Committee on Financial Services meetings; Rep. James Cooper (D-Tenn.) did not attend 91% of his House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Committee meetings; and Alaska’s only representative to the House, Don Young, was absent for 73% of his House committee meetings.

BernieSanders-250Bernie Sanders had served as a Vermont congressman for sixteen years when he was elected to the US senate in 2006. He was reelected to the senate in 2012. In all his 25 years as a legislator, Sanders could not point to or name anything that he could claim as an “achievement.” All he has been known for are his “criticisms” of US foreign policy and his “status” as a self-described “democratic socialist.” An Independent for almost his entire political career, Sanders joined the Democratic Party early this year – only because he’s running for president.

To show that this malady is a worldwide problem, Philippine high school dropout and boxer-singer-actor-comedian Manny Pacquiao capitalized on his popularity as a world boxing champion to win election and unseat a veteran congressman. In one of his eight years as a Philippine congressman, Pacquiao showed up only four times (on four different dates) at the Philippine House of Representatives building and session hall! He has not introduced a single bill that has gained consideration and has failed to attend most meetings of House committees to which he has been assigned.

Pacquiao is now a candidate for a seat in the Philippine senate – because he wants to be known as a senator.

PacquiaoAsCongressmanThe fact that some politicians make a hobby of holding public office does not seem to bother their conscience or concern their constituents.

It is unethical and should be illegal for one to hold public office without fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of that office. It could be very well said that if an official takes advantage of his title and the honor the title brings for pure personal satisfaction that official is guilty of an ethics violation.

An elected public official should do things in the furtherance of their official duties. Aside from regularly attending legislative sessions and voting on proposed legislation, an elected member of congress should introduce bills, help their constituents solve problems, represent the best interests of their district and constituency, and take position(s) on and make statements regarding issues and events that affect their constituency. In addition, an elected public official should maintain contact with their constituency through visits and meetings with the view of obtaining consensus.

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