Step 1. Say Yes. The money’s good, and in the age of disinformation and press releases, you can always get away with saying you’re doing it for free — the President’s propagandists will ensure that the President’s base (the 80% that approve of him according to surveys!) will believe you, and that’s all that matters. Of course you’d be stupid to do this shit for free. There is a price for the kind of shaming you know you’ll get, the raised eyebrows from your peers, the way history will judge you. No one will take it against you that you took on government raket; but history will judge you harshly for wanting to put this icon of this dark times in a good light. You need to get paid for this. And well.

Step 2. Embrace Denial. Duterte is not responsible for the thousands dead in the drug war. He is not responsible for the forced evacuation of the Lumad communities in the name of big business wanting to take over their ancestral lands. He is not responsible for the worsening poverty. He is not responsible for the killings of farmers and peasants. He is not responsible for the state of the nation where democracy is discredited, criticism is a crime, and activists are deemed terrorists.

The propagandists are paid to embrace denial. You are, too.


You know how Duterte propaganda has lived off this idea that he is angry at the rich? That he is against the elite? That he is against their abusive ways, and anti-people policies? This is how refusing to give the Lopezes of ABS-CBN their franchise is justified; this is how the Prietos of the Philippine Daily Inquirer lost their power. This also sustains the idea that Duterte is pro-poor, para sa masa, si Tatay Digong kakampi ng mahihirap na Pilipino.

We have of course disproven this, regardless of what his base believes. He himself has admitted that majority of those killed in his drug war are poor — because the rich addicts are using other drugs anyway, and the wealthy who run the cartels, the drug manufacturing, the drug imports, he has no power to jail them.

But there’s an even more obvious, more blatant, display of Duterte siding with the rich: and it’s in his utter silence about issues that involve his oligarch, taipan, crony allies. Let us count the ways, shall we?  (more…)

Duterte, his men, and his children have circled the wagons, and we should all know better than just to watch it happen. At the very least, we learn from it. Because this is the first time that the process is on the surface — we are being shown the action, and we are allowed to infer the unfolding, and we have seen how the crisis was resolved, so they can all move towards the conclusion — that of Charter Change, which is at the heart of this (now resolved) fight for the House Speakership.

The show was interesting enough of course, even as it was a dead-end for nation. The battle was always only among Duterte’s men, with all three, Alan Peter Cayetano, Lord Allan Velasco, and Martin Romualdez pledging loyalty to the President. Of course Romualdez is more of a Gloria Arroyo (and Marcos) ally; Velasco seems to have come out of nowhere but is supported by Duterte propagandists; and Cayetano, well, is only loyal to himself — but all of that doesn’t matter when they’re united for the common Duterte cause.

Unity has been such a part of the plot that Duterte and his men put together, and the audience almost doesn’t matter: we aren’t supposed to care. After all, we all know that Duterte controls Congress, and will give him everything on a silver platter. But this battle for the house speakership was taking too long to get resolved, and in the meantime, we were being given too much information about how corrupt, how greedy, how power-hungry the men who surround Duterte are — his children included.

So what did this battle for House Speakership reveal?


It surprises me that no one seems to care — or is there a news blackout? — on the crisis of the George Ty estate. After all, we’re talking a conglomerate that has its hands dipped in insurance (AXA Philippines), transport (Toyota), banking (Metrobank), and real estate development (Federal Land), not to mention education (Manila Tytana Colleges) and energy (Global Business Power Corporation). GT Capital also has major stakes in Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), which builds roads and tollways.

And while one might like to think that these are private businesses anyway, and therefore none of us should care about what happens to it, that would be small-minded of us. Obviously, this means thousands of jobs on the line. We should also be looking at all the public projects of GT Capital, the ones that it was able to get traveling with Duterte on his official visits to countries like Japan. And let’s not even start about the thousands of Metrobank and AXA Philippines clients, the properties being developed by Federal, the subscribers of Global Business.

It’s also a surprise, that for a President who insists that he is against the abusive rich, the wealthy, the elite, and whose propagandists insist that he wants to tax the rich more than the poor, that Duterte has fallen silent on the Ty’s estate-in-crisis.

George Ty died with a net worth of $3.4 billion dollars as of a June 2018 publication. That’s approximately P174,589,025,357.36 pesos, read: P174.5 BILLION PESOS given current exchange rates. But as of this report, whoever’s holding Ty’s will is  is only declaring his estate to be worth P3 BILLION PESOS.


I don’t know what it is we still expect from a House of Representatives ruled by Duterte’s people — men and women who have clearly made the decision to follow this President’s every whim, who have sold their souls to this devil of a government that engages in state violence, impunity, and the murder of democracy.

But then again, we should’ve known this was going to happen. After all, we watched Congress Reps up in arms versus the better Duterte appointees, when he still had his head on straight, but had absolutely no control over even his own party-mates — oligarchs, businessmen, miners, landlords — who were threatened by the likes of Gina Lopez, Judy Taguiwalo, and Paeng Mariano in the Cabinet. Even then, for all his tapang Duterte was revealed to be nothing more but a coward: there is no one he can control other than those people he can fire or kill — and Congress Reps aren’t that.

And then there are his children — more people he cannot even control, a son and daughter who do not listen to their father, and who have their own agendas. If there’s anyone putting Duterte to shame (more than his big mouth), it is his own children.  (more…)