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“THE MARCOSES AND THE MISSING FILIPINO MILLIONS”

Sunday, 13th July 2014

王楚:

“Those who forget about history are doomed to believe revisionists on the Internet.”

Originally posted on Caroline Kennedy: My Travels:

Speech Delivered Aboard The QE2

June 1987

By Caroline Kennedy

Leaving the Philippines, in 1984, for what seemed like the final time saddened me. I had spent almost two decades there, on and off, and had assimilated myself so much into its history, its culture and its people that many locals referred to me as their country’s favourite “honorary Filipina”.  The advantages were that I could now, from a distance, take a step back and view those two decades objectively. I had always told myself “one day I would write truthfully about the Marcos era” and now here I was in an unique position to do just that.

I had arrived in Manila almost by accident in 1968 and remained there on and off for the next sixteen years. My first decade there turned out to be, perhaps, the most bizarre in my entire life. During that short…

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How was Simbáng Gabí celebrated during the Spanish times?

Tuesday, 17th December 2013

Originally posted on FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES:

Have you ever wondered how the Misa de Gallo or Simbáng Gabí was celebrated during the Spanish times? Then come and visit the Holy Family Church in Roxas District, Cubáo, Quezon City from December 15 to 23 at 10:00 PM to witness this historic Filipino-Catholic ritual that is filled with so much “sense of the sacred“! And hey, don’t forget to bring your candles or lanterns (farol with light), OK? You’ll find out later on. ;-)

See you there!

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Evangelii Gaudium and Acton

Friday, 29th November 2013

«Evangelii Gaudium» is a pretty tough read but we (Catholics) must first understand that it is neither an encyclical nor an apostolic letter meaning Pope Francis is not defining an article of Faith here which binds us to obedience.

Honestly, it is too soon for anyone to come to a conclusion. Reading a papal letter, even just an «exhortation» has a number of layers which one must keep in mind when reading to understand. Right now, there are even questions about the accuracy of the English translation coming up. (The original was probably in Spanish.)

To my mind, Pope Francis’ assertions are correct in that he accurately describes a system which crushes people. However, identifying this flawed system as «capitalism» is what is making the Austrian economic community wince. True, it is the same (popular) definition that everybody accepts «capitalism» to be, but then I never expected Pope Francis to have the economic training to differentiate between capitalism, crony-capitalism (US definition), and mercantilism. (I don’t even expect this from professional economists who were trained in Keynesian orthodoxy.)

All this tells me is that we just have to step up usage of the term «Entrepreneurial System» rather than trying to explain to people why their definition of capitalism is just wrong and our definition of capitalism is just right..

Korina gets 360-degree bitch-slapping

Monday, 18th November 2013

Marriage Isn’t For You

Tuesday, 5th November 2013

Originally posted on Seth Adam Smith:

Kim and I

Kim and I

Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.

Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years until…until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. :) I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my…

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The Spirit of the Staircase

Sunday, 27th October 2013

“…parce que l’homme sensible, comme moi, tout entier à ce qu’on lui objecte, perd la tête et ne se retrouve qu’au bas de l’escalier.” (Diederot, 1830. p. 40).


I became acquainted with the untranslatable French expression “avoir l’esprit de l’escalier” in the pages of Neil Gaiman’s 1993 comic book miniseries “Death: The High Cost of Living”. In the first issue, Sexton Furnival, a teenager contemplating suicide is bewildered upon being confronted by Didi, a girl who confidently proclaims herself to be the personification of death itself.

Death: The High Cost of Living

In the face of such an obviously absurd assertion, Sexton is unable to reply satisfactorily and retreats hastily. Annoyed with his reaction, as he leaves, he contemplates the many responses he should have said. Thus, “avoir l’esprit de l’escalier” (to have the spirit of the staircase), refers to that infuriating situation in which one arrives at the perfect retort to an argument or statement well after the event.

I found myself in such an occurrence last Saturday evening, at a dinner I hosted commemorating 201 years of classical liberal ideas in the Philippines and the continuation of the Initiative for Filipino Liberty (IFL) into its 7th year of existence.


Towards the end of the dinner, Mr. Oplas, one of our older members, arrived late from Pampanga with a guest in tow. Mr. Oplas informed me that he had just recently came back from a conference in Hong Kong a few days ago and that he had made the acquaintance of several anti-taxation advocacies, both foreign and local, who if approached properly, might be willing to assist IFL development in the next year. This was welcome news!

Continuing a discussion he and I had several weeks prior, he asked how the process of IFL formalization was coming along and in which direction the organization was to proceed. As before, I spoke about my intention of organizing a populist tax protest. Mr. Oplas then asked if the rest of the organization agreed to such an undertaking. His concerns to our commitment were valid since, as is common to all committee-based organizations, a number of us have a tendency to dominate the group decision-making process whenever a pet topic comes up. As group coordinator, I then asked each member what objective they would like the group to focus on for the next year.

It went as expected… with the militant faction expressing the desire to fully exploit the Napoles Scandal to push for tax reform in the minds of the public awareness (rather than merely gathering for ineffectual protest rallies which, in our post-EdSA society, do little more than to expend public outrage and return our restive populace back to docility and complacency) and the conservative faction maintained their abstention, maintaining that entering into politics offered too little reward to warrant the expense of labour and capital and that our best effort could be done elsewhere.

Finally, Mr. Oplas’ plus-one, Mr. Calagui had his say, that the IFL was limiting its potential by concentrating solely on offering economic solutions.

N.B.: This is somewhat true. The IFL has, for the longest time, fallen into a comfortable rut of regular dinners and discourses on politics and economy. Quite enjoyable for all, but it doesn’t particularly implement the practical goals we set for ourselves back in 2007.

Mr. Calagui’s solution was for our group to advocate social change, specifically: divorce. I honestly don’t remember the rest of his proposal as I promptly interrupted in order to blatantly torpedo a topic so near and dear to our enclosing socialist and statist enemies. Just like Sexton, this unexpected proposal blindsided me and I found my attempted rejoinder sounding rather feeble and rambling.

So, for the rest of the evening, I found myself wishing… avoir l’esprit de l’escalier.

esprit-de-lescalier


201st Anniversary Dinner, After Dinner Scene, Take 2.

What I should have started off with, was to politely introduce Mr. Calagui to the nature of the Initiative for Filipino Liberty so as to explain why such a suggestion was completely unsuitable.

First, the IFL espouses a philosophy that focuses primarily on how the government ought to use the powers expressly granted to it by the Filipino people, the extent of those powers and particularly where those powers stop. It also focuses on how persons can lessen the effects of arbitrary interference in daily life, exercised by those possessing power and influence.

N.B.: To the casual observer, this brands us as “yet another libertarian group” though perhaps one at odds with orthodox libertarianism. Most of us would certainly agree with the label.

However, unlike the many social-change advocacy groups to be found on the Internet these days, the IFL decided at the start of 2007 to limit ourselves to offering lectures on classical liberal theory and providing concrete proofs by promoting existing private solutions to problems res publica rather than demanding loudly that the government or religious institution or some other “class enemy” implement all sorts of social changes and then label the entire mess as “freedom”.

For the IFL to advocate for the dissolution of the matrimonial status, would not only be a betrayal of the cause of liberty by granting the Filipino State more power in the form of new burdensome implementing regulations and a further enlarged bureaucracy, but would open the IFL to accusations of violating the principles established in the existing Constitution of 1987, which clearly states that:

“The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.” (1987 Constitution. Art II, Sec. 6.)

Matrimony, as an institution, clearly exists outside the purview of the Filipino State. It existed well before the establishment of the national government on 24 June 1571, therefore the national government has no authority to interfere in defining, regulating, or implementing what it never created nor owneddespite the agonized howling and increasingly strident demands for the national government to do so, coming from over-privileged and politically immature armchair activists with access to a network connection.

As a principle, the IFL too, by virtue of being civic organization, has neither the right to demand that the religious sphere of society conform to the vagaries of the mob, nor the lawful authority to order our public servants and representatives to do so on our behalf.


The second point I should have made to Mr. Calagui is that ordinarily the individual person has about as much chance of withstanding state power as the Armed Forces of the Philippines has, of conquering, occupying, and implementing regime change in the People’s Republic of China.

However, the Initiative for Filipino Liberty has determined that there currently exists in our society, two social institutions that collectively have both the power and the influence to standoff total domination by the Filipino State:

Slide05

  1. the religious sphere (of special mention: the Roman, apostolic, and Catholic religion) which is already well-known for its resistance to State authority; and
  2. the “political household”, as recognized in the 1987 Constitution:

“The State [...] shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution.” (1987 Constitution. Art II, Sec. 12.);

“The State recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation.” (1987 Constitution. Art XV, Sec. 1.).

Once again, for the IFL to advocate for the dissolution of the matrimonial status, would not only betray the cause of liberty by granting the Filipino State a political power vacuum to exploit and further expand unchallenged, but would make IFL party to both denying the individual person his natural right to exercise his sovereignty and destroying a social institution which we have tasked ourselves with safeguarding and empowering for the purpose of stalemating the Filipino State.

Sadly, both points require a much more in-depth clarification than what the average after-dinner conversation allows for!


From Family to Political Household

Calls to “support the family” have, over the years, become increasingly sentimental, increasingly socialistic, and increasingly abandoned to religious institutions and thus negating much of its potential to challenge the Filipino State. A situation that the Initiative for Filipino Liberty hopes to rectify in the near future.

N.B.: The mental image most people get when the word “family” is mentioned the nuclear family. This is why the IFL deliberately uses the term “political household” to differentiate the common idea of the family from what the 1987 Constitution describes as an “autonomous social institution”.

A political household encompasses more than just the nuclear family. It is the entire familial association one has with his extended clan and their entire combined personal, social, economic, and political network under what is known as either the compadrazgo, kumpadre, or padrino system of reciprocal duties and obligations.

The average Filipino has come to view the padrino system as the source of all political evils and responsible for leading Filipino governance astray. This assumption is half-true at best.

Yes, most of us are powerless against established political households (the oligarchies) which possess an extra-legal stranglehold on the political system in the Philippines, if not outright own most of the national economy.

However, this personal powerlessness is not because the padrino system, which we have inherited from both the Malay and the Roman systems of governmental organization, is somehow evil in itself (malum in se), but that it has been destabilized through monopolization by those established political households currently in power.

N.B.: See [McCoy, A. (1993). An anarchy of families: State and family in the Philippines. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin, Center for Southeast Asian Studies. ISBN: 978-0299229849.] for a scholarly overview on the who’s-who of Filipino political power.

Furthermore, the average Filipino has conditioned himself to view the Filipino State as his only recourse to end the undue influence of these established political households; the very same Filipino State controlled by them! Anyone expecting this stacked deck to produce anything but disillusionment and broken political promises is insane.

This ingrained cognitive dissonance in the collective Filipino psyche is precisely what prevents the average Filipino from taking advantage of what the IFL has known for quite some time now: that given the right focus, every Filipino, no matter what his current economic or social status is at the moment, has the potential to turn his family into a powerful political household, challenge the established supremacies, and restore the padrino system to its natural balance.

(To be continued.)


Next: Taking On the Oligarchs: A practical plan for action.

The 4th of June Nest of Pigs Ouster

Saturday, 8th June 2013

The following article is an attempt to fulfill this blog’s purpose at providing news analysis. However, news must be transmitted in a timely and expedient fashion, something that is beyond this writer’s capacity at the moment. Therefore, this is being published before interest on the issue wanes.

Toe the Mainstream Media Party Line

If you follow the mainstream media (MSM), you will already be familiar with scandal that occurred this week, when the Philippine Daily Inquirer published the following controversial comic strip (PDI filename “pug130406.jpg”) by veteran cartoonist Apolonio “Pol” Medina, Jr.

Alt Text

Controversial “Pugad Baboy” comic strip “pug130406″, published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 4 June 2013.

At first glance, the matter seems cut and dried:

  1. On Tuesday, 4 June 2013, Mr. Medina authors a tasteless comic storyline in which “Bop”, a generic gay character accuses Christians of being hypocrites in their dealing with homosexuals.
  2. The punch line actually names St. Scholastica’s College as a haven for lesbian activity and accuses the staff, the Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing of deliberately encouraging such activities.
  3. In essence, impugning the reputation of a century-plus-old academic institution as well as slander against the parents, currently enrolled students, and about eight generations of very wealthy and politically powerful alumni.
  4. Naturally, there is considerable anger as the extended St. Scholastica family spreads the news of this “singular” insult throughout the social media.
  5. In response, the Board of Trustees of St. Scholastica’s College threatens legal action against the Philippine Daily Inquirer “unless an inquiry is launched”.
  6. On Wednesday, 5 June 2013, the Philippine Daily Inquirer suspends Mr. Medina who then chooses to fall on his sword when he realizes the shame and loss of political capital he has his patron, Mrs. Letty Magsanoc.
  7. On Friday, 7 June 2013, the Philippine Daily Inquirer tearfully, but reluctantly accepts Mr. Medina’s letter of resignation .

Having arrived at the “facts” presented, the reading public is now encouraged by the MSM to express outrage against in order to perhaps defend freedom of speech, or freedom of the press or simply “show support” of the artwork of Mr. Medina which has garnered a quarter century of fans across the Philippines, now portrayed as yet another plucky journalist who has been silenced by powerful interests.

Already, a number of communities on the Internet are using the controversy to further their own political agendas.

However, upon closer inspection, a number of details seem to have been lost in the MSM whitewash, causing the Filipino libertarian community to express reasonable doubt on the entire chain of events presented.

Questions We are Not Supposed to Ask:

  • Why was Mr. Medina the only person to be suspended by the Philippine Daily Inquirer?
  • Mr. Medina is no stranger to editorial censorship and has had his work refused by the PDI before, (See Medina, A. Ink & Politics 1.) so why is there no mention of any disciplinary action against the editor of the Entertainment section who had the editorial authority to allow or disallow the printing of “pug130406.jpg”?
  • Was Tuesday, 4 June 2013, the first time “pug130406.jpg” was published in the PDI?
  • What was the Pugad Baboy story arc that began on Monday, 3 June 2013 and how did “pug130406.jpg” fit into it?
  • Finally, who benefits from the controversy?

Analysis of PDI Internal File Numbering

On Monday, 3 June 2013, the Philippine Daily Inquirer published the first of the week’s series of Pugad Baboy comic strips featuring commentary by Adagulfo “Mang Dagul” Sungcal Jr. on the seeming resurgence of Kilusang Bagong Lipunan loyalists on the Internet. It is marked in the PDI Archive as “pug130603.jpg”.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer serializes filenames in it’s directory using a simple “pugYYMMDD” format, where “pug” represents “Pugad Baboy” accompanied by a six figure numbered date. YY = year, MM = month, and DD = day. This is to represent the date of publication. The other two remaining comics strips sharing the same storyline are, as expected, also internally serialized in the same manner.

Medina, A. (3 June 2013). Pugad Baboy. Intended date: 3 June 2013.

Medina, A. (3 June 2013). Pugad Baboy “pug130603.jpg”. Intended date: 3 June 2013.

However, the comic strip identified as “pug130604.png” and originally intended for Tuesday, 4 June 2013 is mysteriously delayed until Thursday, 6 June 2013 and replaced by the now-infamous “pug130406.jpg”.

Medina, A. (6 June 2013). Pugad Baboy. Intended date: 4 June 2013.

Medina, A. (6 June 2013). Pugad Baboy. Intended date: 4 June 2013.

When one reads the story arc in its intended order, (“pug130603.jpg” followed by “pug130604.png”), you can get a sense of continuity of the narrative.

In “pug130603.jpg”, Mang Dugal is at his laptop, commenting on a number of pro-KBL posts on Facebook. Next to him is Polgas on a second laptop. The scene in “pug130604.png” remains the same. Two characters sitting side-by-side with laptops, talking about pro-KBL posts on Facebook. Even the clothing of the characters is the same, which gives one the idea that these two comic strips were drawn one after the other in rapid succession. In “pug130603.jpg”, Mang Dugal mentions posts, which could anywhere on the Internet, however, in in “pug130604.png”, Facebook is mentioned telling the reader that the previously mentioned posts were actually Facebook status updates. Again, a sense of continuity in the narrative.

Thus, “pug130605.jpg” also gives a sense of time, with Mang Dagul and Polgas conversing later in the day, but continuing the same narrative.

Medina, A. (5 June 2013). Pugad Baboy. Intended date: 5 June 2013.

Medina, A. (5 June 2013). Pugad Baboy. Intended date: 5 June 2013.

If we were to follow the PDI’s actual publication order, Mang Dagul begins a rant about pro-KBL in  “pug130603.jpg” then the anti-Marcos story-arc suddenly shifts perspective to “pug130406.jpg”, after which the anti-Marcos arc returns with Mang Dagul in the kitchen, and finishes up with “pug130604.png” showing Mang Dagul having changed back into the same shirt as in “pug130603.jpg”.

The following chart shows this story arc discrepancy quite clearly.

PDI Filename

Intended Publication Order

Actual Date of Publication

pug130603.jpg Monday, 3 June 2013 Monday, 3 June 2013
pug130406.jpg Saturday, 6 April 2013 Tuesday, 4 June 2013
pug130605.jpg Wednesday, 5 June 2013 Wednesday, 5 June 2013
pug130604.png Tuesday, 4 June 2013 Thursday, 6 June 2013
(missing) Friday, 7 June 2013 -
(missing) Saturday, 8 June 2013 -

A glance at the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Pugad Baboy Archive confirms the anomalous placement of “pug130406.jpg” in the publication order.

Pugad Baboy Archive, Page 1

Pugad Baboy Archive, Page 1

What can be concluded from the evidence is that publication of “pug130406.jpg” required editorial authority, which Mr. Medina, as a contributor did not. A quick glance at the Management Team page of the PDI shows a certain Emy Velarde as the Editor for the Entertainment section.

As of this writing, there has been no mention of any censure or disciplinary action against her.

Origins of “pug130406.jpg”

On Thursday, 6 June 2013 at 9:32 am, Mr. Medina posted his version of events on his Facebook page:

Medina, A. (6 June 2013). Facebook post.

Medina, A. (6 June 2013). Facebook post.

“if you zoom in on that particular strip that got me fired, you’ll see that the strip first appeared in MARCH. no reaction then. it was reissued after i made a series of anti-marcos strips, then BOOM! nag-trending sa twitter. interesting. i smell a consPIGracy….”

https://www.facebook.com/polmedinajr/posts/388451944605662

A close-up on panel 2 of “pug130406.jpg” shows Mr. Medina’s own production code, “PMJR-MM-YY”, where “PMJR” are his initials accompanied by a four  figure numbered date. MM = month and YY = year. This is to represent the date the comic strip was created.

Close-up of panel 2 showing production code "PMJR0313".

Close-up of panel 2 showing production code “PMJR0313″.

This more or less gives credence to the theory that publication of “pug130406.jpg” on Tuesday, 4 June 2013 was an approved editorial decision, out of the hands of Mr. Medina.

However, a close-up on panel 1 of “pug130406.jpg” shows a second production code, marked as “PMJR0413″.

Close-up of panel 1 showing production code "PMJR0413". Taken from the PDI Archive.

Close-up of panel 1 showing production code “PMJR0413″. Taken from the PDI Archive.

N.B.: As of this writing, this comic strip has been removed from the PDI Archive and Mr. Medina has not yet shown the original.

This second production code “PMJR0413″ tallies somewhat with the PDI’s archive code “pug130406″. Comic strips “pug130603.jpg”, “pug130605.jpg” and “pug130604.png” all bear the production code “PMJR0613″.

N.B.: Without further information available, we speculate that Mr. Medina’s code not only acts as a batch production date, but also as an “editorial check” granting the PDI Entertainment Editor, Emy Velarde, express permission to reprint an old comic strip.

Another look at the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Pugad Baboy Archive shows that the comic slated for Saturday, 6 April 2013 is actually missing. Further evidence of editorial involvement.

Pugad Baboy Archive, Page 5

Pugad Baboy Archive, Page 5

There seems to be some discrepancy towards the employment status of Mr. Medina’s employment with the PDI as of Wednesday, 5 June 2013.

Diola, C. (2013, 6 June). Pugad Baboy creator claims ‘conPIGracy’ over suspended strip. Philippine Star. Retrieved from http://www.philstar.com/news-feature/2013/06/06/950848/pugad-baboy-creator-claims-conpigracy-over-suspended-strip

At this point in time, the official statement of the PDI says that Mr. Medina is “under suspension” but Mr. Medina claims to have been fired. He does retract his comments lightly later on.

“What? wait … Hindi pa pala ako fired. suspended lang hanggang magkaroon ng consensus na sipain ako. pero. Doon din siguro ang punta no’n. Sigh,”

This attitude is susprisingly in contrast to Mr. Medina’s resignation letter on Friday, 7 June 2013.

The resignation letter of Pol Medina, Jr., addressed to Philippine Daily Inquirer Editor-in-Chief Letty Jimenez Magsanoc. -- Photo courtesy of Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News

The resignation letter of Pol Medina, Jr., addressed to Philippine Daily Inquirer Editor-in-Chief Letty Jimenez Magsanoc. — Photo courtesy of Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News

Questions We are Not Supposed to Ask:

  • If what Mr. Medina says is accurate and that this code does in fact denote production date, (and what we speculate to be author consent), then why does “pug130406.jpg” not show a third production code “PMJR0613″?
  • Is it possible that Mr. Medina did not choose to resign over the furor caused by “pug130406.jpg”, but was asked to quietly resign (was fired) over his Facebook postings?

[To be continued]

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