Organic vs. Programmatic

In his column, Marvin Tort looks at the scuttlebutt concerning the latest round of executive reshufflings:

With Ricardo Saludo moving out, the position of Cabinet secretary becomes available. Coffee shops are also rife with rumors that outgoing Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon is likely to be appointed to the Defense post, while Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro (a nephew of Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco) will likely move to the Interior department. Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, meantime, will reportedly move to the Palace as executive secretary, while Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita will either be posted abroad or moved to the state gaming regulator Pagcor.

Another version of the rumor has Environment Secretary Lito Atienza moving to the Interior department, considering his long-time experience as a local official, first as vice mayor and then as mayor of the City of Manila. Other potential vacancies in the Cabinet are from the possible replacement of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, who may be moved back to the Palace as Cabinet secretary in place of Saludo; and Finance Secretary Gary Teves, who may be either posted abroad or named to head either a government financial institution or a government-owned and -controlled corporation.

There seems to be some issue with some Cabinet performances, particularly those of Yap and Teves. Yap, who is reportedly intending to run for the Senate in 2010, is getting plenty of undeserved flak nowadays because of the escalating prices of rice and wheat as well as corn and livestock, while Teves is reportedly being made to account for the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) collection shortfall for 2007. In the latter’s case, a party-list congressman who sits in the powerful Commission of Appointments already voiced his intention to ask Teves to explain the shortfall the next time the Finance secretary appears before the commission.

The Agriculture and Finance posts are obvious hardship posts, more so now with the brewing problems involving food security as well as limited government finances for much-need infrastructure and public spending. In this sense, it may be highly unlikely for the Palace to attract “new faces” to assume these posts. But it can choose to rehabilitate older faces, including former representative Butch Pichay, who may yet be interested to give Agriculture a go after failing in his bid to “plant” himself in the Senate. As for Finance, on and off several names have been bandied about, including those of Trade Secretary Peter Favila and Education Secretary Jesli Lapus, who were both at one time bankers in their respective professional careers. Also rumored to be considered for the post is the Development Bank of the Philippines’s Reynaldo David. Prior to joining Finance, Teves was also a banker, serving as chief executive of Land Bank of the Philippines.

What a deep bench!

History Unfolding makes an interesting comparison between Richard Nixon and Hillary Clinton, but finds her wanting, in comparison to Nixon, in one respect: party loyalty. This bears reading in the wake of Clinton’s victory in Pennsylvania (what does her winning margin mean? “Not a ringing endorsement,” says History Unfolding. See Slate’s Trailhead).

Back in 2007, I pointed to this entry, Samsung Slush Fund Scandal (via Global Voices). The drama came to a head with the results of an investigation that found the head of Samsung should be indicted for tax evasion, etc. but stopped short of pinning him down on the original allegations of maintaining a corporate slush fund to influence the government. No conviction, mind you, just a finding of cause for prosecution. Still, over the past few days, Korea’s Samsung Faces a Revolution Over Resignation, Scandal:

As a result, the company faces a continued crusade by the its former legal affairs chief, Kim Yong-cheol, to bring the chaebol to justice on allegations that it maintained a massive slush fund to pay off politicians, judges, journalists, civic groups and scholars and, so Kim claims, just about anybody else it needed to bribe. Kim and two civic groups — the Solidarity for Economic Reform and The People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy — said they will file appeals to the nation’s prosecution to reinvestigate.

The giant conglomerate also faces the continued animosity of the Catholic Priests Association for Justice, a 30-year-old association of priests that played a unique role in the drive for democracy in the 1980s and continues to serve as the nation’s conscience; Kim brought his allegations to the clerics last October before going public with them.

On another Korea-related note, see A Hanjin Heavy construction project inside a protected forest raises a storm of protest.

On to the blogosphere.

A story related by a friend in the bureaucracy.

A highly Americanized Secretary of Foreign Affairs was appointed and he decreed that it was high time the bureaucracy dispensed with typewriters and computerize its operations.

Studies were made; orders were placed; greater and greater heights of efficiency would soon be reached.

The time for budget proposals came and various underlings filed into the SECFORAF’s office, equipment requisitions in hand. They boasted computers and the necessary appurtenances thereto; but then, the boss noticed that there was still a budget provision for the purchase of typewriters.

“Goddamnit,” the Secretary of Foreign Affairs thundered, “I thought I told you to get rid of these damned things!”

A bureaucrat nodded, took the paper, looked at his boss, and quietly said, “brownouts, Sir.”

The SECFORAF grabbed the requisition papers and signed.

This story was brought to mind by Power Not by Desire, But By Right , in which cocoy continues the dialogue that’s been taking place between himself and various bloggers, and the group discussion that’s ensued. He has a key insight in comparing the debates on moving the country forward to debates between advocates of science and defenders of religion. The science-versus-religion debate is one that irks me, because it is essentially futile.

I never tire of asking people to read Stephen Jay Gould’s essay, Nonoverlapping Magisteria, much as it explains my own views of religion and science dealing with things that are really separate departments in our lives (an interesting critique of this, from the point of view of those interested in actually reconciling science with religion, is in A Separate Peace: Stephen Jay Gould and the Limits of Tolerance).

Religion and science deal with different Truths. Randy David was telling a group of people at a book launch recent of an Italian Marxist intellectual who is Gay and a practicing Catholic. How could he reconcile all these, he was asked. In a Postmodern world, he said, all things are possible. But that is already straying into the idea that there is no such thing as Truth.

The question of science and religion matters though, when religion is put forward as a problem in society, and therefore, politics, and when politics, it’s proposed, should be approached in a more scientific manner. Both represent dangerous situations.

Both science and religion, for example, have been used to promote the persecution of minorities; the solution to the dangers posed by both is a pluralistic, secular, but not atheistic, political order of some sort.

It would be wrong to demand of someone that they commit one of the ultimate crimes in religion -apostasy- in the name of science; it would be equally wrong to let science run rampant without ethics; but it would be wrong to confuse ethics with religious morality. Such a puzzlement! Hence my view that these are achieved only by trial-and-error and evolution, and not by attempts at social engineering -which all political revolutions are.

There is this impatience with religion, and anything non-scientific, as -well, to use the term with delicious irony- something anathema to progress, sanity, most of all, Reason with a capital “r”.

Since the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, people have tried to approach human behavior from a scientific point of view; the scientific method informs our behavior far more than we usually think; and up to the 19th Century -think of the Germans and their reduction of the Art of History into the History as one of Social Sciences- it seemed science would rule all and triumph absolutely. cocoy’s Elliot Maggin quote could just as well have been written by the revolutionaries in France who gave the world the far more rational Metric System. But the French and other revolutions also tells us that there is nothing new about the desire to topple superstition except the superstition that such desires are new or that they can be accomplished in willful defiance of a society’s norms.

Where did his and subsequent Five Year Plans get him or the Russians? His successor, Stalin, had to (temporarily) rehabilitate the Russian Orthodox Church, and appeal to the Motherland and not Glorious Socialism to inspire the Soviets to resist the Germans; he also had to restore military ranks, gold braid, and decorations to motivate the military. And the result is the rebuilding of Orthodox Churches throughout Russia after Scientific Socialism collapsed, because it proved to be a religion like any other.

Same with Mao, Pol Pot… There is no Final Solution for society, though there was once that effort to achieve a lasting “solution” to the “Jewish Question.” Yet how did that turn out? Israel was established after the Third Reich was consumed in the flames of shelling and fire bombing.

Robert MacNamara pioneered the use of computers for strategic bombing during World War II; his attempt to wage the Vietnam War in a scientifically rational manner, as Barbara Tuchman described it, placed that American effort as part of a continuum –“The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam”– that includes the Trojan War and its famous horse.

Randy David pointed out that in terms of society, we are undergoing a crisis of modernity. The crisis is being exacerbated by our political class, which finds itself uncompetitive in terms of public expectations and its own narrow interests. Society, too, is torn between modern attitudes and values and yes, fear of upsetting the status quo, which is to put it mildly, imperfect but at least, predictable.

Another sign is part of a larger trend, which is, that official wrongdoing is measured according to the past (i.e. Marcos) and if it isn’t an exact duplicate, then it’s nothing to worry about -but governments around the world have realized they can be more subtle about repression that past regimes, and subtlety lies in a “legalistic approach” to challenges to authority. What is this “legalistic” approach? The mantra of the administration, “bring it to court,” and say, Sweden, where two officials resigned over a firm they were formerly associated with, turning out to have exaggerated earnings; a year previously, the trade minister resigned over allegations of tax evasion.

In Sweden I was told sixty years of Socialist rule was broken only twice, most recently in the last election; observers won’t be surprised if in the next election blatantly racist party representative’s end up elected; reason, order, equality, have their limits. In the end, one Swede told me, they voted against the Socialists simply because they were tired of the same old faces, never mind if the Conservatives kept many of the policies and programs of the previous regime. We are men and women and not machines.

Postmodernism is beyond my ken but it seems to me that cocoy’s approach is true to his nature as a programmer. That requires a particular mindset, a way of ordering data and problem solving.I can only guess at what, precisely, separates a programmer’s way of thinking from, say, mine.

I cannot use the terms he takes for granted with any sort of precision. Reboot? Debug? Both point to the same Operating System? Replace the OS altogether, but will it be better? Are these even the proper terms or analogies?

Not necessarily and probably not; but will focusing on the rapidly changing face of technology and how its changing society, and basing political proposals on that be new -or as innovative as we might think? New Order, New Society, all old, old, old. Even Marx has been criticized as essentially pining for a return to what? Rousseau’s State of Nature?

For those, like me, who view things organically, is there any fundamental clash with the cultural programming other people propose? Only in terms, I think, of frames of reference. An organic development is something the British point to, their last revolution having been in 1688, and it was a (fairly) peaceful one, though it involved foreign conquest. Yet revolutionary changes have taken place, most recently when the Death Duties were imposed and took the aristocracy out of politics. But you are speaking here of looking at things in terms of centuries, generations, not nanoseconds.

But returning to things here at home. I think everyone dissatisfied with how things are, expresses dissatisfaction with the absence of competition.

Or put another way, what are perceived to be unfair competitive advantages for some. Say, the Catholic Church in population policy.

Condemning practicing Catholics or their clergy for medieval-minded approaches to population is futile because it requires apostasy of believers. On the other hand, the scientific method can be used -or what passes for it in terms of studying society- to determine if certain assumptions are valid. We assume the Church has political clout. Does it? But more importantly, in what ways, and what, if any, are the limits to its political influence? What are the views of the general public in the case of religion’s faith and morals and how they are applied in real life? Do religions wield a positive or negative clout, are they better at proposing, or more effective at opposing, policy? And so on. A scientific approach to competition solves the problem with requiring or wasting time on getting people to denounce their religion.

Incidentally, good to see Benign0 is blogging. He brings up the question of trust; there are institutions in the Philippines that do function, and function in the public interest, or at least, which come close to doing so (it may sometimes be subdivisions of particular offices, such as portions of the National Archives, or say, the government office tasked with preparing maps, even some parts of the Office of the President, or even much of NEDA or some sub-offices of the Department of Education, for example) but the problem is the ramshackle approach that permeates everything else -and it goes beyond government, and includes the private sector.

Which is not to say changes aren’t taking place. They are, and those changes are, to my mind, profound -the end of the “old obediences” (see Charisma versus routines. the genesis of this in comments I wrote on August 21, 2007 and August 22, 2007) This is actually a revolutionary change, to my mind; but it cannot be accelerated although it will have the tendency to accelerate changes. But there is a difference between believing you can push it along and working to harness the momentum such changes have already produced.

Someone deeply involved in the peace process told me that you need a decade of peace for it to really sink in and alter people’s behavior, so that development takes place. At best, 2010 can only be the first glimmerings of a Reform Constituency and a realistic expectation, assuming we retain the current setup, is for that constituency to be poised to take power in 2016. Therefore if one of the goals is to exact justice for the crimes of the past few years, forget about it. And my suspicion is, this desire will actually hinder the coming together and the gathering of the momentum for that change in leadership and attitudes to governance in 2016. Because it will only lead to current wounds festering beyond 2010.

Anyway, do read If you ran this country… by Jim Paredes (I agree with practically all his proposals) and I am Change, Are You? by Harvey Keh.

Just a tidbit: didn’t realize, until I reviewed my June 10, 2005 entry, that the admin’s fondness for the Mabuhay Rotonda dates to the early days of the crisis.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

70 thoughts on “Organic vs. Programmatic

  1. MLQ3,
    This is not the first time I’ve read Stephen Jay Gould’s essay, but reading it again confirms my personal belief that he in no way represents the opinion of the scientific mainstream, certainly not the deep core of Platonists that mathematics, physics and the other hard sciences are composed of. Even among the life sciences, the paleontologists have always been soft on Religion because their methods overlap with the anthropological bent of religious “scientists”. Indeed, there is some distance between the magisteria possible when considering his specialization because between the appearance of homo sapiens a scant 250,000 years or so, or hominids say 5 million years ago, lies a huge gulf of 13,000 million years of earth history, during which we know from Catholic revelation itself, “God” spent his time mainly designing, creating, bringing into existence and then slaughtering trillions upon trillions of living beings. Yet even there, paleontology itself necessarily contradicts a literal interpretation of that history based on the Bible and Christian belief.

    I am surprise by the way that SJG does not mention a far more proximate contradiction between the Magisteria which ought to blow away any illusions that there is room for some kind of decent separation at all. It is the 1950 infallible teaching that a certain Virgin named Mary, DID NOT DIE, or was instantly resurrected upon death and instantly ASSUMED into heaven. This may not be an paleontological issue, but certainly any serious biologist cannot be expected to shrug this infallible teaching off as some kind of academic freedom thingy, NOMA or none!

    The other bit of Papal infallibility from Vatican I is that the same young lady, who birthed a God-Man was conceived without original sin. Okay, NOMA is safe in 1870 as science has nothing to say about original sin. But luckily for John Paul II, his rehabilitation of Galileo in 1995 and admission that the earth moves around the sun does not run afoul of the Church’s previous belief in geocentrism, which was not declared an infallible principle in 1870 only because it was already obvious by then how wrong geocentrism was.

    It suits the church just fine to proclaim NOMA, but most scientists would allow it only because most scientists are believers in Democracy and freedom to believe virtually anything a citizen wants to.

    I think Science does not however accept being relegated to studying the “empirical constitution” of the universe, certainly not since Einstein revolutionized cosmology and Kurt Godel mathematics itself. The study of Man in all his aspects is a proper study of science AS religion.

    Science is my religion. NOMA is no mo for me, because as my hero Pope John Paul II says, truth cannot contradict truth! Mike Velarde’s magisterium is shrinking to nothing, and along with him goes Benedict and all the rest of them. That is not to say I would not accept, welcome and love their total conversion to my Religion.

  2. The ‘Reform Constituency’ can take power if they do another Hello Garci. That’s what the previous ‘Reform Constituency’ under Gloria Arroyo did.

  3. The absolute truth does exist. Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and you shall be saved! That includes you too DJB!

    If you don’t … sige, lagot ka. “I told you so,” I will sigh, smiling down from heaven while you burn in hell.

  4. If you don’t … sige, lagot ka. “I told you so,” I will sigh, smiling down from heaven while you burn in hell.

    As a Christian myself, Victory, I find that attitude absolutely repugnant.

  5. Jeg,

    As a Christian, then you must know that there is no spiritual “second place”. Its either heaven or hell right? And how do we get there? Through Jesus, only through him, right?

    So what does this mean?

    1. The native americans whose land and culture were taken away by “Christians” are burning in hell. Sorry na lang sila kasi they worship animals.

    2. Lapu-lapu and all the ancient Filipinos who resisted (or predated) Spanish Christianization are also burning in hell.

    3. Are the Jews (who reject Jesus) killed during the Holocaust burning in Hell next to Hitler?

    4. Thousands of children are dying in Africa every day and for most, their suffering has only begun. Hell awaits those who were born to pagan parents and not converted.

    5. Considering that there are 300 billion stars in this Galaxy and thousands of Galaxies in our local cluster. Then it is not a stretch of the imagination to conclude that intelligent life is out there but they too are going to hell since the Bible and Jesus’ teaching have not reached them yet (unless they are listening to our communications).

    Kaya ganun. Convert na kayo!!! Walang sisihan!

  6. I can imagine Bert Romulo’s expression when he saw the typewriters in next year’s budget.– Hahaha! But that guy has a sense of humor too. His grudging approval for the typewriters must have come with the realization that a good UPS for all the PC’s would be costlier.

    But come to think of it, double encoding as soon as the electricity comes back is costlier.. He probably should have invested in generators. They are selling it cheaply in Subic.

  7. Jeg, you must admit that is repugnant when you come face to face with the implications of such a belief system. That’s why i was telling Resty that it is a contradiction (or paradox or mystery).

  8. Although I have a sneaking suspicion that this could be some sort of parody, sadly I have encountered people like Victory who were absolutely serious.


    Ive read Jim Paredes’s blog entry and agree mostly with what he wrote. One of the things I disagree with is the bit about requiring candidates for public office to be college graduates.

    DJB: This is not the first time I’ve read Stephen Jay Gould’s essay, but reading it again confirms my personal belief that he in no way represents the opinion of the scientific mainstream

    I have learned long ago to treat the views of the scientific mainstream with a healthy dose of skepticism.

  9. Jeg,

    Do I need to quote scripture?

    The Bible is The Word of God is it not? There are rules and they must be followed (unless you are a cafeteria Christian).

    Take homosexuality for example. Although personally I believe it to be a genetic predisposition, the Bible clearly states that it is WRONG — a sin. Kaya ganun, according to my “Christian Beliefs”, being gay is bad daw. Kaya ganun, walang personalan, scripture lang pare 🙂

  10. On typewriters, Im trying to remember who it was who said it, referring to the shift in writers with the advent of the computer. He said before, with typrewriters, writers write when they had something to say. Now with the word processors, they write to find out if they have something to say.

    The fella who retained typewriters in the DFA budget could prove to be prescient when the energy crunch hits.

  11. The Bible is The Word of God is it not? There are rules and they must be followed (unless you are a cafeteria Christian). – Victory


    Who says so?

  12. Benign0,

    Convert ka na rin! Get Real or Burn in Hell.

    I will pray for your soul 🙂

  13. Someone said that all of nature is artificial anyway, meaning we are at the forefront of evolution every step of the way. We create our future, maybe going interplanetary in the future, ever since our primordial soup ancestor.

    If one wants proof or at least a close enough empirical proof of the existence of the spirit or God or whatever we want to call it, one only needs to muddle over quantum physics. There is that interesting observation that an atom or a particle can be in two places at the same time. However, some nutty mind-over matter folks tended to go overboard with interpretation of this and use it to justify the existence of literal angels and spirts and stuff.

    Interesting stuff becasue I have absolutely no problem with science and religion together. Check out the books by astronomer Carl Sagan (i.e. Contact, the novel not the movie). Then there’s the attempt of Baruch Spinoza (Ethics) to prove the existence of God through logic. To him nature is God, QED.

  14. benign0’s blogpost has this entry:
    “One of the most important lessons …. that a nation’s well-being, as well as its ability to compete, is conditioned by a single, pervasive cultural characteristic: the level of trust inherent in the society.”

    This reminds me of of an American comedian’s comment:
    “I love the Pope, I love seeing him in his Pope-Mobile, his three feet of bullet proof plexi-glass. That’s faith in action folks! You know he’s got God on his side.”

  15. benign0 does label the “trust thing” — “…. that beyond the family, Filipinos hardly trusted anybody” — as a gaping hole in our cultural fabric, a cultural flaw among Filipinos in the Philippines.

  16. I hazard to suggest that a serious Filipino weakness is this pervasive high tolerance for corruption — that if you put ten thousand heads of family randomly chosen, that over 9,000 will be accepting of tolerant of low-level and mid-level corruption. “He who is without sin cast the first stone!”, they have been preached to. Or maybe it is this expectation, even posed as a challenge — “mababa talaga ang suweldo nila, problema nila na gumawa ng paraan”.

  17. Governments of western countries seem to agree with my suggestion. In particular, US-of-A dollars are offered as direct incentive for Philippine institutions to be less tolerant of corruption.

    Jan 2008 WASHINGTON D.C. – The head of America’s chief global poverty-fighting arm said indications of worsening corruption in the Philippines is blocking the way to hundreds of millions of dollars in additional help. John Danilovich, Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), said they have “serious concerns” with corruption indicators for the Philippines.“The drop in performance was in fact very dramatic,” he told reporters during a briefing at the Foreign Press Center here on Wednesday, January 30.

    The MCC, established in 2004 to administer the Millennium Challenge Account, is part of the US development assistance infrastructure that rewards countries “that have demonstrated commitment to implement political, social and economic reforms.”

  18. mlq3: The lesson of tolerance from “He who is without sin cast the first stone!” should be downplayed, then. Whether or not a (Jewish, Italian, French, Filipino, Aussie) family has to do white lies, venial or worse sins in order to defend itself/achieve progress for its members, the family should still be intolerant of any level corruption. Life should be fair, but even when it is not, the lesson should NOT be of forgiveness, the lesson should be that if you get caught, that you’ll pay the price……….even if there are cases when “… so-and-so gets away with worse”.

  19. Carl Sagan is a pantheist. The epilogue of “Contact” (as well as some of his statements confirm this. Anyhoo, the existence of a creator of the universe (an unnecessary assumption BTW) is a heck of a lot of steps removed from a guy in the sky who cares which team wins the UAAP championship.

    NOMA is good only if you want to justify an irrational belief system with rational thought processes. It’s for scientists uncomfortable with the idea that the god they believe in is too scared to come out and show himself.

  20. Carl Sagan is an atheist, no if’s, no but’s. On his deathbed, his wife pleaded with him to just mouth the words of believing (why not? what will it cost you?) and he still refused.

  21. upn, what’s always gotten my goat about the “let he who is without sin” argument is that it completely ignores what the whole story was about. there was a woman accused of adultery, the penalty for which was being stoned together. christ, as the proponent of a new (gentler, kinder) evolution in jewish morality basically said that for such a sin, the penalty was too absolute and too harsh. he did not, if i recall the story correctly, condone the sin; what he offered was a chance for repentance and a new lease on life based on that repentance -and the exclusion of the old penalty which allowed no appeal (you die, that’s it).

    using christ’s words then sets aside what the statement was initially meant to teach -to suit the punishment to the crime and have no punishment which didn’t offer a chance for redemption. this is the same logic, in secular terms, behind my repeated assertion that we ought to remember that what’s at stake for the president and other officials is not life or liberty or property, in terms of resignation, etc. and where these things would be endangered, the constitution, etc. allow for purely judicial trials considering what’s at stake.

    but then again without the need for jesus or constitutions, indeed, what you pointed out is the case, and how we’re taught from our earliest years in school. you get caught, you get punished, you are expected to be sorry. sometimes, if you ‘fess up, maybe your punishment will be less, but that’s an option. but of course that’s what families should be -intolerant of corruption- but we live in societies that often punish such intolerance.

    still, one lesson of modernity is, intolerance to corruption ends up serving the family’s interest, particularly as society and our surroundings become more complex; there are simply too many potential lethal consequences of corruption capable of exterminating whole families to do otherwise.

  22. @ Victory

    “As a Christian, then you must know that there is no spiritual “second place”. Its either heaven or hell right? And how do we get there? Through Jesus, only through him, right?”

    Hmm… Again with you types. Catholic teachings say the existence of Purgatory, a chance at repentance. I suffice that you remember Dante and the Divine Comedy? Christ is in favor of a gentler sentence. (quoting the last post of MLQ3)

    “3. Are the Jews (who reject Jesus) killed during the Holocaust burning in Hell next to Hitler?”

    How racist… No further comment… Wait I still have a few… They believe in the same God we believe in. Please get your facts right there, Christ was born a Jew.

    If you’re some parody guy… Thank you for wasting my time…

  23. mlq3: I have no idea if the “cast first stone” story is among reasons for “… pabayaan mo na — parepareho lang naman eh” practice. But as you say, “cast-first-stone” parable is punishment-to-fit-crime (plus repentance), not “cast a blind eye”.

    Justice is determined by the penalty, the size of the stones cast. It is kind of hard to provide justice to one whose crime has not been caught or to ask from the violator what Jesus asked — repentance. [Justice is the goal. Vigilante justice — which can be harsh and uneven — is not.]

    The citizenry deserves good laws from the Legislative Branch and for Executive and Judicial to do their jobs. The Executive has the job to catch the law-breakers and present the evidence to obtain conviction. The Judicial, to affirm which laws have been broken, and to determine penalty.

    The Executive Branch has the job to catch the law-breakers especially if the law-breakers are within the Executive Branch.

  24. UP n,

    I have got to get hold of Carl Sagan’s bio. Say, what was the wife asking him precisely? Was she doing so or requesting him in the name of some organized religion? If you read Carl Sagan’s writings or even our favorite geek, Einstein, lotsa going for Team God there that’s for sure — not the secular variety though.

  25. The MilleniumGrant from USA is pushing to strengthen the the bureaucracy — institutions of governance — (e.g. more efficiency regarding lifestyle checks) because the civil servants inside the Executive Branch has the legwork (plus accounting work) to catch the law-breakers even if/especially if the law-breakers are within the Executive Branch.

  26. Jim Paredes suggestion of eliminating Pork I can agree, but slush funds for some Cabinet Departments should be maintained for immediate disbursement for emergencies..That way it will only involve a few departments and easily accounted for, not hundreds of Lawmakers without having to account for them..

    As for the requirement of candidates having to have college degrees, I beg to disagree. First Jim, should have suggested a process of nominating candidates as this will eliminate unqualified individuals from running and to disqualify individual on the basis of lack of College Degree may violate the Right to Equality granted to all citizens. To me let the voters decide and if the process, from nominating, campaigning, and the party’s own screening of its own candidates are overboard and the Electoral Body vigilant enforcement of electoral law, the voters will rightfully elect the leaders deserving the office..

  27. upn, i’m just quoting the president who invoked jesus’ words in her own defense. as amplified by the cabinet and state media, etc.

  28. DJB,

    You realize, of course, science is not a belief and no one has to have “faith” in science. The mind itself is incapable of going about functioning with a lot of gaps and unfinished theories and ongoing research that science has to live with. Manolo is right, you are verging into fundamentalism. Sprinkle a little humanism in your rigorous scientific mind.

  29. Victory for Christ, “Convert ka na rin! Get Real or Burn in Hell.”

    The Jews, the chosen people of God did not believe in Christ. You must be thinking that Moses, Elijah and all the prophets are in hell.

    Your message is devoid of God’s gift-freewill and seriously flawed.

  30. trust your surgeon…Philippine College of Surgeons’ bumper sticker


    duque missed the glory of success…

    but what was missed in this success story?

    …it’s the code of ethics…the violation of it also…as this woman views it…

  31. “Bentulan’s proposal: Raise salaries 10 times! Immediately! Don’t worry about inflation, boost purchasing power, now!”

    Bentulan is the most anti-rich guy I know.

  32. CHANGE is an excellent political propaganda, like being employed by Senator Obama.

    Philippines has changed presidents many times and the percentages of population in poverty have increased instead. In reality, there is no incentive to change a political setup where the clannish families are the main beneficiaries of the laws created by big landlholder congressmen and senators. In essence, why fix a system when it is not broken as far as the beneficiaries are concerned.

  33. The CEOs of foreign corporations have repeatedly called on the Philippine president on government corruption. Any significant change in corruption has to start with the officials who run the country.

    But that is fallen into deaf ears. Commission or “patongs” has been the lifeblood of political power. All government projects have “patongs”, up to the abandoned ZTE contract.

  34. Religion is a master of labellers. In religion, people are infidels, sinners, chosen people, gentiles, jews, nonbelievers, holy people, etc.

    Religious people are no different from the politically-fixated. In politics, people are liberals, conservatives, democrats, commies, socialist, pro-Gloria, anti-Gloria, etc.

    The biggest outrage that religion has to offer is to slap on labels to babies. A baby is born a Catholic, a Jew, a Muslim, etc. What does a baby know about being either of those? Labelling a baby as such is just us introducing this innocent being into the world of moronic “adult” thinking that we’ve created.

    Worse, we say that it is “God’s will.”

    Worse, still, we apparently don’t see the utter ridiculousness of this.

    The effect of such fields of thought that label people (religion, politics, racism, etc.) is that they create really cushy comfort zones for the vacuous mind. Labels are convenient ways to reduce the amount of thinking required for vacuous minds to decide what to believe in.

  35. The country is mired in corruption that the word requirement is synonymous with corrution. The youth who are future of this country were already trained to comply with loaded requirements (aka corruption) before they can even graduate and get gainful employment. One has to buy this particular dress and white shoes from particular source before the school can release your nursing diploma. An original old birth certificate is no longer sufficient. A latest NSO stamped birth certificate is a big business. Five different entities asking for birth certificates will raked fees in getting dated birth certificates. Incorrect names or information generated more income just to have the information corrected from local to national office.

    But that is the nature of doing business in the Philippines – corruption in every level of government. Change? Obviously the beneficiaries of corruption/requirement money will not want to change.

  36. “Anyway, do read If you ran this country… by Jim Paredes (I agree with practically all his proposals)”

    Here are more gems a la Jim Paredes:

    14. Equalize how justice is served in this country. If everyone, not just the well-connected, feels that justice works for him, he will be a more enthusiastic and proactive citizen of this country.

    15. We must appreciate our good habits and do away with our bad habits. If Filipinos improve on the traits they are good at and shed away their vices, they will be able to contribute significantly to this country’s progress.

    16. Give opportunities to talented Filipinos. Hundreds of thousands of talented individuals leave the country for greener pastures, thus siphoning out precious human capital to benefit foreign territories. We must ENCOURAGE (!) businesses to find ways of harnessing the precious potential and CREATIVITY of Filipinos.

    17. Work overtime to achieve peace ni Mindanao and with the communist rebels. A country without internal strife gives the impression that it is serious about progress. Achieving peace leaves a lasting impression on those most affected by conflict that the Philippines can be a good place to live in and also sends a good message to investors.

    To be continued…

    [And, oh, I was being sarcastic)

  37. Labels are convenient ways to reduce the amount of thinking required for vacuous minds to decide what to believe in.

    yet who’s this vacuous mind who’s been labeling filipinos ‘vacuous’?

  38. I agree with Jim’s Paredes blog however he missed one thing that is truly what we need to change.

    This my view and my opinion. It is more organic.

    Economic and political provisions are fixed in the BOOK, the Constitution. In this book, it also contains the provisions for our accounting principles. Accounting Principles that is supposed to serve as a guide for the Financial Management of Our Country.
    Expenses on Projects for all developments are recorded poorly. Money borrowed from other countries, taxation revenues and overseas remittances are not accounted accordingly. Pork Barrel and other Funds such as Aids from other countries are also not recorded properly. Debits and Credits are not transparent especially the recipients among leaders. Our economy is a closed economy. Financial transactions are mostly not legitimate. This is the main reason why corruption exists. Our economy is closed for public scrutiny and direct accountability. One person will account but bribery is being practiced because our Constitutional Code in the area of Financial management is actually the weakest link.
    In managing a small or medium business, a system must be followed. Basic system includes policy and procedure, bookkeeping, employees’ job description and qualification. Comparing this Basic System is actually our CONSTITUTION. It’s monetary and fiscal policy.
    There are so many codes in our Constitution that needs to be revised and must be followed by our leaders. For example on debt servicing Code: Section 26 (B) Book 6 of the Revised Administrative Code of 1987 is the mother of all these debt-creating laws.
    Or you can read this link:

    Once our economy is open for public accountability and is transparent then the best thing to do is to take advantage of high technology. All projects must be disclosed thru regional website or city website. The needs of the people must be website uploaded and open for public revision and additions in accordance to economic fluctuations. Budget proposals and planned by any politicians must always be open for public reviews.

    My views are both organic and programmatic.
    In terms of Science and Religion, we are still a premature country. Our country has room for growth. It is an emerging economy.

  39. yet who’s this vacuous mind who’s been labeling filipinos ‘vacuous’? – Inodoro

    The word “Vacuous” (in the context of my use of it) is not a label.

    It is an adjective.

    An adjective describes. It does not categorise or classify the way a label does.

    Vacuous nga naman talaga.

    – 😀

  40. The effect of such fields of thought that label people (religion, politics, racism, etc.) is that they create really cushy comfort zones for the vacuous mind. Labels are convenient ways to reduce the amount of thinking required for vacuous minds to decide what to believe in.

    ^ i love this

    when people rely on religious absolutes or social truths, they prevent themselves from thinking out of the box and from coming up with concrete and logical solutions to certain issues. its a path leading to a dead end. so when they cant find a solution to solve the problem, they end up blaming secular institutions instead.

  41. Benigno,

    Good blog you have there. I agree with trust. It is more of the social aspect or social responsibility of an individual. What about in the aspect of purely managing an economy? This is financial administration and management. Corruption involves money therefore proper financial management must be in placed in Constitution. It is not transparent therefore trust will not be gained.

    here are three levels of corruption within our government:
    1. Upper level corruption : non transparency of financial accounting in our banking system can lead to easy manipulation of funds in the upper management, the executives,ministers and finance department. Including bribery and high management charge with the oligarch.

    2.Mid level corruption: senator,congressman and mayors. non transparency of budgets allocated for social purposes, ex Pork. Projects are not open for public reviews.projects are of poor quality.

    3. Lower level: we the people of the Philippines tolerated this mess… we can be bought during elections. we don’t demand the right governance except going back and forth to EDSA. Corruption has long been inculturated in us. its practice is seen not only in government transactions. Even within the confines of our home. making a child do errands in exchange of five or ten pesos is subtle corruption and we are teaching them young. a parent giving gifts to his/her child’s teacher is another form and we are showing our children how. the practice is so ordinary and common place that it has become tolerable and common place too. this is what the CBCP statement really means: for us, as a family, as a community to pray, discern and do something within as a group to set example and influence others.

  42. Jim Paredes appropriately titled his piece as “If you ran this country…”.

    The biggest piece of change relies heavily on the political power who can implement it. Unfortunately, time and time again, political leaders have no interest on changes that would diminish their political gains.

  43. Trust is the response based on experience. Therefore, it is not the key to fight corruption as blogged by Benign0. For many years, Filipinos have trusted their leaders, one after another but with dissappointing results.

    Simply, there are no tyrants if subjects refused to become slaves. The key to fight corruptions is for the citizens to become vigilant and take political power if necessary to attain fair and just system. People in the first world share the same attitude – they held their leaders accountable for their policies and programs. Ask the French, Canadians, Americans, British, Koreans and the Japanese.

    Trust, excuse me. There is no such thing.

  44. there is trust, really..

    is just that its difficult to earn it in the Philippine context..

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