Category: altered states

aguirre’s anti-drugs rhetoric

At the Senate hearing on Delos Santos’ death on Thursday, August 24, Aguirre asked human rights groups why they are not as vocal whenever drug addicts kill or rape victims, echoing his statements at a House budget hearing on Wednesday, August 23.

“Bakit ‘yung sa Bulacan, mayroong ni-rape na babae tapos may 3 minor, bakit ni isa walang dumalaw? Even one from human rights. [But] the (human rights) chairman went to the wake of Kian yesterday. So ‘yun po disproportionate; parang ‘di pantay. Anong diperensya ng pinatay na bata ng mga adik sa pinatay na bata ng mga pulis?” (What’s the difference between a child killed by an addict and a child killed by police?)

the justice secretary is being the president’s lawyer, of course, defending duterte’s drug war and the besieged police, muddying the waters without compunction, and distracting from the real issue at hand.  on social media, the ka-DDS (duterte diehard supporters) have picked it up, echoing and affirming aguirre’s question as the correct response to bleeding hearts crying for an end to the killings of kids such as kian.

isang taon na tayong stuck sa usaping ito.  read marvin bionat’s PH social media drowning in fallacies and incivility posted 31 aug 2016.  even then, nakakanerbiyos na ang takbo ng isip ng maraming pro-duterte.

… supporters of extrajudicial killings often post on social media their now ubiquitous question: “Where is the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) when innocent civilians are murdered, raped and robbed by drug addicts?” There is a straightforward answer to that question—that is, the CHR’s constitutional mandate is not fighting crime but fighting human rights abuses involving civil and political rights, so they have nothing to do with daily crimes and police work. It is like asking where the nurses and doctors are (not the fire department) to put out a raging fire. But the emotion-laden rhetorical question suits those who would rather not see the CHR meddle in the government’s war on drugs.  

read too fr. ranhillo aquino’s Fallacy as the new normal, posted 25 august 2017.  

When bishops decried Kian’s murder only recently, there almost immediately followed a flurry of regurgitated issues about clergy abuse of minors. There was also posed what, I can only presume, was meant to be rhetorical question: “Bakit hindi kayo nag-ingay nung may pinatay ag ginahasa ang mga adik?”  It is not the fallacies that alarm me, because they can occur even in the discourses of the learned—of course, at a very high, almost indiscernible, degree of subtlety.  But the fallacies on Facebook and other social media sites are blatant and arrant.  What makes me quake in my shoes though is that they are no longer recognized as fallacies and have in fact been accepted as the “rhetoric” of the age.  Fallacy is irrationality and to make it the mode of thinking is pathetic, tragic even.

…When a bishop cries out “This is murder” and you answer “Direct your priests first who molest children”, the fallacy should be clear.  The question is whether the deed is murder or not.  The molestation issue is quite another — which is not to say that it is not a legitimate issue.

AGUIRRE:  Anong diperensya ng pinatay na bata ng mga adik sa pinatay na bata ng mga pulis?

may tama si aguirre: walang pinag-iba ang batang pinatay ng adik sa batang pinatay ng pulis.  if we’re talking about the bata as victim, well, they’re both dead. if we’re talking about the killers, well, parepareho silang nawala sa sarili, yung adik under the inflluence of shabu, yung pulis under the influence of the president’s kill kill kill orders — i have your backs, say niya, and that must be so nakaka-high.

and, hey, they all deserve due process and rehab options, crazed addicts and trigger-happy cops alike.

the curious case of leila de lima

it cuts across gender, the outrage over the “slut-shaming” of senator leila de lima the day her former driver-lover ronnie dayan was in the house and the committee on justice gleefully lecherously interrogated him mostly about his love affair with the senator, ostensibly in aid of checking out how close, even how intense, exactly the relationship was, the better to convince us that the senator and her former lover were in cahoots, collecting protection money from drug traders in and out of bilibid when she was secretary of justice in the time of aquino III.

but also i thought, and commented on twitter, that she was not exactly blameless.  as a public servant and public figure she could have been more careful.  the retort, of course, zoomed in on the double standard: that a male counterpart’s sexual activities would not be feasted on in a public hearing in the same way.

but how do we know?  it has never happened (correct me if i’m wrong) that a male secretary of justice / cabinet member was accused of accepting protection money or bribes from drug lords or other interest groups with the alleged connivance of an employee, maybe a secretary, with whom he was having an affair, acting as bag lady.

at kung magkaroon man na counterpart case, i have no doubt that the house of reps would behave just as gleefully and lecherously once the bag lady appeared before them.  although i imagine that it would be quite different from the dayan episode where it became usapang lalaki, with dayan being the essential macho, eager to share his sexual exploit with the boss lady who happened to be the secretary of justice, no less.  i imagine that if it were a lady on the hot seat, and she were just a bit more sophisticated than dayan, she would know to draw the line and tell off the machos, even dare them to cite her in contempt for refusing to answer such questions.  public opinion would be squarely on her side.

under de lima’s watch, of course, there was the senator accused of plunder via the napoles pork barrel scam; he was alleged to have received commissions through his lady chief of staff, with whom he was allegedly, and long rumored to, having an affair.  i don’t recall the senate holding public hearings on that one; i don’t recall ever hearing the voice of the chief of staff testifying to or denying anything.  i suppose the senator was just too senior and know-it-all, a hero of sorts even, who would surely have lashed back so that his colleagues in the senate probably didn’t dare; besides, he never admitted to the relationship, saying he was too old.  (the senate, however, did not spare another, younger, senator, also with the opposition, but who was not having an affair with his self-confessed bag lady.)

also under justice sec de lima’s watch, former prez gloria arroyo was prevented from leaving the country and eventually placed under hospital arrest, and eight members of iglesia ni cristo’s sanggunian board were charged for illegal detention based on a complaint by a besieged iglesia minister.

As Secretary of Justice, De Lima continued to collect the enemies that would one day seek her “karma,” in the words of former first gentleman Mike Arroyo and, more recently, the daughter of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.

that’s tony la viña, standing as character witness, in Leila de Lima: A woman for all seasons. and this is randy david reacting to de lima’s public humiliation in Do lawmakers have a sexual life?

Someone is undoubtedly behind this badly written script, someone who seeks to destroy Senator De Lima because she has become emblematic of everything that the Aquino administration stood for. To destroy her is to deface the legacy of that administration.

indeed de lima could be innocent.  it may be true that she was never on the take, she did not use money from the drug trade to win herself a seat in the senate.  but there are questions that she has managed not to answer satisfactorily, if at all.  principally: why did the drug trade in bilibid continue anyway even after oplan galugad’s more than 30 raids from 2014 to 2016?

and if she was not on the take, then who pocketed/banked all those millions in cash that the bilibid boys said they contributed for her campaign?  dayan?  but how could de lima not have known?  or were they all lying — the bilibid boys, dayan, and kerwin espinosa — just to help along president duterte’s fearless forecast that de lima will rot in jail?

but whether or not she was on the take, de lima was certainly very careless when it came to her love life.  gets ko naman that she has a thing for the driver-bodyguard type of guy.  medyo liberating for a woman ‘yung being in a position to indulge one’s sexual preferences and urges, or should i say, to succumb to one’s sexual frailties, never mind how unconventional or tacky or taboo (as hamlet’s mother did, to his utter dismay).  pero di ko gets that she allegedly indulged in such frailty for 7 long years, from when she was human rights commissioner through most of her stint as secretary of justice — this last a sensitive position that should have compelled her to exercise the utmost discretion para hindi mabuking ang kanyang frailty at ma-exploit ng mga masasamang loob to the detriment of nation.  i mean, you know, she owed it to nation to be beyond reproach and beyond victimization.

i always doubted that she was on the take just because hindi ako makapaniwalang inakala niya that she could get away with it, she would never get caught, no one would ever dare spill the beans on her bilibid drug-trade racket.  i found that quite curious, even incredible.   hubris ba ang tawag doon?  sagot ng isang atribida, hindi po, akala po ni de lima mananalo si mar for president, tapos si leni o si bam in 2022.  di po ba yun ang mantra ng LP?  12 more years?!?

well, that might explain it.  but after mar had lost and digong was going to town na with his allegations of her involvement in the drug trade as protectress, she continued to be quite careless, particularly with that text message via dayan’s daughter advising her former lover to ignore the house justice committee’s summons at magtago na lang.

it was rather shortsighted of her not to have anticipated that without serious assistance the guy would eventually be caught and that text message revealed.  as it turns out, silence would have been the better part of valor.  what if she had at once admitted the relationship instead, and dayan had promptly heeded the summons and faced off with the bilibid boys?   then perhaps much more info would have come to light about the bilibid drug trade, narco-politics, and de lima’s role, if any, than about her sex life.

the good news is, dayan is set to testify in a senate hearing of ping lacson’s committee on public order and dangerous drugs on monday, dec 5.  we might see daw a face-off between dayan and kerwin espinosa.  sana with senator de lima na rin, although she might be, you know, too frail for that.

duterte and history

in gina apostol’s President Duterte and our revolutionary history and sylvia mayuga’s The politics of memory, the thinking, basically, is that the president’s anti-imperialist rants are not worthy of attention, much less of celebration, not because he has his facts wrong but because his “indiscriminate” and “chilling” war on drugs makes him as bad, even, as morally bankrupt, as the powerful ones that massacred our people in the filipino-american war, and as the recently powerful ones that have taken over our territories in the west ph sea and killed our coral beds, among other depredations.

i get it naman, the outrage over the lack of due process for victims, guilty and innocent, especially the innocents caught in the crossfire of the president’s war on drugs.  but the prez also speaks the truth about the enormity of the shabu problem.  as my brother, a balikbayan doctor who has been living in the boondocks of tiaong quezon for some 20 years, and who has seen it up close, wrote 10 years ago:

… the illicit drug market has successfully gained inroads into subcultures of users, into collegiate life, and deep into the bowels of Philippine rural life, burgeoning into a raging epidemic of drug addiction…

and recently, in Duterte and the War on Shabu:

…the scourge swelled and raged on
brought stories of despair, violence and deaths
ho-hum stories of day-to-day life.
thousands of sons and daughters
trapped in the quagmire of addiction
countless petty crimes to buy the high.
drugs paid for by sex favors.
the violent turf wars
the salvaging of drug pushers.
there was frustration among the tanods,
the police and local folk who cared.
di pa tapos ang barangay report,
naka-piyansa na.

… as the drug cancer continued to spread
the powers that be turned a blind eye
government wore blinders
as drug syndicates came to our shores,
from nearby and faraway,
setting up shop in our gated communities
and countless small towns across the land
under the guise of legal commerce,
cooking shabu to feed the addicts of the world
while they fed the greed and filled the coffers
of the corrupt and the powerful
who provided protection
who for the price of a million or ten or fifty
would turn a blind eye
would provide sanctuary and deliverance.
make evidence disappear.
provide passage on the next boat to china.
the masa watched helpless
as the drug commerce prospered.
emboldened by decades
of government apathy
impotence and corruptibility
the masa resigned in collective sadness
at the ruination of their communities.
it was a sad commentary, often heard
kay marcos, di mangyayari iyan…

and then came duterte, and like my brother i grieve the wrongful deaths, but what’s the alternative?

… shabu is a gold mine of immeasurable riches
to fuel the needs of power and greed.
shabu will merely recede into the shadows
selling clandestine highs
while kingpins and drug lords
figure out their next moves
patiently waiting and reassured
at their chosen sanctuaries
that duterte will not win his war
or that he will not last the war
or that six years is an easy wait
for them to reclaim the land.
unless we see kingpins
dangling on a noose
or strapped on a chair
unless we hear
the cracking of firing squads.

… we stand conflicted at this crucial crossroad
but we have seen an alternative to apathy
and the possibility of change.
i pray, hope duterte survives the bounty on his head,
and i dream, wish for his victory on his war on drugs.

and i get it, the outrage over the marcos burial, the cursing and the jolog ways, the many extemporaneous speech boo-boos that he has had to back out on, at kung ano-ano pang utterances and behavior deemed unpresidential and uncivilized and unacceptable by his critics.  maybe prof. antonio contreras is right:

President Duterte is postmodern in the sense that he escapes any attempt to be named and labeled. He is unpredictable. He is an iconoclast in that he challenges conventions in almost everything. His identity rests on fluidity rather than on certainty. He forces people to pay attention to the nuances of language if only to make sense of what he says.

He interrupts the usual, subverts the conventional, and challenges the traditional, and deploys a kind of unpredictability that becomes his own weapon. This is why the elites and those who lived comfortably in the certainty of the “daang matuwid” and black and white politics hate him.

He is the master of simulations, in the sense that one could no longer distinguish his image from his reality. Unlike his predecessor who lived on contrived imaging courtesy of staged narratives by media spinners, Duterte’s obliteration of the divide between joke and hyperbole on one hand, and serious policy statement on the other is so organically rooted that it acquires enormous political power, to the consternation of media and the elites so used to predictability and plasticity of messages.

but also, too much is going on behind the scenes that we are in the dark about.  where is the promised transparency.  i pray that the duterte admin gets its act together, inspires some confidence that the changes the prez promises are indeed doable.  i have yet to get a sense, for instance, of how the president plans to lift the masses from poverty and to make OFWs and the diaspora things-of-the-past.

most disturbing is the charter change move via con-ass towards a shift to federalism, something our elected representatives are themselves ill-informed about and ill-prepared for and which threatens to fracture further our divided nation.  there has to be a smarter way of giving our moro brothers and sisters the self-rule they deserve.

just as sinister is the plan to change the economic provisions of the constitution.  read bobi tiglao’s The big lie: ‘Charter’s restrictions have limited foreign capital inflow’.

The move to lift the Constitutional restrictions on foreign investment in public utilities and media is based on false arguments repeated over and over again in the Hitlerian fashion of the “Big Lie.”

… Sadly, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez seemed to have believed this Big Lie, based on his statements in a forum with Japan’s big businessmen in Tokyo recently. I don’t think President Duterte, with his strong sense of nationalism, would follow the cue of Dominguez, who is after all, the sole big capitalist in his Cabinet….

Dominguez should first clear such policy announcements with the more nationalistic Duterte. It is he who was elected to office, not Dominguez.”

as for the pivot-to-china at the expense of our “special relations” with the US, my question always has been, why did america stand by and watch as china took over the west philippine sea?  and did china dream up that nine-dash line as a response to the return of US troops and bases to the philippines?  anyway, it’s really more like a pivot to asia.  read malou tiquia’s The Duterte Initiative.

Derisively called mad man by his critics, there is serious thinking in his “madness.” Visiting Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brunei, China and Japan, PRRD has set the stage for a peaceful region, lights on for Asia and ASEAN and a face-to-face diplomacy that has never been seen from a David like the Philippines. There is rhyme and reason where he went and the key messages he called out in those visits. The Duterte Initiative has made the Philippines top of mind. Apart from Manny Pacquiao, foreigners meeting Filipinos have been asking about Duterte. Seriously, the “mad man” is a rockstar.

and if he’s serious about ending the visiting forces agreement and EDCA, a joint advocacy of senator miriam defensor-santiago and partylist rep walden bello in 2012 and 2014, he can easily do it.  read LEADER OR BLUFFER? | How the President can send the Americans packing as early as April 15, 2017. 

Article IX, titled “Duration and Termination,” of the Visiting Forces Agreement reads:

This agreement shall enter into force on the date on which the parties have notified each other in writing through the diplomatic channel that they have completed their constitutional requirements for entry into force. This agreement shall remain in force until the expiration of 180 days from the date on which either party gives the other party notice in writing that it desires to terminate the agreement.

Since VFA is an executive agreement, Duterte does not need Congress’ approval for his action. If the president wants the United States out of the Philippines by, say, April 15, 2017, he can simply give written notice to Washington by October 15.
As for the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, the Supreme Court in its decision on the constitutionality of EDCA on January 12 of this year stated:

The admission and presence of US military and civilian personnel in Philippine territory are already allowed under the VFA, the treaty supposedly being implemented by EDCA. What EDCA has effectively done, in fact, is merely provide the mechanism to identify the locations in which US personnel may perform allowed activities pursuant to the VFA. As the implementing agreement, it regulates and limits the presence of US personnel in the country.

The Court’s words are crystal clear: since it is merely an implementing mechanism of the VFA, EDCA loses its character as a legal agreement once the VFA is terminated. With VFA terminated on April 15, 2017, EDCA will be null and void on that date.

…It is time the President proves to the nation and the world that he is really serious about asking the Americans to leave. The action required is simple; it is a notice from the Department of Foreign Affairs that does not even need his signature. Not following through will not only translate to a loss of his credibility among his constituents. It would lead to his being dismissed as a bluffer, a “tin pot” ruler, by Washington, which can easily adjust to living with his curses and his tantrums.

meanwhile, i have finally seen the sense in, and have stopped scoffing at, the president’s speeches, never mind that he repeats himself from one gig to another, almost ad nauseam.  he is, after all, addressing himself each time to a different group of filipinos, whether the soldiers, the police, the OFWs abroad, or the masses here at home, from one local event to another, and indeed it behooves him to explain again and again about his roots and worldview, about mindanao and the moro problem, about how and why we were colonized by america, and why we continue to have this relationship with the US that is special only in a lopsided sense.

except when he speaks (rarely) of marcos as the best president we’ve ever had who deserves burial in libingan ng mga bayani, which thankfully he leaves up to the supreme court, digong lifts my spirits with his lectures on philippine history, especially our history with america.  the elephant in the room whose continued intervention in our affairs past presidents have never dared question or criticize, much less speak about in public.  how spain, without consulting our lolos and lolas, simply sold us to america for 20 million dollars.  and after and beyond the massacres of our patriots and heroes, how they took over our educational and cultural institutions and turned us into caricatures of themselves, shaped us into little brown brothers who would rather be americans than filipinos, the better the easier to take advantage of us, to manipulate us into unquestioning submission down the century, past “independence”, all the way to the new millennium.

rare history lessons that no doubt the filipino masses are hearing, learning, for the first time.  this to me is priceless.

and so when gina apostol says filipinos are “gaslighted”, i.e., manipulated, deceived, by duterte when he invokes historical facts — an abuser condemning an earlier abuser of the nation in order to sanction his own abuse — i can only say, take a second hard look, please.  it is america, the master manipulator, that has been gaslighting our people for the last hundred years.


G.U. Stuart, MD

Time was when the illicit drug use in the Philippines was mainly an indulgence of the fringe literati, the burgis, the artists and entertainment circle, far removed from the masa and rural culture with its isolated social pockets of marijuana users. None of the hard drugs and the intravenous drug users; none of varied countercultural movements that was requisite or fuel to the growth of the drug culture. It seemed almost possible that while the drug problem raged in most developed countries, the Philippines would be saved from the scourge of illicit drugs. But, alas, slowly and surely, the illicit drug market has successfully gained inroads into subcultures of users, into collegiate life, and deep into the bowels of Philippine rural life, burgeoning into a raging epidemic of drug addiction.

Today, “Shabu” poses a problem as serious, as frightening, as formidable, as any present day issue confronting the Filipino society. How can a country and a system mired in corruption fare against the commerce of drug trade so empowered by its bottomless coffers and consequent political clout? Many powerful nations have succumbed; the fanfares of their drug wars muffled, their policies inevitably compromised, shifting from prevention into containment.

Sadly, I think the Filipino society confronts an impossible task. The problem is past prevention. Is containment still possible?