Friday, April 29, 2016

135. Problems and Prospects of D30 2016: Struggling with the Zeros

Duterte has backtracked on his initial denial of the allegations made by Sen. Trillanes about his Php 211M  deposit in his BPI bank account and has said that the account exists and it has about a little less than Php 200 M. When asked to explain about his initial statement that the account had barely Php 50,000, he said he was confused with the zeros. This curious incident highlights a potential problem in the event that Duterte is elected President. He probably needs to attend a math seminar to re-orient him about the  zeros, considering that the annual budget is PHP 3 trillion which has  twelve zeros, the national debt is 77 Billion USD which has nine zeros in US dollars and more in pesos, and the population is 100 million which has eight zeros. Thus, the problem would be how to help him cope with zeros. Should we call his former math teacher from the Ateneo de Davao for him to teach the president about something the president should have learned in grade three? Should the better option be making custom made  calculators with keys shaped like women's lips for him to get the hang of it easily? Shall we order instead an abacus with bullets as beads or will it be better to appoint to the cabinet his seatmates from grade school math so they can make the calculations for him and he can just copy from them like the old days. Another proposal on the table is to ask him to imagine the zeros as corpses of the people he has killed, which might actually be a good idea. Whatever the solution is, come June 30, 2016, the math educators of the Republic are going to be in a crisis as the people have elected a president who gets confused with zeros.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

134. Problems and Prospects of D30 2016: Finding the best excuse for the Php 211M

The timing couldn't be more right. Less than two weeks before the election and Trillianes pops the Php 211M expose. Somebody deposited Php 500  in the bank account, and Banco de Oro accepted it with the names of D30 and his 'drama queen' daughter on the deposit slip. Trillanes has proven half of his allegation, that the bank account exists; the other half, which  is the Php 211 M deposit, may be proven in just a matter of time. The Duterte crisis team faces the toughest hurdle yet. The spin doctors have successfully navigated through the Pope curse incident and the rape joke, but now, it's about the money deposited in an account which is not declared in the SALN. What are the options for Duterte? Let us count them all from the inventory of past spins and excuses:

1. The Corona excuse - "Inipon ko yan since grade school."

2. The 5-6 excuse - "Hiniram ko sa bumbay."

3.  The Chavit Gambit - "Payag ako makulong basta kasama si Erap."

4. The Erap excuse - "Kay Jose Velarde yan!"

5. The Arroyo excuse -  "Kay Jose Pidal yan!"

6. The Cito Lorenzo excuse - "Kasalanan ni Joc-Joc!"

7. The Joc-Joc Bolante excuse - "May sakit ako."

8. The Joey Marquez excuse after being caught by his wife in bed with another woman - "Hindi ako 'to!"

9. The Kim Wong style - "Isoli ko na lang yung natira."

10. The Flaminiano style - "Objection your honor!"

11. The Classic Duterte style - "Putang ina mo Trillanes, barilan na lang tayo!"

133. Problems and Prospects of D30 2016: Looking for the Hollywood Script for the Presidency

The Duterte election story is a narrative straight out of Hollywood. I told a friend of mine every episode of this Duterte phenomenon follows Joseph Campbell's Hero of Thousand Faces in which Campbell described the template of the monomyth or the hero's journey. From the time Duterte's name was floated around as a possible presidential timber (this is called, "the call to adventure"), to his initial decision to refuse the nomination (there I recognized it immediately as the part called "refusal of the call"), to the seemingly overwhelming clamor for him to heed the call (where the call is heeded and the formal adventure story begins), to the early days of the campaign where he took pot shots at Mar Roxas and his Wharton degree (a sort of the hero slaying the dragon there), and to his climactic ascent to the top of the polls (the recovery of the treasure in the cave). This is Hollywood.  It's the essence of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter,  and yes, Batman. It is why in spite of his crass language, off beat self-deprecating if not idiotic sense of humor, and the limited focus on crime prevention as a campaign platform,  Duterte is a hit. Duterte's handlers sold us an old script and most of us fell for it. Yet,  come June 30, 2016, when the adventure story ends, and Duterte is sworn into office, there is no Hollywood script. As the late comedy king, Dolphy, used to say when he refused to run for public office (in spite of the popular clamor),  "Eh paano kung manalo?" But Duterte brushed it all off during the last debate by saying he'll just copy from the others as he's been copying from others since grade one anyway. Somebody please give him a DVD on the life of Churchill, before somebody sneaks him a video on the Nazi's. 

132. Problems and Prospects of D30 2016: 8. Marcos is buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani

I once met a guy who claimed he was Marcos's illegitimate child and that the real Marcos didn't leave for Hawaii and stayed in obscurity in the Philippines for years until he died and got buried in a cemetery in Posadas Village. He showed me a picture of the tomb where the words Ferdinand E. Marcos were written. I felt amused in a weird kind of way as I showed the man the door. Indeed, in death as in life, Marcos Sr. is the stuff of myths and legends and controversy as well.  I recalled that PNoy once toyed with  the idea of Marcos being buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, until Commissioner Etta Rosales, then Chair of the Commission of Human Rights, lobbied hard against it by claiming she herself was raped while in detention during Martial Law. Erap and Arroyo also thought about it, but due to popular opposition against the burial, Marcos remained frozen in a crypt in Ilocos. Duterte seems to be the man who would put the end to this debate as he vowed to bury Marcos in the Libingan once elected. This long standing national debate reminds me of the  story  of Antigone who sought to give his brother Polynices a decent burial in spite of King Creon's orders that Polynices should not be buried or mourned for on the pain of stoning. Antigone defied the order, got caught, and was locked in a tomb where she hanged herself to death. But Haemon, King Creon's dear son, turned out to be Antigone's lover, and upon seeing Antigone's grim end, Haemon killed himself as well.  As Jorge Luis Borges said, "Destiny takes pleasure in repetitions, variations, symmetries."  On first impression, it seems what we are seeing in the Marcos burial debate is  a simple variation of the Antigone story, which did not end well for King Creon and the powers that be of Ancient Greece.  Duterte is poised to bury Marcos once and for all at the Libingan ng mga Bayani,  but I suspect this is still not going to end easily even if he succeeds. Marcos's enemies and the people Marcos once caused to suffer would come in the dead of the night with their spades, picks, and shovels for one solitary barbaric/heroic purpose: to unearth his rotting corpse from the resting place of heroes. It's the Antigone story in reverse. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

131. Problems and Prospects of D30 2016: 7. Joma Returns

Duterte has not been apologetic with his friendship with the New People's Army (NPA) and its founding father, Joma Sison. Joma himself has floated the thought balloon of his return if Duterte wins. I'm pretty sure Gen. Palparan, the erstwhile red hunter and congressman, would not be amused. What a curious turn of events it would be when Joma visits Palparan in jail. Even more curious is when Joma visits Malacanang, the palace of the "naghaharing uri" the destruction and fall of which Joma has committed his life to pursue. How would Joma's jailers, Juan Ponce Enrile and Fidel V. Ramos, feel? I'm half-guessing hundreds of rebellion and murder charges have been filed  and archived in various courts against Joma, but would the Department of Justice under Duterte's term even lift a finger to reactivate them? I have once tried to read  Joma's treatise on national democracy, but I was too much of a 'dem-soc' to go pass the first page. And today, the Maoist ideology is bankrupt.  If Joma returns, all I have for him is an old copy of his poetry and a question I once inscribed on the margin, "Are you a guerrilla first and a poet second or the other way around?"

130. Problems and Prospects of D30 2016: Playing Cat and Mouse with the Smokers

The story goes that Duterte once pressed his gun against the crotch of a defiant smoker who challenged a restaurant owner to ask the Mayor to stop the smoker from getting his post dinner nicotine fix. Duterte gave the smoker two choices, to eat the stick of cigarette or have the smoker's balls blown off. To the anti-smokers among us, myself included, this sounds like a great prospect for 2016 -- finally a dead serious campaign against the smoking tyranny in the entire country. But I doubt it if this hardballing style against the smokers can be replicated in the entire country. I don't think there would even be enough bullets for all those balls. Besides, playing Russian Roulette with smokers' balls is sadistic and illegal. Instead, I see the future of smoking as the new form of protest under a Duterte Presidency, similar to Noynoying -- activists converging in Mendiola each with a stick of cigarette, their balls showing, and the protesters chanting in unison, "Kalayaan para sa yosi at betlog!"

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

129. Problems and Prospects of D30 Presidency: 5. Life at 30 kph

One of the things Davao City is proud of is the speed limit of 30 kph on its roads. Months ago, even the Mayor's daughter, 'drama queen' Sarah Duterte, was caught  overspeeding and it made the headlines. The idea behind slowing down vehicles is the prevention of accidents, albeit I haven't seen any serious study which proves that slow vehicles cause far fewer road accidents. But Newton's Law of Motion gives us the equation F/M=A from which we can derive M(A)= F. Such that a lower acceleration will produce a weaker force and probably cause less damage in the event of a mishap. Yet, it still depends on how the accidents go. A car moving  at 10 kph and running over a stray dog would still kill the dog as a car running at 100 kph, but Duterte would not mind any one running over a stray dog -- they shoot stray dogs after catching them in Davao. Yet, how will this speed limit apply to the millions of cars in other cities of the country, such as Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and Cagayan de Oro? Imagine the stretch of Katipunan with its parade of trucks everyday running at 30 kph. My son, Juancho, would probably take ten years to finish from UP as he would always be late for his classes and those trucks are going to stall traffic in that area. How long would it take to go to Tagaytay or Baguio City? Lawyers would probably camp out of the courts on the eve of their hearings to make sure they arrive on time. I would also surmise that it would be the final blow to the newspaper business as they would arrive one day late. On the positive side, it would rid our roads of big American trucks and cars in favor of Asian made 1.1 cc vehicles as people would have no use for gas gusslers if they can drive them up only to 30 kph. And the jeepney drivers, some of whom gear up to second gear from a stop, would be dismayed to find out the second gear is the highest gear they could go. Ayos ba bay?

128. Problems and Prospects of D30 2016: 4. The Death of the Dress Code

In the 1990's, our moot court professor Judge Oscar Pimentel used to berate us for folding the sleeves of our Barong. Young and impressionable law students that we were, we couldn't understand why Judge Pimentel disapproved of such fashion sense among the male would-be lawyers when then Pres. Ramos himself was going around his official functions in long sleeves Barong with the sleeves folded up to the elbow. Apparently, Pres. Ramos's handlers thought it was a symbolic way of showing that the President was hands on with his job and his official wardrobe's formality was getting in the way of his work. With Duterte, however, it seems the entire Barong, not just the sleeves, is on its way out. I haven't seen Duterte in any official wear, and his wardrobe appears to be composed mostly of jeans and sports shirts. This reinforces Duterte's image of being a man of the ordinary people as indeed, it is easy to alienate others if one comes in a Barong or even a coat and tie. Thus, much to the dismay of  Judge Oscar Pimentel, the entire Barong, not just the long sleeves, would be retired during the Duterte Presidency, assuming it happens. As in the Ramos era,  the Barong's formality would also get in the way of work as it can be easily soiled by stains of blood. Pesteng yawa.

Monday, April 25, 2016

127. Problems and Prospects of D30 2016: 3. Middle Kingdom Woes

We all heard it last night: Duterte is going on a jet ski to the Spartlys to plant the Philippine flag and dare the Chinese navy to shoot him. It sounds like a joke, but I think it's cryptic. What he is actually saying is there is nothing he can do about it. On other occasions he floated the idea of a joint venture with China, yet I think he missed the fact that there are other countries fighting over the islands, including Vietnam, which planted a cell site on one of them and offered a better signal than Smart. So, a joint venture with China might actually cause us to fall from  grace with other southeast asian countries interested in the islands. We become friendly with China and become enemies with other neighbors.  It only shows Duterte has no plan yet for the Spratlys issue, and all he is trying to do is use the issue to promote his tough guy image. But come June 30, 2016, all we can do is follow up on his pledge to go on a jet ski to the Spartlys with the Philippine flag, and dare the Chinese navy to shoot him. And if they do? Well, I hope Leni Robredo is the vice-president then. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

126. Problems and Prospects of D30D in 2016: 2. Following through theFederalism Promise

2. Duterte promised federalism and I'm sure to the average Juan the big "F" sounds like a good idea. But are we going to break up the Republic into federal states like the US of A, and are we thinking that automatically we'll have prosperity like the US of A? The most immediate impact of federalism to this country is that it will increase the number of elective and appointive positions in government. It is going to create redundancies in order to give the federal states autonomy. The model is the ARMM where they have secretaries of departments over the ARMM region and the local secretaries appear to have more power than the secretary in Manila. So, if we have federal states, then we will have as many sets of cabinet secretaries as there are federal states. Are we going to have as many sets of congressmen and senators too? What happens to the judiciary? Are we going to have little supreme courts too and one big super supreme court in Padre Faura? How long will it take for my little ejectment case to finish from the Municipal Trial Court to the final Supreme Court when as it is it already takes six years to finish. We might end up having more public officials than ordinary citizens. Somebody please do the staff work on this federalism shit.

to be continued

Saturday, April 23, 2016

125. Problems and Prospects of a Duterte Presidency 1. Adjusting to Life with the DDS

The signs are all over. Duterte rallies have been well-attended. Carlos Celdran has been praising the Liberal Party (in spite of Proceso Alcala) to argue the case for program continuity. Meanwhile, Poe's team has been brandishing the ho-hum news of the solitary defection of Joey Salceda to GP's  team while Binay is saying Duterte should have a psyche test from Makati. Yet, all I can imagine is Edwin Lacierda raging live on ABS CBN on Guido Delgado's similar suggestion for PNoy in the 2010 campaign.  What can you say people of Daang Matuwid? A friend of mine said the Mar campaign committee has released an email to adherrents persuading them about the nine or so reasons why Mar will win. In other words, every non-Duterte fan is desperate. While I am not about to concede that Duterte is going to win, I would like to be prepared when it happens. So, here are my key problems and prospects in the event that the Duterte  dream (or disaster, however you want to look at it) comes upon the Republic on June 30, 2016. 

1. Adjusting to life with the DDS (aka Davao/Duterte Death Squad)

Everybody seems to be focused on the resulting peace and comfort that is expected to come with the promised elimination of criminal elements in three to six months. But how are we going to live with the DDS? Am I postponing dieting for a good six years because the criminogenic profile of a drug pusher/addict resembles the stick thin Joey Pepe Smith? If we all start to get thin, the DDS might mistake us for drug pushers/addicts and put us on the hot list for elimination. And are drug dealers the only criminals on the hotlist? What about the smugglers, tax evaders, adulterers, concubines, stock market manipulators, money launderers, SALN falsifiers, check bouncers, estafadores, facebook hackers, pornographers, trespassers, forgers, mambobosos, and the like? Can the DDS even tell which criminal should go? Is the punishment for all crimes death? What if you just snorted a molecule of cocaine? I'm preparing my resume so I can apply for slot as a consiglieri of the DDS. Maybe they need some guidelines, a lesson on mala in se and mala prohibita, culpa, culpa aquilana,   a lecture on the classic Lecaroz v Sandiganbayan, and dare I say --  DP as in "d.u.e. p.r.o.c.e.s.s."?   I'd do it for free as long as they keep me out of that list. 

(to be continued) 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

124. Infinite Monkeys

What's the probability that the Philippines would ever have a good President? There are six candidates this year. There will be another elections on 2022, assuming the winner would not abolish the Constitution. But either way, it is not a guarantee that there would  be elections in 2022 or that the elections would be the avenue for having a good President. There are many modes for having a good president -- election, coup d'etat, revolution, succession, etc. --- and in each mode there are more permutations,  so the probabilities also grow exponentially. If, however, we consider that the question is posed with the underlying assumption that this is a question for all eternity, that is -- what is the probability that Philippines will ever have a good President at some point in history given an infinite number of modes within the infinite history of this country? The answer is just about the same chance that 110 million monkeys, or as many as we want, typing on a keyboard would produce the words "Banana Republic" at some point given an infinite number of keystrokes. This is the Infinite Monkey theorem, the standard solution of which goes like this,

Let An be the event that the 
nth monkeys type Banana Republic. Then,  if there are mcharacters on the keyboard and Ncharacters in Banana Republic , PAnmN for each n. Furthermore, the An are mutually independent. Hence, by the second Borel-Cantelli Lemma, since 
infinitely many of the events An occur i.e.infinitely many monkeys will type Banana Republic. Thus, there is a single, unitary, solitary, lonely, individual, isa, usa, uno, jeden, man, nomes, or 1 chance in all eternity that the infinite monkeys will type Banana Republic as there is the same chance that the Philippines would have a good President. Of course, as a pure thought experiment where at least one factor is infinity, there is always one chance the randomness will produce the desired result.  Yet, what would be the answer if we apply this theory to practical reality, and if we ask, given the permutations of the number of candidates and available modes of having one, what is the chance 110 million Filipinos would have a good President in 2016? Well, the University of Plymouth once had six monkeys in a room with six computers to test if the monkeys could type anything remotely Shakespearian. After a month, the primates could produce only five pages of typewritten text consisting mostly of the letter "S". That is, after the monkeys found out there was another use for the keyboard that did not involve urinating or defecating on the machines. Yet, it must be emphasized that the Philippine voters are not just a random machine or monkeys holed up in a room with a computer. There is an active intent to search, find, and vote for a good President. Thus, the chance of having a good President in 2016 should be greater than one. That is, of course, if the majority of voters would find better use for their ballots that did not involve defecating or urinating on them literally and figuratively.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

123. The Assault of the Lolas

I once defended an octogenarian accused of the crime of Robbery. It was the weirdest case I have ever handled, and I got by with a defense of physical impossibility, as I presented a medical certificate that my client was so old she could not even walk or carry anything heavier than a pound. I thought nothing could be as weird until I read the news today that Lola Valentina, 78, and Lola Jovita, 65, have been accused of Direct Assault in connection with the Kidapawan massacre. This government, which has been peddling the public with news that the economy grew under its watch, detained the old ladies who are now held up in Kidapawan and  their pictures are being passed around as they beg for bail money. I have no argument that Direct Assault can be committed by old people.  They can spit, slap, and pull the nose hair of the police, who in this case were armed with batons and guns, and be deemed liable for Direct Assault of a person in authority. But isn't that a silly thing? Out of the thousands of people involved in the bloody  incident, this government picked two old ladies, still young enough to shout and demand for rice to feed their hungry grandchildren, but too old to run away from the police who were also spraying them with water from the firetrucks. Oh, yeah, they were sprayed with water - water that could have been used instead to nourish their dried up farms. And this government has the gall to brag about the economy? Let's wait for the investigation, as it has not been proven that this heartless idiotic government  has caused the rise of the economy. Hell, it has not been proven that the economy rose at all, ask Lola Valentina and Lola Jovita who wouldn't be rallying in Kidapawan and now languishing in jail if it did. 

Friday, April 08, 2016

122. Let's wait for the investigation

Artwork by Celeste Lecaoz Copyright 2016

Whether people died in Kidapawan, whether they're hungry, whether the NPA was feeding them while the protesters were demanding for rice, whether the police shot them or they shot themselves, whether they obstructed the road, whether road obstruction deserves death, whether the drones which captured the gruesome event were functioning, whether the massacre was staged by Duterte supporters, whether the protesters were unthinking minions of the NPA, whether our leaders were inept, whether we should see, hear, and speak while  the investigation is on going. Yes, we should all wait for the investigation, so we can find out the truth:  We should be happy to be alive. It's bad luck. It's not fatal.  It's GMA's fault. It's the dictatorship. Ninoy, someone's father, died too.

Monday, April 04, 2016

121. Every Massacre is a Repetition of Another

Line art by Celeste Lecaroz. Coloring by Teresa Regina Aceron Copyright 2016

I was inside the San Beda College compound when they shot the farmers in January 1987. We were told not to leave the campus until around 8pm, and what I saw afterwards in Mendiola was the big mountain of slippers and other belongings that were gathered after the crowd was dispersed. Thirteen people died and a lot more were injured in that incident. Jose Diokno was supposed to speak in the San Beda auditorium the following day,  but because of the heartbreaking event, he cancelled his engagement. The goverment was saying it was the fault of the leftists for having agitated the farmers to proceed to Mendiola after their week stay in the compound of the Department of Agrarian Reform where their demand for an immediate land reform program became futile. And I can't help to see the parallelism between Mendiola and Kidapawan, which happened on April 1, 2016: an Aquino in power; farmers demanding something immediate to them, land and food; the red scare, the blame being put in Leftist/NPA, and most importantly, the injured and the dead. Jose Diokno, one of the greatest figures in Philippine legal history, resigned from the Aquino government then in 1987 in disgust. According to her daughter, Dr. Maris Serena Diokno, "It was the only time we saw him in tears." So far, this is the only thing not repeating itself in this massacre, a man of honor in an Aquino government condemning the massacre and resigning from it. Every one else is saying, "Let's wait for an investigation." Some are even saying, this is a set up for Duterte. Well, at least, we know Nietzsche's Doctrine of Eternal Recurrence has a crack. When events repeat themselves, there are variations. Yet, the crack on the Kidapawan Massacre is on the heads of those Aquino sycophants.