December 29, 2015

Level UP: 2 Friends discuss Rody Duterte and Mar Roxas

A month after we first talked about Mar Roxas and Rody Duterte, my friend JC and I revisited the who-is-better issue. I feel that this conversation is a significant "level up" from the last one, and you may notice that it's significantly more heated than the last. However, this is just a debate: we are reasoning out, and we are not taking this personally, at all.
TP: Pucha, haba pala ng daldalan natin kanina. Pang tatlong article yata. Eto nai-post ko na ang ibang part: 2 Friends on the Presidential Race and the Christmas Break.

JC: OMG. LOL. Check ko.

A few minutes later…

JC: I think medyo dismissive naman yung stance mo na no improvement plight ng taxi drivers, SM salesladies, carinderia waitresses. C'mon, the country is not in as big of a mess than it was about a decade ago. Define "no improvement".

TP: Darling, their plights really aren’t improving. Taxi driver kong tito, nung year 2000, pumapalo siya ng 1000 labas na boundary at gasolina. Ang mga  taxi driver ngayon, swerte na 700. Yung mga salesladies, halos minimum pa rin. Ang pagtaas ng sahod, talong-talo ng pagtaas ng presyo ng bilihin.

JC: Could there be factors affecting that? Like how more filipinos can afford to buy their own cars now so hindi na masyado mabenta ang taxi?

TP: That's possible. I will admit to that. However, what we are talking about here is income inequality.

JC: Well, no question about income inequality still existing.

TP: Overall, the Philippine's GINI  / Palma Ratio hasn't improved. Underemployment rates didn't change either, constantly hovering at 19-21%. Di ko pa lang nasusulat dahil may iba akong focus na article series ngayon. Siguro by mid january ko na ‘yon i-release. So puro research pa lang andito.

JC: Of course, the results and complaints that you're demanding are valid. But what were the expectations prior to this administration?


JC: Hahaha!  Anyway, this is where I usually get agitated. The current administration talks about some of its positive achievements.

TP: Truth be told, I had no expectations because I hated PNoyto bits in 2010 (I was pro-Gibo). I eventually warmed up to him when he started attacking Merceditas Gutierrez and Renato Corona.

JC: Exactly. No expectations din ako prior to this admin, but whatever remarkable/unremarkable feats the current administration was able to accomplish, has led to the politically apathetic Filipinos of the past to suddenly start demanding more.

TP: However, the fact remains that they did not go after LP allies. In theory, this would be understandable. It's stupid to fight a war on too many fronts. But then, to give LP another 6-year stint means they'll be doing the same thing - eliminate corruption from other parties.
In theory, again, that's also good, but by 2022, kunwari ubos na ang kurakot sa lahat minus LP. O e d may monopoly na ang LP sa pagkukurakot, at halos wala na silang kaagaw sa kukurakutin dahil walang nang may political teeth para kumontra.

JC: oh... ikaw naman nag jump to hasty conclusions...

TP: Wait nauubusan ako ng English… That's true. Don't get me wrong. The past 6 years is something. It is something. However,  my stance before was "Okay, LP messed up this and that, but they did this, so sige pwede na, kaysa kay Arroyo na puro fuck-up lang."

JC: Exactly. It's a decent start.

TP: They did good sa CCT, even if I still have my reservations, especially since I got reports from Northern Samar na Local LP people are using it to blackmail voters, i.e. despite yolanda they're forced to go mar in fear of losing CCT.

JC: Yeah. It's a decent start.

TP: However, as time passed, the more I learned about what has happened (mala retrospect ba), I can't help but deduce three things:
  1. This pace is real slow.
  2. The tradeoffs in this paradigm are less desirable than the tradeoffs in the new paradigm.
  3. Mar is an incompetent executive.

JC: To me, "daang matuwid" is a movement which LP started, which is why they're asses are the first on the line when they screw up.

TP: Well, Abaya is still there. Abad's still there. And for argument's sake, let's assume na lang na Mar is a great legislator.

JC: Ah ok... I see the LP accomplishments as a decent benchmark naman for further improvement. Come on, given what Arroyo did to the country, how quickly can you expect her successor to clean up her mess?


TP: Yes. That's why I didn't chide Roxas/PNoy about anything they've done from 2010 to mid-2013. As far as I know, throughout my entire website, walang criticism about 2010 to mid-2013. Kahit nga yung HK hostage crisis,  di ko binabanggit dahil baka naman kako tanga pa. Pagbigyan na muna dahil may learning curve naman kako yan. However, nung nagwarm up na sila, don na ang issue.

JC: Ay! may expiration date?

TP: Oo naman. Yolanda hit late 2013. Hindi ko gusto ng leader na nuknukan ng haba ang learning curve. Results-oriented ako. If you promise me this, deliver no matter what. Don't promise something, only to give flimsy excuses later when you fail. Mas matatanggap ko pa
kung wala ka na lang sinabi.

JC: Okies. But that's just it, the end results have been appearing slowly but surely. Yuck. Cliche expression ginamit ko. May migraine ako slight eh.

TP: Yes. Kaya nga second choice ko pa rin si Mar pero ito yung tipong level na feeling ko ay nag-uulam na ako asin. Ganun ang feeling

JC: Grabe naman to, parang wala namang na deliver at all si PNoy.

TP: Well, give me something concrete minus the corruption thing dahil may pogi points na sila don.

JC: Here…
  1. GDP
  2. employment rate
  3. infrastructure development
  4. automated systems ng BIR, SSS, Philhealth, etc
  5. K-12
  6. foreign investments
  7. small businesses flourishing
  8. Upgrades ng military
  9. Oplan lambat-sibat (although i know ayaw mo i-acknowledge yun)
Ay nako... i know you'll rebut all points fiercely.

TP: Hindi naman, puro one-liner lang…
  1. GDP – irrelevant if income distribution is inequitable.
  2. Employment rate - A bit of props to that, but underemployment remains the same.
  3. Infrastructure - What exactly?
  4. BIR SSS Philhealth Automated systems – procurement projects that are not mutually exclusive to an LP liderato.
  5. K-12 - They did not address the fact that public schools are on 2-3 shifts per day. Quantity over quality?
  6. Foreign Investments - Where? Di ko pa alam kung may major na investor nang pumasok dito to create manufacturing jobs.
  7. Small Business Flourishing - On what scale?
  8. Military Upgrades - That was a bad move given their clearly-expressed intentions. Check my post "South China Sea: a losing game".
  9. Oplan Lambat-Sibat –has put your kids and my pamangkins in danger.
JC: Tax collections have improved... oh, at damang dama ko ang national disaster risk reduction and management council... But that’s exactly my point. There are accomplishments which may be found wanting, but they are accomplishments nonetheless.

TP: Tax collections is good, kudos Henares.  But again, how many big-ticket tax evasion cases na ba ang naipanalo ng BIR? Have you read about what happened sa Customs? (not the balikbayan boxes pero the changes in leadership)?

As for the NDRRMC, here's the problem with that. The Government has set up FAITH to promote accountability, but if you will check closely, it doesn't really provide useful and verifiable info. I.e. I can think of so many ways to pocket the funds.

JC: but the framework has been established. Ay marami daw yan. As in, sa sobrang dami, hindi pa kaya ilabas sabay-sabay. Para kasing ganito, PNoy came in with us not expecting much, and then when he delivers something, we say that it's not enough

TP: Again, I repeat my stance kumare…
  1. Noong una, kako, keri na ang LP kesa wala.
  2. But now, I am being offered faster and more decisive alternatives.
Yung sayo kasi mam, tingin ko you want to play it safe, kahit slowly basta surely. Ako naman, I am willing to take a risk kasi kahit nasanay ako ng 3 meals a day for the past 6 years. Itong kasing bagong dumating, nago-offer pa ng 2 meryenda in-between.

JC: I understand, nakaka stress lang kasi ang semi demolition job mo sa accomplishments ni PNoy eh.

TP: This is not about PNOY anymore. This is about Mar. His megalomanic ambitions are getting in the way of his statesmanship. Mar wants the presidency. So the question I’ve been asking all along is "Will he be the best executive among all 5?"

Roxas had a small stint (1 yr sa DOTC) so that's negligible. ‘Di fair na magexpect. Pero now that he had 2 or so years sa DILG, then the monster called incompetence has reared its ugly head.

JC: I really didn't want to get into this, but now that you've mentioned it, how long did it take for Duterte to fix Davao?

TP: To stamp criminality, it took Duterte 3 years. 1988 to 1991-ish.

Taray noh, may source pa, hehe. Zoom to 3:40 for the 1st term.

JC: Wait. Watch ko.

TP: Ok gow.

JC: No question naman ever since regarding his accomplishments as a mayor, but i still have reservations regarding how he can turn the entire country into a Davao City. To me kasi, he is a wild card, extremes ang possible results ng presidency niya.

TP: Yes, however, may kasabihan na before we go to universals, we have to master the particulars. Mar has no mastery over any executive particular. Duterte has.

In as far as being an exec, Mar has nothing to show. I may not root for Duterte if he's shortlisted as an SC justice – that ain’t his forte. Now, as for mar, the executive department isn't his forte at all.

Just look at how DILG intruded sa pagpapatayo ng mga poso at deep well sa mga barangay

That isn't DILG's job, but why did he do it? Either he's clueless, or he wanted his name posted on every new poso.

JC: Importante yun ha, nakakaloka ang walang tubig. A certain official here in bulacan nga started his political career because of a poso story.

TP: Oo, pero kung may gagawa non, DSWD dapat o DPWH, hindi DILG. Ang DPWH ay meron nang equipment o expertise para don. Mar is an "investment banker" turned legislator na ngayon e magpoposo na.

JC: Ay, you're going for the meme mudslinging na teh

TP: Not really.  Ganito ha. Nagtataype pa kasi ako mamser.

The ultimate point is this: many claim Mar's a technocrat, but a technocrat is someone who believes that those with relevant technical expertise and training should lead a given department.

He was an investment banker, then a legislator, and little else. How would he know how to run Local Governments? Kung ako kay PNoy, sa DBM na lang siguro siya nilagay o sa DOF, but he insisted on DILG because it's the one of most powerful departments. That doesn't sound very technocratic to me.

You know who was supposed to be JRobredo's replacement? Yung unang tinawag ng Malacanang? Duterte. (Click here for Source)

JC: This is a moot point. He claims to be unqualified for DILG, so Mar stepped up because he didn't want the challenge, but now he's running for President given that he himself claimed that he didn't even want to handle DILG, yet you're penalizing Mar for accepting. Sumasakit ulo ko lalo.

TP: This is the deal. Read between his lines. If he's DILG chief, he's still subject to presidential oversight. His authority and power is sourced from the president's political clout. If I were offered the position of, say, a prefect of discipline sa isang school ng mga hard-knocks pero alam kong soft-hearted at masyadong congenial ang principal, what would I do?

On the other hand, if he becomes president, everything will start and end with him. That's a totally different proposition altogether. Have you heard about PNoy's PDEA ex Usec. Butch Belgica? Belgica showed PNoy a confidential list of known big-time drug lords. PNoy shrugged it off, saying its no big deal.  Belgica resigned, saying na he doesn't want to be a PDEA Usec who can’t do his job.

JC: Sorry, but as of late, he seems to be asking us to always read between his lines.
TP: Meh, it’s simple. He doesn't want to be a toothless official, in the same way he rejected Poe’s and  Mar's offer na maging VP siya.

JC: Exactly, so the whole time, he's been downplaying his political ambitions

TP: Possibly. I don't see anything wrong with that. I'd rather minimize the number of my enemies until the real battle starts.

Besides, it was pretty clear that it wasn't his intention to run for president. I'd rather have a reluctant candidate than someone who speaks with foreign powers and discreetly asks for funding from them years before the campaign season starts.

Quoting US Ambassador Kenney, "Roxas said that only Senate President Manuel Villar had the funds to buy television time at this stage "

And this meeting happened just a 6 months after the Cheaper Medicines Act was passed.

JC: Unfair dichotomy naman yan. I would rather vote for someone who has thought out his mission and vision of presidency compared to someone who is only half-hearted about it.
TP: Thought of it, planned it in advance, but at what cost?

JC: If Roxas was intent on running for president at the time, i see nothing wrong with him admitting it.

TP: In Aug 15 to Sep 15 alone, Mar spent over P250 million on TV ads. His 2012 SALN is at 200 million with neglible cash on hand. So the question is, "September pa lang yan, so ano ang kapalit?" He even went as far as requesting SWS or Pulse (alin sa dalawa) na idelay ang September election surveys para matapos muna ang TV ads ni Mar. (For Mar's SALN, click here)

JC: This data is open to interpretation though. Assuming na may kapalit, and even if there was a trade, we can only draw conclusions based on our personal conjectures.

TP: Well, at our age, we already know that money makes the world go round. Quid pro quo yan 'day.

Yung si Duterte, insiders tell me one of the biggest reasons why he didn’t file in October was because most of the businessmen e may strings attached to their contributions. Tapos nung nangayaw na si Duterte dahil ayaw masabit, doon lumitaw yung mga mamamayan na bibigyan na lang siya ng pera ng walang strings, one of the reasons kaya siya napa-oo. Hindi man ganon kadami ang pera, pero wala namang sabit.

JC: Exactly. So the same goes for your chosen candidate. The only difference is that he has been politically insulated and isolated in Davao, hence his perceived competence as future president is still a leap of faith. The problem here is we can only draw conclusions based on hearsay, 'day.

TP: Well, let's compare.

On one hand, here's a Mindanaoan with a very small accomplishment (Davao city), which is about 1.5% of the PH population. On the other, here's mar, who has no executive accomplishments at all. which would you choose?

JC: Must the comparisons always be on your terms?

TP: Well, teh, ang tanong, executive position ang presidency. Gagawin mo ba naman CEO ang isang lifetime accountant lang?

JC: What about dealing with problems and predicaments on a national level?

TP: Like what exactly. Anong problem ang si Mar lang ang may kaya?

JC: Why hadn't duterte stepped up before?

TP: Because the presidency was never in his dreams. Just look at his kawawa-looking house.
What I am trying to understand is this, Mar's supporters have this idea that his overall expertise is the best tool to solve the country's problems. But what exactly is his expertise. Did his vision translate to a better DILG, DOTC? And for LP supporters, what exactly are the country's most pressing problems?

JC: That's my point. Duterte hasn't really gone beyond the confines of his city, region, district. Why not? You're penalizing Mar for things that he did not do perfectly, and lifting Duterte for not even trying.

TP: To say that Mar did not do it perfectly is a gross understatement. HIs executive projects were botched. Even the PNP's procurement of Patrol Cars was severely botched. He bought 1400-ish Mahindra 4x2 patrol cars for Php 1.8-ish million each, samantalang a Mahindra 4x4 car sells at Php 500,000 only. So if I may ask, what exactly did he do – at least satisfactorily – in DILG or in DOTC that benefitted the majority of the population?

JC: For the sake of argument that all of his efforts were messed up, is there anyone else who was in the same position? Could Duterte have done better? And the answer to that is still a conjecture.

TP: Yes, but induction suggests that a person who continuously messes up will mess up again. Nothing in Mar's platform suggests that he will do things differently. As a matter of fact, he wants to continue the system.

Teh, pag dalawang beses na akong inoperahan sa ilong ni Dr. Pikachu tapos sabog pa rin ilong ko, pupunta na ako kay Dr. Bulbasaur kahit di ko pa siya masyadong kilala, dahil ayoko ng doktor na sigurado akong trial-and-error ang method.

JC: That's the problem with Mar's detractors eh. They're insisting that his platform of "ituloy ang daang matuwid" necessitates the continuation of the current flaws, even when has explicitly said that it's about continuing what works, and continuing to change what doesn't.

TP: Well, Mar has updated his site, and he even suggested to "level up" the discourse, but there's nothing from him to discuss, even at the refurbished state of

So di ba, unless Mar tells us something new, we work with whatever he has said. He gave a blanket statement – “Ituloy ang Daang Matuwid” – so saan ang hugot mo ng Faith kay Mar? I don’t get it.

JC: I've seen his interviews naman with dzmm, rappler and inquirer... grabe naman ‘to. Not his fault kung siya ang palaging nauuna sa interviews.

TP: I’ve watched all of Mar’s interviews for several hours. Nothing new.

JC: “Nothing new”, simply because your candidate just jumped in way after the coc filing. So of course Duterte's platforms are fresher.

TP: Then here's the issue… Here's Mar who's been eyeing the presidency since 2008 and he's got no clearly-defined platform. Now, here's duterte, who jumped in at the last minute and he's got a better-defined and more sensible platform.

JC: Nagugutom ako sa yo ha. Meron naman, hindi lang ganun kadaling i simplify. The challenge of his campaign is to distinguish where PNoy ends and where Roxas begins. And admittedly, yun yung part na hindi pa clear.

TP: Well, then he has to make major sense real soon, because it's just like a startup telling venture capitalists na "my business will go big-time, pero i can't explain it to you just yet, pero give me seed money now."

JC: Or maybe he's just waiting for the official campaign season to begin (fingers crossed).

TP: Well, I hope so, pero given the amount he's splurged in August, I think he is already on it. And if this is his A-Game, then screw him. Sorry teh. If this is it, it ain’t good enough.

JC: Meh. It's not yet final and the recent survey has been encouraging. So let's wait and see.

TP: Yes, although this is the first time that SWS and Pulse Asia have different results.

JC: Duterte's shock strategy is starting to bite him in the face. I know of a lot of people who are still appalled by his pope cursing and d.o.m. moves. Their words, not mine. Hmmmm... Pag si Duts ang nasa taas, ok sa yo yung survey results... pag hindi doubtful ka. Kukurutin kita e.

TP: No, tahimik ako di ba sa survey keme? I am just pointing out a divergence that has never been observed before. Regardless, his likability is not the issue in this particular conversation. Instead, it's their capabilities. Yung substance ang tinatalakay natin dito, hindi ung form.

JC: Fine fine. we shall find out soon enough.

TP: Well, I hope so dahil naiirita na ako sa kawalan ng choices.

TP: Saka p*ta, hanggang senatoriables, halos puro basura.

JC: Hay jusko, hindi ko pa yan nahaharap nang maayos. Risa Hontiveros pa lang sure ko

TP: Walden Bello keri din.

JC: Ah, yeah. Go kay Bello.

TP: Richard Gordon. Guingona Junior (pwede na rin). Greco Belgica, pwede din ‘to. Trivia… si Jovito Palparan, tumatakbo din ang leche, ekis dyan. Hontiveros, Bello, Gordon, Guingona, at Belgica. After non, wala na ako maisip

JC: Ay potah ang dami.

TP: Si Lacson pala iboboto ko. In fairness, sinosoli lagi ni Lacson ang pork barrel niya. So ayon, Risa, Bello, Gordon, Guingona, Belgica, Lacson. Tapos gugulgulin ko na lang siguro ung iba. Tanginang yan nakakahighblood ang Senado choices.

TP: Yes with reservations.

JC: Hahaha!

TP: Charoterang palakang Alma na ‘yan. Gusto kong bangagin. LOL.

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