Follow-Up Comments on the Abolition of the Pork Barrel System

Published below is a reply to a series of comments posted on Facebook by Jose Lorenzo Castillo about my thoughts on the Abolition of the Philippine Pork Barrel System.  I post this here since it is very long to be conveniently read on a Facebook comment.  Posting this on a blog also makes the contents more accessible for future reference via the blog archives.


Image from  Supreme Court Slays PDAF.

Sorry for this delayed response.  As I wrote earlier your comments require more time to reply to since they are a lot and are very much worth considering.  

Summarized below are main points I culled from points I definitely agree with.  These also include my short and humble thoughts:

  1. Our Constitution and laws are in the English language… it is their (Americans, etc.) primary and only language so ordinary people in their country can understand the laws and the Constitution  --  I agree that our Constitution and laws should be in a language understood by the common Filipino.  One positive development I see is the use of the Filipino language by our President Pnoy whenever he addresses the people.  In televised Senate hearings in aid of legislation some Senators also intentionally speak in Filipino.  These are steps toward the right direction.
  2. Patience is virtue but it has become to us a vice.  -- Agree.  We do need to have a sense of urgency.
  3. Wage an unforgiving battle, first, to win the support, trust, and confidence of the suffering masses… then confront the tyrants.  -- Yes, unforgiving, consistent battle to win the support of the masses because no amount of ranting on our part will amount to anything until we reach a critical mass.
  4. The battle must begin from the middle then proceed to the bottom to the top.  -- Agree, start from the "enlightened" middle since they don't have as much to lose as those at the top but they don't have so little as those "below".  I am just mindful that there are those from the "top" and from the "bottom" who are equally as enlightened, patriotic, resourceful and already currently doing positive things.
  5. Believe we must, but belief is of no use if bereft of action and the erudition of incisive thought -- Agree.  For my part I believe in the God who has given us both wisdom to understand and to act positively in response to Him and to situations around us.
  6. Thundering voices of protest from many of our laboring class -- Yes, even those who constantly wage mass protests have not really won the hearts of the masses they claim to represent.
  7. Controlling few see to it that the status quo is kept at a standstill -- Agree, that is why we need to continue to help rock the boat and refuse to give up.
  8. (I) only cry in helplessness. -- Yes, as individuals we are helpless, but as a people and with God I believe we can be a powerful minority who can create critical mass.
  9. We should study history. -- Yes, that is why I am also a lover, advocate, student and attendee of meaningful forums on both world and Philippine history.  As they say, "He who does not know history is bound to repeat it."
  10. PDAF is outlawed (now) … but… there are many ways to skin a cat -- Yes, that is why we should be prepared to keep sending forces in every battle ground of the war.  People motivated by greed and other evil plans will keep finding ways to frustrate justice but that is no reason for us to wage battles and rejoice when some of these battles are won.
  11. Leveling the playing field. -- Yes we should work and pray for the leveling of the playing field.  That is why we are thankful for this information revolution where we now have the power to be heard and to interact with each other.  Wide access to information and communication can help to greatly level the playing field.
  12. Over 20 years in government service mainly involved in the review, analysis, and management of organizations, systems and procedures, and control systems with the view of improving them, patching up loopholes, and putting in place airtight control systems to forestall loss of money and other resources, which may arise from simple oversight to gross dishonesty -- I can imagine how you feel.  That must be so disappointing and discouraging.  Thank you for keeping on.  I am glad that people like you are still on the ship.  We need all possible hands on deck.  There are a lot of other good people in the private sector, in the military, in government who are still on the ship.  We need to support them even as we continue to do our part.

Just one comment on "The action of the people is the action of God".  -- Yes, I believe in vox populi, vox dei but it may not be correct at all times, otherwise Hitler finds justification for the holocaust.   It could not have happened without that country's population agreeing with, or at the very least, condoning it.  The majority may not always be right.

I believe in government because without it we find ourselves under the lawless "state of nature" or "state of war".  Structures, laws and Constitutions will always be powered by external compulsion but the real problem is internal -- in the hearts and minds of men and women.

"The real problem is in the hearts and minds of men.  It is not a problem of physics but of ethics.  It is easier to denature plutonium than to denature the evil from the spirit of man."
                                                                                              -- Albert Einstein

In the end, I think everything still boils down to personal convictions in the form of ethics.  As you have emphatically stated people can still creatively invent new ways to preserve their power.  Not a single world system is airtight.  As in your experience, we can create structures, provide safety nets and counter-measures but people can always circumvent them. 


"In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.

O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

-- Psalm 10:2-3, 17-18 (ESV)



  1. I need to thank you for your point for point reply to my statements posted in FB. I had after thoughts about having posted such a treatise in a forum that is supposed to be mainly used for social networking. My apologies.

    You mentioned about Pnoy delivering speeches in Pilipino. I agree that it is a step forward. Plausible strides must also ensue to make Pilipino the official language of the government. Sadly, I do not feel that obtaining at the moment. The legislature, being the policy-making body and where the purse is stipulated, defined, and promulgated must also deliberate, debate, and write transcripts of proceedings in Pilipino for all people and for all sectors, without discrimination, to understand and make their voices heard through public hearings before the Budget is finally enacted into Law as the General Appropriations Act.

    I admire your steadfast belief and trust in your God, albeit we have contrasting views on what God really represents to us. Obviously, you are an anthropomorphist while I am a pantheist. You believe in a personal God while I know my impersonal GOD who can only feel and act through us being the active and indissoluble BODY. Therefore, what I feel, what I do, I know is of my GOD. I may not pray as you do. To me, work is the highest form of prayer I can offer to GOD. I do not need to expound on our faiths. I just brought it out for us to understand our subtle difference and strike a situation where our minds can happily meet and work together.

    Hitler and those like him must have been used by GOD for the best of reasons, for “GOD only chooses the best to happen from the best of all possibilities”. It is history and posterity that justify GOD of man’s cruel actions. We cannot reverse history, but we can learn from it to redirect its course for goodness sake. Having cited that, we must not frustrate GOD by doing nothing or less for the best things to occur.

    We must bear in mind that governments are mainly established to protect the weak from oppression by the strong and mighty, and to institute justice and enforce equality among men. They must, therefore, rise and fall on the basis of the strength or weakness of the fundamental principle upon which they are founded.
    I am glad you distinguished the Heart from the Mind in your supposition about the value of ethics. To me, Heart is a symbolic representation of our core essence, our spiritual essence, which is neither good nor evil. It is in fact absolute Unity of both but above both. It is the Heart that inspiringly whispers to us the silent voice of the Omniscient to remind us of our duty to ourselves and to posterity. The Mind is to me the expression of the true state of our being, of our character, and of our ethics as rational individuals. It demonstrates the present condition of our being. The perception of ethics, therefore, is varied, moving and changing, and never settled. What is ethical to a person is mainly extrapolated from the equation of variable prejudices acquired by accident of birth, by education, by experience, and by development of reason. We cannot impose our ethics on anyone, albeit we can create an environment to change and veer our personal and national ethics toward our common good.

    If we must try to institute change and hope to evolve a better society for all of us and for posterity, we must continue to positively influence the path of our decadent national ethics for the good of all. Action is most required. It is our best prayer as a nation. I am most glad you are in the midst of action. At my age, my written thoughts are also my action.

    1. Yes, we do have a long way to go. That's why we need to keep going and we need to keep going at it the right way. Otherwise, we waste opportunities and time itself.

      Our hope is that change will indeed come as more and more people are heard and are acting on their convictions.

      You have succinctly summarized our differing views on what God represents to us -- that I am an anthropomorphist and you are a pantheist. Although I think your one word definition for my faith is not exactly correct and is an over-simplification I do think you describe yourself well in the word you have chosen to explain your view of God. I also started thinking about this difference as I have been reading some of your writings on facebook and browsing through your book.

      Both of us have formed, for reasons only the two of us can completely understand. I appreciate your pointing this out so we can "strike a situation where our minds can happily meet and work together". I am happy with that, especially since these are debates/arguments that have been raging for ages and is not likely to stop or get settled in the foreseeable future. The joy comes when we (not only the two of us) as citizens of the world can live in harmony despite our many differences. I believe that is the true mark of a civilized society -- one where we can have different beliefs but respect each other enough so we can share the same space.

      I think I will reserve my thoughts on prayer for another blog post.

      It is good we can agree that action is indeed needed to institute change.

      At your age, I don't think you are limited to your written thoughts. Your thoughts are precious and worth sharing and reading but I still believe non-written action does not chose age. I believe you are capable for more, not that you have done little but I meant just that -- that you as a person can do more. The power of your mind tells me you have more.

    2. My apologies for using the universal terms “Anthropomorphist” to refer to your belief in a personal God, and “Pantheist” to indicate a contrasting belief in Nature and its phenomena as the impersonal Deity. Actually, I have qualms of Pantheism to precisely imply my faith. To exactly describe it, I coined an odd term “Absolutheism” to put in one word my belief in a self-caused and self-existing DEITY that is ALL, the container of all, and above all, including the totality of the container and the content and all the rest. IT is hidden by and in its own SELF. When abstracted, IT is a “Circle without circumference where everywhere is the Center”. What we can naturally and phenomenally perceive, therefore, are but emanations and manifestations of the ABSOLUTE that is conceivably ALL.

      As an Absolutheist, I am a Determinist and sterling Optimist (often a Dreamer). I know that my absolute DEITY can only determine “the best to occur from the best of possibilities” seeing that all is happening in nowhere but in its own most ineffable SELF. As an Optimist, I wield whatever endowment I have to create possibilities to make things happen. The rest is history. What I hate most is shilly-shallying for things to happen, and to wait for miracles from the gods to make them happen.

      I absolutely agree that Unity in diversity is what makes a civilized society. More than anything else, it binds a splendid reality, which is full and complete of everything, and needing of nothing to make it fuller and more complete. Everybody and everything, here and above, are acting to preserve the Unity. Our purpose is to further magnify and perfect the Unity by the piety and diligence of our toil.

      I definitely am not limited by my age. As an Optimist, I absolutely do not recognize my boundaries. I just believe that thoughts are more powerful than action, because from it, we derive our feelings, and from our feelings, we are driven to vigorous and feisty action. Thoughts, therefore, have many arms from within and from without.

  2. Before I forgot, I agree that the majority is not always right, but we live under a democratic form of government which stipulates and decrees the rule of the majority. We may not agree on national issues with the majority, but we must bow our heads to their rule if we continue to subscribe to the fundamental principle upon which our government is founded. The majority can only listen to the minority, but they have every right to impose on the minority what they determined to be the best for the nation. This is how democracy works. If we do not agree, we must work hard, convince the critical mass to join us in the arena of public opinion that we may eventually become the majority.

    1. Yes, I agree. That's why I think there is no perfect government system known to man at the moment. Democracy seems to be best form so in embracing it we also embrace its fault with a warning that it too is not perfect.

    2. There is absolutely no perfect government. Perfection is always moving and never constant. Yet, this must not constrain us from developing a more perfect one that best describes and suits our ideals as a distinct and unique people of the world. Yes, by everybody’s endowment, we can at least approximate and proceed towards perfecting the ever-imperfect as if our limits do not exist.
      I do not feel that our partisan and body politics have successfully delineated and articulately ventilated our ideals and aspirations as a nation. Our Constitution is supposed to be the instrument of our ideals. Sadly, it has too many ambiguities, too many imperfections, and too many deterrents for us to grow to become a robust and prosperous people. The fact that it is written in a language that is foreign to our common people is what makes it not a truly national and representative instrument. It is in fact an instrument of tyranny by the minority. Let us, therefore, endeavor to disambiguate our ideals by having a truly representative Body to frame a Constitution in our very own language that truly embodies our ideals and direction as one people in this part of the world. To fulfill this, we must offer our best prayer – action from within and from without.

    3. If we are successful in crafting a truly representative Constitution that truly embodies the ideals and aspirations of all peoples of our nation – the elite, the middle class, the ordinary poor (educated and undereducated), and the poorest of the poor – I am absolutely certain that the work to become progressive and prosperous nation will become doable, very easy, and most pleasant and satisfying for everybody.


Thanks for respecting other readers.

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