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Click on the categories above if you only want to read about a particular topic. The articles below have gotten the most hits in my previous blog

I Hate Filipino Culture -Society/Politics

Thursday, April 19, 2018

I Hate Filipino Culture -11 years Later

Almost exactly 5 years ago today, I looked at my blog counter and was quite surprised when I saw that one of my articles gained around 50k views in less than 24 hours and was still gaining views at a pretty fast rate. Then I checked facebook and friends were saying that one of my articles was being shared everywhere on social media and getting pretty strong reactions. It was my first taste of what virality was like. The attention was very flattering but also quite frightening. Along with the overwhelming positive reactions, I was also getting a few negative ones. And we all know how mean the internet can be.  I wrote under my pen name “Jay Walker” but I wasn’t entirely anonymous. I had a photo of my mug on the blog which, according to some of the commenters, was quite douchey and could serve as a “before” photo for a derma ad (I’m paraphrasing). I also saw someone write “liquid sosa” at least once in the comments, one my many nicknames back in gradeschool, so I’m pretty sure someone from that part of my life recognized me.

I’m not the type who enjoys having the spotlight directly on me. I like having it on my creative work but not on me as a person. I didn’t delete the profile photo which everybody had already seen anyway but I tried to maintain anonymity as much as i could. I deleted the links to some of my blogs which contained more information and photos of me. And I changed my name on fb to my real name for a while so no one could find me. I did it because I dreaded the influx of haters on my social media accounts but after reading a couple of negative comments, I quickly got desensitized to it and I didn’t really get affected anymore. I changed it back to Jay walker after a couple of days.

Back in 2007 when I originally wrote the entry, facebook was not as big as it is today.  Social media was plurk and Friendster. When you went viral back then, you went viral within the blogging community, maybe you’d get mentioned in a few forums, have a few memes. It’s nothing like what it is today where something could spread like wildfire through facebook or twitter. When I first posted it on my tabulas blog back in 2007, it got a few comments and reactions but it wasn’t until 2013 when people shared it on facebook and twitter that it went viral.

The fact that it spread the way it did was surprising because although the title was a bit clickbait-y, the body of the article was not written, as some of the commenters said, in a way that could be easily understood by the masses. In the age of memes and road rage videos, articles that are several paragraphs long rarely get viral anymore, especially ones that contain words and phrases like “purveyor of ignorance” and “permeates”.  There are so many ways that one could go viral on the internet. One could easily end up like Cristopher Lao or the Amalayer girl, barbequed to a crisp by internet trolls. I’m glad that I didn’t go viral that way. Perhaps it was also because of the nature of the article that it avoided the worst of internet trolls. Although there were a few immature comments and some that were bordering on violent, they were rare. A lot of the reactions to it were articles in themselves. And even some of the replies that were critical of it were also thoughtfully written.

If I had written it today, it definitely wouldn’t sound as angry. Aging has taken some of the fire and idealism out of me. I would change or add a few things. But I think it still remains timely. Those who were critical of the article have accused it of being homophobic because they thought I said something negative about people who dressed in drag. I explicitly used the word “entertainers” I was talking about entertainers, who aren’t even gay in the first place, dressing in drag and acting like fools sake of a few laughs. There are plenty of those characters in Philippine television. That, I think is promoting homophobia and could even be interpreted as an outright mockery of the their community.

I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the attention back then but looking back at it now, I’m filled with a sense of pride. For a brief period of time, I was able to move people’s thoughts and emotions en masse with my words, which is the aspiration of any writer or those aspiring to be.


“I Hate Filipino Culture” first went viral on april 2013 and then went viral again on january 2014. Thanks to everyone who shared it and posted reactions to it.

Some of the posts that I could find on twitter:

Some of the lengthier blog reactions that I found through google:

Matteo gudicelli posted it twice on twitter

Unfortunately I can’t figure out how to search old posts on facebook but thank you to everyone who shared it.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

What is Intelligence?

How much brain power does it take to invent the wheel? It’s a question that I often pondered about in my youth. It doesn’t seem to take much observational power to notice that round things roll and if you put an axle in the center of a round object, you have a modern day wheel and axle. Modern humans have been around for 160,000 years and the earliest wheel and axle dates to about 3600BC. It took us more than a hundred thousand years to invent what a lot of kids today can probably easily discover in their playtime.

There’s this curious phenomenon called the Flynn effect. It’s the consistent increase in the average IQ of a population over generations. Is it possible that the intelligence of homo sapiens back then was just so far behind that what we consider simple cognitive tasks now, required advanced feats of mental gymnastics?

I remember looking at Leonardo Da Vinci’s mechanical designs when I was prepubescent teen and thinking to myself “I could’ve designed these” I had a pretty high regard my capabilities back then :) But while Da Vinci was no doubt a genius and his engineering designs were advanced for his time, I do think that a lot of people living today would be capable of coming up with similar designs, even without the benefit of formal mentoring or passed down technical knowledge.

Not that that would matter. The days of the single inventor working in their basement changing history may be past us. Most major advances in technology are developed by companies or organizations with several brains working together and more than a couple of thousand dollars in funds. Technology is at the point where collective intelligence, as well as funds, are required for it to advance   

a.) at the left, Davinci's design for a crossbow b.) at the right, my design for a slightly different type of 2 stroke engine when i was in gradeschool. I didn't think that i was lagging too far behind compared to Da vinci back then.(I invented my own alphabet when i was young so i could write in private)

I remember when I was much younger, we were given regular IQ tests by the school guidance counselor. Some questions in the tests were significantly more difficult than others. I would answer the tricky questions first thinking that maybe they would matter more. Maybe they would be worth more points. I thought that I’d impress the person who’s checking the test more if I answered the more difficult questions correctly. And then I found out later on that you’d get the same points for correctly answering the easiest question as you would the most difficult questions. That just didn’t make sense to me and I think I continued doing what I was doing for a while.

And then later on, we were taught a strategy on how to score well on these exams. “Answer the easiest questions first and then progressively go to the more difficult ones. If you run out of time, answer the remaining questions using guesswork.” I asked myself how could this be a reliable measure of intelligence when, on top of being a multiple choice test, you were also taught strategies on how to game it.

Perhaps the tests that we were given weren’t up to international standards but you can train people to do better on these tests. Which begs the question: Are we really getting smarter or are we just getting better at answering this specific test. What exactly does this test measure?

Savants are individuals who excel on one specific task but have difficulties in other cognitive tasks. Kim Peek, the inspiration for the movie Rain Man, for example, could read 2 different pages of a book at the same time with each eye scanning a different page. He could remember everything that he read. His brain has absorbed so much information that he wasn’t just a walking encyclopedia, he was practically a walking Google. He could also do complex calendar calculations which no normal human being would be able to do even with extensive training. Like other savants though, Kim peek was disabled in other areas of his life.

A lot of people with Savant syndrome have damage to certain parts of their brains. Savant syndrome has also been replicated artificially using magnetic stimulation that temporally disables parts of the brain. It’s interesting that rather than requiring more brain tissue, you actually have to disable parts of your brain in order to do tasks that require “intelligence”. Kim peek’s brain actually is missing its corpus callosum or the bundle of nerves that link that the two brain hemispheres together. Our brains filter out a lot of information which it considers unnecessary otherwise we’d be overloaded with information. The theory is that this filtering process is what’s missing in a lot of savants.

Kim peek’s brain could do mental feats that none of us would be able to do but he couldn’t understand metaphors,  his father had to take care of him until his death because he couldn’t survive on his own. He couldn’t even dress himself without assistance. His IQ was measured to be below average but does that mean that he wasn’t intelligent? If someone with Kim Peek’s exceptional memory and computational skills scores low on an IQ test then what is the IQ test not measuring?

There is no scientific consensus on what the definition of intelligence is aside from that which IQ measures, which is in itself is controversial. One interesting fact about IQ test results is that it can be affected by the motivation of the person taking the test. When given financial incentives to score high on an IQ test, subjects can score up to 10-15 IQ points higher which is a pretty significant increase.
IQ is significantly affected by the person's motivation to think and the motivation to solve a problem

Perhaps ancient human beings didn’t find a strong enough motivation to invent the wheel until the Bronze Age when society became complex enough that they could profit from it in some way. We could see a similar trend in today’s technological developments. We could advance our understanding of the universe so much faster if the US would increase NASA’s budget. Currently though, NASA’s budget is only about 2.8% that of the US military budget. Back in the 70s, people thought that we’d have colonies on other planets by now. We haven’t even been back to the moon since 1972. We’re more motivated to spend brain power on problems that we can profit from in the near future.

Most people have their own barometers for intelligence. A lot of psychologists would agree that there are many types of intelligence. There’s mathematical intelligence, linguistic, musical etc. As we’ve seen in the case of savants, excelling in one particular area doesn’t always translate to functional intelligence. I think intelligence lies in the valleys in between. It’s in the motivation to think and the capability to use these different types of intelligence as tools to achieve a certain goal. It’s not just to absorb information but to create something with what has been absorbed.

I think that as a society advances, the value of individual intelligence becomes less and less important. Computers are getting better at solving problems that involve logic, statistics, group behavior etc. Eventually we will realize that even intelligent people can be flawed decision makers and we will rely more and more on data crunching machines. Gifted individuals will do well in their respective fields but the capability to singlehandedly advance humanity may be beyond the individual unless he bands together with other equally capable individuals. From a societal standpoint, more important than individual intelligence is collective intelligence –the average intelligence of a population. It directly correlates with a nation’s GDP, with its technological advancements, with its standards of living. It also affects how far an individual can push his intellect. Even if we do produce a man of Da Vinci’s intellect, if he doesn’t get the funding (which is related to GDP), if he doesn’t get the intellectual manpower that he needs to advance his ideas, he won’t get very far.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

To My Father

Starting at around 2 weeks before my father’s death, I started noticing changes in his behavior. It was initially very gradual. Unless you knew him well, you wouldn’t notice it right away. It started with the loss of his sense of time.  He became erratic. He would demand to be released from the hospital one day only to ask to be returned to the hospital the next day. He was in and out of confinement four or five times in less than a month. His liver was failing and it was having a detrimental effect on his brain. It got progressively worse to the point that nothing that he said made sense anymore. He was interchanging words. I had to write down some of the things he was saying so I could figure out which words meant what.

Up Until his last 2 weeks, he had a very sharp mind and he took great pride in it. He used to always say something along the lines of: I could lose my arms or my legs but if I lose my mind, that’s it” He often insinuated that he’d rather die than have a diminished mind. It was a painful thing to watch. The thing that he feared the most, next to death probably, was happening to him and he wasn’t even realizing it.

His warped sense of time was particularly stressful for me and my mother. Minutes became hours for him. He’d accuse me of prioritizing other things over him or not spending enough time at the hospital when almost 90% of my waking time was spent at the hospital. I started resenting it after a while because I was practically chained to the hospital room for more than a month and I had to suspend everything else. I’d leave for 40mins to have lunch and I’d get a text message asking me to come back because I’d been away for too long. That resentment was one of the things that I regretted after he passed away.

2 or 3 days before he passed away, he went into a coma. I remember having to leave the hospital because my car’s starter was starting to fail and I had to get it fixed. I was away for more than 2 hours and I didn’t get that text message that, just a few days prior, caused me so much stress. I remember thinking that at that moment, there was nothing that I wanted more than to get that message demanding that I go back to the hospital. The message never came. He never woke up from the coma. He finally succumbed to the cancer that he fought for years. That clich├ęd saying about spending as much quality time as you can with your loved ones especially in the twilight of their lives, it’s so obvious but it can also be easy to forget when you’re in the situation.

The last month and a half of my father’s life was an emotional rollercoaster for all of us in the family. There’s one particular memory that stands out for me. I think it was night time or early in the morning. I woke up to the sound of him calling out my name. I got up from my makeshift bed on the floor of the hospital room and walked towards him. He looked at me in the eye and, as if he was lucid for the first time in days, he said “My son”

Today’s your first death anniversary, papa. You had your doubts but I think you’d be happy to know that we’re doing fine.  Your business is doing fine.

You will always be missed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Deconstructing the most common Dutertian arguments

Have you ever posted something critical of the administration? Were you attacked by dozens of online trolls calling you a drug addict or a yellowtard? Did you scratch your head when you got asked questions like "Why don't you grieve for their victims instead?!!"Well then this list is for you. Here are some of the most popular arguments/questions that have been used in this drug war so far deconstructed

1.) It’s ok to kill drug users because they murder and rape: One problem with this argument is that unless you could prove that ALL drug users kill and rape, you’re saying that it’s ok to kill any member of a group because of the crime of some of its members. That’s like saying it’s ok to kill any Muslim because almost all terrorist attacks are committed by Muslims. Another mind altering substance, alcohol, is also responsible for a lot of crimes including murder, rape and a lot of car related deaths. In a lot of countries, alcohol related deaths actually outnumber drug related deaths but I don’t see anyone carrying banners saying “death to all lasengos”. What we do is we prosecute individuals for the specific crimes that they committed while under the influence of alcohol.

You’ll find plenty of documentation proving that users of hard drugs like shabu or meth can be rehabilitated (Robert Downey Jr would be an example) and not all of them commit rape and murder. We don’t prosecute people for the crimes members of their group have committed or crimes that we think they are LIKELY to commit. If a certain person was killed by a drug addict then that particular addict should be charged with murder. Other addicts should be given punishment that's proportional to the crimes that they have committed.

Furthermore are we saying that it’s ok to kill users of Hard drugs like shabu, or are we going to extend this to users of other drugs like cocaine, LSD, marijuana and ectasy. (even dealers of ecstasy have been targeted recently) Because if you’d look at the numbers, you’d be hardpressed to find a strong correlation between the use of recreational drugs and violence. Some of the brightest minds in history experimented with drugs. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Richard Feynman did LSD, Thomas Edison and Sigmund Freud did Cocaine and if I may quote Bob Marley, a strong proponent of the herb, “peace, love and hug all trees mawn” –Obviously a peace loving bloke, although I may be paraphrasing him on that

2.) Extrajudicial killings are justified because our crime rate has reached national crisis levels. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a classic example of fear mongering. Not so dissimilar from how bush justified his war on Iraq or how Hitler justified the actions of his Nazi party. You make the populace think that there’s a grave and imminent threat and you can justify extraordinary measures to counter that supposed threat.- Duterte’s chief legal adviser even said that the drug problem is now enough grounds to declare martial law. I’d like to think that we’re smart enough not to fall for that. I hope we are. The murder rate in the US is higher than in the Philippines. Rape cases are higher in the UK. In terms of drug use, we’re not even in the top 10 list.  We are being led to believe that we have an extraordinary situation but data will show that we’re nothing special.

3.) Why do you grieve for the criminals who are getting killed by the police and vigilantes? Why not grieve for their victims instead? Does it really have to be mutually exclusive? Can’t you denounce both? In the first place, you CAN'T even really say that victims of extrajudicial killings are criminals yet. They're only suspects and therefore innocent until their guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt in a criminal court. Innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around. Even if you were successful in arguing that murderers and rapists deserve death, it doesn't justify the killing of suspects unless you could prove that they are indeed guilty of murder and rape. Also, violent crime perpetuated by individuals happens in every country. It's a sad fact but it's a given. Violent crime that is openly perpetuated/encouraged by the government against its own people is a lot worse and it happens in states like North Korea and certain African countries that civilization has left behind. 

4.) Unless youre a drug addict, you have nothing to fear. You can tell that to Roman Manaois, Roana Tiamson, Julius Rabina, Jefferson Bunuan and the thousands of SUSPECTS who got reduced to a statistic without getting to the chance to prove their innocence. As recent events have shown, “Top gear justice” aka trial by the mob is quite unreliable. Just because a lot of people think that a person is guilty doesn't mean that he is actually guilty.If we treat due process as something that can be skipped, anyone can be a drug addict or a pusher and anyone can be killed. The purpose of due process is to determine guilt through an objective evidence-based process, more or less. It can never be perfect but it will still be more reliable than a subjective process based on finger pointing and chismis mongering. 

5.) The US has no right to criticize the Philippines because they kill blacks. This argument was not made by a teenage girl but by Mr Duterte himself after he was asked by an American journalist a question regarding extrajudicial killings. It’s like that argument with your girlfriend or bf where you try to dig up every bad thing that you’ve done to each other in the past. It is true that there are plenty of cases of white officers killing unarmed black suspects. If Obama endorsed these killings like Duterte does, then we can say that these acts are state sponsored and we should condemn Obama. But Obama hasn’t praised any of these killings, has never endorsed them and has even condemned some of them. The most that you can claim is that there are a few bad seeds in the American police force (they exist in every country) and that they should be tried. A lot of these killer cops have been tried and convicted.

6 Human rights only protect drug coddlers not their victims:- Contrary to popular Dutertian belief, human rights were not invented by yellowtards or by drug coddlers. These rights predated yellowtards actually. The Universal declaration of human rights were agreed upon and ratified by most of the world’s democratic countries including the Philippines back in 1948 so each individual person can have a chance to stand against even the might of the state. A lot of the rights that you enjoy now are inspired by this declaration. It’s not the job of human rights organizations to investigate every crime that happens in a country. That is the government’s job. Now when governments trample on the rights of individuals, such as the right to due process, that’s when they step in. When duterte said that the UN had no right to criticize the country’s policy on extrajudicial killigs,he was a bit ill informed. Extrajudicial killings are crimes against humanity according to rules that we are a signatory to. Violators can be tried in

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Was Teddy Locsin Jr. right about the Filipino Language

When I first read Teddy Locsin Jr's tweets, I thought it was a fake account because it didn’t seem like it was written by a fully matured man whom I thought him to be, prior to reading the tweets. His twitter is like youtube’s comment section with such memorable quotes as “Tangina, anong gagawin ko sa Sabado. Syet. Kahit si Jesus patay, si kong kakausapin.

I ran this sentence through a Filipino-English translator and it came out as gibberish. Maybe part of the hate is due to the fact that he doesn’t know how to use the language properly yet

While i find his use of words questionable, i don't entirely disagree with him. In my younger years, I used to engage in a lot of debates online. It was good mental exercise. The preferred medium for the debates was always English. I noticed that whenever a debater used tagalog, the ideas didn’t flow as fluidly. I wasn’t quite sure if that was because of the debater or the language that he was using.

In a recent interview, Teddy Locsin defended his tweet by saying that Filipino is a flowery language and not as straight forward as English. I would disagree with his observation. I think that Filipino is actually a more straightforward language. There is less room for subtle nuances and wordplay. It’s easy to say a straightforward sentence like: “I don’t like this” in tagalalog. “ayaw ko ito”. But try saying  “I am somewhat fond of this” without using the world  “medyo” or “konti”

Tagalog is more than sufficient for everyday conversation but when engaging people in formal debates, sometimes you have to wield words with surgical precision or with ambiguity depending on the need. Where tagalog lacks is in denoting degree. There’s no word in between Ayaw and gusto. There are tagalog words that will denote gradation like: medyo, konti, halos. But most tagalog words tend to be in Black or white. Whereas in English, words can denote gradation without the assistance of additional words. Disapprove, dislike, hate, loathe, abhor -These words imply similar things but to different degrees. When combined with adverbs that denote degree, you can be more creative with your expression of disgust or you can express your disgust politely. For example: “I highly dislike your choice of words” “Sir, I slightly abhor your hairstyle”

A somewhat polite way of saying your hairstyle sucks

The lack of gradation in Filipino words probably explains why the word “medyo” tends to be overused in Filipino discourse. I myself am guilty of this. Gutom ka na? medyo. Pagod ka na? medyo. You wouldn’t realize how important it is until you take it away and you’re left scratching your head when asked simple questions.

“Gusto” and “ayaw”-there are no currently used alternative tagalog words that convey the same meaning as far as I know. Whereas the word “hate” has more than 40 synonyms. And that is one of the main reasons why Filipino can be less efficient than English in formal debates. English is a constantly evolving language that absorbs words from other languages and is used by more people. There are significantly more words in the English language than there are in Filipino. With more words, you have a richer palette to compose sentences with.

So did teddy locsin have a point? Maybe to a certain degree. But what’s more important than the language that you use is your mastery of it. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a language that has a richer vocabulary if you’re unfamiliar with most of its words. An experienced artist could paint a masterpiece with just 3 colors. A masterful writer or speaker should be able to express his ideas with whatever words that are at his disposal, whether those words be English or Filipino

He did raise one excellent point in his interview though. English is also a national language and there should be no shame nor treachery in using it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

When the Lion shed its mane

As if pressing the fast forward button on the remote, one moment you’re in a doctor’s clinic for a check up, looking at other patients in the queue in more advanced stages of the disease and getting a glimpse the immediate future through them. The next moment, you’re there, in your own future, seeing what you saw then but this time from a more intimate perspective. The transition from the then to the now is so abrupt that the mind seems to have omitted the in-between stages. It almost feels like I had time traveled.

It's december 27th, just two days after christmas. I’ve been staring at this bed for a while now. It’s a standard hospital bed with a cream colored frame draped in white sheets. It’s an otherwise ordinary bed but it is of particular interest to me because there’s this question that’s been lingering in my head. Is this going to be the bed, the one that he will last lay down on? The “death bed as they call it.”

It was almost 4 years ago when he was diagnosed with cancer. He was only given 6 months by his doctors. If you saw him a month ago, you’d think that he was openly mocking his death sentence. Apart from a fist–sized lump that was growing on his abdomen, he looked healthy. He was mobile, He went to the nearby mall regularly to buy his supplements. It almost seemed as if time was of abundance.

The decline of his health in the last few days was so sudden that I didn’t realize what was happening until it hit me in the face -It felt like being slapped out of a dream where cancer was nothing but an overgrown pimple that won't go away and waking up to reality, staring down cancer's unmasked face. Its grotesque features in plain view. His long period of good health has lulled us into a false state of security. It is like how you see it in the movies after all. I first realized that something was wrong when Christmas eve came and he wasn’t at the dinner table with us.  We always spent Christmas together having noche buena at the same table. We don't have a lot of traditions. This is one of the few and we never missed a single one. I didn't realize how bad it was until the day after Christmas. He was very weak. He wasn't eating, His face was gaunt, his muscles have wasted away. I'm not sure if he really lost that much weight in 2 days or i just didn't pay that much attention bef

Saturday, December 19, 2015

If Duterte were president...

There are those who argue that what we need is an iron-fisted leader or even a dictator, a Filipino Lee Kuan yew perhaps. Maybe it's true that a US-style democracy works against us because we’re a country of shallow people and therefore very much susceptible to the influence of demagogues , leaders who appeal to the emotions.  

For some, this iron-fisted leader is Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao who has often times admitted to being responsible for the extrajudicial execution of criminals. This is a fact that's not ignored or even contested by his supporters. For a lot of them it's actually his selling point. For a society that finds cursing and distributing condoms to those who can’t afford it morally reprehensible, it is a bit of an oddity that a politician who espouses extrajudicial killings would find popularity.

The right of every person to a fair trial is ingrained in every modern democracy. It is a globally recognized basic human right. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume that Duterte’s judgement is indeed impeccable. That he can tell with certainty who is guilty and who is not, rendering trials unnecessary. Surely, Duterte with his impeccable judgement wouldn’t have time to carry out the killing or judging of all of the country’s criminals all by himself. He will have to delegate. Would his delegates be gifted with the same omniscience and “purity of intention” as their boss? We don’t even trust our police force to handle the country’s traffic situation without extorting our motorists. People can’t even fly in this country without the fear of bullets mysteriously appearing in their luggage. Imagine our law enforcement officers operating in an environment where killing offenders of the law without trial is justified. Maybe the Duterte system sort of works within the confines of Davao’s borders but when taken to the national level, the potential for abuse will expand exponentially. It don’t think that one would have to be particularly pessimistic to see that. On the contrary i think one would have to be zealously optimistic not to see it.

The Davao death squad, which the mayor has admitted to having connections with, is not only responsible for the death of rapists and muderers. They've also allegedly executed people who have committed Petty crimes. Minors have allegedly been executed. Even some of the locals of Davao will admit that some people have been killed by mistake -and they're ok with this because they're happy with the peace and order situation in their city. Imagine the misfortune of those people who were killed by mistake -that their lives were sacrificed for the whims of people who demand peace and order at any price. Even if it was just one person killed without a fair trial and killed by mistake, that’s one person too many.

The mayor has a treasure trove of quotable quotes that would be funny if it was coming from a comedian, entertaining if it was coming from an action star but bone-chilling for someone who's running for president. If you really think about it, who really wants death squads roaming the streets of Metro Manila at night looking to deal swift and fatal justice to suspected criminals?

We can only make assumptions because no one has the clairvoyance to see what a Duterte presidency would be like. Maybe the naysayers are wrong. Maybe he will reform the country. Maybe he can straighten the police force. Maybe his "enforcers" will hit the right targets every time, maybe he won't ban algebra and trigonometry. Maybe this, maybe that. We will have to make assumptions about the other candidates too. The one constant though is that this is a person who is known for and has admitted to operating outside of the law to kill. That is a lot of power to give to one man. We’d be giving up a very basic human right in the assumption that we're surrendering that right to a person who has pure intentions and to a system that will not be abused. If we’re inaccurate in our judgement of his ethics, which we already know are already quite questionable to begin with, we're screwed. The legal system exists for a reason. If it is flawed, fix it. By circumventing it, you'd just be replacing a problem with an even bigger one.

Give up the rights of the few for the many. That's what's being suggested. Surely a few innocents will suffer but we’re at war with criminality and at war there are always casualties, right? You’d just have to pray to your chosen deity that that casualty will not be you or someone you know. In a world of progressing civility where rights are gradually being disseminated equally to every race, gender, age, this is several steps back.. The hierarchy of world governments doesn’t go from a full democracy, where the right of every citizen is equal and legally protected, to a system where the rights of the citizens are conditional and can be waived when one man or the Filipino mob demands it. There are plenty of steps in between.

Duterte's supporters might argue that it's only the rights of the criminals that he will be taking away but without the right to a fair trial, innocence is a very fragile, transitory thing. When the authorities, deem you a criminal, you are one and you have no say about it. As one country under one leadership, we're all in the same frying pan. You can't selectively "cook" certain people without getting others or yourself burned accidentally.

When laws are being violated or "circumvented" around me, I would like to think that it’s being done by deviant individuals, not by my own government. That there is an objective legal system that’s not based on one man’s word and that everyone is subject to it. No one should be above it, no one should operate outside of it, especially those in power.