Wrestling with Pigs


The phrase panem et circenses (bread and circuses) is often used to describe the way governments provide superficial appeasement to the governed. No doubt this describes the Philippine government and politics, with all their telenovela-worthy drama that the media is only too willing to shove a camera and microphone towards.

One can also notice, however, that Philippine politics is also like watching someone wrestling with a pig, in mud. As an idiom, wrestling with a pig means engaging an opponent that benefits from the struggle even without winning it.

A quote is popularly attributed to playwright George Bernard Shaw: “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.

The latest spectacle in Philippine politics indeed resembles pig wrestling. It involves current president Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Leila De Lima. Duterte recently called out De Lima and linked her to the illegal drug trade. In doing so, however, he also called attention to De Lima’s “sexual indiscretions”.

Duterte’s critics claim that he is misogynistic, potty-mouthed, generally uncouth, and not at all presidential. The first three traits, of course, are all on record as part of his behavior ever since the presidential campaign. People will not let others forget his comments of “wanting to rape a woman first”, and where he cussed at the Pope. Nor will his critics let up about what is widely perceived as extra-judicial killings (EJK’s), the visible result of his “war on drugs”.

On the other hand, De Lima, portly as a matter of fact, has her own fair share of critics. She earned her reputation as former president Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino’s Justice Secretary. She is on record for disregarding a Supreme Court Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), and keeping Gloria Arroyo from seeking treatment abroad in 2011. De Lima’s comments about the late former Chief Justice Renato Corona are also on record, in which she called him “a lawless tyrant”.

Between Duterte and De Lima, who the pig is, and who’s doing the wrestling, is a matter of perspective.

Duterte, as part of his promise to the Filipino people, is seemingly not afraid to “get dirty” in order to “clean up” the country. Though he stakes his reputation on “knowing his limits within the law”, he has not been hesitant to name and shame government officials, who, according to intelligence, are allegedly corrupt or involved in the drug trade. He is perceived as encouraging people to “shoot criminals” and ask questions later.

Duterte, for lack of a better word, is a troll; he will not hesitate to say outrageous things to get people’s attention. What makes Duterte a slippery opponent though, is, “what you see is what you get”. He has successfully sold his straight shooting and unpretentious persona – warts and all – to an audience that has wanted change. Any criticism of such persona will just bounce off. Most anything his enemies have so far accused him of, so far, has also applied to them; they end up looking hypocritical because he has no veneer to hide under. Pretty soon his opponents are bound to run out of ammunition.

It doesn’t hurt that he has an army of rabid supporters that is – by all appearances – a mirror image of the LP/Yellow army.

De Lima, on the other hand, has a formidable support system behind her. She is still associated with the Liberal Party (LP), the same as her former boss BS Aquino. Consequently, she has mainstream media as a readily available podium on which to respond to, and attack, enemies and critics of whatever she represents. In addition, anyone who watched her respond to Duterte’s address will get the idea that she will not hesitate to evade answering issues directly, and paint herself as a victim of persecution and unfair attacks. Much like her former boss used to do.

Who seems to enjoy wrestling in the mud more? Again, it is a matter of perspective.

De Lima and the LP were quick to bring up the “feminism” angle. One has only to remember, however, how BS Aquino subjected Gloria Arroyo to all sorts of rude treatment, and yet only a few were calling it out. Where is the consistency here?

I thought politics knows no gender. It is definitely not for the thin-skinned; those who survive know how to give as good as they get. Otherwise, they quickly get discredited and fizzle out.

One observation stands out: it seems that Filipinos are merely content to watch the spectacle, and are hardly feeling dirty about it – even when the mud starts splashing all over them.

If so, then the general truths about Filipinos continue to hold true: that their politicians merely reflect what they are as a people, and; that they deserve the politicians they elect.

If this is the best our country has to offer, then perhaps we’re destined to wallow in the mud again for quite some time.


About FallenAngel

А вы, друзья, как ни садитесь, все в музыканты не годитесь. - But you, my friends, however you sit, not all as musicians fit.

Post Author: FallenAngel

А вы, друзья, как ни садитесь, все в музыканты не годитесь. - But you, my friends, however you sit, not all as musicians fit.

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58 Comments on "Wrestling with Pigs"

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“Wrestling with Pigs?” Who is the Pig, and who is the good human wrestler ? Politics in our country is mud wrestling. All sort of evil names are thrown at you…dirt is dug out in your past, and exposed to the public. A thick skinned human being , will surely survive in politics. Politics is not for thin skinned people. Thieves will call other thieves: “Thieves !”. In truth, they are all thieves. Politics is a political zarzuela. With us, the dumb star struck ignoramuses, as audiences. I am not amused by these stupid political shows, as our country becomes… Read more »
a yellow tard

stop wrestlings with the pigs. call for people power for prosecutions.


The Bitch (De Lima) is guilty as hell of being connected with the illegal drug trade as one of its “Protector”. She tries to cover up the evidence by turning around and accusing Duterte of extra judicial killing. This type of behavior from De Lima is typical of Filipinos caught with their “hands in the cookie jar”: play “Dedma” (Dead Malice) or “Patay Malisya” (feign innocence and use everyone and everything as a scapegoat).

I have to give credit to Pres. Duterte in this case, although, there could have been a better approach. According to pres. spokesperson Abella, “the president understands that public discourse has its dynamics and perimeters”- no question on his awareness of diplomatic conduct. It’s just disgusting that De Lima and her affiliates claim to be fiscalizers when they’re the very ones who should be investigated. In order for things to get done, they must be brought up one way or another. PH politics have long been filthy because they cover each other’s asses and only speak when it’s for their… Read more »
The Filipino people really need to come together and stand behind their president, the Philippine National Police, and the armed forces, on their effort to bring to the surface all the elements that promote graft and corruption. If the Filipinos sincerely want to change their country for the better, then they need to start thinking as one nation now. No more of these differences in opinion on how the country should be run, that only complicate and fuck things up for everyone and delay the process of putting an end to graft and corruption. Anyone who thinks he or she… Read more »

I commend the Prez for being brutally harsh and seem to feel real pulse of the popular masses. Filipinos having no moral standard expects some degree of common decency from the Executive chief, he has been on fire by Media and International community although I see his sincerity in his word and action. I’m afraid that media would use it to his disadvantage to dismantle his presidency.


So when it’s Aquino he can do absolutely nothing right — but when it’s Duterte he can do absolutely nothing wrong, even when he’s taking aim at someone who seems to be doing her job, both as a public official as well as a member of the opposition?

I apologize. I thought when I woke up two days ago we were still under a democracy, not under a cult with Duterte as omniscient deity.


President Duterte is seen making faces (right) after shaking hands with Sen. Leila de Lima during the opening of the 17th Congress on Monday.



Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better. On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.

yellowed out GRP reader
yellowed out GRP reader
The problem with the “disente” crowd (i.e. Mar Roxas, Risa Hontiveros, Winnie Monsod, wannabe hangers-on like Leni Robredo and Leila de Lima etc) and their oligarch backers is that they only care about themselves and about appearances. Notice how the words they use to criticize Duterte like “unpresidential” and “foul-mouthed” are all premised on some form of pakitang-tao. It’s like they don’t care that the guy has cut processing times at government offices, given OFWs a one-stop shop, significantly lowered the crime rate after less than 2 months in office. They just fixate on how he talks, his broken English,… Read more »
Please Mr. President, stop these live news conferences.! This will only make things worse, as I have observed (LESS TALK, LESS MISTAKE). I did not vote for you (I voted for MDS) but I’m starting to like your style. You don’t owe “them” an explanation, just keep on doing what you think is right for this country. Those yellow bastards, they won’t stop stirring up issues. Bitch slap them with your actions that have yielded positive results. Please, ayaw na sila tagda kay dili na sila importante. P.S. I’m still not one of your supporter but I always believed that… Read more »

Five Rules of Propaganda
1. The rule of simplification: reducing all data to simple confrontation between ” good and evil” ” friend or foe”
2 The rule of disfiguration: discrediting opponent by smear campaign and parodies.
3 The rule of transfusion: manipulating consensus values of the target audience for one’s own end
4 Rule of unanimity: presenting one’s viewpoint as if it’s the unanimous opinion of all right thinking people and draining the doubting individuals into agreement
5 Rule of Orchestration: repeating same lies and messages in different variation