Human Rights advocacy is the latest fashion statement in Imperial Manila


Whose side are Filipino “activists” on nowadays? From all the chest-thumping and fist-waving we are seeing all over social media and mainstream media nowadays, it would seem that the Philippines’ chattering classes are on the side of the crooks!

That is exactly how both President Rodrigo Duterte’s massive base of voters and the broader swathe of the Philippines’ crime-weary populace see it. The notion of “human rights” is, quite simply, just too sosyal for the average Filipino. It is the stuff spewed by iPad wielding hipsters sipping lattes and high-fivin’ each other at the local Starbucks.

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Human rights? Lol! That’s an Imperial Manila thing.

You can almost hear the majority of Filipinos tap that out onto their social media apps whenever some high-brow “advocate” screams “Human Rights!” at the sight of the latest blood porn exhibited on the front page of the morning paper. Fact is, human rights have never been relevant to most people outside of Imperial Manila. It’s an abstract Western concept that doesn’t quite fit into the cultural narrative of Filipinos being “ingenious” at working around an untenable situation by cobbling together quick fixes.

Indeed, the most cherished cultural artefacts of Filipinos symbolise the celebrated ingenuity of our quick fixes. The jeepney, for example, has long been cited as a symbol of that “Filipino ingenuity” — a mechanical beast cobbled together from derelict US Army jeeps as a stopgap solution to a lack of modern public transport in the aftermath of the devastation of World War II. For several decades, Filipino triumphalists thumbed their noses at the more broadly-systematic public transport systems consisting of state-owned buses and trains that follow well-laid out routes on a clockwork-like timetable that the rest of the world built.

“Filipinos are great at ‘improvising’ on a shoestring budget!” these Pinoy Pride cheerleaders would say.

The thing with “human rights” is that it requires the same kind of legal engineering and clockwork-like justice system to work. The foundation of a society built on the notion of “human rights” consists of foresight, consistency, and scientific reasoning — all anathema to the Filipino cultural archetype. For the Filipino, human rights is, quite simply, too hard. Because a focus on “human rights” puts additional demand and a thick layer of complexity on a justice system, you need to have an efficient system in place to make “human rights” work. Unfortunately for the Philippines, its justice system is inefficient, snail-paced, opaque, selective, and, as a result, severely backlogged. Upholding “human rights” within such a system slows it down even more. And this is why shortcuts are appealing to ordinary Filipinos, because the majority of Filipinos lack the personal resources to navigate the mess that is the Philippines’ justice system in the spirit of “due process”.

And so the tragedy that is the Philippine “Human Rights” cause is that it was pitched the wrong way. It was not made relevant to the ordinary Filipino. The latte-sipping advocates of “human rights” in the Philippines are selling a Mercedes-Benz to a people who cannot even afford to keep a Toyota on the road.

Rightly or wrongly, Duterte’s “war on drugs” comes across like that fleet of jeepneys fielded to the Filipino commuting public in 1946. It addresses an urgent and immediate need. Ordinary Filipinos see it as a decisive move forward and a fresh approach following decades of imprisonment in a system that did not serve them well.

Much the same way that jeepneys, back in 1946, served a need but, at the same time, flouted modern notions of what a public transport system ought to be, the methods that Duterte allegedly applies to his “war on drugs” serves an immediate need even as it comes across as an affront to certain hipsters’ notions of what justice and law enforcement ought to be. Like it or not, that’s the Filipino Way in its truest essence. And this is why Duterte enjoys the trust and confidence of the majority of Filipinos as he sets out to get things done.

25 Replies to “Human Rights advocacy is the latest fashion statement in Imperial Manila”

  1. Whenever I hear anyone arguing for so-called “human rights”, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him/her personally.

  2. The problem of human rights in the Philippines has been a problem for a long time. See this report for example:

    Yet only now are the mass of pretentious self-righteous so-called crusaders of human rights making a noise about it. Why? Why only now are they making a fuss about it? As benigno said, because it’s the FAD right now, especially among those anti-Duterte people who politicized the issue of human rights. Simply put, they use the word ‘human rights’ to mask their true intent, which is to spew hatred against the new administration, while pretending to fight for human rights.

    If the president who won was instead the president they were rooting for back then in the elections, do you think these people would make the same noise about ‘human rights’ as they are making now? Not really. These people seem unable to move the fuck on.

    If these people were really sincere about human rights, they would have fought for it back then and until now. The fact is, they don’t really care about human rights. All they care about is making the candidate and now the president that they didn’t root for look as bad as possible. It’s sort of sour-graping, but more insidious and hate-filled.

  3. There are foreigners ( I’m a foreigner) on this site who always look at things through their eyes. I agree that the West is behind much of the human rights BS being thrown around. Ironically these bleeding hearts – who talk about human rights – are the same people wearing clothing made by exploited slaves in Bangladesh. Even poor people – upon learning about sweat shop abuses – will still buy cheap, third world-produced clothing made by abused, third world workers. If you are going to talk ‘human rights’ you better walk the walk.

    The degree to which due process can be implemented depends on the system. It is unrealistic for a third world country to be expected to follow first world procedures, when its systems are 60 years behind. The laws and procedures are only as good as the people who enforce them. Laws mean nothing without enforcement. If the culture is one of corruption and bureaucracy, how do you get due process?

    Even countries who promote ‘human rights’ often don’t follow their own rhetoric. Human rights is ‘talked’ about by many Western governments for political show, and then these same governments support and have friendships with oil rich dictatorships; some of whom have some of the worst human rights records in the world. I personally heard of a Filipina who worked as a domestic helper in the Middle East; she was severely abused, and came back to the Phils and died from her injuries. You won’t hear the politically correct, bleeding heart assholes mention her ‘human rights’. They wouldn’t want to be culturally ‘insensitive’ to the Islamists’ human right to torture innocent people. Hillary Clinton, who will likely be the next U.S. President, accepts money from a number of Islamic countries with atrocious human rights records. The bleeding heart jackasses are interestingly silent about that too. She will likely lecture the Philippines on human rights, while saying nothing about radical Islam.

    1. nice post, Greg but I wonder if Donald Trump became the next US president instead of Hillary Clinton, then what will he think about “human rights”? Will he copy [damn that his wife who I think she’s a Russian & copied some speeches of Michelle Obama] the speech of President Duterte about human rights? And will he inspire the vigilantism of President Duterte on fight against criminals and doesn’t care about EJKs cases? If he’ll do that into his country then maybe we could see many American roads littered by dead drug lords from Mexico & ISIS members & there’s a cardboard that written on it that said, “Don’t follow me, I’m a druggie or a Muslim terrorist. Probably those Mexican drug lords & ISIS members will be scared & make their complains to the UN or any Human Rights Commission worldwide that they’d been human rights abused by Mr. Trump. Scarry!

      1. Thanks, mrericx.

        I don’t believe Trump’s wife plagiarized anything; she made a few common comments that the mainstream media blew up with their conspiracies. Michelle Obama, a privileged, entitled woman, who has lived a dream life that 99.9% of Caucasians could never dream of, usually has speeches filled with her hate, victimhood and whining; don’t think Trump’s wife made a speech like that. I heard positivity from her speech.

        We don’t know what Trump will do as president, because he has no record, having never been elected into any position. He states that he wants the rule of law followed; again, we don’t know. What we do know is Hillary Clinton and her inability to follow the law. She has a record of law-breaking and lying, and she wants to create another cold war with Russia. Trump wants peace with Russia. Clinton is a neocon warmonger, like Bush, who is a puppet whore controlled by Wall Street and her corporate donors. She is a sociopathic disaster.

  4. Manila-born finger-wagging imperial bleeding-heart here.

    Why does it seem to me that people here talk of human rights and supporting the presidency as if they’re mutually exclusive?

    One can support Duterte while criticizing his policies. I thought this so obvious it didn’t need a restating, but apparently uncritical devotion is the rule now here on this site.

  5. Activists can be attacktivists, whose goal is probably just to unseat the current president through “extrajudicial” means, since they claim, without evidence, that the president is doing extrajudicial killings.

    Pallacertus, agree with that.

    1. That must come from the more unhinged parts of the Internet and from disreputable tabloids — I’ve never heard or seen that stuff coming out of the media I’ve seen lately (though I must admit it hasn’t been a lot, diverted as I am from local events by Trump).

      1. That possibility of activists with partisan axes to grind using the backlash against the killings under Duterte’s watch to justify extremist measures does not invalidate the larger issue, however — in its zeal to rid the country of drug activity, the may be treating human rights as a hindrance rather than as a complement to the forthright application of the laws.

        That is unacceptable.

        1. Oh please. Spare me the relativist rhetoric for your liberal college campus class. We’ve tried the “soft” way of handling the problem. It didn’t work. In fact, it worsened. Time for the kids gloves to come off and actually deliver punishment.

        2. I’ll deal with the more substantial first.

          If I were rubbing my liberal inclinations in your face I’d be waxing it with diatribes on the wastefulness of the war on drugs in multiple countries, then varnish it with talk of drug legalization like the true-to-type limp-wristed pansy-whipped pot-smoking hippie-dippie uppity college-graduate liberal that I surely am —

          — but I’m not doing that, am I?

          Instead of doing all that, I’m here bending over backwards and taking at face value the premise that an intensified effort to rid the country of drugs — up to and including the killing of people suspected of manufacturing and distribution of illegal drugs as well as their protectors in government and elsewhere through police raids and the reimposition of the death penalty — as a way to nip what Duterte claims is nascent narcopolitics in the bud, as well as a means to show the public its seriousness in implementing its national agenda.

          Yet even this attempt to meet you halfway, there are still problems in going full steam ahead and stampeding on the rights of those people who might as easily be criminals by reputation as well as by fact.

  6. still waiting for another human rights. the rights of the farmers on their own land the hacienda luisita. duterte’s wish for a properous Philippines might fail if he won’t distribute the land right away.

  7. Just look at the horrendous traffic in M.Manila, the pathetic number of PH submarines/destroyers, and the thousands of squatters which could not get evicted in urban places, and you can pretty much tell what kind of judicial infrastructure this country has to support any kind of so called “human rights” or “due process”.

    Practically speaking, this is the Wild Wild West, with the only difference being the fact that everyone now carries smartphones to view Facebook. This is a country mentally and culturally 200 years behind its progressive neighbors, a trying-hard “democracy” run by third graders. And people expect human rights? Lol

    You need incorruptible police officers, lawyers, judges, and prison wardens to begin with to make any functional justice system to work, plus truckloads of cash to fund it. (Does the Zaxxun Creed still ring a bell?)

    Legislators keep making new laws yet fail to see the additional financial and infrastructural strain they will entail. Look at the enormous backlog in unsolved cases just in the area of drugs and violent crimes.

    With all the violators relentlessly pouring in, how do you think we can support the judicial machinery to keep a “human rights”-clamoring society going? We may reach a point where half of our GDP is nothing but “legal processing” of unsolvable cases. Compare with Taiwan which keeps churning out microchips (imagine their per capita output).

    Everything in PH is in a state of national emergency. The president (finally one with common sense) needs emergency powers, or it will take forever.

    And one more thing – you can judge the institution by the state of its toilets. No wonder tourists are relieved to finally see a Jollibee in sight – sa wakas, a decent Chinoy-operated toilet to relieve oneself in. Do you all understand why I want foreign blood or first-world-exposed managers to run this place? Sawa na ako sa BULOK e!

  8. Benigno proves ,RIGHT HERE in this article, THAT HE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW WHO THE REAL CROOKS ARE…

    Why isn’t Dueterte going after the criminals front-running the stock-market? The criminals getting rich speculating on the price of electricity? Electricity prices that are the highest in the world,yes? How come Duterte is not going after the criminals pludering the GOCC’s into collapse?


    Benigno,throwing a Red-Herring argument into an issue that is not even close to the real problem, but a diversion, from all the real ills in the country.

    “Who said the drug dealers were the biggest problem in the country?”.”IDK, didn’t you say it?”.”Someone said it, so it must be t-t-true?”.”OH YEAH, if someone that just got elected said it, it must be true.”.

    ACTUALLY,More idiotic thinking by the population of a country is not possible.

  9. it is almost, no it is definitely as if Failipino’s do not even realize why Nero fiddled while Rome burned. How many years later, and they still haven’t figured it out? OMG, how can an entire population be so impossibly stupid?

  10. I have never heard anybody, shouting :”Human Rights”, when those extortionist/scammers were busy doing “Laglag Bala”, in the Manila International Airport (NAIA). Innocent people were subjected to the dilemma of , “pay or you go to jail”!, by Aquino’s criminal gangs…

    It is a “classic case” of Chinese Triad Mafia crime organization tactic to extort money, from innocent people. Their affiliates in the airport, had now stopped this scam/extortion.

    Human Rights is just a fad. Like the Cory Aquino’s fad of showing piousness. Praying and kneeling , infront of the altar; with the portrait of Jesus Christ on the background. Or, the fad of flashing your fingers, with “L”, which means the “Laban sign”. The fad also during the Cory Aquino era is, to wear Yellow T Shirt…showing your heroism, during the EDSA coup d’ etat. Like all fads; they become boring and obsolete.

    Now the YellowTards, are trying to revive their power, by using the :Human Rights” issue! If there is a crime committed; they will shout” “Human Rights” !

  11. this article misses the point (AGAIN,LOL!) that it is not HUMAN RIGHTS but CIVIL RIGHTS being violated by Duterte’s hand.As the ‘massa’ idiotically cheer the Neanderthal that is taking their civil rights away, they are unaware that they are reliquishing their civil rights that their parents fought for.IDIOTICALLY they cheer the Neanderthal that turns a blind eye to the real criminals that are ruining the country going on 55+ years. The plunder of the GOCC’s, the electricity price fixing/speculating, front-running the stock-market are all HIGHLY ILLEGAL and far more injurious to the country than street level drug dealers AND YET, no one thinks to ask the Neandertahlic thug why he is not going after the real thieves, now do they ? No, so lets cheer wildly as we kiss are ‘CIVIL (NOT HUMAN)RIGHTS’ good-bye.
    Filipino’s are quite possibly the dumbest people on the planet. They might mean well but the road to the shit-house is paved with good intentions….and they are well on their way,IN FACT, they have been in the shithouse for so long the smell doesn’t bother them any longer.Filipino’s think it is normal.

    1. Just to quote a friend:

      Nice rant bro. He should definitely, drop his current focus on drugs and start going after the real criminals. The big dogs yup.

      How long has the man been President again?

      I guess having networks, guns and men is considered defenseless?

      BTW, you have a misconception of “Civil Rights”. It’s pretty confusing.

  12. Time to sing for the Fools on the Hill – Beatles.

    During his day, acted like a shill.The man with the foolish grin, Is smirking perfectly ill.

    But no CHR wants to blame him, They can see that he’s just a tool. And he’s clever in his answers, Co’z he fooled all imbeciles.

    Sees the SAF’s going down, And they all were now dead,See the weird losing ground.

    DU30 on the way, Death for the proud. The man of a thousand changes, Walking his talking loud.

    Drug lord’s money wants to kill him, Underground they appear to shake. And bad media critics practice. But they drool like the shill.

    Seas and land we don’t own, Soon they fly overhead. See the greed spinning round.

    And the phony seems to like him, They joined parties just for show. And he never hides his feeling, Co’z he fooled all imbeciles.

    Sees the nation breaking down, Tradpols, drug lords, corrupt heads. See the weird like a clown.

  13. Let there be a proper distinction, law abiding people deserve HUMAN RIGHTS, for criminal scum it should be INHUMAN RIGHTS.

    1. So that when they are released into the world once more, they’ll be far, far nastier than before they went in.

    2. Wouldn’t work redplanet. I haven’t met many law-abiding Filipinos. Besides, the laws you have were written by 7-year-olds on shabu, so you can’t entirely blame the people who don’t abide by them.

  14. Not unless they can’t come back from the dead, my good Pallacertus. But seriously I partly conceed to your point, lots of convicts can and should be given a second chance in life, even that Alsa Masa Manero Guy who cannibalized a French priest, became a leading rosarian in Bilibid and is now free thanks to a presidential pardon. Even for that monster there is redemption.

    But how do you rehabilitate El Chapo? Pol Pot? Hitler?

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