Necessary Evil: How the Philippines Thrives on Criminality


Would you ever go watch a movie that didn’t have a villain? Likely not. In fact, we often glorify good villains – those who excel at being bad. Would box-office hits rake in their millions without the likes of the Joker, Darth Vader, and Cobra? Would there be heroes without the resilient antagonist that brings out the best in the lead-character’s character and portray the essence of transcendental virtues like bravery, sacrifice and love?

Welcome to the Philippines, where we guarantee your “more fun” experience. It’s more fun because things you never experienced in the first world or even imagined could ever happen in your life unfold before your very eyes like living out a scene in your favorite action or drama film. It’s where there’s that delightfully mysterious blur between real and reel reality.

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Part of that fun is made real by the presence of “necessary” evil. Yes, ironically it’s more fun because there’s more crime in this country. Let’s look into more detail why criminals are “needed” in the Philippines?

1. Criminals Make Paramount the Need for a Hero of the Masses – President Rodrigo Duterte 

Yeah, the Punisher, the thug of the South, barrels his way into the national scene like a superhero riding on a Harley with guns blazing to pulverize criminals and drug lords all over these forsaken badlands. What a fantastic way to see our new president!

Without criminals and corrupt officials, there would be no need for a “tang inis”-cussing, zero-tolerance dictatorial strongman at the highest post of the land hell-bent on kicking ass to defend the helpless. Duterte has just the kind of persona that inspires every Filipino to live up to the “Du30” brand, which symbolizes toughness, integrity and no-nonsense leadership.

2. Criminals Provide Media Interesting Topics and Themes

What if there was no ISIS-inspired ASG out in the jungles executing hapless foreign visitors who fail to pay for their “board and lodging”? I guess there would be nothing much to put on front-page news but lame-duck articles like “Leni chooses stylish dress for first day in office” – what a bore!  People these days want to see live action for raw entertainment. Hearing news of all the brutal killings and senseless deaths all around just makes people’s sick sadistic blood-thirsty minds tickled while drinking their morning coffee.

Man has never really evolved much beyond the days of gladiators fighting to the death in Roman coliseums. Spilling blood has always been “sports and entertainment”, and there’s nothing much we can do about this human nature that frequently reemerges to showcase its bestiality. Heck, we don’t even mind trigger-happy kids nowadays just spraying virtual people on the video screen with bullets.

Someone even commented here at GRP about how we will be missing Noynoy and his band of disgusting appointees. Let’s face it – some of us actually enjoyed having an apathetic law-breaking leader to pick on and made an appalling topic of in closed-door conversations. Who are we going to talk about now that our new president and much of his cabinet members are endowed with common sense and integrity?

3. Criminals Provide Jobs for a Big Chunk of the Population

Then there’s the economy. Imagine if there were no bad people – then a vast host of the workforce would be out of jobs. Police officers would have no criminals to hunt, lawyers would have no clients to defend in endless litigation, judges would have no cases, entire agencies/departments like CHR and the Ombudsman would lose their mandates, media would have nothing much to report, security guards would not get to be paid for standing from 9-3 at bank entrances, Henry Sy would not have to hire watchful mannequins to man his goods amidst a sea of shoplifters, internet security experts will not have to build firewalls and encryption against hackers, anti-theft smartphone apps would not have to be developed, window grill and gate makers will lose orders, and novelists and film makers will not have stories to offer for everyone to enjoy.

We indirectly have criminals to thank for the very pan de sal we are able set on the table for our families. And when kids go off to school, the history teacher has Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot to thank for giving him/her something to talk about and analyze for discussion in class.

* * *

Criminality is very much a part of Philippine everyday life. Why can’t we seem to change the situation? Could it be that Filipinos unconsciously welcome from within the evil that pervades our society? Have we been just too accustomed to crime to have seared our national conscience to the point that we no longer see anything wrong with it and accept it as normal?

We try to justify how in the good book, God (if you believe in him) had allowed evil (sin, Satan) to be introduced in the Garden of Eden; and show how history (His Story) only became even more colorful with characters such as stone-hearted Pharaoh, wicked idol-worshiping Jezebel, and hypocritical Christ-crucifying Jewish religious leaders.

Even in America, enemies of the people and state are key factors that shape the nation. The military is a big industry; in fact the USA needs a major war (like killing “enemies of the free world” in Iraq based on some bogus WMD theory) every 10 years to justify their military budget and keep a key engine of their economic and technological growth (i.e., military production and development) humming to employ thousands of Americans. We have spin-off technologies we enjoy today like GPS, the internet and jet planes – all because good-guy G.I. Joe and his friends had to think up new ways to combat “evil”.

We definitely need to stamp out evil, corruption and criminality. The big question is: will we grow bored when there’s no more battle to fight after we accomplish the mission? Well let’s hope that after all the criminals are cleared out of society, we can instead put all that anti-crime workforce to much better productive use like designing and manufacturing useful quality products.

Maybe the reason why we’ve remained a Yellow Banana Republic is because we spend too much time and effort fighting the “necessary” criminality and corruption, rather than inventing and developing new products and services that can improve our lives.

20 Replies to “Necessary Evil: How the Philippines Thrives on Criminality”

  1. High crime is not the problem.
    But the symptom of a culture that is diseased.
    Killing drug users, drug addicts, curfews for adults( yes atelling adults what to do because apparently you need a dad to tell you what to do) will only add more symptoms and problems.
    Proving without a doubt this truly is a nation of children and delusional know it all bible bashers like the author of this rant.

    Anyone that knows the history of every other country that tried this inthe last 80 years can see what a folly it is.
    To suggest that philippines needs crime or thrives off is a one of the only facts you got right in your little zealotry opinionated rant.
    Crime is needed in every country.
    Crime is more prevalent in countries where there is a vast wealth difference between the majority of the country.
    Also crime and poverty are linked to catholic dominated societies. ( proof that prayer does not work and he probably is not real).
    Drugs are not really a problem.
    Education and Filipino culture needs to change.
    This will take a few generations.

    1. Why do people pray to god for wealth? Would you attempt to make your living panhandling on a street corner…or would you respect someone who would live of the handouts of others? If god is real…and I have no idea if he is or not…but if he is then he has given us minds capable of thinking learning and adapting to a changening enviroment! WE have the ability to creat our own destiny….if you want something work for it! and as far as evil in this world…well thats the problem with having the freedom of choice…some of us are going to make the wrong choice! Some of us will learn from that and become better and some will never care and just keep doing evil! but with out evil good means nothing! My point is poverty is a concequince of our own making…not a proof or disproof of god!!! Thank you for listening!!!

    2. VoiceOfSomethingSomething: I think (could be wrong) that zaxx is being a bit tongue-in-cheek, which means his article is going to go right over the average Filipino head.

      I suspect he is quite right. Why do most Filipinos think criminal behaviour is normal and acceptable? Because the laws of the land prohibit them from doing any sort of honest work. Setting up a legitimate business, for example, means putting your head in the gunsights of the BIR, the Mayor’s office, the BOC, and a dozen other agencies whose only job is to nickel-and-dime you to death. The Filipino not unreasonably thinks: if you can’t beat them, join them.

      1. Not sure your meaning.
        The excessive governement bureaucracy is not really criminal behavior.
        More poor legislation and implementation of procedures by people in power with zero experience to do a job.
        The corruption that is had through these avenues is not the government itself.
        Since that corruption is seen through all facets of any postion of power in the filipino community( teachers, priests, traffic enforcers in fact u name it if you have the smallest ammount of power here,there is more than likely some level of corruption flaunting it), its obviously i grained into the culture.
        Its not like someone gets elected and once they are elected they turn to cortuption.
        Anyone thinking this is an idiot. Look around you know its true though some call ot kickbavks, or favors or finders fees its all ” i want a piece to crab mentality” so ingrained here.

        Now as for zaxx tounge and cheek.
        No he is a delusional zealot that lives entirely in his own little religious world.
        These are well and truly his beliefs.
        Like most bloggers, he lives in his own reality, not the reality.

  2. Zaxx: do you know there is a book, Defending the Indefensible, which makes similar points? Sadly, the book was written by an economist, so he therefore took himself completely seriously.

    1. That’s a cool title Marius. If I had to sell a book based on one of my past articles – it will likely be “Landless in my own land”. I even found it already getting quoted in Europe, as they are suffering from informal settlers as well.

      But yeah, similar ideas generally pop out of completely unrelated sources. People may be tapping from the same well of universal knowledge. No I’m not referring to google (although one of these days they’ll give it AI capability and people will think it to be an omniscient omnipresent “god”).

  3. The mere fact that stealing from the rich is a crime, but stealing from the poor is capitalism. Reality sucks indeed. Profit always comes before people, where the rich becomes richer and the poor getting poorer, because it is a easier to abuse the poor in a pseudo Democratic society.

  4. Criminality thrives in the Philippines since our government is actually weak. Warlordism continues to impose the actual rule in the country. Criminals are celebrated because they’re the real rulers in the country.

    In the 70s, we remember films with the criminals as heroes as a sort of rebellion against the Marcos regime then. Some like Asiong Salonga were hailes as “Robin Hoods.” This arises though from a misunderstanding of what Robin Hood really did. The tax collectors under Prince John were abusive and collected what they shouldn’t. Thus, they were stealing. Robin Hood just grabbed it to give it back.

    Filipino culture also has a twisted view of heroes. Instead of people who help others for justice, heroes according to Filipinos are actually dole-out givers. Then Filipinos imagine themselves as heroes because another definition of heroes to them is someone who’s famous. Simply that. And that’s what they want to be – without much effort. The current culture of ego contributes a lot to our Juan Tamad behavior.

    1. Criminality thrives in a society, not because a government is weak but be suse the culture has degraded.
      A Governments job is to Govern and create laws.
      Not to enforce moral behavior or even to police it.

      Criminality is rife in filipino culture because your culture frowns on empathy.
      Your caste system is barbaric.
      But the real reason of high crime is poverty.
      Not just poverty but poverty with zero employment and a young unskilled and un educated populace of mainly males who have through geneally no fsult of their own fallen through the cracks.
      Females are more likely to get a college education than males in the philipines
      Once again you are all addressing the symptom of a diseaed culture not the disease.

      I highly doubt if many if any of the authors of this site have ever left our country and had a chance to travel.
      To think criminal behavior as only a pinoy one is niave.
      But corruption, rampant poverty, over population, systemstic failure on every level of government agency to make lives of its citizens better and the pure racist views we have to other cultures and even to our own black skinned cousins is all part of the symptoms too.
      The Filipino culture is the problem.
      It needs to change.
      The im better than everyone else( though guilty of the same thing i rant about ) attitude most people have here.
      The want and need to argue to feel your opinion is validated though deprived of a single fact.
      These are all humam issues that we are all guilty of.
      I too am guilty.
      But i do disagree with you that its a government issue.
      More people then warlords just people are to lazy, umempathetic and just couldnt be fucked to do a damn thing unless it effects them directly.
      a very one dimensional view of the world is a filipino view.

        1. You need to write more articles Chinof.
          Out of all the authors on this site you are the only one with a real clue and a rational mind.

        2. Thank you. Just posted one up a while ago. I just put them up when I have enough free time from my regular work. I hope you don’t give up on our other writers, too, they also have points worth noting.

  5. Philippines.. US.. Then problem in the phils only
    Problem.. Problem solved.. Still a problem
    You want to look on the bright side but it’s somewhere over the rainbow

  6. Evil is always in mens’ heart. The worse evil, is the one, using evil in the name of God. Filipinos are already desensitized by : evil, graft, corruption, scams,greed, etc…

    Look at how evil such as greed, flourished, in the Aquino administration. Look at the greed of the Aquinos and the Cojuangcos, by clinging to their Hacienda Luisita. Using even, electoral fraud, to cling to their damn property.

  7. I agree that it’s a necessary evil, because most of the time following the law will get you nowhere. In a civilized world, Criminals could themselves just as much as prosecutors are competent enough to put them to jail. But here, everyone can be bought, and prosecutors are barely competent to find evidence, so they just try to squeeze self-incriminations from the accused themselves.

    If criminals are brought to the court, it will take years before anything gets done. Just look at the Ampatuans, now their family is back in power, just not the main padre himself, but even then he is still living relatively comfy in his jail cell, if he’s still there.

  8. Makes me wonder, what if people were really all good? No one killed, everyone respected one another, no one stole, etc. Would it be a boring world? I don’t think so. We would probably all be farming, raising livestock, focusing on the basics but at the same time enjoying art, music, etc. in a more renaissance level. Of course, this is just another Utopian Vision (I actually have the Time-Life book with this title and enjoyed), yet I still believe that if people want it, a society without crime is possible and can thrive.

    I guess that’s the problem with people, they may actually believe evil is something necessary to make sure life isn’t boring, but it’s the same thing that causes problems in life. As I suggested in some of my articles, it comes from the idea that survival on Earth is desperate, and you have to be nasty to take from others to survive. I believe humanity should have advanced far beyond that, but retention of the primitive survival mindset keeps them from being more advanced.

    1. Achievable and that’s where humanity is actually headed, as far as my NDE sources are concerned. The primary occupation of people will be teaching their children; there will be no gadgets to distract, and life will be simple – like the American Indians long ago. Atheist Howard Storm was given a glimpse when he died under surgery – he actually thought it was heaven (but it was not – it was earth in the distant future).

      Until that day comes we have to start cutting down on TV, practice capitalism without greed, and start drinking coffee without processed sugar and cream. A lot of people will probably react – “Not Funny!”.

    1. The PH government is just a capitalist instrument that mainly operates on greed. It is basically a giant corporation whose business is rent seeking. The only thing different with govt compared with typical companies is that it is a monopoly (no competition makes it incompetent) and its leaders are chosen by squatters (imagine if Ayala and San Miguel chairmen were chosen by street tambays).

      PH govt is a showcase of “how not to run your corporation”. As I said elsewhere : common sense is simple. Whatever you see Pinoys doing -> simply do the OPPOSITE.

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