Schadenfreude of the Elites: People who want Duterte to fail

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Schadenfreude: Substantiv, feminin – boshafte Freude über das Missgeschick, Unglück eines andern.

(Translation: Noun, feminine – malicious pleasure over the misfortune, mishap of someone else.)*

An elite class that is free to operate without limits – whether limits imposed by the rule of law or fear of the responses from those harmed by their behavior – is an elite class that will plunder, degrade, and cheat at will, and act endlessly to fortify its own power.– Glenn Greenwald

Our country can achieve a bright economic future only after the powerful elites relinquish their feudal privileges. Under a feudal system, wealth and power are inherited and not earned. They remain protected by the government that “rent-seekers”1 have been corrupting for decades. This is what President Duterte wants to destroy: the oligarchs, the ruling elite, the rent-seekers.

These people want Duterte to fail.

In the Philippine political economy, rent-seekers bribe government for protection, exclusivity and monopoly of public services. Citizens are forced to use their services because nobody else is allowed to offer them, and because the laws make sure that happens. Rent-seekers fear competition, because deep in their core, without protection they are fragile. They want it so easy, that they piss in their pants when budding entrepreneurs and businessmen threaten them with game-changing innovations.

Enemies of change

Anti-Duterte issues like misplaced calls to respect human rights, his trash-talking and rudeness; superficial or trivial observations of his behavior: all smoke screens to hide the true intention of the oligarchs. The powerful elite, under the guise of concern for the common good and human rights, just want to defend their privileges and entitlements that are under threat from Duterte’s economic and political reforms. The elite are showing their true colors. They are clearly against social justice, solidarity, and true economic progress for all in our fledging nation.

The elites work under the guise of preserving democracy, upholding the rule of law, protecting human rights, strengthening moral order, practicing decency in political leadership, and improving diplomacy in foreign relations.

These oligarchs use these weapons for Duterte destruction with only one selfish end in mind: preserve the status quo. Leveraging every detail of his crass and vulgar speech, employing popular human-rights-for-hire groups to achieve their objectives, the oligarchic elites are desperately hanging on to the last vestiges of entitlements. While they trumpet that the golden geese are fleeing (stupidly forgetting that when the going gets tough, the weak flee while the strong ones stay), they use all the means to preserve as much of what they are about to lose.

Quo vadis, Elites and Oligarchs?

Sadly, for the moneyed and oligarchic elites, failure is not an option. They want to preserve the status quo at all costs. For Duterte’s detractors, take note: 91% of the Filipinos like what he is doing.2 Their gut feel could not be wrong, these same people who have been excessively taxed, whose incomes and businesses have been raped, pillaged and sacked by indifferent and insensitive governments of the past, poor victims of “Tax the Ripper” and the “Signature Industry”3

And for these spoiled brats, their weapons-of-destruction of choice should be easy to sniff (they have been using these for years!):

1. Reserve good governance exclusively for the elite.
2. Let words speak louder than actions. The complete opposite of the adage “actions speak louder than words”.
3. Use “human-rights-for-hire” groups to support their views.4
4. Use Congress to investigate Duterte’s war against drugs.
5. Feed false information to foreign media so Duterte’s leadership looks bad.
6. Use social media trolls to destroy the reputation of Duterte and his supporters.
7. Insult Duterte supporters by saying they are blind and stupid (Dutertards).
I’m sure you can easily add a few more weapons of destruction to this list.

Gallery of Rogues

Who exactly are these people? Everyone knows them. They control the power industry, giving the Philippines the most expensive electricity in the whole of Asia5 and the 5th highest cost of electricity in the world!6 This is one of the biggest hurdles to business growth in the country, making me wonder why businessmen continue to invest in our country. The answer, I learned, is that they simply pass on the cost to their customers. Boo!

As there are power moguls, so too there are the emperors of water, where two conglomerates control the supply of the precious liquid in Metro Manila. These same groups control our telecommunications industry, and their rotten services make me cringe every time I connect to the Internet (slow or no signal), have voice calls (choppy), and pay my bills (expensive).

We know them. You know them. When they appear in glossy magazines parading their arrogance, aloofness, and disdainful smugness, we feel that strong sense of entitlement and privilege handed down from generation to generation. Notice too their sharp eyes focused keenly on the bottom line. “Ka-Ching! Ka-Ching! Ka-Ching!” Note their finely shaped ears, listening like demons possessed by the music of the cash register. They want your money. Greed is good, their tentacles gripping the upper echelons of business and political power, including members of the academe who deliberately justify the elite’s birthright to own and control our world.

Like the Makati Business Club, legends in their own minds, who continue to raise the flag of righteous indignation by claiming to be civil society’s annointed one. Using economic and business gobbledygook to make them look smart, they excessively distort the business and economic narratives to further their own agenda: continued protection (and funding) of and by the elites and oligarchs.

Filipinos deprived of economic privileges cannot understand the elites. All they want are jobs, better infrastructure, cheaper food, water and electricity, less red tape, and honest government servants whom we pay to work for (and not steal from) us.

Rent Seekers

For years, I have wondered why families and oligarchs continue to mix business and politics as their path to wealth and power, despite the experience that doing so leads to their eventual downfall. If we learn from history, we can realize that business empires built on the soft sand of political influence carry with them the seeds of their own destruction.

Perhaps, the formula is truly diabolical in its ability to captivate the collective ambitions of political and business families as the fastest route to wealth; so they use it, relentlessly, shamefully, the nation and its people be damned.

This formula also explains why businessmen become politicians and why politicians become businessmen. They mix business and politics to accumulate and preserve wealth and power. What they don’t realize is that doing so condemns them, and their descendants, to a vicious cycle of corrupt behavior detrimental to themselves, their families, and eventually, to their country. Such behavior is known in academic circles as “rent seeking”8, down which path lies perdition, immorality, and corruption.

Rent seeking behavior is the affliction of the rich and the poor, but regardless of income and social class, it is guided by the same twisted logic and moral hazards. Rent seeking perpetuates the image that one need not work hard to earn a living, and that by currying favors and privileges, one can live the life most people only dream about.

Unwittingly, a life of comfortable rent seeking would remain an illusion for the majority. Only those willing to enter into a Faustian bargain, ready to sacrifice their reputation and that of their descendants and relegate them to a future life of sleaze and immorality, would remain securely on top of the dung heap.

Fortunately, like any other aspect of unenlightened laissez faire capitalism, rent seeking sows the seeds of its own inevitable destruction. That humiliation and disgrace will come is certain. It would only be a matter of when, and when it does, it would do so with the greatest bang for the buck.

And the next set of rent seekers takes the stage…

Recent developments

An all out war against Duterte has been launched by neophyte Senator Leila de Lima and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV during a Senate hearing, where Senators Panfilo Lacson and Allan Peter Cayetano demolished the credibility of witness Edgar Matobato.

The Senate hearing, which ended in a clash of words between Senators Trillanes and Cayetano, showed the ex-military man as a devious, self-righteous, and pompous character, engaging in an asinine stunt that did more harm than good in their efforts to make President Duterte look bad.

A few days after the incident, Senator Trillanes (to his credit) apologized to Senator Cayetano, which only proves that…

Until my next article.

Citations:
* http://www.duden.de/suchen/dudenonline/schadenfreude
1.Krueger, A. O., (1974), “The Political Economy of the Rent-Seeking Society,” The American Economic Review.
2.Adel, Rosette. (2016, July 20). 91% of Filipinos trust Duterte-Pulse Asia. The Philippine Star. Retrieved from http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/20/1604814/91-filipinos-trust-duterte-pulse-asia
3.De Leon, C.. (2016, Sept. 4). Human rights for hire. Manila Times. Retrieved from http://www.manilatimes.net/human-rights-for-hire/283828/
4.De Leon, C.. (2016, June 14). Government Service: A “signature Industry” Duterte will change. Manila Times. Retrieved from http://www.manilatimes.net/government-service-a-signature-industry-duterte-will-change/267893/
5.INFOGRAPHIC: Top power players in the Philippines. (2014, July 31). Rappler. Retrieved from http://www.rappler.com/rich-media/14729-infographic-top-power-players-in-the-philippines
6.Gonzales, I.C.. (2013, Oct. 7). Phl power rates among highest in Asia. The Philippine Star. Retrieved from http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/10/07/1242233/phl-power-rates-among-highest-asia
7.DeWall, D.. (2016, April 9). Philippines has the 5th highest cost of electricity in the world. The Philippines plus. Retrived from http://www.philippinesplus.com/2016/04/09/philippines-5th-highest-cost-electricity-world/
8.Tullock, G. (1998), “The Fundamentals of Rent-Seeking,” The Locke Luminary

[Photo courtesy Inquirer.net]

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About Carlo de Leon

I am a marketing consultant, entrepreneur and executive director of an NGO. I have extensive experience in advertising, product management, media, and general management. I love art, graphic design, philosophy, theology, and history. I continue to study these subjects to enjoy my intellectual and artistic pursuits.

19 Comments on “Schadenfreude of the Elites: People who want Duterte to fail”

  1. I have been writing in my blogs, for many years, that our government is a psuedo democracy…

    Our government is a Feudal Oligarchy…most of those in power own many agricultural lands, tilled by tenants/serfs. The Roman Catholic Church owns friar lands, tilled by tenants and serfs…yet, it pretends to be charitable !

    Aquino is the best example of a Feudal Lord Oligarch, who became a Politician. He thought his place in politics, is his birthright.

    Those who control power also control the businesses…

    We have to change the Cory Aquino constitution. It favors the Feudal Oligarchs. It made most of us: OFW slaves, taxed to the maximum amount. While we slave in foreign countries !

    The Chinese Drug Mafia crime syndicate is already operating in our country…most of their Drug Lords are governors, mayors, other high government officials, etc…

    These Feudal Oligarchs will fight against any kind of change of the status qou…It will be fight to death for them !

    Let us all unite under the leadership of Pres. Duterte, to overturn the situation in our country. It is for the future generations !

  2. So in other words…

    If you believe in the centuries-old Western traditions of public trials, presumption of innocence, trial by jury, and the right of defendants to confront their accusers, then you must be an oligarch.

    If you believe that punishment of a criminal should be reasonable and proportional to the offense committed, then you must be a rent seeker.

    If you object to people being shot in broad daylight, on major thoroughfares in the capital city, and then having signs hung on their bodies saying “Pusher ako”, with the full instigation and encouragement of the country’s top leadership, then you must be an elitist.

    Wow, I feel really important now. Here I thought I was just an American who had visited the Phils a few times, who has a dozen or so Skype friends with no particular political connections. Now I find I’m part of a grand global conspiracy to keep people down.

    GET A GRIP. ANSWER THE SUBSTANCE OF THE COMPLAINTS AGAINST YOUR IDOL DIGONG. Then you can decide who’s an elitist and what their motivations are.

    1. “If you believe in the centuries-old Western traditions of public trials, presumption of innocence, trial by jury, and the right of defendants to confront their accusers.”

      That rationale only works in the United States but not in the Philippines. They make their laws in the Philippines by twisting the original version.

      1. Maybe your president should start making it work. Then the American and other western media would be and will be much more positive about your president (and your country). Now you are still painted as a banana republic by western media.

        1. It’s not only up to the president to make the Philippines work; it’s up to all Filipinos once they make up their mind to get their individual acts together.

        2. David,
          I totally agree with you.

          But if the Filipinos dont follow god, they will follow a loose guy (Duterte). You see where I am getting at?

          They are (blind) followers. They need a daddy to hold their hands.
          So far for independent and critical thinking.

        3. @Robert Haigthon. You’re absolutely right with Filipinos; they don’t follow well.

          Filipinos will feign loyalty to other countries and ethnicity to the point of subservience; but, when it comes to their own people, they see each other as competitors, instead of as allies, for opportunities.

          That attitude can be traced back to the “colonial” and “crab” mindsets of their tribal ancestries during the Spanish and American periods (It’s called “Banana Republic” in South America), when indigenous Filipinos would turn on each other to win their former colonialists’ favors.

          Unfortunately for Filipinos, their Colonial and Crab mentalities are inherent to their cultural makeup that are impossible to shake off, and also the roots of their problems as a nation.

        4. David,
          what I actually meant was this:
          If I promise the Philippine people heaven on earth then they will vote for me 6 years from now.
          Nobody will ask me how I will make that happen (before they vote for me). And if the way/manner is in accordance with every law and the contitution.

          Oh, and I wont wear anything yellow. Blue and green are my favorite colors.

    2. And, have you counted the number of killings in the previous administrations, Mister?

      An American who visited the Philippines a few times is EXACTLY who you are. Don’t dare have the illusion that you know how it is being Filipino. And, talking about SUBSTANCE — just what are you talking about? I’ll give you substance, man: Shut the fuck up. Stop robbing the Filipinos the freedom that we deserve. If you haven’t live the life we have, then you don’t have the right to tell us how to live. Stupid piece of bovine ordure.

      1. @Dice. You don’t know who I am. So don’t start guessing out of thin air to try to profile me. I know more about Filipinos than you think—probably more than you do.

        Your primitive mind will never know what “substance” means beyond the trash talk you’re giving. What “freedom” are you talking about anyway? To do whatever it is you want to do regardless of the consequences? That’s not freedom; it’s just pure narcissistic impulses which many Filipinos are known for.

        All you have to do is look at the state of degradation your country is in and feel the suffering of your people as consequences of what you call arbitrary “freedom.” It’s people with your selfish attitude that robs everyone blind of their quality of life.

        I’ve lived the life you’re living now—in the Philippines and in other countries–and I wouldn’t wish it even on my worst enemies. You see, I don’t particularly enjoy being around people like you, although I have in the past, who has a penchant for “killing your own kind” to support your delusions.

        “Bovine Ordure”? I see you’ve taken my advice to heart to develop your primitive mind and started learning new words. There is hope for you after all. Keep it up and perhaps someday you can join the ranks of civilized people, Dice.

        In the meantime, keep enjoying the bloodbath of watching your people die to prove your point; you’ll have a whole lifetime to have it eat at your conscience.

        1. Good day Sir!

          Yes, I am a Filipino and Yes I agree with you that “crab mentality ” still exist. On the otherhand, Let us try to “count” the number of people who were being slayed by their own fellowmen for they are intoxicated by drugs and so on, are high. In Comparison the number of drug addicts and pushers being shut is just way too low. I am not saying that people can just shoot whenever, whoever, wherever they want. They were shut for the very and just reason for they would retaliate. It is then fair to say that police officers abiding the law, should and must protect themselves from their bullets?.

          You said “I know more about Filipinos than you think—probably more than you do.” and “All you have to do is look at the state of degradation your country is in and feel the suffering of your people as consequences of what you call arbitrary “freedom.”..” and this one “I’ve lived the life you’re living now—in the Philippines and in other countries–and I wouldn’t wish it even on my worst enemies.”. end of quote. With these statements, you said “your Country” and yet you said “lived the life you are living-in the Philippines and in other countries”. Somehow I find your statements contradict each other. If you know what are the attributes of a filipino,as mentioned on your first comment, then why would you ask as to why all these are happening?… You said on the next quoted words “your country” If you are a filipino then why did you say “your country” are you not proud that a president is a man of his words? That he would rather walk the talk unlike others?… And Lastly you said “Lived a life you are living-in the Philippines and other countries”, In this statement, is it then fair to say that “hey maybe this guy lived in the Philippines but his area of deployment is in the other country”. But why are you a puzzle to me? (reject the point that we dont know each other of course). As what i said, why are you not proud of what is happening to our country?…. I want to believe that you know how mainstream media operates. But with those lines you just wrote it isn’t fair. If you were able to live here, why wont you come back here and see it at close range….

          Just on the brighter side of this whole conversation, you and others, My neurons aren’t as great as yours. I must admit after reading you, the others’ comments, mine is of a neophyte. I don’t use sesquipedalian that much. But hey, I enjoyed reading your discourse.

          Have a great day ahead Sir.

  3. There is perhaps no phenomenon which contains so much destructive feeling as ‘righteous indignation,’ which permits envy or hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue.

  4. Robert Haighton and David:

    What are you two white supremacist dipshits yakking about? You say Filipinos are subservient and too dependent on Western nations and couldn’t function on their own and, at the same time, castigating a newly-elected president who is precisely doing—and leading by example—and giving you western assholes the bird by moving away from you in the same breath.

    So which is which? It’s as if you enjoy the Philippines’ dependence on you and making fun of it simply because you want to gloat and make yourselves the better people in the debate. And now that someone like Duterte calls you out in your hypocrisy, you feel slighted (and rightly so).

    The mere fact that you cannot understand and comprehend why he is being supported by a lot of people despite the abundance of black propaganda hurled at him ( and despite your gloating about “knowing Pinoys better”) is the only explanation that you do not know Filipinos as you’d like to think you do.

    Western nations like the US is as accountable to the sorry state of this country as the dysfunctional culture of the Filipinos. It’s a wonder why it’s always the Westerners—human rights violators extraordinaire themselves—who whine about it when a third world nation springs up the radar with a similar case.

    So pretty please, with sugar on top, spare us the false concern. You can always jerk off with a hot towel and produce better results than what you’re doing here.

    1. Tom,
      bottonline and end of the day: I dont care at all and dont mind how Duterte thinks how to solve the drug problems in the Philippines.
      All I know is that it wont solve shit. And its not my way of ‘solving’ a problem.

      ‘leading by example’? You mean leading by the gun.

      I wouldnt be surprised if he doesnt finish his 6 year term be it by natural or unnatural causes.

    2. @Tom. That’s funny I don’t remember telling anybody I’m white. You and Dice are both trying very hard to profile who I am and you keep missing the target. And why does “the pot calling the kettle black”? In your case, a westerner who is also a product of a western society: raised and fed by its hands until he’s old enough to bite them.

      Let’s face the fact that if it weren’t for your military pension or social security or both, you wouldn’t be able to afford to live like Robinson Crusoe in some tropic isle with your girl Friday; and, to be the self-appointed voice to express the Filipinos’ feelings against the United States, whose hands had also fed them, governed them, and accepted their people as its citizens for generations.

      Before you can declare your independence as “Banana Republic” advocate, you had to bide your time–a career here, a couple of broken marriages there, some children, and so–in a western society, until you’re good and ready to live out your fantasy of being a modern day colonist in a Third World country, meddling in their daily affairs to feel your self-worth, and exploiting their women because you couldn’t make it with your own back home.

      What’s strange about everything I’ve said about you is I’ve also been on that road that you’re on now, and have felt the air of arrogance and contempt you’re expressing now towards the hands that have fed me most of my life.

      The arbitrary “freedom” that you have now was fun while it lasted, but, just like anything in life, there are relative costs that end up biting all of us in the rear end someday in more ways than one.

      So before you assert my membership to white supremacist group and “yakking” against the Filipinos’ effort to break away from their subservient dependency to western nations, I want you to realize where you and I and these Filipinos came from, who has fed us until we can say “screw you” to all western countries, and who will come to our rescue when the “shit hits the fan.”

      In your situation it would be easy. Just go back to where you came from and keep your mouth shut against all western countries and you’ll be fine. You can’t say the same for Filipinos who are trying to be an independent Asian nation, yet unwilling to set their differences aside to think and behave like one, and are going about it the wrong way by propagating a new order of violence in their society that will someday also get out of hand.

  5. All of those who have opinion against this admininstration are enemies of the state. All of them should be jailed or executed. Lets start with the voters and opppsition party.

  6. With Pres. Duterte at the side of Filipinos, it is high time we should ask the government to give filipinos the share of every product produced from the country’s natural resources – energy, minerals, oil & gas, water, etc. These natural resources were from long time up to the present been exploited by the oligarchs themselves, amassing wealth and in the long run leaving the poor filipinos with pollution and environmental disasters.

  7. We are a fledgling “democracy”. And we are going thru some tough times. No thanks to you bitches. But our subjugation by western powers has worked out well for you, has it not? Let bygones be bygones. Let us sort this out and let the chips fall where they may. You don’t really care anyway. Unless you live here.

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