Love it or hate it: Duterte’s attack vs the Catholic Church is leading Filipinos down a DIFFERENT path


Scientific inquiry is advancing at an accelerated pace. Belief systems tend to be on a retreat in societies that are increasing in affluence. The latter way of life (living off beliefs) has been decisively beaten in much of the First World. But it remains entrenched in the Third World. The earlier (living off sound evidence- and logic-based thinking) is relatively normalised in modern societies but remains a curiosity in the Third World.

This is what makes Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent actions against the Catholic Church remarkable. Love it or hate it, he’s gone where no politician had gone before. In short, he’s done something different. How many Filipino politicians can one claim to have done something truly different? Filipinos like criticising them for being “traditional politicians” — in effect, highlighting their sameness and lack of originality as bad things. So along comes a politician — a sitting president, no less — who’s done something groundbreaking which is to directly crticise the powerful Roman Catholic Church without mincing words.

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Backdropped by this current battle between Malacanang and the Church is a unique opportunity to find out what really separates the men from the boys amongst the Philippines’ chattering classes. Faced with a leader who is anything but “traditional” — he is kicking Catholic ass, talking directly to the masses in language and manner they can relate with, and pivoting the Philippines away from Western European influence — it is now even more crystal clear who are defending the status quo and who are boldly facing a future, albeit uncertain, that is will likely be an outcome of things done differently.

After all, the modern-day philosopher Raquel Welch was once said to have said: Insanity is expecting different outcomes whilst continuing to do things the same way. That one is an easy concept to wrap one’s head around as anyone who’s tried arguing with a brick wall can explain. The more progressive cousin of this statement is the one tabled by the great Albert Einstein…

Problems cannot be solved using the same thinking that created them.

It is only within the context of this statement where we can begin to understand why the Philippine Condition cannot seem to be solved. Have there been enough politicians and leaders who have tried to do things differently? Have innovators and visionaries (rather than historical dogmatists and religious zealots) been commensurately rewarded for begging to differ to the status quo? Indeed, take those questions and apply them to an evaluation of the chops the current Philippine Opposition apply to trying to beat Duterte and the result will likely be confronting.

The Opposition has so far offered nothing different. The thinking of its “thought leadership” remains imprisoned by the Roman Catholic Church and its 2000-year-old belief system. That, by itself, is cause for second thought before one laps up the “ideas” they keep harping about and disseminating via their billion-peso corporate media lapdogs and the captured audiences in their Sunday masses.

So, yeah, Duterte offers something different — which is why people hate him, because different things have long known to strike fear and loathing in people made comfy by traditional beliefs. The response to Duterte’s difference is therefore understandable. It is a very human response. Presumably, however, we all aspire to be exceptional human beings. Therefore, to be exceptional, in this regard, is to be able to overcome a traditional human response to new, different, and confronting things. At the very least, if one disagrees with the new or different thing they are confronted with, perhaps propose an alternative.

This is the role one ought to reasonably expect an Opposition movement to step up to — the role of offering alternatives to how the incumbent is doing things. Can the Philippine Opposition under the leadership of the Liberal Party (a.k.a. the Yellowtards) meet this requirement? By all accounts, they haven’t. Can an Opposition led by minds imprisoned by Roman Catholic Church dogma offer truly groundbreaking ideas and solutions? Very likely not. Can a person who approaches a problem using the same brain that created it solve said problem? Not a chance.

The Philippine Opposition therefore has a lot of work to do on itself. It cannot forever hide behind its lazy ruse of taking potshots at an incumbent while offering no alternative pathway. The real problem is the Opposition (as with most of those that came before it). There is no Laban, only a lot of thinking to do. The latter is the skill that the Opposition need to get up to scratch with. And that, ultimately, is really an easy challenge to face. All they need to do is consider the two biggest and most obvious solutions: (1) ditch the Yellowtards and (2) free themselves from the prison of Catholic dogma. It takes an exceptional breed of mind to come to terms with what is counterintuitive. And exceptional minds are what the Philippine Opposition badly needs today.

14 Replies to “Love it or hate it: Duterte’s attack vs the Catholic Church is leading Filipinos down a DIFFERENT path”

  1. Funny how in the past majority of Filipinos have given up on hope for change and just adapted and lived through corruption, criminalities, substandard services and subpar living condition because politicians will always be the same. But now that change is happening many get so uncomfortable. Maybe because change from the top demands change on the part of every Filipino which requires EFFORT.

  2. What difference did Duterte make? Nothing but some sort of cheap talk. He has to walk the talk to have a truly impact opposition against the CBCP if that is what you and Duterte really want.

    If Duterte really wants to outdo the belief system of the Roman Catholic, I dare him to pass measures that are against the teachings of the Church. Make his minions in the Congress and Supreme Court and his office to legalize abortion, legalize same-sex marriage, divorce, euthanasia, medical marijuana, limit children of only two by every couple, and many more that are too liberal in the Philippines but have long been observed and practice in the first world countries. Until then, I don’t believe he is making a radical change which is to contradict all the way the teachings of the religions in the Philippines.

    Why don’t you focus more on Duterte’s administration rather than the opposition of what Duterte have done in his 2 years in office. What are the changes so far, the shortcomings, and what can he do more to better advance the development in the Philippines instead of always expecting the opposition to assume what next step they should do just to oppose Duterte. This is like trying to look bad the opposition just to look good about Duterte which is a kind of hypocricy to the readers and a childish ploy to cover-up the loopholes of this admin.

    And I want to clarify here (as against your thinking) that just because the country is first world doesn’t mean they ditch the practice of religion. Take the United States and United Kingdom for example. They are highly industrialized for how many decades and yet they have a chunk of population who claimed to be Christians. So really, the government and not the religion should lead the cause of the country to the direction it wanted to achieve not influenced by any religious sectors.

    1. I agree. So I’d actually watch that space to see if he can match that talk with actual actions that contribute tangibly towards effecting change down the path to real secularism. All I’m saying is that he’s done talk that many leaders before him had stopped short of. For a popular leader, talk alone already goes a long way towards influencing Filipinos to think along new lines. That in itself — to get Filipinos to think better — is already a big challenge.

  3. I agree with Pinoy Citizen. What Duterte did and does is too easy and too simple. He should bash and mock the actual PH people and how stupid they are and their culture. And he should start to make changes in laws and change the constitution. I read in a PH newspaper that penned that Duterte is against divorce. So I dont expect any real change from him. What he did so far is using his big mouth. Maybe its time for some action. I am sure he lacks the gutz.

  4. Another +1 for Pinoy Citizen’s comment. The fact is that Duterte is always shouting his mouth off to popular applause, and then goes off and does something completely different (or more often, nothing whatsoever).

    Two years since the election, all I see are a load of boondoggle projects that will benefit nobody except the oligarchy. None of Filipino traditional thinking has REALLY been challenged, and the government is still basically a big machine for stealing from the poor to give to the rich.

    Simply doing something “different” is not the same as doing something useful. In fact it’s a typical tactic deployed by incompetent politicans:

    – something must be done about xyz.
    – this is something.
    – we’ve done something about xyz.

  5. I find it strange for GRP upholding something different as something groundbreaking, equating it with something scientific!

    The outcome of things done differently being the unknown or by chance cannot be relied upon. Something groundbreaking is when the outcome of things is measured by its tangible result. That’s being scientific.

    1. That’s a bit of a confused take on what I said. I did not in any way describe Duterte’s statements against the Church as “scientific” and my mention of the word “groundbreaking” refers to the unprecedented nature of these statements without suggesting in any way that these statements can be equated to any sort of scientific breakthrough.

      1. Must be that “scientific inquiry” in the first line. But yes, in no way did that refer to Duterte, it was just an intro to how questioning things was was getting more intense in recent times.

      2. Yes. Maybe I should have been a bit more clear there. Then again the “scientific method” need not be limited to science applications because it involves a process of systematic problem-solving that can be applied to any kind of inquiry. Indeed, you’d think practitioners of “investigative journalism” would bake this system of thinking things through into the practice of their profession.

  6. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results”, stated by the great Theoretical Physicist : Albert Einstein.

    We are all comfortable with the familiar; the traditional; the usual ; the common and the ordinary. When a leader of a nation, follows different pathway; the non thinking people in our country will shout: ” Don’t go there, it is not familiar. It is an uncharted territory.”… We are all uncomfortable with unfamiliar territories and the unknown. However, it is thru venturing into the unknown; the place where no one has gone before, that humanity and our civilization advances. It is thru discovering new things, trying new things that humanity’s Science and Technology advances.

    The Philippines, as a Feudal Oligarchy, with full contrast of Theocracy, is still wallowing in the Dark Age of Superstition/religious dogmas. The Age where religion is in tandem with the government, to formulate government policies and laws.

    Remember, when the Roman Catholic Church, put a religious decree, that the world is flat. Anyone who told people, that the world is round was burned on the stake. The Astronomer, Giordino Bruno, was burned on the stake, for telling people, the world is round.

    This is the reason, you can hear : cardinals, bishops, priests, nuns , etc…complaining about Diggong Duterte’s policies. They want to hold him on his “tail”, and make him their “Robot”. As they did to previous Filipino Presidents.

    All churches, organized religions and the state must be separated. For those Roman Catholic blockheads; it is clear when Jesus Christ was asked : “Is it right to pay tribute to Caesar ?”. Jesus Christ asked for a coin. He then answered: ” Whose inscription is this ?” The crowd answered : ” Caesar !” So, Jesus Christ simply said: “Render unto Caesar things that are of Caesar, and unto your God, things that are of your God”.

    It was clear here for those : cardinals, bishops, priests, nuns, CBCPs, etc… You are not Caesar. You don’t have to play the role of Caesar. And don’t try to take , Caesar’s job.

  7. I wonder, is Duterte the first Philippine president to openly oppose the Catholic Church? I believe even Ramos who was a protestant president didn’t seem to attack the church back then. Duterte is popular to those who believe the Catholic Church has all these dark secrets and corrupt conspiracies, and perhaps discontent against the Catholic church has reached a point where it’s significant. Perhaps he’s taking advantage of the wave of protestant expansion happening these days, using one of the most popular topics within that group.

  8. At the heart of science is an essential balance between two seemingly contradictory attitudes — an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre or counter-intuitive they may be, and the most ruthless skeptical scrutiny of all ideas, old and new. This is how deep truths are winnowed from deep nonsense.

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