‘Banana Republic,’ anyone?

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DR. DANTE A. ANG

DR. DANTE A. ANG

Allow me to put in perspective my article “US ex-envoy plotting Duterte fall” (Tuesday, December 27), before a molehill morphs into a mountain, which could unfairly turn public sentiment against the US government for all the wrong reasons.

The alleged Goldberg blueprint to “undermine Duterte” is only in the realm of possibility, not a distinct certainty. My article clearly delineates the State Department from the alleged Goldberg paper. The information contained in the document that was provided to me was compelling and the source was highly placed and highly reliable and so I decided to write about it as a matter of public duty.

The alleged blueprint was written against the backdrop of a confluence of political events now obtaining, which led me to conclude that, indeed, some groups of individuals are entertaining the thought of ousting Duterte from the presidency.

There are pockets of low-level, loosely organized “plots” by people offended by the President’s foreign policy shift and his campaign against illegal drugs, among other burning issues of the day. In official meetings, and social gatherings, the narratives quickly turn into gripe sessions highlighting the shortcomings and sins of Duterte, and why he should be replaced, according to a friend who gets invited to some of those events.


A former high-ranking government official is busy making the rounds of his former supporters from the ranks of the police and the military, touching base with the various NGOs and the Church, and meeting with some disappointed administration officials who disagree with the President’s foreign policy shift, his campaign against illegal drugs and unpresidential ways. He is trying to feel the intensity of the quake beneath the surface.

However, up to this point, this so-called “pockets of resistance” are still searching for a leader who could harmonize them into a single, powerful, coherent group and lead the Duterte ouster move.

Some of the leading members of the so-called “pocket resistance” groups are looking at former President Fidel Valdez Ramos to lead them.

I agree that Ramos can be a big factor in any regime-change campaign. He is capable of helping (not leading) organize various groups and providing strategic and tactical gambits for the overthrow of governments. He can create political disturbances against Duterte.

He still has residual influence in the police and the military. He is also well connected with the US government, having studied at West Point. He has a line of communication with the key people in the State Department.

Ramos is highly respected by the Church, business, the academe and the NGOs. Through these years, he has managed to keep their trust and respect.

The question therefore: “Will former President Ramos lead the ‘Oust Duterte movement’?” The answer is a resounding “No.” I do not think he will. He is averse to risk. He is too “segurista.” He will not lead from the front; he will lead from behind and let others jump into the unknown and wait for the outcome. That’s President Ramos; who he was; who he will always be.

Ramos still wields a big stick. He is as dangerous as ever. He can be a big headache for Duterte. The President should not underestimate Ramos. Remember how Ramos easily helped mobilize his supporters to oust Estrada? And how he outwitted and outmaneuvered Enrile that eventually led to his sacking as Defense Secretary? Ramos eventually became Cory’s choice during her presidency and eventually got elected President in 1992 with the help of Cory Aquino.

In fairness to the US embassy and the State Department, I do not think that they are involved in a campaign to remove Duterte from office. Not that they are incapable of destabilizing or even ousting sitting presidents, because they can if they so choose. But not in this age and time, according to my American friend who works with the US Embassy. The US government no longer does those things, he said.

If there would be a coup, it would be hatched and launched not by the CIA but by some members of the disgruntled opposition, those whose interests were prejudiced by the Duterte presidency like the narco-politicians and their cohorts in the police and the military, the drug lords, and some interest groups. Also possibly among that group are Church leaders who can’t accept an uncouth provinciano who dares challenge the established order and spews out cuss words during breakfast as their President. Oh yes, I think drug money will pour into the campaign to finance a coup against Duterte.

I also think that if there is any coup, the Americans will not lift a finger to help Duterte. They will just stay on the sidelines and watch the political event unfold right before their eyes. However, if there is a stalemate – a bloody stalemate – and if public clamor against the President reaches critical mass, and if the outcome will be clearly prejudicial to the US national interests, they may interfere in a not so subtle fashion and tilt the balance in favor of the coup plotters.

The only elephant in the room is the CPP/NPA, and the throngs of Duterte diehards. I do not think that the CPP/NPA and the Duterte diehards will take any attempt to unseat Duterte sitting down. They will fight for their President tooth and nail. And unlike EDSA 1 and 2, there will be blood on the streets this time around. There could even be civil war pitting Filipinos against Filipinos.

Whew! What a country. More than 30 years after the EDSA revolution, nothing has changed. Corruption is still endemic. Elective and appointive government officials treat our national coffers as their own piggy bank.

Justice is for sale. Many fiscals, judges and some justices sell their decisions for a fee. Cases sleep the sleep of the dead in exchange for “parking fees.” The accused pay the fiscals and judges to sit on their losing cases hoping that the plaintiff would lose interest in pursuing them or drop them altogether.

Big business controls our economy. Our government officials and regulatory offices are held captive by big business. The consumers are choked and made poorer by the two giant telcos. Daily, they are robbed blind by these predators who charge astronomical fees for poor services and services not rendered.

Politicians, police and military are under the payroll of the drug lords. Some of them are themselves drug lords. Some of the policemen who kill suspected drug pushers/users are themselves protectors of the drug lords.

Truth to tell, I am beginning to doubt the wisdom of our brand of democracy. What is wrong with us? Our country has not moved forward. On the contrary, it retrogressed.

Even Vietnam, ravaged by a debilitating war for some 20 years, is about to overtake us economically. Visit Vietnam and weep. Marvel at the level of the discipline of its people and its modern public utilities. Contrast that to our disheveled conditions – in the streets, the pedestrians, the MRT, the LRT, LTO, etc.

By all means let us protest against Duterte for all his sins of commission and omission – perceived or otherwise. Let us question his decisions before the court for their constitutionality. Let us press him to deliver on his campaign promises. Let us force him to fire the incompetents and file cases of corruption against the shenanigans in his Cabinet and his administration.

His detractors may dislike Duterte and disagree with his brand of governance, but replacing him through extraconstitutional means is a sure way of turning the Philippines into a “Banana Republic.”

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36 Comments

  1. The Philippines is and has ALWAYS has been a banana republic in the international stage. It has gotten worst with Dugong and his clowns running the government..

    Looks like Dugong and his clowns are unraveling and starting to crack, with them blaming everybody and anybody who disagrees with their policies of trying to overthrow the presidency. This admission from the government confirms there is instability within the country, and that despite its high popularity ratings by polls, has a brewing and growing discord among its populace to contend with. It is only a matter of time before a force changeover.

  2. Thank you for your analysis of the current situation. You are not only the chairman emeritus, you are a damned good writer.

  3. Mr. Ang is telling the truth. Corruption is still endemic. He diid not mention that all past Philippine presidential regimes since 1950 have been corrupt. With these 66 years of corruptions and increasing poverty, how can DU 30 satisfy the needs of the Filipinos? Mr. Ang is telling the truth about other chaos deeply happening in the Philippines. He did not calculate how the high rating of DU 30 will persist!
    s is pro-American. But Mr. Ang did not tell that the late husband of LENI is a closed friend of Ramos, that Ramos supported LENI to be the vice president, instead his cousin nephew Bonging Marcos.

    Mr. Ang tells another truth that America will not initiate the overthrow of DU30, but he is smart enough to know that the incoming famous President Donald J. Trump’s policy is AMERICA FIRST!

    DONALD will not give a shit to other countries who does not cooperate with him.

    The truth of the matter is the Philippines needs the USA than America needs the Philippines.
    But as a Filipino-American, I hope and pray for the unity between the Philippines and the United States. I do not trust Russia and China for the Philippines no matter what.

  4. There is an old American saying, “The U.S. does not have friends, only interests.” As such, if you mess with its interests, you are bound to fail.

  5. HOPE.. Our beloved President D30 has a good vision for our country. Drug Free, Corruption Free, Criminal free.
    But….He’s doing it the wrong way. .. Why.. because he over promised us. He said he’ll do it in 6 months. We know , he knows he cannot do it in short period of time. This is not Davao… This is the whole country. He needs time .. maybe 6 years …We should give him the benefit of the doubt.. but…… He need to change his approach.. keep his mouth shut…and continue to look at his good vision…. and may God Help him and Bless him and the Philippines.

  6. I guess Digong already knows the plot against him that’s why he always said that he may not finished his term and he is ready to go either by death, coup or impeachment and maybe this is the reason why he want to change our foreign policy towards China and Russia. Lets see what will happen when Trump sit at the White House

  7. Don’t under estimate George Soros, Open Society movement. He did it in Thailand and now doing it in Malaysia.

  8. the author believes the Goldberg Plot as in “the realm of possibility”. and from here, he talks about plots being brewed up by locals to oust Duterte. wow. Fentanyl addiction and its effects must be contagious.

  9. john c. jacinto on

    Ours is now a sagging economy because of Duterte. So I don’t give a damn if Duterte gets ousted and we continue being a Banana Republic. I have high hopes though that if this madman from Davao is out of Malacañang, the Philippines will be better economically and politically. The drug war is just a subterfuge for Duterte gang’s plunder.

    • Those group who are more likely to oust Pres. Duterte are those who wish to remain in power, who are no other than the diehard corrupt LP who are also the Drug Lords protector . Ramos had his chance to reform the mess Cory Aquino had done but he failed ,corruption and greed in many forms continued. Pres Duterte may have a foul mouth NO ONE IN THIS WORLD IS PERFECT,,but he is the only one who can carve the abuse, corruption and greediness of many oligarchs and the elite whose spoiled brat children are all hooked on drugs as well as those rag to riches celebrities who must have forgotten they were once very poor, and where they come from .More power and blessings be given to President Duterte for keeping the peace and order of the Philippines

  10. I’ll wage my war in spiritual….

    Father God at some point of our life, we got to choose either fear or faith. I chose the latter. And will continue to do so knowing that You are God of the supernatural. What is impossible with men, everything is possible to You.

    I lift to You all the anointed leaders You have raised up, raising up and will raise up in the Philippines. To bring forth the change we have prayed, and cried years ago. I firmly believe that the time of refreshing in our nation is now. That You will continue to protect these leaders. That You’ll grant them wisdom and righteousness in every situation they face.

    Any forces that will try to befall our leaders and try to cause disunity in our land will have to go through You Lord Jesus. That these evil people who call themselves superpowers of the world will be shamed and humbled. Their folly will be returned to them exponentially.

    Because You have declared..

    I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning…saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.'”

    To Him who sits on the Throne, all blessings, and honor, and power, and glory, and praise and thanksgiving forevermore be unto Your Holy Name Jesus! In Your most awesome Name I pray! Amen! So be it Lord!

  11. Remember THE OGRE THAT NEVER DIES? I wonder where Duterte and his team are headed, now that after five months they have learned the ropes of corruption. No one is immune from temptations. More questions: Why did Peter Lim go scot-free? Who takes over the drug operations of neutralized drug lords? What happens to the confiscated drugs? Will we become like Colombia or Mexico? Which is the better overlord — China or the US? Will we become like Tibet, HK, Macao, or Taiwan? In the end, it will all boil down to the right price, with or without Duterte, because of the ogre that never dies.

  12. It’s time for the President to stop talking and traveling. He needs to stay in Manila and review what is still wrong and fix it, or at least get a good start. He is still very popular and he can get things done. If he concentrates he should be able to accomplish more in six months than most presidents do in six years.

  13. Generally, you made a fairly correct assessment of our national condition. But If I may present here my comment on some of the points you raised: 1. Former US Ambassador Goldberg is doing his assignment, the so called blueprint, is most likely part of his response to US State Department’s order for his recommendation; 2. It is quiet normal for the US government, to officially deny such :blueprint. But it cannot deny US State Department’s policy of “regime change”, either via constitutional or extra-constitutional means if and when their long-term and immediate interest is in great danger of being undermine; 3. Real democracy cannot evolve to its maturity (by Western standard) while our society is ruled by feudal and oligarchic institutions; 4 Under Ho Chi Minh and the Communist Party, Vietnam effectively demolished almost all feudal and oligarchic institution, making it possible to lay-down the ground for planting the seeds of democracy; 4. Asean countries, by its cultural and historical context are not yet prepared for a western type of democracy as noted by Washington Sycip. 5. There is no need to turn Philippines into a “Banana Republic” since it already is a bogus republic after the US and its local allies hijacked the 1896 Revolution and established a puppet government.

    • So true but I would like to raise my hope in the current administration. No President has ever done good things for its people other than Duterte. Mind you, I did not vote him as I voted for MDS but for the past 5 months, I was convinced that he is the leader that will deliver. The author was right to predict that any attempt to oust Duterte will result in civil war because we as Filipinos are tired if not exhausted of the elitist, callous and pathetic yellow governance.

  14. “The US government no longer does those things, he said.”

    Under the Trump presidency, all bets are off as to what the US government will or won’t do. He has said he will ramp up the nuclear arms race and has come close to threatening nuclear war. He has threatened a trade war with China, could actual war be far behind? It seems nothing is off the table for Trump. And it seems Duterte is hedging his bets and playing both sides of the table when it comes to the US and China.

    I feel sad for the Filipino people and fear what is happening there, so much so that I have cancelled my plans to move there in early 2017. I’ll have to wait and see how things play out.

    • Good, stay there. Better yet, move to a country or a state that will allow legalization of your favorite addictions.

  15. Their is an on going Chess Tournament in our country today. The Narco Government VS. The Non- Narco Government.The Narco Government is the Black Pieces while the white Pieces is the Non-Narco Government.The Narco Government has one GOAL,CHECKMATE the king of the White and to install their own KING.While the WHITE Pieces GOAL,”FREE DRUGS PHILIPPINES.”

  16. Banana Republic ? Nah !!! No way ! We will ground these banana rebels into a mush and fry them a la maruya.

  17. Very well written article. I noted the part that the “CIA or US” out to remove Duterte is just not so. Duterte is like other dictators who cry “CIA”, “USA” when things start to fall apart. “Can’t be me….must be the Americans”…

  18. Yonkers, New York
    28 December 2016

    There is that well-known saying, “Where there’s smoke, there must be fire!”

    In this Commentary, Dr. Dante A. Ang obviously does not hesitate to raise a topic or subject which right now must be going the rounds in the Philippines, and which is how to depose Little Tyrant Rodrigo Duterte who has inflicted a bloody REIGN OF TERROR on the Filipino people, a lawless genocidal extrajudicial drive which has prematurely dispatched to heaven or hell some 6,000 hapless victims. His ghoulish goal is 3 MILLION!

    My practical suggestion is that before this Little Tyrant achieves his goal of 3 MILLION, he should be deposed one way or the other: via IMPEACHMENT, which appears unlikely right now, via PEOPLE POWER, or even via a military COUP D’ETAT. ASSASSINATION should not be ruled out.

    The Philippines could outlive being a “Banana Republic” for a short time, but it may take it a generation at least to recover from psychotic Little Tyrant Duterte’s REIGN OF TERROR.

    MARIANO PATALINJUG
    patalinjugmar@gmail.com

    MARIANO PATALINJUG
    patalinjugmar@gmail.com

    • WOW! I pity you my friend, see what happens when you watch too many Yellow media? its turning you into very frightful pinoy who thinks Phils. as a wild west! (when was the last time youre here?) its turning you into a stressed and wrinkly brown zombie – Coup, Assasination, Impeachment as the only solution to our problems, developing a phobia of “probinsyanos” – a form of racism for those “sardinas’ who thinks they are “steaks” . I challenge you to visit those soup kitchens, drug rehabs(biggest in asia), investments at all time high, safer streets and the changes not reported by yellow media! Go to Davao and then compare the crime statistics between Davao and the place where you live New York.

    • Roldan Guerrero on

      There may be EJK`s but it seems necessary as the past Regime has turned the Philippines into a hell. All kinds of criminality were neglected in the past even almost, had it not been lucky for Duterete to win the Presidency this nation should be now a NARCO-POLITIC country. Why is killing in the RANT? These DRUG PROTECTORS/ DISTRIBUTORS/ USERS etc. ARE HAVING WAR AMONG THEMSELVES. The UNIFORMED Syndicates are killing their soburdinates to avoid being unmasked and that is the reason why there is so many killings. After all if cleansing will be done by themselves, the outcome will be a better Philippines.

  19. Ramos? i dont think this fossil could even organize a bingo social nowadays. It seems that this writer is disapointed after 30 years and rightly so, they were presided by the elites – 2 Aquinos, Estrada, Ramos, GMA were all epic failures as far as DISCIPLINE TO OUR PEOPLE AND GOVERNMENT, but the ‘probinsyano’ D30 has been doing wonders after only months in office, sure hes not perfect and potty mouth – but by God HE IS OURS! HES SUCCESS IS ALL OUR SUCCESS, the D30 effect is slowly creeping discipline on the streets! only the media are playing blind to these grassroots miracle, sure theres a lot to be done – BUT IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO, THE SOCIETY AND THE GOVERNMENT both must play its part , D30 can not do it alone! Let is help him row the boat to progress instead of rocking it like this unproductive plots.

  20. Dear Dr. Dante Ang,

    Happy New Year!! Thank you for all the good news reading material at Manila Times Web :) I get to have a habit in reading most of the important ones every morning. Thank you also for the posts on my comments which your institution do recognize, I appreciate it very much.

    I get the most news feeding through your portal than on TV for local, and sometimes foreign news. I bet if my lolo Onching is still alive, he will be happy about the Manila Times at The Internet :)

    My Family recently have been getting graces from the Duterte Government especially through Senior Citizen Privileges + my brother had great blessings from his work as a Barangay Kagawad: Thanking God and Jesus Christ for it. My neighborhood is safe so far because we havent’ t gotten much thieves around unlike before, hehe :P And I get to have safe travels + without traffics especially when I am on Taxis and LRTs :) Thank God I am surviving the Digong PH World. So, I guess I can say Happy New Year to the Du30 Philippines!!

    Let us continue praying to Jesus Christ for Wisdom and Knowledge in doing good critical debates on Duterte’ s Government and for the PH’ s Development-in a constructive way.

    Honestly, I myself is doubtful on who can lead the PH well other than Digong| I 89% cheer on BongBong Marcos but I have hesitations on his relatives, especially Imelda and Imee :P I have 10 Million Thumbs Down on Leni :P

    Sir, My family now is happy and in content with the government| I cannot more complain because God did shower us with many blessings. Sana marami rin Pinoy and magpapasalamat sa gifts ni God and ni Jesus Christ kaysa magreklamo ng Panget about PH :P

    God bless Sir and Jesus Christ Cares :)

    BTW, I had severe fever and vomits on the Spaghetti from Pizza Hut Recto through delivery last December 26th| maybe they can do something to check on the food they serve. And I think it is of lack in training| the delivery boy did buy us a Pepsi from the SariSari store because he spilled half of our soda in Pizza Hut Paper Cup: he gave it to us in Plastic that is being used for Iced Tube in straw :P WHAT THE F***? I gave him Paper Notes that are of good faith, tsk tsk :P

    Sorry: rants because I got so ill, hehe :P At Least it is not about Duterte :P

  21. You just mentioned what are the causes of problems, what is wrong with the country.

    The present admin is trying to do something about it. Only your friend (you are protecting their identity just now- as a loyal friend?) are trying to perpetuate the problems.

    You also just mentioned vietnam’s discipline as the difference – right!

    So how it can be achieved – by revolution, wipe out the likes of your unnamed friends.

    The president is like one fighting the windmill.

    ramos is just a sewer rat still craving for a lot of cheese after all the years plundering. And now more plotting ? – he can never be a hero, so what he is after? what is in it for ramos, and he can’t take his loot to hell, or maybe he think he can use it to bribe the keeper?

    We want change, stir it in, toss it up, lets see what happens when everything breaks. Maybe we can assemble a new interesting puzzle from the debris, or perish all and it will be a relief.

  22. Your column is too long, only to threaten us with a a very short sentence that replacing Duterte through extra-constitutional means is a sure way of turning the Philippines into a “Banana Republic.”

    But I ask you, if we do not replace an insane President, shall our country not also be a Banana Republic?

    Either way, shall it matter?