• Is Grace a better version of Pacquiao, or is it vice-versa?


    Second of Two Parts
    First Part: Grace is a disease of our politics.

    If our nation suffers the “Grace Poe” disease of our political system (as I discussed on Monday: ‘Grace’ is a disease of our politics) by which celebrity power determines electoral results for national posts, it is because democracy itself has a gargantuan flaw.

    We fail to see this flaw because we suffer from the delusion that electoral democracy – the idea of one man, one vote – is an Absolute Good that has existed for all time.

    This is partly because even before we became an independent nation, our US colonizers in 1935 had instituted universal suffrage (including for women), when just a generation before that, there was total Spanish colonial domination.

    When the US instituted the first elections (for municipal officials) in 1902, one of the requirements for a voter was ownership of property worth at least P500, which is about P1 million today. As a result, in the 1907 elections for the first Philippine Assembly, only 1 percent of the population voted.

    Contrast that to the 2013 elections, when 40 million — half of the country’s population and 90 percent of Filipino adults — voted for our senators.

    Now here’s the problem, which no politician, except Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, would dare talk about, although every single one of them knows it to be true:

    Unless you believe that God Almighty takes time out of his gazillion tasks to whisper to each of at least 40 million voters on election day an enlightened choice as to the best qualified president, vice-president, and senator, or unless you believe in the communist Maoist agitprop nonsense that a masa has innate genius bestowed upon him by History, probably the bulk of voters, the country’s vast poor majority, don’t really know what they’re doing.

    Celebrity power: Grace in the Senate, Manny in Congress... next stop, Vice Presidency? Pambansang Kamao vs Pambansang Ampon?

    Celebrity power: Grace in the Senate, Manny in Congress… next stop, Vice Presidency? Pambansang Kamao vs Pambansang Ampon?

    What they know of the candidates is almost entirely what the local political bosses, their (urban or rural) landlords, the richest in the barangay, and — most importantly — what the inane 6:30 ABS-CBN and GMA-7 news programs, the tabloids, and radio “jukebox” block-timers tell them.

    What they know of the candidates is merely how they are portrayed by TV, what they hear about him or her as told by radio commentators, and their role in the movies, confused as their real person.

    Absurdities of democracy
    Should we be surprised that as the media and the entertainment world have become more and more powerful in this century, we see more absurdities proliferate in our electoral democracy?

    Antonio Trillanes 4th got to be in the papers and on TV because of his clumsy coup attempts, which still stupidly portrayed him as a bold hero. Bam Aquino changed his haircut and glasses to look like his uncle Ninoy. Both became senators of the Republic.

    Identify them yourselves: Out of the 24 sitting Senators, 13 are there because of their father’s names, three because they were actors (one comedian), two were coup plotters, and one a billionaire who allegedly spent P500 million for the senatorial post.

    It is getting to be more absurd.

    Three years after she renounced her citizenship, Poe becomes a balikbayan, does well in popularity polls, and thinks she can be President. Her work experience has been in obscure California firms and in US government agencies, exactly what we aren’t told. Here, as head of the MTRCB, her accomplishment would be making sure that breasts in films shown in theaters and TV are pixeled out and the ‘F’ words bleeped.

    Manny Pacquiao becomes globally famous by punching his opponents and getting himself punched, though he does it better than they can, and he thinks he can be a Senator of the Republic. He has even persuaded some people to believe he is a shoo-in for the Vice Presidency.

    Who’s really better fit for such national posts?

    I’m not sure if Manny finished even high school, but at least he’s been a congressman for five years, and even if he was absent most of the time in Congress, at least he would have some inkling what the masses at the ground level demand of a political leader. Pacquiao, since he’s a billionaire now won’t, I hope, be tempted by bribes. At the very least, we can say somebody managed to break the elite’s hold on the presidency in our generation.

    On the other hand, Grace is without question more educated (her biography says she spent 13 years in the US for a bachelor’s degree) and speaks fluent American, in contrast to Pacquiao’s hilarious attempts at the language.

    Pambansang Kamao vs. Pambansang Ampon. Is Grace a better version of Manny, or is Manny a better version of Grace in the theater of the absurd we call Philippine democracy?

    Is ours a living proof of the inherent flaw of the idea of democracy?

    While democracy was practiced as early as in ancient Athens, the great Greek philosophers such as Socrates and Plato disdained them, seeing such forms of government as irrational as mob rule — which it essentially is.

    Democracy really wasn’t as popular and considered a Universal Good as we think it is. Not too well known, in fact, is that after that Athenian experiment in Ancient Greece, it would only be centuries later, in the mid-18th century that electoral democracy would be adopted by an important sector of the planet — Western Europe.

    However, universal suffrage (which does not require voters to be property owners and which include women) would be adopted, by what we consider now as the most democratic countries such as the US and Sweden, only in the late 19th century. Women’s suffrage would be adopted even by such countries as France, Italy, and Japan, only did right after World War II.

    Third Wave of Democracy
    The number of democratic countries became significant only after the so-called Third Wave of democracy in the 1970s, from 35 to 120 by 2013, according to the latest book by Francis Fukuyama, Political Order and Political Decay, which contains an insightful study on the evolution of democracy.

    So you see, we were far more advanced democratically than most nations on earth: By 1935, we already had universal suffrage; France got it only in 1945, Greece 1952, Italy 1945, Japan 1946, South Korea 1948, Switzerland, 1959.

    We’re way ahead, in fact, among our Southeast Asian neighbors, except for Thailand, which had universal suffrage by 1933. Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, of course, had full electoral democracy only after gaining independence, which was only in 1965, 1963, and 1949, respectively. (I can almost hear from readers of this column: “Look what that got us!”)

    Unless we give up our irrational, metaphysical notion that each Filipino — no matter how unschooled or uninformed he is — has the intellectual capacity to choose the right leader, ours will be a democracy of the absurd.

    While the US transplanted its system of electoral democracy into us in 1935, we were so naive to think it would work without the requirements and checks of a true democracy. In the US, its system of electoral colleges and primaries and its two party-system, among other institutions, have served as a check on celebrity politics, especially for electing the President.

    In our case, we even junked our two-party system, thanks to Corazon Aquino and the 1987 Constitution, which she asked a group of people to finalize quickly.

    While our two-party system before martial law had been merely a case of tweedledee and tweedledum characters, it had one important feature.

    The Liberal and the Nacionalista parties served to weed out or train celebrities, as in the case of two senators, the actor Rogelio de la Rosa and broadcaster Eddie Ilarde. The parties had, in effect, required candidates for the highest office to first prove their leadership and coalition-building skills, which explains why all the post-war presidents served long terms as congressmen and senators.

    The multiparty system ushered in by Cory Aquino essentially has meant a no-party system, with only pseudo parties being built around the politician who can afford financing one, or throwing their lot behind the most “winnable” presidential candidate.

    Grace and Pacquiao would have to spend a decade jostling for position and proving their leadership within a party, if we had a two-party system.

    Who would first be able to go through that gauntlet, Grace or Manny?

    Part/s of the Series:

    FB: Bobi Tiglao


    Please follow our commenting guidelines.


    1. No amount of discrediting will damage the good name of Sen. Grace Poe not even Mr. R. Tiglao transformation of a human being turn robot or agent of wickedness because Sen. Grace Poe is still up and going but his anointed one who is now lovey dovey with GMA is successfully coming down on his free fall and when it will end depend upon the temerity and tenacity of the man to remain standing? You cannot compare a boxer cum preacher, basketball player and a legislature to feisty Iron Lady in the making in the person of Grace Poe. Yes you have the name Manny Pacquaio known worldwide as a complete boxer but as a legislature he has to prove himself better than amazing Grace as what Mr. r. Tiglao i s myopic about seeing the real world.

    2. in reply to mr.Dustin clever
      If people vote for pacman because they trust him not to rob the country of its wealth. The smart people you are mentioning are those people so smart that they will rob the country of everything. If you think you are smart, let me ask you one thing, are you a millionaire now, if not shut up and stop nonse commentary. Mr. pacquiao now belong to the millionaires row. Read Brw magazine or forbes so you will learn.

    3. Jovel Patricio on

      Mr.Tiglao you have a brilliant mind but it would be nice if you reflect a little bit. Manny Pacquiao is more than educated from his humble beginning and character he is doing an excellent job.Grace Poe is an asset. It is plain and simple that Philippines has to move forward.No politician can work successfully if we don’t cooperate. How? Be concerned! Help stop corruption! Don’t be greedy! Help the children and youth through education and the marginalized. Stop patronizing politicians. It is sickening to see placards with politicians’ name on a certain road projects. It’s a shame that’s people’s tax. The issue is not Manny and Grace in their simple way they can work together for a better Philippines. We have to stand up for our great country!

    4. Senator Grace Poe should step aside now considering that her qulification is being questioned and becoming a distraction among the electorate. The great responsibility
      of Senator Poe right now is to just silently shy away from all this political drama that is fast unfolding and let the electorate think of the next possible candidate suited for our country’s woes, and wait until she is eligible to run for President.
      If Chiz will be the anointed one of becoming the standard bearer for Vice President of the Liberal Party, can he honestly say “I want to continue the reforms made by the
      Aquino Administration”, what reform are they talking about”, lucky for Senator Poe it is the Chiz who will answer and defend that”….

    5. If any of you are dumb enough to vote for manny pacquiao then it tells you how poorly educated the masses are in this country

    6. You used the words ” now heres the problem ” then you start talking of god. Well i also see a problem with that, you believe something with no evidence, god. He built the universe right, but scientists say its still expanding, so if god built it is he still building it. But lets cast that aside & look at who should be able to vote, every person should have the right to vote, with very few exceptions. Money should never be a decider on who gets the vote. If you indoctrinate your people with religion then that will affect the way they vote. Keep the people uneducated , that will help decide the way they vote. Everything you do will help decide how they vote so make things positive for people & hopefully people will vote positive. The uk has a growing welfare dependant population & they will vote for who gives them more, not who will do best for the country. We need inteligent people, people who care more for their country than themselves, thats who we should vote for. Country first & then the country can help the people. Im very clear on that.

    7. Tapusin na ang paghahari ng BOBOTANTE sa Pinas!!… Tama na! Sobra na!! Ibagsak ang bobotante…na nagpapasakit sa bansang Pinas..!!

    8. christinetan on

      “Is Grace a better version of Pacquiao, or is it vice-versa?” … It is hard to tell but Grace is way, way better than Pnoy or Binay or Mar!

    9. Juan Dela Cruz on

      Grace Poe compared to Manny Pacquiao? Is the author really serious about this article? SENATOR GRACE POE being compared to MANNY PACQUIAO? Very preposterous!

      The author REFUSE to talk about how the very same media or TV ads portray VP Binay as a god-fearing man despite plundering away since 1987! The author also REFUSE to talk about the other seemingly popular “politicians”. Why??!

      Do I need to remind the author that during elections, the VOTE of the poorest and the VOTE of the richest in the Philippines both only amount to 1! This is the beauty of democracy! Everyone’s vote counts as much as anybody else’s vote does!

      The author also misleads us in saying that DEMOCRACY is flawed insinuating that most voters are gullible or stupid. The author is also insinuating that voters must be limited to a certain class of “learned people” INSTEAD of seeing the problem as the lack of proper voter education, lack of much needed institutional changes to improve the quality of life of the masses, to educate them. The author failed to mention that MASSIVE GRAFT AND CORRUPTION leads to personality politics to the detriment of genuine institutional change – as it breeds patronage politics = VP Binay or Mar Roxas giving away massive dole outs to the masses. Giving away fish instead of teaching people how to catch fish!

      The author fails to understand that SENATOR GRACE POE, while without a doubt has a strong name recall and a surging popularity, is what we need right now. A darling of the masses who is also without a doubt competent, honest, sincere and with integrity. SENATOR GRACE POE is our gateway, our catalyst towards genuine institutional changes that the Philippines deserve! Let us not waste this golden opportunity! GO SENATOR GRACE POE!

      • Gabriela Silang on

        Grace Poe is that you???!!!… wait… the chief of staff of grace Poe… figures… magapatuka ka nalang kaya sa ahas

      • juan de la cruz pa naman sana pangalan mo. maayos ka naman mag inglish. pero bulok pa rin ang approach mo para sa kapakanan ng sambayanan. anak ka ba ni grace? or kamag anak ka?
        di ka ba nakapunta ng isa man lamang na probinsya para makita mo ang tunay na kalagayan ng kababayan mo juan de la cruz?

      • The surest indicator of a vacuous
        mind is that he writes a lot of words in all caps.

      • Naku hijo, bago ka sana nagsayang marami letra ay inintindi mo muna ang ibig sabihin ng sinulat ni Bobi. I guess you were trying to read the article on a literal level. The use of a “grace” or a “manny” was like an allegory. an example, to personify the characters that are being presented to the electorate and the kind of electoral system that nurtures those kind of candidates.

        Just as you are one of those who seemed to have been blinded by the sloganeering of simyon, here goes again a paean to someone na baka nakahihigit pa ang talino at kaalaman mo. Hindi porke yun na ang isinusulong ng media at napagpakitaan ka na ng palabas, akala mo na sya na lang ang maaring mamuno sa bansa.

        In fact, kun galing lang sa pagtatayo ng mga infrastructure at iba’t ibang proyekto, baka ang kaalaman ni Ms. Grace ay wala pa sa kalingkingan ng mga naka tapos sa UP College of Engineering na bukod sa di lang magaling ang kaalaman sa inhinyerya ay mataas pa ang antas ng pulitika dahil marami sa kanila ay produkto ng Barikada at pangmasang pagkilos nuong dekada 70. Nuong mga panahong iyon, walang kamuwang muwang sa mga pagkilos si simyon at nakikita ngayon sa kanyang galaw ang kakulangan sa paglimi ng daynamismo ng lipunan. Yun babae ay isang malaking halimbawa ng WALANG ALAM at dahil nagsinunghaling sa kanyang COC, kapatid nya ang magnanakaw – kung susundin ang lohika ng kanyang adoptive mom.

    10. That is why there is a need to amend or change entirely our Constitution. Unfortunately those who have the power to do it do not believe in changing the constitution because they will lost their present advantage and privileges.

    11. Migs Doromal on

      Let’s go back to the 4 year presidential term with ONLY ONE four year term extension (US format.)

      Make the 24 senatorial posts be divided into three groups to represent LUZON, VISAYAS, and MINDANAO. Ergo, 8 candidates must come from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. At present, most if not all of these MORONS in the senate come from LUZON!

    12. In this case, we’ll be ending up with haviing a president and vice president as: POE & PAC.

    13. wrong comparo; how can you evaluate pakyaw when he hardly ever shows his ass in the lower house? you have to pity this dude even if he attends session it must be torture for him just sitting on his ass and have no clue WTF is happening anyway! but he makes up of what he doesn’t know because one time he did distribute a Christmas(?) gift if my memory serves me right, to all the members! oh well, what can i tell you?

    14. Joseph Tejada on

      Dear Mr. Tiglao,

      Your observations and comments are relatively accurate. The question however is how do you disrupt this strong political current when entrenched parties are happy and contented with the set up. No matter how you guys shout, write or criticise this setup, it will not voluntarily change unless a bloody political upheaval occurs. What do you think sir?

      Very truly yours,


    15. So this crazy multi party system is another legacy of Cory? Wow!
      Son-o-a-gun! Multi Party + Queen of Darkness!
      What legacy can our Dear Leader BS CA d THRD hope to hoist on us, poor PINOYS?!

    16. Conrado Maramag on

      Very informative article. So true that we choice our SSENATORS base onpopularity and our Presidents in similar way or by thr Surnames. It will take years and years for philippine voters to overcome such way of voting, as media now is the most “trusted” info source o on candidates for national posts.

      • Nancy Bulok Cake on

        Yes you are right. Most of them are ProBinay like Tiglao and Tatad who nw nothing except to perpetuately criticize without doing anything for the country. These two columnists neve criticized the Binay family for stealing bilions of pesos as pe AMLC findings which is an independent entity. Tiglao and Tata were once in the government sector but did nothing except to receive their pay checks. They are pro-Binay for them to get a cabinet or foreign affairs position.

    17. A long time ago I was among government employees coming from several agencies completing a few days of what was then called “rural service” in a remote and poor locality. From the very start the organizationers instructed that on our last day we are to “elect” the officers of our batch to be recorded for our identity purposes. Many of our batch me included thought the exercise unnecessary and a waste of time some even loudly protesting that this plan be junked and the rest of us nodding vigorously our assent. Now came the last night and again we were reminded of the voting exercise to be conducted after dinner. I vividly remember that despite the protestations against it not one of the participants left the dining hall and the voting proceeded under the auspices of the organizers from DSWD with the excitement of the nominations for president, vice president, etc but the most surprisingly notable was after the balloting again no one left the hall until the ballots were counted and the winners proclaimed. This revealed to me since that time that Filipinos are truly addicted to elections they can claim and howl to the heavens that they are not interested and say this to be a waste of time but come crunch time when ballots are to be cast they are there like zombies salivating in their participation up to the last moment to find out if they or their candidate prevailed. Finally on our way home nobody talked about the election as if it didn’t happen and not one later on called for a reunion of the batch. I think Filipinos penchant for democratic elections is really superficial and I agree that not enough of us are truly able to discern the qualities that matter for good leaders many are there for the excitement and not a few for the money. Alas what a messy situation we are in and I don’t see how we can get out of this mess in my lifetime.

    18. Leodegardo Pruna on

      None of the above Mr. Tiglao. Let us get back to our senses. We cannot and should not fail the next time around. We must be sure that the next president would be a man/woman of integrity with a SOUND MIND IN A SOUND BODY. And, among others in accord with the qualifications as prescribed in the Philippine Constitution. Let us not be fooled by parties and people whose only motivation is themselves. God bless the Philippines.

    19. hitting the nail right on its head… why does it take only one writer to show us the absurdity of our democracy? thanks, mr. tiglao.

    20. Leodegardo Pruna on

      None of the above if the Filipino people will come back to their senses. We cannot allow ourselves to go down the drain by electing someone just because he/she is a natural born citizen, knows how to read and write and 40 years and above. We have to be sure that he/she is above board in MIND and body. God bless the Philippines.

    21. To the Author,
      Just read your article and while I was pleased with the first part of the two part critique, I was surprised that in part you referred to the US system as ‘ a check on celebrity politics’. I invite you to look at the current state of the next elections there, what a shambles and what an advertisement for the continuity of the family nepotism that is classic Philippine politics, and so far out from election day. Again pity the citizens who have to put up with this charade. Donald Trump again? On a different subject, I just finished reading your compatriot Edwin Tulfo’s article re the decommissioning of a few rusty old firearms by a rebel group. What a farce and deserves to be exposed all over the media, surely the Philippine people will not be so gullible as to believe this rubbish. How long does anyone think it would take to replace these useless arms with more modern and deadly substitutes by the Malaysian moguls that bankroll this movement?

    22. Grace poe is clearly an obnoxious individual who would jump on any bandwagon if it was to her benefit.

      A vote for grace poe would be insanity –
      ‘Doing the same thing and expecting a different result’

      She simply represents ‘business as usual’, as evidenced by pnoy aquino seeing her as his ‘political twin’

      She does not represent nor understand the poor, and in essence hasn’t a clue. Grace pie – A puppet or a muppet. Either way a disaster waiting to happen.

    23. P.Akialamiro on

      Philippine politics is a BIG joke with Pacquiao and Poe-Llamanzares! But this makes the Philippines ‘unique’. As they always say, “onli in da Pilipins”!

      Yes, only in the Philippines where you find candidates with mediocre and inapt qualifications win just because of their popularity by being exposed on the celloloid or other exposure in the media. By plain hubris, they claim to be qualified. These people are doing an “unforgivable disservice” to the Filipino people and to the coming generations. I’d like to see a Philippines free from scalawags, corrupt, insensitive and incompetent government officials.

      Between the two subjects of this column, I’d be glad to vote for Digong for President. I will have a good night sleep after that.

    24. And you may add the disgraced former president Arroyo, your former boss, who is again running from hospital arrest. as part of the inherent flaw of democracy. People would rather prefer an honest one than a corrupt one.

    25. Jose R, Bonifacio on


      You are one of the best columnists I’ve observed… Good talent!

      Anyway, question: Is Grace Poe the daughter of Susan Roses’ Sister who I was told went out with Ferdinand E. Marcos, and made her pregnant? It is possible that she is Marcos’ daughter? This is what Filipinos in America are talking about.

      No need to answer if you can get yourself in trouble, worst…. killed!

    26. sonny dela cruz on

      Now, to prove the disease of the ELECTORATE why can we expand your selection rather than Grace Poe & Manny Pacquioa. Let the forum select who is better to lead the country comes 2016. Lets make a vote on this forum. The people who has intention of running; 1. RICHARD J. GORDON 2. GIBO TEODORO 3. DUTERTE 4. PING LANCSON 5. GRACE POE 6. J. BINAY 7. MAR ROXAS 8. ALAN CAYETANO 9. SONNY TRILLANES 10. BONGBONG MARCOS 11. MIRIAM D. SANTIAGO 12.MANNY PANGILINAN 13. MANNY VILLAR. LETS SEE THE PEOPLE’S PREFERENCE, WHO AMONG THEM IS BETTER TO BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES.

      • None of the above. All of them have baggages that they have all yet to dispose of. They should come out clean and reveal who are and will be bankrolling their campaign expenses. Except Bonget, all of them do not have their own money which makes them beholden to various interest groups.

    27. Ang daming kuwento,at research na ginawa! Walang sulusyon na nakuha!hahaha! Isa lang po ang kulang sa atin batas!!!na dapat ipinatutupad upang ang lahat ay magkaroon ng takot! Upang lahat ay magkaroon ng disiplina,mayaman man o mahirap,edukado man o di nag-aral!kapag may takot ang bawat Filipino magiging maayos at maunlad!lahat ng bansa na maunlad lahat ay nagpapasakop sakanilang batas! Ang batas dito sa pinas ay bulok na bulok ang nagpapatupad ay mga duwag!
      Ang mga edukado dito ay mapagmagaling at mapagmabuti,kaya walang nararating,mga boy sisi!!magsalamin sana ang mga nagsisigaw na mga edukado!
      Tahol-ng tahol sa mga taong Ngayon hindi naman pinagmulan ng baho!

    28. Felimon A. Soria on

      My goodness all I can say is wow. Your piece really hit every nerve of the body. You forgot to mention that Pacquiao does not have to spend his hard earn money in boxing because he has the pork barrel and his huge salary in congress to dole out. I don’t know if it is true but I read in a newspaper that Pacquiao was able to finish the 3rd grade.
      Also something should be done about the fraudsters who have a hidden agenda and head of religious sect who manipulate their members.