Competence Matters: The Peter Principle Strikes The Philippines Over and Over

“Going postal” just got upgraded to “Going Pinoy Policeman”. Tragedy brings out the best and worst in people. At best – it can be an opportunity for dissecting what went wrong, what can be done to do things better, and to create the necessary policy framework to create the conditions that prevent a repeat of future performance failures – to learn from it and grow.

On the flipside of it, is to take personal offense when our shortcomings as a nation (as opposed to our individual capabilities) are called out. It would be different if it were an imagined failure. The recent deaths in the Mendoza hostage-taking however were too real. People died unnecessarily – for all the world to see.

Another is to retreat into an imagined world when Filipinos supposedly had a glorious past to salvage the Filipino’s “tattered pride”. Peeps Bali has rice terraces too – and it is more well maintained, it’s not unique to the Philippines – get over it. Plus of course the typical urbanites contempt for indigenous people as uncouth and ignorant taga-bukid, taga-bundok, taga-probinsya. But when pushed to the wall about their heritage – sa taga bundok pa rin ang balik. The phoniness of it never ceases to amaze me.

Wasn’t it just yesterday when Filipinos were bashing Carolla, Chip Tsao, Alec Baldwin – and anyone who had the unfortunate circumstance of being too candid in front of an onion-skinned piece of work that only wants to dish but can’t take being on the receiving end.

And there are those who say “we have to stand tall and stand proud”. Stand tall about what? Stand proud about what exactly? That kind of attitude smacks of an ethnocentric arrogance and ignorance that is frankly very disturbing. Hindi lang anak ni batman, anak pa ni Hitler at Mussolini.

Obviously it was wrong for Mendoza to take hostages.

However, think about it further – here’s a man – fired for extortion – taking hostages to get his job back. Is that the reasoning of a sane man? Definitely, no. That alone would have already alerted people about an unstable man whose life could have been saved – as well as those of others.

And yet, the “experts” took their time, the President was nowhere to be found, and Philippine media was providing the hostage taker with a live feed. The lame answer was that media didn’t know there was a TV set in the bus. Really, they don’t know that tourist buses have TVs and DVD players? Have these TV executives ridden Philtranco? or Ceres Buses? or Yellow Bus – you know those airconditioned buses with TV which have been running on Philippine roads before the year 2000. Always-Bull-Syet-Completely-BUlok-in-the-Noggin alibis are just so pathetic but – there are people who do fall for that crap – and they think they are winning pa talaga.

In the recent CNN article “Analysts: Philippine leadership wilts under crisis spotlight” – eye caught the observation made by a commentor named NorthViking who said

“I knew the outcome of this would be a shootout! How i knew?

1. i have been an officer in the norwegian army in the special forces and saw all the huge mistake.

2 I lived over 4 years in Philippines before and learned how the police force works there, a corrupt bunch to say the least. I had a friend who was police and he told me many likes to be a police officer because they can be a power and many can be bought.

Now back to this incident. It seems to me that all that could go wrong went wrong, and mark my word: i will bet huge sum that some of the hostages were shot (by accident) by the police.

Im sorry to write all this, i do love the country (Philippines), but its time for them to straighten themselves up and get a grip on the police forces there, and get them better training as well.

I feel sorry for the victims of this and I hope that the filippinos will get themselves together to make it an attractive country to visit.”

And by the way, CNN’s Analyst Chamorro saying “Watching the incompetence unfold at home underlines why low-skilled laborers are wooed away to Hong Kong to work as domestic helpers, and why high-skilled engineers are lured to Dubai or skilled nurses flock to jobs in the United States” is old hat on AP. 8)

That was a milder way of saying “Get your shit together Philippines”.

Zeroing in on the Pinoy Aversion to Competence

“Sincerity, Honesty, Integrity, Transparency” will not save Aquino’s ass this time around, specially when it’s clear he doesn’t even have those qualities. Hear that Aquino supporters – honesty is not enough, COMPETENCE MATTERS.

This time around, Philippine society, our society – our media, our police, our government, our president, our police, our students and police who had their pictures taken – are under scrutiny more than ever. You can’t hide from it, you can’t run from it – the Net is watching you. After all Aquino issued a check called “hope”, did he expect that people will be happy to find out that When it was time to cash the check of Aquino’s hope – there were no sufficient funds. Or in the case of HLI, all you got was a piece of paper to wipe your ass with.

Competence matters. We need competent legislators, executives, officials that can come up with the good stuff – not the current rogue and clown gallery whose members insist they be called “honorable”. Oh my golly, the irony of it all. Honesty is not enough. Kakilala is not enough. Dahil winnable is not enough. What use is honest, kakilala, and winnable – gutom ka naman, and worse baka patay ka pa – not out of commission – but due to omission.

A Question of Leadership

In a previous exchange of tweets, one party said that P.Noy shouldn’t be dragged into the thing because: it was “inherited” from GMA, it was the tactical commanders call, there was no breaching equipment, etcetera. What a cop-out. It’s all about competent leadership. If there’s no breaching equipment – request from HK, Taiwan, the PSG, the Philippine Marines, get tactical advise from the US Navy Seals in the AOR. Second there were non-Filipinos involved and the proverbial “hot lines” should have been burning between the senior leadership to keep the governments of foreign nationals apprised.

Instead we get a lame bakla-esque response – an alibi that can only be made by two-bit TV show producers – in a “closed door” meeting. A proactive leader would have made the call to the government of the hostaged parties – and apprise them that something is happening and you are still getting details about it. Remember George Bush and his pet goat – and Katrina. Well, we have our version of Dubya who thinks he is like Barack Obama. It gets even better – his got supporters who think Pinoys “should stand tall and stand proud”.

Wanna bet on the Ningas Cogon Culture’s capacity for “Change”?

It’s high time this nominally Catholic country – that to everything there is a season, a time to weep, to heal, to mourn, to cast away, to keep silence, and to speak.

But today isn’t definitely a time to stand tall and proud – today is a day to ask ourselves – what can we do better next time around. Better yet, what can be done so as to prevent a repeat. I wouldn’t bet on it – not with ningas-cogon, pakikisama, mañaña habit, and bahala na around. 😆

It’s not even a hundred days into the Aquino administration – it’s going to be a long six years.

The headlines read that flags were at half-mast and a day of mourning was declared. They should keep that flag at half-mast for the next six years – while the Philippines remains hostage to a mad flippant president and his equally flippant supporters.

Pinoys should take heed from Michelangelo – “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”



  1. YES! Its time for that stupid smile on his stupid face to disappear… They’re going to be the death of us and those LOSERS who are taking picture in front of the crime scene[Camwhores] should stop it or we’ll be the laughing stock of the world… Which I hope those losers realizes because it is not the time to “stand tall and stand proud”. cuz this is one giant disgrace to our country…

  2. Good read BongV.

    Again the blaming of the inheritance of power. I sure a lot of people in their own simple way has inherited a job where the previous employee was riddled with shortcomings. And if we messed up on a project, could we tell our boss to blame the previous employee?

    Sometimes, we make do with what we have and impress our boss that we succeeded despite the odds and the inherited faults. And if we fail, we man up and say I made a mistake and I’ll take the responsibility. That’s how I’ve lived my life. Why can’t a Political Leader do the same?

  3. Chamorro in that CNN article also dropped another bomb with this:

    “For example, in Thailand there is successful mail delivery in three separate languages. Now, there is certainly corruption in Thailand, but the post office works. That is not true in the Philippines.”

    The “kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” slogan is again holed.

  4. Kid Dynamo · ·

    now the more i believe…


  5. A good leader knows to delegate matters but he has to take responsibility of the outcome. PNoy said his given order was clear that is to protect the hostages. Obviously, his order was not followed so he should also shoulder the consequences instead of washing his hands out of the mess.

    What is left to be done is where to begin but if one does not know where he is going, he will end up nowhere.

  6. Kid Dynamo · ·





  7. Competence is indeed the key. The hostage crisis that turned into bloodbath is something that could have been avoided or at the very least could have been treated better. The police lacked training, the media didn’t care at all about the effect of their coverage and the President couldn’t be found during the drama.

    All we could do is shake our heads in disbelief. 

    I wouldn’t expect this issue to die down in a few months’ time. But what will the long term effect be? We clearly see what incompetence does for our country – it made us infamous to the rest of the world and brands the whole nation as inept people who couldn’t care less to what happens to foreigners who visit the country.

    I suppose, all I want for this issue is responsibility – but then, with this Administration and the mongrels that surround it, a little accountability is WAY TOO MUCH TO ASK! 

  8. The sent the wrong police. The Special Action Force was ready to go, but someone politicked and told them, “let the peanuts boys do it.” Ayan, peanuts results.

  9. His supporters readily blame GMA on Harvey Keh’s Facebook page and other Pro-Yellow sites. They just need to prove it… which won’t happen in a million years.

    BTW, ease off the caps lock, my friend. 😉

  10. Then he might as well blame his mother for not fixing the police after Marcos. Democracy was ‘born again’ with his mother’s administration. But if NoyNoy inherited these problems from Gloria who inherited it from Erap who inherited it from Ramos who inherited it from Cory, then Cory’s administration holds a lot more blame than is being disclosed.

    The HK people are just laughing at NoyNoy’s blame game. Try again NoyNoy. Try again!

  11. criticalcontrarian · ·

    mel said: PNoy said his given order was clear that is to protect the hostages. Obviously, his order was not followed so he should also shoulder the consequences instead of washing his hands out of the mess.

    Don’t you know the P in P.Noy has been changed from President to Pontious, since the Pagasa event. 😉

  12. Netornit · ·

    Look at all the comments against the Philippines.

  13. Yet… Comparing to previous hostage situations which happened in Gloria’s regime, she was there and she responded quickly as possible… which ended with no deaths… Yet Noynoy, who is the Commander in Chief, who has the power to mobilize his army and handle this situation quickly as possible wasn’t there! You were nowhere!

    The Governor of Hong Kong is pissed of, the Hong Kong Nationals & the Chinese citizens are now more annoyed than ever. Wipe that stupid smirk on your face and face the truth. You can’t blame this one on Gloria… Its all you written in your face.

    The whole world will continue to laugh at your stupidity! YEAH!

  14. Adolfo Mortera · ·

    Yes, it’s all about Competence. A president needs to exercise leadership of the highest form and demand all hands on deck in crisis situations. This president has ZERO SENSE OF URGENCY because, in the first place, his priorities are misplaced: wang-wang, truth commission that excludes his mother’s administration, and image-building as manifested in his bloated communications group whose only concern is to ensure he gets the sound bytes through his favorite tv station. I can’t trust a president whose only passport to the presidency is his pedigree. He claims he has integrity? Integrity means DOING WHAT ONE SAYS HE WILL DO. Since he took office, he has committed a number of flip-flops on the promises he made. We don’t need a trainee president. If I have the bandwidth, I will ship him out to Hongkong – TOMORROW!


  16. Wow, another incompetent response as well as incompetent use of caps.

    Not really sure how you were raised, but on the contrary, it takes a real man (or woman) to admit his/her own mistakes. Yellow is the color of cowardice. Your outward show of belligerence hides a deeper weakness not dissimilar to the one demonstrated by no other than the hostage-taker himself.

    Until the Philippines learns to fend for itself and not heavily rely on foreign employment to keep its economy afloat and also to put food on our OFWs’ families’ tables, we have no choice but to learn how to listen to their concerns just like civilized people.

    You may go back now to wherever ghetto you came from.

  17. Hyden Toro · ·

    It is not only a tragedy that Hostages were killed; it is also a tragedy that when the : Hope- that Noynoy Aquino had promised to voters; has turned into an empty rhetoric. with his Public Relation machine, trying to piece together his tattered reputation in the international community. The World had watched during the Hostage incident. They found the President of the Philippines; nowhere in sight; nowhere to be contacted. Noynoy Aquino just disappeared into the thin air. Blown into some sort of Neverland. It is not only incompetence: it was cowardice; irresponsible leadership; and negligence of duty. Soldiers who run away from battle, are summurilly shot by their officers, for cowardice. This is the case whereby the General who is supposed to lead the battle; is the first who runs away and disappears from the battle… 😛

  18. Hyden Toro · ·

    Peoples’ lives are at stake. A Nut Case Police Officer had taken hostages. Then, as a President: you delegate to people to handle the situation? This President is used to let others do the job. HE IS NOT A TAKE CHARGE PERSON. Not even an iota of leadership, I can find in his miserable bones. The Hostage incident proved my point… 😥

  19. See this is what happens when people pick their kabayani friends as a leader. He does all the friendly formality thing, but when crisis comes and the good friends lacks the quality to be a leader, it really shows.

    It seems many try defend Noy or make him passe to this whole ordeal but to be honest he’s as much at fault considering his the role and his proximity to the hostage situation. I think the masses forgot besides president, he’s suppose to be the commander in chief of the entire armed forces and can sling a heft of influence regarding how they should move. When it comes time for Noynoy to take a side, he’d rather stay where he is and consider himself good that way.

  20. Nice of you to truly embody what the Anti-Pinoy is all about. Callous and blatant disrespect and disregard for people of other countries. Exactly what drags our country down. All the cancers in Philippines society have been represented by this kind of attitude. And it collected its due last August 23.

  21. palebluedot_ · ·

    factsheet!!! where did you get the notion that women have no self-esteem. do you have any idea what the word “self-esteem” means? by how this exchange of words are going in this blogsite, it seems like i, a woman, have a more solid sense of self-worth than you. you are showing how barbaric, crude, lacking in civilized influences, bayani2010. have some INSIGHT first before writing how you feel, pwede ba?

  22. Because then maybe they would have to show their skeletons in their closets. But honestly taking responsibility means taking the blame, knowing the shortcomings and doing what is right so it doesn’t happen again. I think that is what also contributes to the anger of the Chinese which they KNOW what went wrong, but the Philippine government/authorities can’t admit where yet continue apologizing loosely and not working on improving the things that led to such a sorry as state of an incident.

    I guess Pinoys only know the word sorry but don’t know where its true value lies besides sincerity, and building a relationship. Akala nila basta patawad na, bes prends muli at parang walang nangyari.

  23. I love reading comments like Bayani2010’s, these show us exactly how far we have to go when it comes to, well, thinking.

  24. And CGMA is laughing all the way to the bank. I pity the fool PNoy… but I pity the more foolish Aquinolaters. Part of me thinks that if suicide were the “in” thing, there would be less of these… things to worry about.

  25. Nakcha! It’s lesser minds like that monkey that make me ashamed to be Filipino. If people’s minds were eras, this fvck is from the Dark Ages, while I’m at least Renaissance, maybe as high as Present-Day. And the worse part is that there are more Dark Ages-era Flips than there are Renaissance/Enlightenment/Present-Day Filipinos! Da, I MUST speak the bitter truth: Great minds are SORELY LACKING HERE. As a result, terrible, terrible things happen…

  26. Nes Fondevilla · ·

    ” I can’t trust a president whose only passport to the presidency is his pedigree.”

    ~ What pedigree? He doesn’t even have this! Haha. But if by the word “pedigree” you mean the dog food brand, then I agree. He’s nothing but a mongrel or a mutt – no offense to dogs and dog-lovers everywhere!

    “If I have the bandwidth, I will ship him out to Hongkong – TOMORROW!”

    ~ Can we do this today, instead?! Haha! My sister is saying bye-bye to her dreams of going to HK Disneyland and meeting Mickey Mouse. Haha! Let that (bleep) President be accountable.

    The way I understand from the news, the HK govt (and people) aren’t really that mad with what happened (as in the hostage-taking) but with how the Philippine government reacted toward the incident.

    Hayy.. again, we just shake our heads in disbelief!

  27. Nes Fondevilla · ·

    “This is the case whereby the General who is supposed to lead the battle; is the first who runs away and disappears from the battle…”

    ~ In the first place, our “General” is a FAKE! All of us know that he is N/A = Not Accessible (nowhere to be found); Not Accountable (don’t blame ME, GMA did it!) ; Not Adequate (simply smiling – or smirking? while giving a presscon that’s WAY too late!)

    ~ As for me, what happened and how he reacted is what I really expected from him. Haha! 

    ~ In the immortal words of “ulong pare” (where is he/she, btw? i need sarcastic comic relief! haha) …. DANG!

  28. Nes Fondevilla · ·

    Korek! Peanuts results from the peanuts boys!

    Hmmm.. Here’s a good one. They don’t have balls, they only have peanuts! Hahaha!

    ~Okay, so I’m just making myself laugh just so my forehead won’t have lines! :))

  29. famous wolf · ·

    Sun Tzu states that if the general does not state his orders clear and loses the battle, then it is the fault of the general.

    Guess who should take the blame?

  30. You know, I wonder if the Peter Principle happened with Venus Raj at the Miss U thing.

  31. The flags at half-mast reminds me of a common conversation in US Navy Boot Camp:

    Company Commander: Is your dick dead?
    Recruit: No, Sir.
    Company Commander: Why is your zipper flying at half-mast

    Note: a Company Commander is what in the Army is called a Drill Instructor.

  32. ulong pare · ·

    … daaaang…. testing wan tu tri por…. o sige hanggang payb… 😳

  33. kid dynamo · ·

    …sorry about the caps….its just a darn bad week for us…i’m beginning to pity PNoy as it seems he does not know what he’s getting into….he blamed CGMA alright and CGMA instead of taking the bait issued a letter of condolence with emphasis of the “good relation between China and Philippines DURING HER TERM”…

    CGMA suddenly looked more statesmanlike than PNoy as the Hongkong media are irked by the lack of iniatiative of the PNoy admin to take responsibility and keep pointing others for their obvious mistakes….

    CGMA checkmates PNoy on this one i guess….

  34. We gave his mom Cory 4 years.

    We gave GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO 6 years.

    I don’t even know if Noynoy can hang on for 3 years.

  35. Sucker bet, he’ll be gone by Christmas.

  36. geeky Mary · ·

    BongV, ang bongga talaga ng mga articles mo. Tangent:
    1.Some folks got defensive with the HK/Chinese nationals’ acidic remarks over our sad excuse for a culture to the point they start lashing out to the Pinoys who would rather be accurate than deluded. 
    2. Have you seen PNOY’s midnight presscon? He was acting so macho. Hours later, he was giving contradicting palusots. Hay, this guy doesn’t know what he’s doing. Now we have Coloma begging the public to be “fair” with their criticisms. 

    “Malayo pa ang  umagaaaa ~ di matanaw ang pag-asaaaa”  

  37. Tessie Mora · ·

    Actually, all this points to the fact that the ones in Malacanang simply have no idea what they are doing or why they are there in the first place. The palace should be the expert in protocol but here was a diplomatic faux pas that was should set Carandang thinking “this is a major mistake, I should resign.” When we are this laughable, can we even beg for respect?

  38. mihael keele · ·

    Well, Pontius PeNoy has a catchy ring to it. 😉

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