Petty Bureaucrats in Business, Government and Civil Society

In general bureaucrats are decent both in private practice, government service and is civil society. On the whole they are helpful and amicable people to be with Chtis, Torsten, Allison, Roy and Esther people I worked for and under while I was in a multinational company were strict but fair and they had empathy for their employees. The same can be said for the present people working at the UP Science Society Program, College of Science, University of the Philippines. You find similar people like Francis, Armi and Des at the Manila Ocean Park and Mr/ Karl Galing and the other people at the World Bank. Unfortunately, I have experienced glaring exceptions to these examples. And you might have met them yourself or will meet them as you go about your business of living.

The Sloth and the Irresponsible

A petty bureaucrat whose laziness has caused the endless delays of people getting the necessary things they need and worse cause them to not get their salaries. Reimbursement is one thing, One can understand why there has to be a long tedious process but salary and compensation. This is unforgivable. Even with the red tape a diligent official or officer can make sure that salary and compensation be given on time. Unfortunately, when the number of sloths increase the delay in getting salaries and compensation increase. Institutions like the World Bank and other companies have a standard policy that states when they would release payment and gives a specific number of business/working days to process payment. Sadly, though this is not implemented or practiced by all. Freelancers and consultants have become victims to payment delays not in days or weeks but months and years. I know of a and experience this from transformative PR firm that this seems to be a standard practice. At present I am also experiencing this with a certain grant giving body. Again even with the red tape a diligent officer or official can make sure that salary and compensation be given on time otherwise the reputation of the or ganisation he or she works is diminished and ruined in the eyes of those working for them.

The Bean Counter

A petty bureaucrat who values the rules so much so that it affects your job.This anal obsessive who has a misplaced set of values and fails to look beyond the blinders of iis self righteousness that it affects the moral of work and usually discourages people from working for their business.

The Muckraker

This petty official like Shakespeare Iago is liar of the first degree who hears things and say a different thing in order to malign the person and in the process benefit himself or herself. Those unwary of their wiles will find themselves trapped in a web of deceit unable to get out. The muckraker will almost 100 percent betray the same institution he is working for if it benefits him.

The Tyrant

This petty officer due to his power within the organisation likes to abuse his power. This blackguard’s action include bulling, coercion and power tripping. From time to time he may ask you to do non-related tasks he can do himself. This Titan of the Minnows is a poor excuse for human being, most likely compensating for an inferiority complex or he could just be one sick mother,

The Genius

This a petty bureaucrat who likes to hear the sound of his voice and probably has a recording of it and listens to it from time to time. The problem with this one is that he thinks he is competent for the task, any task and this is usually a formula for disaster. And when the project fail guess who is going to be the fall guy?

Relatives are well Relative

The source of jokes and derogatory acronyms have been said about the sons and daughters of owners, but in general most are capable and responsible. However, there are some that are really bad examples of humanity and will most likely fall into the types that have been mentioned.

So how do you deal with such horrible and stress giving people: Petty Horrible Bosses that plague the lives they work with. And despite the law and the proverbial company handbook the will be there. So unfortunately, you have to be tactful, cunning, patient and decisive at thee same time. It also helps if you have other sources of income – but not a PONZI scheme please.

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A Reminder of Realpolitik in the Philippines: Church and State – From Governor Bustamante and the INC at EDSA

The ongoing serial rallies by the Iglesia Ni Cristo in Metro Manila and soon around the country has compounded an already tangled traffic problem and disrupted the lives of other citizens. Prompting a flood from a number of those affected – focusing more or less on the separation of State and Religion. However, I am not writing this post to join the debate. I am here to talk about how the present INC episode shows the Philippine Realpolitik- the politics and diplomacy of power in the Philippines – beyond ideals and propaganda – and you might not like to be reminded of it. If so stop reading this post or why is the INC still there despite the problems caused for days.

The Philippines: The Cross and the Crown: The Church and State

The Archbishop of Manila was in jail Governor-General Bustamante placed him their for offering asylum to the Treasurer of the Colony. The bells of the churches inside the walled city Intramuros tolled but instead of a call to prayer it was a call to action. Members of the religious order poured from their houses and began to head towards the Governor General’s Palace. They were net with little or no resistance. Among those who resisted them were the Bustamante and his son. Both were killed by a mob composed of members of the religious orders. The Archbishop was freed from the confines of his jail and celebrated a mass and the Te Deum was played. Governor Bustamante’s and his exited the Philippines in a coffin, the Archbishop became the acting Governor General and no one was ever convicted for the Assassination of Governor General Bustamante. The story is immortalised in a painting by Filipino Painter Felix Hidalgo.

Our Spanish Colonial history is studded with stories with the conflict between the Crown and the Cross. Interestingly enough the arrangement between the Pope and the Spanish Monarchs made them the head or representative of the Catholic Church in their country and colonies, this was called the Patronato Real. Thus the Governor General as the King’s representative was also the head of the church in the colony at that time. However, because of the distance between Spain, Mexico and the Philippines; the effective ruler was the one who was more or less the one who stayed longer in the country, the Archbishop. It was the Catholic Church that was true power in the Philippines. What is the first stone and stately building in a town or city and occupies the central place along the town plaza? The church.

Then there is that urban legend that arose from Martial Law Years, when President Ferdinand Marcos implemented Martial Law everything was padlocked, but Marcos was more tactful when dealing with the INC.Instead of force, diplomacy was used.


There is no separation of the state and religion in the Philippines and despite the distance of time between then and now. The Catholic Church’s power may have weakened but in certain aspects it still a force to reckon with and other religions have arisen.

Near the end of World War II, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin were having a conversation about the Pope and the Catholic Church. Churchill advised Stalin to treat the Pope with respect and Stalin looked at him and asked him “Why? How many divisions does the Pope have?”.

However, Stalin was wrong. Religious leaders might not have armies and divisions since Pope Julius II but they do have followers. And followers can do several things for its religion and its leaders: (i) They can lend support; (ii) They can be missionaries; (iii) They can be zealots and (iv) they can be voters.

And I believe this is the reason why political leaders and government have courted the favour of religious leaders for years. In the Philippines, the ability of a religion to influence its members and deliver the vote is the reason they are courted and treated with kid gloves. It is even said in one island home sprung religion plays an important tool in holding political power.

And It is possible then that present problem with the INC is a case of mismanagement and not having thoroughly thought a more effective implementation of the law by the Justice Secretary. I am not saying the ministerial function should not be followed but it begs the question could things have been better handled?

There is a story being said in print and in conversation that certain parties in government were using the issue with the INC to get some political concessions. I do not know if this is true or not. And it is not important and only adds to the confusion and conflict. But similar to the preceding paragraph it does begs the question could things have been better handled?

But lets leave the realm of the could have been. At present the government is showing mega-maximum constraint in dealing with the INC protest and rightly so. What should they do? Given the force before them? Most aggressive comments about the issue comes from: social media and media: from the relative safety of the Internet. I doubt any of those commenting would actually confront those rallying and rightly so – nobody wants to get mauled and killed.Unfortunately, The political power dynamics between Church and State in the Philippines make it so that politics and diplomacy is needed.

In terms of power there is no separation between Church and State in the Philippines . It might be in the constitution written elegantly but in practice it is not. Edsa I and Edsa II was partly organised and powered by he Philippine Catholic Church. The RH Bill was bitterly contested by the liberals and the religious conservatives. There is a cross or a picture of the Virgin Mary in nearly all government offices, The President and other candidates have attended special celebrations of the different religion, more so when election time is near.. Consider what is going on with the INC – if it were another group of protestors would they have been dispersed or stopped? Remember the people of EDSA 3, what happened to them? Dispersed and put to jail. But since this is a big organised religious group the government is very much distant. Secularisation of the Philippine is incomplete and in reality there is no separation between the Church and State.

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August 21: Gods, Monsters and Man

A bit of nostalgia and perhaps a lesson. On this day I remember coming back with friends from Laguna doing research for our high school class when the news broke out of assasination of Ninoy. I still remember it like yesterday and the class was an elective – Mythology: Gods, Monsters and Man. How apropo.

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