PH vs US: It’s Not a Competition

A head-to-head match-up between the worst of the worst from the Philippines and the United States.

by Emil Hofileña, art by Jill Arteche
In his first two weeks in office, 45th President of the United States Donald Trump has remained consistent in his campaign promises to put “America first” — reaching a high point on January 27 with his Executive Order to impose a temporary travel ban on refugees and immigrants entering the U.S. The ban ignited more protests on American soil, global outrage, and a curious sense of déjà vu from Filipinos.

As the Trump administration continues to blaze a forest fire through Western history, we in the Philippines have started noticing how the current American narrative seems to be mirroring our own wannabe-totalitarian country. But instead of offering advice from one suffering nation to another, we would rather indulge in a bit of self-loathing and schadenfreude by comparing the United States’ and the Philippines’ political situations, and deciding who has it worse.

The Press Secretary Division

PHILIPPINES: Martin Andanar
— Andanar has remained impressively consistent with his defense of President Rodrigo Duterte by painting the former Davao mayor as a poet whose rambling, profanity-laden speeches are actually code for subliminal nationalism. He’s so fiercely loyal to the president that Andanar will call you out even for publishing Duterte’s statements verbatim. From selective freedom of expression to using the “Bisaya humor” card, Andanar’s a fighter.

— While he obviously hasn’t had as much time as Andanar to showcase his skills at lying and deception, the Spicemaster began his misinformation campaign right out the gate, claiming that Trump’s inauguration crowd was far larger than Obama’s in 2013 despite blatant photo evidence. In two short weeks, Spicer has gone as far as falsely blaming Iran for attacking a U.S. Navy vessel. He may be a rookie in this field, but he’s come to wage war.

WHO HAS IT WORSE: Philippines
— Spicer may potentially cause more damage in the long run (and he may have the catchier wrestler name), but Andanar has proven just how far he’s willing to bend and break logic to make Duterte sound good. If the Philippines even survives the inevitable nuclear winter that’s coming, you can rest assured that Andanar will be spearheading the Duterte apologist movement, like a true lover nursing a bitter wound.

The Cheerleader Division

PHILIPPINES: Mocha Uson and Sass Sasot
— 34-year-old Facebook personality Mocha Uson has single-handedly bred an army of trolls who have proven to be surprisingly effective at clogging servers and taking down Twitter accounts. The mysterious Sass Sasot, on the other hand, takes long-distance potshots at the anti-Duterte party all the way from the Netherlands. She doesn’t have Mocha’s following but her foreign education brainwashes followers into thinking her opinions are informed.

UNITED STATES: Kellyanne Conway and Tomi Lahren
— 50-year-old counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway’s claim to fame is, of course, coining the term “alternative facts.” Arguably the most dangerous thing she’s done, though, is reinforce and stand by Trump’s sexism despite her being a potentially positive female influence on the U.S. president. Young Tomi Lahren, on the other hand, is essential to the Trump brainwashing initiative by being young, attractive, loud, and tech-savvy.

WHO HAS IT WORSE: Philippines
— Kellyanne and Tomi’s young-and-old combo arguably makes for a better team, and Sass Sasot doesn’t really make a large enough dent, but Mocha Uson on her own wins this match-up. Her rise to fame is a twisted Cinderella story, and her faithful followers guarantee protection on all sides. Plus, after getting a seat of power in the MTRCB, Mocha moves one step closer to total media censorship. (Which is why we at Rogue would like to have fun while it lasts.)

The Right Hand Man Division

PHILIPPINES: Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa
— Who are we kidding? President Duterte doesn’t even consider Leni Robredo a vice president. What he does have, however, is a director general of the Philippine National Police who is complicit in the deaths of over seven thousand alleged drug suspects. Bato’s attempts to come off as humane — from attending a Bryan Adams concert, to having a mascot of himself, to dressing up as Santa Claus — make for a really weird episode of Black Mirror.

— Mike Pence has stayed out of the limelight since his inauguration, letting old Donald take the blame, while he works on moving closer to his dreams of pushing for extreme anti-abortion bills, defunding Planned Parenthood, and electrocuting gay people until they’re straight. He does this all in the name of Christianity, of course, making 2017 America the most frightening reenactment yet of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.

WHO HAS IT WORSE: United States
— The deaths of seven thousand Filipinos are a horrifying tragedy that should never be downplayed, but Bato’s resignation attempts and his tearful breakdowns at hearings prove that the man is at least subject to fatigue and human emotion. The unapologetic Pence, however, is perhaps the biggest reason why the anti-Trump party can’t just impeach their current president. Pence looms like a twelfth-century crusader fresh off shore leave.


The Things-the-Government-Doesn’t-Like Division

PHILIPPINES: Porn, makeup, and poor people
— The Philippine government has been exceedingly faithful to the Bible since Duterte stepped into office, rigorously following the commandments “Thou shalt not powder thy nose,” “Thou shalt not touch thyself,” and “Thou shalt not earn below minimum wage.”

UNITED STATES: Muslims, people of color, and poor people
— Trump has spent much of his first two weeks preventing immigration and refugee movement, preparing the border wall, and making Americans pay for the wall — effectively following the other Bible passage that reads “Thou shalt be white and wealthy.”

WHO HAS IT WORSE: United States
— White Americans are like that bully who acts like they own the schoolyard, except this bully is the new kid and never originally owned the schoolyard to begin with. The best reason they have for demanding to stay on the swings is that they have pubic hair or something.


The Old School Villain Division

PHILIPPINES: The Marcos family
— After three thousand Martial Law killings, massive economic failure under Ferdinand Marcos, and two million protesters in the streets during the 1986 EDSA Revolution, you would think that Philippine history would have tossed the Marcos line into a jail cell and thrown away the key. But Ferdinand’s body has now been deemed a hero, Imelda still lives, and Bongbong keeps complaining. We have a long way to go.

— After six million Jews died as a result of the Holocaust during World War II, and after countless villainous portrayals in the media and pop culture, you would think that everyone would have gotten the message by now that shaved heads and swastikas aren’t something to aspire to. But members of the alt-right movement are pushing for black genocide, and acting like getting punched in the face on live TV is worse than mass murder. Long way to go.

WHO HAS IT WORSE: United States
— We would prefer not to breathe the same air as either party, but Neo-Nazis are far more terrifying because they subscribe to an ideology. Their beliefs are institutionalized and downright inhumane, whereas the Marcoses were human — albeit really corrupt folks who were given a lot of shoes and way too much free time, but human. Kind of.


The Do-You-Hear-the-People-Sing Division

PHILIPPINES: Anti-Marcos protests and various Twitter wars
— The day Ferdinand Marcos was snuck into Libingan ng mga Bayani, protesters young and old took the streets for a series of small but coordinated protests against the Marcos family. Apart from that, we like to berate each other over social media once in a while.

UNITED STATES: Women’s March, travel ban protests, and other planned marches
— The 2017 Women’s March, a response to Trump’s inauguration, became the largest one-day protest in U.S. history. Momentum has not dropped; large-scale protests were held against the travel ban, while scientists are organizing a Scientists’ March on Washington.

WHO HAS IT WORSE: Philippines
— But hey, look at how many retweets I got, right?

The Hypocrite Division

PHILIPPINES: Manny Pacquiao and other fundamentalist Christians
— After Jesus Christ himself revolutionized the teachings of Moses by calling for universal, unconditional love, Manny Pacquiao and other Filipino Christians have proudly carried on this tradition by using Jesus’ crucifixion as justification for the death penalty. Amen!

UNITED STATES: The KKK and other extremist Christians
— After Jesus Christ himself revolutionized the teachings of Moses by calling for universal, unconditional love, the KKK and other white Christians have proudly carried on this tradition by seeing Trump’s election as an avenue back to their lynching, crusading ways. Hallelujah!

— Jesus Christ.




Philippines: 4
United States: 4
Humanity: 0