The More Laws We Create, The More Laws We Can Break


CaptureI have to wonder if Filipinos create BS laws for the simple thrill of breaking them. Otherwise, what is the point? Or, do the people who create the laws care nothing if it actually gets implemented or enforced?

This is my recent trip to the LTO for a very simple task. That is where I will start.

I have a small motorcycle to get around. Its so much easier in the city at times to get around with a motorcycles than a car, plus parking can be such a pain. Well, someone (basically a thieving pinoy) broke into the compartment of the motorcycles and stole some things. (I did not bother to call the police since I try to stay away from them given their awful reputation). One of those things, which is completely useless to the thieving pinoy was my registration renewal and certificate of registration. Of course, the originals were in the house, but after returning from the USA, they were lost, misplaced, or I’m simply just cursed in this awful country.

So, that puts me at the mercy of the LTO. I was sick to my stomach just thinking about having to go there so I avoided it until I saw more and more police on the streets. Finally, I knew I needed to get it done. In the USA, I simply go to the DMV and say I lost my registration, they verify the info, check my ID, simply print the papers I need, and I’d pay the fee. Basically, it is a 1 step process. Yet, in the Philippines it is a 5-6 step process. This includes.

  1. Go to LTO to figure out what you need to do.
  2. Type out an affidavit stating the registration is lost.
  3. Get that affidavit notarized.
  4. Go to another LTO office and have the vehicle inspected. (this was actually free)
  5. Go to the police station to get the police blotter. 50 Pesos
  6. Back to LTO, wait for 2-3 hours and get the simple printout. (250 pesos)

Funny part is I tried to play dumb American. I said, I don’t understand the need for all these steps. I said, “In the USA, you would just need to verify me, and then hit the print button.” The LTO officer said to me, “Well, dis is de peelippines”. I kept things as nice as I could so I said, “So you are aware another country has a faster method that could easily be implemented here? It would help everyone, including your department. Sorry if it sounds insulting, but in the USA we don’t like to waste time and we try to cut out as much nonsense as possible.” I got kind of a blank stare, then she said, “welcome to de peelippines. We get audit an must hap our paperworks.”

So they know a faster way exists and would benefit everyone.Fixers HOwever, they refuse to do it because “Dis is dhe pi-lippines”. What kind of excuse is that? So, I came to the conclusion Filipino culture does not like things easy and straight to the point. They actually like to generate as much BS paperwork and create as many hurdles as possible. A better, faster, or simply more efficient way will never be tested or implemented simply because, “Well, dis is de peelippines. Not how we do tings.”

Well, since I dreaded sitting and waiting or simply going through the process I thought it would be so easy to just hire a fixer. Just hire a guy for 300 Pesos + expenses to take care of it all for me. However, I heard they are cracking down on fixers and there are signs everywhere not to use them. I mean, they have a sign printing in front of these buildings stating the penalties and that its against the law to use them

I decided against using a fixer since, it’s illegal of course. So, I was forced to embark on my scavenger hunt of simply getting a copy of my registration. Well, after getting all these things done over the total time frame of 6 hours, I then had to go and wait at the LTO with my completed tasks. I sat patiently for 2 hours in a very hot, overcrowded room. I kept getting up to check if they passed my name over or called me without me noticing. Yet, they just kept saying, “Not yet sir”.

Fixers OutsideSo I was sitting near the cashier and there was a guy next to me. He had a backpack and kept going back and forth to the cashier. After about 5 times I then noticed he had a list with him and kept crossing off different pieces of info. Then it dawned on me, the guy was a fixer. He was operating with the cashier in the open despite the law, the rules, or the simple signs everywhere. Then another guy was going back and forth dealing with the cashier.

Then I realized there are fixers running all over the place. I was not even paying attention until I noticed them. Since filipinos copy each other whether it be sari-sari store, cell phone stall, food stall, etc, they were not hard to spot. Basically, they text and chat on the phone nonstop, they are going to various windows, and they have a small backpack or satchel. Plus the fact they are holding about 10 of the LTO #’s in their hand without trying to hide it whatsoever. So, thinking of potential PFB article, I went into covert, picture taking mode.


So, here are a couple of the “No Fixers Sign”:No to Fixer sign

Then, the most funny of the pics is the fixer dealing directly with the LTO guy. This guy was handing paperwork to the “officer of the day”. He was giving the officer paperwork where the officer, who would not get up for anyone else, would take the paperwork directly to the LTO offices inside. Of course, the “NO TO FIXERS” sign is right next to him.

More FixersSo, what is the point of having laws in this place? Of course Filipinos never follow the laws or rules. If they were actually serious about this law, they could just sit in the LTO office for a couple of hours, find who deals with fixers, and then fire them. Very simple right?

Do they just invent laws so Filipinos can have fun and feel the thrill of breaking them? A friend told me the fixers are giving kickbacks to the various employees at the windows, like the cashier. He said the cashier can get like 20 pesos per transaction to move the documents to the top or simply to ignore dealing with a fixer. So, the 2 things Filipinos like most: breaking rules & getting a bribe.

Published in Corruption


  1. Profile gravatar of Angel

    Nice article, Johnny. Yup, it’s all about the money. And this is actually typical of the many other government offices in the good ol’ PH.

    1. Profile gravatar of Mufazzza

      Yup! A very good story, and so explanatory indeed of why it is Not only “The bad Government” as any pinoy would have you belive!

      Of many, many good stories here I think this is one of the best, because it is so simple and to the point of where the problem Actually lies!

      Sadly the pinoy would give you only anger and “blank stare” if you brought it up.. And so, to them, their system is so perfect, why should they change anything….

      Many expats come, many go.. Not that anybody cares why they go, of course…..

    2. Profile gravatar of Johnny
      Johnny Post author

      Thank you both.
      My pictures loaded up a little out of the order I intended. Also, I loaded a picture of a fixer dealing directly with the “officer of the day”. Its just crazy. Why even make the rule if no one is going to enforce it or obey it? They might as well say, “Fixers are OK”.
      Some one said a good point before. He said, “its not the system that is broken, but the people who intentionally break the system” or somthing like that. Basically, we could implement the greatest system, but it would not work in the Philippines as Filipino culture does not want a working system. They want something they can exploit for personal gain or for the simple thrill of breaking the rules.
      If you look at the USA vs Philippines. The USA has lesser people since wages are higher so they have to make things more efficient with lesser people while the Philippines has as many people as needed since labor is so cheap, to the point they have people sitting around with nothing to do. However, instead of focusing on getting things done, they focus on gumming up the system in every gov’t department.

      1. Profile gravatar of Mufazzza

        But you ask why they make up rules, if they know in advance they are going to break them.

        Maybe it’s the “Face-factor”? They Do want to be regarded as a ” normal”, civilized culture, even if they really are not.

        So, to be regarded as such you need a few “items”…. Like courts, police, parliament, laws!

        Then you can pretend to be a civilized democracy (even if you are neither). So the laws are not made up to be held, or upheld.

        The laws are made to play the ” facegame”, pretending to be what you are not.

        1. Profile gravatar of Johnny
          Johnny Post author

          Actually I think you are right. That is the goal to have a nice face. Making the facade is 90% of the goal. I guess that’s why everyone in the Philippines is such a good Catholic, but scratch the surface and nothing but corruption, lies, cheating, scamming comes oozing out.
          Just like when the Pope was here. They put all the homeless, begging street kids in jail cells to hide from the Pope. I guess the Pope won’t think badly of the Philippines if he doesn’t see Megan street kids everywhere.

  2. Profile gravatar of BLX2

    A simple hot line for LTO and BI, as well as consistent laws and policies could easily “fix” the problems of corruption and “fixers”. I have been lied to, jerked around, and screwed over by both. I have had a problem with LTO that two different lawyers have told me LTO is NOT following the law. But neither can help me to get LTO to do things the right way. And I actually can not find anything published on what the laws and policies are in concern with the situation. When people are faced with what seems to be non legal actions by a government agency there should be a contact to verify if the agency is following the law or is actually breaking it. If they are breaking it there should be a complaint process that will both allow you to complete the transaction legally and investigate the employee(s) that are not following proper procedure or the law. Yes, when I have gone to the LTO the fixers are running up to you trying to get your business right in front of the world. The truth is you can write a note that will allow someone else to complete a transaction for you, and if you don’t have or don’t want to spend the time at LTO you can have someone else do it for you. So why the need for a fixer? I have completed both license and registration processes at LTO with no more, and even sometimes less time and hassle than at the DMV. BUT, at the DMV if they are wrong you can get the issue escalated to a supervisor, commissioner, or a state hotline to really “fix” legally an issue. Employees of agencies can not get away with making up laws and procedures to harass or extort from the public, they would get fired and prosecuted very quickly if they dared. Not here in the land of built in corruption.

  3. Profile gravatar of Idiotocracy

    Read the essay “Bootleggers and Baptists” if you want to understand the dynamics of government procedures and what you think are idiotic laws.

    The other thing I have come to understand about Philippines bureaucracy is that much of it is needed because there is no rule of law, no guarantee of quick justice or punishment, therefore little incentive to be honest. The mindless procedures might be their way of trying to keep the theft down or institutionalize it so they make a tidy profit in the process.

    The later is probably true.

    1. Profile gravatar of Johnny
      Johnny Post author

      Yep, I remember discussing the 2/10 always being honest or dishonest no matter what while the other 60% will just go with the flow or outline the culture. There is more incentive to cheat, scam, skim, or straight out lie since there is zero consequence. To me, it seems to have created a nation of sociopaths.
      I always say to truly eliminate the corruption, you will have to make examples of people in this country. You will have to catch them cheating, then arrest them in front of all their coworkers and march them in handcuffs the longest way possible through the entire office so everyone can see. For some reason, as much as Filipinos seem to cheat and steal, they don’t like it when a spotlight is shown on them for their corruption. Embarrassment seems to be their only weakness. Of course, it seems when they are caught red-handed, the tears start flowing.

      I’m not sure what the LTO laws are, especially after what BLX typed. However, using fixers is definitely against the law. So, if a citizen is using a fixer and that is illegal, then it must be illegal for the gov’t workers to deal with known fixers

      1. Profile gravatar of Sarah

        Correction Johnny, as soon as the spotlight is shown on them for corruption, the neck braces and wheel chairs come out, they need emergency surgery abroad for a disease that no doctors in the Philippines can operate. Suddenly they can’t walk when only last week they were seen attending parties and dancing!!!! Shoot Al dead! (Sorry Al). 🙂

      2. Profile gravatar of Johnny
        Johnny Post author

        Oh yeah, that is every politicians go-to move. Funny thing is they seem to be doing very well the second before they get arrested and the second they are released on bail.
        I was talking more about the average gov’t worker who can’t really pull all that BS. For instance, if the governing body truly cared about their LTO workers openly accepting kickbacks and working with fixers, they could have the problem solved in 30 minutes. The NBI or police would just need to sit there for 30 minutes, record everything, then arrest the LTO workers directly working with fixers in front of their coworkers, the customers, and walk them in handcuffs down the street to a police car 1/2 km away. Let as many people see them as possible.
        Shame seems to work with the culture, but there is no need to worry since everyone is scamming and no one gets arrested. Just the smallest, simplest changes could benefit the society, but again Filipino culture likes any system to malfunction so it can be exploited. Those implementing the system really don’t care to oversee it or enforce it so a scamming culture is created.

      3. Profile gravatar of Mufazzza

        The only hope for improvement would be that they were occupied by a more….functional culture for a few hundred years! The spanish obviously did a shitty job! (All old spanish colonies are corrupt and violent! Doesen’t reflect good on the Spanish…) No, i was thinking more of something like….Germany!:-)

        Many colonies are fuctioning very poorly indeed! Like most african countries, for instance. Not because they were colonies, but simply because they are inhabited by idiots:-) (Not only pinoy is unfit to govern himself.)

        Actually, many countries, like the phils, would improve and profint from a….intelligent, benevolent colonial power. As they themselves seem unfit to do the job!

        Unfortunately colonial powers are not in surplus these days, they are themselves in decline……

        1. Profile gravatar of TightWired

          I haven’t spent time in Spain, but everyone has heard of the Afternoon Seista, the Patron Don system, Go to church and confess your sins, and It’s not What you Know, but Who you Know…
          The Americans would lean toward Efficientcy, maximize profits, Full days work, for a full days pay, etc…
          As long as the Landowners/Business owners met their monthly goals, the Americans would look the other way. If they don’t make their goals the Kano steps in and cracks the whip.
          For instance…The new American Manager, and a Spanish Manager tour a factory/estate to see how production is going…
          American: Where’s all my workers, why are they fucking off or sleeping…
          Pinoy: Sirrrrrrr…they are at church, or it’s siesta or holiday….
          American: They can go to church after work, Holiday… I didn’t approve that. fine them a days paid.
          Spanish: Oh yes church is good, Yes it’s too hot to work…It’s ok to sleep instead of working.
          Again I’m very Ignorant about life in Colonial RP…so please correct me If I’m wrong.


          1. Profile gravatar of Sarah

            A non Pinoy employer cracking the whip? His days are numbered. He’ll be labelled “maldito”, “matapobre”, no good, bad boss, therefore Flips don’t care if Boss makes money (but then, when did they?), Flips don’t care if they get the sack. And if Boss is “strict”, Flips will steal off him. Well they do anyway, but Flips won’t feel any ounce of guilt about it. They ‘d use it to rationalize stealing.

            As for colonial RP, have no idea other than the poor is very poor, lots of peasant farmers and oh, very religious people who stops to say the “Angelus” prayers at 12 mid day and 6PM.

          2. Profile gravatar of Mike

            I read a report from 1903 submitted by a U.S. Army captain to his superiors. This captain was stationed in Manila and he and his men were assigned an area to clean up. This area was a Spanish part of town and the houses were two stories or higher in most cases. Well the cr would hang out over the sidewalk, now you know why they had clean up details. The report went on to state that the shit at some houses was piled up almost to the floor of the cr hanging over the sidewalk on the second floor. Went on to say that it took 2 weeks to shovel the shit up in a one block area.

          3. Profile gravatar of Sarah

            Here is a comment from Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the leader of the Spanish expedition that came after Magellan in 1565.

            “Face to face, they agree to anything-never saying ‘no’ to any proposal. The moment they turn their backs, however, they never keep a promise nor have they any concept of honesty or sincerity. Accordingly, it will be difficult to make durable arrangements with them on the basis of friendship, rather then through coercion and fear”.

            And 600 years later, nothing’s changed! Oh, except perhaps Flips are bolder and foxier when it comes to devising methods and means to fleece money, possessions off you.

          4. Profile gravatar of TightWired

            Wow…So basically the same statement as the American polititian in 1903 (forum homepage) but this time only a short time after the 1st Euro contact in 1565.
            Sooooo how can Fili-fails still blame the Spanish/Americans for all their bad habits and problems…ie…”The American and Spanish never taught us how to properly govern, they taught us bad habits, etc etc…
            Is their some type of pino gene that causes them to habitually lie ??? If this trait was visible upon initial contact, it has to be genetic not a learn trait.
            The USA (Military bases) left knowing it was a lost cause. It’s never going to get better. Unlike the Spanish, it only took us Yanks 100 years to learn.

          5. Profile gravatar of Mike

            So the guy after Megellan said it, the statesman said it 300 years later. So I guess in 100, 200, 300 years from now some Westerner will be in the philippines does research and run across this site and think to himself “The filipinos have been like this for that long with no improvement?”

          6. Profile gravatar of Angel

            ““Face to face, they agree to anything-never saying ‘no’ to any proposal. The moment they turn their backs, however, they never keep a promise nor have they any concept of honesty or sincerity….”


            Can you give me the link to this please. This really throws a wrench on the Flip argument that the Spanish were the ones responsible for the current Flip “culture”.

          7. Profile gravatar of BLX2

            @sarahfin, do you have a link for that? I didn’t know they were labeled liars more than 300 years ago. I want that 🙂

        2. Profile gravatar of Johnny
          Johnny Post author

          Yeah, there is definitely something about the Spanish colonizing a place then unleashing the Catholic Church on them as well. Those 2 factors alone seem to have set any country behind so far compared to the rest of the world.
          Then add the mentality of the Filipino culture (the historical reference) and now you have modern day Philippines. They had one great generation and could have pulled themselves up. After WW2 and with the aid of the Americans, they were poised to be #1 in Asia. They had a good run for like 20 years or so?
          Problem seems to be Filipinos do not want good things for their country. They don’t want a good society. The focus is “me first” and “how do I get one over on everyone”, then show off later and feel superior.

  4. Profile gravatar of 30-30

    I seen a website about the american rmy in the feelippines after WW2. The americans had bases here, and trying to make a cohesive army of the locals.
    They have 80 tribes fighting over the spoils of the USA army here. They booby trapped the toilets, thier hygeine was horrible. The locals were trying to steal as many vehicles, guns as possible. It was a free for all!!!
    Nothing much has changed.
    On another topic,, did anybody notice the yellow party had a local blowout and meeting. They hired some dancers with real skimpy clothes to give the local trapo a lap dance,, Disgusting!!!

    And these are the leaders of a nation???

    1. Profile gravatar of Johnny
      Johnny Post author

      Yeah, one of the guys denied hiring the girls. Then of course it turns out he did hire them so he was caught lying. Oh, he’s also running for Senate too.

  5. Profile gravatar of

    I live on a rural island near Davao and I just noticed a few days ago that maybe up to 50% of the motorcycles don’t have licence plates. Yet the police and LTO are always doing there daily tours. WTF?

    1. Profile gravatar of TightWired

      All the non-license are probabley relatives of the PNP. Plus no one has money to pay tickets or bribes.
      A few years ago I was b/sing with a bunch of long term expats…
      Me: The LTO / PNP sure are putting up a lot check points lately. I hope they aren’t out today.
      Old Expat: No chance today. It looks like it might rain later.

  6. Profile gravatar of Johnny
    Johnny Post author

    With Christmas around the corner, the pnp are looking to make extra money. If you notice after September or October 1, check points increase.