2016 Postscripts

December 2016

BY JUST WAITING, President Rodrigo Duterte will be able to appoint 12 of the 15 justices, or an 80-percent supermajority, of the Supreme Court during his term. There are now two empty seats, with 10 more vacancies that will occur during his six-year presidency. [ Read More ]

SUMMARY killing is as old as the earth. Even in biblical times, rulers who had neither respect nor patience for due process had their hands stained with the blood of their innocent victims. [ Read More ]

CHRISTMAS is the Philippines’ longest holiday (more of a season than one Christian holy day) running from the December 16 start of the series of nine pre-dawn masses to the Epiphany, the movable feast of the Three Kings which used to be celebrated on January 6. [ Read More ]

HE MAY NOT admit it, but after only six months in office, President Duterte must be feeling the man-killing stress of the presidency that constantly tests his physical endurance, managerial mettle and preparation for the job. [ Read More ]

THESE past two weeks, I have deliberately missed several business meetings, press forums and traditional pre-Christmas events, including the Philippine Star party last Friday. [ Read More ]

TO BE consistent in his supine position, President Rodrigo Duterte might as well formally abandon Philippine rights over maritime areas being claimed by China and renounce the favorable UNCLOS arbitration ruling at The Hague last July on these disputes. [ Read More ]

IF PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has faith in the Filipino – we think he still does — he should be willing to give all citizens, including drug-users in poverty-stricken areas, a chance to live and mend their ways. [ Read More ]

IN CASE you missed the New York Times front-page item last Dec. 7 titled “They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals,” on the drugs-related extrajudicial killings during the Duterte administration that a scandalized world is now talking about, go to it at:
[ Read More ]

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte kicked a hornet’s nest this week when he attacked not only drug lords, but also the lawyers defending them from charges of violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (RA 9165). [ Read More ]

PROVERBS 16:19 tells us: “Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.”

We were reminded of that admonition when we heard President Rodrigo Duterte on TV telling the nation Monday: “I do not have to explain to you, the whole republic and the critics, why I made the order for him (Philippine National Police chief) just to sit down and do not remove him (Marcos).” [ Read More ]

THE “SHARIF” in the head refers to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who reaped praises from US President-elect Donald Trump in a recent call and got the latter to accept an invitation to visit Islamabad. [ Read More ]

IT IS hard to swallow the Malacañang line that US President-elect Donald Trump praised or endorsed President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war that has killed some 5,000 suspects in the past five months. [ Read More ]

SUMMARY execution of drug addicts wherever police operatives and vigilantes corner them may put to a quick end their dependence, but it hardly dents the overall narcotics problem nor eases the misery of their families left behind. [ Read More ]

November 2016

IS PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte just trying to confuse the enemy — or is he himself now confused on how to deal with the Abu Sayyaf group that is sowing terror in the South while claiming allegiance to the Islamic State advancing across Muslim areas? [ Read More ]

WE ARE happy for the country, now that the youth have been roused by the sneak hero’s burial last Nov. 18 of the remains (or the wax facsimile) of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos who died 27 years ago in ignominious exile. [ Read More ]

VANCOUVER – It is not clear if incoming US President Donald Trump would keep his campaign promises, so United States partners like the Philippines should prepare for the eventuality that the Donald might just do some of the horrible things he had threatened to do. [ Read More ]

FOR THE GREAT Ferdinand E. Marcos to finally find rest, his remains should have been interred in an appropriate site in Ilocandia in the loving embrace of his kailiyan. [ Read More ]

THE SUPREME COURT itself cannot order the execution of persons convicted of the most heinous crimes, yet the police and state-sanctioned vigilantes can, and do, execute those who are mere suspects in narcotics cases. [ Read More ]

NEW YORK — A great majority of Americans responded Tuesday to the clarion call for Change and believed enough in the trumpeter — Donald Trump — to elect him the 45th president of the United States on his promise to fix the crooked system. [ Read More ]

NEW YORK – By midnight Tuesday, either Hillary Clinton (D) or Donald Trump (R) – both of whom many American voters supposedly do not trust enough — will have been elected the 45th president of the United States. [ Read More ]

FORMER President Fidel V. Ramos must have seen so many red flags when he was allowed into the inner corridors of the Duterte administration that he was impelled to express alarm over the regime’s straying away from long-held democratic principles. [ Read More ]

ARE WE witnessing a mere separation or a severing of political ties between President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and former President Fidel V. Ramos – a question analogous to the issue over Duterte’s weaning away the Philippines from the United States. [ Read More ]

THE SITUATION at the disputed Panatag (Scarborough) shoal off Zambales may be temporarily productive for Filipino fishermen, but it appears to be unstable without a formal agreement with China or an enforceable ruling as to its status. [ Read More ]

October 2016

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has done it! Filipinos are again able to fish at Panatag (Scarborough) shoal less than a week after the President promised them access to that traditional fishing ground off Zambales. [ Read More ]

THE FORMER mayor of Davao called by 16.6 million Filipinos to a command performance as President of the Philippines may have been thrust into big power theatrics too early — or too late. [ Read More ]

IT WAS right that President Rodrigo Duterte stepped back and clarified that the Philippines is not severing relations with its long-time ally the United States — since nobody knows if/when China leaders would make good the promises they had made to him. [ Read More ]

AFTER attacking the United States to the delight of his hosts in Beijing and probing what China could offer the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte wrapped up his four-day state visit Friday carrying home promises of investments ($15 billion) and soft loans ($9 billion). [ Read More ]

HAGGLING with the Chinese is always fun, yet tricky to the uninitiated and the faint of heart. But then Filipinos have a tough President Rodrigo Duterte to negotiate for them in Beijing. [ Read More ]

AS PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte flies today to Beijing on a four-day mission in the lair of the Red Dragon, we join the Filipino nation’s prayer for his safety and success. [ Read More ]

NEW YORK — The stench of spilled blood and the cries of the families of victims of extra-judicial killings (EJKs) have reached The Hague, seat of the International Criminal Court that hears complaints of “crimes against humanity.” [ Read More ]

NEW YORK – We should find out quickly what Filipinos think of the projected upgrading of Philippine relations with China and the corresponding downgrading of dealings with the United States. [ Read More ]

NEW YORK – Luckily, as we always say, relations among nations operate on various levels. When government-to-government liaison proves inadequate, somehow people-to-people interactions come to save the day. [ Read More ]

NEW YORK – The United States better catch President Rodrigo Duterte with its Best Offer before he crosses the Yangtze River – the “Rubicon” in his mind – on his way to Beijing for hard negotiations this month with China over long-term relationships. [ Read More ]

NEW YORK – President Rodrigo Duterte will face his Chinese counterpart this month armed only with the arbitration ruling at The Hague favoring Philippine submissions on China’s violations of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. [ Read More ]

NEW YORK — When President Rodrigo Duterte stands at “the Rubicon” late this month, will he decide to take the nation with him and cross the river — then pivot to the left into the waiting arms of the Chinese? [ Read More ]

September 2016

NEW YORK – The obviously better prepared Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton snatched Monday night Round-1 from her Republican rival Donald Trump in their first-of-three presidential debates in Hofstra University on Long Island. [ Read More ]

SOME readers still ask where we stand on certain issues related to President Rodrigo Duterte as if our discussions in this space are not extensive and clear enough. But such probing is understandable, considering the static in the air. [ Read More ]

WE’VE ALL been told by then presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte — Change is Coming!

After that fair warning, why should we now be surprised by President Duterte’s changing his mind whenever he gets caught in a corner after blurting out something unintended, preposterous, not presidential, or simply rude? [ Read More ]

PARDON our skepticism, but we doubt that something constructive will come out of the opposing demolition jobs in the Congress disguised as legislative inquiries into ExtraJudicial Killings (EJKs) in the administration’s anti-narcotics campaign. [ Read More ]

WE HAVE long suggested that the six-month deadline of President Rodrigo Duterte for stopping crime and corruption is impossible to meet, and that the Chief Executive should consider extending it. He finally did over the weekend. [ Read More ]

IF PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is starting to feel some gustiness in the political wind blowing from across the Pacific, it could be a hint of a typhoon headed in his direction. [ Read More ]

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte may need a full-blown Bureau of Corrections – no, not to hold and rehabilitate convicts, but to correct, explain, interpret, amplify, translate, tweak, rationalize, etc., his statements that tend to scare instead of reassure, to confuse rather than clarify. [ Read More ]

LET ME preface my column with a query from a reader who will be identified only as Dikong upon his request. He asked (edited slightly): [ Read More ]

PRESIDENT Barack Obama did not have a chance in Hangzhou last week to fire a “Putin-inamo!” at his bloody Russian counterpart, but in the sidelines of a G20 summit in 2013, he was allegedly agitated enough to call Vladimir Putin a jackass. [ Read More ]

MAYBE there should be a finishing school for would-be presidents of the Philippines.

This was one suggestion we made on Twitter after that spectacle of President Rodrigo Duterte, on the eve of his debut on the global stage, publicly cursing US President Barack Obama who has not said one hurtful word against him. [ Read More ]

THE DIPLOMATIC mettle of President Rodrigo Duterte will be tested this week in Vientiane, Laos, in getting a positive response from China President Xi Jinping to his plea that Filipinos be allowed to fish again in their traditional fishing ground grabbed by the Chinese. [ Read More ]

THE TERROR bombing in Davao last Friday that claimed at least 15 lives in President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown may have taken the wind out of any intention of US President Barack Obama to lecture his Filipino counterpart on lawless violence and human rights. [ Read More ]

THERE ARE several isles, reefs and other features of the surrounding sea being disputed by the Philippines and China, but Panatag (Scarborough) shoal off Zambales appears to be a good starting point of attempts to normalize relations between the neighbors. [ Read More ]

August 2016

WE TRUST that President Rodrigo Duterte the consummate lover will know how to play this geopolitical ménage à trois among China, the United States and the Philippines. [ Read More ]

WE SUPPORT the peace process ongoing between the Duterte administration and the Communist rebels and welcome their agreement for an indefinite ceasefire forged this week in Oslo, Norway, but because of the paucity of details published we have some questions. [ Read More ]

IT WOULD contribute to world peace if there be universal agreement that whenever President Rodrigo Roa Duterte makes a public statement it is deemed official and irrevocable – if within one hour he does not take it back or dismiss it as a joke. [ Read More ]

THE ADMINISTRATION may want to mine the insights of past executives of the Clark and the Subic Bay Freeports for integration into a long-term plan to develop the two nodes and the 85-kilometer corridor between them served by an all-weather expressway. [ Read More ]

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign promise to stop crime and corruption in six months must be pressuring the police into killing X-number of suspects by his 50th day in office, his 100th, and so forth, in a bloody race to meet the quotas by deadline time. [ Read More ]

A PAPER titled “Toward a Pampanga Megalopolis 2021 and Beyond” sent by architect Felino A. Palafox Jr. dusts off the plan to have Clark International Airport (CRK) operate as a gateway twin of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) in the congested national capital 90 kilometers away. [ Read More ]

THE TEAM of former President Fidel V. Ramos that went to China to rekindle chilly relations with the neighbor reported Saturday that it has succeeded in breaking the ice — without hitting the iceberg. [ Read More ]

CHINA and the Philippines can still forge a mutually beneficial relationship by exploring doable options outside the recent ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague that resolved in favor of Manila most of the issues submitted to it. [ Read More ]

VIRTUALLY left to our own devices to recover from the devastation of the last war, the shrinking of essential services and the erosion of moral values, we now see too many people demanding relief without putting in commensurate contribution to the common weal. [ Read More ]

OF THE 22 mayors of Pampanga, only Mayor Marino “Boking” Morales of Mabalacat City made it to the exclusive “Duterte List,” the President’s list of officials who he said were either dealers of narcotics or protectors of drug syndicates. [ Read More ]

IF THERE are midnight appointments, are there also midnight escapes?

In what looked like an attempt to escape responsibility for ruining the Metro Rail Transit, then Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya rushed — one month before he left office — a counterclaim in the arbitration case filed by MRT Corp. against the government (DOTC). [ Read More ]

THE TOP politicos, from President Rodrigo Duterte down, are now telling us that – to save money — they have in mind converting the Congress into a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) to amend or revise the Constitution. [ Read More ]

DOES President Rodrigo Duterte really believe that communist leader Jose Ma. Sison and his cohorts in Utrecht could be talked into signing and honoring a “peace agreement” — or even just a ceasefire — with the government? [ Read More ]

July 2016

WE EXPECTED the advice to President Rodrigo Duterte of his four predecessors to “proceed with caution” in dealing with China on territorial issues that had been decided in favor of the Philippines by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. [ Read More ]

RIGHT TO LIFE being inherent in the human person, the many believers in the sanctity of life are not likely to withdraw their call that suspected users of illegal drugs be given a chance to be heard before being silenced on the spot by a bullet. [ Read More ]

IT IS a happy coincidence that an Executive Order on Freedom of Information was issued just when the Philippine Star celebrates the 30th year of its hitting the streets in 1986 to join the exciting rebirth of press freedom with the dismantling of Marcosian martial rule. [ Read More ]

FILIPINOS listening to Donald Trump’s speech accepting the Republican Party’s nominating him for US president last Thursday could not fail to notice that his line of thought seems to run parallel to that of President Rodrigo Duterte. [ Read More ]

IF PLANS do not miscarry, the United States embassy on Roxas Blvd. facing historic Manila Bay will soon find itself sitting just a stone’s throw away from a new casino of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. [ Read More ]

WAR is not an option, President Rodrigo Duterte says correctly, ignoring pressure for him to take more forceful action against China’s having illegally seized strategic features in the West Philippine Sea. [ Read More ]

THE PHILIPPINES did not win it all at The Hague. For one, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled last July 12 that the rich fishery resources of Panatag shoal off Zambales do not belong only to the Philippines but also to China and others who traditionally fish there. [ Read More ]

CHINA must have known from the very beginning that it would lose the arbitration case at The Hague. Otherwise it would not have stayed away and deprived itself of the chance to sell the world its nine-dash line theory of unilaterally demarcating the waters of the South China Sea. [ Read More ]

THE PHILIPPINES faces the dilemma of what to do after the release today of the ruling on an arbitration case it filed in 2013 against China on their conflicting claims over some isles, reefs and shoals in surrounding seas. [ Read More ]

HAS THE NATION been convinced that the extrajudicial execution of suspected drug pushers and users is proper and necessary– or have Filipinos been simply intimidated by President Rodrigo Duterte to just look the other way? [ Read More ]

THE BLOODY anti-narcotics drive of President Rodrigo Duterte may have hit a legal hump Tuesday after he publicly identified five high-ranking police officials, three of them still in active service, as being in cahoots with drug lords. [ Read More ]

THE CONGRESS still has to convene on July 25, but lawmakers are already rushing bills to carry out the announced desire of President Rodrigo Duterte to review the Constitution, impose the death penalty for heinous crimes, stop labor contractualization, among other priority concerns. [ Read More ]

NOT ONLY was the inaugural speech of President Rodrigo Duterte last Thursday short at 1,300 words – it was also clear and straight to the point. [ Read More ]

June 2016

IT IS heartening to see that on his first day in Malacañang today, President Rodrigo Duterte will serve his inaugural guests a frugal fare of native pika-pika — but at the same time we are disappointed that buko juice was scrapped from the menu. [ Read More ]

HOW will Rodrigo Roa Duterte appear at noon on Thursday when he metamorphoses, as promised, from a clumpy caterpillar of a mayor from Davao into the 16th President of the Philippine Republic? [ Read More ]

THE AVERAGE Filipino household will hardly feel any immediate dire effects of the decision of the United Kingdom to exit from the European Union based on the 52-percent “Leave” vote in last Thursday’s Brexit (Britain+Exit) referendum. [ Read More ]

THE AMERICAN ambassador himself has dashed the illusion of many Filipinos that the United States would instantly hit back at China if hostilities erupted between Manila and Beijing over territorial disputes in surrounding waters. [ Read More ]

UNLESS he says otherwise, we take the silence of President Noynoy Aquino as his tacit approval of the extrajudicial execution of suspected criminals by the authorities and vigilantes. [ Read More ]

THERE is supposed to be a new kid on the Twitter block going by the name of Benigno Aquino III, describing himself as “Incorruptible. Smoker. Liberal. Clean. Patriot. Nationalist. Single.” [ Read More ]

WHILE their elders in Malacañang slumbered, a group of fired-up youths sailed last weekend to Panatag shoal and succeeded in flying momentarily the Philippine flag over the traditional Filipino fishing ground 120 miles off Zambales that China seized in 2012. [ Read More ]

IN HIS Independence Day vin d’honneur toast last Sunday, President Noynoy Aquino shared his recollection of that day (no date given) when he and his family were finally allowed to see his father Ninoy locked up in an isolation box in a military camp in Laur, Nueva Ecija. [ Read More ]

SUDDENLY this rear-view of the last presidential election has popped up: Mar Roxas from Wharton offered to run this country as president, but here he is now unable to do the simple task of keeping track of his campaign spending. [ Read More ]

LABOR problems waiting to test the mettle of President-elect Rody Duterte involve joblessness and low wages, plus ancillary issues that include “endo” (end of contract) or the contractualization of workers. [ Read More ]

MULTIMILLION-PESO graft charges loom as a sendoff for outgoing Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina over his refusal to release imported construction steel rebars despite their having been cleared by proper officials of customs and the Department of Trade and Industry. [ Read More ]

DAVAO Mayor Rowdy Duterte is not yet the president – we understand that – but there is no harm if he started to talk and act presidential while awaiting his formal inauguration on June 30 as the 16th President of the Republic. [ Read More ]

IF BOTH Beijing and Washington open their doors and roll out the red carpet for a state visit of Philippine President Rody Duterte after his June 30 inauguration, which door should he take first? [ Read More ]

May 2016

FOUR YEARS after he lost Scarborough (Panatag) shoal to China and three weeks after he was accused of treason for it, President Noynoy Aquino is explaining why he abandoned to Chinese poachers the rich Filipino fishing ground off the Zambales coast. [ Read More ]

PRESIDENT-ELECT Rody Duterte has said many times that he wants more women and Mindanaoans in his Cabinet. But Mindanao has gotten only three major posts so far – and no key woman department secretary yet. [ Read More ]

IS THE POLITICAL clout in Pampanga of Gov. Lilia “Baby” Pineda and her businessman husband Bong waning? The results of the last May 9 local elections seem to hint at it. [ Read More ]

WE WERE sort of holding our breath last Thursday while the votes for the candidates for senator were being canvassed by the Commission on Elections until the poll body proclaimed the 12 winners before the day was over. [ Read More ]

THE RISE on June 30 of a new Philippine president may just provide the superpowers United States and China an opportunity — or an excuse – for easing their stiffening stance on territorial and security issues in the South China Sea. [ Read More ]

THE FIRST ORDER of business was to get elected president of the Republic.

That part having been apparently done, presumptive president-elect Rody Duterte, still sitting as mayor of his Davao fiefdom, will soon wrestle with the hard part — governing this ungovernable nation of more than 100 million and meeting their rising expectations. [ Read More ]

WE CANNOT blame vice presidential candidate Sen. Bongbong Marcos for raising the possibility of his votes having been tampered with when the script of the transparency server tabulating the election scores was revised last Wednesday. [ Read More ]

BEFORE President Noynoy Aquino sends him the usual congratulatory message, Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte should rush him a thank you note for having contributed heavily to his coming ascension to the presidency. [ Read More ]

THE VOTE is cast. Exhale…. Let’s all settle down and allow a hush to settle softly upon us. It’s in God’s hands now.

Whatever be the outcome of what looks like a generally orderly and fair election, let’s accept it. We may know the score, more or less, by tomorrow. [ Read More ]

TOMORROW, many Filipinos who are not happy with their lives or the status quo in general might vote for a demagogue without being aware of it. What or who is a demagogue? You will readily recognize him as identified below by Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: [ Read More ]

AS WE marked World Press Freedom Day the other day, we recalled the execution of two Davao media men — among hundreds of unsolved cases that had placed the Philippines among the five worst countries in terms of impunity in the assassination of journalists. [ Read More ]

IN A PASTORAL letter last Sunday that did not mention him by name, Catholic bishops appeared to have counseled their flock – estimated at 80 million — not to vote for such controversial characters as Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who is running for president in the May 9 elections. [ Read More ]

I STILL do not have a choice for president, so one week before Election Day this voter can be counted with the NOTA (none of the above) crowd. [ Read More ]

April 2016

WITH just 11 days before Election Day, we should ignore survey reports on the claimed popularity of candidates. The poll results are mostly mind-conditioning devices tricking the gullible to jump onto the supposed winner’s bandwagon and thereby validate the poll claims. [ Read More ]

THE HUSBAND of presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares renounced his American citizenship early this April, starting an expatriation process that could extend until after the May 9 elections. [ Read More ]

WHEN SEN. Serge Osmeña banged the gavel last Tuesday to suspend the sixth hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee on the $81-million money laundering scandal, it was not clear whether the inquiry would proceed to a roaring conclusion or simply fade out in a whimper. [ Read More ]

LIBERAL Party standard bearer Mar Roxas renewed yesterday his commitment, if elected president, to fast-track his plan to have Clark International Airport in Pampanga upgraded as the gateway twin of the cramped Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay. [ Read More ]

IT SEEMS the more Mayor Digong Duterte talks, the more he disaffects discerning voters, but that is the presidential candidate’s lookout. [ Read More ]

WE HAVE been receiving email, mostly expressing concern, after the publication last April 12 of our Postscript titled “‘A-class’ con artists dupe condo buyers.” (The column is archived as  http://tinyurl.com/z99oo36 at ManilaMail.com.) [ Read More ]

BY THIS TIME it should be clear to senators and congressmen that they erred in 2013 when they succumbed to a lobby to exempt casinos from the coverage of the Anti-Money Laundering Act that was then opened up precisely for them to amend and improve. [ Read More ]

IT IS NOT just low to middle income-earners who are robbed of their dream homes by scheming real estate sellers. The well-to-do also fall victim to con artists of high-end reputable developers as this case shows. [ Read More ]

WHY does not the Supreme Court declare in clear and simple language that “Grace Poe Llamanzares is a natural-born Filipino” and thereby put to eternal rest all legal questions about the foundling’s citizenship from birth? [ Read More ]

THE BATTLE of deceptive surveys has begun, leading up to the May 9 elections — with the objectives of capturing the bandwagon votes of the gullible, keeping financiers delivering the millions, and conditioning the public mind to accept upcoming bogus election results. [ Read More ]

PRESIDENT Noynoy Aquino stood out in the latest performance survey of top national officials as the only leader still with a majority (52 percent) approval rating, although this was down from his 55 percent in the last quarter of 2015. [ Read More ]

FILIPINO newspapermen should not take offense that President Noynoy Aquino, unburdening himself in a media forum last Wednesday, criticized how the media have been reporting and commenting on him and his administration. [ Read More ]

March 2016

I WAS eating yesterday my usual slice of egg pie while browsing Twitter when I saw this UberFacts ‏tweet: “Starbucks is going to start donating 100 percent of its leftover food in partnership with the nonprofit organization Feeding America.” [ Read More ]

WE ASKED last March 23 on Twitter whether the Supreme Court ruled that Sen. Grace Poe is a natural-born Filipino or simply told the Commission on Elections not to stop her from running for president in the May 9 election. Many are still confused, we noted. [ Read More ]

WITH Easter Sunday today, and as we Filipinos move toward the conclusion of the six-year Aquino regime, we see the enlightening contrast between victory and vengeance. [ Read More ]

LET’S SHARE some tweets with our valued readers who still have not discovered the short (140 characters only) and swift exchange on Twitter. [ Read More ]

TRULY Pinoy, the second chapter of the PiliPinas Debates 2016 of the presidential candidates opened last Sunday 1-1/2 hours late, but compensated for the delay with its enhanced entertainment value. [ Read More ]

DAANG Matuwid presidential candidate Mar Roxas and Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya keep announcing that 48 new coaches will arrive soon from Dalian Locomotive of China to help solve Metro Rail Transit-3 commuter problems. [ Read More ]

PRESIDENT Noynoy Aquino may have run out of new things to tell this year’s 63 graduates of the Philippine Military Academy so he again assailed two senators for, he said, blocking the Bangsamoro Basic Law meant to resolve the strife in Muslim Mindanao. [ Read More ]

CHIEF Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno can quell the tempest building up over the Supreme Court decision allowing Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares to run for president by producing a tally of how the 15 justices voted on each of the two disqualification issues raised against the senator. [ Read More ]

NICHES of social media — particularly Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram — have become a battleground for candidates eyeing national and other key posts. Political propaganda aimed at capturing hearts and minds rages at its fiercest in cyberspace. Why? [ Read More ]

AFTER 30 years of wrongful sequestration, the giant Philcomsat telecommunications group is finally removed from the clutches of the Presidential Commission on Good Government and other government agencies that had abetted its being looted. [ Read More ]

ARE YOU weary, confused, maybe even depressed? It may be time to go on a spiritual retreat, to return to the merciful, tender love that has always been waiting for you – and there find solace. [ Read More ]

EVERY BABY born during the term of President Noynoy Aquino is welcomed with a debt burden of P62,235.26 plus P4,251 in government-guaranteed loans. [ Read More ]

THE STORY has been going the rounds since last month that Supreme Court justices are agonizing over a proposed “win-win” decision – or two separate rulings — on the disqualification of Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares as candidate for president in the May 9 elections. [ Read More ]

WHICH can win more votes – the “experiential museum” on Marcosian martial rule of the 1980s or the “right here, right now” experience of life under the Aquino administration? [ Read More ]

February 2016

IN POSTSCRIPT, we have always referred to the bloodless upheaval that shook the country in February 1986 and forced then President Ferdinand E. Marcos to flee into exile as the “EDSA Revolt” – not the “EDSA Revolution.” [ Read More ]

WITH JUST four months left of the term of President Noynoy Aquino, it may be best for the United Nations arbitral court that is resolving the Philippines-China maritime dispute to delay handing down a decision till after a new president is sworn into office on June 30. [ Read More ]

JUDGING the Pilipinas Debate 2016 last Sunday among five presidential candidates was necessarily a subjective exercise for the voter/viewer – which means the winner was whoever the viewer said it was. [ Read More ]

JUST as in the Holy Father’s urbi et orbi (to the city and to the world) messages, Pope Francis may well have been talking to and about the world when he said last Thursday that “a person who thinks only about building walls… and not building bridges, is not Christian”. [ Read More ]

THE UNITED STATES and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations met at the summit in California early this week to blunt China’s expansionist moves in the maritime area in the region – but could not bring themselves to saying so in their final communiqué. [ Read More ]

THE EXISTENCE of a Malacañang-Judiciary axis will be tested by the petition of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for the Supreme Court to dismiss the plunder charges filed against her in the Sandiganbayan for alleged misuse of P365 million in Sweepstakes funds. [ Read More ]

OUR last Postscript (Feb.11) titled “SC oral arguments expose feet of clay” elicited wide agreement from readers who have been following the Supreme Court hearing of petitions for the constitutional disqualification of Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares from running for president. [ Read More ]

THE SUPREME COURT should conclude quickly the ongoing oral arguments on the question of whether or not Sen. Grace Poe is constitutionally qualified to run for President in the May 9 national election. [ Read More ]

WITH voters’ preference survey leader Sen. Grace Poe already on the ballot for the May 9 presidential election, what happens if the Supreme Court finally rules that she is not constitutionally qualified to run due to citizenship and/or residency issues? [ Read More ]

WE have received a 1,500-word letter from the law office representing Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital reacting to a 405-word item in our Postscript of Jan. 5, 2016, subtitled “Stiff fees of hospitals, doctors hit.” [ Read More ]

ALL OVER the country, we hear cries of patients who could die because of insufferable hospital and doctors’ fees sooner than from their ailments. There is this joke which has passed on to reality of people surviving their hospitalization but dying after a heart attack upon seeing the bill. [ Read More ]

WHAT insanity is this? After including in the election gun ban the senators and congressmen who are running for public office, the Commission on Elections is now saying that since they are still lawmakers pala they should be allowed to carry deadly weapons. [ Read More ]

January 2016

TRACING the bloodline of President Noynoy Aquino, the director of a respected cultural research center in Angeles City concludes that the President can still muster the courage infused in his warrior pedigree to leave an impressive conclusion of his six-year term. [ Read More ]

THERE was no “Stand down” order by President Noynoy Aquino or some other authority to hold back the military from going to the succor of PNP Special Action Force commandos slaughtered on Sept. 25 last year by Moro bands in a barangay in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. [ Read More ]

WILL the Senate snap up a claimed audio recording of an alleged conversation between a “ranking government official” and a lawmaker about covering up the massacre of elite police officers a year ago in Mamasapano, Maguindanao? [ Read More ]

WITH some 90 percent of barangays in the National Capital itself reportedly in the sway of drug traffickers and the scourge having crept onto school campuses, we are at a loss why the Father of the Nation has not cracked the whip and spoken strongly against the menace. [ Read More ]

“WHY in Lanao?” asked some friends who read about expelled Iglesia ni Cristo minister Lowell Menorca II being arrested yesterday by Manila policemen on libel charges filed in that faraway corner of Muslim Mindanao. [ Read More ]

EVEN without raising by P2,000 the monthly pension of retired Social Security System members, the fragile SSS setup is bound to collapse under the weight of inefficiency and mismanagement. [ Read More ]

PRESIDENT Noynoy Aquino sounded correct when he said that giving an additional P2,000 to each of 10 million Social Security System pensioners could bankrupt the SSS by 2027 – but he did not say that that would happen because his managers continue to bungle the system. [ Read More ]

THE LEGAL debate over the long-term presence on Philippine soil of American military men and materiel revolves mainly around Section 25 of Article XVIII that gathers in the last part of the Constitution various transitory provisions, one of them on foreign bases. [ Read More ]

IT IS STILL the economy and the gut issues of survival (kabuhayan) that will dominate the personal choices that voters will make on Election Day, if the latest survey is any indication. [ Read More ]

IS OMBUDSMAN Conchita Carpio Morales negligent, or just slow to act, or is she part of the cabal to keep Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya at the helm of the Department of Transportation and Communication until the last day in office of his patron the sitting president? [ Read More ]

HOW DID the Philippine economy fare in 2015? Can it weather global and domestic challenges in the new year? What lies ahead in 2016, an election year? [ Read More ]

WHEN then senator Noynoy Aquino came to the Philippine STAR office in 2010 in the course of his campaign for the presidency, I approached him to ask a question. He turned his back on me. [ Read More ]
(Author’s Note: Looking back to our New Year’s Postscript of last year, we note that only the numbers have changed, like from 2015 to 2016 and from the projected annual economic growth of 7-8 percent to something like a more modest 6.3 percent this year. Otherwise the sense and substance of a New Year message or assessment have barely changed. Hence we opt to say again here what we said last year.) [ Read More ]

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