2017 Postscripts

December 2017

A YEAREND survey by the Social Weather Stations has made the expected conclusion that the Filipino, the inveterate optimist, exudes boundless hope as he braces for the rolling in of an uncertain, but new, year. [ Read More ]

CLARK Freeport — A cooperative formed in 1982 by 15 combat pilots of the Philippine Air Force, having amassed assets worth P15 billion, launched Friday its first charter plane service with the arrival here of its new Fokker 50 aircraft. [ Read More ]

HOMILY of Pope Francis at the Christmas Eve mass that he celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica (slightly edited to fit space):

In plain and clear words, Luke brings us (Lk 2:7) to the heart of that holy night: Mary gave birth — she gave us Jesus, the Light of the world — a simple story that plunges us into the event that changes our history forever. Everything, that night, became a source of hope. [ Read More ]

A FELLOW writer asked me at our STAR Christmas party last Thursday how a media practitioner of long-standing like me sees the state of mass media as another yearend draws near under the present dispensation. [ Read More ]

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte did right ordering a unilateral Christmas ceasefire without waiting for a mutual agreement with the New People’s Army and/or its ideological elders directing terroristic depredations from the safety of the Netherlands. [ Read More ]

SPEAKER Pantaleon Alvarez may have to take a detour to the Senate in 2019 instead of seeking reelection as congressman of the first district of Davao del Norte – if only to avoid an embarrassing collision with his estranged wife Emelita Apostol Alvarez. [ Read More ]

THE ASSURANCE by President Rodrigo Duterte that he respects press freedom and that he is not media’s enemy is not likely to change significantly mainstream media’s adversarial stance in relation to him and his cohorts in the power elite. [ Read More ]

LIKE California wildfires razing everything in their path, scorching scandals have leaped from Hollywood to Washington, searing prominent members of the three branches of government from the White House to the Congress and the Supreme Court. [ Read More ]

INSURGENTS and the ideologues directing their supposed revolution from the safety of the Netherlands must have pushed President Rodrigo Duterte’s patience to the limit for him to declare as a “terrorist group” the Communist Party of the Philippines and its New People’s Army. [ Read More ]

THAT Presidential Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman blamed inflation and the peso’s slipping against the American dollar for the growing number of Filipinos rating themselves “food-poor” means, to us, that the administration has no comprehensive anti-poverty program. [ Read More ]

SOMEBODY’S got to answer for having exposed thousands of innocent children to the ill effects of an anti-dengue vaccine that, according to the manufacturer itself, could pose health risks to those who got a shot although they never had the fever. [ Read More ]

November 2018

THE HEAD of this column assumes two facts: (1) Extra-judicial killings are still being committed with impunity in our midst, and (2) strong-willed President Rodrigo Duterte can stop these EJKs and their concomitant human rights violations if he wants to. [ Read More ]

IT’S interesting to watch congressmen massaging back to life what looks like a dead impeachment horse just so they could press the ouster of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno for alleged culpable violation of the Constitution and other high crimes. [ Read More ]

WITH the appointment of a new chairman of the Commission on Elections, it may be time to consider seriously the placing in the hands of an all-Filipino outfit the technical aspects of the country’s automated elections. [ Read More ]

WHILE the search by Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar for ways of helping journalists with their medical, housing and other needs is appreciated, it is also suspected by skeptics as an attempt to unduly influence mainstream media. [ Read More ]

DID Malacañang decide that a No vote be cast on the United Nations draft resolution seeking an end to the brutal expulsion of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar for fear of getting caught in contradictions if similar questions are raised on extra-judicial killings in the Philippines? [ Read More ]

YESTERDAY’S head “Mocha, Roque not interested in seeking Senate posts” illustrates how tricky it sometimes is to write a headline that faithfully tells the full story within the cramped space allotted for a one-liner. [ Read More ]

BEFORE my balikbayan brood heads for the mall, I tell them, grownups that they are, to “mag-ingat” (be careful), to take out their cellphones only when needed and then not to use them while walking, be alert that their knapsacks are not picked on the escalators, make sure their credit cards are processed within sight and not in a backroom, be always suspicious of people sidling up too close to them… the litany is long. [ Read More ]

SOME similarly harassed motorists may understand why movie-TV actress Maria Isabel Lopez broke into the exclusive ASEAN lane on traffic-choked EDSA last Saturday, but rules are rules and she will have to pay for her transgression. [ Read More ]

WHAT gift of a deal for Filipinos does US President Donald Trump have in mind when he arrives today for the 50th ASEAN anniversary fiesta in Manila and his first bilateral with President Rodrigo Duterte? [ Read More ]

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte will need more than his political instincts to find his way through the tangled views of US President Donald Trump when he flies to Manila on Sunday to cap his five-nation 12-day swing through the region. [ Read More ]

A PROTEST march culminating in a mass at 3 p.m. today on historic Epifanio delos Santos Ave. will kick off a 33-day “Start the Healing” campaign called by the local Catholic church through Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. [ Read More ]

THE USUAL skeptics think that while a subway can provide relief for Metro Manila denizens slowly dying from inhaling polluted air and grappling with horrendous traffic, an underground rail system is not feasible in the flood-prone national capital. [ Read More ]

October 2017

THE SHARP difference in the approaches of Presidents Rodrigo Duterte and Donald Trump to the drug abuse crises – of shabu in the Philippines and of opioids in the United States – can be attributed to personal aberrations. [ Read More ]

WHILE hordes of global travelers entering the United States on more than 2,000 flights each day feel harassed by new security screening imposed since Thursday, US-bound Filipinos still enjoy a sort of reprieve till next year. [ Read More ]

MANILA and Washington may have to do public relations damage control if, as reported, US President Donald Trump skips the East Asia summit meeting in the Philippines of ASEAN leaders and several heads of government in mid-November. [ Read More ]

THE TITLE may sound familiar, because it was the head of our “Postscript” of May 16 warning five months ago that the $167 billion the administration plans to borrow for its infrastructure program could balloon to $452 billion in 10 years and lead to debt bondage to China. [ Read More ]

WITH DUE respect, we suggest that President Rodrigo Duterte take a brief vacation, rest, and prepare for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit next month and the side meetings with US President Donald Trump and other foreign leaders. [ Read More ]

WE SALUTE the armed forces for liberating Marawi City from pro-Islamic State terrorists. We hail the Filipino soldiers’ patriotic performance of the job that the Constitution has assigned to them as “the protector of the people and the State.” (Art. II, Sec. 3) [ Read More ]

WITH the “Game of Trolls” raging in social media, do we in the mainstream press stay a safe distance away to avoid getting caught in the crossfire between those attacking President Rodrigo Duterte and those defending him? [ Read More ]

AS WE have long suggested, statements of President Rodrigo Duterte must be written out, signed and notarized, and all his speeches preceded by a solemn oath that he would say nothing but the truth – so help us, gad! [ Read More ]

IT REMAINS to be seen if President Rodrigo Duterte is capable of levitation, enough to offset political gravity that seems to have started to pull him down. [ Read More ]

WE DIDN’T see that one coming, the “Zero EJK” phenomenon – the sudden disappearance from government statistics of the thousands of Extra-judicial Killings associated with President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal anti-narcotic campaign. [ Read More ]

WE recalled Jesus saying “… No prophet is accepted in his own country” (Luke 4:24) when we heard Thursday that former Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez has been awarded the 2017 Seacology Prize in rites in Berkeley, California. [ Read More ]

WRITING ahead of the Senate hearing yesterday on so-called “fake news” that had upset several senators, we highlight the need for strengthening the law on libel to make easier the identification of rogue bloggers and other social media abusers. [ Read More ]

IT IS worrisome enough that the President does not seem to have a road map – to tell us where he is taking us and how he plans to get all of us there – but when he starts wandering off and telling ever-shifting stories, we get really scared. [ Read More ]

CAN President Rodrigo Duterte and his loyalists turn back the political tsunami whipped up by the storm of protest against the on-the-spot execution of thousands of Filipinos suspected of being drug pushers/users? [ Read More ]

September 2017

FOREIGN Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano addressed the delegates to the United Nations general assembly Sunday in New York to defend the indefensible – the on-the-spot execution of thousands of suspected drug pushers/users while still presumed innocent. [ Read More ]

THIS taxpayer is glad that President Duterte’s partner, Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña, attended the spouses’ luncheon Wednesday coincident with the United Nations General Assembly session in New York on invitation of US first lady Melania Trump. [ Read More ]

BOTH President Rodrigo Duterte and the Opposition presumably want martial law declared nationwide this early, coinciding with the 45th anniversary of the People Power Revolt that toppled Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 — because they need it. [ Read More ]

WHILE some disgruntled elements are girding for a protest rally on Sept. 21 to challenge the Duterte administration, a 10-year-old Filipino-American girl is determined to sing her way to the top of the “America’s Got Talent” competition finale in Los Angeles tomorrow. [ Read More ]

WE FIND it difficult devising a holistic approach to the narcotic scourge, because of our increasingly partisan perspectives. Many of us have started to see the world only in black and white, devoid of shades of gray and color. [ Read More ]

AFTER a year of surveying the bloody landscape, local Catholic bishops finally spoke up with one voice Tuesday against the unabated spot execution of suspected drug pushers/users caught in the Duterte administration’s anti-narcotic drive. [ Read More ]

THIS POLITICAL ping pong game between President Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Antonio Trillanes over their millions hidden in the bank has dragged on too long. It’s time the people forced them into a sudden-death, by opening their accounts to scrutiny. [ Read More ]

IT HAS BECOME clear after more than one year and at least 10,000 Filipinos shot dead that the spot execution of suspected drug pushers/users when cornered is not the solution to the narcotic problem. [ Read More ]

IF the fabulous wealth of the Marcoses were legitimately acquired and not stolen from the Philippine treasury, there would be no need for them to negotiate with the government about immunity in exchange for returning part of it. [ Read More ]

THE AMENDING of the decades-old Revised Penal Code to enable the law to catch up with inflation and the imagination of criminals has made the publication of “false news” a crime punishable by longer imprisonment and heavier fines. [ Read More ]

WAY BACK in 2009, former first lady Imelda Marcos told this columnist and three other newsmen that her family’s wealth, most of it in gold kept in 177 banks abroad, is enough to rehabilitate the Philippines and lift Filipinos from poverty. [ Read More ]

August 2017

IT HAS been over a year since President Duterte assumed office, riding on the campaign promise of fixing the MetroRail Transit (MRT-3), among other things. Yet to this day, reports of breakdowns and glitches are in the news almost every day. [ Read More ]

THIS being a crazy world, it sometimes happens that a tourist, an immigrant, or an OFW (overseas Filipino worker) finds himself subjected to disparaging remarks about his country, ethnicity, or accent. How does he handle it? [ Read More ]

SA TOTOO lang, karamihan ng mga pulis matitino. After decades of newspapering, mostly pounding the beat, I dare say that most policemen are good officers actuated by their duty to serve and protect the people. [ Read More ]

MANY concerned Filipinos are horrified seeing China’s leaders and diplomats running circles around our one-year-old President and his three-month-old sidekick of a Foreign Secretary. [ Read More ]

THE GROUND is splattered with the blood of suspected drug pushers/users slaughtered like flu-afflicted fowl, giving rise to a moral question that is dividing the nation between partisans of President Duterte and those against his brutal way of waging his anti-narcotics war. [ Read More ]

SINCE 16-million Filipinos supposedly approve of the grisly anti-narcotics drive of the administration, Malacañang may want to seize the moment and launch a competition recognizing the PNP’s top “One Time-Big Time” killing machines. [ Read More ]

THE RECENT editorial lapses of the state-run Philippine News Agency can be traced largely to a blurred corporate vision and ill-defined accountability. [ Read More ]

NEW YORK – The recent search by FBI agents at the residence in Virginia of Paul Manafort, high-flying lobbyist and adviser of controversial foreign leaders, has sent Fil-Ams wondering if he also has a Philippine account at this time. [ Read More ]

THEN Foreign Secretary Raul Manglapus once quipped during a Senate inquiry into the rape of Filipina domestics in Kuwait during the 1990 Iraqi invasion that “if rape were inevitable, one should relax and enjoy it.” [ Read More ]

THE LEAST discussed aspect of the imbroglio between Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista and his estranged wife Patricia is the impact on their four children of the bitter public squabble of the parents. [ Read More ]

WE ARE not comfortable seeing the Philippine National Police investigating themselves in the aftermath of last Sunday’s drug-related raid that took down Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 15 others. [ Read More ]

IT IS difficult, and most unfair, to judge a man who is dead and therefore unable to give his side. But as Mark Antony orated after the extrajudicial killing of Julius Caesar in 45 BC in Rome, “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” [ Read More ]

July 2017

WHILE millions of Metro Manila households will pay more for their water supply starting next month, official incompetence or corruption may have inadvertently spared half of them the burden of paying some P3.42 billion uncollected rate increases. [ Read More ]

WE GAINED valuable insights into the persona of President Rodrigo Duterte last Monday with his folksy ad-libs in his State of the Nation Address at the Batasan followed by his verbal tussle with street marchers protesting outside the gate. [ Read More ]

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte told mining companies yesterday to stop raping the environment, declare their true income and pay the correct taxes otherwise he would directly correct the imbalance in the ecosystem and the injustice inflicted on surrounding communities. [ Read More ]

THE CONGRESS better approve quickly the proposal of President Rodrigo Duterte to extend to December 31, 2017, the duration of martial law in Mindanao after it expires on Sunday. [ Read More ]

MARTIAL LAW talk is already oozing out of my ears. At this point, I don’t care anymore if President Rodrigo Duterte places the entire country — including the West Philippine Sea (if his Chinese BFF would allow him) — under his military control as Commander-in-Chief. [ Read More ]

MANY of us are disturbed by indications that Police Supt. Marvin Marcos and his CIDG team who gunned down Albuera (Leyte) Mayor Rolando Espinosa and another drug suspect last November are on their way to being cleared of homicide charges. [ Read More ]

IT IS amazing how partisan politics has polluted the air in Manila. The other day I asked on Twitter if anybody had information, which I needed, on the unit price of those “surgical” bombs being dropped on rebel lairs in Marawi. [ Read More ]

THE FAILURE of President Rodrigo Duterte in his latest attempt Friday to enter war-torn Marawi City proved anew that there is indeed an ongoing rebellion — as the State has claimed before the Supreme Court to justify martial law in Mindanao. [ Read More ]

RATHER than underscore his regime’s being propped up by martial law, the repeated failure of President Rodrigo Duterte to enter war-torn Marawi City dramatizes the reality of that Muslim redoubt being in the throes of a rebellion. [ Read More ]

THE REVIVAL of the rail line from Tutuban to Clark in Pampanga perks up this commuter who has traveled much on trains, from the black coal-fired steam engines of old to the Pullman electric trains that replaced them on the now dead La Union-Manila-Albay routes. [ Read More ]

FILIPINO politicos never lose fights, they are just cheated of victory.

“I wuz robbed!” a badly battered Senator Manny Pacquiao complained Sunday when his WBO welterweight belt was snatched by Aussie virtual unknown Jeff Horn in a bloody 12-rounder in Brisbane. [ Read More ]

June 2017

WE MUST be so desperate for a respite from the rumblings of war that we feel bad hearing of Pyongyang’s rejecting the idea of its forming a joint ice hockey team with Seoul for the 2018 Winter Olympics set February 9-25 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. [ Read More ]

INSTEAD of inventing another Voter’s ID and cooking up new juicy contracts, the Commission on Elections may want to pay priority attention to improving the country’s Automated Election System so as to nip possible problems in the 2019 and 2022 polls before they occur. [ Read More ]

OAKLAND, New Jersey – I was surprised to see here last Sunday the priest raising a simple wine glass instead of the usual golden chalice after using it in the consecration, the high point in the mass when bread and wine became the body and blood of Christ. [ Read More ]

WAS Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre instructed or — like “Islamic State-inspired” Mautes — simply inspired by President Rodrigo Duterte to downgrade to homicide the murder charges filed against 19 police officers who had killed a Leyte mayor linked to drug trafficking? [ Read More ]

IT MAY have been because of his long absence from the public scene and of people’s anxiety over his health that I dreamed the other night of President Rodrigo Duterte speaking in a snap program at Malacañang. [ Read More ]

CAN President Rodrigo Duterte be allowed under the rules to issue a “Proclamation 216-B,” or an updated version of his decree, editing the portions of his original edict imposing martial law on all of Mindanao that have been questioned before the Supreme Court? [ Read More ]

THE IMPOSITION of martial law in Mindanao is likely to be upheld by the Supreme Court — if Malacanang could prove that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “ordered the conduct of terroristic activities in the Philippines,” as claimed Sunday by President Rodrigo Duterte. [ Read More ]

WHATEVER we call the armed conflict tearing apart Marawi City —be it rebellion or lawlessness, terrorism, insurrection, revolt or an uprising – it is an ugly WAR taking innocent Filipino lives as government troops battle Maute marauders. [ Read More ]

WAS THERE an ongoing rebellion in Mindanao on May 23, 2017, the date when President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation No. 216 imposing martial law on that island in the South? [ Read More ]

UNTIL yesterday, we saw President Rodrigo Duterte still clutching at straws to end quickly the two-week-old battle between Maute terrorists and government forces in Marawi City and limit to the “least maximum” (his term) the collateral damage. [ Read More ]

NEW YORK – We were watching President Donald Trump on CNN about to announce (3:32 pm EST, Thursday) the United States’ disengaging from the Paris Climate Accord when he opened his speech with something else just as dreadful. [ Read More ]

IMPOSING martial law in Mindanao was not that crucial to government forces’ being able to neutralize the Maute terrorists who wrought havoc on Marawi City last week, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told senators in a security briefing on Monday. [ Read More ]

May 2017

THIS TIRED Filipino, this one voter, is tempted to take the line of least resistance and stop asking questions about President Rodrigo Duterte’s martial law adventure in Mindanao. [ Read More ]

IT IS strange, if not suspicious, that to this day the private firm MRT Corp. that owns the MRT-3 system running on EDSA has not been allowed by the Department of Transportation to inspect the trains at the depot under Trinoma in Quezon City. [ Read More ]

WITHOUT the supposed ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) link to the Maute terror attack on Marawi City this week, the group’s depredation was just the usual lawlessness that state forces should be able to suppress without imposing martial law in Mindanao. [ Read More ]

FINALLY, President Rodrigo Duterte confronted his Chinese counterpart with the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague that generally favored the Philippines’ legal challenge to China’s expansive claim over most of the South China Sea. [ Read More ]

WITH ITS rejection of new grants from the European Union to protest its alleged interference in domestic Philippine affairs, the administration must now open to scrutiny the comparative terms of loans/aid from other sources, including China. [ Read More ]

IN A WARLIKE national emergency, can we mobilize in three days at least a battalion-size fighting force (or about 500 reservists) in each of the 60 or so major provinces with a population of not less than 425,000? [ Read More ]

AN ANALYSIS in Forbes.com warns that the projected Philippine debt of $167 billion to help finance the ambitious “Build! Build! Build!” program of the administration could balloon to $452 billion in 10 years and lead to debt bondage to China. [ Read More ]

GOD forbid, but if war breaks out, how will our under-equipped 310,000+ soldiers and policemen, reinforced by our token air force and navy defend the country against invaders? [ Read More ]

CORRUPTION, bribery, institutional extortion and lack of integrity have so permeated the bureaucracy that most people no longer take notice unless it is grand larceny and lands in the headlines. [ Read More ]

“WHEN elephants rumble, the grass gets trampled.” We are reminded of that African proverb as we watch two powerful Davao del Norte congressmen tangle over girlfriend issues, influence and a juicy long-term government joint-venture contract. [ Read More ]

MALACAÑANG should just listen with an open mind to what United Nations Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard and other global experts have to say about the drug scourge and how to best overcome it. [ Read More ]

COLLEGIAL decision-making through consensus has been a cultural hallmark of Asian diplomatic conferences. Its use dates back to the post-war days when the Department of Foreign Affairs was still “Padre Faura” to the media, sometimes cut to “Faura” in tight news heads. [ Read More ]

April 2017

THE SUMMIT meeting of the 10 leaders of the Association of Southeast Nations held this week in Manila was dominated by a non-member that was not even in the conference hall. [ Read More ]

CHINA appears poised to collect against the multimillion-dollar investments and loans it has promised to the Philippines when President Rodrigo Duterte chairs the summit in Manila this week of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations. [ Read More ]

CHINA had no right to interfere in last Friday’s visit by Philippine officials to barangay Pagasa, the biggest in the cluster of islands and reefs composing the town of Kalayaan in Palawan – and to protest after it failed to stop the visitors led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. [ Read More ]

THE TERM “influential” is double-edged – it cuts either positively or negatively — but many fans of President Rodrigo Duterte must have been carried away by their obsession to have him top the Time list of the world’s most influential persons to bother with the difference. [ Read More ]

FILIPINOS need not worry too much about the “Buy American, Hire American” executive order of US President Donald Trump issued with flourish last Tuesday. [ Read More ]

THERE could evolve soon a military variety of the OFW – the Overseas Filipino Warrior! — if the monarchs of three Middle East countries accept the offer made by President Rodrigo Duterte. [ Read More ]

A JET-LAGGED President Rodrigo Duterte returns tomorrow from his Middle East state visits to find his food security managers still quarreling over the multimillion-peso importation of rice buffer stocks before the onset of the typhoon season and the lean months. [ Read More ]

INSTEAD of having a tight team assisting him do his job right, President Duterte is hobbled by his still having to referee his subordinates’ quarreling over turf and whatever comes with it. [ Read More ]

BY THIS TIME, former police officer Arturo Lascañas may no longer be in Singapore, where the confessed “Davao Death Squad” leader flew Saturday to get a vantage in his battle with President Duterte, whom he had tagged as the DDS boss when he was still Davao City mayor. [ Read More ]

THE PLAN of President Rodrigo Duterte to visit the remote island of Pagasa in the disputed Spratly Group off Palawan promises to be a most dramatic coup – especially if he goes there on June 12, Independence Day. [ Read More ]

AS THIS Christian nation prepares to walk the penitential path of Lent, Filipino sinners are being given by their more experienced elders in government lessons on how to wiggle around morality questions. [ Read More ]

WE AREN’T so sure if we should believe President Rodrigo Duterte when he says in effect that it is all right for us to sleep with the Chinese dragon. [ Read More ]

NEVER mind who suggested it first or who had beaten other speculators to the likely relocation site, but while there is time and land prices have not become prohibitive, it may be a good idea to consider moving the administrative capital of the Philippines. [ Read More ]

March 2017

DIPLOMATIC row is buzzing with talk that China and the Philippines are finalizing their own bilateral Code of Conduct covering South China Sea areas and the Benham Rise continental shelf on the Pacific Ocean side of Luzon. [ Read More ]

THE NUMBER of followers of Facebook and Twitter accounts can be bloated by using bots, which are Artificial Intelligence assistants that speed up social media work and multiply messages by the thousands in a flash. [ Read More ]

SOMETHING is wrong with us, it seems. We struggle to exalt the nation, but sink it with our disjointed discourse. Our leaders preach unity, yet their rhetoric foments hate and divides the nation. We reach out to the world, and end up antagonizing friends and allies. [ Read More ]

SOMETIMES, it pays to confuse the enemy. But in the case of President Rodrigo Duterte talking on China issues, the confusion that he sows does not work on the Chinese. By now, they know exactly how his mind operates. [ Read More ]

NOBODY is asking President Rodrigo Duterte to go to war against China over Panatag (Scarborough) shoal. The war option is just in his mind that runs along a simplistic line that shooting down an adversary is the quickest way out of a conflict. [ Read More ]

BEFORE President Rodrigo Duterte sinks deeper into what could be a morass of miscalculations on relations with China, he may want to consider bipartisan consultations and a rethinking of options. [ Read More ]

IT IS high time President Rodrigo Duterte told the nation the full details of whatever deal(s) he has made with China regarding Philippine maritime areas. [ Read More ]

THE MAIN issue in the case of Mighty Corp., which has been accused of using at least P2 billion worth of fake tax stamps on its cigarette packs, is alleged tax-evasion and economic sabotage. That is already in the hands of the proper government agencies. [ Read More ]

MALACAÑANG should not merely be concerned, but alarmed, that China – without bothering to get its permission — conducts oceanographic research in the Benham Rise continental shelf of the Philippines facing the Pacific Ocean. [ Read More ]

WE ARE sharing a text from God!, forwarded by a friend, saying: “Be patient. Everything is coming together.”

The message appeared on our Viber last Sunday just in the nick of time. It caught us as we were about to give up pleading with the Duterte administration that we, the State and all, should commit ourselves to respect Human Life. [ Read More ]

“I TAKE no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord, but rather in his conversion, that he may live.”

This was the Gospel acclamation yesterday, which reader Elmer Yanga said “is very relevant to the burning national issues we have at the moment – the Death Penalty and ExtraJudicial Killings (EJKs).” [ Read More ]

WE ARE moving into interesting times, with the super majority coalitions controlling both chambers of the Congress taking steps to forestall their breaking up over delicate “death” issues. [ Read More ]

February 2017

WHY the deafening silence of President Rodrigo Duterte over disclosures of updated satellite images showing Chinese missile sites in advanced stages of completion on several areas that China has militarized in the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone? [ Read More ]

WE WRITE this piece with one eye on early TV news and Twitter readouts on the EDSA/Luneta split commemoration of the 1986 People Power revolt that sent the dictator Ferdinand Marcos scampering to his terminal exile in Hawaii 31 years ago. [ Read More ]

WE HAVE just been given another chance to wash away the blood on our hands that have been sullied by the summary execution of thousands of plain folk on mere suspicion of drug abuse. Let us not pass up the opportunity. [ Read More ]

OFFICIALS of coastal communities may have discovered a treasure trove in their bay areas being reclaimed by developers paying no heed to warnings that all that new land will eventually be taken back by the sea as climate change creeps in. [ Read More ]

IT SHOULD be easy among reasonable men, who we presumably are, to determine if indeed President Rodrigo Duterte has unexplained millions stashed in the bank as alleged by Sen. Antonio Trillanes. [ Read More ]

BLESS their trusting hearts, many Filipinos believe that Manila won the case it filed in 2013 with the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague disputing the claim of China over some Philippine maritime areas and much of the South China Sea. [ Read More ]

WE USED to advise a colleague who was (still is) writing a mean column in another newspaper to drop his penchant for cursing people in his hard-hitting commentaries. [ Read More ]

A HEAVY-HANDED approach to the narcotics menace will do more harm than good. Extrajudicial killings and vigilantism are the wrong ways to go. [ Read More ]

WITH the killing of Army troopers by communist insurgents during a ceasefire and the collapsing last week of the administration’s peace negotiations with the rebels, an embarrassed President Rodrigo Duterte vows to get back at them. [ Read More ]

WILL SUSPENSION of the Duterte administration’s campaign against the drug menace lead to its unraveling after piling up a grisly score of 7,000 suspects summarily killed over seven bloody months? [ Read More ]

January 2017

“AY SALAMAT!” we said in relief when President Rodrigo Duterte said on TV Sunday night that he was extending to his last day in office in 2022 the deadline of his bloody campaign against drug trafficking. [ Read More ]

WE ELECTED and are paying senators as lawmakers, not as policemen, prosecutors, judges, SOCO experts, TV talents or glorified dog-catchers. [ Read More ]

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is now using on his detractors in the Catholic hierarchy the same “shame ‘em” tactics he had employed against government officials whom he publicly linked to the narcotics trade before going after them. [ Read More ]

WILL President Rodrigo Duterte still be all praise for newly inaugurated US President Donald Trump when/if the latter makes good his threat to go after China as a cheating trader and a regional bully? [ Read More ]

WE THOUGHT the satisfaction of having scored an election upset, plus the criticism of his divisive rhetoric and his taking office with the lowest approval rating of any modern US president would have mellowed Donald Trump before his inauguration yesterday. [ Read More ]

WE PRESUME that the Commander-in-Chief still talks with, or to, his generals running the armed forces, so we are somewhat puzzled hearing discordant notes when President Rodrigo Duterte and the military top brass sing the same songs separately in public. [ Read More ]

IMPRESSED by the credentials (4.7 million Likes on Facebook ) of a famous blogger who has diversified into mainstream print media as a columnist, we decided to examine the bulging statistics. [ Read More ]

WHEN Japan announced days ago it would join the next Philippines-United States military exercise, we took Malacañang’s silence not only as approval but also as a readiness to referee the jostling in the increasingly crowded territorial waters. [ Read More ]

WHILE the Philippine economy performed well in 2016, risks lie in wait in 2017, including global financial market volatility, the rise of populism and a retreat from multilateralism, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Gov. Amando Tetangco Jr. [ Read More ]

IS PRESIDENT-ELECT Donald Trump ready to lose the Philippines to China and Russia on account of his alleged great friendship with President Rodrigo Duterte and their common partiality to Russian President Vladimir Putin? We doubt it. [ Read More ]

EPIPHANY celebrates the revelation of God to man and the abiding presence of God in man. The feast last Friday marked the day when the three wise men, the Magi from the east, went to Bethlehem to find and worship the new-born Christ. [ Read More ]

WE’RE HOPING President Rodrigo Duterte has his national security options neatly figured out as he opens the country to increased Chinese and Russian military presence with the waning of American influence on his administration. [ Read More ]

AFTER the usual talk of hope and optimism for a few days, the rolling in of a new year will kick in the idea of “pagbabago” in pursuit of a better life for Filipinos – and inevitably the topic of Regime Change. [ Read More ]

YOU have seen or survived the first six months of the six-year Duterte regime. For the new year starting this blessed day (killers do not rest even on the Sabbath), it will be more of the same – only stricter, meaning bloodier. [ Read More ]

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