2019 Postscripts

December 2019

WE SEE more sense in the suggestion to talk peace directly with the communist rebels in the countryside rather than the cabal purporting to lead the five-decade-old insurgency from the safety and comfort of the Netherlands. [ Read More ]

AS A WORD war raged over the US ban on selected Philippine officials and the freezing of their assets, President Duterte rejected a standing invitation to visit the White House, barred the entry of two US senators and threatened to require visiting Americans to secure visas. [ Read More ]

ABUSIVE Philippine officials in panic over the US Magnitsky law that could ban them from the United States and freeze their assets there could ask President Duterte to call his friend President Trump to go easy on them. [Read More ]

POLICEMEN cannot get away with a “I was just following orders” defense when murder and other serious charges such as those in the Ampatuan massacre are filed against them after their involvement in a killing rampage. [Read More ]

NOTHING beats the Filipino, the eternal optimist who insists, even as he thirsts, that the half-empty glass will soon be full.

The latest survey has shown again that nine in 10 Filipinos welcome the New Year with optimism in the midst of the trying times and nearly half of whom see a “more prosperous” holiday season despite the absence of clear signs of the hoped-for prosperity. [Read More ]

VIOLATORS of human rights and perpetrators of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines may appear untouchable, but the space still open to them in the democratic world outside seems to be getting smaller. [Read More ]

WE share some of the noteworthy findings in 2019 of Pew Research Center, a Washington-based non-partisan think tank, on varied topics, from demographic and political changes reshaping the United States to the attitudes and experiences of people in other countries. [Read More ]

PRESIDENT Duterte is showing signs of addiction to “Kape,” the heady mix of “Kapangyarihan at Pera” — of power and wealth – which is more deadly than fentanyl, an opioid he has been taking that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. [ Read More ]

WHAT happens if a successor of President Duterte questions contracts entered into on his watch for being lopsided or even traitorous? The blame game for onerous deals could be played in an unending political cycle. [Read More ]

IT HAS been said often enough that Filipinos are generally not a reading lot, content with just glancing at the news heads or rushing through the opening line of a commentary, then jumping to clever conclusions before moving to another item to misread. [Read More ]

NEWLY posted China Ambassador Huang Xilian faces a tough job of repairing the damage wrought on relations with the Filipino people by Beijing’s aggressive and unfriendly activities in the Philippines. [Read More ]

WATER is a free gift of God (or of Nature if you don’t believe in Him) so why should we pay for it? Will the time also come when we have to pay for the air we breathe? [Read More ]

November 2019

HAS President Duterte been having intimations of mortality lately? His body language tells us that such worrisome hints have been creeping through his 74-year-old frame since his biorhythm started acting up. [ Read More ]

IT TURNS out that it is President Rodrigo Duterte who is not ready for Vice President Leni Robredo, whom he fired from her three-week-old position as co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs (ICAD) before he flew to South Korea yesterday. [ Read More ]

DAYS ago, Malacañang reminded Vice President Leni Robredo that trust is earned, in what looked like an attempt to embarrass her into quitting as co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs (ICAD) after President Duterte said he did not trust her. [Read More ]

THIS noisy debate over what Vice President Leni Robredo can and cannot do as co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs (ICAD) could have been avoided had President Duterte defined from the very start her functions, powers and duties. [Read More ]

WE understand the attachment of Sen. Bong Go to President Duterte, to whom he has been a loyal aide for at least 20 years, but we think it is high time he developed his own political persona as a member of the Congress. [Read More ]

IF THE HEAD sounds “similiar” (sic) it’s because it was the same head of our Postscript last May 23 when President Duterte’s being unseen and unheard of for a week triggered a slew of speculations, mostly negative. [Read More ]

PRESIDENT Duterte has a big problem – newly minted anti-drug czar Leni Robredo — and the irony is that he himself created it.

On Oct. 31, apparently in a moment of pique, the President designated Vice President Robredo, who has been criticizing his brutal war on drugs, co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs (ICAD). [Read More ]

WHO says two heads are better than one? May be so when the twin heads function as one for the same body, but not for the signature campaign of President Duterte against illegal drugs. [ Read More ]

VICE PRESIDENT Leni Robredo has entered the lion’s den. She accepted President Duterte’s designating her to co-lead the government’s campaign against illegal drugs – a move that many people, including this observer, believe is a trap. [Read More ]

THE VERY photographs and videos released by Malacañang sometimes show President Duterte fatigued, to say the least, and not looking at all in “the pink of health” as his spokesman claims. [Read More ]

IT SEEMS the multibillions raised from higher taxes are not enough to support heightened government spending and the newly acquired expensive tastes of officials, so there is a renewed search for more ways of extracting blood from taxpayers. [Read More ]

October 2019

BELOW is a letter from Jose Rene Gregory D. Almendras, president/CEO of Manila Water Co. Inc., one of two giant firms raking in billions in profits yet failing in their basic obligations to provide sufficient potable water and an adequate sewerage system for their customers in Metro Manila. [ Read More ]

THE TWO giant water firms serving Metro Manila have been raking in billions in profits, yet fail big-time in their basic responsibilities of ensuring a steady water supply and installing sewerage for their 14 million customers. [ Read More ]

THESE are uncertain and dangerous times. People are asking anxiously who would succeed an ailing President Duterte if he stepped down or a permanent vacancy in the presidency occurred for any reason. [Read More ]

IT WAS not clear if then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was addressing God or the people when he made that “Kill me if…” statement on Jan. 17, 2016, in the heat of his campaign for the presidency. [Read More ]

THE SUPREME Court has given former senator Bongbong Marcos more space and time to work out an honorable exit, if he wants it, from what looks like a daunting election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo. [Read More ]

IT IS amazing that the Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal seems to be allowing itself to be used by ex-senator Bongbong Marcos in fishing for evidence that he was cheated by Vice President Leni Robredo in the 2016 elections. [Read More ]

THE PRESIDENTIAL Electoral Tribunal is expected to decide today whether to dismiss the protest of ex-senator Bongbong Marcos against the 2016 election of Vice President Leni Robredo or to continue revising/nullifying more ballots that he is disputing beyond his pilot areas. [Read More ]

PRESIDENTIAL spokesman Salvador Panelo arrived in Malacañang 46 minutes late last Friday after a grueling “commute challenge” to take public transportation going to work. [ Read More ]

BEFORE the Supreme Court is tempted to sail beyond the three agreed pilot provinces to fish for evidence that Vice President Leni Robredo cheated ex-senator Bongbong Marcos in the 2016 election, it may help to refocus on some basic points. [Read More ]

WITH the mass transport crisis threatening to choke the national capital, we are under pressure to grant quickly to President Duterte emergency powers for a specific period to solve Metro Manila traffic problems. [Read More ]

THE CITIZENS waiting outside the Supreme Court as a kind of “People’s Jury” need to be told quickly the facts of the vote recount in the three pilot provinces chosen by the loser protesting the 2016 election of Vice President Leni Robredo. [Read More ]

BEFORE Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin retires on Oct. 18, the Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal is likely to deliver to ex-Sen. Bongbong Marcos a first-round win in his election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo, according to sources. [Read More ]

DURING storms, streets in most urban areas get flooded and normal activities are disrupted. The dirty runoff flows into the canals and rivers, then out to the sea, without proportionately adding to the usable water stock in the dams and reservoirs. [Read More ]

September 2019

THINK about it: President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo were elected together on the same ballots scanned by the same vote-counting machines. Questioning the election of one could raise technical issues on the election of the other. [ Read More ]

THERE was no need to announce to the world by presidential memorandum that the Philippines will not accept grants or take loans from the 18 countries that had voted for a United Nations resolution to investigate President Duterte’s bloody war on drugs. [ Read More ]

LAST Sunday, a day usually devoted to light reading, we buried at the bottom of our column a brief update on the poll protest of former Sen. Bongbong Marcos against Vice President Leni Robredo before the Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. [Read More ]

THE DISMAYING story of the authorities ordering back 1,914 convicts who had been released from the Bilibid prisons for supposed good conduct — and seeing 2,009 return! — calls to mind my nearly harboring a murder convict. [Read More ]

SOCIAL media was astir yesterday with reports citing Supreme Court sources that former Sen. Bongbong Marcos lost in the very provinces he had picked to prove to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal that Vice President Leni Robredo cheated him in the 2016 elections. [Read More ]

THE LANDMARK ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague in 2016 that favored the Philippines over China was a legal leverage that President Duterte could have used in his negotiations with President Xi Jinping, but he squandered it. [Read More ]

IN AN ideal setting, the protest of former Sen. Bongbong Marcos against the election of Vice President Leni Robredo in May 2016 could be decided within this year, but this is the Philippines where such disputes are a test of endurance, resources and other variables. [Read More ]

HOW many patients in ambulances caught in traffic must die and how many more billions of man-hours be wasted in the Metro Manila gridlock before lawmakers give President Duterte the emergency powers he wants to solve the problem? [ Read More ]

SOME of the 1,914 prisoners who have been released under RA 10592 (the GCTA Law) must have deserved the freedom earned through their good behavior. Should they be deprived of their now normal lives and hauled back to the Bilibid penitentiary? [Read More ]

IN HIS play “The Merchant of Venice” (1596), Shakespeare had Jessica, the daughter of the Jewish money lender Shylock, saying: “Love is blind and lovers cannot see the pretty follies that themselves commit.” [Read More ]

ASIDE from the rounding up of convicts set free on imaginary good behavior, the prison officials and influence peddlers who had worked out their release should be made to refund the cash gifts given to expedite their pre-departure processing. [Read More ]

BEFORE President Rodrigo Duterte left Thursday for his one-on-one with President Xi Jinping in Beijing, he promised to “invoke” the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague that resolved some maritime disputes between the two neighbors. [Read More ]

THE PHILIPPINES and China effectively consigned to limbo on Thursday the UNCLOS-based arbitral ruling in 2016 on their maritime disputes, and moved to explore instead a wider Code of Conduct for resolving conflicts in the South China Sea. [Read More ]

August 2019

THIS Saturday (Aug. 31) is the 112th birth anniversary of Ramon Magsaysay, who served as the seventh President of the Philippines from Dec. 30, 1953, until his death in a plane crash on March 17, 1957. [ Read More ]

WITH the region bristling with flash points that could trigger hostilities anytime, we should resolve quickly the debate over a proposal to make Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) mandatory for grade 11 and 12 students. [ Read More ]

FILIPINOS would do well to support and pray for President Duterte in his dialogue next week with China President Xi Jinping to firm up his resolve to invoke the 2016 arbitral ruling favoring the Philippines versus China based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. [Read More ]

THE POLICY set by President Duterte that any gift given to a civil servant out of gratitude is not a bribe and may therefore be accepted has renewed the search for the elusive formula for eradicating corruption in government. [Read More ]

BEFORE President Duterte flies to Beijing this month for crucial talks with China President Xi Jinping, he may want to improve his negotiating stance by seeking wider counsel beyond his coterie of loyal advisers. [Read More ]

CLARK FREEPORT – Management of Clark International Airport (CRK) in Pampanga was turned over Friday to a private consortium amid optimism that the terminal, a major gateway, will ease air traffic in Manila and help spur development of Central Luzon. [Read More ]

WITH our flawed justice system, it would be cruel to restore the death penalty and create a scenario where suspects in serious crimes who are without the means to properly defend themselves face execution rather than rehabilitation. [Read More ]

HAS President Duterte just loosened the Code of Conduct prohibiting bribery/extortion among government officials and employees?

The President may have done that last Friday when he told policemen and, by extension, everyone in government that it was all right to accept gifts for service rendered if these are given out of generosity or gratitude. [ Read More ]

WITH China saying in advance that President Xi Jinping will not recognize the 2016 arbitral ruling at The Hague invalidating its nine-dash line claim over much of South China Sea, President Duterte can still reach for low-hanging fruits in their talks this month. [Read More ]

BEFORE the Duterte-Xi “verbal” fishing deal gets the Philippine president into trouble with the Constitution, he will have a chance to plug the loopholes in the agreement when he meets China’s paramount leader in Beijing late this month. [Read More ]

IN SOLIDARITY, we feel the helplessness of persons who have been falsely accused and, afraid that they may not have a fair chance to prove their innocence, seek solace and justice through prayer. [Read More ]

WITH its reported average internet connection speed of 5.5 Mbps, the Philippines has one of the slowest network transmission or data transfer rates in Asia, but it ranks 13th worldwide in the number of its internet users. [Read More ]

THE NEGATIVE unintended consequence was debated at length before the law (RA 11202) was passed recently to expand paid maternity leave to 105 days, but some employers are reportedly still weighing options on hiring female workers. [Read More ]

July 2019

CLARK FREEPORT― Remember the old Nayong Pilipino near the then Manila International Airport in Pasay City that packed in a small area a miniature landscape of touristic and cultural features of the Philippines? [ Read More ]

THE TERMS of the fishing deal that President Duterte claimed to have sealed with China President Xi Jinping should be disclosed in full and discussed — if only to allay fears that Philippine maritime resources have been sold down the Yangtze River. [ Read More ]

WHEN President Duterte told the world Monday from the Batasang Pambansa that China is “in possession” of several strategic areas in the West Philippine Sea, did he concede control by Beijing and weaken the Philippine ownership case? Expect a debate on that question. [Read More ]

IN HIS fourth State of the Nation Address yesterday, President Duterte summarized the accomplishments of his three-year-old administration, renewed his pledge of good government, and concluded by promising a more comfortable life for Filipinos. [Read More ]

LATEST surveys indicate that most Filipinos want to hear tomorrow in the State of the Nation Address of President Duterte an assurance that everything is well, or turning out to be, especially with household livelihood concerns. [Read More ]

IT IS reassuring that despite President Duterte’s dalliance with China, the Philippines sat this week for serious talks with its only defense partner, the United States, on economic relations and regional stability. [Read More ]

ON WHOSE side is the United States, specifically President Trump, in the international human rights imbroglio that President Duterte has gotten the Philippines into with his bloody war on illegal drugs? [Read More ]

MANY readers are asking what Foreign Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. actually said after the UN Human Rights Council adopted on July 11 by a vote of 18 in favor, 14 against, and 15 abstentions, a resolution filed by Iceland for a review of the human rights situation in the Philippines. This was his statement, for the record. [ Read More ]

THE LATEST Social Weather Stations survey saying that eight out of every 10 adult Filipinos are satisfied with the performance of President Duterte gives him at the midpoint of his term psychological boost to carry out his most controversial plans. [Read More ]

AN overwrought President Duterte warned in his speech in Leyte on Friday: “Do not force me to declare war, because I have something else. I have a card which I can throw anytime. And you won’t like it. But at least it will give a sense of order.” [Read More ]

A MOST practical assurance that a high-rise residential condominium is reasonably safe when hit by a killer earthquake is to make sure that the developer’s family members themselves reside on its top floor. But that is not always doable. [Read More ]

WITH West Philippine Sea disputes heating up, the country needs a skillful and patriotic hand to guide it. Any miscalculation or reckless remark could spark hostilities among the parties maneuvering to maintain or gain an advantage in the strategic and resource-rich waterway. [Read More ]

June 2019

WITH everybody talking of Filipino fishermen being harassed by Chinese intruders in Philippine waters, many other urgent matters of life and death have been pushed away from our notoriously short span of attention. [ Read More ]

THE FRIENDSHIP between Vietnamese and Filipinos goes a long way, in war and at sea, their paths crossing at times as they struggle in their respective ways to find a more comfortable life free from foreign dictation. [ Read More ]

PRESIDENT Duterte may just feed suspicion of him being subservient to China if he agrees to a joint investigation of the June 9 incident where a Chinese steel-hulled vessel hit and sank the Filipino wooden fishing boat Gem Ver near Recto Bank off Palawan. [Read More ]

HAS President Duterte been compromised in the course of his dealings with the Chinese?

There are just too many wide-awake Filipinos asking this disturbing question. It is high time it is posed publicly so, in fairness to the President, he will have the chance to answer it candidly and clearly. [Read More ]

UPON “Order ni Misis,” the captain of the fishing boat that suspected Chinese militia sunk on June 9 in Philippine waters off Palawan snubbed a Malacañang meeting set yesterday with President Duterte. [Read More ]

KEEPING low and quiet will not spare President Duterte from the harsh judgment of a public incensed by the ramming and sinking on June 9 by a Chinese vessel of a fishing boat manned by 22 Filipinos near Recto Bank off Palawan. [Read More ]

TRUE national independence is what we as a people think it is, how we verbalize it, and how we live it.

If every June 12 we choose to hypnotize ourselves into thinking and acting as if we are truly a free sovereign nation, then – may God help us in our delusion – we might just feel indeed independent! [Read More ]

AS THE WORLD watched, more than a million people marched Sunday in sweltering weather through the heart of Hong Kong to show their concern and anger over the government’s plan to amend its fugitive law that could mean extraditing suspects to the mainland. [ Read More ]

TO SIMPLIFY and cut down the heavy spending and injurious jostling in the race for Speaker of the House Representatives, why don’t they just ask the Dutertes their choice for the No. 4 official of the land? [Read More ]

THIS FOND farewell that Sen. Grace Poe delivered Tuesday for six colleagues leaving the Senate this month should be heard/read in full to appreciate its style, nuanced revelations, plus its hints of past and possible future alliances, but space limitation forces us to boil down its 1,500 words to fit our corner. [Read More ]

IT COULD be discomfiting to see President Duterte being handed a note to conclude his speech at the Nikkei international conference in Japan last Friday, but viewing the entire episode up to his final “arigato” put it in favorable enough context. [Read More ]

A WINDOW has just been opened in Japan by President Duterte, letting in sunshine and fresh air into his chamber where hangs the scent of Chinese joss sticks. [Read More ]

May 2019

THE TOKYO trip of President Duterte might just show him the wisdom of one’s not placing all his century eggs in one Chinese basket, and impress on him the fact that the Philippines still has friends other than China. [ Read More ]

THE SIGHT of President Duterte struggling to stand and keep his step steady as Commander-in-Chief before graduating cadets of the Philippine Military Academy last Sunday should help convince Malacañang to level with the people on his state of health. [ Read More ]

CALOOCAN Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, an outspoken critic of President Duterte’s brutal war on users of illegal drugs, has found encouragement in Pope Francis who, it turns out, keeps abreast of the situation in Asia’s only dominantly Catholic country. [Read More ]

A BASIC lesson in public information to be learned from the events of the past two weeks is that the world abhors a vacuum. Suppress vital news and you stir up a tempest of speculations. [Read More ]

PRESIDENT Duterte could dispel doubts about his state of health if/when he shows up today, based on Commission on Elections’ optimistic preparation, to witness the proclamation of his winning bets in the May 13 election for senators. [Read More ]

MANY persons active in the May midterm election who now feel campaign fatigue would rather rest and resume their normal lives. That may not go well with those who want sustained reformist pressure on President Duterte. [Read More ]

TWO days after the last vote was cast and counted, it looks like the people have given President Duterte a new vote of confidence by electing all his favored candidates for senator. That is, assuming it was an honest election – not an automated deception. [Read More ]

SOME 61 million Filipinos are prepared to cast their vote tomorrow, but is the Commission on Elections ready for the nationwide exercise that could turn ugly if mismanaged? [ Read More ]

DISCLOSURE-1I have no special preference and no reason to campaign for any of the 62 candidates for senator. None of them is a close friend or an acquaintance of long standing. While I have talked with a few of them in press forums and chance encounters, that is about it in terms of interaction with them. [Read More ]

NOBODY is even sure if there is a “Catholic vote” and here comes the leader of the religious group El Shaddai splintering it by endorsing 14 senatorial candidates some of whom may not sit well with those who describe themselves as Católico cerrado (closed). [Read More ]

LIKE a bereaved family refusing to accept the reality of a member having died, we the so-called Fourth Estate gathered ourselves and our thoughts last Friday under a bold headline declaring that freedom of the press is an inalienable right, is crucial to democracy, and must flourish. [Read More ]

WITH just 10 days to go, it is time the underlying aspect of the May 13 election – that it is also a midterm referendum on the Duterte presidency – be brought into focus to help the people cast an informed vote, especially on the 12 Senate seats at stake. [Read More ]

April 2019

WHERE would the billions raised and donated for the rebuilding of Marawi go if affluent businessmen there were to take over the restoration of their city devastated in the battle with ISIS-inspired militants from May to October in 2017? [ Read More ]

IN TWO weeks, we should know if President Duterte’s “pasalubong” of 19 new investment and trade deals brought home from Beijing yesterday would be enough to calm concerns that he has gone overboard in his love affair with China. [ Read More ]

THE PRESIDENTIAL Communications Operations Office, or Malacañang for that matter, may want to tread lightly when it mounts higher ground to pontificate to private media about the evils of disinformation. [Read More ]

PRESIDENT Duterte will be under pressure to bring home concessions when he journeys to Beijing in a few days to clarify contentious maritime issues and the terms of supposedly “easy” Chinese loans to finance his ambitious infrastructure program. [Read More ]

WHATEVER dark spirit has been driving President Duterte’s bashing of God, Catholicism and the Church’s teachings, Filipinos emerging from their Lenten spiritual retreat should come out stronger in their resolve to defend their faith. [Read More ]

FROM the Vatican to the archdiocese of Manila, throughout Christendom, reverberates the message of humility and healing highlighted in today’s Maundy Thursday rites. [Read More ]

PRESIDENT Duterte has to decide quickly how to bring up with his Chinese counterpart the arbitral award that invalidated in 2016 China’s expansive claim over much of the South China Sea and affirmed the Philippines’ sovereign rights over its maritime area. [Read More ]

FOREIGN Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. is the solitary voice in the Cabinet publicly denouncing the neighborhood bully when it crosses the red line in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. Are his blasts against China’s intrusions with prior clearance of President Duterte? [ Read More ]

A CHINESE general gave a preview way back in 2013 of how their People’s Liberation Army deploys a swarm of vessels around disputed islands in the South China Sea in what he called a “cabbage strategy” to take full control. [Read More ]

IT IS best to keep President Duterte talking, even when he is threatening to launch a revolutionary war, so we can monitor better the inner rumblings and not be caught unprepared when he finally boils over. [ Read More ]

PRESIDENT Duterte is suddenly singing a different tune on China’s land-grabbing spree in the West Philippine Sea – an issue he had dismissed as just part of the “greater game of regional geopolitics” – apparently because it is now hurting his candidates in the midterm elections. [Read More ]

OUR “what if” experts are busy speculating, roused by the pro-China stance taken by President Duterte and the defense department’s signal to Filipinos not to be afraid to fish in Philippine waters infested with foreign interlopers. [Read More ]

THE PROPENSITY of President Duterte to side with Chinese in resolving conflicts with Filipinos may just spoil the chances of his senatorial and other candidates in the May 13 midterm elections. [Read More ]

March 2019

WITH most netizens unable to check the authenticity of information they come across in the internet, social responsibility impels such giant platforms as Facebook, Google and Twitter to guard against fake and malicious data being circulated through them. [ Read More ]

PRESIDENT Duterte should order full disclosure to allay fears that the huge Chinese loans he had contracted to finance his ambitious megaprojects mortgaged patrimonial assets and could lead to a “debt trap.” [ Read More ]

PRESIDENT Duterte is bound by duty to disclose to the people to what extent and under what conditions he has hocked some of their patrimonial assets to China to get loans for his ambitious Build! Build! Build! program. [ Read More ]

THE INTERNATIONAL Criminal Court in The Hague is not going after the Philippine government, but after President Duterte and possibly other individuals accused of having acted on his behalf in perpetrating alleged crimes against humanity. [ Read More ]

JUST as the dramatic scene started rolling in the public mind showing President Duterte and Moro rebel leader Nur Misuari “dying together” in a war over federalism, presidential interpreter Salvador Panelo shouted “Cut!” [ Read More ]

THE PHILIPPINES is the most dangerous country to live in? It all depends on whom you ask, what your politics is, who is conducting the survey, and a host of other factors. [ Read More ]

WHOSE word should be believed – that of President Duterte or his official interpreter Salvador Panelo, sometimes called presidential spokesman? [Read More ]

THERE was no need for Filipinos to cheer the assurance made by US State Secretary Mike Pompeo during his March 1 visit that the United States would defend the Philippines if any aggressor, China not excluded, attacked it. He was just repeating an old promise. [Read More ]

IT WAS the “Bridges to Nowhere” in 2005, when overpriced steel spans were built in the most unlikely places, making them virtual arches of gold for some officials in cahoots with the runner of the British suppliers. [Read More ]

THE ISSUE raised against Imee Marcos is not the fact of her having no college degree, but her lying about it and insisting on the lie.

Rushing to the defense of the Ilocos Norte governor, Hugpong ng Pagbabago boss Inday Sara Duterte said that since most candidates lie anyway — “everyone in this world is a liar” — honesty should not be made an issue in the May elections. [Read More ]

PERSONAL NOTES: While flying to New York on Philippine Airlines last Wednesday I had no inkling that Enrique “Pocholo” Romualdez, my long-time mentor-editor, was on his deathbed at the Medical Center Manila. He was 92 when he “wrote 30” the next day. [Read More ]

AS PRESIDENT Duterte and his foreign secretary do not seem to agree where to source military equipment for the armed forces, they might as well ask the end-user himself, the Filipino soldier, which firearms, aircraft, naval vessels, etc., he prefers. [Read More ]

CONFUSE the enemy. Keep the neighborhood bully guessing how the Yankee big brother would react to assaults on Philippine security and territorial integrity. [Read More ]

February 2019

THE ISSUE over hordes of Chinese grabbing jobs that should go to qualified Filipinos looks so simple that it amazes many of us why President Duterte, a lawyer, cannot seem to grasp its being illegal and immoral. [ Read More ]

SOME friends have been saying that they sense a stirring, a kind of reawakening, in many significant places, among citizens not normally reached by the usual surveys who now speak critically of the administration. [ Read More ]

THE SUPREMO of the National Youth Commission, which banners itself as the “Voice and Advocate of the Youth,” seems to be taking his pro-Duterte administration views a bit too far. [ Read More ]

DAVAO City Mayor Inday Sara to succeed her father Rodrigo Duterte as president? Considering the electorate that we have, that’s possible! [ Read More ]

HOW about requiring television, radio, print and other mass media to broadcast or publish election campaign advertisements only if the ad format includes a statement of the candidate that he/she approves of the ad and consents to its publication? [ Read More ]

BETTER take the word of this battered do-it-yourself taxpayer seriously: Prepare early for filing your Income Tax Returns this year even if you think the April 15 deadline is still far off. [ Read More ]

HAS the administration found in “Ports King” Enrique K. Razon Jr. the white knight who could take over the troubled Hanjin shipyard in Subic Bay and forestall the layoff of thousands of Filipino workers, while preventing the facility’s falling into the hands of Chinese operators? [ Read More ]

WITH the tax code having been amended to streamline the system and bring in more revenue, we regular do-it-yourself taxpayers better start earlier than usual our preparation for the filing of income tax returns before the April 15 deadline. [ Read More ]

ICONIC Manila Bay is being smothered and pushed away to its final sunset, another victim not only of pollution, but also of inordinate commercial reclamation masked as progress. [ Read More ]

MALACAÑANG betrayed its dread of displeasing China when, instead of protesting, it thanked Beijing for putting up an alleged Rescue Center on Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) reef, a Spratlys feature claimed by Manila. [ Read More ]

A COURT battle looms as two families of a tycoon who recently died fight over the ownership and control of his vast business empire reported to be worth hundreds of billions of pesos. [ Read More ]

January 2019

VIOLENCE has been taking too many innocent lives. The explosions in places of worship in Jolo and Zamboanga this week are the latest manifestations of the culture of violence that misguided policies have been cultivating ironically in the name of peace and order. [ Read More ]

COMES now a science professor emeritus of the University of Illinois questioning the sales talk of an American environmentalist who came over last week to urge the government to use nuclear energy to generate cheaper electricity. [ Read More ]

WHETHER it be a Chinese telecommunications big player muscling its way in or a giant shipbuilder moving to take over a shipyard in strategic Subic Bay, one element that keeps getting in the way of clinching the deal is lack of trust in China. [ Read More ]

WHO would not revolt at the thought of children as young as nine years who had been used or induced by their elders to commit crimes being thrown in jail like the usual criminals? [ Read More ]

A VISITING American environmentalist is making the rounds, stirring in his wake renewed discussion on the benefits-vs-risks of using nuclear energy to generate cheaper electricity. [ Read More ]

CLARK FREEPORT – “So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit— It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.”

That rallying call floated back from the trying days of Marcosian martial rule when Senator Bam Aquino spoke Friday with Capampangan media in their “Bale Balita” (House of News) in this bustling freeport and development dynamo in Pampanga. [ Read More ]

WE HATE to say it, but since many Filipinos seem to believe foreign prophets more than their own, we share below a Bloomberg report titled “The Philippines could be Asia’s surprise turnaround story this year.” [ Read More ]

THE POSSIBLE takeover by Chinese investors of the troubled Hanjin shipbuilding/shipyard facility in Subic Bay is fraught with security implications that the administration must weigh together with political and economic considerations. [ Read More ]

IT IS pretty obvious that President Duterte is handicapped by his inability to communicate effectively to the public, a problem that impacts negatively on many aspects of his administration. [ Read More ]

WILL somebody please whisper to the Mayor that “Joke Time” is over, and that what the nation needs badly now is a President, not a standup comedian. [ Read More ]

DISMAYED by the failure of his favored senatorial candidates to make it into the Magic 12 in surveys, President Duterte has thrown caution to the wind and openly endorsed them in what looks like premature campaigning. [ Read More ]

THERE are two drafts of the federal charter being proposed to replace the 1987 Constitution — one written by the Consultative Committee (ConCom) headed by former Chief Justice Reynato Puno and another one, a Resolution of Both Houses of Congress No. 15 (RBH-15) being pushed by Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. [ Read More ]

THE DRAFT federal-parliamentary constitution that President Duterte endorses for adoption would give a hint of what he plans to do when his term ends in 2022 – whether he would step down as he should or hold on despite his promise not to “stay one minute longer.” [ Read More ]

THERE is no way that a Rodrigo Duterte can bring the Catholic church in the Philippines to its knees — as he seems to want to do unless it “corrects itself” — by escalating his tirades against the faith of some 80 million Filipinos. [ Read More ]

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