Trudeau ‘owned’ the Manila East Asia Summit

A very well attended press conference of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Screengrab from RTVM video.

There was a collective squeal of kilig when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau strode into the cavernous main briefing room of the International Media Center of the 31st Asean Summit and related summits where about a thousand journalists, government officials and events staff gathered for the first press conference of a visiting leader attending the EAS summit.

The almost an hour delay in the press conference only heightened the interest for the charismatic 45-year old Canadian premier who had girls swooning over him when he came to Manila two years ago for the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation where he was dubbed one of the APEC hotties (the other was Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto).

Without much ado, Trudeau started his press conference speaking in both English and French, covering a wide range of issues for both the Filipino and Canadian audience.
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November 14, 2017 11:48 pm  Tags: ,   Posted in: Foreign Affairs  No Comments

Will Duterte and Trump (and other leaders) do the fist pump?

High five instead of fist pump.Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau does a high five with a young girl at a Jollibee store in Tondo. Photo from Canadian Embassy Facebook.

That’s the most awaited happening in the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings that will take place Nov. 13 and 14 in Metro Manila.

At the press briefing last Friday, Foreign Affairs spokesman Robespierre Bolivar was asked if President Duterte and United States President Donald Trump would be doing a fist pump together.

Bolivar, not surprisingly, said, he can’t assume what the two leaders would do during the meeting. Chances are they would because according to Duterte, in their brief meeting in Vietnam last week where they both attended the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Trump had nice words for him.
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November 12, 2017 9:49 pm  Tags:   Posted in: Foreign Affairs  No Comments

Malacañang podium suits Roque’s senatorial plans

Newly-appointed Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. entertains queries from members of the media following his first press briefing in Malacañang on November 2. Malacañang photo by Ace Morandante.

It has not been a week since lawyer Harry Roque started speaking for President Duterte and he has effectively taken the heat off the President.

The last meeting of the President with media was upon his arrival from Japan last Oct. 31 where he was asked about his reaction to the statement of imprisoned senator Leila de Lima about not touching his son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, and son-in-law Manases Carpio, whose names were mentioned in the Senate investigation of the 604 kilos of shabu that slipped through the Bureau of Customs during the watch of former Marines office Nicanor Faeldon.

Duterte was as usual defensive:” Who would believe me if I investigate my son and my son-in-law? Ikaw, can you investigate your mother or father? I leave it to the independent agencies — there’s the Human Rights, which is making all the noise, and they have the NBI.
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November 6, 2017 6:45 am  Tags:   Posted in: Media  2 Comments

Antique’s pride proudly proclaim ‘Antiqueño Ako!’

Photos from Melvin de la Serna’s Facebook page

Visayan short story writer Teodulfo A. Naranjo is turning 80 this year and he has one wish: to read more stories by Antique’s young writers.

“Gusto ko magsulat ang mga bata para may mabasa ako (I want young people to write so there;s something I can read),” he said after he received his “Antiqueño Award” from the Rotary Club of Antique last Saturday in a dignified ceremony at Villa del Carmen in San Jose, Antique.

He said he is concerned about the younger generation “nga ang interes ay puro lang cellphone (who are more preoccupied with cellphones)”

Short story writer Teodulfo A. Naranjo receives his
“Antiqueño Ako” award.


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November 4, 2017 12:22 am  Tags:   Posted in: General  No Comments

In the name of drugs again


President Duterte is simplifying the root cause of five-month war in Marawi by attributing it to drugs.

There’s a problem in this version because it does not address the age-old and complex issue of the tension in Mindanao which security experts say is mutating into a more dangerous terrorist movement.

In his speech at the Commemorative session of Asean Law Association Governing Council Wednesday, Duterte said, “How did the Marawi siege start? If I may ask you,’Do you know?’ It was started because the police went there to serve a warrant of arrest of one of the Mautes, for drugs. When they went there to serve the warrant, they were met with a volley of fire, they had to call in the Marines.”
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October 28, 2017 12:32 am  Tags: , ,   Posted in: Military, Mindanao, Terrorism  3 Comments

Harry Roque as Duterte spokesman?

Roque captioned this Oct. 2016 photo: “Digong in introducing me:’Si Harry Roque is critical but I like him. He’s hard-hitting and very straight. We need more like him to deal with our problems. He’s a welcome guest to my entourage. He should continue hitting para hindi magkaleche-leche an gating bayan.’”

President Duterte last Sunday at the Masskara Festival in Bacolod City endorsed Kabayan Partylist Representative Harry Roque for senator in the 2019 senatorial elections.

At the start of his speech, he introduced Roque to the Negrenses by asking him to stand up: “ ‘Ti nga kandidato ko ni pagka-Senador, kadtong ngari ko ga…subong ga kampanya na. Wa pa ko nakalimot kay Harry, ha. Ano lang ‘yan. (He’s my candidate for senator. My coming is to… now I’m campaigning. I have not forgotten Harry.)

At that moment, I was texting Harry to verify talks going around that he would be replacing Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella. ( We tried to contact Secretary Abella to confirm this but didn’t get a reply.)
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October 24, 2017 8:55 pm  Tags:   Posted in: Governance, Media  One Comment

Here goes the CIA plot again

Pres. Duterte revived the CIA plot again in his speech during the 7th anniversary of the public service show, ‘Buhay OFW’, at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza October 18. Listening to him are Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III. Malacañang photo by Richard Madelo.

President Duterte’s paranoia about the CIA wanting him out is on overdrive again fueled by reports that Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV was in the United States where he met with an U.S. Republican senator that his foreign secretary, Alan Peter Cayetano had tried to meet but was not able to.

At the 7th anniversary of Buhay TV show last week, Duterte said, “Now they say that the CIA wanted me out of the government. I believe so but not really killing me but they could have — they would have preferred another one. But one thing is very sure is they do not like me; and I do not like them also.”
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October 23, 2017 7:00 am  Tags: ,   Posted in: Foreign Affairs  3 Comments

Don’t forget the unresolved 604 kilos of shabu

With so many issues cropping up every day, a controversy is usually good only for a week. Unresolved, it is set aside to make way for another controversy. Nobody gets punished, the culprit gets away with the crime. The problem stays and goes on.

The Gordon-led Blue Ribbon Committee, in its report more than a week ago on the 604 kilos of shabu that passed through the Bureau of Customs under the leadership of Nicanor Faeldon has found Davao City Councilor Small Abellera Jr. liable of direct bribery for allegedly accepting a P5-million bribe from customs broker Mark Taguba as enrollment fee with the Davao Group, which reportedly facilitates the release of shipments at the BOC.

Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the 604 kilos of shabu smuggling. Photo by Alexis Nuevaespaña

Yet, it cleared presidential son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and his brother-in-law, lawyer Manases Carpio of complicity with the Davao Group.

Something’s wrong here.
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October 23, 2017 4:36 am  Tags: ,   Posted in: Graft and corruption, Illegal Drugs  One Comment

Founded on false hopes, sustained by more falsehood

Fake news. We have that in abundance direct from the President himself.

Now we have Fake Charge.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio T, Carpio.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio minced no words in his 39-page dissenting opinion to the majority decision (9-6) upholding the warrant of arrest on Sen. Leila de Lima issued by the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court early this year on the charge that she engaged in illegal drug trading while she was secretary of justice.

“Based on the Information itself, the accusation of illegal trade of drugs against petitioner is blatantly a pure invention. This Court, the last bulwark of democracy and liberty in the land, should never countenance such a fake charge. To allow the continued detention of petitioner under this Information is one of the grossest injustices ever perpetrated in recent memory in full view of the Filipino nation and the entire world,” Carpio said.
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October 16, 2017 3:20 pm  Tags: ,   Posted in: Illegal Drugs, Justice  3 Comments

Former Solgen proposes an Institute for the Integrity of Information

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay at the hearing of the Senate Committee
on Public Information and Mass Media.


I came out of the hearing by the Committee on Public Information and Mass Media on Fake News chaired by Sen. Grace Poe Wednesday stunned by the arrogance of persons hired by the government to handle social media.

The hearing could have been moderate3d much better but the best thing from that proceedings was the statement by former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay calling our attention to another form of impunity that we are witnessing aside from the thousands of killings on our streets – the death of truth.

Hilbay narrowed down on the real problem of the toxic environment: government dishonesty. He proposed the creation by Congress of the Institute for the Integrity of Information, “a sort of Ombudsman for public information provided by government, or an information police for government officials. “

Here’s the full text of Hilbay’s statement:
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October 7, 2017 8:11 am  Tags:   Posted in: Media  8 Comments