SEA lawyers groups call on Senate not to pass Villanueva bill on fake news

Southeast Asian lawyers tackle Freedom of Expression and Fake News. Photo from Ade Wahyudin Facebook.


The concern about Fake news has created another concern: in the urgent desire to solve the problem of fake news, we might end up with a cure that is worse than the disease.

Fake News has been blamed for political upsets like the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States.

In the Philippines, the Duterte government maintains an aggressive presence in social media through its Duterte Diehard Supporters led by a communications undersecretary.

Collins Dictionary, which has chosen Fake News as the word for the year 2017, defines Fake News as “as false news stories, often of a sensational nature, created to be widely shared online for the purpose of generating ad revenue via web traffic or discrediting a public figure, political movement, company, etc.”

Last Friday, the Advocates for Freedom of Expression Coalition- Southeast Asia (AFEC-SEA), Center Law and American Bar Association- Rule of Law Initiative gathered lawyers, journalists and online activists from Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines ,Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam to discuss the situation as regards the rise of Fake News with the objective of forging a Southeast-Asian Response.
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November 23, 2017 7:49 am  Tags: , ,   Posted in: Media, Senate, Vera Files  No Comments

ASEAN COC framework affirms Duterte’s policy shift in PH dealing with China

Pres. Duterte and Chinese Li Keqiang witness the signing of agreements between International Trade Representative and Vice Minister of Commerce Fu Ziying and Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III following the expanded bilateral meeting in Malacañan Palace on November 15, 2017. Malacañang photo by Ace Morandante.

The Philippines’ major shift in foreign policy which is to talk with China bilaterally on the territorial dispute over Scarborough shoal has gotten affirmation from ASEAN with the adoption of the Framework of the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea in last’s weeks ASEAN summit.

“We discussed the matters relating to the South China Sea and took note of the improving relations between ASEAN and China and, in this regard, are encouraged by the adoption of the framework of the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea (COC), which will facilitate the work and negotiation for the conclusion of a substantive and effective COC,” this year’s ASEAN chair, Pres. Duterte, said in a statement released two days after the end of the 31st ASEAN summit and other Related Summits Tuesday last week.
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November 20, 2017 8:08 am  Tags: , ,   Posted in: Foreign Affairs  One Comment

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