Category Archives: Manila Observer

Wrong from the start

MANILA Now the police here want to rehabilitate drug users in their “war” on drugs. That’s what they should have done in the first place. Here’s what the police did to start their war: They started rounding up drug users and pushers, killing thousands of them in the process. The international community was outraged, unbelieving that in this… Read More »

More people realize drug ‘war’ is unwinnable

MANILA The so-called war on drugs here is finally showing everyone its futility and wrongness from the start. Society is finally being scandalized by the drug war’s brutality and ruthlessness. Citizens are finally realizing that it’s an unwinnable war with deplorable consequences. Giving the police carte blanche in pursuing the so-called war emboldened them so much, they don’t… Read More »

Filipinos find surveys baffling

MANILA Positive survey findings in favor of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte continue to baffle observers. Who can blame those who can’t believe the news of Duterte getting high marks from people surveyed? With all the controversies swirling around him, the common observer can only scratch his head in confusion. I’ve written before that there’s a possible explanation for… Read More »

The puzzle that is Duterte

MANILA The notion of a Philippine independent foreign policy sounds like a good idea. But the problem with President Rodrigo Duterte’s idea is that the policy jumps from one giant ally-protector (the United States) to one or two new benefactors (China and Russia). Is that an independent foreign policy? Mr. Duterte seems to have an industrial-strength allergy toward… Read More »


MANILA Now the Australians are mad at us. I know, I know, our president doesn’t give a koala’s hoot. But let us plain citizens try to reassure the Aussies we’re not all bad losers. It turns out some Filipinos have gone out in force to bash new WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn and his wife in social media… Read More »

Fooling people through fake news

Pro-administration people here aren’t bothered about dishing out fake news. In fact they love fake news. It is their most potent propaganda weapon. Recently Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre conjectured whether opposition politicians were involved in planning the conflict in Marawi City, where a rebel force called Maute Group tried to establish an Islamic caliphate. He tagged Sens. Bam… Read More »

Duterte allies find impeachment a nuisance

MANILA Some congresspeople here think impeachment complaints are a nuisance because “they hold back development” and that they take time away from Congress’ main work, legislation. At the recent House hearing on Rep. Gary Alejano’s impeachment complaint against President Duterte, several members expressed annoyance because, they said, impeachments are a waste of time. But isn’t an impeachment complaint… Read More »

Are Trump, Duterte asea in their jobs?

Donald Trump is finding the US presidency a complicated job. Our own President Duterte says he doesn’t need or relish the office. The first is naive to think the presidency would be a picnic. The second’s reaction is mystifying; why run for the office if you don’t need it in your life? The presidency is the toughest job… Read More »

No honorary doctorate for Duterte

The plan of the University of the Philippines (UP) to confer an honorary doctorate degree on President Rodrigo Duterte has created quite a stir. What is the significance of the ruckus? As soon as word got out that UP was going to give Mr. Duterte an honoris causa, an uproar erupted, not only among UP students and alumni… Read More »

The Church speaks, finally

The Philippine Roman Catholic Church has spoken. It has taken a while but there it is, a pastoral letter read in churches last February 5, denouncing the summary killings that have taken the lives of nearly 8,000 Filipinos in the Philippine government’s so-called “war” on drugs. I have been calling out the Church and other key sectors to… Read More »