Category Archives: On Distant Shore

Diplomacy not enough in sea row

The Philippines was both being diplomatic and showing signs of weakness when it said it would not respond to any provocation from China in its widening rift with the Asian superpower over disputed islands in the South China Sea. Instead of aggressively opposing any illegal action of the Chinese as the Vietnamese are doing, it… Read More »

Weak Asean, US response emboldens China

With the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reduced to a toothless tiger that could only urge “restraint” and express “serious concern” over developments in the region without even mentioning the name of China, we can now expect Asia’s bully to become even more assertive in its claim to nearly the entire South China Sea.… Read More »

Much ado about the Napoles list

It has been almost three weeks since alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles handed over a written affidavit to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and despite persistent calls for her to make public the Napoles disclosures, De Lima has refused to do so, claiming that she still had to vet the allegations on… Read More »

Napoles as state witness?

Please say it ain’t so, Secretary De Lima.   If the Aquino administration is really serious in going after the corrupt in Philippine society and in eliminating graft and corruption in the country, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has to assure the Filipino people that the government would prosecute all those who were involved in… Read More »

Enough with selective justice!

Here we go again.   After Budget Secretary Florencio Abad was tagged as the alleged mentor of businesswoman Janet Napoles in designing the P10-billion pork barrel scam, Malacanang spokespersons were quick to point out that Abad still enjoys the trust and confidence of President Aquino.   Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said Aquino would not be… Read More »

Gov’t can’t ignore $30-M extort claim

Now I can understand why Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma has become Malacanang’s preferred spokesperson. Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda is too confrontational and his biases and prejudices are just too obvious for a person speaking on behalf of the President. In contrast, Coloma is cool, cautious and diplomatic.   Take the case of the allegations of… Read More »

PH needs to build alliances

With its access to Philippine military bases a foregone conclusion, the United States has recently been very aggressive in its stance against China’s aggression in Asia and the Pacific.   News reports have been coming out the past few days from Washington of State Department, Defense Department and Congress officials, saying in explicit terms that… Read More »

What about the constitutional barriers?

The signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front expectedly drew mixed reactions from various sectors.   While foreign governments and local business leaders welcomed the peace agreement, in the words of Vice President Jojo Binay, as “the first step in the long journey… Read More »

‘They just lie there, and they die there’

Two feisty woman officials reminded us last week why campaigns against corruption in the Philippines never succeed. They don’t succeed because after the corrupt acts are exposed and publicized, there is no follow-up, much less prosecution of the accused.   Chairman Grace Pulido-Tan of the Commission on Audit (COA) has ordered the agency’s officials to… Read More »

The US bases will be back

In my previous column, I said the Philippines should expect more aggressive bullying by China in the disputed seas in the coming weeks because the Crimea crisis has divided the focus and forces of the United States between that part of Europe and Asia.   Indeed, on March 9, just a few days after Russian… Read More »