Philippine VP Runs into Corruption Roadblock

Philippine VP Runs into Corruption RoadblockUntil very recently, Philippine Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay appeared to be cruising toward the top job in the 2016 general election, when President Benigno S. Aquino III must step down by law.  Aquino’s close friend, political ally and designated successor, Manuel A.“Mar” Roxas, has largely imploded, political analysts in Manila say, having shown himself…

China Warning Batters Philippines Tourism

China Warning Batters Philippines TourismChina’s recent warning against travel to the Philippines has delivered a sudden, sharp blow to Philippine tourism as visitors are down and AirAsia Zest, a budget carrier, suspended its chartered flights from China to Kalibo, the airport serving the resort island of Boracay. About 8,000 Chinese tourists canceled their Boracay reservations a day after China…

Philippine President Aquino Loses the Plot

Philippine President Aquino Loses the PlotAfter a strong first term that endeared his country to international investors, the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III is losing both its momentum and its reputation for responsible government. Concern is rising that his administration may end up in yet another false dawn for better governance in the Philippines. Aquino, the 62-year-old scion…

Philippine President Aquino’s Popularity Fades

Philippine President Aquino’s Popularity FadesPhilippine President Benigno Aquino III has run into heavy going, with his popularity rating falling to a personal low in the latest Social Weather Survey, which found 55 percent satisfied with his performance and 30 percent dissatisfied. That is 11 points off his previous performance. Another survey puts his approval rating at just 25 percent.…

Philippines’ Pork Barrel Scandal Names Three Heavyweights

Philippines’ Pork Barrel Scandal Names Three HeavyweightsAlthough the Filipino Ombudsman last week preferred charges against three of the country’s most powerful lawmakers, Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon “Bong” Revilla and Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, they may never see inside a jail cell, given the country’s culture of impunity and the limited resources of the prosecutors. The three each face one count of plunder…

Manila Gets Its US Protector Back

Manila Gets Its US Protector BackWay out in the South China Sea, a Philippine Air Force twin-engine Islander aircraft regularly drones out to drop parachutes bearing two dozen takeout meals for a Marine platoon stationed on a beached, dilapidated WWII tank carrier. It has come to symbolize the Philippines’ stance as the underdog in a territorial dispute with China. In…

Mr. Obama’s Asian Vacation

Mr. Obama’s Asian VacationUS President Barack Obama ended his four-nation tour of Asia last week, insisting, yet again, that the US is not out to confront China. “Our goal is not to contain China,” he said at a press conference in Manila, just before he left. “Our goal is to make sure international rules and norms are respected,…

Filipina Reformers Collect Powerful Scalps

Filipina Reformers Collect Powerful ScalpsThe decision by a five-member special panel to prefer charges against three of the Philippines’ most prominent members of the 24-person Senate is almost unprecedented, and it leaves the Philippine political community in disarray. Indictments of as many as seven politicians are expected eventually, analysts in Manila say. Although others have been indicted in the…

US Nears Defense Pact with Philippines

US Nears Defense Pact with PhilippinesIn 1991, when the Philippine Congress forced the United States out of the military bases that they had occupied since 1898, they left. But when they did, they went to Leyte and picked up the bronze statues of Gen. Douglas MacArthur and the landing party that had accompanied him on MacArthur’s famed October, 1944 return…

Historic Peace Agreement in Philippines

Historic Peace Agreement in PhilippinesThe signing of a comprehensive peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Thursday is a major triumph for President Benigno S. Aquino III, a landmark accord that hopefully will put an end to one of the longest-running armed conflicts in Southeast Asia. "I will not let peace be snatched from…