The Destruction of Philippine Politics

The Destruction of Philippine PoliticsA week ago, Janet Lim Napoles, the Filipino-Chinese businesswoman at the center of the country’s massive P10 billion Pork Barrel scandal, handed over affidavits to a Blue Ribbon Senate committee implicating an astonishing 20 members of the Senate and 100 members of the House of Representatives. That is five sixths of the entire Senate and…

Philippines’ Binays in Fight for Political Life

Philippines’ Binays in Fight for Political LifeIn October of 2006, the then-Makati City Mayor, Jejomar “Jojo” Binay barricaded himself in City Hall and refused to accede to a suspension order issued by the Philippines’ Department of the Interior and Local Government over charges that he was keeping “ghost employees” on the city payroll and enriching himself by pocketing the salaries of…

Another Marcos Presidency in the Philippines?

Another Marcos Presidency in the Philippines?Filipino politics are in their usual state of uproar, with the wheels coming off the presidency of Benigno S. Aquino.  PNoy’s own uncle, Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr., has acknowledged that he is among those demanding that Aquino step down over the mishandling of a police raid in January that cost the lives of 44 elite…

Philippine President Aquino Faces Growing Trouble

Philippine President Aquino Faces Growing TroubleAfter five years of relatively stable government – for the Philippines, anyhow – President Benigno S. Aquino III has found himself with trouble on several different fronts and with his once-formidable popularity descending rapidly. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin acknowledged in a Senate hearing on Feb. 13 that coup rumors are circulating although seasoned political analysts…

Sensational Murder Complicates US-Filipino Relations

Sensational Murder Complicates US-Filipino RelationsOn Oct. 11, a 19-year-old US Marine Private First Class named Joseph Scott Pemberton picked up what he apparently thought was a woman named Jennifer Laude at the Ambyanz disco bar in the infamous bar town of Olongapo, next to Subic Bay, north of Manila.  Jennifer turned out to be a 26-year-old male transgender born…

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…