Death in the Philippines

Death in the PhilippinesIt was still dark when, at 5:30 in the morning of February 5, 1999, Prisoner N94P-2347 was taken out of his cell. Four escort guards pushed a handcuffed Leo Echegaray through a scrum of photographers to get him out of the building. Light bulbs flashing, their lenses aimed at the lone tangerine shirt that marked…

No Conclusive End to Filipino Demonstrations

No Conclusive End to Filipino DemonstrationsAround this time of the year, a date that coincides with a massive revolt that ended the Marcos dictatorship in 1986, Filipinos tend to try to take stock of their country. On Sunday Feb. 25, there were demonstrations on either side of the capital Manila – one that wanted to hold steadfast to the gains…

Philippines’ de Lima Arrest may Signal Wreckage of Pork Barrel Case

Philippines’ de Lima Arrest may Signal Wreckage of Pork Barrel CaseThere is rising concern in Manila that President Rodrigo Duterte is about to wreck the prosecution of one of the biggest scandals in the history of the Philippines, a country replete with huge scandals. On Feb. 15, the country’s solicitor general, Jose Calida, in effect nullified a guilty verdict by a local court in a…

Duterte’s Drug War and Abuse of Power

Duterte’s Drug War and Abuse of PowerTrue to his style, President Rodrigo Duterte held a late-night press conference on Jan. 30 at the presidential palace, wearing a denim jacket and flanked by his men, among whom was his chief of police Roland de la Rosa, who subsequently announced the infamous drug war will be put on hold after “internal cleansing” in…

Unprepared Philippines Faces AIDS Scourge

Unprepared Philippines Faces AIDS ScourgeBilly Santo recently spent two sleepless nights looking after a friend who had just found out that he’s reactive to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV antibodies have been found in the friend’s blood and he must take another set of tests to confirm if he is HIV positive. Santo is HIV-positive himself. A peer…

The Dangerous Philosophy Behind Duterte’s ‘War on Drugs’

The Dangerous Philosophy Behind Duterte’s ‘War on Drugs’Six months after the election of Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte as President of the Philippines, the country remains divided as to whether this represents a new era in Philippine politics or the country's tragic downfall. Regardless of where one stands on the political spectrum, the tragic loss of life caused by his "war on drugs" cannot…

Journalist Deaths Down Globally

Journalist Deaths Down GloballyOn Dec. 19, Larry Que, the publisher of Catanduanes News Now, became the fourth journalist to die in the Philippines in 2016 when he was shot in the head by a lone gunman as he was about to enter the building that houses his office. While any journalist’s murder is ominous, Que’s murder is doubly so…

Philippines’ Duterte a Drug User Himself

Philippines’ Duterte a Drug User HimselfSo now we know what has long been suspected: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has a history of drug dependence greater than that of most of the 6,000 or so murdered during his anti-drug campaign.  Duterte has admitted past regular use (and over-use) of Fentanyl, the most powerful of all the opioids known. It is far…

Is the Philippines Tiring of Duterte?

Is the Philippines Tiring of Duterte?The stage, one cloudy afternoon at the military headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, gave a picture of Philippine politics as it stands. There was President Rodrigo Duterte who for the second time that day was churning out his oft-repeated and by-now familiar rambling monologue on his anti-drug campaign. And there behind him sat…

Duterte’s Long Game: Marcos Family Return, Critics say

Duterte’s Long Game: Marcos Family Return, Critics sayThe ugly divide between Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo, which culminated last week with his kicking her out of cabinet meetings, is raising concerns that his long game is to eventually turn the presidency over to a close ally, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. There is little doubt that Marcos is at the center…