Category: At Ground Level

Bullying tactics on con-ass, stiff stalemate on voting

Through bullying tactics the House “super-majority” last Tuesday approved, by a voice vote (“ayes” and “nays”), Concurrent Resolution No. 9 which calls for Congress to act as constituent assembly or “con-ass” to revise the 1987 Constitution. The purported goal: to change the form of government from the current unitary to a federal system, a project…

Differing views on con-ass may check federalism rush

Two conflicting viewpoints have arisen on how Congress can transform itself into a constituent assembly, as prescribed by the 1987 Constitution, to amend or revise the Charter and enable a shift from a unitary to a federal form of government – a key project of President Duterte, which he told Mandaluyong businessmen in a speech…

Solons prioritize federalism, but how about the BBL?

As the new year began, the leaders of both chambers of Congress have been talking of prioritizing the shift to a federal system of government by convening the Senate and the House of Representatives into a constituent assembly in January to revise the 1987 Constitution towards that end. Perhaps reckoning how easily and swiftly, in…

Double-whammy acts by Congress in one day

On Dec. 13, on its last session day before the holiday break, the 17th Congress of the Philippines, dominated by the “super-majorities” of President Duterte’s political allies, took two controversial actions both of which will have negative impacts on the lives of the Filipino people, particularly the vast number of the poor and marginalized. The…

Points to ponder on Proclamation 374

By signing Proclamation No. 374 last Dec. 5, President Duterte has formally declared the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army as a “designated/identified terrorist organization” under RA No. 10168, or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012. Legally speaking, however, the 49-year-old revolutionary organization which has engaged the government in a protracted…

President Duterte is gaming the GRP-NDFP peace talks

Today up to Nov. 27, the fifth round of formal negotiations in the GRP-NDFP peace talks had been scheduled to take place in Oslo, Norway. The two sides had been all set to tackle a three-point agenda hammered out in a series of discreet back-channel discussions in September and October. And by December, agreements on…

Moderated voices in ASEAN, protest rallies against Trump

Observing its 50th year of existence, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) edged slightly onward on a raft of previously agreed plans, blueprints, treaties, and consensual agreements, cited in 144 items of the Chairman’s Statement, at the end of its 31st Summit held in Manila on Nov. 13-14. As official host, President Duterte presided…

Caution raised: Don’t depend on US military

“Let me state it publicly here and now, wala akong problema sa America (I have no problem with America)… We remain to be the best of friends with America.” That’s what President Duterte said a day before flying to Vietnam Wednesday for his first face-to-face diplomatic engagement with US President Donald Trump at the Asia-Pacific…

On farmers’ appeal for land and justice, Duterte is mum

For ten days (Oct. 16-25) peasants from Mindanao, Visayas, and Luzon motored, sailed, and trekked to the National Capital Region in what they called “Pambansang Lakbayan ng Magsasaka para sa Lupa at Laban sa Pasismo.” Having camped outside the gate of the Department of Agrarian Reform (as they had annually done for many years), they…

Like Marcos and Arroyo, Duterte errs on rebellion

The late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos was touted to be a brilliant lawyer. Rodrigo R. Duterte, who idolizes the tyrant, prides himself on having been a prosecutor. But as the country’s presidents, each in his own time, both made erroneous public pronouncements about rebellion as a political offense. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is no lawyer. As…