In this season of victory and loss, among the prominent losers are two brothers who had thought nothing of again seeking public office despite being charged with murder. Joel Reyes, former governor of Palawan, and his younger brother Mario Reyes, former mayor of Coron, had filed certificates of candidacy for mayor and vice mayor of Coron, respectively, despite being indicted for the murder on Jan. 24, 2011, of broadcaster and environment activist Gerry Ortega. Both brothers failed in their effort to once more enjoy big-guy titles, but that’s not the noteworthy issue in this chapter of their saga.
At the second presidential debate sanctioned by the Commission on Elections and held in Cebu on March 20, the candidates were asked to answer three questions without explanation, simply by raising their hands if they were in favor and keeping still if they were against. It was a made-for-TV format, but the exercise proved to be a welcome respite from the often heated exchanges that characterized the debate.
Moments of poignancy and commiseration are rare in political debates, an arena where the deployment of the killer instinct against the minutest vulnerability displayed by an opponent is the norm. But last Sunday’s (April 24) presidential face-off offered such unexpected moments, specifically whenever Miriam Defensor Santiago took the floor.
The alleged money laundering involving a local bank and casinos is becoming a huge embarrassment to the Philippines, it being just a part of what is described as the biggest modern cybertheft in the world, worth $1 billion.
As a symbol of military force projection, nothing comes close to the aircraft carrier—especially the top-of-the-line American variety.
Unlike other electorates with directly elected presidents, Filipino voters have limited experience with the presidential debate. In France and in the United States, for instance, debates featuring presidential candidates are not only par for the course; they are, to shift metaphors, part of the course itself.
It’s acknowledged that tourism can easily attract private investors, generate jobs, and eventually help fuel economic growth. Blessed with more than 7,000 islands, the Philippines is home to some of the world’s best beaches and summer destinations, among them Boracay and Palawan. This landscape should have made tourism a major economic pillar and dollar earner. But sadly, the Philippines lags behind its neighbors in developing and benefiting much from it.
An encouraging and enduring image from last week’s Apec meetings in Manila was that of Filipino engineer Aisa Mijeno holding her own in a lively panel with US President Barack Obama and Alibaba founder Jack Ma, as they discussed SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and the private sector’s role in mitigating climate change.
The noise of last week’s campaign sorties drowned out a high-water mark in the country’s science and technology hub: the launch of Diwata-1, the first Philippine-made microsatellite.
The words of a survivor of the brutal attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris describe the horror in nausea-inducing detail. “It looked like an abattoir. I was wading through blood. It was a centimeter deep in places. I had to clamber over dead bodies to get out,” Michael O’Connor told the BBC.