•  The Mamasapano, Maguindanao operation of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) last January 24-25, ended tragically. The PNP confirmed that the principal target, international terrorist Zulkifli Abdhir alias ''Marwan'' was killed. However, 44 members of the PNP SAF were also killed when they were ambushed as their units exfiltrated from the area.

    Questions have since then arose in relation to the operation which until now has not been answered by the Aquino administration and have become grist to the mill of political speculators and operators in Manila and elsewhere.

    Who actually ordered the specific operation “Exodus” in Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao? Was there a specific order both to the backup troops of the SAF, the Philippine Army’s 6th Division and other land and air assets not to render rescue or support to the beleaguered SAF units in Tunalipao? Was it true that US special forces and the FBI were allegedly involved in the operation?


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  • It was early morning January 25, 2015. An elite unit of the Philippine National Police Special Action Forces (PNP-SAF) successfully raided four huts in the swamps of Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao, killing its alleged occupant, Zulkifli Abdhir alias “Marwan,” who the police said is a leading member of the Jemaah islamiyah central committee. These elements of the SAF 84th “Seaborne” battalion then extricated from the area, with the 55th company of the 5th Special Action Battalion as the covering force.

    They expected hostile reaction from rebel elements in the area, especially from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom fighters (BIFF), a split organization from the main Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The BIFF is still in state of war with the Philippine government.  MILF had just signed a Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and had a long-standing ceasefire with the government.

    The withdrawing troops were enfiladed by a prepared BIFF formation and an exchange of fire

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  • As 2014 closes its curtains, so it ushers in the last quarter of the administration of Benigno Aquino III.

    Beginning in 2015, the rules will be different compared to the first three quarters where it soared aloft on wings of promises of change and reform and expectations were rather high. Now, the reality of performance and legacy will begin to be critically measured and history is poised to make its own verdict.

    The second Aquino administration may well be remembered for its anti-corruption campaign, its anti-poverty campaign, its efforts to develop the economy, its efforts to end the internal conflicts, its efforts to promote human rights, its efforts to address disasters, and its efforts to defend the national territory and modernize the armed forces.

    Thus far, it has made major progress in all of these.

    He has jailed big names in the anti-corruption campaign and steadily raised the country’s ranking in the Transparency International Index on Global Corruption. He also instituted zero

    Read More »from A transition to history
  • 9 days before Christmas, the talk in Metro Manila was not about gifts and parties; it was about the horrendous traffic wherever somebody wants to go, including giving gifts and parties. Indeed, the question of the metropolitan traffic jam is threatening to affect not just the commuters, but also the economy, social life, and even political decisions by voters and politicians alike.

    The simple truth is that too many cars and other vehicles are on the road, the mass transport system is antiquated and incapable of mass transport, and that there are too many bureaucratic fingers in the traffic pie. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) simply does not have enough authority to address the problem. Local governments in the National Capital Region (NCR) do not have the grace to give way to a single authority in order to rationalize traffic handling. The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and its attendant agencies, the Land Transportation and Franchising

    Read More »from Traffic horror: How it's taking away Christmas cheer
  • Amid powerful typhoon "Ruby" (International name: Hagupit), classes in several cities and provinces have been cancelled.

    Details from Official Gazette:


    Region IV-A
    Cavite Province, Quezon Province, Rizal Province

    Region IV-B
    Oriental Mindoro

    Region V
    Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte

    Region VII
    Talisay City, Lapu-lapu City, Mandaue City, Carcar City, Bohol Province

    Region XIII
    Butuan City

    Paranaque City, Pasay City, Navotas City, Valenzuela City, Pasig City, Muntinlupa City, Pateros , Quezon City,  Makati City, Marikina City, Mandaluyong City, San Juan City, Las Piñas City, Malabon City.

    *Cebu City will have to make its own declaration since it is a lone district.


    Region IV-B

    Palawan, Palawan, Coron, Palawan, Culion, Palawan, Busuanga, Palawan, Cuyo, Palawan,
    Linapacan, Palawan

    Region VI
    Sorsogon Province

    Dumaguete City




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  • There were times in our history when the people took the nation’s fate into their hands and decisively pointed it to a future they aspire for. These were times when the nation was in grave peril and it seemed nothing can prevent the rise of tyranny and oppression. These were the times when the people led the leaders and told them to do the right thing.

    Thus, we celebrate the Philippine revolution of 1898, the struggle for independence against the American colonialism, the fight against the Japanese aggression, and the people’s resistance against the Marcos dictatorship. However, in all these major and critical periods of our nation’s history, the eventual leaders failed to realize the visions and the imperatives of the people’s struggles.

    While we revere the memories and acts of Bonifacio, Rizal and the heroes of the Philippine Revolution, yet at the end, those who were left surrendered the fight or turned balimbings and acted as US colonialist puppets. They acceded to American

    Read More »from Where are the leaders of the people?
  • Two tragedies in the past days highlighted the state of the judicial system during the past days.

    One was the March 18, 1996 Ozone Disco Club fire tragedy in which the Sandiganbayan Sandiganbayan Fifth Division convicted seven Quezon City officials and two stockholders for violation of Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. The other was the November 23, 2009 Maguindanao massacre which just had its fifth anniversary.

    162 young graduates and their friends died in the Ozone Disco Club when it rapidly caught fire and people were prevented from exiting due to inward-opening doors. The evident errors in the construction and violations of the National Building Code led to the 2001 filing of the case of violation of the anti-graft and anti-corruption law. Previously, the owner and the treasurer of the club were found guilty in a 2001 Quezon Regional Trial Court decision of “reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and multiple serious injuries.”

    In the

    Read More »from Judging the judge
  • Politicians are invariably silent about their financiers during election period. However, it is a given that money politics plays a central part in any electoral strategy. A few, with popularity and enough political base, may win without much money. It is therefore instrumental to know who may be the financiers in any election contest. For want of a better term, we call them the “Philippine rich”.

    Election funds may come from the following sources: a candidate’s own family or clan, the business sector, the incumbent’s earnings from corruption, the illegal sources such as drug money, jueteng money and even kidnapping for ransom and bank robberies, and, if rumors are true, foreign governments and business. Contributions from the voting constituency rarely figure in the traditional electoral strategy.

    Many political families and clans are also members of the economic elite. Some of them are the traditional dynastic elites who have, over a period of time, accumulated wealth and economic

    Read More »from Where are the Philippine rich in politics?
  • Politicians invariably cite the poor in their electoral spiels. Invariably, too, they speak of the poor as their constituency, their reason for running is to liberate the poor from poverty, and that they are God’s gift to the poor. It will be no different this coming 2016 elections.

    But, who are the poor? If the official government statistics are to be the basis, these are the 25.2% of Filipinos who earn less than $1 a day in 2012. This is one of four persons living in the country or more than 25 million people. If self-rated poverty indicator (by the Social Weather Stations) is used, there are 55% of Filipinos who considered themselves poor. This is a bit more than half of the population.

    The poor, according to government statistics, spend almost 80% of their income on basic necessities such as food, home rental, utilities, and transportation. They make do with the rest on spending for education, health, leisure and personal care. They do not pay income taxes but pay taxes nonetheless

    Read More »from Where are the poor?
  • President Benigno Aquino III signed the Yolanda Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP) last October 29, 2014, a year after the super typhoon battered central Philippines. The president approved ₱167,864,788,553 of the ₱170.7 billion submitted by Secretary Panfilo Lacson.

    The approval came after much haggling, bureaucratic infighting, and public and media pressure. The 18,400 projects listed in the CRRP came from submissions of local government units in the 171 affected cities and municipalities in 14 provinces and 6 regions in central Philippines.

    This is an impressive amount, and rightly so. However, is it comparable to the “national master plan” envisaged to be necessary for climate adaptation, disaster mitigation, and sustainable development? The answer, unfortunately, is no.

    Typhoon Yolanda represents what scientists have called the “new normal” in our country’s typhoon experience, as part of the impact of the global warming trend globally. At least once a year, there

    Read More »from How politics affected PH's Yolanda recovery


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