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Senate clash seen over US bases access


Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, warned on Friday that a new security agreement with the United States, which would expand US forces’ access to Philippine bases, would run into a head-on clash with constitutional restrictions on American military presence in the country following the closure of US bases in 1992.

Posted: March 17th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »



Same tack, different results. What was different about Jinggoy Estrada’s tack this time was his throwing a line of defense into it. At one point during his privilege speech, he unveiled with dramatic flourish a CCTV footage showing Ruby Tuason—ta-dan!—not carrying a duffel bag in the Senate. Which was all very well, except that, as Leila de Lima pointed out afterward, Tuason had testified that she had gone to the Jinggoy’s office at the Senate only once with a duffel bag. Her handbag was enough to carry a million pesos in it.

Posted: March 17th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Editorial mistaken on Senate as ‘diminished institution’

This refers to your editorial, “Rice and circuses,” which appeared in your Feb. 6 issue.

Posted: February 11th, 2014 in Inquirer Opinion,Letters to the Editor | Read More »

Rice and circuses

For those watching, the Senate hearing on rice smuggling last Monday was a distressing experience. We do not know which of the following occasioned the most wailing and gnashing of teeth: the fact that the identity of David Tan, the alleged central figure in rice smuggling, was finally resolved at the level of the Senate [...]

Posted: February 5th, 2014 in Editor's Pick,Editorial | Read More »

Valuing senators


Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago estimates that senators legally get P1.4 million a month in compensation and allowances. What do we get? Lately, allegations that some senators get much, much more in criminal pork barrel scams and serious questions about the integrity of the institution.

Posted: January 31st, 2014 in Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Questions for Revilla and Aquino


Barely into the New Year, the first salvos for the 2016 election have been fired. Presidential candidates are already being attacked and, of course, the President himself is not immune (belying the “lame duck” label).

Posted: January 24th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

From the House to the Senate

Urban poor leaders advocating amendments to the 1992 Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) visited the House of Representatives and Senate early December to hand over copies of a letter to certain legislators. In that letter, they thanked the lawmakers for legislation that favored the poor and asked for their continued support for the poor. They also sought their help to get the UDHA amended. The group believes that the proposed amendments to the UDHA will address and solve many present-day housing issues, including eviction.

Posted: December 13th, 2013 in Inquirer Opinion,Letters to the Editor | Read More »

Small stuff

Sweat the small stuff seems to be the mantra of certain senators in the wake of the prime-time spitting match between their colleagues Juan Ponce Enrile and Miriam Defensor-Santiago. Short of burying their heads in the sand, these senators could only purse their lips primly and appear unperturbed for the cameras as the two threw parliamentary behavior out the window and engaged each other in language that would make even the proverbial sailor blush.

Posted: December 6th, 2013 in Editor's Pick,Editorial,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Drilon’s ‘kalbaryo’


“It was none of my doing, and yet I cannot do anything about it” was how Senate President Franklin Drilon expressed his frustration over the current blue ribbon committee hearings on the pork barrel scam.

Posted: November 9th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Casino democracy


The title I owe to Benedict Anderson, the eminent scholar of Southeast Asian history and politics. Studying the electoral landscape, Anderson described the Philippine system as “politics in a well-run casino.”

Posted: November 9th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Tell all

Unless necessity invents another excuse, the controversial businesswoman at the center of the pork barrel scandal will appear at the Senate today (Thursday), not as a visiting privileged guest but as adverse witness in a blue ribbon committee inquiry. Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind or principal operator behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam, likely won’t confront any of the first three senators implicated in the controversy during the hearing; nevertheless, the possibility of legal or emotional fireworks in a packed Senate hall remains potent indeed.

Posted: November 6th, 2013 in Editor's Pick,Editorial | Read More »

Janet at the Senate


For the sheer drama it packs, the scheduled appearance of Janet Lim-Napoles at the Senate could rival in TV viewership the impeachment of then Chief Justice Renato Corona and of then President Joseph Estrada. What Janet might say before the Senate blue ribbon committee could permanently tear apart the fabric of Philippine political life. No doubt, it is events like these that make politics more fun in the Philippines. But, as we have seen, their implications for system reform are uncertain. Usually, they produce changes in the actors but not in the script.

Posted: November 6th, 2013 in Columnists,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion,Letters to the Editor | Read More »



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