Category Archives: pulitika

Wednesday ∗ 08 Nov 2017

This Mocha catastrophe #StandWithMedia

Just as the last piece on Harry Roque being victimized by the arrogance and self-proclaimed infallibility of the President’s unofficial communications team on social media, Asec Mocha Uson published a video purportedly apologizing to mainstream media. But of course the notion of an “apology” could only really be smoke and mirrors for what was nothing more than multiple statements that reflect the Asec’s misplaced notions about, and thoughtless skewed opinions on, the function of media, the fact of freedom of the press, and her responsibility as government official for social media.… Continue reading »

When the #DDS can do no wrong: victimizing #HarryRoque

One of the more interesting things to come out of this short period of having Harry Roque as Presidential Spokesperson: it has revealed that the frontline informal communications team of the President cannot be told that they are doing something wrong. They will not be reprimanded. Their faults will not be pointed out. And anyone who even so much as dares call them out will be considered an enemy. These Duterte social media leaders will turn their followers against you, allowing people to call you names… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 31 Oct 2017

A Battle Against Exhaustion

In the 16 months that we’ve had Rodrigo Duterte as President, what has become apparent is not only that he is ill-equipped for the position, but that we, the people, are unprepared for the kind of resistance and protest that a President like this one requires. It’s not just the war on drugs that has claimed thousands of lives, whether in official or unofficial numbers – the world knows enough about that. What might be missed by many is what… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 06 Oct 2017

Name the enemy: #FakeNews

Many things to discuss about the Senate Inquiry on fake news, including how it had the worst “resource persons,” which also ultimately revealed how unprepared our Senators were (save for Nancy Binay and Bam Aquino) for what it is that should be, needs to be, discussed at this point in time. For one thing, as I said here, the goal should first be to define our terms because, as was apparent during the inquiry, and even more so in the aftermath, we are not on the… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 03 Oct 2017

Sotto VS #SilentNoMore, fake news VS opinion, anonymity and double standard

It’s been fascinating watching things unfold: the “outing” of Cocoy Dayao (in quotes, because was he even hiding at all?), the expected united front of Duterte’s lead supporters on social media, the old(er) hands in the blogging and online community standing with Cocoy, the Senate doing an inquiry on fake news, Duterte’s supporters attacking anonymity, and the critical (anonymous) websites pushing back, insisting that it is within their rights to be speaking the way they do, especially at a time when Duterte supporters do exactly… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 28 Sep 2017

Ressa, Amnesty International, Duterte, words

I am the last person to even defend (or care for that matter) about Maria Ressa and Rappler. I still don’t think that is a credible website, I still question the kind of work that it does, and I still never read it, and rarely link to it (unless they’re the only ones who carry a story). But at a time of d/misinformation and troll discourse, especially given a consistently discredited media, it’s important to see a misstep for what it is, especially from government… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 26 Sep 2017

Two Mochas too many

Here’s the thing with having someone like Mocha Uson as Asec of the Presidential Communications Operations Office: she has no business being there. I ignored her for much of the time she was spewing hate and vitriol during the campaign of 2016, but the moment she became a government official, there became no reason to ignore her, because public funds pay for her salary, for her trips, for whatever it is she’s doing on social media which is necessarily on behalf of and… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 17 Sep 2017

Duterte spins the #Sept21 protest #Luneta

President Duterte is trying very hard to spin the September 21 protest in Luneta, by trying to feed whatever divisions already exist, if not by sowing fear in a gathering that government expects will be massive. One can only take this well. After all, it reveals an acknowledgment of the very valid demand to #StopTheKillings and to say no to tyranny and the return of dictatorship. At the very least, it’s an acknowledgment of how government is being affected by the growing public outcry against the killings. It… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 13 Sep 2017

How we lost our rights in 15 months #Duterte

I am one of many who gave the Duterte administration a chance. Despite not voting for him, and despite having been very critical of the killings attributed to him in Davao, I thought he deserved about the amount of time I gave PNoy to get used to the position. A year, maybe? But six months into his term, there were already 6,000 killings attributed to Duterte’s war on drugs, and instead of stopping, he was on a roll, consistently egging the police on, pushing… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 10 Sep 2017

Sabotage, malignant elements, damage control

It reeks of desperation, the President now asserting that there is someone out to get his government and / or its war on drugs, which to him is proven by the corpses turning up with heads wrapped in tape. “The police would not wrap (victims). That is not the job of the police to…you wrap, that’s foolishness. So there are saboteurs. <…> That’s why I have said to, the PNP Chief is here, to closely look into this because we are being… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 04 Sep 2017

Ghosts of August and Duterte’s drug war

There is much to be said about a properly envisioned, well-planned communications strategy, one that’s paid for by public funds and seeks to serve the whole country by providing us with relevant critical information about government. And then there is Presidential Communications according to Martin Andanar and Mocha Uson, which is to say no communications, no information dissemination. They serve only the President, and the rest of us can just watch as our taxes are wasted on an office that refuses to… Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 19 Aug 2017

This is on you, President Duterte

It was a little over a year ago, in July 2016, when President Duterte first talked about pardoning policemen in the name of the drug war. He had been turning defensive because of constant criticism about the human rights violations of his war on drugs and its contingent, growing body count. In a speech in front of San Beda batches 1971 and 1972, Duterte spoke of how he is the President and therefore is not required to respect due process. And instead of addressing questions about human rights… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 09 Aug 2017

Andy-Tish, smoke-mirrors: who gains from this teleserye?

It escalated quickly and shows no signs of stopping, but the past three days of the Andres and Patricia Bautista show, with a cast of characters of lawyers and banks and bank owners, and don’t forget social / media that can’t quite keep its hands off the oh-so-juicy details slowly being revealed, is just too exciting to let go of. Or ask questions about. After all, there is nothing like the unraveling of the elite, this one with millions in their bank accounts, not to mention wads… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 07 Aug 2017

Emily Alvarez: The case for dissolution of marriage

I have absolutely no reason to like House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez — in fact he has fashioned himself as one of the worst Presidential allies, who spreads about as much false information as government’s social media army, and lays it on even thicker by being an unapologetic misogynist boor. Now, I do not doubt that he has pushed for Congress to work on the dissolution of marriage bill so that he can get out of his own marriage, and continue living with the woman / women he… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 28 Jul 2017

Writing, criticism, hope

In the five years that I’ve been doing this column, and the nine years of writing independently full-time, the most fulfilling parts of it have been about being able to talk to students who wonder about writing. Often the questions revolve around notions of fear, which automatically go to the presumption of courage: that it is brave to write about things that others wouldn’t write about, or to have a contrary opinion from what dominates the discourse. Yet it would… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 25 Jul 2017

Everything I needed to learn about writing, I learned through blogging

And I mean old school blogging via this blog, which first went up in 2008, a gift from my Kuya who had also pushed the mother to start blogging two years earlier. At the time there was an active blogging scene with intellectuals and pundits writing and discussing issues of the day, bouncing off each other, openly debating. Trolling was frowned upon, as was namecalling. Anonymity was put into question. I like to think of that time to have been pre-Joe… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 12 Jul 2017

A whiff of corruption at DoT

President Duterte has made a big deal about how his government is transparent and incorruptible. We have proven the former false. Given a toothless Freedom of Information (FOI), the threats and attacks on media and critics, and the all-around culture and rhetoric of violence and propagation of fear – we all now know that transparency is nothing but a soundbite. The latter? Well, as with the previous government, we are seeing how sometimes, it’s not even corruption that is the… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 05 Jul 2017

A year of candidate Duterte

In January this year, Budget Secretary Ben Diokno, faced with queries about the contradiction between what was promised by Rodrigo Duterte during the campaign and what he has ended up doing as President, thoughtlessly made this distinction: “Iba ‘yung candidate Duterte sa President Duterte. <…> May napapangako ka na kapag nakita mo ‘yung datos, hindi pala pwede.” It was a most convenient excuse for the unfulfilled promises of the President – in this instance about the SSS pension increase that… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 28 Jun 2017

Truth, fake news, propaganda

It was only a matter of time: after Malacañang watched its followers discredit media on the basis of the superficially discussed notion of “bias,” it then allowed for the proliferation of fake news. Of course when we speak of that now, a year into Duterte’s government, it has become clear that it also means government officials who have so benefited from the manner in which media has been put into question, that they don’t even feel the need to retract… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 27 Jun 2017

A year of anti-information

A year into this President, and after the epic failure that is this Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), I am now beginning to think that contrary to what we would like to believe, maybe what we’ve seen to be a crisis in communications IS the communications strategy. After all, look at Martin Andanar, utterly silent, getting away with releasing badly-written, ill-conceptualized pro-Martial Law videos, being paid for the bad work of all the divisions he is in charge of –… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 16 Jun 2017

Death of culture (3): Lizaso’s vision for stagnation

The shameless conservatism in Nick Lizaso’s press release about his plans and vision for the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), is ironic when one considers that we have a President who questions Catholicism and dogmatism time and again, and who insists on his freedom of speech – if not his freedom to offend – over and over. President Duterte unilaterally installed Lizaso as CCP head. But even the President himself would not pass the rules and regulations that Lizaso… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 12 Jun 2017

Death of culture (2): Cultish leadership for CCP

President Duterte’s installation of Nick Lizaso as head of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) is painfully ironic – if not dangerously so. On the one hand, it is clear that this President doesn’t care much about culture, so one wonders why he would appoint any of his men to these cultural leadership positions. On the other, one can see this as a statement in itself about what Duterte thinks about culture: anyone can lead it, never mind that… Continue reading »

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