A press conference that went awry

When young activists Jonila Castro, 21, and Jhed Tamano, 22, who were reportedly abducted on the night of Sept. 2, were presented at a press conference by the military and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Conflict (NTF-Elcac), I felt great relief at merely knowing that the girls were alive. Had they said … Read more

The emotional issue of rice

  The other day, I was briskly walking toward an automated teller machine (ATM), happy to see no one waiting, when an elderly man wearing a jacket and a hat emerged from behind a concrete post, shuffling toward the same machine. I stopped to give way. But instead of proceeding to the ATM window, he … Read more

Securing a president-in-waiting

When Sen. Risa Hontiveros asked Vice President Sara Duterte what it is in the mandate of her office that justifies allotting P500 million for confidential and intelligence funds (CIF) in its proposed budget, Duterte’s first instinct was to let her chief of staff offer an answer. The soft-spoken Risa courteously insisted that it might be … Read more

Management prerogative and its limits

Only a few public agencies are as visible to the public eye and as exposed to media scrutiny as the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), which manages the Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminals. No public facility has been subjected to more constant and carping commentary than our premier airports. The reason for this is simple: … Read more

Heroes as teachers of national purpose

Though they may come from different social classes and ranks, a nation’s heroes are different from the average citizen in that they tend to be driven by a singular instinct—to promote the survival and flourishing of the people that constitute the nation. In doing so, heroes relegate their personal lives and careers, their own advancement, … Read more


Two weeks after President Marcos issued Proclamation No. 297 declaring the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency, I caught the virus. Like a sick joke (pun intended) played on someone who felt triumphant at having evaded this deadly pathogen, the infection came almost stealthily, after a restful afternoon nap. “No, it can’t be,” I … Read more

What ChatGPT cannot replace

Whenever I look back at more than four decades of teaching at the university, I often ask myself what it was about a student’s exam, a term paper, or a thesis that impressed me most, or made me say, “Wow! This is exceptional!” It is such moments that a teacher remembers most, and which make … Read more

America’s flirtation with one-man rule

  With the indictment of former United States president Donald Trump on Aug. 1, for his unlawful attempts to overturn the election results and interfere with the orderly transfer of power following the 2020 presidential election, America has moved closer to making a decision that will either save its democratic system or finally tear it … Read more

Lingering doubts about the 2022 election

On May 9, 2022, the day the nation voted for its president, only 22,963 out of over 106,174 clustered precincts nationwide (or about 22 percent) had officially reported the end of voting as of 7 p.m. This was what election commissioner Marlon Casquejo told reporters at 7:35 that evening. Everyone prepared for a long night. … Read more

Foreign policy in Marcos’ Sona

The one thing I am eager to see in President Marcos’ second State of the Nation Address (Sona) is how he will tackle the momentous shift in the country’s foreign policy that has happened during the first year of his presidency. For one cannot think of any policy turn in the past year that is … Read more