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‘Martial law kuno’

Philippine Marines patrol Marawi City.

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Long before President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte imposed martial law in Mindanao, he was already toying with the idea of declaring martial law, not just in Mindanao but the entire country. Why? What caused him to consider martial law when his supporters in the House of Representatives have provided him with an ironclad defense from any attempt to impeach him? Or are Read More …

Marawi siege: US special forces aiding Philippine army

Image caption A US P3 Orion surveillance aircraft seen flying over Marawi. (Image copyright Reuters)

SOURCE: BBC NEWS US special forces are helping the Philippine military retake the southern city of Marawi from IS-linked militants, the Philippine army says. The forces are providing technical help and are not fighting, it said. President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier threatened to throw out US troops amid strained relations since taking office. Militants have been under siege since rampaging through the southern city on Read More …

Vietnam: Uncle Sam’s newest ally?

South Vietnamese general shoots suspected Viet Cong official in the head. (Ed Adams/AP).

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Once enemies, the U.S. and Vietnam have become friends over the course of four decades. While it did not happen overnight, what transpired was a slow process of rapprochement between the two countries. It took two generations of Vietnamese and Americans to set aside the bitterness they both have on each other. Why not? More than 58,000 American and 282,000 South Read More …

The mighty Speaker

Pantaleon-Alvarez

ON DISTANT SHORE By Val G. Abelgas Power corrupts. And absolute power corrupts absolutely. This tenet has never been more evident than in the recent actions by the House of Representatives led by its Speaker, Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, who threatened to abolish the Court of Appeals because it ordered the House to release six officials of the Ilocos Norte provincial government, who were cited for Read More …

Trump just wouldn’t listen

Trump-speaking

ON DISTANT SHORE By Val G. Abelgas In an apparent attempt to please his voter base, President Donald Trump pulled out the United States from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and turned America from the leader of the free world to a potential pariah in the global community, particularly in the field of climate change. Trump has been found lacking by many of his Read More …

Threat of War is Real

Gas-Hydrate

 By Erick San Juan China has for the first time extracted gas from an ice-like substance under the South China Sea considered key to future global energy supply. Chinese authorities have described the success as a major breakthrough. Methane hydrates, also called “flammable ice”, hold vast reserves of natural gas.  Many countries including the US and Japan are working on how to tap those reserves, Read More …

A communications issue

Duterte-and-Ano-Marawi-crisis

GLIMPSES By Jose Ma. Montelibano For a while, for a few days, I felt apprehension. A President does not disappear from the public scene on the country’s Independence Day, and continue his disappearance with a raging battle in Marawi. The pathetic attempts to explain his absence by some of the officials closest to him only served to provoke new questions instead of answering any. On Read More …

When We Are Fully Human

Reflections By Fr. Shay Cullen PREDA Foundation The desire and longing to be a free and fully human is perhaps the deepest and strongest need of every person. It seems all creatures want freedom. Birds want freedom to fly from a cage, beasts to roam the land, monkeys to swing in the trees of the forest, fish to swim in the seas. Humans want to Read More …

Trump’s ‘gunboat diplomacy’

Three U.S. supercarrier battle groups sail in formation.

PerryScope By Perry Diaz In my column, “China’s gunboat diplomacy” (July 19, 2012), I wrote: “ ‘China frigate leaves shoal: [Malacañang] Palace happy,’ said a huge electronic billboard, which I saw on the way to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to catch a plane home last July 16, 2012. The news of a grounded guided missile Chinese frigate near Half Moon Shoal (Hasa-Hasa Shoal) in Read More …

Drill, Digong, drill

Chinese oil rigs in the South China Sea.

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Last May 15, President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte met with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the “One Belt, One Road” summit in Beijing. Duterte told Xi, “We intend to drill oil there, if it’s yours, well, that’s your view, but my view is I can drill the oil, if there is some inside the bowels of the earth, because it is ours.” Read More …

Did Xi take Trump for a ride?

U.S. President Donald Trump interacts with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago resort.
REUTERS/Carlos Barria

PerryScope By Perry Diaz When President Donald Trump met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at his luxurious resort Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida last April 6, he was hoping that Xi would accept his invitation to stay at the posh resort. Well, Xi politely declined and instead stayed at a nearby hotel. But other than that, their summit was deemed a “success.” Trump got something Read More …

Trump’s ‘House of Cards’

House-of-Cards.

PerryScope By Perry Diaz On the day of Donald J. Trump’s presidential inauguration, a trailer of Season 5 of the “House of Cards” Netflix series was shown. The trailer – which movie critics dubbed “creepy” – accompanied an upside down American flag, along with the tweet: “We make terror.” This line is a recall of last season’s final episode, when Underwood said, “We don’t submit Read More …

Trump’s geopolitical miscalculations

U.S. President Donald J. Trump.

PerryScope By Perry Diaz When Donald J. Trump was campaigning for the presidency, he projected a “tough guy” image by lambasting everyone that stood on his way or anyone who disagreed with him. His forays into foreign policy were gutsy and digressed from previous administrations’ diplomatic restraint in handling sensitive geopolitical issues. He shocked America’s NATO allies after he suggested that he might not honor Read More …

The ICC case against Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte and the International Criminal Court.

PerryScope By Perry Diaz On November 17, 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte, before heading to Lima, Peru, told the media he just might order the Philippines’ withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC). He got the idea following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s withdrawal of Russia’s membership from ICC, who the day before had signed an order to formally withdraw Russia’s signature from the founding statute of Read More …

Duterte’s teetering balancing act

Duterte’s balancing act between the U.S. and China (Credit: South China Morning Post).

PerryScope By Perry Diaz When Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message to President Rodrigo Duterte on the occasion of his inauguration as president of the Philippines, Duterte heaped praise on Xi, describing him “a great president.” “I was honored, receiving a congratulatory message from a great president, uh prime minister,” Duterte said. The Chinese foreign ministry released a statement that it is a Read More …

Trump’s North Korea dilemma

North Korea's Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.

PerryScope By Perry Diaz In the wake of the Tomahawk cruise missile strikes on a Syrian airbase and after dropping a 2,100-pound “Mother of all Bombs” – MOAB – in Afghanistan, North Korea had threatened to test another nuclear weapon, her sixth test. In reaction, senior U.S. intelligence officials told the media that the U.S. is prepared to launch a preemptive strike with conventional weapons Read More …

Duterte’s bold move in the Spratlys

Pag-asa Island in the Kalayaan Group of Islands.

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Since Rodrigo Duterte assumed the presidency of the Philippines, he had demonstrated a clear bias for China and – by his own words – hatred of the United States. It did not then come as a surprise that he did not pursue the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s (PCA) ruling that China has no “historical rights” based on the “nine-dash line” map. Read More …

Appeasing the Chinese Dragon

Chinese-Dragon-at-Dusk

PerryScope By Perry Diaz According to Chinese mythology, dragons are legendary creatures that symbolize power and strength. Today, the Chinese Dragon is China’s national symbol just like the eagle is to the U.S. and the bear to Russia. In 1949 Mao Zedong’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) drove the Kuomintang government out of Mainland China in a bloody civil war and established the People’s Republic of Read More …

Impeachment galore!

EDSA 2 People Power Revolution.

PerryScope By Perry Diaz In the past two decades, impeachment – or the threat of it — has become the most common method of removing constitutional officers from office. It is a two-step “political” process that begins in the House of Representatives and ends in the Senate. Removal from office occurs when the House impeaches a public official by one-third vote of the House and Read More …

Benham Rise: It’s déjà vu all over again

Duterte-and-Benham-Rise

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Just when President Rodrigo Duterte became comfortable sleeping in the security of his mosquito net, knowing that those dengue-dengue killer mosquitoes wouldn’t raid his house, a new menace rears it’s ugly head in the Benham Rise, just like the fabled Loch Ness monster. Yes, its appearance in the Benham Rise has Duterte’s men scramble for ways to deal with this “threat” Read More …

Trump’s awesome war budget

Trump's generals.

PerryScope By Perry Diaz When President Donald J. Trump unveiled his proposal to increase military spending by $54 billion for next year during his address before a joint session of Congress, one of the things military planners thought about was: How does it compare to Russia’s or China’s military budgets? The U.S. is already spending a whopping $600 billion a year on her military. That’s Read More …

Duterte’s first political prisoner

Duterte-and-De-Lima

PerryScope By Perry Diaz When then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima ran for the Senate in 2016, little did she know that she was on a road taken by a growing number of politicians, one that leads to incarceration. These include former presidents Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Joseph Estrada, former Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile, and Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla. And if the “tradition” of Read More …

Uncle Sam or Xi Dada: A question of trust

US-Germany-Japan-flags

PerryScope By Perry Diaz One of the most quoted maxims in politics is: “There are no permanent friends, no permanent enemies, only permanent interests.” But regardless of whether you’re dealing with a friend or an enemy, the one that could earn dividends is the mantra: “Don’t burn your bridges because you’ll never know when you would need them.” American presidents since the beginning of the Read More …

Digong’s ‘neutral’ foreign policy

Duterte-and-flag.3

PerryScope By Perry Diaz President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte made a big splash in the international scene by declaring that he was pursuing an “independent” foreign policy. Then he declared his “separation” from the U.S.; threatened to terminate military treaties with the U.S. and proposed defense alliance with China and Russia. The world leaders did not bat an eye. But when his campaign against drug lords Read More …

Is martial law just a matter of time?

President Rodrigo Duterte and his generals.

PerryScope By Perry Diaz President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte won the presidency hands down by 39% plurality and 16.6 million votes. His closest rival, Mar Roxas, got 23.4%, which is only 9.9 million votes. Not only did Duterte win the presidency, he also took control of the House of Representatives when a vast majority of congressmen from other parties – there were only three from Digong’s Read More …

Is a new ‘alliance’ in the offing?

Duterte-and-Abe-shake-hands

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s official visit to the Philippines on January 12-13, 2017, came at a crucial moment in Philippine Rodrigo Duterte’s quest for a place on the table of world politics. Last November, Duterte declared his “separation” from the U.S. in front of his Chinese hosts in Beijing. Then a week later, on his way to Lima, Peru to Read More …

China’s colonization of the Philippines

Old map of the Philippines. Illustration at top left shows Chinese traders during the pre-Hispanic era.

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Since the early 15th century, before Spain took possession of an archipelago in what is now the Philippines, China had claimed the entire island of Luzon as her territory. However, China’s presence in Luzon was limited to what is now the province of Pangasinan. But now — 592 years later — recent events are raising the specter of Chinese colonization of Read More …

Coup rumors cause jitters in Manila

duterte-and-leni-robredo-3

PerryScope By Perry Diaz For the past two months Manila was abound with rumors of plots to oust President Rodrigo Duterte. Among the first to hit the rumor mill was an allegation made by Cabinet Secretary Leoncio B. Evasco Jr., who said on September 30, 2016 that there were plans by the “Yellow Group” – in reference to the Liberal Party and supporters of former Read More …

Was Trump the ‘Siberian Candidate’?

trump-siberian-candidate-2

PerryScope By Perry Diaz President-elect Donald J. Trump won the U.S. presidency by virtue of the electoral vote. This is what the U.S. Constitution prescribes upon whom the presidency is given to. However, he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by 2.9 million votes. More than half of the American voters believe that Trump’s come-from-behind victory happened because the Russians hacked the electoral votes Read More …

Did Duterte compromise the presidency?

President Rodrigo Duterte tells about his migraine and back pain during a press conference.

PerryScope By Perry Diaz When President Rodrigo Duterte revealed last December 12 that he’s suffering from several health problems, it sent a shock wave across the country. To his supporters he was healthier and stronger than a carabao. “He must be joking again,” his ardent supporters would say, knowing that what he says usually cannot be taken seriously. They’re used to his “clowning” – including Read More …

A Christmas Truce for all

Christmas Truce 1914

PerryScope By Perry Diaz In 1914, during the Great War — or World War I as we call it today — the British and French armies were manning the 27-mile Western Front fiercely defending French territory from the advancing German Army. Across the British and French trenches, as near as 200 feet away, the Germans were dug in. What separated the opposing armies was a Read More …

Quo vadis, Leni?

leni-robredo-3

PerryScope By Perry Diaz When Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo entered politics 2013, little did she know that within four years she’d be propelled to the second highest position in the country – the vice presidency. Some people call it “fast track” ascension; some call it luck; and a few call it destiny. But as the country’s vice-president since June 30, 2016 – just a little Read More …

Trump treads in uncharted waters

Nawaz Sharif and Donald Trump

PerryScope By Perry Diaz For President-elect Donald J. Trump, there is nothing wrong in calling Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to introduce himself or establish personal contacts, after all Trump would soon be the next leader of the Free World. A few words exchanged between the two leaders would probably have been within the bounds of diplomatic civility. But Trump, whose unorthodox ways and style Read More …

‘You cannot make a hero out of a villain’

imelda-kisses-coffin-of-marcos-2

PerryScope By Perry Diaz For twenty-one years that he was in power, the late president Ferdinand E. Marcos had it his way regardless of what people said. He ruled with an iron hand and exercised his authority like the Greek gods did. He was Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades all rolled into one. As Zeus, Marcos was omnipotent. His word was the law of the land. Read More …

In Hitler’s footsteps: From Auschwitz to America

trump-and-hitler

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Little did Donald J. Trump realize that by preaching the gospel of hate, it would bring him to the pinnacle of power in America. Or, could it be that he was aware that hate was what dictators use to achieve power and exercise total control over their people? Take Adolf Hitler for one, who arguably was the most despicable of these Read More …

Are Duterte and Trump the new normal?

duterte-and-trump-bff

PerryScope By Perry Diaz The election of Rodrigo R. Duterte and Donald J. Trump — six months apart – as president of the Philippines and United States, respectively, shook the world in a manner that differed from previous presidential elections in both countries. While Duterte was favored to win in large part due to his promise to kill drug pushers and users, Trump was doomed Read More …

Did China trick Digong?

duterte-and-xi-jinping-2

PerryScope By Perry Diaz When President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte was sworn in last June 30, 2016, the first person he introduced to the audience was former President Fidel V. Ramos, whom he credited for helping him launch his presidential candidacy. It did not then come as a surprise when Digong appointed Ramos as his special envoy to China. Immediately, Ramos went to Hong Kong to Read More …

Duterte’s flip-flop diplomacy

duterte-walking-behind-xi-jinping

PerryScope By Perry Diaz When President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte announced his “separation” from the United States during his state visit to China, it shook the world. Not that it would have changed the balance of power in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, but it was because of the abrupt – “strange,” I might say – way of which it was announced. But what is surreally baffling is Read More …

Digong was the ‘Manchurian Candidate’ all along!

Duterte, Xi, and Putin.

PerryScope By Perry Diaz In Philippine elections, presidential candidates are labeled according to their perceived political persuasion or ideological beliefs. However, political persuasion doesn’t really matter in Philippine politics because Filipino politicians change their political affiliations to suit their personal objectives. There are the “Amboys” (American Boys). There are the “balimbings” (political turncoats and opportunists). And there are the “Manchurian Candidates” (secretly aligned with China). Read More …

Beware the Ides of October

duterte-and-xi-jinping-face-to-face-cnnph

PerryScope By Perry Diaz The generals of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) must be texting each other, saying: “Did you hear what Digong was saying these days? LOL.” Another general would probably respond, “He’s a weakling like Obama. Hahaha… LOLOL.” Another one would probably say, “Well, they both can go to hell so we can take their countries… LMAO.” And President Xi Jinping would probably Read More …

A nation in pain

The "La-Pieta" like photo which symbolized the extra judicial killings in the Philippines (Photo by Raffy Lerma/Philippine Daily Inquirer)

PerryScope By Perry Diaz A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted last September 24-26 showed Duterte receiving a public satisfaction rating of 76%, “dissatisfied” rating of 11%, and “undecided” rating of 13%. According to SWS, Duterte’s +54 “net satisfaction” rating is better than most of his post-EDSA revolution predecessors, except for Fidel V. Ramos who scored +66 in 1992. During that same period last September, Read More …

The Philippines at a dangerous crossroads

Trading Obama for Xi and Putin?

PerryScope By Perry Diaz President Rodrigo Duterte’s ascension to the Philippine presidency happened at a time when the country was anxiously waiting for the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s (PCA) ruling on China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea (SCS). And when the ruling was finally released on July 12 invalidating China’s “nine-dash line” claim and that China had no historical rights to the rocks, Read More …

China sets eyes on Benham Rise

benham-rise-6

PerryScope By Perry Diaz As soon as the United Nations had awarded Benham Rise to the Philippines than China sets her eyes on this undersea landmass in the Philippine Sea. According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), this 13-million-hectare area off the coast of Aurora province is potentially rich in mineral, natural gas deposits, and manganese nodules that are vital in the Read More …

Foreign Policy fiasco

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, in white, walks away with officials following the ASEAN summit plenary meeting at National Convention Center in Vientiane, Laos, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

PerryScope By Perry Diaz It was a very strange week! Was it a full moon… or was it sign of the times? Indeed, a nation’s leader going ballistic is not the usual norm even with the likes of… well, I don’t want to distract you from the issues so let’s move on. The recent brouhaha on the eve of President Rodrigo Duterte’s departure for his Read More …

The Philippines’ three historical mistakes

“I prefer a government run like hell by Filipinos to a government run like heaven by Americans.” -- Manuel L. Quezon

PerryScope By Perry Diaz If not for three major mistakes, the Philippines would be strong today – politically, economically, and militarily. We could have taken the place of South Korea as the 11th biggest economic power or even Japan as the third biggest economic power. While Japan and the Philippines were devastated in World War II and South Korea ruined during the Korean War, Japan Read More …

‘Strategic Diamond’ takes shape in the Pacific

"Strategic Diamond"

PerryScope By Perry Diaz With the signing of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) between the U.S. and India, U.S. President Barack Obama achieved a key part of his “Pivot to Asia” strategy. Indeed, it is a major accomplishment considering that the U.S. had been negotiating such an agreement for the past 12 years. And the beauty of it is while it strengthens the Read More …

The Muntinglupa Connection

The accuser and the accused.

PerryScope By Perry Diaz In what could arguably be the “mother of all scandals,” President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte dropped a bombshell in front of Sen. Leila de Lima’s face. Calling it a “drugs matrix” — known as the “Muntinglupa Connection” — Duterte released a document showing links between De Lima and several others allegedly involved in illegal drug activities at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) Read More …

Scarborough Shoal: New game, same old rule

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua and former President Fidel V. Ramos

PerryScope By Perry Diaz President Rodrigo Duterte sent his special envoy former President Fidel V. Ramos to China to “break the ice” in the country’s freezing relationship with China. Well, Ramos didn’t promise anything but he said he was going on a “fishing expedition” and to play golf. But if there was any semblance of success, Ramos made some “progress,” telling reporters: “It’s not really Read More …

Is war in the South China Sea inevitable?

East and South China Seas

PerryScope By Perry Diaz The conventional wisdom in geopolitical circles is that a war between the United States and China is not going to happen — not now, not tomorrow – simply because their economies are intricately intertwined with one another like the fabled Gordian Knot. Destroying each other would be like committing a suicide pact. And why would they do that? Are they out Read More …

“Bato bato sa langit…”

(CREDIT: KIWI BULACLAC/PPD)

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Five weeks after former Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte was sworn in as President of the Philippines, his promise to rid the country of criminality and illegal drugs is paying off. To date, more than 400 people – drug lords, drug pushers, drug addicts, house thieves, and other kinds of criminals — have been killed and more than 4,000 captured. Read More …

International court of public opinion

South-China-Sea-doesnt-belong-to-China

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Now that the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) has ruled strongly in favor of the Philippines’ maritime disputes against China in the South China Sea (SCS), people are wondering, “What’s going to happen next?” Unless China accepts the arbitral tribunal’s ruling – in parts or in its entirety – nothing is going to happen in terms of enforcement. While the Philippines Read More …

Duterte-Xi standoff: Who will blink first?

Duterte-and-Xi-Jinping-with-flags

PerryScope By Perry Diaz  Right after the Philippine Congress proclaimed Rodrigo Duterte president of the Philippines, Chinese President Xi Jinping didn’t waste any time writing a congratulatory message to him. Elated by Xi’s gesture, Duterte said, “I was honored, receiving a congratulatory message from a great president.” Several days later, Duterte — who was seemingly buoyed by Xi’s expression of goodwill — remarked that he Read More …

High stakes in the South China Sea

Permanent Court of Arbitration

PerryScope By Perry Diaz On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), in a unanimous decision, delivered a “triple whammy” to China. In a press release, it said that the Arbitral Tribunal ruled that “there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea falling with the ‘nine-dash line’.” Secondly, the Tribunal reaffirmed that the rocks and Read More …

Bato: A hard rock to crack

Dela Rosa forms his "Police Avengers" to fight the drug lords. ( Photo credits: pinoynewsalert.blogspot.com)

PerryScope By Perry Diaz It must have been fate that brought President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte and Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald dela Rosa together 30 years ago in the aftermath of the EDSA People Power Revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship. Duterte was appointed acting vice-mayor of Davao City by then President Cory Aquino. Dela Rosa, then a fresh graduate of the Philippine Military Read More …

Duterte’s Unorthodoxy: The New Orthodoxy

Duterte and Dela Rosa (CREDIT: KIWI BULACLAC/PPD)

PerryScope By Perry Diaz With no major political organization behind him and no big donors to fund his campaign, President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte was propelled to power by people from all walks of life. He beat four other candidates, three of whom – Jejomar Binay, Mar Roxas, and Grace Poe — were funded by executives of some of the country’s top companies, including San Miguel Read More …

Is America prepared for war?

American-Eagle

PerryScope By Perry Diaz With all the trouble spots around the world where the U.S. is involved one way or another, it makes one wonder: Where will the war take place? Okay, let’s try this: Take your pick? (1) Baltic States (U.S. and NATO vs. Russia), (2) Middle East (U.S. vs. ISIS), (3) Senkaku Islands (U.S. and Japan vs. China), (4) Korean Peninsula (U.S. and Read More …

A technical coup d’état

Leni-Robredo-and-Bongbong-Marcos

PerryScope By Perry Diaz  Just as Rep. Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo was enjoying her razor-thin victory over Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in the vice presidential race, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is under pressure from some quarters to disqualify Leni from taking over the vice presidency because her party — the Liberal Party — failed to submit its Statements of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) Read More …

Digong’s bounty killers

Ronald dela Rosa (left) as a young lieutenant and Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (right).

PerryScope By Perry Diaz In the 1880s, the United States’ western and southwestern territories had become known as the “Wild, Wild West,” where gunslingers ruled and bounty killers abounded. One of the most popular movies that memorialized the bloody history of the “West” was the 1957 movie, “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.” It was so popular that several remakes were made years later, including two Read More …

Quo vadis, Bongbong?

Marcos-family-2014

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Had Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. won the vice presidential contest, it could have been one of the greatest – if not the greatest – political comebacks in the annals of politics. And the 30 years that passed since his father, the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, was ousted and the entire Marcos family booted out of the country, it would Read More …

Duterte’s honeymoon with China begins

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua presents President-elect Rodrigo Duterte copy of the book on Chinese President Xi Jinping.  (Office of the City Mayor Davao City via AP)

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Like all relationships and marriages, both parties will try to work, or live, harmoniously and reconcile their differences, if any. This is called the “honeymoon” period and it could last for a long time or it can be abbreviated depending on how they relate to each other. It may sound simplistic, but they hope that by the time the honeymoon is Read More …

Duterte’s brand of politics

Duterte-Pagbabago

PerryScope By Perry Diaz A week after his landslide presidential victory, Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte’s cabinet is shaping up: a mixture of business leaders, leftists, communists, political allies, and personal friends. On the surface it looks like a broad-spectrum government reaching out to all sectors of the country. That’s good… at least on paper. But at a closer scrutiny, it reveals a master chess player who Read More …

Duterte: Strongman with a soft spot

Duterte-kissing-flag-miting-de-avance

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Some would say that presumptive President-Elect Rodrigo “Rody” or “Digong” Duterte is a leftist, which he admits. Some say he is a communist, which he denies. Others say he is pro-China. And a few say he could be the new “Amboy” – that is, “America’s Boy.” Honestly, nobody knows that much about his brand of politics. Who the hell is Digong Read More …

Tensions heat up in the South China Sea

Strategic Triangle: Scarborough Shoal, Spratlys, and Paracel islands.

PerryScope By Perry Diaz The biggest — and hottest — topic in geopolitical circles today is World War III, or to be more precise… where will World War III start? But if you ask Pope Francis, he’d probably say what he said several months ago: World War III has already begun, at least in a “piecemeal fashion.” “Piecemeal fashion” is a reference to several crises Read More …

Duterte: A phenomenal phenomenon

Duterte-assault-rifle.1

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Underfinanced and overly maligned for his brand of leadership, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte jumped into the presidential derby two months after the official campaign period had started. And with no national political machinery, and who hardly traveled outside his city for two decades as mayor, Duterte was hesitant to enter the race. But it must have been destiny that pushed Read More …

Leni Robredo: “May the best woman win”

PHILIPPINES-POLITICS-ELECTION

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Up until a few weeks ago, vice presidential candidate Congresswoman Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo was behind in the polls. Way ahead of her then were Senators Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. who were at a statistical dead heat. But the latest polls surprised a lot of the power brokers who have shrugged her off as a “spoiler.” Not Read More …

Who is Neil Llamanzares?

Grace-Poe-and-Neil-Llamanzares

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Recently, Teodoro Daniel Misael V. Llamanzares has come to the limelight of Philippine politics. For “Neil” – that’s his moniker — who had held a top secret job in the United States, he’d be expected to avoid publicity, let alone people spying into his background. That would certainly make him uneasy because his former employer, Scientific Applications International Corporation (SAIC), happens Read More …

Can Digong beat Grace?

Duterte-Pagbabago

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Just a few weeks ago, the man to beat for the presidency was Jejomar “Jojo” Binay. As a sitting vice president, Binay had the advantage of incumbency. He used his position as second-in-command to President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III and as the administration’s “Housing Czar.” It was no wonder then that his popularity ratings were consistently high in all the years Read More …

Who is bankrolling Grace’s campaign?

Grace-Poe-white-shirt

PerryScope By Perry Diaz When Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares declared her candidacy for president of the Philippines, she confessed that she didn’t have the organization or the resources to run a presidential campaign. With no political party to provide the resources, manpower, and a nationwide political network — and without tons of moolah, which she admittedly lacks – Grace’s campaign vehicle would be like a Mercedes Read More …

Can Digong pull off an upset?

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Not only can a presidential candidate with a shoestring budget win but when he also promises to stamp out corruption, he would be the butt of jokes. He’d be called a nuisance candidate or a quixotic wannabe, someone who dreams big and accomplishes nothing. And in today’s big-bucks presidential campaigns, it’s like racing the “Indianapolis 500” with a go-kart against the Read More …

Politicization of the Supreme Court

Grace-Poe-Supreme-Court-bldg.3

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Just when the issue of Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares’ “qualifications” to run for president had been put to rest and allowing her to run for president, the dissenting opinion of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio revealed that Llamanzares did not get a majority vote because the Supreme Court (SC) ruling on her citizenship was 7-5-3. Yes, seven is not a majority; it Read More …

Why China wants the SCS badly

Oil-rig-982

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Long considered a body of water with no strategic or economic value, the South China Sea had been for millennia a “road” that nations used to trade their goods with other nations. Nobody laid claim to owning it. Except for small bands of pirates, no navies threatened the peaceful coexistence among the littoral communities and their giant neighbor, the Middle Kingdom Read More …

Brouhaha over Grace Poe’s SSN

Grace-Poe-SC-victory

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Just as Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares had secured the Supreme Court’s 9-6 ruling allowing her to run for president of the Philippines, she is facing another obstacle.   This time it has nothing to do with her qualifications to run for president but something more personal: Why does she have two U.S. Social Security numbers, one of which belonged to a long dead Read More …

Can Bongbong survive the ABC?

Bongbong, Miriam, and Imelda (behind).

PerryScope By Perry Diaz With Election Day just two months away, campaigning is heating up particularly in the vice presidential contest. Indeed, never in the history of Philippine politics had there been more campaign propaganda used and resources spent to elect the vice president of the country, which makes one wonder: why the sudden interest in a job that does nothing but run errands for Read More …

Battle for 2022 presidency has begun!

Bongbong Marcos and Chiz Escudero

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Francis “Chiz” Escudero are not related by blood or political affiliation, but their provenance – Bongbong’s biological roots and Chiz’s political roots — comes from the same person: Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. Bongbong is the biological son of the late dictator and the Escudero political clan was deeply associated with the Marcoses during the martial law Read More …

Is it Grace or ABG?

Binay, Duterte, Poe, Roxas, and Santiago

PerryScope By Perry Diaz By the looks of it, the May 9, 2016 presidential election could turn out to be a hellishly contentious battle royale. With five major presidential candidates, the outcome of the elections is predictably unpredictable. Indeed, recent presidential preference surveys showed see-sawing and criss-crossing ratings among four of the five major candidates, to wit: Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sen. Grace Poe, Davao Read More …

Is P-Noy hedging his future on Poe?

Is Grace Poe P-Noy's "secret candidate"?

PerryScope By Perry Diaz With the 2016 campaign season officially starting on February 9, the “rumble” among the five major presidential candidates and their VP sidekicks has begun. And for the next 90 days of intense campaigning – and plotting – the race is pretty tight particularly among the top three contenders: Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sen. Grace Poe, and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. Read More …

The politics of balut

Balut-eater.2

PerryScope By Perry Diaz “Balut” is a popular delicacy in many Southeast Asian countries, such as Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and the Philippines. In particular, the Philippines is arguably one country where her people not only love balut, they live it! Call it balut mentality or balut syndrome, eating balut is healthy for the body and mind… and, as many Filipino men would attest, it’s Read More …

Is Pax Americana coming to an end?

US-flag-and-eagle

PerryScope By Perry Diaz For more than a quarter of a century, the United States enjoyed the distinction of being the sole superpower in a unipolar world order after the Soviet Union imploded in a day.  This was when then Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev resigned on December 25, 1991 and dissolved the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). What followed was a period that came Read More …

EDCA: A new strategic partnership

US-Philippines bilateral meeting in Washington DC on January 12, 2016, the day the Philippine Supreme Court ruled the EDCA constitutional.

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Twenty-four years after the Philippine Senate rejected the extension of the American bases, the Philippine Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). EDCA is an “executive agreement” between the U.S. and the Philippines that would allow the American military to once again set foot on Philippine soil. It didn’t take long for the Philippines to act; Read More …

Geopolitics and the comfort women

Comfort-Women-protest

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Seventy years after the end of World War II, the shameful act of sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army has finally come to a “negotiated” end between Japan and South Korea in what many believe was driven by the geopolitical realities in the volatile East Asia. The Japan-South Korea détente began when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke before a Read More …

When is a lie a lie?

Grace-Poe-disqualified.2

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Recently, the Philippine presidential campaign has degenerated into name-calling with each candidate accusing the others of skullduggery, thievery, thuggery, and, worst… lying.   But strangely, nobody seems to mind if the candidate were a trickster, a thief or a thug. Perhaps it’s so common that it has become the norm rather than the exception to be one. But to accuse a candidate Read More …

An evening to remember

UPCC-2015.1

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Last December 20, 2015, marked the day the world renown and award-winning University of the Philippines Concert Chorus (UPCC) – or simply, “Korus” – was in Sacramento, California on the first leg of its U.S. Winter Tour. As usual, Korus presented a repertoire of music that made the audience call for an encore. And for those who have seen them perform Read More …

It’s never too late to change

Change-the-world

PerryScope By Perry Diaz In 1914, more than a century ago, the German Army was advancing into French territory along a 27-mile stretch of land known as the “Western Front.” The French and the British armies were fiercely defending French territory in trenches along a 200-foot narrow strip called “No Man’s Land” that separates them from the Germans who were dug in on the other Read More …

Quo vadis, Grace?

Grace-Poe.10

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Last November 17, 2015, Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares had a reason to be jubilant! By a 5-4 vote of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET), the disqualification complaint against her was thrown out. With the vote of five senators, Grace beat three Supreme Court justices in a “contest” that should have delved into the legality of Grace’s citizenship and residency. Instead the five Read More …

Why was Bonifacio murdered?

Katipunan "Supremo" Andres Bonifacio

PerryScope By Perry Diaz On July 7, 1892, Andres Bonifacio, together with Deodato Arellano, Valentin Diaz, Teodoro Plata, Ladislao Diwa, and Jose Dizon, upon learning of Dr. Jose P. Rizal’s deportation, convened secretly and agreed to form a secret society. The founders called the secret society the Kataastaasang Kagalang-Kagalang na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan or Katipunan for short. It was also referred to Read More …

Grace’s hollow political win

Sen. Grace Poe holds press conference after SET ruling.

PerryScope By Perry Diaz As expected, Sen. Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares was spared a debilitating loss in the Senate Electoral Tribunal’s (SET) ruling on the disqualification case against her. On a 5-4 vote, the political body granted Sen. Poe a graceful respite from her troubled past that has been hounding her since she took a quick sprint from the safe haven of obscurity to the Read More …

Can the Philippines defend her sovereignty?

The 12 senators -- called "The Magnificent 12" -- who voted to evict the U.S. bases in 1991.

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Ever since twelve nationalistic – and left-leaning — members of the Philippine Senate voted to evict the U.S. bases in 1991, our national pride had immeasurably gone up the scale never seen before since the new national flag was raised and independence was declared from Spain on the balcony of Gen. Emilio Aquinaldo’s mansion in Kawit, Cavite, on June 12, 1898. Read More …

It’s time for Grace to call it quits

Quo-vadis-Grace

PerryScope By Perry Diaz It was supposed to be a political “marriage” made in Heaven. But the tandem of Grace Poe and Francis “Chiz” Escudero – for president and vice-president, respectively — seems like its heading for the rocks. It all began when rumors started going around in the “tsismis” or rumor-mongering crowd — or should we say the Chizmosos and Chizmosas? — after Chiz Read More …

Double whammy hits China

The venue of the arbitration hearing is the Peace Palace in The Hague. (Photo credit: PCA)

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Little did China realize that her attempt to take over the South China Sea (SCS) would be met with resistance from the United States as well as the Permanent Court of Arbitration. And with the speed it took to accomplish the one-two punch against the rising superpower in Asia-Pacific in a matter of two days, it left China with few options, Read More …

Bongbong’s gambit

Bongbong: In his father's footsteps.

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Everyone knows that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. That is also true in politics; however, some — if not most – of the times, a straight line is fraught with danger that prevents someone from reaching the destination. And to some people, taking a circuitous – and longer distance – might avoid a lot of distractions, Read More …

What’s causing Obama’s sleepless nights?

Who's bluffing? (Credit: The Economist)

PerryScope By Perry Diaz With the conclusion of a much-ballyhooed summit meeting between the leaders of the two largest economic superpowers in the 21st century, one would expect that peace would reign in the vast Asia-Pacific region. But this is farthest from the truth because the summit didn’t really accomplish anything but allow U.S. President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to pretend Read More …

The 2022 presidential derby is on

Vice presidentiables

PerryScope By Perry Diaz No, it’s not a misprint. What we’re talking about here is the presidential race in 2022. But while the winner of the 2016 presidential election is still anybody’s guess, whoever will be elected vice president in 2016 would be the next president in 2022. And here is the reason why? In my article, “Who doesn’t want to be vice president?” (August Read More …

Grace’s questionable birth stirs controversy

Grace-Poe-and-FPJ-Susan-Roces

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Abandoned by her biological mother at birth, Grace Poe was adopted by movie stars Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces. And soon after, speculations began to circulate and baby Grace took center stage in the nasty gossip circuit. Rumor has it that her father was the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos, and her mother was the former actress Rosemarie Sonora – Read More …

Papa Francisco and Xi Dada in America

Pope-Francis-and-Obama-arrival

PerryScope By Perry Diaz President Barack Obama must be elated that in a matter of days, he had played host to two of the world’s most powerful leaders. Arriving within days of each other, Pope Francis, the spiritual leader and symbolic head of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, and President Xi Jinping, the supreme leader of China’s 1.3 billion people, crisscrossed the U.S. in Read More …

Is EDCA dead in the water?

Fiery Cross Reef reclamation

PerryScope By Perry Diaz With all the hoopla following the signing of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States on April 28, 2014 in Manila, one would expect American military forces to be deployed to at least eight strategic locations to protect the Philippines from external forces intruding into her territory. But 16 months have passed and not a Read More …

Lawlessness in Davao City

PerryScope By Perry Diaz Once known as the “Murder Capital” of the Philippines, Davao City once again topped the headlines when Mayor Sara Duterte – surrounded by armed police bodyguards — beat a sheriff while hundreds of horrified people watched. Duterte was caught on video camera punching sheriff Abe Andres – an officer of the court – several times while he was serving a court Read More …