Posts Tagged ‘Social Weather Stations’

Philippines: 68% of Filipinos worry about arrest — “The Philippines has become a China-style police state the people do not want.”

September 23, 2018

Nobody should be arrested or die because the police don’t like the way they are standing…

Anti-human rights view highest in military-ruled Mindanao

MANILA, Philippines — Three in five Filipinos view police arrest of idlers or “tambays” (vagrants) as a violation of human rights, a new Social Weather Stations poll revealed.

Results of the survey released Sunday showed that 60 percent of adult Filipinos agreed (32 percent strongly agree and 28 percent somewhat agree) that the arrests are against human rights.

On the other hand, 26 percent (14 percent somewhat disagree and 11 percent strongly disagree) disagreed. The remaining 14 percent are undecided.

Mindanao was placed under martial law after ISIS-inspired terrorists laid siege to the lakeside Marawi City on May 23, 2017.

The second quarter SWS survey was conducted from June 27-30, 2018 using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 Filipino adults nationwide: 300 each in Metro Manila, Balance of Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao. It has a sampling error margin of ±3 percent for national percentages and ±6 percent each for Metro Manila, Balance of Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.

68% of Pinoys worry about arrest

The SWS survey also showed that 68 percent (34 percent very worried and 34 percent somewhat worried) of Filipinos are worried they or someone they know might get arrested for loitering.

Of those surveyed, however, 92 percent said they do not know anyone who has been arrested for loitering while 9 percent know someone. Two respondents from Metro Manila (0.1 percent) said they have experienced it themselves.

READ: What you should do if cops pick you up in Duterte’s ‘tambay’ crackdown

The worry of getting arrested by police for loitering is higher in Metro Manila (78 percent), urban areas (73 percent) and among18-24-year-olds (80 percent).

The proportion of those who know anyone who has been arrested by the police for loitering is highest in Metro Manila at 26 percent, followed by Mindanao at 9 percent, Balance Luzon at 3 percent and the Visayas at 3 percent.

More in Metro Manila feel crackdown targets poor

Fifty-eight percent of respondents say the police do not discriminate by class when arresting “tambays” while 40 percent said only the poor would be arrested and 2 percent said only the rich would be arrested.

But the opinion that it targets the poor is stronger in Metro Manila (63 percent), urban areas (47 percent) and among college graduates (46 percent). This view was followed by Balance Luzon at 43 percent, the Visayas at 39 percent and Mindanao at 21 percent.

On the flipside, the proportion of those who say that the police do not choose a class is highest in Mindanao at 77 percent followed by the Visayas at 57 percent, Balance Luzon at 55 percent and Metro Manila at 37 percent.

Duterte admin and protection of human rights

The proportion of those who said only the poor would be arrested in the crackdown on “tambays” is higher among those who are dissatisfied with the Duterte administration’s performance on protecting human rights.

Among those who are dissatisfied with the Duterte government’s moves in human rights protection, 59 percent said only the poor would be arrested in “Oplan Tambay” compared to 46 percent among those who are undecided and 33 percent among those who are satisfied.

On the other hand, the proportion of those who said the police do not choose by class when arresting loiterers was 64 percent among those who are satisfied with the Duterte government’s human rights protection. This was followed by 52 percent among those who are undecided and 40 percent among those who are dissatisfied.

Duterte’s order to clear streets of “tambays” had come under fire after the death while in detention of 22-year-old Genesis Argoncillo who was arrested in an anti-loitering operation of Quezon City policemen last June.

Argoncillo was arrested in Novaliches for not wearing a shirt outside his house in Area 5B Barangay Sauyo. His family alleged that he was beaten while in detention and died on June 19.

The Commission on Human Rights had launched an investigation into his death.



Shirtless ‘tambay’ or ‘troublemaker’: Why was Tisoy arrested?

Angel Movido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 21 2018 08:43 PM

James stands beside the casket of his brother, Genesis Argoncillo, in Novaliches, Quezon City. Argoncillo had been arrested by Quezon City police operatives on charges of alarm and scandal, and died in detention 4 days after.

Police response or Oplan Galugad?

MANILA – A concerned resident last Friday evening allegedly reported Genesis “Tisoy” Argoncillo for being drunk and picking up a fight with his neighbors in Novaliches, Quezon City’s chief of police said Thursday.

Argoncillo was held at the Quezon City Police District Station 4 that night for charges of alarm and scandal. Four days later, he was found motionless in his detention cell and was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.

Supt. Joselito Esquivel, chief of the Quezon City police, insisted that Tisoy was arrested because of the concerned citizen’s report and not because of their “Oplan Galugad” operations, where they go to the streets to check on people violating city ordinances.

However, Supt. Carlito Grijaldo, Quezon City Police Station 4 Commander, earlier claimed Argoncillo was arrested for alarm and scandal during the conduct of Oplan Galugad, citing a police report which was handed to ABS-CBN News.

Portion of the police report the QCPD Station 4 gave to ABS-CBN News

The family, meanwhile, claims Tisoy, who was waiting for his cellphone load in a store next to their house, was arrested for being half-naked. Neighbors claim that the police made him hold empty beer bottles left by someone else, and also took photos of him for evidence.

“Kusa ‘yun sumama sa kanila. Tinawag lang niya tiyahin ko, ‘tita, may mga pulis dito, sabay lang ako, nakahubad kasi ako,'” said his elder sister, Marilou, who went with Tisoy when the police brought him to the barangay hall that Friday evening.

(He willingly went with the police. He just told his auntie, ‘I’ll just go with the police because I have no shirt on.’)

“Ang maingay rito yung bidyoke, ‘yung kantahan… Si Tisoy na ‘yan bihira bumaba ng bahay ‘yun… Hindi nag iingay yun,” 80-year-old Alfonso Ascura, a neighbor of the Argoncillos added.

(Videokes bother us here, not Tisoy who does not even go out of the house often. He does not make noises that would bother us.)

Marilou Argoncillo couldn’t help but cry remembering the fate of her younger brother, Tisoy.

Arrested for scandal or for being half-naked?

ABS-CBN News obtained documents from Barangay Sauyo that would show Tisoy was not the only one arrested that night, contrary to the police’s claims that a concerned resident specifically complained about him.

Tisoy’s full name, Genesis Argoncillo was on a document that read “Turn Over of Cited Person” and had a listed violation of “half-naked.” His name, however, was erased, together with a certain Jerson Cappelan.

The barangay’s logbook also had the turn-over documented. Argoncillo and Cappelan’s name were erased with liquid paper. Emmanuel Jalandoni, a barangay peace keeping security officer, confirmed that Argoncillo and 6 others were brought to them.

The officer on duty that night, Jesus Ortego, refused a face-to-face interview with the media. But he told Jalandoni that he had no idea why the document had markings on the said names. Jalandoni further said that Argoncillo had a clean record.

He explained that if barangay protocols were to be followed, warnings are usually given during the first offense for being half-naked. In this case, he added, Argoncillo should’ve been sent home that night.

Argoncillo was instead brought to the police station, Station 4, where he was detained, his sister Marilou recalled. The next day, she was told her younger brother was charged of alarm and scandal.

Mauled to death or death due to congestion?

A photo of Genesis Argoncillo when he was arrested last Friday night. Photo from Marilou Argoncillo’s Facebook page

Marilou visited Tisoy everyday, and her brother would tell her that he was being mauled by other detainees. She recalled her brother getting weaker each visit until on Tuesday, she was told his brother was rushed to the hospital.

The Quezon City Police insisted in a statement that Argoncillo complained of shortness of breath and was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.The doctor in the hospital “certified that there were no signs of external injuries.”

But a copy of the death certificate obtained by ABS-CBN News from the family on Wednesday showed that Argoncillo’s cause of death was “multiple blunt force trauma to his neck, head, chest and upper extremities.”

The Argoncillos took to social media their anger over the conflicting tales of what happened to their departed loved one. They posted photos of Tisoy’s cadaver and pointed out the alleged marks of beating in his body.

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The family believes the photos are enough evidence to prove foul play but police said complaints must be filed and must be backed up with witnesses and evidence. Cops insisted Argoncillo died of difficulty in breathing because of jail congestion.

“You have to complain to enforce your right, that’s my advice. Some people will just put up in the news, nagse-spread ‘yan, nagiging fake news na bali ang tadyang, may sugat-sugat ganito,” said Supt. Esquivel.

“Even the doctor that pronounced him dead, signed his name that there was no external injury at the time of death. Where are these wounds that they are telling? But anyway, we respect them due to grief they can file a complaint,” he added.

Grijaldo of Station 4 earlier said Argoncillo may have died because of self-inflicted injures.

“Galing din naman sa pamilya niya, mentally ano ‘yan, mentally disturbed… Mentally disturbed kasi ‘yan, nagwawala sa loob inuuntog-untog ‘yung sarili niya diyan,” he said.

A call for help

Meanwhile, one of the witnesses in the area claims receiving threats after the Argoncillo family bared the story to the media.

“May tumawag po. Sabi, ‘manahimik na lang kayo.’ Delikado daw ang buhay,” the witness said.

The Argoncillo family is now asking the Public Attorney’s Office for help in the autopsy, fearing the PNP Crime Lab’s autopsy result will be whitewashed.

Police intensified the implementation of city ordinances recently, following a directive from President Rodrigo Duterte, calling loiterers (tambay) “potential trouble for the public.”–with reports by Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News


South China Sea: Filipinos say it’s important to regain control

July 21, 2018


In this May 18, 2018, file photo, protesters display placards during a rally at the Chinese Consulate to protest China’s deployment of missiles on the Philippine-claimed reefs in South China Sea in the financial district of Makati city east of Manila, Philippines. Filipino officials say China’s coast guard has continued to seize the catches of Filipino fishermen at a disputed shoal.

AP/Bullit Marquez, File photo


Poll: Filipinos say it’s important to regain control of West Philippine Sea
Ian Nicolas Cigaral ( – July 21, 2018 – 1:06pm

MANILA, Philippines — Most Filipinos believe it is highly crucial for the Philippines to regain control of islands and shoals it claims in the disputed South China Sea, where rival claimant Beijing has been increasing its power projection capabilities, a new poll showed.

The Philippines claims parts of the South China Sea within its exclusive economic zone and calls it the West Philippine Sea.

In a June 27 to 30 poll of 1,200 adults by Social Weather Stations, 87 percent of respondents said it is “important” for the Philippines to assert its sovereign rights on islands in the West Philippine Sea that China occupied.

Sixty-nine percent of Filipinos also said China is afraid to face any court.

Ties between China and the Philippines soured after the previous Aquino administration filed a case in 2013 with a United Nations-backed tribunal, which does not have an enforcement mechanism. The ruling favors Manila and was handed down a few days after President Rodrigo Duterte assumed the presidency.

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But China vehemently rejected the landmark decision, which Duterte put on the back burner in exchange for warmer ties and Chinese funding for his administration’s ambitious infrastructure program.

Duterte has also been under fire over his apparent refusal to confront China, which recently landed nuclear-capable strategic bombers and installed missile systems on outposts in the contested waters.

It was also reported that Chinese coast guards have been forcibly taking the best catches of Filipino fishermen at the disputed Scarborough shoal, which is well within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

According to the SWS poll, 65 percent of respondents were aware of the reported Chinese confiscations of Filipino fishermen’s catch. Majority of Filipinos also knew that Philippines is unable to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing in Philippine waters, and that China broke its promise not to militarize the area.

The pollster also found that the government’s seeming inaction against China eroded public satisfaction with Duterte, especially among those aware of the maritime row.

Meanwhile, 43 percent said the Duterte administration’s refusal to protest Beijing’s actions is not a form of treachery, while 29 percent thought otherwise. Twenty-eight percent were undecided.

The survey has sampling error margins of ±3 percent for national percentages, and ±6 percent each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.



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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law. Vietnam has been unable to develop its own undersea oil due to China’s aggressive behavior.

Philippines denies inaction on South China Sea

July 17, 2018
Image result for Harry Roque, philippines, photos

‘We file protests but we do it quietly’

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Monday said it has been asserting the Philippines’ claims in the South China Sea after a nationwide poll suggested that four out of five Filipinos reject the government’s perceived inaction on the issue.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly declared that he would not give up the country’s territory.

“The government of President Duterte is not guilty of inaction,” Roque told radio station dzRH.

( – July 16, 2018 – 4:04pm

“Whenever China does something that violates our sovereignty, we file protests but we do it quietly,” he added.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has said in the past the the Philippines has filed “50-100” protests with China, a claim that administration critics like Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon doubt.

Roque stressed that the president would not quarrel with China over the dispute because it would not benefit ties between Manila and Beijing.

“He (Duterte) believes we can set aside temporarily the things that cannot be resolved immediately. We can pursue those that can be pursued like the economy,” he added.

A Social Weather Stations survey conducted from June 27 to 30 found 81 percent of Filipinos believing that the government should not “leave China alone with its infrastructures and military presence” in Philippine-claimed areas in the South China Sea.

RELATED: Philippines now ‘willing victim’ in South China Sea dispute, Del Rosario laments

Eight out of ten Filipinos believe it is right for the government to strengthen the military capability of the Philippines, SWS said.

About seven out of ten or 74 percent of respondents think it is right for the government to bring the issue to international organizations while 73 percent back “direct, bilateral negotiations between the Philippines and China.”

Meanwhile, 68 percent of Filipinos believe the government should ask other countries to mediate the issue.

Roque said all Filipinos, not just 81 percent of them, should oppose inaction on the maritime dispute.

“It should be 100 percent because there is no government inaction…Five out of five Filipinos should protest inaction because it is not true that President Duterte is not doing anything,” the presidential spokesman said.

RELATED: Chinese took Filipino fishers’ catch as ‘barter exchange,’ Duterte explains

“We are just not making noise but we have an immediate action if we think China is violating our sovereignty and sovereign rights,” he added.

Roque said Duterte, who has been accused of being too soft on China, is continuously fighting for the interests of the Philippines.

Critics have accused Duterte of abandoning the Philippines’ maritime claims in the South China Sea in exchange for military and economic assistance from China

Duterte has denied this and has given assurance that he would discuss the South China Sea row with Chinese officials within his term. The president has also admitted that the Philippines would be courting “trouble” if it insists on its maritime claims, a claim that critics say paint war as the country’s only option.  — Alexis Romero

RELATED: With mere words, Duterte can lose to China rights Philippines won in arbitral ruling




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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law. Vietnam has been unable to develop its own undersea oil due to China’s aggressive behavior.

Philippines can Still Recover Sovereignty, Dignity, Resources in the South China Sea

July 16, 2018
Commentary: Time to recover from failure to use the South China Sea ruling as leverage
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By Dindo Manhit ( – July 16, 2018 – 3:26pm

During the second anniversary of our nation’s victory at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague, the Stratbase ADR Institute gathered international experts, key stakeholders from the academe, government, and the private sector to discuss the consequences of the policy of appeasement that the administration had taken, in addition to the threats against and opportunities within the international rules-based order.

Brahma Chellaney, professor of Strategic Studies at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi, said that “compliance with or defiance of international rules has no correlation to state size.” He noted that China’s defiance has heightened international concerns about the security of maritime domain.

The Philippine victory at the Arbitral Tribunal is concrete proof that small nations like the Philippines can make our voices heard in a rules-based regime.

He said that as far as China was concerned international law matters only when it serves their interest.

The current administration has failed to use the landmark ruling that invalidated China’s “historic claims” on the South China Sea as a leverage to claim what is ours and fully explore and use the abundant resources in the West Philippine Sea.

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Instead, amid friendlier relations, China continued its military build-up in the South China Sea. They continue to destroy our marine resources, dictate the rules of the sea and bully our poor fishermen who are just making a livelihood in the Scarborough Shoal.

Dr. Go Ito of Meiji University asserted that the Philippines can better enforce the award by engaging like-minded partners like the United States and Japan to support the 2016 decision. He also noted that issues related to environmental protection in the South China Sea and maritime areas can also be raised to counter China.

What Filipinos want

In its effort to appease China and generate much-needed capital to finance its ambitious infrastructure program, the Duterte administration has adopted “silent diplomacy,” which prevents it from protesting the belligerent behavior of China in the South China Sea.

This is against the wishes of the majority of Filipinos, who clamor for a different approach. They want the Duterte administration to protect its territorial integrity and defend its claims in the West Philippine Sea. The results of a recent Pulse Asia survey showed that 73 percent of Filipinos want the current administration to assert our rights and protect our territorial sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea.

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On the other hand, 36 percent of the Filipinos want our government to file a diplomatic protest against China amidst the reports of its continued militarization of the South China Sea. In addition, 22 percent believed that there is a need to strengthen military alliance with other countries such as the United States, Japan and Australia.The national survey by the Social Weather Stations likewise confirms these findings with four out five Filipinos or 81 percent saying that it is not right to do nothing about China’s intrusion in claimed territories.

The Filipinos are now taking their stand to protect our territorial integrity. Moreover, they want our government to do what it should do—use diplomatic protests as an expression of our dissatisfaction on various cases.

While the president reiterates that we need China to boost trade, tourism and infrastructural development, a small percentage of Filipinos believe that friendlier relations will promote stability in the South China Sea.

The surveys affirm a strong patriotism among Filipinos, that they want to protest against all unlawful and coercive practices of other states.

The Philippines is for the Filipinos to enjoy, benefit and explore. We should never allow others states to enhance its political and economic power at our expense.

We must protest what is unlawful, coercive and contrary to the correct principles that govern relations between states. Our people deserves a government that is willing to fight for their citizens’ future and not a government that is helpless and weak.

We must defend what is ours now before it is too late.


Dindo Manhit is the president of think tank Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute, a partner of




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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law. Vietnam has been unable to develop its own undersea oil due to China’s aggressive behavior.

Philippines: Charter change information campaign needed — Filipinos have not yet understood the move to federalism

July 15, 2018
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BABE’S EYE VIEW FROM WASHINGTON D.C. – Babe Romualdez (The Philippine Star) – July 15, 2018 – 12:00am

The draft Charter for a federal government that was approved by the Consultative Committee (Concom) is causing some concern due to uncertainties regarding the transitory provisions. A survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations revealed that only one out of four Filipinos is aware of the proposed shift toward federalism, which is why the proposed amendments should be properly disseminated to the public. Business including the international media will be closely watching the developments in the Philippines.

Former chief justice Reynato Puno, chair of the 22-member Concom, has given assurances that all the proposed changes will be extensively discussed in order to diminish what he described as “unfounded fears” especially on the issue of term extensions for government officials.

For sure, there will be a lot of debate and discussion on many of the provisions and clauses such as the ones on taxation, anti-political dynasty, the structure of federated regions, among others. What is also important, however, is to change the outdated and protectionist economic provisions in the current Charter.

As Camarines Sur Congressman LRay Villafuerte pointed out, the restrictive provisions are “an anachronism” in light of a global economy. The Philippines has been named the best country to invest in by the US News and World Report; we have been getting rating upgrades; foreign direct investments (FDI) grew 43.5 percent during the first quarter – but compared to our neighbors in Asia, we are still lagging when it comes to FDI.

Investors are also seeking clarity on the proposed constitutional amendments, saying they want to know the effect of devolution of power to the local government on the economy. Another area of concern is the cap on foreign ownership in some sectors such as real estate, public utilities and media and advertising. Some said they are unhappy that the 40 percent limit on foreign ownership of corporations, public utilities and property have not been relaxed in the new draft charter – which could turn away potential investors.

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The Manila Rotary event at the Makati Diamond Residences last Thursday was a welcome treat for me in getting together with my fellow Rotarians and old friends including guests from the diplomatic corps like Israeli Ambassador Effie Ben Matityau, Japanese Ambassador Koji Haneda, Consul General Russel Brown and Vice Consul Tara Shaughnessy of the US embassy, and the Thai embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Urawadee Sriphiromya.

The Manila Rotary speaking engagement was an opportunity for me to talk on our current bilateral relationship with the United States.  I was especially pleased to have my friend – in fact everybody’s friend – US Ambassador Sung Kim introduce me. Ambassador Kim said he does not get many opportunities to introduce people in speaking events, and that the last time he introduced anyone, it was President Donald Trump – eliciting laughter from the audience. In such a short time, Ambassador Kim has made a lot of Filipino friends – not at all surprising with his affable and easy disposition.

One of the key factors in effective diplomacy is maintaining good relations with people – something that has served us well in our relationship with the United States. As I told the audience, the deep people-to-people ties is one of the reasons why we have maintained this special friendship with the US over the decades.

When I first arrived in Washington, D.C., it was a bit challenging to spend almost every single day trying to squeeze in as many meetings with people as I could in a 10-hour work day because we did not have an ambassador in Washington for a year and a half. But one of the rewards is that whenever I meet US congressmen or senators – most of them friendly – the common remark I hear from them is that they are happy with the Filipino-American community in their area. As I shared with the guests, Filipinos have a very good image in the US, which makes my job as a diplomat easier in Washington.

During the open forum, members of the audience asked questions about the state of our relations with the United States, including President Donald Trump’s invitation to President Duterte to visit the White House. Like Ambassador Kim had averred, it’s really a matter of scheduling. Hopefully, the president will be able to make a decision on when he will be visiting the US.

With regard to the ongoing trade war between the United States and China, my fellow ASEAN diplomats in Washington are naturally concerned and a bit nervous because their countries are economically engaged with China. However, they also get what President Trump is trying to do, correcting what he says is a lopsided arrangement and perhaps trying to bring China to negotiate a better trade deal.

At the same time, the Trump administration is open with other countries like the Philippines in negotiating a free trade agreement. I just wanted to make a correction which quoted me as saying we will begin negotiations in September. Actually, both countries are currently on their internal consultative stage. We are a long way off before we can even begin negotiations.

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More than 300 US citizens from all over the US were here for the Ambassadors’ Tour, an annual program of the Philippine Foreign Service Posts in the US to promote the Philippines as a destination.

Our friend Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada welcomed us at the wreath-laying ceremony at the Rizal Monument to commence the activities for the one-week tour featuring Cebu, Bohol and Manila (see photos in This Week on PeopleAsia at the Allure section of the Philippine STAR today).



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FILE Photo — Nora Acielo, 47, lies dead after she was gunned down by unidentified men while she was escorting her two children to school in Manila, Philippines, December 8, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro


By: former Chief Justice Reynato Puno
August 08, 2015

The history of governments tells us the lesson that the best government that can handle diversity is the democratic form, but more specifically, the federal-parliamentary species of democracy. More than any form of government, the federal government can best handle diversities driven by differences in culture, religion, language and geography because of its high threshold of tolerance to minorities. A contrario, unitary states where power is too centralized in the national government have failed to deal with the diversities inherent in people. In the graveyard of democracies you will find interred unitary states more than federal states.

Undeniably, we have a unitary form of government where power is centralized in the national government. In fine, our experience under a unitary-presidential form of government runs to 80 years now. The question is: What has this unitary-presidential form of government brought to our people?

One. We have a government where power is tilted too much in favor of the Executive. Not infrequently, the Executive has reduced the Legislature to a rubber stamp. In the authoritarian years of the 1970s and 1980s, the Legislature and the Judiciary were seduced to surrender their independence to the Executive. Arguably, the biggest abuse of power in our tripartite government has been committed in our Executive branch.

Two. At other times, however, our Legislature has been captured by a party different from the party of the president. Often the result is deadlock between the two branches. The spectacle in these stalemates is not edifying. Not infrequently, Congress will wield its power to investigate in aid of legislation. It will summon the president’s men suspected of violating the laws of the land to embarrass the administration. The Executive will strike back with its own low blows. The public is treated to a pintakasi where in the end we see not gamecocks but the welfare of the people dead on the ground.

Three. We have a Judiciary where too much is expected yet too little is given. Our Supreme Court is one of its kind in the world. Theoretically, it is a very powerful court given its expanded power to strike down anything done in our government “in grave abuse of discretion,” a phrase that can include anything under the sun. Add to that its awesome power to promulgate rules to protect the constitutional rights of the people, a power that is quasi-legislative in character, unusual to be given to a court under the principle of separation of powers. Yet for all the abundant powers granted the Supreme Court on paper, reality will reveal that the independence of the Judiciary is insufficiently insulated in our Constitution. The appointment process in the Judiciary is still infected by the political virus. Undeniably, it has never been given its financial independence by the political branches of the government. Lack of financial resources is one reason the Judiciary cannot liquidate its backlog of undecided cases.

Four. We have also created in our Constitution the Commission on Audit, the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Human Rights and the Office of the Ombudsman. We are the only country that has put these offices on the constitutional pedestal. The intent is noble: to establish independent bodies that will assure our people of good government. Again, whether the performance of these offices has matched the expectations of the people is a good field of empirical study. The disquieting questions are: Have we solved—nay, even dissipated—violations of human rights? Have we controlled the runaway corruption in government? Have we produced a bureaucracy based on meritocracy? Have we checked the plunder committed on the money of the people?

Five. There is the immoral gap between the rich and the poor. We do not need to show the numbers for there can be no doubting Thomas who needs to be convinced of this self-evident truth. The immediate need to diminish this gap is beyond debate. Filipinos are migrating to foreign lands. It is time to reverse the mindset of our masses that the best way to live in the Philippines is to leave it. It is time to show them that their most valuable property is not their passport. It is time to end promises to the poor with nothing but sound and acoustic effects. The poor deserve a constitution where their basic socioeconomic rights can be demanded from the state as a matter of right and not just a right in the papyrus. They deserve a constitution where their voice in the political branches of government will be their own voice. The powerlessness of the people is the ultimate desecration of democracy.

Six. And this is arguably the most urgent problem that confronts our country: The paucity of power given to our local governments, especially the power to govern given to our Muslim brothers and sisters who constitute an identifiable minority and carry a distinct identity because of their different history, religion, language and culture. After hundreds of years, we must imbibe the lesson that under our unitary form of government, they cannot be given the government that they deserve, however much we want to. We ought to recognize that we must allow their diversity to flourish for there is value in diversity. Diversity is, in truth, the touchstone of democracy. Let us castrate the thought that we know best how to govern them when our relationship with them goes no deeper than the handshake level. We must disabuse our mind of the discarded idea that the sovereignty of a state is absolute, indestructible and indivisible, and, hence, cannot be shared with people and with aggregates of people. Federalism has exploded the myth that people with distinct identities cannot be trusted the right to rule themselves.

Federalism offers the best hope to our distinct minorities to be allowed self-rule.

It is my submission that federalism is best for a nation characterized by diversity. The Philippines is one of the most diverse nations in the world. It is composed of 7,107 islands. Its people are of the South Asian stock but intermarriage with other races has resulted in a great deal of stock blending. It has about 79 indigenous-ethnic groups, each with a distinct language, custom, tradition and art. About 80 percent of its people are Catholics. Some belong to the various Christian denominations. Five percent are Muslims but they claim the adherence of 11 percent of the population.

Two percent are Buddhists. Another two percent practice folk religion.

But the best offer of evidence to prove that our unitary-presidential form of government has not worked for our people is no other than our consistent mark as a “failing state” by international institutions with no ill motive to downgrade our democracy. We are a basket case. No wonder countries are now throwing their trash in our backyard. Our system of democracy stinks. Something must be rotten in it.

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Philippines’ Duterte sees lowest rating since becoming president: survey

July 10, 2018

Satisfaction in Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte fell to the lowest of his presidency since coming into office in 2016, an independent survey showed on Tuesday.

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FILE PHOTO: Philippine’s President Rodrigo Duterte 

Net satisfaction, used by pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) as a rating of the president’s performance, was down 11 points from the first quarter to 45 in the survey of 1,200 Filipinos conducted in the last week of June.

It was the president’s lowest rating in eight surveys taken since 2016. In the first quarter of this year, Duterte’s rating slipped to 56 percent from 58 percent in December 2017.

The president was unfazed by the drop in his ratings.

“I don’t care, it does not interest me at all,” Duterte told a news conference north of Manila.

The survey was taken during the week when Duterte attacked the Catholic Church and called God “stupid” after bishops and priests criticized the killing of drug suspects in the government’s anti-narcotics campaign.

“It was an unnecessary remark, it really affected his ratings,” said analyst Earl Parreno of the Institute of Political and Electoral Reforms.

“The rising prices and unemployment also had an impact, but this is only temporary. He has to repair his relations with the bishops and rebuild his image,” Parreno said.

Duterte met with the head of the Catholic Bishops group on Monday, promising to refrain from attacking the Church.

The SWS survey did not ask respondents to explain their rating for Duterte, who took office in June 2016. Duterte had enjoyed high satisfaction ratings since coming to office, peaking at 66 in June 2017.

Based on the SWS methodology for satisfaction ratings, a score of 70 and above is considered excellent, 50 to 69 is very good, 30-49 good and 10-29 moderate.


Reporting By Manuel Mogato; Editing by Darren Schuettler


Philippines Vice President Urges Focus on Rising Prices, Killings, Violence and Impunity — Not New Government and Federalism

July 8, 2018
Talk on federalism? Focus on rising prices, killings instead — Robredo
Gaea Katreena Cabico ( – July 8, 2018 – 12:33pm

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday said discussion on a proposed shift to a federal form of government should not be rushed and should not overshadow other pressing issues that affect Filipinos.

“Why not pay attention to important issues that affect the public such as the rising prices of commodities and spate of killings?” Robredo said in Filipino on RMN-DZXL.

Inflation spiked to 5.2 percent in June from 4.6 percent in May, beating the central bank’s forecast of 4.3 to 5.1 percent range for the month.

Tanauan City, Batangas Mayor Antonio Halili, General Tinio, Nueva Ecija Mayor Ferdinand Bote and Trece Martires City, Cavite Vice Mayor Alex Lubigan were killed in separate attacks last week. The killings of local executives has raised concerns over violence and impunity in the country.

Vice President Leni Robredo

Robredo said that talk on the proposal to create a new charter should not be rushed.

“The people should understand what it is about, its effects. Discussions on the matter should not be rushed,” Robredo,—who is not from “Imperial” Metro Manila, which proponents of federalism say dictates on the provinces and hogs development—said.

Surveys: Filipinos not keen on charter change

Social Weather Stations survey released late June showed that only 37 percent favored the shift to a federal system of government, while 29 percent expressed opposition to it. Another 34 percent were undecided about the matter.

A separate Pulse Asia survey released May found that 66 percent of Filipinos said they are not in favor of replacing the present unitary system of government with a federal one. Only 27 percent expressed support for the change to a federal system, while six percent were ambivalent on it.

“Everyone in the government should exert more effort on popularizing the need to shift to a federal form of government, its advantages to the people and effects to the lives of common people,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in late June in response to the survey results.

The 22-member consultative committee tasked by President Rodrigo Duterte to review the 1987 Constitution unanimously approved a draft charter for a federal government Tuesday. The draft constitution will be submitted to the chief executive on July 9.

He is expected to formally endorse the draft charter to Congress in his next State of the Nation Address on July 23.


Philippines: Long-term lack of public safety

July 7, 2018
 / 05:10 AM July 07, 2018

For many years, the Social Weather Surveys have monitored the people’s anxieties about burglary of their homes, danger in walking the streets at night, and the presence of drug addicts in the neighborhood.

54 percent fear burglary. The last Social Weather Stations survey, done in March 2018, found the percentage of Filipino adults agreeing that “In this neighborhood, people are usually afraid that robbers might break into their homes,” at 54 percent nationwide. (See “First Quarter 2018 Social Weather Survey: Families victimized by any of the common crimes at 6.6%,”, 6/21/18.)

That is exactly the same as the 54  percent found in June 1985, in response to the same questionnaire item, addressed to respondents of the Bishops-Businessmen’s Conference (BBC) survey of that time.

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Nora Acielo, 47, lies dead after she was gunned down by unidentified men while she was escorting her two children to school in Manila, Philippines, December 8, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

SWS, which was founded in August 1985, spun this item off from the BBC survey, and then found the fear of burglary at 52 percent in its very first survey of May 1986.  Since then, it has continued tracking this fear in every Social Weather Survey up to the present—twice a year in 1986-91, and quarterly since 1992.

In the last three decades, the fear of burglary peaked at 70 percent (in October 1987), and was never below 40 percent (in March 2001). It averaged 57 percent in the four quarters of 2017. Clearly, there has been no improvement in the last 33 years.

The present anxiety about burglary is all across the nation: 52 percent in both Visayas and the Balance of Luzon, 54 percent or just average in Mindanao, and 60 percent in the National Capital Region (NCR).

46 percent fear the streets at night. In March 2018, the national proportion of adults agreeing that “In this neighborhood, people are usually afraid to walk in the streets at night because it is not safe,” was 46 percent. This is only slightly below the 48 percent that the BBC survey found in June 1985.

Over three decades, the percentage fearful of the streets at night has been usually in the 40s. Its lowest point was 35 percent (in December 1991), and its peak was 54 percent (in December 2016, only five quarters ago). It averaged 50 percent in the four quarters of 2017, just last year. Clearly, there has been no long-term improvement.

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By area, the sense of danger in the streets at night is usually greatest in NCR, presently at 52 percent. Next are Visayas at 49 percent, Mindanao at 48 percent, and Balance of Luzon at 42 percent.

40 percent see very many drug addicts around. In March 2018, the national proportion of adults agreeing that “In this neighborhood, there are already very many people addicted to banned drugs,” was 40 percent.

This is above the 37 percent found in March 2005, when SWS began its quarterly monitoring of the public perception of drug addicts in the neighborhood. From that time to now, the perception’s lowest point was 34 percent (in September 2009), and its peak was 62 percent (in June 2016).

The recent 40 percent is below the average 45 percent in the four quarters of 2017, and the average 52 percent in the last two quarters of 2016. There have been gains in the first seven quarters of the Duterte administration, but they are not enough to show a favorable trend in the longer run of 13 years.

The percentage that perceives much drug addiction in the neighborhood is 51 in Metro Manila, or much higher than in Visayas (41), Balance Luzon (39), and Mindanao (33).  Metro Manila is consistently the area with the greatest anxiety about public safety.


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Thousands of Filipino prisoners crammed into prison built for 800

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Philippines: The State of the Nation — Police Killings With Impunity

October 15, 2017

Image result for Eduardo Serino Sr., photos, zamboanga

The last time Eduardo Serino Sr. was seen alive was with these policemen accosting him

The Philippine Inquirer

The case of farmer Eduardo Serino Sr., last seen alive being held by policemen on Sept. 30 and brought dead two hours later to a hospital, deserves the full attention of the government and the public at large. It is a classic reflection of the plight of poor folk, those without influence and therefore without power, prey to a cop’s sly grin.

In an ideal world, there’s a basic premise in being taken in by policemen: You are safely in their custody while due process runs its course.

But that is not what happened in Serino’s case. According to a report by the Inquirer’s Julie Alipala, from the account of Rosherl Lumpapac, the employer of Serino’s wife, the farmer from Sibuco, Zamboanga del Norte, had traveled to Zamboanga City to bring money to pay for his young son’s hospital bill.

He was probably on his way to the bus terminal and back to Sibuco when he lost his way and wound up walking on RT Lim Boulevard. It was there that cops stopped him and demanded that he open his backpack. He refused.

What happened next is obvious from a photograph that went viral online: Serino is sitting on the sidewalk with his hands behind his back, likely cuffed. His forehead is bloodied; he is wincing. He is being held down by a policeman with a stick. Three other cops are standing around him.

In a post (since deleted) on the Facebook page of the Zamboanga City police office, Senior Insp. Edwin Duco said Serino had resisted the cops and managed to get free of the handcuffs.

The photo, the last image of the farmer alive, was posted by Lumpapac, who described the Serinos as “kindhearted, hardworking and very respectful people.” She added: “I felt bad about the way cops treated manong (Serino). This man has never been violent.”

From the police station on Old Mercado Street, Serino’s bruised corpse was brought by cops to the Zamboanga City Medical Center. Duco claimed that the bruises were caused, not by policemen beating Serino, but by Serino “hurting himself” in the police station. This is why Serino died, Duco claimed.

But he refused to show reporters the police blotter report, citing “guidelines from Camp Crame.” He also would not release the medical report, citing the alleged refusal of hospital authorities.

The Commission on Human Rights is now looking into the case.

At the other end of the country last Oct. 10, a scene of power and influence played out with the arrival at Naia Terminal 1 of Ralph Trangia, a suspect in the hazing death of law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.

Trangia and his mother, who flew to Chicago in the United States through Taiwan two days after news of the hazing death broke, were well covered by at least three lawyers and one police officer, Chief Insp. Rommel Anicete, said to be a family friend.

For good measure, agents of the Manila Police District and the National Bureau of Investigation were on hand to provide security for the suspect and his mother if needed, reporters were told.

One of the lawyers present denied what had been on almost everyone’s mind: that the Trangias were on the lam; he presented as proof the fact that mother and son had bought return tickets.

A photograph of the future lawyer showed a healthy, bespectacled young man with his whole life ahead of him — not far removed, the attentive observer would note, from the other young man, Atio Castillo, before his life was snuffed out in a night of unspeakable violence.

There is no warrant for Trangia’s arrest, “so he will be treated as an ordinary citizen,” Bureau of Immigration-Naia chief Marc Mariñas told reporters.

As though to complete the arrival scene, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre issued a statement welcoming Trangia’s return and hoping that it is “covered in good intentions to clear his name and to tell the truth.”

“I encourage Mr. Trangia and his family to fully cooperate, to tell the truth and, as a future lawyer, to work for justice,” Aguirre said, adding that “depending on what he will tell our investigators, he could be a potential witness” under the  government’s witness protection program.

Not entirely apropos of nothing, the attentive observer musing on the state of the nation will recall that 6 out of 10 Filipinos surveyed by the Social Weather Stations believed that drug suspects who had surrendered were still killed by raiding cops, and that, per the reckoning of the police force, there was only one extrajudicial killing in the administration’s war on drugs. (Later it said there was none.)

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Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary: All suspects killed in police ops were drug dealers — ‘Can we trust the Philippine police?’ — Philippine Government seen as “not trustworthy” in Al Jazeera interview

October 7, 2017
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano defended anew President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war by making a sweeping claim that all 3,800 people killed under the deadly crackdown were all drug dealers. Screen grab from Al Jazeera’s YouTube video

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano defended anew President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war by making a sweeping claim that all 3,800 people killed under the deadly crackdown were all drug dealers, contradicting the Philippine National Police itself and several surveys.

Police data show 3,850 have “died in police operations,” suggesting these are drug suspects who engaged arresting officers in shootouts.

READ: PNP: 6,225 drug-related deaths, no extrajudicial killings

To be sure, the PNP uses the term “suspects” when referring to the fatalities. Under the Philippine law, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

But when asked by British journalist Mehdi Hasan during a recent Al Jazeera interview if “every single one” of the 3,850 casualties in the drug war was a “criminal drug dealer,” Cayetano said: “Yes.”

Quizzed by Hasan about his basis for his claim considering Manila’s supposedly “not democratic way” of solving crime, Cayetano evaded the question and instead defended the police.

“You’re absolutely saying it as if you’re not on the ground,” Cayetano told Hasan, who, in turn, stressed that under normal procedures, drug suspects must be charged and tried first.

In response, Cayetano said: “So you mean in the US or in any country your show is shown, if someone pulls a gun on the police they have to bring them to court first before they fire back? The police are doing what they can.”

Duterte, who easily won the race to Malacañang last year on a brutal law-and-order platform, has stoked international alarm for activating his fierce anti-drug campaign.

Human rights watchdogs said most of the fatalities are extrajudicial killings committed by cops and unknown assailants—a claim that the government has vehemently denied by insisting that police are only killing in self-defense while gangsters are silencing potential witnesses.

But according to a latest Social Weather Stations poll, more than half of Filipinos believe that many of the victims killed by police in the government’s anti-drug campaign did not really put up armed resistance, contrary to the claims of authorities.

A separate SWS poll, meanwhile, revealed that seven out of 10 Filipinos are anxious that they, or anyone they know, might become victims of extrajudicial killings.

READ: SWS: Vast majority of Filipinos think drug suspects should be captured alive | SWS: Majority of Filipinos think ‘nanlaban’ victims didn’t really fight back

In the same interview with Al Jazeera, Cayetano maintained that there are no cases of summary executions in the country.

He also hit the supposed spread of wrong facts in the international community by human rights groups “associated” with the opposition and the Church.

“The point is Filipinos will not support human rights violations. We’re very spiritual people. Whether Muslim or Christian—Filipinos believe in the dignity of life,” he said.

Filipinos have mostly backed Duterte’s drug war even as critics condemned the alleged extrajudicial killings by cops. But the recent deaths of three teenagers in the country’s capital have triggered rare street protests and highlighted concerns about alleged police abuse.

READ: Child killings spark calls for UN probe — Human Rights Watch

‘Can we trust the Philippine police?’

Duterte early this year halted the drug operations nationwide, cussing the PNP as “corrupt to the core.”

He said 60 percent of the 160,000-force was rotten, needing retraining or booting out. A month-long lull followed, but the crackdown was later resumed.

READ: Bato suspends drug war for ‘internal cleansing’ of PNP | Duterte brings back police into war on drugs

Asked if the PNP can be trusted in carrying out the drug war considering the president’s previous diatribes against cops, Cayetano, in the same interview with Hasan, said Duterte was just using his colorful language.

“Last time I checked, hyperbole and figures of speech are allowed,” Cayetano told Hasan.

“We’re not saying we should trust them, we said we should follow the law which is presumption of regularity but investigate,” he added.

“The point is he’s (Duterte) trying to clean up the police and he admits that there is a problem.”

Asked by Hasan if all drug-related deaths are being investigated, Cayetano replied that “every single one” is under probe.

“Most independent observers have said they there have not been investigations of all those killings,” Hasan retorted.

“Independent investigators have seen the progress. It is the ideological and biased human rights groups,” Cayetano countered Hasan.

According to an updated police data, there are 2,290 “deaths under investigation,” which have already been determined to be “drug-related.”