That certain smile

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Here's what Pres. Aquino said about smiling at the #SAF 44 commandos' wake - Exclusive by Raïssa Robles - When my request to interview President Aquino was unexpectedly granted last week, Malacañang Palace asked me, again, for a list of interview questions. I had submitted a list months ago, but apparently they wanted a new copy. I debated with myself whether I should take the opportunity to include something that had puzzled me for a long time. It had to do with his facial expression during dramatic, tense moments. It seemed in many of these moments he was smiling - some said smirking.

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Here’s my surprise – a 2-hour long exclusive interview with President Aquino

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Exclusive by Raïssa Robles - Suddenly last Thursday, I finally obtained an interview with President Aquino. Here is an excerpt from the first story on Vietnam and the Philippines that appeared today on the newly launched website of South China Morning Post.

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UPDATED: More red tape and pain for self-employed tax-filing

By Raïssa Robles - [Note: Since this opinion piece appeared on ABS-CBNews.com some people have told me that I got the new BIR rules wrong. For those who say that, let me share with you the initial e-mail I received from ABS-CBN last April 7 which told me that I had to do electronic filing.

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Dear Congressman Nograles, if you condemn MILF’s Iqbal for using an alias, condemn Senator Jinggoy and Mayor Estrada, too

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By Raïssa Robles - Critics of the Bangsamoro Basic Law are thinking up all excuses to stop its passage. The latest one is the funniest. Congressman Karlo Nograles demanded to know yesterday whether Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal has been using an alias in his passport. Nograles even warned that the use of aliases is in violation of two laws, one of which bars anyone from using pseudonyms in official documents.

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Frank off-the-record words from the US envoy in Manila to the foreign media

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By Raïssa Robles - Now that it's officially summer, what better time to revive “Halo-Halo”, my gossip column about everything and anything. First off, the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) had an unexpected invitation from US Ambassador Philip Goldberg to see him and his embassy staff for cocktails last Thursday. I must say, I did not expect Goldberg to place everything off-the-record. I guess I had been spoiled by previous invites from the ambassadors of France and even from China before (notably Ambassador Liu Jianchiao) who has long been transferred to Indonesia.

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Someone claims I’m on Vice President Binay’s payroll – LOL 

By Raïssa Robles - The following, so-called “White Paper” on media pay-offs is is being spread around via e-mail to media men. A reporter passed it on to me because my name was on it. Whoever made up this White Paper must be: a) old b) digitally-challenged c) out of touch with this century

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View today’s political mud-throwing in the context of the 2016 presidential elections

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by Raïssa Robles - Are you confused and even afraid of what's happening in Philippine politics right now? Well, think of it as political spring-cleaning. As if someone upended a drawer full of stuff and Filipinos are in the process of looking through, deciding what to throw, or keep and whatnot. Love it or hate it, President Benigno Aquino changed the rules of the political game. At no other time in our country’s history do you find so many top officials detained and undergoing trial for corruption. At the latest count, we have one president-turned-congresswoman, one ex-presidential spouse, three senators, one retired national police chief, one former Supreme Court chief Justice, one governor, and at least two congressmen, all undergoing trial for corruption.

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Clooney case for GMA could backfire, says New York-based human rights lawyer

By Raïssa Robles - The unprecedented case filed by Amal Clooney for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo could backfire on the detained ex-President, according to the director of the Reparative Justice Programme of the International Centre for Transitional Justice in New York.

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