Watching people now watching the #PacquiaoMayweather fight – the Flight of the Century?

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Just my opinion by Raïssa Robles - I have a confession to make. I have never watched any of the fights of Manny Pacquiao, although I consider him a great boxer. And I've seen clips of his fight. I can't bear watching a blood sport, I guess. The frenzy, the excitement and the violence transports me back to the Roman times of the gladiators. Which is why the place where they are fighting now is so aptly named - the Arena.

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Mary Jane Veloso case shows urgent need for better ASEAN coordination against drug traffickers

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Just my opinion by Raïssa Robles - In the early morning hours when Mary Jane Veloso was supposed to be executed, I couldn’t sleep. I was kept awake thinking how she could have been saved by simple transnational police work on the day she was arrested. If only there was some kind of a mechanism, procedure or protocol among ASEAN countries that could have verified what Veloso had told airport security the day she was arrested.

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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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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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