Victory in Round 1 on the South China Sea arbitration, but not really a knockout


By Dr. Alfredo C. Robles, Jr. - The award (decision) issued by the Arbitral Tribunal in the Philippines v. China arbitration creates the impression that this was a knockout (as a reporter for the Philippine Daily Inquirer put it) for the Philippines because of the following reasons: the award was adopted unanimously; the Solicitor General declared that China’s preliminary objections have been eliminated ; and China rejected the award.

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President Gloria Arroyo gave Chinese consular officials and their relatives full diplomatic immunity

By Raïssa Robles - Ordinarily, consular officials enjoy only limited diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention. However, a 2009 agreement - signed by the Arroyo government represented by Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo, and the People's Republic of China represented by Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi - broadened the diplomatic immunity of consular officials and their relatives of both countries.

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Gutsy COA Commissioner Heidi Mendoza accepts watchdog post in the United Nations

By Raissa Robles - Congratulations to Ms. Mendoza for this well-deserved post. The government official whom the bicameral Commission on Appointments had long refused to confirm as a COA Commissioner was snatched up by the United Nations to perform the same function, but on a global scale. There are nagging questions that need to be asked, though.

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How will President Aquino measure up against all previous presidents?

My hubby Alan made this initial assessment for South China Morning Post (HK) on the eve of President Benigno Aquino's last State of the Nation Address (SONA). It's only initial because so much can still happen in his last year in office. Our thanks to Dr. Mahar Mangahas of Social Weather Stations who agreed to be interviewed even while he was busy abroad. And to Aurelio German, who was first interviewed when Aquino was running for office in 2010. Reli German lends a historical perspective.

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Guess what: in a rare development Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand sent “observers” to the South China Sea arbitration in The Hague


By Raïssa Robles - The recent hearing of the Arbitral Tribunal was supposed to be closed to the public. ITLOS-logo“However,” according to an official press release from the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague dated July 13, “after receiving written requests from interested States, and having sought the views of the Parties, the Arbitral Tribunal permitted the Governments of Malaysia, the Republic of Indonesia, the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, the Kingdom of Thailand and Japan, to send small delegations to attend the hearing as observers.”

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You gotta watch this: Our lawyer Paul Reichler explains the Philippine’s arbitration case on the South China Sea

  Reichler said: 29 minutes, 22 seconds into the forum: “The Philippines had spent many years – actually negotiations go back to 1995 – mainly bilateral, some multilateral, and at no point was any progress made in reaching any kind of a solution bilaterally. China simply held to the position that China has sovereignty and sovereign rights within the nine-dash […]

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Senator Bongbong Marcos exploits news gap to project himself for the presidency

USE THIS - 2016 Elections UPDATES June 8-15

By Raïssa Robles - July is usually a month when Congress reporters hardly have anything to write about because our honorable legislators are on recess (read – vacationing abroad). Some lawmakers use this lull to try to grab media attention. As an example, look at Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos. His spin doctors are no doubt telling him that this year, he should project himself on the national stage, with an eye on next year’s presidential election.

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I’m attending Deutsche Welle’s Global Media Forum on “Media and Foreign Policy in the Digital Age”

Hi guys, I am deeply honored to attend next week's Global Media Forum by Deutsche Welle in Bonn, courtesy of the Federal Republic of Germany. The invite to me as a journalist-blogger came out of the blue. I'd like to thank those in the German Federal Foreign Office who recommended me to attend this forum because I am not officially employed by any news publication or outfit. I'm basically a creature of the digital age – a freelancer who has added her voice to the multifaceted discussions on global issues, thanks to the Internet.

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Malaysia reacts to my interview with President Aquino

By Raïssa Robles - I’ve always suspected the Chinese read my blog - given what I’ve written about the West Philippine Sea. Yesterday I found out Malaysia was reading it as well. Channel News Asia and Malaysian online newspaper separately reported that on May 19 Malaysia’s foreign ministry summoned the Philippine Charge d'Affaires Medardo Macaraig to give him an earful over what President Benigno Aquino told me when I asked if he was dropping the Philippine claim to Sabah.

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