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.
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.
Here is the analysis I shared at today's forum on the proposed Freedom of Information law organized by the Asia Society. I compared and contrasted the version of the House of Representatives with that of the Senate. It is not my aim to cast aspersions on the bills. My aim is to help improve it. It is not yet too late. I have uploaded at the end of this piece the Senate and House versions of the FOI so you can compare them yourself. UPDATE: Dec. 2, 2014 6:00 AM. Congressman Barry Gutierrez has joined Cyber Plaza Miranda to defend the House version of the FOI bill. He is one of the main sponsors. His comment is at No. 5. You can ask him questions directly and tell him your reactions to the bill. First, the good news – both the House and Senate versions will require all government websites to display content in the country's major languages and not just in English.
Hi guys, I will be a panelist at tomorrow's wide-ranging discussion on the proposed Freedom of Information (FOI) law at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) in a forum organized by the Asia Society. I said yes to the invite because I will be the lone panelist speaking for professional journalists. I will be talking partly from my own experience digging up information in the bowels of the government bureaucracy.
By Raïssa Robles - Thirty one years after leaving the Marcos government, former senator Vicente Paterno , finally broke his silence about what he really thought of Marcos in a memoir which he personally launched a week before dying peacefully in his sleep. Earlier, just before his November 11 book launching, I was sent a copy of the draft manuscript and I had noted the glaring absence of his personal assessment of Marcos' heinous crimes.
And my other experiences while testifying at the Senate - By Raïssa Robles - When I testified at the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee on Oct 30, a clutch of nuns in white and grey habit quietly sat in the rear gallery of the Senate session hall. Well, maybe they weren’t TOTALLY quiet. During the testimony of businessman Antonio Tiu, some of the nuns went "tsk, tsk, tsk" and shook their heads, according to a friend of mine who sat with them.
By Raïssa Robles - Vicente Paterno's autobiography minces no words about corruption, GMA etcetera I am honored to attend the launching of his autobiography tomorrow. And I urge you to read it. His former chief-of-staff Kathy Moran gave me an advanced glimpse of his memoirs published by Anvil.
By Raïssa Robles - On the day I gave my testimony before the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee my seat mate during the hearing was a very pleasant but tough-talking lady: Security and Exchange Commissions Chair Teresita Herbosa. During the hearing, we exchanged reactions to what we were hearing from the other "resource persons" who had been summoned like us to testify that day, October 30.
Your Honors, Two decades ago, the Senate was my beat as a reporter. I am here today because I was summoned by a Subpoena ad Testifcandum, to appear before a sub-committee of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee The subpoena included a warning – ‘Fail not under penalty of law.’