Now it can be told: In 2013 Sen. Osmeña wanted to package Grace Poe, Leni Robredo & Risa Hontiveros as the “Tres Marias”

USE THIS - 2016 Elections UPDATES June 8-15

By Raïssa Robles - Some people might get the impression that Sen. Serge Osmeña is just shooting his mouth off talking about the various presidential and vice-presidential candidates. Earlier, he had advised Senator Grace Poe to run for VP. Then he said that Congresswoman Leni Robredo could win hands down over Senator Chiz Escudero in the VP race if she was “packaged properly.”

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Is Senator Chiz ready this time to run for higher office?

By Raïssa Robles - In the year 2009, two months before the deadline for filing of candidacy for 2010 presidential race, Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero gave me a one-on-one interview. He was then running third in voters' preference surveys. Even then I sensed a certain hesitation on his part to answer questions that began with the phrase - "if you were president" - or - "what would you do if you became president." His ambivalence became more apparent as weeks went by.

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How President Cory’s son was catapulted to the presidential race 

By Raïssa Robles - Today, on the sixth death anniversary of Corazon Aquino, I am reposting two pieces I had written for my first blog shortly before and after her death in 2009. The first piece written after her burial is entitled "Noynoy, do the President's shoes fit or are they too big?" At the end of the piece I described the kind of President the nation needs. The second piece written after President Cory Aquino had pulled out Cory Aquino's personal security team even as she lay dying is entitled - "The real security threat to President Arroyo is a grandma." In it I point out the late president's lasting legacy to the nation.

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Misuari’s spiritual adviser, Ustadz Sharif Zain Jali, is dead

By Raïssa Robles - I am deeply saddened by the news that Ustadz Sharif Zain Jali, the spiritual adviser of Moro National Liberation chief Nur Misuari, died Sunday at the age of 74. I had known him for decades. As a journalist, I try to keep an emotional and social distance from my sources. But somehow, through the years Jali became not just a source to me. From him I learned the gentleness of Muslims and their humanity. He was always open to all my questions about Islam and what was happening in Mindanao.

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My sketch of Philippines’ most wanted man – communist leader Jose Maria Sison

By Raïssa Robles It was my first time to interview and meet Jose Maria Sison – the nemesis of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos – and the nagging problem of all five presidents since. I wanted to gauge the man. We ended up talking for over nine hours. Below is just a rough sketch of him.

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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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PNoy told me – Soldiers & police pension system to be fixed before he steps down


Exclusive by Raïssa Robles - When I interviewed President Benigno Aquino III on April 16, 2015, one of the very first things he told me was that he intends to fix the pension system for the military and policemen. This includes passing an amended law and identifying ways to fund its seed capital, which is estimated to cost over P1.7 trillion. According to news reports, as of the year 2000, unpaid pensions had reached a total of P18 billion.

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CPP’s Joma Sison calls “greedy” China’s sea claims “foolish” and “false”


He also offers government a truce by year-end - By Raïssa Robles - When I interviewed Jose Maria Sison in Utrecht recently, I decided to ask him about his thoughts on present day China and its ownership claim of the South China Sea.

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