Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004


@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

Various political analysts and commentators have already shared their views on Rodrigo Duterte’s first year as president of the Philippines. But so far, only a few have said something about Vice President Leni Robredo’s first year in office.

Those unfamiliar with the Philippine political system might ask the relevance of discussing Robredo’s performance as vice president. After all, isn’t she part of Duterte’s administration?

This is precisely the dilemma of the vice president in Philippine politics; in fact, he or she has no specific mandate to perform in the Cabinet or in government other than to attend ceremonial functions.

If the Duterte government ends up pursuing constitutional reforms, it should include the need to enlarge the powers of the vice president for these reasons. Even if its supporters argue that it is not in its narrow self-interest, it could actually help smooth things for the remainder of Duterte’s term by clarifying the division of labor between the two posts.

Read more at The Diplomat

The Plot to Oust Duterte

Excerpt of contributed article to The Diplomat magazine (January 2017)

Since last month, Filipinos have been talking about two conspiracies that aim to unseat President Rodrigo Duterte. Are these reports credible?

The first plot involves former United States Ambassador Philip Goldberg who allegedly left a blueprint for the ouster of Duterte before he left the country last year. This was reported last month by Manila Times, a major English language daily.

The second plot pertains to the publication of an archived e-mail thread of the Global Filipino Diaspora Council which reportedly discussed the campaign for the removal of Duterte. Social media supporters of Duterte have accused Vice President Leni Robredo of being part of this campaign.

Duterte, who is proud of his knowledge of local history, should know better that two Philippine presidents were deposed by a peaceful uprising during the first quarter of 1986 and 2001. Perhaps the reported anti-Duterte plots reflect a real fear of the ruling party that some groups are preparing to repeat history

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