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.

Tokhang, trolls and Arroyo generals

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

Published by Bulatlat The UP Third World Studies Center organized a research workshop on ‘Violence, Human Rights and Democracy in the Philippines.’ I submitted a short essay in response to the workshop question: “Based on your knowledge of and experience in your locality, do you think that the Duterte administration is violent?” President Rodrigo Duterte […]

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Written for The Diplomat Magazine June 12 will be known in history as the day when United States President Donald Trump met North Korea leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore. But for Filipinos, June 12 is significant because it is the day when revolutionaries declared independence from Spain in 1898. June 12 is an official holiday […]

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Written for The Diplomat Over the past few weeks, as the Philippine Congress has deliberated amendments to the anti-terror law, critics have expressed concerns that it would trample the people’s civil liberties and further enable a descent into dictatorial rule under President Rodrigo Duterte. Those concerns merit closer examination in terms of both the issue […]

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Why we should celebrate Edsa Dos

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

Written for Bulatlat Was Edsa Dos a coup, power grab, or an uprising? Was it a farce? It may be all of the above but it’s a political event worth celebrating. Why should we allow the Arroyos, Estradas, Aquinos, and the Catholic bishops to dominate the discussion about what Edsa Dos meant to our country’s […]

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The people’s decade

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Written for Bulatlat If the future generation will ask us about Philippine politics during the early years of the 21st century, what should we tell them? Perhaps some historians will name it as Erap’s decade. In 1998, Joseph Estrada became the most popular Philippine president in terms of number of votes. Two years later, he […]

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Public opinion and political truth

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Written for Bulatlat Public opinion has many uses but it should neither stand for truth nor should it be equated with political standpoint. Sometimes it is overrated despite its ephemerality. Consider the examples below: – Senator Miriam Santiago is the darling of the press and social media superstar who entertains the public with her intelligent […]

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The Left as Alternative

Friday, February 17th, 2012

First part: Philippine Politics 1969-2009 If power grab is the yardstick of political victory, then it must be concluded that the Philippine Left had failed in the past century. But it wasn’t a complete failure since it was able to achieve varying degrees of hegemony in the country especially in the peripheries of the archipelago. […]

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Southeast Asia: The January Spring

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

It seems that the winds of change have arrived early this year in Southeast Asia, which saw the unprecedented release of more than 600 political prisoners in Burma, the acquittal of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim over sodomy charges, the start of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona of the Philippines, and the […]

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Youth, Good Governance, Human Development

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Speech during the National Congress on Good Governance, UP NCPAG, January 15, 2012. The keywords of my presentation are youth, good governance, and sustainable human development. The thesis is easy to formulate: The youth have a significant role to perform in promoting good governance in the country to achieve sustainable human development. But how do […]

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Aquino’s Human Rights Problem

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Please visit the special page I created about Philippine Airport Terminals. I also edited my profile page The Philippines is often recognized by global institutions for its strong commitment to human rights. Indeed, compared with other countries in the region, where government critics are given insanely long prison sentences and media reports are heavily censored […]

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