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.

Southeast Asia’s ‘Proxy’ Presidents

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Myanmar’s Htin Kyaw has received praise for being the country’s first civilian president in more than half a century. But the media has also labeled him a ‘”proxy” and even “puppet” president because his position was granted through the support of National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Interestingly, it’s not […]

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There were several surprises in the election results: First, the landslide victory of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who is now set to become the Philippines’ 16th president. Second, the close race between Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr and neophyte Congresswoman Leni Robredo for the vice presidency. And third, the possible entry into the senate of […]

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A ‘Prayut Effect’ in Southeast Asia?

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

Written for The Diplomat Three new leaders have risen to power in Southeast Asia since 2014: Thailand’s Prayut Chan-o-cha, Indonesia’s Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, and Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi. In some ways, the three could not be more different. Prayut was the army chief who led a coup and established a new government in Thailand. […]

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Thailand’s Twelve Turbulent Months

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Written for The Diplomat Thailand is coming to the end of very difficult year, which brought violent street protests, an election boycott, martial law, a coup, media censorship, the appointment of a new military-backed government, and a royal divorce. Here, we look back at what has transpired over the past 12 months. January: Tens of […]

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Written for The Diplomat Aside from reaching out to his political opponents, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo spent his first week as Indonesia’s president-elect thanking volunteers and asking netizens to choose the members of his Cabinet. Jokowi was proclaimed winner on July 22 by the Electoral Commission after he received 71 million votes, or 53 percent of […]

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The Jokowi Effect in Southeast Asia

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Published by The Diplomat Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo, or Jokowi as he is popularly known, is on track to be the next president of Indonesia. And if he continues his impressive performance as a public servant, he may soon emerge as the most credible leader in Southeast Asia. Win or lose in the coming presidential […]

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Indonesia’s Rising Star: Jokowi

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo or Jokowi is a rising star in the Southeast Asian region. While Burmese President Thein Sein may be grabbing the most headlines of any Southeast Asian leader, Jokowi’s rapid ascent up Indonesia’s political ladder deserves more attention than it is given by the international media. Who is Jokowi and why is […]

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