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.

Written for The Diplomat Proposed constitutional amendments in Cambodia and the Philippines could worsen impunity and legitimize authoritarianism in both countries. Criticized for persecuting the opposition and political dissenters, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte are now accused of imposing dictatorship through constitutional reforms. Unfortunately, tinkering with the constitution seems to […]

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After naming a general as his next secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte quipped that he will soon establish a junta and allow the military to take over the country. Duterte may be joking but for some of his critics, there’s nothing funny about an idea that […]

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Twenty-five years have passed since the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement, which ended the war in Cambodia and paved the way for the restoration of democratic institutions in the country. How has Cambodia fared so far? Various groups, including some of the 18 parties that signed the agreement, commemorated the anniversary last October to […]

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Thailand’s New Constitution: A Blow to Rights?

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Thailand’s ruling junta got what it wanted on August 7: the public approval of a constitution that will reinforce military rule in the country. The same constitution also contains provisions that could further curtail the people’s right to freedom of expression. Some are questioning the result of the referendum because the opposition was prevented by […]

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Read more at The Diplomat A housewife was arrested and charged with sedition in Thailand for posting a photo of a red bowl given by ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Facebook. She was released after posting a bail of 100,000 baht ($2,800). If found guilty in a military trial, she could face up to […]

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Published by The Diplomat The good: Five million people in Myanmar signed a petition asking Parliament to remove the undemocratic provisions in the 2008 Constitution. The bad: Thai military authorities enacted an interim constitution that gives sweeping powers to the army. The half-serious: Philippine President Benigno Aquino III hinted that he is open to the […]

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Thailand’s ‘Happy’ Coup

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

Published by The Diplomat Thailand’s coup regime is handing out freebies to prove its sincerity in bringing happiness back to the country. First, it arranged live broadcasts of all 64 World Cup matches on Thailand’s free TV. Then it lifted the night curfew in more than 20 provinces, allowing football fans and tourists to watch […]

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Burma’s Surprising Protests

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

News about the protests that spread through several Burma towns last week over power shortages should be welcomed as a positive development in the country’s bid to achieve a full democratic transition. The series of peaceful protests started in Mandalay, where hundreds of residents gathered in front of a government electricity agency to condemn the […]

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Myanmar: New Flag, Same Country

Monday, November 8th, 2010

The Union of Myanmar (Burma) is now officially known as the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, and its new flag was unveiled for the first time last week. Is the change part of the so-called democratic reforms that the ruling junta promised to deliver in time for the widely anticipated November 7 elections? As […]

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