ATA, the most assailed law in memory

In an “ADVISORY,” the Supreme Court set the Oral Arguments on the petitions assailing the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) on Jan. 19, 2021 at two in the afternoon. A manual count shows that 37 petitions were listed in the advisory by their case numbers (that begin with “G.R. No.”) making the ATA the most assailed law […]

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Squatters

IN one of his recent weekly briefings, President Rodrigo Duterte reintroduced a seldom heard theory that squatters are responsible for deforestation and, consequently, flooding in low-lying areas. The main contention people have been used to hearing is that illegal logging and illegal mining are the major causes of deforestation. It is easy to equate squatting […]

While waiting for the vaccine

Since the announcement two weeks ago by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer that it has successfully tested a vaccine for COVID-19 that is both safe and efficacious, hopes for an end to the pandemic have risen. Pfizer reported an efficacy rate of more than 90 percent. A week later, Moderna, a smaller company, followed suit, claiming […]

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What’s up in Bongbong-Leni VP tiff?

After learning of the outright denial of the motions to inhibit Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen (taken up in this space last Sunday), many asked, “To complete the story, what is the status of the election protest filed on June 29, 2016 by former senator Bongbong Marcos against VP Leni Robredo in the Presidential Electoral Tribunal […]

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Five lessons from Typhoon ‘Ulysses’

Considering the frequency, range, and gravity of the natural disasters that visit our country every year, it is hard to imagine any other people that are as resilient (and as positive in disposition) as the Filipino nation. We are a nation that “eats” calamities for breakfast. We are used to them. They come, they leave […]

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Should Justice Leonen inhibit?

Solicitor General Jose C. Calida and former senator Bongbong Marcos filed separate motions in the Supreme Court, in its capacity as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to inhibit Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen from the election protest filed by Bongbong. Citing his role as the “Tribune of the People,” Calida (and his 19 assistant solicitors general) […]

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American elections through Filipino eyes

Because the Philippine political system has been largely modeled after that of the United States, Filipinos have an abiding interest in knowing how the system is supposed to work. We have always looked to America for lessons on how to improve our own political processes so as to keep them aligned to the democratic ideal. […]

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The raging race to 270

Two days from now, on Nov. 3, the race to 270 of Joe Biden, 78, and Donald Trump, 74, to be America’s President for 2021-2025 will end. In fact, weeks ago, the mail-in (or absentee) ballots had started pouring in in historic numbers. Unlike us, US voters choose the “electors,” who in turn elect their […]

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The new Chinese migration to the Philippines

The rapid expansion of Philippine offshore gaming operators, better known as Pogos, under the Duterte administration, has brought into the country an unprecedented number of young Chinese workers from mainland China. No other nationality has maintained as pervasive a presence in the online gambling industry as the Chinese. Even as we never see the gamblers […]

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Justice Jose A. R. Melo, 88

On Oct. 18, a beloved retired Supreme Court justice, Jose A. R. Melo, passed to the Great Beyond at age 88. He was the first appointee to the highest court of President Fidel V. Ramos on Aug. 10, 1992. Prior to his elevation, he was a much-admired presiding justice of the Court of Appeals. Justice […]

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The uncertainties surrounding COVID-19

Just when everyone thought Europe had defeated the coronavirus, today — nine months after it first arrived in the continent — it is making a comeback as a dreaded second wave. According to a CNN report, the World Health Organization has warned that Europe’s daily death toll from the disease could rise five times higher […]

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Why Barrett’s hearings are keenly watched

The rushed, marathon hearings in the United States (US) Senate to confirm the nomination made by US President Donald Trump of US Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett, 48, as the ninth justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (Scotus) is keenly watched in the Philippines and elsewhere. By way of background, […]

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The sociology of opinion surveys

As a sociologist, I am sometimes asked what I think of the approval ratings politicians and government officials get in opinion surveys. The interest, typically, is in the plausible reasons for the “very high” or “very low” ratings that are reported (particularly when these appear to defy expectations), and not so much on the conditions […]

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Encouraging reactions from SC, DOJ, and bar

Encouraging were the reactions to my last two columns on prosecutors and lawyers. On Oct. 4, I humbly proposed guidelines on how prosecutors could be deterred from “filing frivolous, reckless, malevolent, and politically-motivated charges.” Earlier, on Sept. 27, I wrote that the Supreme Court’s short shrift of facially baseless petitions would “differentiate shysters… from trustworthy […]

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The US presidency, hubris, and the coronavirus

Having once moderated a presidential debate myself, I was curious to watch the debates between US President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden. I expected that Chris Wallace, the moderator of the first debate, would not have an easy time controlling Trump. I wanted to see how he would handle a 90-minute verbal […]

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Probable cause, De Lima, GMA, and Guevarra

To file a criminal case in court, all that the prosecutors of the Department of Justice (DOJ) need is to determine “probable cause,” which — according to jurisprudence — is “… a state of facts in the mind of the prosecutor as would lead a person of ordinary caution to believe, or entertain an honest […]

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