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WHAT DO some bankers and fund managers, a few senior government officials, a dozen top taxpayers, and a handful of companies located in the country have in common? They are among some 200 Filipinos, Philippine residents, and corporations that own or are linked to offshore accounts in tax havens across the world, according to the “Paradise Papers” cache of 13.4 million confidential electronic documents that had been leaked and exposed this month.

THE DATA PRIVACY ACT “is not meant to serve as a subterfuge to prevent the processing and/or disclosure of personal information sanctioned under law.” This, according to Chairman Raymund E. Liboro of the National Privacy Commission (NPC) is a core principle that should inform the discourse on the right to information of citizens to get true and detailed asset records or Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) of public officials and employees.

THE PRESS in the Philippines has been described to be among the freest in Asia if not in the world, robust, almost rambunctious in its practice. But in the first 16 months of the Duterte administration, its status and practice have been diminished, shaken down by supporters and trolls of the President who would not tolerate critical coverage.

NO, JUANA, there has not been any big change in tactics in the government’s war against drugs just yet. By all indications, as well as the statements of President Rodrigo R. Duterte himself and his senior advisers, the supposed revert to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as the “sole agency” assigned to the drug war was but a small concession that the Palace had made to appease “bleeding hearts” in the opposition and the media, and a public increasingly upset over what has been a very bloody anti-drug campaign.

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