Chester obtained his university degree (BS in Electronics and Communications Engineering) from the University of the Philippines, Diliman (UP) in 2000. After two years of volunteer work, he entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) where he would respond to a priestly vocation. He finished his MA in Theological Studies at the Loyola School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University in 2013, the year when he was also ordained to the priesthood. He spent his first two years as a Jesuit priest as Chaplain of the UP-Philippine General Hospital, the largest public hospital in the country. He was then missioned to study an MA in Economics at the Ateneo while working as a Research Fellow at the John J Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues (JJCICSI), an advocacy-oriented research institution also based in the Ateneo.
In 2017, he was sent to do further apostolic training in the UK where he did an MSc in International Political Economy at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He then went back to Manila and continued to work at JJCICSI as part of its Rural Development program and researched on issues regarding Political Economy and International Relations. He has been fascinated with how material power and communal identity influence both domestic Philippine society and its relationship with the outside world. He is now back in the UK and currently on his first year as a postgraduate research student at the School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham.
IR Theory, Social Constructivism
Foreign Policy Analysis
Philippine Political-Economy and Diplomatic Relations
South China Sea / West Philippine Sea Disputes
Chester's research investigates how state identity affects foreign policy. His study focuses on incumbent Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's foreign policy toward China. It challenges the… read more
Chester's research investigates how state identity affects foreign policy. His study focuses on incumbent Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's foreign policy toward China. It challenges the prevailing Neoclassical Realist framework in understanding Philippine foreign policy due to the theoretical application's inconsistency (compromising national core interests) and insufficiency (not considering national identity as a factor in shaping foreign policy). Instead, the study utilizes a Social Constructivist approach to International Relations, in particular, the Copenhagen School's framework on Securitization. The research argues that identity brought about by a small state self-image make possible independent yet Sino-centric Philippine Foreign Policy. The case of the Philippines sheds light on how both domestic and diplomatic identity creation plays a causal and constitutive role in foreign policy decision-making. For this research, he is supervised by Pauline Eadie and Jonathan Sullivan.