We stop killing people if we embrace Janism

“It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”― Voltaire

By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — I learned from my 70-year-old Indian-American chess rival here in Queens that in order for the EJK or extra-judicial killings in the Philippines to end, Filipinos may embrace the religion of Janism.
“Master Sam” said followers of this ancient religion wouldn’t even hurt a fly–literally.
He was saddened by reports that more than 2,000 suspected Filipino drug addicts and traffickers of illegal substance “have been murdered like animals” in the streets and in their houses in raids since the Duterte administration launched a “no-non sense” battle against illegal drugs in the Philippines.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) boss, Chief Supt. Ronald “Bato” De la Rosa, handpicked by President Duterte to “cleanse the country with criminal elements,” denied the PNP had initiated the mass killings saying “they adhere to the due process and respect the human rights of the suspects.”
Janism is one of India’s three ancient religions, along with Buddhism and Hinduism.


“Master Sam” said because of this religion, he could not even get mad at chess hustlers in the park who bilked him.
“I’m a peaceful person. When I beat you in a chess match once, I felt I humiliated you in front of your friends. When it was your turn to beat me (eight times in another meeting), I felt it was necessary to compliment you and tell people around that you are a better chess player,” enthused “Master Sam,” who once lost $1,500 to Filipino chess hustlers at Elmhurst Park in Queens.
Despite the fact that it has only a few million adherents and is confined almost entirely in Southern India, Janism’s philosophy of non-violence has spread throught the world, according to “Master Sam.”
To Janists, he said, the world is divided into the living (or the soul) and the non-living.
They believe that the soul is invaded by karmic matter, or negative passions, that can dominate people’s lives. These include violence, greed, anger, and self-indulgence.
This karma reportedly bonds to the soul and impedes the search for perfect understanding and peace.


To reach the heavenly stage, “Master Sam” said Janists must stop the inflow of bad karma and shed the karmic matter that has already bonded to their souls.
Once this has been accomplished, he explained, they reach moksha or a level of pure understanding where the soul is liberated from all earthly matter.
Master Sam said achieving this heavenly stage is quite an ordeal. An individual must spend 12 years as a Janist monk and go through eight reincarnations in order to get there.
Along the way, each must also adhere to the Three Jewels of Right Faith, Right Knowledge, and Right Conduct. More extreme worshippers deny themselves even the most basic of life’s pleasures by fasting and wearing only the simplest clothing.

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Posted by on September 27, 2016 in CULTURE AND HERITAGE, HISTORY, RELIGION


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Opinions: Clinton rips Trump in first debate

“I love argument, I love debate. I don’t expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me, that’s not their job.” Margaret Thatcher

By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — Fil-Am voter Delia Gatmaitan of Queens did not cook dinner and “we decided to eat what was left in the refrigerator so we won’t miss the debate” last night (September 26) between presidential nominees Hillary Clinton of Democratic Party and Donald Trump of Republican Party.
Gatmaitan, 66, and live-in partner, Raul, 28, a Hispanic immigrant, both Clinton supporters, have been waiting the first presidential debate since August.
Their housemate, another Fil-Am voter, Darcito Bartolome, 70, a Trump supporter, was also glued to his TV set monitoring the event at the Hofstra University in Hempstead on NBC channel, one of the networks that broadcast the “live” debate.
Like many partisan observers, they were divided on who won the first of the series of debates.


According to Ruth Ben-Ghiat, professor of history and Italian studies at New York University, “Civility went south fast in Monday’s debate.”
She said, “Donald Trump lost his composure early, ranting, interrupting (over 20 times) and sniffing. (Under the weather, or out of his comfort zone?) Hillary Clinton started out soft, playing the grandmother card, but quickly escalated to tough talk and occasional sarcasm. It could hardly have gone otherwise. Clinton hit hard at Trump, bringing up his admiration of Russian President Vladimir Putin, his ‘long record of engaging in racist behavior,’ his denial at having supported the Iraq war, and his refusal to allow the American people to see his tax returns.”
A specialist in 20th-century European history, Ben-Ghiat added: “In doing so, Clinton did Americans a big favor: she revealed Trump’s limitations. He is simply unable to make those leaps of imagination and generosity necessary to transform from a businessperson to a national political leader.”


She stressed further: “The candidate who claims to do everything big showed the smallness of his thinking tonight. With his off-key rejoinders, he demonstrated repeatedly how he sees everything — people, properties, cities, and entire countries — in terms of how they factor into his business and personal universe, which seem to be one and the same. I’ll get to Pennsylvania Avenue one way or another, he said tonight, as though the White House and his new Trump hotel are entities of equal importance. Perhaps they really are, in his mind.”
“Clinton alone demonstrated the composure, wisdom, and broad vision necessary for executive office. She won the debate hands down,” she explained.
Activist and television commentator Sally Kohn said “Trump’s train went off the rails.”


Donald Trump’s supporters like to refer to his movement as “The Trump Train.” Well, tonight The Trump Train went off the rails. Big time, Kohn pointed out.
“Admittedly, to many observers, the train was already way off track. Maybe it started the moment his campaign began, when he dismissed Mexican immigrants as ‘rapists.’ Or maybe it was when he attacked Sen. John McCain. Or later, when he attacked a Gold Star family. Certainly, many Americans have paid attention to the media’s attempts at fact checking — including one report that Trump only tells the truth 22% of the time, and another that found in five hours of talking, Trump outright lied an average of every 3 minutes and 15 seconds,” she observed.
Kohn added: “But for those who somehow thought, up until Monday night, that Donald Trump might somehow be qualified to be president, Monday’s debate was a wakeup call. He seemed like a defensive, petulant bully who could only insult Hillary Clinton and America — and couldn’t offer a single solution, let alone details. He came across as not only dreadfully unprepared for the debate, but dreadfully unprepared to be president. Which is the truth. And it’s high time all Americans know it.


“But don’t believe me. I’m obviously biased. Believe Frank Luntz. In his live focus group of undecided and leaning voters, just six people thought Trump won while 16 said Clinton was the victor. In moment after moment, the focus group preferred Clinton. For instance, Clinton’s response to Trump’s attack on her stamina scored better than Trump’s attack. And Hillary’s plan to defeat ISIS actually scored better with the Trump leaners in the group than with the Clinton leaners.
“In moment after moment, Hillary Clinton presented a knowledgeable and clear-eyed vision for how to help working families and continue America on the path to security and prosperity. Donald Trump, in contrast, lied, and got defensive. He was petty and insulting, and then lied some more. Lies apparently can only get the Trump train so far. Eventually it runs out of steam.
“Hillary Clinton showed herself to be the kind of person you want in the White House. And Donald Trump showed himself to be the kind of kindergartner who should have his train taken away and instead given a timeout.”

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Posted by on September 27, 2016 in ELECTION, POLITICS


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EXCLUSIVE: ‘Dragon’s group did not order the murders’

“I can’t stand squealers, hit that guy.” — Albert Anastasia

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Who ordered the gruesome killings of suspected drug lord Melvin “Boyet” Odicta and wife Meriam?
“Everyone has been pointing to Dragon’s (Odicta’s other name) alleged cohorts or protectors as the culprits. The group did not do it. Killing the goose that lays the golden egg is not only illogical, but also suicidal on the part of the group,” argued a reliable source who wanted to be called only as “Strawberry.”
Strawberry, who now lives in New Jersey, was a former “close friend” of the slain Odicta when the latter was still allegedly “locked in a bitter turf war” in Brgy. Tanza-Esperanza, Iloilo City Proper in the early 90’s with Levi Zerrudo, inmate in the Bureau of Jail and Management Penology (BJMP),
Zerrudo, also known as “Bitas”, was reportedly Odicta’s main rival in distribution of illegal drugs in the area. They were both small fries at that time, Strawberry said.


“I checked with the group and they swore they had no knowledge about the hit,” Strawberry disclosed.
He added: “They will have everything to lose and nothing to gain if they eliminated Dragon. Granting that Dragon and Meriam were able to give the list of their alleged protectors to DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) Secretary (Ismael) Sueno, killing the couple won’t change anything.”
Odicta’s lawyer Raymund Fortun denied that the couple submitted a list of their protectors or “illegal drug trade matrix” to Sueno during their meeting two days before the murders.
If the alleged protectors wanted to silence Odicta and his wife, they would have ordered their killing before they went to the DILG, Strawberry pointed out.
He said the murders of the Odicta couple “bore the signatures of highly-organized assassins which no ordinary group or organization can command, maintain and sustain.”
Strawberry said “he was very suspicious with the reactions and expressions” of both Philippines National Police (PNP) chief, Director Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa and President Rodrigo Duterte himself after news of the couple’s killings spread all over the country.


Strawberry said the assassins could have followed the couple’s movement even before they left for Batangas port to take a ro-ro ship to Caticlan, Aklan where they were peppered with bullets while walking in the port area at around 1:30 a.m. on August 29.
They suffered fatal gunshot wounds and pronounced dead on arrival in a hospital in Malay, Aklan
“The signs were not good starting when they were stopped in a police checkpoint in Batangas, where three of their companions have been arrested (after several unlicensed guns were found inside their vehicle) while Dragon and Meriam were allowed to board the ship,” he stressed.
Strawberry also clarified that “Meriam’s former husband was Bondying Porras, not Tikboy Porras.”
Tikboy Porras, murdered in a beach resort in Calumpang, Iloilo City in the late 80’s, was known as “Boy Gold”. Tikboy Porras was a notorious holdupman and hired killer, not drug pusher, Strawberry corrected.
He was reportedly murdered by his former cohorts.


Bondying Porras was shot dead by SP01 Moloy Vasquez of the Molo PNP Station when he ran amuck in Brgy. Tanza-Esperanza.
“Bondying Porras was engaged in selling of illegal drugs and his wife Meriam knew about his activities,” Strawberry explained. “Meriam and Boyet Odicta alyas Dragon fell in love with each other and decided to live together after Porras’ death.”
Meriam met Dragon after his release from the New Bilibid Prison.
They reportedly collaborated “and used Bondying Porras’ sources and connections in illegal drugs trade.”
Competitions were still tight among local suppliers of illegal drugs. In the Zamora waterfront area, some of the alleged “notorious” pushers then were Wendel and Tiny Garcia, Alison Benid, and White Deneros.
A certain “Tongtong” reportedly controlled the Jaro-CPU area, “but the Zalbaloza brothers were running the show,” the informant further said.
La Paz district area was then reportedly controlled by “Mommy Fe”, “Bulani”, “Italyano”, “Umok”, and “Mike.”
“Bulani”, nephew of the late alleged gambling capitalist Nilo Soliva, was the first to fall in a renewed anti-drugs campaign initiated by then Metrodistrict Command chief, Col. Vicented Neptuno, who used K–9 dogs to track down illegal substances in raids.
“The playing field was even and Boyet Odicta was among the ordinary players. There were no drug lords then,” Strawberry disclosed.


“The most prominent name in illegal drugs at that time was Boysi Maloto of Molo district. He was connected to the late former Pototan Vice Mayor Pito Parcon. Maloto was killed by anti-narcotics operatives led by Col. Arada in a raid in his hideout in Molo,” Strawberry added.
“When Maloto fell, the Odicta couple moved in, as they started to gain the respect of big time shabu suppliers in the Bilibid because Boyet Odicta did not use drugs and was only interested in business together with Meriam,” he said.
Strawberry further revealed: “The names of Prevendido brothers emerged in Brgy. Bakhaw, Mandurriao and their alleged protector was a high-ranking police general from New Lucena, Iloilo.”


When serious competitions for distribution in the city and province started in mid-90’s, violence started to escalate and Odicta reportedly emerged with upper hand because he utilized ex-convicts from the BJMP and New Bilibid Prison to neutralize his rivals and murder those who stood on their way.
“Odicta finally gained control of illegal drugs business in Western Visayas when his rivals started to fall in police raids one after another, and when suppliers in the Bilibid gave him their full trust and confidence. With Meriam’s built-in tentacles inherited from Bondying Porras, they became formidable,” Strawberry concluded. “Odicta solidified his hold of illegal drugs trade when he perfected the protection racket scheme by including in his alleged payola corrupt members of the PNP, government, media, and judiciary.”

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Posted by on September 1, 2016 in CRIME


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Odicta once arrested for ‘snatching’

“To have once been a criminal is no disgrace. To remain a criminal is the disgrace.”

— Malcolm X

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — I first heard the name Melvin “Boyet” Odicta in the early 90’s when I edited the stories of our police beat reporters, Ruby Silubrico and Ednalyn Belonio-Diamante, in Sun Star, a daily newspaper in Western Visayas in the Philippines.
If Odicta was not arrested in a buy-bust operation and raids conducted by elements of the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) then headed by Supt. Vicente Neptuno in his residence in Brgy. Tanza-Esperanza, City Proper, he was nabbed for, believe it or not, snatching!
Since Odicta was never convicted of snatching, either complainants refused to pursue the case for fear of reprisal or lack of interest, or he was a victim of a mistaken identity as he had insisted, according to police.
In other words, the man who raked in millions of pesos allegedly in trafficking of illegal drugs in year 2000 up and became the most-feared character in the underworld, started as small fry.
Odicta had always insisted he was a legitimate businessman. They operated a taxi company and a restaurant.


The man tagged by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and by no less than Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Director Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa as “the drug lord”, reportedly began as a mere street hooligan.
His sudden transformation from alleged small-time trafficker and “snatcher” to big-time “drug lord” was meteoric, to say the least.
It was when Odicta began to “collaborate” with Merriam Regalado-Porras, who became Mrs. Meriam Odicta, that his name became a byword and his empire ballooned.
Meriam was widow of the notorious gangster Tikboy Porras of Pototan, Iloilo. Porras was murdered reportedly by his former cohorts in a beach resort in Iloilo City in early 80s.
Porras, who also reportedly dabbled as hired killer, was one of the fast-rising illegal drug traffickers in Iloilo province when he was killed, police said.
Police said it was possible that Meriam “inherited” her dead husband’s connections and sources in the illicit deals.


When Odicta was sentenced to life imprisonment for violation of Republic Act 6425 or the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, he met some of the jailed criminal bigwigs in the New Bilibid Prison, believed to be the source of first-grade metamphetamine chloride or shabu.
Authorities viewed his alleged connections in the New Bilibid Prison mafia plus Meriam’s “well-entrenched” tentacles as “formidable” combinations.
When he was released under a controversial circumstance in the 90’s, Odicta made a name in the underworld as “Dragon”, his nom de guerre in the New Bilibid Prison probably inspired by the huge dragon tattoo on his body.
Dragon was reportedly both feared by his rivals and admired by his cohorts. His connections were so wide and powerful that he became untouchable for a long time, police said.
The Odicta couple were gunned down by unidentified assailants as they arrived via ro-ro in Caticlan, Aklan on August 29.
They came from a meeting with Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ismael “Mike” Sueno in Metro Manila where they reportedly submitted a list containing the “illegal drug trade matrix”, a report denied by the couple’s lawyers.

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Posted by on September 1, 2016 in CRIME


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Dragon stares at death but couldn’t spit fire

“He who does not prevent a crime when he can, encourages it.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — In the hands of his executioners, suspected drug lord Melvin “Boyet” Odicta Sr, popularly known as “Dragon”, saw imminent death.
Based on manner of his execution, there was no way Dragon could escape and survive.
A gunman shot Dragon and wife Merriam as they alighted from a roll-on roll-off vessel at around 1:30 a.m. in Caticlan, Aklan. August 28, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Superintendent Dionardo Carlos confirmed.
“Please bring me out here,” Dragon, limping with a bullet wound on the right foot, pleaded to his lawyer Gualberto Cataluna over mobile phone.
The most feared underworld personality could not even spit a fire as he struggled to avoid being finished off after surviving the first volley of shots.


But he was trapped. And Dragon probably knew he was finished.
Dragon was supposed to be brought to a Malay hospital but witnesses, including Cataluna, claimed policemen handcuffed him.
Minutes later, the man considered as “the most powerful and well-connected drug lord” in Western Visayas, was dead.
He had bullet wounds in the body and head, it was reported.
Before he died, Dragon witnessed how his wife, Merriam, was peppered with bullets in the back.
The Odictas were declared dead on arrival in the hospital.
The couple were on their way to Iloilo from Manila where they were reported earlier to have “surrendered” to Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ismael Sueno.
Cataluna insisted they sought Sueno’s help because of threats they were getting in Iloilo and did not surrender.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Director Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa earlier tagged Dragon as “the drug lord.” He had vowed to wipe out all the drug lords in six months.


There was no evidence that the hard-hitting PNP chief had ordered Dragon’s killing. He asserted that he does not tolerate summary executions but vowed to “get hard” on criminals, especially the drug lords.
For a while, Dragon seemed untouchable.
He repeatedly denied envolvement in trafficking of illegal drugs insisting he was a legitimate taxi operator. The couple managed the Melvin taxi company, among other businesses in Iloilo City.
For so many years now, a mere mention of Dragon’s name evoked fears among local law enforcers, business rivals, politicians, and crusading mediamen.
He had “friends” in almost all sectors and organizations. He was also reportedly a “benevolent” election campaign contributor.
Residents in places where Dragon had businesses and houses wouldn’t comment about the nature of his other “businesses” and sources of income, we were informed. He also reportedly provided sacks of rice, cash for tuition and hospital bills, among other financial assistance, to poor neighbors.


Some corrupt cops, politicians, thugs, and media personalities were reportedly under his payroll.
Some of the unsolved gruesome murders involving policemen, media personalities, underworld characters and even ordinary employees had been reportedly linked to Dragon and his associates.
No charges have been filed against them, however, in relation to these gangland-style killings.
Aksyon Radyo, a local radio station in Iloilo City, became Dragon’s fiercest critic and continued to expose his alleged illegal activities amid threats of reprisal and harassment.
Dragon and his cohorts had been charged with trying to invade the radio station two years ago. They were caught on CCTV seizing some gadget owned by the radio station during the raid.
Dragon’s death reportedly left a vaccum in the leadership of illegal drugs in the city and province of Iloilo.


“At least his tentacles will now start to be decimated now that the main head has been cut off,” a namesake, Boyet, who now lives in California, said. “He was probably killed by his protectors for fear he might squeal on their partnership.”
Boyet said some of Dragon’s protectors “are so powerful and prominent. Ilonggos will be shocked if they will know who they are.”
Boyet, a former underworld character, said Dragon’s protectors had been “looking for the right opportunity” to strike starting when they learned that Dragon’s name was included in the list of suspected drug lords in the country secured by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“They have finally caught him up in Caticlan,” Boyet averred. “Happy days (for the Ilonggos) will come again (after Dragon’s demise).”

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Posted by on August 29, 2016 in CRIME, NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!


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‘Nanay patawarin mo po ako’

“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” Abraham Lincoln

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Mercidetas is in a hurry to book for a trip to Manila in November 2016 and the cheapest ticket she could get was $453 at China Eastern for a flight via Shianghai.
If she moves her flight to December, Mercidetas will have to shell out $1,439 at Philippine Airlines.
“I need to be home before December. My youngest daughter will deliver her baby before Christmas,” chortles Mercidetas, 56, a mother of three.
Her daugther, Rachel, 17, lives in Carmona, a first class urban municipality in the province of Cavite, Philippines with a population of 97,557, according to the 2015 census.
Mother and daughter haven’t seen each other in person since 2001 when Mercidetas left then two-year-old Rachel to the care of Rosario, Mercidetas’ older sister who was single.
Mercidetas, clerk in the local registry of deeds, left for San Francisco, California on a tourist visa before the 9/11 attack.
She never returned to the Philippines.


She left her two other children–Rhea, 7, and Dan Robert, 9–in the care of her estranged husband’s parents.
Both Rhea and Dan Robert now have their own families. Rhea, cashier in a grocery store, lives in Norzagaray, Bulacan. Dan Robert, whose expertise in the kitchen was recently featured in a popular TV program in Manila, is cook in a Japanese restaurant in Makati City, Metro Manila.
Mercidetas works as babysitter in Long Island. She admits Rachel is her favorite child “because I nearly lost her when I was only six months pregnant.”
She had a violent altercation with Ramon’s “girlfriend” who kicked her on the stomach during a scuffle.
Mercidetas says “Ramon was not happy” when he learned she was pregnant to Rachel.
“He became paranoid after coming home one night when he saw a carpenter inside our house during a power blackout,” recalls Mercidetas. “He accused me of having an affair with the carpenter.”
Mercidetas theorized Ramon, driver of a prominent politician in Imus, a neighboring municipality, only wanted to justify his infidelity by “falsely” accusing her of committing adulterous acts.


She caught Ramon and his inamorata while coming out from a drive-in motel and attacked them.
Ramon’s girlfriend, younger by about eight years, fought back and Mercidetas landed in the hospital after a violent fracas. “I nearly lost my baby,” she sobs, gnashing her teeth.
Ramon left them and lived with his girlfriend in Quezon province.
“Ate Rosario took care of Rachel when I decided to go to the United States,” Mercidetas narrates. “My heart sank when Ate Rosario died in 2009. I could not fly home because of immigration issues. Rachel was only nine years old then.”
Rosario was a victim of hit and run in the Carmona highway. The car that sideswiped her while on her way home from church sped off.
“When Rachel needed me most, I was not there on her side. I was going insane. I lost my appetite. I lost weight. I had sleepless nights worrying for my youngest daughter. My friends in the Woodside entertained me in the videoke bar and assured me everything was fine for Rachel, who was taken care of by our neighbors before being adopted by Ramon’s sister in Caloocan (city, Metro Manila),” Mercidetas adds amid tears.


She needed to raise funds as babysitter; sometimes she dabbled in house cleaning for a part time job “because I left a big debt in the Philippines.”
Aside from sending money to Rosario for Rachel’s needs, Mercidetas also remitted some cash to Ramon’s parents for her other children.
She also left “a pile of debts” several months before she obtained her visa.
“That’s why I needed to work so I can also sustain the needs of my family even if I am a TNT (tago ng tago),” remarks Mercidetas, who left San Francisco to New York City after two moths in 2001 to hook up with a former classmate, Evangeline, a caregiver in Brooklyn.
Evangeline paid for Mercidetas’ rent for three months in a small bedroom on 69th St. Roosevelt Avenue, Woodside. She transferred to a spacious room when she landed a job as babysitter.
Rachel took up an associate course in computer in Caloocan City where she met Mamerto, an instructor.
“Even if she had no idea how I looked in person except in the photos in our family album, Rachel and I talked over the phone regularly,” adds Mercidetas. “When Skype came, it was heaven for both of us. We cried together because we could look at each other face to face even if it was only in the internet.”


Mercidetas considers Rachel as “still my baby and (she’ll) forever remain as my baby” even if Rachel was already teenager.
Rachel would not anymore resent their distance and flip-flopped in pressing her mom further on circumstances why a mother had to leave her children and could not come home during important family events.
Mercidetas assured her “we will someday be reunited and will no longer be separated in whatever circumstance.”
In return, Rachel promised to be a “good girl” and to finish her studies.
“In the Skype and in the Facebook messenger, we always prayed together for God’s guidance and blessing so that all our wishes would come true,” discloses Mercidetas.
Rachel haven’t heard from her father. Mercidetas says she had to employ “white lies” to divert Rachel’s mind each time questions about her father’s whereabouts tarried in their discussion.
“I just assured her that someday her father will show up and join us. It pains me a lot while saying those white lies because I know it’s already impossible,” Mercidetas laments.
Mercidetas admits her “most shocking” nightmare came in June this year when Rhea, now 22, informed her by long distance that Rachel was pregnant.
To add insult, Mamerto, the man who allegedly impregnated Rachel, is married with four children.
Mamerto resigned from the computer institute owned by the former presidential adviser of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada after Rhea and their relatives confronted him and brought the matter to the attention of school authorities.


Rachel stopped going to school. “Nakakahiya (shameful)” was how Rhea described Rachel’s predicament when Rhea reported the matter to Mercidetas.
Mercidetas admits she felt like her world has crumbled for being unable to assist her favorite daughter during “the most confusing moments” in her life.
“I blame myself. All her life I was not there to give her advice and guidance while she was growing up. What she lacked was parental guidance. We failed to provide it,” Mercidetas exclaims, clinching her fists.
She cautioned Rhea from admonishing her sister severely and appealed to give Rachel all the moral support and understanding.
“Gusto ko man lang sana mayakap sia. Pati ba naman sa kalagayan nia ngayon wala ako sa piling nia (I wanted to at least embrace her. I should be there beside her now),” Mercidetas sighs.


Rachel refused to answer Mercidetas’ calls in the Facebook messenger, Skype and other means of communications. “Naintindihan ko sia. Naghalo ang kanyang hiya at takot. I wanted her to know that I am not mad at her. I wanted her to know that I am giving her my full support basta kausapin lang niya ako,” she sobs further.
Mercidetas did not press the issue. She waited for the moment when Rachel could muster enough strength and courage to talk to her.
One afternoon in July while she was in the Junction Boulevard subway station in Corona, Queens, Mercidetas’ Facebook messenger rang. It was Rachel.
“Nanay patawarin mo po ako (mother please forgive me). I failed you. I did not honor my promise. I am so ashamed.”
Mercidetas replied: “Anak wala kang kasalanan. Mahal na mahal kita pati ang magiging anak mo at magiging apo ko. Hintayin mo ako. Magsasama na tayo muli. (You are not at fault, my child. I love you, your daughter; and also my grandchild. Wait for me. We will be together again.)”


I’m not dead, says Pinoy chess champ

“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”  — MARK TWAIN

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — The oldest Filipino to win a category title in the World Chess Open championship has surfaced after a long hiatus to belie reports he was dead.
“I came here to prove them wrong,” Normando “Andy” Bragat Punzalan, 72, told this writer in an exclusive interview at the Elmhurst Park in Queens, August 15, referring to reports.

“In fact, I’m looking for the person or group of persons in this park who spread the rumor that I have died,” fumed Punzalan, who holds a United States Chess Federation (USCF) National Elo 1769.


SELFIE with a background showing Punzalan playing versus Indonesia Master Thomas.

Rumors of Punzalan’s death spread in Elmhurst Park July 2016, where he used to hone chess skills together with other fellow Filipino-American chess players.
He claimed credit in bringing super GM Wesley So in the park to play with local chess aficionados in exhibition matches.


Rated No. 2120 in the United States, Punzalan, who has lived here for more than 30 years since moving from Novaliches, Quezon City, blamed “envy” as the source of the false story.
Fellow Fil-Am chess player Melchor “Choy” Florescio alerted Punzalan about the rumors in a telephone call, but persuaded him from identifying the rumor mongers.
Chess aficionados in the park feared swindlers might once again use the opportunity to solicit donations for a “dead” compatriot.
“Ever since I won in Philadelphia (venue of the 7th Annual World Open Under1800), I have been hearing ugly rumors about me. Some people just can’t accept that I could win a chess title in my senior years,” narrated Punzalan, who was 70 when he ruled the category championship.
Punzalan claimed he also topped the tournament in the senior category in 2015.


When his victory became known in the community, Punzalan said envious characters also circulated a story that he was a TNT (Tago Ng Tago or illegal immigrant) in a bid to destroy him in the chess federation.
He chided those who cast doubts on his credentials to check the internet saying he did not want to argue with them.
“I had to show my ID to prove that I am an American citizen,” sobbed Punzalan, who recently engaged an Indonesian known in the park as “Master Thomas” in a series of blitz games.
In an incident during a winter season years back, detractors ribbed Punzalan after a drunken elderly Fil-Am he accompanied home fell to the ground and suffered cuts on his head.
“My detractors claimed I intentionally pushed the elderly person. I was the one who offered to bring the person home, yet I ended up as the contrabida. My critics never stopped maligning me only because I won a chess title,” he exclaimed.


Punzalan said several Filipino chessers also won in various categories in the past, “but none of them won the title at age 70.”
“I’m not bragging about my achievements (in chess), but I will prove to my critics that I can still play even if I am now 72,” Punzalan said. “I am still active and not yet retiring.”
He plans to participate in the Millionaire Chess Open in Atlantic City, New Jersey on October 6-10, 2016.
Punzalan also reportedly had exposure in the following tournaments: 41st Annual World Open (Ratedgames) Arlington, USA 2013.06.29; 41st Annual World Open (Under1800) Arlington, USA 2013.06.29; 6th NY International (Under1800) New York, USA 2013.06.19; 7th Annual Philadelphia Open (Under1800) Philadelphia, USA 2013.03.27; National Chess Congress (Under1800) Philadelphia, USA 2012.11.23; Boardwalk Open (Under 1800) Asbury Park, USA 2012.10.19; Continental Class (Class B) Arlington, USA 2012.10.04; 40th Annual World Open (Under1800) Philadelphia, USA 2012.07.01; Philadelphia Open (Under1600) Philadelphia, USA 2012.04.04; Eastern Team Championship! (Teamu) Stamford, USA 2011.11.04; 39th Annual World Open (Under1600) Philadelphia, USA 2011.06.28; 38th Annual World Open (Under1600).

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Posted by on August 20, 2016 in SPORTS


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