Be ready for the 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. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY — Unknown to many people, Mel Carreon, the object of ridicule and laughter from characters who didn’t take his candidacy in the past elections seriously, is a good speaker.
“Therefore he is a good debater,” insisted the late Bob Bacaling, Carreon’s erstwhile campaign manager.
Bacaling said Carreon can lecture not only about car insurance, health and mortgage life insurance and homeowner’s insurance, but also about stocks, bonds and cash equivalent investments that are vital for the nation’s economic growth and survival.
“Mel is no pushover in debates,” Bacaling stressed. “He can discuss topics about history and religion; and he believes he has the formula that can help solve poverty in the country and lower the rate in unemployment. All he needs is a big break and a chance to serve the public as an elected official.”
Carreon failed prove to all and sundry he could orate like Demosthenes and argue like Cicero because he was always not included in formal debates in the past elections among candidates for mayor and congressman in Iloilo City.
He was always dismissed as a “nuisance” candidate because no serious political party has carried or accredited him; he always ran as independent.
Now that he has filed his candidacy for mayor, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should give him the benefit of the doubt and let him participate in media debates.


It is not enough that after filing their certificates of candidacy (COC) for the May 2019 Philippine general elections, candidates will rely everything heavily to their respective political parties as far as winning is concerned.
They need to cultivate their own gardens and must first prove their worth in the debate.
Candidates can’t be saved by their political parties or party mates if they go to the debate unprepared and are not updated on the latest local, national, and international issues.
Debate can be a game changer.
It is one effective barometer in selecting quality public officials and unmasking the charlatans.
Candidates who lack preparations or avoid the debate are usually interested only to win and collect their salary, pelf and privileges once they are in power, not to prove to their constituents that they are mentally fit and prepared for the job as public servants.


Debates during the election campaign should be encouraged because they will show if the candidates, at least, possess the basic intellectual apparatus that can help them chart the future of their constituents and help alleviate their economic well-being.
Debate, as a force for social change, develops skills and knowledge that will help the debater become an elite and will also help him to develop a civic and political identity.
They will develop a sense of ownership of the world and a sense of empowerment, as they will know specific global and domestic issues, and the ways in which the government can solve our generation’s problems.

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Posted by on October 15, 2018 in Uncategorized


Choose the lesser evil

“It’s so important to realize that every time you get upset, it drains your emotional energy. Losing your cool makes you tired. Getting angry a lot messes with your health.”

–Joyce Meyer

By Alex P. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY –– The excuse that “nabutang kami sa tunga” (we are caught in the middle of things) won’t hold water in politics.

Some friends of the Defensor, Biron, Garin, Tupas, Zulueta, Espinosa, Treñas, Gerochi, Nava, Ganzon, Alim, among other big political families, claim they can’t decide which political group or candidates to support “because they are all our friends; they are all close to us; they are all good.”


Choose the lesser evil.

Anyway, they’re not all Lucifer’s relatives–and they aren’t all angels, as well.

Once we start to peel off the onions, we can separate the chaffs from the grains; we can identify the charlatans from the real epitomes of public service.

In the “Divine Comedy”, Dante warned that “the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality.”


Now that several politicians have started filing their certificates of candidacy (COC) for the May 2019 general elections in the Philippines, speculations about who will face certain candidates in the top and lower positions are also starting to unravel.

Because most local candidates move around and will campaign in close-knit communities, expect many friendships and relationships by affinity and consanguinity to shatter.

It’s a barefaced reality in Philippine politics that not all our friends–bosom or acquaintance–will vote for us.

It’s not even an assurance that a seatmate or a high school sweetheart will automatically vote for us.

It’s been tested and proven that some candidates can’t even collect all the votes in a family; a sister or a brother–or even the parents–would horrifically vote for another candidates.

Politics has always been the No. 1 destroyer of camaraderie, kinship, and fraternal ties.

Our advice to candidates: keep your cool.


When a friend or a relative gives our candidacy a cold shoulder treatment, don’t retaliate by aggression; don’t be vindictive.

Don’t use the social media to confront someone about past affairs or favors we gave them.

It won’t help deodorize our public image if we resort to “kiss and tell” tactic and sour-grape like a waif.

As much as possible, avoid the words “I thought you are my friend”,”Your true color has surfaced now that I need you most”, etcetera.

It’s a kid’s rant.

Don’t be a cry baby if somebody disapproves our candidacy and supports, of all people, our rivals. Painful but life goes on; let’s move on.

Life is an ocean of mystery.


We can’t pocket all the balls in the billiards table; we can’t win everything.

Somewhere along the way, relationships turn sour; “utang na loob” or debt of gratitude diminishes and forgotten easily during moments of tests and challenges.

Jesus lost Judas when the Lord needed him most; Caesar lost Brutus; Bonifacio lost Aguinaldo; and Marcos lost Ramos and Enrile, to name only a few.

When we are in the pigsty, don’t expect a fellow pig to kiss our lips.

Politics has always been a dirty, nasty, and heart-rending game.

If we can’t take the heat, let’s immediately get out the kitchen.


Strong people are given much trials and heartaches because it is believed that they can overcome such pain.

That they are brave.

But sometimes we get so tired that we just want to scream and give up.

When that certain time comes that we can no longer walk on our own, God helps us carry our pain.

For as long as God is here, giving up is never a choice.

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Posted by on October 11, 2018 in Uncategorized


No sympathy for Conor McGregor

“I want to stay humble, but I have to talk because the other guys talk too much, and… I understand the crazy power the UFC PR machine has.”

–Khabib Nurmagomedov

By Alex P. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY — It isn’t difficult to like Khabib Nurmagomedov as an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) choker, but it’s difficult to accept his manners and unrestrained tantrums.
Even Mike Tyson admitted in a “twit” his notoriety as a ring monster paled in comparison to what Nurmagomedov displayed minutes after humiliating Conor McGregor via submission (neck crank) at 3:03 of Round 4 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on October 6, 2018.
Perhaps wanting to explode owing to his pent-up rage against McGregor’s pre-fight misdemeanors and abuses, Nurmagomedov, an undefeated Dagestani champion who wrestled bears as a child and has never lost so much as a round in the UFC in 27 brawls, couldn’t control himself as he leaped out of the cage and attacked McGregor’s cornermen that erupted into an ugly melee.
Nurmagomedov may have decisively defeated and exposed the “dimwit” McGregor and made a good account of himself as a champion, but fans will remember not his impressive performance that night, but how he destroyed the image of UFC with his cheap stunt and abrasive behavior.


Flashback on August 26, 2017 in the same Octagon, we had but a little sympathy for McGregor when Floyd Mayweather reduced him to a slick-moving punching bag before stopping him by 10th round technical knockout (TKO).
It was a mismatch of epic proportions and I have been insisting before the fight there was no way for any UFC bully to roll past a scientific boxer in match governed by boxing rules and regulations.
We were all taken for a ride when the duel was hyped successfully as “The Money Fight” and “The Biggest Fight in Combat Sports History” and fans went gaga over the lopsided rumble.
In losing to Mayweather, McGregor showed some restraint and professionalism before and after the fight which made many of his fans love and adore him more.
But in his brawl against Nurmagomedov, even some of his countrymen living in the United States were embarrassed with his unsportsmanlike behavior when he showed up at Barclays Center in Brooklyn just after the conclusion of a UFC 223 media day on April 5, looking to confront one of that weekend’s main event fighters and threw a steel dolly through the window of a bus carrying the fighter he was targeting, lightweight champion Nurmagomedov, as well as several other fighters and UFC staff–some of whom were injured in the attack.
This was McGregor’s lowest point and we offer no sympathy for his destruction in his bout against Nurmagomedov.


The genesis of the notorious drama came when Artem Lobov, a friend and training partner of McGregor’s, spoke to reporters in his native Russia and was critical of Nurmagomedov. “Khabib pulled out six times already. He always pulls out of fights,” Lobov said in Russian, according to a translation on “If something hurts a little bit, his a– or whatever, he pulls out. He can’t even make weight. He doesn’t give a s— about his fans, that everyone flew from Russia–even getting a visa is a pain, and travel expenses–all in order to see him, and he doesn’t show up. And it’s not once, not two, three or four times.
Latest news said McGregor and Nurmagomedov were both facing being banned from UFC after the brawls erupted at the end of their Lightweight Championship.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) was reportedly preparing to file complaints against the pair after ugly scenes which marred Nurmagomedov’s fourth-round victory.
Commission chairman Anthony Marnell and his colleagues have initiated a full investigation and will be looking at film footage and interviews with all those involved.
Nurmagomedov issued an apology in his post-fight press conference but scorned McGregor’s behavior in the build-up to the fight.

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Posted by on October 10, 2018 in Uncategorized


City Council’s game of musical chairs

“Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.”

–Malcolm Forbes

By Alex P. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY — The recent game of musical chairs in the Iloilo City Council, where several councilors allied with Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III lost major committee chairmanships, shouldn’t be considered as an earth-shaking event.
With the advent of election campaign for the May 2019 polls, the discord among Iloilo City aldermen was but natural, and, to some extent, necessary.
When two elephants are feuding their underlings will have to take sides and call for arms.
It’s a Hobson’s Choice.
When the art of political survival is at play, no one is allowed to remain as kibitzers.
This is how democracy works.
It will also dispel the widespread belief or misconception that the City Council is a rubber stamp.
When there’s insurrection in the house, that means freedom of expression and freedom of choice are alive and kicking.
Warring factions indicate diverse viewpoints on various issues, orientations, sentiments, advocacy, and affiliations.
Whoever will argue that the stripping of important committee chairmanships from key political personalities, otherwise known as “reorganization”, wasn’t tainted with politics, tell him straight in the eyes “it’s baloney.”
Of course politics was heavily involved and the entire brouhaha had prior notices, or at least knowledge, from the major political players.
When someone insist Rep. Jerry P. Treñas and Mayor Joe III had no hand, or had nothing to do with the recent scrimmage in the City Council, let’s retort “tell it to the marines!”
In relinquishing the dimpled positions of majority floor leader and assistant majority floor leader, respectively, Councilors Eduardo Peñaredondo and R Leoni Gerochi should have nothing to worry about.
Elections are seven months away.
When election time comes, people will remember (and will decide whether to vote for them anew based on) their deeds and contributions that helped benefit their constituents, not whether they were ousted or given additional committee chairmanships.
THE REAL McCOY. Although frequently associated with Darwinism, the phrase “survival of the fittest” was coined by Herbert Spencer, an English sociologist.
It is the process by which organisms that are less well-adapted to their environment tend to perish and better-adapted organisms tend to survive.
In political combat, only those who are fit mentally and emotionally will survive.
Onion-skinned characters aspiring for public office can never survive if they win, for they will self-destruct when members of the press, the Fourth Estate, will start to scrutunize them and they begin to feel uncomfortable and, as a result, plant animosity toward the critical press deep inside their hearts.
The press and characters in public office should work hand in hand for the nation building, not as adversaries and mortal enemies.-o0o-INCREDIBLE, AWFUL. There are more bacteria and other harmful microorganisms in the kitchen than in the toilet room, according to health authorities.


LET’S BE WARY. A child who was sexually and emotionally abused will develop eating disorders like bulimia, minus the countervailing purging behavior, and compulsive overeating, according to David M. Dunkley, a psychiatric researcher and clinical psychologist at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal.

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Posted by on October 10, 2018 in Uncategorized


Joshua Alim, a modern day Julius Caesar

“Cowards die many times before their actual deaths.”

–Julius Caesar

By Alex P. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY — “I have crossed the Rubicon…it’s congressman for 2019. Ilonggos, I will fight for you.”
Thus was the Caesarean declaration made by Councilor Joshua Alim in his Facebook account on October 8, 2018.
By using Rubicon, a shallow river in northeastern Italy south of Ravenna, as the focal point of his battle cry, Alim has imitated Julius Caesar’s crossing of the stream in 49 B.C. which was tantamount to a declaration of war against Rome as represented by Pompey and the Senate.
The historic importance of this event gave rise to the phrase “crossing the Rubicon” for a step which definitely commits a person to a given course of action.
Now that Alim, a lawyer and law instructor, has “crossed” the river, he must decisively defeat Pompey to complete the heroic saga.
Alim will tangle against his former colleagues in the city council, Dr. Perla Zulueta and Julienne “Jam-Jam” Baronda, in the shootout for Iloilo City’s lone congressional district in May 2019.
Two “Pompeys” backed by two powerhouse establishments: the Treñas Cavalry and the Joe III Squadron.
Alim’s incursion is buttressed by the combined Gonzalez and Ynion Armada.


The real Caesar and real Pompey fought to the bitter end at Pharsalus on August 9, 48 B.C.
Pompey had 48,000 infantry, 7,000 horses; Caesar had 22,000 and 1,000.
“Some few of the noblest Romans,” says Plutarch, “standing as spectators outside the battle…could not but reflect to what a pass private ambition had brought the Empire…The whole flower and strength of the same city, meeting here in collision with itself, offered plain proof how blind and mad a thing human nature is when passion is aroused.”
In Caesar and Christ: The Story of Civilization, Will Durant narrated: “Near relatives, even brothers, fought in the opposite armies. Caesar bade his men spare all Romans who should surrender; as to the young aristocrat Marcus Brutus, he said, they were to capture him without injuring him, or, if this proved impossible, they were to let him escape.”
The Pompeians were overwhelmed by superior leadership, training, and morale: 15,000 of them were killed or wounded, 20,000 surrendered, the remainder fled.
Pompey tore the insignia of command from his clothing and took flight like the rest.
Cesar tells us that he lost but 200 men–which cast doubt upon all his books.


Caesar’s army was amused to see the tents of the defeated so elegantly adorned, and their tables laden with the feast that was to celebrate their victory.
Caesar ate Pompey’s supper in Pompey’s tent.
Pompey rode all night to Larissa, thence to the sea, and took ship to Alexandria.
At Mytilene, where his wife joined him, the citizens wished him to stay; he refused courteously, and advised them to submit to the conqueror without fear, for, he said, “Caesar was a man of great goodness and clemency.”
Brutus also escaped to Larissa, but there he dallied and wrote to Caesar.
The victor expressed joy on hearing that he was safe, readily forgave him, and at his request forgave Cassius.


To the nations of the East, which–controlled by the upper classes–had supported Pompey, he was likewise lenient.
He distributed Pompey’s hoards of grain among the starving population of Greece, and to the Athenians asking pardon he replied with a smile of reproof: “How often will the glory of your ancestors save you from self-destruction?”
When Pompey hoped to resume the battle versus Caesar (with the news army and resources of Egypt, and the forces that Cato, Labienus, and Metellus Scipio were organizing at Utica), he was murdered while his wife looked on in helpless terror from the ship in which they had come, by servants of Pothinus, eunich vizer of Ptolemy XII, as he reached Alexanderia, in expectation of reward from Caesar.
When Caesar arrived, Pothinus’ men presented him with Pompey’s severed head.
Caesar turned away and wept.
By riding on the epic of the “crossing in the Rubicon” which bears a striking semblance of his struggle in Iloilo City politics, will Atty. Joshua Alim weep like Julius Caesar and loudly declare “Veni, vidi, vici. (I came, I saw, I conquered)” after the May 2019 elections?

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Posted by on October 8, 2018 in Uncategorized


I have a report for you, Madame Bacchus

“My honour was not yielded, but conquered merely.” – Cleopatra

By Alex P. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY — I thank Madame Agnetha Bacchus, a retired Belgian-American language teacher, who goaded me to find out if Cleopatra was real and not a hoax; and if she was Egyptian as what some historians have claimed since time immemorial.
“I knew that there was a 1963 film about Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor, but I am intrigued if she really existed. In the first place, what was she doing there in Rome when Caesar was assassinated, if historians were correct?” Madame Bacchus quipped.
Madame Bacchus, who lives in Manhattan, learned while browsing the internet that aside from writing sports stories, I also wrote some “human interest” stories, scandals, politics, crimes, history, among other subject matters.
For her, I will write a piece of brief history about Cleopatra and some of the myths that have badgered her name.
“I want a piece of your mind about this woman Cleopatra,” Madame Bacchus dared me.


I haven’t talked to Madame Bacchus for a long time now, but I am confident she will be able to read this article on her iPad.
Madame Bacchus, I learned–and was able to confirm–that Cleopatra was not a myth.
Like other historical figures, she once walked on this planet.
And she wasn’t Egyptian!
She may have been queen of Egypt, but she was actually Greek, according to the Fascinating Book of History.
Though her family had called Egypt home for hundreds of years, their lineage was linked to a general in Alexander the Great’s army named Ptolemy who had come from Macedonia, an area in present day Greece, it was learned.
And she wasn’t pretty? Hmmm.
“Cleopatra wasn’t a vision of beauty,” the book insisted.
“Beauty, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. In ancient times, there were no camera’s, but people of Cleopatra’s stature and wealth could have their likenesses sculpted,” the book further claimed. “If the image on an ancient Roman coin is believed to be accurate, then Cleopatra was endowed with a large, hooked nose and was as cheeky as a chipmunk.”


Some historians claimed that Julius Caesar allowed Cleopatra to remain queen of Egypt because he loved her.
The fact showed that though not married, Cleopatra did bear Caesar a son, Caesarion.
“However, that was hardly reason enough to hand over an entire country to her,” the book stressed. “Most likely, Caesar felt that any male rule would pose a formidable threat to his empire, whereas Cleopatra was a safer alternative to rule Egypt.”
Another myth: Cleopatra died from the bite of an asp after learning of Marc Anthony’s death.
Fact: It’s unknown exactly how or why Cleopatra committed suicide. According to legend, after hearing of the death of her lover, she had two poisonous asps brought to her in a basket of figs.
The person who found the expired Cleopatra noted two small marks on her arm, but the snakes in question were never located.
“Cleopatra may very well have been distraught about her lover’s demise, but it is more likely that rumors she was about to be captured, chained, and exhibited in the streets of Rome drove her to suicide,” the book surmised.

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Posted by on October 5, 2018 in Uncategorized


Ilonggos must bring back the Gonzalezes

“I can assure you, public service is a stimulating, proud and lively enterprise. It is not just a way of life, it is a way to live fully.”

–Lee H. Hamilton442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — It’s not good for the memory of the late former Justice Secretary Raul M. Gonzalez Sr. that nobody from his offspring is being considered by leading political parties today for a higher elective position in the May 2019 elections.
Although the official filing of the certificates of candidacy (COC) for all candidates in next year’s polls hasn’t commenced yet, the Ilonggos have yet to hear some major political parties or groups of political impresarios cajoling or endorsing a Gonzalez daughter, son, or his wife, Dr. Pacita, to run either for city mayor, vice mayor or House representative.
Since Gonzalez Sr., a true-blue Nacionalista Party (NP) stalwart, absorbed a heart-rending defeat to neophyte Jed Patrick Mabilog for city mayor on May 10, 2010 and his son, Rep. Raul Jr., relinquishing his post to Jerry Treñas in the May 10, 2010 elections, the effervescent Gonzalez clan hasn’t won a major election in Iloilo City in the Philippines.
Does anybody, from among those who have reaped favors in whatever means from the Gonzalez patriarch, still care?


Dr. Pacita and their daughter, Dr. Marigold, tried their luck in the succeeding elections but were both pulverized one after another by the same rising political stars who pummeled the Gonzalez patriarch in the previous elections.
They were aware how much Justice Secretary loved the Ilonggos the reason why they have bandied about time and again the decision to resurrect the good Gonzalez father’s patriotic duty.
Clan members normally “preserved” the political memories and continue the legacies of their fathers by securing higher elective positions thereafter, when the patriarchs have retired or died.
But how can they do that if they are not elected, or if they perpetually lose in the regular elections?
If the Ilonggos think they have something to pay back for the late Justice Gonzalez as an “utang na loob” (debt of gratitude) for his lofty public service, they must support and elect a Gonzalez family member in the May 2019 elections.


I have covered several reports about “bomb threats” in Western Visayas and other parts of the country in the past.
None of them was authentic, so far.
The threats, delivered via phone calls in colleges and universities or even in the Hall of Justice, are normally done by pranksters and those with hanky panky motives.
They don’t normally come from serious terrorists, jihadists or extremist groups with intention to create confusion and mayhem.
If a recalcitrant student is in trouble in the dean’s office or is being investigated for an internal misdemeanor, he or she may resort to a phony bomb threat to divert the issue and delay the imminent disciplinary action to be meted against that student.
Or, in the case of the Hall of Justice, the prank call is normally masterminded by relatives or supporters of accused in criminal cases with intention to delay the trial or to scare prosecutors and witnesses.  Whatever the idiots can’t get, they avenge by making hoax bomb threats. Just the same.
Over the years, bogus bomb threats make school authorities and judges postpone the day’s important activities and suspend classes and trials.

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Posted by on October 3, 2018 in Uncategorized