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Monthly Archives: August 2013

SWAT would have been wiped out

“The pursuit of truth does not permit violence on one’s opponent.” MAHATMA GANDHI

By Alex P. Vidal

Many of those who saw the raid on CCTV camera conducted by Iloilo City’s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) on the station of Aksyonradyo Iloilo 720 on August 25, agree that the raiders would have been wiped out if they were responding to an actual hostage-taking situation or terroristic attack in that building.
If terrorists or gunmen were positioning in the area where the CCTV system was installed–or anywhere within the upper portion of the walls–the SWAT men would have been massacred because all their attention was focused inside the room where light had been switched on as soon as they entered the station’s waiting area.
The enemies would have used the lighted room as decoy to divert their attention and finish them off while they were frisking and kicking the civilians and exposing their backs.

CHECK

No SWAT member was seen on video watching or checking the upper portion of the walls inside the waiting area where they first entered while shouting and aiming their long firearms at civilians inside the lighted room where the main office and announcer’s both were located.
In that scenario, they were like sitting ducks or stationary targets. In actual combat, they would have walked in to their instant death if enemies applied the “quick kill” method in point shooting.
“For better behavior, the SWAT men in Iloilo City deserve to rejoin the Boy Scouts of the Philippines,” wrote Herbert Vego of Panay News.
With their erratic performance, even the Boy Scouts of the Philippines would never accept them. Boy Scouts are know for their motto of “laging handa” or always prepared. The SWAT men who attacked Aksyonradyo Iloilo 720 appeared to be “laging handa” — to be exterminated and to embarrass the police as institution.

JUSTIFY

Meanwhile, Senior Supt. Ruperto Floro, PNP city director, and other arrogant police superiors who justified the SWAT raid will have their hands full once the Senate and House start their respective inquiries on the incident.
We don’t know how they can wiggle out from the tumult where the barbarity and excessive use of force they applied on unarmed employees and the security guard (kicked several times like a hardened criminal despite being down on the floor), was seen on CCTV camera now being viewed even in foreign lands via social media.
The video exposed the incompetence of SWAT men in handling a simple call for police assistance when several gang members sought refuge in the radio station after being shot in a rumble in a nearby night spot. When gang members, some of them wounded, left the station to “surrender” to responding cops from the Mandurriao Police Precinct who arrived downstairs, the SWAT men suddenly swooped down on the station’s main office and exposed their mediocrity and barbaric act for all the world to see.
And Supt. Floro and his ilk had the gall to justify the operation.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

How CCTV captures a ‘damning’ evidence

“Video killed the radio star,” a song by THE BUGGLES

By Alex P. Vidal

We owe Marie Van Brittan Brown a gratitude for giving the world the closed-circuit television (CCTV) system. Because of this invention, we are able to solve some of the most gruesome crimes captured by video cameras installed in specific areas at home, offices, streets, and other public places.
CCTV system, first installed by Siemens AG at Test Stand VII in Peenemunde, Germany in 1942, has helped authorities unravel some crime mysteries — murders, burglaries, robbery-holdups, rapes, abuses by nannies and domestic employers, traffic altercations, vehicular mishaps, gang-related violence, and even street brawls and muggings.
Because of CCTV system, the raid conducted by the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) on the radio station of Aksyonradyo Iloilo 720 on August 25, was captured and can now be used as evidence in the criminal and administrative cases the station management is preparing to file against the team, composed reportedly of neophyte policemen from the Iloilo City Police Office.

AWESOME

Technology indeed is awesome. The video that showed armed SWAT men swooping down on the station was a “damning” evidence and its immediate release to public through social media prevented the raiders from concocting stories and possibly planting evidence to justify the use of excessive force like kicking an unarmed security guard already down on all four and asking employees to strip, among other unnecessary acts of police brutality.
And once the video taken from CCTV monitor has been uploaded to the Youtube and “shared” in Facebook and Twitter, it can go viral thus making it impossible for offenders, who may wish to suppress the evidence, to erase or delete it.
Brown, born in Queens, New York and died at the age of 76 on February 2, 1999, invented the home security system with patent number 3,482,03 granted in 1969. Her system had a set of four peep holes and a camera that could slide up and down to look at each one. Anything and everything the camera picked up would appear on a monitor. Also, a resident could unlatch the door by remote control.

DESIGN

German engineer Walter Bruch was responsible for the technological design and installation of the system which became commercially available in the United States in 1949. Major thoroughfares in Metro Manila and in many parts of the country are now equipped with CCTV system. Crimes have been solved through the help of the video surveillance gadget.
The Iloilo City Council, in fact, has enacted an ordinance that requires business establishments to install CCTV systems in the wake of a series of robberies that rocked the metropolis last year and this year.
The most recent analysis conducted by the Northeastern University and the University of Cambridge revealed the following: Surveillance systems were most effective in parking lots, where their use resulted in a 51% decrease in crime; public transportation areas saw a 23% decrease in crimes; systems in public settings were the least effective, with just a 7% decrease in crimes overall.
When sorted by country, however, systems in the United Kingdom accounted for the majority of the decrease; the drop in other areas was insignificant.

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Waiting for Godot

“But that is not the question. Why are we here, that is the question. And we are blessed in this, that we happen to know the answer. Yes, in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come.” SAMUEL BECKETT

By Alex P. Vidal

Playwright Samuel Beckett demonstrated in the play, Waiting for Godot, the value of listening to the silences in conversations.
The play depicts the meaninglessness of life — with its repetitive plot, where nothing much happens. Voted “the most significant English language play of the 20th century”, Waiting for Godot is Beckett’s translation of his own original French version, En attendant Godot, and is subtitled (in English only), “a tragicomedy in two acts”.
Silence is a special place we must go to regularly. It is a grace that nurtures, heals, reveals, and renews. “No spiritual exercise is as good as that of silence,” counsels St. Seraphim of Sarov.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a servant of the poor, states that “God is the friend of silence. See how nature–trees, flowers, grass–grow in silence? The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life.” Silence animates compassion and sets in motion the service of others.

OUTSIDE

“Silence stands outside the worlds of profit and utility. It cannot be exploited for profit; you cannot get anything out of it. It is ‘unproductive,’ therefore it is regarded as useless. Yet there is more help and healing in silence than in all useful things,” Max Picard puts it.
Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilk once counseled: “Our task is to listen to the news that is always arriving out of silence.”
According to the plot of Waiting for Godot, a pair of vagrant men, Vladimir and Estragon, diverted themselves while waiting for the arrival of a man named Godot (Beckett had denied that Godot was God saying “it is just implied in the text, but it’s not true.), whom they only know by reputation, on a vague pretense. They philosophize, sleep, argue, sing, exercise, swap hats, and consider suicide –anything “to hold the terrible silence at bay” to occupy the time.

FAMOUS

Godot is not Beckett’s best play, but it is his most famous and probably his most entertaining, according to the Globe and Mail. “The degree to which the vaudevillian schtick — from falling pants to fart jokes — Vladimir and Estragon engage in to pass the time continues to amuse, in a time when vaudeville is long dead, is always a pleasant surprise. It is not what you’d call succinct, however. And Beckett’s poetry is best treated with a light touch; Dennehy’s performance as Pozzo — fierce, howling, beast-like — demonstrates how the words collapse if you hit them too hard,” writes The Globe and Mail’s J. Kelly Nestruck.
Frost’s Meditations reports that many ingenious theories have been advanced to provide satisfactory interpretations for the characters of Beckett’s play. Religious or mythical interpretations prevail. The two tramps Estragon (Gogo) and Vladimir (Didi) may be Everyman and his conscience. Gogo is less confident and at one moment is ready to hang himself. Vladimir is more hopeful, more even in temperament.

DEBATE

“One thinks of the medieval debate between the body and the soul, between the intellectual and the nonrational in man. Certain of their speeches about Christ might substantiate the theory that they are the two crucified thieves. Pozzo would seem to be the evil master, the exploiter,” says Frost’s Meditations. “But perhaps he is Godot, or an evil incarnation of Godot. The most obvious interpretation of Godot is that he is God. As the name Pierrot comes from Pierre, so Godot may come from God. (One thinks also of the combination of God and Charlot, the name used by the French for Charlie Chaplin.)”
The play was often considered by philosophical and literary scholars to be part of the movement of the Theatre of the Absurd, a form of theatre which stemmed from the Absurdist philosophy of Albert Camus. Absurdism itself is a branch of the traditional assertions of existentialism, pioneered by Soren Kierkegaard, and posits that, while inherent meaning might very well exist in the universe, human beings are incapable of finding it due to some form of mental or philosophical limitation. Thus humanity is doomed to be faced with the Absurd, or the absolute absurdity of existence in lack of intrinsic purpose.

CONTEMPORARY

Kierkegaard had accused contemporary philosophy of wasting too much time on “essences,” the supposed underlying realities and universal laws of the world. Not only are such things dubious, focusing on them diverts attention from real problems, such as how we as individuals can make decisions.
Beckett summed up the absurdity of life in one of his most quotably bleak metaphors: “They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, and then it’s night once more.”

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Floyd duel used to prop up Pacquiao vs Rios publicity

“Boxing is like jazz. The better it is, the less people appreciate it.” GEORGE FOREMAN

By Alex P. Vidal

To promote Manny Pacquiao’s November 23 fight against Brandon Lee Rios (31-1, 23 KOs) in Macau, publicists have been busy dragging the name of Floyd Mayweather Jr. in press releases in a hope to generate worldwide attention.
Although Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs) is a global figure in sports, Rios is just a passenger in the economy class. The good-looking bonecrusher from Oxnard, California isn’t Roger Federer or Michael Schumacher who could draw a large crowd even without a need to hire expensive PR outfits. He is no David Beckham who could fill up empty seats and boost popcorn sales.
Aside from banking heavily on the multi-million-dollar duel, a run-of-the-mill WBO international welterweight championship, investors are also promoting the glitzy Venetian Resort, one of Macau’s famous hotels known for its European architecture.
Pacquiao, 34, and Rios, 27, will trade bombs for 12 rounds at the Cotai Arena. The fight has been drum-beated as Pacquiao’s “comeback” after an embarrassing sixth round KO loss to Juan Manuel Marquez (55-6, 40 KOs) on December 8, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

CROWNLESS

Both Pacquiao and Rios are crownless and will be disputing the fringe belt intentionally put up to deodorize the promotion or to “legitimize” the word “championship.” The fight actually will not upgrade the status of neither boxer–except for Rios who will definitely become a household name aside from bringing home a largess after the fight — win or lose.
A win over Rios can not give Pacquiao, a second-termer congressman from Mindanao, a mandatory permit to fight the 34-year-old Mayweather (44-0, 26 KOs), who is busy preparing for this WBC and WBA 152-lb rumble versus Saul Alvarez (42-0, 30) on September 14 in Las Vegas.
Mayweather, in a most recent statement, has categorically stated that “Me and Pacquiao had a chance to make a fight in the past, and basically that’s the best place I’d like to leave it (in the past). “As of right now, I’m not really thinking of Pacquiao. Good luck to whatever he’s doing. He handled his career like he handled his career, and I handled my career like I handled my career.”

‘HAS BEEN’

The American black fighter has dismissed the Filipino ringster as “has been”. Mayweather, an ex-convict, chortled: “How are things today? He’s not going to get a chance to fight me. I was feeling that way weeks ago. Now I’m feeling like I wouldn’t even give him a chance. He had a chance, he blew it, so that’s what it is.”
Even Marquez, who will fight Timothy Bradley in October, doesn’t see Pacquiao in his radar in the event he rolls past Bradely. Because of Pacquiao’s bad fall, a fifth match with Pacquiao is not a bankable idea. It won’t hit pay dirt especially that father time has beckoned for both Marquez and Pacquiao; and promoters are very much aware of this, especially Top Rank boss Bob Arum.
Calls have been made in the past for the richest Filipino professional athlete to retire and preserve his lofty status in the marquee game, but they all fell on deaf ears. Until Pacquiao’s myth was tainted on a controversial split decision loss to Bradley (30-0, 12 KOs) on June 9, 2012. Until Marquez bludgeoned him on a brutal stoppage that nearly forced him to end his fistic career.

FAMOUS

Wealthy and famous–and a member of the House of Representatives to boot, Pacquiao will continue to defy logic by keeping himself busy in the ring despite reaping unmatched accolades in his many years of fame and glory in the square jungle capped by having been honored by American scribes and promoters as the greatest boxer pound-for-pound next to Muhammad Ali.
A loss to Rios will not only sink Pacquiao’s reputation lower, he will join the rank of hitherto undisputed kings in prizefighting business whose reputation was badly shaken and impaired after defying nature and refusing to read the handwriting on the wall.

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Why afraid of The Hite Report? (PG-13)

“Parents aren’t sex education experts just because they are parents.” PEPPER SCHWARTZ

By Alex P. Vidal

I personally don’t see anything wrong if we allow students even in religious campuses to read The Hite Report. Although it is seemingly archaic, its contents about female sexuality are still very much relevant in today’s debates among the pros and cons of sexuality education in schools.
But the late chemist and preacher Edwin Almendras won in his call to support the stand of a Catholic school in Iloilo to ban The Hite Report from its campus and to dissuade both the teachers and students from reading the book “in order not to corrupt their young minds and to discourage sexual subordination.”
“The book promotes sexual promiscuity and lesbianism,” Almendras protested. “If we hope to educate the young about sex, encouraging them to read The Hite Report should be our last recourse.”
The Hite Report on Female Sexuality actually challenged the sexual status quo and defied male dominance. It became a worldwide publishing sensation, and even turned its author into a hate figure among some men.

CONTRADICT

There are articles in the book that contradicted the research done by famous sexologists, Masters and Johnson, which incorporated cultural attitudes on sexual behavior, observed Almendras.
Masters and Johnson sustained the argument that enough clitoral stimulation to achieve orgasm should be provided by thrusting during intercourse, and the inference that the failure of this is a sign of female “sexual dysfunction.”
Society must understand the cultural and personal construction of sexual experience to make the research relevant to sexual behavior outside the laboratory, insisted Shere Hite, the book author. She offered that limiting test subjects to “normal” women who report orgasming during coitus was basing research on the faulty assumption that having an orgasm during coitus was typical, something that her own research strongly refuted.
Almendras’ call gained support from Jesuit priests who run the school. Another school in Negros Occidental associated with the Iloilo-based Catholic school, adopted the ban and cited Almendras “for helping remove a disease, abscessed appendix, from the learning of the students.” The school was not only against The Hite Report, it was now also against sex education to be tackled in school.

‘ERRONEOUS’

Almendras and his backers, one of them a St. Therese Parish priest, called as “completely erroneous” the idea that if we remove sex education, it will create a vacuum in the educational process since it is an integral part of teaching and learning.
They argued that “sex education is not like reading or writing or other essential skills that have to be taught. Nature never intended for children to go to school to learn how to mate. And nature never intended that children should be taught from a book how to feel affection.”
(The Washington Times, in an article written by Thomas Sowell dated May 17, 1988, reported that “What makes ‘sex education’ a fraud is that its whole thrust is not science but propaganda for new sexual attitudes and lifestyles. It would not take a week, much less a semester, to teach young people the basic biological facts of life. What takes so much time is slowly but steadily undermining the values their parents have taught them and replacing these values with new attitudes that accept adultery, abortion, homosexuality and the rest of the secular religion that calls ‘sex education’.”)
There are opinions, however, that consider sex education as “beneficial”. School-based sexuality education programs conducted by specially trained education can add an important dimension to children’s ongoing sexual learning, theorized Debra Haffner and Diane deMauro of the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS).

APPROPRIATE

They suggested that programs should be developmentally appropriate and include such issues as self-esteem, family relationships, parenting, friendships, values, communication techniques, dating and decision-making skills. Programs must be carefully planned by each community in order to respect the diversity of values and beliefs present in a classroom, they argued.
Meanwhile, the author’s biography detailed some revealing information: “Feminist and sexologist Shirley Diana Gregory — better known as Shere Hite — grew up in America’s bible belt, but her research into sexuality scandalized the whole country. In her report, she posited a radical and utterly far-out theory: that women didn’t need men to give them an orgasm. From the time of Freud, it was widely accepted that women could only climax through penetrative sex — ‘the great male thrust’ — and if they couldn’t, there must be something wrong with them. For frustrated women faking orgasm, the report was a godsend, alerting women to their own sexual power, and informing men of the existence of the clitoris.”

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Not wise to ‘anger’ Defensor before 2016

“Look around. There are no enemies here. There’s just good, old-fashioned rivalry.” BOB WELLS

By Alex P. Vidal

The Garin political dynasty led by its patriarch, Oscar Sr., drew first blood in their seemingly deteriorating tie-up with Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr., when they defied the governor in the recent election of the Philippine Councilors League (PCL)-Iloilo Chapter.
While Defensor went all-out for the winner, Paulino Parian of Janiuay, the Garins reportedly backed Paolo Guanco of Pototan logistically and otherwise. Parian edged Guanco, 206 to 203 or only by three votes.
To add gasoline to conflagration, Rep. Richard Jr. blamed Defensor for not giving the clan “usual courtesy on the matter.” The young Garin rued in a Daily Guardian report dated August 15, 2013 that “We (the Garins) also sacrificed for him (Defensor).” They were not aware, the young Garin claimed, that Defensor would field Parian in the eleventh hour when they thought all the while it was Guanco whom the coalition had agreed to support. Both Parian and Guanco are LP bets.

RELUCTANCE

Although it was Garin Jr. who did most of the PCL post mortem sermon on Defensor in media recently while Garin Sr. and the rest of the clan appeared reluctant to release their spleen, any hard-line political statement from one clan member is seen as the clan’s “official” statement.
We can’t blame the Garins if they want to wrest control of top executive positions in the provincial hierarchy. PCL, like the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP)-Iloilo Chapter, is a major organization with more or less 500 members province-wide.
If another Garin, Guimbal Mayor Christine, will capture the LMP presidency in another election scheduled soon, the most powerful political clan in the first district of Iloilo will be a cinch away to catapult Oscar Sr. into the gubernatorial seat in 2016.

POWER

The Garins have tasted power in almost all the elected and important appointed offices, except the office of the governor. They have been unbeatable in the congressional and provincial board tussles. They have awesome dominions over various municipal government units. Garin Jr. himself had served as vice governor. They have been everywhere–in the Philippine Coconut Authority, Department of Health, House sectoral reprentation, to name only a few. To capture capitol in 2016 would be the icing on the cake.
But along the way they face major roadblocks. Mayor Garin’s coronation as LMP chief to replace outgoing president, Anilao Mayor Maria Theresa “Matet” Debuque, is now in peril. Defensor, unhappy over the recent PCL tumult, is poised to supporting either Mina Mayor Rey Grabato or Barotac Viejo Mayor Niel “Beng” Tupas III, son of former governor Niel Tupas Sr.

BIGGEST

The LMP is the biggest organization in the local government in terms of power and influence. In any tight rivalry for governor during the elections, LMP plays a pivotal role. After failing to bag the PCL throne, the Garins can’t afford to kiss goodbye the LMP presidency. The recent PCL fracas should serve as the barometer of how tremendous is the influence they wield on municipal officials.
“Angering” Defensor at this early or three years away from the next local elections should be the Garins’ last option.
If the Tupases, perhaps the strongest political clan in the entire province today, will seize the LMP presidency and preserve their cordial relationship with Defensor owing to their strong ties in the Liberal Party (LP), Oscar “Oca” Garin Sr. would be hard-pressed to win the gubernatorial post in 2016. Vice Governor Raul “Buboy” Tupas could be a dark horse and give the senior Garin a nightmare.
The grapevine says it is not wise to bang heads with the incumbent governor over sensitive political issues and major undertakings at this early if the Garins want to breeze their way smoothly to capitol.
On the other hand, as a matter of political strategy and survival, they should start distancing themselves albeit slowly from the capitol and cultivate their own political garden. After all, there are no permanent friends in politics; only permanent interests.

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Niccolo

“Playing the game, and unfortunately, playing the gangster game is very profitable.”QUINCY JONES

By Alex P. Vidal

A gambler and womanizer, Niccolo is one of the most brilliant Ilonggo orators who never won a formal award. Senate President Frank Drilon admires his brains but not his temper.
After an ugly incident in the lobby of one hotel where Niccolo called the politician “gago” (I was present when the incident happened) many years back, Drilon will never give attention to Niccolo anymore.
Loquacious and arrogant, Niccolo could shrink an adversary with a mean and tiger look even without saying a word. The nephew of a former city hall department chief vowed to castrate Niccolo if he has a chance. The young man was brandishing a 12-inch bolo when he aired the threat. He was present when Niccolo mercilessly annihilated his basketball buddies in a bloody showdown of characters with hot temper. “He was the one who really did it,” swore the young man amid tears. “I can never forget his face.”

TANDEM

Niccolo doesn’t trust characters who ride in motorcycle in tandem. “I’m always two steps ahead. I don’t want my friends to miss me permanently,” he chortled seriously. “(my) mission is not yet accomplished.” He did not elaborate.
Niccolo wanted to organize a group that will preserve Filipino dialects other than Tagalog. “We should be proud to use and speak our own dialect. If we are Cebuanos, we must speak in Cebuano. If we are Ilonggos, we must be proud to speak in Hiligaynon. No Filipino outside the Imperial Manila should have inferiority complex only because his tongue can’t pronounce a Tagalog word,” Niccolo insisted.
His advocacy gained popularity when he went to Guam in the mid-90’s, but abandoned the crusade when his best friend, now semi-blind and living like a pauper, bungled a court battle and lost a real estate fortune.

ASSEMBLY

Niccolo’s life-long ambition is to make it to the constitutional assembly “so I can help repair the defects in our constitution.” Niccolo said he is saddened that mediocre characters are now the dominant characters in the Senate and House of Representatives “because of the defects in our electoral system. There is really an urgent need to amend the constitution so that public office will be protected from incompetent characters,” he said.
In a chance meeting at the grocery section of SM City recently, Niccolo placed his right arm around me and silently appealed, “Stop carrying the issue about ‘Bogart’. Just tackle other issues.”
Back in February 1992, when our house was razed by fire, he arrived in a dilapidated car and gave us rice. I haven’t asked him about his livelihood, but he always carried bundles in his pocket. He is no Robin Hood though, but his benevolence is not a secret to objects of his carnal desires.
One time, he removed one of the four gold rings in his fingers and gave it to a courteous saleslady in a downtown shopping center when the saleslady greeted him “good morning, sir” with a smile. They became “friends”.
He is Niccolo, a mysterious Lothario who loves Elvis Presley songs.

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2013 in Uncategorized