Monthly Archives: August 2014

Iloilo’s Jardeleza checkmates Sereno

“There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supercedes all other courts.” Mahatma Gandhi

By Alex P. Vidal

A checkmate. And a big slap on the face of Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno!
That’s how many fellow Ilonggos viewed the sudden turn of events in the nomination of Atty. Francis H. Jardeleza for the position of Supreme Court associate justice.
You don’t put a good man down. So goes the popular dictum for victims of slanderous attacks.
Only hours after Jardeleza won his battle in the Supreme Court when the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) disqualified him for the position of Supreme Court associate justice, President Benigno S. Aquino III pulled a rabbit in his hat by appointing Jardeleza, 64, to the position vacated by Associate Justice Roberto Abad, who retired last May 22.
Jardeleza’s appointment came a week after Malacanang ordered the JBC to reinstate his nomination after being ousted on opposition of Sereno, one of the six JBC members, who challenged his integrity as a nominee during JBC’s last voting on June 30.
Many observers believed Sereno’s opposition was more of an act of personal vengeance.
She and Jardeleza, both former professors in the University of the Philippines-Diliman College of Law, reportedly had a past spat.
As JBC chair, Sereno probably found the golden chance to bamboozle the top-notch jurist from Jaro, Iloilo City.
But Jardeleza’s redemption came on August 19.
The Supreme Court, voting 7-4, elected to grant Jardeleza’s petition for certiori and mandamus against the JBC, Sereno, the JBC chair and Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa.


The petition sought to put on hold Mr. Aquino’s selection of the 15th high court justice until Jardeleza is on the short list.
The JBC earlier disqualified Jardeleza after Sereno invoked Rule 10, Section 2, of the JBC rules with a provision that “when the integrity of an applicant who is not otherwise disqualified for nomination is raised or challenged, the affirmative vote of all the members of the Council must be obtained for the favorable consideration of his nomination.”
We repeatedly described Sereno’s tactic as “an equivalent to a knockout punch in boxing” in our two previous articles.
Sereno was apparently hell-bent to block Jardeleza’s entry in the higher court as manifested by her strong stand when she doubted the Ilonggo jurist’s integrity.
When everything seemed hopeless after Jardeleza’s disqualification, President Aquino halted the guessing game.
It became apparent that Jardeleza was the apple of the president’s eyes.
In the end, the king outsmarted the queen. President Aquino castled on the side of the outstanding Ilonggo aspirant, leaving Jardeleza’s tormentor-turned-chamber boss Sereno counting the stars!
Fighting on wobbly legs in the opening game, Jardeleza was rescued by President Aquino in the middle game in a “queen’s gambit” attack.
The brilliant Iloilo lawyer checkmated Sereno in the end game.


On the day the report came out that Jardeleza was against removed from the shortlist of the final four nominees, President Aquino released Jardeleza’s appointment, to wit:
“Pursuant to the provisions of existing laws, you are hereby appointed ASSOCIATE JUSTICE of the SUPREME COURT (vice Hon. Roberto A. Abad). By virtue hereof, you may qualify or enter upon the performance of the duties of the office, furnishing this Office and the Civil Service Commission with copies of your oath of office.”
Mr. Aquino signed the document August 19, 2014.
Jardeleza was deputy ombudsman for Luzon before Mr. Aquino appointed him solicitor general last February 2012.
Jardeleza’s appointment to the Supreme Court is a poetic justice.
It also served as the biggest embarrassment on the part of Sereno, who will now share the same chamber with the man she never wanted to be an officemate.

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Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Uncategorized


Chikungunya? Help!

“It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” William Osler

By Alex P. Vidal

If indeed it is true that there was a suspected outbreak of Chikungunya disease in five Iloilo towns, then there is reason for us to press the panic button.
By all means, we need help! No more beating around the bush.
Help should come from the Department of Health (DOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) which originally coined the viral disease (genus Alphavirus) transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes–including Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus.
The almost 300 suspected cases of chikungunya were all detected in the five Iloilo towns, according to Iloilo Provincial Health Office (PHO) assistant head, Dr. Ma. Socorro Colmenares-Quiñon, who monitored several patients in the towns of Guimbal, Oton, Carles, Tigbauan and Igbaras.
She said the patients manifested symptoms of chikungunya.
“Most of them were reported to have headache and joint pains which are the symptoms of chikungunya. It was followed by two days of fever and rashes,” Quiñon said as quoted by reporter Louine Hope Conserva.


How deadly is chikungunya? Is it as fatal as the SARS and HIV?
The WHO explained that the name chikungunya originates from a verb in the Kimakonde language, meaning “to become contorted”. This refers to the “stooped” appearance of those suffering with joint pain.
Symptoms reportedly appear between four and seven days after the patient has been bitten by the infected mosquito and these include: High fever (40°C/ 104°F), joint pain (lower back, ankle, knees, wrists or phalanges), joint swelling, rash, headache, muscle pain, nausea, and fatigue.
Chikungunya is rarely fatal, confirmed the WHO. Symptoms are generally self-limiting and last for two to three days.
The virus remains in the human system for five to seven days and mosquitoes feeding on an infected person during this period can also become infected, according to the WHO.
Chikungunya shares some clinical signs with dengue and can be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is common, it adds.
Chikungunya can reportedly be detected using serological tests. Recovery from an infection will confer life-long immunity.
Chikungunya has been identified in nearly 40 countries. Countries having documented, endemic, or epidemic chikungunya are:
Asia: Human chikungunya virus infection has been documented in Cambodia, East Timor, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Réunion, Seychelles, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
Africa: Chikungunya occurs in Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mayotte, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Europe and the Americas: Aside from minor incidence rates caused by imported cases from travelers, Italy is the only European country which has had an outbreak. The Americas have not had any major outbreaks so far.


The WHO confirmed that chikungunya was first identified in Tanzania in the early 1952 and has caused periodic outbreaks in Asia and Africa since the 1960s.
Outbreaks are reportedly often separated by periods of more than 10 years. Between 2001 and 2011, a number of countries reported on chikungunya outbreaks.
2005-2006: More than 272 000 people were infected during an outbreak of Chikungunya in the Indian Ocean islands of Réunion and Mauritius where Ae. albopictus was the presumed vector.
2006: Outbreak in India, more than 1 500 000 cases of chikungunya were reported with Ae. aegypti implicated as the vector.
2007: Migration of infected people introduced the infection in a coastal village in Italy. This outbreak (197 cases) confirmed that mosquito-borne outbreaks by Ae. albopictus are plausible in Europe.


The WHO said in areas where the vector of chikungunya is Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus, vector prevention and control can be combined with dengue control efforts.
Conserva quoted Quiñon as saying, “Most of them were reported to have headache and joint pains which are the symptoms of chikungunya. It was followed by two days of fever and rashes.”
Carles reportedly recorded 102 cases, Oton has 20 cases, Tigbauan with 43 and Ibaras with 118.
Conserva reported further that Quiñon has advised residents in affected areas to practice the 4S Kontra Dengue (Search and Destroy, Seek early consultation, Self-protective measures and Say no to indiscriminate fogging) to combat chikungunya or submit themselves to isolation if they believe they contracted German measles.
A collective effort is needed to fight the disease. Let’s always make it a top priority to clean our surroundings. After all, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

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Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Uncategorized


Iloilo’s ‘butcher’ was himself butchered

“The healthy man does not torture others-generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers.”
Carl Jung

By Alex P. Vidal

Retired Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan was luckier because it was the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) that captured him in Sta. Mesa, Manila last August 12.
He was presented to media with his faculties intact and was never harmed.
Unlike other notorious military and police officials who were captured by “the enemies”, tried in the Kangaroo Court and executed.
Some of them were waylaid in ambushes and “given the dose of their own medicine” like the case of one Iloilo police constable who suffered a brutal death from his former victims in a bloody ambush in Maasin, Iloilo many years back.
Palparan was tagged as the “butcher” for being a ruthless former commander of the Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division, where he allegedly murdered more than 70 members of militant organizations that included university students, peasants and church ministers.
Most of his alleged victims disappeared without a trace and believed to have been summarily executed.


Back in the late 70s and early 80s, we heard about the notoriety of one Philippine Constabulary (PC) official in Iloilo who was also known as the “butcher.”
The late Boy Longno was known not only for his alleged involvement in extra-judicial killings of suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) at the height of the insurgency problem in the country, but also for allegedly molesting some captured women rebels during the martial law period.
Longno, a former drinking buddy of the murdered ex-army constables Jimmy Punzalan and Abner Banico of the defunct Task Force Hiligaynon and cable host/columnist Peter Jimenea, was himself butchered.
“The butcher butchered,” the late self-styled dyBQ Radyo Budyong broadcaster Delbe Deanala trumpeted in his program.
Deanala, a pro-Marcos and anti-communist radio commentator, condemned the way Longno was killed.
Among the three former PC and army constables, only Banico died a natural death, according to Jimenea.
Punzalan, who had been cleared of involvement in the assassination of pre-EDSA Revolution hero, ex-Antique Governor Evelio Javier, was murdered on August 7, 2013 by hired killers while resting inside his restaurant in Brgy. Bolilao, Mandurriao district, Iloilo City.


Longno and several other PC elements perished in one of the bloodiest ambushes staged by the communist rebels in this part of the country somewhere in Maasin, Iloilo in 1981.
The ambush happened several months before the late former President Ferdinand Marcos lifted martial law because of the scheduled visit of the late Pope John Paul II in Manila.
Of all the casualties in the Maasin carnage, it was Longno who reportedly suffered most. When their bodies were found, Longno’s ears had been cut off.
Worse, his penis was found stuffed inside his mouth. He was reportedly tortured.
One of the names that surfaced as Longno’s possible killers during the investigation was that of Maria Luisa Posa-Dominado, known in the movement then as “Kumander Posa”.
“The manner Boy was killed was so brutal. We can conclude that his murderers had a personal grudge against him,” the late former Iloilo City Councilor Achille Plagata once told city hall reporters.
Plagata had served as police colonel and commander of the Metropolitan District Command (Metrodiscom) after PC was incorporated with the Philippine National Police (PNP) during the term of the late President Corazon Aquino.


Kumander Posa, then in her 20s and the look-alike of actress Beth Bautista, was a former rebel detainee at the Camp Martin Delgado in Fort San Pedro, Iloilo City.
She was captured during the martial law but escaped one night by disguising as a civilian visitor when soldiers guarding her reportedly fell asleep or left their post.
Kumander Posa was among the women detainees who allegedly suffered from torture and sexual abuses from Longno and his fellow PC soldiers during her detention.
Kumander Posa, regional spokesperson of Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto, and Nilo Arado, chair of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan for Panay Island and leader of the farmers organization Pamanggas, were forcibly taken by armed men along the national highway in Barangay Cabanbanan in Oton town, about 7 kilometers from Iloilo City on April 12, 2007.
They have not been seen until today.

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Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Uncategorized


‘Give us water or give us death’

“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.”W. H. Auden

By Alex P. Vidal

We can live for seven days without food, but not without drinking water.
In this modern age, we can live without electricity, but not without drinking water. Food is hard to swallow and digest without water. Human evolution is impossible to attain without water.
We have been expressing fears that our endless woes with the cash-strapped Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) would develop from bad to worse.
And those fears have now become our nightmares.
MIWD continues to maintain a Punch-and-Judy relationship with its bulk water supplier, FLO Water Resources Iloilo, Inc., and the direct casualties are the water consumers.
Since FLO Water Resources Iloilo, Inc. operates as a business entity, its transaction with the MIWD is purely business.
Compassion and whatever “human” considerations won’t interfere in this conundrum.
If MIWD fails to pay its arrears on time, which has reached P5 million, FLO Water Resources Iloilo, Inc. cuts off its water supply. We, the consumers, bellyache! As simple as that.
How long shall we suffer? If MIWD continues to renege on its obligations with the FLO Water Resources Iloilo, Inc., we will also continue to suffer indefinitely.


It has become a cycle. We have the same problem several months back, and the same problem will continue to haunt us if the situation is not remedied.
The debate on how to deal with the bungling water agency was only temporarily set aside when other pressing issues took over these past months, but MIWD’s inefficiency and inadequacy to perform its obligations to the Ilonggos remained.
The move of Iloilo City Rep. Jerry P. Trenas to introduce House Resolution No. 1363 calling for the privatization of the MIWD last August 12 won’t immediately solve the water district’s mismanagement.
While the politicians debate in the House of Representatives, the Ilonggo consumers won’t have water to drink.
The threat by Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog to file a case against MIWD also won’t immediately solve the water crisis.
While the lawyers prepare for the legal battle in court, there is not water in the faucets.
Gov. Arthur Defensor, the appointing official of the MIWD board, neither supports nor opposes the privatization and the filing of case against the MIWD, but he, too, is hard-pressed to ferret out any immediate solution to address the mess.


Some local officials, especially the business sector, fear embarrassment should MIWD’s skullduggery prolongs until next year when the city will host part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meetings here.
Never mind the APEC. These ministers will stay in the hotels anyway. With or with the APEC, we still need water. It’s the household consumers that badly need drinking water on a daily basis. APEC will come and go, but the Ilonggo consumers’ need to have a drinking water on the table during meals, is still the most paramount.
Ilonggo consumers are getting impatient. Unlike in the electricity, they seldom complain about their water bills, which are “cheaper”, thus they almost religiously settle their bills on time without any prejudice to the MIWD.
But they don’t get the kind of services that they deserve in return. MIWD does not reciprocate the consumers’ goodwill and show of support for the management. Instead, MIWD bungles on its job and takes the consumers for a ride.
Enough is enough. Each time water fails to come out from the faucets, we can almost hear the Ilonggo consumers scream collectively, “Give us water or give us death!”

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Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Uncategorized


Does our chicken still have ‘joy’?

“The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.”
Arnold H. Glasow

By Alex P. Vidal

To confirm if there is still “joy” in our favorite chicken, it pays to move our butts, to explore and discover the truth.
After all, there’s no substitute for an ocular visit. To see is to believe. There is truth in actual bite.
A most recent check in our favorite fast food restaurant that specializes in chicken nuggets, hotdogs, fries and hamburger, among other short meals inside a big mall in La Paz district, Iloilo City dismissed our fears that the closure of 72 other fast food stores in Metro Manila the other week would spark a domino effect down the Visayas and Mindanao areas.
We also confirmed that there was no truth to rumors that chickens have staged a nationwide walk out and protest, and are no longer keen to provide us viands and take-out pulutan.
And, yes, there was still “joy” in our chicken; “chicken joy” was still very much available in the menu.
No chicken boycott. No dietary upheaval. No closure jitters in the Visayas and Mindanao. No problem.


The abrupt closure in Metro Manila, albeit temporary, sent chilling effects mostly to Ilonggo kids mesmerized not only with the store’s oily, sweet and cholesterol-inducing meals, but also with the life-sized worm-like mascot that has captured the imagination of both the children and grown-ups from all walks of life.
The reason put forward for the temporary closure was “due to the lack of popular menu items at its outlets.”
“The product limitation has been caused by the migration to new systems that started on August 1, 2014, which has resulted in temporary slowdown in sales order taking, product loading and dispatch of transportation,” the store management said in its statement.
The store and its franchisee partners “express their apology to their customers for the disappointment and inconvenience caused by not finding their favorite products in the stores or by seeing their nearby stores temporarily closed,” the company added in the statement.


“The organization is doing its best to restore the availability of all its products to normal levels in the next few days, to reopen temporarily closed stores and to restore its excellent service to its
The issue, it turned out, was not about “chicken uprising” or shortage of chicken, it was learned. It was about “port congestion” in Metro Manila, suggested the Department of Agriculture.
There are billions of chicken, a domesticated fowl, and their population is rapidly growing day by day, thus the issue of shortage isn’t valid.
In fact, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird. Since time immemorial, humans keep chickens primarily as a source of food, consuming both their meat and their eggs.
Even the DA has confirmed that there are three million kilos of surplus chicken in the country and 700,000 kilos of imported chicken.


We learned later that many farms in Southern Luzon that supplied chicken to Metro Manila were also affected by Typhoon Glenda (Rammasun), thus forcing the DA to order chicken from farther away regions, causing delivery delays.
It will take a few months before the supply of chicken to Metro Manila and nearby provinces will go back to normal, the agriculture department announced. Chicken prices might only roll back to P120 per kilo in December, it was reported.
There we have it. The real score in as far as the issue of chicken–and the “joy” of having it on our menu, is concerned.
The next time our friends will ask if our chicken still has “joy”, we will know what to answer.

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Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Uncategorized


Like Bobby Fischer, Ilonggo jurist springs back to life

“For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” Leonardo da Vinci

By Alex P. Vidal

It’s not yet over until the fat lady sings, as the saying goes.
We thought Bobby Fischer was gone after losing his first match against Boris Spassky in the 1972 World Chess Championship in Reykjavik, Iceland.
We thought the American genius was a big joke when he forfeited Game 2 and allowed the Russian defending champion to romp off with a commanding 2-0 lead.
We were all wrong. Fischer bundled out Spassky, 12.5-8.5, to become the first US-born world chess champion during the US-USSR cold war era.
We remember Atty. Francis Jardeleza of Jaro, Iloilo City.
After being unceremoniously ousted from the shortlist of nominees for the next associate justice of the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza’s nomination has been ordered restored by Malacanang.
It’s now up to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to decide on the matter. But since it was no less than President Benigno S. Aquino III who made the request, there are strong chances that Jardeleza might become the dark horse over the other nominees.


The Ilonggo jurist had been knocked out from the shortlist after Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, one of the six JBC members, challenged his integrity as a nominee during JBC’s last deliberations on June 30.
A nominee may be disqualified if his integrity is challenged and if a panel member invokes Rule 10, Section 2, of the JBC rules with a provision that states, “when the integrity of an applicant who is not otherwise disqualified for nomination is raised or challenged, the affirmative vote of all the members of the Council must be obtained for the favorable consideration of his nomination.”
To eliminate Jardeleza, Sereno invoked the powerful JBC rule against the Ilonggo jurist, an act we described here earlier as “equivalent to a knockout punch in boxing.”
It was reported that Sereno and Jardeleza had an old grudge that dates back during their stints as professors in the College of Law of the University of the Philippines-Diliman.
A leading nominee, Jardeleza had appeared before the JBC to ask that it defer the voting last June 30 so the full court could meet on it in their en banc session on July 1.
Jardeleza had confirmed that after his appearance at the JBC, Sereno was the one who objected to his nomination.


But instead of taking the issue sitting down, Jardeleza drafted a petition before the Supreme Court, which supervises the JBC, saying the Chief Justice violated the JBC rules.
Jardeleza argued that Sereno’s accusations against him were made without informing him of their basis which is contrary to the rules of the JBC.
Under the rules, a complaint or opposition must be made in writing and under oath, and the candidate concerned should be given a copy in order to be able to file his comment, pointed out Jardeliza, who earned his law degree at the University of the Philippines College of Law, where he graduated as salutatorian in 1974.
Jardeleza said Sereno’s opposition was not in writing. He was only summoned in an executive session for another interview by the JBC to which he refused to comply.
In asking to restore Jardeleza’s nomination, the Palace, through Deputy Executive Secretary Michael Aguinaldo confirmed that Jardeleza’s rights to due process was violated when he was not given the opportunity to answer Sereno’s opposition against him.


Malacanang said: “This rule appears to be in conflict with the collegial nature of the JBC since the unanimity requirement gives the objector effective veto power when such objector is a member of the JBC…”
It added: “It is respectfully prayed that, in the event Section 2 Rule 10 of JBC-009 is declared unconstitutional or invalid, or the invocation of the rule is held to be improper, this Honorable Court declare petitioner Francis Jardeleza deemed included in the shortlist of nominees for Supreme Court Associate Justice.”
Jardeleza’s fate now hinges on the final decision of the JBC composed of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr., Aurora Lagman, Jose Mejia and Ma. Milagros Fernan-Cayosa. Sereno, de Lima and Tupas are ex-officio members


The other four aside from Jardeleza who earlier made it to the final five are: Court of Appeals Associate Justices Apolinario Bruselas and Jose Reyes Jr., who received six votes each; and Commission on Audit Chair Grace Pulido-Tan and Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Reynaldo Daway, who got four votes. Jardeleza had obtained the same votes before his name was removed from the shortlist.
President Aquino will select the next associate justice who will replace retired Associate Justice Roberto Abad 90 days from receipt of the shortlist
Abad’s post has been vacant since his retirement last May 22.
Like the late world chess champion and grand master Bobby Fischer, we might have not yet seen the last of Atty. Francis Jardeleza in as far as his entry in the Supreme Court is concerned.

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Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Uncategorized


What Pacquiao wants, Pacquiao gets

“I realize I am very privileged. But there’s a difference between being spoiled and privileged.” Petra Ecclestone

By Alex P. Vidal

As we have written in the past, Rep. Manny Pacquiao’s other interests aside from breaking a jaw and disfiguring a face are playing chess, billiards and basketball.
Because of his enormous love for the hoops, nobody was gutsy enough to tell him straight in the face that he would succumb to the Peter Principle if he insisted on enlisting himself as playing coach in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), a field reserved for those gifted with extended legs.
After all, they can’t say no to a moneyed superstar. They don’t dash the dreams of a globally-known sports hero into pieces.
If Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs) decides to pull some strings, the five feet and six inches tall eight-time world boxing champion can even make it to the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup-bound Team Gilas Pilipinas in Spain this month.
Again, it’s hard to say “NO” to a ring icon who is considered as one of the top 50 richest athletes in the world. He is too popular and too influential to be ignored and taken for granted.
In the Philippines today, what Pacquiao wants, Pacquiao gets. He wanted a slot in the 2016 senatorial contest and Vice President Jejomar Binay granted his wish right away like a Genie in the bottle.
No questions asked. No beating around the bush.


Pacquiao thus became unofficially the opposition party’s first confirmed senatorial nominee in the 2016 congressional elections.
Pacquiao can even wish to play in the World 9-ball Pool championship, but he has to pass through the proverbial hole in the needle by hurdling the tough elimination rounds, the same route regularly embarked by Bata Reyes, Django Bustamante, Gaga Gabica, among other Filipino world class pool players. He probably won’t undergo this laborious ordeal.
And Pacquiao must have abandoned this glamorous stab in additional stardom a long time ago when he realized that some of the best billiard hustlers in the country he “beat” in the club tournaments intentionally threw a match to please the ego of the only man in the planet to retire Oscar De La Hoya in December 2008.
In other words, Pacquiao must have realized a long time ago that he pulled the rug from under those top-rated billiard players both in the exhibition and betting matches not because he was as good as Thorsten Hohmann and Alex Pagulayan, but because the local pool players wanted to laugh their way to the bank by forcing him to engage them in a set-up winner-takes-all finale with bundles of betting cash involved.


As I have written in the past, Pacquiao loves to play chess inside his Mandalay Bay suite while revving up mentally days before his world title matches in Las Vegas.
I saw the former titleholder in the WBC, IBF, IBO and WBO divisions move the pawns, knights and bishops like super-grandmasters Mikhail Tal, Yasser Seirawan and Vasily Smyslov, but doesn’t have the talent to marshal the wood soldiers to make a Reti Opening, Fianchetto Attack, Pirc Defense, Queen’s Gambit Accepted/Declined and Nimzo Indian.
A week before the start of the 41st World Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway last August 1st, the Philippine men’s team was wobbled by a series of withdrawals from top-rated grandmasters.
Inactive GM Jayson Gonzalez, a team coach, was forced to play in the eleventh hour after US-based GM Rogelio Barcenilla Jr. begged off from flying to Norway in the last minute due to fear of possible terror attacks.
RP team suffered a major setback weeks earlier when super-GM Wesley So, ranked 12th in the world, refused to play for the country and added insult to the Filipinos’ injury by acting as coach of the US team.


We have actually lost So, who would have played Board No. 1 for the Philippines, after he decided to join the United States Chess Federation and will soon be playing for the Americans for good.
If Pacquiao was too ambitious and the zugswang in the composition of the RP men chess team happened months earlier, he could now be in Tromso, Norway as a substitute for Board 3 player Eugene Torre, 63, the only wood pusher in the world who never missed a single Chess Olympiad since the 1974 World Chess Olympiad in Nice, France.
The last-hour withdrawal of GM Oliver Barbosa finally sealed the fate of the Filipinos, and it would have bolstered Pacquiao’s chances to earn a berth in the undermanned men’s team.
Remember, what Pacquiao wants, Pacquiao gets.
And he doesn’t give a hoot what both his fans and critics will say.

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Posted by on August 9, 2014 in Uncategorized