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Daily Archives: November 16, 2015

She is human, after all

“Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.” Marilyn vos Savant

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — We can’t stay on top forever.
Even powerful historical figures have collapsed violently after lording over their domains with absolute authority and almost sphinx-like mythological dominance.
Judas. Ben-Hur. Atahualpa. Hector. Achilles. Philip of Macedon. Caesar. Cleopatra. Nero. Magellan. King Louis XVI. Marie Antoinette.
The Romanovs. Rasputin. Mussolini. Hitler. Amin. Suharto. Marcos. Noriega. Ceaușescu. Saddam. Bin Laden. Gaddafi. To name only a few.
In many combats and competitions, there are always upsets and shockers.
Some neck and neck races end up as nail-biting and photo-finish clinchers.
This coming elections, many political dynasties could fold up in shame, shattering their myths of invincibility now that we have an automated poll.
Some political lords could suffer humiliating defeats as their decrepit guns, goons and golds will have no match against the netizens, the emerging intelligent force to reckon with in the age of social media and dizzying technology.

-o0o-

NOTHING is permanent in this world except change, pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus once declared.
Even champions go down in style.
The brutal fall of Ronda Rousey after being knocked out cold by Holly Holm in a dramatic upset Saturday (Nov. 14) night in the main event of UFC 193 at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, should serve as inspiration to all underdogs.
Who doesn’t know Ronda Jean “Rowdy” Rousey?
Only 28 and standing five feet and seven inches, the American mixed martial artists, judoka, and actress from Riverside, California was known as the Mike Tyson of Ultimate Fighting Championship of UFC.
She was unbeaten in 12 fights (nine submissions and three KOs) as bantamweight champion before fellow American Holm, 34, starched her out in probably the biggest upset in UFC history.

FEARED

Holm’s disposal win against the most feared woman in the planet made newspaper headlines in sports even if media were swamped with the Paris terror attack over the weekend.
For many UFC fans, Rousey’s defeat was unexpected and a hail-Mary shocker in combat sport.
Those who followed her career were suspecting that Rousey could be a superhuman, or someone possessed with an extra-ordinary talent not bequeathed on just anyone in fight business because of the way she dispatched opponents in the quadrangle.
Last Saturday Down Under, Rousey proved to us that she was human, after all–far from the way Sylvestre “Rocky Balboa” Stallone and Arnold “The Terminator” Schwarzenegger immortalized the good-looking lady.
The most destructive 130-pounder of the distaff side could get a rematch, we are 99 percent sure about that, but her reputation as “the arm collector” (because of the way she strangles opponents and wrecks their arms) and the “baddest woman on the planet” (because of her intimidating eyes) has suffered a dent.

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2015 in ELECTION, SPORTS

 

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Don’t aim a gun if you won’t pull the trigger

.”Yes, people pull the trigger – but guns are the instrument of death. Gun control is necessary, and delay means more death and horror.” Eliot Spitzer

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — The basic unwritten rule for gun owners is never aim your gun at anybody unless you are determined to pull its trigger in any circumstance.
Any licensed gun owner, whose life is under threat, is aware that once he pulls the deadly hardware from holster, it’s either he will shoot the enemy first or he gets killed if the enemy beats him to the draw.
A gun can not harm a fly or threaten a human life if not mishandled and misdirected.
There are guns for sports and guns for actual combat.
A person can own a gun as a hobby to shoot the birds even if he is a non-combatant.
Ownership of a gun is not a license to aim it at any Tom, Dick and Harry if provoked; it is not a licensed to kill–unless for self defense.

APPLICANTS

That’s why, all applicants for license to carry and own a gun are being required to undergo a neuro test to determine if they are qualified to carry and keep the deadly weapon in and outside their residences.
A psychotic shouldn’t be allowed to carry a gun, much less own one.
A character with depressive mood is also a potential trigger-happy maniac.
To protect the public, only those with stable mental and emotional conditions are given licenses by authorities to own and carry a gun.
But personally, I am against the carrying of gun or any deadly weapon for that matter.
A gun control means there are still guns, but we need to control or regulate them.
I advocate a gunless society.

-o0o-

IT was not immediately established if slain Dumangas, Iloilo Comelec officer, Raymund Valera, 52, really aimed his gun first at the taxi driver who shot him at an intersection in Molo district in Iloilo City December 8 evening.
According to suspect, Rodney de los Santos, 37, he killed Valera in self defense.
The taxi driver alleged that Valera pointed a gun at him when his taxi caught up with Valera’s Isuzu Crosswind at Brgy. Fundidor, Molo.
He gave chase to Valera after the victim allegedly blocked his taxi when it tried to overtake his Crosswind along Brgy. Dulonan, Arevalo district.
Valera is no longer around to dispute De Los Santos’ allegations, but the incident certainly was a clear case of road rage, a traffic altercation that ended in murder.

SIMILAR

We have seen and heard so many similar cases anywhere in the world.
A balikbayan brother of a former presidential candidate killed on the spot by an irate motorist, a female senior vice president of a multinational corporation shot at close range in the stop light, among other senseless murders related to traffic dispute.
Other cases became sensational because the culprits were either celebrities or influential people.
Or the victims were either professionals and executives or defenseless ordinary citizens peppered with bullets right inside their vehicles like animals.
As to the claim of De Los Reyes that Valera “provoked” him and aimed a gun at him first, it’s up for the court to believe or not.
Murder could have been prevented if both Valera and De Los Reyes were not carrying guns.
Road rage, as well as deadly weapons, has no place in a civilized society.

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2015 in CRIME, PSYCHOLOGY

 

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We can learn from US election

“The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.” Joseph Stalin

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Six months after the Philippines will hold a presidential election on May 9, 2016, the United States will also hold their own presidential election on November 8, 2016.
The US election has always been our model since time immemorial.
It’s not difficult to admire the electoral system of the United States when we are used to witnessing the decrepit system in the Philippines, where the results are usually known after more than a week or even two weeks after the election.
In the United States, the losers deliver concession speeches gracefully the night of election day, and winners deliver their victory speeches magnanimously thereafter.
When Americans wake up the next morning, they already have inkling about their newly elected officials even before they eat breakfast.

FRAUD

In the Philippines, concession and victory speeches come only if winners are not accused by their losing rivals of committing electoral fraud.
When losing bets cry “we wuz robbed” it will take months or even years before the winners are declared officially by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
In many cases, the winners get to occupy their elected seats only days before the next election; sometimes they never have a chance to take their oath of office as they are embroiled in a protracted legal skirmish.
Filipino politicians lose because either they are “victims of fraud” or they suffer from “shortage of campaign funds.”
Whether there is semblance of truth in the aforementioned allegations, losers in the Philippine elections almost always have alibis to offer; they never ran out of excuses.

ELECTORAL COLLEGE

In the US presidential race, results are determined by the number of electoral votes from the Electoral College. Since the Electoral College is consist of 538 electors, a majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the president.
Under the system, a candidate who wins the popular votes can not clinch the presidency.
If the presidential standard bearer in one political party wins, his vice president also wins automatically.
Because of the two-party system (Democrat and Republican), results are fast and accurate.
In the Philippines, five or more political parties can field their candidates from president down to the local level as long as they are accredited by the Comelec.
The logjam illustrates how chaotic is the tasks and responsibilities of the poll body in terms of regulating these political parties and disqualifying the so-called nuisance candidates who run as independents.

ABERRATION

The multi-party system is being viewed as an aberration in the Philippine electoral system where winners are picked based on popularity votes or the number of votes they can garner from different polling precincts nationwide.
Some of these well-oiled political parties can also delay the proclamation of certain winners by filing annoying election protests meant to derail if not sabotage the assumption into office of winners.
In some cases, winners are assassinated to prevent them from occupying their seats.
Beset by tribal and ideological differences, elections in the countryside in most cases are attended by violence and massive irregularities such as vote-buying, coercion, threats, intimidation giving credence to the infamous “guns, goons, and golds” terror tactic employed by influential and moneyed bets.
The electoral process in the United States can be considered as role model for other democratic countries that select their leaders through election worldwide.
By afternoon of the day after the November 6, 2012 election, reelected President Barack Obama was already back in White House to assume his second mandate.
And life goes on for all Americans.

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2015 in EDUCATION, ELECTION

 

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Ganzon, Malabor turncoats with questionable loyalty

“My whole thing is loyalty. Loyalty over royalty; word is bond.” Fetty Wap

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — We can’t blame some Liberal Party (LP) mainstays in Iloilo City if they are not comfortable with the presence of former city councilors Jeffrey Ganzon and Mandrie Malabor in the administration bandwagon.
The two balimbings (turncoats) are running for the city council in the 2016 polls under the LP ticket of reelectionists Rep. Jerry P. Trenas, Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, and Vice Mayor Jose Espinosa III.
Strange bedfellows, indeed.
In the 2013 elections, Ganzon lost to Espinosa for vice mayor, while Malabor lost for councilor when they ran under the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
All the UNA local candidates from congressman, mayor, vice mayor and councilors were, in fact, massacred in an unprecedented 15-0 blitzkrieg.

CASUALTY

One of the UNA casualties for councilor was Dr. Gold Gonzalez, daughter of the late Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr., who is now running for mayor against Mabilog.
Members of the opposition party shared one vision and mission and vowed to stay together and go down together against titanic odds.
But when Gonzalez and her team filed their certificates of candidacy (COCs) in the Comelec last month, Ganzon and Malabor were no longer with the group.
They filed their COCs under the LP.
Like opportunists, they abandoned the opposition and embraced the administration to save their own necks.
They probably thought their chances of winning in 2016 were nil if they did not jump ship and join the “enemy.”

DEFEAT

Were they demoralized after their 2013 defeat?
Are they desperate to win and have underestimated the capacity of the party they jettisoned?
What happened to the principles and cause they loudly espoused in the 2013 elections?
In 2013, their group accused the Mabilog and P-Noy administrations of graft and corruption and election fraud (owing to the 15-0 result in the local and national elections).
Some of them and their subalterns even filed a case against the mayor in the Ombudsman.
Can we blame Mabilog and other LP stalwarts if they will distrust these deserters and suspect them to be Trojans?
By joining Mabilog’s group, Ganzon and Malabor are expected to “behave” once they are back in power–or they will be ribbed as “ingrates.”

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2015 in ELECTION, POLITICS

 

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Hypocrites casting a stone at city tourism chief

“The only vice that cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy.” William Hazlitt

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — If they think they don’t live in glass houses, detractors of Iloilo City tourism officer Junel Divinagracia should not telegraph their punches and hide in anonymity.
These detractors wanted to raise some “sensitive concerns” now that the city council is set to confirm her appointment after being appointed to the position by Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog on October 19.
She replaced Ben Jimena, who has retired but is still part of Mabilog’s cabinet as consultant.
Some city councilors, who hate to be accused as field reporters of Boy Abunda and Inday Badiday, have alerted Divinagracia, who was in Manila for APEC Leaders’ Meeting from Nov. 16 to 19.
The city councilors are also aware that they are not saints, thus they can’t just easily jump the gun on Divinagracia without due process.

SENSITIVE

Other public officials (both in the executive and legislative branches) are also being bedeviled by the so-called “sensitive” private matters like Divinagracia, but they weren’t placed under hot seats because they are males.
By zeroing in on Divinagracia, the shades of bitterness, bias, prejudice and double standard are very much evident on the motives of these hypocrites.
Is it possible that the snakes are just around the corridors of power sibilating?
Let us remind them of Matthew 7:3 that says, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”
And also John 8:7 that says, “And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.'”

-o0o-

BY giving the municipal mayors liberty to select their own bet for Iloilo vice governor, Gov. Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr. was short in saying that “I am caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.”
As an astute politician, Defensor will never take side, at least not yet, while everyone in the poker table is still in the guessing game.
Vice gubernatorial aspirants Neil “Junjun” Tupas Jr. and Christine Garin, both with political parties affiliated with the Liberal Party (LP), are hoping like anxious suitors to get King Arthur’s blessing.
The governor has vowed earlier to campaign only for the party’s official candidate.

AFFILIATE

Garin, mayor of Guimbal, Iloilo, is with the National Unity Party (NUP), an LP affiliate.
She is the sister of Iloilo first district Rep. Oscar “Richard” Garin Jr. and the sister-in-law of Health Secretary Janette L. Garin, Richard’s wife.
Her family has questioned Tupas’ certificate of nomination and acceptance (Cona) as “official” LP bet for vice governor.
Defensor has long reconciled with the two powerful political clans in the province, and they have been working together under the umbrella of President Aquino’s ruling party.
Political observers think Defensor has already in mind who to pick when push comes to shove, but is only keeping the aces in his sleeves.
Who will the fountain bless?
The answer to that question is another question: Which clan is the lesser evil?

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2015 in POLITICS, TOURISM

 

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‘Olympic diving champ Vicki Manalo was my wife’

“Sport allows us to engage in dialogue and to build bridges, and it may even have the capacity to reshape international relations. The Olympic Games embody perfectly this universal mission.” Richard Attias

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — When I met former US Olympic coach Lyle Draves in California in 2011, I didn’t know he was the husband of the first woman in history to win the Platform and Springboard gold medals in the 1948 London Olympics.
To my big surprise, Victoria “Vicki” Manalo-Draves, who died in 2010 at the age of 85, was half-Filipina and half-British.
If she represented the Philippines, we could have won our first gold medal after the World War II.
The highest that we have achieved, so far, were two silver medals courtesy of boxers Anthony Villanueva (1964 Tokyo Olympics) and Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco, Jr. (1996 Atlanta Olympics) and six bronze medals.
When Vicki was invited by President Elpidio Quirino in Malacañang in July 1949, she was feted like a Filipina Olympic champion, Lyle recalled.
It was the then 96-year-old Lyle himself who narrated the great exploits of his wife in an exclusive interview inside his unit in a retirement village in the City of Laguna Woods.
“My late wife was half-Filipina,” Lyle volunteered.

RED CARPET

He accompanied Vicki in the Malacañang visit and they were given a red carpet welcome.
“We hardly had any sleep then,” mused Lyle, the first pure diving coach in history who produced three Olympic gold medalists: Vicki Manalo-Draves (1948 London Olympics), Pat McCormick (1952 Helsinki Olympics and 1956 Melbourne Olympics), and Sue Gossick (1968 Mexico Olympics).
“We were herded from one party to another like real celebrities and almost everybody recognized us, especially Vicki. Man, I can’t forget that moment.”
Husband and wife visited the Philippines a year after Vicki Manalo-Draves made history: she became the first woman in history to win the Platform and Springboard gold medals in the 1948 London Olympics.
“I was her coach and Vicki narrowly beat (fellow American) Zoe Ann Olsen for the gold in her last Springboard dive,” recalled Lyle, who was permanently enshrined in the International Swimming Hall of Fame at the Fort Lauderdale, Florida on May 12, 1989. “I replaced the regular coach, Fred Cady, who got sick and could not make it to the Olympics that year.”
Lyle said Vicki had been elected in the same highest sports pedestal in 1969.

PARK

On October 27, 2006, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom signed a proclamation naming a two-acre park as Victoria Manalo Draves Park in her honor on Folsom and Sherman streets in San Francisco where she was born.
Vicki’s father was a Filipino musician from Orani, Bataan who migrated to San Francisco, California. Her mother was British Gertrude Taylor, also a migrant in the same state.
Lyle and Vicki have four sons – David, Jeffrey, Dale and Kim – all divers. They have eight grandchildren.
Prior to competing in the 1948 Olympics, Draves won five United States diving championships.
Draves turned professional after the Olympics, joining Larry Crosby’s “Rhapsody in Swimtime” aquatic show at Soldier Field in Chicago in 1948.

CANCER

When Vicki died on April 11, 2010 from complications of pancreatic cancer at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, California, Lyle relocated to a plush retirement village at the Rushmore Towers in Laguna Woods, California where he has been living alone.
“I missed Vicki so much. But every night I talked to her,” sighed Lyle, who was partly deaf.
Lyle coached female divers to 12 Olympic medals and 35 National Championships. His Olympic silver medalists include Paula Jean Myers and Zoe Ann Olsen, each of whom took a bronze. His divers’ Olympic medal count reads 7 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze.
Lyle has been described as America’s first great diving coach beginning an era when diving coaches could specialize in divers and not coach swimmers too, or vice versa.
He was a Hollywood film editor and his showbiz background has helped his coaching or again, vice versa, since Lyle was diving in and then producing, top-rated diving water shows before he became a film editor.
An Iowa farm boy, Lyle met Fred Cady at a swimming meet in Iowa. Fred invited him to California where Lyle began coaching divers at the Lido Club at the famed Ambassador Hotel and at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.

PUPIL

One of his first pupils was a 12-year-old girl named Zoe Ann Olsen. Next, they both moved to the Athens Athletic Club in Oakland where he met Vicki Manalo. He later married Vicki, who was given away by 1948 and 1952 platform winner Sammy Lee.
After the Olympics, Vicki and Lyle toured the United States and Europe with Buster Crabbe and Dick Smith.
He described the tours as “our great opportunity to travel as husband and wife since we have been traveling a lot together as coach and diver.”
Lyle returned to his coaching, first at tennis champion Jack Kramer’s Athletic Club and then at UCLA.
The Draves boys are Acapulco and World Champion high divers who have followed the showbiz side of their father’s heritage doing high and trick dives in such places as Magic Mountain, Sea World and Marineland.
Lyle described Fred Cady as “the most brilliant man” he ever met.
“He was the team coach during the 1936 (Berlin) Olympics and he was truly a great diving coach,” Lyle said.
The secret to success in coaching diving, Lyle emphasized, is “to follow Sir Isaac Newton and his third law of motion.”
He said, “Divers should know how to utilize the muscles inside their bodies by following the third law of motion.”

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2015 in SPORTS

 

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I saw Pheidippides

“A runner must run with dreams in his heart.”Emil Zatopek

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — I was on my way to quit when I saw Pheidippides.
Sunday at past 9’clock in the morning on November 1, I made a terrible faux pas: from the Grand Central Station, I took an upper east side-bound train and alighted on Manhattan’s 51st Street.
I was supposed to get off on the 59th Street and walk on the left to the Fifth Avenue.
The mistake brought me to the 86th Street walking like a house on fire. That’s where I realized I goofed.
I retreated on the 77th Street and turned left. I reached Central Park’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I walked but stopped before reaching the Central Park North (110 Street).
Eureka, the area was a route of the 45th New York City Marathon, the reason why I was there.
I was supposed to proceed to the finish line at Central Park West thinking I was already late because of the long walk.

FOLLOW

I followed the route and stopped on the race’s 24th mile hoping to salvage a glimpse of the runners on the wayside in case the awarding ceremony was unfolding.
A severe headache suddenly hit me brought by the park’s chilly atmosphere and adrenaline rush. I rested under the park’s colorful trees to savor the falling autumn leaves and took some “selfie” shots.
I was on the verge of abandoning the coverage of the NYC Marathon and was heading to the park’s nearest exit when, all of a sudden, I saw three motorcycle-riding cops followed by two cars with sirens rolling up the hilly part of the route.
It was the lead pack for the distaff side. Kenya’s Mary Keitany, 33, was heading to the finish line unchallenged.
She breasted the tape at 2:24:25.
Realizing I was in the right place at the right time and the race wasn’t yet over as I feared earlier, I positioned myself near the 25th mile waiting for an ambush for the men’s lead pack (away from the main streets, the area was perfect for media coverage).

LUCK

Lady luck smiled at me once more. I heard incoming sirens; this time, Kenya’s world cross-country champion Geoffrey Kamworor was chasing compatriot Stanley Biwott, 29, in a nail-biting finale.
Biwott foiled Kamworor’s last-ditch effort at 2:10:34.
I became emotional watching Biwott as he increased his speed and maked Kamworor eat the dust. It evoked memories of Pheidippides, who ran from Marathon to Athens to announce Greece’s victory in a battle against Persia in 490 B.C.
In history, we used to discuss marathon, the most dramatic event in the Olympics (because it is traditionally held in the penultimate day of the Olympic Games) and how it became a sports event in honor of the Greek soldier.
The defeat at Marathon marked the end of the first Persian invasion of Greece, and the Persian force retreated to Asia.

BATTLE

The Battle of Marathon was a watershed in the Greco-Persian wars, showing the Greeks that the Persians could be beaten; the eventual Greek triumph in these wars can be seen to begin at Marathon.
Meanwhile, interesting scenes stole the 2015 NYC limelight. Along the race route, through neighborhoods of brownstones, tenements and high-rises, revelers held signs, rang bells and called out to the runners with words of encouragement.
Live music also blared and some in the crowd, composed mostly of family members, still donned Halloween costumes.
Temperatures in the 50s and little wind provided almost ideal conditions for the race’s 50,000 runners–a mix of amateurs, professionals, locals and visitors from across the country and around the world who dream of running the iconic race.

DISTANCE

It is commonly said that the full marathon distance was set to 26 miles 385 yards because of the Royal family, added the Ahotu Marathons.
During the preparation of the summer Olympiads, it had been agreed that the organizers would include a marathon of about 40 km or 25 miles.
The British officials, desirous to accommodate the King of England, started the race at Windsor Castle and finished at the Royal box in the Olympic Stadium–a distance of precisely 26 miles 385 yards.
But that only explains why the London marathon’s distance was 42. 195 km. It doesn’t tell us why this distance was chosen as the definitive marathon distance.

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2015 in SPORTS

 

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Kune Salinas, victim of a corrupt system

“If it’s never our fault, we can’t take responsibility for it. If we can’t take responsibility for it, we’ll always be its victim.” Richard Bach

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — We don’t fault Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales for unveiling the guillotine on 19 Philippine National Police (PNP) officials over the anomalous purchase of coastal boats in 2009.
She did a good job.
Aside from dismissal from service, the crooks should have been sent to jail.
The P4.54-million police coastal craft procurement scam was another blot in the image of the PNP organization and heads should definitely roll.
Kudos to the Office of the Ombudsman.
But while we extol the Ombudman’s performance, we can’t help but commiserate with the other sacked PNP officials who may have been innocent in the scandal.
Like Senior Superintendent Cornelio “Kune” Salinas, director of the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO).

IMPLICATE

Spotless in 31 years of service, Salinas was implicated for being a member of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC).
He was also the chief of the PNP Maritime Group’s Operations Management at the time of the boats’ procurement.
When the defective boats were delivered, Salinas was no longer with the Maritime Group as he was already transferred to the Police Regional Office 6.
He later learned that the Maritime Group did not accept the substandard boats when delivered by the supplier, Four Petals Trading.
The trouble was the Inspection and Acceptance Committee of the PNP’s Logistics Support Services (IAC-LSS) under Superintendent Job Marasigan issued a certificate of acceptance and paid the supplier.
Salinas swore he did not steal a single centavo from the transaction, but neither denied nor confirmed that some PNP officials indeed made money.

‘GOOD GUY’

According to Gov. Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr., Salinas is a “good guy.” He was not referring, of course, to Salinas’ role in the boat brouhaha, but on his overall performance as a police official serving the Iloilo province.
Based on Salinas’ emotional narration of facts to members of media recently and the circumstances that developed leading to the boats’ procurement, he could be innocent.
Salinas could be a victim of a corrupt system in the procurement process involving government properties where membership in the BAC can lead to the abyss even if he didn’t dip his finger in the cookie jar.
Was it possible that when Ombudsman Morales meted the “severe” penalty, which included the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from reemployment in the government service, forfeiture of retirement benefits and cancellation of civil service eligibility, she failed to separate the chaffs from the grains?

ROTTEN

Were the good guys lumped with the organization’s rotten apples under the principle of “an act of one is an act of all”?
In trying to slay the dragon of corruption, the Ombudsman probably wanted to eliminate both its head and body to ensure a total victory.
Salinas and other BAC members probably became accidental villains by virtue of their presence in the dragon’s intestines.
We wish Colonel Salinas the best of luck as he tries to weather the storm by seeking for a Temporary Retraining Order (TRO) before the Court of Appeals and for filing a Motion for Reconsideration (MR).
If he is really pristine, as the saying goes, no one can put a good man down.

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Mystery of burnt Lopez Pink Mansion deepens

“No object is mysterious. The mystery is your eye.” 

— Elizabeth Bowen

By Alex P. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY — Before entering the White House owned by former Iloilo second district Rep. Albertito Lopez in the Lopez compound in La Paz district, Iloilo City in the Philippines, a visitor will be greeted on the right side by the unique and imposing Pink Mansion owned by his brother, Emmanuele (not Emmanuel as reported in the papers) “Nikki” Lopez.
On the left side is the ABS-CBN Iloilo station. Adjacent to the Pink Mansion is another landmark, the Boat House, owned by ABS-CBN Corporation founder Eugenio H. Lopez Sr.
On the right inside the compound is the bungalow owned by the late Fernando “Junji” Lopez Jr., eldest son of the late former Vice President Fernando “Toto Nanding” Hofileña Lopez, Sr.
On the left inside the compound is the mansion of another Lopez daughter, the late Mita.
When Rep. Lopez was active in politics in the early 90’s, we frequented the gated compound.
For a while, the compound was open to invited guests, mostly political, social, and business personalities.

INTERVIEWS

We conducted our interviews with Rep. Lopez and his wife, then Guimaras Governor Emily Relucio, inside the White House.
It was also in the White House where we last saw the late former vice president, who died in 1993.
During important gatherings of the Lopez family where selected members of the press were also invited, we saw there the other members of the fabled clan.
Every now and then thereafter in the mid-90’s, we frequented the compound on invitation of Nonoy Junji (that’s how Fernando Lopez Jr. wanted us to call him) to dine with him and discuss social and political issues. He also invited us in his manokan (chicken) house in Villa, Arevalo.
Of all the living Lopez children then, only Nikki was aloof to members of media. He was very private, quite and avoidant.
But Nikki was also among the most controversial.
In the family-owned University of Iloilo, students were cautioned not to look at him once he entered the campus on board his pink car.

WOMAN

A story circulated that he once allegedly slapped a woman who stared at him in a shopping mall.
The woman happened to be allegedly a top city hall lawyer. He didn’t know her, but she knew him. Nobody came forward to confirm the incident.
The woman lawyer neither confirmed nor denied the alleged incident.
There were reports it was Nonoy Junji, not Nikki, who was allegedly involved in the fracas.
Nikki, whose favorite color is pink, a universal color of love and sweet sensuality, according to feng shui, probably detested being stared at in public.
The Pink Mansion, burned 95 percent according to the arson investigators from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Iloilo City with initial estimated damage at P10 million at around past 10 o’clock in the evening on Oct. 25, was as mysterious as its owner.
Nikki escaped unscathed, according to reports. He was seen in the vicinity as firefighters were trying to put out the fire.
Nobody from the media, social, political and business community has claimed publicly to have been invited by Nikki or any authorized person to visit the place in the past.
Nikki, who never married, is a known lover of cats. He reportedly owns several cats and takes care of them like family members.
Were some of those cats killed during the one-hour fire?

ANTIQUES

The mansion reportedly contained jewelries, antiques, and art works described by Capitol bigwig and former journalist Nereo Lujan as “priceless” and “irreplaceable.”
Lujan wrote in his Facebook account: “The damage to the house was pegged at P10 million, considering that there were antiques, art works, jewelries, expensive clothing and high-end appliances inside.
“That amount may just be a pittance for Nikki, considering his inheritance, his monthly dividends from the Lopez Group of Companies and that he is not as extravagant as Junjie.
“What is deplorable and regrettable is the loss of the extremely rare antiques and art pieces inside because those were priceless and irreplaceable.”
Some visitors from other parts of the country who happened to pass by described the two-story Pink Mansion as “mysterious” because it was surrounded by concrete walls and wooden gate that were also painted with pink color.
As of this writing, arson probers could not confirm what caused the fire.  Nikki has refused to speak to the media.
Because of the fire, the mansion has once again rekindled public interest and curiosity. The mystery deepens as investigators piece together the cause of fire that reportedly started in the ceiling.

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2015 in CULTURE AND HERITAGE, TOURISM

 

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Why everyone wants to become vice governor

“If we open a quarrel between past and present, we shall find that we have lost the future.” Winston Churchill

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Is year 2016 the right time to become vice governor of Iloilo province in the Philippines?
We suspect even former Philippine Coconut Administrator (PCA) administrator Oscar “Oca” Garin Sr. is itching to become vice governor.
His aim actually is to eventually capture capitol, the only tiara missing in his political resume.
But the formidable Garins of Iloilo’s first district has officially fielded Guimbal mayor Christine against Rep. Neil “Junjun” Tupas Jr., “gunslinger” of another powerful political clan in the fifth district.
The patriarch Garin can still substitute for his daughter in the eleventh hour as the Garins are wont to do in the previous polls.
Both the Garin and Tupas clans were supposed to be “united” under one political roof of Pres. Noynoy Aquino with a modus vivendi to support the reelection of Gov. Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr.
Everything was going well until the deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy (COC) in the Commission on Elections recently.

FALLOUT

The apparent fallout between the Garins and Tupases happened when Junjun decided the run the gamut from the congressional match-up in his district involving his younger brother, Vice Governor Raul “Boboy”, against Junjun’s wife, Angeli Lee, to the province’s second highest position, where he himself is the candidate purportedly representing the Liberal Party (LP).
Feeling “betrayed”, the Garins responded with a Queen’s Indian Defense vis-a-vis the Tupases’ Fianchetto.
And the die cast.
Had it not been for the imposing leadership by LP big man, Senate President Franklin Drilon, Junjun or any member of the clan, for that matter, would’ve challenged Defensor, who is on his last term.
Or the Garins versus Defensor.
But because no powerful clan can now touch Defensor with a ten- foot pole in as far as the 2016 elections are concerned, they are now up for a battle royale in the vice gubernatorial post.
With or without intervention of President Aquino and Drilon, everyone will salivate for the capitol’s second highest position.
The scuttlebutt is that due to health reasons, Defensor might decide to yield his position and give way to the vice governor before 2019.
Thus, the Tupas versus Garin toss up has become a fait accompli.

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2015 in ELECTION

 

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