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Monthly Archives: September 2016

If we can’t hurt a fly we can’t kill a human being

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

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By Alex P. Vidal

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

MAD

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

STAGE

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

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

 

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Opinions: Clinton rips Trump in first debate

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

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

CIVILITY

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

SMALLNESS

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

TRAIN

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

BIASED

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

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2016 in ELECTION, POLITICS

 

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

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

By Alex P. Vidal

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

CHECK

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

FOLLOW

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

SHOT

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

PROMINENT

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

SERIOUS

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

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2016 in CRIME

 

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Odicta once arrested for ‘snatching’

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

— Malcolm X

By Alex P. Vidal

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

‘DRUG LORD’

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

CONVICT

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

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2016 in CRIME

 

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