Monthly Archives: May 2018

I saw Sarah Geronimo as a ‘prisoner’ in another world

“A big part of depression is feeling really lonely, even if you’re in a room full of a million people.”
–Lilly Singh

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — When I was requested to help in the publicity of Sarah Geronimo’s concert tour in Vancouver, Canada in 2012, I saw a 22-year-old lady who looked like a “prisoner” in another world.
Even if she was accompanied by her “stage parents” Divina and Delfin wherever she went, I had a hunch she wasn’t happy.
Showbiz is not my forte, thus I stayed away (I was requested to tag along the group) when Sarah and her entourage–including her parents, of course–shopped around glitzy Robson Street in downtown Vancouver days before the concert held at the Queen Elizabeth Theater.
I noticed that her parents, especially Delfin, would always look at people who shook Sarah’s hands like members of Pope Francis’ Swiss guards.
The parents and some of their companions seemed like human walls taller than the Great Wall of China and more sophisticated than the border walls in El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
They were like guarding the North Korean president while shopping in the Bronx.


It was like they were hell-bent to shield Sarah even from the mosquitoes and butterflies.
I noticed, too, that Sarah seemed uncomfortable and visibly edgy but was adamant to complain; she appeared to be “not in the position” to protest, but was fretful as if she was in another world.
Either she wanted to shout “leave me alone, please, for just a moment” but could not, or she wanted to run away (if only to gain a total freedom and independence) but did not.
I told my Filipino-Canadian friend Ale Sevillo, who was part of the host staff, that if this was how they treated the young celebrity from Sta. Cruz, Manila, time will come she would suffer from a breakdown if not commit suicide if she feels a tremendous pressure and is “suffocated” by her companions’ (especially the parents) over-acting. God forbid.
When it was reported that Sarah turned emotional in her recent Las Vegas concert for her 15th anniversary “This 15 Me” tour where she was seen crying in the videos uploaded by fans, I remembered this observation I had with her in 2012 in Vancouver.
Sarah must be suffering from a silent depression, whatever inner sadness she can’t fully express.
Recent scientific evidence suggested that the mixed-depressive form of bipolar disorder for celebrities with similar symptoms like Sarah’s can be a particularly dangerous time that can often go undetected or masquerade as general depression and irritability.
Depression, which affects about 16 million people in the U.S. according to the National Institutes of Mental Health, and more than 350 million globally according to the World Health Organization, is thought to be the result of interacting social, biological and environmental factors.


The word “depression” is tossed around casually, but in reality the condition can be quite debilitating, according to the Scientific American, which analyzed the case of celebrity suicide victim Robin Williams.
People with major depressive disorder (also known as clinical, major or unipolar depression) exist beyond the realm of sadness.
“In fact, they can feel numb to the world and often become lethargic and lose interest in people and activities that formerly brought them joy. When the disorder is at its most severe, people with depression may even experience psychosis–seeing or hearing things that aren’t there,” according to the Scientific American.
Let’s hope Sarah, now 29, can still recover. Let’s hope also that her parents will finally give her the space she badly needs–before it’s too late.

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Posted by on May 3, 2018 in Uncategorized


Crystal clear political development

“Vote for the man who promises least; he’ll be the least disappointing.”
–Bernard Baruch

By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY— In politics, strange alliances are always inevitable; everything can be possible.The disclosure of Iloilo City Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon that he would run for vice mayor under 2019 mayoral aspirant, Rep. Jerry Treñas, caught some of their respective supporters by surprise.
Most of those astonished and stunned were critics of both Treñas and Ganzon who probably forgot the most fundamental age-old political adage that politics is a strange bedfellows.
Many of those who could not accept Treñas as a combacking kid but were so enamored with Ganzon since last year as a possible mayoral bet to be handpicked by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, suddenly find themselves in awkward position.
Many of those who loathed Ganzon but continued to fantasize Treñas as a local folk hero suddenly turned tight-lipped and were unable to come to terms especially when they were openly rooting for someone else as Treñas’ vice mayoral candidate.-o0o-

With the recent development, the suspicions of many Ilonggos that Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III will actually swap position with his brother-in-law Treñas, has been bolstered.
They are now inclined to believe that Espinosa III will no longer run for city mayor and will instead train his guns in the congressional contest.
If Joe III is still interested to run for city mayor, they believe the best person who should reveal his runningmate should be Joe III, not Treñas.
Both Treñas and Joe III are carefully playing their political cards with aplomb.
They are aware that if they continue to befuddle their rivals, a doubly whammy victory in the 2019 elections wouldn’t be far-fetched.
If they don’t pretend that they are at loggerheads, their rivals can still do something earthshaking in the next few months to stymie their candidacies and prevent them from scoring another gut-wrenching political shutout.
It’s been a long time since the opposition in Iloilo City has tasted a sweet victory over political demigods in the categories of Treñas and Joe III.


Now it can be told.
Iloilo City could not be the “most shabulized” in the Philippines.
Of the 207 barangay officials nationwide tagged by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to be involved in illegal drugs, only one punong barangay (village chief) from Iloilo City was included on the scandalous list.
And even if the name of Gemma Caldazo, outgoing chief of Brgy. Kasing-Kasing, Molo, Iloilo City was mentioned, her alleged involvement in illegal drugs wasn’t yet proven beyond reasonable doubt.
Since the PDEA list was disclosed two weeks before the May 14 barangay elections, it’s possible that some of them were only victims of political black propaganda.
In other words, not all of the 207 officials could be guilty.
As somebody who grew up in Iloilo City, I don’t buy it hook, line, and sinker that some officials in Barangay Kasing-Kasing, Molo, where former Vice Mayor Guillermo dela Llana lives, are the most notorious in terms of involvement in illegal drugs.
The PDEA list would have been more credible if it was released not during the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan election season.
The timing was suspect.

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Posted by on May 2, 2018 in Uncategorized


No graft case vs Iloilo’s ‘Roderick Paulate’

“Anyone in a position of power is either corrupt or assumed to be corrupt, and the assumption of corruption is as bad as the reality of it.”
–Stanley A. McChrystal

By Alex P. Vidal

— All over the Philippines, it’s not only Quezon City Councilor Roderick Paulate who is allegedly guilty of hiring “ghost employees” and pocketing their salaries.
Paulate and his driver and liaison officer Vicente Bajamunde, accused of pocketing salaries of “ghost employees” amounting to P1.109 million, have been formally charged by the Office of the Ombudsman.
They have posted a bail for their temporary liberty.
But there were “Roderick Paulates” in other cities and provinces in the Philippines who have not been indicted in court.
Either the cases against them were weak or their accusers have failed to produce substantial pieces of evidence to pin them down.
Or they decided to chicken out for fear of reprisal or lack of will and determination to pursue the truth and seek justice.
Some of them, after realizing they have no chance to wiggle out from the mess, decided not to run for reelection or opted to fly the coop.


There was a sensational case in 2006 involving an Iloilo city councilor caught unprepared during a radio interview and admitted hiring a certain couple as “laborers.”
Unknown to the city councilor, reporters had already checked with the Sangguniang Panlungsod and discovered the couple she mentioned didn’t have the job orders.
To compound the matter, the couple personally complained to media their names were included in city councilor’s legislative payroll for October 1-15 indicating they each received P2,200.
They never received a single centavo, the couple protested.
They also denied they were the city councilor’s employees.
No case has been filed against the city councilor but the city councilor decided not to seek for reelection in the following year’s local elections.
The city councilor, highly respected in the community and with excellent track record in the business sector, cried political harassment.
Since the accusers failed to file a formal case against the city councilor other than “besmirching” the city councilor’s reputation, most of the city councilor’s supporters believed the issue leveled against the city councilor was indeed politically motivated.
The city councilor’s detractors, however, believed otherwise.


Also, nobody has been indicted in the alleged discovery of several “ghost employees” in the Iloilo City task force against illegal parking created in 2014.
It may be recalled that Councilor Plaridel Nava of the city’s transportation committee disclosed that under the supplemental budget, P212,000 had been allocated for the creation of a task force against illegal parking.
The councilor estimated at least 100 city employees were probably fictitious.
In this controversy, nobody was named as culprit and charged in the Office of the Ombudsman like Paulate.

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Posted by on May 1, 2018 in Uncategorized