RSS

Monthly Archives: October 2018

A silent river doesn’t mean there are no crocodiles

“In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” –Franklin D. Roosevelt

By Alex P. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY — Mayor Oscar “Oca” Garin Sr. of Guimbal, Iloilo in the Philippines did not want the people to further speculate why he filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for the same position targeted earlier by his daughter-in-law, Dr. Janette Loreto-Garin, and incumbent Rep. Oscar “Richard” Garin Jr., thus he decided to withdraw.
Mayor Garin was aware the people weren’t convinced he really was interested to go back to congress when he has already found the oasis of happiness and satisfaction in his farm as a plain and simple “Oca Manguguma” when he is not in the municipal hall.
People who have been watching the clan’s political dynamics knew that as an astute political tactician, “Tatay Oca” would never allow anyone to read their plans, much less influence the course of their future as a vortex dynasty.
Until the eleventh hour, “Tatay Oca” will continue to keep the aces up his sleeves and won’t let other card players predict his game plan.
Let’s not count the political maestro out yet.

-o0o-

His move to withdraw, already expected by both his critics and admirers since day one, will pave the way for his son to run for reelection against the clan’s favorite election whipping boy, Gerardo “Gerry” Flores, a retired police general and former mayor of Miag-ao, Iloilo.
The clan, which has been politically dominant in the first district for more then 30 years now, is supporting Iloilo fourth district Rep. Ferjenel “Ferj” Biron, who is running for governor against Iloilo third district Rep. Arthur “Toto” Defensor Jr.
Even if he has already gotten the patriarch’s imprimatur, Biron shouldn’t neglect the “Baywatch.”
Don’t think that there are no crocodiles just because the river is silent, sir.
While he is still alive and active in politics, the patriarch Garin is expected to find ways how to worm his way to become the next vice governor and eventually governor, the only two integral positions missing in his public service arsenal.

-o0o-

A candidate for Iloilo City councilor has reportedly agreed to settle his debt to a female former city hall casual employee in the amount of P30,000 for fear the casual employee might “spill the beans” during the campaign period.
The candidate, who badly needs a job because of his mounting financial obligations, did not want the issue to be used against him during the campaign period as it might cripple his chances to win.
“I already sent him several demand letters but he all ignored them,” protested the former casual employee from Brgy. Dulonan, Arevalo, Iloilo City.
She agreed to lend money to the candidate with a promise that he would pay it from September to December 2017.
The former casual employee described the candidate for city councilor as “sickly” and was once hired by the Mabilog administration as casual employee after he lost in the 2016 elections.
“Nagpakitlooy sia nga mahulam kuarta kay gina dialysis kuno sia, but when it was time for him to pay he gave me a lot of problems,” the former casual employee cried.
When the candidate for city councilor did not honor his obligations, she sought the help of barangay authorities in Dulonan, Arevalo.
The former casual employee said her decision to demand payment from the candidate for city councilor “has nothing to do” with the recent decision of Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III to fire her and several other fellow casual workers.
The candidate for city councilor will reportedly start paying her in November 2019.
“Kon indi gid man sia magbayad ipa sa Diyos ko na lang ini tanan,”she wrote to me.

-o0o-

0 SUPER SNEAKY WEIGHT-LOSS SECRETS: 1. Never food-shop without gum 2. Ditch your tupperware 3. Give your guy the first bite 4. Sip from only one type of glass 5. Dish it out 6. Eat after happy hour 7. End your workout with protein 8. Love pretzels 9. Lose the serving dishes 10. Drink after-dinner coffee. SOURCES: Cornwell University Food and Brand Lab; Nutrition and Metabolism Specialist Jana Klauer, M.D.
EIGHT THINGS GUYS NOTICE ABOUT LADIES INSTANTLY: 1. How thick their hair is 2. If their smile is genuine 3. The size of their group 4. The pitch of their voice 5. Their hip-to-waist ratio 6. Their glowiness 7. What’s fake about them 8. Their eyes. SOURCE: Daniel Amen, MD, author of The Brain and Love

SIX WORST THINGS A LADY CAN SAY TO A GUY: 1. You’re so much better than all the other jerks I’ve dated 2. Can you really afford that? 3. So we’re running a little late. Relax 4. He’s a great guy–you should be friends with him 5. She made me promise not to tell, but…6. Don’t be silly–I haven’t done that in ages (Cosmopolitan, November 2009 issue)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 31, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Law allows ‘jokers’ to run

“I’m looking for the best person irregardless of political party, of race or religion, or color of their skin. Those things don’t matter to me. I want someone who’s qualified, who has a qualification to character and the integrity to do the things that have to be done to save this world.”

–Edward Brooke

By Alex P. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY — When we laugh at the list of “nuisance” candidates (only the Commission on Elections can determine whether they are nuisance or not) who have filed their certificates of candidacy (COC) for the May 2019 Philippine elections, we actually ridicule our own law.
No matter how we treat their COCs with derision, mock them, and call them names, these “nuisance” candidates will continue to persevere knowing fully well that “the law is also on our side.”
They have the right to assert, “Hey, this election process is not only for the scholarly, the mighty, and the omnipotent. This is for us, too, the undervalued, the spurned, and the tossed aside aspirants for a public office.”
In a democratic country like the Philippines, everyone is free to dream and fail and fail to dream.

-o0o-

Whether these “nuisance” bets are real-life insane or erudite punks is beside the point once the Comelec has accepted their COCs.
In the first place, “nuisance” candidates can be expunged only from the electoral race during the Comelec deliberation process for their inability to mount a serious campaign, or for lack of a registered political party, among other primordial reasons, not because they weren’t qualified to run.
Under the law or An Act Governing the Elections of Local Government Officials, these “nuisance” candidates are very much allowed to run as long as they meet the qualifications prescribed by law for public elective positions in the Philippines.
For local positions the qualifications are “mere” the following:
1. citizen of the Philippines;
2. on the day of election at least 23 years old for Governor, Vice-Governor, member of sangguniang panlalawigan, mayor, vice-mayor, sangguniang panglungsod in highly urbanized cities; while at least 21 years old for the said officials in component cities and municipalities; at least 18 years old for members of the sangguniang panglungsod, sangguniang bayan and sangguniang barangay and punong barangay; at least 15 years old and not more than 21 years of age for Sangguniang kabataan;
3. able to read and write Filipino or any other local language or dialect;
4. registered voter in the constituency in the locality;
5. resident thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the election.

-o0o-

Since 2009 when I started to posting my photos on social media, a lot of my friends have noticed and mentioned to me that in almost 90 percent of my photos, my ears were always covered with either earphones or headphones.
I noticed this, too, but most of those photos weren’t prearranged. They were natural.
I use the earphones or headphones now especially when I travel far via the New York City subway.
I suspect I have Claustrophobia, or the fear of having no escape, and being closed into a small space.
It is typically classified as an anxiety disorder and often times results in a rather severe panic attack.
It is also confused sometimes with Cleithrophobia (the fear of being trapped).
I learned that Claustrophobia could be related to dysfunction of the amygdala, which is the part of the brain that controls how we process fear.
The phobia can also be caused by a traumatic event, such as: being stuck in a tight or crowded space for an extended period of time, experiencing turbulence when flying.
With the help of earphones or headphones, my attention is diverted into the music and “I won’t feel something” while I close my eyes when the train would sometimes be stuck in the tunnel (the Dekalb in Brooklyn to Canal in Manhattan area) for six to 10 minutes (the longest I have experienced, so far).

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 30, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

‘I don’t want to die that way’

“What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by an assassin’s bullet. No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled or uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of the people.”

— Robert Kennedy

By Alex P. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY — Twelve hours after the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre happened on October 27, 2018, I dropped by the house of Rabbi George, 83, and his wife Helene, 76, in Brooklyn.
“The Rabbi has been sluggish. He didn’t go to the synagogue today (Hebrew Sabbath day),” Helene, a school teacher, volunteered.
“It’s been an awful Sabbath day because of what happened in Pittsburgh. I can’t understand why there is so much hatred in the hearts of some people.”
Rabbi George was sitting in the swivel chair facing the computer in his office inside the house when I entered.
“Is it raining outside, Alex?” the Rabbi asked in hoarse voice.
“Yes, Rabbi George. It’s been raining all day,” I answered.
“I didn’t go to the synagogue today as scheduled and I don’t intend to go out,” the Rabbi sighed. “I have been monitoring the news in Pittsburgh and before you came, I listened to the testimonies of a lot of people interviewed by media about the massacre. I feel bad about what happened.”
The Rabbi suddenly bursts, “I don’t want to die that way, Alex.”
The Rabbi said: “The way to die should be sleeping at night and not being able to wake up the next morning, not being hit by a speeding automobile or being violently shot in the head.”
He apologized that he couldn’t face me “because I can’t easily move my feet.”
Rabbi George mourned the death of his fellow Jews in a bloody ant-Semitic carnage, the worst attack against the Jewish community in US history, according to reports.

-o0o-

The Rabbi slightly turned his head and shoulder on the right side and enthused, “When I was younger, people with no education were dangerous because of their lack of understanding and empathy on many cultural and religious issues. Today, it’s the educated who have become more dangerous because of the hate in their hearts.”
Rabbi George and Helene were referring to the 11 Jewish elderly massacred by a suspected white supremacist, Robert Bowers, 46.
Six others were seriously injured.
The victims have been identified as the following: Joyce Fienberg, 75, of Oakland; Richard Gottfried, 65, of Ross Township; Rose Mallinger, 97, of Squirrel Hill; Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, of Edgewood; Cecil Rosenthal, 59, of Squirrel Hill (brother of David Rosenthal); David Rosenthal, 54, of Squirrel Hill (brother of Cecil Rosenthal); Bernice Simon, 84, of Wilkinsburg (married to Sylvan Simon); Sylvan Simon, 87, of Wilkinsburg (married to Bernice Simon); Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill; Melvin Wax, 88, of Squirrel Hill; and Irving Younger, 69, of Mt. Washington.
A total of 29 charges, two of which are federal hate crime charges, have been filed against Bowers who could face a death penalty.-o0o-

I got a lot of mixed reactions in the previous article I wrote about retired Philippine National Police (PNP) director general Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who is running for senator in the May 2019 elections.
Some of Bato’s supporters said I “vilified” the retired general when I attributed the deaths of thousands of victims of summary executions to the campaign against illegal drugs in the Philippines which became known as extra-judicial killings (EJK) when he was the PNP big boss.
I reviewed my article several times.
I didn’t see any sentence there that vilified or maligned the senatorial candidate who is being supported by President Duterte.
I mentioned in that article that I only wanted to interview him in the US or in the Philippines because of so many questions in my mind like, yes, the upsurge of EJK cases, which has alarmed the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) so much so that it has called the attention of the Duterte administration.
Doing interview or aspiring to interview any controversial personality in the Philippine government in the name of public interest, I think, isn’t a violation of any law or, to borrow the word of Bato’s supporters, a “vilification” campaign.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 29, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Questions for the man called ‘Bato’

“Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.” 

Henri Nouwen

By Alex P. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY –– I saw on social media that retired Philippine National Police (PNP) director general Ronald Marapon “Bato” dela Rosa visited Iloilo City before the All Saints’ Day, and was interviewed by my media colleagues there.
I have long wanted to interview retired general Bato even when he was still the PNP chief.
Now that he has retired and is running for senator, I am more emboldened to interview him as a candidate Mr. Bato.
I hope we can meet soon–in the US, where he was once invited by his kumpare, Senator Manny Pacquiao, to watch the boxer’s fight in Las Vegas, or in the Philippines, where he is now busy “campaigning” for his senatorial bid–before, during, or after the May 2019 elections.
Since the possibility of this meeting, nay interview, remains hanging by a thread for the time being, I would like to pose here some of the possible questions I might throw at the bubbly 56-year-old senatorial candidate from Davao del Sur in the event I’ll be lucky to bump him anytime.

-o0o-

Here’s some of my questions for retired General Bato:
–When you assumed as PNP director general on July 1, 2016, you reechoed the promise made by President Duterte, your No. 1 endorser, that you would arrest or neutralize all the drug lords in the Philippines in the first six months.
Records show that you failed to deliver that promise. Can you comment on this, sir?
–In tears, you vowed to resign if you can’t fulfill your promise to the Filipino people. You did tender your resignation belatedly, but President Duterte rejected it. He even extended your term as the PNP big boss.
What did you do in the remaining months that your term was extended to redeem yourself after you failed to bag the biggest crooks or the “barracudas” in illegal drug trade, who remain at large as of this writing, in the Philippines?
–After you retired as PNP director general on April 19, 2018, your patron President Duterte “gifted” you with a position as director of the Bureau of Corrections from April 30, 2018 until October 12, 2018.
In the six months that you were the big boss of the country’s biggest jail, where some of the most prominent convicted criminals, including the top drug lords, are detained, what changes–if there are some–have you introduced to improve the jail and management system in the country’s premier corrections facility that houses hundreds of hardened criminals?
–You are pushing for the restoration of death penalty, you said in your media interviews. Is your stand on this subject matter influenced by what you discovered in the Bureau of Corrections during the six months of your directorship? Do you believe that the National Bilibid Prison is over crowded and incapable of accommodating more inmates, and the only solution to this “problem” is exterminate those who have been convicted of heinous crimes?

-o0o-

We already have an idea of your answer to this next question, but I must still ask this, nevertheless, in a hope that you can shed light on this very controversial issue especially now that you are “on your own” and seeking the blessings of the Filipino electorate for a very important position in the country’s highest legislature.
–Did the police engage in summary executions or extra-judicial killings (EKJ) when you were the PNP director general? If your answer is NO, how do you explain the scandalous killings of thousands of suspected drug addicts in the slum areas and the murders of suspected illegal drug traffickers not yet charged formally in court?
If your answer is YES (which we know you won’t admit), will you pin the blame on the Commander in Chief, President Duterte and claim, as a defense, that you were only an underling and receiving orders as a “good soldier”? Or you will own the “command responsibility” and be open and willing to be subjected to any lawful and fair investigation?
And, if elected in the senate, are you willing to cooperate with the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which investigates the cases of thousands of alleged EKJ victims in the Philippines involving mostly “tambays” or poor suspected drug addicts and “small time” drug pushers?
Hoping to see you soon, General Bato.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 27, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Like Pinoys, American bets also use dirty tricks

“If you think you can slander a woman into loving you, or a man into voting for you, try it till you are satisfied.” –Abraham Lincoln

By Alex P. Vidal

442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n
NEW YORK CITY— When opponents of the late Ilongga Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago circulated a story that she was mentally unstable calling her a “brenda” (brain damage) when she ran for president in 1992 without showing any proof, we thought elections in the Philippines were the most obnoxious and the murkiest in the world.
It turned out the use of dirty tricks like mudslinging and slanderous media campaign advertisements appeared to be nastier in the United States compared in the Philippines.
For several weeks now, I laughed each time I saw on TV the poll advertisement “approved by” Bob Hugin, a Republican challenger for the New Jersey Senate race, accusing reelectionist Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of having sex with minor prostitutes.
It reminded me of 1998 presidential candidate Joseph “Erap” Estrada, who won nevertheless even if his rivals accused him of being a womanizer and addicted to liquors.
Hugin, a former pharmaceutical executive, has reportedly dug deep into his pocket to hammer Sen. Menendez, spending over $10 million on negative ads.
Media have reported that their tussle “has become unexpectedly close and increasingly nasty.”
Hugins’ most recent ad focuses on the most salacious details stemming from allegations against Sen. Menendez during his last re-election campaign: that he and his wealthy Florida doctor friend, Salomon Melgen, frequently hired underage prostitutes while vacationing in the Dominican Republic.
“What about the underage girls who accused you, according to the F.B.I.?” screams the TV ad that runs in the prime time.
-o0o-

The allegations were reportedly made by an anonymous tipster who called himself Pete Williams, a wry reference to a former senator from New Jersey, Harrison “Pete” Williams, who was convicted in 1981 of taking bribes.
The tipster reportedly first reached out to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a left-leaning legal watchdog group. The group eventually passed the allegations to the F.B.I.
The ad reportedly refers to an F.B.I. affidavit filed to show probable cause for a search warrant. In the affidavit, Special Agent Gregory J. Sheehy, recounts his attempts to investigate the tipster’s allegations.
True or not, the nasty TV campaign ad we are referring to only shows that below-the-belt attacks against political opponents are not the exclusive handiwork of Filipino politicians, who went as far as inventing stories and hiring “barkers” or radio block time anchors during the campaign period to destroy the reputation of their rivals.

-o0o-

Like in the presidential elections in 2016, we will again cover the United States elections on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 which will take place in the middle of President Donald Trump’s first term.
To be contested are all the 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate.
At stake in the midterms elections is control of Congress, both houses of which are currently dominated by the Republicans (although the Grand Old Party holds only a narrow 51-49 majority in the Senate).
Democrats are reportedly “on a roll” and are hoping to wrest enough new seats to at least regain control of the House.
They have not held both houses of the legislative branch since 2010.
The U.S. Senate has 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats (including two independents).

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 25, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

‘My money, my future, my life’

“You learn more from losing than winning. You learn how to keep going.”

–Morgan Wootten


By Alex P. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY — We see a lot of old and familiar faces gunning again for various positions in the May 2019 Philippine elections both in the local and national levels.
Some of them have now, at last, found major political parties to lean on when push comes to shove.
Without a decent or organized and recognized political party, any candidate in the Philippine elections will find himself shooting for the moon with his fingers.
Many of these names to be included in the official ballots of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) still don’t ring a bell for the hoi polloi even if they ran unsuccessfully at least four times in a row in the past elections.
And they are running anew; they aren’t losing hope.
Some of them behave and think like Sancho Panza, Don Quixote’s squire, who endlessly tilts at the imaginary windmills.

-o0o-

We know some past losing candidates who have been spurned by their families that are against their continued hallucinations for a political lucky break.
Family insurrections erupt and marriages breaking up because “hard-headed” perennial losers in the clans refuse to call it a day and insist on running in almost all the elections–past, present, future.
Family funds went awry; the cookie jar intended for the children’s education, food, shelter, among other important family priorities, has been dried up.
The logical argument put forward by these “uncooperative” families was that if they were unsuccessful in the their first three attempts even in the lower positions, their chances of hitting a jackpot in the succeeding elections in the major positions would be nil.
The families argue that instead of wasting precious money for the campaign funds, the perennial losers should save it for their future and their children’s future.
Money, after all, doesn’t grow on trees.

-o0o-

We have the most expensive elections in the world for a third world country.
A candidate for municipal councilor in a smallest town, for instance, will have to spend at least P200,000; a candidate for city councilor, even in a component city, will need to throw away at least P500,000, win or lose.
A candidate for vice mayor in a small municipality must have at least P5 million for his campaign expenses; a candidate for municipal mayor must shell out P10 to P15 million, win or lose.
A candidate for city mayor will have to bankroll at least P100 to P150 million for his campaign kitties, including the payola for corrupt village officials; a candidate for congressman must secure at least P300 million to tackle the election expenses in his district, win or lose.
The amount does not include moolas for vote buying (let’s not be hypocrites).
Not to mention expenses to be incurred by senatorial candidates which we all know could breach the P500 million mark in today’s “standard.”

-o0o-

Life is extremely hard nowadays in the Philippines, which is being battered by an unprecedented inflation rate.
If you are a candidate in the May 2019 elections and you feel that your chances are like a dream in the Boogie Wonderland, it’s better to withdraw from the race or stay away from politics.
There’s no substitute for frugality in times of economic doldrums.
If we save our money, we can move around confidently and stress-free.
We can walk straight and smile knowing that we won’t be a burden to our family.
If we waste our “hard-earned” money in politics with no hope of recovering it (unless we commit graft and corruption once we are in power) immediately, it is tantamount to violations of our own human rights– the fundamental right to live with dignity and self preservation.
We lose our self respect and become anti-social if we throw away something we earned through honest-to-goodness means and hard work only because of our misplaced ambition that is far from reality.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 24, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Rep. Gorriceta’s interest in Pacman vs Floyd Jr brawl

“Boxing is not about your feelings. It’s about performance.”

–Manny Pacquiao

By Alex P. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY — We have not heard from Iloilo second district Rep. Arcadio “Cadio” H. Gorriceta for a long time now.
What we learned from sources is that he has been under strict medical treatment and has not been active in congressional works for a while.
His colleagues in the House of Representatives and local supporters reportedly missed him.
This must be the primary reason why the congressman, responsible for ousting the hitherto imperishable Syjuco couple in an election six years ago, would no longer seek reelection next year.
It will be his son, Pavia mayor Michael “Mike” Gorriceta, who will run for congressman in the second district of Iloilo against Sta. Barbara mayor Dennis Superficial.
We are not familiar with Rep. Gorriceta’s ailment and the nature of treatment he has been going through, but because he has decided to back out silently, it’s now improbable if he can still make a political comeback in the future especially if Mayor Gorriceta will win next year, with due respect to the good Mayor Superficial.

-o0o-

The last time I saw Rep. Gorriceta was sometime in April 2015 in Iloilo City weeks before I flew back to the United States to cover the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 2, 2015 in Las Vegas.
He invited me for a chat over a cup of coffee in the morning at the Smallville to get my opinion about the mega duel.
“I believe in your predictions and analysis, Alex; I have been reading your articles and listening to you (on radio). I am not a gambler and I never placed a bet, but just for fun, who do you think will win?” the congressman asked.
“Mayweather will win by decision,” I replied to Rep. Gorriceta without hesitation.
I explained that the American black ring superstar was then aiming to erase Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record, thus he or his handlers would not risk his date with history if they weren’t sure of out-duking the hard-hitting Filipino boxer-cum-politician.
Furthermore, from the technical aspect of analysis, I told Rep. Gorriceta that Mayweather was a scientific fighter, while Pacquiao was a street fighter and a brawler rolled into one.

-o0o-

I added: “Mayweather is a slick puncher and someone who brings a bicycle inside the ring, while Pacquiao is a never-say-die fighter who moves forward like a hungry wolf ready to devour his foe for a disposal and might expose himself for a target shooting to lure Mayweather.
“The problem is, lanky Mayweather will never slug it out; he will fight from a distance and backpedal to escape Pacquiao’s bombs, pile up points, confuse the Filipino customer, and safely coast to a points victory after 12 boring rounds.”
I cited to the congressman, who had also served as Pavia mayor before conquering former Rep. Augusto “Buboy” Syjuco in the 2013 congressional elections, the following mega fights in the past: Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier (the “Thrilla in Manila” or third fight), Alexis Arguello vs Rolando Navarette, Thomas Hearns vs Roberto Duran, Frankie Genaro vs Pancho Villa, among other epic ring battles involving scientific boxers and brawlers as the basis for my analysis.
I also mentioned Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco Jr.’s ill-fated light-flyweight gold medal bout versus Bulgaria’s Ivailo Hristov in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Onyok wasn’t cheated contrary to the false protests of biased and angry fanatics, I intoned. He was beaten by a taller and scientific fighter in a five-man jury.

-o0o-

“Well, I will not question your opinion although I like Pacquiao not only because he is a Filipino but because he made us all proud by his impressive boxing skills. Good luck on your coverage and I will monitor your reports,” Rep. Gorriceta said.
In Las Vegas, when Mayweather defeated Pacquiao by a 12-round unanimous decision, I immediately recalled my conversation with Rep. Gorriceta.
I was sure he monitored my “live” reports as well as my pre and post fight analysis in the Philippine newspapers and radio networks.
Get well soon. Rep. Gorriceta.
By the way, they are saying there will be a Mayweather vs Pacquiao rematch.
Ignore and forget this crap or a piece of joke.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 23, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Massacre in age of forensic science

“As long as man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other.”

–Pythagoras

By Alex P. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY — Did the perpetrators of the macabre Sagay massacre in the Philippines think we still live in the Neanderthal Age where a crime can be committed against any living creature and the assailant can easily get away unpunished?
In this age of forensic science where the Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), a double-stranded molecule held together by weak hydrogen bonds between base pairs of nucleotides, plays a major role, among other scientific means of gathering pieces of evidence, even a crime committed years ago or those with no eye-witness account, can be solved.
Thus we are confident those who mercilessly gunned down members of the National Federation of Sugarcane Workers (NFSW) who occupied the farm at Hacienda Nene in Purok Firetree in Sagay City, Negros Occidental on October 20, 2018, will be identified and arrested soon–depending on the determination of the Regional Police Office-6 (RPO-6) headed by Director John Bulalacao, who has ordered a no non-sense probe on the shocking massacre.
I first heard of the word “massacre” when I was a kid during the Martial Law years in the Philippines.
I heard of the Jabidah massacre or the killing of Moro soldiers by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on March 18, 1968.
It was also known as the Corregidor massacre as the killing reportedly took place on Corregidor Island.

-o0o-

Even in the 70’s people were endlessly talking about it behind the curtain as the press was not free to discuss its details.
I also learned about the Escalante massacre in Escalante, Negros Occidental that claimed the lives of 20 people and wounded 24 others on my birthday, September 18, 1985.
The Escalante massacre jolted me as a young man.
Earlier that year, I was riding on a bicycle around the area where the massacre took place and I could vividly recall seeing nameless faces of farmers, vendors, and other ordinary folks doing their normal chores in that laid back municipality which became a fourth class city in 2001.
Four years earlier prior to the Escalante massacre, I heard about the Pata Island massacre in Pata, Sulu, Mindanao on February 12, 1981, which killed 119 Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) soldiers perpetrated by their supposed Moro National Liberation Front (MILF) allies.
After a couple of days in Pata Island, the Headquarters Service Company of the Philippine Army’s 31st Infantry Battalion were about to leave the island when a group of MNLF rebels and erstwhile ally Unad Masillam, a commander of the Civilian Home Defense Force (CHDF) surrounded them and opened fire.

-o0o-

To name only a few of the famous massacres in the Philippines, there were the 1985 Inopacan massacre in Leyte (67 killed); 1987 Mendiola massacre in Manila (13 killed); 1989 Digos massacre (39 killed); 1995 Ipil massacre in Zamboanga del Sur (53 killed); 1998 Sara massacre in Iloilo (10 killed); 2009 Maguindanao massacre (58 killed including more than 40 journalists); 2014 Talipao massacre in Sulu (21 killed).
The recent massacre that killed nine people including children and women in the farm at Hacienda Nene in Purok Firetree in Sagay City, was still being investigated by a team led by Chief Insp. Roberto Mansueto, head of Sagay City Police Station, and personnel of 62nd Special Action Force.

-o0o-

Unlike in some of the aforementioned massacres, the Sagay massacre occurred in the age of forensic science, or the application of science to criminal and civil laws, mainly–on the criminal side–during criminal investigation, as governed by the legal standards of admissible evidence and criminal procedure.
Which means probers will not find it hard to identify the culprits who, initial police investigation claimed, could be mercenaries or armed bandits hired to kill the corn farmers.
We will continue to monitor the progress of this case and hope that justice will soon be served on the innocent civilians horrifically murdered without a valid cause and justification.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 22, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

‘Tell it to the marines, Tatay Oca!’

“My comeback was not about winning or losing; it was about the feeling of being able to compete at top level again.”  — Thomas Muster

By Alex P. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n


NEW YORK CITY — Ilonggos in the Philippines have known Guimbal, Iloilo Mayor Oscar “Oca” Garin Sr. to be a master of political surprises.

We are actually familiar with his style or what they incandescently call in the first district of Iloilo as “Oca’s strategy.”
We know that if he says he wants to tandem with Pinocchio today, he will tap Bugs Bunny for his partner tomorrow. Or vice versa.
That’s why many of us laughed when he claimed “I didn’t know” that his daughter-in-law, former health secretary, Dr. Janette Loreto-Garin, was also filing her certificate of candidacy (COC) for congressman.
Mayor Garin told reporters he was “surprised” to see Dr. Loreto-Garin outside the Commission on Elections (Comelec), when he filed his COC for congressman in the first district of Iloilo.
He reportedly asked her, “ma file ka manNag file man ako(You want to file your COC for the same position? I already filed mine)?”
Whoa.
Tell it to the marines, Tatay Oca!
And if Dr. Loreto-Garin will also declare “I didn’t know Tatay Oca would file his COC for congressman”, we will tell her, “indeed, it takes two to tango.”

-o0o-

Mayor Garin, Dr. Loreto-Garin, and Rep. Oscar “Richard” Garin Jr. actually filed their COCs for the same position during the deadline on October 17, 2018.
Rep. Garin filed his COC ahead of the two on Oct 11, along with gubernatorial candidate and Iloilo fourth district Rep. Ferjenel Biron.
The congressman Garin joined his sister, Vice Governor Christine “Ting-Ting” Garin, who also filed her re-election bid in tandem with Biron.
Rep. Garin clarified later that his father and wife might withdraw so he can run for reelection against the clan’s perennial whipping boy, Gerardo “Gerry” Flores, a retired police general and former mayor of Miag-ao, Iloilo.
Rep. Garin vowed the family would come up with a final decision “on or before Nov. 29”, the Comelec deadline on the changing and dropping of candidates.

-o0o-

We believe that the Garin clan will pave the way for Rep. Garin to face Flores.
It’s almost a crystal-clear scenario given Rep. Garin’s body language, pronouncements, and activities in the past weeks.
Another possible scenario is for the Garin patriarch–Tatay Oca–substituting for Vice Governor Garin, who might run for the House party-list.
It’s still unclear how will the clan complete the partition and what position are they preparing for the former health secretary who is being distracted by the energy-sapping Dengvaxia imbroglio.
Will Dr. Loreto-Garin end up as Guimbal mayoral candidate?

-o0o-

Going back to Tatay Oca.
All eyes and ears are on this season political swashbuckler.
In all his more than 30 years in public service, Tatay Oca had already served as congressman, mayor, and appointed official (with a cabinet portfolio) under five presidents–Cory, FVR, Erap, Gloria, Duterte.
Except as vice governor and governor.
He had announced on several occasions he was retiring in politics “for good” or doing a busman’s holiday; and that he wanted to be known thereafter as “Oca Manguguma” or Oscar the Farmer.
Only fools don’t change their minds, as the saying goes.
Tatay Oca sprang back to power as mayor of Guimbal after years of political hiatus and became adviser only to all of the Garins active in public service.
Now, Tatay Oca is back. He is once again involved as a candidate himself at the end of his tether.
Let’s watch him; like Lazarus, he might knock the spots off and worm his way to the Capitol first as vice governor, and as governor next when many of us thought he has already fallen back to retirement.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 20, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Don’t rely entirely on social media

“The more social media we have, the more we think we’re connecting, yet we are really disconnecting from each other.”

–JOHN ARTHUR

By Alex P. Vidal18623221_10209125051346287_3894308625102383479_o

NEW YORK CITY — Social media like Facebook appears to be the most favorite platform of many candidates gunning for major seats in the Philippine elections on May 2019.
Just like in the 2016 elections, many candidates then relied heavily on the social media to propagate their programs and further tell their “friends” who they are and what are they capable of doing more once they are elected or reelected.
Some of those with edge in name recall didn’t find it hard to win with or without campaigning in the social media.
Some relatively unknown bets or newcomers, even if they spent a bulk of their free time advertising themselves as worthy candidates in the social media, ended by the wayside.
We also know of several prominent reelectionists who didn’t make it in the 2016 elections after giving their full time, trust and reliance on the social media
Reason?
They thought the social media is the end-all and be-all of the winning formula in the elections.
Wrong.
Not all of our (limited to only 5,000) “friends” in the social media can vote; not all are registered voters; not all of them will vote for us even if they belong in our provinces, districts, cities, or municipalities.
Not all of them are truly our “fans” with fanaticism or blind loyalty to us.

-o0o-

Moral of the story: go out, move your butts, shake the hands of the people and visit places with rich voting population like public markets, churches, villages, terminal stations.
Participate in debates and media fora and actively speak in communities with large gatherings.
Go to the people directly, make eye-to-eye contact with them, touch their hearts and connect in their minds.
Social media can’t help elect any candidate.
We can’t convince the voters that we are genuine public servants, that we are good leaders and sincere aspirants for a public office by merely posting “selfie” photos, pictures of the food we eat in a popular restaurant and exotic vacation spots and countries we recently visited.
Social media is only good for pa-cute and pa-porma effect and doesn’t have the hard-wired power and influence to amaze or tantalize a true-blue and dyed-in-the-wool voter who genuinely cares for his province, district, city, and country as a whole.

-o0o-

Like many fellow journalists in the Philippines and in other countries, we are closely monitoring the developments in the no-holds barred investigations being undertaken in the mysterious disappearance of our colleague, the brave Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was believed to be murdered and chopped to pieces when he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on October 2, 2018.
Here’s what we have gathered as of this writing (noontime, October 17, 2019 US Eastern time):
-There appeared to be a possible tie to the crown prince: Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a Saudi diplomat and intelligence officer, is among the men under investigation by the Turkish authorities as part of the probe of the disappearance and suspected death of Khashoggi. Mutreb is closely connected to Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, a Saudi source told CNN.
-US-Turkey meetings: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and, separately, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, in Ankara. Each meeting lasted about 40 minutes. Pompeo did not make remarks after the meetings and has now left Turkey for Brussels.
-The Turkish investigation: Turkish investigators collected a large number of DNA samples from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul when they searched it Monday, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported Wednesday, without saying where the information came from.
-What hasn’t been searched: Turkish officials have not yet searched the Saudi consul’s residence in Istanbul and it is not clear when they will. Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Wednesday the search would happen “once a joint consensus is reached.”
We monitor this shocking news regularly and are very much interested on what will happen to the probe because like Khashoggi, we also write critical stories in a hope to help our government and not to topple it.
We maintain that journalists are partners of our government officials in public service, not enemies.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 18, 2018 in Uncategorized