Monthly Archives: March 2019

Important warning to all feeble candidates


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Posted by on March 28, 2019 in Uncategorized


Don’t call me ‘doctor’; don’t call me ‘doc’

“Finish last in your league and they call you idiot. Finish last in medical school and they call you doctor.” 

–Abe Lemons53359519_10213652762096226_7463939624646213632_n

NEW YORK CITY — Doctor Oscar London continues to defend his claim to be the World’s Best Doctor by explaining the 57 rules he follows.
His Rule No. 4 is: Don’t call me “doctor”; don’t call me “doc.’
London admits he becomes “apoplectic” when a new receptionist refers to him as “Doctor” instead of “Doctor London.”
“Doctor is tied up at the hospital and will be a little late.”
“Doctor will see you now.”
“Doctor wants you to make another appointment in June.”
In his own explanation, Dr. London thinks this reverential use of “Doctor” is a throwback to an age when physicians had little more to offer patients than a mega-dose of holiness–when an ethereal stench of sanctimony pervaded their office.
“Doctor will be with you in time.”

“As far as I’m concerned, “ he explains, “the high and mighty “Doctor” has no place in an up-to-date, down-to-earth medical office.
“At the risk of being stuffy, I must confess to being less than overjoyed when a patient calls me ‘Doc.’ I realize that ‘Doc’ is often used as a term of endearment. But to me, ‘Doc’ is what you call an excellent poker player who never went to medical school and what you call the town drunk who did.”
Dr. London says “Doc” is what Bugs Bunny calls Elmer Fudd.
“Doc” also sounds too much like “duck,” a species of fowl that goes, “quack-quack.”
To sum up, “Doctor” is not pleased to be called “Doc.”
He continues: “While we’re on the subject, I make a point of addressing Ph.D.’s as “Doctor” unless instructed not to. They earned their doctorate; I earned mine. In my neck of the medical woods, there are so many Ph.D.’s and physicians per capita that everyone seems to be calling each other “Doctor.”
“I few years ago, I hired a receptionist who had earned a Ph.D. in botany,” he narrates. “She once informed me, ‘Doctor London, doctor Shapiro’s wife, Doctor Gottlieb-Shapiro, is calling you from Doctor Mishkin’s office.’ ‘Thank you, Doctor Oglethorpe,’ I replied to the receptionist.”
“I had to let her go. She may have had a Ph.D. in botany, but she let all the plants in my office die,” Dr. London adds. “Besides, we were doctoring each other to death.”

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)
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Posted by on March 26, 2019 in Uncategorized


Kill as Few Patients as Possible

“Whatever you do, do with determination. You have one life to live; do your work with passion and give your best. Whether you want to be a chef, doctor, actor, or a mother, be passionate to get the best result.”

–Alia Bhatt54523936_10213691908754868_5323382594958524416_n

NEW YORK CITY –– In Kill as Few Patients as Possible, Dr. Oscar London warns that if our physician aspires to be the World’s Best Doctor, “he or she will have to wait until I die.”

London describes himself as “sixty-one, don’t smoke, and always wears my seat belt.”

Let’s listen to what London has to say more about himself: I have taken the precaution of descending from ancestors who lived well into their nineties. I have no immediate plans to retire, run amok, or ride off into the sunset on my Schwinn exercycle.

I have taken time from my busy–but not killing–practice of internal medicine to pass along some hard-won strategies that, at best, will save your life. Or, at least, will permit your own physician to become the world’s second best doctor.

Then, when Hippocrates and Aesculapius summon me to join their Group Practice in the Sky, your healer will be in the catbird seat.

Your shaman will be poised to assume my current role of Mother Earth’s Favorite Son–the Doctor. Or Daughter, as the case may be.

How did I get to be Top Doc? How come heads of state phone me long distance, at odd hours, to say they took the two aspirin and now what?

Why does my appointment book read like a compendium of Who’s Who, Burke’s Peerage, and People magazine?

What is the key to my success? Is it my uncommon good looks?

My uncanny diagnostic skills? My charisma? My modesty? Yes, all of those, but more important: my strict adherence to the rules.

Daily Planet correspondent Sari Friedman called Dr. London as “a pseudonymous Berkeley internist who practices out of a two-story sole proprietorship on Webster Street”.

Friedman wrote: “From Voodoo to Viagra” vents on such topics as: “The 7 Habits of Highly Obnoxious Patients” and “How to Cut Your Doctor’s Bill in Half.” (For his next collection, maybe Dr. London will cover “How not to complain after spending long lonely hours in pain in a doctor’s waiting room, only to become the target of a sarcastic essay.”)

But I quibble, for the writing in “From Voodoo to Viagra” is witty and tart, informative on a array of issues and surprisingly fun, despite the acerbic point of view piercing as one of those long — loooong — needles about to give you a shot.

Dr. London does have his not-so-secret lusts: for Krispy Kreme donuts from Union City; for dissing alternative medical modalities such as the use of St. John’s Wort in treating depression and the use of magnets in reducing pain; and methinks Dr. London moans a bit much over the trials and travails of having the occasional celebrity patient.

Many of Dr. London’s ideas are original and even impressive, such as that “the bloated burger billionaires should direct their charitable funds to the American Heart Association, much as the tobacco execs, out of the goodness of their prosecutor’s hearts, are contributing a bundle to Lung Cancer research.” He also has fascinating things to say about testosterone.

But Dr. London’s voice soars to its most inspiring heights when he recounts his happy experience of making an apt and unusual double diagnosis (in non-English speaking cousins) of Mitral Stenosis – a rare, life-threatening, but potentially quite curable condition. Dr. London loves the practice of medicine: “trading in arthritic broken-down joints for shiny, metallic models that run like brand-new Audi TT coupes” and hitting upon the perfect drug or combination of drugs to effect a cure on even the most bedraggled and hopeless of patients.

While laughter is, indeed, strong medicine, these memoirs primarily show how humor can motivate and soothe the physician.

Nothing wrong with that.

When all’s said and done, Dr. London comes across as sweet. He greatly admires firefighters, and he attributes the fact that married men live longer than bachelors to the way most wives take such careful care of their husbands: “I’ve never seen a husband drag his wife to the doctor. I’ve seen a thousand wives drag their husbands into my office.” He adores his family and – bless him – works hard to serve the “25 patients a day” the HMOs require him to see.

As he says, “in the end, all of us will be most remembered not for what we did but for how deeply we loved.”


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Posted by on March 25, 2019 in Uncategorized


Don’t join the debate with a Dracula face

“Those who cannot understand how to put their thoughts on ice should not enter into the heat of debate.” 

–Friedrich Nietzsche

By Alex P. Vidal53359519_10213652762096226_7463939624646213632_n

WHEN Rosa “Tita” Caram was appointed by President Cory Aquino as OIC mayor in Iloilo City after the 1986 EDSA Revolution, she became known as the “Cinderella surrounded by the seven dwarfs.”
One of the “dwarfs”, who became a village chief when Caram was no longer in city hall, had suggested to extend the route of the Dinagyang parade to the Fort San Pedro area.
Caram, wife of the late former Assemblyman Fermin “Nene” Caram nixed, the “crazy” idea.
When Mayor Caram learned that former senator Rodolfo “Roding” Ganzon, arch enemy of her husband, had been released from jail and helped campaign for the deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ reelection bid in the snap election, she was reportedly worried.
Fire-spewing Ganzon was rumored to be interested to run again for city mayor, and the news was a nightmare for Mayor Caram.
She bade goodbye to politics for good.


I covered the City Hall beat in 1989 when Ganzon became the city mayor.
He told reporters in jest, “Nahadlok si Tita Caram mag debate sa akon kayman gin isyuhan ako sang una ni Nene (Caram) nga putyong kuno ako. Ginpamangkot ko sia ngaa nga nabal an mo nga putyong ako? Gin pamangkot mo si Tita haw?” 
Mayor Ganzon brought the house down.
One of the last remaining “dwarfs” (he really had a small frame and was already a department chief), who died during the administration of Mayor Mansueto Malabor in the 90s, told me “Mayor Caram was so nervous to debate with Mayor Ganzon (if ever they will face in the election)” thus she quit politics.


IT is during the political debates where the voters, especially the undecided, will have the opportunity to peruse the character, personality, and intelligence of the candidates running in the elections.
It is during the political debates where candidates with no prior or with insufficient media exposure will have the chance to prove their mettle without the assistance of any public relations (PR) expert; they will be on their own and they will advertise their own fortitude and capability as aspirants for a public office without the help of any prepared script.
A candidate participating in a public discourse can’t be rescued by the best PR consultant once he falters and scrambles with facts and figures.
Thus they need to be impressive; they need to look good physically, as well.
Even their body language and facial expressions must be guided accordingly with aplomb and collectedness.
Rule No. 1 actually is: Don’t join in the political debates if you are mad, or if your blood sugar is tottering.


The pre-debate checklist should include mental and emotional conditions, not just the cloths, hairstyle and make-up.
If you’re not in good mood, skip the debate immediately. No ifs. No buts. No second thoughts.
If your mood is on alert status and you engage a rival in a heated exchange of words before a huge audience that will last for an hour or two, it will have a catastrophic effect on your nerves; you will have no idea you appallingly look and act like Dracula.
Dracula has a poker face.
He owns one of the most untrustworthy faces in the known physical world.
The name evokes hostility and antagonism.
In fact, his aura has been dismissed with a dauntless disdain, fear, and scorn by any standard and imagination.
Don’t be a Darcula on stage.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

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Posted by on March 25, 2019 in Uncategorized


Ynion to Mayor Joe III: IPC building will be our legacy

I don’t fight for the money. I fight for my legacy. I fight for history. I fight for my people.”

–Khabib Nurmagomedov

By Alex P. Vidal50497947_10213293970086650_8339189084090007552_n

LIKE Octavius and Mark Antony, the relationship between Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III and Iloilo Press Club (IPC) President Rommel Ynion is cool and professional.
Politics will have to take a back seat, this time.
When Antony and Octavius have a difference of opinion as to cutting Lepidus out in dividing the spoils of war, Octavius lets Antony have the last word.
Octavius (who became Emperor Octavian) raises some objections, but does not argue with the former right hand of murdered Roman Emperor Julius Caesar.
In a recent social media post, Ynion, like Octavius, asked Mayor Joe III: “Are you still serious in keeping your promise to help us secure the necessary permits to use the IPC building?”
“We have envisioned it to be a center for learning to help professionalize the media,” added Ynion.
“One of its features will be a library for students of journalism where they can deepen their knowledge on history, politics, and literature with the aid of books donated by our benefactors.”


Like Antony, Mayor Joe III’s word will take precedence over that of Ynion.
The city mayor will have the last word.
Everyone in the IPC will be waiting on tenterhooks for Mayor Joe III’s reply.
Ynion wrote: “I have seen you a few times on live Facebook video programs promising your audience including in one episode Manuel Mejorada that you would help us in the Iloilo Press Club (IPC) get city hall permits for our building.
“The IPC building has been the subject of many controversies over the years including the case implicating Congressman Jerry Trenas in an alleged anomaly related to the release of Php 500,000 for its construction.
“I have declared myself a friend of everyone. As such, I will not comment anymore on this issue bedeviling the congressman retired as I am from any form of political, economic and social activities.
“My hermit-like existence has defanged me. I would rather embrace peace than conflict in dealing with issues especially the one concerning the IPC bulding.”


Unlike Romulus who killed his twin brother Remus and name Ancient Rome after himself, Ynion is inviting Mayor Joe III to “leave a legacy of our immutable values especially in the world of journalism where the highest standards of professionalism can endure with your help.”
Ynion wants to share IPC’a future glory with Mayor Joe III in exchange for his help and cooperation as the highest official of Iloilo City.
Ynion, who has pumped a personal money of P500,000 in the IPC building, appealed: “Mayor Joe, we need your help to make our dream a reality. It is a dream borne not out of personal ambition but out of our love for the journalistic profession and its practitioners.
“We will owe you a debt of gratitude which will last forever if only you can see and act on the importance of the IPC Building through the prism of our collective hopes for the future of journalism in Iloilo City. Madamo gid nga salamat.”
The ball is on your court, Mayor Joe III.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)
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Posted by on March 25, 2019 in Uncategorized


Why Sara won’t play a loaded dice in Iloilo

“I am a teacher. It’s how I define myself. A good teacher isn’t someone who gives the answers out to their kids but is understanding of needs and challenges and gives tools to help other people succeed. That’s the way I see myself, so whatever it is that I will do eventually after politics, it’ll have to do a lot with teaching.”

–Justin Trudeau

By Alex P. Vidal53359519_10213652762096226_7463939624646213632_n

NEW YORK CITY — ALTHOUGH she has publicly raised the hand of Iloilo City mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III, presidential daughter Sara Duterte apparently is also “rooting” for Espinosa’s rival, Iloilo City lone district Rep. Geronimo “Jerry” Trenas, in the May local elections.
As a rumored presidential timber in 2022, the mayor of Davao City can’t afford to play a loaded dice in Iloilo City politics.
“Wooing” certain political characters or “showing moral support” to their candidacy is a political gambit that has been played up even by some of the famous politicians in antiquity.
Antagonizing one party and embracing another is tantamount to a political suicide for any candidate running for a national office in the future.
Thus Mayor Duterte only probably wanted to please not only both Espinosa and Trenas, but also their political supporters and sponsors, when she recently lent them her aroma.
Her gestures should not be interpreted with finality every time she is seen hobnobbing with local candidates anywhere in the Philippines.
Whoever wins between Espinosa and Trenas will definitely be an asset in her presidential campaign three years from now.
Hugpong ng Pagbabago, Mayor Duterte’s infant but fast-expanding political party, will surely invite or recruit more local chief executives — governors and mayors — after the May elections.
The party will go for the winners, not the losers.
Victory, after all, has many fathers; defeat is an orphan.


Those who don’t believe that Mayor Duterte will not run for the Philippines’ highest office should start to wake up.
Mayor Duterte did not organize the Hugpong ng Pagbabago, which made many PDP-Laban stalwarts insecure and nervous, for nothing.
Her body language, as well as the body language of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, speaks louder these past months; her regular activities and nationwide trips were loaded with interpretations that tilt on a strong possibility she will be running for president.
She probably believes she and her father can do in the Philippines what they did in Davao City: becoming the first father and daughter to reign as city mayor; this time, they might shoot to become the second father and daughter in Philippine history to occupy Malacanang’s highest seat after Presidents Diosdado Macapagal and Gloria Arroyo, who is now the House speaker.
Although President Duterte has not admitted it– and will most likely not admit it, no father will stand in the way if he thinks there is a big chance her daughter will succeed him as president.


Many drug lords with links in the Filipino-Chinese community who were active in the previous elections in the Philippines either as financiers or candidates themselves are expected to either shy away or maintain a low profile role in the coming elections
They can’t afford to make a noise or display their fangs even if they claim to have solid ties with some powerful officials in government, police, and the military.
They are aware of President Duterte’s standing order for the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to “make life difficult” for these drug lords once they are spotted or arrested.
The threats of violence or even death hangs over their heads like a Sword of Damocles; and if they make one fatal false move, they will be decimated; and their cases will be buried in the statistics of those “killed for resisting police arrest.”
Haven’t we noticed that most of them have surreptitiously “disappeared” and nowhere to be found or heard these past years since President Duterte assumed power?
If they weren’t yet buried six feet below the ground or allowed to escape to China, they are just probably “on standby” for the bigger battle in 2022: the presidential derby.
Only fools can’t read between the lines.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

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Posted by on March 20, 2019 in Uncategorized


A wife to die for

“I love being my husband’s wife.”

–Julianna Margulies

By Alex P. Vidal50497947_10213293970086650_8339189084090007552_n

NEW YORK CITY — I haven’t met Mrs. Victoria “Marivic” Griengo-Mabilog in person, but based on what I have heard in the news about her these past years, I think she is the kind of wife any husband will die for unconditionally.
Of all the elected public officials in the Philippines humiliated by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in his dubious “narco list”, only former Iloilo City mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog got a blistering open and all-out support from a wife, so far.
Mrs. Mabilog, who can swear to any ghost in heaven that her husband is innocent, had the guts to call the president a “liar.”
Mrs. Mabilog–or the Mabilog family–probably have had enough.
Any wife, a mother or a sister, can feel what Mrs. Mabilog felt when her husband was verbally abused repeatedly in national media, kicked while down on all four, subjected to unconscionable indignity, and treated like a worthless human being even if he wasn’t fighting back.
It seems the president was hell-bent not only to kill Mayor Mabilog’s enthusiasm for public service, but also his spirit as a human being.


If you are a victim of a false accusation, a slanderous and baseless imputation, a black propaganda and toxic politics, and your wife happens to be Mrs. Mabilog, who believes in your absolute innocence, you’re not doomed.
Judging from her passionate and fiery rebuttal of the president’s soliloquy linking her husband to a despicable activity based only on a fringe “intelligence report”, Mrs. Mabilog is the type of wife who will bite the bullet for her husband; a wife who’s willing to transform into a Medusa, a winged human female with living venomous snakes in place of hair, and turn into stone those who will cast aspersion on her beloved husband.
The presidential persecution actually was too much; it’s over kill and already OA (overacting).
Is Mayor Mabilog really the worst politician in the Philippines?
What will President Duterte feel if one day, a political enemy will become president, by a stoke of luck, and also humiliate his son, Paolo; or daughter, Sara, and insist without any shred of evidence that they are members of international drug syndicate?
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:2)


There are others in President Duterte’s incredible list who may also be innocent like Mayor Mabilog, but their family members–wives, husbands, children–aren’t that intrepid and cocksure like Mrs. Mabilog to engage the foul-mouthed president in a word war.
We suspect some of those 46 politicians in the list could be really engaged in illegal drugs trade.
They should be prosecuted and prevented from being elected into public office; it’s a mockery of the law if they are paid by the taxpayers’ money and yet they promote and benefit from the destruction of those hooked on prohibited substance.
But the innocent should be spared from blatant and perpetual humiliation.
There’s no spare parts for a damaged reputation.

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Posted by on March 16, 2019 in Uncategorized